Lord Canning

Lord Canning 

This article deals with ‘ Lord Canning – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Modern History’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here


Events during Lord Canning’s tenure

  • Break out of Revolt of 1857
  • Government of India Act ,1858
  • Indian Council Act, 1861
  • Indian Civil Services Act , 1861
  • Indigo Agitation of Bengal, 1859-60 (in revolts)
  • Enactment of Indian Penal Code (IPC) 1860

Also known as clemency Canning => Although mass killings happened at his time , he tried to present a picture to world that all is well



Queen Victoria’s Proclamation (1/11/1858)

Announced at Grand Durbar in Allahabad . This proclamation declared the future policy of British in India

  • Queen had assumed the Government of India under this
  • Declared we desire no extension of our present territories &  we shall respect rights , dignity & honour of native Princes
  • Our subjects of whatever race or creed , be freely & impartially admitted to offices in our services
  • Our clemency shall be extended to all offenders except those who have been  directly involved in killing of British subjects
  • All treaties & engagements with native Princes by or under authority of East India Company are to be accepted & will be scrupulously maintained
  • Principle of justice and religious tolerance would be guiding policy of Queens rule
  • Armies of East India Company will cease to exist and incorporated to British army
  • Indian sepoys were enlisted as regular recruits in British army & hence Indians participated in world wars in next century




Government of India  Act, 1858


  • Since in Charter Act of 1853, Company’s rule wasn’t extended for another 20 years, it gave British government to intervene in the matters . Whigs & Tories joined hands to end Company’s rule over India .
  • John Stuart Mill prepared a dignified and weighty petition which was presented by the Company against the Government decision to both the Houses of Parliament. But no petition could any longer stem the tide of mounting criticism against the Company’s administration.



  • It’s provisions called for liquidation of Company
  • India was directly to be governed in the name of the Crown
  • Company’s rule , Board of Control , Court of Directors were abolished
  • Crown was to govern India directly through Secretary of State for India and his council consisting of 15 members. Secretary of State had powers of both Board of Control and Court of Directors
  • Crown had the power to appoint Governor General and Governors of the Presidencies


Secretary of State

  • The Secretary of State was to sit in Parliament. He was a cabinet minister of England
  • The Act created an India Council of 15  members. It was to advise the Secretary of State  who could overrule its decisions.
  • Secretary of State was given the power of sending and receiving secret messages and despatches from the Governor General without the necessity of communicating them to the India Council.
  • First Secretary of India was Lord Stanley, who was before this President of Board of Control .




Centralisation of administration

  • Right of appointment to important offices was with the Crown and Secretary of State


Governor General &  Viceroy of India

  • Governor General was now  to be called Viceroy and Governor General of India
  • Governor General would have an Executive council whose members were to act as heads of different departments and as his official advisors
  • Council discussed all matter and voted for majority but Viceroy had the veto power






Indian Council Act, 1861


  • Act of 1858 exclusively introduced changes in the Home Government but so far as  India was concerned, it didn’t touch the administrative setup in India. There was a strong feeling that sweeping changes in the Constitution of India were called for after the crisis of 1857.
  • There was demand of establishing closer contacts with Indian public opinion .
  • Charter Act , 1833 centralised the legislation process with Legislative Council (at Centre) had alone the power to legislate for whole of country. It was in the nature of things ill fitted to do its job on account of its ignorance of conditions prevailing in different parts of vast country.
  • After the Charter Act, 1853 , Legislative Council became sort of Parliament on small scale & tried to act as independent legislature sometimes stopping the supplies & didn’t work according to wishes of Home Government. This provision demanded a correction.



  • Act added to Viceroy’s Executive Council a 5th member who was to be ‘a gentleman of legal profession , a jurist rather than a technical lawyer’
  • Act empowered the Governor General to make rules for more convenient transaction of business in the council . This power was used by Lord Canning to introduce the portfolio system in  the Government .
  • For the purpose of legislation, the Viceroy’s Executive Council was expanded by addition of not less than 6 & not more than 12 ADDITIONAL members , who would be nominated by Governor General  & would hold office for 2 years.
  • Restored power to legislate ie making and amending laws to presidencies of Madras & Bombay. But to become act assent of Governor General was necessary . In certain matters like Currency, Posts & Telegraphs, naval & military matters , prior approval of GG was made obligatory
  • Governor General can issue ordinance in emergency which were to remain in force not more than 6 months.



  • Although the legislative powers were given to Presidencies as well but there was no demarcation of jurisdiction of Central & Local Legislatures as in federal constitutions.
  • The Legislative Council couldn’t be called True Legislature either in composition or in functions .
  • The Act of 1861 in no way established representative government in India on the model prevalent in England or England’s White Colonies .





Stem Cells

Stem Cells

This article deals with ‘Stem Cells  – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here

What are Stem cells

Class of undifferentiated cells that are able to differentiate into specialized cell types.

Stem cell should be:

  • Undifferentiated cells having ability to divide & differentiate itself into specialized cells.
  • Importantly should have the capability of self-renewal, i.e. reproduce itself.
Stem cell differentiation

Type of Stem Cells

1.Embryonic Stem cells

  • Derived from the embryo
    • Humans reproduce sexually i.e. need a sperm and an eggs
    • The sperm fuses with the egg to form a fused product called zygote. This cell divides itself to form different organs like  eyes, heart, lungs etc. i.e.one cell capable of producing an organism
    • Hence, embryonic cells have ability to differentiate itself into different specialized cells.
  • They are Totipotent ie can become any specialised cell &’organ

2. Non embryonic /somatic/ adult stem cells

  • Exist throughout the body after embryonic development. Found inside of different type of tissues  such as brain, bone marrow, blood , blood vessels , Skeletal muscles , skin & liver
  • Remain in a quiescent or non living state for years until activated by disease or tissue injury
  • Can divide or self renew indefinitely , enabling them to generate a range of cell types from the originating organ or even regenerate the entire organ
  • Generally adult stem cells are limited in their ability to differentiate based on their tissue of origin 
  • Adult stem cells are rare in mature tissues, hence isolating these cells from an adult tissue is challenging, and methods to expand their numbers in cell culture have not yet been worked out.

3. Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPSCs)

  • Adult cells that have been genetically reprogrammed to an embryonic stem cell like state

Potency of Stem Cells

  • Stem cells are categorized by their potential to differentiate into other types of cells.
  • Embryonic stem cells are the most potent since they must become all types of cell in the body.


  • Ability to differentiate into all possible cell types.
  • Examples are the zygote formed at egg fertilization and the first few cells that result from the division of the zygote.

2. Pluripotent

  • Ability to differentiate into almost all cell types.
  • Examples include embryonic stem cells and cells that are derived from the mesoderm, endoderm, and ectoderm germ layers that are formed in the beginning stages of embryonic stem cell differentiation.

3. Multipotent

  • the ability to differentiate into a closely related family of cells.
  • Examples include hematopoietic (adult) stem cells that can become red and white blood cells or platelets.

