La Excellence IAS Academy

WTO unveils new rule for simplifying services trade, India stays out.

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Trade and External sector, Issue: WTO MC 13

Context: The 13th Ministerial Conference (MCA 13) of the World Trade Organization announced new rules to streamline the international trade in services.


  • Aim: To simplify procedures, make authorization processes more transparent and accessible.
    • promote equal opportunities for service suppliers world wide.
  • India is not a party to the agreement.
  • Dialogue on Plastic Pollution: To reduce plastics pollution and promote environmentally sustainable trade in plastics.

Fact: India is the fifth-highest generator of plastic waste in the world.

WTO’s Ministerial Conference:

●       It is the highest decision-making body of the WTO

●       The 13th Ministerial Conference is underway in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Source: Mint

Current approaches for addressing overfishing flawed: India at the WTO.

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Trade and External sector, Issue: Fisheries Subsidies

Context: WTO negotiation session on fisheries subsidies in the Abu Dhabi Ministerial Conference-13.

Fisheries Subsidies:

  • India urged for a moratorium on subsidies for fishing beyond the exclusive economic zone (EEZs).
  • Current approaches for addressing “Over Capacity and Over Fishing” (OCOF) are deeply flawed.
  • Any agreement on fisheries subsidies should be built on the principle of Common But Differentiated Responsibilities and Respective Capabilities (CBDR- RC).
  • Sovereign rights of members for sustainable management of fisheries within their Exclusive Economic Zones should be protected.

Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies – Geneva Package MC 12 : Prohibited harmful fisheries subsidies that contribute to overfishing and depletion of fish stocks.

United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS):

An international agreement that establishes a legal framework for all marine and maritime activities.


Source: Indian Express

Air no longer ‘poor’: Curbs to tackle pollution withdrawn in Delhi

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Environment, Ecology and Disaster Management, Topic:  Pollution, Issue: Air Pollution

Context: withdrawal of all measures to control pollution in Delhi-NCR, on the account of improvement in air quality.

Air Quality Index (AQI):

  • It is a measure of air quality. The higher the AQI, the worse the air.
  • There are six categories of AQI, namely Good’ (0-50), ‘Satisfactory’ (50-100), ‘Moderately polluted’ (100-200), ‘Poor’ (200-300), ‘Very Poor’ (300-400), and ‘Severe’ (400-500).
  • The pollutants measured include PM 10, PM 2.5, NO2, SO2, CO, O3, NH3, and Pb.

Graded Response Action Plan or GRAP:

  • It is a set of emergency measures used to prevent deterioration of air quality in the Delhi-NCR region.
  • Implemented by the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM)

Prelims Connect : (Institutions in News)

Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM)

  • It is a statutory body.
  • Established under Commission for Air Quality Management in National Capital Region and Adjoining Areas Act, 2021
  • Responsible for forming air pollution reduction strategies for the region and overseeing their implementation.
  • Replaced the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA).

Source: Indian Express

CAA rules likely to be notified before poll code, to seek proof of India entry, religion

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Citizenship, Issue: Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019

Why in News: notifying the rules for implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019.

Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019

  • amended the Citizenship Act, 1955.
  • Objective: To provide Indian citizenship for persecuted religious minorities from three specific neighbouring countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
  • It allows migrants from these three countries to apply for Indian citizenship through the naturalisation


  • Violates Article 14 (equality): For discriminating based on religion.
  • Difficult to differentiate between illegal migrants and those persecuted.
  • Other refugees, that include Tamils from Sri Lanka not covered under the Act.
Prelims Connect: (Terms in News)

·         Citizenship is a subject matter under the Union list and hence only Parliament can make laws regarding it.

·         Naturalization is the legal process by which a non-citizen acquires the nationality of a country after birth.

Source: Indian Express

‘10,000 genome’ project completed, says Centre

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Science and Technology, Topic: Bio technology, Issue: Genome India Project

Context: The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) announced the completion of the ‘10,000 genome’ project.

