22 Jan 2024 : Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs


1. India-Bangladesh Relations: Achievements and Challenges in the Dawn of Sheikh Hasina’s Fourth Term

Topic: GS2 – International Relations- Bilateral Relations 

This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of Indo-Bangladesh relations.

  • Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina secured a historic fourth consecutive term in Bangladesh after her party, the Awami League, won two-thirds of the seats in the January 7 national elections.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi promptly congratulated Hasina, underscoring the close bilateral ties between India and Bangladesh.

Evolution of India-Bangladesh Relations:

  • The foundation of India-Bangladesh relations was laid during the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War when India provided crucial military support for Bangladesh’s independence.
  • However, relations soured in subsequent decades due to various issues.
  • A turning point occurred in 1996 when Sheikh Hasina came to power, leading to a new chapter characterized by cooperation in trade, energy, infrastructure, connectivity, and defense.
  • Economic Cooperation:

Bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh has steadily grown, reaching $18 billion in 2021-2022.

  • Bangladesh has become India’s largest trade partner in South Asia. Both nations concluded a joint feasibility study on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in 2022, anticipating broader economic opportunities.
  • The impending loss of Least Developed Country (LDC) status by Bangladesh after 2026 adds significance to finalizing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with India.

Infrastructure Development

  • India, a major development partner for Bangladesh, is funding numerous infrastructure and connectivity projects, extending Lines of Credits worth over $7 billion since 2010.
  • The Akhaura-Agartala rail link, inaugurated by PM Modi and Sheikh Hasina, provides India access to Bangladesh ports and is expected to boost industries in Assam and Tripura.
  • Focus on the Matarbari Port and energy cooperation further enhances bilateral ties.

Points of Tension

  • Contentious issues include the Teesta water-sharing dispute and the Rohingya crisis.
  • The looming Teesta dispute revolves around equitable distribution, while Bangladesh seeks India’s cooperation in repatriating Rohingyas to Myanmar.
  • Cross-border terrorism, infiltration, and concerns over rising majoritarian forces also contribute to internal security challenges.

Global Ties and Challenges

  • The U.S. has criticized the Awami League government, citing democratic backsliding.
  • Sanctions were imposed in 2021, escalating tensions.
  • China’s deepening relationship with Bangladesh, marked by substantial investments in infrastructure, raises concerns for India.
  • Despite this, Sheikh Hasina asserts her government’s careful approach to the China partnership.


  • India-Bangladesh relations have witnessed significant advancements in various sectors, but challenges persist, including unresolved disputes, regional security concerns, and the evolving global dynamics impacting the region.

PYQ: Critically examine the compulsions which prompted India to play a decisive role in the emergence of Bangladesh. (200 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2013)
Practice Question: Assess the trajectory of India-Bangladesh relations, focusing on the historical context, economic cooperation, and infrastructure development. (200 words/12.5 m)

2. NASA-ISRO NISAR Mission Nears Early 2024 Launch, Paving the Way for Groundbreaking Earth Observation and Collaboration

Topic: GS3 – Science and Tech- Developing new technology – Space

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of advanced technology and collaboration between NASA and ISRO, showcasing the significance of scientific advancements in governance and international cooperation 

  • The NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) Mission, designed for observing natural processes and changes in Earth’s ecosystems, is set for an “early 2024” launch, according to a senior official at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
  • Final tests for the earth-observing mission are scheduled for this week, with all components, except acoustic tests, already completed.
  • The unique aspects of the mission include its low-earth orbit observatory design and the enormous volume of high-resolution data it is expected to generate over its three-year mission life.

Unique Features and Data Accessibility:

  • The NISAR Mission stands out due to its ability to provide reliable, high-resolution data for a variety of applications such as forest management, agriculture monitoring, and disaster monitoring.
  • Its open science and open data policy make it distinctive, as data will be placed on servers in India and the U.S., accessible to the public as soon as processed into a validated data product.
  • The mission’s synthetic aperture radar will scan Earth’s land and ice-covered regions every 12 days, penetrating cloud cover and operating day and night.

Earth Observing Capability and Disaster Mitigation:

  • With the capability to revolutionize earth-observing, NISAR is anticipated to be a valuable data source for disaster monitoring and mitigation.
  • The observatory’s synthetic aperture radar system, equipped with both NASA and ISRO payloads, will provide consistent data on changes in Earth’s ecosystems, ice mass, vegetation biomass, sea level rise, groundwater, and natural hazards.
  • The mission is particularly valuable for disaster planning and monitoring.

Collaboration Between NASA and ISRO

  • NISAR represents a collaborative effort between NASA and ISRO, showcasing their shared interest in advancing space collaboration.
  • The collaboration extends to earth science, planetary science, and human space programs.
  • Both space agencies express eagerness to strengthen their partnership, emphasizing a robust interest in jointly addressing scientific and space-related challenges.


