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6th April 2024 (11 Topics)

6th April 2024

QUIZ - 6th April 2024

5 Questions

5 Minutes


The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) announced the launch of its 'Vision for Regional Security', a new initiative formulated by the six-country bloc earlier.

1: Dimension-Issues covered in the Vision

  • There are several topics that the vision covers, outlined in 15 specific points, such as issues relating to regional security and stability, economy and development, as well as climate change.
  • One such geopolitical challenge that the vision seeks to resolve is the issue of Israel's occupationof the Palestinian territories, reaffirming the GCC's commitment to the Arab Peace Initiative that was first endorsed by the Arab League in 2002, despite Bahrain and the UAE normalising relations with Israel.
  • The vision also calls for the end of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank and nots that the conflict is a key issue destabilising the region.
  • It also addresses nuclear non-proliferation in the region, a long-standing issue due to Iran's nuclear programme, as well as a commitment on the right to civil nuclearuse, a policy which has been sought by both the UAE and Saudi Arabia.
  • Among others, it calls for a two-State solution, the withdrawal of Israeli forces to the pre-June 1967 borders and the establishment of an independent Palestinian State with East Jerusalem as its capital. 
  • Other points include addressing cyber security issues, global energy market stability, climate change and the advancement of implementing a 'circular carbon economy' and securing water security. 

The document has come at a time when the West Asian region is engulfed in a turmoil since the beginning of the Israel–Hamas War in October 2023.  Its launch has provoked questions about what the security plan entails and how it will be implemented, particularly with its formation coinciding with Israel's war on Gaza and a spate of attacks on regional Red Sea shipping.

Fact Box: Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

  • The GCC is an economic and political bloc formed in 1981, in the face of regional conflict and tensions. It includes Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman, six countries with huge oil resources and some of the highest per capita GDPs in the world.
  • Despite the agreement on greater economic and political integration there have been huge divergences on the goals of the GCC and differences on regional policy.
  • There has been a new push for greater cooperation after the blockade on Qatar by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain ended in 2021 with the Al-Ula Agreement.



India is planning a major move to unify its four Flight Information Regions (FIRs) in Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, into one continuous airspace in Nagpur and have harmonized Air Traffic Management from Nagpur which has a unique central location in the country.                                                   

1: Dimension- Persistent Challenges in air traffic management

  • Inefficient air traffic management exacerbates congestion issues and compromises flight safety. India's airspace is fragmented, with multiple air traffic control (ATC) authorities responsible for different regions, leading to coordination challenges and suboptimal routing.
  • Skies are already capacity-crunched and are set to become even more so with the advent of new airspace users such as electric vertical take-off and landing aircrafts (eVTOLs).
  • Managing increased volume of airborne vehicles efficiently, while maintaining or even enhancing safety and avoiding congestion, represents a significant challenge.

2: Dimension- Impact of the move

  • The single continuum Flight Information Region (FIR) would yield a lot of benefits in terms of safety, efficiency, user satisfaction, reduced carbon footprint and optimum manpower utilization.
  • Indian Single Sky Harmonized Air Traffic Management at Nagpur (ISHAN) is expected to reduce separations (between flights) and have more fuel-efficient flight paths for aircraft.
  • The unification aims to streamline and enhance air traffic management (ATM) operations in the region.
  • If this plan is implemented, the air traffic controllers of every area control would not be required to coordinate for domestic flights flying above 25,000 ft (flights in the upper airspace) as they would all be handled by Air traffic controllers (ATCOs) in Nagpur.
  • The ATCOs in every region or airport would then only work to guide the flights approaching or taking off from an airport until it enters the upper space which is referred to as ‘Area control’ in aviation parlance”.

Fact Box:

India’s Airspace

  • India is the major air navigation service provider in the Asia-Pacific region and controls over 2.8 million square nautical miles.
  • This quantum of airspace is controlled by India through four flight information regions (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai) with a sub-FIR at Guwahati.
  • India is sharing its Flight Information Regions (FIR) with 12 neighbouring countries.
  • Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) is the regulatory body for Civil Aviation in India.
  • The Airports Authority of India (AAI) is the statutory body which is responsible for creating, upgrading, maintaining and managing civil aviation infrastructure in India.
    • It also takes care of Air Traffic Management (ATM) and Communication Navigation Surveillance (CNS) of Indian Airspace.