4. Unipotent

  • the ability to only produce cells of their own type, but have the property of self-renewal required to be labeled a stem cell.
  • Examples include (adult) muscle/Somatic stem cells.

Controversy regarding Embryonic Stem Cells

  • Stem cells are generally derived from embryos as adult stem cells are difficult to extract. But human right advocates view this as equivalent to murdering a child
  • It was also against the religions and was vehemently opposed especially in USA . Republican governments were totally against this as they are in favor of promoting christian ethics

Converting ordinary cell to Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell – Gurdon & Yamanaka

  • Single cell in the form of Zygote formed after fertilisation of egg and sperm differentiate to specialist cells like heart cells , liver cells, skin cells etc. Earlier it was thought that this natural process is irreversible
  • But  Gurdon  and Yamanaka identified the genes to make any cell pluripotent and also showed that cell can be programmed to any specific cell like Bone Marrow or heart cell
  • This solved the issue of killing of embryos to get Stem Cells
Stem Cells

Gist : Problems in using Stem Cells

  • Issue of Embryonic Stem Cells : Right to Life of Embryos + Christian sentiments
  • Efficacy of Stem Cell Therapy : iPSC’s doesn’t has 100% efficacy and in many cases reprogrammed cells can result into cancerous cells by rapid division
  • Inclusivity issue : Stem Cell therapy is very expensive and poor cant afford it. Hence, it is not inclusive .

What are the applications of Stem cells?

  • Stem Cells can cure several illnesses
    1. Parkinson’s disease [A degenerative disorder caused by cell death in brain – became very common in developed nations due to increase in Life expectancy]
    2. Alzheimer
    3. Cancer
    4. Spinal Cord Injury
    5. Treatment of Autism
    6. Blood related diseases (like Sickle Cell Anemia)
    7. Diabetes
    8. Heart and Arterial Related diseases
  • (Regenerative Medicine) Can be used in organ transplants : Using Stem cell, full fledged organ can be made  and since it is made from cells of person’s body, their rejection rate is almost nill.
  • Study how an organism develops from a single cell .

Stem Cell Therapy Status  in India

  • Western Countries have strict regulations and restrictions on use of Stem Cells but no such regulation was earlier present in India . Due to lack of regulation and cheap treatment, large number of terminally ill patients were coming to India for treatment.
  • April 2018 : Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has proposed to amend Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940 to bring Stem Cells and Stem Cell based products under legal regulation
    • Under the amendments, Stem Cells and products that are substantially altered will be treated as drugs and will have to seek regulator’s approval (Drug Controller General of India) before being marketed .
  • Various ICMR Guidelines
    • ICMR’s  National Guideline for Stem Cell Research in 2017.
    • Stem Cell Use Ethical Guidelines by ICMR  
  • MoUs
    • Indo – Japan Stem Cell Research Collaboration
    • India – UK Stem Cell Research
  • Research Centre : DBT Centre in Bangalore dedicated to Stem Cell Research (In-STEM)

Issue of Surrogacy

Issue of Surrogacy and Surrogacy Law in India

This article deals with ‘Issue of Surrogacy and Surrogacy Law in India  – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here



Surrogacy  and Issues

  • In surrogacy: Wife’s egg is fertilized with husband’s sperm through in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and an embryo is created. This embryo is implanted in the womb of a “surrogate mother” who will carry it for nine months and deliver the baby.
  • Surrogacy in India was estimated to be a $ 2.3 billion industry, but surrogate mothers were paid tenth of what they get in  US.
  • India has emerged as reproductive tourist industry.




  • Exploitation of Surrogate Mothers
  • Medical problems wrt foetus (eg : Surrogate child is disabled or having any genetic disease) and parents refuse to accept child
  • Citizenship Issues in case of foreign couples
  • Homosexual couples and single parent going for surrogacy


Anti Surrogacy vs Pro Surrogacy Debate  (General)

  • Physical stress , risk and emotional trauma to surrogate mother on  abrupt separation from  baby carried in the womb for nine months .


  • It is inhumane to use a woman’s social and economic vulnerability to commercially exploit her womb 


  • Child face health concerns such as the need for the child to be breast-fed for at least six months


  • The use of surrogacy  cheapening the idea of having child to commodity 


  • Sex selection is the ‘dirty secret’ of commercial surrogacy. (foetus that is discarded usually being female).


  • Surrogate mother is asserting her independent agency to make choices to better her life


  • If Government  makes a law to ban surrogacy in India, then market will go underground and the surrogate mothers would be exploited  further. Surrogacy should not be banned, it should be regulated.


Need for Law

Post 2000
  • Surrogacy became an important medical industry in India with revenue of more than $ 2.3 Billion
  • Baby Manji Case (explained below)
  • Need was felt to have a comprehensive law on Assistive Reproductive Techniques (ART)
2014 Assisted Reproductive Techniques Bill was introduced (covering all aspects)
2016 Surrogacy Bill was introduced by NDA government banning commercial surrogacy and allowing just Altruistic Surrogacy .
Present Status 2019  : Passed




Earlier there wasn’t any law regarding Surrogacy. In absence of law many problems were coming

  • Medical problems wrt foetus (eg : Surrogate child is disabled or having any genetic disease) and parents refuse to accept child


  • 2008 Baby Manji Case –  Baby Manji was commissioned by Japanese parents (through an unknown egg donor and husband’s sperm) and was born to a surrogate mother in Gujarat. The parents divorced before the baby was born. The genetic father wanted the child’s custody, but Indian law barred single men from it, and Japanese law didn’t recognise surrogacy. The baby was ultimately granted a visa, but the case underscored the need for a regulatory framework for surrogacy in India.


  • Exploitation of women by commercialising their womb.


Provisions of the Surrogacy  Bill

  • It bans commercial surrogacy.
  • Foreigner nationals including NRIs can’t get Indian surrogate mothers. 
  • It legalises surrogacy for heterosexual  Indian couples with proven infertility
  • The length of your marriage matters. You have to be married for at least five years
  • You can’t pay a surrogate mother
  • You can only approach a close relative for surrogacy
  • If you have a child, you can’t try for another one via surrogacy. 
  • Surrogacy will be allowed only once. 
  • Surrogacy Regulatory Bodies: The government has proposed that it will establish a
        • National Surrogacy Board at the central level
        • State Surrogacy Boards in the states  

They will overlook all cases of surrogacy and regulate hospitals and clinics that offer this in India.


Against Points

  • Outright ban on surrogacy  will  push this industry underground  , increasing the vulnerability of women even more. This happened in Thailand


  • Bill  borrows heavily from UK’s altruistic surrogacy Bill, but has changed the British provision of allowing only blood relatives to “close relatives” . Close Relatives is a vague term open to legal challenges


  • Violates Right to Equality: Restricting surrogacy to married Indian couples and disqualifying others on the basis of nationality, marital status, sexual orientation or age, does not appear to qualify the test of equality .


