Daily Current Affairs for 18th February 2023

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India-Japan Army exercise ‘Dharma Guardian’

Why in News?

  • The fourth edition of India-Japan bilateral Army exercise ‘Dharma Guardian’ will be conducted at Camp Imazu in Shiga province, Japan.

About Exercise Dharma Guardian

  • It is the 4th edition of the joint military exercise “Dharma Guardian” between India and Japan.
  • It is an annual event which is being conducted since 2018.
  • Objective: Exercise Dharma Guardian will further enhance the level of defence cooperation between the Indian Army and Japanese ground self defence forces, furthering the bilateral ties between the two nations.
  • The scope of this exercise covers platoon level joint training on operations in jungle and semi urban/urban terrain.
  • The joint exercise will enable the two armies to share best practices in tactics, techniques and procedures of conducting tactical operations under a UN Mandate, in addition to developing inter-operability, bonhomie, camaraderie and friendship between the two armies.

Other military exercises between India and Japan

  • JIMEX (Naval)
  • SHINYUU Maitri (Air force)
  • Malabar: With U.S. and Australia, India and Japan participate in the naval wargaming exercise Malabar.
  • The budget allocated to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) will only enable 16.64 days of work per active household.


Election Symbol

Why in News?

The Election Commission of India allotted the name ‘Shiv Sena’ and the party’s bow and arrow symbol to the Eknath Shinde faction, in effect recognising it as the original party founded by Balasaheb Thackeray.

Key Points

  • The commission said that it had based its decision on a “test on majority” as the group of MLAs supporting the Shinde faction had got nearly 76% of the total votes polled by the 55 winning Shiv Sena candidates in the 2019 Maharashtra Assembly election.
  • The Uddhav Thackeray faction secured only 23.5% votes.

Electoral Symbols (Reservation and Assignment) Order 1968

  • Pursuant to paragraph 15 of the Order, the EC may resolve disputes between rival groups or sections of recognized political parties claiming names and emblems.
  • EC is the sole authority to resolve disputes or mergers by order. The Supreme Court (SC) upheld its validity in another case against Sadiq Ali and ECI in 1971.
  • This applies to disputes between recognized States and Parties.
  • When registered but unrecognized parties diverge, the EC generally advises the belligerents to resolve their differences domestically or to go to court.
  • In almost every dispute settled by the EC to date, a clear majority of party leaders/officials, MPs and MLAs have supported one of the factions.
  • Prior to 1968, the EC issued notices and orders under the 1961 Electoral Rules. Breakaway groups other than those receiving the
  • Party symbols had to register as separate political parties.
  • After registration, they can only gain national or state party status on the basis of performance in state or central elections.

About Election Commission of India

  • The Electoral Commission of India (ECI) is an autonomous constitutional body that administers the federal and state election process in India.
  • Established by the Constitution on January 25, 1950 (marked as Electors’ Day).
  • Authority administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha and state legislatures in India and the offices of President and Vice President of the country.
  • It does not apply to elections for panchayats and municipalities in states.

Structure of ECI

  • The Commission originally had only one Election Commissioner, but after the 1989 amendment of the Election Commissioners Act, it became a multi-member body.
  • It consists of the Chief Election Commission (CEC) and as many other election commissions as the President directs from time to time.
  • It currently consists of two members of the CEC and the Election Commission.

Appointment and Term

  • The President appoints the CEC and Election Commissioners.
  • They have a fixed term of 6 years or up to 65 years, whichever comes first.
  • They have the same status as judges of the Supreme Court of India (SC) and receive salaries and benefits.


  • Election Commissioners may resign at any time or be removed before their term of office expires.
  • The CEC can only be removed by Parliament through a removal procedure similar to that of Supreme Court justices.


In Mayor Polls Nominated Cannot Vote

Why in News?

The Supreme Court ruled that nominated members of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi(MCD) cannot vote in the elections for Mayor, Deputy Mayor or Standing Committee members.

Rejected Argument

  • The bench rejected the argument that nominated members can vote in the first meeting held after the election but not in the subsequent meetings.

