Wednesday, 10th May 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day


Strategic convergence in the Gulf

2   Daily Current Affairs


APY, PMJJBY, PMSBY Completes Eight Years of Providing Social Security Net


Convention on Migratory Species and Central Asian Flyway


Cyclone Mocha


Energy Transition Advisory Committee (ETAC) report: The Green Shift


Electoral Bonds


UN - ESCAP Report on Disaster


Lithium Reserve in Rajasthan






Gangetic Dolphin (Scientific Name: Platanista gangetica)


Project Dantak


Transition Bonds


Bank for International Settlement

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Editorial of the day

Strategic convergence in the Gulf

Exam View: Shift in India’s foreign policy; Shift in the USA’s foreign policy with respect to Pakistan; Shift in the USA’s foreign policy with respect to India and the Gulf.

Context: The meeting in Riyadh between Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the national security advisers of the US, UAE, and India underlines the growing strategic convergence between Delhi and Washington in the Gulf.

Decoding the editorial: Shift in India’s foreign policy

  • Joining hands with the US on the Gulf front
    • In India, one of the entrenched principles of the Nehruvian foreign policy was the proposition that Delhi must either oppose Washington or keep its distance from it in the Middle East.
    • This ideological taboo was broken with the formation of a four-nation grouping unveiled in 2021 called I2U2 that brought the US, India, Israel, and the UAE together.
  • Rejection of the notion that Delhi can’t be visibly friendly to Israel.
  • Transformation of India’s uneasy relations with the two Arabian kingdoms, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, into solid strategic partnerships.
    • The Gulf kingdoms have accumulated massive financial capital and embarked on an ambitious economic and social transformation that will
      • reduce their dependence on oil over the long term,
      • develop nationalism rather than religion as the political foundation,
      • promote religious tolerance at home, and
      • initiate social reform.

    • Emerging Arabia opens enormous new possibilities for India’s economic growth and Delhi’s productive involvement in promoting connectivity and security within Arabia and between it and the abutting regions including Africa, the Middle East, Eastern Mediterranean and the Subcontinent.
    • The engagement should also help India overcome the dangerous forces of violent religious extremism within the Subcontinent.
  • Apart from the USA, France has emerged as an important partner in the Gulf and the Western Indian Ocean.
    • India now has a trilateral dialogue with Abu Dhabi and Paris.

Shift in the USA’s foreign policy

  • Discarding the pro-Pakistan bias
    • The US is leading the West to discard its pro-Pakistan bias in thinking about the relationship between the Subcontinent and the Gulf.
      • As Nehru’s India withdrew from its historic geopolitical role in the Middle East, Pakistan became the lynchpin of the Anglo-American strategy to secure the “wells of (oil) power” in the Gulf.
    • Pakistan’s continuing strategic decline makes it a lot less relevant to the changing geopolitics of the Gulf.
      • Pakistan was a key part of the Baghdad Pact created in 1955 along with Britain, Iraq, Iran, and Turkey to counter the Communist threat to the region.
      • After Iraq pulled out in 1958, the pact became the Central Treaty Organisation and moved to Ankara.
      • The regional members of CENTO, ie, Pakistan, Iran, and Turkey formed a forum on Regional Cooperation for Development (RCD) in 1964.
      • CENTO was dissolved in 1979, and the RCD morphed into Economic Cooperation Organisation in 1985.
    • Pakistan in the 1950s was widely viewed as a moderate Muslim nation with significant prospects for economic growth. It has now locked itself into a self-made trap of violent religious extremism and its political elite is utterly unprepared to lift the nation economically.
    • Also, as the US-China confrontation sharpens, Pakistan is tempted to align with China and Russia in the region.
  • With respect to India and the Gulf
    • The US National Security Adviser highlighted several elements of the new US approach.
      • One was about building new partnerships, including with Delhi.
      • The other was about the integration of the Arabian Peninsula into India and the world.
    • The implication in terms of geopolitical competition with China:
      • Beijing is now the second most important power in the world, and its diplomatic and political influence in the region will continue to rise.
      • Yet, Beijing is nowhere near displacing Washington as the principal external actor in the Gulf. Seen in conjunction with Britain, the Anglo-American connection to the Arabian Peninsula dates to the late 16th century.
      • The Anglo-Saxon powers have no desire to roll over and cede the Gulf to Beijing.

