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Current Affairs 26 March 2024

  1. India’s Advocacy for Security Council Overhaul: G4 Model
  2. International Energy Agency’s Global Methane Tracker 2024
  3. Global E-waste Monitor 2024
  4. Government Securities (G-Secs)
  5. Vote-from-Home
  6. Arsenic
  7. Krutrim AI


Participating in the Intergovernmental Negotiations on Security Council Reform, India has presented a detailed model on behalf of the G4 (Brazil, Germany, India and Japan) nations for United Nations Security Council Reform.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Features of the G4 Proposed Model for UN Security Council Reform
  2. United Nations Security Council
  3. Reasons for the Reform of the UN Security Council

Key Features of the G4 Proposed Model for UN Security Council Reform

Representation Concerns:

  • Highlights the significant under-representation and complete lack of representation of certain regions.
  • Stresses that this underrepresentation undermines the Council’s legitimacy and effectiveness.

Membership Expansion:

  • Advocates for increasing the Security Council’s membership from 15 to 25-26 members.

Composition Breakdown:

  • Permanent Members:
    • Proposes adding 6 new permanent members.
    • Two each from African and Asia Pacific states.
    • One from Latin American and Caribbean states.
    • One from Western European and Other states.
  • Non-Permanent Members:
    • Suggests adding 4 or 5 new non-permanent members.

Veto Power:

  • Introduces flexibility regarding the veto issue:
    • New permanent members would initially refrain from using the veto.
    • A decision on veto powers would be deferred until a review process is conducted.
    • Demonstrates a commitment to engaging in constructive negotiations on the veto issue.

Selection Process:

  • Emphasizes a democratic and inclusive election process by the UN General Assembly to determine which member states occupy the new permanent seats.

United Nations Security Council

  • The Security Council is one of the six main organs of the United Nations.
  • The Permanent Residence of UNSC in the UN Headquarters New York City, USA.
  • Its primary responsibility is the maintenance of international peace and security.
  • While other organs of the United Nations make recommendations to member states, only the Security Council has the power to make decisions that member states are then obligated to implement under the Charter- Hence, it is the only body of the UN with the authority to issue binding resolutions to member states.
  • Resolutions of the Security Council are typically enforced by UN peacekeepers, military forces voluntarily provided by member states and funded independently of the main UN budget.
  • It has 15 Members (5 as Permanent Members and 10 as Non- Permanent Members), and each Member has one vote.
  • The Five permanent members are: China, France, Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Each of the Permanent Members has Veto Power over every decision of UNSC.
  • The Ten non-permanent members are Elected for two-year terms by the General Assembly.
  • Each year, the General Assembly elects five non-permanent members (out of ten in total) for a two-year term. The ten non-permanent seats are distributed on a regional basis.
  • As per the rules of procedure, a retiring member is not eligible for immediate re-election and the election is held by secret ballot and there are no nominations.
  • The presidency of the Council rotates monthly, going alphabetically among member states.
Functions and Powers of UNSC

Under the United Nations Charter, the functions and powers of the Security Council are:

  • to maintain international peace and security in accordance with the principles and purposes of the United Nations;
  • to investigate any dispute or situation which might lead to international friction;
  • to recommend methods of adjusting such disputes or the terms of settlement;
  • to formulate plans for the establishment of a system to regulate armaments;
  • to determine the existence of a threat to the peace or act of aggression and to recommend what action should be taken;
  • to call on Members to apply economic sanctions and other measures not involving the use of force to prevent or stop aggression;
  • to take military action against an aggressor;
  • to recommend the admission of new Members;
  • to exercise the trusteeship functions of the United Nations in “strategic areas”;
  • to recommend to the General Assembly the appointment of the Secretary-General and, together with the Assembly, to elect the Judges of the International Court of Justice.