Views on Nominated Cannot Vote

  • The Supreme Court said “we are unable to accept the submission which has been urged on behalf of the Municipal Corporation and the Lieutenant Governor.
  • The Constitution provides for direct election to all the seats in a municipality, save as specified in Article 243(R) (2) which enunciates the exception” allowing members to be nominated.
  • The “Constitution” however “has imposed restrictions in terms of which nominated members who are brought in on account of their special knowledge of experience in municipal administration would not have the right to vote.
  • The same restriction finds statutory recognition in the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957.
  • The bench also “emphasized that Regulation 7 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Procedure and Conduct of Business) Regulations, 1958, stipulates that as soon as the Mayor is elected, he shall preside over the meeting for the transaction of the rest of the business.
  • These provisions make it abundantly clear that the election of the Mayor has to be held first.
  • The elected Mayor is then required to preside over the election of the Deputy Mayor as the presiding authority”


Constitution Provisions

  • The 74th Amendment Act added a new Part IX-A to the Indian Constitution.
  • This Part is called “Municipalities” and consists of provisions 243-P through 243-LD.
  • This Act also added a new twelfth Schedule to the Constitution.
  • The schedule includes 18 functional points in the municipality.
  • The Act has brought Municipalities under the purview of the justiciable part of the Constitution.
  • In other words, state governments are constitutionally obliged to adopt a new municipal system as required by the Act [Article 243 Q].
  • This act aims to revitalize and strengthen local government so that it functions effectively as a unit of local government.

Composition of Municipalities

(1) Save as provided in clause (2), all the seats in a Municipality shall be filled by persons chosen by direct election from the territorial constituencies in the Municipal area and for this purpose each Municipal area shall be divided into territorial constituencies to be known as wards.

(2) The Legislature of a State may, by law, provide—

(a) for the representation in a Municipality of—

  1. persons having special knowledge or experience in Municipal administration;
  2. the members of the House of the People and the members of the Legislative Assembly of the State representing constituencies which comprise wholly or partly the Municipal area;
  3. the members of the Council of States and the members of the Legislative Council of the State registered as electors within the Municipal area;
  4. the Chairpersons of the Committees constituted under clause (5) of article 243S: Provided that the persons referred to in paragraph (i) shall not have the right to vote in the meetings of the Municipality;

(b) The manner of election of the Chairperson of a Municipality.


B20 conference

Why in News?

The Chief Minister of Manipur said the B20 conference, being hosted by Manipur, is a great platform for the state to showcase its strength and opportunities for multilateral business partnerships in various sectors in the backdrop of the rich cultural heritage.

Key Points

  • The conference would shape policies towards sustainable growth and development and usher in peace and progress in line with the theme of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (One Earth, One Family, One Future).
  • The B20 conference is based on ‘Opportunities for Multilateral Business Partnerships in ICT (information and communication technology), Tourism, Healthcare and Handloom’ at the City Convention Centre, Imphal.
  • This is the first of the four sessions of B20, the official G20 dialogue forum for the global business community scheduled in Northeast India.
  • Addressing the conference, the Chief Minister said Manipur, with a population of 2.72 million and an area of over 22,300 sq km, is the Land Gateway of India to South East Asia.
  • The state has the perfect setting for implementing India’s ‘Act East Policy’ and it is the bridge between South East Asia and India.
  • CM asserted that once the Asian Highway in Myanmar gets completed, road travel from Manipur to Bangkok will be possible in just 16-18 hours.
  • CM also said a new industrial and investment promotion policy has been adopted to promote investment in the State.
    • To promote ‘Ease of Doing Business’, the Manipur Industrial Single Window Clearance Act, 2021 was enacted.

B-20 Conference

  • The Business 20 (B20) is the official G20 dialogue forum with the global business community. The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has been formally designated as the B20 secretariat by the Government of India to lead and host B20 during India’s G20 presidency.
  • Established in 2010, B20 is among the most prominent Engagement Groups in G20, with companies and business organizations as participants.
  • The B20 leads the process of galvanizing global business leaders for their views on issues of global economic and trade governance and speaks in a single voice for the entire G20 business community.
  • The B20 aims to deliver concrete actionable policy recommendations on priorities by each rotating presidency to spur economic growth and development.
  • The B20 is based on a Task Force (TF) and Action Committee (AC) tasked with developing consensus-based policy advice for the G20 and international organizations and institutions.