Seizing the new strategic opportunities for India in the Gulf would, however, involve the long overdue modernisation of Delhi’s strategic discourse on the Gulf and a conscious effort to change the outdated popular narratives on the Arabian Peninsula.



Keywords: GS-Paper 2: India and its Neighbourhood, Bilateral groupings and agreements; Government policies and interventions.
Daily Current Affairs

APY, PMJJBY, PMSBY Completes Eight Years of Providing Social Security Net

In News: Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMSBY) and Atal Pension Yojana (APY) complete 8 years of providing social security cover.


  • PMJJBY, PMSBY and APY were launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 9th May, 2015 from Kolkata, West Bengal.
  • The three schemes are dedicated to the welfare of the citizens, recognising the need for securing human life from unforeseen eventualisation and financial uncertainties. In order to ensure that the people from the unorganised section of the country are financially secure, the Government launched two insurance schemes —PMJJBY and PMSBY; and also introduced APY to cover the exigencies in the old age.

Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY)


  • PMJJBY is a one-year life insurance scheme renewable from year to year offering coverage for death due to any reason.


  • Persons in the age group of 18-50 years having an individual bank or a post office account are entitled to enroll under the scheme.
  • People who join the scheme before completing 50 years of age can continue to have the risk of life covered up to age of 55 years upon payment of regular premium.


  • Life cover of Rs. 2 Lakh in case of death due to any reason against a premium of Rs. 436/- per annum.

Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY)


  • PMSBY is a one-year accidental insurance scheme renewable from year to year offering coverage for death or disability due to accident.


  • Persons in the age group of 18-70 years having an individual bank or a post office account are entitled to enroll under the scheme.


  • Accidental death cum disability cover of Rs.2 lakh (Rs.1 lakh in case of partial disability) for death or disability due to an accident against a premium of Rs.20/- per annum.

Atal Pension Yojana (APY)


  • The Atal Pension Yojana (APY) was launched to create a universal social security system for all Indians, especially the poor, the under-privileged and the workers in the unorganised sector.
  • It is an initiative of the Government to provide financial security and cover future exigencies for the people in the unorganised sec
  • APY is administered by Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) under the overall administrative and institutional architecture of the National Pension System (NPS).


  • APY is open to all bank account holders in the age group of 18 to 40 years who are not income tax payers and the contributions differ, based on pension amount chosen.


  • Subscribers would receive the guaranteed minimum monthly pension of Rs. 1000 or Rs. 2000 or Rs. 3000 or Rs. 4000 or Rs. 5000 after the age of 60 years, based on the contributions made by the subscriber after joining the scheme.

Disbursement of the Scheme Benefits:

  • The monthly pension is available to the subscriber, and after him to his spouse and after their death, the pension corpus, as accumulated at age 60 of the subscriber, would be returned to the nominee of the subscriber.
  • In case of premature death of subscriber (death before 60 years of age), spouse of the subscriber can continue contribution to APY account of the subscriber, for the remaining vesting period, till the original subscriber would have attained the age of 60 years.

Contribution by Central Government:

  • The minimum pension would be guaranteed by the Government, i.e., if the accumulated corpus based on contributions earns a lower than estimated return on investment and is inadequate to provide the minimum guaranteed pension, the Central Government would fund such inadequacy. Alternatively, if the returns on investment are higher, the subscribers would get enhanced pensionary benefits.

Payment frequency:

  • Subscribers can make contributions to APY on monthly/ quarterly / half-yearly basis.

Withdrawal from the Scheme:

  • Subscribers can voluntarily exit from APY subject to certain conditions, on deduction of Government co-contribution and return/interest thereon.


Keywords: GS-3 Social Security Schemes
Daily Current Affairs

Convention on Migratory Species and Central Asian Flyway

In News: MoEFCC in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme/ Convention on Migratory Species (UNEP/CMS) had organised a meeting of Range Countries to strengthen conservation efforts for migratory birds and their habitats in the Central Asian Flyway (CAF).

