Tuesday, 9th May 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day


Urban Governance Model of Maharashtra

2   Daily Current Affairs


US Fed Rate Hike - Edukemy Current Affairs


Extension of CPEC to Afghanistan


River City Alliance - Edukemy Current Affairs


Arab League - Edukemy Current Affairs


Convention on Migratory Species


WTO Agreement on Agriculture - Edukemy Current Affairs


Mercy Petition - Edukemy Current Affairs


Kisan Credit Card - Edukemy Current Affairs


International Leopard Day 2023


Smart Gel for 3D Nerve Repair - Edukemy Current Affairs


Ekatha Harbour - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Editorial of the day

Urban Governance Model of Maharashtra

Exam View: The Urban Problem; Case study of Maharashtra’s Aspirational Cities Programme (ACP).

Context: The Aspirational Cities Programme of Maharashtra puts its people as its first priority. It brings a sense of competition amongst the cities for urban governance that will catapult the state into a trillion-dollar economy.

Decoding the editorial: The Urban Problem

  • India is experiencing rapid urbanisation.
  • Urban India is undergoing a major transformation with an inward net movement of people for better livelihood opportunities. Around 590 million people would live in the cities by 2030.
  • While cities constitute about 3 per cent of the land in the country, they generate 70 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and contribute substantially to economic growth and opportunities.
  • There is a robust relationship between the index of cities’ liveability and the country’s GDP per capita suggesting that long-term growth is only feasible if the city contributes in terms of providing equitable access to basic services.

  • Challenges for cities from poor urban planning:
    • basic infrastructure,
    • air pollution,
    • deficient infrastructure,
    • social inequities,
    • large informal sector (involving women and children),
    • frequent mobility and migration, and
    • increased vulnerabilities to disasters and climate change.
  • Cities require a holistic solution to problems instead of a piecemeal approach by individual departments.
  • A review of the strategies adopted by urbanised nations across the globe suggests they have invested in strategic thinking and investment, including private sector participation, and integrated, and coordinated actions across agencies. This can be possible with the strong role played by the political leadership.
  • It is in this context that Maharashtra has conceptualised and initiated the Aspirational Cities Programme (ACP) modelled on the lines of the Aspirational Districts initiative of Niti Aayog.

Case Study: Maharashtra’s Aspirational Cities Programme (ACP)

  • Data:
    • Maharashtra reported the largest share of the urban population of India (13.5 percent) as per Census 2011.
    • The share of the urban population in Maharashtra was 45.2 percent, much higher than the national figure of 31.1 percent.
    • Maharashtra also reported the largest number of slums that are home to more than 11.8 million people living in these informal settlements including 17 million children and adolescents, comprising 34 percent of the urban population.
  • ACP’s three priority areas:
    • Integration of inclusive urban development that involves all development sectors thus bringing an integrated approach to urban programming;
    • Adoption of scientific data methods for assessing and monitoring outcomes of both state and central schemes;
    • Enhancing the voice and participation of citizens in civic affairs through physical and digital means.
  • ACP’s Focus:
    • improved governance,
    • address persistent civic issues, and
    • increase funding avenues for the urban local bodies.
  • Financing:
    • Property tax is the main tax revenue of urban bodies. There is a need for reform in property assessment by delinking it from the reasonable rental value method and adopting the market value of the property as a base for assessment.
    • Low tax and non-tax revenue of the urban local bodies reflect on the reduced revenue per capita and the standard of living of its residents.
  • Provisions:
    • Provisioning adequate potable tap water to all households by taking advantage of the ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission is part of the ACP agenda.
      • Except for 56 cities, the rest of the cities and towns in Maharashtra fall short of the suggested benchmark of 135 litres per capita per day recommended by MoHUA.
    • The ACP has identified 57 cities that have been proposed for the programme based on their own revenue and other services such as tap drinking water connection per household.
    • The performance of the 57 selected cities would be monitored and ranked quarterly through a standard digital monitoring platform with indicators on the themes of
      • urban infrastructure,
      • education,
      • urban services,
      • skill development, and
      • climate change.
    • This would in turn enable the state government to act with speed, take strategic policy decisions and make necessary fund allocations to enable the growth and development of the less progressive cities for an impactful boost in the state’s economy.

This effort by the Government of Maharashtra is strategically contextualised with the “Viksit Bharat” vision for India in 2047.




