Thursday, 23rd February 2023

Table of contents

1   Daily Current Affairs




Stock Market Regulation in India


Microbiome Link to Autism


Bank Mergers




India’s first hybrid Rocket


Malabar Exercise


Algal bloom and Eutrophication


Uroosi Feature


Climate smart varieties of wheat


Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements (LODR) Regulations


Mercury in Skin Lightening Product


Traditional Knowledge Digital Library Database

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Daily Current Affairs


In News:

The Union Finance Minister recently announced that the Finance Commission has recommended to the Centre that no State will be accorded special status for financial assistance.

About Special Category Status (SCS):

  • SCS is a classification given by the Centre to states in order to assist development of those states which face geographical and socio-economic disadvantages.
  • The concept of SCS was first introduced in 1969 on the recommendations of the Fifth Finance Commission.
  • SCS was based on the Gadgil formula and the parameters for granting the status were:
    • Hilly Terrain.
    • Low Population Density and/or Sizeable Share of Tribal Population.
    • Strategic location along borders with neighbouring countries.
    • Economic and Infrastructure backwardness.
    • Non-viable Nature of State finances.
  • The rationale for special status is that these States, because of inherent features, have a low resource base and cannot mobilise resources for development which may result in regional disparities and imbalanced growth

Constitutional provisions for SCS:

  • While the Constitution does not have any provision for categorization of any state as a SCS State, but considering the fact that some areas in India are historically disadvantaged as compared to others, the Centre has assisted states with funds in the past by granting SCS.
  • The decision to grant SCS, in the past, was with the former Planning Commission body called the National Development Council (NDC).
  • NITI Aayog, which replaced the Planning Commission has no power to allocate funds for states falling under this category. Thus, now it is the discretion of the ruling party at Centre to award special favours to the states.
  • Eleven States, namely Assam, Nagaland, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Sikkim, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Uttarakhand and Telangana (most recent) have been accorded the special category state status.

Demand of Bihar for SCS:

  • The Finance Minister of Bihar has claimed that the abolition of special status would harm the poorest states the most and lead to regional disparities.
  • Bihar, despite having higher rates of growth than the national rate, remains amongst the poorest in the country
  • As per Niti Aayog, Bihar has made significant progress over the years but requires more time to catch up with other Indian states due to its poor base.

Challenges of granting SCS:

  • Demand by several states such as Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Bihar for SCS status has intensified..
  • SCS puts additional economic burden when the increased devolution is already flowing to the State as recommended by the 15th Finance Commission.
  • SCS affects the centre-state financial relations and hinders competitive federalism among the states.
  • SCS proves to be an inadequate solution to the systemic malaises of lagging states.




Keywords: GS Paper-2: Federal Structure and devolution of powers and finances up to local levels and challenges therein
Daily Current Affairs

Stock Market Regulation in India

In News: Regulatory Framework of Indian Stock Market

Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):

  • Background: It is the primary regulatory body for the securities market in India established in 1988 and given statutory powers through the SEBI Act, 1992.
  • Governing the market: It is empowered by four key laws:
    • The Companies Act, 2013: It empowers SEBI to monitor for violation of securities laws, such as insider trading, market manipulation, and fraudulent activities by the companies.
    • Securities and Exchange Board of India Act, 1992 (SEBI Act): It empowers SEBI to protect the interests of investors, promote the development of the capital market, besides regulating it.
    • Securities Contracts (Regulation) Act, 1956 (SCRA): It empowers SEBI to recognize (and derecognize) stock exchanges, prescribe rules and bye-laws for their functioning, and regulate trading, clearing, and settlement on stock exchanges.
    • Depositories Act, 1996: It introduced the concept of dematerialized securities being held in an electronic form.

Key Features:

  • Role in market volatility: SEBI does not interfere to prevent market volatility, but it can issue directions to those associated with the market such as:
    • Regulate trading and settlement on stock exchanges
    • Direct stock exchanges to stop trading
    • Prohibit entities or persons from buying, selling, or dealing in securities.
  • Guidelines on fund-raising: SEBI has the authority to regulate raising capital, corporate governance norms, resolution of investor grievances, and fund-raising activities.
    • It brought out a set of guidelines called Disclosure and Investor Protection Guidelines which were thereafter subsumed into a more comprehensive Issue of Capital and Disclosure Requirement Regulations.
  • Regulation of stock exchanges: SEBI recognizes and regulates stock exchanges and commodity exchanges in India.
    • It determines the settlement process,
    • Recognizes and regulates clearing corporations
    • Arbitrates disputes between stock brokers and investors.
  • Safeguards against fraud: SEBI has notified several regulations over the years to counter the problem of fraud:
    • Prohibition of Fraudulent and Unfair Trade Practices Regulations in 1995,
    • Established Insider Trading Regulations in 2015
    • Established a whistle-blower mechanism to protect investors from fraudulent and unfair trade practices.

