25 Jun 2024: UPSC Exam Comprehensive News Analysis

25 June 2024 CNA
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A. GS 1 Related
B. GS 2 Related
1. Mamata says Bengal must be involved in any talks on sharing of Teesta water
C. GS 3 Related
1. Kuki-Zo groups take out rallies in Manipur seeking Union Territory
1. The NITI Aayog’s project in Great Nicobar
D. GS 4 Related
E. Editorials
1. The Court spells the way in Himalaya’s development
International Relations
1. From China tilt to a balancing with Beijing and Delhi
F. Prelims Facts
1. India, Philippines rediscovering each other, BrahMos a game changer: envoy
2. Maternity leave for parents of child born through surrogacy
3. India, Pak. delegations reach J&K to inspect power projects under Indus Water Treaty
4. Kerala House passes resolution to rename the State ‘Keralam’
5. Apple becomes the first target of EU’s new digital competition rules aimed at big tech
6. Critical minerals: first six blocks awarded
7. Srinagar’s ‘World Craft City’ tag will promote global links
G. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions
H. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
FIP Magazine

Syllabus: Government policies and interventions for the development of various sectors

Prelims: Teesta

Mains: Issues on Teesta water

Context​: West Bengal Chief Minister recently communicated with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, stressing that any discussions regarding the Teesta river water treaty with Bangladesh must include the State government. 


  • Teesta River Treaty: The sharing of Teesta waters between India and Bangladesh has been a contentious issue. An agreement was to be signed in 2011 under the UPA II government, but it was halted due to objections from Mamata Banerjee.
  • Farakka Treaty (1996): An existing treaty concerning the sharing of Ganga waters, which Banerjee claims has adversely affected West Bengal’s water availability and river morphology.

Key Points in Communication

  • Involvement of State Government: CM insists that no discussions on the Teesta river treaty should proceed without the State government’s involvement.
  • Impact on North Bengal: Sharing Teesta waters with Bangladesh could lead to inadequate irrigation water, severely affecting the livelihoods of lakhs of people.
  • Past Cooperation: CM highlights past cooperation with Bangladesh, including the exchange of enclaves and joint infrastructural projects.
  • Criticism of Unilateral Decisions: She strongly criticizes any unilateral decisions by the central government without consulting the State, threatening protests if the State’s interests are ignored.


Water Availability

  • Irrigation Concerns: The primary concern is the potential reduction in water availability for irrigation in North Bengal, which could impact agriculture and local livelihoods.
  • Historical Grievances: Reference to the Farakka Treaty, which Banerjee claims has historically disadvantaged West Bengal, leading to displacement and loss of livelihood for lakhs of people.

Centre-State Relations

  • State’s Rights: The issue underscores the ongoing tensions between state and central governments regarding jurisdiction and decision-making authority.
  • Political Ramifications: The potential for large-scale protests and political fallout if the State’s interests are not adequately represented.


Geopolitical Relations

  • India-Bangladesh Relations: The sharing of Teesta waters is a critical component of bilateral relations, impacting diplomacy and regional cooperation.
  • Cultural and Economic Ties: West Bengal shares deep cultural and economic ties with Bangladesh, making cooperative water management crucial.

Socio-Economic Impact

  • Agricultural Economy: The decision has direct implications for the agricultural economy of North Bengal, which is heavily dependent on Teesta waters.
  • Livelihoods: Ensuring adequate water supply is vital for the sustenance and economic stability of the region’s population.


Inclusive Decision-Making

  • State Involvement: Ensure that the State government is actively involved in all discussions and decisions regarding the Teesta water sharing agreement.
  • Consultative Process: Establish a consultative process that includes stakeholders from both the central and state governments, as well as local communities.

Sustainable Water Management

  • Technical Assessments: Conduct comprehensive technical assessments to understand the water requirements and availability for both regions.
  • Joint Management: Explore joint water management practices that can benefit both West Bengal and Bangladesh without severely impacting either party.

