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The Hindu 30 August 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair






How the RBI ended 2018-19, with an over Rs 1.23 lak-crore surplus



Russia set to offer submarines during Modi – Putin summit



GI tag for T.N.’s Dindigul lock, Kandangi saree



Rs 47,436 crore released for afforestation



Measles cases 3 times more than last year



What is the right way of regulating social media?




1. How the RBI ended 2018-19, with an over Rs 1.23 lakh-crore surplus  (The Hindu, Page 15)




RBI surplus


Recent context: 

  • RBI announced a surplus of Rs 1,23,414 lakh-crore for 2018-19, however in 2017-18 and 2016-17, the surplus were only Rs 50004 crore and Rs 30663 crore respectively. 


Cause of surplus: 

  • 8998 crore gained from foreign exchange transactions. This was achieved through an accounting policy. 

  • Earlier, when  Rupee was sold to purchase U.S. Dollar, any gain or loss was calculated on cureent market value of exchange rate and coampared to that existed previous week. This meant that if U.S. Dollar was equal to Rs. 70 a week earlier and is now Rs. 73, then difference of Rs. 3 is assessed as gain.  

  • However now, the difference in gain or loss is caluclated based historical value of Dollar based on weighted average acquisition cost, and current value of Dollar when sold. Therefore, if U.S. Dollar was purchased at Rs 50 and now sold at Rs. 75, then difference of 25 is assessed as gain. This was done because under earlier policy there was understatement of gain.

  • The second reason for higher surplus is a leap in higher interest income which was higher by 32,966 crore compared to 2017-18.  This occurred due to the OMO conducted by RBI to infuse liquidity and lead to increase government bonds held by RBI. Similar interest was earned from Liquidity Adjustment Facility.



2. Russia set to offer submarines during Modi – Putin summit (The Hindu, Page 01)


Prelims: Current events of international importance

Mains: G.S. II in International Relations


India – Russia relations


Article Context:

Russia is likely to offer India its conventional submarines to India, under India’s Project 75I. These submarines will be offered on Government-to-Government route. There is also a possibility of Su-57 fifth generation fighter aircraft being offered to India. It si expected to be discussed at the upcoming Vladivostok summit. 


India-Russia cooperation is based on the solid foundations of the 1971 Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation, 1993 Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation, 2000 Declaration on Strategic Partnership and 2010 Joint Statement elevating the Partnership to a Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin also held their first informal Summit in the city of Sochi in the Russian Federation in May, 2018. India and Russia had designated their relationship as Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership whereby they share the view that India and Russia have an important role to play in contributing to an open and equitable world order, recognition of each other’s respective roles as major powers, common responsibilities for maintaining global peace and stability and building a multipolar world order.



  • India and Russia intend to increase two-way investment to USD 30 billion by the year 2025, whereby both countries would also support to promoting bilateral trade in national currencies. 

  • India and the members of the Eurasian Economic Union intend to expedite the negotiation process for a Free Trade Agreement.

  • Russia will augment implementation of Priority Investment Projects in the spheres of mining, metallurgy, power, oil & gas, railways, pharmaceuticals, Information Technology, chemicals, infrastructure, automobile, aviation, space, shipbuilding and manufacturing of different equipment. 

  • India has invited Russian companies to participate in the development of industrial corridors in India, including in areas of road and rail infrastructure, smart cities, construction of wagons and creation of a joint transportation logistics company. Russia has offered its expertise in tax collection based on satellite navigation technologies for the realization of joint projects in India including in the framework of above mentioned industrial corridors.

  • India and Russia reaffirmed their commitment for the development of the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) by finalizing pending issues related to customs authorities, development of road and rail infrastructure & financial facilitation.  

  • India and Russia have also recently agreed to mutually share the mandatory inspections/regulations requirement to be fulfilled at the time of exporting/importing of any product so that any delay related to such inspection could be reduced.

