Wednesday, 7th June 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day


Convert the LAC into a Line of Control

2   Daily Current Affairs


Groundwater Conservation in India


RBI’s Payment System Operators (PSOs) norms


India’s preferential scheme for LDCs


Low-cost finance for energy transition Report by IRENA


Ministry of Health Ban 14 Fixed-Dose Combination


DGFT Permit Import of PET Coke for Lithium Ion Battery


Beverage Lobby Differs with WHO On Non-Sugar Sweeteners (NSS)




Ocean Census


Natural Refrigerant Carbon dioxide


Nyaya Vikas


Adverse possession


BRICS: Use of local currencies in global trade

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Editorial of the day

Convert the LAC into a Line of Control

Exam View: Need for stability at the LAC; Agreements and inadequacies; Way forward.

Context: For the last few years, the situation on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has continued to remain extremely tense, with an almost war-like situation during the Doklam and Galwan crises.

Decoding the editorial: Need for stability at the LAC

  • After Galwan, China displayed one of the largest mobilisation of its forces into Tibet.
  • There has also been an increase in rhetoric and jingoism in both countries, calling for more aggression.
  • China:
    • The narrative that has been built over a long time by China claims Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh as two of the five fingers that are attached to the Tibetan Palm.
  • India:
    • The political establishment is not in a position to make any concessions to facilitate a mutually acceptable border settlement.
    • For India, it is all the more important that LAC disputes do not escalate into full-fledged conflicts because there is no surety that the results of war will be favourable to us.
  • The following factors have enhanced the reaction capability and have led to a rise in LAC incidents:
    • The quantum jump in surveillance technology provides visibility of movement of opposing forces in areas that were blind spots earlier;
    • Increased troop density;
    • Better roads;
    • Improved logistics; and
    • Availability of aviation assets.
  • This state of affairs is not sustainable and can trigger a major conflict, thereby destabilising the entire region and adversely impacting the world, politically and economically.

Agreements and inadequacies

Since the encouraging visit of the then Indian Prime Minister to China in 1988, four agreements have been signed (in 1993, 1996, 2005 and 2013) to maintain peace along the LAC. The agreements are based on the premise that the LAC is mostly defined and understood by both parties. However, this is not the case and there are large segments which lack clarity.

  • Article I of the 1993 Agreement stipulates the creation of joint mechanisms to verify and settle LAC-related disputes.
    • After 19 years, the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs (WMCC) was created in 2012.
    • It meets twice in a year but has little to show in terms of results on the ground.
  • The 3,488 kilometre-long LAC has only four Border Personnel Meeting (BPM) points; the Lipulekh BPM Point which was proposed in the Article V of the 2005 Protocol has not been established till now.
    • The paucity of BPM points precludes constructive engagement between the troops on the ground resulting in the escalation of disputes.
  • A mutually agreed reduction and redeployment of forces along the LAC, as in Article II of the 1993 Agreement and Articles II and III of the 1996 Agreement, has not seen any progress.

Way forward:

  • Convert the LAC into a Line of Control (LC) by delineating it on the map and on the ground without prejudice to border claims.
    • It can be implemented with a display of maturity by both sides and with the use of technology.
  • The disputed areas on the LAC can be treated as no entry zones; alternatively, both sides should be allowed to patrol these areas as per a mutually agreed frequency.
  • Joint patrolling of the disputed areas must also be explored as this can result in the maintenance of status quo and an increase in confidence.
  • Existing Confidence Building Measures and engagement mechanisms need to be strengthened by providing more teeth to the WMCC and establishing more BPM points so that local issues can be resolved quickly.

It is better that both sides consider taking short-term but effective and pragmatic steps to stabilise the LAC, reducing the possibilities of a conflict.


Keywords: GS Paper-2: India and its neighborhood
Daily Current Affairs

Groundwater Conservation in India

In News: The projected increase in groundwater use for irrigation can cancel the benefits of increased rainfall from warming climate

Groundwater accounts for a significant portion of India's water supply, supporting approximately 85% of rural drinking water needs and around 60% of irrigation requirements. It serves as a lifeline for farmers, especially during droughts and erratic rainfall patterns, ensuring food security and livelihoods for millions of people.

