About Mohenjo-Daro


Pakistan’s Department of Archaeology has said that Mohenjo-daro might be removed from the world heritage list, if urgent attention towards its conservation and restoration is not given.


GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About Mohenjo-daro
  2. Other Indus Valley sites
  3. What next for the site?
  4. Losing world heritage tag

About Mohenjo-daro

  • Mohenjo-daro, a group of mounds and ruins, is a 5000-year-old archaeological site located about 80-km off the city of Sukkur.
  • It comprises the remnants of one of two main centres of the ancient Indus Valley Civilisation, the other one being Harappa, located 640 km to the northwest, in Punjab province.
  • Mohenjo-daro, which means ‘mound of the dead’, was one of the oldest cities of the world.
  • Known to be a model planned city of the ancient civilisation, the houses here had bathrooms, toilets and drainage system.
  • The sheer size of the city, and its provision of public buildings and facilities, suggests a high level of social organisation.
  • Though in ruins, the walls and brick pavements in the streets are still in a preserved condition.
  • The ruins of the city remained undocumented for around 3,700 years, until 1920, when archaeologist RD Banerji visited the site.
  •  Its excavation started in 1921 and continued in phases till 1964-65.
  • The site went to Pakistan during Partition.

Other Indus Valley sites

  • The Indus Valley Civilisation spanned much of what is now Pakistan and the northern states of India (Gujarat, Haryana and Rajasthan), even extending towards the Iranian border.
  • Its major urban centres included Harappa and Mohenjo-daro in Pakistan, and Lothal, Kalibangan, Dholavira and Rakhigarhi in India.
  • Mohenjo-daro is considered the most advanced city of its time, with sophisticated civil engineering and urban planning.
  • When the Indus Valley Civilisation went into sudden decline around 19th century BC, Mohenjo-Daro was abandoned.
What next for the site?
  • According to media reports, many streets and sewerage drains of the historical ruins have been badly damaged due to the floods.
  • However, the work of removing the sediments deposited due the flooding is still underway.
  • But if this kind of flooding happens again, the heritage site may once again get buried under the ground, archaeologists say.

Losing world heritage tag

  • There are around 1,100 UNESCO listed sites across its 167 member countries.
  • Last year, the World Heritage Committee, holding its 44th session in China, decided to delete the property ‘Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City’ (UK) from the World Heritage List, due to “the irreversible loss of attributes conveying the outstanding universal value of the property,”.
    • Liverpool was added to the World Heritage List in 2004 in recognition of its role as one of the world’s major trading centres in the 18th and 19th centuries – and its pioneering dock technology, transport systems and port management.
  • Before that, the first venue to be delisted by the UNESCO panel was the Arabian Oryx Sanctuary in Oman, in 2007, after concerns over poaching and habitat degradation.
  • Another site to be removed from the World Heritage list in 2009 was Elbe Valley in Dresden, Germany, after the construction of the Waldschloesschen road bridge across the Elbe river.

India-Bangla Trade Set For CEPA Boost


Following a meeting with the visiting Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said India and Bangladesh will soon commence negotiations on a Bilateral Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).


GS Paper 2: India and its neighborhood- relations.

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About India’s CEPA agreements
  2. Existing frameworks
  3. Bangladesh-India Bilateral Relationship

About India’s CEPA agreements

  • India has signed CEPAs with South Korea and Japan and the one with UAE  is expected to increase bilateral trade in goods to USD 100 billion within five years of the signed agreement and increase trade in services to USD 15 billion, leading to wider social and economic opportunities in both nations.
  • CEPAs are a kind of free trade pacts but these agreements or cooperation agreements are more comprehensive than Free Trade Agreements.
  • CEPA usually covers negotiation on the trade in services and investment, and other areas of economic partnership.
    • It may even consider negotiation on areas such as trade facilitation and customs cooperation, competition, and Intellectual Property Rights.
    • It also looks into the regulatory aspect of trade and encompasses an agreement covering the regulatory issues.
CEPA objectives
  • The CEPA is likely to focus on trade in goods, services, and investment, with a key objective being the reduction of the trade gap between the two countries.
  • As Bangladesh prepares to graduate into a developing nation by 2026 — after which it may no longer qualify for trade benefits that it currently enjoys as a least-developed country — it is keen to clinch the CEPA in a year.

