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22 February 2024 Daily Current Affairs

About India-Middle East-Europe Economic corridor:

Why in News: - Let’s proceed with IMEC despite Gaza war, Greek PM tells India

The project includes India, the UAE, Saudi Arabia, the European Union, France, Italy, Germany and the US.

The project will aim to enable greater trade among the involved countries, including energy products.

The IMEC comprises an Eastern Corridor connecting India to the Gulf region and a Northern Corridor connecting the Gulf region to Europe.

It will include a railway and ship-rail transit network and road transport routes.

The corridor will include a rail link as well as an electricity cable, a hydrogen pipeline and a high-speed data cable. Route of IMEC from India’s west coast, through the UAE and Saudi Arabia to Jordan and Israel (Haifa Port), before reaching Greece’s Piraeus Port and on to the rest of Europe.

In the coming times, it will be a major medium of economic integration between India, West Asia and Europe.

The rail and shipping corridor is part of the Partnership for Global Infrastructure Investment (PGII)(G-7)


It would increase prosperity among the countries involved through an increased flow of energy and digital communications.

The project would help deal with the lack of infrastructure needed for growth in lower- and middle-income nations.

2. Union Cabinet approves 100% FDI in space sector

Under the amended FDI policy, 100% FDI is allowed in space sector. The liberalized entry routes under the amended policy are aimed to attract potential investors to invest in Indian companies in space.

The entry route for the various activities under the amended policy are as follows:

Upto 74% under Automatic route: Satellites-Manufacturing & Operation, Satellite Data Products and Ground Segment & User Segment. Beyond 74% these activities are under government route.

Upto 49% under Automatic routeLaunch Vehicles and associated systems or subsystems, Creation of Spaceports for launching and receiving Spacecraft. Beyond 49% these activities are under government route.

Upto 100% under Automatic route: Manufacturing of components and systems/ sub-systems for satellites, ground segment and user segment.

This increased private sector participation would help to generate employment, enable modern technology absorption and make the sector self-reliant.

FDI Prohibited Sectors

3. ISRO key test over, CE20 cryogenic engine is now human-rated for Gaganyaan missions

What happened: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) achieved a significant milestone in ensuring the safety and reliability of the CE20 cryogenic engine, which powers the final stage of the human-rated LVM3 launch vehicle used in the Gaganyaan missions.

Human Rating of the CE20 Cryogenic Engine:

  • What is it: Human rating means making sure that a piece of space equipment, in this case, the CE20 cryogenic engine, is safe and reliable for carrying human beings into space.

  • Tests Conducted:

  • Life Demonstration Tests: Tests to show the engine's performance and reliability over time.

  • Endurance Tests: Assessing how well the engine performs under prolonged use.

  • Performance Assessment: Checking the engine's operation under normal conditions and also in situations where things might not go as planned (like changes in thrust, fuel mixture, and tank pressure).

Cryogenic fuels are fuels that exist in a cryogenic state, meaning they are in a very low-temperature condition, typically below -150 degrees Celsius (-238 degrees Fahrenheit). The low temperatures are necessary to keep the fuels in a liquid state or maintain certain properties that are essential for their use in rocket propulsion systems.

Two common cryogenic fuels used in space exploration are liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid hydrogen (LH2). Here's a brief overview of these cryogenic fuels and their temperatures:

  • Liquid Oxygen (LOX):

  • Temperature: Liquid oxygen is obtained by cooling gaseous oxygen to extremely low temperatures. It exists in a liquid state at temperatures below -183 degrees Celsius (-297 degrees Fahrenheit).

  • Role in Rocket Propulsion: LOX serves as an oxidizer, combining with a fuel (such as liquid hydrogen) during combustion to produce thrust. It supports the combustion process by providing the necessary oxygen. Liquid Hydrogen (LH2):

  • Temperature: Liquid hydrogen is even colder than liquid oxygen. It exists in a liquid state at temperatures below -253 degrees Celsius (-423 degrees Fahrenheit).

