Daily Current Affairs 13 February 2024- Top News Of The Day

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Daily Current Affairs 13 February 2024- Top News Of The Day

1. Indian Navy Personnel Released from Custody in Qatar, PM Modi to Visit Qatar to Strengthen Bilateral Ties

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Bilateral Relations
This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of Indo-Qatar relations.

The Ministry of External Affairs announced the release of eight former Indian Navy personnel from custody in Qatar, with seven of them returning to India.

More on the news: Diplomatic strategy and the role of officials:

  • The release was made possible in large part by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, who made a covert trip to Doha.
  • Under the direction of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, teams from the Prime Minister’s Office, the Indian embassy in Doha, and the Ministry of External Affairs worked closely together to carry out the diplomatic plan.

Official Statement and Identity of Detainees:

  • The release of the Indian nationals held in Qatar was welcomed in a statement released by the Ministry of External Affairs.
  • The individuals in question were identified as ex-Navy personnel who were tasked with supervising the integration of Italian small stealth submarines, designated U2I2, for Dahra Global, located in Doha.

Charges and Sentence:

  • The eight men were allegedly charged with spying for Israel when they were brought into jail in August 2022 and given a death sentence in October.
  • India called for their release and strengthened diplomatic efforts after denouncing the judgment as “deeply shocking.”

Consular Access and Commutation of Sentence:

  • Consular access was given when the detainees were met by the Indian embassy in Doha.
  • Following the December 1 meeting in Dubai between Prime Minister Modi and the Emir of Qatar, the death sentence was subsequently mitigated.

Upcoming Visit and Bilateral Meetings:

  • The purpose of Prime Minister Modi’s upcoming visit to Qatar is to deepen bilateral relations and talk about important regional and global issues that affect both countries.
  • The tour highlights the various aspects of the connection between Qatar and India, encompassing energy, trade, business, politics, and cultural exchanges.
  • Prior to going to Qatar, Modi will make an engagement with the UAE’s leadership, give a speech to the Indian diaspora, and go to the World Government Summit.

India-Qatar Relations and Collaborative Efforts
Long Partnership:
– India and Qatar, who have been connected since 1973, are a perfect match.

NRI in Qatar:
– In Qatar, the majority of foreign residents are Indian.
– There are 0.74 million Indian expats living in Qatar.
– Its 210-person delegation was the second largest at last year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas celebration in Indore, only surpassed by that of Mauritius.

Political Relationship:
– India and Qatar will have had formal diplomatic relations for 50 years in 2023.
– India was one of the few nations to acknowledge Qatar as soon as it gained independence in 1971.
– Prime Minister Narendra Modi traveled to Qatar in 2016 after the Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al Thani, visited India in 2015.

Economic Relations:
– India ranked among Qatar’s top four export markets in 2021.
– It is one of Qatar’s top three import sources.

Bilateral Trade:
– $15 billion, primarily from Qatar’s exports of LPG and LNG valued at over $13 billion.
– In 2021–2022, India’s exports to Qatar amounted to US$ 1.83 billion, while its imports from Qatar totaled US$ 13.19 billion.

Strategic Cooperation:
– “An important pillar of our bilateral agenda” is defense cooperation.
– In November 2008, a Defense Cooperation Agreement was signed between India and Qatar.

Exercise Zair-Al-Bahr:
– It’s a bilateral naval drill involving the two navies. It seeks to improve marine security in the area and fortify bilateral maritime ties between the two nations.
– As part of their bilateral cooperation, India also provides Qatar with training spaces in its defense institutions, and as a result, Indian Navy and Coast Guard ships frequently visit Qatar.

Practice Question: Talk about the recent diplomatic attempts to secure the freedom of Indian Navy soldiers who had been held in Qatar and evaluate the results. What positive effects would Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s impending visit to Qatar have on the two countries’ bilateral relations? (15 m/250 words)

2. The Law Commission Report Requests Revising Epidemic Laws and Pressing for the Development of an Epidemic Plan and SOP

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies – Interventions for development in various sectors
The Law Commission’s proposals for updating pandemic legislation make this topic relevant for both the Prelims and Mains exams.

