Daily Current Affairs 14 February 2024- Top News Of The Day

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Daily Current Affairs 14 February 2024- Top News Of The Day

1. Farmers Want Legal Protection for MSP During Committee Discussions

Topic: GS3 – Agriculture – MSP
In light of the dynamics of MSP, farmer protests, and government initiatives to address agricultural challenges, this topic is pertinent for both the Prelims and Mains exams.

– Farmers on their way to New Delhi broke through police barricades in order to demand a legal guarantee for minimum support prices (MSP) for all crops, based on the recommendations of the Dr. M S Swaminathan Commission.

– The decision to offer this guarantee was made public by Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Rahul Gandhi, in contrast to the ongoing committee’s discussions about how to make MSP more “effective and transparent.”

More about the news:

Establishment and Foundation of the Committee:

  • The committee’s goals are to improve MSP transparency, shift crop patterns, and advance zero-budget farming. It was appointed by the Center in July 2022.
  • It has 26 members, including representatives from NITI Aayog, agricultural economists, farmers’ organizations, and government officials. It is chaired by a former agriculture secretary.

Absence of Important Parties:

  • No members of the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM), a farmers’ union that played a key role in the 2020–21 protests, were allowed to join the committee despite provisions for their representation.
  • The Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM) and Samyukta Kisan Morcha (non-political), a split off group of SKM, are currently leading the protests in Delhi.

Purpose and Mandate of the Panel:

  • The committee was first established in November 2021 by Prime Minister Modi with the intention of addressing issues with crop diversification, MSP effectiveness and transparency, and zero-budget farming.
  • As part of its mandate, it must make recommendations for ways to improve the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices’ independence and scientific foundation as well as the agricultural marketing system.

Progress and Tenure of the Committee:

  • The MSP committee held its inaugural meeting in August 2022 and is still actively debating the topics it has been assigned.
  • However, since there is no formal deadline for the committee to submit its recommendations, there is no set tenure.


  • Farmers are calling for immediate legal guarantees for MSP, but in the meantime, the Center-appointed committee is working to improve MSP’s efficacy and transparency in addition to more extensive agricultural reforms.
  • The divergent methods highlight the complexity of agricultural policy and the need for inclusive stakeholder participation in order to successfully address farmers’ concerns.

Issue of Minimum Support Price (MSP) in India
– Meaning of MSP: The Government of India uses MSP, a type of market intervention (a policy decision not subject to legal enforcement), to protect farmers from a sudden and severe decline in farm prices during years of exceptional productivity.

-Announced by: At the start of the sowing season for some crops, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (chaired by the Prime Minister of India) made decisions based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).


– MSPs are a government guarantee price for agricultural produce that farmers can use to avoid distressed sales and to purchase food grains for public distribution.
– For instance, government organizations will purchase the whole amount of agricultural produce supplied by farmers at the set minimum price in the event of a market glut brought on by a bumper crop.

– The Food Grain Price Committee, which was established in 1964 under LK Jha, made recommendations that led to the policy decision that created the MSP regime in 1967.
– For the purpose of setting the MSP for crops, the government established the Agricultural Prices Commission, which became the CACP in 1985.

Crops covered:
– The government releases the fair and remunerative price (FRP) for sugarcane (total 23) as well as MSPs for the 22 required crops.
– Fourteen kharif crops, six rabi crops, and two additional commercial crops are the required crops.

Associated issues:
– The majority of farmers are still uninformed: Less than 6% of Indian farmers, or more than 9 crore agricultural households, reported receiving a direct benefit from selling their wheat or rice under the MSP regime, according to an NSSO survey.
– A small number of states account for the majority of procurement: Telangana and Maharashtra for cotton; Punjab, Haryana, western UP, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana for paddy, etc.
– The MS Swaminathan Commission recommended that MSP be at least 50% higher than the weighted average cost of production, but its recommendations were poorly implemented.
– Government’s omission of the legal assurance to MSP: A committee led by former agriculture secretary Sanjay Agrawal was notified by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare to improve the MSP’s efficacy and transparency.
– One of the main demands of the farmers’ protest in 2020–2021 was a legal guarantee for MSP, but this was not included in the committee’s terms of reference.
PYQ: Consider the following statements: (2023)