Genome Sequencing:

  • the process of determining the complete order of the chemical building blocks, called bases, that make up an organism’s DNA.
  • The bases are Adenine, Cytosine, Guanines, and Thymine.

The Genome India Project:

  • Aim: To collect 10,000 genetic samples from citizens across India.
    • to build a reference database of whole genome sequences.
  • Led by Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru and Centre For Cellular And Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad.
  • Benefits:
    • gain deeper insight into India’s population diversity,
    • find genetic predispositions to disease,
    • develop personalised and customisable drugs,
    • improve gene therapy etc.

Human Genome Project:

international research effort to determine the sequence of the human genome and identify the genes that it contains.

Source: The Hindu

BJP gains in U.P., Himachal RS polls amid cross-voting

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: Polity, Topic: Legislature,  Issue: Rajya Sabha Elections

Context: Elections to 15 Rajya Sabha seats conducted by Election Commission.

Elections to Rajya Sabha:

  • Composition: Maximum strength is fixed at 250.
    • 238 are elected indirectly and 12 are nominated by the president.
  • The Fourth Schedule of the Constitution: allocation of seats in the Rajya Sabha to the states and union territories.
  • Term: 6 years as provided in the Representation of the People Act (1951)
    • elections to one-third seats are held every two years.
  • Procedure: Elected by the elected MLAs of the State in accordance with the system of proportional representation by means of the single transferable vote.
  • Open ballot system – an MLA has to show the ballot paper to a nominated agent of that political party.

Can a whip be issued for Rajya Sabha election?

  • A whip cannot be issued for voting in the Rajya Sabha elections as the election is not a business of the house.
  • However, cross-voting can be interpreted by the speaker as “voluntarily giving up the membership of a party” and disqualification proceedings can be initiated under Xth schedule.

Prelims Connect (Terms in News):

  • A whip is a written order that party members be present for an important vote, or that they vote only in a particular way.
  • Proportional representation: an electoral system in which the distribution of seats corresponds closely with the proportion of the total votes cast for each party.

Source: The Hindu

Daily Editorials

Why culture was recognized as a goal for the first time under India’s G20 presidency

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: International Relations, Topic: Global groupings, Issue: G-20

Importance of culture in global co-operation:

  • plays a pivotal role in achieving all 17 SDGs.
  • It has transformative impact on society.
  • the potential to ensure a more equitable, just, and sustainable world for generations to come.

Alignment with India’s foreign policy:

  • Reflects India’s rich heritage and commitment to holistic sustainability.
  • India leverages its cultural heritage to develop innovative solutions, promoting sustainable choices and embracing a circular economy.
  • Embracing culture as a core component of the global development agenda is essential for a brighter, more harmonious future for all nations and peoples.

India’s tariff regime: Costs of a barrier

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Trade and external sector, Issue: India’s trade policy

 Tariff regime of India:

  • India steadily reduced tariffs from the early 1990s until 2014.
  • Increase in tariff is driven by the call for self-reliance.
  • India’s tariffs are now higher than China, Vietnam, and Bangladesh, affecting export competitiveness and hurting consumers.


  • A more balanced approach to protectionism.
  • Reduction in duties on components to attract manufacturers.
  • Alongside tariff reduction, India must pursue trade agreements with countries like the UK and the EU to boost exports and promote manufacturing.

Source: Indian Express

Burden of power: On India’s astronauts and the Indian space policy

Syllabus: GS- III, Subject: Science and technology, Topic: Space Technology, Issue: Gaganyaan-Human space flight mission

 Context: Prime Minister released the name of shortlisted candidate for Gaganyaan Mission


  • Gaganyaan aligns with Indian Space Policy 2023.
  • Emphasizes maintaining India’s edge in human spaceflight and developing sustained presence in space.   

 The way ahead:

  • Future missions must justify objectives transparently for public scrutiny.
  • Emphasis should be on democratic space exploration over geopolitical aims.
  • Space exploration should prioritize scientific and societal value over “space superpower” status.