  • Violate Article 21right to life includes the right to reproductive autonomy 


  • Supreme Court decriminalised homosexuality. Unfortunately, the Bill, scarcely bears any imprint of the verdict & continues to speak the discriminatory language of Section 377.


  • Don’t cover all aspects of Assisted Reproductive Technniques : ART is complex subject . Surrogacy is only one part of it


  • The bill violates  UNDHR.  Articles  16 of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, gives right to men and women of full age to found a family. 


Genetically Modified Crops

Genetically Modified Crops

This article deals with ‘Genetically Modified Crops  – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here




Genetically Modified Foods /Crops

  • Genetically modified organisms have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering, unlike similar food organisms which have been modified from their wild ancestors through selective breeding
  • GM foods were first put on the market in the early 1990s
  • GM aids the development of specific traits in crops like:
Herbicide resistance Viral resistance
Pest resistance Slow ripening
Fungal and  bacterial resistance Quality improvement – protein and oil
Value addition – vitamins, micro and macro elements  


Pro-GM crops in India

  • By 2050, the world’s population is expected to expand from 7 billion to 9 billion.  Yet the amount of farm land is shrinking. GM Crops is the only way to feed  growing population.


  • Resistance to pests and protecting the environment: Scientists can give crops built-in resistance to pests (eg : Bt gene) . That means less need for pesticides that are potentially harmful to the environment.


  • Higher income for farmers: GM crops cut costs for consumers and raise livelihoods for farmers


  • There is little evidence  to validate  perceived dangers by GM Crops. GM brinjal has since been approved and grown in neighbouring Bangladesh without causing any environmental or health hazards. 


  • They are necessary to fight malnutrition . Eg Bio fortification –  increasing vitamins and micro-nutrients in staple crops . Examples include
        • Golden Rice = Vitamin A
        • DRR Dhan – 45 (rice) = Zinc
        • Dhan Shakti (Bajra) = Iron


  • We cant stop the import of GM foods which is produced in the world . Hence, there is no point in restricting their cultivation in India and losing ground to foreign competitors. Eg India annually imports 3 million tonnes of soyabean oil  which is predominantly GM


  • Father of green revolution – Norman Borlaug recommends GM crops for food security too


  • Face climate change => GM crops with suitable genetic editing can help to make crops that can withstand the stress like high temperature or drought etc



Anti-GM crops

MS Swaminathan  has called GM crops to be failure due to unbearable costs of seeds and inputs on poor farmers as well as stagnation yields of Bt cotton at 500 kg / ha (lower than China & Egypt)

  • GM crops isn’t purely scientific issue & is situated at a socioeconomic & political nexus involving market monopolies in seeds  leading to suicides.


  • Farmer Suicides : introduction of  GM cotton is the cause for increasing farmer suicides in Karnataka, Vidharbha region.  Farmers are using expensive GM seeds in drought prone region


  • Farmers don’t cultivate indigenous varieties & results in  biodiversity loss. Vidarbha district in Maharashtra, India, is nearly a 100% Bt cotton (of the total cotton area) producing region. Local varieties of cotton seeds have almost disappeared


  • Terminator Genes in Hybrid Seeds : Hybrid GM seeds are  ‘programmed’ in such a way that they lose their ‘hybrid vigour’ so new  seeds must be purchased every planting season.


  • Loss of vigour : GMCs gradually lose their vigour.
        • Eg : White pest attack on cotton in Punjab clearly showthis.
        • Monsanto also accepted that Bt Cotton is now susceptible to Pink Ballworm .


  • Stringent labelling requirements are required when they are cultivated because those who are consuming GM food have right to know that. But in India, vegetables are sold loose and this is not possible.


  • Parliamentary committee says GM crop benefit only rich farmers & companies like Monsanto are filled with monopolistic characteristics .


  • GM crops require more water, fertilisers unlike what they are always advertised to.


While billion dollar companies like Monsanto, Bayer, Dow and Syngenta have scientists lobbies who conduct research and publish researches in high numbers in favour of GM crops and trying to push it in India. There is nothing wrong in using GM crops but we should remember that Dow chemicals are behind Bhopal Gas Tragedy and Bayer was Endosulfan supplier. Such billion dollar companies often hide harmful effects of GM in long terms.



Way forward

Legal measure – There should be a liability clause, like in case of US , where liability is huge in case the GM tech effects the regular varieties of crops. It will ensure that seed companies take proper precautions in fear of penalty


Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety and the Biological Diversity act, 2002 must be effectively implemented.


Need of National Policy on GM Crops.


Government and Biotechnology

Government and Biotechnology

This article deals with ‘Government and Biotechnology  – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here



Government and Biotechnology

Department of Biotechnology

1982 Government set up the National Biotechnology Board
1986 Replaced by Department of Biotechnology under Ministry of Science and Technology




Present Status of Biotechnology Sector in India

  • Biotech Sector is one of the sunrise sectors in India
  • India is among the top 12 biotech destinations of the world
  • Indian Biotech Sector holds about 2% share of global biotech industry
  • Indian Biotech Industry is valued at $ 11 Billion
  • India has emerged as a leading destination for clinical trials , contract research and manufacturing activities
  • India has second highest number of USFDA approved plants after USA
  • Largest producer of Hepatitis B Vaccine





  • National Biotech Development Strategy  (2015-20)
        • Aim : Develop India into Manufacturing Hub
        • Main Focus Areas (4) : Food, Health, Clean Energy & Education (FCEH)
        • Target : By 2025 , make it 100 Billion $ industry
        • Convert technology and scientific studies to commercial products using Biotech Hubs , Startups & Incubation centres


  • National Biopharma Mission
        • World Bank assisted INNOVATE IN INDIA (i3) program under this mission aims to create an enabling ecosystem to promote entrepreneurship and indigenous manufacturing
        • R&D in healthcare
        • Holistic development of Biopharma sector concentrating not only on drugs but also on vaccine , molecules etc . Develop new vaccines, bio-therapeutics, diagnostics and medical devices
        • Promotion of bio-pharma manufacturing
        • Attract FDI
        • Deliver 6-10 new products in the next five years


  • North East is major focus in Bio-Pharma sector and there are special programs for North East
        • Phyto-Pharma Plant Mission
        • Brahmaputra Biodiversity and Biology Boat (B4) – Under this program, large boats will be set up in the river which will have a well-equipped laboratory along with cold storage facility to store samples


  • FDI
      • 100% allowed under automatic route for greenfield projects
      • 74% under automatic route for brownfield projects.


Challenges faced by Biotech Sector

  • Biotechnology Regulatory Authority of India (BRAI) Bill to create  a regulatory body for Biotech Sector is pending in the parliament since 2008.


  • The number and quality of jobs offered by this sector is presently lesser than the work force supply available.


  • There is lack of early stage funding for biotech industries.


  • India is fast losing to competition created by China and Korea due to regulatory and infrastructure challenges.


  • R&D activities are almost nil. Most of industry is involved in manufacture of outsourced products
  • R&D expenditure
        • India = 0.67% of GDP
        • Japan = 3% of GDP


  • Most of the development has happened in Bio Pharma sector (drugs & vaccines)  only (~60%) while other sub-sectors within Biotechnology have been neglected .


