Monday, 30th October 2023

Table of contents

1   Daily Current Affairs

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Nutrient Based Subsidy Revision for Balanced Farming

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Rastriya Gokul Mission - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Atal Bhujal Yojana and Ground Water Management

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The 5T Initiative of Odisha - Edukemy Current Affairs

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United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Data

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Bidenomics - Edukemy Current Affairs

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India-Japan Chip Supply Chain Partnership

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Lok Sabha’s Ethics Committee - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana

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EU and India Joint Naval Exercise

2   Daily Editorial Analysis

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Improving Relations: Bhutan-China Ties and India's Apprehensions

.... Show less Show more
Daily Current Affairs

Nutrient Based Subsidy Revision for Balanced Farming


In News 

The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Department of Fertilizers for revision in Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) rates for various nutrients 

About NBS and its significance 

  • Under the Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) regime, Indian farmers receive subsidized fertilizers based on their nutrient content.  
  • Additional subsidies are granted for fertilizers fortified with secondary and micronutrients 
  • These subsidies are determined annually considering international and domestic fertilizer prices, exchange rates, and inventory levels.  
  • The NBS policy aims to enhance the use of P&K fertilizers, leading to balanced soil health and increased crop yields, benefiting farmers and reducing the fertilizer subsidy burden.  
  • Implemented since April 2010, NBS ensures the availability of affordable DAP and P&K fertilizers during the Kharif season, supporting agricultural productivity and food security while promoting efficient resource allocation. 

Loopholes in NBS 

  • The fertilizer subsidy, including the Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) policy, strains India's economy and has adverse environmental effects 
  • Imbalanced fertilizer usage causes soil degradation and nutrient runoff, impacting agricultural sustainability.  
  • Subsidized urea faces issues like black marketing, diversion to non-agricultural users, and smuggling to neighbouring countries.  
  • Leakage and misuse of subsidized fertilizers occur, denying genuine farmers access.  
  • Regional disparities in agricultural practices and nutrient requirements make a uniform NBS regime less effective in addressing specific regional needs. 

Path Ahead 

  • A uniform fertilizer policy is needed due to the importance of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium for crop quality and yield.  
  • A potential long-term solution is replacing Nutrient-Based Subsidy (NBS) with a per-acre cash subsidy that lets farmers buy any fertilizer, including value-added and customized options.  
  • Striking a balance between price control, affordability, and sustainable nutrient management is essential to achieve the NBS regime's goals. 

UPSC Previous Year Questions 

Prelims (2019) 

QWith reference to the cultivation of Kharif crops in India in the last five years, consider the following statements:

  1. Area under rice cultivation is the highest. 
  2. Area under the cultivation of jowar is more than that of oilseeds. 
  3. Area of cotton cultivation is more than that of sugarcane. 
  4. Area under sugarcane cultivation has steadily decreased. 

Which of the statements given above are correct? 

(a) 1 and 3 only 
(b) 2, 3 and 4 only 
(c) 2 and 4 only 
(d) 1, 2, 3 and 4 

Ans: (a) 

Prelims (2013) 

  1. Consider the following crops: 
  2. Cotton 
  3. Groundnut 
  4. Rice 
  5. Wheat 

Which of these are Kharif crops? 

(a) 1 and 4  
(b) 2 and 3 only  
(c) 1, 2 and 3  
(d) 2, 3 and 4 

Ans: (c) 

Source: PIB

Keywords: GS-3 Agricultural Resources, Mobilization of Resources, Direct & Indirect Farm Subsidies
Daily Current Affairs

Rastriya Gokul Mission - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News 

The Rastriya Gokul Mission, which has been in operation for nearly a decade, was intended to improve the quality of all indigenous cattle breeds but has, in practice, primarily favoured the promotion of the Gir cow across the country. 

About Rastriya Gokul Mission (RGM) 

  • It aims to enhance the productivity of indigenous bovine breeds, increase sustainable milk production, and promote the use of high genetic merit bulls for breeding.  
  • Has been in operation since December 2014.  
  • The scheme falls under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and is continued under the Rastriya Pashudhan Vikas Yojna from 2021 to 2026 with a budget of Rs. 2400 crore.  
  • Additionally, it seeks to expand artificial insemination coverage and promote the scientific and holistic conservation of indigenous cattle and buffalo breeds. 

