July 2023 Current Affairs

Table of contents

1   Monthly Current Affairs

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National Multidimensional Poverty Index

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India’s attempt to expand G20 to increase Global South imprint

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Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour

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Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB)

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U.S. destroys last of its declared chemical weapons

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The Headquarters Agreement (HQA)

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RBI’s State of the Economy report

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Indian Pharmacopoeia Recognition in Suriname

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Demographic dividend - India biggest strength

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India's opportunity to become an alternative to China in Manufacturing

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Mahila Samman Savings Certificate (MSSC), 2023

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Performance Grading Index for Districts (PGI-D)

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The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023

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India joins Global Crisis Response Champions

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India’s Rice Export Ban

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Agri Infra Fund - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Issues faced by gig workers in India

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Initiatives launched under PMFBY

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Mutual Funds: 5 New ESG Categories

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National Research Foundation - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Strengthening Multilateral Development Banks: The Triple Agenda

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Tax Challenges arising from the digitisation of the Economy

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Tax Challenges arising from the digitisation of the Economy

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Variable Rate Reverse Repo Auctions (VARRRs)

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Farmers Distress Index - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Internationalisation of Rupee

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Nari Adalats - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Jharkhand issues PESA draft rules for consultations

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Offshore Mineral Development Amendment Bill, 2023

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The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023

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PM DevINE - Edukemy Current Affairs

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No Confidence Motion - Edukemy Current Affairs

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The Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill 2021

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National Commission for Women (NCW)

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ED’s powers to arrest and seek custody

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Digital time voucher system for political parties

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Right to Remain Silent - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Child Trafficking - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY)

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Suspensions of Members of Parliament (MPs)

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Due Process of Law and Basic Structure Doctrine

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Article 355 and Article 226 - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Governor Power to Dismiss a Minister

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Panchayat Development Index Report

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Global Parliamentary Pact - Edukemy Current Affairs

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AuditOnline - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) by CBIC

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Plea to make Scheduled Caste status ‘religion-neutral’

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Admitting new members to BRICS

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Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Mechanism

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CPTPP: Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

2   Monthly Editorial Analysis

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Japan and the Indo-Pacific - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Approval Voting - Edukemy Current Affairs

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The SCO is a success story - Edukemy Current Affairs

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A strong and unified ASEAN - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Taming inflation - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Dilemmas of India’s great power ambitions

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Who is accountable in Manipur?

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A roadmap to eliminate poverty in India

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Small states’ heavy reliance on Union

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What connects India and Bangladesh?

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Why are India-France ties strong?

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India-Africa ties - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Demographic transition and change in women’s lives

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India’s and Europe: New era of strategic partnership

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North India and unusually heavy rains

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Leveraging the labour force - Edukemy Current Affairs

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A new palette for India’s creative economy

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America’s NATO Plus bait

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Behind France’s violence: A history of colonialism

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Food security promises - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Electronic manufacturing in India

3   Monthly Mapping in News

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Zanzibar (Tanzania) - Edukemy Current Affairs

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France - Edukemy Current Affairs

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GSI survey of the Siachen - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Dudhwa Tiger Reserve - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Ecuador - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Sweden - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Churachandpur’ in Manipur

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Indonesia - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Iceland - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Khazan Land (Goa) - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Kaas Plateau (Maharastra) - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine

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Pichavaram region - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Pangong Tso lake - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Tam Pà Ling Cave

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Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project (Arunachal Pradesh)

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Oman’s Duqm port

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Turkmenistan - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Nepal - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Argentina

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Khadir Bet and Bela Region - Gujarat

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Porpanaikottai - Tamil Nadu

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Orkney Islands

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Orkney Islands

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Peru - Ubinas Volcano

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Peru - Ubinas Volcano

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Sudan - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Mozambique - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Chad

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Parkachik Glacier

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Philippines - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Rwanda - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Godda (Jharkhand) - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Vietnam - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Kurnool (Andhra Pradesh) - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Cambodia

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Kerch Bridge (Crimea) - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Ghaggar River

.... Show less Show more
Monthly Current Affairs

National Multidimensional Poverty Index


In News: Recently, NITI Aayog has released the ‘National Multidimensional Poverty Index: A Progress Review 2023’. 

National Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI): 

  • MPI measures Poverty across its multiple dimensions and in effect complements existing poverty statistics based on per capita consumption expenditure. 
  • It considers three equally weighted dimensions – Health, Education, and Standard of living. 
  • These three dimensions are measured by 12 indicators such as nutrition, child and adolescent mortality, maternal health, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, assets, and bank accounts. 
  • The first edition of MPI was released in 2021. 

Key Highlights of MPI 2023: 

  • It is the 2nd edition of the National Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) and has been prepared based on the latest National Family Health Survey-5 (2019-21). 
  • India's population living in multidimensional poverty decreased from 24.85% in 2015-16 to 14.96% in 2019-21. 
  • The rural areas of India registered the fastest decline in poverty, with the poverty rate dropping from 32.59% to 19.28%. 
  • Uttar Pradesh registered the largest decline in the number of poor individuals, with 3.43 crore (34.3 million) people escaping multidimensional poverty. 
  • Bihar saw the fastest reduction in MPI value in absolute terms with the proportion of multidimensional poor reducing from 51.89% to 33.76% followed by Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh. 
  • Except for Bihar, no other state in India has more than one-third of its population living in multidimensional poverty. 
  • Number of states with less than 10% of people living in multidimensional poverty has doubled between 2016 and 2021 from 7 (Mizoram, HP, Punjab, Sikkim, TN, Goa, and Kerala) to 14 (Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Manipur, and Uttarakhand). 

Reasons for Multidimensional Poverty: 

  • Within Health Category, Lack of proper nutrition contributed almost 30% in the overall calculation of MPI of India. 
  • Within Education category, lack of years of schooling, inadequate access to maternal health services and less-than-desired school attendance did not show much decline. 
  • Within the Standard of Living Category, ~44% of India’s population is still deprived of access to cooking fuel, 30% of the population deprived of sanitation services. 

Government’s Initiatives: 

  • Health and Nutrition: Poshan Abhiyan and Anaemia Mukt Bharat 
  • Sanitation: Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) and Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) 
  • Cooking fuel: PM Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) 
  • Other initiatives: Saubhagya (electricity), PM Awas Yojana (housing), PM Jan Dhan Yojana (banking), and Samagra Shiksha (education). 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

India’s attempt to expand G20 to increase Global South imprint


In News: While G-20 negotiators led by Indian Sherpa Amitabh Kant continue their discussions on the draft “Leader’s Declaration” for the Summit in September, India has proposed membership of the African Union (AU) in the G20. 

About the membership of G20: 

  • The Group of Twenty (G20) comprises 19 countries and the European Union. It represents around 85% of the global GDP, over 75% of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population. 
  • G20 has only one representative from the continent of Africa i.e. South Africa and is largely dominated by representation from Europe.  

Significance of India’s push for AU’s representation: 

  • Diversion from global polarisation: India’s push to expand the imprint of Global South in G20 is a way of diverting attention and energies from the global polarisation over the war in Ukraine. 
  • Voice of Global South: With the proposal of inclusion of AU in G20, India has positioned itself as a voice of global south in international fora. 
  • Inclusion of additional issues in the draft: The proposal comes along with a slew of new proposals such as additions on gender-led development, digital public infrastructure and green hydrogen transitions. 

What are the roadblocks in publishing the Leader’s Declaration or Communique? 

  • Statements from Bali G20 communique: The two paragraphs in Bali G20statements have created rows during ministerial meets on education, research, agriculture, tourism and Urban 20.  
  • Disagreement of Russia and China: Both the countries have disassociated themselves from the language of Bali meet, which states national positions of various countries on Ukraine war. They refuse to support any reference of the war in Ukraine in a G20 document, meant for economic and development issues. 
  • Adamant G7 countries: G-7 countries are adamant that the Russian war in Ukraine must be included as it is affecting the global economy including energy prices, food security etc. 
  • Inclusion of economic sanctions: G-7 countries are also not keen for economic sanctions imposed by the west to be included in the official document 

A joint communique has not been witnessed since 2008 for G-20 countries, and coming together of all countries with a Leader's Declaration or Communique would be unprecedented in the G20’s summit history. 

Support for India’s proposal on AU: 

  • Troika of developing countries: G20 hosted by India represents the first time that developing countries form the troika (hosts for 2022-2023-2024) of Indonesia-India-Brazil, and India has championed the voice of the global south in its deliberations. 
  • Over representation of Europe: G20 at present is “over-represented” by Europe, as a quarter of the grouping is made up of the UK, France, Germany, Italy and the European Union (Spain- permanent special invitee). 
  • Inclusion of large chunk of global population: Inducting AU will not change the composition of the invitee list, as AU is a special invitee every year, but it will bring a large chunk of the global population currently being kept “out of the tent”. 
  • 90% of global population: With inclusion of AU, 90% of the global population will be represented by the grouping, which will be unique. 

Challenges to providing Membership for African Union 

  • Several other contenders want G20 membership such as ASEAN, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), as well as countries like Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland, which are not permanent members of the G20, but are in the world’s top 20 economies. 
  • Difficulty in consensus building as it will lead to an exponential rise in the number of countries for building consensus over a G20 document, which is already paralyzed by the Ukraine war. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

Grand Cross of the Legion of Honour


In News: French President Emmanuel Macron conferred France’s highest honour, the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor, upon the Indian Prime Minister who is visiting France to attend the Bastille Day celebrations.  

About the Grand Cross of the Legion of Honor 

  • The National Order of the Legion of Honor, is the highest French decoration, both civil and military, and is one of the most famous national honours in the world. 
  • Established in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte, The Legion of Honour is divided into five classes (lower to higher)- Knight, Officer, Commander, Grand Officer and Grand Cross. The PM was awarded the fifth honour. 
  • The colour of the ribbon is red and the badge is a five-armed Maltese asterisk hung on an oak and laurel wreath. On the obverse is the effigy of the Republic and on the reverse two tricolour flags surrounded by the motto ‘Honour and Fatherland’ written in French. 
  • Although the membership to the award is restricted to French nationals, foreign nationals who serve France or uphold its ideals may also be given a distinction of the Legion. 
  • Indian Prime Minister joins the ranks of other prominent world leaders like Nelson Mandela, King Charles, Angela Merkel 
  • The PM announced the opening of a new Indian consulate in Marseille in France and said that Indian students doing masters in European countries will now get five-year-long post-study work visas. 
  • Describing people-to-people connect as a key foundation of the India-France partnership, he also asked the diaspora members to invest in India. 

Other Awards conferred to the Indian Prime Minister: 

  • Order of the Nile by Egypt in June 2023 
  • Companion of the Order of Logohu by Papua New Guinea in May 2023 
  • Companion of the Order of Fiji in May 2023 
  • Ebakl Award by the Republic of Palau in May 2023 
  • Order of the Druk Gyalpo by Bhutan in 2021 
  • Legion of Merit by the US Government in 2020 
  • King Hamad Order of the Renaissance by Bahrain in 2019 
  • Order of the Distinguished Rule of Nishan Izzuddin by Maldives in 2019. 
  • Grand Collar of the State of Palestine Award in 2018 
  • Order of Abdulaziz Al Saud from Saudi Arabia in 2016. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB)


In News: Chief Election Commissioner of India Rajiv Kumar participates in the 11th meeting of the Executive Board of Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) 

About Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) 

  • Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) was founded in October 2013 in Seoul, Republic of Korea. 
  • It is the largest association of Election Management Bodies (EMBs) worldwide with 119 EMBs as Members and 20 Regional Associations/Organizations as Associate Members. 
  • Its primary vision is to achieve sustainable democracy globally by strengthening the processes of election management in member countries. 
  • It organizes capacity building programs, conducts election visitor and observation programs to study election management practices and share knowledge among member EMBs. 
  • It also has regional offices, including A-WEB India Centre, which focus on sharing best practices and providing training and capacity building to officials. 
  • It facilitates cooperation and collaboration among EMBs worldwide, allowing them to learn from each other's experiences and best practices. 
  • Overall, the association helps addressing the pressing challenges faced by EMBs including countering fake narratives that threaten election integrity globally. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

U.S. destroys last of its declared chemical weapons


In News: U.S. destroys last of its declared Chemical Weapons closing a deadly chapter dating to World War I 

About Chemical Weapons Stockpile 

  • The United States has recently achieved a major milestone by successfully destroying its entire declared chemical weapons stockpile. 
  • The historic event took place at the Blue Grass Army Depot in Kentucky, where the last remaining chemical weapons were eliminated. 
  • Rockets filled with GB nerve agents commonly known as “sarin” were destroyed, concluding a decades-long campaign to eliminate the stockpile that once totalled over 30,000 tons. 

Chemical Weapon Convention (CWC) 

  • It is an international arms control treaty adopted in 1993 and entered into force on April 29, 1997 which is aimed at eliminating chemical weapons worldwide. 
  • It is considered one of the most comprehensive disarmament treaties, with 193 member states. 
  • Its primary goal is to prevent the production, acquisition, stockpiling, and use of chemical weapons. 
  • The CWC also establishes the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) as its implementing body. 
  • Under the CWC, member states commit to destroying their existing chemical weapon stockpiles and dismantling related production facilities. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

The Headquarters Agreement (HQA)


In News: The Union Cabinet has given its approval for ratification of the Headquarters Agreement (HQA) between Government of India (Gol) and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) signed on 22nd August, 2022. 

About the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI): 

  • The CDRI was launched by India during the United Nations Climate Action Summit in 2019 at New York 
  • It is a major global initiative launched by the Government of India and is seen as India's attempts to obtain a global leadership role in climate change and disaster resilience matters. 
  • CDRI is a global partnership of National Governments, UN agencies and programmes, multilateral development banks and financing mechanisms, the private sector, academic and knowledge institutions that aims to promote the resilience of infrastructure systems to climate and disaster risks, thereby ensuring sustainable development. 
  • Since its launch, thirty-one (31) Countries, six (06) International Organisations and two (02) private sector organisations have become members of CDRI. 

About the Headquarters Agreement (HQA): 

  • In June of 2022, the Cabinet had approved recognition of CDRI as an International Organization and for signing of Headquarters Agreement (HQA) for granting CDRI exemptions, immunities and privileges as contemplated under Section-3 of the UN (P&I) Act, 1947. 
  • This will provide CDRI an independent and international legal persona so that it can carry out its functions internationally, more efficiently. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

RBI’s State of the Economy report


In News: Recently, RBI released the State Of The Economy report, which suggests that the economic momentum (on a quarter-on-quarter basis) is likely to remain healthy even as the global recovery is slowing down. 

About the State of the Economy Report: 

  • The State of the Economy report is released by the RBI which summarises the economic status of the country and provides a record of economic progress. 
  • The report discusses inflation, employment status, economic growth and the central bank’s plan for managing money. 
  • RBI uses the key highlights of the reports to make decisions about interest rates and other economic policies, and it also assists economists, investors, and regular citizens understand the economy and make smart choices. 

