Tuesday, 13th June 2023

Table of contents

1   Daily Current Affairs


More Disclosure from Foreign Portfolio Investors


What is happening to Arctic Sea ice?




Measures to Notify Urban Co-operative Banks


Bagh print


ASI stumbles upon 13th Century tomb-like structure in Siri Fort


Birsa Munda


Water Crisis in Meghalaya


Atlantic declaration


“Virgin Birth” by a crocodile

2   Daily Editorial Analysis


Same-sex marriage: Morality vs Equality

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Daily Current Affairs

More Disclosure from Foreign Portfolio Investors

In News: SEBI proposed additional disclosures from Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) to guard against possible circumvention of Minimum Public Shareholding (MPS) requirements and to prevent the misuse of the FPI route.

About the SEBI’s proposed regulations:

  • The objective of the proposed legislation is to enhance trust in the Indian securities markets by mandating additional granular disclosures around ownership of, economic interest, and control of objectively identified high-risk FPIs.
  • The regulations would identify tangible ownership and curtail incidences of multiple routes being used to acquire ownership in a company to keep up with the MPS norms.
  • The two broad issues that prompted floating of the proposed regulation are:
    • FPIs direct a substantial portion of their equity portfolio in the country to a single investee company or a company group without much trade in theses equities.Such concentrated investments could possibly mean that promoters of such corporate groups, are acting in concert, and could be using the FPI route for circumventing regulatory requirements such as MPS.
    • The central government amended the FDI policy requiring an entity sharing a land border with India, or where the beneficial owner is based out of any such country, to do so only via the government route. FPIs could be used to circumvent this requirement.

Proposals by SEBI:

  • The proposed legislation categorises FPIs into low risk, moderate risk and high risk.
    • Low risk would cover government and government-related entities such as central banks or sovereign wealth funds.
    • Moderate risk refers to pension funds or public retail funds with widespread and dispersed investors.
    • All other FPIs are categorised as high-risk.
  • High-risk FPIs holding more than 50% of their equity asset under management (AUM) in a single corporate group would have to make additional disclosures.
  • The paper also proposes that existing high-risk FPIs with an overall holding in the Indian equity market of over Rs 25,000 crore comply with the disclosure mandate within six months.




Keywords: GS-3 Economy
Daily Current Affairs

What is happening to Arctic Sea ice?

In News: A recent study in the Nature journal reveals that the loss of Arctic sea ice is inevitable in the decades ahead, even if the world somehow sharply reduces carbon emissions.

About the Arctic Sea Ice and its significance:

  • Arctic Sea ice influences global climate and the rise and fall in Arctic sea temperatures.
  • Sea ice is light-coloured and therefore has higher albedo than liquid water, thus playing a vital role in keeping Polar Regions cool and maintaining the earth’s energy balance.
  • Sea ice also keeps the air cool by forming a barrier between the cold air above and the relatively warmer water below.
  • As the amount of sea ice decreases, the Arctic region’s cooling effect is reduced, and this may initiate a ‘feedback loop’ whereby ocean warming caused by more absorption of solar energy leads to an even greater loss of sea ice and further warming.”
  • Changes in sea ice can affect biodiversity and impact mammals such as polar bears and walruses, which rely on the presence of sea ice for hunting, breeding, and migrating
  • The reduction in ice cover also affects the traditional subsistence hunting lifestyle of indigenous Arctic populations such as the Yup’ik, Iñupiat, and Inuit,
  • However, reduced ice can present commercial and economic opportunities with the opening up of shipping lanes and increased access to natural resources in the Arctic region.

Highlights of the Study:

  • It is expected that the world will see its first ‘sea-ice free summer’ before 2050. This is under the assumption that global emissions will drive temperatures to beyond 4.5°C.
  • Moreover, if drastic reductions in emissions aren’t undertaken, we could very well be seeing the first such summer in the 2030s as satellites over the Arctic have shown 13% loss every year.
  • It was found that around 90% of the ice-melting was due to anthropogenic factors, while rest was caused by natural variability.
  • The diminished sea ice while warming the Arctic also leads to a weakening of the polar jet streams, which has been linked to rising temperatures and heat waves in Europe as well as unseasonal rainfall in northwest India.