Loopholes in RGM 

  • The Rastriya Gokul Mission in India primarily emphasizes the development of the Gir cow breed due to its high milk production and adaptability to various regions.  
  • This focus has led to a significant increase in purebred Gir cows, while other indigenous breeds like Sahiwal and Hariana have not seen similar growth, potentially jeopardizing the diversity of indigenous cattle breeds in India. 

What challenges exist with the native Gir cow breed? 

  • Despite the increasing preference for Gir cows, research suggests that graded Gir cows, which are crossbreeds between Gir and other indigenous varieties, do not consistently outperform native breeds in various regions. 
  • For example, some areas like Haryana and East Rajasthan have not witnessed improved milk production in graded Gir cows, leading to concerns about shorter lactation periods and reduced daily milk yields.  
  • The performance of graded Gir cows is influenced by factors beyond climate adaptability, such as their need for herding.  
  • Without sufficient resources and support, these cows can become a liability for farmers, as observed in Vidarbha. 

Possible Solutions 

  • To preserve region-specific traits and the long-term prospects of indigenous bovine varieties in India, experts recommend a shift from the current focus on high-yielding breeds towards identifying and breeding genetically superior cows from indigenous breeds.  
  • Successful experiments in states like Maharashtra have demonstrated the potential of this approach.  
  • Lessons from the past, such as the White Revolution's impact on livestock, emphasize the importance of maintaining the unique qualities of indigenous breeds rather than extensive crossbreeding with exotic breeds.  
  • This approach ensures the sustainability and well-being of Indian cattle and livestock rearers. 

UPSC Previous Year Questions 

Prelims (2012) 

Q. Consider the following crops of India:  

  1. Cowpea 
  2. Green gram 
  3. Pigeon pea 

Which of the above is/are used as pulse, fodder and green manure? 

(a) 1 and 2 only  
(b) 2 only 
(c) 1 and 3 only 
(d) 1, 2 and 3 

Ans: (a) 

Mains (2015) 

Q. Livestock rearing has a big potential for providing non-farm employment and income in rural areas. Discuss suggesting suitable measures to promote this sector in India

 

Source: DTE

Keywords: GS-2 GS-3 Conservation, Government Policies & Interventions, Economics of Animal-Rearing
Daily Current Affairs

Atal Bhujal Yojana and Ground Water Management


In News 

The 5th National Level Steering Committee (NLSC) meeting for the Atal Bhujal Yojana (ATAL JAL) was convened to assess the scheme's overall advancement. 

About Atal Bhujal Yojana 

  • ATAL JAL is a Central Sector Scheme administered by the Ministry of Jal Shakti 
  • It is a joint initiative of the Government of India and the World Bank on a 50:50 basis.  
  • The scheme's objective is to enhance sustainable groundwater management in water-stressed areas of select states, including Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.  
  • ATAL JAL emphasizes panchayat-led groundwater management and aims to bring about behavioural change, primarily focusing on demand-side management. 

Ground water depletion in India 

  • Groundwater depletion in India is a pressing concern, primarily due to over-extraction for irrigation, the effects of climate change, poor water management, and reduced natural recharge caused by factors like deforestation.  
  • India is the world's largest user of groundwater, with about 70% of its total water usage coming from groundwater sources.  
  • Overexploited wells, changing precipitation patterns, and inefficient water use are contributing to this issue.  
  • Sustainable water management practices and improved irrigation techniques are essential for addressing India's groundwater depletion problem. 

What are the concerns linked to the decline in groundwater levels? 

  • Groundwater depletion in India carries various serious consequences, including water scarcity, land subsidence, environmental degradation, and economic impacts.  
  • The rate of depletion is alarming, with projections indicating a potential tripling by 2080, threatening food and water security, as well as livelihoods for millions.  
  • Furthermore, lack of comprehensive depletion data and saltwater intrusion in coastal areas add to the complexity of the issue.  
  • Excessive groundwater pumping is even suggested to affect the Earth's axis and contribute to sea level rise, underscoring the urgent need for sustainable groundwater management practices in India. 