Key Highlights of the Report:  

  • Decline in merchandize exports: Merchandise exports declined by around 16% in July, falling to a nine month low $32.25 billion. 
  • Growth in private consumption and investment: Although the contraction in exports will drag down growth, increase in private consumption and investment activity is expected to offset that. 
  • Healthy signs by high-frequency indicators: Several high-frequency indicators of both demand and supply show healthy signs.  
    • E-way bill volumes have registered robust growth.  
    • FMCG sales have also improved sequentially.  
    • Cargo at major ports as well as railway freight traffic has picked up in July.  
    • Both steel and cement consumption have registered healthy growth. 
  • Positive investment intentions: Investment intentions closely track actual investments and serve as a useful indicator of gauging the private investment cycle. In 2022-23, investment plans were made for 982 projects with a capital outlay of Rs 3.5 lakh crore as compared to 791 projects worth Rs 1.96 lakh crore in 2021-22 
  • Increase in investment in infrastructure projects: Around 60% of these 982 projects financed by banks and financial institutions are in the infrastructure sector i.e. power, roads and bridges, SEZs, industrial biotech and IT park.  
  • Improved capex cycle: Stronger bank and corporate sector balance sheets, improving demand conditions and rising capacity utilisation rates, will bode well for the capex cycle.  

Concerns highlighted by the Report:  

  • Weak Automobile sales: Automotive sector, with the exception of three-wheelers, remains weak. 
  • Increased MNREGA demands: Demand for work by households/individuals under MGNREGA is higher than last year.  
  • Weak domestic demands: Non-oil imports are lower than last year which indicates weak domestic demand. 
  • Materialisation of investments: Despite rise in investment intentions, materialisation of the investments remains a big concern.  

Source: https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/express-view-on-rbi-studies-carrying-hope-8898964/#:~:text=As%20per%20this%20(limited)%20study,worth%20Rs%201.96%20lakh%20crore.  

 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Indian Pharmacopoeia Recognition in Suriname


In News: Recently, the Cabinet approves the signing of an MoU between India and Suriname in the field of the regulation of medicines 

About 

  • India and Suriname signed MoU exemplifies the mutual commitment to collaborate closely in the realm of medicine regulation. 
  • It aims to recognize the importance of adhering to respective laws and regulations while ensuring the quality of medicines in both countries. 

About MoU 

  • Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP) Acceptance: The MoU solidifies the acceptance of the IP as a comprehensive book of standards for medicines in Suriname. 
  • Quality Control: The requirement for duplicate testing of medicines within Suriname is eliminated through the acceptance of the Certificate of Analysis issued by Indian Manufacturers adhering to the IP standards.  
  • Cost-effective Standards: The MoU facilitates access to IP Reference Substances (IPRS) and Impurity standards from the IPC at reasonable costs.  

Significance of the MoU between India and Suriname 

  • Accessible Medications: Acknowledging intellectual property (IP) paves the way for the production of generic medicines in Suriname. This results in a higher availability of affordable drugs for the people of Suriname, aligning with the objective of improving public health. 
  • Economic Benefits: For India, recognizing the Indian Pharmacopoeia in Suriname marks a stride towards an 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' (self-reliant India). This acknowledgment facilitates the export of Indian medical products, generating foreign exchange earnings, and fortifying India's pharmaceutical industry on the world stage. 
  • Enhancing Indian Pharmaceutical Exports: The acceptance of IP by Suriname eliminates the need for redundant testing and checks, providing Indian pharmaceutical exporters with a competitive advantage. The reduction in regulatory aaobstacles leads to more profitable trade for the Indian pharmaceutical sector. 
  • Broader International Validation: The official recognition of the Indian Pharmacopoeia has already extended to countries such as Afghanistan, Ghana, Nepal, Mauritius, and now, Suriname. This expansion underscores India's endeavors to bolster its influence and collaboration in the global pharmaceutical arena.

   https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1949414 

 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Demographic dividend - India biggest strength


In News: The current demographic dividend of India, entails a huge potential to make its next 25 years a golden period, provided the effective utilisation of its human resources. 

About the demographic dividend of India and the world: 

  • According to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), demographic dividend means, "the economic growth potential that can result from shifts in a population’s age structure, mainly when the share of the working-age population (15 to 64) is larger than the non-working-age share of the population. 
  • India has an average age of 29 years, thus has a youthful population which presents a unique advantage for the country’s economic growth. 
  • Globally most of the developed countries are ageing with the US, China, France, Germany and Japan having an average age of 38, 38, 42, 45 and 48 years, respectively. 
  • India’s old-age dependency ratio will reach 37% in 2075, whereas the same will be 55.8% in France, 75.3 % in Japan, 49.3% in US, 53% in the UK and 63.1% in Germany 

Lessons from the Asian Success stories:  

  • Harnessing of demographic dividend: Asian countries like China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore have effectively utilised their favourable demographics to drive economic growth and development. 
  • Shift towards labour intensive productions: Importance of capitalising on labour-intensive manufacturing sectors to create employment opportunities could be witnessed in the case of China. 
  • Structural Transformations: Countries like Japan, Singapore etc. have undergone structural transformations by transitioning from labour-intensive industries to more advanced sectors to successfully reap the advantage of demographic dividend. 

What needs to be done to efficiently use India’s demographic dividend?  

  • Increased opportunities: There is a need to create opportunities for the existing labour force and the new entrants into the labour market by improving their productivity.  
  • Increase Marginal Productivity of labour: There is a need to shift a major chunk of the 45.5% of the labour force engaged in agriculture with negligible labour productivity and often being disguised unemployment.  
  • Focus on labour intensive sectors such as textiles, toys, footwear, auto components, sports goods, mining and construction and agricultural processing to absorb unskilled and uneducated labourers. 
  • Absorption in tertiary sectors like restaurants, hotels, healthcare and caregiving services have huge potential. 
  • Industry and Infrastructure Development: India should accelerate infrastructure development to support economic growth and enhance competitiveness. This includes investment in transportation, energy, digital connectivity, and other critical infrastructure sectors. 
  • Push to MSMEs: MSMEs need support in improving competitiveness, achieving scale, digital infrastructure, technology up-grade and branding to be part of a larger supply chain and the global value chains. 
  • Skilling and Education: Benefits of demographic dividend can only be reaped if the labour force is more productive and efficient through skilling, re-skilling, up-skilling and education. 
  • Social Security and Healthcare: India should work towards improving access to quality healthcare services and implementing robust social security programs. 

Initiatives of Indian government to reap the demographic dividend: 

  • Skill development initiatives: Various programmes like Jan Shikshan Sansthan, Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana, and National Apprenticeship Promotion Scheme to improve employability have been launched. The MSDE Vision 2025 further aims to improve the linkage between education and skill. 
  • Healthcare reforms: The Ayushman Bharat and Swachh Bharat Mission seek to improve health equity in India. The PM Janaushadhi Pariyojana has made drugs affordable and accessible, enhancing overall public health. 
  • Education policy: The National Education Policy 2020, alongside the Samagra Shiksha programme, is focused on providing inclusive, equitable, and quality education at all school levels, ensuring a productive labour force in the future. 
  • Support for MSMEs: Recognizing MSMEs as the backbone of Indian manufacturing, the government has supported them through various PLI incentives and credit facilities like Mudra. 
  • Flagship programmes like Skill India, Make in India, and Start-up India etc. have been introduced to enhance the productivity of the labour force and to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

India's opportunity to become an alternative to China in Manufacturing


In News: World Bank president Ajay Banga deliberates on India's opportunity to become an alternative to China in Manufacturing 

About India has a 3–5-year China+1 window: 

  • World Bank President Ajay Banga recently visited India and emphasized the country's potential to become an alternative to China in manufacturing. 
  • India has a limited window of three to five years to capitalize on this opportunity and establish itself as a viable manufacturing destination. 

Key observations: 

  • The changing global supply chain dynamics are prompting companies to explore diversifying their manufacturing locations, moving away from excessive reliance on China. 
  • India has an excellent opportunity to position itself as a preferred destination for companies seeking an alternative to China for manufacturing operations. 
  • India should act with determination and enthusiasm to seize this window of opportunity and attract manufacturing investments.
Challenges faced by China  Advantage India 

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to dip in consumption, downtrend in the labor market 

Poor domestic demand and reduced profits have led to Unemployed and mass layoffs. 

The real estate in China is facing stagnation and developers struggling with reduced demand. 

Deflation leading to decreased consumer spending and reduced demand for goods. 

China's export-oriented growth has been impacted by the global economic slowdown, 

Tensions with the United States have also contributed to economic losses for China. 

China faces a trapped debt crisis with total debt payment due to a staggering $785 billion.

Collaboration between government and private sector for an investor-friendly environment. 

Leveraging demographic dividend, skilled labor force for manufacturing operations. 

Improving ease of doing business, infrastructure development, and policy reforms. 

Emphasizing innovation, R&D to attract high-value manufacturing investments. 

Investments in vocational training and skill development. 

Focus on promoting and supporting domestic manufacturing. 

Encouraging technology transfer and innovation within the country.

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Mahila Samman Savings Certificate (MSSC), 2023


In News:  Recently, the Department of Economic Affairs has authorized Public Sector Banks and eligible Private Sector Banks to implement the Mahila Samman Savings Certificate, 2023. 

About: 

  • Mahila Samman Savings Certificate, 2023 scheme was announced in the Union Budget FY 2023-24 by the Central Government to provide financial security to every girl and woman in India. 
  • It is a one-time savings scheme. 
  • Women can open the account for themselves or on behalf of a minor girl child. 
  • The scheme has been in operation since April 1, 2023, through the Department of Post. 

Key Features of the Scheme. 

  • Provides attractive and secured investment option to all girls and women. 
  • An account can be opened under this scheme on or before the March 31, 2025, for a tenure of two years. 
  • The deposit made under MSSC will bear interest at the rate of 7.5% per annum which will be compounded quarterly 
  • Minimum of ₹1000 and any sum in multiple of 100 may be deposited within the maximum limit of ₹200,000. 
  • Maturity of the investment under this scheme is two years from the date of opening of the account under the scheme. 
  • It envisions flexibility not only in investment but also in partial withdrawal during the scheme tenor. The account holder is eligible to withdraw maximum up to 40% of the eligible balance in the scheme account. 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Performance Grading Index for Districts (PGI-D)


In News: Ministry of Education releases report on Performance Grading Index for Districts (PGI-D). 

About Performance Grading Index for Districts (PGI-D) 

  • The Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSE&L) under the Ministry of Education, has recently released the PGI-D combined report for the year 2020-21 & 2021-22. 
  • The report graded the performance of the school education system at the 742 and 748 districts during 2020-21 and 2021-22 across the States/UTs by creating an index for comprehensive analysis. 
  • Based on the success of State PGI, an 83-indicator grouped into 6 categories and 12 domains, including Learning Outcomes and Quality, Access Outcomes, Teacher Availability etc, 
  • Districts are graded as Daksh for scoring more than 90% of the total points in a category or overall and Akanshi-3 which is lowest for scoring up to 10% of the total points. 
  • Highest scoring district in PGI-D is Pathanamthitta in Kerala with a score of 518, followed by Kottayam in Kerala with a score of 516. 
  • Lowest scoring district in PGI-D is Kiphire in Nagaland with a score of 79, followed by Longleng in Nagaland with a score of 80. 
  • Top performing states/UTs in terms of average score of their districts are Kerala, Chandigarh, Delhi, Tamil Nadu, and Andaman & Nicobar Islands. 
  • Most improved states/UTs in terms of average score of their districts from 2018-19 to 2020-21 & 2021-22 are Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. 
  • With Indian Education System being one of the largest in the world, PGI-D will help districts to prioritize areas for intervention in school education besides improving the reach to the highest grade. 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023


 In News: Recently, the State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023 report was released. 

About the Report: 

  • The report was released by the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), World Food Programme (WFP), and World Health Organization (WHO). 
  • Theme of the report was “Urbanisation, agrifood systems transformation, and healthy diets across the rural-urban continuum”. 
  • It is an annual report which aims to inform on progress towards ending hunger, achieving food security and improving nutrition and to provide an in-depth analysis of key challenges for achieving this goal in the context of the SDG. 

Key findings of the report: 

  • Over 700 million people was facing hunger in the world in 2022. 
  • Around 2.4 billion individuals did not have consistent access to nutritious, safe, and sufficient food in 2022. 
  • In 2021, 22.3% (148.1 million) children were stunted (too short for their age), 6.8% (45 million) were wasted (too thin for their height), and 5.6% (37 million) were overweight. 
  • Due to urbanization, there is increase in the consumption of processed and convenience foods which is leading to increase in overweight and obesity rates across urban, peri-urban, and rural areas. 
  • The rural regions which were previously self-sustaining (especially in Asia and Africa), are now dependent on national and global food markets. 

Challenges identified by the report: 

  • Persistent Food Crisis: There are many places in the world facing deepening food crises. 
  • Inequitable access to Nutritious Food especially for women and residents of rural areas. 
  • Alarming high child malnutrition. 
  • It is projected that by 2050, 70% of the global population will reside in cities, posing significant challenges for food systems to cater to these urban populations. 

A case study from India – The Role of urban proximity in agricultural intensification: 

  • The town of Doddaballapura, located in Bangalore’s Rural district, serves as evidence of the essential role of small and intermediate cities and towns in increasing the use of modern agricultural inputs in rural areas. 
  • Farmers located farther from Bangalore show a higher use of modern inputs due to the influence of Doddaballapura. 

Way Forward: 

  • There is necessity of a reorientation of food systems to cater to these new urban populations and eradicate hunger, food insecurity, and malnutrition. 
  • The policy can strengthen intensification and increase productivity in farming close to small and intermediate cities and towns (SICTs). 
  • This will improve connectivity between farms and input-output markets, which will further reduce the cost of access to markets and also boost farmers’ access to and use of modern inputs. 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

India joins Global Crisis Response Champions


In News: Recently, India has accepted an invitation from United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres to join the Champions Group of the Global Crisis Response Group (GCRG). 

About: 

  • The GCRG was established (in 2022) by the UN Secretary-General to address urgent global issues related to food security, energy, and finance, and to coordinate a global response. 
  • UN Deputy-Secretary-General leads the Steering Committee of the GCRG involving 32 UN agencies, international and regional financial institutions, and multi-stakeholder partners. 
  • It is overseen by the Champions Group consisting of heads of state or government from Bangladesh, Barbados, Denmark, Germany, Indonesia, and Senegal. 
  • Within the Group, three work streams on Food, Energy and Finance has set up.  
    • They will collate data and generate analysis, policy recommendations and solutions to support decision-making and advocacy for consideration of the Steering Committee. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

India’s Rice Export Ban


In News: India recently decided to ban the export of all types of rice, except Basmati and parboiled rice. As per IMF, this move could exacerbate food prices and inflation globally. 

