Monday, 29 June 2015

Free Essays for Competitive Exams-India’s Export Scenario

India’s Export Scenario

India, which had a global share of 2.4 per cent in trade at the time of independence, dropped to a mere 0.7 per cent in 1991 because of inward looking policy of self-reliance and exporting only the surplus. The balance of payment crisis in 1991 rightly brought about a change in India’s economic philosophy. This change resulted in opening up the economy and a new foreign trade policy that resulted in India’s two way trade in both merchandise and services reach nearly $ one trillion annually from a mere $70-80 billion in 1991. But the question is have we done enough. While India’s share in global merchandise trade has gone up to 1.7 per cent in 2013-14 from 0.7 per cent in 1991, China’s has gone up to a whopping 11.8 per cent from 1.8 per cent in the same period. In Services trade, India, which had a slight edge two decades ago because of IT software, had gone up from 1.2 per cent of global share in 1991 to 3 per cent in 2013-14. China whose share was a mere 0.5 per cent in global services trade in 1991, has gone up to 4 per cent in 2013. The figures speak for themselves. While we have gone a long way in trade since the opening up, India has not done enough to realise its true potential.

            Twenty-five years since trade liberalization started in India, but there lot of fixing is still needed. The new foreign trade policy announced by Commerce and Industry Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman in April this year attempts to fix some of the problems in bid to reach $900 billion of merchandise and services exports annually in five years.  This meant total two-way trade is expected to double from the present $1 trillion to $2 trillion annually in the next five years. This is a gigantic task considering that global economy is still struggling to gain momentum. 

            The global outlook has certain positives and negatives. Lower global oil prices helped oil importing countries like India as it imported nearly 80 per cent of its requirement.  But lower oil prices hit the oil exporting economies like West Asia and this contributed to slowing down of exports from India and west Asia is one of the major importer of Indian goods and services. So, softening of commodity prices globally had certain advantages and disadvantages to India’s trade. Also there is volatility in exchange rates and this impacts trade badly.  Indian exporters always say that more than appreciating or depreciating currency, volatility in exchange rates poses greater danger to trade.

            Though this bleak global outlook provided lot of challenges to India’s trade, it has also provided opportunity to fix the problems faced by India to make its trade more competitive. The new foreign trade policy has sought to address some of them. Trade facilitation and ease of doing business are the two major impediments to pushing India’s trade. While it takes six hours for a ship to turnaround that is to off-load and up load and leave in Singapore on an average, it takes six days for a ship to turnaround in any of the major Indian ports. Also the road connectivity to ports is so bad that it delays container movements. The huge container ships and tankers cannot land in any of the major ports because of low draft as result of which there has to be trans-shipment at Colombo or Singapore increasing cost to exporters. The paperwork is much more in India than elsewhere in the world.

            It is precisely for this reason the new Foreign Trade Policy considers these two challenges --trade facilitation and ease of doing business, as major focus areas. Recently government reduced the number of mandatory documents required for exports and imports to three, which is comparable with international benchmarks. A facility has been created now for uploading documents in exporter or importer profile and the exporters will not be required to submit documents repeatedly. Government has also made an attempt to simplify various “Aayat Niryat” forms, bringing in clarity in different provisions, removing ambiguities and enhancing electronic governance.

            One of the problems manufacturing exporters complain is inadequate and erratic power supply.  This creates problems for exporters to keep up the schedule for delivery. As a result exporters forced to go diesel generators for power backup raising the cost. One unit of thermal power costs Rs 4-5 per unit whereas diesel power costs around Rs 15 per unit and sometimes Rs 3-4 per unit more because of large scale of diesel pilferage in the country.  Government’s ambitious programme in the power sector will help ease this problem. Government proposes to add 2.66 lakh Mw of additional power including 100,000 mw of solar power with an investment of over $300 billion in the next five years. This will help India’s trade particularly manufactured exports.  The foreign trade policy provides a necessary framework for increasing exports of goods and services as well as job creation and increasing value addition in the country.

            The new FTP lays down a road map for India’s global trade engagement in the coming years and measures required for trade promotion, infrastructure development and overall enhancement of trade eco system, according to the Commerce minister.  But government should be careful while entering into regional trade agreements as there are fears that they are being increasingly used by global corporates to make emerging economies to bend and rule by proxy.  The tough negotiations by India in the India-EU free trade agreement went to show, India would not give in that easily to corporate lobby through their governments in those countries.

            The five year trade policy also introduces two new schemes – Merchandise exports from Indian scheme for export of specified gods to specified markets and Services Exports from India scheme for increasing exports of notified services in place of plethora of schemes earlier with different condition for eligibility and usage. This is yet another step in moving towards ease of doing business. Measures have also been taken to give boost to defence and hi-tech exports.  Robots are increasingly replacing some of the mundane and hazardous jobs done by workers like in the paint shop and precision work. This is an area where India could leapfrog and overtake China in this new export frontier. Government should lay special emphasis to cash-in this sector.