Keywords: GS-3 Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Conservation
Daily Current Affairs


In News: Researchers at IIT Kanpur develops India’s first 100% Dimethyl Ether (DME) fuelled tractor ushers

About country’s first DME Tractor:

  • India has successfully developed its first Dimethyl Ether (DME)-fuelled tractor, marking a significant milestone in the country's pursuit of clean fuel applications.
  • The research has been supported by Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST) which also contributes to the "Methanol Economy" program of NITI Ayog.
  • Features:
    • DME is a renewable alternative to conventional fuels and can be produced domestically, reducing dependence on imported crude oil.
    • The DME-fuelled engine exhibits higher brake thermal efficiency, minimal soot emissions, and reduced levels of hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), and carbon dioxide (CO2).
    • Its simplified engine technology eliminates the need for expensive and complex emission control devices, making it user-friendly and compliant with stringent emission regulations.
  • Previously, Countries like Japan, USA, China, Sweden, Denmark, and Korea have already been utilizing DME to power their vehicles.
  • By utilizing DME derived from domestic coal reserves, low-value agricultural biomass waste, and municipal solid waste, India can potentially reduce its oil import bill and environmental impact.
  • Overall, the development of the DME-fuelled tractor will go a long way to align with India's efforts to promote sustainable energy solutions and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.




Keywords: GS-3: Renewable solutions
Daily Current Affairs

Measures to Notify Urban Co-operative Banks

In News: RBI in consonance with Ministry of Cooperation notifies measures to strengthen urban co-operative banks

About Notification on Urban Co-operative Banks:

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recently introduced four key measures to strengthen 1,514 urban co-operative banks (UCBs).
  • These measures aim to enhance the functioning and operations of UCBs, ensuring their compliance with regulatory requirements and providing UCBs with more flexibility and support in key areas.


  • Opening New Branches: UCBs are now allowed to open new branches without prior approval from the RBI, up to a specified limit to expand their presence and reach more customers.
    • However, UCBs must still adhere to the Financially Sound and Well Managed (FSWM) norms and obtain board approval for opening new branches.
  • Facility of One-Time Settlement: Introduction of a framework for One-Time Settlements to allow UCBs to undertake settlements with borrowers.
    • It will help UCBs to efficiently manage their loan portfolios and address non-performing assets.
    • It will provide a mechanism for technical write-offs and borrower settlements, similar to commercial banks.
  • Timeline for PSL: RBI has allowed for an extension of timelines for UCBs to achieve Priority Sector Lending (PSL) targets.
  • Nodal officer: RBI to appoint a new nodal officer to facilitate closer coordination and interaction with UCBs.
    • It aims to strengthen the relationship between UCBs and the RBI, enabling smoother communication and support.

Overall, the new regulatory requirements will help UCBs in implementing sound practices besides enhancing their stability and contributing to the overall growth of the economy.

Keywords: GS-3: Economy: Cooperative banks
Daily Current Affairs

Bagh print

In News: Madhya Pradesh Women learn to make Bagh print bags under ‘Safe Tourist Places project’


  • Madhya Pradesh Tourism Board and the district administration of Dhar have launched a training camp on manufacturing sustainable bags based on Bagh Print, in order to promote safe, sustainable and responsible tourism.
  • It aimed at providing livelihood skills to participating women and promoting eco-friendly bags as a substitute to plastic bags.
  • Bagh Print is a traditional art form that originated in the Bagh region of Madhya Pradesh. It is a resist dyeing technique that is used to create intricate patterns on fabric.
  • The bags that are being made as part of this training program are made from 100% organic cotton and are dyed using natural dyes.
  • The training program is part of the 'Safe Tourist Places for Women' project, which is funded by the Nirbhaya Fund.
  • The project aims to make tourist destinations in Madhya Pradesh safe for women by providing them with self-defense training, awareness about their rights, and employment opportunities.



Keywords: GS-1 History
Daily Current Affairs

ASI stumbles upon 13th Century tomb-like structure in Siri Fort

In News: Archaeological Survey of India stumbles upon 13th Century tomb-like structure in Siri Fort


A tomb-like structure was accidentally discovered in the Siri Fort area while the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was carrying out renovation work at the Siri Fort Children’s Park.