About G-20

GS Paper III News

Over 1,000 pangolins poached and trafficked in India between 2018 and 2022

Why in News?

  • A not-for-profit organization working on the international trade of animals and plants, has reported that 1,203 pangolins have been found in illegal wildlife trade in India from 2018 to 2022.

About Pangolins

  • Pangolins, also known as scaly anteaters, are mammals of the order Pholidota.
  • It acts as both predator and prey, feeding on insects and also preyed upon by other animals.
  • India is home to two species:
  • Indian Pangolin: They are found across the subcontinent, except the arid region, high Himalayas and the North-East.
  • Chinese Pangolin: The species is found in the Himalayan foothills in Eastern Nepal, Bhutan, Northern India, North-East Bangladesh and through Southern China.
  • Pangolin is an ‘ecosystem engineer’ that builds burrows that help circulate soil organic matter, increase soil moisture and aeration, and affect plant community succession.

Conservation Status

  • IUCN Status: Red list
  • Indian Pangolin: Endangered
  • Chinese Pangolin: Critically Endangered
  • Wildlife Protection Act: Schedule I
  • CITES: Appendix I
  • World Pangolin Day: 18 February.


  • Hunting and poaching for local consumption (e.g., as a protein source and traditional medicine) and international trade in East and South East Asian nations, mainly China and Vietnam.
  • Trafficking incidents: India reports a significant number of pangolin trafficking incidents reflected by seizures across the country.
  • An analysis of illegal pangolin trade in India by TRAFFIC in 2018 reported poaching of nearly 6,000 pangolins between 2009 and 2017.
Nandankanan Zoological Park

  • It is located 15 kilometres from Odisha’s capital, Bhubaneswar. The park was inaugrated in 1960.
  • The first zoo in the country to join the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).
  • WAZA is a worldwide coalition of regional organisations, national federations, zoos, and aquariums dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their environments.
  • It is regarded as a leading zoo for raising Indian pangolins and white tigers.
  • Leopards, mouse deer, lions, rats, and vultures are among the animals raised here.
  • In 1980, it was the world’s first captive crocodile breeding facility, where gharials were bred in captivity.
  • The Nandankanan State Botanical Garden is one of Odisha’s pioneering plant conservation and natural education centres.

Way forward

  • There is an imperative need to focus on pangolins, strengthen their protection and conservation for their future survival.


RBI draft norms on lending, borrowing G-secs

Why in News?

The Reserve Bank of India came out with draft norms for lending and borrowing of government securities with wider participation in the securities lending market.

Key Points

  • Government Securities Lending (GSL) transactions shall be undertaken for a minimum period of one day and a maximum period of ninety days.
  • The drafts said government securities issued by the central government excludingTreasury Bills would be eligible for lending/borrowing under a GSL transaction.
  • Government securities issued by the central government (includingTreasuryBills) and the state governments would be eligible for placing as collateral under a GSL transaction.

What is Government Security (G-Sec)?

  • A Government Security (G-Sec) is a tradable instrument issued by the Central Government or the State Governments. It acknowledges the Government’s debt obligation.
  • Such securities are short term (usually called treasury bills, with original maturities of less than one year) or long term (usually called Government bonds or dated securities with original maturity of one year or more).
  • In India, the Central Government issues both, treasury bills and bonds or dated securities while the State Governments issue only bonds or dated securities, which are called the State Development Loans (SDLs).
  • G-Secs carry practically no risk of default and, hence, are called risk-free gilt-edged instruments.

Classification of G-Securities

Treasury bills

  • Only the Central Government of India issues Treasury bills also known as T-bills.
  • Short-term money market products with maturities of less than one year. The
  • Treasury is currently offered in three maturities: 91 days, 182 days, and 364 days.
  • Most financial instruments provide interest on investments, but government bonds are referred to as zero coupon securities.
  • When you purchase these securities, you receive no interest on your investment, but they are issued at a discount and returned at par on maturity.