            Inverted duty structure of raw materials and intermediary goods was one area that was bothering manufacturing sector and their exports particularly in the electronics sector. Over $40 billion of electronics goods are being imported, next only to oil and gold imports in the country. This is being sought to be addressed by the new electronics policy, which aims to attract up to $400 billion investments in the sector in the coming years. Also finance minister Sh Arun Jaitley has addressed some of the inverted duty structure issue in his last two budgets and foreign trade policy promises to do more.

Overall, the new foreign trade policy is on the right track some of major woes of    exporters in pushing up India’s trade. It has started with right earnest. The previous trade policy was to take India’s merchandise exports to $500 billion annually by 2013-14 but ended up with $312 billion in 2013-14, a way off the mark. Global economic situation was said to be the reason for not achieving the target. One only hope the same thing is not repeated.

Free Essays for Competitive Exams- Modi Government launches new schemes to take education in India to newer heights

Modi Government launches new schemes to take education in India to newer heights

Setting up of a national digital library, provision of scholarship for differently abled to pursue technical education, connecting institutions of higher education to villages so as to solve the problems of the latter.

            These are but some of the new initiatives that have been taken by the new Government at the Centre headed by Narendra Modi in the area of human resource development over the last one year.

            One year is not a long time in the history of a country. But, going by the slew of measures taken by the Government within this period it seems quite clear that the country could be on the threshold of a sea change in the field of education.

            Even while being aware of the need for fiscal prudence, the Government has launched a long list of new schemes and projects covering the various aspects of human resource development. Interesting, none of the on-going programmes have been sacrificed too.   

            A key feature of the new initiatives is a focused attempt to utilise the modern tools of information technology in the best possible manner. For instance, a project has been taken up to create a national digital library of e-books and other e-contents on various subjects and topics and another to set up a platform through which highly qualified faculty of centrally sponsored institutions like IITs, IIMs and central universities would offer online courses free of cost.

            Called Swayam`’, the mass-scale online open course platform would be hosted on a virtual cloud and have provision for the beneficiaries to get certificates following tests at the end of the courses.The digital library, in turn, will be set up by IIT, Kharagpur, and a sum of Rs. 10 crore has already been released to the institute for the purpose.
In addition, technology is being used to identify geographical pockets which fared poorly in terms of education among girls, particularly of those belonging to marginalised sections of society so that corrective measures could be taken. The digital atlas project developed in partnership with UNICEF was launched on March 8 on the occasion of the World Women’s Day.

            Further, a separate portal has been developed by the All India Council for Technical Education to enable prospective students to make informed choices about which colleges to pursue admission in. The searchable database of all accredited colleges in the country provides detailed profiles for each of them. The `Know Your College Portal’ was launched on November 11 and has so far received 1.63 lakh hits.

            The Ministry of Human Resource Development has also taken an initiative to map the entire country on a GIS [Geographic Information System] platform to identify habitations which still do not have elementary and secondary schools. A total of 28 States and Union Territories have so far provided the necessary data and the National Informatics Centre has mapped them on the platform.

            Central Board for Secondary Education [CBSE] has also developed an innovative online self-assessment tool that could be used by schools to look at their performance at an aggregate level as also at the level of each student and compare them with regards to all CBSE schools at various levels. Called ‘`Saransh’’, the tool covers data for 2.02 crore students and 1.5 lakh teachers across 15,000 schools for a period of seven years.

            Apart from initiating schemes to make effective use of the latest tools of technology, the new Government has also come out with new schemes and projects to make the education system sensitive to the needs of the differently abled children and also children with special needs.  

            Among other things, it has launched a scheme called ``Saksham’’ under which differently abled students will be provided with a scholarship of upto Rs. 30,000 per year to pursue diploma and undergraduate level courses in technical institutions approved by All India Council for Technical Education. In all, 1,000 such students would be provided the scholarship every year. They would also be provided with an additional sum of Rs.2,000 per month for 10 months as contingency allowance.

            Likewise, a handbook has been brought out to guide teachers on how to take care of children with special needs. All primary school teachers across the country are to be given the handbook. The aim is to provide for inclusive classrooms.

            The new Government at the Centre has also come out with a special scheme called for Udaan for girl students. It is a mentoring and scholarship scheme to enable meritorious girl students to transit from schools to technical education without much difficulty and also aims to enrich and enhance teaching and learning of mathematics and science at senior secondary school level by providing free online resources for all.

            Pre-loaded tablets with text and video material, a helpline to enable the students to clarify doubts, along with 50 mentoring centres across the country which will have virtual classrooms have been made available.

            The first batch of 950 students was selected by CBSE in November for the scheme. Of them, 307 girls belonged to families with income of less than Rs. one lakh.

            The focus of the project is to address the low enrolment ratio of girl students in prestigious engineering institutions and enable them to receive special incentives and support so that they can join these institutions and go on to take leadership roles in the future.

            Another interesting step is the launching of a mission named after freedom fighter and educationist Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya to build a strong professional cadre of teachers by addressing all the issues related to teachers, teaching, teacher preparation, professional development, curriculum design, design and development of more effective pedagogy and better assessment and evaluation methodologies.

