CURRENT AFFAIRS – 09/05/2024

CURRENT AFFAIRS - 09/05/2024

CURRENT AFFAIRS – 09/05/2024

CURRENT AFFAIRS – 09/05/2024

India is now third largest producer of solar power

(General Studies- Paper III)

Source : The Hindu

  • In 2023, India overtook Japan to become the world’s third-highest producer of solar power, according to a report by the International Energy Analytics Agency Ember.
  • The leading producer of solar power in the world is China which produced 584 BU of solar power in 2024 – more than the next four countries combined (the United States, Japan, Germany and India).
  • India generated 113 billion units (BU) of solar power in 2023 compared to Japan’s 110 BU.
    • The installed solar energy capacity has increased by 30 times in the last 9 years and stands at 81.81 GW as of Mar 2024.
    • India’s solar energy potential is estimated to be 748 GWp as estimated by National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE).
  • Power demand in Japan decreased by 2% (2 BU) in 2023 after rising in 2021 and 2022, thus allowing India to overtake Japan.

Giving primacy to human development

(General Studies- Paper II)

Source : The Hindu


  • According to a study, “The top 1% earn on average 5.3 million, 23 times the average Indian (INR 0.23 million).

A poor ranking on HDI

  • Regional Trends: India’s HDI ranking has improved marginally over the years, but it still lags behind several countries, including Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and China. In 2022, India ranked 134 out of 193 countries.
  • Low HDI Value: Despite the incremental improvement in ranking, India’s HDI value remains relatively low. The HDI value increased from 0.633 in 2021 to 0.644 in 2022.
  • Gender Inequality Index (GII): While India showed improvement in its GII ranking in 2022, moving from 122 out of 191 countries in 2021 to 108 out of 193 countries in 2022, significant gender disparities persist. Notably, India faces one of the largest gender gaps in labor force participation rates, with a substantial difference between men (76.1%) and women (28.3%).
  • Medium Human Development categories: India’s HDI ranking places it within the medium human development category alongside countries like Myanmar, Ghana, Kenya, Congo, and Angola.


  • Increasing Disparity Between Countries: The report underscores a concerning trend of growing inequality between countries, particularly between those at the upper and lower ends of the Human Development Index (HDI).
  • Economic Concentration: The concentration of economic power in a few countries is exacerbating global inequality. Nearly 40% of the global trade in goods is controlled by just three or fewer countries
  • Tech Company Dominance: The dominance of large technology companies further exacerbates inequality, with the market capitalization of the top three companies surpassing the GDP of the majority of countries.

Widening inequality

  • Income Disparities in India: The study from the World Inequality Lab reveals stark income disparities in India, with the bottom 50% of the population receiving only 15% of the national income.
    • Conversely, the top 1% earns on average 23 times more than the average Indian, and the top 10,000 individuals earn 2,069 times the average Indian.
  • Reduction of Middle-Class size: During the period from 2014 to 2022, the incomes of the middle 40% of the income distribution have grown slower than the bottom 50%. This trend suggests a potential reduction in the size of the ‘middle class.
  • High Household Debt and Low Savings: Household debt levels in India have reached a record high of 40% of GDP, while net financial savings have plunged to 5.2% of GDP.

Way forward

  • Promote Inclusive Growth Policies: Implement policies that prioritize inclusive growth, focusing on reducing income disparities, and enhancing access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities for all segments of society.
  • Enhance Social Safety Nets: Strengthen social safety nets to provide support to vulnerable populations, including targeted welfare programs, universal healthcare coverage, and unemployment benefits.

The delay in Nagaland civic body polls

(General Studies- Paper II)

Source : The Hindu

Why are civic polls in focus?