Compensation and Support

  • Financial Support: Ensure financial support and compensation for affected regions, including funds for maintenance and dredging as previously promised by the Centre.
  • Livelihood Restoration: Implement programs to restore and support livelihoods that might be impacted by changes in water sharing.

Nut Graf: Chief Minister’s insistence on involving the West Bengal government in discussions on Teesta water sharing highlights the critical need for inclusive and consultative decision-making in matters of inter-state and international water management. 



1. Kuki-Zo groups take out rallies in Manipur seeking Union Territory

Syllabus: Role of state and non-state actors in creating challenges to internal security


Mains: Challenges to the Internal security of Manipur 


Context​: The Kuki-Zo tribal bodies in Manipur organized rallies across the hill districts, demanding the formation of a Union Territory (UT) with a legislature under Article 239A of the Constitution. This move aims to address the ongoing ethnic conflict in the state between the Kuki-Zo people and the Meitei community.



  • Ethnic Conflict: The conflict between the valley-based Meitei community and the hills-based Scheduled Tribe Kuki-Zo people has been ongoing since May 3, 2023. Over 220 people have been killed, and tens of thousands have been internally displaced.
  • Previous Attempts: Kuki-Zo MLAs had previously sought a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss the crisis, but no meeting has been granted.

Rallies and Demands

  • Locations: Rallies were held in Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Chandel, Pherzawl-Jiribam, and Tengnoupal.
  • Key Demands: The primary demand is the creation of a Union Territory for the Kuki-Zo community to ensure their safety and political representation.
  • Memoranda: Memoranda were submitted to Union Home Minister Amit Shah through district administrations.


  • Imphal Valley: Women vendors, known as ‘Imas’ or ‘mothers’, held demonstrations in Imphal, opposing the demand for a separate administration and accusing the Union government of siding with Kuki militants.


Ethnic Tensions

  • Conflict Impact: The conflict has led to significant loss of life, displacement, and heightened ethnic tensions between the Kuki-Zo and Meitei communities.
  • Security Concerns: The ongoing violence and lack of resolution have exacerbated insecurity among the affected populations.

Political Representation

  • Lack of Consultation: Kuki-Zo leaders express frustration over the lack of dialogue with the central government.
  • Demand for Autonomy: The call for a Union Territory reflects a desire for greater political autonomy and protection of the Kuki-Zo community’s interests.


Geopolitical Implications

  • Regional Stability: The creation of a Union Territory could impact regional stability and inter-community relations within Manipur.
  • National Security: Ensuring a peaceful resolution is crucial for maintaining national security and preventing further escalation.

Socio-Economic Impact

  • Displacement: Addressing the demands could help in resettling and rehabilitating displaced individuals.
  • Economic Stability: Political stability can pave the way for economic development and growth in the conflict-affected regions.


Inclusive Dialogue

  • Central Government Mediation: The central government should mediate between the conflicting parties to reach a mutually acceptable solution.
  • Community Engagement: Involve both Kuki-Zo and Meitei leaders in discussions to address grievances and foster understanding.

Legislative Measures

  • Constitutional Provisions: Explore constitutional provisions and frameworks to grant political autonomy without compromising the state’s territorial integrity.
  • Legal Framework: Develop a legal framework to ensure the protection of rights and interests of all communities involved.

Humanitarian Aid and Development

  • Rehabilitation Programs: Implement comprehensive rehabilitation programs for displaced individuals.
  • Development Initiatives: Launch development projects to improve infrastructure, education, and healthcare in affected regions.

Nut Graf: The demand for a Union Territory by the Kuki-Zo tribal bodies underscores the urgent need for a resolution to the ethnic conflict in Manipur. The central government must engage in inclusive dialogue, considering the socio-political and economic implications of such a move. A balanced approach, addressing the concerns of both Kuki-Zo and Meitei communities, is essential for lasting peace and stability in the region.


