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8 June 2024 : Daily Current Affairs

1. Fish kill spotlights pangs of Periyar

(Source – The Hindu, International Edition – Page No. – 10)

Topic: GS3 – Environment –  Environmental pollution and degradation
  • The Periyar River in Kerala is facing severe degradation due to industrial pollution, leading to mass fish deaths and posing risks to human health and livelihoods.
  • Environmental activists call for urgent action to address the deteriorating condition of the river ecosystem.

Industrial Pollution:

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  • The Periyar River ecosystem faces severe degradation due to industrial pollution from numerous industrial units along its banks.
  • Effluents containing toxic chemicals and untreated wastewater are discharged into the river, leading to contamination of water and sediment.

Mass Fish Deaths:

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Dead fish found floating in a cage farm at Shappukadavu near Cheranalloor in Koch

  • The river has witnessed multiple instances of mass fish deaths, indicating a significant decline in water quality.
  • Fishermen and farmers report fish struggling to breathe and floating dead on the river’s surface, raising concerns about the ecosystem’s health.

Impact on Aquatic Life:

  • Pollution in the Periyar River adversely affects aquatic biodiversity, including fish species and other aquatic organisms.
  • Chemical pollutants and low oxygen levels pose threats to the survival of aquatic flora and fauna, disrupting the river’s ecological balance.

Human Health Risks:

  • Contaminated water from the Periyar River poses serious health risks to communities reliant on it for drinking water and irrigation.
  • Exposure to pollutants and toxins in the water can lead to waterborne diseases and long-term health complications for local populations.

Economic Consequences:

  • The degradation of the Periyar River ecosystem has economic repercussions for communities dependent on fishing and agriculture.
  • Loss of fish stocks, decline in agricultural productivity, and damage to livelihoods exacerbate poverty and economic inequalities in the region.

Environmental Activism:

  • Environmental activists raise concerns about the deteriorating condition of the Periyar River and advocate for stricter regulations and enforcement measures.
  • Calls for sustainable industrial practices and pollution control initiatives aim to mitigate further damage to the river ecosystem and protect human and environmental health.

Government Response:

  • Government agencies conduct periodic monitoring of water quality and pollution levels in the Periyar River.
  • Policy interventions, such as setting up a River Monitoring Authority and implementing pollution control measures, are proposed to address the degradation of the river ecosystem.

Long-Term Solutions:

  • Long-term solutions to mitigate the degradation of the Periyar River ecosystem involve collaborative efforts between government, industries, and local communities.
  • Implementing stricter pollution control measures, promoting sustainable industrial practices, and enhancing public awareness are essential for restoring the health and vitality of the river.
PYQ: Enumerate the National Water Policy of India. Taking river Ganges as an example, discuss the strategies which may be adopted for river water pollution control and management. What are the legal provisions for management and handling of hazardous wastes in India? (200 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2013)
Practice Question: Discuss the challenges and solutions pertaining to the degradation of the Periyar River ecosystem in Kerala, emphasising the role of industrial pollution, its impacts on biodiversity, human health, and livelihoods, and the measures required for its restoration. (250 Words /15 marks)


2. ASEAN FTA: govt. seeks industry inputs to up demand pitch

(Source – The Hindu, International Edition – Page No. – 11

Topic: GS2 – International Relations
  • The India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA) offers numerous advantages for India.
  • It includes enhanced market access, economic growth opportunities, increased investment prospects, strategic partnerships in the Asia-Pacific region, sectoral benefits across various industries, and promotes regional economic integration.
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Analysis of the news:

