Daily Current Affairs for 18th July 2023

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Rupee-dirham deal

Why in NEWS

The India-UAE rupee-dirham deal was signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Abu Dhabi.


• It will significantly ease the path for trade by lowering transaction costs and making it easier to convert currency.

• There will be more options for traders, exporters, importers to set up their trade.

• It will promote “national currency” as payments instead of dollars.

• The UAE-India trade has increased approximately 15% since the implementation of the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement between them in May 2022.

• Bilateral trade including oil purchases have reached about $85 billion, of which UAE exports to India make up about $50 billion.

• It will be the first step for the internationalization of the rupee.

• India has trade surplus with UAE and thus will impact Current account deficit positively.


• Air Service Agreement: India wants UAE to be flexible w.r.t visa regime.




Why in the NEWS

• Recently, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar has participated in the BIMSTEC foreign ministers’ meeting held in Bangkok on 17th July.


• BIMSTEC is a regional organization established in 1997 with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration.

• Initially known as BIST-EC (Bangladesh-India-Sri Lanka- Thailand Economic Cooperation), the organization is now called BIMSTEC and comprises seven members, with Myanmar joining towards the end of 1997, and Bhutan and Nepal in 2004.

• BIMSTEC initially focused on six sectors in 1997.

• Trade, technology, energy, transport, tourism, and fisheries and expanded in 2008 to other areas.

• India focuses on security, along with counter-terrorism and transnational crime, disaster management and energy.


• Despite having been in existence for many years, the grouping had been largely neglected until India gave it a push in October 2016, a month after the terror ist attack in Uri.

• Alongside the BRICS summit in Goa, India hosted an outreach summit with leaders of BIMSTEC countries.

China on mind

• The Bay of Bengal is crucial for an increasingly assertive China in maintaining its access route to the Indian Ocean.


• As China has undertaken a massive drive to finance and build infrastructure through the Belt and Road Initiative in almost all BIMSTEC countries, BIMSTEC is a new battleground in the India-China battle for dominance.




Why in NEWS

  • Centre has withdrawn the allocation of 1.44 lakh houses from about two dozen states and Union Territories which failed to sanction the houses by June 30, and given these to Uttar Pradesh as additional allocation.


  • These states and UTs from where these allocations were taken away are Gujarat, Tripura, Odisha, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Maharashtra, Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Tamil Nadu, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal.
  • The Centre has set a target of building 2.95 crore houses by March 2024.
  • The Centre has set a target of constructing 2.95 crore houses by March 2024. Of the 2.95 crore houses, 2.04 crore were to be al- located to states based on the Socio-Economic Caste Census (SECC) data.

About PMAY-G

  • Ministry of Rural Development is in charge of the PMAY- G scheme.
  • THE PMAY-G aims to provide pucca houses with a minimum area of 25 sqm in rural areas.
  • Each beneficiary gets up to Rs 1.2 lakh in the plains, Rs 75,000- Rs 1.30 lakh in hilly states, “difficult” areas.
  • The Centre and states split funding in 60:40 ratio.



U.S. hands over 105 antiquities to India

Why in NEWS

  • The countries had agreed to work towards preventing illegal trafficking of cultural artefacts during PM Modi’s state visit to the U.S. last month.

Key developments

  • United States has handed over 105 trafficked antiquities to India.
  • The restitution of the artefacts is a follow-up of an agreement to the effect during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to the U.S.
  • India and the U.S. have also agreed to work for a Cultural Property Agreement that would help prevent illegal trafficking of cultural artefacts in future during the visit.
  • During Mr. Modi’s 2016 visit to the U.S., 16 artefacts were handed over by the U.S. side while in 2021, the over 157.
  • In 2022, the U.S. authorities formally handed over 307 antiquities, estimated to be worth nearly $4 million.

About artefacts

  • From across India The 105 artefacts represent a wide geographical spread in terms of their origin in India with 47 from eastern India, 27 from southern India, 22 from central India, six from northern India and three from western India.
  • Spanning a period from 2nd-3rd century CE to 18th-19th century CE, the artefacts are made of terra- cotta, stone, metal and wood. Around 50 of them have religious significance.



13.5-cr. people lifted out of multidimensional poverty

Why in NEWS

Recently, “National multidimensional poverty index: a progress review, 2023”, has been released by NITI Aayog.

Key Points

• India has registered a significant decline of 9.89 percentage points in the number of multi-dimensionally poor, from 24.85% in 2015- 16 to 14.96% in 2019-2021.

• The study says nearly 13.5 crore people came out of multidimensional poverty during the period.

United Nations-approved parameters are used like acute deprivations in health, education and standard of living.

• The report said rural areas witnessed the fastest decline in poverty from 32.59% to 19.28%.

• There has been decrease in number of multi-dimensionally poor in States such as Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and Rajasthan.

• Delhi, Kerala, Goa, and Tamil Nadu have the least number of people facing multidimensional poverty, along with the Union Territories.

• Bihar, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh top the chart where the percentage of population which is multi- dimensionally poor is high.

• Multidimensional poverty in urban areas, during the same period, saw a decrease from 8.65% to 5.27%.

  • Uttar Pradesh registered the largest decline in number of poor with 3.43 crore people escaping multidimensional poverty.
  • According to the report, between 2015-16 and 2019-21, the MPI value has nearly halved from 0.117 to 0.066 and the intensity of poverty has reduced from 47% to 44%.

Parameters used are:

  • Nutrition, child and adolescent mortality, maternal health, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, assets, and bank accounts.


  • The results and findings of the index pro- vide valuable insights for both policymakers and the wider community. It will help the country to achieve the target of reducing multidimensional poverty as per UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

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