  • Until the recent notification, Nagaland has been the only State where 33% of the seats or wards in the ULBs have not been reserved for women as mandated by clause IV of the 74th Amendment to the Constitution of India because of opposition from the Naga hohos (traditional apex tribal bodies) who argued that such a quota would violate the special provisions granted by Article 371A of the Constitution to Nagaland.
  • The first and only civic body election in Nagaland was held in 2004 without any reservation of seats for women. The State government amended the 2001 Municipal Act in 2006 to include 33% reservation for women in line with the 74th Amendment.
  • This triggered widespread opposition forcing the government to indefinitely postpone the ULB polls in 2009. Efforts to hold the elections in March 2012 met with strong protests and in September 2012, the State Assembly passed a resolution to exempt Nagaland from Article 243T of the Constitution which is related to the reservation for women.
  • This resolution was revoked in November 2016 and elections to the civic bodies with 33% reservation were notified a month later. The notification led to widespread mayhem in which two people were killed in large-scale violence and arson.
  • This made the government declare the process to conduct election null and void in February 2017. In a special session in November 2023, the Assembly unanimously passed an amended Municipal Bill that retained the 33% quota to pave the way for the ULB polls.

How were the hurdles handled?

  • Two issues had been stalling the civic polls for 20 years in Nagaland, which had its first women MLAs 60 years after attaining statehood in 1963.
  • One was the women’s reservation for the post of chairperson in the municipal bodies and the other was the taxation on immovable properties.
  • The Nagaland Municipal Act of 2023 did away with the reservation for the chairperson’s post and taxation on immovable property while retaining eight types of taxes, fees, and tolls.
  • Former Chief Minister T.R. Zeliang, whose government was a casualty of the civic poll-related unrest in 2017, said during the special Assembly session in 2023 that the 33% reservation was broadly accepted after a series of consultations with the stakeholders and appealed to the women “not to let the issue of reservation for the post of chairperson be a bottleneck in the successful conduct of the ULB polls”.
  • The tribal bodies were initially opposed to reservation as Naga women have traditionally not been part of the decision-making bodies while pointing out Article 371A insulates the religious and social practices of the Nagas from any Act of Parliament apart from the customary law and procedure and ownership and transfer of land and its resources.

‘Veg. meal costs climbed 8% in April’

(General Studies- Paper III)

Source : The Hindu


  • Price gains in onions, tomatoes and potatoes speeded up last month, to 41%, 40% and 38%, respectively, while rice and pulses inflation also stayed firm at 14% and 20% when compared with the YoY trends in March, when they were up 14% and 22%, respectively.
  • Lower crop arrivals for rice and pulses played a role, as was the case with onions, Crisil Market Intelligence & Analytics pointed out in its ‘Roti Rice Rate’ report for April.
  • The report serves as an indicator of food inflation trends ahead of April’s official retail inflation data, which is expected on May 14. Over February and March, while food plate costs rose 7%, India’s retail food inflation remained high at 8.7% and 8.5%, respectively.
  • However, declines in the prices of cumin, chilli and vegetable oil, which contracted YoY by 40%, 31% and 10%,respectively, had helped temper the pace of price gains in vegetarian thali costs.

We don’t expect any nasty upside surprises on inflation, says CEA

(General Studies- Paper III)

Source : The Hindu


  • Inflation, as defined by the International Monetary Fund, is the rate of increase in prices over a given period, encompassing a broad measure of overall price increases or for specific goods and services.
  • It reflects the rising cost of living and indicates how much more expensive a set of goods and/or services has become over a specified period, usually a year.
  • In India, inflation’s impact is particularly significant due to economic disparities and a large population.

Different Causes of Inflation

  • Demand-Pull Inflation:
    • Demand Pull inflation occurs when the demand for goods and services exceeds their supply. When the overall demand in the economy is high, consumers are willing to pay more for the available goods and services, leading to a general rise in prices.
    • A booming economy with high consumer spending can create excess demand, putting upward pressure on prices.
  • Cost-Push Inflation:
    • Cost-push inflation is driven by an increase in the production costs for goods and services. This can be caused by factors such as increased incomes, increased costs of raw materials, or disruptions in the supply chain.
    • For instance, (as per CPI data) inflation in ‘oils and fats’ in March, 2022 soared to 18.79% as the geopolitical crisis due to the Russia-Ukraine war pushed edible oil prices higher.