Challenges Faced in Groundwater Conservation:

  • Over-Extraction: Excessive groundwater extraction, primarily for irrigation, has led to declining water tables and depleted aquifers in many parts of the country. This overexploitation threatens the long-term sustainability of groundwater resources.
  • Lack of Awareness: A significant challenge lies in the limited awareness and understanding of the importance of groundwater conservation among various stakeholders, including farmers, industries, and the general public. Many are unaware of the adverse consequences of over-extraction and the need for sustainable practices.
  • Inadequate Regulatory Framework: The absence of comprehensive regulations, monitoring mechanisms, and enforcement has allowed uncontrolled and unsustainable groundwater extraction. The lack of clear ownership rights and ineffective governance exacerbate the problem.

Initiatives and Efforts for Groundwater Conservation:

  • National Water Mission: The National Water Mission under the Ministry of Jal Shakti aims to promote sustainable water use and conservation. It emphasizes groundwater management through initiatives like water budgeting, demand-side management, and artificial recharge of aquifers.
  • Rainwater Harvesting: The government, along with NGOs and community-based organizations, has promoted rainwater harvesting techniques to recharge groundwater. This involves capturing and storing rainwater during the monsoon season to replenish aquifers.
  • Watershed Management: Integrated watershed management programs, such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), focus on soil and water conservation measures. These initiatives aim to recharge groundwater by conserving rainwater through contour trenches, check dams, and afforestation.
  • Regulation and Monitoring: Some states have implemented regulations to control groundwater extraction. For instance, Maharashtra has adopted the Groundwater Act, which regulates the drilling of wells, mandates rainwater harvesting, and encourages water-efficient practices.
  • Amrit Sarovar Programme: It has the objective of developing and rejuvenating 75 water bodies in each district across the country

Data on Groundwater Crisis in India:

  • Depleting Water Tables: According to a report by the Central Ground Water Board, over 60% of India's districts have reported a decline in groundwater levels. Some regions, such as Punjab and Rajasthan, are witnessing alarming rates of depletion.
  • Over-Exploited Blocks: The Groundwater Resources Assessment published by the Ministry of Jal Shakti identifies over 1,000 blocks in India as "over-exploited." These blocks experience excessive extraction, leading to groundwater scarcity.
  • Rapid Depletion Rate: A study conducted by NASA using satellite data estimated that India's groundwater depletion rate between 2002 and 2016 was the highest globally, surpassing even that of China and the United States.

The conservation of groundwater is a crucial undertaking to ensure water security and sustainable development in India. Addressing the challenges of over-extraction, awareness, and governance requires collaborative efforts from the government, civil society organizations, and communities. By implementing robust regulatory frameworks, promoting water-saving technologies, and fostering awareness about groundwater conservation, India can mitigate the groundwater crisis and safeguard this invaluable resource for future generations.

Keywords: GS-1 Geography
Daily Current Affairs

RBI’s Payment System Operators (PSOs) norms

In News: The RBI has proposed a mechanism to establish robust governance mechanisms for authorised non-bank payment system operators (PSOs) to effectively address emerging cyber security risks.

About the draft proposal of RBI:

  • The RBI released a draft of ‘Master Directions on Cyber Resilience and Digital Payment Security Controls for Payment System Operators’ to deal with security threats in payment systems and PSOs.
  • The directions cover governance mechanisms for the identification, assessment, monitoring and management of cyber security risks.
  • As per the draft, PSOs will have to report any unusual incident, including those involving cyber-attacks, outage of critical infrastructure, internal fraud and settlement delay, to RBI within six hours of detection.
  • The Board of Directors of PSO shall be responsible for ensuring adequate oversight over information security risks, including cyber risk and cyber resilience.
  • PSOs will be required to develop an approved Cyber Crisis Management Plan (CCMP) to detect, contain, respond to, and recover from cyber threats and attacks.
  • PSOs should maintain records of key roles, information assets, critical functions, processes, third-party service providers, and their interconnections, and document their levels of usage, criticality and business value.
  • To ensure data security, the PSOs must implement a comprehensive data leak prevention policy to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, availability and protection of business and customer information, both within the PSO's control and at vendor-managed facilities.


Keywords: GS-3 Cyber Security, Government policies and Interventions (GS-2)
Daily Current Affairs

India’s preferential scheme for LDCs

In News: According to a report by the LDC Group at World Trade Organization (WTO), around 85% of the 11,000 products offered at zero tariffs by India to least developed countries (LDCs) under the duty-free quota-free (DFQF) scheme remain unutilized.