1. The NITI Aayog’s project in Great Nicobar

Syllabus: Conservation, Environmental pollution and degradation


Prelims: Great Nicobar 

Mains: Issues in  NITI Aayog’s project in Great Nicobar


Context​: The NITI Aayog’s mega project on Great Nicobar Island has sparked significant controversy and opposition due to its potential ecological, social, and legal impacts. The project involves substantial development activities, including the construction of an international transshipment terminal, an international airport, a power plant, and a township. Various political parties, tribal councils, environmentalists, and tribal rights groups have raised concerns over the potential violations and adverse effects of the project.


Project Overview

  • Location and Demographics
  • Great Nicobar Island: The southernmost part of India, part of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago.
  • Ecology: Lush rainforests, mangroves, and numerous endangered species.
  • Communities: Home to Shompen and Nicobarese tribes, along with settlers from mainland India.

NITI Aayog’s Project

  • Objective: Holistic development of the island, enhancing maritime and aviation infrastructure.
  • Implementing Agency: Andaman and Nicobar Islands Integrated Development Corporation (ANIIDCO).
  • Components: International transshipment terminal, international airport, power plant, township.


Ecological Concerns

  • Deforestation: Diversion of approximately 130 sq km of forest land, felling around 10 lakh trees.
  • Wildlife Sanctuaries: Denotification of Galathea Bay and Megapode wildlife sanctuaries, crucial habitats for endangered species like the giant leatherback turtle and Nicobar megapode.
  • Biodiversity: Potential undiscovered species and limited surveys in the region.

Social and Legal Concerns

  • Tribal Rights: Alleged violations of legal and constitutional protections for tribal communities, particularly the Shompen and Nicobarese.
  • Ancestral Land: Displacement and restricted return to ancestral lands post-tsunami resettlement.
  • Health Risks: Risk of disease to the Shompen due to increased contact with outsiders.
  • Consent Issues: Withdrawal of the no-objection certificate by the Tribal Council citing inadequate information and rushed consent process.

Seismic Risks

  • Seismic Activity: Great Nicobar is in a seismically active zone, part of the “ring of fire”.
  • Earthquake Risk: Frequent earthquakes, with the region experiencing close to 500 quakes in the last decade.
  • Category V Zone: Highest seismic hazard zone in India, raising concerns about the structural safety of the proposed developments.


Economic Development

  • Maritime Trade: Enhanced participation in global maritime trade via the transshipment terminal near the Malacca Strait.
  • Tourism and Connectivity: Potential to boost tourism and connectivity through the international airport.
  • Economic Growth: Overall economic development of the region, providing infrastructure and employment opportunities.

Environmental and Social Balance

  • Ecological Impact: Need to balance economic development with the preservation of biodiversity and ecological wealth.
  • Tribal Welfare: Ensuring that the rights and welfare of indigenous communities are protected and respected.



Environmental Protection

  • Comprehensive EIA: Conduct thorough Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) to understand and mitigate ecological damage.
  • Conservation Efforts: Implement stringent conservation measures to protect endangered species and habitats.

Tribal Rights and Involvement

  • Inclusive Decision-Making: Ensure the involvement of tribal communities in decision-making processes.
  • Legal Safeguards: Strengthen legal safeguards to protect tribal rights and prevent forced displacement.
  • Health Measures: Implement health measures to prevent disease transmission to the Shompen community.

Seismic Safety

  • Structural Integrity: Design and construct buildings and infrastructure to withstand seismic activity.
  • Disaster Preparedness: Enhance disaster preparedness and response mechanisms to handle potential earthquakes.


Nut Graf: The NITI Aayog’s mega project on Great Nicobar Island presents a complex interplay of economic, ecological, and social dimensions. While it promises significant economic development and strategic advantages, the potential ecological damage and social disruptions necessitate a careful, balanced approach. Ensuring robust environmental protections, safeguarding tribal rights, and preparing for seismic risks are essential to achieving sustainable and inclusive development on the island.