            The Rs. 900 crore schemes were launched by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, on the occasion of the Good Governance Day on December 25. An executive committee chaired by HRD Minister, Smriti Irani and a project approval board chaired by Secretary, Higher Education and co-chaired by Secretary-School Education and Literacy to monitor the mission have been established. As part of the scheme, the first inter-University centre for teacher education has been set up by University Grants Commission at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi.

            The Central Government has also launched a scheme called Unnat Bharat Abhiyan to promote the transfer of technologies from the laboratory to the land. Under the scheme, institutions of higher education would connect with villages in their neighbourhood  and address the various problems faced by them. The scheme would particularly focus on offering solutions for water management, organic farming, renewable energy, infrastructure and livelihood. IIT, Delhi is the coordinating institute.About 130 villages have so far been adopted by IITs, NITs and IISERs across the country under the scheme..

            Besides a new scheme called `Gian`[Global Initiative for Academic Network]  has been launched which will bring world class educators from across the globe to teach in India. Indian American mathematician, Manjul Bhargava, has agreed to spearhead it. Prof. Bhargava is a winner of Fields Medal, which is considered as the highest honour for a mathematician in the world.

            `Gian` is aimed at tapping the talent pool of scientists and entrepreneurs internationally to encourage their engagement with the institutes of Higher Education in India so as to augment the country's existing academic resources, accelerate the pace of quality reform, and elevate India's scientific and technological capacity to global excellence.

            Among other things, the Central Government has also launched a scheme called Rashtriya Avishkar Abhiyan to revive interest in science, mathematics and technology among youth through support for innovative learning based on observations and experimentation. The thrust would be on learning outside the classroom through direct interaction with the environment around the educational institutions.

            Further, a campaign called `Pade Bharat, Badhe Bharat’ has been launched to ensure that learning levels of class I and II students in reading, writing language comprehension and numeracy is at par with the world. The campaign will also seek to ensure that every school provides teaching-learning for 200 days in a year, with 800 instructional hours.

            With year one taking off on such a sound note the expectation is that more benefits will accrue to the cause of education in the coming years thus taking country at a much faster pace towards the goal of a developed nation.  

Free Essays for Competitive Exams-Yoga and its Benefits

Yoga and its Benefits
-       Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev

I normally never talk about the benefits of yoga, because I consider all the greatest benefits as the side effects of yoga. People may initially come for yoga because it offers a variety of health benefits and a way to become free from stress. Physical and mental benefits are definitely there – one can experience remarkable changes within their physicality and their mentality. There are many people who have come out of their chronic ailments quite miraculously. There are definitely benefits in terms of being peaceful, joyful and healthy, but that is not the essential nature of what it is. The real thing about yoga is that it makes your experience of life so large and all-inclusive that instead of being an individual, you become a universal process. You will see it will yield phenomenal results.

When the physical dimensions of yoga were first taught, it was expounded as to how to align this human system to the cosmic geometry. We are looking at the geometry of creation. If you get the geometry right, if it is all perfectly aligned, all the friction is taken off. Internal friction means you are working against yourself; you are an issue by yourself. When you are an issue by yourself, what other issue can you handle? Everything is stressful. You should not be an issue in your life. If you have other issues, let’s deal with it. There are many other challenges in the world. The more activity you take on, the more challenges will happen endlessly. But your own body, mind, emotions, energy should not be stumbling blocks in your life.

If these are properly aligned, suddenly this body and this mind can do things that you have not thought possible in your wildest dreams. Suddenly people think you are superhuman. If you are aligned with the geometry – whether it is business, home, love, war, whatever it may be, you will do it with a certain level of efficiency and competence. This is because in a most essential way, somehow either consciously or unconsciously, you found the geometry of that. On the surface it may look like understanding, but in a most fundamental way it is the geometry of the existence. Somewhere you hit it off by getting the right geometry.
Yoga means the mechanics of life. Understanding how this human mechanism is made and how to use it in a way that it moves towards freedom, not towards entanglement. Now, how to hold the body? Just learning to hold the body right is not a simple thing. You remember in the 70’s and 80’s when you got a television in your home, there was an aluminum antenna on top of your house. If it is aligned properly, the whole world pours into your sitting room because you got it into the right position.

Similarly, this body has a tremendous capability. If you hold it right, you can download the whole cosmos. This is yoga. The word yoga means union. Union means the distinction is gone between what is individual and what is universal. There is no individual and there is no universal, everything has become you – that means you are in yoga. Not because you imagined something, but because you perceived. Perception will happen only if you are in the right way, otherwise it will not happen. Learning to hold this body right is like adjusting your antenna – if you hold this right, the whole existence pours into you. It is a tremendous instrument of perception.

The Benefits of Yoga in one’s life:

Yoga does not mean doing a particular practice or twisting your body. Yoga means any method that you use to reach your higher nature. The technology that you use is referred to as yoga.