Reasons for the Reform of the UN Security Council

  • Global Importance: The Security Council is pivotal in peacekeeping, making binding decisions that impact all member states.
  • Necessity for Legitimacy and Authority: For universal respect and implementation of its decisions, the Council needs enhanced authority and legitimacy.
  • Outdated Composition: The Council’s current composition, established in 1945 and slightly updated in 1963/65, does not reflect today’s global geopolitical realities.
  • Need for Enhanced Representation: With the addition of 142 new countries to the UN since its establishment, significant regions like Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean lack adequate representation.
  • Recognition of Contributions: The UN Charter acknowledges that countries making substantial contributions to the organization should be represented in the Security Council.
    • Countries like India, Germany, and Japan, among others, deserve consideration for new permanent seats due to their meaningful contributions to the UN’s objectives.
  • Risk of Decision-Making Shift: Without reform, decision-making processes could gravitate towards alternative forums, potentially undermining the Council’s effectiveness.
  • Counterproductive Competition: Competition for influence outside the Security Council is not in the collective interest of member states.
  • Criticism of Veto Power: The use of veto power by the P-5 members has been criticized for being undemocratic and obstructive to essential decision-making processes.
  • Need for Inclusive Decision-Making: In today’s interconnected global security landscape, relying on exclusive decision-making frameworks is considered outdated and inappropriate.

-Source:  The Hindu


The International Energy Agency’s Global Methane Tracker 2024 indicates that methane emissions from fuel usage in 2023 were nearly at their highest level on record, representing a slight increase compared to 2022.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Major Highlights of Global Methane Tracker 2024
  2. What is Methane?
  3. What is the Global Methane Pledge?

Major Highlights of Global Methane Tracker 2024

Total Methane Emissions (2023):

  • Methane emissions from fossil fuels reached nearly 120 million tonnes (Mt).

Bioenergy Contribution:

  • Bioenergy, mainly from biomass use, contributed an additional 10 Mt of methane emissions. This level has remained constant since 2019.

Increase in Major Emission Events:

  • Major methane emissions events surged by over 50% in 2023 compared to 2022.
  • These events accounted for more than 5 million metric tons of methane emissions from significant fossil fuel leaks globally.

Prominent Incident:

  • A major well blowout in Kazakhstan persisted for over 200 days.

Emission Contributors:

  • Nearly 70% of methane emissions from fossil fuels are produced by the top 10 emitting countries.
  • The United States leads in methane emissions from oil and gas operations, followed closely by Russia.
  • China tops the list as the highest emitter of methane in the coal sector.

Emission Reduction Goals:

  • Aiming to cut methane emissions from fossil fuels by 75% by 2030 is essential to limit global warming to 1.5 °C.

Financial Estimates:

  • Achieving the 75% reduction goal would require approximately USD 170 billion in spending, which is less than 5% of the income generated by the fossil fuel industry in 2023.

Potential for Avoidable Emissions:

  • About 40% of the emissions from fossil fuels in 2023 could have been prevented at no net cost.

What is Methane?

Chemical Composition:

  • Methane (CH4) is the simplest hydrocarbon, composed of one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms.
  • Odourless, colourless, and tasteless gas.
  • Lighter than air.
  • Burns with a blue flame in complete combustion, yielding carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O) in the presence of oxygen.
Contribution to Global Warming:
  • Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas (GHG) after carbon dioxide (CO2).
  • It has a 20-year global warming potential (GWP) of 84, indicating that it traps 84 times more heat per mass unit than CO2 over a 20-year period.
  • Despite its potency, methane has a shorter atmospheric lifetime compared to CO2, categorizing it as a short-lived GHG.
  • It contributes to about 30% of the rise in global temperatures since the preindustrial era and also aids in the formation of ground-level ozone.
Major Sources of Methane Emission:
  • Natural Sources:
    • Wetlands, both natural and human-made, contribute significant methane emissions due to anaerobic decomposition of organic matter.
  • Agricultural Activities:
    • Growing paddy fields release methane due to anaerobic conditions in flooded rice paddies.
    • Enteric fermentation in cattle and other livestock results in methane production as a byproduct.
  • Combustion and Industrial Processes:
    • Burning of fossil fuels, including oil and natural gas, emits methane.
    • Biomass burning, such as wood and agricultural residues, also contributes to methane levels.
    • Industrial activities like landfills and wastewater treatment plants generate methane during organic waste decomposition in anaerobic environments.
    • Fertiliser factories and other industrial processes can release methane during production and transportation.

What is the Global Methane Pledge?