  • The Commerce Department aims to enhance its negotiation stance with ASEAN ahead of the ASEAN-India FTA review in Indonesia next month.
  • Inputs are being gathered from industry and export promotion bodies regarding areas where deeper tariff concessions can be pursued.
  • India seeks to address the disproportionate gains favouring ASEAN countries under the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITGA).
  • The trade deficit with ASEAN widened to $38.46 billion in 2023-24, prompting India to push for greater market access, flexibility in rules of origin, and resolution of non-tariff barriers.
  • Meetings between Commerce Ministry officials and industry representatives aim to align negotiation strategies and prioritise demands for lower duties.
  • ASEAN comprises 10 member states: Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, and Cambodia.
  • India has been advocating for a review of AITGA since its implementation in 2010, with the fifth joint committee meeting scheduled for July 29-31.
  • India has emphasised the need for product specific rules in determining rules of origin to relax requirements for low value addition items.
 Potential advantages of India – ASEAN FTA:
  • Enhanced market access: The FTA offers India improved access to the large and diverse markets of ASEAN member countries, facilitating increased exports.
  • Economic growth: Increased trade with ASEAN nations can stimulate economic growth in India by expanding business opportunities and fostering competition.
  • Investment opportunities: The FTA can attract foreign direct investment (FDI) from ASEAN countries into India, promoting technology transfer and infrastructure development.
  • Strategic partnerships: Closer economic ties with ASEAN strengthen India’s strategic presence in the Asia-Pacific region, fostering geopolitical alliances and cooperation.
  • Sectoral benefits: Various sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, services, and technology can benefit from the FTA through increased trade and investment flows.
  • Regional integration: The FTA promotes regional economic integration, aligning India with ASEAN’s broader economic and geopolitical objectives.
PYQ: Q.1 Indian Diaspora has an important role to play in South-East Asian countries’ economy and society. Appraise the role of Indian Diaspora in South- East Asia in this context.
(250 words/15m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2017) Q.2 Evaluate the economic and strategic dimensions of India’s Look East Policy in the context of the post-Cold War international scenario. (200 words/12.5m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2016)
Practice Question:  What are the potential advantages for India in the context of the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (FTA), and how does it contribute to regional economic integration? (150 Words /10 marks)

1. Human-Driven Climate Change Intensifies Severe Heatwave in North and Central India, Study Reveals

(Source: Indian Express; Section: Express Network; Page: 07)

Topic: GS3 – Environment – Environmental Pollution and Degradation GS1 – Geography – Climate Change
  • The severe heatwave experienced in North and Central India in late May, with temperatures nearing 50° Celsius in Delhi and Rajasthan, exemplifies a significant climate anomaly.
  • According to an analysis by ClimaMeter, a European Union-funded organization, this heatwave was exacerbated by human-induced climate change. This analysis underscores the increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events due to global warming.
Analysis of News:

Record-Breaking Temperatures:

  • More than 37 cities across North and Central India recorded temperatures exceeding 45° Celsius, triggering warnings for heat-related illnesses.
  • Areas in Delhi, such as Najafgarh, Mungeshpur, and Narela, saw temperatures ranging between 47° and 49° Celsius.
  • Even central and traditionally cooler areas like Safdarjung experienced highs of up to 46° Celsius.
  • The widespread and extreme nature of these temperatures highlights the severity of the heatwave.

Historical Weather Comparisons:

  • Researchers assessed atmospheric conditions, including surface pressure, temperature, and precipitation, comparing data from the late 20th century (1979-2001) with recent decades (2002-2023).
  • Their findings indicate that recent heatwaves are approximately 1.5° Celsius more intense than those in the past.
  • This increase aligns with the observed effects of climate change, which has become more pronounced over the years.

The Role of Climate Change:

  • Experts emphasized the complex interplay between natural variations and climate change.
  • They noted that climate change significantly contributes to changes in weather patterns in tropical and subtropical regions, potentially exacerbating future heatwaves.
  • This perspective highlights the critical role of human activities in intensifying these extreme weather events.

Atmospheric Pressure Anomalies:

  • The analysis revealed significant cyclonic anomalies over Northwest India and Southern Pakistan during the heatwave.
  • These anomalies involved warm and moist air moving towards the coast, coupled with temperatures up to 5° Celsius higher than usual in some parts of Northwest India and Southern Pakistan.
  • The presence of low to moderate winds further contributed to the unusual temperature highs, illustrating the complex dynamics of atmospheric pressure and climate change.