1. The Court spells the way in Himalaya’s development

Syllabus: Environmental Impact Assessment

Mains:  Sustainable Development  in the Himalayan region

Introduction: Sustainable Development as a Fundamental Right

  • The Supreme Court of India’s recent judgments advocate for a sustainable development model in the Indian Himalayan Region (IHR), recognising it as a fundamental right.
  • The Court emphasises an ecocentric view, where nature is central, underscoring the necessity of acting as trustees of Earth and respecting the rights of natural elements like rivers, mountains, and forests.

Consequences of Current Development Practices:

  • The existing development model in the IHR, characterised by rampant construction and hydroelectric projects, directly contradicts the sustainable approach endorsed by the Court.
  • Natural disasters in the region, like floods and landslides, have been linked to these aggressive development practices, highlighting the need for a revised approach that respects ecological limits.

Legal and Policy Directions for Sustainable Development:

  • The Supreme Court has directed discussions on the carrying capacity of Himalayan states, signalling a shift towards more regulated development.
  • The Court’s decisions intertwine the right to a stable environment free from climate change impacts with fundamental rights under the Constitution, emphasizing the importance of sustainable infrastructure and disaster resilience.

Need for Integrated Planning and Policy Convergence:

  • Future development must incorporate disaster management to ensure resilience and sustainability.
  • The Supreme Court calls for a convergence of science, policy, and community involvement in development planning to ensure that projects are both ecologically and socially sustainable.

Nut Graf: Recent judgments by the Supreme Court of India signal a shift towards sustainable development in the Indian Himalayan Region, recognising it as a fundamental right and urging a model that balances economic growth with ecological integrity.
Category:International Relations

1. TFrom China tilt to a balancing with Beijing and Delhi

Syllabus: India and its Neighborhood- Relations

Mains:  India-Maldives relation

Introduction: Mohamed Muizzu’s Shifting Foreign Policy

  • Since assuming office as President of the Maldives in November 2023, Mohamed Muizzu has adopted a fluctuating stance towards India, transitioning from anti-Indian rhetoric to seeking a balanced foreign policy approach.
  • Initially leaning towards reducing dependence on India, Muizzu’s government has increasingly engaged with China and diversified its international relationships to include countries like Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

Economic Challenges and External Dependencies:

  • Despite efforts to diversify, the Maldives faces severe economic challenges including high debt levels, declining foreign reserves, and inflationary pressures on essential imports.
  • This economic strain has prompted Muizzu to re-evaluate his reliance on external powers like China and seek more favourable terms for economic cooperation, including debt relief and grants.

India’s Role and Strategic Engagement:

  • Despite strained relations, India has maintained significant diplomatic engagement with the Maldives, accommodating requests and increasing development assistance.
  • India’s invitation to Muizzu for Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony signals a willingness to sustain bilateral ties and support the Maldives amidst its economic difficulties.

Strategic Balancing Act:

  • Muizzu’s foreign policy strategy now emphasizes balancing relations between India and China, leveraging their regional competition to maximize benefits for the Maldives.
  • This approach reflects a pragmatic recognition that neither country can be entirely alienated, with Muizzu aiming to secure the Maldives’ interests amid geopolitical dynamics in the Indian Ocean region.


Nut Graf: Mohamed Muizzu, President of the Maldives, navigates a complex foreign policy balancing act between India and China amidst economic challenges. His strategy aims to leverage regional dynamics while maintaining crucial ties with both major powers.

F. Prelims Facts

1. India, Philippines rediscovering each other, BrahMos a game changer: envoy

Context: The bilateral relationship between India and the Philippines is experiencing a renaissance, marked by significant defence cooperation. The induction of BrahMos cruise missiles by the Philippines is seen as a “game changer” by the Philippines’ envoy, Josel F. Ignacio. This development highlights India’s growing capabilities in indigenous defence production and its expanding international footprint.



  • BrahMos Deal: In January 2022, the Philippines signed a $375-million deal with India for three batteries of shore-based anti-ship BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles.
  • Delivery: The first batch of these missiles was delivered in April 2023.

