Daily Current Affairs 17 February 2024- Top News Of The Day

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Daily Current Affairs 17 February 2024- Top News Of The Day

1. The Paytm case has no FEMA violations according to the ED probe.

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government Policies – Issues arising out of their design & implementation. 
FEMA is important to UPSC because it evaluates candidates’ knowledge of economic regulations, the impact of global trade, and the implications of policy.

– The Foreign Exchange Management Act has not been violated by Paytm Payments Bank, according to the Enforcement Directorate; the RBI is still in charge of non-compliance matters, such as Know Your Customer (KYC).

Additional information on this news:

  • When the Enforcement Directorate (ED) looked into transactions made by Paytm Payments Bank Limited (PPBL), it did not discover any violations of the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
  • Based on a Comprehensive System Audit report and compliance validation reports highlighting persistent non-compliances and supervisory concerns, the RBI prohibited PPBL from making any more deposits or transactions.
  • PPBL’s restrictions have an extended deadline of March 15 instead of February 29.
  • The RBI will handle any possible action after the ED examined more than 50 lakh wallets or accounts and found no violations of foreign exchange regulations. Instead, the ED concentrated on KYC compliance and other issues.
  • A money laundering investigation was not carried out because no scheduled offenses under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) were discovered.

Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA)
Overview: An Indian law known as FEMA governs payments and foreign exchange.
– Objective: Maintain control and stability in the foreign exchange market.
– Enactment: The Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) of 1973 was superseded and put into effect in 1999.
– Authority: overseen by India’s Reserve Bank (RBI).
– Key Aspects: oversees currency conversion, international transactions, and associated matters.
– Violations: severe consequences for infractions, such as fines and jail time.
– Transactions Covered: includes investments, remittances, exports, and imports.
– Liberalization: focuses on a liberalized strategy to encourage investment and trade with other countries.
– Amendments: regular updates to reflect evolving global trends and economic situations.

PYQ: Analyze carefully the most recent modifications to the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 1976’s regulations controlling NGOs’ foreign funding. (12.5 m/200 words) (2015, UPSSC CSE (M) GS-2)
Practice Question: Describe the main goals and the Foreign Exchange Management Act’s (FEMA) regulatory framework in terms of India’s economic policies. (10 m / 150 words)

2. The INDIA bloc will guarantee the legal guarantee of MSP: Rahul

Topic: GS3– Agriculture – MSP 
Given that MSP affects farmer welfare, food security, fiscal management, and agricultural market dynamics, UPSC must comprehend its potential effects.

– In response to ongoing farmer protests, Congressman Rahul Gandhi promises a legal guarantee for Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for farmers in the event that the INDIA bloc (Opposition alliance) wins power.

Additional information on this news:

  • Congressman Rahul Gandhi has pledged a legal guarantee for Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) in the event that the INDIA bloc—the coalition of opposition parties that includes the Congress—takes power.
  • Thousands of farmers are presently engaged in a nationwide strike called by Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) in protest of the Union government’s refusal to provide legally guaranteed MSPs.
  • In his speech to Kishan Nyay Mahapanchayat in Bihar, Rahul Gandhi highlights the Congress’s track record of standing up for the demands of farmers.
  • Gandhi promises to put the S. Swaminathan report’s recommendations into practice, resulting in increased prices for farmers’ produce.
  • Inadequate prices for crops such as vegetables, wheat, pulses, and paddy are among the complaints voiced by farmers.
  • In the event that the Opposition wins the upcoming Lok Sabha election, they promise to put farmers’ concerns first.

Legal backing to MSP
Assured income for farmers: Legal MSP might provide farmers with a minimum income guarantee, thereby lowering poverty and enhancing their standard of living.
Incentivize production: A guaranteed price could motivate farmers to spend more on inputs and boost output, which would increase food security.
Market stability: A legal minimum support price (MSP) could serve as a floor price, averting abrupt price swings and shielding farmers from middlemen’s exploitation.
Reduced post-harvest losses: If farmers are guaranteed a minimum price, they may be less inclined to use distress sales, which could lead to a decrease in food waste.