About Siri Fort

  • Siri Fort was constructed during the rule of Alauddin Khilji, the second ruler of the Khilji dynasty of the Delhi Sultanate, Siri Fort was built in 1303 AD.
  • The fort served as a strategic military stronghold and played a vital role in defending the city against potential invasions.
  • “It was used as a garrison town where his army used to reside. Hauz Khas village was an extension of the fort, which was designed to meet the water needs of the army.
  • Siri Fort was constructed using locally available red sandstone, a characteristic feature of medieval Indian architecture.
  • The architecture follows the Tughlaq style, with sturdy walls and a distinctive blend of Islamic and Indian architectural elements.




Keywords: GS-1 History
Daily Current Affairs

Birsa Munda

In News: Recently, Prime Minister joined by leaders in paying tribute to tribal icon Birsa Munda on 123rd death anniversary


  • The State of Jharkhand, carved out of Bihar, officially came into being on Munda’s birth anniversary in 2000.
  • He was born on November 15, 1875, in the village of Ulihatu, which was then a part of the Chhotanagpur region.
  • Birsa Munda's notable movements was the 'Ulgulan' or the 'Great Tumult,' which took place in 1899-1900. The movement aimed to unite the tribal communities and resist the encroachment of their lands by outsiders.
  • He is also known as Dharti Aaba (Father of Earth), Birsa Munda is known to have mobilised the tribal community against the British and had also forced the colonial officials to introduce laws protecting the land rights of the tribals.

Birsait Sect:

  • After becoming aware of the British colonial rule and the missionaries' attempts to convert tribal people to Christianity, Birsa initiated a religious movement known as 'Birsait.'
  • The Munda and Oraon communities actively embraced the Birsait sect, which posed a significant challenge to the British conversion endeavors.
  • Moreover, Birsa encouraged the Mundas to abstain from consuming alcohol, maintain cleanliness in their villages, and discard their beliefs in witchcraft and sorcery.


Keywords: GS-1 History
Daily Current Affairs

Water Crisis in Meghalaya

In News: Many people have been on the receiving end of prolonged water scarcity, with Meghalaya grappling with one of the worst water crises in recent times


  • Meghalaya, known as the "Abode of Clouds," is facing a severe water crisis. The state has experienced a 15% decrease in rainfall over the past five years, and water loss due to leaks and other factors is high. This has led to a shortage of water, particularly in urban areas. The crisis is being exacerbated by climate change, deforestation, and unsustainable water management practices.

The study suggests that the following are some of the key factors that have contributed to the water crisis in Meghalaya:

  • Climate change:Climate change is leading to more erratic rainfall patterns, which is making it difficult to predict when and how much water will be available.
  • Deforestation:Deforestation is leading to a decrease in the amount of water that is stored in the soil and vegetation.
  • Unsustainable water management practices:Unsustainable water management practices, such as over-extraction of groundwater and inefficient irrigation systems, are also contributing to the water crisis.

The study recommends a number of measures to address the water crisis in Meghalaya, including:

  • Investing in rainwater harvesting and water conservation measures:This will help to ensure that water is available during dry periods.
  • Reducing deforestation:This will help to increase the amount of water that is stored in the soil and vegetation.
  • Improving irrigation systems:This will help to make irrigation more efficient and reduce the amount of water that is wasted.
  • Promoting water-efficient agricultural practices:This will help to reduce the amount of water that is used for agriculture.
  • Raising awareness about the water crisis: This will help to change people's behavior and make them more water-conscious.




Keywords: GS-1 Geography
Daily Current Affairs

Atlantic declaration

In News: The United States and Britain recently announced a new strategic pact as their leaders rededicated the "special relationship" to counter Russia, China and economic instability.


  • “The Atlantic Declaration is a Framework for a Twenty-First Century U.S.-UK Economic Partnership” outlines the commitment of the United States and the United Kingdom to strengthen their economic alliance to address global challenges.
  • It emphasizes the need for cooperation in critical and emerging technologies, economic security, digital transformation, clean energy, and defence.