About the duty-free quota-free (DFQF) scheme for LDCs:

  • The Scheme requires all developed and developing country members to provide preferential market access for all products originating from all LDCs.
  • The decision to provide duty-free quota-free (DFQF) access for LDCs was first taken at the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Meeting in 2005.
  • India became the first developing country to extend this facility to LDCs in 2008, providing market access on 85% of India’s total tariff lines to better integrate LDCs into the global trading system.
  • The scheme was further expanded in 2014 providing preferential market access on about 98.2% of India’s tariff lines to LDCs. India offers 11,506 preferential tariff lines to LDCs of which 10, 991 are duty-free.

Key Findings of the Report:

  • According to WTO data for 2020, 85% of India’s tariff lines show a zero utilisation rate compared to 64% by China.
  • Noteworthy amounts of LDC exports are entering under non-preferential (i.e. most favoured nation) tariff route into India even though they are covered by the Indian preference scheme. For instance there could have been a duty savings of $74 million on vegetable oil exports from Bangladesh to India, if the preference scheme was used instead of the MFN route.
  • However, the report contended that there may be data gaps and requested China and India to redouble efforts to provide the WTO secretariat with an appropriate and complete set of data.



Keywords: GS-2 Global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Daily Current Affairs

Low-cost finance for energy transition Report by IRENA

In News: A report titled ‘Low-cost finance for energy transition’ by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), has praised India’s achievement in rolling out renewable energy capacity, calling it “unprecedented”.

Key Highlights of the Report:

  • Unprecedented growth in Renewable Energy:
    • India’s renewable energy sector has seen unprecedented growth driven by national targets of 175 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2022 and 500 GW of non-fossil fuel capacity by 2030.
    • India ranked 3rd on the Renewable Energy Attractive Index in 2021 and has the 4th largest power base for solar and wind energy.
  • IREDA’s role in India’s Energy Transition
    • The report makes a special mention of India setting up the government-owned NBFC, Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), in 1987.
    • IREDA has been serving India’s renewable energy sector and has helped commission around 20 GW of renewable energy through financing.
    • IREDA continues to pioneer new and emerging technologies (battery energy storage system, green hydrogen electrolysers, e-mobility) by introducing policies for financing in these new technologies.
    • IREDA has become the preferred agency through which DFIs across the world contribute to green project financing in India.
  • Government Support:
    • Sovereign green bonds showcase India’s commitment to building a low-carbon economy, mobilising private sector capital for sustainable development and lowering the cost of capital for green projects.
    • Overall green bond issuance in India has grown to $18.3 billion cumulatively, with 2021 recording issuance of $7 billion.
    • Investment in green bonds qualifies towards the RBI’s statutory liquidity ratio.
    • Insurance companies were allowed to classify green bonds as infrastructure investments.
    • Investment in sovereign green bonds would be accessible under Fully Accessible Route for foreign investors.


Keywords: GS-3 Infrastructure (Energy), environment, Indigenisation of Technology and Developing New Technology
Daily Current Affairs

Ministry of Health Ban 14 Fixed-Dose Combination

In News: Government bans 14 specified fixed dose combination (FDC) drugs for human use.

About Ban on Fixed-Dose Combination Drugs:

  • Ministry of Health has recently implemented a ban on the manufacture, sale, and distribution of 14 fixed-dose combination (FDC) drugs for human use.
  • The ban comes as a result of concerns over the lack of therapeutic justification for these drugs and the potential risks they pose to human health.
  • Fixed-dose combination (FDC) drugs are formulations that contain two or more active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) in specific ratios.
  • The banned FDC drugs include popular combinations used to treat common infections, cough, and fever.
  • The ban has been enforced under Section 26A of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and is deemed necessary in the larger public interest.
  • Previously, the government in 2016 had banned the manufacture, sale, and distribution of 344 drug combinations due to their lack of scientific data.
  • Overall, these bans aim to ensure that medications provided to patients are supported by scientific evidence, meet appropriate safety standards, and safeguard public health.


