Current Affair




1. Context

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar reached Astana in Kazakhstan on Tuesday to lead the Indian delegation at the SCO Council of Heads of State in place of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on July 3 and 4 2024, the Ministry of External Affairs has said.

2. About Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is a Eurasian political, economic, international security and defence organisation.
  • It is the world's largest regional organization in terms of geographic scope and population, covering approximately 60% of the area of Eurasia, and 40% of the world's population. Its combined GDP is around 20% of global GDP.
  • The SCO was founded in 2001 by China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

2.1. Structure

The SCO has several bodies that oversee its activities, including

  • The Council of Heads of State, which is the supreme decision-making body of the SCO.
  • The Council of Heads of Government, which is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the decisions of the Council of Heads of State.
  • The Council of Foreign Ministers, which is responsible for coordinating the foreign policies of the SCO member states.
  • The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS), which is responsible for combating terrorism, separatism and extremism in the SCO region and
  • The SCO Secretariat, which is responsible for the day-to-day running of the organization.

2.2. Members

  • The SCO has eight full members China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. 
  • It also has six observer states Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, Mongolia, Nepal and Sri Lanka.
  • And six dialogue partners Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Egypt, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

2.3. Goals 

  • Political and security cooperation, including the fight against terrorism, separatism and extremism
  • Economic cooperation, including trade, investment, energy and transportation
  • Cultural and humanitarian cooperation and
  • Coordination of positions on major international issues.

3. Criticism

  • The SCO has been criticized by some for being a tool of Chinese and Russian imperialism.
  • However, the organization has also been praised for its role in promoting stability and security in Central Asia.

4. The Way Forward

  • The SCO has been expanding its membership in recent years, and it may continue to do so in the future.
  • The organization is seen by some as a potential rival to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and its growing influence is being watched closely by the United States and its allies.
For Prelims: SCO, NATO, India, Central Asia, United States, China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, terrorism, 
For Mains: 
1. Examine the potential challenges and opportunities for India as a full member of the SCO, highlighting its implications for India's political, economic, and security interests.  (250 Words)
Previous Year Questions
1. Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Heads of State Summit was held on 10th November, 2020 in the video conference format. The Summit was hosted by: (OPSC OAS 2021) 
A. Russia               B. India               C. Kazakhstan             D.  Uzbekistan
Answer: A
2. The Summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) was hosted by which country from 15-16 September 2022? (Rajasthan CET 2023)
A. Kazakhstan         B.  Tajikistan        C.  Uzbekistan           D. India
Answer: C
3. The area known as 'Golan Heights' sometimes appears in the news in the context of the events related to  (UPSC  2015)
A. Central Asia          B. Middle East              C. South-East Asia          D. Central Africa
Answer: B
4. Siachen Glacier is situated to the (UPSC 2020) 
A. East of Aksai Chin       B. East of Leh         C. North of Gilgit       D. North of Nubra Valley
Answer: D
Source: SCO


1. Context 

The West Bengal government announced that it was introducing an additional dose of injectable polio vaccine as part of the Universal Immunisation Programme (UIP) for Children.

2. About Polio

  • Poliovirus can invade the central nervous system and as it multiplies, destroy the nerve cells that activate muscles, causing irreversible paralysis in hours.
  • There are three types of poliovirus serotypes: types 1, 2 and 3.
  • According to the India Polio Learning Exchange (along with UNICEF), of those paralysed, 5-10 per cent die when their breathing muscles become immobilised.
  • There is no cure for polio, but there are safe, effective vaccines which, given multiple times, protect a child for life.
  • Polio held the world in a bind of fear until Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine.
  • Later, Albert Sabin made a "live" polio vaccine that could be administered orally which became a tool of trade, especially for nations carrying out mass immunisation campaigns, including India.
Image source: American Museum of Natural history