Existing frameworks

  • During the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Bangladesh in June 2015, the bilateral trade agreement between the two countries was renewed for a period of five years with a provision for auto renewal.
  • Under the provisions of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), Bangladesh extends preferential tariffs to Indian exports of products outside the ‘sensitive list’ of 993 items. In 2011, India announced duty-free, quota-free access to Bangladesh for all tariff lines except tobacco and alcohol.
  • An Agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investments has been in force since 2011. Joint Interpretative Notes to the agreement were signed during the visit of the Indian Finance Minister to Bangladesh in October 2017.
  • To facilitate trade and transit through inland waterways, a Protocol on Inland Waterways Trade and Transit (PIWTT) has been in place since 1972.
    • The PIWTT too was renewed for a period of five years with a provision for auto renewal during Modi’s visit to Bangladesh in 2015.
    • The protocol allows the movement of goods by barges/ vessels on eight routes between points in India and Bangladesh, as well as between points in India through Bangladesh.
  • Direct sea movement of containerized/ bulk/ dry cargo began after the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Coastal Shipping in June 2015. This has reduced the shipping time between India and Bangladesh from 30-40 days to 7-10 days, and has the potential to emerge as an economical mode of transportation for business communities on both sides.
  • MoUs were signed in 2015 on the use of the Chittagong and Mongla Ports for Movement of Goods to and from India.
  • The MoU on Border Haats on the India-Bangladesh border was renewed in April 2017 during the visit of Prime Minister Hasina to India.
    • Currently, four Border Haats — two each in Meghalaya (Kalaichar and Balat) and Tripura (Srinagar and Kamalasagar) — are functional.
    • Work on setting up two more haats on the Tripura-Bangladesh border and four on the Meghalaya-Bangladesh border is under way.
    • The two sides have also decided to identify locations for another six Border Haats.

Bangladesh-India Bilateral Relationship

  • The India-Bangladesh relationship is founded on two pillars of Indian diplomacy:
    • the Neighbourhood First Policy
    • the Act East Policy.
  • The spirit of friendship, understanding, and mutual respect that arose during Bangladesh’s liberation continues to pervade various aspects of this relationship.
  • Bangladesh is India’s largest South Asian trade partner, and India is Bangladesh’s second largest trade partner.
  • Bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh has steadily increased over the last decade, reaching $10.17 billion in fiscal year 2020-21.
  • During this time period, Bangladesh exported $1.28 billion to India and imported $8.6 billion from India.
  • Ready-made garments account for the majority of Bangladesh’s exports to India.
  • In 2011, India offered duty-free and quota-free entry to Bangladeshi goods under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA).
  • However, once Bangladesh is no longer classified as a Least Developed Country (LDC), it will no longer be eligible for this benefit. Bangladesh has been approved by the UN to graduate from LDC status by 2026.
  • As a result, India and Bangladesh are thinking about signing a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA).
  • The India-Bangladesh Friendship Bridge 1 (also known as the Feni Bridge) has been built, connecting Tripura to Bangladesh’s Chittagong port.
  • In July 2019, a ship carrying cargo from Bhutan to Bangladesh was flagged off from Assam. It sailed along the Brahmaputra River and the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route.
  • This was the first time an Indian waterway was used as a cargo transit channel between two countries.
  • The Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) was signed in June 2015 to improve sub-regional connectivity.
  • In March 2022, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal signed an enabling Memorandum of Understanding for BBIN implementation
Cooperation in Energy
  • The two sides’ energy cooperation has also been very positive.
  • Tripura, an Indian state, has supplied a total of 160 MW of power to Bangladesh, in addition to the 500 MW received from West Bengal since 2013.
  • In September 2018, the Indian Prime Minister and his Bangladeshi counterpart used video conferencing to jointly inaugurate the construction of a friendship pipeline project.
  • The 130-kilometer India-Bangladesh Friendship Pipeline Project will connect Siliguri in West Bengal, India, and Parbatipur in Bangladesh’s Dinajpur district.

