Mitras Analysis of News : 7-6-2017

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1.Swachh Sarvekshan Survey: all that is missed (Down to Earth)

2.In a new orbit (The Hindu, Outlook India)

3.Explained: Model BIT 2015


1.Swachh Sarvekshan Survey: all that is missed 
(Down to Earth)

 Synoptic line: It throws light on the certain flaws on the cleanliness methodology adopted by swachh sarvekshan survey. (GS paper III)


  • A survey was conducted under Swachh Bharat Mission and is called ‘Swachh Sarvekshan 2017’. The survey aimed to capture the progress of cities on the cleanliness front and ranked cities according to their progress.
  • However, in the ranking parameter, the new Swachh Survekshan ranking promotes cities with poor waste management practices.

Swachh Sarvekshan

  • Cities are the engines of growth and urban India contribute to about 70% of country’s GDP.
  • For cities to continue their contribution and provide quality of life to citizens, urban cleanliness is of central importance.
  • In order to foster a healthy competition between cities for improving cleanliness standards, the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) started the “Swachh Survekshan” survey, ranking of cities on cleanliness and other aspects of urban sanitation, in 2016 which ranked 73 cities across the country.
  • On the same lines, MoUD has initiated “Swachh Survekshan” 2017 which conducted a survey to rank 434 cities of India.
  • Indore is India’s cleanest city, according to the Swachh Survekshan 2017 (Swachh Bharat survey 2017).
  • Other top 10 cleanest cities of the country are Bhopal, Visakhapatnam, Surat, Mysurur, Tiruchirapally, New Delhi Municipal Council, Navi Mumbai, Vadodara and Chandigarh

Why it is a miss?

  • Indore, according to the rankings released by the Ministry of Urban Development on May 4, is the cleanest city in the country. This is despite the absence of a solid waste processing facility or waste segregation at source in the city.
  • Indore is not an aberration; most of the top 50 cities featured in the Swachh Survekshan rankings share a similar story. Worse, cities with good waste management practices feature really low in the annual rankings.
  • Experts say flawed parameters have marred the rankings. The government invited 500 cities that are enrolled under the AMRUT scheme to participate in the rankings, of which 434 participated.
  • AMRUT was launched in June 2015 to establish the infrastructure that will ensure robust sewerage networks and water supply for urban transformation. In last year’s survey, only 73 cities were ranked.

The scheme of weightage

  • The ranking awards weightage on the basis of six heads: municipal solid waste collection and transportation (40 per cent weightage), processing and disposal (20 per cent weightage), condition of public and community toilets, and open defecation (30 per cent weightage), and capcity building and behaviour change (10 per cent weightage).
  • The cities have been marked on a scale of 2,000 points, of which 900 points have been allocated on the basis of answers submitted by the municipal bodies. Another 500 points have been allocated to be awarded by a team of assessors who have physically inspected the cities.
  • The remaining 600 points have been allocated to be awarded according to citizen feedback collected through telephonic conversations and through questionnaires submitted online and on a mobile application.

Key problem

  • The maximum weightage has been given to procedures for waste collection and transportation, but the parameters favour a centralised model, where emphasis is on treating waste away from source.
  • Ironically, decentralised collection system is cheaper and more environment-friendly than the centralised model. Still, just five out of the top 50 cities; Pune, Suryapet, Coimbotore, Ambikapur, Mysuru partially follow the approach.
  • Cities that follow a centralised system spend over 70 per cent of their budget solely on collection and transportation.
  • The centralised model also has higher carbon footprint. Bhopal, for instance, transports its waste to the lone processing site that is situated 16 km from the city. In a decentralised model, the amount of waste collected is substantially lesser, which reduces the number of trips waste trucks have to make every day.
  • The number of trips made by municipal trucks to processing units in a day can serve as an effective parameter for the ranking.
  • The rankings do not award points for segregation at source, which is mandatory under the Solid Waste Management Rules (SWM), 2016. The scheme also overlooks the importance of transporting the waste in segregated compartments. In Indore, for example, the municipal trucks have separate compartments for different kinds of waste, but they still carry mixed waste. The survey is penalising cities that are investing money in making people more responsible rather than in collection and transportation.