Introduction and Objectives:

  • Launched at UNFCCC COP26 in November 2021, the Global Methane Pledge aims to drive action towards reducing methane emissions.
  • Spearheaded by the US and the EU, the Pledge now encompasses 111 countries, collectively responsible for 45% of global human-caused methane emissions.


  • The Pledge seeks a 30% reduction in global methane emissions from 2020 levels by 2030.
India’s Stance on the Global Methane Pledge:
  • Primary Climate Change Contributor:
    • India emphasizes that CO2 remains the principal contributor to climate change, possessing a lifespan of 100-1000 years.
    • The Pledge’s focus on methane, with its shorter lifespan of just 12 years, shifts the burden away from reducing CO2 emissions.
  • Methane Emissions and Agriculture:
    • In India, significant methane emissions originate from agricultural activities like enteric fermentation and paddy cultivation.
    • The Pledge could adversely impact small, marginal, and medium farmers, who form the backbone of India’s agricultural sector.
    • This is in contrast to developed countries, where industrial agriculture is more prevalent.
  • Trade and Economic Implications:
    • Being a leading rice producer and exporter, signing the Pledge might pose challenges to India’s trade and economic interests.
  • Livestock and Methane Emissions:
    • India hosts the world’s largest cattle population, vital for the livelihoods of many.
    • However, due to their diet rich in agricultural by-products and unconventional feed materials, Indian livestock’s contribution to global enteric methane remains minimal.

-Source: Down To Earth


Recently, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) has released the Global E-waste Monitor 2024, which states that the world’s generation of electronic waste is rising five times faster than documented e-waste recycling.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Highlights of the Global E-waste Monitor 2024 Report
  2. Status of E-Waste Management in India
  3. Strategies for Reducing and Recycling E-Waste Effectively in India

Key Highlights of the Global E-waste Monitor 2024 Report

E-waste Generation Trends:

  • Global e-waste generation surged from 34 bn kg in 2010 to 62 bn kg in 2022.
  • Projections indicate a further rise to 82 bn kg by 2030.

E-waste Collection and Recycling:

  • Only 13.8 bn kg of the 62 bn kg e-waste generated was formally collected and recycled in an environmentally sound manner.
  • Composition: 31 bn kg metals, 17 bn kg plastics, and 14 bn kg other materials (minerals, glass, composite materials, etc.)

Drivers of E-waste Generation:

  • Technological progress, increased consumption rates, limited repair options, short product life cycles, growing electronification, and insufficient e-waste management infrastructure.

Informal E-waste Management:

  • Due to inadequate formal e-waste management infrastructure, a significant portion of e-waste is managed informally in both high-income and low- to middle-income countries.

Environmental and Health Impacts:

  • Improper e-waste management releases hazardous substances like mercury and plastics containing brominated flame retardants.
  • A total of 58,000 kg of mercury and 45 million kg of plastics with brominated flame retardants are annually released into the environment.

Regional Analysis:

  • Europe: Highest formal collection and recycling rate at 42.8%.
  • Africa: Struggles with a low recycling rate (<1%) despite generating less e-waste.
  • Asia (Including India): Generates nearly half (30 bn kg) of the world’s e-waste but has limited advances in e-waste management.

E-waste per Capita and Recycling Rates:

  • Europe (17.6 kg), Oceania (16.1 kg), and the Americas (14.1 kg) had the highest e-waste generation per capita in 2022.
  • Correspondingly, these regions also reported the highest documented per capita collection and recycling rates.

Recycling Rates Based on Equipment Type:

  • Heavier equipment like temperature exchange equipment and screens/monitors have the highest collection and recycling rates.
  • Toys, microwave ovens, vacuum cleaners, and e-cigarettes constitute a third (20 bn kg) of global e-waste but have a low global recycling rate of 12%.
  • Small IT and telecommunication equipment, such as laptops, mobile phones, GPS devices, and routers, make up 5 bn kg of e-waste, with only 22% being formally collected and recycled.

Policy and Legislative Measures:

  • 81 countries have implemented e-waste policies, legislation, or regulations.
  • 67 countries have legal provisions on Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) for e-waste.
  • 46 countries have set e-waste collection rate targets, while 36 countries have established e-waste recycling rate targets.