3. India's achievement of polio-free status

  • In 2012, the WHO removed India from the list of endemic countries.
  • Seen as a massive achievement in public health, the campaign had begun years ago.
  • While Rotary International launched its polio eradication campaign, Polio Plus, in 1985, it was in 1986 that it provided a $2.6 million grant to Tamil Nadu for a pilot polio vaccination campaign.
  • In 1995, the Union government announced the first National Polio Immunisation Day.
  • As per the India Polio Learning Exchange portal, the last case of poliovirus type 2 case was recorded in India in October 1999 at Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh;
  • The last case of poliovirus type 3 case was on October 22, 2010, in Pakur, Jharkhand; and
  • The last case of poliovirus type 1 the case was recorded on January 13, 2011, at Howrah, West Bengal.
As of October 2022, the WHO said only two countries worldwide remain with the indigenous transmission of wild Poliovirus type 1 (WPV1) Afghanistan and Pakistan.
It also recorded that so far, 33 countries have outbreaks of variant polioviruses, such as the U.K., the U.S., Israel and Malawi.
  • Unprotected children are at risk of getting the disease. It is important to take the polio vaccine each time it is offered, in special polio campaigns and routine immunisation.
    In the latter, the oral polio vaccine is provided at birth, at six weeks, 10 weeks and at 14 weeks (a booster could be factored in at 16-24 months).
  • The injectable vaccine is given at six weeks and then another dose at 14 weeks.
  • In addition, West Bengal has now decided to administer a third injectable dose at nine months.

4. Global polio crisis

  • Genetic variants of vaccine poliovirus type 2, imported from an unknown source, were detected in wastewater in Jerusalem, London and New York in early 2022.
  • The wild poliovirus type 2 was globally eradicated in 1999 but vaccine virus type 2 continued for 16 more years; routine use of the vaccine was discontinued in 2016 and reintroduced occasionally on purpose.
  • As an unintended consequence, type 2 vaccine virus variants (circulating vaccine-derived polioviruses) that mimic wild viruses' contagiousness and neurovirulence, have been emerging and spreading.
  • The theory of respiratory transmission of polio, as was the classical teaching of polio epidemiology.
  • People assume that virus transmission is via the faecal-oral route. Virus transmission cannot be attributed to faecal contamination.

5. Way forward

  • The recent events have shown how dramatically and rapidly global progress can unwind if the pressure is not maintained to vaccinate children.
  • Some setbacks have been seen, particularly in the area of immunisation post the pandemic. But it is very clear to keep at doing and enhancing measures to ensure this battle is fought all the way through.
  • India continues to maintain high population immunity and risk mitigation from polioviruses including containment and transitioning of polio networks will guide revised policy changes to ensure that India remains polio-free.

For Prelims & Mains

For Prelims: Poliovirus, Universal Immunisation Programme, inactivated poliovirus, National Polio Immunisation Day, India Polio Learning Exchange portal, poliovirus type 1, poliovirus type 2, poliovirus type 3, WHO, The theory of respiratory transmission of polio, 
For Mains:
1. What is Poliovirus? Explain how did India achieve its polio-free status and discuss the recent global polio crisis. (250 Words)
Source: The Hindu



1. Context

On July 14, 2023, in Paris, President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi elevated the ‘Partnership for the Planet’ as one of the three pillars of the Indo-French Horizon 2047 Roadmap. This decision reflects the intensification of Indo-French cooperation over the past few years on issues such as climate change, biodiversity, health, and environment

2. India and France-Historical Background

  • France has had a significant impact on Indian polity. The ideals of liberty, equality, and fraternity in the Preamble of the Indian Constitution have been borrowed from the French. India has been constituted into a ‘Republic’. This word too has been borrowed from France.
  • India and France have been ‘Strategic Partners’ since 1998, ever since an agreement was signed in the same year between the two nations.
  • Ever since, this strategic dialogue has evolved to include diverse areas like nuclear technology, defence partnership including maritime cooperation, cyber security, and space technology amongst others.
  • This relationship needs to be closely watched and could emerge as a partnership, sans any issues and challenges.

