Daily Current Affairs : 3rd June 2023

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Railway sector and problems faced in the sector
  2. NDRF
  3. Salt cavern based strategic oil reserve
  4. Facts for Prelims

1 . Railway Sector and problems faced in the sector

Context: At least 70 passengers were feared dead and more than 350 injured in a major rail accident involving two express trains and a goods train in Balasore district of Odisha.

What are the problems faced in the railway sector?

  • Indian Railways has the fourth largest rail network in the world after the United States, China and Russia. The entire infrastructure is managed by the Railways Board, and it has a monopoly in providing rail services in India.  
  • However, in the last few decades, traffic has been moving to other transport modes such as roads and air, which has led to declining rail traffic, and consequently declining revenue generation for the Railways.
  •  Deteriorating finances of the Railways have translated into lower investment in infrastructure, poor infrastructure maintenance, and poor services.  Poor infrastructure has also had serious implications in the form of train accidents
  • Several questions have also been raised about the efficiency of the Railways in terms of the human resources it employs, and their capacity.  Further, the decision making in Indian Railways has been mostly centralised, with the zones and divisions not having much financial autonomy.  

Railways’ finances

  • Indian Railways is financed through:
    • (i) its own internal resources (freight and passenger revenue, and leasing of railway land),
    • (ii) budgetary support from the central government, and
    • (iii) extra budgetary resources (primarily borrowings but also includes institutional financing, public private partnerships, and foreign direct investment).
  • The growth of Railways’ transportation business has been declining, and consequently, its ability to generate its own revenue has been on a decline.  On the other hand, Railways’ expenditure on salaries has been gradually increasing with a significant jump every few years due to Pay Commission revisions.  There is an increasing expenditure on pension too, which is unproductive, as this does not generate any revenue for the Railways.    
  • A decline in the growth of internal revenue generation has meant that Railways has been funding its capital expenditure through budgetary support from the central government and borrowings. 
  • While the support from central government has mostly remained consistent, Railways’ borrowings have been increasing.  An increased reliance on borrowings could further exacerbate the financial situation of Railways.

Employee efficiency is low and expenditure on staff is high

  • The Committee on Restructuring Railways (2015) had observed that the expenditure on staff is extremely high and unmanageable.  This expense is not under the control of Railways and keeps increasing with each Pay Commission revision.  Further, employee costs (including pensions) is one of the key components that reduces Railways’ ability to generate surplus, and allocate resources towards operations.
  • The Committee had also recommended unifying and streamlining the recruitment process, and rationalising the manpower. In addition, the Committee noted the importance of planned job rotation and training, for developing competencies in relevant areas.  This would help employees think about the larger organisational goals and objectives instead of working in silos.

Under Utilization of Deprecistion Reserve fund

  • Appropriation to the DRF is intended to finance the costs of new assets replacing old ones. Under-provisioning for the DRF has been observed as one of the reasons behind the decline in track renewals, and procurement of wagons and coaches. The Standing Committee on Railways (2015) had observed that appropriation to the DRF is obtained as a residual after payment of the dividend and appropriation to the Pension Fund, instead of the actual requirement for the replacement of assets. The Standing Committee on Railways (2018) had noted that transferring funds from DRF to the Rail Sanraksha Kosh, does not allow for replacement and repair of depreciating assets.  It shows a lack of vision and poor way of utilising and appropriating valuable resources.

Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh

  • In Union Budget 2017-18, the Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh was created to provide for passenger safety in Railways.  Typically, the safety fund is used towards elimination of unmanned level crossings and improving and modernising signalling systems.  It was to have a corpus of Rs one lakh crore over a period of five years (Rs 20,000 crore per year).  The central government was to provide a seed amount of Rs 1,000 crore, and the remaining amount would be raised by the Railways from their own revenues or other sources.  
  • With the Railways struggling to meet its expenditure and declining internal revenues, it is unclear how Railways will continue to fund the Rail Sanraksha Kosh.  

Issues with financing

Railways’ ability to generate its own revenue has been slowing

  • The growth rate of Railways’ earnings from its core business of running freight and passenger trains has been declining.  This is due to a decline in the growth of both freight and passenger traffic
  • The freight services are run with a focus on efficiency instead of customer satisfaction.  The rail network’s capacity is severely constrained due to which trains tend to slow down, affecting the quality of services.
  • Therefore, it has been losing out on high potential markets such as FMCGs, hazardous materials, or automobiles and containerised cargo.  Most of this traffic is transported by roads.  
  • The freight basket is also limited to a few commodities, most of which are bulk in nature. Therefore, any shift in transport patterns of any of these bulk commodities could affect Railways’ finances significantly.  