Keywords: GS-Paper 3: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, roads, Airports, Railways
Daily Current Affairs

US Fed Rate Hike - Edukemy Current Affairs

In News: Recently, The US Federal Reserve raised its benchmark overnight interest rate by a quarter of a percentage point to 5%-5.25%.

Impacts of US Fed Rate Hike on Indian Economy

  • Capital outflows from India: A US Fed rate hike can lead to a rise in interest rates in the US, which can attract capital flows from other countries. This can lead to a reduction in foreign investment in India, which can affect economic growth.
  • Depreciation of Indian rupee: The increase in the US Fed rate could potentially cause a decline in the value of the Indian rupee. Such depreciation can have significant implications on India's trade balance and current account deficit. It may also result in higher costs for imported goods, including crude oil, thereby leading to inflation in the Indian economy.
  • Borrowing Costs: Increase in the US federal reserve rate can lead to an increase in borrowing costs in India. After an increase in the interest rate investors may choose to invest in US securities instead of Indian securities. This can lead to a reduction in domestic investment and higher borrowing costs for businesses and individuals.
  • Stock Market: An increase in the US Fed reserve rate can also affect the stock market in India. When the US interest rates rise, it can decrease the demand for risky assets, including equities. This reduction in demand for stocks can lead to a decline in stock prices in India, affecting the overall performance of the stock market.
  • External Debt: Since a significant portion of India's external debt is denominated in US Dollars, an increase in the US Fed rate can escalate the cost of servicing the debt. The value of the rupee may fall against the dollar, which would make it more expensive to pay off the debt. This will increase in India's external debt burden and have an adverse impact on the overall economy.
  • Banks: The banking industry gets benefited by the interest rates rise, as banks re-price their loan portfolio much quicker than their deposit rates, which helps them to increase their net interest margin.

Options available to India to Counter India Federal Rate Hike:

  • Increase Domestic Interest Rates: One option available to India is to increase its domestic interest rates to offset the impact of Fed rate hikes. By increasing domestic interest rates, India can attract more foreign investment, which can help support the value of the rupee.
  • Increase Exports: Another option for India is to increase its exports to offset the negative impact of Fed rate hikes. By boosting exports, India can earn more foreign currency, which can help support the value of the rupee.
  • Build Up Forex Reserves: India can also build up its foreign exchange reserves to help offset the impact of Fed rate hikes. By having more foreign currency reserves, India can ensure that it has enough dollars to service its external debt and pay for imports.
  • Diversify Currency Reserves: Another option for India is to diversify its currency reserves away from the US dollar. By holding a more diversified portfolio of currencies, India can reduce its reliance on the US dollar and mitigate the impact of Fed rate hikes.
  • Promote Investment in Infrastructure: India can also promote investment in infrastructure projects to attract foreign investment and help support economic growth. By investing in infrastructure, India can also help reduce its reliance on imports, which can help offset the impact of Fed rate hikes.
  • Encouraging Domestic Consumption: If the Fed rate hikes lead to a slowdown in the Indian economy, the government could boost domestic consumption through measures such as tax cuts, subsidies, or public works programs to stimulate economic activity.
  • Reduce Dependence on Crude Oil import: A significant impact of a stronger US dollar is the escalation in crude oil prices, leading to a general upsurge in commodity prices. To tackle this situation, it is crucial to encourage the adoption of alternative sources of energy, such as renewable energy and ethanol. Doing so can help decrease the dependence on crude oil and mitigate the impact of its rising prices due to a stronger US dollar.




Keywords: GS -3 Economy, Monetary policy
Daily Current Affairs

Extension of CPEC to Afghanistan

In News: During the 4th round of the Foreign Minister-level Pakistan-China Strategic Dialogue, China & Pakistan agreed to extend China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), to Afghanistan and continue their humanitarian and economic assistance for Afghan people and enhance development cooperation.

About China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC):

  • CPEC is a bilateral project between Pakistan and China with the objective to enhance connectivity across Pakistan with a network of highways, railways, and pipelines accompanied by other infrastructure development projects.
  • CPEC, also known as the One Road Project, is part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), a global endeavour aimed at reconstituting the Silk Road and linking China to all corners of Asia.
  • Under the CPEC plan, China will invest in industrial power stations, roads, and railways from Kashgar in Xinjiang (China) to Gwadar port (Pakistan) in the 3000 km long belt.
  • CPEC is financed by heavily-subsidised Chinese loans, disbursed to the Pakistan Government by Chinese banking giants such as China Development Bank, Exim Bank of China and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.
  • China has proposed construction of the Peshawar-Kabul motorway as an extension of CPEC in Afghanistan.