3. The strategic partnership between the two Nations

Defence-industrial cooperation has been one of the mainstays of the strategic partnership between India and France. It is cooperation in this field that has boosted the relationship between the two nations.

Defence/Strategic Ties:

  • India has signed a ‘Strategic Agreement’ with more than 35 countries but the deal signed with France in 1998 remains unique. While many other partnerships have run into trouble or are clouded by differences over various issues, the partnership has been growing with France.
  • The area of cooperation now extends to technologies related to Nuclear energy, space, defence, cyber security, intelligence-sharing, and counter-terrorism amongst others.
    France has supported India in its ‘Make in India’ program and extended its support to all forms of defence manufacturing.
  • France is a critical partner of the Indian Navy in its P 75I Program which seeks to build 24 naval submarines by 2030, 18 of which will be conventional and 6 shall be nuclear.
  • 36 Rafale Fighter Jets will be handed over to the Indian Air Force soon. Already, during the Galwan Valley dispute with China, a few jets were handed over to India.
  • As far as the Joint Exercises between the Armed Forces are concerned: Varuna 1, Garuda 2, and Shakti 3 have been held regularly.
  • Earlier, the Cyber Security and Digital technology roadmap had been agreed to by both sides. This entails cooperation in the field of emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Super Computing and Machine Learning amongst others.
  • Recently, an Agreement between the Centre for Development of Advance Computing (C-DAC) and ATOS for cooperation in quantum computing, AI and supercomputing is signed.
  • France also supports India in its bid for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council.
  • With the assistance and support of France, India became a member of various non-proliferation groups such as the Wassenaar group (2017), NSG, Missile Technology Control Regime (2016) and the Australia Group (2018).
  • France has also opposed many of the unsustainable projects being executed under China’s One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative.

4. Other areas that can be explored in Strategic Partnership:

  • India and France can cooperate in other areas such as the Afghan peace deal which is under considerable strain as the US selfishly leaves the region. Indian interests are expected to be 164 affected as Pakistan state-sponsored terrorists run amok in Kabul and other cities. It is here that India and France can step in along with other nations and forge a partnership.
  • Another area that is of mutual interest to both nations is Iran. France supported the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action in 2015 along with the US and other nations. India which faced the fear of attracting sanctions under the US legislation ‘Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)’ reduced its oil imports and delayed its other connectivity projects in Iran. This deal in 2015 brought a sigh of relief to India. However, this was short-lived as in 2018, the US pulled out of the deal. India once again faces the fear of CAATSA.
  • In the year 2016, India and France signed a ‘White shipping agreement’ to encourage the movement of commercial ships.
  • One potential area of cooperation exists in the Indo-Pacific region. France can join the ASEAN nations and the QUAD grouping in ensuring that freedom of navigation on the high seas is protected.

5. What is the Bastille Day celebration?

  • Bastille Day, also known as French National Day or La Fête Nationale, is a significant celebration in France that commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789.
  • This event marked a pivotal moment in the French Revolution and the beginning of the end of absolute monarchy in France. Bastille Day is celebrated annually on July 14th and is a symbol of French unity, liberty, and national pride.
  • Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison, which was seen as a symbol of royal authority and tyranny. The event marked the uprising of the French people against the monarchy and served as a catalyst for the French Revolution.
  • The celebration of Bastille Day involves various festivities, including parades, fireworks, concerts, and public gatherings. The largest and most renowned parade takes place on the Champs-Élysées in Paris, where military troops, historical reenactments, and public figures participate.

