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6th May 2023

India, Pakistan exchange barbs over terrorism, J&K at SCO meet


Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s recent visit to India to attend an SCO conference has sparked renewed interest in the state of bilateral relations between India and Pakistan.

Points hit out by India

  • India hit out at Pakistan for exporting terror to India.
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar accused the Pakistani Foreign Minister of being a “promoter, justifier and a spokesperson of a terror industry”.

What made New Delhi toughen its stand?

The thickly forested Rajouri-Poonch sector has become a hotbed of Pakistan terrorism since 2021 and the present attacks are designed by Rawalpindi to derail the G-20 meeting.

  • The killing of five Indian Army soldiers by the terrorists in J&K. The incident took place just about a fortnight after India had lost five Rashtriya Rifles soldiers in another attack in the union territory by terrorists from Pakistan.
  • The back-to-back incidents cast a shadow over what was the first ministerial visit from Pakistan to India since December 2016.

What are the current issues between India and Pakistan?

  • Background: India and Pakistan have mostly been at odds since 1947, when both emerged as independent countries after decades of British rule. The two states fought a war in that year—and three more in the years since, in 1965, 1971, and 1999.
  • Issues in present times
    • Cross-border terrorism: India has accused Pakistan of supporting terrorist groups that operate in Indian-administered Kashmir.
    • Disputed territory of Kashmir
    • Treatment of minorities in Pakistan
    • Indus Waters Treaty(IWT): India wants to modify the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT). The treaty was signed between the two countries in 1960, with the World Bank as guarantor, to regulate use of their shared rivers. The demand from India is for Pakistan “to enter into inter-governmental negotiations within 90 days to rectify the material breach of IWT. This process would also update IWT to incorporate the lessons learned over the last 62 years.

COVID pandemic is no longer an emergency, declares WHO


The World Health Organization that Covid-19 no longer qualifies as a global emergency, marking a symbolic end to the devastating coronavirus pandemic that killed at least 7 million people worldwide.

  • The novel viral infection came to light after China reported a cluster of pneumonia cases with no known cause from Wuhan on December 31, 2019.
  • WHO raised its highest level of alert and termed the infection a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), a designation that remained in place for over three years.

When does a health threat become ‘global emergency’?

  • The classification of a health threat as a global emergency is meant to warn political authorities that there is an extraordinary event that could constitute a health threat to other countries and requires a coordinated response to contain it.
  • WHO's emergency declarations are typically used as an international SOS for countries who need help.
  • They can also spur countries to introduce special measures to combat disease or release extra funds.
  • WHO is the only agency mandated to coordinate the world’s response to acute health threats.

Previous global emergencies

  • WHO has previously declared global emergencies for outbreaks of swine flu, Zika, Ebola, polio and mpox, formerly called monkeypox.
    • Polio was declared nearly nine years ago. Its emergency status has persisted.

Is Covid not a threat anymore?

  • Even though the emergency phase was over, the pandemic hasn’t come to an end, noting recent spikes in cases in Southeast Asia and the Middle East. 
  • That does not mean Covid-19 is over as a global health threat.

Programme for non-communicable diseases renamed


The Union health ministry has decided to rename its national programme and portal aimed at tackling the rising challenge of non-communicable diseases.

The need

  • In the last few years, many new diseases or disease groups or new initiatives have been added to the programme such as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, chronic kidney disease, STEMI among others”.
  • There was a need that scheme in its present form may subsume all types of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) under a new name.

Non-communicable diseases (NCD)

  • NCDs refer to chronic diseases that are not passed from person to person. It includes heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung diseases.
  • Non communicable diseases (NCDs) kill 41 million people each year worldwide, equivalent to 71% of all deaths globally. 

The Previous Programme

  • Earlier the programme on non-communicable diseases included diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and stroke, and hence it was known as the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Stroke (NPCDCS).
    • NPCDCS was being implemented under the National Health Mission (NHM) across the country.

The new programme

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has decided to rename ‘NPCDCS’ as the National Programme for Prevention & Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NP-NCD).