Why yoga is needed in one’s life? Of course there are physical benefits. This can do many things to a person, including improving their health and making the body more flexible. But with a healthy body you can still be a mess in your life. There are more people on this planet healthy and miserable than unhealthy and miserable. At least if you have a disease, you have a good excuse, which most people do not even have. With yoga, health, physical and mental wellbeing will happen for a person. People can find quite miraculous health benefits by doing simple processes of yoga, but that still does not fix life.

As long as you exist here not knowing all the dimensions of what this human being is, you will live a very limited life full of struggle. Once you come into this world with a human body and intelligence, you are capable of exploring all the dimensions of what this life has to offer. If that is not done, then the being suffers because it has been restricted to physicality; it has not experienced the other dimensions of what it is. This is the nature of life. The moment you restrict it, it struggles.

Today, string theory and modern science is talking about eleven dimensions to life. In the yogic systems we have always been talking about twenty-one dimensions to life. If you can do so much with just the three dimensions that are available to you right now, if you had twenty-one dimensions, you would have enormous freedom with life. You would handle your life with so much ease because all the dimensions are alive and within your experience.

The real thing about yoga is, it makes you all inclusive. It makes your experience of life so large and all inclusive that instead of being an individual you become a universal process, which is a fundamental longing in every human being. Wherever you may be, you want to be something more than what you are right now. It does not matter whether you think you are at the peak or at the bottom, still you want to be little more than what you are right now. If that little more happens, you want to be a little more and little more. What is it that you are seeking? You are seeking boundless expansion. This boundless expansion can never happen through physical means. Physical means a defined boundary. If you remove the boundary, there is no physical. This boundlessness becomes a possibility only if a dimension beyond the physical becomes a living reality with you.

If a dimension beyond the physical is constantly there in your experience, then you are free from the physicality and you are free from the very process of life and death because all these are subject to the physical. Freedom means what? To be boundless and boundless can never be physical. The whole process is aimed towards bringing and maintaining an experience beyond the physical within you. Once you are in touch with it, instead of being just a piece of creation, you are becoming a creator of your life.

Free Essays for Competitive Exams-Major positive shift in world perception

Major positive shift in world perception

Notwithstanding his critics’ remarks that holdalls are always ready  at the 7 Race Course Road for foreign trips, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asserted that it was a matter of pride and satisfaction for him that a major positive shift was taking place in the world  about India, its potential and prospects.
 In an interview to United News of India (UNI) recently on completing one year in office, Mr Modi
observed that the world was new for him and he was new for the world.  Changing image and perception about India in the world was a compulsion and “I did accept this challenge – I will go myself to hold dialogues to effectively tell the world about India, its potentials and prospects,'' he said. Mr Modi said that it should be a matter of pride for all countrymen that India's proposal  before UN of the idea of the International Yoga Day was supported by as many as 177 countries  for the first time in the history of the world body and passed within 100 days.

 The world is now gearing up to observe the Yoga Day on June 21. Mr Modi said that at the onset of the 21st century, the concept of BRICS  emerged and it was believed that the present century would be driven by  members of the grouping. Soon this impression started emerging that  India was weak in BRICS and the entire hypothesis was upset.  “This situation put responsibility on my government. I was aware of the  impact of the challenges.” Mr Modi gave full credit to the people for  giving him a decisive mandate to form an absolute majority government  after three decades, which, he said, had helped his regime to enjoy the  image of a ‘decisive administration with confidence’ in the world.  From  his remarks in the interview, it is quite obvious that Mr Modi  is  unfazed by the barrage of criticism by his detractors that he has no  time to undertake inland tours so extensively vis-a-vis foreign lands. In any case, Mr Modi appears to have brought a rare energy to India’s  foreign policy, infusing it with a dash of colour and his own personal  warmth in ties with world leaders even as he has kept up a frenetic pace  in his diplomatic engagement –- visiting 18 countries in the course of  his first year in office. Mr  Modi brought in his own distinctive style right from the day he took  over on May 26, 2014. His gesture to invite seven South Asian  neighbours, from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation  (SAARC) and Mauritius, to his swearing-in was an assertion of his  government’s neighbourhood policy. The surprise invite and the sight  of so many leaders from neighbouring countries, including Pakistan, were  hailed as a major foreign policy coup. Mr Modi has not looked back  since. He has met the leaders of all the ‘Permanent Five’ (P5)  members of the UN - the US, Russia, China, Britain and France –  interacting with some of them more than twice. Mr Modi has helped  revitalise India’s relations with not just neighbours and the Southeast  Asian region, but with the West, the Middle East, and even Latin America  and the distant islands of Seychelles. Besides Mr Modi’s foreign  visits and interactions with heads of state and government during their  India visits, his External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj has been  quietly busy in cementing India’s ties across the world, with Minister  of State General(Retd) VK Singh actively chipping in. 