About Convention on Migratory Species and Central Asian Flyway:

  • CMS is an international treaty signed at Bonn, Germany on 23 June 1979, which aims to conserve migratory species and their habitats. It is administered by UNEP with 131 member countries.
  • CAF is a major migratory route for birds, covering 30 countries from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean. Indian subcontinent is home to more than 400 species of migratory birds, including threatened and endangered species such as the Siberian crane and the lesser white-fronted goose.
  • The meeting was attended by the 11 countries of CAF region including Armenia, Bangladesh, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kuwait, Mongolia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • The delegates deliberated and agreed on an institutional framework for the CAF, discussed priority areas for implementation, and agreed on a draft roadmap for updating the CMS CAF Action Plan.
  • The meeting was a critical opportunity for CAF Range States to collaborate and exchange ideas and best practices to ensure the sustainable conservation of migratory birds and their habitats.
  • The discussions during the meeting also led to the modalities of an institutional framework mechanism with the aim of developing a coordinated approach to the conservation of migratory birds and their habitats.




Keywords: GS-3 Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation
Daily Current Affairs

Cyclone Mocha

In News: The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has said that a cyclonic or low-pressure area weather system is developing in the Bay of Bengal region, which can lead to high rainfall in the southern states. It also warned that the weather system could intensify into a cyclonic storm, called Cyclone Mocha.

About Cyclone Mocha:

  • A cyclone is a low-pressure system that forms over warm waters. As air warms over hotter regions it ascends, leading to low pressure at the surface it is covering.
  • In a depression or low-pressure situation, the air rises and blows in an anticlockwise direction in the northern hemisphere and in a clockwise direction in the southern hemisphere because of the Coriolis Effect.
  • It has been predicted that there may be moderate rainfall in the Southern states with scattered heavy to very heavy rainfall likely over Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • Warm seas of the Bay of Bengal in the peak of summer present ripe conditions for the development and strengthening of cyclones and fuel these systems over the water.

Naming of Cyclones:

  • The cyclone will be named Mocha (Mokha), a name suggested by Yemen after the Red Sea port city, which is known to have introduced coffee to the world over 500 years ago.
  • The naming of cyclones in every ocean basin across the world is done by the regional specialised meteorological centres (RSMC) and Tropical Cyclone Warning Centres (TCWC).
  • As an RSMC, the IMD names the cyclones developing over the north Indian Ocean, Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea, from the suggestions sent in by WMO/ESCAP (World Meteorological Organisation/United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific) countries.


Keywords: GS-1 Important Geophysical Phenomena such as cyclones
Daily Current Affairs

Energy Transition Advisory Committee (ETAC) report: The Green Shift

In News: The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas announced that it has received the report from the Energy Transition Advisory Committee (ETAC), however, the government has not accepted the report yet.

About the ETAC report:

  • The ETAC was formed by MoPNG, headed by Tarun Kapoor, former Secretary of the Petroleum Ministry. Its objective was to create an energy transition road map and create a step by step plan for moving from fossil fuels to green energy.
  • Its report “The Green Shift”, said that India should ban the use of diesel-powered four-wheelers by 2027 in cities with over 10 lakh population and switch to electric and gas-fuelled vehicles.
  • ETAC also recommended a complete ban on internal combustion engine two or three-wheel vehicles by 2035.
  • Meanwhile, policy support for ethanol-blended fuel with an increasing blend ratio needs to be given. The vehicles with flex-fuel capabilities and hybrids may be promoted in the short and medium terms.
  • ETAC suggested that no diesel city buses be added in urban areas. Long-distance buses in India will have to be powered by electricity in the long-term.
  • It further suggested for higher use railways and gas-powered trucks for the movement of cargo.
  • The panel suggested that the government should consider "targeted extension" of incentives given under Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric and Hybrid Vehicles scheme (FAME) to beyond March 3.




Keywords: GS-2 Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
Daily Current Affairs

Electoral Bonds

In News: Electoral Bonds: Concentration of Funding in Five Major Cities.

About Electoral Bonds:

  • Electoral bonds were introduced in 2018, under the Electoral Bond Scheme 2018 by the union government to facilitate and streamline political donations in India.
  • As per the scheme, any Indian corporate body, registered agency, or undivided Hindu family can buy electoral bonds while maintaining anonymity.
  • It can be purchased at designated SBI branches, and only the donors with KYC-compliant accounts can donate to the party or individual of their choice.
  • It functions like banknotes, payable to the bearer and free of interest in which the Bonds can be purchased digitally, through a demand draft (DD), or by cheque.
  • Bonds are valid for 15 days from the date of issuance by the authorized banks and are in denominations of ₹1000, ₹10,000, ₹1,00,000, ₹10,00,000, and ₹1,00,00,000.
  • These bonds are available for purchase in the first ten days of January, April, July, and October, and an additional 30-day period is specified during Lok Sabha election years.
  • To be eligible, a political party must be registered under Section 29A of the RPA Act, 1951, and have secured at least 1% of the votes in the most recent general or assembly elections.
  • These Political parties receiving electoral bonds from the public or corporations have to mandatorily file returns with the electoral commission.
  • The donor and the political parties both receive tax benefits under the Income Tax Act.

