Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 13th June 2024

National News 

1. PM to attend G-7 outreach in Italy; all eyes on possible interaction with Zelenskyy, Trudeau 

  • Just four days after being sworn in for a third term, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to the Apulia region of Italy on Thursday to attend the G-7 outreach meet. 
  • Mr. Modi will meet Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said at a briefing on Wednesday, but declined to comment on specific questions on which other leaders he would hold bilateral meetings with. 
  • Apart from leaders of other G-7 countries — Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the U.K., and the U.S. — and the European Union leadership, Mr. Modi will be among leaders of 12 countries invited to the outreach on Friday, including Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Egypt, Kenya, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Tunisia, Turkiye, and the UAE. 
  • All eyes will be on a possible meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is also expected. The event will give Mr. Modi the opportunity to meet a host of leaders to discuss his plans for his new term in office, even as many of the leaders such as the U.S. President Joe Biden and British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak face elections in the next few months, while countries such as Italy, Germany, and France witnessed the European Parliament polls on Sunday. 
  • This is the 11th time that India has been invited to the G-7 outreach, and the fifth that Mr. Modi will participate. He will take part in a special session for discussions on artificial intelligence, energy, Africa and the “Mediterranean”, Mr. Kwatra said, indicating that the Russia-Ukraine conflict and Israel’s war in Gaza will also be on the agenda. 
  • “India’s regular participation at the G-7 summit clearly points to increasing recognition and contribution of the efforts India has been consistently making in trying to resolve global challenges, including those of peace, security, development, and environmental preservation,” Mr. Kwatra told press persons.

Peace summit

  • While most of the G-7 leadership with the exception of Mr. Biden will travel directly from Apulia’s Borgo Egnazia luxury resort to the Swiss town of Burgenstock for a peace conference on Ukraine, India is yet to announce the level of its participation at the conference. 
  • “India will be participating at the Peace summit in Switzerland on the [June] 15th,” Mr. Kwatra said when asked for a response. “That consideration is currently going on in the system and as and when we have a decision on the representative from India who would be participating, we would be happy to share that with you.” 
  • Any interaction between Mr. Modi and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be closely watched, given the tense ties over Mr. Trudeau’s allegation that “Indian government agents” were behind the killing of Khalistani separatist Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Canada last June. 
  • The Khalistan issue has sparked a row after a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, due to be inaugurated in the town of Brindisi not far from the G-7 venue, was defaced with graffiti hailing Nijjar. Mr. Kwatra called it “deplorable”. While he said that Italian authorities had “rectified” the situation, he took aim at Canada for support to Khalistani activism. 

State News 

2. GAIL (India) to set up India’s largest ethane cracker project in Madhya Pradesh with an investment of Rs 60,000 crore 

  • GAIL (India) is planning to set up a 1500 KTA Ethane Cracker Project at Sehore, Madhya Pradesh, with an estimated capital expenditure of Rs 60,000 crore. The project aims to produce a range of ethylene derivatives, thereby strengthening the petrochemical infrastructure in the region. 
  • The project will be located at Ashta, District Sehore, spread over about 800 hectares. Madhya Pradesh Industrial Development Corporation Limited is facilitating land acquisition for the project, and the state government has already initiated the process. 
  • GAIL has requested the Madhya Pradesh state government to provide the necessary ancillary equipment for the project. Investment approval will be sought from the board of GAIL after receiving favorable results in respect of these ancillary equipment. 
  • The estimated investment for the ethane cracker project is Rs 60,000 crore, making it the largest of its kind in India. This significant investment underlines GAIL's commitment to growing India's petrochemical industry. 
  • Ethane is a component of natural gas. The ethane cracker breaks down ethane into ethylene, which is the main chemical input for making plastics, adhesives, synthetic rubber and other petrochemicals. 
  • The project also proposes a 70- hectare township. The foundation is expected to be laid by February 2025, while production will begin in 2030-31. GAIL aims to import ethane for the project, for which it has signed MoUs with ONGC and Shell Energy India. 

3. Annual Kheer Bhawani Fair begins in Jammu and Kashmir 

  • In Jammu and Kashmir, over 5 thousand people of the Kashmiri Pandit community started their journey from Jammu for the annual Kheer Bhawani fair on 12 June 2024 amid tight security. 
  • The four-day pilgrimage began with the flagging off of the pilgrimage by Divisional Commissioner of Jammu Ramesh Kumar, Relief Commissioner (Migrant) Dr. Arvind Karwani and prominent Kashmiri Pandit leaders from Nagrota area on the outskirts of Jammu city. 
  • The annual Kheer Bhawani Mela, celebrated on Jyeshtha Ashtami on June 14, will be celebrated at Tulmulla in Ganderbal, Tikkar in Kupwara, Laktipora Aishmuqam in Anantnag, Mata Tripursundari Devsar in Kulgam and Mata Kheer Bhawani Manzgam in Kulgam. 
  • This is the biggest festival of Hindus in Kashmir after Amarnath Yatra and holds immense significance in Jammu and Kashmir. More than 25,000 devotees attended the Kheer Bhawani Mela in Kashmir Valley in 2023. 
  • This year, an estimated 80,000 migrant Kashmiri Pandits from various parts of India and abroad are expected to visit five famous temples in the valley during the annual fair. 