India’s sugarcane subsidy broke WTO norms

(General Studies- Paper III)

Source : The Hindu

What is WTO?

  • The World Trade Organization is the only international organization that deals with the rules of trade between countries.
  • Establishment- It was created in 1995 superseding the 1947 General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
  • Members- The WTO is run by its 164 members representing 98% of world trade.
  • Decision making- Unlike other organisations, such as the IMF or World Bank, WTO does not delegate power to a board of directors or an organizational chief.
  • All decisions are taken through consensus and any member can exercise a veto.

Sugar Production in India

  • India is the second-largest producer of sugar in the world after Brazil and is also the largest consumer.
  • The Indian sugar industry’s annual output is worth approximately Rs.80,000 crores.
  • The sugar industry is an important agro-based industry that impacts the rural livelihood of about 50 million sugarcane farmers and around 5 lakh workers directly employed in sugar mills.
  • Employment is also generated in various ancillary activities relating to transport, trade servicing of machinery and supply of agriculture inputs.

Pricing policy

  • The concept of Statutory Minimum Price (SMP) of sugarcane was replaced with the ‘Fair and Remunerative Price (FRP)’ of sugarcane for 2009-10 and subsequent sugar seasons with the amendment of the Sugarcane (Control) Order, 1966 in 2009.
  • Under the FRP system, the farmers are not required to wait till the end of the season or for any announcement of the profits by sugar mills or the Government.
  • The new system assures margins on account of profit and risk to farmers, irrespective of the fact whether sugar mills generate profit or not and is not dependent on the performance of any individual sugar mill.
  • The FRP has been determined on the basis of recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices and after consultation with State Governments and other stakeholders.

Sugar Subsidy

  • Sugar was distributed through the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) by the States/UTs at subsidized prices for which the Central Government was reimbursing @ 18.50 per kg of sugar distributed by the participating State Governments /UT Administrations.
  • The scheme was covering all BPL population of the country as per 2001 census and all the population of the North Eastern States / special category/ hilly states and Island territories.
  • The National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) is now being universally implemented by all 36 States/UTs. Under the NFSA, there is no identified category of BPL; however, the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) beneficiaries are clearly identified.

What is the dispute about?

  • In 2019, Brazil had submitted a complaint against India in WTO alleging that India’s according of sugar subsidies was inconsistent with its trade rules.
  • Support measures – The complainant argued against the –
    • Minimum prices of sugarcane and sugar
    • Fair and remunerative prices (FRP)
    • Specific states enforcing higher minimum prices
    • Minimum Indicative Export Quota (MIEQ)
  • Reason – Brazil, Australia and Guatemala criticized that India’s support measures to sugarcane producers exceed the de Minimis level of 10% of the total value of sugarcane production.
  • The countries argued that the sugar subsidies incentivised Indian sugarcane farmers which led to increased domestic production of sugarcane and sugar.
  • It contended that with production exceeding domestic demand resulting in increased sugar stocks the government intervention facilitated lowered prices for the commodity in the global market.

What is India’s defence?

  • India’s Stand – Following the report, the Indian government stated the dispute panel’s findings are unreasonable and not supported by the WTO rules.
  • The report also evaded key issues which it was obliged to determine.
  • India held that the schemes are meant to support sugarcane producers and exports and are well within its obligations under the WTO agreements.

Maldives Foreign Minister visits India to ‘deepen’ longstanding ties

(General Studies- Paper II)

Source : The Hindu

Note: Eight Degree Channel separates Indian Minicoy (part of Lakshadweep Islands) from that of Maldives.

The Era of the Politics of Performance

(General Studies- Paper II)

Context :

  • The brief delves into the competency of elected representatives in India, highlighting the importance of various skills and qualities beyond educational qualifications for effective governance.

India’s vibrant democracy

  • India’s vibrant democracy thrives on the idea that elected representatives embody the people’s mandate.
  • So, 795 MPs, approximately 4,123 Members of the Legislative Assemblies and and 31.8 lakh elected representatives in the local government, together formulate policies and ensure their implementation at the levels of the central and State government, raise the issues of the people in Parliament, Assembly, and Councils, and work on issues of importance as part of committees.
  • At least 75% of Lok Sabha members and nearly 64% of MLAs are graduates. While educational qualifications provide critical skills, effective governance requires a spectrum of qualities in the form of behavioural, functional, and domain-based competencies.

