Daily Current Affairs 4 March 2024- Top News Of The Day

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Daily Current Affairs 4 March 2024- Top News Of The Day

1. There are challenges and opportunities for the dairy industry as the Household Expenditure Survey of India reveals milk as the most expensive food item.

Topic: GS3 – Agriculture – Economies of Animal Rearing
Given the importance of milk as a food item and its implications for the dairy industry and agricultural economy, this topic is pertinent to both the Prelims and Mains exams.

– Milk has risen to the top of India’s food expenditure list, both in rural and urban areas, according to the most recent Household Consumption Expenditure Survey (HCES) for 2022–2023.
– The monthly cost of milk and dairy products consumed per person in rural India is Rs 314; this is more than the monthly cost of vegetables, cereals, eggs, fish, meat, fruits, edible oil, spices, and pulses combined.
– Similarly, milk (Rs 466) is the most popular food in cities, followed by cereals, eggs, fish, meat, fruits, vegetables, edible oil, spices, and pulses.

More about the news:Challenges in Milk Consumption:

  • While the dairy industry and farmers benefit from higher milk spending, rising production costs and inflation present obstacles.
  • Over the past five years, the modal price of milk has increased dramatically, and this year has seen a notable increase in price alone.
  • Furthermore, the price of raw materials, feed, and fodder has increased, driving up the cost of procurement for dairies and raising consumer costs.

Addressing Challenges: Boosting Milk Yield and Genetic Improvement:

  • Enhancing milk yield per animal through genetic improvement and breeding technologies is required to lessen these difficulties.
  • The likelihood of female calves, which is essential for milk production, can be greatly increased by using sex-sorted (SS) semen.
  • By actively encouraging the use of SS semen, companies such as Amul hope to increase the proportion of female calves by 2024–2025.

Advancements in Embryo Transfer (ET) Technology:

  • Furthermore, there is a great deal of promise for raising milk production due to developments in embryo transfer (ET) technology.
  • With ET, cows are stimulated to release multiple eggs, which are subsequently fertilised with premium semen.
  • With this method, milk yield can be maximised by producing multiple calves from a single high-genetic-merit (HGM) cow.

Implementation and Impact:

  • The goal of projects like Gujarat’s Bovine Breeding Centre is to produce a core herd of bulls and cows that are genetically superior.
  • Organisations like Amul have successfully produced male and female animals with high milk-producing potential through the use of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and ET technology.
  • Furthermore, in an attempt to save farmers’ feeding expenses, high-yielding, protein-rich fodder grasses are being promoted in an effort to improve animal nutrition.


  • Despite the fact that milk consumption in India is growing, issues like inflation and production costs still need to be resolved.
  • The dairy industry can increase milk production while lowering costs by utilising developments in breeding and reproductive technologies in conjunction with programmes to improve animal nutrition.
  • Initiatives such as the White Revolution 2.0 should ultimately aim to ensure farmers’ profitability and sustainability by bringing down the cost of milk production at the farm gate.

Indian Dairy Industry
– India has the highest milk production in the world, with an astounding 230 million tonnes produced annually. The dairy industry in India is a significant part of the agricultural sector. This number represents a sizeable share of the global dairy market, to which India contributes approximately 15% of global milk production, meeting the needs of a population that is roughly 60% rural.
– With a 14-fold increase over the previous 75 years, milk production has grown remarkably over time. This increase has been a significant economic engine, especially for the 80 million farming households it has empowered. Due in large part to their involvement in dairy farming, it has also been essential in improving the standing of women in rural economies.
– Regarding consumption, the availability of milk per person in India is impressive, averaging 430 grammes per day, higher than the global average. The average yield per animal has increased as a result of improved dairy management techniques and technology developments, making this availability possible.
– The developments in the Indian dairy industry are the result of a determined attempt to raise productivity through improved feed management and breed quality, which has created a reliable and nutritionally sound milk supply chain. The nation’s food security and nutritional profile have been strengthened by this emphasis on quantity without sacrificing quality.

PYQ: In rural areas, raising livestock has a significant potential to generate revenue and non-farm employment. Talk about recommending appropriate policies to advance this industry in India. (12.5 m/200 words) (2015, UPSSC CSE (M) GS-3)
Practice Question: Talk about the effects on India’s dairy industry of the government’s most recent Household Consumption Expenditure Survey (HCES). Examine the patterns in milk consumption, the difficulties the dairy industry faces, and possible solutions. (15 m/250 words)

2. Grey Zone Strategies: Handling the Fine Line in International Affairs Between Conflict and Peace

Topic: GS2 – International Relations GS3 – Internal Security 
The knowledge of facts regarding grey zone warfare—a tactic used by nations to exert pressure and influence on adversaries without using overt military force—makes this topic pertinent for both the Prelims and Mains exams.It also draws attention to the dangers and effects of “grey zone” warfare, such as the possibility of rising tensions and accidentally military retaliation.