Key Points from the Envoy’s Statement

  • Modernisation: India is a major source for the modernisation of the Philippines armed forces, currently in Phase 3 of their modernization termed Horizon-3.
  • Defence Cooperation: Defence is one of the most visible and growing areas of cooperation between the two countries.
  • Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs): The cooperation is underpinned by an MoU on defence cooperation signed in 2006, reinforced in 2017 by another MoU on industry and logistics cooperation.

Significance of the BrahMos Deal

  • For the Philippines: The BrahMos missiles provide credible defence and deterrent capabilities, significantly enhancing the Philippines’ military strength.
  • For India: The deal represents the first overseas export of the BrahMos missile, showcasing India’s rising capabilities in the defence sector and affirming the prowess of its indigenous defence industry.

Historical Context and Evolution

  • 2006 MoU: Initial defence cooperation agreement.
  • 2017 MoU: Further reinforced cooperation on industry and logistics, facilitating equipment transfers and purchases.
  • Implementing Arrangement: Facilitates government-to-government procurement of defence material and equipment.



Strengthening Bilateral Ties

  • Renaissance in Relations: The defence deal symbolizes a renaissance in India-Philippines relations, fostering greater mutual understanding and cooperation.
  • Strategic Partnership: Strengthens the strategic partnership, positioning India as a key partner in the Philippines’ military modernization efforts.

Boost to Indigenous Defence Industry

  • First Export: The BrahMos deal is a milestone for India’s indigenous defence industry, marking its first major export.
  • International Recognition: Enhances India’s reputation as a reliable supplier of advanced defence technology.

2. Maternity leave for parents of child born through surrogacy

Context: The Indian government has recently amended the Central Civil Services (Leave) Rules, 1972, to include provisions for maternity and paternity leave for parents of children born through surrogacy. This progressive step acknowledges the evolving dynamics of family structures and aims to provide equal benefits to parents irrespective of the means through which they have children.

New Provisions

Maternity Leave for Commissioning Mothers:

  • Women government employees who have children through surrogacy are now entitled to 180 days of maternity leave.
  • This provision applies if the commissioning mother has fewer than two surviving children.

Paternity Leave for Commissioning Fathers:

  • Male government employees who have children through surrogacy are entitled to 15 days of paternity leave.
  • The leave must be taken within six months from the date of delivery of the child and applies if the father has fewer than two surviving children.

Child Care Leave:

  • Commissioning mothers are entitled to child care leave if they have fewer than two surviving children.
  • Existing rules already allow for a maximum of 730 days of child care leave during the entire service period for female government servants and single male government servants.


  • Surrogate Mother: The woman who carries and gives birth to the child on behalf of the commissioning parents.
  • Commissioning Father: The intending father of the child born through surrogacy.


Previous Gap in Regulations:

  • Prior to this amendment, there were no provisions for maternity leave for women government employees in cases of surrogacy.
  • This gap led to disparities and a lack of support for commissioning mothers.

Administrative Implementation:

  • Ensuring that all government departments uniformly apply the new rules might pose an administrative challenge.
  • Awareness and training might be necessary to ensure seamless implementation.



Support for Non-Traditional Families:

  • The amendment recognizes and supports diverse family structures, including those formed through surrogacy.
  • It ensures that children born through surrogacy receive the same care and bonding time with their parents as those born biologically to their parents.

Promoting Gender Equality:

  • The inclusion of paternity leave for commissioning fathers promotes shared parenting responsibilities.
  • It supports the notion that childcare is not solely the mother’s responsibility and encourages fathers to take an active role.

Legal and Social Progress:

  • This amendment marks significant progress in aligning labor laws with contemporary societal norms.
  • It reflects a broader acceptance of assisted reproductive technologies and the rights of individuals who choose these methods.