Facts on Electoral Bonds:

  • Mumbai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Chennai account for nearly 90% of all electoral bonds sold so far.
  • Electoral bonds worth Rs 12,979.10 crore have been sold since the scheme's inception in 2018 with the New Delhi branch of SBI bagging 55% (Rs 8,362.84 crore) of total bonds redeemed.
  • Hyderabad is second with 12.37% (Rs 1,602.19 crore), followed by Kolkata with 10.01% (Rs 1,297.44 crore).


Keywords: GS-II: Government policies
Daily Current Affairs

UN - ESCAP Report on Disaster

In News: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) report highlights the ill-preparedness of most of Asia-Pacific countries for natural disasters

Major findings of the UN ESCAP report:

  • As per the report, most countries in Asia and the Pacific have inadequate data and means to support adaptation and mitigation efforts against extreme weather events and natural disasters.
  • Climate change and climate-induced disasters threaten development in the region, undermining development gains.
  • Disproportionate burden on poor and marginalized groups exacerbates poverty and societal inequalities.
  • The Asia-Pacific region accounts for over half of the world's greenhouse gas emissions and is home to vulnerable cities and small island states.
  • The annual average losses from natural and biological hazards in the region amount to approximately $780 billion.
  • Under moderate and worst-case climate change scenarios, these losses are expected to increase to $1.1 trillion and $1.4 trillion,
  • Current financing is insufficient to meet the region's climate action requirements and limit global warming to 1.5°C.
  • Scaling up finance and increasing climate action ambition is crucial to meet Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.
  • Changes are needed in the energy, transport, and international trade and investment sectors to close the emissions gap.

Major recommendations:

  • Countries must restructure their national energy systems, investing in renewable energy, and implementing cross-border electricity grids are necessary.
  • Energy efficiency codes should align with net-zero goals to reduce carbon footprint in the building sector besides push for Climate-proof energy systems, especially in the hydropower sector.
  • Shifting the transport sector to a low-carbon pathway besides integrating land use planning, sustainable transport modes, and improved efficiency.
  • Integrating climate considerations into regional trade agreements and encouraging the private sector to adopt low-carbon pathways.
  • Increasing sustainability reporting and implementing internal carbon pricing to reduce fossil fuel dependency.


Keywords: GS-III: Important reports
Daily Current Affairs

Lithium Reserve in Rajasthan

In News: Lithium Reserves Found in Rajasthan's Nagaur, Higher Capacity than J&K Reserves

About Lithium Reserves in Rajasthan:

  • Geological Survey of India (GSI) and mining officials have recently claimed of finding a larger lithium reserve in Rajasthan's Degana (Nagaur) district.
  • The officials have claimed that the amount of lithium reserve is larger than Jammu and Kashmir and can fulfil 80 percent of India's total demand.
  • Despite Bolivia having the world's largest lithium reserves, China maintains a monopoly in the global market.
  • India currently imports 53.76 percent of its total lithium from China, amounting to over Rs 3,500 crore in the year 2020-21.
  • Rajasthan's lithium deposits have the potential to break China's monopoly and enable India to achieve self-sufficiency in green energy.
  • Government has previously discovered nearly 9 million tonnes of lithium reserves in the Reasi area of Jammu and Kashmir.

Lithium or ‘White Gold’:

  • Lithium is the lightest and softest metal globally which can be easily cut with a vegetable knife and is capable of floating in the water.
  • It stores chemical energy and converts it into electrical energy, making it crucial for rechargeable electronic devices.
  • The global demand for lithium is increasing due to the energy transformation from fossil fuels to green energy and is expected to see a 500 percent increase in demand by 2050.


Keywords: GS-1 Indian geography, Resources and Minerals
Daily Current Affairs


Why in news? Ethiopia will issue up to five banking licenses to foreign investors in the next five years.