Keywords: GS-3: Health
Daily Current Affairs

DGFT Permit Import of PET Coke for Lithium Ion Battery

In News: Govt Permits Import of Pet Coke as Raw Material for Lithium-Ion Batteries

About PET Coke for Lithium-Ion Battery:

  • The government has recently permitted the import of pet coke as a raw material for making graphite anode material specifically for lithium-ion batteries.
  • The imported pet coke, known as needle pet coke (NPC), has been allowed for the production of graphite anode material only and not for other purposes or as fuel.
  • The sulphur content in the imported NPC should be less than 0.8 percent, which will be monitored by state pollution control boards.
  • At present, import of low-sulphur pet coke is restricted and requires authorization from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).
  • Low-sulphur pet coke imports are authorized for use in integrated steel plants, specifically for blending with coking coal in recovery-type coke ovens equipped with desulphurization plants.
  • The import of low-sulphur pet coke has to mandatorily comply with the terms and conditions set by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of India.
  • The steel industry cannot use low-sulphur pet coke as fuel or for trade purposes as Pet coke import for fuel purposes is completely banned at present.
  • Needle cokes, derived from pet coke, serve as a primary material for electrodes used in electric steel furnaces for smelting and refining steel scrap.
  • Graphite, which is commonly made from pet coke, is widely used as the anode material in the manufacturing of lithium-ion batteries.
  • Overall, the permission to import pet coke for lithium-ion batteries aims to support the growth of electric vehicles and battery technology.

Pet coke

  • Pet coke or petroleum coke is a carbon-rich solid material that is produced through the thermal decomposition of heavy crude oil residue during the refining process.
  • It consists predominantly of carbon content ranging from 90% to 97% and the remaining composition includes sulphur, metals (such as vanadium and nickel), and other impurities.
  • Pet coke has a high energy content, making it a desirable fuel source for industries that require high heat intensity.
  • Major exporting countries: United States, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, and China.
  • Major importing countries: India, China, and Brazil.


Keywords: GS-3: Environment
Daily Current Affairs

Beverage Lobby Differs with WHO On Non-Sugar Sweeteners (NSS)

In News: A lobby group representing major beverage companies resents with the World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines on non-sugar sweeteners.

About Beverage Lobby Differs with WHO on Sweeteners:

  • A lobby group representing major beverage companies, including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Red Bull, has criticized the recent WHO guidelines on non-sugar sweeteners.
  • WHO guidelines state that Non-Sugar Sweeteners (NSS) do not aid weight loss and increase the risk of certain diseases.
  • WHO has however reiterated its stands by its conditional guidelines on NSS, including both synthetic and natural sweeteners like aspartame, saccharin, sucralose, and stevia.
  • WHO has also emphasized that replacing free sugars with NSS does not aid long-term weight control and that NSS lack nutritional value.
  • Previously, Health groups have advocated for restrictive use of artificial sweeteners and clear messaging on their limited consumption.
  • Companies under The Indian Beverage Association (IBA) have been supporting the role of low or no-calorie sweeteners in reducing sugar intake amid the global obesity crisis.
  • Sales of diet colas, ice-creams, juices, breakfast cereals, confectionery, and no-sugar cooking alternatives have been growing in double digits.
  • In this regard, the industry executives have raised apprehension that new guidelines requiring warnings on products with NSS could impact sales of diet foods.
  • Overall, WHO's norms are part of guidelines on healthy diet and it advocates other ways to reduce free sugars' intake, such as consuming foods with naturally occurring sugars or unsweetened options.

Non-sugar sweeteners (NSS):

  • These are also known as artificial sweeteners or sugar substitutes and are used to provide sweetness to food and beverages without adding significant calories or carbohydrates.
  • These sweeteners are used as alternatives to sugar, particularly for individuals looking to reduce their sugar intake or manage conditions like diabetes.
  • These can be synthetic or derived from natural sources, and they are often much sweeter than sugar, requiring smaller amounts for the same level of sweetness.
  • Some common non-sugar sweeteners include: Aspartame, Sucralose, Saccharin, Stevia, Acesulfame Potassium (Ace-K), Neotame, Monk Fruit Extract etc.,


Keywords: GS-3: Health Policies
Daily Current Affairs


In News: The Bihar government signed an MoU with Geological Survey of India for conducting remote sensing and aerial survey of the southern part of the state.

Survey will identify magnetic anomaly on the surface representing the presence of rocks having a higher content of ferrous and ferromagnesian minerals.

About Magnetite

  • Magnetite is an oxide of iron. It is the most magnetic of all the naturally occurring minerals on earth. It is a natural magnet.
  • Magnetite contains about 72% metallic iron in it. It is found in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Goa and Kerala.