– In order to effectively manage epidemics in the nation, the 286th Law Commission Report highlights the necessity of developing an Epidemic Plan and a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP).
– It draws attention to how unclear boundaries between federal, state, and local authority during epidemics cause disorganized responses.

More about the news:Critique of Existing Legislation:

  • The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 (EDA) is criticized in the report for its shortcomings, claiming that it is out of date and insufficient to address contemporary problems related to the spread of infectious diseases.
  • It emphasizes the difficulties brought about by growing connectedness and globalization, which have the potential to quickly turn infectious diseases into pandemics or epidemics.

Response to Covid-19 Pandemic:

  • The Covid-19 outbreak prompted the Law Commission to launch a thorough review of the current legal system in order to remedy shortcomings in the nation’s ability to contain and manage future epidemics.

Proposed Amendments and New Legislation:

  • Given the potential for misuse inherent in laws from the colonial past, the research proposes considerable changes to the EDA or the introduction of new legislation altogether.
  • It suggests establishing a SOP and an Epidemic Plan to guarantee a coordinated reaction to public health catastrophes.

Key Recommendations:

  • To create the Epidemic Plan, the federal government is urged to work with state governments and other pertinent parties.
  • Quarantine, isolation, lockdowns, disease surveillance, control over medical supplies, public information sharing, and waste management should all be covered in this plan.

Enforcement Mechanisms:

  • In order to properly implement the Epidemic Plan, the report recommends creating a standard operating procedure (SOP) that outlines the three phases of infectious disease transmission and the necessary actions for each step.
  • This attempts to maintain a unified strategy for managing epidemics while averting confrontations between the federal government and the states.


  • All things considered, the 286th Law Commission Report emphasizes how important it is to revise legislative frameworks in order to meet the modern issues brought on by contagious diseases.
  • In order to protect public health during epidemics, it suggests developing a SOP and an Epidemic Plan to improve coordination and reaction processes.

Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897
Enhancing protocols to halt the spread of dangerous epidemic diseases is the aim of the Epidemic Diseases Act. The Act may impose temporary limits or restrictions on the public in order to contain or end a disease outbreak. There are four sections in the Act. First Section:

– Describes the title and extent of the Act
– It extends to the whole of India.

Section 2:

– Powers to take special measures
– Authority to implement specific actions

It grants state governments the power to impose limitations and carry out particular measures to contain the spread. Rules governing the examination of people traveling by rail or other means and the temporary hospital segregation of people who the inspecting officials suspect are infected may be imposed by the State. The federal government is empowered to take action under Section 2A of the Act to halt the spread of an epidemic. The Epidemic Diseases Act’s Section 2 will be used to make the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare’s recommendations and directives enforceable, even though health is a state concern. It grants the government the power to detain anyone who intends to leave the country or travel abroad and to examine any ship that is arriving at or leaving from a port.

Section 3: Penalty for Disobedience
– Disobedience to an order lawfully proclaimed by a public servant, as defined by Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, carries severe penalties for violating any rules or directives issued under the Act.

Section 4: Legal Protection to Implementing Officers:
It offers legal protection to the implementing officials who are working under the Act.

Practice Question: Talk about the Law Commission’s suggestions for revising India’s laws pertaining to epidemics, with a particular emphasis on developing an Epidemic Plan and Standard Operating Procedure (SOP). Examine how important these suggested changes would be in improving the nation’s response and readiness for public health emergencies. (15 m/250 words)

3. Farmers Resurrect Protest, March Towards Delhi: Agitation Is Shaped by New Leadership and Demands

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies – Issues arising out of their design & implementation
Given the current socio-political climate in the nation, this topic is more pertinent for Mains than Prelims.