Indian Aid During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • India gave Bangladesh 100,000 hydroxychloroquine anti-malarial tablets and 50,000 surgical gloves. It also gave Bangladesh 30,000 COVID-19 test kits.
  • India provided assistance to neighbouring countries, including Bangladesh, through the SAARC framework. It trained member countries’ medical staffs and was instrumental in establishing the SAARC COVID-19 emergency fund.
  • As part of the Vaccine Maitri initiative, India provided 2 million doses of Made-in-India Covid-19 vaccines to Bangladesh in January 2021.
  • Ahead of her four-day visit, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged India to be more generous in sharing river waters.

Sand Mining In India


From flora and fauna to human residents, no one has been left untouched due to the wanton extraction of sand mining from Yamuna River.


GS-III: Environment and Ecology, GS-III: Industry and Infrastructure

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is sand?
  2. What is Sand mining?
  3. Concerns regarding sand mining
  4. The Constitution and Legislations on Rules regarding mining
  5. Guidelines by the Government of India

What is Sand?

Sand is a granular material made up of finely divided rock and mineral fragments.

  • According to The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulations) Act of 1957, sand is classified as a “minor mineral”.

What is Sand mining?

  • Sand mining is the process of extracting sand through an open pit but sometimes mined from inland dunes from oceans, riverbeds and beaches.
  • It is defined under section 3(e) of the mines and mineral development and regulation act,1957.
  • The extracted sand can be used for various types of manufacturing, such as concrete used in the construction of buildings and other structures.
  • The use of sand for cement-making in industrial projects has generated significant demand in India.
  • The sand can also be used as an abrasive or can be mixed with salt and applied to icy roads to reduce the melting point of ice.

Concerns regarding sand mining

  • Sand mining damages the ecosystem of rivers and the safety of bridges, weakens riverbeds, destroys natural habitats of organisms living on riverbeds, affects fish breeding and migration, and increases saline water in the rivers
  • Lack of enforcement for sand-mining regulations and insufficient subsidy programs for affected communities detrimentally impact coastal welfare.
  • The sand mafia, a network of criminal syndicates that illegally mine sand, has proven especially destructive, with attempts to curtail their behaviour often leading to violent altercations.
  • Beaches, dunes, and sandbanks act as barriers to flooding. When sand mining removes such barriers, areas near the sea or river become more prone to flooding.
  • Sand mining destroys the aesthetic beauty of beaches and river banks, and also makes the ecological system in these areas unstable. If such beaches and riverside areas are popular tourist destinations, then the tourism potential of such areas will be lost.
  • A recent study by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) shows mining is responsible for a 90 per cent drop in sediment levels in major Asian rivers, including the Ganges, Brahmaputra, Meghna, Mekong and Yangtze.
    • This has resulted in the shrinking of the delta regions of these rivers, leaving local people extremely vulnerable to floods, land loss, contaminated drinking water and crop damage.

The Constitution and Legislations on Rules regarding mining

  • The Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 has empowered state governments to make rules to prevent illegal mining, transportation and storage of minerals.
  • However, there was a large number of illegal mining cases in the country and in some cases, many of the officers lost their lives while executing their duties to curb illegal mining.
  • Illegal and uncontrolled illegal mining also leads to loss of revenue to the State and degradation of the environment.
  • The entry at serial No. 23 of List II (State List) to the Constitution of India mandates the state government to own the minerals located within their boundaries.
  • The entry at serial No. 54 of List I (Central List) mandates the central government to own the minerals within the exclusive economic zone of India (EEZ). In pursuance to this Mines & Minerals (Development and Regulation) (MMDR) Act of 1957 was framed.
  • Also, the Central Government notifies certain minerals as ‘minor’ minerals from time to time for which the absolute powers for deciding on procedures of seeking applications for and granting mineral concessions, fixing rates of royalty, dead rent, and power to revise orders rest only with the State Government. Example of minor minerals include building stones, gravel, ordinary clay, ordinary sand.

