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08-July-2024-Daily-Current-Affairs

July 8 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm

RED FLAGS RAISED OVER SILVER IMPORTS FROM UAE THROUGH GIFT CITY 

TOPIC: (GS3) ECONOMY – SOURCE: THE HINDU 

The bullion market in India is experiencing significant disruptions due to the consolidation of silver imports by a few private players. This shift is causing concern about potential revenue losses for the government and the integrity of import practices. 

Shift in Silver Imports: 

  • Most of India’s silver imports now handled by private players via Dubai through GIFT City exchange. 
  • Potential for significant revenue losses over time. 

Trade Research Body Concerns: 

  • Probe sought into relationships between export and import firms to identify conflicts of interest. 
  • Warning that similar trends could affect gold, platinum, and diamonds. 

Import Statistics: 

  • Silver imports from UAE increased by 210% in 2023-24 to $10.7 billion. 
  • Total silver imports at $5.4 billion. 

Duty Reduction and CEPA: 

  • 87% of silver imports from Dubai at 8% duty via GIFT City. 
  • India to reduce duty on silver to 0% over 10 years under CEPA. 

Regulatory Concerns: 

  • Questions about meeting rules of origin under CEPA. 
  • GIFT City exchange allows private traders, unlike RBI/DGFT-nominated agencies. 

CEPA 

CEPA stands for Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement. It’s a trade agreement between two countries that goes beyond just reducing or eliminating tariffs on goods. 

 It also covers a wide range of other areas, such as services, investment, intellectual property, and government procurement. 

The most recent CEPA is the one between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which came into effect on May 1, 2022. This agreement is expected to increase bilateral trade in goods to over US$100 billion and trade in services to over US$15 billion within five years. 

Benefits of CEPA for India: 

  • Increased market access for Indian goods and services in the UAE 
  • Lower tariffs on Indian exports to the UAE 
  • Easier movement of Indian professionals to the UAE 
  • Increased investment from the UAE into India 

The CEPA is also expected to benefit the UAE by: 

  • Increased access to the Indian market for UAE goods and services 
  • Lower tariffs on UAE exports to India 
  • More opportunities for UAE businesses to invest in India 

Conclusion 

The consolidation of silver imports through GIFT City poses challenges for revenue and regulatory compliance. There is a need for stricter oversight and possible renegotiation of CEPA terms to address these issues effectively. 

Multiple Choice Question: 

  1. Which of the following statements is correct regarding the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between India and the UAE?
  1. CEPA between India and the UAE mandates a zero import duty on all goods immediately upon implementation. 
  1. Under CEPA, India has agreed to reduce the import duty on silver to 0% over a period of 10 years, subject to the rules of origin conditions being met. 
  1. The CEPA allows unrestricted import of precious metals by any private entity in India. 
  1. CEPA was signed in 2023 to enhance trade relations between India and the UAE. 

ANSWER: B 

EXPLANATION 

Under CEPA, India has agreed to reduce the import duty on silver to 0% over a period of 10 years, subject to the rules of origin conditions being met. 

KERALA VARSITY TO LAUNCH GENOME EDITING MISSION TO BOOST PEARL SPOT PRODUCTION 

TOPIC: (GS3) SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY – SOURCE: THE HINDU 

Kerala’s aquaculture industry, particularly pearl spot farming, faces challenges related to slow growth rates and inefficient breeding practices. The Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (Kufos) is launching a genome editing initiative to address these issues and boost the state’s aquaculture productivity. 

Current Challenges in Pearl Spot Farming 

Traditional Breeding Issues: 

  • Reliance on wild brood stocks and uncontrolled breeding environments. 
  • Slow growth rates with fish achieving only 300-400 grams in a year. 
  • Genome Editing Initiative 

Kufos’ New Mission: 

  • Launch of a genome editing mission targeting genetic factors that inhibit growth. 
  • Aim to enhance breeding and seed production of pearl spots. 

Economic Impact: 

  • Faster growth rates could revolutionize aquaculture in Kerala. 
  • Pearl spots fetch higher market prices (₹650-₹700/kg) compared to tilapia (₹250-₹300/kg). 
  • Comparison with Tilapia: 
  • Tilapia reaches 600-700 grams in six months. 
  • Pearl spots currently take 12 months to reach 300-400 grams. 

Production vs. Demand: 

  • Kerala produces 2,000 tonnes of pearl spots annually. 
  • Market demand stands at 10,000 tonnes. 

Genome Editing Basics: 

  • What it is: Modifying an organism’s DNA to alter specific traits. 
  • Tools: Popular techniques include CRISPR-Cas9, TALENs, and Zinc finger nucleases. 