Fiscal burden on government: Government finances may be severely strained by the implementation and maintenance of legal MSP, particularly for crops with high MSPs.
Market distortions: Overproduction brought on by artificially high MSPs could result in market gluts and inefficiencies.
Consumer burden: MSP-related higher procurement costs may result in higher food prices for consumers, which would affect low-income households.
Implementation challenges: Due to potential black markets, corruption, and logistical challenges, implementing legal MSP effectively may be challenging.

PYQ: By Minimum Support Price (MSP), what do you mean? How will MSP help farmers escape the poverty trap? (150 words, 10 seconds) (CSE (M) GS-3, UPSSC 2018)
Practice Question: Analyze carefully the possible effects of giving the Minimum Support Price (MSP) program in India legal support. (10 m / 150 words)

3. India tells Central Asian countries to use the Chabahar port.

Topic: GS2 –  International Relations
Given that it emphasizes India’s regional diplomacy, Afghanistan policy, and strategic economic interests in Central Asia, this news is critical to UPSC.

– India encourages countries in Central Asia to use the port of Chabahar in Iran to improve trade relations.
– During a regional dialogue in Bishkek, the Deputy National Security Adviser highlighted the importance of an inclusive government in Afghanistan.

Additional information on this news:

  • During the Regional Dialogue in Bishkek, India encourages Central Asian countries to make use of Iran’s Chabahar port for improved connectivity and trade.
  • In his remarks, Vikram Misri, the deputy national security adviser, highlights the importance of a “inclusive and representative” Afghan government.
  • India concentrates on consensus-based strategies for Afghanistan because it does not recognize the Taliban government.
  • Misri discusses terrorism, drug trafficking, and regional connectivity while extending an invitation to his neighbors in Central Asia to use the Shahid Beheshti terminal and the port of Chabahar for maritime trade.
  • India’s refusal to acknowledge the Taliban government is demonstrated by the closing of the former Afghan embassy buildings in Hyderabad, Delhi, and Mumbai.
  • There have been questions raised about India’s recent involvement in talks with the Taliban, but at the Bishkek dialogue, India has emphasized its legitimate security and economic interests in Afghanistan.

Geopolitical Importance of Chabahar Port for India:
Bypasses Pakistan: Reduces reliance on Pakistan’s kindness for trade routes by offering access to Afghanistan and Central Asia, avoiding Pakistani territory in the process.
Strengthens ties with Iran: Strengthens its strategic alliance with Iran, a major actor in the area.
Gateway to Central Asia: Increases access to Central Asian markets rich in resources, promoting regional connectivity and economic cooperation.
Reduces reliance on Suez Canal: Provides a different path for trade with Europe, which could lessen reliance on the Suez Canal and its attendant risks.
Strategic location: Located close to China’s Gwadar port in Pakistan, this location is important for India’s maritime security goals.

PYQ: What is the significance of India developing Chabahar Port? (2017) 

(a) Trade between India and African nations will soar.
(b) India will have closer ties with Arab nations that produce oil.
(c) India will not rely on Pakistan to gain entry into Central Asia and Afghanistan.
(d) Iraq and India will have a gas pipeline installed, which Pakistan will protect and facilitate.

Ans: (c)
Practice Question: Analyze the geopolitical importance of Chabahar Port for India, emphasizing both its advantages and disadvantages. (10 m / 150 words)

4. Chinese Residents Are Concerning Indian Authorities by Occupying Xiaokang Border Villages Along India’s Northeastern Border

Topic: GS3 – Internal Security – Security challenges and their management in border areas 
Given China’s occupation of border defense villages and the development of infrastructure, this topic is pertinent to both the Prelims and Mains exams. It emphasizes the significance of border management and security concerns.

– According to recent reports, Chinese nationals have started to live in a number of model “Xiaokang” border defense villages in northeastern India, which is located along the China-India border.
– These villages were left deserted until a few months ago; China has been building them since 2019.
– There are currently occupants in some of these villages, which are situated across the Tawang area of Arunachal Pradesh and the Lohit Valley.