Freight traffic cross-subsidises passenger traffic

  • Railways’ freight business made a profit whereas its passenger business incurred a net loss. These losses occur across both suburban and non-suburban operations and are primarily caused due to: (i) passenger fares being lower than the costs, and (ii) concessions to various categories of passengers. 
  • According to the NITI Aayog, about 77% to 80% of these losses are contributed by non-suburban operations (long-distance trains).  Concessions to various categories of passengers contribute to about 4% of these losses, and the remaining (73-76%) is due to fares being lower than the system costs.
  • The NITI Aayog (2016) had noted that Railways ends up using profits from its freight business to provide for such losses in the passenger segment, and also to manage its overall financial situation. Such cross-subsidisation has resulted in high freight tariffs.   
  • Higher freight tariffs could be counter-productive towards growth of traffic in the segment.  The NTDPC report had also noted that due to such high tariffs, freight traffic has diverted to other modes of transport.  The higher cost of freight segment is eventually passed on to the common public in the form of increased costs of electricity, cement, steel, etc. 
  • The NITI Aayog (2016) had recommended that Railways should also consider ways to rationalize goods tariff distortions.

Financing for roads and railways is skewed

  • Currently, Indian Railways bears all costs of buying its rolling stock, operations, and maintenance of the entire infrastructure.  Its capital costs are funded mostly by either the central government or borrowings
  • In case of roads, highway expansion is funded through debt-free transfers from the Central Road Fund (CRF).  A portion of the Road and Infrastructure Cess collected on motor spirit and high speed diesel is transferred to the non-lapsable CRF and is earmarked for the development of both national and state highways. Therefore, one may argue that highways receive a general subsidy in the form of cess collected from users all over the country.  Further, in case of highways, most of them are constructed through public private partnerships, and the private player collects toll that is used for maintaining that particular highway.  However, in case of Railways, revenue from ticketing may not be used towards the specific line from where the revenue is collected.  

Railways’ accounting system does not create any distinction between the commercial and social role of Railways

  • The current accounting system in Railways does not provide details of the cost of various activities and services, such as introduction of new trains and scheduling of stops.  It neither tracks assets nor assesses liabilities.  It also does not create any distinction between the commercial and social role of Railways (such as running un-remunerative projects, subsidising passenger fares). Consequently, it is difficult to compute the costs and benefits of any project or activity, or assess the costs of and returns from various investments.
  • The Committee on Restructuring Railways had recommended switching to a commercial accrual-based double entry accounting system.  

Railways’ ability to invest in capital expenditure has been declining

  • Railways has been struggling to run its transportation business and generate its own revenue.  Further, with increasing expenditure on staff and pension, Railways’ ability to invest in capital expenditure using its own resources has been declining.   The financial support from central government and borrowings have become the bigger sources of investing in Railways infrastructure.  

Dependence on market borrowings has been increasing

  • The share of borrowings (or extra budgetary resources) to fund Railways’ capital expenditure has been increasing.   Various committees have noted that an increased reliance on borrowings will further exacerbate the financial situation of Railways. The Committee on Restructuring Railways had recommended that funds borrowed from the market should be used exclusively for capacity generation and should not be diverted for asset replacements.  

Rail Infrastructure

  • Indian Railways has a multi-gauge, multi-traction system covering 67,368 km of route length (as on March 2017). Of this 22,021 km has double and multiple tracks.  25,367 km of route length is electrified (38%).  India’s track density at 45.74 per sq km is comparable to the track density in the United States but much lower than that of Germany, Russia, China or Canada.

Capacity constraints have been increasing, affecting the quality of services

  • The NTDPC had noted that the rail network faces huge capacity constraints and the current high-density network (network with the highest traffic, roughly identical to the network that connects metros) has already reached saturation.  The traffic flow on the rail network is also highly uneven and imbalanced.  Capacity constraints and oversaturation in the network also affects Railways’ ability to meet customer expectations.
  • Indian Railways also does not operate heavy-haul freight trains on the network, as the network is common to both freight and passenger trains.  

Poor investment has resulted in a decline of Railways’ share across all transport modes

  • Within the overall transport sector, in the past few years, roads have consistently received a larger chunk of the infrastructure investment.  While historically Railways have received most of its funding from the public sector, recently private sector investment has increased.  In comparison, roads have been receiving investments from both public and private sectors.  