Rationale behind Extension of CPEC to Afghanistan:

  • China’s Interest:
    • Access to Middle East, Europe, and Africa: Extension of CPEC to Afghanistan would enable China’s access to the Middle East, Africa, and Indian Ocean, thus enhancing its trade and fulfilling its energy demands.
    • Gwadar port could reduce China’s dependence on the Strait of Malacca, a global choke point, through which China transports 80% of its oil. Gwadar port will have the estimated capacity to handle 19 million tonnes of crude oil per year, which will be sent to China after being refined at the port.
    • Access to rare minerals: Afghanistan has a large amount of Rare Earth Minerals that are important for making electronics and military equipment.
  • Pakistan’s interest:
    • Investments and employment: Chinese investments in Pakistan would help boost its economy, generate employment opportunities and help it come out of bankruptcy.
    • Fulfil energy needs of Pakistan: Afghanistan’s inclusion would allow Pakistan to harness energy and other resources, as well as gain access to Afghanistan’s vast wealth of untapped natural resources.

Impact of Afghanistan’s involvement in CPEC:

  • Concern for Chabahar Port: Involvement of China and Pakistan with Afghanistan can undermine the India–Iran–Afghanistan trilateral and reduce investments in Chabahar Port.
  • Increase in Chinese influence in Afghanistan at the cost of India: China is trying to fill the vacuum created after the exit of US forces through BRI initiatives and other investments. With the extension of CPEC, China will play a leading role in Afghanistan overpowering India’s economic influence in Afghanistan.
  • Undermining India’s Sovereignty: The CPEC passes through PoK, which undermines India’s sovereignty and is in violation of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
  • India’s Investment at stake as it has been the biggest regional donor to Afghanistan investing more than US$2 billion for developmental work like construction of roads, power plants, dams, parliament building, rural development, education, infrastructure etc.
  • Security Concerns: China may control Afghanistan's Bagram air force base which is the biggest airport and technically well-equipped as the Americans kept it for their use till the end.
  • Terrorism and Strategic Concerns: With Afghanistan becoming a part of CPEC, it will boost economic development in the region but may also lead to funding of terrorists in Pakistan, which could be a threat to India's interests.




Keywords: GS-2 Effect of Policies & Politics of Countries on India's Interests
Daily Current Affairs

River City Alliance - Edukemy Current Affairs

In News: Ministry of Jal Shakti organises global seminar on “River-Cities Alliance (RCA)”

About River-Cities Alliance (RCA):

  • It is a global platform for river-sensitive urban development and management, established by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
  • Its primary objective is to bring together officials from member cities and international stakeholders to discuss and learn best practices for managing urban rivers.
  • It started with 30 cities on the banks of the river, but eventually expanded to include all cities, not just those in the Ganga Basin.
  • The NMCG in association with the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) will provide a platform for stakeholders to learn good practices for managing urban rivers.
  • Its global platform leverages the experience of foreign countries in cleaning up rivers, improving river properties, and managing river flooding to create beautiful cities in India.
  • RCA is also committed to the SDG goals of equity in water distribution, access to safe drinking water, democratization of water, etc.




Keywords: GS-III: Government policies/schemes
Daily Current Affairs

Arab League - Edukemy Current Affairs

In News: Arab League readmits Syria as relations with Assad normalize

About Arab League:

  • The Arab League is a regional organization of Arab countries in and around North Africa, the Horn of Africa, and the Middle East.
  • It was established in Cairo on 22 March 1945 with six founding members: Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and
  • It aims to promote economic, cultural, and political cooperation among its members, and to promote the interests of the Arab world as a whole.
  • The organization has 22 member states as of 2023, with Palestine as an observer state and Ahmed Aboul Gheit as the Secretary-General.
  • The Arab League recently readmitted Syria as a member after it had suspended its membership in 2011 after the start of the civil war and the crackdown on street protests against the President.




Keywords: GS-2 International Relation
Daily Current Affairs

Convention on Migratory Species

In News: Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MoEF&CC) holds meeting of range countries on Conservation of Migratory Birds in the Central Asian Flyway (CAF)

About Convention on Migratory Species (CMS):

  • The Convention on Migratory Species (CMS) is an international treaty that aims to conserve migratory species and their habitats.
  • It was signed in Bonn, Germany on 23 June 1979 and entered into force on 1 November
  • It is administered by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) with 131 member countries and two main bodies: the Conference of the Parties (COP) and the Secretariat.