National NCD Portal:

  • The government has also renamed the portal which enables population enumeration, risk assessment, and screening for five common NCDs, including hypertension, diabetes, and oral, breast and cervical cancer of the population aged above 30 years.
    • While earlier, the application or software called Comprehensive Primary Healthcare Non-Communicable Disease (CPHC NCD IT) was rolled out under the programme for screening and management, now it will also be renamed National NCD Portal.

India Amends Anti-Money Laundering Law


Widening the ambit of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, the Finance Ministry has tightened the reporting norms for non-profit organisations and beneficial ownership rules.

Basics of India’s Anti-money laundering (AML) regulations

  • The Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA), 2002 and its accompanying rules (PML Rules) serve as the primary legal framework for the prosecution of money laundering in India.
  • Applicability: Anti-money laundering (AML) regulations in India apply to a range of entities, such as companies, banks, crypto exchanges, foreign portfolio investors, trusts, and NGOs.
  • Financial transactions are included under the PMLA
    • Buying and selling any immovable property.
    • Managing client money, securities, or other assets.
    • Management of bank, savings, or securities accounts.
    • Organization of contributions for the creation, operation, or management of companies.
    • Creation, operation, or management of companies, limited liability partnerships or trusts, and buying and selling of business entities.

PML (Maintenance of Records) Amendment Rules, 2023

  • Earlier in March, 2023, the Prevention of Money Laundering (Maintenance of Records) Amendment Rules, 2023 were introduced by the Department of Revenue under the Ministry of Finance.
  • These rules widened the ambit of reporting entities under money laundering provisions to incorporate more disclosures for non-governmental organisations and defined politically exposed persons (PEPs) under the PMLA in line with the recommendations of the
  • The new rules require reporting entities like financial institutions, banking companies, or intermediaries to disclose beneficial owners in addition to the current KYC requirements through documents like registration certificates and PAN (Permanent Account Number).

What are the recent amendments to PMLA, 2002?

PEPs are individuals who have been “entrusted with prominent public functions by a foreign country, including the heads of States or Governments, senior politicians, senior government or judicial or military officers, senior executives of state-owned corporations and important political party officials”.

  • Politically exposed person: The amendment rules have introduced a new clause, which defines “Politically Exposed Persons” (PEPs).
  • Beneficial ownership: In line with existing provisions of The Income-Tax Act, 1961 and The Companies Act, the amended rules have now lowered the threshold for identifying beneficial owners by reporting entities, where the client is acting on behalf of its beneficial owner.
    • Bringing into reporting net: Earlier, definition of “beneficial owner” included, among other things, the ownership of or right to more than 25 percent of the company’s shares, capital, or profits. This threshold of 25 percent has been lowered to 10 percent, bringing more indirect players into the reporting net.
    • Data: The amendments require “reporting entities”- banks, other financial institutions, and businesses operating in the real estate and jewelry industries – to gather data on each person or organization that has a 10 percent ownership in their clients.


The notification defines non-profit organisations as entities or organisations that are registered as a trust or a society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, or any similar state legislation, or a company registered under Section 8 of the Companies Act, 2013.

  • Non-profit organisations: The new rules have also tightened the reporting norms for non-profit organisations.
    • If the client is a non-profit organization, reporting entities must also register the client’s information on the NITI Aayog’s DARPAN portal.
  • Due diligence and documentation: The necessary due diligence documentation has now expanded beyond just getting the fundamental KYCs of clients, it now also involves the submission of information, such as the names of those in top management positions, partners, beneficiaries, trustees, settlors, and writers.
    • Moreover, clients must now provide information about their registered office and primary place of business to financial institutions, banks, or intermediaries.
  • Cryptocurrency and virtual digital assets (VDAs): The new rules have brought crypto currency and VDAsunder the ambit of anti-money laundering law (AML).
  • Transactions: The transactions covered by the PMLA now include:
    • Converting virtual digital assets into fiat currencies and vice versa
    • Exchanging one or more forms of virtual digital assets
    • Transferring virtual digital assets
    • Securely storing or managing virtual digital assets
    • Providing financial services related to the sale of virtual digital assets by an issuer

Who needs to follow anti-money laundering regulations?