  • IPR protection issues => companies demand TRIPS+ protection & are worry about provisions like Compulsary provisioning

Biotechnology and it’s applications

Biotechnology and it’s applications

This article deals with ‘Biotechnology and it’s applications – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Science and Technology’ which is important pillar of GS-3 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here



What is Biotechnology

Biotechnology is the use of biological processes, organisms, or systems to manufacture products intended to improve the quality of human life.



Genetic engineering

  • Term was given in 1951 by Jack Williamson
  • Direct human manipulation of the organism’s genome
  • Involves introduction of the foreign DNA into the organism of  interest
  • Organism thus produced is known as GMO or Transgenic organism
1973 First was Genetically modified bacteria
1974 Genetically modified Mice
1982 Insulin producing Bacteria was commercialised
1994 Genetically modified food is sold since 1994



Type of GMOs

Transgenic Genetic material from the other species is added to the host
Cisgenic Genetic material from the same species or one that can be naturally bred with


Types of Biotechnology

Blue Marine & Aquatic  applications of the biotechnology
Green Applied to  agricultural processes. Eg. selection and domestication of plants via micropropagation
Red Applied to  medical processes
White Industrial biotechnology


Applications of biotechnology


Pharmacogenomics This technology helps in analysing how genetic makeup affects an individual’s response to drugs.


Regenerative Medicine/ Stem Cells Stem cell therapy: It is also known as regenerative medicine which promotes the reparative response of diseased, dysfunctional or injured tissue using stem cells or their derivatives. 
Making Pharma products
Bio pharmaceuticals
  • Produce large biological molecules such as proteins which target the underlying pathways of the disease
  • Deal with the targets inaccessible to the traditional medicines
Using genetically altered E. coli to produce synthetic insulin
  • Was previously extracted from pancreas of Abattoir Animals like cattle /pigs .
  • Now large quantity can be produced + pure + low cost


Genetic testing
  • Direct examination of the DNA molecule itself
  • Scan patient’s DNA for mutated sequences


Gene therapy May be used for treating or even curing genetic & acquired diseases like Cancer & AIDS by using normal genes to supplement or replace defective genes or bolster normal function like immunity


Indian examples Affordable vaccines for variety of diseases eg

      • Rotavac: for Rotavirus Diarrhea.
      • Elisa kit to detect Japanese encephalitis in humans .
      • Typbar-TCV: Typhoid vaccine by Bharat Biotech.


  • Increase crop yield


  • Reduced dependence on the fertilisers ,pesticides and other agrochemical
Bt gene Produces protein with insecticidal properties


  • Reduced vulnerability to the environmental stresses. Eg
Gene : At-DBF2
    • Extracted from plant Arabidopsis Thaliana
    • This gene when inserted to tobacco & tomato cells make them more resistant to stresses like salt, drought , cold etc
Samba Mahsuri
    • Hybrid Rice Variety
    • Blight Resistance + high in protien
Vivek 9
    • High protien maize which can be grown in hilly areas


  • Bio-fortified crops with higher quantity of vitamins and micronutrients to fight malnutrition eg Golden Rice.
        • Golden Rice contains beta carotene genes which help in synthesis of vitamin A


  • Improved taste, texture or appearance of the food
        • Can slow down the process of spoilage so that fruit can ripen longer on the plant & then transported to consumer with a still reasonable shelf life




Side Topic : Fortification of food vs Biofortification of food

  • Fortification of food is the practice of deliberately increasing the content of an essential micronutrient, i.e. vitamins and minerals (such as iron, iodine, zinc) in a food, so as to improve the nutritional quality of the food
  • Union and state governments (Rajasthan, MP, Haryana, WB and Himachal Pradesh) are promoting it to fight malnutrition
  • 2017: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) released a set of standards and a logo (+F logo)  for all fortified packaged food


Note : Earliest example of Fortification is Salt iodization started in early 1920s in  Switzerland and USA & later in whole world

  • Biofortification is the process by which the nutritional quality of food crops is improved through agronomic practices, conventional plant breeding, or modern biotechnology (genetic engg).
  • It aims to increase nutrient levels in crops during plant growth rather than through manual means during processing of the crops.



Bioremediation and Biodegradation

  • It is a waste management technique
  • Eg : Oil Zappers convert oil in oil spills  to harmless CO2 & H2O


Animal husbandry

  • Cloning  allows for genetic replication of selected animals
  • Can be used to make improved breeds using recombinant DNA which  alters genetic makeup of animal


Industrial Applications 

  • To develop efficient techniques to reduce the environmental impact of industrial processes
  • Using Biocatalysts , same chemical can be produced more economically & more environment friendly



  • These are kind of fuels that are derived from living organisms such as plants and their byproducts, microbes or animal waste. Two most common bio-fuels are
        • Bio-ethanol produced by fermentation of sugars
        • Bio-diesel obtained from trans-esterification of oil obtained from plants like jatropha


Face Climate Change

  • Make crops that can withstand stress



BIMSTEC and India

BIMSTEC and India

This article deals with ‘BIMSTEC and India Relations – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here


Members 1. Bangladesh
2. India
3. Bhutan
4. Nepal
5. Myanmar
6. Sri Lanka
7. Thailand

(important missing countries : Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore (MIS))  
Secretariat  Dhaka
Type BIMSTEC is sector-driven cooperative organization
Initially started  with six sectors— trade, technology, energy, transport, tourism and fisheries.
In 2008, expanded to embrace eight more sectors— agriculture, public health, poverty alleviation, counter-terrorism, environment, culture, people to people contact and climate change .
Important Statistic – BIMSTEC consists of 20% of world’s population .
BIMSTEC countries have combined gross domestic product (GDP) close to $2.7 trillion.
BIMSTEC and India


1997 BIST-EC i.e. Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation was formed which was headquartered in Dhaka.  
2004 Nepal and Bhutan joined .
BIST-EC was renamed to BIMSTEC . 
BIMSTEC = Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.
2004 Talks on Free Trade Agreement (FTA) started between BIMSTEC nations .
2008 2nd Summit held in Delhi .
2014 3rd Summit in Nay Pyi Taw (Capital of Myanmar)
2016 BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit  held on side-lines of 2016 BRICS Summit in Goa => India started to promote BIMSTEC instead of SAARC.
2018 4th BIMSTEC Meet held in Nepal .
2019 BIMSTEC leaders were invited for Prime Minister’s swearing in ceremony. (in 2014 SAARC leaders were invited ) . It  can be seen as change in policy .
2020 5th summit was proposed to be held in September 2020 in Sri Lanka, but due to Covid-19 pandemic, it was postponed.

Why BIMSTEC is important for India ?

Alternate to SAARC

  • Due to Pakistan’s hostility , SAARC is not able to achieve anything substantial. In such a situation, BIMSTEC presents a viable alternative to SAARC .