What should have been done (Way ahead) 

  • The methodology awards 90 points for capacity building and behaviour change, which is monitored by the number and size of hoardings put up to sensitise people about sanitation and by the print and digital campaigns carried out by the urban local bodies to promote sensitising programmes. While Vizag bagged 90 points, Bhopal 87 and Indore 85; cities in Kerala, which generally discourage the use of big hoardings because they cannot be reused, hardly received any points.
  • The methodology should have ideally adopted a paradigm that incentivised cities with the refuse, reuse, recycle, recover and reduce approach. There is also no mention of the informal sector, which plays an important role in recycling.
  • The ranking system should also have discouraged the use of landfills, which is the least preferred option, according to the SWM rules. Still over 90 per cent of Indian cities with functional collection systems dispose their waste in landfills that are usually unsanitary, according to the Central Pollution Control Board.
  • Cities also expressed dissatisfaction with the way the Quality Control of India assessors carried out their job and the malfunctioning of the mobile app used by over 3.7 million citizens for feedback. “Usually a team of three assessors visited a city and they would only have enough time to go through government documents rather than go on site inspections

 Question: What type of solid waste disposal model should be adopted by India to encourage sustainable waste management in India?

2.In a new orbit (The Hindu, Outlook India)

 Synoptic line: It throws light on the successful launch of India’s Heaviest Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle. (GS paper III)


  • The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has crossed a significant milestone with the successful developmental flight of the country’s heaviest Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle, the GSLV Mark-III.
  • This is the first time a satellite weighing over 3.1tonnes has been launched from India to reach the geostationary orbit about 36,000 km from Earth. ISRO lifts India into the elite group capable of putting heavier satellites into a precise orbit.
  • The first developmental flight (GSLV MkIII-D1) of India’s heavy lift launch vehicle GSLV Mk-III was successfully blasted off from the second launch pad at India’s rocket port at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. According to the ISRO’s chairman, this launch was a quarter-century in the making. Much of that time was spent painstakingly developing an indigenous, cryogenic engine that uses liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen as propellants.


  • The Mk III is a three-stage rocket. The upper stage of GSLV MkIII vehicle is a new cryogenic stage (C25) indigenously configured, designed and realized by ISRO. The cryogenic stage used liquid Hydrogen and liquid Oxygen as propellants with a total loading of 28 tons. The stage is powered by a 20 ton thrust cryogenic engine (CE20) operating on ‘gas generator cycle’.
  • The D1 mission has injected the GSAT-19 communications satellite into a geostationary orbit. GSAT-19 carries Ka- and Ku-band transponders, as well as an indigenous lithium-ion battery and an instrument called the Geostationary Radiation Spectrometer (GRASP).

Why Is It So Significant?

  • Until now, India was to rely on foreign rockets such as the French Ariane-5 to launch heavy satellites. This has been one of the mainstays of Franco-Indian space cooperation. However, it has been expensive for India, though other rockets such as Ariane-5 and Delta-IV Heavy can launch much heavier payloads (up to 8tonnes), the GSLV Mk III is still a huge improvement in India’s launch capabilities.
  • The global satellite launch market has a big focus on launching heavy communication satellites, making it necessary for India to have a presence here for both economic and prestige factors.
  • A successful launch could give India significant cost advantages in market, making it a preferred destination for many countries that need to launch heavier satellites in the coming years. ISRO over the years has proved itself to be a reliable and cost effective choice in the PSLV segment for small and medium satellites and gaining proficiency over GSLV Mk III could have a similar impact in the heavy communication satellite launch market.
  • It is a demonstration of Indian indigenous space technology, particularly of its cryogenic engines. In the 1980s, New Delhi had approached Soviet Union for the cryogenic engine technology but Soviet Union denied under pressure from the United States due to the then prevailing technology export control regulations. This delayed ISRO’s rocket plans considerably. India then decided to develop these engines domestically, but this took some time. The GSLV Mk-III is also a test for ISRO’s new cryogenic engine, the C-25, which will power the third stage of the GSLV.
  • A heavier satellite launch vehicle also means enhanced capacity to undertake deep space exploration in a more serious manner.  India’s further deep space exploration and manned space-flight plans require launch vehicles that can carry heavy payloads.  With the GSLV Mk-III, India will have this too.
  • After Mk III launch, ISRO has planned to launch a Cartosat-2 series satellite (onboard the PSLV C38 mission) on June 23 and then the GSAT-17 satellite on June 28.