Magnetite Pollution: Magnetite pollution refers to the presence of a magnetic mineral called Magnetite (Fe3O4) in the environment, as a result of human activities such as mining, steel production and industrial processes.


Keywords: GS-1 Geography
Daily Current Affairs

Ocean Census

In News: Ocean census aims to discover 100,000 previously unknown marine species


  • Ocean Census aims to expand marine biodiversity knowledge by finding 100,000 new marine species within a decade.
  • It is jointly established by The Nippon Foundation (a non-profit philanthropic organization in
  • Japan) and Nekton Foundation (marine science and conservation institute in U.K) to discover
  • unknown marine life.
  • It will send scientists on expeditions to marine biodiversity hotspots and using advanced technology like high-resolution imagery, DNA sequencing and machine learning.
  • Previously, Census of Marine Life, international project that took place between 2000 and 2010, had recorded the diversity, distribution, and abundance of life in the ocean.


Keywords: GS-1 Geography
Daily Current Affairs

Natural Refrigerant Carbon dioxide

In News: Indian Navy in collaboration with IISc (Bengaluru) has operationalized a ‘first of its kind’ 100KW capacity AC plant in the country based on the natural refrigerant Carbon dioxide.


  • CO2 has several unique thermo-physical properties such as Very good heat transfer coefficient; Relatively insensitive to pressure losses; and very low viscosity.
  • In practical applications, CO2 systems deliver very high performance, the main reasons being better heat exchange, very low pumping power when CO2 is used as secondary fluid, and in cold climate the possibility of operating with a very low condensing pressure in the winter.
  • The efficiency of systems with CO2 depends more on the application and the climate than with other refrigerants. For all refrigerants, there is a decline in system efficiency with increasing condensing temperatures, and CO2 is among the refrigerants with the steepest drop.
  • CO2 has high energy content at higher temperatures, and when this heat can be reclaimed for heating sanitary water or similar application, the efficiency of the total system becomes very high. tech/

Keywords: GS-3 Environment
Daily Current Affairs

Nyaya Vikas

In News: Nyaya Vikas Portal is created by Ministry of Law and Justice for monitoring the implementation of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS).


  • Department of Justice has been implementing CSS for Development of Infrastructure Facilities
  • for Districts and Subordinate Judiciary since 1993-94.
  • Central assistance is provided to the State Government / UT Administrations for construction of court halls and residential units for Judicial Officers / Judges of District, etc.
  • Funding for the Scheme: North Eastern and Himalayan States (90:10); Union Territories (100%), remaining states (60:40).


Keywords: GS-2 Polity and Constitution
Daily Current Affairs

Adverse possession

In News: There is no justification for introducing any change in the law relating to adverse possession,” the 22nd Law Commission has said in its recent report.


  • Concept of Adverse possession steps from the idea that land must not be left vacant but instead, be put to judicious use.
  • Limitations Act 1963 provides that any person in possession of private land for over 12 years or government land for over 30 years can become the owner of that property (Adverse Possession).
  • However, the possession must be continuous, uninterrupted, and peaceful.

In the 2004 Apex Court ruling in Karnataka Board of Wakf v Government of India, the court dealt with the ingredients of adverse possession. According to the observations made by former SC judge S. Rajendra Babu in the case, “A person who claims adverse possession should show:

(a) on what date he came into possession

(b) what was the nature of his possession

(c) whether the factum of possession was known to the other party

(d) how long his possession has continued

(e) his possession was open and undisturbed.”


Keywords: GS-3 Economy
Daily Current Affairs

BRICS: Use of local currencies in global trade

In News: BRICS pitches for using local currencies in international trade


  • The BRICS nations are a group of emerging economies that have been working together to increase their economic and political influence on the global stage.
  • The group's call for increased use of local currencies in international trade is a sign of their growing confidence and their desire to reduce their dependence on the US dollar.
  • The use of local currencies in international trade could have a number of benefits. It could help to reduce the cost of trade, as businesses would no longer have to convert their currencies into dollars or other reserve currencies.
    • It could also help to promote financial stability, as businesses would be less exposed to currency fluctuations.
  • Potential risks associated with using local currencies in international trade. For example, it could make it more difficult for businesses to hedge against currency risk.
    • It could also make it more difficult for businesses to access international capital markets.


Keywords: GS-3 Economy
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