More about the news:Introduction to Xiaokang Border Defense Villages:

  • Over the previous five years, China has built 628 Xiaokang, or “well-off villages,” along the border between India and the Tibet Autonomous Region.
  • These villages, which are located near the borders of Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh, are primarily made up of large, two-story buildings.
  • The precise function of these villages is still unknown, but it is thought that they support infrastructure with dual uses—military and civilian—which has raised concerns among the Indian strategic community about Chinese claims along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

Legal Status and Implications:

  • On January 1, 2022, a new law pertaining to China’s land borders went into effect with the intention of safeguarding and using the border regions of the nation.
  • The National People’s Congress Standing Committee of China passed this law, which places a strong emphasis on bolstering border defense, fostering social and economic development, enhancing infrastructure and public services, and encouraging coordination between border defense and socioeconomic development in border areas.
  • It appears that the Xiaokang border defense villages program is covered by this law.

India’s Response and Vibrant Villages Programme:

  • The Indian government responded by launching the Vibrant Villages Programme in 2022, which aims to transform border villages into contemporary communities complete with facilities and tourist attractions.
  • The Ministry of Home Affairs’ current Border Area Development Program (BADP) is expanded upon by this initiative.
  • In the first phase, 663 border villages are to be developed, including 17 near the China-India border, like Zemithang, Taksing, Chayang Tajo, Tuting, and Kibithu in the eastern region of Arunachal Pradesh and the Tawang area.

Infrastructure Development Along the LAC:

  • China has continuously built roads, bridges, and homes along the LAC, notably in the Tawang area of Arunachal Pradesh and the Siang Valley.
  • Furthermore, China has developed infrastructure on Bhutanese territory.
  • In response, India has concentrated on fortifying its border infrastructure, boosting inter-valley connectivity in the Northeast, and expanding connectivity with new roads, bridges, and helipads. It has also developed alternative routes to the LAC.


  • Concerns about border security and territorial claims are sparked by the Chinese occupation of the Xiaokang border defense villages. As a result, China and India have responded with initiatives for governance and infrastructure development.

Line of Actual Control (LAC)
– The line dividing Chinese- and Indian-controlled territory is known as the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
– The Chinese estimate the length of the LAC to be only about 2,000 km, whereas India believes it to be 3,488 km long.
– LAC is separated into three industries:

1) Eastern sector: MacMahon Line boundary dispute (which covers Arunachal Pradesh & Sikkim).
2) The middle sector, which includes Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, is the only one where China and India have exchanged broadly agreed-upon maps.
3) Johnson Line is the subject of a boundary dispute in the western sector of Ladakh.

Practice Question: Analyze the strategic importance of the Xiaokang villages in relation to India’s reaction and China’s infrastructure development along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). (10 m / 150 words)

5. Punjabi farmers, echoing the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission, demand a legal guarantee for MSP.

Topic: GS3 – Agriculture – MSP GS2 – Governance – Government policies; Issues arising out of their design & implementation.
Understanding the background information and activities of the Swaminathan Commission, including its mandate, reports, and recommendations, makes this topic pertinent for both the Prelims and Mains exams.

– Twelve demands have been made by protesting Punjabi farmers in an email to the government. The main one is for a law that would ensure that all farmers would be able to purchase crops at the Minimum Support Prices (MSP), in accordance with the Dr. Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations.
– A fourth round of talks between Union Ministers and leaders of farm unions is planned, following three rounds of fruitless negotiations in Chandigarh.

More about the news:Overview of Swaminathan Commission:

  • Among other things, the Ministry of Agriculture established the Swaminathan Commission in 2004 with the goal of proposing a comprehensive medium-term strategy for food and nutrition security.
  • The commission’s five reports, which were turned in between 2004 and 2006, included recommendations for MSP among other things.
  • It did not, however, offer a legal guarantee for MSP or the formula for calculating it, as is currently required by farmers demonstrating.