Way Forward 

  • Implement holistic and sustainable water management. 
  • Engage with local communities. 
  • Invest in infrastructure and capacity-building. 
  • Monitor and evaluate initiatives, and promote responsible groundwater practices to ensure future water availability. 

UPSC Previous Year Questions 

Mains (2020) 

Q. What are the salient features of the Jal Shakti Abhiyan launched by the Government of India for water conservation and water security? (2020)

Q. Suggest measures to improve water storage and irrigation system to make its judicious use under the depleting scenario. (2020)

Source: PIB 

Keywords: GS-1 GS- 2 Water Resources, Government Policies & Interventions GS-3 Conservation
Daily Current Affairs

The 5T Initiative of Odisha - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News 

Aligned with the 5T agenda, the Odisha government introduced the 'Mo Sarkar' or 'My Government' initiative in October 2019.The 5T initiative in Odisha is a governance model that stands for Teamwork, Transparency, Technology, Time, and Transformation 

About 5T initiative 

  • The 5T initiative in Odisha focuses on five key elements:  
    • Teamwork  
    • Transparency  
    • Technology 
    • Time  
    • Transformation 
  • It encourages government departments to work together, promotes openness and accountability, embraces technology for efficiency, stresses timely service delivery, and seeks a fundamental transformation in government operations to better serve citizens. 

What accomplishments has the 5T initiative achieved? 

  • As of March 2023, a total of 6,872 high schools had undergone transformation as part of the 5T initiative. 
  • In the 2019-20 academic year, private schools had an enrolment of 1,605,000 students.  
  • However, by the 2021-22 academic year, the number of students had decreased to 1,462,000.  
  • This decline suggests that there has been an increase in the enrolment of students in government schools. 

About 'Mo Sarkar' or 'My Government' initiative 

  • The "Mo Sarkar" initiative in Odisha is a governance program focused on enhancing government service delivery, transparency, and accountability.  
  • It incorporates a real-time feedback system that shares citizens' contact information with top officials, including the Chief Minister, facilitating issue identification and performance assessment of government officers.  
  • This initiative aims to empower the people, make governance evidence-based, and promote efficiency and equity in administration. 

Why is there a requirement to establish bodies similar to NITI Aayog at the state level? 

  • States play a crucial role in driving India's economic growth, as the national GDP growth relies on individual state's growth rates, excluding specific sectors.  
  • State governments are primarily responsible for health, education, and skilling initiatives.  
  • Their significance is evident in improving ease of doing business, land reforms, infrastructure, credit availability, and urban development, which are essential for sustainable economic progress.  
  • Unfortunately, many states have neglected their planning departments, which once collaborated with the Planning Commission and developed state five-year plans.  
  • Presently, these planning departments often lack direction and remain underutilized. 

UPSC Previous Year Questions 

Prelims (2019) 

Q.  Atal Innovation Mission is set up under the 

(a) Department of Science and Technology 
(b) Ministry of Labour and Employment 
(c) NITI Aayog 
(d) Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship 

Ans: (c) 

Mains (2016) 

Q. “Effectiveness of the government system at various levels and people’s participation in the governance system are inter-dependent”. Discuss their relationship in the context of India. (2016) 

Source: HT

Keywords: GS-2 Education, Government Policies & Interventions
Daily Current Affairs

United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification Data


 In News 

The UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) has unveiled its inaugural Data Dashboard, revealing a startling acceleration of land degradation in all regions. 

 Important findings of UNCCD Data on Land Degradation 

  • The world is losing more than 100 million hectares of productive land annually between 2015 and 2019, which is twice the size of Greenland.  
  • Global land degradation is worsening rapidly.  
  • Severe land degradation affects at least 20% of the land area in Eastern and Central Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.  
  • Sub-Saharan Africa, Western and Southern Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean are experiencing land degradation rates faster than the global average.  
  • Sub-Saharan Africa has lost 163 million hectares, while Latin America and the Caribbean have lost 108 million hectares to land degradation since 2015. 