Train speeds on the Indian rail network

  • While India’s rail network is fairly large as compared to other countries, trains on the network are slower.  The speed of freight trains has been around 25-30 kmph for a long time. The maximum permissible speed on Indian Railways is between 100 kmph to 160 kmph, and the actual speed achieved is lower, in the range of 60-70 kmph.  In comparison, in several developed countries, the conventional trains have a maximum permissible speed of 200 kmph, while high speed trains have speeds between 300-350 kmph.
  • Higher speed trains require dedicated tracks which could either be fenced or elevated tracks, and hence require significant capital investment.  Indian trains tend to be slower because of over-stretched capacities of the trains, mixed traffic on the network and poor tracks.

Safety in Indian Railways

Under-investment in Railways leading to accidents

  • Safety has been one of the biggest concerns in the Indian Railways system.  While the number of accidents have gone down over the last few years, the number still remains above 100 per year. 
  • The Standing Committee on Railways noted that slow expansion of rail network has put undue burden on the existing infrastructure leading to severe congestion and safety compromises. Addition of new passenger trains without providing additional resources (for operations and maintenance) and capacity augmentation, can also compromise safety in the network.
  • The Standing Committee on Railways (2016) had noted that under-investment in Railways results in more rail accidents. Avoiding such accidents in the future would also require significant investments towards capital and maintenance of railways infrastructure.  Safety works include signalling, removal of level-crossings, and track modernisation or renewal. 

Causes of rail accidents

  • The majority of the accidents were caused due to derailments followed by accidents at level crossings.
  • Derailments were also the second highest reason for casualties.  The Standing Committee on Railways (2016) had noted that one of the reasons for derailments is defect in the track or rolling stock
  • The Standing Committee (2016) had recommended that Indian Railways should switch completely to the Linke Hoffman Busch (LHB) coaches as they do not pile upon each other during derailments and hence cause lesser casualties

Un-manned level crossings

  • Unmanned level crossings (UMLCs) continue to be the biggest cause of casualties in rail accidents.  
  • The Standing Committee on Railways had recommended that audio-visual warnings should be implemented at level crossings to warn road users about approaching trains.  These may include Approaching Train Warning Systems, and Train Actuated Warning Systems.


  • The entire rail transport network, and policies related to it is managed by the Railway Board, which falls under the administration of the Ministry of Railways.  Railways employs around 1.33 million people. 
  • Indian Railways is the world’s second largest rail network under one central management.  It has a monopoly in the rail segment, with private participation seen only in certain ancillary activities. 
  • While the entire network is managed by the Railways Board, for ease of management, the network is divided into 17 zones and 68 divisions. These zones have developed historically and not from a specific strategy.
  • Each railway zone is responsible for the operation, management, and development of the railway system under its jurisdiction.  Each zone is headed by a General Manager (GM).  Zones are further divided into divisions which are headed by a Divisional Railway Manager (DRM).  Under the current departmental structure, officers in divisions are held accountable to the DRMs, who in turn report to the GM in-charge of the zone.

Issues with the organisational structure

Decision making in Railways is centralised, with the zones having little autonomy

  • Various experts have noted that over the years, the GM’s powers have been reduced with the objective of budgetary control.  This has left the GMs with little independence.  Further, while the zones prepare their annual budget, it is based on the annual financial outlay provided by the Railway Board, for each of them.  The power to make financial decisions does not rest with the zones and hence they do not possess enough autonomy to generate their own revenue.
  • The Committee on Restructuring Railways (2015) had recommended the decentralization of powers to the level of zones.  The GM must be fully empowered to take all necessary decisions independent of the Railway Board.  Zones should be independent, and must be able to compete with each other.  Zonal railways should also have full power for expenditure and re-appropriations and sanctions.  These steps will make each division and zonal railway accountable for its own transport output and profitability.
  • The Committee on Restructuring Railways (2015) had also recommended the decentralization of power and functions down to the level of the divisions.  It has also suggested delegation of powers with regard to tendering, procurement, and financing of projects to the DRMs.  Finance must completely be under the DRMs.  This will enable every division to function as an independent business unit and retain its own earnings for the up-keep of trains, stations and tracks that fall within its jurisdiction.

Railways engages in peripheral activities that are non-remunerative

  • Apart from its core function of running trains, Railways also engages in peripheral activities such as running schools, and hospitals, real estate development (housing for staff), catering, and security.  The Committee on Restructuring Railways had noted that several of these activities are un-remunerative and impose a huge financial burden on Railways.  It had recommended that these non-remunerative activities be separated from Railways’ core business.  These non-core activities can be outsourced to private entities.