6. Challenges observed in the bilateral relations between India and France

  • Nuclear Non-Proliferation: One challenge in the India-France relationship has been India's status as a nuclear-armed nation outside the framework of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). France is a signatory to the NPT and has expressed concerns regarding nuclear proliferation. Balancing India's nuclear ambitions with France's commitment to non-proliferation has been an ongoing challenge.
  • Defense Trade Imbalance: While defense cooperation between India and France has seen significant growth, there has been a trade imbalance in this sector. India is a major buyer of French defense equipment, including aircraft, submarines, and missiles. However, there has been limited progress in developing a more balanced trade relationship, with Indian defense exports to France being relatively modest.
  • Economic and Trade Issues: Despite efforts to enhance economic cooperation, there have been some trade-related challenges. These include issues related to market access, trade barriers, and regulatory hurdles. Both countries have made efforts to address these challenges through dialogues and negotiations, but further progress is still needed to unlock the full potential of bilateral trade and investment.
  • Climate Change and Environmental Concerns: Climate change and environmental sustainability have become increasingly important areas of cooperation between India and France. However, challenges exist in aligning their priorities and approaches to address climate change. India's focus on development and energy security, including its reliance on coal, may sometimes diverge from France's emphasis on clean energy and emissions reduction.
  • Regional and International Dynamics: India and France have their own regional and international interests, which can sometimes create divergences or competing priorities. For example, France has historical ties and strategic interests in regions such as the Middle East and Africa, where India also has growing economic and geopolitical interests. Aligning their respective policies and approaches in these regions can be a challenge.
  • Cultural Differences and Communication: Cultural differences and communication gaps can also pose challenges in bilateral relations. Differences in language, communication styles, and cultural norms can create misunderstandings or difficulties in effectively engaging with each other.
For Prelims: Strategic Agreement, P 75I Program, Varuna 1, Garuda 2, Shakti 3, Countering American Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), QUAD, ASEAN, and Bastille Day.
For Mains: 1. Examine the bilateral relations between India and France, highlighting the key areas of cooperation, challenges faced, and the potential for future collaboration.(250 words).

Previous year Questions

1. Consider the following countries: (UPSC 2015)
1. China
2. France
3. India
4. Israel
5. Pakistan
Which among the above are Nuclear Weapons States as recognized by the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, commonly known as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)?
A. 1 and 2 only
B. 1, 3, 4, and 5 only
C. 2, 4, and 5 only
D. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
Answer: A
2. India along with which country jointly launched International Solar Alliance during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21)? (KPSC 2017)
A. United Kingdom
B. France
C. United States of America
D. Germany
Answer: B



1. Context

The Project Cheetah authorities have reached an in-principle decision to shift surplus cheetahs from Kuno national park to Gandhi Sagar wildlife sanctuary after the monsoon. At present, Kuno has 26 cheetahs, including 13 cubs and sub-adults

2. Why was Project Cheetah launched?

  • India's cheetah relocation program is perhaps among the most ambitious of its kind in the world.
  • The attempt is to, over the next decade, bring in five to 10 animals every year until a self-sustaining population of about 35 is established.
  • Unlike, cheetahs in South Africa and Namibia, which live in fenced reserves, India's plan is to have them grown in natural, unfenced, wild conditions.
  • At Kuno, only six of the 17 adults are in the wild with the rest lodged in large, specially designed enclosures to help the animals acclimatize to Indian conditions.
  • The plan is to release all the animals into the open by the yearend. The animals are radio-collared and tracked 24/7. 

3. How do cheetahs die?

  • The South African study also documented the causes of mortality, where it could be established, for 293 cheetah deaths.
  • It found that holding camps caused 6.5% of cheetah deaths, immobilization/ transit caused 7.5% of deaths, and another 0.7% were caused by tracking devices. This added up to almost 15%  so, one in every seven cheetah deaths was attributed to handling and management.
  • Predation turned out to be the biggest killer in the study, accounting for 53.2% of cheetah mortality. Lions, leopards, hyenas, and jackals were primarily responsible. Several other wildlife including warthogs, baboons, snakes, elephants, crocodiles, vultures, zebras, and even ostriches killed cheetahs.
  • It is well documented that cheetahs suffer very high cub mortality up to 90% in protected areas mainly due to predation. Consequently, nearly 80% of all cheetahs throughout their range in Africa are found living outside of protected parks and reserves.