Guidelines by the Government of India

  • To address the issue of unregulated extraction of sand, the Union ministry of mines prepared a uniform set of framework that can be followed by the states as per their suitability and applicability. The framework document charts out suggestions for various elements of the process chains, starting from the objectives of the states, demand-supply situation, operations, monitoring, transportation and sales of sand, etc.
  • The Union environment ministry released some guidelines in 2016 that laid emphasis on monitoring of the mined-out material. It recommended alternative sources of extraction of sand and gravel. Yet, several cases against illegal sand mining are pending with the National Green Tribunal (NGT). 
  • The current system has not been fruitful and powerful in helping the circumstances. The current mechanism needs to be revised for effective monitoring of sand and rock mining.

Dilution of Lokayukta Powers in Kerala


Recently, the Kerala Legislative Assembly passed the Kerala Lok Ayukta (Amendment) Bill, 2022 .


GS-II: Polity and Governance (Constitutional and Non-Constitutional Bodies, Policies and Interventions on Transparency and Accountability in governance)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What are the Amendments?
  2. About Lokayukta
  3. About Lokpal
  4. Other Important Points regarding the Lokpal
  5. Exception for Prime Minister

What are the Amendments?

  • The amending Bill weakens the Lokayukta order’s binding nature by permitting the competent authority to now accept or reject the ombudsman’s findings.
  • The Lokayukta will become a body that only makes recommendations or sends reports to the government as a result of the amendment, allowing the state government the authority to accept or reject the anti-corruption body’s decision after being given a chance to be heard.
  • It has also made the Legislative Assembly the competent authority to review an indicting report against the Chief Minister.
  • If a Lokayukta report indicts a cabinet minister, the Bill vests the reviewing authority in the Chief Minister.
  • And in the case of legislators, the competent authority will be the House Speaker.
  • The Bill exempts political leaders from the purview of the Act.
  • The Bill allows for retired High Court judges to be appointed Lokayukta.
  • Section 14 of the Act which has now been amended said that if the Lokayukta is satisfied on the complaint against the public servant being substantiated that he should not continue to hold the post held by him, he shall make a declaration to that effect in his report to the competent authority who shall accept it and act upon it.
  • In other words, if the public servant is the Chief Minister or a Minister, he shall forthwith resign his office. Such a provision does not exist in any of the State laws or the Lokpal Act of the Centre.

About Lokayukta

  • The Lokayukta (also Lok Ayukta) (lokāyukta, “civil commissioner”) is an anti-corruption ombudsman organization in the Indian states.
  • Once appointed, Lokayukta cannot be dismissed nor transferred by the government, and can only be removed by passing an impeachment motion by the state assembly.
  • The Lokayukta, along with the Income Tax Department and the Anti-Corruption Bureau, mainly helps people publicise corruption among the Politicians and Government Officials.
  • Many acts of the Lokayukta have resulted in criminal or other consequences for those charged.
  • Maharashtra was the first state to introduce the institution of Lokayukta (considered the weakest Lokayukta due to lack of powers, staff, funds and an independent investigating agency).
  • On the other hand, the Karnataka Lokayukta is considered the most powerful Lokayukta in the country.
  • Karnataka Lokayukta is considered the most powerful Lokayukta in the country.