Reforms Recommended by Swaminathan Commission:

  • The National Commission on Farmers’ first report emphasized the state of agriculture’s distress and the necessity of public action and investment.
  • It also promoted the creation of Farm Schools, a new agreement for women in agriculture, and a number of other initiatives to address issues facing the industry.
  • The second report, “From Crisis to Confidence,” reiterated some of the aspects of the farm laws that were repealed and offered pro-market reforms such as a code of conduct for contract farming and changes to state APMC Acts and the Essential Commodities Act.

Minimum Support Prices and Swaminathan Commission’s Perspective:

  • The Swaminathan Commission did not suggest fixing MSP based on C2 (actual cost of production) plus 50%, in opposition to the demands of farmers.
  • Rather, its emphasis was on streamlining MSP implementation throughout all regions and preventing delays in its release.
  • Although the commission acknowledged the value of MSP, it recommended that MSP be the criterion for procurement, with the government guaranteeing a reasonable price that reflects going rates in the market.

Absence of Specific MSP Calculation Formula in Swaminathan Commission’s Recommendations:

  • The Swaminathan Commission addressed production costs and offered some guidelines for calculating MSP, but it did not offer a precise formula based on C2 cost.
  • In contrast to the demands of protesting farmers who want a legal guarantee for MSP based on C2 plus 50%, this recommendation is missing from the commission’s reports.


  • Even though the Swaminathan Commission made a substantial contribution to the reform of agricultural policies and acknowledged the significance of MSP, its recommendations regarding MSP calculation did not exactly match the demands of farmers who were protesting.
  • The commission’s focus on strengthening MSP implementation and guaranteeing farmers’ income parity with government employees highlights the difficulties in effectively addressing farmers’ concerns and the complexity of agricultural policy formulation.

Who was MS Swaminathan?
– Born in Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu, India, on August 7, 1925, he was greatly impacted by the ideas of Mahatma Gandhi and the country’s independence movement.
– The Bengal famine of 1942–1943, a tragic event that profoundly affected him and sparked his passion for enhancing India’s agricultural sector, caused him to change his career goals from pursuing medicine to agriculture.

– In order to address the issue of food scarcity, he conducted research on agriculture and studied genetics and breeding. He felt that better crop varieties could significantly improve the lives of farmers.
He was instrumental in promoting agricultural research and education in India while serving as the Director General of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
In addition, he held leadership positions in global agricultural and conservation organizations and was the Independent Chairman of the Food and Agricultural Organization Council.

– Role in the Green Revolution: He was well-known for playing a crucial part in the Green Revolution, a revolutionary period in Indian agriculture that raised crop productivity dramatically and guaranteed the country’s food security.
– High-Yielding Wheat and Rice: In the 1960s and 1970s, Swaminathan and Norman Borlaug’s ground-breaking work produced semi-dwarf wheat and rice varieties, which, in turn, revolutionized agriculture in India.
– Due to this dramatic increase in crop yields, India is now self-sufficient in food production and has avoided the impending threat of famine.

Farmer Welfare:
– In his advocacy for farmers’ welfare, Swaminathan placed a strong emphasis on sustainable farming methods and just prices for agricultural products.
– The “Swaminathan Report,” written by the National Commission of Farmers’ chair, examined the root causes of farm distress.
– Farm unions throughout India continue to emphasize the need for Minimum Support Prices (MSP) to be at least 50% higher than average production costs, as per one of its recommendations. The price at which the government pays farmers directly for crops is known as the MSP.

Act of 2001 Protecting Plant Varieties and Farmers’ Rights:
– His contribution to the creation of the 2001 Farmers’ Right and Protection of Plant Varieties Act was crucial.

Other Contributions:
– His contribution to the international recognition of the “Gulf of Mannar Marine Biosphere (Go MMB)” and Kerala’s Kuttanad, which is renowned for its “traditional cultivation of paddy below sea-level,” as globally significant agricultural heritage sites will live on in his memory forever.
– Additionally, he made contributions to the preservation and improvement of these areas’ ecology and biodiversity.
– In 1988, he also founded the M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) to advance rural development and sustainable agriculture.
– MSSRF takes a pro-poor, pro-women, and pro-nature stance and concentrates particularly on rural and tribal communities.