Positive Developments 

  • Some countries have made significant strides in combating land degradation.  
  • For example, Botswana reduced land degradation from 36% to 17% of its territory and committed 45.3 million hectares to Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN).  
  • The Dominican Republic decreased degraded land from 49% to 31%, with ongoing restoration efforts.  
  • Uzbekistan, despite initially having the highest proportion of degraded land in Central Asia at 26.1%, also reduced it to 26% and undertook saxaul planting to combat salt and dust emissions from the drained Aral Sea basin between 2018 and 2022. 

India specific findings 

Degraded Land Area in India has been increased from 4.42% in 2015 to 9.45 % in 2019 

To achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) targets as recommended by the UNCCD: 

  • Restore 1.5 billion hectares of degraded land by 2030. 
  • Halt further land degradation. 
  • Accelerate land restoration efforts. 
  • Encourage countries to set their own LDN targets. 
  • Secure funding for restoration initiatives. 
  • Promote international collaboration. 
  • Implement supportive policy frameworks. 
  • Engage local communities. 
  • Monitor and report on progress regularly. 

About Land Degradation and Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) 

  • Land degradation 
    • Driven by factors like extreme weather and human activities, leads to desertification, arid regions, and various environmental issues.  
    • It worsens climate change, biodiversity loss, causes droughts, wildfires, forces migration, and contributes to zoonotic diseases. 
  • Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN)  
    • A concept that aims to protect natural resources by preventing and restoring land degradation.  
    • It promotes sustainable land management and land-use planning, benefiting the environment, society, and the economy.  
    • LDN also helps mitigate and adapt to climate change by turning land into a carbon sink, increasing carbon storage in soils and vegetation. 

Efforts to curb land degradation globally include 

  • The Bonn Challenge 
    • Aims to restore 350 million hectares of degraded land by 2030. 
  • Great Green Wall 
    • An initiative in Sahel-Saharan Africa to combat land degradation and restore native plant life. 
  • In India, initiatives like the Integrated Watershed Management Programme, MGNREGS, and others focus on land conservation and management. 
  • India's space agency, ISRO, provides valuable data through the Desertification and Land Degradation Atlas. 

The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) 

  • Established in 1994, it's a binding international agreement for sustainable land management in drylands. 
  • It works to improve conditions in drylands, restore land productivity, and address the effects of drought. 
  • UNCCD collaborates with other conventions addressing land, climate, and biodiversity. 
  • Its 2018-2030 Strategic Framework aims to achieve Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN). 
  • UNCCD aligns with Sustainable Development Goal 15 to protect the planet and manage natural resources sustainably. 

UPSC Previous Year Questions 

Prelims (2016) 

Q. What is/are the importance/importance’s of the ‘United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification'?  

  1. It aims to promote effective action through innovative national programmes and supportive international partnerships. 
  2. It has a special/particular focus on South Asia and North Africa regions, and its Secretariat facilitates the allocation of major portion of financial resources to these regions. 
  3. It is committed to bottom-up approach, encouraging the participation of local people in combating the desertification. 

Select the correct answer using the code given below: 

(a) 1 only  
(b) 2 and 3 only  
(c) 1 and 3 only  
(d) 1, 2 and 3 

Ans: (c) 

Mains (2020) 

Q. The process of desertification does not have climate boundaries. Justify with examples. 

Mains (2016) 

Q. In what way micro-watershed development projects help in water conservation in drought-prone and semi-arid regions of India?  

Source: DTE 

Keywords: GS-3 Environment
Daily Current Affairs

Bidenomics - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News 

The year 2024 holds significant economic importance with major elections in influential economies like India, Russia, the UK, the EU, and the US. In the US, "Bidenomics" is expected to be a central focus in the elections, shaping economic policies and direction. 

About Bidenomics and rationale behind it 

  • Bidenomics encompasses economic policies of the Biden administration in the US, focusing on three pillars: public investments, worker empowerment, and competition. 
  • It aims to improve infrastructure, reduce trade dependence, raise living standards for the middle- and lower-income groups, and boost job creation.  
  • Bidenomics seeks to generate revenue through taxation while investing in clean energy and reducing healthcare costs.  
  • The rationale behind it lies in the recognition that the traditional trickle-down model has failed, and a new approach is needed to address post-Covid challenges. 