  • The NISAR Mission stands poised for launch, offering unprecedented capabilities in earth observation and disaster mitigation.
  • Its collaborative nature exemplifies the shared commitment of NASA and ISRO to advancing scientific knowledge and addressing global challenges.

PYQ: How does the Juno Mission of NASA help to understand the origin and evolution of the Earth?  (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2017)
Practice Question: Evaluate the significance of the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR) Mission in advancing earth observation capabilities and disaster mitigation. (150 words/10 m)

3. Unintended Ecological Consequences: Mosquito-Fighting Mosquitofish Spark Environmental Concerns in India

Topic: GS3 – Environment- Environment pollution and degradation

This topic relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of ecological impact of human interventions. 

  • In response to a rising mosquito menace, government and non-governmental organizations in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and Punjab have released mosquitofish into local water bodies.
  • However, this measure has unintended consequences, with the fish proliferating and causing ecological disruptions.
  • India faces persistent challenges related to mosquito-borne diseases, affecting around 40 million people annually.

Mosquitofish as Biological Control:

  • Introduced in the 1960s as a biological control measure, mosquitofish, particularly Gambusia affinis and Gambusia holbrooki, were intended to prey on mosquito larvae as an alternative to chemical solutions.
  • However, these fish, originally from the U.S., have spread globally, causing ecological imbalances by displacing and preying on native fauna.

Gambusia’s Presence in India:

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and various governmental organizations introduced Gambusia in India in the 1920s and later.
  • Despite initial good intentions, Gambusia has become widespread in India, leading to severe ecological and environmental problems.

Ecological Impact of Mosquitofish

  • Studies reveal the harmful consequences of Gambusia’s presence, including displacing native fish species, preying on eggs and larvae of indigenous fauna, and contributing to the decline of biodiversity in water bodies.
  • Despite being designated as invasive alien species, both governmental and non-governmental organizations in India continue to introduce these fish for mosquito control.

Need for Stringent Measures:

  • To address the ecological issues caused by mosquitofish, stringent measures are necessary.
  • The World Health Organization stopped recommending Gambusia as a mosquito control agent in 1982, and in 2018, the National Biodiversity Authority of the Government of India designated G. affinis and G. holbrooki as invasive alien species.
  • The focus should shift to local alternatives for effective mosquito control, involving collaboration between mosquito biologists, invasion ecologists, and fish taxonomists to identify and introduce native fish species capable of controlling mosquito larvae.
  • The removal of recommendations for Gambusia use by health authorities is crucial for a comprehensive solution.

Practice Question: Examine the historical context of using mosquitofish as a biological control measure and evaluate the effectiveness of alternative approaches in addressing the mosquito menace. (200 words/12.5 m)

4. The Mpemba Effect: Unraveling the Mystery of Hot Water Freezing Faster Than Cold Water

Topic: Important topics for Prelims. 

  • The Mpemba effect, initially noted by Tanzanian student Erasto Mpemba in 1969, has intrigued scientists despite earlier observations by Aristotle, Francis Bacon, and René Descartes.
  • The phenomenon suggests that hot water can freeze faster than cold water under similar conditions, sparking scientific curiosity.

Microbubbles and Convection:

  • Researchers exploring the causes of the Mpemba effect propose various factors.
  • One hypothesis involves microbubbles left in water after boiling, promoting convection and accelerating heat transfer as the water cools.
  • The presence of these cavities enhances the efficiency of heat dissipation.

Evaporation and Density:

  • Evaporation emerges as another contributing factor, as warmer water evaporates more, carrying away heat in an inherently endothermic process.
  • Additionally, the less dense nature of warmer water facilitates enhanced convection and accelerated heat transfer.
  • These combined effects create a faster cooling process in hot water. 

Frost as an Insulator:

  • Scientists consider the role of frost in cold water, positing that frost acts as an insulator, slowing the loss of heat and potentially influencing the freezing rate.
  • The presence of compounds like calcium carbonate, precipitated by boiling and subsequently dissolving, is also explored as a potential contributor to altered freezing points.

Complex Interplay of Mechanisms:

  • The Mpemba effect remains a subject of ongoing research due to its complex interplay of physical mechanisms.
  • The interaction of microbubbles, convection, evaporation, and frost, among other factors, continues to captivate scientists seeking a comprehensive understanding of this counterintuitive phenomenon.
  • Despite numerous experiments, a consensus conclusion on the primary cause of the Mpemba effect remains elusive.