1) The Minimum Support Price for niger (Guizotia abyssinica) seeds is set by the Indian government.
2) The crop grown in Kharif is Niger.
3) Tiger seed oil is a cooking oil used by some Indian tribal people.
How many of the above statements are correct?
(a) Only one
(b) Only two
(c) All three
(d) None

Ans: (c)
Practice Question: As committee deliberations continue, talk about the difficulties and ramifications of farmers’ demands for a legal guarantee of minimum support prices (MSP). (10 m / 150 words)

2. The NAL in Bengaluru Has Made Headway in HAPS Technology with a Solar-Powered UAV Prototype

Topic: GS3– Science and Technology: Indian S&T Accomplishments; Technology Indigenization
In the context of comprehending India’s technological advancements in aerospace, particularly the creation of high-altitude pseudosatellite vehicles (HAPS), this topic is pertinent for both Prelims and Mains.

– Last week, a new generation unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) prototype successfully completed a flight at the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) in Bengaluru, marking a significant milestone.
– This unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is part of the high-altitude pseudo-satellite (HAPS) or high-altitude long-endurance vehicle (HALE) class. It runs solely on solar power and can stay in the air for several months at an altitude of about 20 km above the ground.

More about the news:

Possible Uses for HAPS:

  • HAPS vehicles, like the NAL prototype, have a lot of potential applications in monitoring, surveillance, and disaster relief.
  • HAPS provide the advantages of extended flight duration, sustained presence, and high-resolution monitoring over large areas, in contrast to traditional UAVs, which have limited endurance and coverage, and satellites, which might not always be able to provide constant surveillance capabilities.

Engineering Challenges and Technological Advances:

  • HAPS vehicles have great potential, but they also present a number of engineering difficulties, such as producing enough solar power, making sure that operations continue during the night, and preserving stratospheric stability.
  • With the use of cutting-edge solar cells, batteries, and lightweight composite materials, NAL’s prototype seeks to overcome these difficulties.
  • A crucial area of focus continues to be achieving high energy density batteries that can power the aircraft for longer periods of time.

India’s Prompt Adoption of HAPS Technology:

  • India’s entry into the HAPS technology space is an early one, providing prospects for business development, capacity building, and patent control in a rapidly developing field.
  • According to experts spearheading NAL’s development, India’s prompt adoption of HAPS technology places it in a competitive position globally.
  • Furthermore, the tropical climate of India offers special challenges as well as chances for innovation and advancement in HAPS technology, possibly outperforming other nations’ accomplishments in this area.

What is High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS)?

– The UAV HAPS is solar-powered. It can stay in the air for months or years while producing solar energy.
– HAPS operates at altitudes of 18–20 km, or roughly twice the height of commercial airplanes, in the stratosphere, which is the region that lies between 6 and 50 km above the earth’s surface. They can conduct satellite-like surveillance thanks to their altitude.
– HAPS is intended for specialized science missions, communications, and continuous surveillance.
– The successful test flight places India in the very small group of nations currently experimenting with HAPS, a technology that is still in its early stages of development.
PYQ: Why do we occasionally see the term “Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)” in the news? (2018)

(A) Radar equipment from Israel
(b) The domestic anti-missile program in India
(c) An anti-missile system made in America
(d) Japan and South Korea cooperating on defense

Ans: (c)
Practice Question: Talk about the significance of the successful launch of a solar-powered UAV prototype by Bengaluru’s National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), which represents a breakthrough in the field of High-Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) technology. (10 m / 150 words)

3. Former US President Trump’s Remarks on NATO Defense Commitments Argue Dispute

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Important International institutions
This subject is pertinent to both the Prelims and Mains since it helps to explain the workings of global alliances like NATO.

– The White House and other high-ranking officials have criticized former US President Donald Trump for remarks he made in which he implied he might even encourage Russia to attack NATO allies who did not meet their defense spending obligations and that he would not defend them.