– Farmers have returned to their protests and are once again marching towards Delhi, over two years after the last one ended.
– The demands and leadership of the protest in 2024 are different from those of the previous one, as new organizations are spearheading the current uprising.

More about the news:Leadership Dynamics:

  • The Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM) and the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (Non-political), both of which have different leadership from the 2020–21 protest, are leading the current agitation, in contrast to the previous one.
  • The current protest is not being spearheaded by the original Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), which spearheaded the previous agitation.

Farmers’ Demands:

  • The main demand on the 12-point agenda that the farmers have presented is a law that would guarantee the minimum support price (MSP) for all crops.
  • Other demands include:
    • full debt waiver,
    • implementation of the Land Acquisition Act of 2013,
    • punishment for the perpetrators of the Lakhimpur Kheri killings, among others.

Government Response:

  • The Ministers of Agriculture, Commerce, and Industry received an email from the farmers outlining their demands, which were then discussed in meetings with Union Ministers.
  • The central government says it is open to the demands of the farmers, but the Haryana government has tightened security measures by sealing borders and enforcing prohibitory orders.

Ongoing Negotiations and Developments:

  • There are still discussions going on between the ministers of government and the farmers.
  • On the ground, tensions have increased as a result of the Haryana government’s stepped-up border closures and restriction measures.

Political Support and Opposition:

  • Parties like the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) have offered the farmers support, but the BJP and Shiromani Akali Dal have said nothing.
  • The protest is still surrounded by a dynamic political environment with multiple parties and stakeholders involved.


  • With its clear demands and leadership, the 2024 farmers’ protest represents the continued tensions over agricultural policies between farmers and the government.
  • The changing circumstances highlight how complicated agricultural issues are and how important it is to have productive conversations and find solutions.

Practice Question: Talk about the importance and ramifications of the recent Indian farmers’ protest, emphasizing their demands, and evaluate its applicability in light of the nation’s current sociopolitical developments. (15 m/250 words)

4. Wayanad District of Kerala Is in Danger Due to Increasing Human-Animal Conflict

Topic: GS3: Sustainability – Preservation The UPSC examination is relevant to this topic, especially in the context of environmental conservation and management. It is relevant for both the Prelims and Mains in the context of human-animal conflict, particularly in areas like Wayanad, Kerala, where wild elephants pose a serious threat to human lives and property.

– Locals have called for action after a wild elephant attack in Wayanad recently claimed a man’s life, escalating tensions in the area.
– The ongoing conflict between humans and animals in Kerala, especially in districts like Wayanad, Kannur, Palakkad, and Idukki, is brought to light by this incident.

More about the news:Extent of Human-Animal Conflict:

  • Human-animal conflict has increased in Kerala, where bison, tigers, elephants, and wild boars have caused great damage and are a threat to human safety.
  • Data for 2022–2023 showed that there were over 8,800 attacks by wild animals that resulted in 98 fatalities, with elephants contributing significantly to the death toll.

Wayanad’s Vulnerability:

  • Wayanad, a state renowned for its verdant forests, is particularly vulnerable because it is situated close to important wildlife reserves in nearby states.
  • Over the last ten years, the district has experienced multiple human casualties due to elephant and tiger encounters, which have been made worse by the frequent transboundary movement of wildlife between states.

Causes of Conflict:

  • The growing conflict is caused by a number of factors, one of which is the degradation of the forest quality brought about by the introduction of invasive plant species such as eucalyptus and acacia.
  • The problem is further made worse by shifting farming methods, farmland abandonment, and habitat invasion by animals.

State Initiatives and Challenges:

  • Kerala has built stone walls, electric fencing, and trenches impenetrable to elephants as part of its conflict resolution efforts.
  • These initiatives, though, won’t be enough to lessen the crisis.
  • The state also wants to expand its forests and acquire land for eco-restoration, but financing and relocation are obstacles.