Bidenomics matters for several reasons: 

  • It serves as a model for change globally, with other countries considering more interventionist approaches. 
  • While it addresses domestic economic concerns, critics worry it could trigger a global subsidy race, particularly post-COVID. 
  • In terms of performance 
    • The Biden administration has seen positive outcomes in key macro indicators like GDP, unemployment, and inflation. 
    • The US has continued to create jobs at a remarkable pace, with more job openings than unemployed individuals. 

On similar lines: Other initiatives 

Abenomics 

  • Introduced in Japan by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, aimed to rejuvenate the economy.  
  • It involved a combination of monetary policies like "quantitative and qualitative monetary easing" and fiscal policies, including increased government spending, to combat deflation and stimulate growth. 

What measures India has taken to stimulate economic recovery? 

The Indian government implemented strategies to address the uncertainty of the last two years, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Key initiatives include: 

  • New Economic Policy 
    • A Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package (10% of GDP) to support various sectors and segments of the economy in response to the pandemic. 
  • Production-linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme 
    • Introduced in 2020 to boost manufacturing and exports in sectors like automobiles, electronics, pharmaceuticals, textiles, and renewable energy by offering financial incentives to eligible manufacturers. 
  • Labour Codes 
    • Consolidating and simplifying central labour laws into four categories: wages, industrial relations, social security, and occupational safety and health. 
  • Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission 
    • An economic stimulus package of Rs 20 lakh crores announced under the "Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan" (Self-reliant India Mission) aimed at achieving self-reliance and supporting the economy during the pandemic. 

UPSC Previous Year Questions 

Prelims (2021) 

Q. Which among the following steps is most likely to be taken at the time of an economic recession? 

(a) Cut in tax rates accompanied by increase in interest rate.  
(b) Increase in expenditure on public projects. 
(c) Increase in tax rates accompanied by reduction of interest rate. 
(d) Reduction of expenditure on public projects. 

Ans: (b) 

Q. With reference to Indian economy, demand-pull inflation can be caused/increased by which of the following? 

  1. Expansionary policies 
  2. Fiscal stimulus 
  3. Inflation-indexing of wages 
  4. Higher purchasing power 
  5. Rising interest rates 

Select the correct answer using the code given below: 

(a) 1, 2 and 4 only 
(b) 3, 4 and 5 only  
(c) 1, 2, 3 and 5 only  
(d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 

Ans: (a) 

Source: IE 

Keywords: GS-3 Government Budgeting, Fiscal Policy, Inclusive Growth, Industrial Growth
Daily Current Affairs

India-Japan Chip Supply Chain Partnership


In News 

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between India and Japan to collaborate on the development of a semiconductor supply chain partnership. 

About Semiconductors 

  • Semiconductors are a class of crystalline solids with moderate electrical conductivity, used in making electronic devices like diodes, transistors, and integrated circuits.  
  • They are valued for their compactness, reliability, energy efficiency, and affordability.  
  • Semiconductors find applications in power devices, optical sensors, and light emitters, such as solid-state lasers. 

Importance of partnership 

  • The Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between India and Japan in the semiconductor supply chain is significant as it recognizes the importance of semiconductors for industry and digital progress.  
  • India aims to become a reliable player in the global semiconductor supply chain, aligning with its India Semiconductor Mission and attracting investments from companies like Micron Technology.  
  • Moreover, India and the United States are collaborating to strengthen chip supply chains, and major investments are pouring into India's semiconductor sector from companies like Microchip Technology, AMD, Lam Research, and Applied Materials. 

India Semiconductor Mission  

  • The India Semiconductor Mission (ISM) was launched in 2021 with a budget of Rs 76,000 crore under the Ministry of Electronics and IT.  
  • It aims to develop a sustainable semiconductor and display ecosystem.  
  • The mission includes schemes for setting up Semiconductor Fabs, Display Fabs, Compound Semiconductors, and Silicon Photonics facilities in India, providing financial incentives and support to attract investments.  
  • Additionally, the Design Linked Incentive (DLI) Scheme promotes semiconductor design for various applications. 

