Call Us Now

+91 9606900005 / 04

For Enquiry

Current Affairs 17 May 2024

  1. Surge in Employment Generation Raises Debates in India
  2. Abortion law
  3. UNCTAD Global Trade Update 2024: International Trade Set for Rebound
  4. Smart Cities Mission
  5. SBI Becomes First Bank to Attain Trading cum Clearing Membership at IIBX
  6. World Migration Report 2024
  7. Global Report on Internal Displacement 2024


India has experienced a substantial increase in employment, witnessing the creation of over 80 million additional jobs from 2017-18 to 2022-23. This surge has ignited discussions regarding its root causes and the sustainability of this trend.


GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Trends in Employment Growth
  2. Trend in Wages and Salaries
  3. Concerns Regarding Employment in India

Key Trends in Employment Growth:

  • Consistent Growth: Principal employment has shown steady growth since 1983, with no instances of jobless growth.
  • Period of Fastest Increase: The period from 2017-18 to 2022-23 witnessed the fastest increase, adding about 80 million jobs annually at a rate of 3.3%.
  • Improvements in Labour Market Indicators: Despite long-term deterioration, recent years have seen improvements in indicators like labour force participation rate, workforce participation rate, and unemployment rate.
  • Well-Distributed Growth: Employment growth has been evenly spread across rural and urban sectors as well as various industries.
  • Significant Growth Among Women and Older Individuals: Employment growth has been highest among women (over 8% annually) and individuals aged 60 and above (around 4.5% annually).
  • Possible Reasons: Factors contributing to this trend include increasing distress, improved access to resources, and greater flexibility in care-related work.

Evolution of Employment Quality:

  • Informal Sector Dominance: Around 50% of formal sector jobs are informal, with approximately 82% of the workforce engaged in informal employment.
  • Growth in Own-Account and Unpaid Family Workers: A significant portion of employment growth (44 million) is in the form of own-account workers and unpaid family workers.
  • Government Schemes Influence: Government initiatives like Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) have fueled this growth by providing substantial funding to this segment.
  • Primary Sources of Employment: Self-employment constitutes the primary source of employment (55.8% in 2022), followed by casual employment (22.7%) and regular employment (21.5%).
Trend in Wages and Salaries:
  • Relative Stagnation: Aggregate wages and salaries have experienced relative stagnation in recent years.
  • Nominal vs. Real Growth: From 2017-18 to 2022-23, there was an average annual growth of 6.6% in nominal terms, but only 1.2% after adjusting for inflation.
  • No Significant Improvement in Living Conditions: Despite no apparent wage distress, there hasn’t been significant improvement in living conditions, possibly due to factors like a large influx of workers and stagnating labour productivity.
Trends in Youth Employment:
  • Pre-Pandemic Increase: Youth employment and underemployment increased between 2000 and 2019 but declined during the pandemic.
  • Intensified Unemployment Among Educated Youths: Unemployment, particularly among educated youths, has intensified over time.
  • Gender Disparities: The unemployment rate is higher among educated young women compared to men, especially among female graduates.

Concerns Regarding Employment in India:

  • Growth of Informal Jobs: While the economy grows, many new jobs are informal, lacking security, benefits, or minimum wage.
  • Quality of Youth Employment: Despite low overall unemployment rates, youth employment is often of poor quality, leading to over-education or precarious gig economy jobs.
  • Gender Gap: Women’s participation in the formal workforce remains low, with many engaged in unpaid family work or low-paying self-employment.
  • Misalignment with Education: The education system may not align with current job market needs.
  • Informal Sector Dominance: A significant portion of the workforce remains in the informal sector, leading to lower tax revenue and limited social security benefits.
  • Automation Threat: Automation poses a threat to certain sectors, potentially displacing jobs, particularly in manufacturing and outsourcing.
  • Vulnerability to Shocks: Informal and casual workers are highly vulnerable to economic downturns or external shocks, as witnessed during the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Demand for Government Jobs: There is significant demand for government jobs due to limited job creation in the private sector, highlighting the appeal of stable government employment.

-Source: The Hindu


The Supreme Court on May 15 refused to entertain a plea of a 20-year-old unmarried woman seeking termination of her over 27-week pregnancy, saying the foetus in the womb also has a fundamental right to live.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971
  2. Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Act, 2021
  3. Who falls in the category of women allowed to terminate pregnancy between 20-24 weeks?