The year-long hectic diplomatic calendar saw 162 diplomatic engagements with 101 countries between Mr.Modi, Ms Swaraj and MoS VK Singh. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which stormed to majority on its own strength in the Lok Sabha elections, had in its poll manifesto promised to focus on India’s ties with neighbours. The neighbourhood outreach started in right earnest, beginning with key strategic neighbour Bhutan, which Mr Modi chose as his first port of call.  Bhutan, India’s closest ally for decades, also shares a border with China. Besides visits to immediate neighbours Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and most recently Bangladesh, Mr Modi has travelled to Europe – visiting France and Germany, the US, Canada, China, and Australia and became the first Indian prime minister to visit Mongolia.
Mr Modi has visited Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Mauritius, Seychelles, Fiji and Brazil. He has attended several multilateral summits, including BRICS, ASEAN, EAS and G20. Adding to the neighbourhood outreach, Mr. Modi signalled his government’s determined push to the ‘Look East’ Policy, by terming it ‘Act East’, and following it up with active engagement with the Southeast Asian region. To make the 'Act East' policy really work, the government is giving a major push to connectivity projects through India’s northeast to the ASEAN (Association of South-East Asian Nations) countries – a region where China has a strong presence.
 Mr Modi has followed it up with his 'Link West' policy, engaging with countries on India’s west, including the Middle East region. A hallmark of Mr Modi’s foreign policy is his stress on  economic diplomacy, which he does through actively promoting his government’s 'Make in India' initiative, and assuring the foreign governments and the top corporates of ease of doing business in India. As part of the ‘Make in India’ initiative, the Prime Minister has urged foreign governments to participate in India’s railways sector, in manufacturing, infrastructure, defence, smart cities, urban planning and other sectors. He has also been seeking active participation of foreign countries in his government’s other initiatives like Digital India, Skill India, Clean Ganga Mission, Swachch Bharat Mission and Renewable Energy.  
Another important aspect of his  foreign policy is interacting personally with top CEOs  during overseas  visits. The Prime Minister has met with the leading CEOs of most top  companies in the world, inviting them to participate in the India  story.  Mr Modi’s US visit was the most-watched event in the diplomatic  calendar in 2014, where he shrugged off any bitterness due to being  denied a visa by the US government in 2005, and bonded with US President  Barack Obama. In a major diplomatic coup, the Prime Minister got  President Obama to be the Chief Guest at India’s Republic Day Parade on  January 26, 2015. Mr Obama became the first US president to attend the  Republic Day parade, and also the American President to visit India  twice during his term. He had previously visited India in 2010.Mr.  Obama, who has called Prime Minister Modi a “man of action”, and shares a  warm chemistry with him, also addressed a joint “Mann ki Baat” radio  address with him during his visit to India in January this year. Even though India  shares close economic ties with China, the relationship is overshadowed by  unease over the unsettled boundary question, Mr. Modi has, however,  tried to build a healthy relationship with the Chinese leadership. He has  met Chinese President Xi Jinping four times in the past one year –  possibly the most times he has interacted with any other world leader. 
When President Xi came to India in September, Mr Modi invited him over  to Ahmedabad and the two confabulated while taking a walk along the  Sabarmati river front, amid a colourful backdrop with performances by  folk dancers and folk musicians on the waterfront. In this, Mr Modi  signaled a breakaway from the formal stiff diplomatic interactions –  that have been the norms for decades in India – and also introduced  states as equal participants in India’s foreign policy.Reciprocating the  Prime Minister’s gesture, President Xi received Mr.Modi in his hometown  of XI’an in Shaanxi province during his May visit to China and accorded  him a spectacular traditional welcome.Though the boundary question did  not see much progress during his China visit, both countries have made  progress in cementing people-to-people ties and economic relations.
With  Russia, Mr Modi has emphasised India’s close  traditional ties. During his coming visit to Russia in July for  the BRICS and SCO summits, he would be having his fourth meeting  with President Vladimir Putin. The government has stated firmly that India is against Western sanctions on Russia over the Ukraine  crisis. However, with Pakistan, India’s difficult western neighbour, the  ties have only plummeted. The relationship, which started off on a  promising note with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif attending the May 26,  2014, swearing-in of Mr Modi and their short bilateral talks  thereafter,  petered out following Pakistan’s insistence on hobnobbing with Kashmiri  separatists just four days ahead of the foreign secretary-level talks on  August 25 last year. India has always maintained that there could be no  third party in talks between the two countries. The persistent firing  on the border and the deaths of Indian soldiers and civilians has also  added to the bitterness. Pakistan has also been constantly raising the  Kashmir issue at international forums and has recently released 26/11  mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi from jail, adding to the bitterness in  ties.
Mr Modi’s latest tour to friendly eastern neighbour Bangladesh was a  historic one, resulting in both countries ratifying the 41-year-old  Land Boundary Agreement, one of the two outstanding issues which Dhaka  has been keen on India to conclude. Mr Modi, during his talks with  Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and his public speech at Dhaka University,  assured Bangladesh that his government will continue to strive to reach  an accord on the Teesta water sharing, while keeping all stakeholders on  board.
With Japan, another friendly country, India upgraded its ties  to special strategic global partnership during Mr Modi’s meeting with  Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in September last year. He shares a close  rapport with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, with both sharing  warm hugs during his visit to Brisbane last November. With South Korea,  where he visited recently in May, both countries elevated their ties to  Special Strategic Partnership and to hold the diplomatic and security  dialogue in the “2 plus 2” format - between their foreign and defence  secretaries. Till now India used to hold such a dialogue with  Japan.
During his speech at the UN General Assembly in September last  year, which was in Hindi, the Prime Minister proposed instituting an  International Yoga Day, which was adopted in a record time. In December  last year, the UN General Assembly adopted the India-led resolution  declaring June 21 as 'International Day of Yoga’ with 175 nations  joining as co-sponsors, the highest number ever for any UN General  Assembly resolution.
A major change that Mr Modi has brought to India’s  foreign policy is in removing the diplomatic jargon from the language  that was traditionally followed by South Block for decades. Mr Modi’s  speeches have an informal, simple style, in keeping with his own image  where he likes to interact informally with people.Mr.Modi also brought  in the use of Hindi into India’s foreign policy – which was earlier  considered the sole preserve of the English language. Mr Modi, who  began his diplomatic engagements in Hindi initially, aided by a  translator, has now begun giving speeches in English – keeping in mind  the audience. But while speaking informally to large audiences abroad,  especially the diaspora, Mr Modi is at his best in Hindi.A major part of  the Prime Minister’s interactions abroad has been with the Indian  diaspora. Right from the time he held thousands of ecstatic Indians  spell-bound with his speech at New York’s Madison Square Garden in  September last year, he has made it a point to bind with the diaspora,  and also urged them to participate in the India story in a big way.
The  Prime Minister announced the decision to merge the Persons of Indian  Origin (PIO) cards with its Overseas Citizen of India cards, in a major  relief, and lifelong visa to PIOs.Another important facet of Mr Modi’s  foreign policy has been his outreach on Twitter and Facebook, not just  with his multitude of fans and supporters but with global leaders too.  He is on tweeting terms with Australian PM Tony Abbott, Japan Prime  Minister Shinzo Abe, among others. The Prime Minister’s instant tweets  and pictures of his interactions during diplomatic engagements give his  followers a close look at developments in Indian foreign policy.
Mr Modi  has also added the 'selfie' to India’s diplomacy, clicking selfies with  many world leaders and posting them on twitter. The selfie diplomacy has  proved a huge hit, including with the prime minister’s fans.