  • Role in Rocket Propulsion: Liquid hydrogen serves as a highly efficient and powerful fuel. When combined with liquid oxygen in a rocket engine's combustion chamber, it undergoes a chemical reaction that produces water vapor and releases a significant amount of energy, propelling the rocket forward.

About Financial Stability and Development Council (FSDC):

  • It is an apex-level forum constituted by the Government of India in December 2010.

  • Status: FSDC is not a statutory body. No funds are separately allocated to the council for undertaking its activities.

  • Objective: Strengthening and institutionalizing the mechanism for maintaining financial stability, enhancing inter-regulatory coordination and promoting financial sector development.

  • Composition:

  • It is chaired by the Union Finance Minister of India.

  • Its members include the heads of financial sector Regulators (RBI, SEBI, PFRDA, IRDA & FMC) Finance Secretary and/or Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Secretary, Department of Financial Services, and Chief Economic Adviser.

  • The Council can invite experts to its meeting if required.

  • Functions:

  • It monitors macroprudential supervision of the economy, including the functioning of large financial conglomerates.

  • It addresses inter-regulatory coordination and financial sector development issues.

  • It also focuses on financial literacy and financial inclusion.

  • Sub-committee of FSDC

  • A sub-committee of FSDC has also been set up under the chairmanship of Governor RBI. 

  • It discusses and decides on a range of issues relating to financial sector development and stability, including substantive issues relating to inter-regulatory coordination.

Editorial from Indian Express

Why are Indians falling ill so frequently?

There's a rise in flu cases in India, especially types A (H1N1) and A (H3N2). This is similar to flu worldwide and the WHO recommends getting vaccinated (Southern Hemisphere 2024 type).

Key points:

  • Symptoms: Fever, cough, headache, muscle aches, sore throat, runny nose. Can be severe and last 2 weeks.

  • High-risk groups: Elderly, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions, children under 5 (vaccine recommended but not routinely available).

  • Transmission: Highly contagious through coughs and sneezes.

  • Complications: Can lead to pneumonia, hospitalizations, and even death, especially in high-risk groups.

  • Testing: Get tested for both flu and COVID-19 if you have symptoms.

  • Prevention:

  • Vaccination: Most effective way to prevent flu.

  • Hygiene: Wash hands often, cough/sneeze into your elbow.

  • Stay home: If sick, avoid contact with others.

  • Impact: Epidemics can result in high levels of worker/school absenteeism and productivity losses. Clinics and hospitals can be overwhelmed during peak illness periods.

The takeaway:

  • The flu is a serious illness, especially for high-risk groups.

  • Get vaccinated if you're in a high-risk group.

  • Practice good hygiene to prevent the spread of flu.

  • Consider expanding the UIP (Universal Immunization Programme) to include flu vaccines for more people.

Editorial 02- On financial devolution among States

Financial Devolution in India: A Summary #Economy

What's the issue?

  • Opposition-ruled states in India claim they're not getting their fair share of tax revenue from the central government.

  • Key concerns:

  • Limited share: States only receive 41% of the "divisible pool" of taxes, excluding cess and surcharge (estimated at 23% of total tax revenue).

  • Unequal distribution: Some states get much less back for their tax contributions than others.

  • Lack of control: States have no say in how cess and surcharge funds are used, despite not receiving them.

What's the background?

  • The Constitution defines how taxes are shared between the center and states.

  • The Finance Commission (FC-article 280) recommends the share, considering various factors like population, income, and efficiency.

  • Apart from the share of taxes, States are also provided grants-in-aid as per the recommendation of the FC

  • The current system has always favored a strong center, but federalism requires fair resource distribution.

What are the potential solutions?

  • Expand the divisible pool: Include some portion of cess and surcharge.

  • Reward efficient states: Increase weightage for efficiency in horizontal devolution.

