Daily Current Affairs for 22th July 2023

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In past five years, over ₹1.08 lakh crore spent on railway safety

Why in the NEWS

• The Indian Railways is tak¬ing a slew of measures to ensure safety in operations following the Balasore triple train tragedy.

• The Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK) was introduced in 2017¬-18 for the replacement, renewal and the upgrade of critical safety assets, with a corpus of ₹1 lakh crore for five years.

Measures taken

• On vulnerable and identified routes/sections, trains are escorted by Railway Protection Force (RPF) in addition to trains escorted by Government Railway Police of different States daily.

• Railway Help Line number 139 is operational (24×7) over Indian Railways for security-related assistance to passengers in distress.

• Through various social media platforms Railways are in regular touch with passengers including women to enhance the security of passengers and to address their security concern.

• An Integrated Security System (ISS) consisting of surveillance of vulnerable stations through Close Circuit Television Camera Network, Access Control etc. has been sanctioned to improve surveillance mechanism over 202 railway stations.

• Station Security Plan is being implemented at major stations in a phased manner to enhance access control, improve surveillance.

• CCTV cameras have been provided in 2931 coaches and 668 Railway stations for enhancing the security of passengers.

• Emergency Talk Back System and Closed Circuit Television Surveillance Cameras have been provided in ladies compartments/coaches of all newly manufactured Electrical Multiple Unit (EMU).


Use any Indian language as optional medium, says CBSE

Why in the NEWS

  • Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has written to its affiliated schools that they may consider using Indian languages as an optional medium of instruction, in addition to the other options.
  • The CBSE has advised using an Indian language as an option from pre¬primary classes to Class 12.

About Multilingual education

• Multilingual education has been widely recognised as a valuable approach to fostering linguistic diversity, cultural understanding, and academic success among students.

• National Education Policy, 2020 emphasised the significant cognitive advantages of multilingualism for young learners, particularly when they were exposed to several languages from the foundational stage.

• The policy strongly advocates for utilising the home language, mother tongue, local language, or regional language as the medium of instruction whenever feasible, at least until Grade 5, but preferably extending till Grade 8 and beyond.

Challenges in the implementation of multilingual education

• Availability of skilled teachers capable of teaching in multilingual settings.

• Creation of high¬ quality multilingual textbooks.

• Limited time available, especially in two¬ shift government schools, as multilingual education demands additional instructional time allocation.

Steps taken

• Direction by the Ministry of Education to the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to prepare textbooks in the 22 Scheduled Languages of the country.

• Steps being taken to introduce textbooks in Indian languages for higher education.

• Facilitate learning teaching processes.

• Offer exams in Indian languages.


India’s oil import

Why in the NEWS

  • FOR MORE than a year, India – the world’s third largest consumer of crude with an import dependency of more than 85%-has been in love with Russian oil.


• Before the war, Russia was a marginal player in India’s oil trade, which was dominated by West Asian suppliers like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

• In a little more than a year, the discounts ensured that Russia became the biggest source of crude for India.

Key Statistics

Data from the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S) show India’s oil imports from Russia have grown more than 10 times since April 2022.

• A comparison between market shares (by volume) of India’s top 10 crude oil suppliers in the 14 months ended April 2023 and their shares in FY2021-22 shows how Russia has gained at the expense of other suppliers.

• Russia’s market share surged to 24.2% in the 14-month period, up from a measly 2% in FY22. Most of the other major suppliers saw their market shares fall. Iraq, Nigeria, and the US saw the most notable declines.

• The cumulative market share of members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the major oil producers’ group that dominated India’s oil import basket, declined dramatically as India’s Russian oil imports graph rose sharply.

• OPEC’s share in India’s oil imports fell by almost half – from 75.3% in May 2022 to 40.3% in May 2023. Among the major suppliers to India are Iraq, Saudi Arabia, the UAE,Kuwait Nigeria and Angola.

Russian share in India oil bill

• Trade data suggest Indian refiners saved at least $7.17 billion in foreign exchange in the 14 months ended May 2023 by ramping up buying of discounted Russian oil.

• India’s oil imports from April 2022 to May 2023 was $186.45 billion; had Indian refiners paid for Russian oil the average price they paid for crude from all other suppliers put together, the oil import bill would have been $193.62 billion.

• India’s Russian oil imports were nearly $40 billion in the 14-month period. In April 2022,

Russia vs Arab world and US

• The differential in price of Russian crude vis-à-vis other top suppliers shows Russian oil was delivered to India at a significant discount to oil from Saudi Arabia and UAE for most months.


India- Sri Lanka ties

Why in the NEWS

Recently, President of Sri-Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe has visited India.

Key Developments

  • Maritime connectivity: To cooperate in development of ports and logistics infrastructure at Colombo, Trincomalee and Kankesanthurai with an aim to consolidate regional logistics and shipping, as per mutual understanding.
  • Air connectivity: That resumption of flights between Jaffna and Chennai have enhanced people-to-people ties and agreed to further expand it to Colombo as well as explore connectivity between Chennai and Trincomalee, Batticaloa and other destinations in Sri Lanka.
  • Energy and Power connectivity: MoU on cooperation in developing renewable energy would develop Sri Lanka’s significant renewable energy potential; including offshore wind and solar, thus enabling Sri Lanka achieve its target of generating 70% of power requirements from renewable energy sources by 2030.
  • Trade, Economic and Financial Connectivity: The salience of bilateral trade and economic engagements was significantly demonstrated during COVID pandemic and economic crisis of Sri Lanka, and agreed to facilitate mutual investments through, inter alia, policy consistency, promoting ease of doing business and fair treatment of each other’s investors.
  • People-to-people Connectivity: To promote awareness and popularize India’s Buddhist circuit, and Ramayana trail as well as ancient places of Buddhist, Hindu and other religious worship in Sri Lanka for enhancing tourism.

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