Response and Support:

  • Kerala has asked for central assistance to address the crisis, but its attempts have been hampered by the Center’s lack of funding.
  • In order to properly address the urgent problem of human-animal conflict, the state is urged to come up with creative solutions and organize its own resources.

PYQ: Regarding Trade Related Analysis of Fauna and Flora in Commerce (TRAFFIC), take into consideration the following claims: (2017)

1) The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) houses the TRAFFIC bureau.
2) TRAFFIC’s goal is to guarantee that the trade in wild animals and plants does not jeopardize efforts to conserve the environment.

Which of the above statements is/are correct? (a) 1 only (b) 2 only (c) Both 1 and 2 (d) Neither 1 nor 2 Ans: (b)

Practice Question: Examine the circumstances surrounding the human-wildlife conflict in Wayanad, Kerala, with particular attention to the most recent event involving a wild elephant, its underlying causes, and the steps the government has taken to resolve the matter. Assess the efficacy of current approaches and suggest creative fixes to reduce human-animal conflicts in the area. (15 m/250 words)

5. SC: Designating Deputy CMs does not violate the Constitution

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – State Legislature/Executive
The Supreme Court affirms the constitutionality of the Deputy Chief Ministers’ appointments, which is significant for UPSC preparation as it pertains to governance and constitutional understanding.

The Supreme Court rules that the appointments of Deputy Chief Ministers are constitutional and rejects a petition contesting that conclusion.

 Additional information on this news:

  • The Supreme Court has dismissed a petition that contested the State appointments of Deputy Chief Ministers.
  • A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud makes the decision.
  • According to the court, deputy chief ministers in state governments are essentially ministers and MLAs.
  • According to CJI, there is no constitutional violation with these appointments.
  • Public Political Party, the petitioner, asserts that appointments are made on the basis of sectarian and religious preferences.
  • Citing violations of Article 14 (the right to equality) and Article 15 (the state’s obligation to refrain from discrimination), the petitioner challenges the appointments.
  • The Supreme Court rejects the petition, concluding that there is no constitutional violation and that it is without merit.

Post of Deputy Chief Minister in States – Constitutionality
Not unconstitutional: According to a Supreme Court decision, the post is constitutional.
It’s thought of as a title for a regular minister who receives no special pay or legal privileges.
Petition challenged on grounds of lack of basis and violation of equality before the law (Article 14).
The court’s opinion is that appointments are still made at the political level by states.
Impact: States are not subject to legal restrictions when appointing Deputy Chief Ministers.

Practice Question: Analyze the constitutional ramifications of the position of Deputy Chief Minister in Indian states. (10 m / 150 words)

6. Earth-wide telescope verifies the “realness” of the black hole’s shadow

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology – Space
Important for UPSC: The black hole discoveries made by EHT challenge general relativity, advance our knowledge of astrophysics, and showcase cutting-edge observational methods.

A massive black hole located 53 million light-years away has new details revealed by the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT), which confirms the stability of its ring-formation process and sheds light on the dynamics of accretion disks.

 Additional information on this news: Black Hole Details:

  • In 2017, a massive black hole located 53 million light-years away was discovered by Earth-wide EHT.
  • The event horizon of the black hole can be seen in great detail thanks to new data that was released on January 18.
  • verifies that a noticeable ring has formed around the black hole.

Improved Telescope Setup:

  • The coverage and resolution of the global network of radio telescopes, EHT, have been improved.
  • In April 2018, data was collected at four frequencies by nine stations during six observation days.
  • The addition of the Greenland Telescope increased resolution in the north-south direction.

Confirmation of Black Hole ‘Shadow’:

  • The existence of the black hole “shadow” was verified by EHT scientists, in line with observations from 2017.
  • The shadow’s size and shape don’t change, which is consistent with general relativity theories.

