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04 May 2024 Daily Current Affairs

Map of the Day - Indonesia

1. Standalone Primary Dealers (SPDs): -

They are financial institutions specifically authorized to deal in government securities in India. They play a crucial role in ensuring a smooth and efficient flow of government borrowing.

Here's a breakdown of their key features:

  • Authorization: Standalone primary dealers are registered as Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). They require specific eligibility criteria set by the RBI.

  • Activities: Their core function is to subscribe to government bonds issued by the RBI during auctions. They can also trade these securities in the secondary market, providing liquidity.

  • Foreign Exchange: In 2018, RBI allowed SPDs to offer foreign exchange products to clients, including foreign portfolio investors. However, forex dealings are considered a non-core activity for them.

  • Borrowing: Recently, the RBI permitted SPDs to borrow foreign currency from specific authorized entities for operational purposes. This helps them manage funding for their forex business.

Overall, standalone primary dealers are significant players in the Indian government securities market, facilitating government borrowing and enhancing market liquidity.

Extra details : Nostro Account

A nostro account is a bank account held by a bank in a foreign currency at another bank. The term "nostro" comes from Latin and means "ours."

Here's how it works:

Bank A in Country X has a nostro account with Bank B in Country Y.

This nostro account allows Bank A to hold funds in the currency of Country Y (foreign currency to Bank A).

This simplifies international transactions for Bank A's clients.

Nostro accounts are frequently used for:

Facilitating foreign exchange transactions: Bank A can easily exchange its domestic currency for the foreign currency held in the nostro account.

Settling international trade: If a company in Country X imports goods from Country Y, Bank A can use the nostro account to pay Bank B in Country Y's currency.

2. Spice board of India - Formation 1987

Spices Board was constituted in 1987 under Spices Board Act 1986.

Spices Board (Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India) is the flagship organization for the development and worldwide promotion of Indian spices.

The Board is an international link between the Indian exporters and the importers abroad.

The Board has been spearheading activities for excellence of Indian spices, involving every segment of the industry.

The Board has made quality and hygiene the corner stones for its development and promotional strategies.

Multi faceted activities   

  • Promotion of exports of spices and spice products

  • Maintenance and monitoring of quality of exports

  • Development and implementation of better production methods, through scientific, technological and economic research.

  • Guidance to farmers on getting higher and better quality yields through scientific agricultural practices.

  • Provision of financial and material support to growers.

  • Encouraging organic production and export of spices.

  • Facilitating infrastructure for processing and value addition

  • Registration and licensing of all spice exporters.

  • Assistance for studies and research on better processing practices, foolproof quality management systems, improved grading methods and effective packaging techniques.

  • Production of promotional and educative materials in a variety of media for the benefit of exporters and importers.

03. India's Press Freedom Score Drops in World Press Freedom Index

India's score in the World Press Freedom Index, compiled by Reporters Without Borders (RSF), declined from 36.62 to 31.28. While the ranking improved from 161 to 159, this is due to other countries' decline.

The report highlights a global decrease in press freedom, with scores dropping in all categories except security for India.

The RSF report criticizes the Indian government's approach to media, alleging an "unofficial state of emergency" and bias towards pro-government outlets.

Journalists critical of the government reportedly face harassment from BJP supporters.

The US is another country of concern, with its press freedom score and ranking dropping due to what the report calls "mass disinformation and propaganda" by authorities.

Editorial 01: - This is the year to get the SDG goals back on track

UN Summit on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Slow Progress and Urgent Action Needed

The UN summit on SDGs assessed progress and found it lacking. The 2030 Agenda with its 17 goals is behind schedule, especially on environmental goals. The COVID-19 pandemic further stalled progress.

The UN identified five key areas for urgent action:

  • Stronger government commitment

  • Integrated policies to address poverty, inequality, and environmental issues

  • Strengthened national and subnational institutions

  • Increased international support for developing nations

  • A more effective UN development system

Limited Impact of SDGs So Far

A study found that SDGs have had mostly a symbolic effect, with limited concrete actions. They call for a more systemic approach that considers trade-offs and maximizes co-benefits (achieving multiple goals with one action).

Recommendations for Moving Forward

The UN report "Future is Now" suggests focusing on specific entry points suited to each region and applying four levers for change:


  1. Economy and finance

  2. Individual and collective action

  3. Science and technology Collaboration among these levers is crucial for designing and implementing effective pathways to sustainable development. 2024: A Year for Action

With many countries holding elections in 2024, it's vital for newly elected governments to consider sustainability and align their policies accordingly.

Editorial 02: -The Paradox of India's Global Rise, Regional Decline

This editorial explores the paradox of India's position in the world.

India's Global Rise

  • India's economic growth, military strength, and youthful population contribute to its rising global power.

  • Inclusion in international groups like G-20 and participation in the Indo-Pacific highlight its growing significance.

  • The global focus on the Indo-Pacific, where India holds a central position, further benefits its rise.

India's Regional Decline

  • Compared to its Cold War influence or China's presence today, India's power in South Asia has declined.

  • Factors like the US withdrawal and China filling the void disadvantage India regionally.

  • India's focus on the Indo-Pacific may have stretched its resources thin in South Asia.

  • The rise of China is a major reason behind India's decline in relative power.

  • Sensing the shift, South Asian countries are balancing their relations with India and China.

What India Must Do

  • Acknowledge the changing regional dynamics and India's diminished hold.

  • Play to its strengths, like its Buddhist heritage, instead of directly matching China's power.

  • Leverage its maritime location for trade and partnerships in the Indo-Pacific.

  • Include South Asian neighbors in the Indo-Pacific strategy to counter China's influence.

  • Embrace a non-India-centric view and collaborate with external partners in the region.

  • Utilize India's soft power through informal contacts and conflict management initiatives.

The Challenge

The editorial concludes by questioning whether India can be a global power if it cannot maintain its influence in its own neighbourhood.

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