About the Rice Export Ban: 

  • India is the world’s biggest rice exporter, accounting for 40% of global trade by volume. In 2022, it shipped 22m tonnes to more than 140 countries. Non-basmati white rice constitutes approximately 25% of the total rice exported from the country 
  • Most of the exports consist of non-basmati rice especially popular in poor places such as Bangladesh, Nepal and parts of sub-Saharan Africa. 
  • According to the rice-price index, published monthly by the FAO, rice prices rose by 14% in the year to June. 

Implications of ban of rice exports:  

  • Global Supply Shortage: The ban will remove almost 10 million tons of non-basmati white rice from the world market, leading to a decrease in overall rice supply.  
  • Rise is global rice prices: The reduction in supply is likely to create a surge in world rice prices. Other rice-exporting countries like Thailand, Vietnam, Pakistan, US, and Myanmar cannot fill the gap left by India’s absence. 
  • Domestic Supply Concerns: The ban is a response to domestic supply concerns caused by subnormal monsoon rainfall in major growing states.  
  • Loss of credibility as a reliable trade partner: The ban raises questions about the credibility of official output estimates, especially when India recorded all-time-high production of both wheat and rice in 2022-23. 
  • Hindrances to Market Building Efforts: Building markets takes time and effort, and the sudden ban can undo the progress made in establishing India as a reliable rice supplier in various regions.  
  • Potential of a Domino effect where other rice producing countries could ban rice exports as witnessed during the 2008 rice ban by Vietnam.  

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Agri Infra Fund - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Recently, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare today launched a new campaign for banks under Agri Infra Fund titled BHARAT (Banks Heralding Accelerated Rural & Agriculture Transformation).  

About: 

  • Agri Infra Fund is a financing facility launched in July 2020 to provide all-around financial support to farmers, agri-entrepreneurs, FPOs, PACS, Cooperatives, SHGs etc, to create post-harvest management infrastructure and build community farming assets throughout the country. 
  • These assets will enable farmers to get greater value for their produce as they will be able to store and sell at higher prices, reduce wastage and increase processing and value addition. 

 Features of Agri Infra Fund 

    • The AIF is a medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and credit guarantee. 
    • The duration of the scheme shall be from FY2020 to FY2029 (10 years). 
    • Under it, 1 Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans with interest subvention of 3% per annum. 
    • It also provides credit guarantee support through the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) scheme for loans of up to Rs 2 crore. 
    • The fund will be managed and monitored through an online Management Information System (MIS) platform. 
    • The National, State and District level monitoring committees will be set up to ensure real-time monitoring and effective feedback. 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Issues faced by gig workers in India


In News: Recently, a parliamentary panel has asked the Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoL&E) to formulate and implement welfare schemes for gig and platform workers and unorganised sector workers at the earliest. 

Gig Economy: 

  • As per the World Economic Forum, gig economy is defined by its focus on workforce participation and income generation via “gigs”, single projects or tasks for which a worker is hired. 
  • It is a labour market that relies heavily on temporary and part-time positions filled by independent contractors and freelancers rather than full-time permanent employees. 
  • Gig workers refer to workers outside of the traditional employer-employee relationship. 

 Two groups of gig workers: 

    • Platform workers: When gig workers use online algorithmic matching platforms or apps to connect with customers, they are called platform workers. 
    • Non-platform workers: Those who work outside of these platforms are non-platform workers, including construction workers and non-technology-based temporary workers. 
  • According to the NITI Aayog estimates, nearly 23.5 million workers will be engaged in the gig economy by 2029. 

Challenges faced by the Gig Workers: 

  • The gig workers usually lack basic employment rights such as Minimum wage, overtime pay, medical leave and a statutorily bound resolution of employer-employee disputes. 
  • They have the characteristics of both employees and independent contractors due to which they fall outside the ambit of statutory benefits under the Minimum Wage Act 1948, EPF Act 1952, Payment of Bonus Act 1965, and the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act 1970. 

Proposed Laws for the Gig Workers: 

  • The Code on Social Security 2020: It has proposed social security schemes for gig workers and platform workers on matters relating to life and disability cover, accident insurance, health and maternity benefits, old age protection, etc. 
  • The Code has not come into force till now. 
  • An MoU has been signed between the MoL&E and the National Law School of India University (NLSIU), Bangalore for assistance in framing a new scheme for the gig and platform workers as well as workers in the unorganised sector. 

Present Law for the Gig Workers in India: 

  • The Rajasthan Platform-Based Gig Workers (Registration and Welfare) Act 2023: Rajasthan has become the first state in the country to pass a law for the welfare of gig workers earning their livelihood through online platforms (Ola, Swiggy, etc). 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Initiatives launched under PMFBY


In News: The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare launched several new technological initiatives under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) to empower farmers and streamline the operations. 

Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY): 

  • It is a crop insurance scheme launched in 2016 to provide financial support and risk coverage to farmers against crop losses due to natural calamities, pests, and diseases. 
  • It replaced the National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (NAIS) and Modified National Agricultural Insurance Scheme (MNAIS). 

Initiatives Launched: 

  • WINDS (Weather Information Network Data Systems) portal: It is a centralized platform that hosts, manages, and processes hyper-local weather data collected by Automatic Weather Stations and Rain Gauges at Taluk/Block and Gram Panchayat levels. It enhances risk assessment and decision-making in crop insurance, agriculture advisories, and disaster mitigation, supporting the agricultural sector and rural economy. 
  • AIDE (App for Intermediary Enrolment) mobile app: It is a mobile application specifically developed to streamline the enrollment process for farmers in crop insurance schemes like Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) and Restructured Weather-Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS). 
  • YES-TECH (Technology-based Yield Estimation System) Manual: A manual aimed at implementing a technology-based system for yield estimation in agriculture. The initiative leverages technology to accurately estimate crop yields, helping farmers make informed decisions and plan effectively. 

Other similar initiatives available: 

  • Forecasting Agricultural output using Space, Agro-meteorology and Land based observations (FASAL) project: It forecasts accurate agricultural output using space technology, agro-meteorology, and land-based observations. 
  • National Agricultural Drought Assessment and Monitoring System (NADAMS): It helps in identifying regions facing drought conditions and facilitates appropriate drought management strategies to support farmers. 
  • National e-Governance Plan in Agriculture (NeGPA): It enables farmers to access vital agricultural data and services through digital platforms. 
  • ISRO’s Geo-platform, Bhuvan: It offers data on plantation, pest surveillance, and weather conditions. It also promotes the use of Kisan Drones for crop assessment and facilitates the digitization of land records to improve agricultural practices. 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Mutual Funds: 5 New ESG Categories


In News: The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has permitted Mutual Funds to introduce five new categories under the ESG (environmental, social, and governance) scheme. 

ESG Scheme: 

  • This scheme aims to encourage sustainable and ethical business practices, including climate change, pollution, human rights, corporate governance, and more. 
  • Earlier, mutual funds can launch only one ESG scheme under the thematic category of equity schemes. 
  • Filing of Business Responsibility and Sustainability Report (BRSR) has been made mandatory for the top 1000 listed companies by SEBI from the financial year 2022-2023. 
  • ESG schemes are mandated to invest at least 65% of assets in listed entities with BRSR Core assurance. 
  • The balance can be invested in companies with BRSR disclosures, starting from October 1, 2024. 

Difference between ESG and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): 

  • CSR is spending at least 2% of corporate’s net profit over the preceding 3 years on activities like welfare of society. It has been mandated by the Company Act, 2013. 
  • CSR practices are usually self-regulated and can have a lot of variation. 
  • ESG measures the organization’s level of sustainability – increasingly demanded by investors and other stakeholders. 
  • CSR helps a company to Build a responsible business reputation whereas ESG helps a company with Meet existing and upcoming regulations and demands; Respond to climate change and other societal risks; Become more attractive to investors. 

Five New Categories of Mutual Funds: 

  • Exclusion: Exclude certain industries or companies based on ESG criteria. Avoiding investments in fossil fuel companies. 
  • Integration: Integrating ESG factors into investment decision-making. Assessing companies’ environmental practices before investing. 
  • Best-in-Class and Positive Screening: Selecting companies with leading ESG performance in their industry. Investing in companies with top-notch labour practices. 
  • Impact Investing: Investing in businesses or projects with positive social and environmental impact. Funding renewable energy projects. 
  • Sustainable Objectives: Investing in alignment with specific sustainability goals. Supporting companies committed to reducing waste. 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

National Research Foundation - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: The Union Cabinet approved the introduction of the National Research Foundation (NRF) Bill in Parliament, which was one of the key recommendations of the National Education Policy 2020. 

About National Research Foundation: 

  • NRF is a proposed entity that will replace the Science and Engineering Research Board of India (SERB) and catalyse and channel interdisciplinary research for accelerating India’s ambitious development agenda, through impactful knowledge creation and translation. 
  • It will be governed by a board consisting of the Prime Minister, who will be the ex-officio President of the Board and the Union Minister of S&T and Union Minister of Education, who will be the ex-officio Vice-Presidents.  

Objectives of NRF 

    • NRF intends to act as a coordinating agency between researchers, various government bodies and industry, thus bringing industry into the mainstream of research. 
    • NRF is slated to provide research grants to individuals 
    • NRF also plans to seed, grow and facilitate research in India’s universities, especially State universities, by funding research infrastructure and researchers. 

 How can NRF facilitate Ease of Doing Research? 

  • Reducing time between application and release of funds preferably within 6 months and timely release of money. 
  • Digitised process of application which does not require sending paperwork in hard copies to the NRF. 
  • All finance-related queries, paperwork, approval, and acceptance need to be between the NRF and the finance department of the university/research institution keeping the scientist free to focus on research. 
  • The NRF needs explicit spending guidelines away from the General Financial Rules (GFR) and the government’s e-Marketplace (GeM) usage. 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Strengthening Multilateral Development Banks: The Triple Agenda


In News: Independent Expert Group (IEG), appointed under the auspices of the India G20 Presidency, has recommended a triple agenda to harness the potential of multilateral development banks (MDBs). 

About 

  • Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) are international financial institutions comprising member nations from both developed and developing countries. Their primary role is to extend loans and grants to member nations, especially those in need, to finance projects aimed at fostering social and economic development within those countries. 
  • The emergence of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) can be traced back to the aftermath of World War II, a period when there was a pressing need for reconstruction and development in war-torn countries.  
  • The first and most prominent MDB is the World Bank, formally known as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). It was established in 1944 at the Bretton Woods Conference in New Hampshire, USA.  

Triple agenda to harness the potential of MDBs: 

  • Adopting a triple mandate of eliminating extreme poverty, boosting shared prosperity, and contributing to global public goods; 
  • Tripling sustainable lending levels by 2030; and 
  • Creating a third funding mechanism that would permit flexible and innovative arrangements for purposefully engaging with investors willing to support elements of the MDB agenda. 

 Effective Implementation of Triple Agenda 

  • Effective implementation of the triple agenda requires important changes in the ways that MDBs operate.  
  • Individually and collectively MDBs must become effective agents in all developing countries for integrating the development and climate agendas,  
  • Working with governments and the private sector to reduce, share and manage risks and thereby bring down the cost of capital.  
  • They must change their culture, become more client-responsive, and take more risk. 
  • Timelines for project preparation should be shrunk and procedures rationalised. They must also increase the scale and nature of their activities. 
  • Coordination between private and public sector arms of the MDBs on the use of the Cascade principles, guarantees, blended finance, political risk insurance, and foreign exchange hedging should be systematic rather than episodic. 

Functions of Multilateral development banks (MDBs) 

MDBs play a vital role in global development. They provide financial and technical assistance to developing countries to help them achieve their economic and social goals. MDBs also work to promote good governance and sustainable development. 

  • Providing loans and grants:  These loans and grants can help developing countries to build roads, bridges, and other infrastructure; improve agricultural productivity; provide access to education and healthcare; and reduce poverty. 
  • Providing technical assistance: Technical assistance can cover a wide range of topics, such as project management, financial management, and environmental impact assessment. 
  • Promoting good governance: MDBs promote good governance in developing countries by supporting reforms that strengthen the rule of law, improve transparency and accountability, and reduce corruption.  
  • Promoting sustainable development: MDBs promote sustainable development by supporting projects that protect the environment and reduce poverty. This includes projects that promote renewable energy, improve water management, and protect biodiversity. 

 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Tax Challenges arising from the digitisation of the Economy


In News: 138 members of OECD-G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) have joined a new two-pillar plan to reform international taxation rules. 

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD): 

  • It is an intergovernmental economic organisation, founded to stimulate economic progress and world trade. 
  • Most OECD members are high-income economies and are regarded as developed countries. Members and key partners represent 80% of the World Trade. 

Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS): 

  • It refers to corporate tax planning strategies used by multinationals to shift profits from higher-tax jurisdictions to lower or no-tax jurisdictions. 
  • It is done to minimize the corporation tax that is payable overall. 
  • The OECD defines BEPS strategies as exploiting gaps and mismatches in tax rules. 
  • As developing countries have a higher reliance on corporate income tax, they suffer from BEPS disproportionately. 

Two Pillar Solution or Global Anti-Base Erosion (GloBE) Rules: 

Significance of the solution: 

  • It will define the multinational enterprises (MNEs) within the scope of the minimum tax and will set out a mechanism for calculating an MNE’s effective tax rate on a jurisdictional basis. 
  • It will provide much-needed support to governments needing to raise necessary revenues to repair their budgets and their balance sheets while investing in essential public services. 
  • It will provide stability for the international tax system, making it fairer and work better in an increasingly digitalised and globalised world economy. 

Impact on India: 

  • India will have to roll back the equalisation levy that it imposes on companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook when the global tax regime is implemented. 
  • India is in favour of a consensus solution which is simple to implement and simple to comply with. 
  • The Two Pillar Plan justifies India’s stand for a greater share of profits for the markets and consideration of demand side factors in profit allocation. 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Tax Challenges arising from the digitisation of the Economy


In News: 138 members of OECD-G20 Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) have joined a new two-pillar plan to reform international taxation rules. 

Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD): 

  • It is an intergovernmental economic organisation, founded to stimulate economic progress and world trade. 
  • Most OECD members are high-income economies and are regarded as developed countries. Members and key partners represent 80% of the World Trade. 

Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS): 

  • It refers to corporate tax planning strategies used by multinationals to shift profits from higher-tax jurisdictions to lower or no-tax jurisdictions. 
  • It is done to minimize the corporation tax that is payable overall. 
  • The OECD defines BEPS strategies as exploiting gaps and mismatches in tax rules. 
  • As developing countries have a higher reliance on corporate income tax, they suffer from BEPS disproportionately. 