More about the news:

Understanding NATO:

  • NATO is a political and military alliance made up of nations from North America and Europe that was established in 1949 as a means of opposing the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
  • Currently, the United States, Canada, and 31 other countries, mostly in Europe, make up NATO.
  • The most recent entry, Finland, joined in April of last year.

Trump’s Statements on NATO:

  • Throughout his time as US President, Trump regularly attacked NATO and its allies, especially Germany, for their low defense budgets and reliance on US defense.
  • During a recent campaign rally, Trump reported that he had discussed with an unidentified foreign leader that he would not stand up for NATO allies that were not able to pay their debts.

NATO Funding Mechanism:

  • NATO functions differently from a typical club that charges dues, despite what Trump claims.
  • The alliance’s strength primarily comes from the national defense spending of its members, each of which commits to allocating at least 2% of its GDP (gross domestic product) to defense each year. This is in addition to common funds, to which all members contribute.

Significance of NATO’s Article 5:

  • According to Article 5 of the NATO treaty, any armed attack on one or more members of the alliance will be deemed an attack on all members and will necessitate the use of collective defense measures.
  • Nevertheless, Article 5 does not require an automatic military response; rather, it depends on political leaders’ commitment to taking the required action. For this reason, Trump’s comments caused controversy by weakening the authority of Article 5.

Implications of Trump’s Comments:

  • The alliance’s credibility is weakened and questions about member states’ mutual commitment are raised by Trump’s comments that he would not always uphold NATO’s collective defense principle. This could potentially undermine the alliance’s goal of providing deterrence against external aggression.

PYQ: India benefits greatly from NATO’s growth and fortification as well as a stronger strategic alliance between the US and Europe. What do you think about this assertion? Provide arguments and examples to back up your response.
(250 words/15 meters) (GS-2 2023, UPSSC CSE (M))
Practice Question:  Examine the importance of Article 5 of NATO and its function in guaranteeing member state defense, as well as the difficulties brought about by varying viewpoints within the alliance. Examine the effects of these disputes on India’s foreign policy and strategic objectives in light of the changing nature of global relations.Best of Class
(15 m/250 words)

4. With a range of agreements and symbolic actions, India and the UAE are strengthening their bilateral ties.

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Bilateral Relations
In light of India’s alliances with important strategic allies like the UAE, this subject is pertinent for both the preliminary and main exams.

– A number of bilateral agreements covering topics like investment promotion, port infrastructure development, power trade, and digital payment platforms were signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the United Arab Emirates.
– Through these agreements, India and the UAE hope to improve cooperation in a number of areas, such as trade, energy, digital infrastructure, culture, and people-to-people relations.
– Modi’s description of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the president of the United Arab Emirates, as his “brother” is indicative of the close bond between the two leaders, who have had several meetings in recent months.

More about the news:

Investment and Economic Cooperation:

  • The commitment of both nations to encourage investments and economic cooperation is demonstrated by the signing of a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement and a Bilateral Investment Treaty.
  • The UAE’s large investments in India, especially in the field of infrastructure, are evidence of the two countries’ expanding economic relations.
  • The India-Middle East Economic Corridor intergovernmental framework agreement promotes cooperation in trade and infrastructure development while fortifying regional connectivity.

Digital Payment Platforms and Financial Cooperation:

  • While the agreement on interlinking domestic debit/credit cards improves financial sector cooperation, the agreements on interlinking digital payment platforms, such as UPI (India) and AANI (UAE), facilitate smooth cross-border transactions.
  • Modi’s praise for the introduction of JAYWAN, the domestic card for the UAE that is based on the digital RuPay card stack, is indicative of initiatives to encourage RuPay’s widespread acceptance throughout the country.

Energy and Infrastructure Collaboration:

  • Enhancing energy security and fostering energy trade between India and the UAE are the goals of the signed agreements in the energy sector, which include cooperation in electrical interconnection and trade.
  • Further solidifying bilateral ties is cooperation on digital infrastructure projects and cultural initiatives like museum cooperation and heritage preservation.