Other Agreements:

  • The Five Eyes Agreement (intelligence alliance comprising the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand);
  • Open Skies Agreement (US-UK aviation agreement, 2007);
  • UK-US Data Sharing Agreement (2019)




Keywords: GS-3 Environment
Daily Current Affairs

“Virgin Birth” by a crocodile

In News: A crocodile in Costa Rica had a virgin birth.


  • A female crocodile at the Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas, has given birth to eight healthy baby crocodiles without mating. This is the first time that parthenogenesis, or virgin birth, has been observed in crocodiles.
  • Parthenogenesis is rare in mammals, but it is more common in reptiles. It is thought to occur when an egg is fertilized by a sperm cell that has degenerated or is missing.
  • In Cleopatra's case, it is possible that she produced an egg that was fertilized by a sperm cell that was too weak to fertilize another egg.
  • The birth of Cleopatra's babies is a significant scientific event. It provides further evidence that parthenogenesis is possible in crocodiles and other reptiles. It also raises the possibility that parthenogenesis could be used to help conserve endangered species.




Keywords: GS-3 Science
Daily Editorial Analysis

Same-sex marriage: Morality vs Equality

Exam View: Constitutional morality conundrum; State intervention; Way forward: Citizens’ initiatives.

Context: The question of same-sex marriage should be left to citizens’ initiatives to resolve, rather than to the state.

Decoding the editorial: Constitutional morality conundrum

  • The idea of constitutional morality has been used by the Supreme Court in many cases to maintain neutrality on moral issues.
    • This neutrality is mandated by its jurisprudence on equal concern for all irrespective of social or personal morality.
  • Following this neutrality would mean the Court should stop at ensuring that people’s legal rights are protected.
    • For example, the Supreme court’s neutrality was ensured when it upheld that those in live-in relationships are entitled to legal protection irrespective of the societies’ moral view on such relationships.
  • If the Court were to adjudicate on the right to marry,
    • It would have to break its neutrality on moral questions about the desirability of marriage, what fits into the institution and what it means to people.
  • If the Court were to decide in favour of the petitioners only on the basis of equality or privacy,
    • It would be violative of the liberal tenet of neutrality because to mandate the state to recognise a particular kind of marriage on the basis of equality is to recognise marriage as a social honour and pronounce on its moral worth.
    • As per leading philosopher, Michael Sandel, citizens who see and value marriage as a heterosexual institution would be asked to recognise same-sex marriages, through their state of course, not as a matter of shared understanding but as “a duty we owe to strangers.”
  • If the matter were to be decided on the basis of “intrinsic value or social importance of the practice”,
    • It would avoid the alienation that gives rise to fundamentalist tendencies.

State intervention

  • As per Michael Sandel, the “bracketing” of moral issues is the idea that the state should be neutral to moral concerns about institutions like marriage.
    • It assumes human ability to detach oneself from his or her “stories” or “social and historical roles and statuses.”
    • Sandel cites the example of Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court’s decision in Goodridge v. Dept. of Public Health (2003) which legalised same-sex marriage not just on grounds of equality and freedom of choice but by pronouncing on the virtues of marriage. In the American context, the Court only had to choose between whether marriage is about “procreation” or “loving relationships”.
    • The significance in Indian context is much more and it was captured by the Calcutta High Court in 1901 as a ‘union of flesh with flesh, bone with bone’. The union is a sacred tie and subsists even after death.
  • As per the philosopher Martha Nussbaum, as long as the state is in the marrying business, concerns with equality require it to offer marriage to same-sex couples but it would be a lot better, as a matter of both political theory and public policy, if the state withdrew from the marrying business.

Way forward: Citizens’ initiatives

  • The most radical and ultimately sustainable changes to have come for gay rights across the globe, were forced on parties and electoral assemblies by ad hoc citizens’ assemblies (Ireland) and the pressure of citizens’ initiatives (Finland).
  • It has been noted by scholars that historically Indian society has not shared the same sense of disgust or hatred with which homosexuals were treated in other parts of the world.
    • There were no social rumblings when homosexuality was decriminalised. It reflected the society’s shared values.
  • Reviving Gandhi’s “little republics” could be a good starting point.



Keywords: GS Paper-2: Judgements and cases, fundamental rights, GS Paper-1: Issues related to transgenders, Gender, Indian Society, Social Empowerment.
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