Process: 

  • Targeting the desired DNA location. 
  • Making a precise cut. 
  • Introducing desired changes (insertion, deletion, or repair). 
  • Applications and Benefits for India: 

Agriculture: 

  • Develop crops resistant to pests, diseases, and harsh environments (e.g., drought-tolerant rice). 
  • Improve nutritional value of crops (e.g., high-protein rice). 
  • Increase crop yields. 

Healthcare: 

  • Correct genetic diseases (e.g., sickle cell anemia). 
  • Develop personalized medicine based on individual genomes. 
  • Advance research on infectious diseases. 

Industrial Applications: 

  • Create microbes for more efficient biofuel production. 
  • Engineer organisms for bioremediation (cleaning up pollutants). 

Benefits for India: 

  • Food Security: Developing disease-resistant and high-yielding crops can improve food security for India’s growing population. 
  • Farmer Income: Improved crop varieties can lead to increased yields and higher income for farmers. 
  • Healthcare Advancement: Genome editing holds promise for treating genetic diseases prevalent in India. 
  • Biotech Industry Growth: Investment in genome editing research can boost India’s biotechnology sector. 

Multiple Choice Question: 

  1. Consider the following statements about a recent development in biotechnology:
  1. CRISPR-Cas9 is a technique for editing the DNA of living organisms with high precision. 
  1. This technique has the potential to be used for developing crop varieties resistant to diseases and harsh environmental conditions. 
  1. Ethical concerns have been raised about the unintended consequences of using CRISPR for human germline editing. 

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? 

  1. 1 and 2 only 
  1. 2 and 3 only 
  1. 1, 2 and 3 
  1. 1 only 

ANSWER: C 

EXPLANATION 

CRISPR-Cas9 is a revolutionary tool in genome editing, allowing precise manipulation of DNA (statement 1 is correct). 

This technique has applications in agriculture for developing disease-resistant crops (statement 2 is correct). 

However, editing the human germline (reproductive cells) can have unintended consequences and raise ethical concerns (statement 3 is correct). 

A LAW AROUND LOW-CARBON CLIMATE RESILIENT DEVELOPMENT 

TOPIC: (GS3) ENVIRONMENT – SOURCE: THE HINDU 

The Supreme Court of India has recently recognized the right to be free from the adverse impacts of climate change. This landmark judgment calls for systemic and legislative approaches to effectively protect this right, tailored to India’s unique developmental and environmental context. 

Need for Climate Legislation 

  • Judicial interventions alone are insufficient for comprehensive climate action. 
  • Climate legislation is necessary, provided it is context-specific to India. 

Objectives of Climate Legislation 

  • Law must promote low-carbon, climate-resilient futures. 
  • Integration of climate objectives in routine decision-making is crucial. 
  • Must advance social justice and address vulnerabilities. 

Holistic Approach: 

  • Beyond emission reduction, climate change requires careful consideration of developmental choices. 
  • Substantive right to protection must be realized through well-defined legal procedures. 

Global Examples: 

  • Several countries have enacted ‘framework climate laws’ to build governance capacity. 
  • These laws define government-wide goals and accountability measures. 

Tailored to Indian Context: 

  • India’s low per capita emissions and growing emissions need unique strategies. 
  • Focus on maximizing development per ton of carbon and avoiding high-carbon futures. 
  • Emphasize climate resilience and social equity. 

Decision-Making and Planning: 

  • Law should aid thoughtful decision-making for low-carbon, resilient development. 
  • Addressing urban planning, flood risk, heatwave vulnerability, and transport needs. 

Low-Carbon Development Commission: 

  • An independent body to analyze policy options and guide low-carbon growth. 
  • Platform for deliberative decision-making, involving vulnerable communities. 

Climate Cabinet: 

  • High-level strategic body comprising Ministers and State representatives. 
  • Aim to drive cohesive climate strategy across government. 
  • Federal Structure and Coordination 

Engagement with Subnational Governments: 

  • Law must address areas like electricity, agriculture, water, and health. 
  • Establish channels for local governments to access national scientific resources. 
  • Align centrally-sponsored schemes with climate goals. 

Coordination Mechanisms: 

  • Facilitate Centre-State consultations on climate decisions. 
  • Require periodic climate plans from both national and state levels. 

Conclusion 

The Supreme Court’s recognition of a climate right presents an opportunity for legislative and governance reforms. A well-designed framework climate law, tailored to India’s context, can guide development towards a low-carbon, resilient future while promoting social justice. Such a law will ensure that India’s climate commitments are both actionable and effective, paving the way for sustainable and equitable growth. 

THE PROBLEM OF SPECIAL PACKAGES 

TOPIC: (GS2) POLITY AND GOVERNANCE – SOURCE: THE HINDU 

With coalition politics returning to the Union level, the demand for State-specific discretionary grants, or ‘special packages’, has surged. This change contrasts with previous single-party majorities and raises questions about the impact on India’s federal structure and fiscal federalism. 