Measures taken by the government to address the issues in the railway sector

Steps taken to ensure the safety and security of the passengers

Indian Railways have taken various steps for the safety and security of passengers in trains as well as railway stations.

1) On vulnerable and identified routes/sections, trains are escorted by Railway Protection Force (RPF) in addition to trains escorted by Government Railway Police of different States daily.

2) Railway Help Line number 139 is operational (24×7) over Indian Railways for security-related assistance to passengers in distress.

3) Through various social media platforms -Twitter, Facebook etc., Railways are in regular touch with passengers including women to enhance the security of passengers and to address their security concern.

4) Frequent announcements are made through the Public Address System to educate passengers to take precautions against theft, snatching, drugging etc.

5) An Integrated Security System (ISS) consisting of surveillance of vulnerable stations through Close Circuit Television Camera Network, Access Control etc. has been sanctioned to improve surveillance mechanism over 202 railway stations.

6) Drives are conducted against the entry of unauthorized persons in trains and railway premises.

7) Station Security Plan is being implemented at major stations in a phased manner to enhance access control, improve surveillance and achieve synergy between deployment of various security agencies on the station.

8) CCTV cameras have been provided in 2931 coaches and 668 Railway stations for enhancing the security of passengers.

9) Emergency Talk Back System and Closed Circuit Television Surveillance Cameras have been provided in ladies compartments/coaches of all newly manufactured Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU) and air-conditioned rakes of Kolkata Metro.

Steps taken by the government to reduce the accidents

  • Safety is accorded the highest priority by Indian Railways and all possible steps are undertaken on a continual basis to prevent accidents and to enhance safety of passengers. Following steps/measures have been taken to prevent accidents: –
    • Rashtriya  Rail  Sanraksha  Kosh  (RRSK)  has  been  introduced  in 2017-18 for replacement/renewal/upgradation of critical satety assets, with a corpus of 1 lakh crore for five years, having annual outlay of 20000 crore.
    • Indian Railways has already adopted the technological upgradation in safety aspects of coaches and wagons by way of introducing Modified Centre Buffer Couplers, Bogie Mounted Air Brake System (BMBS), improved suspension design and provision of Automatic fire & smoke detection system in coaches. These modifications are being provided in newly manufactured coaches and wagons on a regular basis.
    • Conventional ICF design coaches being replaced with LHB design coaches of Mail/Express trains in phased manner.
    • A GPS based Fog Pass device is being provided to loco pilots in fog affected areas which enables loco pilots to know the exact distance of the approaching landmarks like signals, level crossing gates etc.
    • In order to improve safety, modern track structure consisting of Prestressed Concrete Sleeper (PSC), 60 KG, 90 or higher Ultimate Tensile Strength (UTS) rails, fanshaped layout turnout on PSC sleepers, Steel Channel Sleepers on girder bridges is used while carrying out primary track renewals.
    • Long rail panels of 260 M/130M length are being manufactured at the steel plant to minimize number of Alumino Thermit joints in the track.
    • Provision of Thick Web Switches (TWS) is planned for all important routes of IR. To expedite provision of TWS, procurement of Thick Web Switches has been decentralized to zonal railways.
    • Ultrasonic Flaw Detection (USFD) testing of rails to detect flaws and timely removal of defective rails.
    • Mechanization of track maintenance is being carried out to reduce human errors and track management system has been introduced on Indian Railways for development of database and decision support system and to decide rationalize maintenance requirement and optimize inputs.
    • Electrical/Electronic Interlocking System with centralized operation of points and signals are being provided to eliminate accident due to human failure and to replace old mechanical systems. Track Circuiting of stations to enhance safety for verification of track occupancy by electrical means instead of human element. Axle Counter for Automatic clearance of Block Section (BPAC) to ensure complete arrival of train without manual intervention before granting line clear to the next train and to reduce human element.
    • Train Protection and Warning System: Train Protection and Warning System (TPWS) based on European Technology ETCS Level-1, a proven Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System to avoid train accident /collision on account of human error of Signal Passing at Danger (SPAD)
    • Auxiliary Warning System (AWS): An ATP called Auxiliary Warning System (AWS) is presently functional on 413 RKMs in the Mumbai suburban section of Central Railway (289 RKMs) and Western Railway (124 RKMs).
    • Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS): TCAS is an Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System being developed in association with 3 Indian manufacturers.

