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24 February 2024 Daily Current Affairs


1. India to Oppose E-commerce Duty Ban Extension at WTO

Key points:

  • India opposes extending a global ban on e-commerce duties, fearing lost tax revenue.

  • They argue physical goods like books and videos, now offered digitally, should be taxed.

  • India, South Africa, and Indonesia seek permission for developing nations to tax cross-border digital transmissions.

  • US, UK, and EU support extending the ban, fearing harm to global e-commerce growth.

  • India says lack of consensus exists on the moratorium's scope and will oppose its extension.

  • Developing countries lost $10 billion in 2017 due to the ban, with India losing $500 million.

  • India sees potential revenue loss rising with increasing digital imports like movies and games.

  • India proposes strengthening consumer rights, digital infrastructure, and e-commerce competition.

Additional details:

  • The WTO Ministerial Conference will be held in Abu Dhabi starting February 26th, 2024.

  • India's position aligns with other developing nations seeking to tax digital transmissions.

  • The US and EU oppose this, fearing it could hinder e-commerce growth and disadvantage their tech companies.


2. Aditya-L1 Sensors Detect Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) - Key Points:


  • Mission Milestone: Aditya-L1's Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya (PAPA) sensors successfully identified Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs), marking a significant achievement.

  • Sensor Details: PAPA includes the Solar Wind Electron Energy Probe (SWEEP) and the Solar Wind Ion Composition Analyser (SWICAR) sensors for measuring solar wind electrons and ions.

  • Observations: Sensors detected distinct CME events on December 15, 2023, and February 10-11, 2024.

  • Impact: PAPA findings contribute to understanding space weather (conditions in the space environment affected by the Sun) and solar phenomena.

  • Significance: The Aditya-L1 mission, launched September 2, 2023, provides continuous solar observations from the Lagrangian Point 1 (L1), a point in space where the gravitational pull from the Sun and Earth balance each other.

Additional points:

  • PAPA's performance proves its design effectiveness and operational efficiency.

  • Aditya-L1 carries seven payloads for comprehensive solar study.

  • L1 position allows uninterrupted Sun observation.

Definitions:

  • Coronal Mass Ejection (CME): A massive eruption of plasma and magnetic field from the Sun's corona, which can disrupt satellites, power grids, and communication systems on Earth.

  • Plasma: A state of matter made up of charged particles (ions and electrons) that are not bound to atoms or molecules.

  • Magnetic field: An invisible region around a magnet or electric current where magnetic forces are exerted.


3. Public Sector Banks Get One-Click Borrower Check for Faster Loans

Key points:

  • Public sector banks (PSBs) can now instantly verify borrower history and non-performing assets (NPAs) through a new online portal.

  • This "Automated Search Portal" streamlines intelligence checks mandated for large loans (>₹50 crore) and NPA cases.

  • Developed by the Central Economic Intelligence Bureau (CEIB) with State Bank of India, it aims to expedite loan decisions.

  • The portal helps PSBs comply with regulations requiring intelligence clearance for large loans and NPA situations.

  • Faster loan approvals are expected to benefit businesses and boost the economy.

Additional details:

  • The portal was launched this week by CEIB in collaboration with SBI.

  • It is part of a framework for timely detection and reporting of large bank frauds.

  • The IBA expects the portal to facilitate quicker loan disbursements.



Surrogacy Rules Amended: Couples with Medical Conditions Can Now Use Donor Gametes

Key Points:

  • The Indian government has modified surrogacy rules to allow couples with medical conditions to use donor gametes for surrogacy.

  • This is a reversal of a previous ban on donor gametes in surrogacy, implemented in March 2023.

  • The new rule allows at least one gamete to come from the intending couple, while the other can be donated.

  • Single women (widows or divorcees) undergoing surrogacy must still use their own eggs with donor sperm.

  • This change comes after pressure from the Supreme Court and petitions from individuals facing fertility issues.

Additional details:

  • The change applies to couples where either the husband or wife has a medical condition necessitating surrogacy.

  • The District Medical Board will certify the need for donor gametes on a case-by-case basis.

  • This amendment aligns with the Supreme Court's earlier ruling allowing a woman with a congenital disorder to use donor eggs for surrogacy.

  • Many individuals and fertility clinics welcomed the change as protecting patient rights and promoting ethical surrogacy practices.


Editorial Analysis


NB8 Visit to India: Cooperation and Trust in a Time of Challenges

Key Points:

  • Nordic-Baltic (NB8) delegation visits India to emphasize cooperation and dialogue in a turbulent world.

  • Focus on trust, defending peace, upholding rules-based order, and strengthening free trade economy.

  • NB8 highlights shared values with India: democracy, human rights, multilateralism.

  • Cooperation spans innovation, green transition, maritime, health, technology, and culture.

  • Security of Nordic-Baltic and Indo-Pacific regions seen as interconnected.

  • Condemnation of Russia's war in Ukraine and support for Ukraine's peace formula.

  • NB8 views India as a key partner for global challenges and seeks deeper collaboration.

Additional Details:

  • NB8 delegation represents Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, and Sweden.

  • They believe fostering partnerships is crucial to address global issues like health, climate change, and geopolitical threats.

  • They recognize India's growing role in international affairs and value its leadership in the G20 presidency.

  • The war in Ukraine is seen as a major setback for global progress, and the NB8 supports Ukraine's efforts to achieve peace.

  • Their visit to India marks the first joint high-level NB8 delegation outside Europe.

  • They are committed to strengthening ties with India through the Raisina Dialogue and other forms of collaboration.

Overall, the NB8 visit underscores the importance of international cooperation and trust in navigating current global challenges. They see India as a key partner in areas like development, sustainability, and peacebuilding.


NB8 Coutries


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24 February 2024 Daily Current Affairs


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