5. India to send industry delegation for Copper mining opportunities in Zambia

Topic: GS1 – Geography- Minerals and Energy Resources 

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of copper mining, mineral resources, and international collaborations

  • The Mines Ministry in India has proposed the formation of a business delegation to explore copper exploration and mining projects in Zambia, a country known for having 6% of the world’s copper reserves.
  • Notable mining companies such as Vedanta and Hindustan Zinc, electric vehicle maker Ola Electric, and lithium-ion battery recycler LOHUM have expressed interest in participating in a joint working group (JWG) meeting to discuss cooperation in the field of mineral resources.

Background on Zambia’s Copper Reserves:

  • Zambia, the eighth-largest producer of copper in 2022, holds significant copper reserves, contributing to about 6% of the global total.
  • Copper finds application in various sectors such as construction, consumer durables, transportation, industrial manufacturing, and clean energy technologies like solar panels and electric vehicles.

Indian Interests and Current Scenario:

  • KABIL (Khanij Bidesh India), a central public sector enterprise expressed interest in exploring opportunities in Zambia’s copper mining sector, highlighting the country’s potential.
  • India’s increasing demand for copper, particularly in clean energy technologies, coupled with limited domestic supply, makes overseas copper mining acquisitions appealing to Indian mining companies.


  • The proposed Indian industry delegation to Zambia signifies the growing interest of Indian companies in securing overseas copper mining opportunities, aligning with the increasing demand for copper in India’s domestic market.
  • The collaboration between India and Zambia, as discussed in the JWG meetings, holds the potential for fostering bilateral cooperation in the crucial field of mineral resources.

PYQ: Elucidate the relationship between globalization and new technology in a world of scarce resources, with special reference to India.
(250 words/15 m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-1 2022)
Practice Question: Discuss the potential implications of India’s proposed business delegation to Zambia for exploring copper mining projects.
(150 words/10 m)

6. Indian Government’s Asset Recycling Drive Aims for Record Rs 1.5 Lakh Crore in Fiscal 2023-24, Mining and Highways Lead the Charge

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy- Issues relating to mobilization of resources 

This topic is not much relevant in the context of Prelims but more for Mains in the context of asset recycling, monetization of resources, and infrastructure investments.

  • The Indian government’s asset recycling initiative, primarily focused on mining and highways, is set to generate substantial resources for infrastructure investments.
  • The expected yield for the current fiscal year is estimated to reach approximately Rs 1.5 lakh crore, marking the highest since the introduction of the National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) in 2021-22.

Historical Performance:

  • In the preceding fiscal years, the asset monetization drive showcased commendable performance.
  • Transactions totaling around Rs 0.97 lakh crore were completed in 2021-22, followed by Rs 1.32 lakh crore in 2022-23.
  • These transactions encompassed revenues accruing to various central and state government agencies, along with private investments.

Leading Sectors in Monetization:

  • The mining sector, particularly coal blocks and mines, played a pivotal role in the asset monetization strategy for 2023-24.
  • Despite an ambitious initial target of Rs 8,726 crore, the sector is expected to contribute around Rs 55,000-60,000 crore.
  • This surpasses the revised target, highlighting the sector’s significance in generating upfront revenues.

National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) Contribution

  • NHAI, a key contributor to brownfield asset recycling, is projected to achieve around Rs 45,000 crore in the fiscal year 2023-24, surpassing the set target of Rs 43,979 crore.
  • The agency has employed various models, including Toll Operate Transfer (ToT), securitization, and Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT), to mobilize funds.
  • Initiatives such as ToT for highway stretches in Telangana and Tamil Nadu are contributing to NHAI’s success.

Future Prospects and Aggregate Asset Pipeline

  • The revised target for mining monetization in FY24 is set at Rs 55,000 crore, with Rs 50,000 crore already accomplished, indicating a likely surpassing of the annual goal.
  • NHAI’s diversified approach to asset recycling positions it well to exceed its targeted Rs 45,000 crore.
  • The aggregate asset pipeline under the NMP for the years FY22-FY25 is valued at Rs 6 lakh crore, supporting investments in the National Infrastructure Pipeline (NIP) worth Rs 111 lakh crore over six years through FY25.

Economic Impact and Future Expectations

  • The NIP and NMP are designed to stimulate investment-led economic activity, fostering growth and job creation.
  • Beyond mining and highways, positive expectations are set for asset recycling in the power sector (generation and transmission), oil and gas, and port infrastructure in FY24, contributing further to the economic rejuvenation effort.


  • The asset recycling drive showcases promising outcomes, emphasizing the critical role of mining and highways in generating funds for India’s ambitious infrastructure development goals.

PYQ: Faster economic growth requires increased share of the manufacturing sector in GDP, particularly of MSMEs. Comment on the present policies of the Government in this regard. (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2023)
Practice Question: Examine the significance of India’s asset recycling drive, particularly focusing on the monetization of resources in sectors such as mining and highways. (200 words/12.5 m)

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