Coalition Politics and Special Packages 

Rise of Coalition Politics: 

  • BJP’s dependency on Janata Dal (United) and Telugu Desam Party. 
  • Contrast with single-party dominance in 2014 and 2019. 

Impact on Federalism: 

  • Coalition partners act as checks on unitary trends. 
  • Hypothesis: Single-party dominance weakens federal tendencies, while coalition politics strengthens them. 
  • Fiscal Federalism and Special Packages 

Need for Transparency: 

  • Fiscal boundaries and tax assignments must be transparent and objective. 
  • Asymmetric federal setup must address diversity through constitutional provisions. 

Constitutional Provisions: 

  • Articles 371A to H address specific State issues. 
  • Article 282 allows discretionary grants, often used for political bargaining. 
  • Challenges of Discretionary Grants 

Bargaining Power and Fiscal Distribution: 

  • Special packages often result from State-level political bargaining. 
  • This undermines fiscal federalism by diverting resources based on political outcomes. 

Role of Finance Commission: 

  • Finance Commission’s role in tax distribution and grants to States. 
  • The 16th Finance Commission must address concerns about declining State shares in Union taxes. 
  • Federal Structure and Grants 

Discretionary vs. Formula-Based Grants: 

  • Discretionary grants under Article 282 overshadow Finance Commission’s recommendations. 
  • Process of grant allocation is crucial for maintaining federalism. 

Impact on Union-State Relations: 

  • Discretionary grants can weaken fiscal federalism. 
  • States’ demands for special packages can disrupt equitable resource distribution. 

Conclusion 

The resurgence of coalition politics has brought the issue of State-specific discretionary grants to the forefront. While these grants can address immediate needs, their discretionary nature poses a challenge to India’s fiscal federalism. Ensuring transparency and adhering to constitutional provisions are essential for nurturing a healthy federal structure and equitable resource distribution. 

Multiple Choice Question: 

  1. Which of the following features of the Indian Constitution indicate that it is federal in nature?
  1. Division of powers between the Union and the States 
  1. A written constitution 
  1. Supremacy of the Constitution 
  1. The flexibility of the Constitution 
  1. An independent judiciary 

Select the correct answer using the codes given below: 

  1. 1, 2, 3, and 5 only 
  1. 1, 2, and 4 only 
  1. 1, 3, 4, and 5 only 
  1. 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5 

ANSWER: A 

EXPLANATION 

Division of powers between the Union and the States (1), a written constitution (2), supremacy of the Constitution (3), and an independent judiciary (5) are features indicating federalism. 

Flexibility of the Constitution (4) is more indicative of a unitary feature. 

AKASH SURFACE-TO-AIR MISSILE (SAM) 

TOPIC: (GS3) SECURITY – SOURCE: TIMES OF INDIA 

The Akash Surface-to-Air Missile (SAM) is an indigenously developed medium-range missile system designed to protect India’s airspace from aerial threats. Developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), it is a key component of India’s air defence system. 

Range and Altitude: 

  • Effective range: 25-30 kilometers. 
  • Operational altitude: Up to 18,000 meters (approximately 60,000 feet). 

Speed: 

  • Can travel at speeds of up to Mach 2.5, making it highly effective against fast-moving aerial targets. 

Guidance System: 

  • Utilizes a phased array radar system for tracking and guidance. 
  • Equipped with a sophisticated command and control system for target acquisition and engagement. 

Warhead: 

  • Carries a high-explosive, pre-fragmented warhead. 
  • Proximity fuse ensures detonation near the target, enhancing the kill probability. 
  • Deployment and Configuration 

Mobile Launch Platforms: 

  • Can be deployed on mobile platforms such as trucks, allowing for rapid repositioning and deployment. 

Versatility: 

  • Capable of engaging multiple types of aerial threats including fighter jets, helicopters, drones, and cruise missiles. 

Network-Centric Warfare: 

  • Integrated with other air defense systems for a coordinated defense strategy. 
  • Can be linked with other radar systems and command centers for comprehensive airspace monitoring. 

Significance 

  • Reflects India’s growing self-reliance in defense technology. 
  • Reduces dependency on foreign missile systems. 

Strategic Defence: 

  • Enhances India’s ability to protect key installations, cities, and military assets from aerial threats. 
  • Acts as a deterrent against potential aggressors. 

Operational Flexibility: 

  • Suitable for deployment in diverse terrains, from plains to mountainous regions. 
  • Provides a robust defensive shield for mobile military operations. 

Conclusion 

The Akash Surface-to-Air Missile system is a critical asset in India’s defense arsenal, providing a reliable and effective means of neutralizing aerial threats. Its indigenous development marks a significant achievement in India’s defense capabilities, contributing to national security and strategic autonomy. 