Two Pillar Solution or Global Anti-Base Erosion (GloBE) Rules: 

Significance of the solution: 

  • It will define the multinational enterprises (MNEs) within the scope of the minimum tax and will set out a mechanism for calculating an MNE’s effective tax rate on a jurisdictional basis. 
  • It will provide much-needed support to governments needing to raise necessary revenues to repair their budgets and their balance sheets while investing in essential public services. 
  • It will provide stability for the international tax system, making it fairer and work better in an increasingly digitalised and globalised world economy. 

Impact on India: 

  • India will have to roll back the equalisation levy that it imposes on companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook when the global tax regime is implemented. 
  • India is in favour of a consensus solution which is simple to implement and simple to comply with. 
  • The Two Pillar Plan justifies India’s stand for a greater share of profits for the markets and consideration of demand side factors in profit allocation. 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Variable Rate Reverse Repo Auctions (VARRRs)


In News: Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has said that it will conduct a three-day variable rate reverse repo (VRRR) auction for Rs 2 lakh crore. 

Variable rate reverse repo Auction (VRRR): 

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) uses various ways to increase or decrease liquidity in the banking system. Repo rate is the rate at which the central bank gives loans to commercial banks against government securities. 
  • Reverse repo rate is the interest that RBI pays to banks for the funds. Variable rate reverse repo (VRRR) is a sub-type of reverse repo. 
  • VRRR is usually undertaken to reduce surplus liquidity by withdrawing existing cash in the system. 
  • RBI has been conducting VRRR every day since June 30 to ensure that the overnight call money rate remains close to the target rate of 6.50 per cent. 

Reasons for RBI conducting auctions: 

  • Typically, governments (Central and State) pay contractors and disburse salaries towards the end of a month or the first week of next month. So, Banks have inflows. 
  • Return of ₹2,000 bank notes by the public is adding to the systemic liquidity. The RBI recently said that ₹2.72-lakh crore, or 76 per cent of the ₹2,000 banknotes in circulation as on May 19, have returned to the banking system as of June-end. 
  • So, the RBI could continue intervening via reverse repo auctions to keep liquidity close to neutral. 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Farmers Distress Index - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Recently, The Central Research Institute for Dryland Agriculture (CRIDA), an institution under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), has developed a unique early warning system known as the “farmers’ distress index.” 

About: 

  • The main aim behind creating such an index is to minimise the agrarian distress in the form of crop loss/failure and income shock. 
  • The index tries to anticipate the Agrarian distress and prevent its spread from a few farmers to the village or block level. 
  • It will enable various entities such as the central government, state governments, local bodies, and non-governmental agencies to receive early warnings about impending farmers' distress, thus facilitating proactive interventions. 
  • The index allows for targeted interventions, such as focusing on improving women’s incomes if the distress is gender-based. 

     Methodology to track distress: 

  • The index’s methodology involves monitoring local newspapers, news platforms, and social media for reports of distress, followed by telephonic interviews with small and marginal farmers to assess early signs of distress using standardized questions. 
  • These interviews incorporate 21 standardized questions designed to detect early signs of distress. 

      The responses are then mapped against seven indicators 

1) exposure to droughts, floods, crop failure due to pest attacks, livestock deaths 

2) debt  

3) adaptive capacity of farmer and local government through different schemes  

4) land holding and irrigation facilities  

5) sensitivity, mitigation and adaptation strategies like growing of contingency crops if main crop fails.  

6) triggers for immediate distress like health-related expenditure  

7) socio-psychological factors and impacts. 

         Interpretation of the Index: 

  • Based on the collected data and responses, the index will assign a value between 0 and 1 to indicate the level of distress. 
  • 0 to 0.5: Low distress, 
  • 0.5 to 0.7: Moderate" distress 
  • Above 0.7: Severe" distress. 
  • If the distress level is severe, the index identifies the specific component contributing the most to farmers' distress among the seven indicators. 

            Current solutions:  

  • Direct money transfer, mid-term release of claims under government’s crop insurance scheme (Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, PMFBY) in case of crop failures, providing work under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, enhanced rationing under Public Distribution System, among others may alleviate farmer’s distress. 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Internationalisation of Rupee


In News: India is aiming to make the rupee a global currency. Pushing for a roadmap towards the internationalization of the rupee. 

About 

  • The internationalization of the rupee refers to the process of promoting and increasing the acceptance and usage of India's currency, the rupee, in international markets and transactions. It involves creating an environment where the rupee is widely recognized and utilized for cross-border trade, investments, reserves, and other financial activities. 
  • It includes measures such as facilitating rupee-denominated transactions, allowing the rupee to be freely convertible, establishing offshore rupee markets, and encouraging foreign entities to hold and use the rupee.  

Current Status of Internationalization of Rupee: 

  • Limited progress in internationalizing the rupee: The rupee's global foreign exchange market share is only around 1.6%, and India's share of global goods trade is a mere 2%. 
  • Steps taken to promote internationalization: India has implemented measures to encourage the internationalization of the rupee. For instance, it has allowed external commercial borrowings in rupees and urged Indian banks to open Rupee Vostro accounts for banks from countries like Russia, the UAE, Sri Lanka, and Mauritius. Additionally, trade in rupees with approximately 18 countries has been facilitated. 
  • Constraints on currency exchange: India imposes significant limitations on currency exchange due to concerns over capital flight and exchange rate volatility. Full capital account convertibility, which enables unrestricted movement of local financial investments into foreign assets and vice versa, is not permitted. 
  • Concerns of neighboring countries:  The internationalization of the rupee must consider and address the concerns raised by neighboring countries of India. In particular, Bhutan and Nepal experienced a loss of confidence in the Indian rupee due to the impact of the demonetization measure implemented in 2016. 

Challenges of Internationalizing the Rupee 

  • Internationalizing the rupee increases its exposure to exchange rate volatility, affecting trade competitiveness, foreign investment flows, and financial market stability. 
  • Opening up the rupee to international markets may lead to capital flight, straining foreign exchange reserves, impacting financial stability, and posing challenges for monetary policy management. 
  • Capital controls in India restrict foreign investment and trading, limiting the rupee's use as an international currency. 
  • The rupee faces competition from established currencies like the US dollar, euro, and yen, which are widely accepted and liquid. 
  • To promote the rupee for international transactions, trust, familiarity, and confidence in the currency must be established among market participants, including businesses, individuals, and financial institutions. 

 

Keywords: economy
Monthly Current Affairs

Nari Adalats - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Indian government launched a unique “Nari Adalat” court at the village level as an alternate dispute resolution forum. 

About Nari Adalats: 

  • Nari Adalats, or women's courts, are being set up at the village level in India as a unique initiative for alternate dispute resolution. 
  • It will be launched on a pilot basis in 50 villages each in Assam and Jammu and Kashmir to address issues including domestic violence, property rights etc 
  • These women only courts will serve as platforms for grievance redressal, reconciliation, and creating awareness about women's rights and entitlements. 
  • Each Adalat will have 7-9 members, including elected gram panchayat members and women with social standing, such as teachers, doctors, and social workers. 
  • The members will be nominated or selected by the villagers, ensuring representation and diversity in the decision-making process. 
  • It will focus on reconciliation, raising awareness, and resolving cases within their jurisdiction. 
  • Its implementation will be overseen by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, under the Sambal sub-scheme of Mission Shakti. 
  • The tenure of the head known as the Mukhya Nyaya Sakhi will be approximately six months, after which a new head will be selected to ensure active involvement and fresh perspectives. 
  • These Adalats, although lacking legal status, will play a crucial role in reconciliation, grievance redressal, and awareness-raising about rights and entitlements. 
  • Overall, Nari Adalats holds the potential to empower women, provide accessible justice, and strengthen community support systems at the grassroots level. 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Jharkhand issues PESA draft rules for consultations


In News: Jharkhand issues PESA draft rules for consultations 

About Jharkhand PESA rules: 

  • Jharkhand government has recently published draft rules for implementing the Provisions of the Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act. 
  • Scheduled Areas in Jharkhand are identified by the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution and the draft aims to ensure self-governance through gram sabhas for people living in Scheduled Areas. 
  • PESA recognizes tribal communities' right to govern themselves through their own systems of self-government and acknowledges their traditional rights over natural resources. 
  • Major provisions: 
    • The draft rules outline the rights of gram Sabhas under the 5th Schedule areas in the state, including resolving traditional and family disputes and hearing certain cases under the IPC. 
    • Gram sabhas will have fundamental responsibilities of maintaining peace and order, following the principles of the Constitution. 
    • It mandates the establishment of eight standing committees, including Education and Social Justice, under the gram Sabha. 
    • These committees must have at least 50% women and a minimum of 40% people from Scheduled Tribe (ST) communities. 
    • The Education and Social Justice Committee will focus on education, economic upliftment of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and primitive tribes, providing protection from social injustice. 
  • The gram sabhas will preserve customary law, social and religious practices of the Scheduled Tribe communities and align State Government rules with their practices. 
  • They will have the authority to hear issues mentioned in Parishisht 1 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, but for serious crime-related issues, it must inform the nearest police station in-charge. 
  • Overall, the bill is a progressive step for social inclusion and governance of tribal populations of Jharkhand but it must pass through the test of constitutionality before converted into an act. 

 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Offshore Mineral Development Amendment Bill, 2023


Why in News: Recently, the Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2023 was introduced in Lok Sabha to amend the offshore areas mineral law. 

The Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill 2023: 

  • It has been prepared by the Ministry of Mines, seeks to amend the Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act 2002, to allow auction of minerals mined offshore. 
  • To mine rocks under the sea: Under the original Act, not even a single rock could be not mined out from the sea bed mainly due to pending litigations. The Bill allows the use of the national wealth in the sea for the use of the people of the country. 
  • To facilitate private sector participation: In the mining of non-atomic minerals in India’s territorial waters and continental shelf, private companies might be encouraged to contribute cutting-edge technologies for the execution of complex mining operations. 
  • To provide an auction of minerals mined offshore: The original Act does not allow the auction of such minerals. 
  • To improve transparency in the allocation of mineral resources. 
  • To grant an exploration licence or production lease: Only to a government company in case the quality of minerals in that particular area is equal to or above the threshold value decided by the Centre. 
  • To propose area under a production lease: Such areas shall comprise contiguous standard blocks and shall not exceed an area of 15 minutes latitude by 15 minutes longitude. 
  • To remove discretion in the grant of renewals: The provisions for renewal of production leases have been removed and the period of production lease has been increased to 50 years. 

Significance of the Bill: 

  • The bill encourages the participation of the public-private sector. This will bring the necessary expertise and technology to explore and mine the mineral resources present in the EEZ. 
  • The Bill provides for India to harness its maritime resources to its optimal capacity. 

 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023


Why in News: Recently, the Rajya Sabha passed the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023 that introduces stringent anti-piracy provisions, expanding the scope of the law from censorship to also cover copyright. 

Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023: 

  • Introduced by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, the Bill seeks to amend the Cinematograph Act 1952. 
  • The Cinematograph Act 1952 authorises the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to require cuts in films and clear them for exhibition in cinemas and on television/ refuse the exhibition of a film. 

Under the Act, film may be certified for exhibition: 

    • Without restriction (‘U’), 
    • Without restriction, but subject to guidance of parents or guardians for children below 12 years of age (‘UA’), 
    • Only to adults (‘A’), 
    • Only to members of any profession or class of persons (‘S’).  

Key Provisions of the Amendment Bill: 

  • Introduction of New Certifications: The bill proposes three new certifications under the ‘UA’ (Parental Guidance) category: UA 7+, UA 13+, and UA 16+. These certifications indicate that children younger than the specified age limits can watch such movies with parental guidance. [in line with the Shyam Benegal committee (2017)] 
  • Separate certificate for television/other media: Films with an ‘A’ or ‘S’ certificate will require a separate certificate for exhibition on television, or any other media prescribed by the central government. The Board may direct the applicant to carry appropriate deletions or modifications for the separate certificate. 
  • Unauthorised recording and exhibition to be punishable: The Bill prohibits carrying out or abetting - the unauthorised recording and unauthorised exhibition of films - in order to stop piracy. This offence will be punishable with: imprisonment between 3 months and 3 years, and a fine between 3 lakh rupees and 5% of the audited gross production cost. 
  • Certificates to be always valid: Under the Act, the certificate issued by the Board is valid for 10 years.  The Bill provides that the certificates will be perpetually/always valid. 
  • Revisional powers of the central government: The Act empowers the central government to examine and make orders in relation to films that have been certified or are pending certification. The Board is required to dispose of matters in conformity to the order. The Bill removes this power of the central government. 

Significance of the Bill: 

  • It will make the certification process more effective, as per the demand of current time. 
  • It will comprehensively curb the menace of film piracy, and thus help in faster growth of the film industry and boost job creation in the sector. 

Concerns with the Bill: 

  • OTT platforms out of the purview of the Bill which makes a way for uncut movie to be broadcasted. 
  • It places the onus on parents and guardians to determine if the material is appropriate for viewers of a particular age range. 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

PM DevINE - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Government of India launches schemes for development of North Eastern region 

About PM DevINE 

  • NER are a group of eight states including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura located in the northeastern part of the country 
  • PM-DevINE or Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North Eastern Region is a new Central Sector scheme for the development of North Eastern Region (NER). 
  • It was announced in the Union Budget 2022-23 with 100% Central funding for an outlay of Rs. 6,600 crores for the period 2022-23 to 2025-26. 
  • The scheme aims to fund infrastructure convergently, in the spirit of multi-modal infrastructure connectivity grid of PM GatiShakti. 
  • It will also support social development projects based on the needs of the North Eastern Region. 
  • Major Projects approved in FY 2022-23 
    • NECTAR Livelihood Improvement Project for utilization of Banana Pseudo Stem for Value-Added Products 
    • Promoting Scientific Organic Agriculture in North-East including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, and Manipur. 
    • Pilot project for the construction of Bamboo Link Roads at different locations in various districts in the State of Mizoram. 
  • Overall, PM-DevINE will help enable livelihood activities for youth and women and fill the development gaps in various sectors. 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

No Confidence Motion - Edukemy Current Affairs


Why in News: Recently, Lok Sabha Speaker accepted the Opposition’s no confidence motion against the Government. 

No Confidence Motion: 

  • In a parliamentary democracy such as India, a government can be in power only if it commands a majority in the directly elected House, i.e., the Lok Sabha in case of India. 
  • Article 75(3) of the Constitution embodies this rule by specifying that the Council of Ministers are collectively responsible to the Lok Sabha. 
  • For testing this collective responsibility, the rules of Lok Sabha provide a particular mechanism – a motion of no-confidence. The Constitution does not mention either a Confidence or a No Confidence Motion. 
  • There have been 27 no-confidence motions introduced in the Lok Sabha since independence. 