Strategic Importance

  • BIMSTEC can act as a platform to counter assert China in South and Southeast Asia, where it has undertaken investments through the Belt and Road initiative. 
  • It is in line with India’s policies namely
    1. Neighbourhood First Policy
    2. Act East Policy

Economic Benefits

  • India, being a party to the BIMSTEC can utilise the FTA agreement once signed  .
  • BIMSTEC can provide big market to Indian companies ( as 20% of world population lives in BIMSTEC area) .
  • BIMSTEC has great tourism potential . Bay of Bengal could rival the Caribbean as a high-end tourist destination. Buddhist heritage sites for religious tourism can help in this regard too .
  • BIMSTEC  FTA & BIMSTEC Motor Vehicles Agreement are on cards which when signed will bolster trade .
  • Bay of Bengal is also rich in untapped natural resources, with reserves of gas and other seabed minerals, oil and also fishing stocks.
  • Better connectivity with BIMSTEC countries opens up opportunities for Indian coastal states and North East states to unlock the potential for development in the region.

Benefit North-East

  • This trade has potential to benefit North-East as well. Energising it would also accelerate India’s Act East policy. Various projects already running will help in this
    • India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway
    • India-Myanmar Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project


  • India, the largest member of the grouping, has  been criticised for not providing a strong leadership to BIMSTEC.
  • Both Thailand and Myanmar are criticised for having ignored BIMSTEC in favour of ASEAN. 
  • It took more than 15 years to setup Secretariat for BIMSTEC which was setup in 2014 in Dhaka .
  • Countries like Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are not included which are important part of Bay of Bengal littoral.
  • Issues of refugee  and ethnic tension among BIMSTEC member countries would pose a challenge to the grouping.
  • So far, BIMSTEC has held only 4 summit meetings 

BIMSTEC, though valuable, is no substitute as this leaves  out our troublesome western periphery .

Revival of BIMSTEC (& death of SAARC) 

  • BIMSTEC leaders were invited for Prime Minister’s swearing in ceremony. This is seen as indicator of India’s policy of engaging neighbours and keeping Pakistan out as in 2014 SAARC leaders were invited for the swearing in ceremony.

Why change in policy ?

  • Stagnation of SAARC is a key reason for India to reach out to BIMSTEC as the stagnation limited the scope of India’s growing economic aspirations

Why SAARC remains relevant ?

  • SAARC, as an organisation, reflects the South Asian identity of the countries. BIMSTEC despite its achievements is not tied with such  identity .
  • South Asian countries are closely tied in their socio-political state as they face similar threats and challenges like terrorism, similar economic challenges, disaster etc.
  • Although BIMSTEC offers lot of potential but it has remained as ineffective as SAARC. The relatively rich /powerful countries are India and Thailand. If they take lead, others will follow. But in recent times, Thailand is caught up in internal coups & India too has remained passive .

 Foreign ministry officials have also said that it is too early to write the obituary for SAARC. They also point out that while SAARC is run by a formal charter and  has a structural order to its functions, BIMSTEC is still only a friendly club of countries who have some common economic interests .

Commonwealth and India

Commonwealth and India

This article deals with ‘Commonwealth and India Relations – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here


Members – Association of nations which were colonies of England previously .
Total Members : 54 nations 
Newest Entry : Rwanda
Secretariat London
Head Queen Elizabeth
It was announced at CHOGM (2018) that Prince Charles would ‘succeed’ Queen Elizabeth as the head of the Commonwealth. 
Secretary General Present : Patricia Scotland (2018-)
Commonwealth and India


  • Almost all the members are former colonies of England.
  • Member nation has to be a democracy and follow the rule of law .
  • Those member nations where democracy is side-lined on account of military coup etc. are suspended from Commonwealth .

Why did India join ?

  • Membership of Commonwealth helped India to improve her economic ties with other nations and seek aid from England .
  • Membership also provided India with additional channel to conduct her foreign relations .
  • As a Commonwealth member, India can promote the interests of people of Indian origin living in various Commonwealth Nations.

Indian role in Commonwealth 

  • India has fought against racism in South Africa and Zimbabwe etc.
  • India has influenced other members of Commonwealth to protect interests of people of Indian origin .
  • During Chinese aggression of 1962, Commonwealth  countries extended moral support and assistance to India .


  • CHOGM : Commonwealth Head of Governments Meet  .
  • It is the meeting of Heads of Governments of Commonwealth nations happening since 1971 .
  • First CHOGM was held in Singapore .
  • Latest : 25th CHOGM was held in London (April 2018)
  • Theme: “Towards a Common Future

Relevance of Commonwealth  in today’s world

  • Commonwealth has gradually moved away from political issues to social and economic issues to make itself relevant again . In Cold War period , it played important role in ending  apartheid and colonialism  .
  • Because of its composition (54 nations) , if the Commonwealth can agree on something important, it is already a prototype of a global idea
  • Commonwealth makes it incumbent on member states to hold free, fair and credible elections .
  • Commonwealth gets a lot of credit for helping end military rule in Pakistan in 2007 and it played a pivotal role in championing the boycott of Apartheid in South Africa.
  • It would be wrong to caricature the Commonwealth as a relic, given the countries with no historic connection with the “British Empire” (Mozambique and Rwanda) have decided to join. These countries can see the value of a global voluntary association of equal member states cooperating with each other in pursuit of commonly held goals.
  • The Commonwealth provides an international platform for small states in particular. Of  54 member states, 32 are classified as small states . In many other global arenas these voices are often not heard.
  • Commonwealth games held once every four years is a popular event and is looked forward by all the world.
  • After BREXIT, it is expected that its role will increase . The leaders of Great Britain are making statements to leverage Commonwealth to act as alternate platform after their exit from EU.
  • In CHOGM 2018,  there were substantive statements on the Blue Charter on Ocean Governance and on the Commonwealth Connectivity Agenda for Trade and Investment, which could together counter China’s Belt and Road Initiative. 

Problems faced by Commonwealth

  • Relic of old times and tool of UK to maintain her fast losing position as super-power .
  • Grouping has no political or economic power .  Considering its declining importance, former PM Manmohan Singh skipped two CHOGM meets and Narendra Modi didn’t attend the last one . ,
  • Amidst the calls for the position of Commonwealth Head to be more democratically shared or rotated the announcement of Prince Charles (at CHOGM (2018)) as the successor has also put a dent on its democratic credentials.