News Summary:

  • The Supreme Court declined to entertain a plea from a 20-year-old unmarried woman seeking termination of her over 27-week pregnancy.
  • The decision was made by a bench led by Justice B R Gavai, upholding the Delhi High Court’s ruling from May 3 denying termination of the pregnancy.
Key Observations by the Court:
  • The Supreme Court questioned the right of the child to survive, considering the advanced stage of pregnancy.
  • The petitioner argued that the focus of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act is primarily on the rights of the mother, highlighting her delicate state.
  • The Delhi High Court had constituted a panel of AIIMS doctors to assess the situation, which concluded that there were no congenital abnormalities or dangers to the mother that necessitated termination.
Important Judgements by the Supreme Court regarding Abortion:

X v/s NCT of Delhi (2022):

  • The Supreme Court ruled that women have the right to terminate pregnancies between 20 and 24 weeks due to any “change in their material circumstances.”
  • It emphasized that women have sole authority over their bodies and are the ultimate decision-makers regarding abortion.
Rights of a Foetus Under Indian Law:
  • The rights of a foetus under the Indian Constitution remain unclear, with no explicit articulation.
  • The distinction between whether a foetus possesses rights or mere “interests” is ambiguous, as seen in a 2009 Supreme Court decision.
  • A 2016 Bombay High Court decision referenced international human rights law to conclude that a foetus lacks rights until birth, highlighting the need for clarity in Indian laws.

The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971

  • The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 1971 provides the legal framework for making CAC services available in India.
  • Termination of pregnancy is permitted for a broad range of conditions up to 20 weeks of gestation as detailed below:
    • When continuation of pregnancy is a risk to the life of a pregnant woman or could cause grave injury to her physical or mental health;
    • When there is substantial risk that the child, if born, would be seriously handicapped due to physical or mental abnormalities;
    • When pregnancy is caused due to rape (presumed to cause grave injury to the mental health of the woman);
    • When pregnancy is caused due to failure of contraceptives used by a married woman or her husband (presumed to constitute grave injury to mental health of the woman).

The MTP Act specifies

  • who can terminate a pregnancy;
  • till when a pregnancy can be terminated; and
  • where can a pregnancy be terminated.

Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Act, 2021

  • The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act allows termination of pregnancy by a medical practitioner in two stages.
  • After a crucial amendment in 2021, for pregnancies up to 20 weeks, termination is allowed under the opinion of one registered medical practitioner.
  • For pregnancies between 20-24 weeks, the Rules attached to the law prescribe certain criteria in terms of who can avail termination. It also requires the opinion of two registered medical practitioners in this case.
  • For pregnancies within 20 weeks, termination can be allowed if:
    • the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health; or
    • there is a substantial risk that if the child was born, it would suffer from any serious physical or mental abnormality.
  • The explanation to the provision states that termination within 20 weeks is allowed “where any pregnancy occurs as a result of failure of any device or method used by any woman or her partner for the purpose of limiting the number of children or preventing pregnancy, the anguish caused by such pregnancy may be presumed to constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman”.
    • The phrase “any woman or her partner” was also introduced in 2021 in place of the earlier “married woman or her husband”. By eliminating the word “married woman or her husband” from the scheme of the MTP Act, the legislature intended to clarify the scope of Section 3 and bring pregnancies which occur outside the institution of marriage within the protective umbrella of the law.
  • For both stages — within 20 weeks and between 20-24 weeks — termination is allowed “where any pregnancy is alleged by the pregnant woman to have been caused by rape, the anguish caused by the pregnancy shall be presumed to constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman”.

Who falls in the category of women allowed to terminate pregnancy between 20-24 weeks?

  • For pregnancies between 20-24 weeks, Section 3B of the Rules under the MTP Act lists seven categories of women:
    • Survivors of sexual assault or rape or incest;
    • Minors;
    • Change of marital status during the ongoing pregnancy (widowhood and divorce);
    • Women with physical disabilities (major disability as per criteria laid down under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016);
    • Mentally ill women including mental retardation;
    • The foetal malformation that has substantial risk of being incompatible with life or if the child is born it may suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities to be seriously handicapped;
    • Women with pregnancy in humanitarian settings or disaster or emergency situations as may be declared by the Government.

-Source: The Hindu


The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has released its Global Trade Update for 2024, indicating a potential turnaround for international trade. After experiencing declines over multiple quarters, trade is expected to rebound in 2024, marking a significant shift in global economic dynamics.


GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Highlights of the Global Trade
  2. Key Highlights of the Report Related to India

Key Highlights of the Global Trade

Global Trade Trends in 2023:

  • Global trade decreased by 3% to USD 31 trillion in 2023, following a peak in 2022.
  • The decline was primarily driven by reduced demand in developed economies and weaker trade in East Asia and Latin America.
  • Trade in goods fell by 5%, while trade in services grew by 8%, buoyed by a nearly 40% surge in tourism and travel-related services.