As of May, 2023, the following entities are subject to AML Compliance in India:

Entities Subject to AML Compliance in India


Beneficial owners



Non face-to-face customers

Partnership firms


Foreign portfolio investors


Politically exposed persons outside India

Banking intermediaries and financial companies

Intermediaries in the crypto ecosystem, such as crypto exchanges, wallets, service providers

Accounting professionals including CA, CS, CWA


Which authorities investigate and prosecute anti-money laundering offences in India?

  • Directorate of Enforcement (ED): At the federal level, the Directorate of Enforcement (ED) is the principal legal entity in charge of looking into and prosecuting money laundering offences under the PMLA.
    • The ED comes under the Department of Revenuewithin the Ministry of Finance. It has the authority to initiate proceedings for the seizure of property as well as proceedings in the designated Special Court for money laundering crimes.
  • Financial Intelligence Unit – India (FIU-IND): The Financial Intelligence Unit – India (FIU-IND), which is a part of the Department of Revenue and Ministry of Finance, is the primary national body in charge of collecting, processing, assessing, and disseminating data about suspicious financial transactions to law enforcement authorities and foreign FIUs.
  • Economic Offences Wing, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI): The CBI is a specialized police organization that’s been established to investigate certain kinds of crimes, such as crimes involving public officials who have engaged in corruption, significant economic offences, fraud, and crimes that have implications for the country or multiple states.
  • Income Tax Department:This department has the authority to impose taxes on undisclosed foreign income and assets held by Indian residents to prevent the crime of money laundering.
  • Registrar of Companies (RoC):As per the new requirement under the Companies Act 2013, every Indian company, whether private and public, is mandated to file with the RoC a record of the company’s significant beneficial owners (in eForm MGT-6).
  • Regulators like the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI), and Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority of India (IRDAI) are empowered to handle matters relating to money laundering activities and establish AML standards.

Centre looks into options to counter EU’s carbon tax plan


The Commerce Ministry is exploring various options to cope with the European Union’s decision to introduce a Carbon Tax, including retaliatory tariff measures, a challenge at the World Trade Organisation and measures to help smaller Indian exporters.

What is EU’s Carbon Tax?

  • To combat carbon leakage, the EU is embarking on an experiment that would expand its climate change policies to imports.
  • The policy is called Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism ('CBAM') alias Carbon Border Tax which imposes importers and non-EU manufacturers to pay for the carbon emission linked to the goods they sell within EU limits.
  • Starting January 2026, the Indian steel, cement, aluminium, and fertiliser industries will pay steep Carbon Border Tax (CBT) imposed by the European Union (EU).
  • The CBAM will walk on the footprints of ETS, i.e., importers will be required to purchase carbon import certificates/ permits for each metric ton of CO2 brought into the EU through specified goods.

EU’s Emission Trading System (ETS)

  • Launched in: 2005
  • It is a long-standing greenhouse gas emissions trading scheme
  • The European Commission, in 2020, had approved a set of revitalised policies, collectively named "The European Green Deal", with a primary objective to curb climate change by dipping carbon emissions by EU nations in a phased manner, striving to become a net-zero emitter of greenhouse gases, by the year 2050.

How would EU’s Carbon Tax impact India?

  • Higher taxes: Steel and aluminium sectors have high emission intensity and hence would attract high taxes.
  • The EU buys half of its $60 billion in steel from five countries — China, Russian Federation, Turkey, India, and South Korea.
  • Many Indian firms use electric arc furnaces, a more carbon-efficient process.
  • The tax is zero if steel is made using green hydrogen as fuel and a reducing agent.
  • Risk of losing market share: Indian firms risk losing market share to EU-based producers or those in other more carbon-efficient nations. CBT will affect substantial exports as the EU is an important trade partner for India.
  • Increasing cost of export: CBT will increase the cost of exporting steel, cement, aluminium, fertilisers, and electricity from India to the EU.

Why the burden would be more on developing countries (like India)?