4. Were these unfortunate cheetah deaths unexpected?

  • The Cheetah Project did anticipate high mortality. The criteria for the project’s short-term success was only “50% survival of the introduced cheetah for the first year”. That would be 10 out of 20.
  • As a result, the Madhya Pradesh government set a six-month deadline for readying Gandhisagar in the Chambal river valley in Mandsaur and Nimach districts for the cheetahs. There is also talk about moving a few animals from Kuno to the safety of an 80-sq-km fenced area in Rajasthan’s Mukundra Hills Tiger Reserve.
  • The focus, therefore, is shifting from the project’s stated purpose that of establishing the cheetah in an open landscape as a free-roaming and self-sustaining population occupying thousands of square miles to managing the African imports as a few pocket populations in fenced-in or restricted areas.

5. How successful has Project Cheetah been so far?

  • In September 2023, it will be one year since a batch of eight cheetahs from Namibia arrived in India.
  • They were followed by 12 others from South Africa in February 2023. The official Cheetah Action Plan, the guiding document behind the project, observes that even half the cheetahs surviving the first year would be “an indicator of success”.
  • Independent critics have, however, argued that there are some basic flaws in the project. For one, it is a mistake to have had all 20 cheetahs at Kuno as there is too little space and prey, given that the animal is a courser and needs larger fields of play.
  • Some animals should have gone to the Mukundara reserve in Rajasthan. Forest officials in Madhya Pradesh have also admitted that they are stretched.
  • However, the officials in the National Tiger Conservation Authority, the nodal agency of the Environment Ministry tasked with coordinating the project, say that Kuno is capable of hosting the first lot of animals and future batches will be sent to other reserves.
  • The experience of raising cheetahs in fenced reserves in Africa can’t be replicated in India, say, experts, because India’s cultural values promote coexistence with beasts, and that underpinned the success of tiger, lion, and leopard conservation programs.
For Prelims: Kuno National Park, National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Project Cheetah, Chambal river valley, and South Africa.

Previous year Question

1. Recently there was a proposal to translocate some of the lions from their natural habitat in Gujarat to which one of the following sites? (UPSC 2017)
A. Corbett National Park
B. Kuno Palpur Wildlife Sanctuary
C. Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary
D. Sariska National Park
Answer: B
Source: The Hindu


1. Context
Taking into account media reports that Foxconn India, a major manufacturer of Apple products, is excluding married women from jobs at its iPhone assembly plant in Sriperumbudur, Tamil Nadu, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)  issued notices to the Centre and the state government.
2. What is the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)?
  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is a statutory body established in India in 1993 under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
  • It serves as an autonomous public institution tasked with the protection and promotion of human rights across the country.
  • The NHRC investigates complaints of human rights violations, conducts inquiries, and recommends remedial action to the government.
  • It also plays a role in promoting awareness of human rights and providing education on related issues.
  • The commission consists of a chairperson and several members appointed by the President of India, and it operates at both the central and state levels
3. History of NHRC
  • The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) was established in India on October 12, 1993, under the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.
  • This Act was enacted to fulfill the obligations India undertook by becoming a signatory to the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, which called for the establishment of national institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights.
  • The NHRC was founded with the aim of addressing human rights violations and promoting awareness and respect for human rights across the country. It operates as an autonomous body, independent of the government, to ensure impartiality and effectiveness in its functioning.
  • Since its inception, the NHRC has played a crucial role in investigating complaints of human rights violations, conducting inquiries, and making recommendations to the government for remedial action. It also engages in advocacy, education, and awareness programs to promote a culture of human rights in India.
  • Over the years, the NHRC has evolved and expanded its scope to address various human rights issues, including those related to civil, political, economic, social, and cultural rights. It operates at both the central and state levels, with a chairperson and members appointed by the President of India.
  • The NHRC's history is marked by its efforts to uphold the principles of justice, equality, and dignity enshrined in the Indian Constitution and international human rights instruments
4. NHRC Composition 

The composition of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) includes a chairperson and several members appointed by the President of India. According to the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, the NHRC consists of:

  • Chairperson: The chairperson is appointed by the President of India and must be a retired Chief Justice of the Supreme Court or a serving or retired Judge of the Supreme Court.