The competencies that are needed

  • Behavioural skills are at the heart of political competency, enabling politicians to engage effectively with various stakeholders.
  • Representatives must excel in communication, verbal and writing, and public engagement.
  • Effective leadership and negotiation skills are vital in uniting diverse teams behind a shared vision and managing different stakeholders.
  • Second, functional competencies. Beyond being people-oriented, representatives must deeply understand the rules and processes underpinning legislation and policy implementation.
  • Representatives must also be competent in translating citizen grievances and communicating those policy gaps to decision-makers. This will ensure that the voices of citizens are plugged into policy-making processes.
  • Domain-based competencies are crucial for elected officials, and tailored to meet the specific needs of their constituencies and manage their unique portfolios effectively.
  • Insights into infrastructure and urban planning are also fundamental, where understanding effective urban lanning, transportation systems, public works, and sustainable infrastructure development are critical.
  • Apart from these domains, awareness of the latest technological advancements and their implications on public services and economic growth are essential, ensuring that policy decisions are forward-thinking and inclusive of technological progress.
  • Further, the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, the National Health Policy, the Mental Healthcare Act, and Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Rules are recent examples of individuals shaping policies through domain expertise and commitment.
  • As we advocate a competency-based approach, we must be careful about the competency trap, where an excessive focus on specific skills might suppress the innovation and creativity needed to solve complex problems. Instead, we should foster an environment that promotes critical thinking and problem-solving skills alongside technical expertise.
  • Promoting collaboration between representatives with diverse backgrounds and expertise will ensure a multi-disciplinary approach to tackling complex challenges.

Institutionalising the vision

  • To effectively institutionalise this vision, it is crucial to align these competencies with their specific roles, incorporating the Karmayogi Competency Model from Mission Karmayogi.
  • This process involves identifying existing skill gaps and evolving training needs through consultation with elected officials, citizens, and domain experts.
  • To facilitate this continuous learning, we can leverage existing resources from central and State training institutions such as Parliamentary Research and Training Institute for Democracies, National and State Institutes of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, as well as the Integrated Government Online Training platform and civil society organisations such as PRS Legislative Research, Participatory Research in Asia, Rambhau Mhalgi Prabodhini.


  • Ultimately, the success of competency-based politics also relies on a shift in public perception. Citizens need to demand more from their elected representatives, holding them accountable not just for their promises but also for their ability to deliver on those promises. As we move towards a Viksit Bharat, let us make competency a central pillar of political discourse, where effective leadership is not an exception but an expectation.

North America : Gulfs of North America


A gulf is a portion of the ocean that penetrates land which is very large in size, shape, and depth. They are generally larger and more deeply indented than bays and often make excellent harbors. Many important trading centers are located on gulfs.

  1. Gulf of Mexico
  2. Gulf of Alaska
  3. Gulf of California
  4. Gulf of St. Lawrence

 1. Gulf of Mexico

It is an important economic site for three countries and surrounded by the United States, Mexico, and the island nation of Cuba. As one of the biggest gulf, it has a coastline of 5000 kilometers.

2. Gulf of Alaska

It is situated in the northwestern part of North America where two types of water run into each other, a light, almost electric blue merging with a darker slate-blue.

3. Gulf of California

It separates the Baja California Peninsula from the Mexican mainland. It has a coastline of 4000 km( 2600 miles). It is considered to be one of the most diversified seas on the planet and is home to more than 5,000 species of microinvertebrates.

4. Gulf of St. Lawrence

It is a water outlet of the North American Great Lakes via Saint Lawrence river. It’s a semi-enclosed sea that covers 236,000 square kilometers (91,000 sq mi) and containing about 35,000 cubic kilometers (8,400 cu mi) of water, which results in an average depth of 148 meters (486 ft).