  • The ClimaMeter analysis concludes that the May heatwave in India was notably more intense than previous heatwaves, primarily due to human-driven climate change.
  • The findings indicate that such heatwaves are now 1.5° Celsius warmer than the warmest previously recorded, reflecting the profound impact of global warming on extreme weather patterns.
  • This unique event underscores the urgent need for climate action to mitigate the increasing severity of heatwaves and other climate-related phenomena.

PYQ: What are the possible limitations of India in mitigating global warming at present and in the immediate future? (2010)

  1) Appropriate alternate technologies are not sufficiently available.

2) India cannot invest huge funds in research and development.

3) Many developed countries have already set up their polluting industries in India.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?  

(a) 1 and 2 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3  

Ans: (a)

Practice Question:  Examine the impact of human-induced climate change on the frequency and intensity of heatwaves in India. Discuss the findings of recent studies on temperature anomalies and atmospheric pressure patterns, and their implications for future climate-related events. (250 words/15 m)

2. Indian Households Prioritize Beverages and Processed Foods, Varying State Preferences Highlight Regional Dietary Trends

(Source: Indian Express; Section: Economy; Page: 15)

Topic: GS3 – Indian Economy – Inclusive Growth
  • In 2022-23, households across India’s rural and urban areas allocated the largest share of their food expenditure to ‘beverages, refreshments, and processed food,’ according to the Household Consumption Expenditure Survey released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI).
  • However, some states showed a preference for other food items, such as ‘milk and milk products’ and ‘egg, fish & meat.’
Analysis of News:
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Rural Spending Preferences:

  • In rural areas, households in Haryana spent the highest percentage of their food budget on ‘milk and milk products,’ with an allocation of 41.7%. Kerala, on the other hand, led in spending on ‘egg, fish & meat,’ dedicating 23.5% of its food expenditure to this category.
  • States like Rajasthan (35.5%), Punjab (34.7%), Gujarat (25.5%), Uttar Pradesh (22.6%), and Madhya Pradesh (21.5%) also prioritized ‘milk and milk products’ over ‘beverages and processed food.’

Urban Spending Patterns:

  • Urban areas showed a similar trend, with Rajasthan leading in spending on ‘milk and milk products’ at 33.2%, followed closely by Haryana (33.1%) and Punjab (32.3%).
  • Kerala remained the top state for spending on ‘egg, fish & meat,’ with 19.8% of its total food expenditure allocated to this category.
  • Overall, ‘beverages, refreshments, and processed food’ remained the top spending category in urban areas, with Tamil Nadu recording the highest share at 33.7%.

National Consumption Highlights:

  • Nationally, rural households spent about 46% of their consumption budget on food, with ‘beverages, refreshments, and processed food’ accounting for the highest share at 9.62%. This was followed by ‘milk and milk products’ at 8.33% and vegetables at 5.38%. Cereals and cereal substitutes made up about 4.91% of the food consumption expenditure.
  • In urban areas, food spending constituted about 39% of the average monthly per capita consumption expenditure (MPCE). Similar to rural areas, ‘beverages, refreshments, and processed food’ took the largest share at 10.64%, followed by ‘milk and milk products’ at 7.22%. Both fruits and vegetables each accounted for 3.8% of the total food expenditure.

State-Specific Preferences:

  • The survey highlighted state-specific preferences that deviate from the national trend.
  • For instance, Tamil Nadu’s highest expenditure share on ‘beverages, refreshments, and processed food’ stood out in both rural (28.4%) and urban (33.7%) areas. These variances underscore the diversity in dietary habits and preferences across different regions of India.


  • The Household Consumption Expenditure Survey for 2022-23 reveals significant insights into the spending habits of Indian households.
  • While ‘beverages, refreshments, and processed food’ dominate overall food expenditure, preferences for ‘milk and milk products’ and ‘egg, fish & meat’ in certain states illustrate regional dietary variations.
  • These spending patterns are crucial for policymakers and businesses aiming to address the nutritional needs and market demands of India’s diverse population.

PYQ: As per the NSSO 70th Round “Situation Assessment Survey of Agricultural Households”, consider the following statements: (2018)

  1) Rajasthan has the highest percentage share of agricultural households among its rural households.