Rights over Airspace

  • Article 1 of the Convention on International Civil Aviation, with regards to sovereignty of Airspace states that ‘every State has complete and exclusive sovereignty over the airspace above its territory’. 
  • Further, the territory of any state includes 12 nautical miles of territorial waters off the coastline.
  • Airspace which is not within any country’s territorial limit is considered as ‘International Airspace’.  


The index of mineral production for the month of Feb 2024 was 139.6, which is 8.0% higher as compared to the level in the month of Feb 2023. The cumulative growth of this index for the 11-month period of April–Feb of FY24 over the corresponding period of the previous year was higher by 8.2%.

Key Highlights

  • Some of the non-fuel minerals showing positive growth during the month of Feb 2024 as compared to the corresponding month of the previous year are Bauxite, Chromite, Copper Concentrate, Gold, Zinc Concentrate, Manganese Ore, Phosphorite, Diamond, Graphite (R.O.M.), Limestone, Magnesite, etc.
  • Iron ore and Limestone together account for about 80% of the total MCDR mineral production by value.
  • In the non-ferrous metal sector, production of primary Aluminium metal has increased.

Significance of the development

  • India is the 2nd largest Aluminium producer, 3rd largest lime producer and 4th largest iron ore producer in the world.
  • Healthy growth in production of iron ore and limestone reflect the robust demand conditions in the user industries viz. steel and cement.
  • Coupled with the high growth in Aluminium, these growth trends point towards strong economic activity in user sectors such as energy, infrastructure, construction, automotive and machinery.
  • With the launch of the National Mineral Policy 2019 and the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act 2021, India presents a major opportunity for investors looking to invest in the metal industry in India.
  • Important Government schemes: Production Linked Incentives (PLI) Scheme, Make in India Campaign, Smart Cities, Rural Electrification, and a focus on building renewable energy projects under the National Electricity Policy


India abstained in the UN Human Rights Council on a resolution that called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and also demanded that Israel immediately lift its illegal blockade on the strip.

The Resolution

  • The resolution demanded that Israel, the occupying Power, end its occupation of the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem.
  • It stressed that all efforts to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be grounded in respect for international humanitarian law and international human rights law and relevant United Nations resolutions.
  • The resolution also called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, for immediate emergency humanitarian access and assistance and for the urgent restoration of basic necessities to the Palestinian population in Gaza.

Fact Box: United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC):

  • The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the world.
  • Formation:
    • The Council was created by the United Nations General Assembly in 2006. It replaced the former United Nations Commission on Human Rights.
    • The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) serves as the Secretariat of the Human Rights Council.
    • OHCHR is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Members: It is made up of 47 United Nations Member States which are elected by the UN General Assembly (UNGA).
    • The Council's Membership is based on equitable geographical distribution. Seats are distributed as follows:
      • African States: 13 seats
      • Asia-Pacific States: 13 seats
      • Latin American and Caribbean States: 8 seats
      • Western European and other States: 7 seats
      • Eastern European States: 6 seats
  • Members of the Council serve for a period of three years and are not eligible for immediate re-election after serving two consecutive terms.


The Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee unanimously decided to keep the key interest rates unchanged at 6.50 per cent for the seventh consecutive time. The policy stance is also maintained at ‘withdrawal of accommodation’.

Key Highlights

  • Inflation is moving closer to targets. Retail inflation is projected for the current year at 4.5%. The RBI has been mandated by the government to maintain retail inflation at 4% with a 2% margin on either side.
  • Core inflation has declined steadily over the last nine months while fuel component remained in deflation for six straight months.
  • Indian economy is projected to grow 7% this financial year.
  • Forex Reserve: India continues to remain the largest receiver of remittances with the country's foreign portfolio investment seeing a significant turnaround.
  • The global economy has remained resilient and global trade is expected to grow faster in 2024.