2 . National Disaster Response Force

Context: Three NDRF teams are working at the train crash site in Odisha’s Balasore district while six more are being rushed to the spot. The estimated strength of these nine teams is about 240 personnel, they said.

National Disaster Response Force

  • The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is an Indian specialized force constituted “for the purpose of special response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster” under the Disaster Management Act, 2005
  • The Apex Body for Disaster Management in India is the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). The Chairman of the NDMA is the Prime Minister.
  • The responsibility of managing disasters in India is that of the State Government. The ‘Nodal Ministry’ in the central government for the management of natural disasters is the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
  • The Disaster Management Act has statutory provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.
  • Accordingly, in 2006 NDRF was constituted with 8 Battalions. At present, NDRF has a strength of 12 Battalions with each Battalion consisting of 1149 personnel.
  • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is under the National Disaster Management Authority. The head of the NDRF is designated as Director General.


  • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is a force of 16 battalions, organized on para-military lines, and manned by persons on deputation from the para-military forces of India: three Border Security Force, three Central Reserve Police Force, two Central Industrial Security Force, two Indo-Tibetan Border Police, two Sashastra Seema Bal and one of the Assam Rifles.
  • The total strength of each battalion is approximately 1149. Each battalion is capable of providing 18 self-contained specialist search and rescue teams of 45 personnel each including engineers, technicians, electricians, dog squads and medical/paramedics.
  • Disaster Response– The aim of the National Disaster Management Authority is to build a safer and disaster resilient India by developing a holistic, proactive, multi-disaster and technology driven strategy for disaster management. This has to be achieved through a culture of prevention, mitigation and preparedness to generate a prompt and efficient response at the time of disasters. This national vision inter alia, aims at inculcating a culture of preparedness among all stakeholders.
  • NDRF has proved its importance in achieving this vision by highly skilled rescue and relief operations, regular and intensive training and re-training, familiarization exercises within the area of responsibility of respective NDRF Battalions, carrying out mock drills and joint exercises with the various stakeholders.

3 . Salt cavern based strategic oil reserve

Context: Government-owned engineering consultancy firm Engineers India (EIL) is studying the prospects and feasibility of developing salt cavern-based strategic oil reserves in Rajasthan, in line with the government’s objective of increasing the country’s strategic oil storage capacity.

What is strategic oil storage reserves?

  • Strategic petroleum reserves (SPRs) are stockpiles of crude oil maintained by countries for release in the event of a supply disruption.  Countries build strategic crude oil reserves to mitigate major supply disruptions in the global supply chain.

Strategic oil storage reserves in India

  • India, the world’s third-largest consumer of crude, depends on imports for more than 85% of its requirement — and strategic petroleum reserves (SPR) could help ensure energy security and availability during global supply shocks and other emergencies.
  • India currently has an SPR capacity of 5.33 million tonnes, or around 39 million barrels of crude, that can meet around 9.5 days of demand. The country is in the process of expanding its SPR capacity by a cumulative 6.5 million tonnes at two locations — Chandikhol in Odisha (4 million tonnes) and Padur (2.5 million tonnes).
  • The country’s three existing strategic oil storage facilities — at Mangaluru and Padur in Karnataka, and Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh — are made up of excavated rock caverns.
  • India’s strategic oil reserves come under the Petroleum Ministry’s special purpose vehicle Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserve (ISPRL). EIL was instrumental in setting up the country’s existing SPR as the project management consultant.

Salt caverns strategic oil storage reserve

  • Salt caverns are developed by the process of solution mining, which involves pumping water into geological formations with large salt deposits to dissolve the salt. After the brine (water with dissolved salt) is pumped out of the formation, the space can be used to store crude oil. The process is simpler, faster, and less cost-intensive than developing excavated rock caverns.
  • Salt cavern-based oil storage facilities are also naturally well-sealed and engineered for rapid injection and extraction of oil. This makes them a more attractive option than storing oil in other geological formations.
  • The salt that lines the inside of these caverns has extremely low oil absorbency, which creates a natural impermeable barrier against liquid and gaseous hydrocarbons, making the caverns apt for storage. Also, unlike rock caverns, salt cavern-based storages can be created and operated almost entirely from the surface.
  • Salt caverns are also used to store liquid fuels and natural gas in various parts of the world. They are also considered suitable for storing compressed air and hydrogen

Significance of the Study

  • Rajasthan, which has the bulk of requisite salt formations in India, is seen as the most conducive for developing salt cavern-based strategic storage facilities.
  • A refinery is coming up in Barmer, and Rajasthan has crude pipelines as well; such infrastructure is conducive for building strategic oil reserves.  
  • If the idea comes to fruition, India could get its first salt cavern-based oil storage facility.
  • However, no Indian company, including EIL, had the requisite technical know-how to build salt cavern-based strategic hydrocarbon storage.