Free Essays for Competitive Exams-Yoga brings harmony in all walks of life and prevents disease & promotes health

Yoga brings harmony in all walks of life and prevents disease & promotes health

India is set to celebrate International Day of Yoga on 21st June 2015 to highlight the importance, relevance and usefulness of this ancient Indian technique to the overall benefit of mankind. On December 11, 2014, the 193 member UN General Assembly approved observation of 21 June as "International Day of Yoga" by consensus with a record 177 countries co-sponsoring the resolution. It is a great opportunity for all of us to explore ways and means of propagating this knowledge through multiple strategies.

 It all started when the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi while addressing the 69th session of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on September 27, 2014 extolled the delegates to adopt Yoga. "Yoga is an invaluable gift of ancient Indian tradition. It embodies unity of mind and body; thought and action; restraint and fulfillment; harmony between man and nature and a holistic approach to health and well-being. Yoga is not about exercise but to discover the sense of oneness with ourselves, the world and Nature. By changing our lifestyle and creating consciousness, it can help us to deal with climate change. Let us work towards adopting an International Yoga Day”, he said.
What is Yoga?

Yoga is essentially a spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle science which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. It is an art and science for healthy living. The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word Yoga  is "to add", "to join", "to unite", or "to attach" is derived from the root yuj. In the context of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the root yuj samādhau (to concentrate) is considered by traditional commentators as the correct etymology. The ultimate goal of Yoga is Moksha (liberation) though the exact definition of what form this takes depends on the philosophical or theological system with which it is linked. Apart from the spiritual goals, the physical postures of yoga are used to alleviate health problems, reduce stress and make the spine supple in contemporary times. Yoga is also used as a complete exercise program and physical therapy routine.

The aim of Yoga practice (sādhana) is to overcome all kinds of sufferings that lead to a sense of freedom in every walk of life with holistic health, happiness and harmony. The science of Yoga has its origin thousands of years ago, long before the first religion or belief systems were born. Yoga is widely considered as an outcome of the Indus Valley Civilisation – dating back to 2700 BC – and has proven itself to cater to both material and spiritual uplift of humanity. Though Yoga was practiced in the pre-Vedic period, the great sage Patanjali systematised and codified the then existing Yogic practices, its meaning and its related knowledge through Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. After Patanjali, many sages and Yoga masters contributed greatly for the preservation and development of the field through well documented practices and literature. In early 11th century, the Persian scholar  Al Birunivisited India, lived for 16 years and translated several significant Sanskrit works into Arabic and Persian languages. One of these was Patanjali's Yogasutras. Al Biruni's translation preserved many of the core themes of Patañjali's Yoga philosophy, but certain sutras and analytical commentaries were restated. Al Biruni's version of Yoga Sutras reached Persia and Arabian peninsula by about 1050 AD. 