PYQ: In what ways did the contributions of Dr. M. S. Swaminathan and Sir M. Visvesvaraya, respectively, to the fields of agricultural science and water engineering benefit India? (150 words, 10 seconds) (2019 UPSSC CSE (M) GS-3)
Practice Question: Examine how government panels, such as the Swaminathan Commission, influenced India’s agricultural reforms and policies. Examine the degree of agreement and disagreement between the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations and the demands of the protesting farmers. (15 m/250 words)

6. India’s newest weather satellite will be launched by ISRO’s “naughty boy” rocket.

Topic: GS3 – Science & Technology – Developing new technology; Space
Knowing facts about ISRO’s national-importance missions, which support a variety of industries like environmental monitoring, disaster management, and weather forecasting, makes this topic pertinent for both the Prelims and Mains exams.

– The INSAT-3DS meteorological satellite, also known as “Naughty Boy,” is scheduled to be launched into space by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
– The satellite’s launch on a Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV) will be a crucial undertaking for the rocket, which has a mixed history of success.
– With this launch, known as GSLV-F14, the rocket will have completed 16 missions overall and 10 flights with the homegrown cryogenic engine.

More about the news:Importance of the Mission:

  • Because the GSLV is scheduled to launch the Earth observation satellite NISAR later this year, the mission’s success is crucial.
  • NASA and ISRO are working together on a project called NISAR, which will map the entire planet in 12 days and provide consistent data on sea level rise, ecosystems, ice mass, and natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis.

Historical Context and Expectations:

  • Interestingly, four of the fifteen GSLV missions have failed during its history, indicating that the spacecraft has experienced multiple failed launches.
  • With only three mission failures out of sixty, ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) has a far higher success rate.
  • The mission of INSAT-3D and INSAT-3DR, which are nearing the end of their lives, is intended to be completed by the upcoming launch of INSAT-3DS.
  • INSAT-3DS, which has a 10-year mission life and weighs 2,274 kg, is funded by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Operational Capabilities:

  • INSAT-3DS will offer cutting-edge weather observations for both land and ocean surfaces once it is in orbit.
  • It can help with short-range extreme weather event forecasts, estimate visibility for aviation needs, and make it easier to study phenomena like smoke, snow cover, forest fires, and climate patterns.

About Insat-3DS and GSLV-F14
About Insat-3DS:
– The India Meteorological Department (IMD) and ISRO are working together on it.
– It is one of several satellites in the climate observatory series designed to improve climate services.
– Consists of three specific Earth observation satellites, INSAT-3D and INSAT-3DR of which are currently in orbit.
– GSLV-F14, the Geosynchronous Launch Vehicle, will be used for the launch.

What is GSLV-F14?
– It is a more sophisticated rocket that runs on liquid fuel.
– Although the rocket presents a more complex engineering challenge due to its higher capacity and the use of cryogenic liquid propellants in all three stages, it is capable of achieving a significantly higher lift-off weight capacity.

Key facts about INSAT-3DR
– It is an advanced meteorological satellite from India equipped with an atmospheric sounder and an imaging system.
The major enhancements integrated into INSAT-3DR are:
1) Middle Infrared imaging to produce nighttime images of fog and low clouds
2) Using two thermal infrared bands for imaging to improve the accuracy of sea surface temperature (SST) estimation
3) Improved Spatial Resolution in the Thermal Infrared and Visible Bands
Payloads: A multispectral imager, a 19-channel sounder, a data relay transponder, and a search and rescue transponder are all carried by INSAT-3DR.

PYQ: In the GPS era, what do you mean by “Standard Positioning Systems” and “Protection Positioning Systems”? Talk about the benefits that India believes its ambitious IRNSS program—which uses only seven satellites—offers. (12.5 m/200 words) (2015, UPSSC CSE (M) GS-3)
Practice Question: Talk about the impact of India’s space program and the launch of INSAT-3DS by ISRO aboard GSLV on the country’s development. (10 m / 150 words)

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