Impact of the move

An unchanged repo rate means the loan interest rates too are likely to remain unchanged.

Key-terms in the monetary policy review

Repo rate

  • Repo rate is an interest rate at which the RBI provides liquidity under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) to banks against the collateral of government and other approved securities.
  • Currently, the repo rate is at 6.50 percent.

Standing Deposit Facility (SDF) Rate

  • SDF rate is a rate at which the RBI accepts uncollateralised deposits, on an overnight basis, from banks.
  • The SDF is also a financial stability tool in addition to its role in liquidity management. The SDF rate is placed at 25 basis points below the policy repo rate.
  • Currently, SDF rate is at 6.25 percent.

Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) Rate


  • The penal rate at which banks can borrow, on an overnight basis, from the central bank by dipping into their Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) portfolio up to a predefined limit (2 per cent).
  • MSF rate currently stands at 6.75 percent.

Fine Tuning Operations


  • The main liquidity operation is supported by fine-tuning operations, overnight and/or longer tenor, to tide over any unanticipated liquidity changes during the reserve maintenance period.
  • In addition, the RBI conducts, if needed, longer-term variable rate repo/reverse repo auctions of more than 14 days.

Monetary policy stance


There are various stances:

  • Accommodative Stance, which means the central bank is prepared to expand the money supply to boost economic growth.
  • Neutral stance suggests that the central bank can either cut rate or increase rate. This stance is typically adopted when the policy priority is equal on both inflation and growth.
  • Hawkish stance indicates that the central bank’s top priority is to keep the inflation low. During such a phase, the central bank is willing to hike interest rates to curb money supply and thus reduce the demand.
  • Calibrated tightening means during the current rate cycle, a cut in the repo rate is off the table.

CPI Inflation


  • Consumer Price Index (CPI) based Inflation is a measure of changes in the price levels of goods and services purchased by households.


The Reserve Bank of India announced a proposal for a new UPI-based cash deposit facility


  • UPI has primarily been used for peer-to-peer transactions, bill payments, merchant transactions and other digital payments.
  • Now, with the latest announcement, cash deposit at Cash Deposit Machines (CDMs) using UPI instead of needing an ATM/debit card will be possible.

Fact Box: UPI

  • Unified Payments Interface is a real-time payment system developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
  • It facilitates instant fund transfers between two bank accounts on a mobile platform, without requiring details of the beneficiary’s bank account.


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced the launch of a mobile application, the 'G-sec App', as part of its Retail Direct Scheme. This initiative aims to simplify the process of investing in government securities (G-Secs) for retail investors.


About G-sec App

  • The G-sec App serves as a one-stop solution for retail investors looking to invest in government bonds and treasury bills.
  • It provides a user-friendly interface for buying and selling securities, eliminating the complexities of traditional investment methods.

Fact Box:

Retail Direct Scheme

  • The Retail Direct Scheme was introduced in 2021 to enable individual investors to directly invest in G-Secs issued by the Central and State Governments.
  • This eliminates the need for intermediaries or agents, making the investment process more accessible and transparent.

Government securities

  • Government securities, also known as G-Secs, are investment instruments issued by governments to raise funds.
  • They offer a low-risk investment option with fixed interest rates.
  • Treasury bills are short-term securities issued for less than 12 months, while bonds are issued for longer durations.





Circular carbon economy

A circular carbon economy is a framework for managing and reducing emissions. It is a closed loop system involving 4Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle, and remove.


Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL)

Electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft take off vertically like a helicopter. The key difference is that they are powered by electric motors instead of conventional combustion engines.


National Airspace and International Airspace

National Airspace only composes the land and territorial waters (i.e.: beyond 12NM).  Airspace which is not within any country's territorial limit is considered as 'International Airspace'. 


Territorial Waters

Territorial waters, in international law, that area of the sea immediately adjacent to the shores of a state and subject to the territorial jurisdiction of that state. Territorial sea is defined under the UNCLOS as the 12-nautical mile zone from the baseline or low-water line along the coast.


Two-state solution

 Two-state solution is fundamentally about how or whether to split the country's territory between the Jewish and Arab populations. It means establishing two states for the people of two communities, that is, Israel for the Jewish people and Palestine for the Palestinian people. 