  • Members: The NHRC can have up to four members, including a member who is or has been a Judge of the Supreme Court, a member who is or has been the Chief Justice of a High Court, and two other members who have knowledge or practical experience in matters relating to human rights.

These appointments aim to ensure the independence, expertise, and credibility of the NHRC in addressing human rights issues effectively. The members serve fixed terms as specified by the Act, and they collectively contribute to the commission's efforts to protect and promote human rights across the country

5.Appointment of NHRC Members


The appointment of members to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) follows a process outlined in the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993. Here's an overview of the appointment procedure:

  • Selection Committee: A Selection Committee is constituted to recommend candidates for appointment as Chairperson and members of the NHRC. The Selection Committee is chaired by the Prime Minister of India and includes the following members:

    • The Speaker of the Lok Sabha (House of the People) or the Deputy Speaker, in case the Speaker is unable to attend.
    • The Minister in charge of the Ministry of Home Affairs in the Government of India.
    • The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha.
    • The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha (Council of States) in the absence of the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha
6.Functions & Powers of NHRC
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India is empowered with various functions and powers to protect and promote human rights across the country.
Here are some of its key functions and powers:
  • The NHRC is authorized to inquire into complaints of human rights violations received from individuals or groups. It can investigate violations committed by public servants or by any authority or person acting under the government's authority
  • The Commission has the power to monitor human rights violations, including through suo moto action, where it can initiate an inquiry based on media reports, complaints, or its own knowledge
  • Following investigations or inquiries, the NHRC can make recommendations to the concerned authorities for remedial action, prosecution, or compensation to victims of human rights violations
  • The NHRC engages in activities to raise awareness about human rights issues through seminars, workshops, publications, and other educational programs
  • It advises the government on policies and measures to promote and protect human rights effectively
  • The NHRC can intervene in court proceedings related to human rights violations, either as a party or as amicus curiae (friend of the court)
  • The Commission conducts research and studies on human rights issues to better understand the challenges and formulate appropriate responses
  • Based on its findings and experiences, the NHRC can recommend legislative reforms to strengthen human rights protection in the country
  • The NHRC collaborates with international human rights organizations and participates in international forums to promote human rights globally
  • The NHRC has the authority to visit and monitor places of detention, such as prisons and juvenile homes, to ensure that inmates' human rights are respected
7. Limitations of NHRC 
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India plays a significant role in protecting and promoting human rights, it also faces several limitations, including:
  • The NHRC lacks direct enforcement authority. It can investigate human rights violations, make recommendations, and issue guidelines, but it cannot enforce its decisions or ensure their implementation. Its recommendations are non-binding, and compliance by government agencies or other authorities is voluntary.
  • The process of investigation and resolution of complaints by the NHRC can be lengthy and time-consuming, leading to delays in providing justice to victims of human rights violations. This delay can undermine the effectiveness of the NHRC in addressing urgent and serious violations
  • The NHRC operates with limited resources, including budgetary allocations and staffing. This constraint can affect its capacity to handle a large number of complaints effectively and conduct thorough investigations into human rights violations
  • The NHRC's jurisdiction is limited to investigating human rights violations committed by public servants or authorities acting under the government's authority. It may not have jurisdiction over violations by non-state actors or in certain areas like the armed forces, where separate mechanisms exist
  • There have been instances where political pressures or interference have affected the independence and impartiality of the NHRC. Political influence can hinder its ability to address human rights violations objectively and without bias
  • Many people, especially in rural areas and marginalized communities, may not be aware of the NHRC's existence or how to access its services. This lack of awareness and accessibility can prevent victims of human rights violations from seeking redress through the commission
  • Even when the NHRC makes recommendations for remedial action or compensation, there may be instances where these recommendations are not implemented fully or effectively by the concerned authorities
For Prelims: National Human Rights Commission
For Mains: Emerging Human Rights Challenges, Role and Functions of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)
Previous Year Questions