Impact on Developing Countries:

  • Developing nations experienced a sharper decline, with imports and exports falling by 5% and 7%, respectively, compared to a 4% drop in imports and 3% in exports for developed nations.
  • Most regions witnessed negative trade growth, except for a significant increase in intra-regional trade in Africa.

Specific Sectoral Changes:

  • Despite the overall decline, trade in environmental products increased by 2%, driven by a substantial surge in electric vehicle sales, which grew by 60%.
  • However, trade in apparel continued to contract, declining by 13%.

Outlook for 2024:

  • GDP growth is expected to continue at around 3% in 2024.
  • Challenges such as shipping disruptions and geopolitical tensions may raise costs and disrupt supply chains, casting shadows over the optimistic outlook.

Geopolitical and Trade Patterns:

  • Bilateral trade patterns have been favouring countries with similar geopolitical stances, indicating a rise in political proximity in trade.
  • There has been a concentration of global trade towards major trade relationships, although this trend has softened towards the end of 2023.

Key Highlights of the Report Related to India

India’s Efforts to Reduce Dependency:

  • Despite initiatives like the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme and Quality Control Orders (QCOs), imports from China increased.
  • UNCTAD’s estimates highlighted trade reorientation due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Impact of Russia-Ukraine Conflict:

  • Russia’s trade dependency on China increased by 7.1% while decreasing by 5.3% with the EU.
  • This shift was primarily due to changes in Russian oil exports, with a redirection from the EU to China and India.

Positive Trade Dynamics for India:

  • The Ministry of Commerce and Industry emphasized favourable trade dynamics despite growing dependence.
  • India’s imports from the EU rose by 9.7% in 2023, with significant shares in capital goods and intermediate goods/raw materials.
  • India’s export of smartphones surged by 98.42% in 2023, reaching USD 14.27 billion.

Improved Trade Performance:

  • In 2023, India’s trade performance notably improved with both the EU and China.

-Source: The Hindu


Despite two extensions until June 2024, the Smart Cities Mission (SCM) launched in 2015, is unlikely to meet its deadline, with 5,533 completed projects funded at Rs. 65,063 crore and 921 ongoing projects worth Rs. 21,000 crore.


GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is the Smart Cities Mission?
  2. What kinds of projects were proposed?
  3. Challenges Faced by the Smart City Mission
  4. Steps Needed to Strengthen the Smart City Mission

What is the Smart Cities Mission?

  • The Smart Cities Mission is an initiative of the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry that was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 25, 2015.
  • Cities across the country were asked to submit proposals for projects to improve municipal services and to make their jurisdictions more liveable.
  • Between January 2016 and June 2018 (when the last city, Shillong, was chosen), the Ministry selected 100 cities for the Mission over five rounds.
  • The projects were supposed to be completed within five years of the selection of the city, but in 2021 the Ministry changed the deadline for all cities to June 2023, which was earlier the deadline for Shillong alone.

What kinds of projects were proposed?

  • After the Ministry gave broad guidelines to the participating cities, the project proposals ranged from making certain stretches of roads more accessible and pedestrian-friendly to more capital-intensive ones like laying water pipelines and constructing sewage treatment plants.
  • All 100 cities have also constructed Integrated Command and Control Centres to monitor all security, emergency and civic services.
  •  During the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, these centres were converted into emergency response units by many of the cities.

Challenges Faced by the Smart City Mission:

Lack of Clear Definition:

  • The Smart City Mission (SCM) lacks a clear definition of what constitutes a smart city, leading to challenges in resource allocation and project prioritization.

Sidelining Elected Representatives:

  • Reduced role of elected councils in decision-making raises concerns about democratic governance and accountability within the SCM framework.

Competitive Selection Process:

  • Selection of cities through competitive means overlooks India’s diverse urban realities, leading to the exclusion of many areas from development.

Limited Area Development:

  • Focus on developing less than 1% of a city’s area results in the neglect of significant portions, impacting overall urban development.

Financial Constraints:

  • Inadequate funding compared to the required investment for improving livability in Indian cities poses a significant challenge to SCM’s success.

Governance Structure:

  • Misalignment of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) model with the constitutional framework and limited participation of the private sector hinder effective governance.

Social Displacement and Environmental Impact:

  • Smart city projects often lead to the displacement of vulnerable populations and environmental disruptions, such as urban flooding.

Steps Needed to Strengthen the Smart City Mission:

Appointment of Dedicated CEO:

  • Appoint a dedicated CEO with a fixed tenure and representation from experts and stakeholders to ensure effective leadership and management.

Inclusion of MPs in Advisory Forums:

  • Include Members of Parliament (MPs) in State-Level Advisory Forums for their grassroots-level expertise in project identification and implementation.

