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Daily Current Affairs


1. What is the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence alliance?

Topic: GS2 – International collaboration.

What is the five eyes:

  • ‘Five Eyes’ is a multilateral intelligence-sharing alliance consisting of five countries: Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K., and the U.S.
  • It primarily focuses on surveillance and signals intelligence (SIGINT) and shares classified intelligence documents among member countries.
  • The alliance originated during World War II and aimed to counter the Cold War Soviet threat by sharing intelligence related to signals, including radio, satellite, and internet communications.
  • The formal agreement, known as the British-U.S. Communication Intelligence Agreement (BRUSA, now UKUSA Agreement), was signed between the U.S. and the U.K. in 1946 and later extended to include Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
  • The existence of the alliance remained highly secretive for decades, with public knowledge of the agreement emerging only in recent years.
  • Each member country has specific SIGINT mandates, covering various regions and intelligence domains.
  • Over time, the focus of ‘Five Eyes’ has shifted from the Cold War era to address contemporary challenges such as terrorism and the influence of China.
  • The alliance has expanded its activities to include ocean surveillance, medical intelligence, counterterrorism, and intelligence sharing through a collective database known as ‘Stone Ghost.’
  • Concerns have been raised about privacy, security, and the working methods of the intelligence alliance, particularly after Edward Snowden’s disclosures in 2013, which characterized it as a “supranational intelligence organization” not bound by its own countries’ laws.

2. MGNREGS social audit unit in a state of paralysis in many States

Topic: GS2 – governance


  • The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) faces criticism for alleged corruption, despite having social audit units designed to detect malpractice.
  • Statistics from the Union Rural Development Ministry show that in the current financial year, less than 14% of the amount flagged by auditors for misappropriation has been recovered.
  • Recovery rates in previous financial years have also been low, with only a small fraction of the flagged amounts being recovered.

Importance of social audit in government programs:

  • Accountability: Social audits help hold government programs accountable for their actions and spending, ensuring transparency and reducing the risk of corruption.
  • Citizen Participation: They encourage citizen involvement in the monitoring and evaluation of government initiatives, promoting democracy and empowering communities.
  • Improved Governance: Social audits can lead to more efficient and effective governance by identifying areas of improvement and recommending necessary changes.
  • Trust Building: When citizens see that their government is committed to transparency and accountability, it builds trust and confidence in public institutions.
  • Identifying Gaps: Social audits can reveal gaps in program implementation, helping authorities address issues and reach the intended beneficiaries more effectively.
  • Resource Allocation: They assist in ensuring that resources are allocated equitably and reach marginalized and vulnerable populations.
  • Preventing Mismanagement: By regularly reviewing program performance, social audits can prevent mismanagement of funds and resources.
  • Learning and Adaptation: Social audits provide opportunities for learning and adapting programs to changing circumstances and needs.

Mains question: Discuss the significance of social audits in government programs and their role in promoting transparency, accountability, and citizen participation in governance.

3. Current account deficit widens QoQ to $9.2 bn on trade gap

Topic: GS3 – Indian economy.


  • India’s current account deficit (CAD) increased to $9.2 billion (1.1% of GDP) in the April-June quarter.

More about this news:

  • This widening of CAD is primarily due to a higher trade deficit, lower surplus in net services, and a decline in private transfer receipts.
  • Net services receipts fell due to a decline in exports of computer, travel, and business services, although they remained higher on a year-on-year basis.
  • Private transfer receipts, representing remittances, moderated to $27.1 billion from $28.6 billion in the previous quarter.
  • The fall in remittances is concerning, especially amid slowing global growth, and it could impact CAD, which was expected to rise in the first quarter.
  • Factors like higher merchandise trade deficit, softening in services trade surplus, and rising oil prices contribute to the upward pressure on CAD estimates.
  • Net income outgo decreased to $10.6 billion, reflecting payments of investment income.
  • Net foreign direct investment declined to $5.1 billion, while net foreign portfolio investment recorded inflows of $15.7 billion.
  • Net external commercial borrowings saw an inflow of $5.6 billion in Q1.
  • The foreign exchange reserves increased by $24.4 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal year.

What is current account deficit (CAD):

  • The Current Account Deficit (CAD) is a measurement in the balance of payments of a country’s economy.
  • It represents the difference between the value of a country’s exports of goods and services and its imports of goods and services during a specific period, usually a quarter or a year.
  • In other words, CAD reflects the net flow of money into or out of a country due to its international trade and investment activities.

Mains question: Discuss the implications of a widening Current Account Deficit (CAD) on India’s economy. Analyze the factors contributing to the recent increase in CAD and suggest measures to address the challenges posed by a persistent CAD.

4. Russia to hike its defence spending by 70% in 2024.

Topic: GS2


  • Russia is planning to increase its defense spending by nearly 70% in 2024, according to a Finance Ministry document.

What is in the news?

  • This increase in defense spending is primarily driven by Russia’s full-scale offensive in Ukraine, which has led to heightened military activity and arms manufacturing.
  • Despite facing challenges like high inflation and a weaker ruble, Russia is allocating significant resources to its military, with defense spending accounting for around 6% of its GDP.
  • This level of defense spending surpasses allocations for social policies, education, environmental protection, and healthcare combined.
  • The Russian government’s economic policy is shifting towards promoting national development goals, including strengthening defense capacity and integrating Ukrainian regions like Lugansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia.
  • Russia’s central bank has warned of potential economic slowdown and inflation above target levels, but officials, including President Vladimir Putin, appear focused on the Ukraine offensive.

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