– A type of informal warfare known as “grey zone warfare” is defined as existing in the hazy middle ground between open conflict and peace.
– It includes a wide range of operations that do not neatly fit into the categories of conventional warfare, such as disinformation campaigns, cyberattacks, influence operations, economic actions, and mercenary operations.

More about the news:Historical Context: Cold War Origins:

  • The Cold War era, in particular the bitter rivalry between the US and the USSR, is where the idea of “grey zone warfare” originated.
  • Since both superpowers are nuclearly capable, a direct battle was considered too dangerous.
  • Because of this, strategies that fall into the grey area have become more accepted, giving weaker parties an advantage over stronger ones in terms of technology.

Examples of Grey Zone Warfare: Chinese Actions:

  • Grey zone warfare techniques are best illustrated by China’s recent actions in the South China Sea.
  • Due to China’s sweeping territorial claims in the area, it has clashed with neighbouring nations like the Philippines, which has questioned China’s actions and presence in disputed waters.
  • Tensions and charges of illegality have been raised by Coast Guard operations near disputed reefs and Chinese maritime militia vessels.
  • As part of a plan to apply pressure without going to war, Taiwan has also reported an increase in Chinese military activity, including fighters flying over the strait.
  • Without going into open conflict, these measures are meant to weaken Taiwan and try its resolve.

Grey Zone Tactics of Other Nations:

  • Along with maritime reconnaissance operations, the United States has also been accused of using “grey zone” tactics, such as economic sanctions and tariffs on Chinese imports.
  • These actions are viewed as a component of larger plans to apply pressure and influence on enemies without using direct military force.

Risks and Implications:

  • Due to its ability to confuse peace and conflict, grey zone warfare presents serious risks and makes it difficult for nations to respond appropriately.
  • Countries operating in this grey area run the risk of inciting adversarial responses that could heighten tensions and result in unanticipated military retaliation.


  • Comprehending and proficiently tackling the obstacles presented by grey zone warfare necessitates sophisticated tactics that transcend conventional methods of resolving disputes.
  • In order to maintain stability and security in a geopolitical environment that is becoming more unpredictable, nations must continue to be alert and create flexible responses to deal with the complexities of this changing kind of warfare.

What is China’s Grey Zone Tactics against India?
– Activities in the South China Sea: China uses both military and recreational vessels to impose its will on the region. Tensions arise with neighbouring nations, such as India.
– Building infrastructure in border areas: China creates villages and builds infrastructure near India’s borders. It obtains strategic advantages and strengthens its territorial claims.
– Digital technology investments: China makes investments in media, apps, and other digital platforms in India. Its existence in the digital realm has the power to shape public opinion and narratives.

Practice Question: Talk about the idea of “grey zone warfare” and how it affects modern international relations. Examine how different countries have handled the risks involved in navigating the intricacies of grey zone tactics, keeping in mind how warfare and security issues have changed in the twenty-first century. (15 m/250 words)

3. Thailand Steps Down as WTO Ambassador Amid Conflict Over India’s Rice Subsidies

Topic: GS2 – International Relations – Important International institutions, agencies and fora – their structure, mandate
Understanding the dynamics of trade disputes, the function of international organisations such as the WTO, and the effects of agricultural policies on global trade make this topic pertinent for both Prelims and Mains.

– Thailand has responded diplomatically to India’s criticism of its ambassador to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by changing her position, as she had made remarks about India’s Public Stockholding (PSH) programme.
– The former Thai ambassador, Pimchanok Vonkorpon Pitfield, came under fire for her comments about the rice procurement programme in India, specifically focusing on the Public Distribution System (PDS), which offers the general public subsidised access to basic food items.
– She was replaced after Indian authorities decided that her remarks were inappropriate.

More about the news:Thailand’s Concerns and WTO’s Norms:

  • Thailand, a significant Cairns Group member, has regularly voiced concerns about India’s PSH programme at the WTO, claiming that it has an adverse impact on other countries’ food security and distorts global food prices.
  • When domestic support measures exceed the deminimis limit established by the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture, trade distortion issues arise.
  • The deminimis ceiling for developing nations such as India is 10%; however, in the case of rice, India has exceeded this limit, causing resentment among other exporters such as Thailand who find it difficult to compete with supported Indian rice.