1.Other than the Fundamental Rights, which of the following parts of the Constitution of India reflect/reflects the principles and provisions of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)? (UPSC CSE 2020)

  1. Preamble
  2. Directive Principles of State Policy
  3. Fundamental Duties

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(a) 1 and 2 only 
(b) 2 only 
(c) 1 and 3 only 
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (d)

2.Consider the following: (UPSC CSE 2011)

  1. Right to education
  2. Right to equal access to public service
  3. Right to food.

Which of the above is/are Human Right/Human Rights under “Universal Declaration of Human Rights”?

(a) 1 only
(b) 1 and 2 only 
(c) 3 only 
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: (d)


1.Though the Human Rights Commissions have contributed immensely to the protection of human rights in India, yet they have failed to assert themselves against the mighty and powerful. Analysing theirstructural and practical limitations, suggest remedial measures. (UPSC CSE Mains GS 1 2021)

Source: The Hindu


1. Context 

The Indian banking system has continued to register a robust performance across various metrics. As per the Reserve Bank of India’s latest financial stability report, not only have banks seen a sustained improvement in their asset quality, but their profitability has remained high, and their capital position also remains healthy

2. About the Financial Stability Report


The Financial Stability Report (FSR) is a comprehensive assessment published by various central banks, financial regulators, and international organizations, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Bank for International Settlements (BIS). Its primary objective is to analyze the current state of the financial system, identify potential risks and vulnerabilities, and provide policy recommendations to ensure stability and resilience.

Key components of a typical Financial Stability Report include

  1. An overview of the global and domestic economic environment, including trends in economic growth, inflation, employment, and other macroeconomic indicators.
  2. Evaluation of the health and stability of financial institutions, including banks, insurance companies, and non-bank financial intermediaries. This section may also include stress tests to assess the resilience of the financial system to adverse scenarios.
  3. Identification and analysis of key risks and vulnerabilities facing the financial system, such as credit risk, market risk, liquidity risk, and systemic risk. This may also include an assessment of emerging risks, such as cyber threats or climate-related risks.
  4. Proposals for policy measures and regulatory reforms aimed at addressing identified risks and vulnerabilities and enhancing the stability and resilience of the financial system. These recommendations may cover areas such as macroprudential regulation, monetary policy, and supervision of financial institutions.
  5. In-depth analysis of specific issues or developments relevant to financial stability, such as developments in financial markets, fintech innovation, or regulatory challenges.
3. IMF's Concerns Regarding Inflation
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has expressed growing concerns over investor optimism regarding the imminent end of the battle against high inflation.
  • Investors have been driving up the values of financial assets, such as stocks, in recent months, speculating that central banks will soon initiate interest rate cuts as inflation abates.
  • Typically, central banks aim to reduce interest rates by injecting more funds into the economy when inflation decreases, to stimulate economic growth.
  • Although interest rates remain unchanged, investors interpret declining inflation as a signal for forthcoming monetary easing, prompting them to invest in financial assets in anticipation of increased demand once interest rates are lowered. Consequently, asset prices have surged in the present.
  • However, the IMF cautions that investor optimism regarding decelerating inflation and potential central bank rate cuts may be premature.
  • The organization has observed that inflation decline has likely halted in some major advanced and emerging economies, where recent core inflation rates have exceeded those of previous periods.
  • Additionally, the IMF highlights geopolitical risks, such as ongoing conflicts in regions like West Asia and Ukraine, which could disrupt aggregate supply and fuel inflationary pressures.
  • These factors, the IMF asserts, might deter central banks from implementing rate cuts shortly.
  • Should these risks persist, the IMF warns that investors, who have been driving asset prices upward in anticipation of monetary easing, may reconsider their positions. This shift in sentiment could trigger a significant market correction, leading to substantial losses for many investors.