The challenges regarding semiconductor manufacturing in India: 

  • Setting up a semiconductor fabrication facility (fab) in India is prohibitively costly, often costing billions of dollars, and it may lag behind the latest technology. 
  • The semiconductor and display manufacturing industry demands massive capital investments, with high risk, long payback periods, and rapid technological changes, necessitating sustained investments. 
  • The government's financial support for the semiconductor industry is inadequate, considering the substantial investments required to establish manufacturing capabilities. 
  • India lacks significant chip fabrication capacity, relying more on chip design talent. Existing fabs are primarily used by organizations like ISRO and DRDO and may not be state-of-the-art. 
  • Semiconductor fabs require extensive resources, including clean water, stable power supply, ample land, and a highly skilled workforce, making them resource-intensive. 

Key strategies for advancing semiconductor manufacturing in India: 

  • Focus on providing fiscal support to all aspects of the chip-making chain, including design centres, testing facilities, and packaging. 
  • Develop a comprehensive ecosystem, from design to fabrication, packaging, and testing, to reduce dependency on imports and enhance self-reliance. 
  • Seek partnerships with countries like the US and technologically advanced nations such as Taiwan to promote domestic semiconductor manufacturing and reduce import dependency, fostering international collaboration. 

UPSC Previous Year Questions 

Prelims (2018) 

Q. With reference to solar power production in India, consider the following statements:

  1. India is the third largest in the world in the manufacture of silicon wafers used in photovoltaic units. 
  2. The solar power tariffs are determined by the Solar Energy Corporation of India. 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? 

(a) 1 only 
(b) 2 only  
(c) Both 1 and 2  
(d) Neither 1 nor 2 

Ans: (d) 

Prelims (2008) 

Q. Which one of the following laser types is used in a laser printer? 

(a) Dye laser 
(b) Gas laser 
(c) Semiconductor laser  
(d) Excimer laser 

Ans: (c) 

Source: IE 

Keywords: GS-2 IR GS-3 Growth & Development, Indigenization of Technology, Industrial Policy
Daily Current Affairs

Lok Sabha’s Ethics Committee - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News 

The Lok Sabha's Ethics Committee is investigating allegations of a Member of Parliament (MP) accepting bribes in exchange for asking questions in Parliament, a case commonly known as "Cash for Query." 

About Ethics Committee 

  • The Ethics Committee in the Indian Parliament oversees the moral and ethical conduct of members.  
  • It was first proposed in 1996 and established for the Rajya Sabha in 1997 and the Lok Sabha in 2015.  
  • Complaints against members can be filed by any person, provided they are supported by evidence and an affidavit stating they are not false.  
  • The Speaker can refer complaints to the committee, which conducts a preliminary inquiry before making recommendations.  
  • The committee's report is presented to the Speaker for consideration in the House.  
  • It overlaps in function with the Privileges Committee, but the latter deals with more serious accusations and matters related to safeguarding the authority and dignity of Parliament. 

Source: IE 

Keywords: GS-2 Polity
Daily Current Affairs

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana


In News 

The Indian Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has given its approval to include the Jamrani Dam Multipurpose Project in Uttarakhand under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana-Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (PMKSY-AIBP). 

About Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana 

  • The Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana-Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (PMKSY-AIBP) is a government initiative launched in 2015 to enhance irrigation and water access for agriculture.  
  • It's a centrally sponsored scheme with a 75:25 cost-sharing ratio between the central government and states, or 90:10 for the northeast and hilly states.  
  • The program aims to improve water efficiency, expand irrigated land, and promote sustainable water conservation practices. 
  • It includes components like the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), Har Khet ko Pani (HKKP), and Watershed Development.  
  • The program is implemented through decentralized State and District Irrigation Plans. 

Source: PIB 

Keywords: GS-3 Environment
Daily Current Affairs

EU and India Joint Naval Exercise


In News 

India and the European Union conducted their first joint naval exercise in the Gulf of Guinea, focusing on enhancing maritime security cooperation, building on their Maritime Security Dialogue. 

About 

  • In the course of the exercise, tactical manoeuvres were executed by the Indian Navy's INS Sumedha in conjunction with vessels from France, Italy, and Spain, which encompassed activities such as boarding and flying exercises off the coast of Ghana.  
  • This showcased the shared dedication of India and the EU to strengthen Gulf of Guinea maritime security, extend support to coastal nations, and uphold the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). 