  • The COP meets every three years to review and amend the convention and adopt resolutions and decisions on a wide range of migratory species, including birds, mammals, fish, and invertebrates.
  • The Secretariat is responsible for providing administrative support to the COP and implementing the decisions and resolutions adopted by the COP.
  • CMS also have several specialized agreements, including the African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) and the Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks.
  • It also coordinates the implementation of the Central Asian Flyway (CAF) Action Plan, which aims to conserve migratory birds and their habitats along the CAF.
  • For the year 2023, the Convention on Migratory Species will be organised in Samarkand city of Uzbekistan
  • Over the years, the CMS has helped to address threats such as habitat loss, hunting, climate change, pollution, and other factors that affect migratory species.




Keywords: GS-III: Environment
Daily Current Affairs

WTO Agreement on Agriculture - Edukemy Current Affairs

Why in news? Recently, Finance Minister of India said, WTO needs to look at farm subsidy issue with open mind.


  • WTO’s agreement on agriculture was concluded in 1994 and was aimed to remove trade barriers and to promote transparent market accessand integration of global markets.
  • Subsidies regime included in the AoA has three forms of subsidies, ranging from those that were considered “non-distorting” or “minimally distorting” (the “Green Box” and “Blue Box” subsidies), to those that seriously “distorted” markets (the “Amber Box” subsidies).

Green box

  • To qualify for the green box, WTO says a subsidy must not distort trade, or at most cause minimal distortion.
  • They are government-funded and must not involve price support.
  • They also include environmental protection and regional development programmes.
  • “Green box” subsidies are therefore allowed without limits, provided they comply with the policy-specific criteria.

Amber box

  • All domestic support measures considered to distort production and trade (with some exceptions) fall into the amber box as all domestic supports except those in the blue and green boxes.
  • These include measures to support prices, or subsidies directly related to production quantities.

Blue box            

  • This is the “amber box with conditions”. Such conditions are designed to reduce distortion.
  • Any support that would normally be in the amber box is placed in the blue box if the support also requires farmers to limit production.
  • At present, there are no limits on spending on blue box subsidies.




Keywords: General Studies –3 Important International Institutions, Government Policies & Interventions
Daily Current Affairs

Mercy Petition - Edukemy Current Affairs

Why in news? In a recent ruling, the Supreme Court (SC) has declined to direct the government to commute the death penalty of Balwant Singh Rajoana, instead, it has allowed the government to decide on the Mercy Petition when necessary.


  • Mercy petitions are based on the principle of human dignity and compassion, and they aim to provide a chance for rehabilitation and forgiveness.
  • A mercy petition is a plea made by a convict who has been sentenced to death or life imprisonment to seek mercy from the President or the Governor of the state.
  • It is the last alternative available to the convict after exhausting all legal remedies.
  • The power to grant mercy is derived from Article 72 and Article 161 of the Constitution of India, which vest this prerogative in the President and the Governor respectively.
  • The idea of Mercy Petition is followed in many countries like the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Canada, and India.




Keywords: General Studies – 2 Indian Polity and Governance, Judicial Review, judiciary, executive
Daily Current Affairs

Kisan Credit Card - Edukemy Current Affairs

Why in News? As part of AazadiKaAmritMahostav, the Union Cabinet Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry, and Dairying will officially launch the Nationwide AHDF KCC Campaign for 2023-24 through virtual mode.


  • The scheme was introduced in 1998 for providing adequate and timely credit support from the banking system, under a single window with the flexible and simplified procedure to the farmers for their cultivation and other needs like the purchase of agriculture inputs such as seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, etc. and draw cash for their production needs.
  • The scheme was further extended for the investment credit requirement of farmers allied and non-farm activities in the year 2004.
  • In the Budget-2018-19, the government announced the extension of the facility of Kisan Credit Card (KCC) to fisheries and animal husbandry farmers to help them to meet their working capital needs.
  • Implementing Agencies:
    • Commercial Banks
    • Regional Rural Banks (RRBs)
    • Small Finance Banks
    • Cooperatives
  • Features:
    • The scheme comes with an ATM-enabled RuPay debit card with facilities for one-time documentation, built-in cost escalation in the limit, and any number of drawals within the limit.
    • Banks will also be taking steps to link Aadhaar immediately as no interest subvention will be given if the Aadhaar numbers are not seeded to KCC accounts.
    • No processing fee of loan under KCC and raising the limit of collateral-free agriculture loan from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs.1.6 lakh.
    • The KCC facility will help fisheries and animal husbandry farmers to meet their short-term credit requirements of rearing of animals, poultry birds, fish, shrimp, and other aquatic organisms and capture of fish.

