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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-16th September 2023

India Ranks First Among 154 Nations in Grassroot Adoption of Crypto

India has achieved the top rank among 154 nations in grassroots crypto adoption, displaying remarkable resilience in the face of challenging regulatory conditions, as revealed by Chainalysis’ 2023 Global Crypto Adoption Index.

Key Parameters and India’s Success

India has secured the first position in four critical parameters:

  1. Centralized Service Value Received

  2. Retail Centralized Service Value Received

  3. DeFi Value Received

  4. Retail DeFi Value Received

This impressive ascent from fourth place last year underscores India’s growing embrace of cryptocurrency among everyday citizens.

Understanding Grassroots Crypto Adoption

Grassroots crypto adoption goes beyond raw transaction volumes. It reflects the extent to which ordinary people in a country are enthusiastically adopting cryptocurrency. It’s about the widespread acceptance and utilization of crypto in daily life.

Global Rankings

India’s pioneering position is followed closely by:

  1. Nigeria, ranking second in the index.

  2. Vietnam, securing the third spot.

  3. United States, holding the fourth position.

  4. Ukraine, coming in fifth.

Crypto Adoption in Low-Income Countries

A noteworthy trend identified in the report is the dramatic increase in crypto adoption in low-income countries. This surge was triggered by the collapse of FTX, which occurred late in 2022. Despite initial setbacks, these nations have shown remarkable resilience in embracing cryptocurrencies.

Challenges Faced by India

India’s impressive crypto adoption is particularly remarkable given the challenges it faces. The government has introduced stringent taxation rules, including a 30% tax on gains and a 1% TDS (Tax Deducted at Source) on crypto trades. These measures have adversely impacted trade volumes within the country.

India Launches UPAg: A Revolutionary Unified Portal for Agricultural Statistics

In a significant development for India’s agricultural sector, the government has unveiled the UPAg (Unified Portal for Agricultural Statistics). This groundbreaking initiative is aimed at tackling the complex governance challenges that currently beset the country’s farming industry.

Streamlining Data Management:

The Ministry of Agriculture hails UPAg as an innovative platform meticulously crafted to streamline and enhance data management within the agricultural domain. It represents a crucial stride towards establishing a more efficient and responsive agricultural policy framework.

NITI Aayog’s Perspective:

Ramesh Chand, a member of NITI Aayog, expressed his enthusiasm after inaugurating the portal. He emphasized that such an initiative was long overdue and envisioned that it could grow into a substantial resource for the agricultural sector. Chand urged the Agriculture Ministry, which will oversee the portal, to prioritize data credibility, as objective data minimizes the need for subjective judgment in policymaking. This, in turn, fosters stability, transparency, and informed decision-making.

Empowering Stakeholders:

The UPAg portal promises to empower stakeholders by providing them with real-time, reliable, and standardized information. This newfound accessibility to data is expected to pave the way for more responsive and efficient agricultural policies.

Access to Credible Data:

Agriculture Secretary Manoj Ahuja asserted that the UPAg portal will grant users access to credible, granular, and objective data, filling a critical void in the agricultural information landscape.

Addressing Data Governance Challenges:

Ruchika Gupta, an adviser in the Ministry, highlighted the UPAg portal’s role in addressing governance challenges related to agricultural data. These challenges include the absence of standardized and verified data. UPAg’s comprehensive approach to data integration and analysis is poised to transform the data landscape.

Standardization and Consolidation:

Presently, agricultural data in India is scattered across various sources, often presented in diverse formats and units. The UPAg portal aims to rectify this by consolidating data into a standardized format, ensuring easy access and comprehension for users. It will amalgamate real-time information on prices, production, area, yield, and trade from diverse sources, offering a holistic assessment of agricultural commodities.

RBI Imposes Monetary Penalties on Four Cooperative Banks

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently took action against four cooperative banks, imposing monetary penalties due to various rule violations. Below, we provide a breakdown of the penalties and the reasons behind them.

1. Baramati Sahakari Bank – Rs 2 Lakh Penalty

Violation: Failure to Credit Interest to Inoperative Savings Accounts

Baramati Sahakari Bank faced a penalty of Rs 2 lakh for failing to credit interest to inoperative savings bank accounts, a breach that prompted the RBI’s intervention.

2. Becharaji Nagarik Sahakari Bank – Rs 2 Lakh Penalty

Violation: Breach of Prudential Inter-Bank Counter-Party Exposure Limits

Becharaji Nagarik Sahakari Bank incurred a penalty of Rs 2 lakh for exceeding prudential inter-bank counter-party exposure limits, a violation of banking regulations.