Source: HT 

Keywords: GS-2 IR
Daily Editorial Analysis

Improving Relations: Bhutan-China Ties and India's Apprehensions


Context: This editorial, derived from "Warming ties: On Bhutan-China relations and India’s concerns" published in The Hindu on 25/10/2023, explores the consequences of the recent trip by Bhutan's Foreign Minister to China. 

Deepening of the relations between China-Bhutan 

  • The Bhutanese Foreign Minister's groundbreaking visit to China represents a historic milestone in diplomatic relations between the two countries, as they do not have formal ties.  
  • During this visit, China and Bhutan held their 25th round of boundary talks and signed a Cooperation Agreement related to the Bhutan-China Boundary.  
  • This agreement is a significant step in their 3-Step Roadmap initiated in 2021 for resolving border issues, which includes reaching an agreement on the border, conducting on-site visits, and formally demarcating the boundary.  
  • This builds on the positive momentum established since their last discussions in 2016. 

India’s apprehensions 

  • India's distinctive connection with Bhutan has led it to exercise caution when it comes to establishing diplomatic relations and entering into a boundary agreement with China. 
  • However, recent developments suggest that Bhutan is moving towards normalizing relations with China.  
  • The Bhutanese Prime Minister has reassured India that any agreement with China will not harm India's interests, and it's likely that Bhutan has involved India in these efforts to guarantee its security interests and red lines, including keeping China away from strategic areas near the "Siliguri corridor."  
  • Another red line involves Bhutan proceeding cautiously with normalizing ties and allowing a permanent Chinese diplomatic presence while continuing border talks. 

What potential consequences could India face as a result of the deepening relationship between Bhutan and China? 

Growing Bhutan-China relations could have several significant impacts on India: 

  • Geostrategic Implications 
    • Increased Chinese influence in Bhutan, especially in the strategic Doklam plateau, may threaten India's security interests and potentially affect its access to northeastern states through the Siliguri Corridor. 
  • Implications on Energy security 
    • Bhutan's diversification of economic ties with China could reduce its dependence on India, impacting India's energy security, as it imports a significant portion of Bhutan's surplus electricity. 
  • Diplomatic Implications 
    • Bhutan establishing formal diplomatic relations with China may challenge India's historical influence in the region and affect its traditional pro-India foreign policy. 
  • Implications on Connectivity and Infrastructure 
    • Bhutan's participation in China's Belt and Road Initiative could impact regional infrastructure development and connectivity, raising India's concerns over strategic and security implications. 
  • Implications on Regional Organizations 
    • Bhutan's alignment with China could influence India's role in regional organizations like SAARC and BIMSTEC. 

What should be India’s stance? 

In dealing with the evolving Bhutan-China relationship, India should: 

  • Prioritize Diplomacy 
    • India should engage in open and transparent diplomacy with Bhutan to understand their relationship with China and address any concerns that may arise. 
  • Collaborate on Borders 
    • India and Bhutan should work together on border negotiations, aiming for a mutually acceptable deal that serves the interests of both nations. 
  • Consider Bhutan's Perspective 
    • India should understand Bhutan's motivations and objectives in its dealings with China, acknowledging Bhutan's goals for economic development and security. 
  • Build Mutual Confidence 
    • Trust between India and Bhutan is crucial, and India should have confidence that Bhutan will consider both nations' interests when making decisions about its relationship with China.
  • Strengthen Bilateral Ties 
    • India should continue to enhance its bilateral relationship with Bhutan through various forms of cooperation, such as development assistance, cultural exchanges, and security collaboration. 
  • Explore Regional Cooperation 
    • Investigate opportunities for trilateral or multilateral cooperation involving Bhutan, India, and China to address common regional challenges like environmental conservation, disaster management, and trade. 

Conclusion 

India should carefully manage the complex effects of Bhutan's deepening ties with China by balancing security, economic diversification, and regional diplomacy. Maintaining strong relations with Bhutan, open dialogue, and regional cooperation will help India safeguard its interests in the region. 

Source: TH 

Keywords: GS-2 IR
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