Questioning India’s Rice Subsidies:

  • The WTO is looking into India’s rice subsidies because they go over the allowed deductions cap.
  • India has defended its subsidies, claiming the WTO’s technique, which relies on fixed and antiquated prices, overestimates the amount given.
  • During the WTO agriculture negotiations, India is advocating for modifications to the calculation technique.

India’s Argument and Demand at WTO:

  • India is arguing at the WTO for a long-term solution regarding the public stockpiling of food grains, along with a number of developing countries.
  • India would have more options when it comes to supporting its farmers thanks to this solution.
  • India claims that its subsidies pale in comparison to those given by wealthy nations such as the US and the EU.
  • The recent WTO conference was unable to decide on a long-term solution regarding food stockpiling in public, despite their best efforts.

Financial Outlay and Approval:

  • The NQM, which will cost a total of Rs. 6003.65 crore over eight years, was approved by the Union Cabinet.
  • The Mission Governing Board (MGB) has recently approved inviting pre-proposals for technology hubs, demonstrating the mission’s centrality and strategic significance.


  • The WTO replacement of Thailand’s ambassador brings to light the diplomatic connections surrounding India’s PSH programme and its effects on the dynamics of international trade.
  • The international community is still debating trade distortions and the necessity of finding a long-term solution for public stockholding, even as India tries to defend its agricultural subsidies within WTO regulations.

PYQ: Consider the following statements: (2017) 
1. India has ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of WTO.
2. TFA is a part of WTO’s Bali Ministerial Package of 2013.
3. TFA came into force in January 2016.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 1 and 3 only
(c) 2 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3 

Practice Question: Talk about the recent diplomatic division between Thailand and India over the latter’s Public Stockholding (PSH) programme and its effects on world trade and food security. (15 m/250 words)

4. The non-lapsable defence modernization fund plans have been postponed.

Topic: GS2 – Governance – Government policies
Examines the rejection of the non-lapsable defence fund, with a focus on India’s parliamentary oversight, funding sources, and accountability. This is crucial for the UPSC.

– The article talks about India’s proposal to create a non-lapsable defence modernization fund being rejected.
– Officials from the government stress that the funding sources available now cover both the needs of the armed forces and worries about accountability and parliamentary oversight.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Top government officials in India have rejected the idea to create a non-lapsable defence modernization fund.
  • Officials stress that parliamentary oversight and accountability may be compromised by establishing a non-lapsable pool because all defence funding needs are currently satisfied on an as-needed basis.
  • A unique mechanism for a non-lapsable fund had previously been mentioned by the Ministry of Defence, but no decision has been made and it is not being actively investigated because of its disadvantages.
  • A senior official in the Finance Ministry emphasises that, historically, only monies funded by cesses intended for a particular purpose are non-lapsable, guaranteeing accountability to Parliament.
  • Ministries aim to guarantee financial support, with a focus on providing resources when needed without necessarily using a non-lapsable fund.
  • All required capital spending for defence is ensured by the Interim Budget 2024–2025, which unifies the Services’ capital expenditure demands under a single heading for a more cohesive approach to procurement.
  • The government has not moved forward with the creation of the dedicated non-lapsable Modernization Fund for Defence and Internal Security, citing the need for additional research into funding sources and procedures, despite the recommendation of the 15th Finance Commission.

Non-Lapsable Fund For Defence Modernisation
Assured Funding: offers a specific funding source that guarantees a steady and reliable financial supply for modernising defences.
– Long-term Planning: Facilitates strategic and methodical upgrades by enabling long-term planning for defence capabilities without the risk of funding expiration.
– Flexibility: Provides for budgetary flexibility while preventing funds designated for defence modernization from being used for unapproved purposes.
– Avoids Budgetary Constraints: By protecting defence spending from unforeseen expenses and budgetary restrictions, modernization efforts are able to proceed more steadily.
– Making Decisions Quickly: makes it easier to make decisions quickly about modernization and procurement projects because money is easily accessible without requiring lengthy approval procedures.

– Less Accountability:
Because the non-lapsable nature may result in less transparency in fund utilisation, it presents a challenge to parliamentary scrutiny and financial accountability.
– Potential Misuse: Because the funds are not lapsable, there is a chance that they will be mishandled or misused in the absence of stringent oversight.
– Lack of Flexibility in Allocation: Because the fund is fixed and earmarked in advance, it may be difficult to adapt to shifting defence priorities or emergencies.
– Political Manipulation: Decisions about defence spending outside of regular budgetary procedures may be influenced by political influence or manipulation of the fund.
– Impact on Parliamentary Control: Because decisions about non-lapsable funds may be taken outside of the regular budgetary review process, non-lapsable funds may make parliamentary control over financial matters less effective.

