Summer Special: Amla-Rose Sharbat


Image result for rose and amla sharbat

Rose-Amla Syrup



  • Amla Juice: 1/2 Litre.
  • Water: 1/2 L.
  • Sugar: 1 Kgs.
  • Rose petals: 250 grams.
  • Sodium Benzoate: 1/4 Teaspoon.


  • Soak the rose petals overnight in the given quantity of water. Filter them next morning.
  • In this water, add sugar and make out of it 1.5 string sugar syrup by boiling it for around 10 minutes.
  • Turn off the gas and add the given quantity of Amla Juice and Sodium Benzoate and mix them well.
  • Fill it into a bottle and close the bottle only when it attains room temperature.

Note: You can also add red food color(2-3 drops) if you want to.



The idea of Universal Basic Income

In the Economic Survey 2017, the Chief Economic Adviser does mention his much-propagated idea of the Universal Basic Income. What is the concept of UBI and what are the various aspects related to it, we will understand in this blog.

  • What is the Universal Basic Income?
    • It is an income which has three components, namely
      • Universality, that is, given to all
      • Unconditionality, that is, will be given without any pre-conditions or eligibilities
      • Agency, that is, the beneficiary will be allowed to spend it according to his/her needs.

Image result for universal basic income aravind


  • What is the need of UBI?:
    • Poverty persists despite so many welfare programmes.
    • The situation of employment remains dismal.
    • This is a situation of social injustice.
    • The gap between the rich and the poor remains to be bridged.
    • It is important to elevate the poor at least to such level after which they could work for their own welfare.
    • Subsidies amount to around 5% of the GDP. These are not distributed well and leakages undermine the intent of these subsidies.
  • What are the arguments in favor of the idea?:
    • Philosophically, it is in line with the ideals of equality and social justice
    • Poverty and vulnerability reduction
    • Choice with the poor to spend accordingly. Money-in-hand could also help in backing the entrepreneurial aspirations
    • Better targeting of poor, as all are targeted–>no inclusion errors
    • Provides insurance against shocks like health, income among others
    • Lesser psychological shocks due to guaranteed incomes
    • Lesser burden of implementation of CSS will increase the efficiency of the administration
    • Improvement in financial inclusion: as it will encourage greater usage of bank accounts.
  • What are the arguments against the idea?:
    • Irresponsible spending. For eg. men may spend it in liquor, gambling etc
    • Could reduce the tendency and will to work–>Goes against the Gandhian principle of earning one’s own bread through labour
    • Men may exercise the control over the whole income–>inducing gender disparity.
    • Implementation is going to be a challenge–>stressed banking system.
    • Fiscal deficit may increase.
    • Inflation may increase due to increase purchasing power.
    • Rich also getting the income –>absurd and philosophically empty.
    • It may be followed or preceded by the repealing of the current subsidies.
  • What are the challenges?:
    • Ensuring transparency in the process of transferring the amount.
    • Putting in place a large machinery required to implement the idea.
    • Ensuring timely transfer of the benefit to the beneficiary.
  • What is the way ahead?:
    • Bank accounts for all. Even after PM Jan Dhan Yojna, a number of people, particularly, in the rural areas remain without any account.
    • Universal availability of Aadhar: Till now, around 95% of the population is registered under UIDAI.
    • Time bound transfer within the date stipulated.
    • Financial literacy among the people to operate their bank accounts.
    • Awareness about the scheme and sensitisation about the legitimate spending of the money.


Sweet Delight: Baadam Creamy Barfi


Badaam Creamy Barfi


  • Milk: 1/2 Litre.
  • Grinded Almonds: 1 cup.
  • Flour: 1/4 cup.
  • Ghee: 1 Table Spoon.
  • Sugar Powder: 1/2 cup.
  • Elaichi Powder: 1 Tea Spoon.
  • Javantri: 1/4 tea spoon.
  • Nutmeg(Jaifal): 1/4 tea spoon.
  • Alum(Fitkari) : 1/4 Tea Spoon.


  • In a pan, boil given the quantity of milk.
  • Add alum to it and boil till it becomes thick.
  • In another pan with ghee, add flour and cook it till it attains brown color.
  • Add almonds and cook it for around 5 minutes at low flame.
  • Add all the remaining ingredients and the contents cooked in the above step(flour etc.)in the milk and cook it till it attains thickness.
  • Pour it in a tray and settle it down with the help of a spoon.
  • In a tea strainer(chalni), take some sugar powder, elaichi powder, javantri and nutmeg and spread it on the tray content.
  • Now, cut some square shaped pieces.

Chinese: Chilli Potato



Chilli Potato



  • Refined Flour: 1/2 cup.
  • Corn Flour: 1/8th cup.
  • Oil: 2 Table Spoon.
  • Potato: 3
  • For gravy:
    • Oil : 1 Table Spoon.
    • Corn Flour Slurry: 1 Table Spoon.
    • Crushed Ginger 1 Tea Spoon.
    • Finely chopped garlic: 1 Table Spoon.
    • Soya Sauce:1 Tea Spoon.
    • Sweet Chilli Sauce: 2 Table Spoon.
    • Sesame seed: 1 Table Spoon.
    • Finely Chopped Green Chilli: 2.
    • Finely Chopped Onion: 1


  • Peel the potatoes and cut them in finger-shaped slices.
  • Boil for 5 minutes on high flame.
  • Wash it with cold water in a stainer.
  • In a bowl, mix refined flour, corn flour, oil and salt. Now, divide this into two parts.
    • In one part add water and produce a paste out of it.
    • Use the other part to coat properly the potato slices.
  • Dip the coated potato pieces into paste obtained above and deep fry the pieces till they attain light pink color.
  • Let the pieces cool down a bit and then deep fry again till they attain brown color. This will add to the crisp of the slices.
  • For Gravy:
    • In a pan, heat the given quantity of oil.
    • Add sesame seed, ginger, garlic, onion and 1/2cup of water.
    • Now, add the remaining contents(of gravy mentioned above)  and cook them till they attain a bit of thickness.
    • Now, let the gravy cool for two minutes.
    • Add the above prepared potato slices in the gravy.

