Prelims Booster

19th September – Prelims Booster

Public Procurement (Amendment) Order, 2017

The Government of India has amended the Public Procurement (Preference to Make in India) Order, 2017, enabling nodal Ministries/ Departments to notify higher minimum local content requirement for Class-I & Class-II local suppliers which was earlier fixed at 50% and 20% respectively.

Details –

  • As per the Order, entities of countries which do not allow Indian companies to participate in their Government procurement for any item, shall not be allowed to participate in Government procurement in India for all items related to that nodal Ministry/ Department, except for the list of items published by the Ministry/ Department permitting their participation.
  • Specifying foreign certifications/ unreasonable technical specifications/ brands/ models in the bid document is restrictive and discriminatory practice against local suppliers.
  • Foreign certification, if required, shall be stipulated only with the approval of Secretary of the Department concerned.
  • All administrative Ministries/Departments whose procurement exceeds Rs. 1000 Crore per annum shall notify their procurement projections for the next 5 years on their respective website.
  • An upper threshold value of procurement beyond which foreign companies shall enter into a joint venture with an Indian company to participate in government tenders shall be notified.

What is GeM?

  • Government e-Marketplace (GeM) is a one stop portal to facilitate online procurement of common use Goods & Services required by various Government Departments / Organisations / PSUs.
  • GeM aims to enhance transparency, efficiency and speed in public procurement.
  • It provides the tools of e-bidding, reverse e-auction and demand aggregation to facilitate the government users achieve the best value for their money.
  • All Central government and State Government Ministries/Departments including its attached/subordinate offices, Central and State autonomous bodies, Central and State Public Sector Units and local bodies etc. are authorised to make procurement through GeM portal.

Benefits of GeM –

Benefits of GeM to the Government, Sellers and the Indian industry and economy

  1. Transparency – GeM eliminates human interface in vendor registration, order placement and payment processing, to a great extent. Being an open platform, GeM offers no entry barriers to bonafide suppliers who wish to do business with the Government. At every step, SMS and e-Mail notifications are sent to both buyer, his/her head of organisation, paying authorities as well as sellers.
  2. Efficiency – Direct purchase on GeM can be done in a matter of minutes and the entire process in online, end to end integrated and with online tools for assessing price reasonability. For procurements of higher value, the bidding/RA facility on GeM is among the most transparent and efficient, in comparison to e-procurement systems in vogue within the Government sector. For creating a bid/RA, the buyer does not need to create his/her own technical specifications as they have been standardised on GeM.   These would make GeM an extremely powerful tool in the hands of Government organisations to plan and procure.
  3. Secure and safe – GeM is a completely secure platform and all the documents on GeM are e-Signed at various stages by the buyers and sellers. The antecedents of the suppliers are verified online and automatically through MCA21, Aadhar and PAN databases. In addition, SEBI empaneled credit rating agencies are also being used for conducting third-party assessment of suppliers. This would further strengthen due diligence about the veracity of suppliers wanting to do business on GeM.For high value bids/RA on GeM, an e-Bank Guarantee is also being introduced.
  4. Savings to the Government – The transparency, efficiency and ease of use of the GeM portal has resulted in a substantial reduction in prices on GeM, in comparison to the tender, Rate Contract and direct purchase rates.

Blue-Flag Certification

On the eve of International Coastal Clean-Up Day which is celebrated across 100 countries since 1986, Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) announced at a virtual event that for the first time eight beaches of India are recommended for the coveted International eco-label, the Blue flag certification.

BEAM Eco-label –

  • The event also saw the launch India’s own eco-label BEAMS.
  • Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM), MoEFCC in pursuit of promoting its policies for sustainable development in coastal regions have embarked upon a highly acclaimed program “BEAMS” (Beach Environment & Aesthetics Management Services) under its ICZM (Integrated Coastal Zone Management) project.
  • This is one of the several other projects of ICZM that Government of India is undertaking for the sustainable development of coastal regions, striving for globally recognised and the coveted eco-label ‘Blue flag”.
  • The objective of BEAMS program is to abate pollution in coastal waters, promote sustainable development of beach facilities, protect & conserve coastal ecosystems & natural resources, and seriously challenge local authorities & stakeholders to strive and maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene & safety for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment & regulations. This program promotes beach recreation in absolute harmony with nature.

What is Integrated Coastal Zone Management?