Source: The Hindu

Decoding consumption: On the Household Consumption Expenditure Survey

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Economy, Topic: Growth, Development and inclusion, Issue: Household Consumption Expenditure Survey

Context: Household Consumption Expenditure Survey released by Statistics Ministry

  • Conducted by NSSO every five years.
  • Average monthly per capita consumer expenditure rose more than 30% in cities and more than 40% in rural areas since 2011-12.
  • Proportion of monthly spends on food has slipped below 50% in rural homes (to 46.4%), and under 40% in urban homes.

Key concerns:

  • The average spending increase in rural and urban areas over the last 11 years falls considerably below inflation and GDP growth rates.
    • Despite significant transfers under welfare schemes,
  • Decrease in monthly spend towards food suggest a possible decrease in Consumer inflation.
  • The finding of survey becomes more important due to absence of census data.

Source: The Hindu

Why sustainable funding matters for India’s ‘science power’ ambition.

Syllabus: GS-III, Subject: Science and Technology, Topic: Policy and Mission, Issue: India’s Research & Development (R&D) spending

 Spending on R&D:

  • India’s R&D expense has decreased.


  • Insufficient and primarily dependent on public funds.
  • Private sector is resistant due to.
  • Poor capacity to evaluate R&D in India.
  • ambiguous regulatory roadmaps.
  • lack of clear exit options for investors in sectors, and
  • fears of intellectual property rights theft.
  • Underutilization of government budget.


  • Increase contributions from the private sector
  • Mitigating under-spending and under-utilization of R&D funds.
  • Incentives for private investment like tax rebates and clear regulatory roadmaps.
  • Bureaucratic capacity to evaluate and monitor science projects.


Sustainable funding for science is crucial for India’s journey towards sustainable development.

+1 Advantage for Mains (data points)

India’s R&D expense: the current 0.64% of GDP, 0.8% in 2008-2009 and 0.7% in 2017-2018.

Ø     Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy (2013) – Increasing Gross Expenditure on R&D (GERD) to 2% GDP as a national goal.

Ø     Much below than Average spending of developed countries on R&D ( between 2% and 4% of GDP).

Ø     To reach developed nation status India needs to spend at least 3% of the GDP on R&D annually until 2047.

Data on percentage of spending by various sector

Ø     In 2020-2021, private sector industry contributed 36.4% of the GERD whereas the Union government’s share was 43.7%.


Source: The Hindu

The current global order — a fraying around many edges

Syllabus: GS-II, Subject: International Relations, Topic: Global issues, Issue: Issues in Global Order

 Global Order: aimed at upholding sovereign equality and collective security among nations

  • Post-World War order initiated with
    • Declaration of the United Nations in 1942
    • endorsement of the Atlantic Charter in 1941.
  • International economic order created by: Bretton Woods Conference (1944) through the establishment of
    • International Monetary Fund (IMF)
    • World Bank (WB)
    • General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), later succeeded by World Trade Organization (WTO) in 1994.
  • Key issue with the global order:
  • Bias: The WB and IMF governance structures favor the United States and Europe reflecting old power structures.
  • UN system, based on international treaties, favors original signatories.
  • Efforts to challenge the biased global order
    • the Non-Aligned Movement and
    • G-77,
    • ad hoc groups like OECD, QUAD
    • Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank etc.

The emergence of regional, ad hoc organizations indicates a need for reform in the global order.

+1 Advantage for Mains

 Examples of dominance in global order:

·                     An American citizen always heads the World Bank;

·                     ‘Europe’ (Western Europe, in practice) gets to nominate the head of the IMF.

IMF voting right favor America and Europe:

·                     Voting right of original BRICS members (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) are 2.22, 2.59, 2.63, 6.08 and 0.63.

·                     Voting right US and European countries The U.S 16.5, U.K. (4.03), Germany (5.31) and the rest of the G-7 percentage approaches 30.

·                     By this USA can effectively reject any reform.


Source: The Hindu