Status of E-Waste Management in India:

  • Electronic waste (e-waste) encompasses all old, end-of-life, or discarded electrical and electronic equipment, including household appliances and office information and communications devices.
  • Toxic Components: E-waste contains hazardous chemicals and metals like lead, cadmium, mercury, and nickel.
E-Waste in India:
  • Global Ranking: India is currently ranked third globally among the largest e-waste generators, following China and the United States.
  • Surge in Volume: The volume of e-waste in India surged significantly to 1.6 million tonnes in 2021-22.
  • Concentration: 65 cities in India generate over 60% of the total e-waste, with 10 states contributing to 70% of the total e-waste generated.
E-Waste Management Framework in India:
  • Regulations of 2008: E-waste management in India was initially addressed within the framework of the Environment and Forests Hazardous Wastes (Management and Handling) Regulations of 2008.
  • E-Waste Rules of 2010: In 2011, important regulations known as the E-waste (Management and Handling) Regulations of 2010 were issued under the Environment (Protection) Act of 1986, featuring Extended Producer’s Responsibility (EPR).
  • E-Waste Rules of 2016: In 2017, the E-waste (Management) Rules, 2016 were enacted, including more than 21 products under their scope, such as Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) and other mercury-containing devices.
  • Amendment in 2018: In 2018, the 2016 rules were amended to expand their scope, emphasizing authorization and product stewardship, focusing on the responsibility of producers and stakeholders throughout a product’s life cycle.
  • E-Waste Rules of 2022: The Government of India introduced the E-Waste (Management) Rules, 2022, with the primary goal of digitizing the e-waste management process and enhancing visibility.
  • Hazardous Substances Restriction: The rules also restrict the use of hazardous substances (e.g., lead, mercury, cadmium) in manufacturing electrical and electronic equipment to mitigate their adverse impact on human health and the environment.

Strategies for Reducing and Recycling E-Waste Effectively in India:

Comprehensive Regulatory Framework:

  • Create a comprehensive regulatory framework for e-waste collection that includes mandatory registration and licensing of collection centers and recyclers to formalize and standardize the process.

Tax Credit System for Manufacturers:

  • Implement a tax credit system to incentivize electronics manufacturers to design products with extended lifespans and repairability features.
  • Encourage eco-friendly design practices while discouraging planned obsolescence.

E-Waste ATMs:

  • Install E-Waste ATMs in public places, allowing individuals to deposit old electronic devices in exchange for small financial incentives or vouchers for public transportation or essential goods.
  • Incorporate educational displays on these ATMs to raise awareness about e-waste recycling.

Blockchain-Based Tracking System:

  • Establish a blockchain-based system to track the entire lifecycle of electronic devices.
  • Assign each device a digital certificate to record its manufacturing, ownership, and disposal history, simplifying traceability and accountability for improper disposal.

Promote Awareness Through Art Installations:

  • Encourage artists to create sculptures or exhibits in public spaces using e-waste materials.
  • These art installations visually depict the scale of the e-waste problem and serve as a means to raise awareness about proper disposal and recycling.

-Source: Down To Earth


State governments have recently raised a record Rs 50,206 crore via the auction of State Development Loan (SDL) Bonds, representing the largest weekly borrowing in history. This significant achievement surpassed the Reserve Bank of India’s indicative borrowing target of Rs 27,810 crore for the period, underscoring robust demand for state government securities in the financial markets. SDLs are a part of Government Securities (G-Sec), allowing state governments to raise loans from the market through dated securities issued in auctions, similar to those conducted for Central Government securities.


GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Government Securities (G-Secs)
  2. Types of Government Securities (G-Secs)

Government Securities (G-Secs)

Government Securities, often referred to as G-Secs, are tradable instruments issued by the Central Government or State Governments to borrow money from the public and finance their fiscal deficit. They are a type of debt instrument.

Debt Instrument:

  • A debt instrument represents a contractual obligation by the issuer (government) to pay the holder a fixed amount of money, known as the principal or face value, on a specified date.
  • G-Secs acknowledge the government’s debt obligation and serve as a means for the government to borrow funds.

Short-Term and Long-Term:

  • G-Secs can be categorized as short-term or long-term securities.
  • Short-term securities, known as treasury bills, have original maturities of less than one year, commonly issued in tenors of 91 days, 182 days, and 364 days.
  • Long-term securities, called government bonds or dated securities, have original maturities of one year or more.

