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Daily Current Affairs

12-September-2023

Daily Current Affairs For UPSC ,Daily Current affairs of The hIndu and Indian Express.

1) India- Saudi Arabia Relations:

Topic: GS2-IR

Context:

  • India and Saudi Arabia signed eight agreements to boost cooperation in a range of areas from energy to interconnectivity, digitalization and electronic manufacturing to finance and security.

Details:

  • The two sides signed eight agreements, including on upgrading their hydrocarbon energy partnership to a comprehensive energy partnership for renewable, petroleum and strategic reserves.
  • The two sides also agreed to create a joint task force for US $100 billion in Saudi investment, half of which is earmarked for a delayed refinery project along India’s western coast.
  • Interconnectivity between India and the Gulf countries, would include ports, railways and better roads, as well as power, gas grids and optical fibre network.
  • India will be connected by railroad under the multinational India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC) that was announced on the sidelines of the G20 Summit.
  • The proposed rail and ports plan, with the US, Saudi Arabia, India, European Union, UAE as members, is being perceived as a counter to China’s Belt and-Road Initiative.
  • The agreements include cooperation between:
    • India’s Central Vigilance Commission and Saudi’s anti-corruption unit.
    • investment entities, small and medium enterprises bank
    • the National Archives of the two countries
    • on desalination and renewable energy.
  • The two sides also discussed the possibility of trading in local currencies and expediting the negotiations for a free trade agreement between India and the Gulf Cooperation Council of which Saudi Arabia is a member.
  • Over two dozen MoUs were signed between Indian and Saudi Arabian companies as well, ranging from information technology, agriculture, pharmaceuticals, petrochemicals and human resources, among other sectors.
  • Both sides also noted the ongoing discussions on Bilateral Investment Treaty, Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement and Mutual Legal Assistance in Custom matters.

2) Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar awards

Topic: Prelims

Context:

  • After being held back for a year, the country’s top annual science prize, the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Awards, that have celebrated and nurtured the best science talent under 45, were announced.

About Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Awards:

  • The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology is a prestigious award that recognizes the outstanding achievements of young Indian scientists and engineers.
  • The award is named after Dr. (Sir) Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, the Founder-Director of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), India’s largest research and development organization.
  • It aims to honour the research and developmental work of Indian citizens in various fields of science and technology that have the potential for social and economic benefits.
  • It is open to any Indian citizen under the age of 45 years who is engaged in research in India. Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) working in India are also eligible.

Details:

  • The awards for 2022 were declared in New Delhi acknowledging the work of 12 scientists.
  • Two each were selected for five of the seven categories — physical sciences, biological sciences, chemical sciences, mathematics and engineering sciences while one each was picked in the fields of earth and planetary sciences, and medical sciences.

3) Morocco earthquake

Topic: Geography, Prelims

Context:

  • The most powerful earthquake ever recorded in Morocco struck the country killing more than 2,500 people and turning countless homes and buildings into rubble.

Details:

  • The quake was of magnitude 6.8 with the epicentre located in the Al Haouz province, in the Atlas Mountains of the historic city of Marrakesh, according to the US Geological Survey.

About Earthquake

  • An earthquake is the shaking of the Earth when two blocks of the earth suddenly slip past one another.
  • The surface where they slip is called the fault or fault plane.
  • The location below the earth’s surface where the earthquake starts are called the hypocenter, and the location directly above it on the surface of the earth is called the epicenter.

About Morocco

  • It is a hilly country in western North Africa that borders the Strait of Gibraltar.
  • It has preserved much of its old architecture as well as many of its traditional practices.
  • Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city and main Atlantic Ocean port, is an industrial and economic center.
  • Rabat is the capital.
  • It is bounded to the east and southeast by Algeria, to the south by the Western Sahara, to the west by the Atlantic Ocean, and the north by the Mediterranean Sea.
  • It is the only African country with coastlines on both the Atlantic and Mediterranean seas.
  • Major Mountain Ranges:Atlas and Rif mountain ranges.
  • Spoken Languages:Arabic and Amazigh (Tamazight).
  • Religion: Islam predominates, having a rich Islamic heritage.
  • Morocco’s political system is a constitutional monarchy with two legislative bodies.
  • Economy:The Moroccan economy is still strongly reliant on raw material exports.

4. CBI does not require permission to probe pre 2014 cases too: SC

Topic: GS2- govt policies and intervention, Prelims

Context:

  • A Constitution Bench held that a Supreme Court judgment of 2014 which declared invalid a legal provision mandating the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to take prior permission before investigating corruption cases against senior government officials has a retrospective effect.