SHREE JAGANNATH TEMPLE AND RECENT DEVELOPMENTS 

TOPIC: (GS1) HISTORY – SOURCE: THE HINDU 

The high-level committee led by an Orissa High Court judge has expedited the process of opening the Ratna Bandar, the treasury of Shree Jagannath Temple, after 46 years. This initiative aims to inventory the temple’s valuables. 

 

About Shree Jagannath Temple 

  • Location: Puri, Odisha. 
  • Dedication: Lord Jagannath, a form of Lord Vishnu. 
  • Construction: Believed to be built during the reign of King Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva of the Eastern Ganga dynasty in the 12th century. 

Architecture 

  • Style: Kalinga architecture, unique to the Odisha region. 
  • Complex: Includes shrines, gardens, and sacred tanks. 
  • Sanctum Sanctorum (Garbhagriha): Houses the idols of Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra, and Subhadra. 
  • Chakra: A 20-foot-high wheel at the temple’s pinnacle, visible from anywhere in the city. 

Ratha Yatra Festival 

  • Significance: Annual festival associated with Lord Jagannath’s visit to Gundicha Temple via Mausi Maa Temple. 
  • Timing: Begins on the second day of the bright half of Ashadha (June–July) and lasts nine days. 
  • Chariots: Deities are placed on three massive chariots during the festival. 

Religious and Cultural Importance 

  • Chaar Daham: One of the four sacred pilgrimage sites for Hindus. 
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site: Recognized for its cultural and historical significance. 

Conclusion 

The recent efforts to open the Ratna Bhandar highlight the ongoing significance and reverence of Shree Jagannath Temple, emphasizing its architectural, cultural, and religious importance in India. 

PANGONG LAKE  

TOPIC: (GS1) GEOGRAPHY – SOURCE: INDIAN EXPRESS 

Satellite images reveal China’s military is gearing up for an extended presence around Pangong Lake in eastern Ladakh, indicating strategic preparations in this sensitive region. 

 

About Pangong Lake 

  • Location: Himalayan region, approximately 140 km from Leh in Jammu and Kashmir. 
  • Height: Situated at an altitude of 4,350 m (14,270 ft). 
  • Name Origin: Derived from the Tibetan word “Pangong Tso,” meaning “high grassland lake”. 
  • Type: One of the world’s highest brackish water lakes. 

Geographic and Physical Features 

  • Length: 134 km (83 mi), extending from India to China, with 60% of its length in China. 
  • Width: 5 km (3.1 mi) at its broadest point. 
  • Area: Covers 604 sq.km. 
  • Color: Known for its color-changing water, from blue to red and green. 
  • Winter: Freezes completely despite being saline. 

Hydrological and Geopolitical Aspects 

  • Endorheic Nature: Not part of the Indus River basin; a separate land-locked river basin. 
  • Disputed Territory: The Line of Actual Control (LAC) passes through the lake, marking a disputed region between India and China. 

Conclusion 

Pangong Lake is a high-altitude brackish water lake of immense geographical, ecological, and strategic importance. The recent military build-up by China underscores the ongoing tensions and the need for careful monitoring of this critical area. 

GROYNES CONSTRUCTION TO COMBAT COASTAL EROSION IN POONTHURA, KERALA 

TOPIC: (GS3) ENVIRONMENT – SOURCE: TIMES OF INDIA 

To address severe coastal erosion in Poonthura, Kerala, the irrigation department plans to construct eight groynes at a cost of ₹17.5 crore. These structures are essential for stabilizing the coastline and protecting the region from further erosion. 

 

About Groynes 

  • Definition: Groynes are active structures that extend from the shore into the sea, typically perpendicular or slightly oblique to the shoreline. 
  • Materials: They are usually constructed from wood, rock, concrete, or metal. 
  • Purpose: Groynes trap sediment, dissipate wave energy, and prevent the transfer of sediment away from the beach through longshore drift. 

Function and Mechanism 

  • Longshore Drift: Caused by prevailing winds that blow waves across the shore at an angle, carrying sediment along the beach. 
  • Erosion Prevention: Groynes prevent longshore drift, thereby slowing the erosion process and helping to maintain beach width. 

Advantages 

  • Ease of Construction: Groynes are simple to build. 
  • Durability: They offer long-term durability and require low maintenance. 
  • Reduced Maintenance: Decrease the need for beach nourishment and sand recycling. 
  • Beach Widening: Trap sediment, leading to wider beaches, reduced erosion, and greater wave energy dissipation. 
  • Stabilization: Serve as robust structures for the long-term stabilization of coastlines, supporting societal activities. 

Conclusion 

The construction of groynes in Poonthura aims to effectively combat coastal erosion, providing long-term stability and protection for the region. This initiative will enhance beach width, reduce erosion, and support the coastal ecosystem and community. 

Details

Date:
July 8
Time:
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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