4. Naidu must focus on creating jobs while continuing welfare schemes 

  • With Telugu Desam Party leader Nara Chandrababu Naidu having taken oath as Andhra Pradesh’s Chief Minister for a record fourth time, the expectation is that this will bring to an end the vacillations over several policy decisions that have plagued the State and its economy. 
  • The grand ceremony saw Prime Minister Narendra Modi and several National Democratic Alliance partners in attendance. As anticipated, top priority has been accorded to Mr. Naidu’s unfinished dream — a world-class capital at Amaravati, nestled between two of Andhra’s biggest cities, Guntur and Vijayawada, and on the banks of the Krishna. 
  • Mr. Naidu has already indicated that he would revitalise this project that was stalled by his predecessor, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy. It would be imperative, however, to enact a law on the capital region to settle the matter, as flip flops over a capital for a large State such as Andhra Pradesh have been to the detriment of governance, the economy and businesses, and a psychological dampener for a people already reeling from the loss of Hyderabad. 
  • The Chief Minister must also address environmental concerns for Krishna due to the impending and rapid urbanisation. Mr. Naidu is viewed as a pro-corporate urbaniser, focusing on building cities and largely neglecting agriculture and allied sectors. While he has been rightly credited for Hyderabad’s emergence as an IT power centre, he must now make good his promise to Andhra’s farmers to lift them out of stagnation and poverty. 
  • Indeed, complimenting the “super six” promises in the manifesto of the NDA alliance in the State was an annual ₹20,000 input cost for the farmer. But Andhra’s agriculture sector, much like the rest of the country, requires a systemic approach to increasing farmers’ incomes, generating sustainable livelihoods, reducing food waste by expanding cold storage supply chain facilities, and increasing output e ciency by implementing climate-smart farming practices. 
  • As a futuristic leader, one would hope Mr. Naidu would take these cues. But the most pressing concern, of creating jobs, while continuing the unemployment allowance and other welfare measures begun by his predecessor, must be his top priority. Only this will inspire faith in his government and his governance. 

Ranks & Reports News

5. Food inflation spikes in urban India, nears 9% 

  • India’s consumer price inflation eased to a oneyear low of 4.75% in May, from 4.83% in April, but food price rise remained unchanged at 8.7%, with urban households facing a sharper 8.83% spike in food inflation. 
  • Retail inflation stood at 4.31% in May 2023, with food prices rising less than 3%. May was the fourth successive month with food inflation of over 8.5%, though it cooled fractionally for rural consumers from 8.75% in April to 8.62%. 
  • On a month-on-month basis, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) was up 0.5% in May, while the food price index had risen 0.73% from April’s levels. The sequential rise in food prices was 0.7% for rural consumers and 0.9% for their urban counterparts. 
  • The gap between urban and rural consumers’ inflation trends was sharp for the third consecutive month, with rural households seeing a 5.3% rise in prices in May. For urban consumers, the retail inflation pace was 4.15%, just fractionally higher than 4.14% in March and 4.11% in April. 
  • While retail inflation has now been below 6% since September 2023, it is still far from the central bank’s 4% target. The Reserve Bank of India expects retail inflation to average 4.5% this year and has projected an average of 4.9% for the April to June quarter. 
  • With April and May inflation coming in slightly below that, it is likely that price rise may resurge to over 5% this month. Barring spices, where the inflation rate cooled to 4.3%, the lowest level in at least two years, price pressures persisted for most food items. Vegetable prices rose 27.3% in May, while the inflation rate accelerated for cereals (8.7%), eggs (7.6%), fruits (6.7%) as well as pulses. 