4. Implications for India Amidst Global Developments


  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) highlights the robust inflow of funds into emerging markets, driven by optimism surrounding potential interest rate cuts by central banks.
  • India, in particular, emerged as the second-largest recipient of foreign capital in the calendar year 2023, trailing only behind the United States, as reported by Elara Capital.
  • However, this scenario could swiftly change if Western central banks signal a prolonged period of elevated interest rates.
  • Such indications might prompt investors to withdraw capital from emerging markets like India, exerting downward pressure on their currencies.
  • Already, the Indian rupee has experienced depreciation, hitting a new low of 83.57 against the U.S. dollar last week, despite likely intervention by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • A significant capital outflow, should Western central banks refrain from lowering interest rates, could exacerbate the rupee's depreciation and pose challenges to India's financial stability.
  • In response, the RBI is expected to defend the rupee by tightening liquidity to raise interest rates, potentially slowing down the economy in the process.


5. Concerns Surrounding the Private Credit Market


  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has underscored the burgeoning unregulated private credit market, where non-bank financial institutions extend loans to corporate borrowers, as a looming concern with potential ramifications for the broader financial system.
  • Global figures reveal that the private credit market ballooned to $2.1 trillion last year.
  • Among the entities participating in this market are institutional investors such as pension funds and insurance companies, attracted by the prospect of higher returns compared to conventional investments.
  • Simultaneously, borrowers find recourse in this market for accessing long-term funds that might not be readily available through other channels.
  • However, the IMF raises red flags regarding the financial stability of borrowers within the private credit market, noting that many lack sufficient earnings to cover even their interest expenses.
  • Moreover, since these loans are seldom traded in open, liquid markets like other securities, accurately assessing the associated risks becomes challenging for investors.
  • Consequently, private credit assets tend to experience smaller markdowns in their mark-to-market value during periods of market stress.
  • In contrast, in highly liquid markets where securities are traded frequently, the real risk behind a loan is promptly and accurately priced in by investors.
  • Despite these concerns, institutional investors might willingly accept the risk in exchange for higher returns.
  • India has also witnessed the emergence of a nascent private credit market, propelled by the ascent of Alternative Investment Funds (AIFs).
  • These funds extend credit to high-risk borrowers typically overlooked by traditional banks and non-bank financial institutions.
  • Additionally, they have ventured into distressed assets, leveraging the opportunities presented by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code regime.
  • Regulatory bodies like the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) have observed a significant uptick in investments through these funds, which have more than tripled from ₹1.1 lakh crore in 2018-19 to ₹3.4 lakh crore in 2022-23.
  • Both the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and SEBI have intensified scrutiny over these funds, recognizing the need for heightened regulatory oversight.


6. Conclusion


The IMF's report emphasizes the importance of global cooperation and effective communication between policymakers, financial institutions, and investors. By taking proactive measures to address the identified risks, a more stable and sustainable financial future can be secured.


For Prelims: IMF, Global Financial Report, SEBI, RBI, Alternative Investment Funds, Cyber-attacks
For Mains: 
1. Discuss the growing significance of the private credit market in India. What are the potential risks associated with this market, and how can these risks be mitigated? (250 Words)
Previous Year Questions
1. Recently, which one of the following currencies has been proposed to be added to the basket of IMF’s SDR? (UPSC 2016)
A. Rouble
B. Rand
C. Indian Rupee
D. Renminbi
Answer: D
2. Rapid Financing Instruments" and "Rapid Credit Facility" are related to the provisions of lending by which one of the following? (UPSC 2022)
A. Asian Development Bank
B. International Monetary Fund
C. United Nations Environment Programme
D. Finance Initiative World Bank
Answers: 1-D, 2- B
Source: The Hindu

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