La Excellence IAS Academy

India, U.K. ink 2 deals during Rajnath’s visit

Syllabus: GS-II

Subject: International Relations

Topic: Bilateral Relations

Issue: India-U. K Relations.

Context:   This is the first visit by an Indian Defence Minister to the U.K after over two decades, the last visit was by George Fernandes in 2002. Historic collaboration.


  • India and the U.K. signed MoU for international cadet exchange and LoA on defence collaboration in R&D.
  • Talks emphasized defence relations, security issues, and enhancing defence industrial cooperation.
  • Also stressing a non-transactional, natural partnership between the two countries.
  • The LoA on R&D involves India’s DRDO and the U.K.’s DSTL, fostering people-to-people exchanges and defence research collaboration.
  • Rajnath Singh paid tributes to Mahatma Gandhi in London and received a Guard of Honour before bilateral meetings.
UK’s Significance for India: Support for UNSC seat, NSG membership, and development objectives.  Economic and technological partnership. Defense and security cooperation.
India’s Significance for UK Role in “Global Britain” ambitions. Seizing opportunities in the Indo-Pacific. Economic ties, investments, and rejuvenation of the Commonwealth.

Conclusion: Rajnath Singh’s historic U.K. visit emphasizes defense collaboration and partnership.

Source: The Hindu

World Bank retains India growth forecasts for FY24 and FY25

Syllabus: GS-III

Subject: Economic Development;

Topic: Issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development, and employment.

Issue: World Bank’s Growth Forecast.

Context: The World Bank maintains India’s economic growth forecast at 6.3% for FY2023/24, citing a slow post-pandemic recovery and weak external demand.


  • The post-pandemic recovery in India is expected to slow, with private investment and consumption weakening in 2022-23.
  • The World Bank projects a recovery in FY2024/25 and FY2025/26, with growth gradually increasing to 6.4% and 6.5%, respectively.
  • The global growth outlook is less optimistic, with the World Bank forecasting a third consecutive year of slowing growth in 2024.
  • Merchandise exports in India slowed due to weak external demand, while public investment and vibrant services activity supported growth in 2023.
  • The report notes a marginal deceleration in investment, robust public investment, improved corporate balance sheets, and slowing private consumption growth.
  • Government consumption is expected to grow slowly as part of efforts to lower current spending, and government revenues may benefit from solid corporate profits.

World Bank:

Conclusion: Despite national estimates projecting higher growth, the World Bank retains India’s economic forecast, anticipating a gradual recovery amid post-pandemic challenges.

Source: Indian Express

Majority of cities far from clean air target, says study

Syllabus: GS-III

Subject: Ecology

Topic: Environmental pollution and degradation.

Issue: Air Quality.

Context: A study by Respirer Living Sciences and Climate Trends analyzed air quality data in 49 Indian cities over five years.


Highlights of the Study:

  • 27 cities declined PM 2.5, while only four met or exceeded the targeted reduction under the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).
  • The NCAP aimed to reduce average particulate matter concentrations by 40% by 2026 in 131 cities, but progress seems insufficient.
  • Delhi, among other major cities, reports marginal declines or even an increase in pollution levels.
  • Varanasi, Agra, and Jodhpur are notable for achieving more than 40% reduction in PM 2.5 levels, exceeding the 2026 targets.
  • The study emphasizes the influence of factors like geography, emissions, and meteorology on pollution levels.
  • Only four out of 92 cities analyzed have more than 10 continuous ambient air quality monitors, affecting accurate tracking of pollution.
  • The report suggests that the impact of cities’ actions on improving air quality is yet unclear, despite some positive strides under the NCAP.
  • Strengthened monitoring with additional air quality stations is recommended for better understanding and mitigation of air pollution challenges.

Top of Form


National Clean Air Program:

Conclusion: Indian cities face air quality challenges, showing insufficient progress towards National Clean Air Programme goals, necessitating strengthened monitoring and action.

Source: The Hindu

The Commerce Ministry sets up a task force to resolve trade barrier issues for Exporters

Syllabus: GS-III;

Subject: Economic Development 

Topic: effects on industrial growth

Issue: Trade Barriers.

Context: India’s commerce ministry forms a task force to address trade barriers faced by exporters abroad, aiming for greater market access.


  • Aim to enhance market access by tackling issues like lengthy registration requirements and unreasonable standards/rules.
  • Focus on improving mutual recognition agreements (MRAs) with different countries to align product standards with importing nations’ requirements.
  • Emphasis on ensuring that global standards promote trade and don’t act as non-tariff barriers.
  • Global Trade Research Initiative recommends India’s swift action on the removal of non-trade barriers for achieving the one trillion dollar outbound shipment target by 2030.
  • Key Indian exports facing high barriers include chilies, tea, rice, meat, fish, and chemicals in various countries.
  • Non-tariff measures (NTMs) like regulations, standards, and testing are identified as barriers when arbitrary and beyond scientific justification.


What is mutual recognition agreement (MRA)?

·          A Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) is a formal agreement between two or more countries or trading partners. It allows them to recognize and accept each other’s standards, regulations, and conformity assessment procedures for specific products or services.

·          By doing so, MRAs aim to facilitate trade and market access by reducing redundant testing, certification, and inspection requirements.

Conclusion: The Commerce ministry’s task force targets swift resolution of trade barriers for Indian exporters, promoting global trade and market access.

Source: Indian Express

Likely hike of 50% in FY25 Budget outlay for MGNREG

Likely hike of 50% in FY25 Budget outlay for MGNREG (Indian Express).

Syllabus: GS-II

Subject: Governance

Topic: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population.

Context: India plans a 50% increase in the 2024-25 budget for MGNREGS.



  • The Indian government is expected to allocate around Rs 90,000 crore for MGNREGS in the 2024-25 Budget, a 50% increase.
  • The higher allocation aims to signal support for the rural employment scheme ahead of general elections.
  • FY24 saw a lower provision of Rs 60,000 crore due to misappropriation concerns, leading to a supplementary grant.
  • Initiatives to curb leakages include the mandatory Aadhaar-Based Payment System for wage payments and DBT, saving 10% on wages.
  • The government is addressing corruption allegations, halting funds to West Bengal, and focusing on plugging leakages.
  • Despite challenges, MGNREGS generated 2.45 billion person-days of work in FY24, with the potential to reach 2.94 billion by March.



  • MGNREGA, launched in 2005, ensures 100 days of employment annually for rural households through unskilled manual work.
  • As of 2022-23, it has 15.4 crore active workers.
  • A legal right to work, addressing chronic poverty, mandates at least one-third of beneficiaries to be women.
  • Wages align with state-specific minimum wages for agricultural laborers.
  • A demand-driven scheme guarantees work within 15 days of request or provides an unemployment allowance.

Conclusion: India’s budget signals a robust 50% increase for MGNREGS, addressing past misappropriation concerns, and bolstering rural employment ahead of elections.

Source: Indian Express