PYQ: It is currently claimed that foreign direct investment in the defence industry has liberalised. What immediate and long-term effects is this anticipated to have on India’s economy and defence? (12.5 m/200 words) (CSE (M) GS-3, UPSSC 2014)
Practice Question: Talk about the benefits and repercussions of rejecting India’s proposal for a non-lapsable defence modernization fund. (10 m / 150 words)

5. PM to observe reactor core loading in Nashville today

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology –  Indigenization of technology 
Important for UPSC: Articles about core loading in domestic Fast Breeder Reactors signify nuclear progress, independence, and clean energy goals.

– A significant milestone in the nuclear power programme that encourages independence and clean energy is witnessed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he observes the core loading of India’s domestic prototype fast breeder reactor.

Additional information on this news:

  • At Kalpakkam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will witness the core loading of India’s 500 Mwe Prototype Fast Breeder Reactor (PFBR).
  • PFBR, created by BHAVINI, represents a critical turning point in India’s nuclear power programme.
  • Control, blanket, and fuel sub-assemblies for power generation are included in core loading.
  • PFBR is a closed fuel cycle component of India’s three-stage nuclear power programme that encourages fuel supply independence.
  • PFBR with sodium cooling contributes to self-sufficiency by producing more fuel than it uses.
  • FBRs are a clean and safe energy source because of their sophisticated safety features and reduced nuclear waste.
  • reflects India’s advancement towards the use of thorium in its third phase of nuclear power development.
  • After Russia, India will be the second nation with a commercially operated Fast reactor when it is put into service.

Need for Thorium Utilisation in India’s Nuclear Power Program
– Rich Thorium Reserves: India is essential for energy security because it has some of the greatest thorium reserves in the world.
– Restricted Uranium Resources: When uranium supplies are scarce, thorium emerges as a competitive substitute for long-term nuclear power.
Three-Stage Nuclear Power Program: In the third phase of India’s nuclear programme, which focuses on cutting-edge nuclear technologies, thorium is essential.
– Closed Fuel Cycle: By increasing fuel efficiency and lowering nuclear waste, thorium utilisation supports the closed fuel cycle approach.
– Thorium is essential to Fast Breeder Reactors (FBRs): as they produce more fuel than they consume, which helps them become self-sufficient.
– Decreased Dependency on Imported Uranium: By using thorium, India’s energy independence is strengthened and its reliance on imported uranium is reduced.
– Long-Term Energy Security: By addressing India’s increasing power demand, thorium integration in the nuclear programme ensures long-term energy security.
– Global Pioneering: India is at the forefront of nuclear technology advancement for clean, sustainable energy thanks to its emphasis on thorium.

What is fast breeder (FBR) reactor and how it is different?
●     Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR):
– A kind of nuclear reactor that generates more fissile material than it takes in, usually plutonium.
– effectively breeds fissile material by using fast neutrons to maintain the nuclear fission chain reaction.
– Essential to the three-phase nuclear power scheme, particularly for closed fuel cycles.

●     Differences from Thermal Reactors:
– Neutron Speed: In thermal reactors, slow neutrons are used, whereas fast neutrons are used in FBRs.
– Fuel Efficiency: By using nuclear fuel and breeding more fuel than is consumed, FBRs are able to achieve higher fuel efficiency.
– Waste Reduction: When compared to thermal reactors, fast breed reactors generate less long-lived radioactive waste.

●     Thorium Utilization:
– FBRs are essential to using thorium as fuel in India’s nuclear programme because of the country’s large thorium reserves.

●     Self-Sufficiency:
– FBRs lessen reliance on outside sources by assisting in the production of nuclear fuel independently.

PYQ: Should India continue to grow its nuclear energy programme in light of its increasing energy needs? Talk about the realities and worries surrounding nuclear energy. (15 minutes, 250 words) (CSE (M) GS-3, UPSSC 2018)
Practice Question: Talk about the strategic importance of using thorium in India’s three-phase nuclear power programme, focusing on how it helps to ensure sustainable and secure energy sources. (10 m / 150 words)

6. Resonance: a tendency to move in step

Topic: GS3 – Science and Technology – Effects of S&T in everyday life
For UPSC candidates, resonance is essential because it links physics concepts to practical uses in infrastructure and technology.