Procedure for passing No Confidence Motion: 

  • Any Lok Sabha MP, with the support of 50 colleagues can at any point of time, introduce a motion of no-confidence against the Council of Ministers. 
  • It can be moved only in the Lok Sabha. It cannot be moved in the Rajya Sabha. 
  • It is moved in writing and must be signed by the member moving it, the motion is submitted to the Speaker of Lok Sabha. 
  • The Speaker will decide whether to admit the motion for discussion and debate. If the motion is admitted, the Speaker will decide on the date and time for discussion. 
  • The motion will be debated in the Lok Sabha and it will be moved by the member who submitted it. 
  • After the debate, the Lok Sabha will vote on the motion, it will be passed if it is supported by the majority of the members of the House. 
  • If a no-confidence motion is passed, the government must resign. 

Other types of Motions used in Parliament: 

  • Adjournment Motion: It is moved to discuss a definite matter of urgent public importance and must be of immediate concern, with the Speaker's consent. 
  • Closure Motion: It is moved by a member to cut short the debate on a matter before the House. 
  • Short Duration Discussion: It allows MPs to discuss a specific issue of public importance without voting on it. 
  • Confidence Motion: It is passed when the governments formed with wafer-thin majority have been called upon by the President to prove their majority on the floor of the House. 
  • Privilege Motion: A member can initiate this motion when they believe a minister has violated the privileges of the House or its members by withholding crucial information about a case or providing inaccurate and manipulated facts. 
  • Motion of Thanks: It is a parliamentary procedure to express gratitude for the President's Address at the commencement of Lok Sabha. 
  • Cut Motion: It is proposed to reduce the amount of a demand in the budget. 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

The Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill 2021


In News: The Lok Sabha passed the Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which aims to amend the Biological Diversity Act, 2002 

About Biological Diversity Act 2002:  

  • The Biological Diversity Act, 2002 was framed to give effect to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), 1992, that strives for sustainable, fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilisation of biological resources and associated traditional knowledge. India became a signatory to CBD in 1994. 
  • The CBD recognises sovereign rights over biological resources and permits countries to regulate access to these resources as per their national legislation. 
  • The Biodiversity Act, 2002, enacted by India, regulates access to biological resources and associated traditional knowledge.  
  • It specifies distinct frameworks for regulating access by foreign and domestic entities. 
  • It formulates a three-tier structure consisting of  
    • National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) at the national level,  
    • State Biodiversity Boards (SBBs) at the State level and  
    • Biodiversity Management Committees (BMCs) at local body levels.  
  • The primary responsibility of the BMCs is to document local biodiversity and associated knowledge in the form of a People’s Biodiversity Register. 

Key Amendments Proposed by the bill:  

Provisions  Biological Diversity Act 2002 Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill 2021
Access to Biological ResourcCreate Content - Admin | Edukemy Klass es It requires anyone seeking to access biological resources or associated knowledge in India to obtain prior approval or inform the regulatory authority  Bill amends the classification of entities and activities that require intimation, while also introducing exemptions to certain cases.
Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) The Act currently demands NBA’s approval before applying for IPR related to biological resources from India. The Bill suggests that approval will be required before the actual grant of the IPR, not during the application process.
Exemption for AYUSH Practitioners Earlier, only use by local people and communities including growers and cultivators of biodiversity were exempted.  It seeks to exempt registered AYUSH medical practitioners and people accessing codified traditional knowledge, , from giving prior intimation to State biodiversity boards for accessing biological resource.
Benefit Sharing The Act mandates benefit sharing, which involves sharing both monetary and non-monetary benefits with those who conserve biodiversity or hold traditional knowledge associated with it. The Bill removes the applicability of benefit sharing requirements from research, bio-survey, and bio-utilisation.
Criminal Penalties The Act imposes criminal penalties, including imprisonment, for offenses such as not obtaining approval or intimation for specific activities. The Bill, on the other hand, decriminalises these offences and introduces fines ranging from one lakh to fifty lakh rupees instead.

Major Concerns with the Bill: 

  • Favours Industries over Conservation of Biodiversity as easing of certain provisions like reduction of compliance burden, decriminalisation of violations etc. make the biodiversity more vulnerable to exploitations. 
  • Decriminalisation of Violations along with removal of the power of NBA to file FIRs against parties that do not comply with regulations, further weakens the enforcement of biodiversity protection laws. 
  • Exemption of AYUSH manufacturing companies from requiring approvals from the NBA, will go against one of the core provisions of the Act and open the law for abuse.  
  • Limited Benefit Sharing as the inclusion of "codified traditional knowledge" exempts certain users, including practitioners of Indian systems of medicine, from the need to share benefits. This may lead to profiteering by domestic companies. 

Way Forward 

  • There is a need to maintain balance between the interests of industries and practitioners of traditional medicine and interests of communities which preserve traditional knowledge. 
  • The public consultations and concerns of stakeholders should be carefully evaluated and incorporated into the bill.  

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

National Commission for Women (NCW)


Why in News: Recently, there is rising demand for a review of working and responses to the National Commission for Women (NCW) due to the cases of molestation and rape of women in Manipur. 

National Commission for Women: 

  • It was set up in 1992 under the National commission for Women Act, 1990. 

  • It was established to review the constitutional and legal safeguards for women. 
  • It enjoys all the powers of a civil court. 
  • It looks into complaints, and takes Suo Motto notice of matters relating to – deprivation of women’s rights, Non-implementation of the laws and Non-compliance of the policy decisions guaranteeing the welfare for women society. 
  • It tables reports to the central government, every year and at such other times as the commission may deem fit, reports upon the working of those safeguards. 
  • Each state has its own commission. Manipur State Commission for Women was formed in 2006. They are meant to investigate women’s rights violations. 

Steps to be taken for enhancing its effectiveness: 

  • Reforms in Appointment Process: Appointments should be done through a committee consisting of the Prime Minister, the Leader of Opposition and the Chief Justice of India. 
  • Regular External Audits: Conduct regular social audits by competent agencies. 
  • Encourage Fieldwork engagement: Commission members should frequently visit areas of concern. 
  • Define the roles of Chairperson and members. 
  • Strengthen Collaboration: Instead of an adversarial approach, NCW should work closely with the enforcement agencies to address women’s issues effectively. 
  • Increase transparency in Reports: Regularly share the commission’s activities and reports with the public. 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

ED’s powers to arrest and seek custody


In News: Recently, the Madras High Court upheld the legality of Tamil Nadu Minister V. Senthilbalaji’s arrest by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in a money-laundering case linked to a cash-for-jobs scam. 

Enforcement Directorate (ED): 

  • It is a multi-disciplinary organization mandated with the Investigation of offenses of money laundering and violations of foreign exchange laws. 
  • It works under the Department of Revenue, Ministry of Finance. 
  • Its headquarter is in New Delhi. 
  • Five regional offices in Mumbai, Chennai, Chandigarh, Kolkata, and Delhi; 10 zonal offices each headed by a Deputy Director. 
  • Director’s tenure is of two years but can be extended from two years up to five years. 

Enforcement of Acts including: 

    • Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA), 1974 – Empowered to sponsor cases of preventive detention Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999. 
    • Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002. 
    • Fugitive Economic Offenders (FEOA), 2018. 
    • As FEMA and PMLA apply to all of India, allowing ED to take action against any person. 

Previous Judgements of Supreme Court: 

  • In Central Bureau of Investigation v. Anupam J. Kulkarni (1992), the Supreme Court laid down the law that no police custody can be allowed beyond the first 15 days from the date of arrest; any further remand during an investigation can only be in judicial custody. 
  • In its landmark 2022 ruling Vijay Madanlal Choudhary v. Union of India, the Supreme Court ruled that since the officers under the PMLA are not given powers of a police officer, they could not seek police custody. She noted that the officers empowered to arrest under Section 19 of the PMLA are required to produce the accused to the competent court within 24 hours of arrest and can only seek judicial remand. 
  • In Central Bureau of Investigation v. Anupam J. Kulkarni (1992), the Supreme Court laid down the law that no police custody can be allowed beyond the first 15 days from the date of arrest; any further remand during the investigation can only be in judicial custody. 
  • In P. Chidambaram v. Directorate of Enforcement (2019), the Supreme Court rejected a prayer for anticipatory bail with respect to an offence of money laundering and proceeded to grant custody to the ED. The court reasoned that in a case of money laundering which involves many stages of placement and layering of funds, a ‘systematic and analysed’ investigation is required which would be frustrated if pre-arrest bail is granted. 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Digital time voucher system for political parties


In News: Election Commission introduces Digital Time Vouchers for political parties' campaigning on Doordarshan & All India Radio 

About Digital Time Voucher System for Political Parties: 

  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) has introduced a digital time voucher system for political parties during elections. 
  • The system aims to leverage technology to replace the traditional physical collection of time vouchers from ECI/CEO Offices. 
  • The scheme was initially notified in 1998 under Section 39A of the Representation of Peoples Act, 1951. 
  • Important features: 
    • It provides equitable access to government-owned electronic media for campaigning to recognized National and State Parties during elections. 
    • Each party receives a base time on Doordarshan (DD) and All India Radio (AIR), with additional time based on past poll performance. 
    • It will operate through an Information Technology (IT) platform where political parties will be issued digital time vouchers through the online system. 
  • The new system eliminates the need for physical visits to ECI/CEO Offices for voucher collection streamlining the process of allotting time vouchers to parties. 
  • Political parties can access the vouchers online from anywhere which will reduce the administrative burden for both parties and election officials. 
  • Overall, digital time voucher system is a progressive step by the ECI towards leveraging technology for the betterment of the electoral process. 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Right to Remain Silent - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) Stated that all accused have a ‘Right to silence’ and investigators cannot force them to speak up or admit guilt. 

About: 

  • The right to silence is a legal principle which guarantees any individual the right to refuse to answer questions from law enforcement officers or court officials. 
  • It is a fundamental right under part III of the Indian Constitution.  
    • Article 20 of the Indian Constitution ensures a fair trial and lawful arrest of a person.  
    • The right to remain silent is guaranteed under Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution. 

Supreme Court’s observations: 

  • The court clarified that cooperation with an investigation should not be seen as an admission of guilt. Remaining silent cannot be considered non-cooperation, as individuals have the right to choose not to speak. 

Constitutional Provisions: 

  • Article 20: It grants protection against arbitrary and excessive punishment to an accused person, whether a citizen or foreigner or legal person like a company or a corporation. It contains three provisions in that direction: 
    • No ex-post-facto law, No double jeopardy, No self-incrimination. 
    • No self-incrimination: No person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself. 
    • The protection against self-incrimination extends to both oral evidence and documentary evidence. 
  • Article 20(3): The Right to silence emanates from Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution, “which states that no one can be compelled to be a witness against himself.” 
    • The provision gives an accused the right against self-incrimination, a fundamental canon of law. 
  • Further, it extends only to criminal proceedings and not to civil proceedings. Therefore, under civil proceedings, a person cannot refuse to answer a question using the defence of Article 20(3). 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Child Trafficking - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Recently, a new report by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University (FXB) shows that more than half of child trafficking victims are trafficked within their own country. 

Child Trafficking: 

  • It is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of children, by means of threat or the use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of receiving benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over the child, for the purpose of exploitation. 

International Organization for Migration (IOM): 

  • IOM is a part of the United Nations System established in 1951. 

  • It is the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. 

Key Findings of the Report: 

  • 57.4% of child trafficking victims were female and 42.6% were male children. 
  • Children aged 13-17 formed the largest group of child victims (46.6%) and some were aged between 0 and 2 years. 
  • Close to half of the child victims were used for forced labour (mainly boys). 
  • 20% of children – mainly girls were the victims of Sexual exploitation, including through prostitution, pornography, and sexual servitude. 
  • Common means of control reported were False promises (58.9%) and psychological-physical abuse. 
  • Victims for sexual exploitation were commonly trafficked internationally, while those for forced labour were trafficked more domestically. 

Suggestions by the report: 

  • The report recommended integrating counter-trafficking into climate change, environmental and disaster risk reduction policies and programmes. 
  • Empowering communities affected by climate change, environmental degradation and disasters to develop community-based mitigation strategies aimed at reducing human trafficking. 
  • Tailored programs to address the vulnerability of children to trafficking. 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY)


In News: The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment launched the scheme Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY) to empower senior citizens and ensure their well-being and social inclusion. 

Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana (AVYAY): 

  • Earlier it was known as National Action Plan for Senior Citizen (NAPSrc), which was revamped, and renamed as Atal Vayo Abhyuday Yojana in April 2021.

 

  • It is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme aimed at empowering senior citizens in India. 
  • The objective of the scheme is to address the financial, healthcare, and social needs of elderly citizens, recognizing their valuable contributions to society. 

It has two components: 

    • Integrated Programme for Senior Citizens (IPSrC): Providing basic amenities and entertainment opportunities to improve the quality of life of the senior citizens, especially indigent senior citizens.
    • State Action Plan for Senior Citizens (SAPSrC): Each state/union territory is expected to formulate its own action plan for the welfare of senior citizens. 

Five Schemes under the umbrella scheme: 

  • Poshan Abhiyan for the elderly 
    • Livelihood and skilling initiatives for senior citizens 
    • Scheme on promoting the silver economy 
    • Awareness generation and capacity building for the welfare of senior citizens 
    • Channelizing CSR funds for elderly care 

Achievements: 

  • Nearly 1.5 lakh beneficiaries are staying in the Senior Citizen homes and 361 districts across the country have been covered. 
  • A total of Rs. 288.08 crore grants in aid released during the last 3 financial years for 3,63,570 beneficiaries. 

Significance: 

  • The scheme aims to empower the elderly, ensuring their active participation and inclusion in society. This is being done by addressing financial, healthcare, and social needs. 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Suspensions of Members of Parliament (MPs)


Why in News: Recently, one of the MPs (Member of Parliament) of the Rajya Sabha has been suspended for “violating” the directives of the chair. 

Process of Suspension of MPs: 

  • The role and duty of the Presiding Officer — Speaker of Lok Sabha and Chairman of Rajya Sabha is to maintain order so that the House can function smoothly. 
  • To ensure that proceedings are conducted in the proper manner, the Speaker/ Chairman is empowered to force a member to withdraw from the House. 
  • Process and rules followed in Lok Sabha: 
    • Under Lok Sabha Rule 373, the Speaker has the authority to instruct a member to leave the House immediately. 
    • On the Non-compliance of the instruction, the chair names members causing disruptions under Rule 374. 
    • Government introduces suspension motion. The motion seeks approval of the House. If passed, the member is suspended. 
  • Process and rules followed in Rajya Sabha: 
    • Chair identifies disruptive members under Rule 256. 
    • A suspension motion was presented to the House. The motion requires House approval. On approval, the member is suspended. 
    • The House may, however, by another motion, terminate the suspension. 