Use of GRMHD Simulations:

  • To model the black hole, scientists used general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic simulations.
  • An asymmetric ring structure about 42 microarcseconds wide was revealed by simulations.
  • The observed variations in brightness were explained by the gravitational lensing effect.

Accretion Disk and Jet Dynamics:

  • Parts of the accretion disk and jet were seen to change in 2017 and 2018.
  • a 30-degree rotation caused by the black hole’s spin.
  • The intricate relationship between the jet, accretion disk, and magnetic field structure is examined to gain understanding.

Future Prospects:

  • In order to track the black hole over a month and observe brightness changes, EHT plans to launch a “movie project” in 2026.
  • It is anticipated that observational methods will continue to improve, and measurement discrepancies will be reconciled.

Scientific Importance:

  • gives important information about the physics that governs the properties of black holes.
  • confirms that the black hole’s ring-formation process is stable.
  • Reliability is improved by consistent results over a range of frequencies and observation periods.

PYQ: Since its launch on December 25, 2021, the James Webb Space Telescope has garnered significant attention in the media. What distinguishing qualities set it apart from the Space Telescopes that came before it? What are this mission’s main objectives? What are the possible advantages for humanity? (15 minutes, 250 words) (UPSC GS-3 2022 CSE (M))

Practice Question: What new discoveries about black holes has the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) made, and how does it advance our understanding of astrophysics? (15 m/250 words)

7. Understanding India’s Economic Situation II

Topic: GS3 – Indian economy -Issues Related to Growth
UPSC Significance: Understanding employment, agriculture, NPAs, and challenges through an analysis of government economic policies is essential for preparing for the civil service.

– The article criticizes the economic policies of the NDA government, pointing out problems with the Skill India Mission and insufficient steps taken to combat food inflation.
– The article casts doubt on the effectiveness of the Union Budget and highlights concerns regarding non-performing assets, rupee depreciation, and disparities in income and employment trends.

 Additional information on this news: Skill India Mission and Unemployment:

  • The Finance Minister states that the “Skill India Mission” has trained 1.4 crore youth.
  • Only 22% of reported placements, according to the data, may be linked to the oversupply of skilled workers.
  • Oversupply impedes employment and wage growth.

Agriculture and Food Inflation:

  • The supply-side variables causing food inflation are not addressed by NDA.
  • After facing opposition, three farm laws passed in support of corporate takeover were later repealed.
  • Inadequate efforts to modernize and increase agricultural productivity.

Foreign Exchange and Rupee Depreciation:

  • The rupee depreciates to ₹83 per dollar while the NDA reverses the decline in foreign exchange reserves.
  • The depreciation of the rupee affects the domestic economy by importing global inflation.

Non-Performing Assets (NPAs) and PSBs:

  • NDA says it has reduced Gross NPAs, but large write-offs of NPAs are cause for concern.
  • PSBs absorb losses; an enormous infusion of capital to save them increases the debt load.

Income and Employment Trends:

  • Although data points to a slowdown, the finance minister claims a 50% increase in average real income.
  • While declining, unemployment rates are still higher than they were in earlier NSS rounds.
  • Claims of increased formalization are challenged by the labor force’s growing informalization.

Skilled Workers and Wage Growth:

  • Placement data refutes the claim made by Skill India Mission that 1.4 crore youth have been trained.
  • Oversupply of skilled labor slows the rise in wages and earnings.
  • A fall in real earnings is indicated by the average growth in earnings of self-employed workers.

Overall Critique:

  • Impact of the budget on the lives of regular people is questioned.
  • Unresolved issues with foreign exchange, employment trends, agriculture, and non-performing assets.
  • Concerns concerning the efficacy of policies are raised by disparities between claimed and actual results.

PYQ: India continues to have the lowest human development indicators even with its history of high growth. Analyze the problems that make inclusive and balanced development difficult to achieve. (150 words, 10 seconds) (2019 UPSSC CSE (M) GS-2


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