3. India, Pak. delegations reach J&K to inspect power projects under Indus Water Treaty Context

Delegations from India and Pakistan, along with neutral experts, have arrived in Jammu and Kashmir to inspect two hydroelectric power projects under the Indus Water Treaty (IWT). This marks the first visit by a Pakistani delegation to the region in over five years, signifying a crucial step in the dispute settlement mechanism of the 1960 treaty.



  • Indus Water Treaty (IWT): Signed in 1960 after nine years of negotiations, with the World Bank as a signatory, the IWT sets out mechanisms for cooperation and information exchange between India and Pakistan regarding the use of cross-border rivers.
  • Previous Inspections: The last inspection by a Pakistani delegation of the Pakal Dul and Lower Kalnai hydroelectric projects occurred in January 2019.

Current Inspection Details

  • Delegation Composition: Nearly 40 officials from both India and Pakistan, along with neutral experts.
  • Locations: Inspections are focused on the Chenab valley region, specifically the 85-MW Ratle hydroelectric project and the 1,000-MW Pakal Dul hydroelectric project on the Marusudar River, a tributary of the Chenab.
  • Logistics: The delegation arrived in Jammu on Sunday evening and proceeded to Kishtwar district for the inspections.


Water Allocation and Usage

  • Dispute Settlement: Ensuring adherence to the IWT’s provisions regarding water usage and hydroelectric project construction.
  • Environmental Impact: Assessing the potential environmental impact of the projects on the Chenab River and its tributaries.

Bilateral Relations

  • Tensions: The inspections come amidst a backdrop of tense bilateral relations, making cooperation and communication vital for peaceful resolution.
  • Trust Building: Such visits are crucial for building trust and reducing suspicions between the two countries.



Diplomatic Engagement

  • First Visit in Five Years: The visit signifies a step towards active diplomatic engagement and adherence to treaty obligations.
  • Conflict Prevention: Regular inspections and cooperation under the IWT are essential to prevent water-related conflicts between the two nations.

Regional Stability

  • Water Security: Ensuring equitable water distribution and usage is vital for regional stability and the well-being of populations in both countries.
  • Hydropower Development: Successful inspections can pave the way for further development of hydropower projects, contributing to energy security.

4. Kerala House passes resolution to rename the State ‘Keralam’

Context: The Kerala Assembly recently passed a resolution to rename the state ‘Keralam’, reflecting its name in the native Malayalam language. This resolution, proposed by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, aims to amend the First Schedule of the Indian Constitution by invoking Article 3. This move follows a similar attempt last year, which faced procedural setbacks.



  • Initial Resolution (2023): The first attempt to rename the state to ‘Keralam’ was sent back by the Centre due to procedural issues.
  • Current Resolution (2024): Following advice from the Union Home Ministry, the focus shifted to amending only the First Schedule rather than all languages listed in the Eighth Schedule.

The Resolution Details

  • Article Invoked: Article 3 of the Indian Constitution, which deals with the formation of new states and alteration of areas, boundaries, or names of existing states.
  • Objective: To change the official name from Kerala to Keralam to align with the native pronunciation in Malayalam.

Chief Minister’s Statement

  • Rationale: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan emphasized the need to reflect the local name in official records. Despite ‘Keralam’ being the native name, it is officially recorded as Kerala.


Procedural Challenges

  • Initial Rejection: The earlier resolution was rejected due to not adhering to procedural norms.
  • Governmental Approval: Requires coordination and approval from the Central Government, which involves bureaucratic and procedural hurdles.

Linguistic and Cultural Considerations

  • Cultural Identity: Reflecting the native name could enhance cultural identity and pride among residents.
  • Linguistic Consistency: Aligning the official name with the Malayalam pronunciation ensures linguistic consistency.


Cultural Relevance

  • Preservation of Heritage: Renaming the state to ‘Keralam’ is a step towards preserving the linguistic and cultural heritage of Kerala.
  • Identity Affirmation: Strengthens the state’s identity by officially recognizing the native name.