Cash Management Notes (CBM)

  • CMB is a relatively new financial instrument in India. It was launched in 2010 by the Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India.
  • CMB is a zero coupon product much like a Treasury bond. The only difference between the two forms of government securities is their maturity.
  • Cash Management Bills (CMB) are very short-term investment options with maturities of less than 91 days.

Dated G-secs

  • Dated G-secs are another form of government security available in India. Unlike government bonds and CMBs, G-Secs are short-term money securities with maturities ranging from 5 to 40 years.
  • The interest rate on these instruments, often referred to as the coupon rate, is either fixed or variable.

State Development Loan (SLD)

  • As the name suggests, SDLs are issued exclusively to support the activities of the Indian State Government and meet its budgetary requirements.
  • These resemble dated G-Secs in appearance. The only difference between these two lies in the fact that SDLs are issued by the state government while G-secs are issued by the Central Government.
Related Scheme

Retail Direct Scheme

  • The scheme allows the retail investors to open and maintain their government security accounts (Gilt account) with the RBI free of cost.
  • The accounts that are opened to maintain government securities are called gilt accounts.
  • These accounts are similar to bank accounts. However, in gilt accounts the treasury bills and government securities are debited and credited instead of money.
  • The retail investors are non – professional investors. They buy and sell the funds and securities that consist of securities such as Exchange Traded Funds and mutual funds.


‘Budget’s tax,capex focus can boost real GDP growth to 7%’

Why in News?

The Country real gross domestic product (GDP) can grow close to 7 per cent during the 2023-24 fiscal if the Union Budget’s proposal on capital expenditure, fiscal consolidation and tax are implemented effectively, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said in a report.

Key Point

  • GDP estimate for FY24 is higher than the projection of 6.5 per cent made in the Economic Survey 2022-23 and of 6.4 percent by the RBI in its recent monetary policy review.

How can we achieve the target of Real GDP Growth of 7%? ( As per RBI Report)

Taking the Economic Survey’s growth projection of 6.5 percent as the base,the Union Budget’s tax, capex and fiscal consolidation proposals can take India’s real GDP growth close to 7 percent in 2023-24 if they are effectively implemented.

Tax Saving

  • The tax changes proposed in the Budget will put at least Rs 35,000 crore in the hands of households
  • The report said that the saving on taxes will boost consumption spending. With India’s marginal propensity to consume (MPC) estimated at 0.54, the tax multiplier works out to be 1.16.
  • India’s real GDP growth would get a boost of 15 basis points in 2023-24 from tax reductions alone

Capital expenditure

  • The effective capital expenditure of the Union government is budgeted to increase to Rs 13.7 lakh crore in 2023-24 (budget estimate) from Rs 10.5 lakh crore in 2022-23 (revised estimate).
  • The increase in the allocation for capital expenditure works out to Rs 3.2 lakh crore in 2023-24, which will generate additional output of Rs 10.3 lakh crore during 2023-27.
Capital Expenditure

  • It is the money spent by the government or Company on the development of machinery, equipment, building, health facilities, education, etc.
  • It also includes the expenditure incurred on acquiring fixed assets like land and investment by the government that gives profits or dividends in future.
  • It is associated with investment or development spending, where expenditure has benefits extending years into the future.

Fiscal Consolidation

  • The Budget announced the FY 2023-24 fiscal deficit to be at 5.9 percent of GDP.
  • The report said fiscal consolidation can free up productive resources for the private sector and also contribute to lowering the cost of capital.
  • In the Union Budget, total expenditure is budgeted to decline by 0.41 percent of GDP, which will free up resources for private investment.
  • The RBI report said the environment of macroeconomic stability engendered by fiscal consolidation and hence reduction of debt is expected to bring down inflation in the medium run, with a consequent reduction in macroeconomic volatility and country risk premium, ushering in a virtuous cycle.
  • The estimates suggest that on a standalone basis, this could lead to a reduction in inflation by an average of 26 basis points per annum over the next five years which, in turn, would push up potential growth by another 10 basis points.

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