  • Ethiopia is a landlocked country located in the Horn of Africa.
  • It is bordered by Eritrea to the north, Djibouti and Somalia to the east, Kenya to the south, and Sudan and South Sudan to the west.
  • It is the second-most populous country in Africa, after Nigeria.
  • Capital: Addis Ababa
  • Geographical features
    • Major River: Blue Nile and Tekeze river.
    • Largest inland lake: Lake Tana.
    • Highest point: Mount Ras Dejen (or Dashen)


Keywords: General Studies –1 Geography
Daily Current Affairs


Why in news? China’s state-owned firm China Merchants Group is building a large logistics complex at Sri Lanka’s Colombo Port.


  • Sri Lanka is an island country located in South Asia, situated in the Indian Ocean.
  • Sri Lanka Capital: Colombo (Executive and Judicial) and Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte (Legislative)
  • Colombo port is the largest and busiest port in Sri Lanka.

Political Boundaries

  • Island country lying in Indian Ocean and separated from peninsular India by Palk Strait.
  • Maritime border with India in the northwest and Maldives in southwest.

Geographical features

  • Major Rivers: Mahaweli River.
  • Highest peaks: Pidurutalagala, followed by kirigalpotta and Adam’s Peak (Sri Pada).
  • Important Ports: Colombo, Trincomalee, Hambantota


Keywords: General Studies –1 Geography
Daily Current Affairs

Gangetic Dolphin (Scientific Name: Platanista gangetica)

Why in news? Recently, thickly knitted fishing gill nets have caused the death of another river dolphin.


The Ganges River Dolphin was officially discovered in 1801.

Ganges river dolphins live in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu River systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.

The Ganges River dolphin can only live in freshwater and is essentially blind.

They hunt by emitting ultrasonic sounds, which bounces off of fish and other prey, enabling them to “see” an image in their mind. They are also called ‘susu’.

It was recognised as the National Aquatic Animal in 2009, by the Government of India.

It is a reliable indicator of the health of the entire river ecosystem.

Females are larger than males.

Habitat: Deep waters, in and around the confluence of rivers.

Distribution in India: Assam, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Threat: Direct killing, habitat fragmentation by dams and barrages and indiscriminate fishing.

IUCN status: Endangered.


Keywords: General Studies – 3 Environment, Conservation
Daily Current Affairs

Project Dantak

Why in news? Recently, The Prime Minister has praised the initiative by Border Roads Organisation Project Dantak to commemorate 64th Raising Day.


  • Project Dantak was established in 1961 by Border Road Organisation (BRO).
  • It was a result of the visionary leadership of the third King of Bhutan and then Prime Minister of India Jawahar Lal Nehru.
  • It was tasked to construct the pioneering motorable roads in Bhutan.
  • Some notable projects executed by the project include construction of Paro Airport, Thimphu – Trashigang Highway, Telecommunication & Hydro Power Infrastructure.
  • The Border Roads Organisation (BRO)
    • BRO is a statutory body under the ownership of Ministry of Defence, Government of India.
    • It was formed in 1960 to develop and maintains road networks in India's border areas and friendly neighboring countries.


Keywords: General Studies – 2 India & Foreign Relations
Daily Current Affairs

Transition Bonds

Why in news? Recently, SEBI mandated additional requirements for issuance and listing of transition bonds to facilitate transparency and informed decision-making.


  • Transition bond is a class of debt instruments, the proceeds of which are used to fund a firm's transition towards a reduced environmental impact or to reduce their carbon emissions.
  • Whereas green bonds focus solely on the use of proceeds or the profile of issuer and are restricted to only financing projects that are environmentally friendly, a transition bond is concerned about an issuer’s behaviour in terms of the strength of their commitment to becoming ‘greener’.
  • Transition bonds are more inclusive than green bonds and can be issued by firms that aspire to reduce their GHG emissions.
  • These bonds enable entities that would otherwise not qualify to issue green bonds to obtain sustainability-related financing.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Economy
Daily Current Affairs

Bank for International Settlement

Why in news? Recently, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Bank for International Settlements (BIS) have launched G20 TechSprint, a global technology competition.


  • BIS is an international financial organisation owned by 63 central banks including Indian Central Bank, representing countries from around world that together account for about 95% of world GDP.
  • It fosters international monetary and financial cooperation and serves as a bank for central banks.
  • BIS Governance is exercised at three levels - Board of Directors, General Meetings of member central banks and BIS Management - as determined by its Statutes.
  • Its headquarter is in Basel, Switzerland and was created in 1930 at Hague Conference.
  • It has two representative offices- in Hong Kong SAR and in Mexico City.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Economy
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