3. Waghodia Urban Co-operative Bank – Rs 5 Lakh Penalty

Violations:

  • Breach of Prudential Inter-Bank Counter-Party Exposure Limits

  • Non-Payment of Interest on Recurring Deposits and Term Deposits

The Waghodia Urban Co-operative Bank faced a substantial penalty of Rs 5 lakh for several infractions. This includes sanctioning credit facilities to individuals where relatives of its directors acted as guarantors, leading to a breach of prudential inter-bank counter-party exposure limits.

Furthermore, the bank failed to pay interest on matured recurring deposits from the date of maturity until the date of repayment, at the rate applicable to savings deposits or at the contracted rate of interest, whichever was lower. It also neglected to pay interest on term deposits for Sundays, holidays, or non-business working days, repaying them on the succeeding working days.

4. Viramgam Mercantile Co-operative Bank – Rs 5 Lakh Penalty

Violation: Not Specified in the Release

While the RBI imposed a penalty of Rs 5 lakh on the Viramgam Mercantile Co-operative Bank, the specific violation leading to this penalty was not detailed in the release.

Government Receives ₹1,487 Crore in Dividend from NTPC

In a significant financial development, the Indian government has received a dividend tranche of ₹1,487 crore from the state-owned power corporation, NTPC. This follows NTPC’s recent announcement regarding the payment of its Final Dividend for the financial year 2022-23.

NTPC’s Generous Dividend Payment

NTPC, India’s leading power generation company, has disbursed an impressive ₹2,908.99 crore as its Final Dividend for the financial year 2022-23. This substantial dividend payment constitutes 30% of the paid-up equity share capital of NTPC Ltd. The total dividend amount disbursed for FY 2022-23 stands at a remarkable ₹7,030.08 crore, which represents 41% of the Profit After Tax (PAT) for the financial year.

Comparing Dividend Tranches

However, it’s worth noting that the recent dividend tranche of ₹1,487 crore is lower than the previous dividend release in February, which amounted to ₹2,106 crore. In February, the government also received dividends from other state-owned entities, including ₹1,791 crore from Power Grid Corporation of India Ltd. (PGCIL) and ₹58 crore from Engineers India Ltd.

NTPC Group’s Expanding Power Generation Capacity

Beyond dividends, NTPC has achieved a significant milestone in terms of its power generation capacity. The combined power generation capacity of the NTPC Group has now reached an impressive 73,824 megawatts (73.8 gigawatts). This achievement follows the successful trial operation of an initial 800-megawatt unit at the Telangana Super Thermal Power Project on September 5.

India’s Trade Deficit Narrows to $24.16 Billion in August

India’s merchandise exports in August 2023 declined by 6.86% to $34.48 billion compared to $37.02 billion in August 2022. The decline is evident in key sectors like Non-petroleum and non-gems and jewellery. India’s trade deficit for August 2023 narrowed to $24.16 billion, showing a 2.8% improvement from the $24.86 billion deficit in the same month last year.

Merchandise Imports Dip:

  • Imports of merchandise also saw a decrease, down by 5.23% to $58.64 billion from $61.88 billion in August 2022.

India’s Trade Deficit Narrows to $24.16 Billion in August

Trade Deficit Narrows:

  • Despite the decline in both exports and imports, India’s trade deficit for August 2023 narrowed to $24.16 billion, showing a 2.8% improvement from the $24.86 billion deficit in the same month last year.

April-August Trends:

  • In the April-August period of 2023, merchandise exports contracted by 11.9% to $172.95 billion.

  • Merchandise imports also fell by 12% to $271.83 billion during the same period.

Services Sector:

  • In August 2023, services exports were estimated at $26.39 billion, slightly down from $26.50 billion in August 2022.

  • Services imports for August 2023 stood at $13.86 billion, down from $15.22 billion in August 2022.

Services Sector Growth (April-August):

  • Services exports for the period from April to August 2023 reached $133.38 billion, reflecting a positive growth rate of 5.14% compared to the same period in the previous year.

  • Services imports for the same period stood at $71.98 billion.

Sectoral Highlights:

  • Notable sectors with substantial growth in merchandise exports in August 2023 included Iron Ore (1556.09%), Oil Meals (57.26%), and Electronic Goods (26.29%).

  • Electronic goods exports surged to $2.17 billion in August 2023, compared to $1.72 billion in August 2022, with substantial growth of 35.22% over the April-August 2023 period.

Challenges in Imports:

  • Merchandise imports faced challenges in August 2023, with 15 out of 30 key sectors experiencing negative growth.

  • Notable sectors with declining imports included Silver (-78.15%), Cotton Raw & Waste (-74.67%), and Fertilisers (-55.69%).

Overall Trade Performance (August 2023):

  • India’s overall exports, including both merchandise and services, stood at $60.87 billion in August 2023, reflecting a 4.17% decline compared to August 2022.

  • Imports for the same period totaled $72.50 billion, decreasing by 5.97% year-on-year, resulting in an overall trade deficit of $11.63 billion for August.