6. Study ranks India second in nitrous oxide emissions 

  • India is the world’s second largest source of nitrous oxide (N2O), a greenhouse gas that heats up the atmosphere far more than carbon dioxide. Nearly 11% of such global man-made emissions in 2020 were from India, topped only by China at 16%. 
  • The major source of these emissions comes from fertilizer usage, according to a global assessment of N2O emissions published in the journal Earth System Science Data on Wednesday. In 2022, the concentration of atmospheric N2O reached about 25% above the levels seen before the industrial age. In comparison, the concentration of carbon dioxide was 417 parts per million in 2022. 
  • This means that the current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a thousand times more than that of nitrous oxide, making carbon dioxide reduction the bigger priority among countries trying to contain climate change. 
  • However, because nitrous oxide stays longer in the atmosphere and is rising rapidly, scientists in recent years have been warning that it must also be tackled with a greater sense of urgency. 
  • N2O emissions from human activities have increased by 40% (three million metric tonnes of N2O per year) in the past four decades, with growth rates between 2020 and 2022 higher than in any previous period since 1980, when reliable measurements began. 
  • Agricultural production using nitrogen fertilizers, such as ammonia, and animal manure contributed 74% of the total anthropogenic N2O emissions in the last decade. N2O emissions from human activities, responsible for 6.4% of the effective radiative forcing of greenhouse gases, have added about 0.1 degree Celsius to current global warming. 
  • “This report on the nitrous oxide budget is timely and alarming. It is time India took this wake-up call seriously and changed cropping systems and production practices,” said G.V. Ramanjaneyulu, director of the Centre of Sustainable Agriculture. 

7. Iceland is the most peaceful country according to the Institute for Economics and Peace's Global Peace Index 2024 

  • Iceland remains the most peaceful country, a position it has held since 2008, followed by Ireland, Austria, New Zealand and Singapore, according to the 18th Global Peace Index (GPI) 2024 by the Australiabased Institute for Economics and Peace. Singapore has entered the top 5 for the first time. 
  • Yemen has replaced Afghanistan as the world's least peaceful country. It is followed by Sudan, South Sudan, Afghanistan and Ukraine. The lower the score, the more peaceful the country. 
  • Europe remains the most peaceful region, followed by Asia-Pacific. Meanwhile, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) remains the least peaceful region. It is home to four of the world's ten least peaceful countries and two of the least peaceful, Sudan and Yemen. 

Key South Asian Countries 

  • India is ranked 116th, improving 5 places to fifth in South Asia. 
  • Bhutan is the most peaceful country in the South Asia region, a position it has held since 2011. It is now out of the 20 most peaceful countries in the world. The country is ranked 21st. Bangladesh is ranked 93rd. 
  • Nepal came second in the region at 81st globally, Sri Lanka came fourth at 110th, all classified under a medium state of peace. Pakistan ranked 140th and Afghanistan ranked lowest in South Asia at 160th. 

The Global Peace Index (GPI) 2024 

  • The index used 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from highly reputable sources weighted on a scale of 1-5 and measured the state of peace in three domains: the level of societal safety and security, the extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict, and the degree of militarization. 
  • The report states "This year's results found that the average level of global peacefulness has worsened by 0.56%. This is the 12th decline in peacefulness in the last 16 years, with 65 countries seeing improvements and 97 countries seeing declines in peacefulness. 
  • Steve Killelea, founder and executive chairman of the Institute for Economics & Peace said: "Over the past decade, peace has declined in nine out of ten years. 

8. India gets 129th rank in Global Gender Gap Index, 2024 

  • According to the Global Gender Gap Index released by the World Economic Forum, India has slipped two places to 129th rank out of 146 countries, while Iceland has retained its top position. 
  • Iceland was followed by Finland, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden in the top five. The United Kingdom is ranked 14th, Denmark 15th, South Africa 18th. The United States is ranked 43rd, Italy 87th, Israel 91st, South Korea 94th and Bangladesh 99th. 
  • Globally, Sudan ranked lowest on the index of 146 countries, while Pakistan slipped three places to 145th. In South Asia, India ranked fifth after Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bhutan, while Pakistan ranked last. Afghanistan, Malawi, Myanmar and Russia were also not included. 
  • WEF Managing Director Saadia Zahidi said the world has bridged 68.5% of the gender gap, but at the current pace it will take another 134 years to achieve full gender equality - equivalent to five generations. Gender inequality has decreased by 0.1 percentage points since last year. 
  • Economies with the highest economic gender equality include Liberia at 87.4 per cent and Botswana at 85.4 per cent. The report highlights that women's labour-force participation in these countries is 95 per cent or higher. 


  • While India showed the best gender equality in terms of enrolment in secondary education, it fared well on women's political empowerment, ranking 65th globally. India ranked 10th in terms of parity in the number of years with female/male heads of state in the last 50 years. 
  • However, India's overall gender gap closing target is 64.1 per cent in 2024, a marginal decline from 64.2 per cent last year. India is among the economies with the lowest levels of economic equality along with Bangladesh, Sudan, Iran, Pakistan and Morocco. All of them recorded gender parity in estimated earned income of less than 30%. 
  • The main reason for slipping two places is a slight decline in the parameters like 'educational achievement' and 'political empowerment', while there has been a slight improvement in the scores of 'economic participation' and 'opportunity'.

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