Emphasis on Pan-City Projects:

  • Prioritize pan-city projects for comprehensive development, optimizing resource allocation, and reducing wastage.

Digital Infrastructure Protection:

  • Implement mechanisms to protect digital infrastructure from cyber threats and ensure data privacy.

Capacity Building for ULBs:

  • Strengthen Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) capabilities in small cities through central government assistance for organizational restructuring and capacity building.

Timely Project Completion:

  • Focus on timely project completion by actively intervening in execution and providing necessary expertise and support.

-Source: The Hindu


The State Bank of India (SBI) has achieved a significant milestone by becoming the inaugural bank to secure Trading cum Clearing (TCM) membership at the India International Bullion Exchange (IIBX). This accomplishment underscores SBI’s commitment to enhancing its presence and influence within the bullion trading sector, further solidifying its position as a key player in India’s financial landscape.


Facts for Prelims

Key Highlights:

  • The RBI’s decision allows SBI’s IFSC Banking Unit (IBU) to participate as trading and clearing members at the IIBX platform, designated as Special Category Clients (SCCs), facilitating gold imports through the bullion exchange.
  • This development is anticipated to boost trading volumes for gold and silver at the IIBX, enhancing transparency and efficiency in India’s Bullion Market.
  • IIBX, overseen by the International Financial Services Centers Authority (IFSCA), represents India’s inaugural bullion exchange, situated within the GIFT-City IFSC.
  • Bullion markets serve as platforms for trading precious metals such as gold and silver, where transactions occur directly between buyers and sellers, including through futures markets.
  • Silver and gold possess diverse industrial applications, influencing their market prices, with bullions often viewed as a hedge against inflation and a secure investment option.
  • TCMs, or Trading and Clearing Members, have the authority to trade on their own behalf and on behalf of clients, as well as clear and settle trades conducted by themselves and other trading members availing their clearing services.

-Source: Times Of India


The World Migration Report 2024 was launched by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), revealing significant shifts in global migration patterns.


Facts for Prelims

Insights from the World Migration Report 2024:

  • Launch and Frequency: The International Organization for Migration (IOM) released the World Migration Report 2024, its flagship report, every two years.
Remittance Trends:
  • India, Mexico, China, the Philippines, and France were the top five remittance recipient countries. India led in remittances in 2010, 2015, 2020, and 2022. International remittances surged by 650% from USD 128 billion to USD 831 billion between 2000 and 2022. India received the highest remittances at USD 111 billion in 2022, followed by Mexico. USD 647 billion of total remittances went to low- and middle-income countries.
Challenges Faced by Migrant Workers:
  • South Asian migrant workers encounter financial exploitation, excessive debt from migration costs, xenophobia, and workplace abuses. Record High Displacement:
  • The number of displaced individuals reached a record high of 117 million by the end of 2022. India’s Migration
  • India holds the highest number of international migrants globally, nearly 18 million. Significant Indian diasporas exist in countries like the UAE, the US, and Saudi Arabia. Gender Dynamics:
  • India has a slightly higher share of female immigrants compared to males. Countries with a notably high proportion of male emigrants include India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan.
Migrant Destinations:
  • Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries remain prominent destinations for migrant workers, especially from India, Egypt, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Kenya. Employment sectors include construction, hospitality, security, domestic work, and retail.

-Source: The Hindu


In 2023, the number of internally displaced people increased to 75.9 million, from 71.1 million in the preceding year, according to the Global Report on Internal Displacement 2024 (GRID-2024) released recently.


GS II: International Relations

Global Report on Internal Displacement 2024 (GRID-2024):


  • The annual report is published by the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).
  • It documents internal displacements caused by conflict, violence, and disasters.
Highlights of GRID-2024:
  • In 2023, the global number of internally displaced people (IDP) rose to 75.9 million, up from 71.1 million the previous year.
  • Displacements: 7.7 million due to disasters (one-fourth from earthquakes) and 68.3 million due to conflict and violence.
  • Top Countries: Sudan, Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Colombia, and Yemen host nearly half of the world’s IDPs.
  • Sudan has the highest number of IDPs recorded for a single country at 9.1 million.
  • New displacement mainly occurred in Sudan, the Palestinian territories, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, accounting for almost two-thirds of all new displacement.
South Asia Findings:
  • Around 5.3 million people in South Asia were internally displaced due to conflict and violence at the end of 2023, with 80% in Afghanistan.
  • Conflict and violence triggered 69,000 displacements in South Asia in 2023, with Manipur violence alone causing 67,000.
  • India experienced the highest number of displacements due to conflict and violence since 2018.
  • Internal displacements due to natural disasters in India decreased sharply in 2023 to 528,000 from 2.5 million in 2022.

-Source: The Hindu

June 2024