Key issues:

  • SEBI faces the challenge of keeping up with the constantly evolving securities market and the emergence of new technologies.
  • It also needs to ensure compliance by all market participants to prevent fraud and market manipulation.

Way ahead:

  • SEBI plays a critical role in maintaining the integrity and stability of the securities market in India besides provides guidelines for raising capital, corporate governance, and transparency in disclosures.
  • Thus, it helps in ensuring fair and transparent trading, investor protection, and promotes investor confidence in the market.,The%20securities%20market%20in%20India%20is%20regulated%20by%20four%20key,and%20the%20Depositories%20Act%2C%201996.


Keywords: General Studies – 3 Indian Economy, CAPITAL MARKET
Keywords: General Studies -3, Science and Technology
Daily Current Affairs

Bank Mergers

In News:

According to a report ‘Do bank mergers improve efficiency?’ by Reserve Bank of India researchers, Bank mergers have benefited both the acquirer and the acquired.


During 1997-2022, there were 40 bank amalgamations, out of which 12 were between private sector banks (PVBs) and public sector banks (PSBs), 16 were amongst PSBs and the remaining 12 were between PVBs and foreign banks.

Benefits to acquirer banks are:

  • Improved financial performance and efficiency of the acquirer banks;
  • Improved technical efficiency of acquirers which increased from 90.88 in the pre-merger period to 93.80 three years post-merger, and 94.24 five years after the deal.
  • Increased scale of productive capacity.
  • Post-merger geographical diversification
    • Increased national presence of banks like Bank of India and Central Bank of India
    • Strengthened regional focus of banks like Indian Overseas Bank, UCO Bank, Bank of Maharashtra, and Punjab and Sind Bank.

Benefits to the acquired banks are:

  • Increase in shareholders' wealth of the acquired banks;
  • The study did not find any hindrance in relatively lower managerial and organisational competencies in the acquired banks.

Benefits to banking sector are:

  • The country has a total of 12 public sector banks, half of which—Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank, Union Bank of India, Indian Bank, State Bank of India, and Bank of Baroda, compete at a global level.
  • These bank mergers lead to the creation of big banks with an enhanced capacity to give credit.




Keywords: GS Paper-3: Indian Economy
Daily Current Affairs


Why in News: Recently, 4th edition of joint military exercise ‘DUSTLIK’ between the Indian Army and Uzbekistan Army commenced in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand.


  • Joint exercise would focus on joint counter-terrorist operations in the mountainous and semi-urban scenario under UN mandate and will include field training exercises, combat discussions, lectures, demonstrations and culminate with a validation exercise.
  • The training schedule will focus primarily on sharing tactical-level drills and learning of best practices from each other.
  • It aims at enhancing understanding, cooperation and interoperability between two armies.
  • Both Armies will jointly train, plan and execute a series of tactical drills for neutralisation of likely threats, while learning to exploit new generation equipment and technology for conducting joint operations.
  • Uzbekistan is significant to India in terms of security, connectivity to Iran and the Central Asian region, and as an alternative to Afghanistan.
  • One of the main obstacles to India's involvement in Central Asia is security worries brought on by the conflict in Afghanistan.


Keywords: General Studies – 3 Science and Technology, Defence
Daily Current Affairs

India’s first hybrid Rocket

Context: India’s first hybrid sounding rocket by private players was launched from Pattipulam village, Telangana.

About Hybrid Rocket

  • A hybrid-sounding rocket is a type of rocket that uses a hybrid rocket engine to power its flight.
  • A hybrid rocket engine uses a solid fuel grain and a liquid or gaseous oxidizer to generate thrust.
  • Hybrid-sounding rockets are often used by universities, government agencies, and private companies for scientific research and testing of new technologies because of their low cost.

About Mission

  • Martin Foundation, in association with Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation and Space Zone India, launched the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Satellite Launch Vehicle Mission- 2023.
  • The reusable rocket was made by the selected top 100 students, while the rest made the satellites. The rocket can be used for research in weather, atmospheric conditions and radiations.


Keywords: General Studies – 3, Science and Technology, Defence
Daily Current Affairs

Malabar Exercise

Context: Recently, Australia will host the Malabar multilateral naval exercise for the first time this year.


  • Malabar Exercise started off in 1992 as a bilateral naval exercise between Indian and US navies.
  • In 2015, Japan joined and in 2020, the Australian Navy joined the Malabar Exercise, making it a quadrilateral naval exercise.
  • It takes place annually in the Indian Ocean and Pacific Oceans alternatively.
  • This exercise includes a diverse range of activities such as fighter combat operations and maritime interdiction operations.
  • The aim of the Malabar Exercise of India, the US, Japan, and Australia is to coordinate for a free, open, and inclusive Indo-Pacific.