2) Out of the total agricultural households in the country, a little over 60 percent belong to OBCs.

3) In Kerala, a little over 60 percent of agricultural households reported to have received maximum income from sources other than agricultural activities.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  (a) 2 and 3 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3  

Ans: c

Practice Question:  Discuss the regional variations in household food expenditure in India as revealed by the Household Consumption Expenditure Survey 2022-23. What do these variations imply for policy-making in the areas of nutrition and food security? (250 words/15 m)

Prelims Facts

1. President invites Modi to form new govt.; swearing-in tomorrow

(Source – The Hindu, International Edition – Page No. – 1)

  • President Droupadi Murmu formally invited Narendra Modi to form his third consecutive government as Prime Minister, following his election as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) Parliamentary Party.
  • The new government, emphasising consensus-based decision-making, will be sworn in on Sunday, with leaders from neighbouring countries attending the ceremony.

The President of India invites a leader to form the government based on the following order:

  1. The leader of the party or coalition with the majority of seats in the Lok Sabha.
  2. If no single party or coalition has a clear majority, the President may invite the leader of the largest party or coalition to demonstrate their ability to form a stable government through alliances and support from other parties.
  3. If no party or coalition is able to demonstrate majority support, the President may explore other options, such as inviting a leader to form a minority government with outside support.
  4. If no party or coalition can form a government, the President may recommend the dissolution of the Lok Sabha and call for fresh elections.

In the current situation, President Droupadi Murmu invited Narendra Modi to form the government as he was elected as the leader of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which secured a majority of seats in the Lok Sabha.

2. RBI keeps repo rate unchanged, raises GDP forecast to 7.2%

(Source – The Hindu, International Edition – Page No. – 1)

  • The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) decided to maintain the repo rate at 6.5%, citing a focus on battling inflation.
  • The MPC revised the GDP growth forecast upwards to 7.2% for the financial year 2024-2025. The decision reflects concerns over inflation and geopolitical tensions, despite positive indicators in domestic activity and an expected above-normal monsoon.
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About The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC):

  • The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) is a statutory body constituted by the Government of India under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.
  • It is responsible for fixing the benchmark policy interest rate (repo rate) to achieve the inflation target set by the government.
  • The MPC consists of six members, with three nominated by the Government of India and three from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), including the RBI Governor, who acts as a chairman.
  • The committee meets at least four times a year to review macroeconomic conditions and determine monetary policy actions.
  • Its decisions aim to balance the objectives of price stability and economic growth.
Repo Rate:

Repo Rate:

  • It’s the rate at which the central bank (like RBI in India) lends money to commercial banks for a short term.It’s a tool used by the central bank to control inflation and stimulate economic growth.
  • An increase in the repo rate makes borrowing expensive, discouraging banks from borrowing, thus reducing money supply in the economy, curbing inflation.
  • Conversely, a decrease in the repo rate makes borrowing cheaper, encouraging banks to borrow more, increasing money supply, and stimulating economic activity.

Repo Rate Significance:

  • Inflation Control: By increasing the repo rate, the central bank can reduce the money supply, controlling inflationary pressures in the economy.
  • Credit Expansion or Contraction: Changes in the repo rate influence the cost of borrowing for commercial banks.
  • Higher repo rates lead to higher lending rates for consumers, reducing borrowing and spending, which can help control inflation.
  • Conversely, lower repo rates stimulate borrowing and spending, encouraging economic growth.
  • Monetary Policy Transmission: Repo rate changes affect interest rates across the economy, including lending rates for consumers and businesses. This transmission mechanism helps regulate economic activity.
Reverse Repo Rate:

Reverse Repo Rate:

  • It’s the rate at which the central bank borrows money from commercial banks.It’s used by the central bank as a tool to absorb excess liquidity from the banking system.
  • An increase in the reverse repo rate incentivizes banks to park more funds with the central bank, reducing money supply in the economy.
  • Conversely, a decrease in the reverse repo rate reduces the attractiveness of parking funds with the central bank, increasing liquidity in the banking system.