More Information:

  • In order to expand the benefit of the Kisan Credit Card to all eligible animal husbandry, dairy and fishery farmers in the country, the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, in association with the Department of Fisheries (DOF) and the Department of Financial Services (DFS), is organizing a “Nationwide AHDF KCC Campaign”.




Keywords: General Studies – 2 Government Policies & Interventions, GS Paper – 3 Inclusive Growth, Direct & Indirect Farm Subsidies
Daily Current Affairs

International Leopard Day 2023

Why in news? Recently, A new portal dedicated to leopards (Panthera pardus) was launched by the Global Leopard Conference (GLC) on International Leopard Day to promote and celebrate leopards worldwide.


  • International Leopard Day is a new annual event that was officialized on May 3, 2023, with the launch of a dedicated portal, “internationalleopardday.org” by the Cape Leopard Trust (CLT).


  • Scientific Name: Panthera pardus
  • The leopard is the smallest of the Big Cats (Of genus Panthera namely the Tiger, Lion, Jaguar, Leopard, and Snow Leopard), and known for its ability to adapt in a variety of habitats.
  • It is a nocturnal animal (hunts by night). Melanism is a common occurrence in leopards, wherein the entire skin of the animal is black in colour, including its spots.
  • They are great climbers and hide in trees, where they hide their prey to avoid competition.
  • Habitat:
    • It occurs in a wide range in sub-Saharan Africa, in small parts of Western and Central Asia, on the Indian subcontinent to Southeast and East Asia.
  • Population in India:
    • As per ‘Status of leopards in India, 2018’ report released by MoEF&CC, there has been a “60% increase in the population count of leopards in India from 2014 estimates’’.
    • The largest number of leopards have been estimated in Madhya Pradesh (3,421) followed by Karnataka (1,783) and Maharashtra (1,690).
  • Protection Status:
    • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
    • CITES: Appendix I.
    • Wildlife Protection Act 1972: Schedule I
    • Threat: Habitat loss, Poaching, Human-wildlife conflict etc.




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

Smart Gel for 3D Nerve Repair - Edukemy Current Affairs

Why in news? Smart gel-based sheet can form 3D Printed Conduit helping non-invasive nerve repair.


  • In 3D printing, a virtual model of the part is created using design software, and the part is then fabricated using a 3D printer by layer-upon-layer deposition of the material.
  • 3D printed parts can further undergo a shape change on demand upon activation after fabrication.
  • Such technologies are now widely known as four-dimensional (4D) printing, where time is the extra dimension.
  • Such 4D-printed parts have not been used in the clinic as yet. But such emerging technologies could pave the way for a new generation of medical devices that surgeons can deploy during surgery to heal nerves and many other tissues in coming years.
  • They can offer benefits such as reduced complexity of surgeries, deployment by minimally invasive procedures, and faster healing.



Keywords: General Studies – 3 Science & Technology
Daily Current Affairs

Ekatha Harbour - Edukemy Current Affairs

Why in news? Recently, Defence Minister and his Maldivian counterpart laid the foundation stone for the Maldives National Defence Forces Coast Guard ‘Ekatha Harbour’.


  • Ekatha Harbour is located at Sifavaru in Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) atoll, where India is assisting in the construction of a naval dockyard.
  • The development of the Coast Guard Harbour and repair facility at Sifavaru is one of the biggest grant-in-aid projects of India.


  • Maldives is among India’s key maritime neighbours in the Indian Ocean Region and New Delhi has been seeking to expand ties with Male — including in areas of defence and security — amid China’s efforts to expand its influence in the region.
  • It lies southwest of Sri Lanka and India, about 750 kilometres from the Asian continent's mainland.
  • The Maldives' chain of 26 atolls stretches across the equator from Ihavandhippolhu Atoll in the north to Addu Atoll in the south.
  • Capital: Malé
  • The Maldivian Archipelago is located on the Chagos–Laccadive Ridge.




Keywords: General Studies –3 Security
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