Yoga has spread all over the world by the teachings of eminent Yoga masters from ancient times to the present date. Today, everybody has conviction about Yoga practices towards the prevention of disease, maintenance and promotion of health. Millions and millions of people across the globe have benefitted by the practice of Yoga and the practice of Yoga is blossoming and growing more vibrant with each passing day.

Yoga works on the level of one's body, mind, emotion and energy. This has given rise to four broad classifications of Yoga: Karma Yoga where we utilise the body; Jnāna Yoga where we utilise the mind; Bhakti Yoga where we utilise the emotion and Kriya Yoga where we utilise the energy(breath or pran). Each system of Yoga we practice falls within the gamut of one or more of these categories.

Yoga sadhanas

The widely practiced Yoga sadhanas are: Yama, Niyama, Āsana, Prānāyāma, Pratyāhara, Dhārana, Dhyāna, Samādhi, Bandhas and Mudras, Shatkarmas, Yuktāhāra, Mantra-japa, Yukta-karma etc. Yamas are restraints and Niyamas are observances. These are considered to be pre-requisites for further Yogic practices. Āsanas, capable of bringing about stability of body and mind, "kuryat-tadasanam-sthairyam", involve adopting various psycho-physical body patterns and giving one an ability to maintain a body position (a stable awareness of one's structural existence) for a considerable length of time. Prānāyāma consists of developing awareness of one's breathing followed by willful regulation of respiration as the functional or vital basis of one's existence. It helps in developing awareness of one's mind and helps to establish control over the mind. In the initial stages, this is done by developing awareness of the "flow of in-breath and out-breath" (svāsa-prasvāsa) through nostrils, mouth and other body openings, its internal and external pathways and destinations.

General Guidelines for Yoga Practice

A Yoga practitioner should follow the guiding principles while performing Yogic practices:
 Cleanliness - includes cleanliness of surroundings, body and mind.
Yogic practice should be performed in a calm and quiet atmosphere with a relaxed body and mind.
Yogic practice should be done on an empty stomach or light stomach. Consume small amount of honey in lukewarm water if you feel weak. ·
Bladder and bowels should be empty before starting Yogic practices. ·
  A mattress, Yoga mat should be used for the practice. ·
Light and comfortable cotton clothes are preferred to facilitate easy movement of the body. ·
Yoga should not be performed in state of exhaustion, illness, in a hurry or in acute stress conditions.
In case of chronic disease/ pain/ cardiac problems, a physician or a Yoga therapist should be consulted prior to performing Yogic practices.
Yoga experts should be consulted before doing Yogic practices during pregnancy and menstruation·
Breathing should be always through the nostrils unless instructed otherwise.
Do not hold body tightly, or jerk the body at any point of time.
 It takes some time to get good results, so persistent and regular practice is very essential.
Yoga session should end with meditation/ deep silence / Śhānti paṭha.
Bath may be taken only after20-30 minutes of practice.
Food may be consumed only after 20-30 minutes of practice.

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is essentially a path to liberation from all bondage. However, medical research in recent years has uncovered many physical and mental benefits that Yoga offers, corroborating the experiences of millions of practitioners. A small sampling of research shows that Yoga is beneficial for physical fitness, musculoskeletal functioning and cardio-vascular health. It is beneficial in the management of diabetes, respiratory disorders, hypertension, hypotension and many life style related disorders. Yoga helps to reduce depression, fatigue, anxiety disorders and stress. Yoga regulates menopausal symptoms. In essence, Yoga is a process of creating a body and mind that are stepping-stones, not hurdles, to an exuberant and fulfilling life.

The benefits of Yoga in physical and mental well-being of the people have been quite established. Incorporating Yoga in to the curriculum of medical education is a much needed intervention. In the context of increasing life-style related health problems, and rising cost of curative treatment, the conventional curriculum guided by Western medicine is no more compatible. Even considering the amount of stress generated among medical and health professionals, Yoga appears to be the only ray of hope for facing the enormous challenges. Every medical college should therefore seriously think in terms of introducing Yoga for the faculty as well as students for disease prevention and health promotion. Some can specialize in therapeutic uses of Yoga.

To conclude, Yoga provides a holistic approach to health and well-being and wider dissemination of information about the benefits of practicing Yoga for the health of the world population. Yoga also brings harmony in all walks of life and thus, is known for disease prevention, health promotion and management of many lifestyle-related disorders.

21st June is the International Day of Yoga

Free Essays for Competitive Exams-Towards making a Corruption-Free Government

Towards making a Corruption-Free Government

Major moves Initiated during One Year 

The Narendra Modi Government has completed one year in office on May 26 this year and during this period, there have been enough moves by the NDA Government to remove corruption from the administration. One of the 2014 Lok Sabha election promises was to root out corruption and bring back black money stashed abroad. Modi Government,  in one year, certainly has not ended these two major evils that have been afflicting Indian economy right from independence, but the measures taken so far, have given enough confidence to the people that the new Government is serious in rooting out corruption from the administration..