Details:

  • As per the bench the provision in question, Section 6A of the Delhi Special Police Establishment (DSPE) Act, the statute that governs the CBI, was void from the very day of its insertion on September 11, 2003.
  • The judgment held that Section 6A violated fundamental rights, and “once a law is declared to be unconstitutional, being violative of Part III (fundamental rights) of the Constitution, then it would be held to be void ab initio, still born, unenforceable and non est ”.
  • This means that senior government officials involved in corruption cases even before the date of the Supreme Court judgment invalidating the need for prior sanction would no longer be able to avail the protection of prior approval.
  • Article 20(1), which mandated that a person should only be convicted under a law which was in force at the time of the crime, had “no applicability or relevance to the validity or invalidity of Section 6A of the DSPE Act”.

5. Launch of West Asia economic corridor is a historic step: PM

Topic: GS2-IR

Context:

  • India announced the launch of the India-Middle East-Europe Mega Economic Corridor on the sidelines of the G20 summit at the Bharat Mandapam Convention Center in New Delhi.
  • India, UAE, Saudi Arabia, European Union, France, Italy, Germany and America are involved in this project

What is the India-Middle East-Europe Project?

  • The project is part of the Partnership for Rail and Shipping Corridors Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII).
  • This project aims to strengthen the infrastructure in developing countries.
  • In this project, G-7 countries will come together and make a collaborative effort.
  • The PGII project is being seen as an alternative to China’s Belt and Road Initiative.
  • This corridor will connect Europe, the Middle East, and Asia through railways and the sea.
  • The key objectives of this ambitious project are to connect commercial hubs, support the development and export of clean energy, and expand undersea cables, energy grids, and telecommunication lines.

Crucial Geographical Advantage for India

  • The ‘India-Middle East-Europe Shipping and Railway Connectivity Corridor’ (IMEE EC) holds immense promise for India, firmly positioning it along the trade route spanning South East Asia to the Gulf, West Asia, and Europe.
  • This strategic placement offers India substantial advantages, both strategically and economically, and opens up substantial opportunities within the logistics and transportation sector.
  • Furthermore, it offers a more efficient and cost-effective transit option, bolstering India’s trade and export activities.
  • This corridor can be developed with a focus on sustainability, aligning with India’s green transition goals, elevating the nation’s regional prominence, and enabling Indian enterprises to participate equitably in infrastructure development.
  • Additionally, the corridor promises to secure supply chains, generate employment opportunities, and enhance trade facilitation and accessibility.

6. Gresham’s law: what happens when governments fix currency exchange rates

Topic: Economy

What Is Gresham’s Law?

  • Gresham’s law is a principle that states that “bad money drives out good” and can be applied to the currency markets
  • The law stemmed from the historical use of precious metals to manufacture coins and their subsequent value.
  • Since the abandonment of metallic currency standards, the theory often describes the stability and movement of different currencies in global markets.
  • For example, if there are two forms of commodity money in circulation, which are accepted by law as having similar face value, the more valuable commodity will gradually disappear from circulation.

Example of Gresham’s Law

  • The law came into play most recently during the economic crisis in Sri Lanka last year, during which the Sri Lankan central bank fixed the exchange rate between the Sri Lankan rupee and the U.S. dollar.
  • The Central Bank of Sri Lanka, at a certain point, mandated that the price of the U.S. dollar in terms of the Sri Lankan rupee should not rise beyond 200 rupees per dollar even though rates in the black market suggested that the U.S. dollar should sell for far more than 200 rupees.
  • In effect, people were banned from paying more than 200 Sri Lankan rupees for a dollar, thus causing the rupee to be overvalued and the U.S. dollar to be undervalued when compared to the market exchange rate.
  • This caused the supply of dollars in the market to fall and the U.S. dollar to be gradually driven out of the formal foreign exchange market.
  • People who wanted U.S. dollars to purchase foreign goods then had to purchase dollars from the black market by paying far more than 200 Sri Lankan rupees for each U.S. dollar.

What happens when governments fix currency exchange rates?

  • Gresham’s law, however, holds true only when the exchange rate between currencies is fixed under law by the government and the law is implemented effectively by authorities.
  • In the absence of any government decree fixing the exchange rate between currencies, it is good money that eventually drives bad money out of the market and not the other way round.
  • When the exchange rate between currencies is not fixed and people have the choice to freely choose between currencies, people gradually stop using currencies that they consider to be of poor quality and adopt currencies that are found to be of better quality.
  • This phenomenon wherein “good money drives out bad” is called Thiers’ law and it is seen as a complement to Gresham’s law. The rise of private cryptocurrencies in recent years has been cited by many analysts as an example of good money issued by private money producers driving out bad money issued by governments.

 

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