Symbolic Gestures and Cultural Exchange:

  • Modi emphasized the temple’s importance in commemorating the friendship and cultural ties between the UAE and India while expressing gratitude for the UAE’s assistance in providing land for the building of the BAPS Temple in Abu Dhabi.
  • The temple’s dedication to harmony, tolerance, and peaceful coexistence is symbolized by its inauguration.

Future Engagements:

  • Important turning points in India-UAE relations have been reached with the opening of the BAPS Temple and Modi’s speech at the World Government Summit.
  • These interactions show how deep the two nations’ cooperation is and open the door to more cooperation in the future.

PYQ: What is the impact of the I2U2 (India, Israel, UAE, and USA) grouping on India’s global political standing? (15 minutes, 250 words) (UPSC GS-2 2022 CSE (M))
Practice Question: What major turning point in India’s foreign policy do the recent bilateral agreements and diplomatic contacts between the UAE and India represent? (15 m/250 words)

5. The drug industry may be impacted by the “specific duration” clause in the draft India-EFTA agreement.

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Issues relating to IPR
GS2 – International Relations – Bilateral Relations
Important for UPSC because it deals with India’s position on intellectual property, how it affects international trade negotiations, and how easy it is to get cheap medications.

● Concerns regarding drug availability have been raised by a provision in the leaked draft of the India-EFTA Free Trade Agreement that could delay access to reasonably priced generic drugs in India by six years.

 Additional information on this news:

  • A provision in the India-EFTA Free Trade Agreement that could postpone the country’s access to generic drugs by six years has been discovered in a leaked draft.
  • Drug applicants are not allowed to rely on unreleased test results for market approval for a certain amount of time, according to the Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA).
  • The clause presents difficulties for Indian biotech companies because it covers both “new” chemical drugs and sophisticated “biologics drugs,” such as vaccines and monoclonal antibodies.
  • India’s robust generics industry, which produces over 60,000 medications in 60 categories, is the root cause of the country’s resistance.
  • The clause may affect the supply of necessary medications, posing issues with accessibility and affordability.
  • Patent rights and data exclusivity are two major intellectual property issues that continue to be major negotiation obstacles.

Significance of India – EU EFTA
Economic growth:
1) reduced tariffs on goods and services and an increase in trade volume.
2) Possibility of increasing investments and employment.
3) trade partner diversification for both regions.

Strategic relations:
1) stronger economic and political ties between Europe and India.
2) enhancing relations with values-aligned democracies.
3) battling the region’s Chinese economic hegemony.

Technology and innovation:
1) Working together on innovative technologies such as digitalization and renewable energy.
2) Opportunities for collaborative research and knowledge sharing.
3) access to cutting-edge technologies for India’s growth.

Global trade landscape:
1) establishing a model for future trade deals between developed and developing nations.
2) encouraging fair and impartial trade laws within the international system.
3) promoting the post-pandemic economic recovery.
PYQ: How is the Indian government preventing pharmaceutical companies from patenting its traditional medical knowledge? (15 minutes, 250 words) (2019 UPSSC CSE (M) GS-3)
Practice Question:  What effects would the proposed clause in the India-EFTA Free Trade Agreement have on the country’s pharmaceutical sector and the availability of reasonably priced medications? Talk about it. (10 m / 150 words)

6. MEA instructed to oversee foreigners’ organ transplant procedures

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government Policies
Pertinent to UPSC since it addresses international relations, health governance, and legal frameworks pertaining to organ transplantation, all of which are reflective of larger ethical and legal issues.

● Citing doubts about the validity of the documents, the Health Secretary notifies the Ministry of External Affairs of possible transgressions involving foreign transplant recipients in India and requests actions to ensure compliance and oversight.

Additional information on this news:

  • Apurva Chandra, the health secretary, notifies the ministry of external affairs of possible transgressions by foreigners performing organ transplants in India.
  • issues brought up regarding residency, identity verification, and the accuracy of documents proving the relationships between donors and recipients.
  • Document authenticity may be a problem for foreigners traveling to India for organ transplants.
  • Chandra asks that all foreign embassies and missions in India be provided with the Transplantation of Human Organ and Tissues Act, 1994 regulations.
  • In order to coordinate the organ donation and transplantation procedures for foreign nationals, the Ministry is looking for nodal officers.
  • steps taken to ensure that laws are followed and to stop the sale of organs or tissue transplants.