            There are no short-cuts. But even skeptics cannot deny the fact that there are no 2G, Commonwealth games or coal scams during the last one year and it goes to Modi’s credit that his image is not tarnished unlike his predecessor Manmohan Singh, who despite being personally honest, seems to have done very little to stop mega scams running into lakhs of crores of rupees right under his nose. None can dispute the fact that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has begun in right earnest to make the system transparent as we have seen in recent coal auction or the 2G spectrum auction which together fetched a little over Rs 3 lakh crore to the exchequer, which would also be shared with states where the coal mines are located. Modi may not have fulfilled his promise to put Rs 15 lakh in every bank account holder by bringing back trillions of ill-gotten money stashed abroad, but he has certainly ensured some beginning is made to ensure Swiss authorities cooperation to get into the bottom of some of the black money stashed abroad.

Corruption is deep-rooted in the country and various studies show that at least $8 billion, inflation indexed, is siphoned off every year and one estimate suggests that over $620 billion has been siphoned off since independence due to ambiguity and loopholes in policies, which is a major breeding ground. Transparency International has estimated that the black money stashed abroad by Indians could be as high as $1.4 trillion including the ill gotten money secured in major scams, which surface periodically like Bofors, Jaguar and other defence deals besides mega scams like coal and 2G.

The money that is siphoned off in scams is no doubt large but the money made in petty corruption is not smaller though they are not stashed abroad. The money made through corruption starting from driving licence, MNREGS, PDS system, subsidies, public procurement, bribing lower staff to push files, paying money to taxmen for getting their returns scrutinized and securing genuine refunds, real estate registration, bribing the cops for traffic and other violations and so on hit hard the common man most and stunts economic development. The parallel economy, which could be as much as 50 per cent of GDP contributes greatly to inflation, delay in decision making and at times stalls development activities because some vested groups are not able to make money.

            Business guru C K Prahalad had estimated that India lost at least $50 billion worth of investments annually because of corruption. This is because corruption made investors change their mind in investing in the country. It is well established that lower the corruption like in Singapore, higher and faster is the economic development. India is not the only country which has high rate of corruption, the problem is there in other emerging economies as well but the type of corruption that exists in India afflicts day to day activity more and perhaps drastically slows down bureaucratic decisions leading to huge time and cost overruns in projects.

Corruption might not be the only factor but certainly a contributory factor for the huge number of projects stalled in the country. At one point of time during UPA-ll, as much as Rs 18 lakh crore worth of projects were stalled. Lately, Modi government has ensured that these stalled projects started moving, some of them held up because of corruption According to Coal and Power Minister Piyush Goyal, the transparent coal e-auction, which has potential for Rs 3.35 lakh crore revenue going to coal bearing states, especially in eastern India, will help greatly in reducing corruption. Modi has already decided to crackdown on corruption and his office has directed all central department on time-bound action within 60 days to enforce rule of law. Ministers have been asked to sanction prosecution or order disciplinary action within 60 days against officials found to have indulged in corruption or misconduct respectively, after vigilance inquiry.

            In sectors and services where public interface is high or which impact the daily affairs of the masses, the direction is that there should be zero-overhand of licence or other application beyond a prescribed time period. These instructions are fine. But the question how far these would be implemented by the concerned agencies in right earnest. The new Government has to be really strict to enforce its instructions. One of the reasons for policy paralysis during the second half of UPA regime was because government officials did not want to take any decision for fear of being accused or prosecuted at a later date. So they used to keep on pushing files after seeking some clarifications. This ensured that they are not accused of not working but at the same time ensured no decision was taken. The PMO has also instructed officials to identify and crack down on areas where middlemen were suspected to be operating. In an open letter to the nation to mark the completion of one year in office on May 26, Modi said his government has acted to tackle “unabated corruption”. Uncompromising adherence to the principle of purity, in action as well as intent only ensures corruption-free society.

            More time is needed to judge whether these have helped in reducing corruption. One area where government should concentrate is bringing about systemic changes and automation, which would help in minimizing corruption if not eliminate it. For example computerisation and automation of railway ticketing has virtually eliminated touts and reduced to a large extent corruption. But there are several other areas in railways where corruption is rampant like contracts, catering, procurement, scrap disposal and so on, which are not yet fully transparent. Smart cards in metros have virtually eliminated ticketless travel. Likewise digitalization, a pet subject of Modi, will minimize corruption in movement of files, tenders and so on as it would introduce transparency.

            The root cause of corruption in this country is that too many people are chasing too few things, so without progress and honesty among politicians and business cutting across all parties, corruption will remain. Complicated laws too add to the problem as it leads to discretionary powers with politicians and bureaucracy, a breeding ground for corruption. Government should also attempt cleaning up of laws including that of taxes, make government procurement transparent and impart moral education to all so that in the long term, India becomes somewhat like Singapore as far as corruption is concerned and day to day life became easier. Modi Government has started the process with great zeal, but it has to be sustained for getting long term benefits.