Way ahead

  • By launching Mk-III satellites weighing up to 4tonnes, has almost doubles India’s current launch capacity. With communication satellites becoming heavier, the capability for larger payloads is vital.
  • Reaching this milestone is significant for realizing next generation engines and launch vehicles, this mission will take the country a step closer towards the much-delayed human spaceflight programme. Through this launch, ISRO has carried out an unmanned crew experiment to study the Atmospheric re-entry characteristics of the Crew Module. It is expected to enhance ISRO’s understanding on re-entry and parachute phases of crew module enabling India to work in direction of sending Indian astronauts to space in coming future.

Question: Witnessing the rapid progress made by ISRO in space exploration, how India can leverage the proficiency of ISRO to cultivate its neighbourhood first policy?


Explained 3.Model BIT 2015


  • Till the early 1990s, India didn’t sign BITs because foreign investment was not considered significant in a statist India.
  • In 1991, India lifted its self-imposed economic exile by starting the process of experimenting with the market and wooing foreign investors. As part of this image makeover, India started signing BITs from the early 1990s. The signing spree continued unabated till 2010 with India inking BITs with 83 countries.
  • However, rattled by many BIT claims brought by foreign investors from 2011 onwards, last year, India unilaterally issued BIT termination notices to 58-member countries.
  • Although the terminated BITs will continue to be relevant for existing foreign investment in India and Indian investment in these countries for the next 10-15 years due to survival clauses, any new investment, either from these 58 countries to India or vice versa, shall not enjoy BIT protection as was the case before 1991.
  • In December 2015, the government of India had made public a draft of its new model bilateral investment treaty (BIT).

Key facts

  • India has signed 83 bilateral trade and promotion agreements, of which 72 are in force currently.
  • The recently released draft is based on 260th report of Law Commission of India on the Draft Model Indian Bilateral Treaty (Model Draft).
  • India’s first BIT was signed with UK in 1994.
  • India has suffered loss / defeat in BIT related disputes in White Industries Case. Cairn Energy has also dragged India in another case related to India-UK BIPA.

Why India cancelled old BIT

  • BITs may be for developing countries, as they provide extensive protection for foreign investors through the ISDS arbitration procedures. Investors who believe they are effected by policy changes can claim billions from the state.
  • By unilaterally cancelling 57 BITs along with the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain, India has taken significant steps to mitigate this ISDS system.
  • Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) or investment court system (ICS) is an instrument of public international law that grants an investor the right to use dispute settlement proceedings against a country’s government.
  • The ISDS’s focus on weak access to justice for the host state’s local investors and a viable one for the foreign investors has drawn flares of objection from all quarters. Its self-imposed faith in the competence of the host country’s judicial system without considering the fact that the delicate issues of bilateral trade and commerce.  Like these the ISDS contains a substantially flexibility which affects justice delivery process in case of bilateral investment issues.

Salient Features of the new Model BIT 

  • The earlier draft envisaged only on promotion; and there was an absence of protection. The new draft includes protection of investment as an objective.
  • In the definition of the investments, the new draft has tried to limit and present more specific details on what an investment is. The 2003 draft had a broad ambit and could include any kind of assets as investments. The new approach is narrow and contains a negative list of investments {to reduce the claims against India}. Such negative list includes portfolio investments, intangible assets, interest in debt securities of the government etc.
  • The new draft has included provisions for investor protection under its FPS section. This was absent in earlier draft. Further, the meaning of FPS has been made little clearer so that vague interpretation by tribunal is not arrived at.
  • The model draft has also put in place a clear scope of National Treatment, Non-Discriminatory treatment, Transparency, Investor Obligations, Corporate Social Responsibility etc.

 Implications of such a move 

  • Today, India is not just an importer but also an exporter of capital. India’s overseas FDI has increased from less than $1 billion in 2000-01 to more than $21 billion in 2015-16. Given the reciprocal nature of BITs, their termination followed by replacement with a protectionist treaty will also reduce the protection available to Indian companies abroad.
  • Indian BITs should reconcile investment protection with the host state’s regulatory power and shun laissez-faire and protectionist narratives. For this, India needs to do three things: amend the protectionist 2015 model BIT so as to strike a balance between interests of investors and that of the host state, negotiate with existing BIT partners based on this balanced model, and withdraw the termination notices till the newly negotiated text is finalised for replacing the existing BIT.
  • This would help India resurrect its image globally of a market economy based on rule of law, not arbitrariness and cronyism.

Question: What are the possible outcomes of model BIT 2015 on FDI influx in India? 

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