  • India and Russia intend to further institutionalize cooperation between Indian States and Russian Regions. Both countries intend for direct contacts between business, entrepreneurs and governmental bodies with aim of signing of agreements between Assam and Sakhalin, Haryana and Bashkortostan, Goa and Kaliningrad and Odisha and Irkutsk. 

  • India and Russia support to companies from both sides for development of cooperation and exploring opportunities for joint development of oil fields in the Russian territory, including arctic shelf of Russia shelf of the Pechora Sea & Okhotsk Sea.

  • India-Russia would setup measurement data collection ground stations of the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System NavIC and the Russian Navigation Satellite System GLONASS in the territory of the Russia and India respectively.

  • India and Russia reaffirmed their commitment in the construction of the remainder of the six power units at Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant as well as for having components manufacturing for localization. Both countries would also expedite the implementation of the MoU on trilateral cooperation in implementation of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Project in Bangladesh.



  • India and Russia had completed the first ever Tri-Services Exercise INDRA 2017. This was India’s first tri-services military exercise. Both countries also engage in Joint Military Exercises – INDRA Navy, INDRA Army and Avia INDRA.

  • India and Russia signed a contract for the supply of the S-400 Long Range Surface to Air Missile System from Russia to India. The purchase was pushed forward by achieving a waiver from US CAATSA law which sanctioned defence engagement with Russia.

  • India and Russia denounce terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and reiterated the need to combat international terrorism with decisive and collective response without any double standards.  Both countries condemned all kinds of state support to terrorists including cross border terrorism and providing safe havens to terrorists and their network.

  • To combat the threats of chemical and biological terrorism, both countries support the need for launching multilateral negotiations at the Conference on Disarmament on an international convention for the suppression of acts of chemical and biological terrorism.



  • India and Russia intend for the need to reform the UN Security Council to better reflect the current world order and make it more effective in dealing with emerging global challenges. Russia reiterated its support to India for Permanent Membership in an expanded UNSC.

  • Russia has reaffirmed its support for India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group, which is currently being opposed by China.

  • India and Russia expressed the serious concern about the possibility of an arms race in outer space and of outer space turning into an arena for military confrontation. Both countries intend that the prevention of an arms race in outer space (PAROS), would avert a grave danger for international peace and security.





3. GI tag for T.N.’s Dindigul lock, Kandangi saree (The Hindu, Page 12)


Prelims: Technology

Mains: G.S. III in Technology


Geographical Indications (GI) tag


Recent context:

  • Dindigul lock and Kandangi saree from Tamil nadu were given GI tag.


What is a G.I. Tag?

  • Geographical Indications of Goods are defined as that aspect of industrial property which refer to a country or to a place situated therein as being the country or place of origin of that product. 


What is the significance of the G.I. Tag?

Typically, such a name conveys an: 

  • assurance of unique quality & identity of reputation

  • distinctiveness attributable to its geographical origin 

  • It allows for the product to command a premium price when sold

  • It allocates the product as a public property and thereby unauthorized use by any company

  • It confers legal protection to the product 


How did the G.I. Tag came into being? 

  • Geographical indications are covered as an element of IPRs under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property of World Intellectual Property Organisation.

  • They are also covered under  the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement of World trade Organisation.


How if G.I. different from a trademark?

  • A trade mark is a sign which is used in the course of trade and it distinguishes goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises.

  • Whereas a geographical indication is an indication used to identify goods having special characteristics originating from a definite geographical territory.


About G.I. Tag in India:

  • India, as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO), enacted the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration & Protection )Act, 1999.

  • It is administered by the Controller General of Patents, Design and Trademarks or Registrar of G.I.




4. Rs 47,436 crore released for afforestation  (The Hindu, Page 09)


Prelims: Environment

Mains: G.S. III in Environment


Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF)


Recent context:

  • The Union environment ministry transferred Rs 47,436 crore to 27 states for afforestation. These were pending dues as part of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF). Odisha is the top recipient of funds and Kerala the least.


What is compensatory afforestation ?

  • The Forest (Conservation) Act of 1980 governs diversion or use of forest land for non-forest purposes such as industrial or developmental projects. Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act, 2016 provides the framework for such.