Revenue Systems of British Raj

Revenue Systems of British Raj

This article deals with ‘ Revenue Systems of British Raj – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘Modern History’ which is important pillar of GS-1 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here



Changes in Revenue system during British Empire

  • Pre Colonial Indian society was a feudal society & in its place was established semi-feudal & semi-colonial structure
  • Old feudal structure was mostly dismantled
  • Land now become a commodity ie it became alienable private property & peasant’s occupancy right of land was totally abolished
  • Extraction of maximum surplus from the peasant’s produce became the basis of early system of colonial plunder
  • Indian economy & agriculture was converted into a raw material supply appendage to metropolitan Britain


Three important land revenue settlements were introduced in three different regions

Permanent Settlement Bengal , Bihar & Orissa By Cornwallis
Ryotwari Settlement Bombay & Madras Presidency By Munro & Elphinstone
Mahalwari Settlement North + North West + Parts of Central India By Mackenzie

These systems differed only in nomenclature but aim was same – plunder of India & maximisation of revenue


Main Characteristics of these Systems

  • British land revenue settlement  introduced in India the notion of private property in land. Such kind of land- proprietorship meant that its holders were granted ownership rights. Although, in the pre-colonial times, a massive and pyramidal structure of leasing and sub- leasing of revenue functioned and cultivators also enjoyed certain rights in land according to local customs, yet, there were no well-defined proprietary rights. The British invested such rights in certain groups in accordance with the local conditions. Thus they favoured certain groups of landed magnates who were integrated into the colonial agrarian structure & such groups were to become the powerful allies of the British.


  • Overassessment of revenue and inflexible method of collection :  attempt to maximise the land-revenue demand. Revenue demands were fixed in cash rather than on a proportion of produce, or kind and  assessments were generally exorbitant.


  • Impetus to Money lending and usury : As a result of exorbitant land-revenue demands, peasants borrowed money from rural creditors and grain dealers in order to avoid defaults. Sale and auction of land tended to increase as cultivators usually borrowed money on the security of their newly acquired proprietary rights in land. This created agrarian tensions.


  • Commercialization of Agriculture

During Dual Government in Bengal

  • 1765 :  Under Treaty of Allahabad , East India Company got Diwani Rights of Bengal, Bihar & Orissa from Mughal Emperor
  • But Clive & his successors continued old system of revenue collection i.e. through intermediaries or zamindars in which revenue official after deducting 10% of revenue  deposited remaining in treasury . Collected amount increased from 81 lakh in 1764 to 2.3 crore in 1771
  • East India Company’s administration wasn’t concerned with how revenue would be collected & what impact it will have on common people. They increased their demand every year , collectors in turn demanded more from peasants
  • Peasants were the main sufferers & many of them left land


Ijaredari System

  • Farming System : Warren Hastings in 1772  introduced the farming system by which agriculture estates were auctioned out to highest bidder for leases not extending beyond 5 years
  • Obviously, such contractors (they were called ‘farmers’ in those days), would try and extort as much as possible during the period that they held the contract; it would not matter to them if people were ruined &  production in the later years declined.
  • As there was no permanence of tenure, the farmers took no binding interest in the development of land & it proved disastrous
  • Colonial officials began to feel that a sound administration must have security as its basis & nothing but a Permanent Settlement could ensure that
  • Appointed Amini Commission(first commission in British India) in 1776 to enquire real value of land which submitted report in 1778


Permanent Settlement


  • Cornwallis realised that the existing system was impoverishing the country, ruining agriculture and was not producing the large and regular surplus that the Company hoped for. Company’s trade also suffered, because of the difficulty in procuring Indian goods for export to Europe. Production of silk or cotton, two of the Company’s major export items, was mainly agro-based
  • Was introduced by Lord Cornwallis but it was not his brainchild . Even before  Cornwallis, number of  officials were advocating for tax being permanently fixed eg Alexander Dow in his book History of Hindostan & Pitts India Act of 1784 also laid down directions for Permanent Settlement of land revenue
  • Introduced by Cornwallis as decennial (10 years) settlement & made permanent in 1793
  • Introduced in Bihar, Bengal , Orissa & some parts of Varanasi & some parts of Madras




Move towards Zamindari System

  • Lord Cornwallis came to India as Governor General in 1786 & land revenue has created many problems . Different English officials were expressing different opinions
  • There were two schools
James Grant State was the owner of land & Zamindar was just rent collecting agent . Zamindars have no permanent rights whether as proprietor of soil or as official who collected revenue
John Shore Proprietary rights belonged to Zamindars & state was entitled only to demand customary revenue from them


Cornwallis , who himself was English landlord accepted the version of John Shore


Cornwallis also got Instructions from Court of Directors which said that after assessing the records for past years , a settlement should be made with zamindars for some years that could be made permanent in future. Hence, Lord Cornwallis introduced the Permanent Settlement   in 1793




Main motives behind Permanent Settlement

  • Security of revenue
  • Creating politically reliable landed elite to act  as pillar of colonial rule
  • Since it was Permanent Settlement and state would not increase its demand if land under cultivation increased =>  these Zamindars would invest in land to bring more land under cultivation to increase their income.
  • To solve bullion issue (Indian revenue would be used for trade instead of bullion from Britain)
  • Failure of farming system
  • Capital formation: capital would flow from rural to urban areas(which would increase trade )  & agriculture development
  • Physiocratic school of thinking that assigned primacy to agriculture in a country’s economy



From minutes of Cornwallis

  • The improving landlords would bring the waste lands under cultivation , improve their tenure by better system of embankment & drainage & encourage scientific farming





Main Features

  • Zamindars had several (sometimes as many as 400) villages under them. In Company calculations, the villages within one zamindari formed one revenue estate. The Company fixed the total demand over the entire estate whose revenue the zamindar contracted to pay. The zamindar collected rent from the different villages, paid the revenue to the Company, and retained the difference as his income.
  • Zamindars were made landowners & proprietary  rights were given to them . They were not only to act as agents of government collecting revenue but also became owners of land
  • Ownership of land was hereditary & transferrable
  • Cultivators were reduced to level of mere tenants & use of pasture lands , irrigation lands , fisheries etc were all given to zamindar . Main motive –  zamindars might pay land revenue on time
  • Zamindar were expected to improve condition of tenants & agriculture
  • State kept no direct contact with peasants
  • Zamindars were made proprietors of land & they have to pay give 10/11 of the assessed rental to the colonial state and keep 1/11th of the rental for themselves.
  • In case of excess rental due to extension of farming or greater extraction, zamindar could keep entire increased amount
  • In 1794, Sales Law/ Sunset Law was introduced under which Zamindari rights would be auctioned in event of failure to pay revenue
  • Regulation of 1799 & 1812 – Zamindar was given right to seize property of tenant in case of non payment of rent (the permanent assessment was the largest sum that could be got from the land. It was a heavy and oppressive assessment.  Such oppressive taxes could only be collected by oppressive methods. If the zamindars were not allowed to oppress the peasants then they would not be able to meet the demands of the State)
  • Initial fixation of revenue was made arbitrarily & without consultation with zamindars . Attempt was to secure maximum amount as a result rates of revenue were fixed very high





  • Initially, Zamindars were to give 10/11 of the assessed rental to the colonial state and keep 1/11th of the rental for themselves. However, the sums to be paid by them as land-revenue were fixed in perpetuity. If the rental of a Zamindar’s estate increased due to the expansion of cultivable area or rise in agricultural productivity or simply due to his capacity to extract more from the tenants, he was entitled to keep the entire amount of the increase. This would constitute loss to income of East India Company / State
  • As a result of this settlement, most of the tenants including the pre-existing Khud-khast tenants enjoying occupancy rights in their lands were reduced to the status of mere tenants-at-will of the Zamindars who could easily evict them and enhance their rents.
  • No margin was left for shortfalls due to flood, drought or other calamity. As a result, many zamindars had their zamindaris taken away and sold in the decades immediately after the Permanent Settlement. In Bengal alone, it is estimated that 68 per cent of the zamindari land was sold between 1794 and 1819.
  • Village based zamindars were replaced by rich people from Calcutta who went on buying spree of agricultural estates of old zamindars who fell prey to Sunset Law
  • There is a view that this is the reason why Bengali people didn’t invest in industry because they found investing in land more profitable
  • Process of Sub-infeudation started – Finding it difficult to pay amount, Raja of Burdwan(others followed too)   divided most of his estate into ‘lots’  called Patni Taluqs. Each such unit was permanently rented to a holder called a Patnidar, who promised to pay a fixed rent. If he did not pay, his Patni could be taken away and sold.