Organ Transplantation Industry in India: Violations by Foreign Individuals
Demand-Supply Imbalance:
– High demand: Low deceased donation rates (for cultural or religious reasons) have resulted in an organ shortage.
– Low supply: puts patients in a hopeless situation when they require transplants.

Foreign Individuals and Violations:
– Relaxations on eligibility: Compared to their home country, foreign nationals are subject to less strict criteria for living donor transplants.
– Possibility of exploitation: This gives rise to worries about marginalized groups being tricked into purchasing illegal organs.
– Involvement in the black market: There have been reports of foreign nationals banding together with dishonest middlemen to procure organs illegally.

Specific Violations:
False relationships: Establishing connections with possible donors in order to abide by the law.
– Financial incentives: Paying donors excessive amounts, making it difficult to distinguish between generosity and coercion.
– Transparency is lacking: when using unethical methods and evading approved channels.

– Vulnerable population exploitation: Poor and marginalized communities are more likely to be the targets of human trafficking.
– Loss of faith in the legal system: Leads to a bad image of organ transplantation in India.
– Concerns about fair access to organs, exploitation, and informed consent are raised by these ethical issues.

Efforts to Combat Violations:
– Government regulations pertaining to foreign nationals seeking transplants are becoming more stringent.
– campaigns to raise awareness: teaching prospective donors and recipients about moral behavior.
– heightened inspection Improved oversight of transplant protocols and coordinators.
– International collaboration: exchanging data and organizing actions with other nations to stop the trafficking of organs.

– The demand-supply mismatch in India’s organ transplant market creates vulnerabilities that are taken advantage of by foreigners.
– In order to address these violations and guarantee ethical practices, stricter laws, awareness campaigns, and international collaboration are essential.
Practice Question:  How does the Indian government handle obstacles pertaining to foreigners receiving organ transplants? Talk about the moral, legal, and diplomatic aspects. (10 m / 150 words)

7. The 17th Lok Sabha’s numerous low points

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Parliament
Crucial for UPSC in addressing legislative scrutiny, the rapid need for comprehensive reforms, and the degradation of parliamentary efficiency.

● The article emphasizes the urgent need for reforms by highlighting troubling trends in the 17th Lok Sabha, including a decline in legislative scrutiny, parliamentary efficiency, and executive accountability tools.

Additional information on this news:

  • The 17th Lok Sabha saw significant flaws in the way parliament operated, such as the least number of sittings and the lack of a deputy speaker.
  • A few unfortunate firsts are the passage of important legislation with more than 70% of opposition MPs suspended and the prime minister’s scant participation in question periods.
  • Over the course of three decades, parliamentary efficiency has been on the decline. From 1952 to 1990, the average number of bills passed annually was 65; from 1991 to 2023, it was 48.
  • The 17th Lok Sabha sent the fewest bills for review—16%—for examination compared to the previous four Lok Sabhas.
  • Reduced days and hours of sitting in the Lok Sabha restrict discussion and lower MP attendance; the 17th Lok Sabha has the fewest sittings (274).
  • The use of parliamentary procedures such as calling attention, adjournment motions, and half-hour discussions—which are intended to hold the executive branch accountable—has substantially declined.
  • After 1990, there has been a significant decrease in the amount of time spent debating important issues such as the Union Budget, Ministry-wise demands, and the Finance Bill.

Declining Efficacy of Parliament

– Fewer sitting days: A shorter schedule for discussions and examinations, which results in legislation passed in a hurry.
– Disruptive behavior: is when demonstrators and walkouts prevent productive discussion and debate.
Party loyalty over the interests of the public: putting party agendas ahead of national issues and suppressing free speech
– Establishment of executive dominance: Robust leadership eclipsing Parliament and reducing its authority to enact laws and exercise oversight.
– Public disillusionment: A decline in confidence in Parliament as a result of its alleged inadequacy and slow responsiveness.