  • Consider GST contribution: Include relative state GST contribution as a criterion.

  • More state involvement: Create a formal arrangement for state participation in FC constitution and work.


  • States generate 40% of revenue but bear 60% of expenditure.

  • Balancing equity and federalism is crucial.

  • Reforms require central-state discussion and implementation.

Criteria for Tax Devolution

Summary of Finance Commission in India:

  • Constitution: Every 5 years, the central government creates a Finance Commission (FC) to recommend fair distribution of tax revenue between the central and state governments.

  • Members: Appointed by the President, the FC consists of a chairman and 4 members, with specific qualifications outlined in the Finance Commission Act (1951).

  • Current Commission: The 16th FC, chaired by Dr. Arvind Panagariya, will make recommendations for the 2026-31 period.

3. Quiet Diplomacy of India - India - Qatar relations

In the context of the article,"quiet diplomacy" refers to the behind-the-scenes efforts made by the Indian government to secure the release of the eight Indian nationals imprisoned in Qatar, without resorting to public pronouncements or threats.

Here's what we can gather from the article about the nature of this quiet diplomacy:

Discreet communication: The specific details of the negotiations, charges against the officers, and even the full cause of the arrest remain unclear. exclamation This suggests discreet communication channels were used, avoiding public statements that could escalate tensions or jeopardize the negotiations.

Personal involvement: The Prime Minister's unscheduled visit to Qatar signifies a high-level commitment to resolving the issue discreetly, leveraging personal relationships and diplomacy.

Economic leverage: The timing of the release coinciding with a major economic deal suggests the Indian government might have used these economic ties as leverage in private discussions with the Qatari government. $78 billion LNG deal between India and Qatar likely played a role in release.

Focus on resolution: Despite the seriousness of the charges, the emphasis seems to be on finding a solution through quiet diplomacy rather than public pressure or escalation.

Overall: Quiet diplomacy in this case involved discreet communication, personal engagement by high-level officials, leveraging economic ties, and focusing on finding a solution without public confrontation.

4. Ending discrimination

Context: - On the Union of India and Others vs Ex. Lt. Selina John case

Supreme Court Ruling:

  • The Supreme Court of India criticized outdated and patriarchal rules that penalize women employees for getting married.

  • Such rules were deemed unconstitutional, as they contribute to gender discrimination and inequality.

  • The case involved Selina John, a former officer in the Military Nursing Service, who was discharged in 1988 for getting married.

  • Court's Observations:

  • The Court emphasized that terminating employment based on marriage is a form of gender discrimination, undermining human dignity and the right to fair treatment.

  • The ruling directed the Union Government to pay ₹60 lakh in compensation to Selina John within eight weeks.

  • Military Service and Gender Parity:

  • The Court noted that the rule against marriage applied only to women nursing officers, highlighting gender disparities in the military.

  • Despite recent judgments granting permanent commission to women in the Army, challenges persist in achieving true gender parity.

  • Challenges in Civilian Workplace:

  • Similar issues exist in the civilian workforce, where women face uncomfortable questions about marriage and motherhood during job interviews.

  • To improve women's labor participation, barriers in education, employment, and opportunities, along with outdated mindsets, need to be addressed.

  • Gender Parity on a Global Scale:

  • The text references the UN's Gender Snapshot 2023, which paints a grim picture of global gender parity.

  • Without corrective measures, the next generation of women may continue to bear a disproportionate burden of housework and struggle to attain leadership roles.

  • Government Schemes and Social Norms:

  • Government initiatives for girls and women may not be effective if they clash with restrictive social and cultural norms.

  • The Court's stance on rules against the marriage of women employees should resonate with all organizations to create supportive workplaces.

In essence, the Supreme Court highlighted the need to eradicate discriminatory rules against women in the workplace, emphasizing the importance of gender equality and fair treatment. The ruling serves as a reminder to organizations to foster inclusive and supportive environments.

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