The Jallikattu Struggle

  • What is Jallikattu?:
    • A traditional bull taming sport organized in Tamil Nadu during the festival of Pongal.
    • Also known as Eruthazhuvuthal or Manju Virattu.


Image result for jallikattu

  • Why did SC ban it(arguments against Jallikattu)?
    • As per the petition filed by the Animal Welfare Board of India, it holds the Jallikattu responsible for cruelty in the form of physical and mental torture for human pleasure and entertainment. Such torture is enforced even outside the ambit of the sport. This leads to the treatment of the animals as means.
    • The Supreme Court identifies 5 kinds of freedom for the animals, namely :
      • freedom hunger, thirst and malnutrition.
      • Freedom from physical and thermal discomfort.
      • Freedom from fear and distress.
      • Freedom from pain, injury and disease.
      • Freedom to express normal patterns of behaviour.
    • According to PETA and AWBI, there are no evidence of the cultural, historical or religious significance of the sport.
    • It goes against the provisions of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
  • What do Tamil protesters say(arguments in favor of Jallikattu)?
    • There are historical and cultural links:
      • Historical accounts trace its presence even 2000 years ago.
      • Finds mention in Sangam Literature in a text named Kalithokai, a poetic treatise.
      • Kamalambal Charithiram, a novel written by R. Rajram Aiyar, the disciple of Swami Vivekananda also mentions the celebration of Jallikattu
    • It is considered as a symbol of Tamil Pride.
    • They often uphold the rationale of rearing the native breeds which are mostly replace and undermined due to encouraging the cross bred cows like Jersey.Genetic diversity if often compromised with the introduction of the foreign breeds
    • Economically, the sport brings huge returns on the investments done by rural poor and farmers in case the bull performs well.
  • What could be the way ahead?:
    • A win-win solution through negotiations between different stakeholders including Animal Right activists and bodies, Jallikattu proponents, experts of animal husbandry among others.
    • Continuous monitoring of the torture of animals which could take place and consequent actions in the form of stringent penalties.

Soup: Chilly Milly Soup


Image result for tomato corn soup

Chilly Milly Soup



  • Red Tomatoes: 4.
  • Boiled Rajma(kidney beans): 2 Table Spoon.
  • Sweet Corn: 1/4 cup.
  • Finely Chopped onion: 2 Table Spoon.
  • Finely Chopped Capsicum: 1/2.
  • Corn Flour: 1 Tea Spoon.
  • Jalapenos: 8 -10 rings.
  • Chilli Sauce: 2 Tea Spoon.
  • Oregano: 1 Tea Spoon.
  • Butter:1 Table Spoon.
  • Salt according to taste.


  • Pressure cook the tomatoes till 2 whistles of the pressure cooker.
  • Now, let the tomatoes cool, grind them in a mixture and filter with the help of a soup filter.


Image result for soup filter

Soup Filter


  • In a pan with melted butter(after getting heated), cook onion, capsicum, kidney beans and corn.
  • Except Cheese , add all the ingredients and tomato puree (obtained in step 2)in a pan.
  • Cook it till it attains thickness and add 1 cup of water. Now boil it for 2 minutes.
  • Serve it with a garnishing of cheese.


All you need to know about: Ethanol Blending

The government has come up with a renewed focus on the practice of ethanol blending. Here is all you need to know about it.

  • What is ethanol blending?:
    • It is the practice of blending petrol with ethanol.
    • Ethanol is 99% pure.
  • How is ethanol derived?:
    • Sugarcane industry is one of the important sources of ethanol.
    • It is derived from biomass through the fermentation process using glucose derived from sugar(sugarcane, sugar beet, and molasses), starch(corn, wheat, grains) and cellulose(forest products).


Image result for ethanol blending

Ethanol Blending of Petrol


  • What are the advantages of ethanol blending?
    • It increases the octane rating(a standard measure of the performance of the engine) of the fuel and thus acts as an anti-knocking agent.
    • It reduces the emissions of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and hydrocarbons.
    • Lead and other carcinogens will be reduced.
    • Better combustion of engine fuel.
    • It will reduce the overall demand of petrol. This will alleviate the import burden of petrol–>around 80 million litres of petrol could be saved annually.
    • Reduced pollution will also help in checking the pollution-related health problems like asthma, cardiovascular diseases among others.
    • Cheaper than petrol, thus, savings for the consumers.
    • The demand of ethanol will increase giving a boost to the sugarcane industry which is the major source for ethanol.
  • What are the disadvantages related to ethanol blending?:
    • As the demand of sugarcane will increase, the products of sugarcane will also become more expensive. Thus, sugar can become costlier. This could cut the savings indeed.
    • The plants of sugarcane, sorghum etc. which are used for deriving ethanol would be cut. These plants play an important role in carbon sequestration. Thus, the sinking of carbon which tackles pollution will be affected.
    • The processes involved in making the engines adaptable to ethanol blended petrol will put a burden on the automobile industry. This burden could be transmitted to the consumers in the form of increased cost of vehicles.
    • Oil companies also need to alter their processes which could be a humongous task.
  • What are the policy measures taken by the government till now?:
    • Auto fuel policy 2003 found mention of ethanol blending.
    • National Policy of Bio-fuels,2009: Petrol blended with at least 5% of ethanol.
    • Recently, the Ethanol Blending Programme saw a tweak with the percentage blending increased from 5% to 10%.