Keywords: General Studies –2 International Relation, Bilateral Groupings & agreements
Daily Current Affairs

Algal bloom and Eutrophication

Why in news? Marine scientists have warned of the increasing frequency and intensity of the harmful algal blooms (HAB) posing the threat of food-borne diseases among fish consumers.

About Algal Bloom

  • Phytoplankton (algae and blue-green bacteria) thrive on the excess nutrients and their population explosion covers almost the entire surface layer. This condition is known as algal bloom.
  • Algal blooms increase the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) as they produce toxins causing anoxic conditions and death of the lakes.
  • Most algal blooms are not harmful, but some produce toxins. These are known as Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs).


  • Eutrophication is the process in which a water body becomes overly enriched with nutrients like nitrates and phosphates, leading to the plentiful growth of simple plant life.
  • The excessive growth (or bloom) of algae and plankton in a water body is an indicator of this process.
  • Eutrophication is considered to be a serious environmental concern since it often results in the deterioration of water quality and the depletion of dissolved oxygen in water bodies.
  • Eutrophic waters can eventually become “dead zones” that are incapable of supporting life.
  • On the basis of their nutrient content, lakes are categorized as Oligotrophic (very low nutrients), Mesotrophic (moderate nutrients), and Eutrophic (highly nutrient-rich).

Cultural eutrophication

  • Nutrient enrichment of lakes at an accelerated rate is caused by human activities and the consequent ageing phenomenon is known as cultural eutrophication.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Environment & ecology
Daily Current Affairs

Uroosi Feature

Why in news? A Mughal-era architectural feature called Uroosi is one of Kashmir’s answers to the seismic threat it faces.


  • Uroosi are wooden shutters used as partition walls within homes, instead of concrete walls.
  • Uroosi's work includes octagonal and decagonal ornamental pillars too.
  • Uroosi is one such, where wooden shutters could be rolled up to make one room or rolled down from hanging grooves in ceiling chambers, to partition the space into separate areas.
  • Uroosi is believed to be a Persian term meaning ‘hidden bride’.
  • Jalali House is a landmark in Srinagar that has this architectural element.
  • It has the ability to absorb seismic shocks and withstand them.


Keywords: General Studies –1 History, Art & Culture
Daily Current Affairs

Climate smart varieties of wheat

Why in news? Indian Agricultural Research Institute IARI scientists have developed three climate-smart varieties of wheat.


  • Climate Smart varieties are characterized by mild vernalization requirementse.the , need for a certain minimum period of low winter temperatures for initiation of flowering.
  • Three varieties are: HDCSW- officially notified in , HD- and HD-. HD- released in , has higher yield potential . tonneshectare with lower plant height - cm.
  • Among these, HD- is least lodging-prone and most amenable for early sowing.
  • Lodging refers to permanent displacement of aboveground parts of a crop from its upright Position.


Keywords: General Studies - 1 and 3 Agriculture
Daily Current Affairs

Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements (LODR) Regulations

Why in news?  Recently, SEBI has proposed changes in LODR Regulations,  to streamline disclosures and strengthencorporate governance by listed entities.


  • LODR includes Timeline for submission of first financial results by newly Listed entities.
  • Freezing of demat accounts of MDs, Whole-time directors and CEOs on continued non-compliance.
  • Ending Permanent board seats and perpetual special rights enjoyed by certain shareholders by subjecting them to shareholders approval once in every years etc.
  • Listed Entities are companies whose equity securities are listed on a recognised stock exchanges.


Keywords: General Studies – 3 Indian Economy, Cpaital Market Regulation
Daily Current Affairs

Mercury in Skin Lightening Product

Why in news? Gabon, Jamaica and Sri Lanka unite to remove mercury from hazardous skin lightening products.


  • Minamata Convention on Mercury has set a limit of mgkg ppm for mercury in skin
  • lightening products.
  • Mercury is a shiny, silver-white metal, referred to as quicksilver, and is liquid at room temperature.
  • Mercury is a hidden and toxic ingredient in skin lightening creams.
  • Other heavy metal in cosmetics: Aluminium compounds are colorants in lip glosses, and nail polishes; Lead in lipsticks etc.


Keywords: General Studies – 3, Environment and ecology
Daily Current Affairs

Traditional Knowledge Digital Library Database

Why in news? Eurasian Patent Organisation and Council of Scientific and Industrial Research CSIR signed TKDL Access Agreement.


  • Through TKDL Agreement, EAPO shall gain access to TKDL database for purposes of Intellectual Property Rights IPR grant.
  • TKDL, first of its kind globally, is a database of Indian traditional knowledge established in , by CSIR and Ministry of AYUSH.
  • It contains information related to Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, Sowa Rigpa, and Yoga in five international languages English, German, French, Japanese and Spanish.
  • It prevents misappropriation of countrys traditional medicinal knowledge through patenting. It is an effective deterrent against bio-piracy.


Keywords: General Studies – 2, Health
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