Implications of Suspending Members from India’s Parliament: 

  • Suspended members can’t participate, potentially hampering legislative activities. 
  • Suspended members cannot enter the chamber or attend the meetings of the committees. 
  • S/he will not be eligible to give notice for discussion or submission. 
  • S/he loses the right to get a reply to his questions. 

Way Forward: 

  • It is difficult to deal with planned parliamentary offenses and deliberate disturbances for publicity or political reasons. 
  • Opposition members should play a constructive role in Parliament and they should be allowed to put forward their views and express themselves in a dignified manner. 
  • There is a need to strike a balance between deliberate disruption and raising the important issue. 

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/illegal-irrational-unconstitutional-the-problem-with-recent-suspensions-of-mps-8892457/ 

 

Keywords: GS – 2: Indian Polity (Parliament)
Monthly Current Affairs

Due Process of Law and Basic Structure Doctrine


In News: As the basic structure doctrine highlighted in the Kesavanada Bharati case has touched 50 years, its efficacy to protect the natural rights of the citizen vis-à-vis the due process clause is worth examining 

Due Process of Law: 

  • The principle of Due Process of Law has been taken from United States of America. 
  • It means that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law. 
  • The term ‘law’ in the due process clause stands for natural law. Natural law, as higher law, renders state-made laws invalid when the state-made laws are contrary to natural law. 
  • In Maneka Gandhi vs Union of India (1978), the SC held that when ‘personal liberty’ under Article 21 was affected by any law, courts would seriously interrogate and probe the purpose, rationale, and legitimacy of the law. 

Basic Structure Doctrine: 

  • The Basic Structure Doctrine is an innovation of judiciary enunciated by the SC in the Kesavananda Bharati case (1973). 
  • A 13-judge Constitution Bench of the SC (with a 7-6 majority) ruled that the “basic structure” of the Constitution is inviolable, and cannot be amended by Parliament. 
  • The basic structure doctrine has formed the bedrock of judicial review of all laws passed by the Parliament. 
  • The list of features of the basic structure doctrine is not fixed. They are a result of judgements of various cases in Supreme Court. 

Comparison of both principles: 

  • The due process principle was duly discussed by the Constituent Assembly but the basic structure doctrine was not in the context at that time. 
  • The due process clause has a splendid place in the constitutional history of the world. 
  • It is the due process clause, not the basic structure doctrine, that offers a surer guarantee for the citizen’s natural rights. 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Article 355 and Article 226 - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Madras High Courts dismiss a writ petition in pursuance of High Court’s power to issue a direction for invocation of Article 355 of the Constitution 

About Article 355 and Article 226: 

  • Article 355: 
    • It enjoins upon the Centre a duty to protect States against external aggression and internal disturbance. 
    • It has been inspired by Article IV (4) of the US Constitution and Section 61 of the Australian Constitution Act. 
    • It was not in original draft constitution and was later introduced by B.R. Ambedkar to emphasize constitutional obligation for Centre's interference in provincial affairs. 
  • Article 226: 
    • It pertains to the writ jurisdiction of High Courts under the Constitution. 
    • It does not grant High Courts the power to issue a direction to the Centre to invoke Article 355. 
    • The High Court's jurisdiction is limited to issuing writs for enforcement of fundamental rights and other purposes. 
    • Accordingly, High Courts cannot use it as a mechanism to compel the Centre to fulfil its duties under Article 355. 

Major writs under Article 226: 

  • Habeas Corpus: It is used to secure the release of a person who has been illegally detained or imprisoned to ensure that the detained individual's fundamental right to personal liberty is protected. 
  • Mandamus: It is issued to a public official, government, or statutory authority to perform a specific duty when there is a clear legal right and a corresponding duty of the authority to act. 
  • Prohibition: It prevents an inferior court or tribunal from exceeding its jurisdiction or acting contrary to the principles of natural justice in order to maintain the hierarchical authority of the court system. 
  • Certiorari: It orders the transfer of a case from a lower court to a higher court for review to ensures that the lower court has not acted beyond its jurisdiction or violated principles of natural justice. 
  • Quo Warranto: It is used to challenge the legality of a person holding a public office and asks the holder of the office to justify their right to hold that position.  

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Governor Power to Dismiss a Minister


In News: The Governor of Tamil Nadu, R.N. Ravi, has dismissed V. Senthilbalaji, a Minister in the Council of Ministers of Tamil Nadu. 

About 

  • The Tamil Nadu Governor’s move to ‘dismiss’ a Minister highlights the point that the pleasure of the Governor under the Constitution of India insofar as it relates to Ministers is not the same as that of the colonial Governor. 
  • Article 164 of the Indian Constitution states that the Chief Minister is appointed by the Governor without any aid and advice. But Governor appoints the individual Ministers only on the advice of the Chief Minister.  
  • Choosing a Minister and dismissing him is not a Governor’s discretion. Chief Minister chooses the ministers and recommends the removal of a Minister. The Constitution has not transferred the discretion of the Chief Minister to the Governor. 

                 Governor’s Power in Colonial Era and in the Present Time

   Power in Colonial Era Power in Present Time
  • The Government of India Act 1935 says that the Governor’s Ministers shall be chosen and summoned by him, shall be sworn as members of the council, and shall hold office during his pleasure. 
  • Governor during the colonial rule had absolute discretion to choose a Minister and dismiss him.
  • Under the Constitutional system Governor is a mere constitutional head and he can act only on the aid and advice of the Council of Ministers headed by the CM. 
  • Constitution has not transferred the discretion of the Chief Minister to the Governor.

Various Supreme Court Decisions related to Governor 

  • Mahabir Prasad Sharma(1968) and Pratapsing Raojirao Rane(1999): Court set aside the decisions where it was held that the Governor can exercise power under Article 164 in an unfettered manner. 
  • Shamsher Singh vs State of Punjab (1974): A7-judge Constitution Bench declared that the President and Governor - custodians of all executive powers, shall exercise their formal constitutional powers only in accordance with the advice of their Ministers. 
  • Nabam Rebia vs Deputy Speaker (2017): A Constitution Bench reaffirmed the law laid down in Shamsher Singh and further held that the discretionary powers of the Governor are limited to the postulates of Article 163 of the Constitution. 

Article 163: There shall be a Council of Ministers with the CM at the head to aid and advise the Governor in the exercise of his functions, except in so far as he is by or under this constitution required to exercise his functions or any of them in his discretion. 

 

The dismissal of a Minister by the Governor of the State without the advice of the Chief Minister is constitutionally wrong. The issue of dismissal of a Minister without the advice of the Chief Minister is clearly destabilizes the constitutional system. 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Panchayat Development Index Report


In News: Government releases Report on Panchayat Development Index at national workshop on panchayat development 

About Panchayat Development Index Report: 

  • Union Ministry of Panchayati Raj has recently released the Panchayat Development Index (PDI) Report at a National Workshop. 
  • The main focus of the report is to develop a strategic plan and roadmap for integrating the Ministry's portal/dashboard and assessing schematic progress in alignment with LSDGs. 
  • It is also aimed to establish institutional mechanisms for implementing the PDI with the support of various ministries, departments, and knowledge partners. 
  • Major highlights: 
    • The index is a computation score based on local indicators of 9 themes related to Localization of Sustainable Development Goals (LSDGs). 
    • The report provides several local targets, indicators, and data points as baseline for Panchayats to set local targets and action points for preparing thematic Gram Panchayat Development Plans. 
    • It also aims to boost Capacity building and training of PRIs to play pivotal role in attaining SDGs in rural areas. 
  • Government in its part has proposed to strengthen and empower PRIs, increase the capacity of representatives, and improve the efficiency and transparency of functioning. 
  • Overall, the PDI report will facilitate outcome-oriented development goals at Panchayats and provide a mechanism for quantified evaluation. 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Global Parliamentary Pact - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Around 200 Parliamentarians along with heads and representatives from 64 countries, at the 2nd Global Parliamentary Summit against Hunger and Malnutrition in Chile, signed a commitment called Global Parliamentary Pact on transforming the agrifood system to make food sustainable and accessible to all. 

About the Global Parliamentary Pact:  

  • Agrifood system refers to the entire process of producing, processing, distributing, and consuming food, including all the activities and actors involved in the food supply chain. It encompasses agricultural production, food processing, transportation, storage, retail, and consumption. 
  • Leaders from across the world are coming together to form a new multilateral body to push for reforms and transformations in the agrifood system. 
  • The pact lends political support to policies concerning agrifood system reform, including drafting legislation for equitable food distribution and providing budgetary support. 
  • This has led to processing and approval of 35 laws, which cover family farming, responsible investment in agriculture, gender equality and women’s empowerment, school feeding programmes, food labelling, food loss and waste, among other aspects. 
  • The world is facing an unprecedented crisis of poverty, hunger and malnutrition. There is an urgent need to provide political legitimacy to the initiative.  
  • In 2021, there were 46 million more people who endured hunger than in 2020. Some 2.3 billion people in the world did not have access to adequate food in 2021. 
  • The parliamentarians’ latest pact provides the much needed political interface that these goals deserve, to ensure that they are achieved by 2030. 
  • Besides, political interest in these goals will result in accelerating reforms and transformations in the agrifood system that usually fall under the legislative domain. 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

AuditOnline - Edukemy Current Affairs


In News: Recently, The Ministry of Panchayati Raj has launched the Action Taken Report (ATR) Module of AuditOnline through a virtual event. 

About: 

  • AuditOnline is open-source software developed by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj as part of the Panchayat Enterprise Suite (PES) under the e-Panchayat Mission Mode Project (as part of the Digital India Programme).  
  • Along with AuditOnline, the ministry also launched eGramSwaraj, another user-friendly accounting application.  
  • It facilitates the financial audit of accounts at all the three levels of Panchayats viz District, Block and Village Panchayats, Urban Local Bodies (ULB) and Line department by Auditors. 
  • It not only facilitates the online and offline audit of accounts but also serves the purpose of maintaining the past audit records of the auditee with associated list of the auditors and audit team involved in the audit. 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) by CBIC


In News: The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has issued a standard operating procedure (SoP) to prevent the use of freebies, illicit liquor, and other prohibited items to lure voters during elections. 

Standard Operating Procedure (SoP): 

  • SoP is a set of guidelines and instructions that define how a particular task or process should be carried out. 
  • These guidelines and instructions ensure consistency, enhances efficiency and help to compliance with the set protocols. 
  • SoP by CBIC: 
    • It aims to ensure fair and transparent elections by preventing the flow of suspicious cash, illicit liquor, drugs/narcotics, freebies and smuggled goods during assembly and general elections. 
    • CBIC has instructed its field officials to monitor both monetary and non-monetary inducements used during the election process. 
    • The officers will report their activities to the Election Commission on a daily basis. 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Plea to make Scheduled Caste status ‘religion-neutral’


In News: Recently, The Supreme Court has taken on board a plea to stop using religious identity as a criterion to afford or deny communities a place within the Scheduled Caste bracket. 

About the Petition: 

  • It has challenged the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order 1950 issued under Article 341(1) of the Constitution. 
  • Paragraph 3 of the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 mandates that anybody who is not a Hindu, Sikh or Buddhist cannot be granted Scheduled Caste status. 
  • Since the word ‘religion’ is not mentioned in Article 341(1) of the Constitution, the ban concerning Christians and Muslims in the 1950 Order should be deleted. 

Constitutional Provision: 

  • Article 341(1) authorises the President to declare certain castes and classes as Scheduled Castes in a State (after consultation with the Governor) or a Union Territory. 

Arguments in favour of the petition: 

  • The change in religion does not change social exclusion or backwardness. 
  • Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission (2007) recommended that Scheduled Caste reservation be provided for Dalit converts to Christianity and Islam. The Centre had rejected the report. 
  • A new Commission (under G. Balakrishnan) has been established in 2022 to report on granting Scheduled Caste status to persons who have historically belonged to the SC but have converted to religions other than Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism. 

Keywords: Polity and Governance
Monthly Current Affairs

Admitting new members to BRICS


In news: The BRICS alliance faces challenges of becoming a tool for China's diplomatic ambitions, creating potential complications for India 

About Admitting New Members to BRICS 

  • BRICS was coined by Goldman Sachs economists in the early 2000s to suggest that Brazil, Russia, India, and China would eventually surpass the G6 economies in size. 
  • While China and India have risen in economic rankings, Brazil and Russia have fallen short with both not being even among the top 10 economies in the world. 
  • Expanding BRICS Membership: 
    • Over 40 developing countries have expressed interest in joining BRICS with countries like Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates are among those seeking membership. Expanding membership will help increase diversity and representation from various regions besides enhanced geopolitical influence on the global stage. 
  • Challenges: 
    • New members might have varying economic sizes and development stages, potentially impacting group dynamics. 
    • Ensuring alignment of interests and goals among existing and new members can be challenging as addition of certain countries might lead to shifts in geopolitical dynamics within the group. 
    • Expansion could strengthen China's diplomatic influence within BRICS leading to India facing complexities due to its adversarial relationship with China and alignment with Western countries. 
  • Thus, establishing clear criteria for new members is crucial to maintain coherence and relevance besides balancing economic strength, population size, and geopolitical importance. 
  • Overall, balancing inclusivity and coherence will be crucial to the group's continued relevance and effectiveness in shaping the global agenda which at present is intriguing yet uncertain. 

https://www.business-standard.com/opinion/columns/does-brics-exist-only-because-a-good-acronym-cannot-be-allowed-to-die-123081800644_1.html  

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Mechanism


In News: Indian External Affairs Minister meets Myanmar Counterpart at Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Mechanism meeting hosted in Bangkok 

About Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Mechanism 

  • Mekong Ganga Cooperation is a regional cooperation framework that fosters ties between six countries in South and Southeast Asia. 
  • It was established in 2000 with an aim to strengthen cultural, economic, and political relations among member states. 
  • It has six participating countries are India and five Mekong River basin countries: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam. 
  • The cooperation mechanism is named after the two iconic rivers, the Mekong River and the Ganges River (Ganga). 
  • It focuses on areas including cultural exchanges, tourism, education, trade, investment, agriculture, and water resource management. 

  • The mechanism encourages dialogue and collaboration in various sectors to promote mutual understanding and friendship. 
  • MGC facilitates people-to-people contact, academic exchanges, and cultural events to enhance cultural connectivity. 
  • It seeks to leverage the historical and cultural ties between the participating countries to deepen bilateral and regional engagement. 
  • Overall, Mekong Cooperation will go a long way to help India bolster its "Act East" policy and strengthen its engagement with Southeast Asian nations. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Current Affairs

CPTPP: Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement


In News: The United Kingdom has formally signed a treaty to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) 

About CPTPP: 

  • The CPTPP is a trade agreement signed in 2018 among 11 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam. 
  • The agreement aims to reduce trade barriers by eliminating or significantly reducing tariffs and making commitments to open services and investment markets. 
  • It includes provisions for tariff reductions, market access, trade facilitation and covers a wide range of sectors, including goods, services, investment, intellectual property, and e-commerce. 
  • It is considered one of the largest free trade agreements in the world, covering a combined GDP of around $13.5 trillion. 
  • It also includes rules addressing competition, intellectual property rights, and protections for foreign companies. 
  • The CPTPP is seen as a counterbalance to China's dominance in the region, although China, Taiwan, Ukraine, Uruguay, and Ecuador have applied to join. 
  • The agreement has attracted interest from other countries and regions, including the South Korea, and Taiwan, who have expressed their desire to join. 
  • It has also faced criticism regarding its impact on certain industries and concerns about its provisions on intellectual property rights. 
  • Overall, the CPTPP is considered a landmark agreement in the Asia-Pacific region and is expected to boost UK growth and open doors for business in the Indo-Pacific region. 

