Topic 1: Six Minor Tribes in Manipur
Context: National Socialist Council of Nagaland or NSCN (I-M) has claimed that six minor tribes in the State are Nagas.
- NSCN (I-M) claimed that six minor tribes Aimol, Chiru, Chothe, Kharam, Koireng, and Kom are part of the Naga community.
- By doing so NSCN (I-M) have asserted that the Meitei and Kuki people should not take these minor tribes otherwise and harass them in any manner.
- There are 33 tribes in Manipur.
- The three communities Meiteis, Nagas and Kukis account for much of Manipur’s population.
- While the Meiteis include the Pangals, who are Muslims, many tribes are clubbed either as Nagas or Kukis.
- Tribal groups representing either the Kukis or Nagas have periodically claimed the inclusion of minor tribes into their folds.
- For example, the Kukis requested PM Rajiv Gandhi in 1987 to give constitutional recognition of 30 tribes as Kukis.
Source: The Hindu
Topic 2: Passively Managed Mutual Funds
Context: SEBI has announced to introduce a new light-touch regulatory framework for Passively managed mutual funds.
- In recent years the passive funds have seen a sharp pick-up in assets under management.
- The market regulator SEBI will introduce an easier regulatory framework for passively managed mutual funds like exchange traded funds (ETFs) and index funds.
- The new regulations have been named ‘Mutual Fund Lite’ regulations for passives funds.
- As of March 2023, 16.5% of the ₹41.6 lakh crore mutual fund assets were in passively run funds.
- These funds blindly mimic the composition of stocks in different share market indices like the NSE Nifty 50 and BSE Sensex.
What was the need for new Regulations?
- While ETF units can be traded even intra-day, index funds offer traditional mutual fund units which can be bought or redeemed at their net asset value revised daily.
- SEBI has decided to encourage the ETF and Index funds as these funds provide transparency, diversification and lower cost vis-a-vis active funds.
- The new type of regulations for them will reduce compliance requirements, which are required for actively managed funds in different aspects, but can be dispensed with for passive funds.
- According to SEBI Mutual Fund segment is an under penetrated segment and more and more asset management companies need to be encouraged.
Source: The Hindu
Topic 3: The Fortified Rice
Context: Many civil society groups have warned that mass fortification of rice puts patients suffering from thalassemia and sickle cell disease at risk of an iron overload.
- Rice fortification has been adopted by seven countries, including the U.S., since 1958.
- According to government Niti Aayog had been actively engaged in running the scheme for distribution of fortoified rice.
- According to the Food Ministry consumption of fortified rice resulted in significant improvement in haemoglobin levels and reduction in the prevalence of anaemia.
- Evaluation of the scheme is done by NITI Aayog in association with the Indian Council of Medical Research.
Why fortify staple food?
- India is giving a massive push to fortify daily staples like cereals and milk with minerals and vitamins as a solution to micronutrient deficiency.
- So far, India has developed fortification standards for rice, wheat, edible oils, salt and milk.
- Data from the National Family Health Survey 2019-21 shows that 57 per cent of women in the reproductive age group (15-49) are deficient in iron.
- About a fifth of the children (0-5 years) who do not have access to a nutritious and diversified diet suffer from vitamin-A deficiency, while vitamin-D deficiency has been termed a silent epidemic.
- Narendra Modi announced that all rice provided under food security schemes will be fortified with iron and folic acid by 2024.
- The government distributes over 30 million tonnes of rice under public food programmes, about a fourth of India’s annual rice production.
How is rice fortified with iron?
- The milled broken rice is ground to dust and a premix of vitamins and minerals is added to it.
- Thereafter, an extruder machine is used to produce fortified rice kernels (FRK) resembling rice grains.
- The kernels are then mixed in a 1:100 ratio with regular rice to produce fortified rice.
- The cost to the consumer is estimated to be less than 50 paisa per kg.
According to the food ministry, the fortification programme aims to cover 291 aspirational and high burden (nutrient deficient) districts across the country.
Source: The Indian Express
Topic 4: WTO’s Appellate Body
Context: India has moved the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) apex dispute resolution body, the Appellate Body, against a WTO panel ruling that said its import duties on some information and technology products are inconsistent with global trade norms.
- India argued that WTO’s panel committed legal errors in interpretation of the trade norms.
- India has asked the tribunal to ‘reverse, modify, or declare moot and of no legal effect, the findings, conclusions, rulings and recommendations of the panel’.
- Notably, the tribunal hasn’t been functional for nearly two years due to America’s blockage on appointment of judges.
- India has pointed out that developed countries have been inadvertently impacted by some Indian tariffs.
- India has kept tariffs high on several products to compete with certain “non-transparent“ geographies.
- In April, 2023, WTO’s dispute panel said import duties imposed by India on certain information and technology products violate global trade norms.
- This followed a dispute filed by the European Union (EU), Japan and Taiwan against these duties in WTO.
- The appeal was filed by India in the WTO’s Appellate Body, which is the final authority on trade disputes.
- The panel’s decision proceeds on the basis that India already had notice of expansion of tariff lines under its schedule, and thereafter India contributed through its inaction during the transposition process.
- Earlier in 2019, the EU had challenged the introduction of import duties by India on a wide range of ICT products, for instance, mobile phones and components, base stations, integrated circuits and optical instruments.
- The Indian government estimates that the WTO panel’s report will have little impact on India’s ICT products as the EU’s share of total Indian imports of ICT products in 2022 was 3.03% or $550 million.
- Moreover, India has brought its duty rates to nil with respect to two of the contested products, namely, headphones/earphones and electric convertors, since February 2022.
- According to trade experts, if the appellate body also passes a ruling against India’s support measures, New Delhi will have to abide by that and make appropriate changes in the way it provides these measures.
- This is not the first time that India has appealled against a ruling of WTO’s trade setlement dispute.
- In 2022, India had appealed against a ruling of WTO’s trade dispute settlement panel which said that the country’s domestic support measures for sugar and sugarcane are inconsistent with global trade norms.
Source: Live Mint
Topic 5: Indus Valley Civilization Dancing Girls
Context: Prime Minister inaugurated the Mascot of International Museaum expo-‘A contemporised version of the famous Dancing girl of Mohenjodaro.
- The contemporarised life size version of a 5-feet tall toy in Channapatna style inspired by the Bronze Dancing Girl of Mohenjo-Daro is the official mascot of the International Museum Expo 2023.
- According to PIB the Mascot is interpreted as a modern-day “dwarpaal” or door-guardian that ushers the audience into the experience of the International Museum Expo 2023.
- The dancing girl of Mohenjo-Daro has long fascinated historians and archaeologists.
- The figurine has a pleasing stance of a young and spirited women.
- John Marshal has described the figurine as ‘a young girl, her hand on her hip in a half-imputed posture and legs slightly forward as she beats’.
- According to John Marshal, there is no evidence to establish that she is a dancer.
- The figurine depicts the sophistication of Harappan artistry and metallurgy.
- The dancing girl is the evidence that the Harappan civilization knew the art of metal bending and lost-wax casting.Topic 6: Key Schemes of the Present Government