About Lokpal

  • The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 establishes Lokpal for the Union and Lokayukta for States (Statutory Bodies) to inquire into allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries.
  • Composition: Lokpal will consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members, of which 50% shall be judicial members and 50% shall be from SC/ST/OBCs, minorities and women.
  • Appointment process: It is a two-stage process.
    • A search committee which recommends a panel of names to the high-power selection committee.
    • The selection committee comprises the Prime Minister, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha, the Leader of the Opposition, the Chief Justice of India (or his nominee) and an eminent jurist (nominated by President based on the recommendation of other members of the panel).
  • President will appoint the recommended names.
  • The jurisdiction of Lokpal extends to:
    • Anyone who is or has been Prime Minister, or a Minister in the Union government, or a Member of Parliament, as well as officials of the Union government under Groups A, B, C and D.
    • The chairpersons, members, officers and directors of any board, corporation, society, trust or autonomous body either established by an Act of Parliament or wholly or partly funded by the Centre.
    • Any society or trust or body that receives foreign contribution above Rs. 10 lakhs.

Other Important Points regarding the Lokpal

  • Salaries, allowances and service conditions: Salaries, allowances and other perks of the Lokpal chairperson will be the same as those for the Chief Justice of India; those for other members will be the same as those for a judge of the Supreme Court.
  • Inquiry wing and prosecution wing: Inquiry Wing for conducting preliminary inquiry and Prosecution Wing for the purpose of prosecution of public servants in relation to any complaint by the Lokpal under this Act.
  • Power with respect to CBI: Power of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by Lokpal. Transfer of officers of CBI investigating cases referred by Lokpal would need approval of Lokpal.
  • Timelines for enquiry, investigation: Act specifies a time limit of 60 days for completion of inquiry and 6 months for completion of investigation by the CBI. This period of 6 months can be extended by the Lokpal on a written request from CBI.
  • Suspension, removal of Chairperson and member of Lokpal: The Chairperson or any Member shall be removed from his office by order of the President on grounds of misbehaviour after the Supreme Court report. For that a petition has to be signed by at least one hundred Members of Parliament. Special Court shall be setup to hear and decide the cases referred by the Lokpal.

Exception for Prime Minister

  • The Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 2013 does not allow a Lokpal inquiry if the allegation against the PM relates to international relations, external and internal security, public order, atomic energy and space.
  • Complaints against the PM are not to be probed unless the full Lokpal bench considers the initiation of inquiry and at least 2/3rds of the members approve it.
  • Such an inquiry against the PM (if conducted) is to be held in camera and if the Lokpal comes to the conclusion that the complaint deserves to be dismissed, the records of the inquiry are not to be published or made available to anyone.

Purchasing Managers Index


The services sector rebounded in August from a four-month low in July and created the most jobs in 14 years as input cost pressures eased to the slowest pace in 11 months, as per S&P Global India Services Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which expanded to 57.2 last month, from July’s 55.5.


GS-III: Indian Economy (Growth and Development of Indian Economy, Mobilization of Resources)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)?
  2. Understanding PMI

What is Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)?

  • The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) is an index of the prevailing direction of economic trends in the manufacturing and service sectors.
  • It consists of a diffusion index that summarizes whether market conditions, as viewed by purchasing managers, are expanding, staying the same, or contracting.
  • The purpose of the PMI is to provide information about current and future business conditions to company decision makers, analysts, and investors.
  • In simple words, Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) is a measure of the prevailing direction of economic trends in manufacturing.
  • PMI is a survey-based measure that asks the respondents about changes in their perception about key business variables as compared with the previous month.
  • The purpose of the PMI is to provide information about current and future business conditions to company decision makers, analysts, and investors.
  • It is calculated separately for the manufacturing and services sectors and then a composite index is also constructed.
  • PMI is compiled by IHS Markit for more than 40 economies worldwide – IHS Markit is a global leader in information, analytics and solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide.

Understanding PMI

  • The PMI is a number from 0 to 100.
  • A print above 50 means expansion, while a score below that denotes contraction.
  • A reading at 50 indicates no change.
  • If PMI of the previous month is higher than the PMI of the current month, it represents that the economy is contracting.
  • It is usually released at the start of every month. It is, therefore, considered a good leading indicator of economic activity.
  • It is different from the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which also gauges the level of activity in the economy.
  • IIP covers the broader industrial sector compared to PMI.
  • However, PMI is more dynamic compared to a standard industrial production index.


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