– Erosion of democracy: The democratic fabric is in danger due to a lack of public voice and weak accountability.
– Badly written laws: Laws that are passed without enough thought may have difficulties in being put into effect or run afoul of the law.
– Unrestrained executive power: The possibility of abuse and corruption is fueled by inadequate oversight.
– Declining public participation: Voter turnout and civic engagement decline as a result of disillusionment.
– heightened social unrest: Unresolved issues have the potential to spark demonstrations and other forms of social unrest.

Way Forward:
– Enhance committee structures, promote productive discussion, and extend the number of sitting days in order to reform legislative procedures.
Encourage moral behavior Tighten up the rules of behavior and penalize disruptive behavior.
– Encourage independent thought: Promote interparty communication and give national interests precedence over partisan agendas.
Boost oversight procedures and make sure that parliamentary research and analysis receive sufficient funding in order to empower the parliament.
Boost public involvement Boost accessibility, be more transparent, and aggressively solicit public input.
Make an investment in civic education To encourage informed participation, increase knowledge of the roles and responsibilities of parliament.
PYQ: The role of the individual parliamentarian as a national legislator is diminishing, which has a negative effect on the caliber of discussions and their resolution. Talk about it. (15 minutes, 250 words) (2019 UPSSC CSE (M) GS-2

8. An excessive number of IITs can result in inflated expectations and quality issues.

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – Education
Relevant for UPSC as it addresses challenges in maintaining the global reputation of IITs, necessitating strategic reforms and international collaborations.

● The article addresses worries about the Indian Institutes of Technology’s (IITs) deteriorating standards as a result of their quick growth, a lack of faculty, and the necessity of strategic reorganization and global cooperation.

Concerns about IIT Standards:

  • The hallmarks of Indian higher education, the IITs, are rapidly expanding, and this could dilute the “IIT brand,” leading to a decline in standards.
  • There are worries that the recent University Grants Commission decision to permit a few IITs to open campuses overseas will further erode the institutions.

Historical Overview:

  • The first five IITs were founded in the 1950s and 60s with an emphasis on engineering and technology, and the humanities and social sciences were added later.
  • There are currently 23 IITs, with a notable increase in the number that happened after 1990, frequently as a result of upgrading pre-existing institutions.

Challenges in Faculty and Facilities:

  • IITs suffer from a professor shortage, and many open positions have an impact on the standard of instruction.
  • Due to the more lucrative opportunities offered by India’s developing IT industries, recruiting top-notch faculty has become more difficult.

Impact of Expansion:

  • Maintaining “world-class” quality and preserving the “IIT brand” are challenges posed by the government’s nationwide expansion of IITs.
  • Smaller towns may struggle to provide urban amenities for their new IITs, and they might not have enough excellent faculty.

Need for Restructuring:

  • suggests renaming IITs that have adequate funding for high-quality instruction and research and reorganizing IITs so that there are maybe 10 to 12 actual IITs close to large cities.
  • highlights the significance of a more constrained, well-funded “IIT system” with faculty that is “world-class” and consistent funding.

Internationalization and Collaboration:

  • suggests expanding internationalization initiatives beyond foreign branches, emphasizing partnerships with international universities and drawing in foreign students.
  • cites as promising models the University of Queensland-IIT Delhi Academy of Research and the IIT Bombay-Monash Research Academy.

Call for Adequate Funding:

  • emphasizes how important it is for the government and private sector to continue providing funding to the IITs in order to keep them as the most well-known and esteemed academic institutions in India.
  • cautions against excessive growth, which could damage IITs’ standing and caliber.


  • The article concludes by highlighting the critical need for strategic restructuring in order to maintain the prestigious status of IITs. This restructuring must concentrate on a small number of actual IITs, draw top-tier faculty, promote international collaborations, and secure ongoing funding.

Practice Question:  What steps can India take to help Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) overcome their obstacles to upholding their reputation and global standards? Talk about tactics and reforms. (10 m / 150 words)

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