  • Secured fixed & stable income for the state
  • Expenses of frequent assessment of lands were saved
  • Made a class of Indians who were loyal to British empire & their existence depended on continuance of British empire
  • Before settlement East India Company was required to maintain big establishment of collectors which weren’t required now
  • Judicial services improved because Permanent Settlement set free ablest servants of Company for judicial services
  • Value of land increased because zamindars devoted their attention towards improvement of soil & many wasteland & forests were converted into cultivable land
  • Britishers envisaged that it would be helpful in spreading education as zamindars would act as natural leaders & show public spirit in spreading education & charitable work





  • Permanent Settlement was  a great blunder & it affected adversely the interests of East India Company , zamindars & worst of all that of Peasants
  • System overlooked interests of peasants
        • They were not owners of land
        • Could be expelled from land
        • Couldn’t appeal anyone against rise in taxes
        • Rights over pastures ,forests & canals were abolished as well
        • In 1799 : Zamindars were given right to court & zamindar could also take away their property even if peasant was not able to pay tax due to calamity


  • Created feudalism at top & serfdom at bottom
  • No improvement in agriculture happened . Most of the landowners didn’t take any interest in improvement of land but were merely interested in maximum possible extraction of the rent.
  • Politically although class loyal to them was created but East India Company alienated masses to gain loyalty of few
  • Disadvantageous for Company as although Company’s expenses were increasing, revenue remained same & they lost contact with peasants




Ryotwari System

Reasons for introduction of Ryotwari System

Lord Cornwallis wanted to extend Permanent Settlement to other areas & Wellesley shared same idea & gave orders for extension to Madras presidency but there were problems

  • There wasn’t sizeable Zamindar class in Madras as in Bengal . Still between 1801 to 1807 Permanent Settlement was introduced by recognising Poligars as local zamindars & where poligars were not found , villages were aggregated into estates & sold to highest bidder
  • Scottish enlightenment – They insisted on primacy of agriculture & celebrated importance of farmers within agricultural societies . Thomas Munro & Elphinstone were Scots
  • Nature of Permanency in Permanent Settlement : After 1810, agricultural prices rose, increasing the value of harvest produce, and enlarging the income of the Bengal zamindars. Since the revenue demand was fixed under the Permanent Settlement, the colonial state could not claim any share of this enhanced income. Keen on expanding its financial resources, the colonial government had to think of ways to maximise its land revenue. So in territories annexed in the nineteenth century, temporary revenue settlements were made.
  • David Ricardo’s theory began to influence .  It says that – Rent was surplus from land ie Income – (minus) cost of production – (minus) labour & state has legitimate claim over that at expense of unproductive intermediaries . This  argument was used to eliminate zamindars
  • Most important cause was Financial pressure due to wars   – financial crisis of Madras Presidency worsened by rising expenses of wars .





Experiments in Ryotwari Settlement

  • Started by Alexander Reed in Baramahal in 1792 & continued by Thomas Munro from 1801. But after 1807, System was almost abandoned with departure of Munro back home.


  • 1820 : Munro returned &   he argued
        • Ryotwari was ancient land tenure system & best suited to Indian conditions
        • Security & administration of empire need elimination of overmighty poligars & zamindars
        • Historically land in India was owned by state which collected revenue from individual peasants through hierarchy of officials . When military power of state declined , these poligars appropriated land & usurped sovereignty . Hence, there is need to reverse it now


  • Its adoption was due  to one main reason – it resulted in a larger revenue than any other system could have produced. This was because there were no zamindars or other intermediaries who received any part of the agricultural surplus – whatever could be squeezed from the cultivator went directly to the State. The Madras government was chronically short of funds, and such a system would naturally appeal to it.


  • In Bombay : Introduced by Elphinstone in 1819 after defeat of Marathas . There was no large Zamindars here too


  • Instead of collecting from the zamindars, they began to collect directly from the villages, fixing the amount that each village had to pay. After this they proceeded to assess each cultivator or ryot separately – and thus evolved what came to be known as the ‘Ryotwari’ system.




Main features of Ryotwari Settlement

  • Revenue was assessed for each cultivator or ryot separately
  • It created individual property right in the land & it was vested in peasants rather than in zamindars .
  • It was a temporary settlement & was to be revised periodically (20 years )



Unirrigated Dry Land 50% of Gross Produce
Irrigated Wet Land 2/3rd of Gross Produce
  • Land revenue was not assessed as in the case of Madras on basis of gross agriculture produce 
  • Fertility of land & market price of agricultural produces were given priority in assessing land revenue upon ryots


But in order to be attractive & equitable , it required detailed land survey, quality of land , area of the land, average produce of every piece of land had to be assessed but in practice these estimates were often guessworks & hence revenue demand often was very high .








Impact in Madras

  • Peasants soon discovered that large number of zamindars were replaced by one giant zamindar ie Colonial state
  • Raised revenue income of government but put cultivators in great distress . In many areas no survey was carried out & tax of a ryot was assessed on an arbitrary basis based on village accounts
  • Revenue to be  paid by ryot was fixed on entire farm & not on each field which might have varying irrigation facilities & hence different levels of productivity
  • Contrary to Munro’s insistence that cultivator would be given freedom to take as much or as little land as he choose , this provision was dropped in 1833 . Government  officers began to compel the cultivators to hold on to (and of course, pay for) land that they did not really want to cultivate. Since cultivation was not voluntary, it was always difficult to collect the revenue, and so the use of beating and torture to enforce payment was also widespread. These methods were exposed by the Madras Torture Commission in 1854. After this certain reforms were introduced. A scientific survey of the land was undertaken, the real burden of tax declined, and there was no need to use violent and coercive methods to collect revenue.
  • Even  Ryotwari system didn’t eliminate village elites as intermediaries between government & peasantry . Privileged rents & rights of the Mirasidars were recognised & Mirasidars were pivotal to  British ideal of sedentary agricultural community .