Keywords: International relations
Monthly Editorial Analysis

Japan and the Indo-Pacific - Edukemy Current Affairs


Exam View: A Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP); Challenges before the Indo-Pacific; Focus of the New Plan for the FOIP; The foundation.

Context: The visit by the Japanese Prime Minister to India in March 2023, focused on cooperation between the G-7 and the G-20. Japan’s New Plan for a Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP) was also unveiled.

Decoding the editorial: A Free and Open Indo-Pacific (FOIP)

Challenges before the Indo-Pacific

  • Geopolitical issues:
    • The Russia-Ukraine war,
    • Growing Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea, East China Sea, the Indian Line of Actual Control and the Taiwan Straits.
  • Food security,
  • Cyber space,
  • The freedom of the seas,
  • Connectivity,
  • Lack of united stand on rules-based order
    • The differing position of countries on the Russia-Ukraine war has brought this issue to the fore.

Focus of the New Plan for the FOIP

  • Rules-based order,
  • Respect for each other’s territorial sovereignty,
  • Working with and embracing diverse voices, and
  • Japan is working alongside other like-minded countries in the region with India being billed as an ‘indispensable’ partner.

The foundation

Four pillars of cooperation’ under the new FOIP have been outlined:

  • Principles for peace and rules for prosperity
    • Vulnerable countries usually suffer the most if there is an erosion in the rule of law.
    • Therefore, Japan wants to engage in economic development programmes such as promoting the implementation of the G-20 Principles for “Quality Infrastructure Investment”.

  • Addressing challenges in an Indo-Pacific way
    • Under this pillar, Japan talks about expansion of cooperation for the FOIP by incorporating realistic and practical projects in a wide range of areas, such as climate change, food security, global health and cybersecurity.
  • Multi-layered connectivity
    • Under the third pillar, the three areas identified for introducing more such projects are Southeast Asia, South Asia and the South Pacific/Pacific Island countries.
    • Japan has made a new commitment of $100 million towards the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund which will promote
      • the Bay of Bengal-Northeast India industrial value chain concept in cooperation with India and Bangladesh, and
      • the new Palau International Airport Terminal project (an archipelago in the western Pacific Ocean).
    • Extending efforts for security and safe use of the “sea” to the “air”

      • Under the fourth pillar, Japan will help in strengthening the capabilities of maritime law enforcement agencies in other countries.
      • Towards these objectives, Japan will
        • Implement the “strategic use of Official Development Assistance (ODAs)”;
        • Revise the Development Cooperation Charter;
        • Set forth guidelines for ODA for the next 10 years; and
        • Introduce an “offer-type” cooperation and a new framework for “private capital mobilisation-type” grant aid.
        • Mobilise a total of more than $75 billion in public and private funds in the Indo-Pacific region by 2030 in infrastructure development.

 

 

The primary goal of Japan’s visit was to reinforce the centrality of Japan in the emerging geopolitics of the Indo-Pacific. Japan is preparing itself for any unforeseen threat to its own as well as regional security. A Japan deeply invested in Indo-Pacific stability and prosperity is good news indeed for India and the wider region.

Source:

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/no-sayonara-for-japan-in-indo-pacific-geopolitics/article66692354.ece/amp/

Keywords: CA
Monthly Editorial Analysis

Approval Voting - Edukemy Current Affairs


Exam View: Current political situation in India; Unholy alliances; Reasons behind such alliances; Approval voting.

Context: Instead of the first-past-the-post system, voters should be able to choose ‘Many of the Above’ from multiple candidates and parties could end the need for opportunistic electoral alliances.

Decoding the editorial: Current political situation in India

Unholy alliances

  • Twenty-six opposition parties met in Bengaluru with an objective to unite all the political parties that are ideologically opposed to the BJP.
    • At the same time, there are also 30 other political parties in a meeting in Delhi, under the leadership of the ruling BJP, to consolidate an anti-Congress bloc.
    • These parties on either side of the ideological spectrum are not natural alliance partners, who are in perfect harmony with each other.
  • Another big travesty of Indian politics today is the deceit foisted on voters by political parties that win seats under one alliance and then switch to the other side post the election, under the mistaken notion that the seats they won are entirely theirs.

Reasons behind such alliances

  • To ensure that votes of one formation do not get divided.
    • These initiatives are merely a political response to the arithmetic of the first-past-the-post (FPTP) electoral system in India’s extremely diverse political landscape.
  • More than 600 parties contest the general elections and nearly three dozen parties have at least one member in Parliament.
    • In an extremely diverse society such as India, the proliferation of hundreds of political parties is a reflection of the need for representation.
    • Indian politics cannot be force-fitted into a two-party system like other democracies.
    • The FPTP method is incongruous with India’s unique political diversity.

Approval voting

Voters do not have to rank their preference of candidates and the winner is determined by the candidate with the greatest number of “approvals” or tick marks.

  • In the Indian context, we can think of approval voting as MOTA (Many Of The Above), the mirror image of NOTA that we already have on every ballot.
  • The voter would be free to choose as many parties as she wants to. It would indicate that she is agnostic between two or three parties.
  • When there are no restrictions on the number of candidates a voter can choose, it drives voters to eliminate those that they completely disapprove of and express their approval of as many as they wish.
  • A vote for one party would not necessarily mean a vote denied for another and an explicit alliance between the two parties is not needed.
    • It is more aligned to prevent the splitting of votes among numerous parties.
  • It could potentially obviate the need for such elaborate and complex alliance and unity-building initiatives.
  • It is simple and easy for the average Indian voter to just tick all parties that she wants to vote for.
  • Research and experience in other countries have shown that MOTA is very powerful in producing outcomes that are acceptable to a greater majority in a multi-party democracy.
  • MOTA can be a befitting solution to end “aya Ram gaya Ram” woes in Indian politics.
  • This system, called “approval voting”, is a well-researched voting methodology that is used in elections with multiple credible choices, such as in
    • The United Nations,
    • Internal party primaries in the US, and
    • The election of the Pope.

India’s political diversity is both a necessity and an inevitability. Replacing the FPTP method with MOTA can fundamentally alter Indian politics and society for the better by reducing opportunistic political alliances in favor of ideological politics.

Source:

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/how-india-can-prevent-unnatural-political-alliances-8844847/

Keywords: CA
Monthly Editorial Analysis

The SCO is a success story - Edukemy Current Affairs


Exam View: 23rd summit of the SCO; SCO in a changing world; Commitments of SCO; Strategies ahead; Need for multilateralism.

Context: On July 4, 2023, India successfully hosted the 23rd Meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Decoding the editorial: 23rd summit of the SCO

  • The New Delhi Declaration was signed by the leaders of the SCO member-states.
    • They issued statements on countering radicalisation and exploring cooperation in digital transformation.
  • The summit granted Iran full SCO membership, signed the memorandum of obligations of Belarus to join the SCO as a member-state, and adopted the SCO’s economic development strategy for the period until 2030.
  • These significant outcomes have demonstrated the vitality of the “SCO family”.

SCO in a changing world

  • The world is grappling with geopolitical tensions, an economic slowdown, energy crises, food shortage and climate change.
  • The major risks to world peace and development are power politics, economic coercion, technology decoupling and ideological contests.
  • These challenges require the joint response of all countries in the SCO.

Commitments of SCO

  • Becoming a community with a shared future for mankind,
  • Synergising national development strategies,
  • Regional cooperation initiatives,
  • Carrying forward the spirit of good neighbourliness and friendship,
  • Building partnerships featuring dialogue instead of confrontation, and
  • Regional peace, stability and prosperity.

Strategies ahead

  • Strengthening strategic communication
  • Supporting each other’s development and rejuvenation.
  • Enhancing solidarity and mutual trust for common security
    • There are some external elements that are orchestrating a new Cold War and bloc confrontation in the region.
    • These developments must be addressed with high vigilance and firm rejection.
  • Upgrading security cooperation, and cracking down in a decisive manner on terrorism, separatism and extremism, and transnational organised crimes.
    • Cooperating in digital, biological and outer space security, and facilitating political settlement when it comes to international and regional hot-spot issues.
  • Embracing win-win cooperation to chart a path to shared prosperity.
    • Protectionism, unilateral sanctions and decoupling undermine people’s well-being all over the world.
  • Generating stronger momentum for collaboration in trade, investment, technology, climate actions, infrastructure and people-to-people engagement.
  • Contributing to high-quality and resilient economic growth of the region.
    • There needs to be collective efforts to scale up local currency settlement between SCO members, expand cooperation on sovereign digital currency, and promote the establishment of an SCO development bank.
  • Forging a united, equal, balanced and inclusive global development partnership.
  • Voice should be loud and clear against hegemony, unilateralism, a Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation.
  • Illegal unilateral sanctions and long-arm jurisdiction measures must be rejected.
  • Promoting humanity’s common values of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, and get global governance to evolve in a fairer and more reasonable direction.
  • China is committed to working with India, South Africa and other partners from the South to put into action the Global Security Initiative, Global Development Initiative and Global Civilization Initiative, to contribute to world peace, security and prosperity.

Need for multilateralism

  • The SCO needs more engagements with its observer states, dialogue partners and other regional and international organisations such as the United Nations, to uphold the UN-centred international system and the international order based on international law.
  • They need to be united in promoting world peace, driving global development and safeguarding the international order.

Over the next two months, South Africa and India will preside over the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and G-20 summits, respectively. These will be significant moments to shape a multi-polar world order, promote inclusive global development, and improve international governance architecture.

Source:

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-sco-is-a-success-story-that-can-get-better/article67124499.ece/amp/

Keywords: CA
Monthly Editorial Analysis

A strong and unified ASEAN - Edukemy Current Affairs


Exam View: Challenges for ASEAN; ASEAN’s vision; India’s role.

Context: An in-depth study of various outcome documents, particularly the joint communiqué of the 56th Foreign Ministers Meeting (FMM), is indicative of ASEAN’s brave attempts to navigate through transformative changes in the present decade.

Decoding the Editorial:

An elaborate institutional architecture created by ASEAN has become an inclusive platform that draws nations from near and far, engaged in shaping the strategic contestation in a vast region stretching from east Africa to the South Pacific.

Challenges for ASEAN

  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Economic slowdown
  • The Ukraine war
  • Climate change
  • Internal differences on Myanmar
    • The grouping is unable to forge unity in the Myanmar situation.
    • It has led ASEAN to bar a member-state (Myanmar) from all its political-level discussions.
    • In the run-up to the FMM, Thailand, defying ASEAN’s official policy, ran its own dialogue with the military government which permitted the Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister to have a meeting with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, much to the discomfiture of Indonesia, the ASEAN chair.
    • Without unity, ASEAN centrality loses much of its credibility.
  • China
    • It enjoys close political and economic relations with the ASEAN states.
    • At least three of them, i.e., Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar, are its virtual dependencies.
    • While the Philippines has become more assertive of late in its claims in the South China Sea, the central players, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand, are all favourably disposed towards Beijing.
    • This explains why none of them raises its voice against China’s delaying tactics in negotiating an enforceable code of conduct concerning the South China Sea.
    • For many years, ASEAN and China have called for “an early conclusion of an effective and substantive” code of conduct; they did it this year too, but are content to leave the matter there.
    • No indication of a timeline is given.
    • It is hard to find a similar example of diplomatic doublespeak.
  • Debate between the U.S. and Chinese governments
    • ASEAN’s desire to lead the region and shape its agenda stands jeopardised by the strained relationship between the U.S. and China.
    • The Chinese argument is that the U.S. is solely responsible for poor relations because it steadily refuses to accept and accommodate itself to China’s ‘peaceful rise.’
    • The U.S., on the other hand, is no longer willing to turn a blind eye to Chinese aggressiveness and coercion in the Indo-Pacific and beyond.
    • A North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s Vilinius summit communiqué stated, “The People’s Republic of China’s stated ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security and values.”

ASEAN’s vision

  • ASEAN is portrayed as “the Epicentre of Growth”.
  • It has a well-chiselled vision with three interrelated dimensions:
    • creating a political community that ensures regional peace and a just, democratic and harmonious environment;
    • an economic community focused on achieving a well-integrated and connected regional economy within the global economic system; and
    • socio-cultural community to enhance the quality of life of ASEAN’s citizens as well as sustainable development of the region.
  • ASEAN’s ability to manage regional and global dynamics depends on two critical ingredients that promote its unity and centrality.
    • It should maintain its credibility by adhering to the ASEAN Charter, and
    • It should stay in the driver’s seat while navigating regional dynamics.
  • Anxious over “the intensifying geopolitical tensions in the region,” ASEAN prefers to promote the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP). Its four identified areas are
    • maritime cooperation,
    • connectivity,
    • UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and
    • economic cooperation.

India’s role

  • A “strong and unified” ASEAN is important in the emerging dynamic of the Indo-Pacific.
  • The convergence between the AOIP and India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative has also become very important.
  • To build on the comprehensive strategic partnership between India and ASEAN, India has suggested that the two sides work in newer areas such as cyber, financial and maritime security domains.

Though it appeared that ASEAN did not make much progress, and no new ground was broken, its persistence with dialogue, internally and externally, prevented geopolitical temperatures from rising.

 

Source:

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/asean-a-persistence-with-dialogue-on-a-trodden-path/article67116954.ece/amp/

Keywords: CA
Monthly Editorial Analysis

Taming inflation - Edukemy Current Affairs


Exam view: Areas of concern; Ban on Export; A better way to tame non-PDS inflation.

Context: Export bans, stocking limits can be counterproductive to stabilise prices of commodities. India needs to use import policy liberally.

 

Decoding the editorial: Areas of concern

The June Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation figure of 4.8 percent is discomforting for the RBI as well as the government.