Administrative Impact

  • Documentation Changes: All official documents, signage, and legal references will need updates, involving significant administrative efforts.
  • Public Awareness: Ensuring that the public and all relevant stakeholders are aware of the change and its implications.

5. Apple becomes the first target of EU’s new digital competition rules aimed at big tech

Context:  The European Union (EU) has taken its first significant action under the new Digital Markets Act (DMA) by charging Apple with anti-competitive practices. This move marks a pivotal step in the EU’s efforts to regulate big tech companies and prevent market monopolization.


The Digital Markets Act (DMA)



  • The DMA aims to prevent tech giants, known as “gatekeepers,” from monopolizing digital markets.
  • It introduces regulations to ensure fair competition and protect consumer interests.


  • Targets major tech firms like Apple, Google, Meta, and others.
  • Enforces stringent rules against anti-competitive practices with the threat of substantial financial penalties.


Charges Against Apple


  • Apple is accused of preventing app makers from directing users to cheaper alternatives outside its App Store.
  • This practice is alleged to restrict competition and maintain high prices by enforcing the use of Apple’s payment system, which includes a commission of up to 30%.


  • The charges stem from long-standing complaints by app developers, notably Spotify, about Apple’s restrictive policies.
  • The EU’s probe is part of a broader investigation into whether Apple allows iPhone users to change web browsers easily and other competitive barriers.

Pressure on Apple

Transatlantic Scrutiny:

  • Apple faces similar antitrust scrutiny in the United States. The U.S. Justice Department has filed a lawsuit accusing Apple of monopolizing the smartphone market.
  • Allegations include stifling competition, hindering innovation, and maintaining high prices through exclusionary practices.

Global Implications:

  • The charges reflect increasing global regulatory efforts to curb the market power of major tech companies.


Monopolistic Practices:

  • Apple’s control over app distribution and payment methods can lead to monopolistic behavior, stifling competition.

High Consumer Prices:

  • By mandating in-app purchases through its platform, Apple potentially keeps prices artificially high for consumers.

Innovation Stifling:

  • Restrictive policies may hinder app developers from innovating and offering diverse services.



  • Regulatory Precedent: The EU’s action sets a significant precedent for future regulatory measures against tech giants.
  • Market Dynamics: Ensures fair competition and could lead to more diverse and affordable options for consumers.
  • Global Impact: Highlights the importance of international cooperation in regulating big tech firms.

6. Critical minerals: first six blocks awarded

Context: The Union Mines Minister, G. Kishan Reddy, recently announced the winners of the first auction for mining rights of critical and strategic minerals held last November. The auction included 21 blocks, with six blocks being awarded initially. This initiative is part of India’s strategy to attain self-sufficiency in critical minerals, which are vital for various strategic and industrial applications.


Details of the Auction

Introduction of Fresh Tranche:

  • A new tranche of auctions for mining rights in 21 blocks of critical and strategic minerals has been introduced.
  • The first six blocks awarded are located in Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.

Offshore Mining:

  • The auction process for offshore minerals will commence within the first 100 days of the Minister’s tenure.
  • Ten offshore blocks have been identified for the initial phase of this auction.


Minerals and Locations

First Six Blocks:

  • Likely to yield critical minerals such as phosphorite, lithium, graphite, and manganese.
  • Locations include states with significant mineral potential: Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh.



Strategic Importance:

  • Critical minerals like lithium, graphite, and manganese are essential for various strategic industries, including electronics, renewable energy, and defense.
  • Reducing import dependence on these minerals is crucial for India’s economic and national security.

Economic Growth:

  • Developing domestic mining capabilities for critical minerals will boost local economies and create job opportunities.
  • Enhanced mineral production can contribute significantly to the GDP.

Technological Advancement:

  • Availability of critical minerals is vital for advancing technology sectors such as electric vehicles (EVs) and battery storage solutions.
  • Domestic production will support India’s goals in renewable energy and technological innovation.


Environmental Concerns:

  • Mining activities, especially for critical minerals, can have significant environmental impacts.
  • Sustainable and environmentally friendly mining practices need to be enforced.