India’s response to China's attempts to rename geographical entities in Arunachal Pradesh and India's stance on the South China Sea dispute is an assurance for Manila and a warning for Beijing.

China's Renaming Efforts:

  • Geographical Renaming: China initiated a series of efforts to rename places in Arunachal Pradesh, termed as "Zangnan" by China, starting in 2017 and continuing with additional renamings in subsequent years.
  • Strategic Intent: China's renaming tactics reflect its long-term strategy of asserting territorial claims and using historical narratives as a tool for expansion and influence.
  • Historical Claims: China's historical assertions, such as invoking figures like Zheng He and claiming ancestral graves in Arunachal Pradesh, demonstrate its utilization of history to justify territorial ambitions and influence public perception.

India's Response and Diplomatic Stand:

  • Dismissal of Renaming Attempts: India firmly rejected China's renaming attempts in Arunachal Pradesh, emphasizing India's sovereignty over the region.
  • Strategic Diplomacy: Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar's recent visit to the Philippines signalled a departure from India's traditional non-interventionist stance by expressing support for the Philippines in the South China Sea dispute.
  • Rules-Based Order Advocacy: India reiterated its commitment to a rules-based international order and adherence to UNCLOS 1982, calling on China to respect the 2016 Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling invalidating its claims in the South China Sea.

China's Response and India's Position:

  • Chinese Reaction: China responded predictably to India's stance, accusing India of seeking to embroil other nations in conflicts with China and warning of negative consequences for India-China relations.
  • India's Responsible Role: India reiterated its commitment to peace, stability, and credibility in international relations, emphasizing adherence to a rules-based order and advocating for diplomatic resolutions to disputes.
  • Mutual Expectations: India seeks similar commitments from China, as evidenced by recent communications between Indian and Chinese leadership, emphasizing the importance of peace, stability, and adherence to international norms.
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The ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict has drawn international attention due to escalating tensions and the potential for wider regional conflict.

Certainty of No Palestinian State:

  • Diminished Prospects: Despite past negotiations and attempts to establish a two-state solution, the likelihood of an independent Palestinian state remains bleak.
  • Erosion of Support: Support for a Palestinian state among Israelis has waned, exacerbated by the rising popularity of Hamas, a militant group opposed to Israel's existence.
  • Credibility Crisis: The Palestinian Authority's perceived corruption and inefficacy have undermined its legitimacy, making the emergence of a moderate Palestinian government improbable.

Probability of Wider Conflict:

  • Involvement of Regional Actors: The conflict's complexity is compounded by the involvement of regional actors like Hezbollah in Lebanon, which poses a significant threat to Israel.
  • Escalation Risk: The conflict's potential to escalate into a broader regional conflict involving Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Iran, and possibly Egypt heightens the risk of instability.
  • Continued Hostilities: Despite international efforts to secure a ceasefire, ongoing hostilities persist, driven by geopolitical dynamics and entrenched grievances.
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 The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) maintained the status quo on key policy rates in its first meeting of the financial year.

Committee Decision and Rationale:

  • Policy Stance Retained: The MPC decided to keep the repo rate unchanged at 6.5% and maintained its policy stance focused on the withdrawal of accommodation.
  • Inflation Concerns: Despite core inflation falling to 3.4% in February, elevated food prices contributed to the decision to remain watchful for upside risks to inflation.
  • Disinflationary Policy: RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das emphasized the need for policy to remain "actively disinflationary" to anchor inflation expectations and mitigate potential risks to disinflation.

Inflation and Growth Outlook:

  • Rising Food Inflation: Recent data showed an increase in consumer food price index to 8.66% in February, driven by higher prices in cereals, eggs, vegetables, pulses, and spices.
  • Monsoon Expectations: Anticipated improvements in rainfall, with La Niña conditions forecasted, may alleviate food inflation concerns, providing clarity in the coming months.
  • Growth Projections: RBI retained its GDP growth estimate at 7% for 2024-25, citing healthy momentum, particularly in private consumption and investment, despite lingering uncertainties.
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