  • The erratic monsoon has raised the risk of inflation.
  • The cereals and products inflation is high at 12.71 percent. It contributes about 22.8 percent to CPI inflation, as it has a high weight of 9.7 percent in the food group in the CPI basket.
  • The inflation rate for wheat stands at 12.37 percent despite the recent ban on exports and the stocking limits on traders and processors.
  • Furthermore, rice inflation stands at 11.78 percent, and the FCI’s open market operations have elicited a lukewarm response.
  • Tomato prices are showing a negative inflation of (-) 34.7 percent in June 2023.
    • It is because last year in June 2022, tomatoes inflation was 158 percent, and therefore when one compares, year-on-year (YoY) inflation, it turns out to be negative for tomatoes.
    • But month-on-month (MoM) (June over May 2023) basis, inflation is 64.5 percent for tomatoes.
  • Milk and milk products recorded an inflation rate of 8.56 percent in June 2023 and contributed 11.2 percent to the overall CPI inflation.
    • Among the 299 commodities in the CPI basket, liquid milk has the highest contribution of 11 percent to CPI inflation.
    • Rising feed costs and lumpy skin disease have led to milk production stagnating (222 MT) in FY23 over (221 MT) in FY22.
  • Pulses and products inflation in June 2023 was also at double digits (10.53 percent).
    • Regions dependent on rainfall for pulses cultivation, such as Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Maharashtra, may see a reduced output due to anticipated adverse weather conditions caused by El Nino.

Ban on Export

The government has imposed a ban on exports of white rice with the hope of taming cereal inflation. Its probable impacts are:

  • Globally: India is the largest exporter of rice, accounting for almost 40 percent of the global rice trade.
    • Such bans on exports and strangulation of domestic markets will not be appreciated at all by G20 countries.
    • The rice export ban will hurt the African countries most as rice prices are likely to go up internationally.
  • Domestically: It reflects a knee-jerk reaction and a strong pro-consumer bias, which is also anti-farmer.
    • These are instruments of the 1960s.
    • Export bans and stocking limits also make a mockery of the agri-marketing reforms that the now-withdrawn farm laws were trying to achieve.
    • India imposed a ban on wheat exports in May 2022, and in June this year. Yet, inflation in wheat has been in double digits.
    • The government is already giving free rice or wheat (5kg/person/month) to more than 800 million people under its PM Garib Kalyan Yojana.
    • In the case of rice, the export ban is puzzling as the government has stocks of more than 40 million tonnes (MT) , almost three times the buffer stock norms of 13.5 MT as on July 1.

A better way to tame non-PDS inflation

  • Reduce the import duty on wheat from 40 percent.
  • Unload excess rice stocks in the open market at lower prices than what the FCI has been doing recently.
  • There is also a need to revise the weight of food and beverages in the CPI basket.
    • This is outdated and based on the 2011 consumption survey.
    • Engel’s law clearly shows us that with rising per capita income, people will spend less on food.
  • There needs to be accountability from Operation Green, which was set up to stabilise value chains and prices of tomatoes, onions, and potatoes (TOP).
  • With respect to milk products, the policy solution lies in reducing import duties on skimmed milk powder (SMP) from 60 percent to 10 percent and on butter from 40 percent to 10 percent.
  • Importing tur from Mozambique, Malawi and Myanmar can help tame tur prices.
  • Also, India needs to abolish the minimum import price for yellow peas, which currently stands at Rs 200/kg. Yellow pea is the cheapest pulse; it can act as an anchor and check the spurt in pulses prices.

To sum up, India can contain CPI inflation within 6 percent, provided it uses import policy for food products liberally and well in time.

Source:

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/how-not-to-tame-inflation-8856410/

Keywords: CA
Monthly Editorial Analysis

Dilemmas of India’s great power ambitions


Exam View: Power and its consequences; India of 1991: Powers and Challenges; India of 2023: Powers; India of 2023: Challenges.

Context: Even though domestic inabilities will continue to moderate New Delhi’s ability to influence the world order, being unwilling to be a ‘global rule shaper’ would be a strategic blunder.

Decoding the editorial: Power and its consequences

India of 1991: Powers and Challenges

  • Economic aspect: A weak, poor, and deeply beleaguered country with a foreign exchange reserve of $5.8 billion and a nominal GDP of $270.11 billion.
    • Of the 846 million population, around 50% were poor.
  • Neighbourhood: Despite efforts to diffuse fears of a nuclear war, prospects of an India-Pakistan clash loomed, and violence in Kashmir was at its peak.
  • Strategic aspect: The Soviet Union collapsed. It was India’s trusted partner.
    • Strained relations with the United States further weighed on the country’s ruling elite.
    • American officials kept a close watch on India and Pakistan and their nuclear plans, and occasionally travelled to the subcontinent to counsel the cantankerous neighbours. 

India of 2023: Powers

  • Economic aspect: India’s foreign exchange reserve has grown to around $600 billion.
    • The reforms initiated after the 1991 economic crisis not only led to higher GDP growth but also significant poverty reduction.
    • Ranked as the world’s fifth largest economy, India’s nominal GDP could soon touch $4 trillion.
  • Neighbourhood: A war with Pakistan is not something Indian leaders lose sleep over. China has taken that place and there is a general sense of foreign policy optimism.
  • Strategic aspect: It has one of the largest militaries in the world with over a hundred nuclear weapons.
    • The U.S. is now one of India’s closest friends, and New Delhi enjoys strong relationships with several powerful states around the world.
    • The Ukraine war brought renewed focus on India’s role in world politics.
      • The U.S. and the wealthy West want India to be on their side.
      • An embattled Russian Federation is doing everything it can to ensure India does not turn its back on Moscow.
      • There are serious suggestions that India should mediate between Ukraine and Russia to bring an end to the war.
    • India is a bridge between the north and south and east and west.

India of 2023: Challenges

  • Economic:
    • Despite being the fifth largest economy in the world, its GDP per capita was $1,947 in 2021 whereas that of Bangladesh, at $2,227, was more than that of India even though Bangladesh is only the 40th largest military in the world.
  • Infrastructural:
    • A few days of rain crumble the infrastructure, even in the national capital.
  • Social cleavages:
    • Regional, caste, ethnic and religious divisions run deep.
  • Corruption:
    • The ease of doing business may have improved, but starting a business without a bribe is still not easy.
  • Domestic vs global governance:
    • Reducing poverty is a task that is bound to divert attention from serious external engagements.
      • When the political class gives scant attention to the country’s foreign and security policy, it is managed by career bureaucrats who usually do not diverge from precedents and avoid taking even remotely risky decisions.
      • Without political will, foreign policy tends to be on autopilot.
    • The presence of a weak economy also tempers the Indian elite’s appetite for external engagement.
      • The political class can not allocate attention and resources to foreign and security policies if large sections of the population are living in poverty.
      • The Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs (2022-23) observed that despite an increase in the overall budget allocation of the Government of India, the allocation made to the Ministry of External Affairs in percentage terms has witnessed a downward turn during the last four years and during 2022-23 it is only 0.44%.

India has no choice but to influence and shape the global order to meet its foreign policy objectives which would have significant impact on its economic growth, security environment and geopolitical and geo economic interests.

 

Source:

https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/dilemmas-of-indias-great-power-ambitions/article67113422.ece#:~:text=%E2%80%9CWhat%20kind%20of%20a%20global,and%20reconcile%20within%20the%20country

Keywords: CA
Monthly Editorial Analysis

Who is accountable in Manipur?


Context: The deranged crime in Manipur, especially during communally charged conflicts, is a social and political dislocation of a deeper sort. Such systems of violence are a by-product of India’s majoritarian turn.

Decoding the editorial: Meltdown in Manipur

Aspects of meltdown in Manipur

  • The systems of violence
    • The hill administration in southern Manipur is now being run from New Delhi, with the N Biren Singh government’s mandate reduced to the Imphal Valley.
    • Even such limited writ came into question with the recent murder of a Naga woman in Imphal East, which threatened to dislocate Naga-Meitei ties.
    • It took strong condemnation by civil society members as well as radical Meitei outfits such as the Arambai Tenggol, to prevent a Meitei-Naga war in north Manipur.
    • Such a situation risks roping Nagaland into the vortex, akin to the Meitei-Kuki rupture in the south that has already involved Mizoram into the mix.
    • Hosting thousands of displaced Kuki-Zo families, the Mizoram government is openly supporting this community.
    • Mizos feel the need to protect their ethnic kin in Manipur from Meitei majoritarianism.
    • The last time this happened was in the 1970s and 1980s, when the Mizo National Front was an insurgent organisation seeking to unify all these communities into greater Mizoram.
    • Political tensions between Mizoram, Assam and Manipur, including over disputed boundaries, have become highly charged.
  • Partitioned state administration
    • Meitei police officers are not operating in the hills, and Kuki-Zo officers are not operating in the Valley.
  • Missing arms
    • To worsen matters, 6.32-lakh bullets and around 4,537-arms, including light and medium machine-guns, are reportedly missing from the Manipur Police Training Centre, 7th India Reserve Battalion, and 8th Manipur Rifles in Imphal city.
    • Of these weapons, about 5.31 percent are said to be in the Kuki-dominated hills, and the rest in the Meitei-dominated Imphal Valley.
  • Complicated gender politics
    • Meitei women’s groups scuttled an army operation and forced the release of 12 Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup militants, with no follow-up action against either.
    • This brings into sharp relief the complicated gender politics and inter-community balance-of-power in this conflict.
  • Massive infusion of drug profits and products from Myanmar.
  • India’s majoritarian turn
    • Fresh partitions and associated armed ethnic mobilisation in Northeast India with support from states-within-the-Union are a by-product of India’s majoritarian turn.
    • Majoritarianism, here, is defined by competing desires for regional hegemony and demands for access to resources and power within the Union, and not territorial separation.
    • Socially corrosive, such ecosystems are lubricated by perverse vote-bank politics, and illicit, unaccounted cash-flows, both of which are abundant in the Northeast.
  • The structures of silence around the violence
    • The silence of India’s prime minister.
      • He has finally and belatedly spoken on Manipur.
      • It raises the question of where exactly the ruling party figures on the complicit-incompetent spectrum in Manipur.
    • The silence on systemic violence against women in Manipur.
      • But it took a leaked video and associated public shock for Manipur police to order an investigation. Till then, there was silence.
      • Unfortunately, if one goes by the predicament of India’s wrestling champions who’ve been fighting for justice against sexual harassment by those in power, chances of a fair investigation in Manipur’s case remain thin. There may be a spectacle around arrests of certain identifiable individuals in the video. But to expect this moment to translate into a turning-point where the state asserts itself and reinstates a modicum of constitutional integrity to a strife-torn state is delusional.
    • India’s eroding social contract
      • India’s social contract is eroding, not because there aren’t enough people who care about it.
      • India’s social contract seems to be weakening because wrongdoers in power aren’t being held accountable.
      • The only way to deliver justice to the two survivors of this mob assault, and perhaps to stabilise the situation in Manipur, is to ensure accountability.

India’s social contract is melting, and while it may seem geographically peripheral, Manipur is right at the heart of it.

Source:

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/who-is-accountable-in-manipur-8850423/

Keywords: CA
Monthly Editorial Analysis

A roadmap to eliminate poverty in India


Exam View: India’s economic goals; The challenges for India.

Context: Though India is today the fifth largest economy, in per capita terms, it is ranked (2022) 149 out of 194 countries. India needs to grow at 7 percent for the next 25 years to raise incomes.

Decoding the editorial: India’s economic goals

  • Raising the per capita income
    • It should be raised by almost six times over the next 25 years from the estimated $2,379 in 2022-23.
    • That will enable people to have a higher standard of living and eliminate poverty.

  • An incremental capital-output ratio (ICOR)
    • An ICOR of 4 will require a Gross Fixed Capital Formation rate of 28 percent.
      • However, the ratio of 4, which is often assumed, is on the basis of improved efficiency in the use of capital.
    • During the high-growth period in the early years of this century, the ratio was low. It has subsequently increased.
    • Excluding two outlier years namely, 2019-20 and 2020-21, the average ICOR over five years from 2016-17 to 2022-23 is estimated to be 4.65.
    • ICOR is the result of many factors, including technology.

  • Investment
    • The required investment rate in the next 25 years may be in the range of 30-32 percent of GDP.
    • While recognising that public investment has picked up, it is necessary to emphasise that the investments by the business sector, both corporate and non-corporate, must increase.
  • The composition of investment
    • Investment must flow into sectors and segments which are crucial to promote growth and employment generation.
    • While foreign direct investment must be welcomed, particularly in the newly emerging technological sectors, bulk of the investment must come from within.
  • A provision for basic income
    • The level of basic income and the coverage of beneficiaries have to be determined taking into account certain normative considerations.
    • With basic income, India should be prepared to cut down most subsidies other than those on food.

The challenges for India

  • The overall climate for peace
    • It is necessary for growth. It has deteriorated after the Ukraine-Russia conflict.
    • If this tension continues, it will be a strong negative factor for growth.
    • Supply disruptions of critical imports like oil can cause a severe setback not only to developing countries but also to developed countries.
  • The attitude towards global trade
    • WTO was set up to create an environment of low tariffs and restrictions.
    • But rich countries that earlier preached to the developing countries to adopt a free trade model, are backing out for one reason or another and putting restrictions on imports.
  • The strategy of development
    • Several countries like South Korea earlier and China achieved high growth over several decades by focusing on exports.
    • This export-led growth strategy may not work for India, particularly in the context of changed global trade situation.
    • multi-dimensional strategy with emphasis on agriculture and related activities, manufacturing and exports is the need of the hour.
    • India needs to preserve its growth in services sector.
  • Ability to absorb new technologies
    • Unlike the earlier ones, it is suspected that AI can result in increasing productivity and output but not necessarily jobs.
      • That is bad news for populous countries like India.
    • India’s educational system must be reoriented to enable students to acquire the required skills.
    • Equally important is to identify labour-intensive economic activities.
    • India has to reckon with a lower employment elasticity with respect to output.
  • Environmental considerations
    • The burden of pollution reduction must be borne primarily by developed economies that have exploited natural resources significantly in the last century and a half.
    • Bringing down pollution, including the level of carbon, can have an output effect.
    • In this context, a high annual growth rate of 8 percent may have to be ruled out for India.

A 6 to 7 percent growth continuously is still possible if the strategy is correct and if we can create an appropriate investment climate.

Source:

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/an-economy-more-future-ready-8847102/

Keywords: CA
Monthly Editorial Analysis

Small states’ heavy reliance on Union


Exam View: Problems for small states; The revenue receipts for a State; Various vulnerabilities of states; Mitigating the vulnerabilities.

Context: Small States must prioritise raising their own revenue to reduce their vulnerabilities in the future.

Background: Problems for small states

  • Lopsided data:
    • Data analysis is centred around larger States.
    • There needs to be more discussion on the fiscal position of small States (i.e. States with a population of less than 1 crore).
  • Reliance on Union:
    • Most of these small states have distinctive characteristics that limit revenue mobilisation.
    • Recognising these disabilities, the Constitution has provided mechanisms to address them.
    • But these States continue to rely heavily on the Union government for revenue.

Decoding the editorial