China, the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, has opposed the CBAM as a trade barrier, while it is also planning to develop its own emissions trading market.

  • Expensive affair for developing nations: CBT will depend on the carbon price paid in the home country and the production process Since most developed country industries would pay high carbon prices in their home countries, the tax rate will be zero or low.
  • Trade diversion: CBT will create FTA-like trade diversion effect. Even though a product from India may be cheaper than an American product, tax plus product price will make Indian products more expensive. This will lead to the EU firms sourcing more from developed countries. Thus, the trade will divert to costlier suppliers.

How India can switch to low carbon process?

  • The three steelmaking processes with progressively lower emission intensity are
    • Blast furnaces using iron ore and coal/coke
    • Electric arc furnace using steel scrap as inputs and electricity
    • Using hydrogen in a “direct reduction” process that converts iron ore to metallic iron for feeding into an electric arc furnace

What are the ‘Green Hydrogen’ challenges for India?

  • Green hydrogen is produced from renewable energy sources.
  • Using green hydrogen in steel plants can significantly reduce the carbon emissions of steelmaking, as it eliminates the use of coal and coke.
  • Challenges: However, it faces challenges, such as:
    • scaling up the production and supply of green hydrogen
    • deploying the direct reduction technology that can use 100 per cent hydrogen as a reducing agent
    • ensuring the safety and reliability of hydrogen transport and storage
    • investing in the infrastructure and equipment for green hydrogen production and use
    • competing with the low-cost conventional steelmaking based on coal and coke

Short News Article

Polity & Governance (GS-II)

River Cities Alliance (RCA)

National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) in association with the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) organized the ‘River-Cities Alliance (RCA) Global Seminar.

About RCA

  • Started in: 2021
  • The Alliance is open to all river cities of India. Any river city can join the Alliance at any time.
  • Objective: to provide the member cities with a platform to discuss and exchange information on aspects that are vital for sustainable management of urban rivers, sharing best practices and supporting innovation. 
  • It is a joint initiative of the Department of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation under the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) & the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
  • Coverage: Beginning with 30 member cities, the Alliance has expanded to 109 river cities across India and one international member city from Denmark.

Science & Technology (GS-III)

GSK’s Arexvy, world’s first RSV  vaccine

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Arexvy from GSK, making the British pharma giant’s product the first U.S.-cleared shot for respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

About respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

  • RSV is a highly contagious virus that causes infections of the lungs and breathing passages in individuals of all age groups.
  • RSV is a common cause of lower respiratory tract disease (LRTD), which affects the lungs and can cause life-threatening pneumonia and bronchiolitis (swelling of the small airway passages in the lungs).
  • Older adults are at high risk for severe disease due in part to age-related decline in immunity.
  • Arexvy is indicated for those aged 60 years and older to prevent lower respiratory tract disease caused by RSV.


The horizon for India beyond the G-20, SCO summits


India’s year-long presidency of the G-20, and leadership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), should not blind us to the persisting challenges the nation faces, due to a concatenation of circumstances.

Two camps and distrust

  • Global conflict: The world may not, as yet, be on the brink of a global conflict, but it is perilously close to it. There exists strong distrust between the two camps led by the United States and China/Russia, respectively.
  • Little scope to manoeuvre: There exists little scope for countries such as India any room for manoeuvre as they have not declared their allegiance to either camp.
  • Demonstrating weaponry: USA and its allies are in a position to provide Ukraine with an arsenal of the most sophisticated weaponry available. Meanwhile, Russia is also clandestinely receiving equipment and material from its allies.

The issues for India begin with China

  • Aggressive China: China is displaying its naval prowess in the seas around much of East and Southeast Asia, and a flexing of its military muscle in the Ladakh and Arunachal sectors of the Sino-Indian border.
  • China’s efforts to checkmate India: China is launching several other regional initiatives to checkmate India in the Indian Ocean region.
  • China’s efforts to restrict India’s influence: China is also actively engaged in seeking new friends in India’s extended neighbourhood, in a bid to limit India’s influence in this region.
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