Impact of Ryotwari System in Bombay

Impact of Ryotwari in Bombay is subject of major controversy as it give rise to rural uprising in Bombay Deccan in 1875 aka Deccan Riots , in which marwaris & banias were attacked because of alienation of peasant’s land.


Historians differ on the impact of Ryotwari

Neil Charlesworth
  • It  reduced village Patil to ordinary peasant & a paid employee of government reducing his power . In other regions eg Gujarat where superior rights of Bhagdars & Narwadars were respected , there was stability.
  • Hence,   power vacuum was created


Ian Cataunch
  • Dispossession of land did occur but that didn’t necessarily cause Deccan riots


Ravinder Kumar


  • Significant social upheaval was being caused by Ryotwari system which undermined the authority of village headman & thus causd a status revolution or redistribution of social power in the villages of Maharashtra”  & ultimately propelled into Deccan riots .
  • Kumar further argue that there were combination of factors such as
      • the dislocation of the economy by the American Civil War,
      • an ill-conceived revision of land tax,
      • agitation initiated by the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha
      • And finally the longstanding hostilities between the Kunbi peasants  and money­ lenders.

Mahalwari  System

  • Introduced in 1822
  • Introduced in parts of Central India, Punjab & parts of UP
  • First serious attempt towards this by MACKENZIE (Secretary to govt in territorial department)
  • It was a modified version of the Permanent Settlement
  • The new regulation permitted the government officials to form settlement with all co-sharers in mahals or estates jointly owned by the village communities
  • Total revenue thus fixed was to be shared by the members of co-sharing body
  • In this , revenue was to be collected through Pradhan or village headman or Lumbardar (influential landowners) .In the records the word used for a fiscal unit was a ‘mahal’, and the village wise assessment therefore came to be called a mahalwari settlement.
  • Joint proprietary rights in land were vested in the village communities .
  • There was problem of over assessment in this system too so that maximum share can be extracted from peasants
  • Was not permanent & was revised periodically but peasants were made to go through same kind of oppression


UNSC Reforms

UNSC Reforms

This article deals with ‘UNSC Reforms – UPSC.’ This is part of our series on ‘International Relations’ which is important pillar of GS-2 syllabus . For more articles , you can click here


UN  reform  is  a  long  drawn  process  which  encompasses  five  key  issues:

  1. Categories  of  membership
  2. Question of  the veto  held  by  the  five  Permanent  Members
  3. Regional  representation
  4. Size  of  an  enlarged  Council  and  its working  methods
  5. Security  Council-General  Assembly  relationship. 

Inclusion  of  new  members  is  part  of this reform  process.


Any  reform  of the  Security  Council would  require

        • Agreement of at  least  2/3 of  UN member  states
        • Agreement of  all the  Permanent  Members of  the UNSC  enjoying  the  veto  right.



Why UNSC Reforms are needed?

  • UNSC represents  post WWII realities . After 7 decades, the realities of world dynamics have changed a lot


  • In economic sphere , bodies like NDB , AIIB etc came up as Bretton Woods organisations (WB & IMF)   representing post WWII realities failed to accommodate legitimate interests of new economic powers eg India, Brazil, China etc.  If similar thing happened in case of UN , that will be detrimental to world peace. 


  • UNSC isn’t  representative enough
        • No permanent member from Africa despite 75% of UN work focusses on Africa
        • No islamic nation


  • Not responsive to new issues that are emerging like terrorism & climate change .


  • Also parties are going to alternate forums or try to adjust other powers than P5 to reach at consensus. Eg to deal with Iran P5+1 platform was made


  • It has failed to tackle the recent crisis of Syria, Gaza and Ukraine. Need to make it efficient, effective, and credible and a legitimate body.


  • Numbers of members since formation of UN has increased from 51 to 193 but that is not reflected in UNSC .


Various Proposals for UNSC Reforms

  • Economically strong states along with one from Africa should get permanent seats
  • This proposal has support of many nations

Dealt in detail below.


African Union
  • Increasing the number of both permanent & non-permanent members where 2 permanent & 5 non-permanent members from Africa should be included


United for Consensus (UfC)
  • Aka Coffee Club
  • Mainly created to counter the proposals of G-4 .
  • 40 members like Italy (against Germany) , Pakistan (against India), Columbia(against Brazil) , S Korea (Japan) , Nigeria & Egypt (against SA)  etc
  • They propose
        • Enhancement of non permanent members to be increased from 10 to 20 members.
        • Later they proposed idea of regional representation rather than national representation. This has benefit of giving representation to bigger body (but not all the regions have strong regional organisations eg Asia .


Other suggestions

  • Member states that have demonstrated credibility and capacity to shoulder the responsibilities of the principal UN organ should have a presence in form of “semi-permanent” seats with term of  six-eight years 


  • Veto Reforms:  There shouldn’t be any Veto power.


Variants of the veto provision have been suggested, such as the requirement of double veto, i.e. at least two permanent members must exercise veto for it to be valid.

G4 and its issues

  • Comprises of  Brazil, Germany, India & Japan . These 4 countries support each other’s bids for permanent seats on UNSC
  • The G4’s primary aim is the permanent member seats on the Security Council.


Claims of different nations of G4

  • 3rd largest contributor to UN funding
  • Several times elected to Security Council
  • Biggest economy in Europe
  • UK & France support Germany’s claim
  • But Italy & Spain which are part of UfC oppose Germany
  • Largest country in Latin America in terms of population, territory & economy
  • It has been elected to Security Council many times
  • 10th largest contributor to UN funding
  • UK, Russia & France support
  • But Mexico & Argentina oppose due to regional dynamics
  • 2nd largest contributor to UN budget
  • One of the largest contributor to Official Development Assistance
  • Many times elected to Security Council
  • US, UK , France & Russia supports
  • China (having veto) opposed to it

India & Permanent  Membership ?

India’s Claim

  • Biggest  democracy  in the  world  &  represent 1/6th of humanity
  • Second-largest and one of the largest constant contributors of troops to United Nations peacekeeping
  • It   frequently  serves  as  a  non-permanent  (rotational)  member (7 times till now )
  • It  has  the support  of  some  major  players  (France,  Russia,  United  Kingdom,  and  United  States )
  • It is also the world’s7th largest economy by nominal GDP and third largest by purchasing power parity.
  • India maintains the world’s third largest active armed force and is a nuclear weapon state but at the same time known for her peaceful credentials
  • It  is  part  of  an  otherwise  underrepresented  region,  with  large  unrepresented  religions  (Hinduism  and Islam).



  • Would be very difficult to make P5 members to share their power with others . They would like to maintain status quo .
  • Very difficult to garner support of 2/3rd members
  • United for Consensus bitterly oppose these reforms
  • India’s position on the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and its border “disputes” with Pakistan and China
  • Asia already has representation in form of China but Africa is not represented by any nation. Along with that G-4 has two Asian nations which if accepted will take Asian number to 3 .



Latest Development : India is in favour of expansion of Permanent Members without Veto Powers since Permanent Members don’t want to share Veto Power with any other power