– The phenomenon of resonance, which affects different contexts when systems oscillate at their natural frequency with greater amplitude, is discussed in the article.

Additional information on this news:

  • Resonance is a phenomenon in which a system oscillates at its natural frequency and exhibits higher amplitude oscillations.
  • The frequency at which a system naturally oscillates, even in the absence of outside disturbance, is known as its natural frequency.
  • Resonance can be advantageous or disadvantageous based on the situation.
  • Positive resonance can be found in many things, such as musical instruments, watches with quartz crystals, singing vocal chords, laser light production, and nuclear magnetic resonance found in MRI scanners.
  • Resonance’s detrimental effects can be seen when a bus engine is idling and the metal structure of the vehicle begins to rattle.
  • On April 12, 1831, a historic event happened when British soldiers marched in step and resonance caused the Broughton Suspension Bridge in England to collapse.
  • Soldiers now march across bridges out of step to prevent structural failure caused by resonance.
  • Pushing a child in a swing demonstrates resonance as well; the push works best during the resonant interval.
  • Resonance must be understood and controlled in many different fields in order to avoid damage or improve performance.

7. Women’s urban employment guarantee act

Topic: GS2 – Social Justice – vulnerable sections GS3 – Indian Economy – Issues  related to Development and Employment
Essential reading for those aspiring to the UPSC since it discusses economic growth, gender disparities, and the Women’s Urban Employment Guarantee Act.

– In order to address the low employment rates among urban women, the Women’s Urban Employment Guarantee Act (WUEGA) is proposed in this article. Stressing economic expansion and gender empowerment, it proposes a phased implementation with a range of job options and incentives, highlighting effective models.

 Addressing Urban Women’s Unemployment:

  • Current Situation: Urban women still have low employment rates (22.9%) due to social norms and safety concerns, even with the success of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
  • Unmet Demand: Untapped potential and unmet demand are indicated by the high rate of urban unemployment (9%), particularly among educated women (25% with higher secondary education).

Proposal: Women’s Urban Employment Guarantee Act (WUEGA):

  • Goal: Establish a nationwide WUEGA that emphasises the employment of urban women, building on the achievements of state initiatives and creative concepts.
  • Programme Management: To strengthen decentralisation and constitutional mandates, envision at least 50% (preferably 100%) female representation in the WUEGA programme management staff.
  • Essential Facilities: Make sure that, within a 5-kilometer radius, worksites provide free public transport for women and essential amenities like childcare.
  • Various Employment Opportunities: By involving local consultation, broaden the scope of urban works to include a variety of activities such as planting and harvesting.
  • Welfare Boards and Incentives: Establish welfare boards and provide incentives like automatic enrollment, support for maternity benefits, pensions, and emergency savings accounts.
  • Development of Skills: Address the skill gaps impeding the transition of students from school to the workforce; suggest apprenticeships for female college students and Information Facilitation Centres for Class 10 graduates.
  • Social Audit Unit: To promote accountability and transparency through independent monitoring, establish a WUEGA social audit unit with at least 50% female employees.

Women-Led Initiatives and Precedence:

  • Inspiration from Karnataka: Mention the accomplishments of women-led waste management projects in the state as evidence of the effectiveness of women in these positions.

Implementation and Financial Viability:

  • Phased Rollout: To ensure gradual cost and efficiency adjustments, propose a phased rollout with periodic assessments to gauge uptake and evaluate the nature of works.
  • Financial Implications: Calculate that the cost of the wage component is approximately 1.5% of GDP, accounting for material and administrative expenses and prioritising socioeconomic benefits over financial considerations.

Long-term Impact:

  • Assurance of Income: Stress the benefits to society and push for a change from viewing income as insurance to income assurance, particularly for women.
  • Possibility of Expanding Urban Employment Initiatives: Present WUEGA as a test project for upcoming all-inclusive urban employment initiatives, highlighting the necessity of utilising women’s potential for economic expansion as a whole.


  • Holistic Approach: The WUEGA proposal offers a structured plan to empower women, stimulate the economy, and open the door for wider societal benefits in an effort to address urban women’s unemployment from a holistic perspective.

PYQ: Gender budgeting is required for women’s empowerment in India. What are the conditions and current state of gender budgeting in India? (12.5 m/200 words) (CSE (M) GS-3, UPSSC 2016)
Practice Question: Talk about the importance of putting the Women’s Urban Employment Guarantee Act (WUEGA) into practice in order to reduce gender inequality and promote economic development in urban areas.(10 m / 150 words)

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