  • With a view to protect and conserve the coastal and marine ecosystems and environment through a holistic coastal management, the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change launched the Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) activities in India for a holistic approach with an interactive, dynamic, multidisciplinary, and iterative planning process to promote sustainable development & management of coastal zones through its own wing SICOM.
  • The concept of ICZM was introduced in 1992 during the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro and most of the coastal countries in the World have been adopting ICZM principles for managing their coastal zones. Thus, adoption of ICZM principles for managing and sustainably developing our coastal regions is helping India in keeping with its commitments to international agreements on ICZM.

What is ‘Blue Flag’ certification?

  • The ‘Blue Flag’ is a certification that can be obtained by a beach, marina, or sustainable boating tourism operator, and serves as an eco-label.
  • The certification is awarded by the Denmark-based non-profit Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE), which sets stringent environmental, educational, safety-related and access-related criteria that applicants must meet and maintain. It is awarded annually to beaches and marinas in FEE member countries.
  • The world-renowned certification is known as an indication of high environmental and quality standards.
  • Forty-seven countries currently participate in the program, and 4,573 beaches, marinas, and boats have this certification.

Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement

The U.S. is keen that India sign the last foundational agreement, Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial cooperation (BECA), at the next India-U.S. 2+2 ministerial dialogue.

Details –

  • A maritime information agreement is also under active deliberation between India and the US. Once concluded, India will have such arrangements with all Quad countries — Australia, Japan and the U.S.
  • Beginning 2016, India has signed three foundational agreements: the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), the Communications Compatibility and Security Agreement (COMCASA) while the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) was signed a long time ago. An extension to the GSOMIA, the Industrial Security Annex (ISA), was signed at the last 2+2 dialogue.
  • There has been a sharp increase in India’s maritime interactions with the Quad countries on a bilateral basis centred around information sharing for improved Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) in the Indian Ocean Region and Indo-Pacific.

About GSOMIA –

  • It was signed in 2002 between India and USA.
  • GSOMIA paved the way for greater technology cooperation in the military sector.
  • It allows the sharing of classified information from the U.S. government and American companies with the Government of India and Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU) but not with Indian private companies.

About LEMOA –

  • Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) is a logistics support agreement signed in 2016.
  • It gives both the nations access to each other’s military facilities. But it does not make it automatic or obligatory.
  • It is a tweaked India-specific version of the Logistics Support Agreement (LSA) which the U.S. has with several countries it has close military to military cooperation. 
  • The agreement will primarily cover four areas — port calls, joint exercises, training and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief. Any other requirement has to be agreed upon by both sides on a case-by-case basis.


  • COMCASA is an India-specific version of the Communication and Information on Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA). It comes into force immediately and is valid for a period 10 years.
  • It would facilitate access to advanced defence systems and enable India to optimally utilise its existing U.S.-origin platforms.
  • COMCASA allows India to procure transfer specialised equipment for encrypted communications for US origin military platforms like the C-17, C-130 and P-8Is.

About Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement –

  • BECA will allow India to use US expertise on geospatial intelligence and to enhance military accuracy of automated hardware systems and weapons like cruise, ballistic missiles and drones.
  • It would set a framework through which the US could share sensitive data to aid targeting and navigation with India.

Dhrupad Music

Recently, Students of the Dhrupad Sansthan, an international music school were divided over the composition of the new internal complaints committee (ICC), which has been set up to inquire into allegations of sexual harassment against teacher. As it is in news, let us look at the Dhrupad music for UPSC point of view.

About Dhrupad –

  • Dhrupad is the oldest surviving classical style of Hindustani (or North Indian) vocal music.  Its name is derived from dhruva-pada, simply meaning “refrain,” and today denotes both a form of poetry and a style of music in which the poetry is sung.
  • Dhrupad music traditionally has three major parts – alap, jor-jhala, and composition.  A dhrupad is introduced by a slow tempo-ed, rather somber and controlled, recurrent set of syllables (non-words) known as an alap. 
  • The singer attempts to emphasise the purity and clarity of each note, with perfect pitch.  It can last up to an hour before the melody begins.
  • Like all classical Indian vocal music, Dhrupad is monophonic and modal, with a single melodic line and no harmonic parts. The modes are called raga, and each raga is a complicated framework of melodic rules. 
  • Dhrupad are performed by a solo singer, or a small number of singers in unison, to the beat of a barrel drum, the mridangam or pakhawaj, and can be accompanied by a sitar.  The songs are highly devotional, and are mostly in praise of Hindu deities
  • The origins of Indian classical music can be found from the oldest of scriptures, the Vedas.  Samaveda, one of the four Vedas, describes the role and importance of music at some length. 
  • Dhrupad and other Indian classical music styles have been used a meditative tool for attaining self realisation.  All the different forms of these melodies, the ragas, are believed to affect the various “chakras” (energy centres or “moods”) of a person.

Daily MCQs

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