Tamil Nadu CM Stalin Launches Kalaignar Women’s Rights Fund Scheme

On the 15th of September, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin marked the birth anniversary of Dravidian icon C N Annadurai by unveiling a groundbreaking initiative aimed at uplifting women across the state. The initiative, aptly named the “Kalaignar Magalir Urimai Thogai Thittam” scheme, holds the potential to bring about a significant positive change in the lives of countless women in Tamil Nadu.

Honoring Dravidian Legends

Chief Minister MK Stalin chose a significant date for the launch of this initiative, as it coincided with the birth anniversary of the first Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, renowned Dravidian leader C N Annadurai. Annadurai, who hailed from Kancheepuram, played a pivotal role in steering the Dravidian movement and the DMK party to its historic victory in the 1967 assembly election. He subsequently served as Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister from 1967 to 1969 and founded the DMK in 1949. The launch of this scheme on his birth anniversary pays tribute to his remarkable legacy.

The Kalaignar Magalir Urimai Thogai Thittam Scheme

The heart of this visionary program is to provide monthly financial assistance of ₹1,000 to eligible women beneficiaries across Tamil Nadu. The initiative is named after another Dravidian stalwart, late DMK patriarch M Karunanidhi, popularly known as “Kalaignar,” which means an artist of eminence. This name was chosen to honor his immense contribution to the state and the party.

Inclusivity and Reach

The state government has taken a comprehensive approach to ensure that the scheme benefits a wide cross-section of women in Tamil Nadu. It has identified an impressive 1.06 crore women (approximately 1,06,50,000) as beneficiaries under the plan. The financial assistance of ₹1,000 per month will be disbursed through the Direct Benefit Transfer system, making it a seamless and efficient process.

CM Stalin Distributes ATM Cards, Achieving Full Election Promise Fulfillment

CM Stalin additionally distributed ATM cards to those who are beneficiaries of the program. The introduction of this initiative signifies the successful realization of a significant electoral commitment made by the ruling DMK party, achieving a complete fulfillment of the party’s pledges to the citizens.

A Tribute to Dravidian Values

On the 115th birth anniversary of C N Annadurai, CM Stalin paid his respects by garlanding a statue of the Dravidian stalwart before launching this ambitious and socially progressive scheme. It is a testament to the enduring legacy of Dravidian values and the commitment of the Tamil Nadu government to uplift its citizens, particularly its women.

Odisha CM Launches ‘Mukhyamantri Sampoorna Pushti Yojana’

In a significant move towards improving the overall health and well-being of its residents, Odisha’s Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik, unveiled the “Mukhyamantri Sampoorna Pushti Yojana.” This initiative, along with the complementary “Pada Pushti Yojana,” is a concerted effort to address the nutritional needs of mothers, adolescent girls, and children in the state. The launch of these programs demonstrates the government’s commitment to enhancing the nutritional status of its citizens and fostering a healthier future.

The Mukhyamantri Sampoorna Pushti Yojana

The Mukhyamantri Sampoorna Pushti Yojana is a comprehensive program aimed at tackling malnutrition and improving the nutritional well-being of the most vulnerable groups in Odisha—mothers, adolescent girls, and children. The program encompasses a wide range of initiatives designed to ensure that no one is left behind when it comes to receiving proper nutrition.

1)Targeted Support for Malnourished Children: Under this scheme, preparations have been made to provide entire meals to extremely malnourished children. Additionally, children who are moderately underweight will receive eggs and vitamin-enriched “chhatua” (roasted gram flour) as part of their diet. Children who are very underweight will receive complete meals to help them regain their health.

2)Nutritional Supplements for Pregnant Women and New Mothers: Pregnant women and new mothers will benefit from the provision of dry food supplements, ensuring they receive the essential nutrients they need during this critical phase of life.

The Pada Pushti Yojana

Complementing the Mukhyamantri Sampoorna Pushti Yojana, the “Pada Pushti Yojana” focuses on delivering top-notch cooked food to youngsters living in rural and tribal areas within their enclaves and villages. This initiative recognizes the importance of providing freshly prepared meals to children, especially those in remote regions.

The Importance of Nutrition in Development

Speaking at a meeting held at the Lok Seva Bhawan Convention Center, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik emphasized the close relationship between success and nutrition. He highlighted that improved nutrition is pivotal in achieving the state’s development objectives. The Chief Minister recognized that the foundation of a healthy family diet is laid by mothers and stressed their essential role in the success of these programs.

Odisha’s Commitment to Nutrition

Odisha has consistently demonstrated its commitment to addressing nutritional issues. In 2020–21, it became the first state in the nation to create a dedicated nutrition budget. The Mamata Yojana, which focuses on the well-being of pregnant women and young babies, has been providing proper care and support. The launch of the Mukhyamantri Sampoorna Pushti Yojana reinforces Odisha’s dedication to improving the nutritional status of its citizens and creating a healthier future for all.

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