About India’s Strategic petroleum reserves programme

  • India’s strategic oil reserves are part of the effort to build sufficient emergency stockpiles on the lines of the reserves that the US and its Western allies set up after the first oil crisis of the 1970s. The three existing rock cavern-based facilities were built during the first phase of the programme.
  • Crude oil from the reserves are to be released by an empowered committee set up by the government, in the event of supply disruptions due to a natural calamity or an unforeseen global event leading to an abnormal increase in prices.
  • The International Energy Agency (IEA), a Paris-based autonomous intergovernmental organisation in which India is an ‘Association’ country, recommends that all countries should hold an emergency oil stockpile sufficient to provide 90 days of import protection.
  • In India, apart from the SPR that are sufficient to meet 9.5 days of oil requirement, the oil marketing companies (OMCs) have storage facilities for crude oil and petroleum products for 64.5 days — which means there is sufficient storage to meet around 74 days of the country’s petroleum demand.
  • India has also decided to commercialise its strategic petroleum reserves, as part of which the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) stored about 0.8 million tonnes of crude oil in the Mangaluru strategic reserve. In the second phase of the programme, the government wants to develop strategic reserves through public-private partnerships so as to reduce government spending and exploit the commercial potential of the reserves.

4 . Facts for Prelims

Bima Vahak

  • Bima Vahak is an initiative by the IRDAI which would help reach the last mile. Each Gram Panchayat would have a ‘Bima Vahak’ who would be tasked to sell and services simple parametric bundled insurance products.
  • Bima Vahak intends to form a women-centric insurance distribution channel.
  • The Bima Vahak initiative holds immense promise for the future and will be a powerful force to enhance insurance inclusion and awareness.
  • Through this scheme, the regulator wishes to employ resources who can understand and appreciate local needs in every gram panchayat and village, and encourage onboarding of women who can gain trust of locals as Bima Vahaks for distribution and servicing of insurance products. 
  • Every insurer will be responsible for ensuring KYC and AML compliance concerning the policies sourced through individual Bima Vahaks and corporate Bima Vahaks.
  • Besides, every insurer must put in place systems processes, internal controls and infrastructure to enable a seamless interface with all Bima Vahaks. 
  • Insurers need to designate a complaint-handling officer in the local office of every gram panchayat, to attend to plaints against Bima Vahaks.  
  • In the event of the termination of an individual Bima Vahak: 
    • a) All the insurance policies serviced by the Bima Vahak shall be allotted, to another Bima Vahak, preferably within the same territory. 
    • b) Every insurer shall make necessary arrangements to ensure uninterrupted service to the policyholders, including in situations where the termination is of a Corporate Bima Vahak, as per the IRDAI guidelines. 
  • Corporate Bima Vahak is any legal person registered in accordance with the law and engaged by an insurer under these guidelines. And Individual Bima Vahak means any Individual appointed by an insurer or a corporate Bima Vahak. 


  • The most famous Mauryan ruler was Ashoka. He was the first ruler who tried to take his message to the people through inscriptions. Most of Ashoka’s inscriptions were in Prakrit and were written in the Brahmi script.
  • Kalinga War– Ashoka fought a war to conquer Kalinga. However, he was so horrified when he saw the violence and bloodshed that he decided not to fight any more wars. He is the only king in the history of the world who gave up conquest after winning a war.
  • Ashoka’s Dhamma- Ashoka’s dhamma did not involve worship of a god, or performance of a sacrifice. He felt that just as a father tries to teach his children, he had a duty to instruct his subjects. He was also inspired by the teachings of the Buddha
  • Ashoka appointed Dhamma Mahamatta who went from place to place teaching people about Dhamma.
  • Besides, Ashoka got his messages inscribed on rocks and pillars, instructing his officials to read his message to those who could not read it themselves. Ashoka also sent messengers to spread ideas about dhamma to other lands, such as Syria, Egypt, Greece and Sri Lanka. He built roads, dug wells, and built rest houses. Besides, he arranged for medical treatment for both human beings and animals.
  • The geographical spread of the edicts essentially defines the extent of the vast empire over which Ashoka ruled.

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