Regulatory Challenges:

  • Ensuring a transparent and efficient regulatory framework for mining activities.
  • Addressing potential delays in the start of production due to bureaucratic hurdles.

Community Impact:

  • Mining activities can affect local communities, including displacement and loss of livelihoods.
  • Ensuring fair compensation and rehabilitation for affected communities is essential

7. Srinagar’s ‘World Craft City’ tag will promote global links

Context:  Srinagar has been awarded the prestigious ‘World Craft City’ tag by the World Crafts Council (WCC), a non-governmental organization dedicated to empowering artisans and safeguarding craft heritage globally. This recognition highlights Srinagar’s rich cultural heritage and the exceptional craftsmanship of Kashmiri artisans.


Details of the Recognition

Awarding Body:

  • The World Crafts Council (WCC), an NGO focusing on the promotion and preservation of craft heritage.


  • Acknowledges Srinagar’s historical and cultural significance in the world of crafts.
  • Recognizes the skill base of Kashmiri artisans.


Impact on Global Links

Reviving Traditional Linkages:

  • The ‘World Craft City’ tag is expected to revive Srinagar’s traditional links with Central Asia and Iran.
  • The recognition will facilitate knowledge exchange and collaboration with the 14 Iranian cities also listed as craft cities by the WCC.

Enhancing International Presence:

  • Positions Srinagar on the global map as a center for traditional crafts.
  • Promotes cultural and artistic exchanges with other craft cities worldwide.


Significance of the Tag

  • Cultural Recognition: Validates the rich cultural heritage and craftsmanship of Srinagar. Encourages the preservation and promotion of traditional Kashmiri crafts.
  • Economic Boost: Likely to increase demand for Kashmiri crafts in international markets. Can attract tourists and buyers, boosting the local economy.
  • Empowerment of Artisans: Provides a platform for Kashmiri artisans to showcase their skills globally. Enhances opportunities for training, knowledge exchange, and market access.
  • Historical Reconnection: Reopens centuries-old cultural and trade routes that had diminished over time. Strengthens Srinagar’s historical ties with Central Asia and Iran.

H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions

Q1.How many among the following are left bank tributaries of the Teesta River?
  1. Zemu Chhu
  2. Rangyong Chhu
  3. Rangit River
  4. Rani Khola

Choose the correct option from the code given below:

(a) Only one
(b) Only two
(c) Only three
(d) All four


Answer: c

Explanation: Rani Khola is a right bank tributary of the Teesta River.

Q2.Which among the following Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)
reside in the Andamans archipelago?
  1. Shompens
  2. Jarawas
  3. Onges

Choose the correct option from the code given below:

(a) Only one
(b) Only two
(c) All three
(d) None


Answer: c

Explanation:5 PVTGs reside in Andamans archipelago. They are: Jarwas, Onges, Shompens, Great Andamanese and North Sentinelese.

Q3.Consider the following statements with respect to the Indus Water Treaty:
  1. India and Pakistan signed the IWT in 1970.
  2. The treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two countries on the use of the water of River Indus and its five tributaries.

Which of these statements is/are incorrect?

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 only

(c) Both 1 and 2

(d) Neither 1 nor 2


Answer: a

Explanation: India and Pakistan signed the IWT in 1960

Q4.Which schedule of the Indian constitution contains the name of States and 
Union Territories and includes the Territorial Jurisdiction of states ?

(a) First Schedule

(b) Third Schedule

(c) Fifth Schedule

(d) Ninth Schedule 

Answer: a

Explanation:The first schedule contains the list of states and union territories and their territories.

Q5.Which Indian city is the latest to receive the ‘the World Craft City’ tag?

(a) Mumbai

(b) Srinagar

(c) Chennai

(d) Jaipur


Answer: b

Explanation:Srinagar recently earned the World Craft City tag from the World Crafts Council (WCC), a non-government organisation


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