  • It mandates that non-forest land, equal to the size of the forest being diverted be afforested. This is known as compensatory afforestation. 


Salient features of the act 

  • It seeks to establish the National Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of India, and a State Compensatory Afforestation Fund under the Public Account of each state.

  • The payments into the funds include compensatory afforestation, NPV, and any project specific payments. 

  • Bill provides for transfer of 90 % of the accumulated amounts to the States for creation and maintenance of compensatory afforestation and execution of other activities for conservation, protection, improvement and expansion of forest and wildlife resources of the country.

  • The remaining 10 % Amounts to be retained at the National level will be used for monitoring and evaluation of activities to be undertaken by the States/UTs and Central Government from these funds and to provide, research and technical support to the States so as to ensure that these amounts are used in the technically best possible manner.

  • The collected funds will be utilised for afforestation, regeneration of forest ecosystem, wild life protection and infrastructure development.

  • The act also seeks to establish National and State Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authorities to manage the funds.

  • NPV quantifies the services provided by the forest. It includes goods and services (tourism and timber); regulating services (climate change); and non-material benefits (recreation).

  • It established the independent authority – Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority to execute the fund.



  • The amount to paid by industry depends upon the economic value of the goods and services that the razed forest would have provided such as timber, water recharge, etc. The money is paid by those who raze and which is eventually transferred to States. However, only a small is disbursed to States due to red tape and States using it for non-forestry purposes such as payment of salaries of forest officers, etc.




5. Measles cases 3 times more than last year (The Hindu, Page 22)


Prelims: General Science

Mains: G.S. II in issues related to health




Current context:

  • Every region in the world, expect the Americas, is experiencing an increase in the number of cases of measles. Its mainly caused by weak health systems in several countries and misinformation about vaccines.


About Measles:

  • Measles is an acute and highly infectious disease of childhood, transmitted by droplets from nose, mouth or throat. It is caused by viruses.   Measles is characterised by fever and upper respiratory tract symptoms like cough and cold (coryza). The rash of measles is typical. This occurs all over the world and lead to significant morbidity and mortality in children.

  • A common symtom & diagnostic point is Tiny grayish-white spots (called Koplik's spots) in the mouth and throat.

  • It is an infection of the respiratory system caused by a virus, specifically a paramyxovirus which is a single-stranded, negative-sense, enveloped RNA virus of the genus Morbillivirus within the family Paramyxoviridae. Humans are the natural hosts of the virus.

  • Measles can be prevented through a vaccine called MMR(Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine. Routine immunization is highly effective in prevention of measles.



6. What is the right way of regulating social media?  (The Hindu, Page 11)


Mains: G.S. III in Security


Regulating social media


Context: Social media plays both a positive and negative role during election process. 


Positive role of social media:

  • Its strengthens the democracy by helping both the political parties and the citizens.

  • It helps political parties engage with voters, understand their problems and this in turn helps them to formulate their manifesto.

  • It helps the citizen to voice their opinions including dissent.

  • It is a tool to encourage informed citizenry and also helps in political mobilisation and grievance redressal.


Negative role of social media

  • It leads to hardening of one’s belief , views and opinions.

  • A good example of this is the Cambridge Analytica case, where the previous posts of people was used to create algorithms which in turn gave suggestions regarding what to follow, showed up posts consistent with one’s view and filters news inconsistent with one’s views

  • It also leads to propagate fake news leading to internal security challenge

  • Misused by authoritarian governments to manufacture positive public opinions

  • It has also lead to a deterioration in political discussions as main issues like poverty and unemployment are side-lined and only issues which give political leverage like religion and caste is discussed.


Steps taken by Facebook

  • It has come out with artificial intelligence and machine learning tools (AIML) which keeps a check and balance to promote free and fair elections , it removes inaccurate and abusive account and also checks the propagation of fake news

  • But the  problem with AIML tools is that it has given grater power to social media networks and this could be misused to supress dissent.