Reverse Repo Rate Significance: Liquidity Management:

  • The reverse repo rate helps manage excess liquidity in the banking system by providing an avenue for banks to park their surplus funds with the central bank.
  • Interest Rate Floor: It establishes a floor for short-term interest rates in the economy. Banks are unlikely to lend to each other at rates lower than the reverse repo rate.
  • Monetary Policy Implementation: Changes in the reverse repo rate impact liquidity conditions in the banking system, influencing lending and borrowing behaviour, thus aiding in the implementation of monetary policy objectives.

2. Modi Unanimously Elected NDA Parliamentary Party Leader in Historic Central Hall Meeting

  • Three days after the results of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was unanimously elected as the leader of the BJP-led NDA’s Parliamentary Party.
  • This significant decision took place in the historic Central Hall of the old Parliament building, a site known for its iconic architecture and deep-rooted significance in Indian political history.
Analysis of News:
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Historical Significance of Central Hall:

  • The Central Hall, topped by a 98-feet diameter dome, has been a witness to numerous pivotal events since its establishment in 1927.
  • Originally serving as the library for the members of the legislature, it gained monumental importance in 1946 when it was refurbished and renamed the Constituent Assembly Hall to host the Constituent Assembly deliberations on the Indian Constitution.
  • This transformation marked the beginning of its use for high-profile and historically significant events.

The Parliament House Complex

  • Located in the heart of New Delhi, the Parliament House Complex comprises several buildings, including the newly opened Parliament House, the old Parliament House now renamed Constitution House, Parliament House Annexe, and the Parliament Library Building.
  • This complex provides office spaces and meeting venues for political parties, facilitating their organizational and strategic activities within close proximity to the legislative proceedings.

Historical Events in Central Hall

  • Central Hall has a rich history of hosting formal and significant events. It has been the venue for the annual Presidential Address to Members of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, the swearing-in ceremonies of Presidents, and farewell events for outgoing Presidents.
  • Additionally, it has hosted international dignitaries, such as the address by US President Barack Obama in 2010. The Hall has also been a venue for lectures by prominent academics, such as American economist Jeffrey Sachs and Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen during the 14th Lok Sabha term.

3. Japan Protests Armed Chinese Vessel Incursion Near Disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu Islands

  • Japan lodged a formal protest against Beijing following the entry of four armed Chinese coastguard vessels into waters that Tokyo claims as its own.
  • The intrusion occurred in the East China Sea near the disputed islands known as Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.
  • This marked a significant escalation, as it was the first instance where Chinese vessels carrying what appeared to be cannons entered these waters.

Analysis of News:

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Escalation in a Long-Standing Dispute:

  • The East China Sea islands, called Senkaku by Japan and Diaoyu by China, have long been a flashpoint in Sino-Japanese relations.
  • Both nations lay claim to these strategically significant islands, which are surrounded by rich fishing grounds and potential energy resources.
  • The recent intrusion by armed Chinese vessels represents a significant escalation in the territorial dispute, reflecting broader geopolitical tensions in the region.

 4. RBI Proposes Digital Payments Intelligence Platform to Combat Fraud

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has put forward a proposal to establish a Digital Payments Intelligence Platform.
  • This platform aims to leverage advanced technologies to mitigate payment fraud risks, responding to a notable increase in such frauds.
  • To advance this initiative, the RBI has set up a committee chaired by A.P. Hota, former MD & CEO of NPCI.
  • This committee will examine various aspects of creating a digital public infrastructure for the platform and is expected to deliver its recommendations within two months.
Analysis of News:                                        

Rise in Domestic Payment Frauds:

  • The urgency of this initiative is underscored by recent RBI data showing a significant rise in domestic payment frauds.
  • During the six-month period ending in March 2024, payment frauds surged by 70.64%, reaching Rs 2,604 crore compared to Rs 1,526 crore in the same period the previous year.
  • The volume of fraud cases also rose dramatically, from 11.5 lakh to 15.51 lakh during this timeframe. This alarming increase highlights the need for robust measures to enhance payment security.

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