Central and State Government Issuance:

  • The Central Government in India issues both treasury bills and bonds or dated securities.
  • State Governments, on the other hand, issue bonds or dated securities known as State Development Loans (SDLs).

Risk Profile:

  • G-Secs are considered risk-free gilt-edged instruments, meaning they carry minimal risk of default.
  • These securities are considered safe investments due to the backing of the government.

Gilt-Edged Securities:

  • Gilt-edged securities are high-grade investment bonds offered by governments and large corporations to borrow funds.
  • G-Secs fall under this category as they are considered secure investments.

Role of RBI:

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) conducts Open Market Operations (OMOs) involving the sale or purchase of G-Secs to adjust money supply conditions.
  • The RBI sells G-Secs to remove liquidity from the system and buys them back to infuse liquidity.

Bond Yield:

  • Bond yield refers to the return an investor realizes on a bond.
  • The yield is calculated by dividing the annual coupon rate (interest paid by bond issuers on the bond’s face value) by the current market price of the bond.
  • Bond prices and yields have an inverse relationship: when bond prices rise, yields fall, and vice versa.


  • A bond is an instrument used to borrow money, which can be issued by a government or a company to raise funds.
  • G-Secs are a type of bond issued by the government to raise funds.

Coupon Rate:

  • The coupon rate represents the interest rate paid by bond issuers on the bond’s face value.

Types of Government Securities (G-Secs)

Treasury Bills (T-bills):

  • Treasury bills are short-term government securities with maturities of less than one year (commonly 91 days, 182 days, and 364 days).
  • T-bills are issued at a discount to their face value and do not pay any interest. Instead, they are redeemed at the face value upon maturity.

Cash Management Bills (CMBs):

  • CMBs were introduced by the Government of India in 2010 to address temporary cash flow mismatches.
  • Similar to T-bills, CMBs are short-term instruments with maturities of less than 91 days.
  • They serve the purpose of meeting the immediate funding requirements of the government.

Dated G-Secs:

  • Dated G-Secs are long-term government securities that carry a fixed or floating coupon (interest rate).
  • These securities pay interest on the face value on a half-yearly basis.
  • The maturity period of dated G-Secs typically ranges from 5 years to 40 years, providing investors with long-term investment options.

State Development Loans (SDLs):

  • State Governments also raise funds from the market by issuing securities known as State Development Loans (SDLs).
  • SDLs are similar to dated G-Secs and are issued through auctions conducted by the state governments.
  • These securities help state governments finance their developmental and expenditure requirements.

-Source:  The Hindu


The Election Commission of India (ECI) has, for the first time in the history of the Lok Sabha elections, extended its ‘vote-from-home’ facility to Persons with Disabilities (PwD) and senior citizens aged 85 and above.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Vote-from-Home
  2. Process to Avail Vote-from-Home Facility


Eligibility Criteria for Vote-from-Home:
  • Age: Individuals aged 85 and above.
  • Persons with Disabilities: Those with a disability of at least 40% as certified by the relevant authority.
  • Mediapersons: Individuals covering polling day activities, provided they carry authorization letters from the Election Commission.
  • Essential Service Workers: Including personnel from metros, railways, and healthcare.
  • Service Voters: Members of the armed forces stationed away from their hometowns, Central Armed Police Forces personnel on duty away from home, and those assigned to poll duties.

Process to Avail Vote-from-Home Facility:

  • Form Requirement: The primary document required is Form 12D, a letter to the Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) explaining the inability to visit the polling station.
  • Form Collection:
    • It can be downloaded from the official website of the Election Commission of India (ECI).
    • Alternatively, it can be obtained from the office of the representative district officer of a parliamentary constituency.
  • Submission Deadline: The completed form must be submitted within five days from the date the polling date is announced.
  • Home Visit:
    • Upon submission of the form, a team comprising two polling officials, a videographer, and a security person will visit the eligible voter’s residence.
    • This team will oversee and facilitate the postal ballot voting process.
  • Notification:
    • The voter will be informed about the scheduled date and approximate time of the team’s visit either via SMS or postal mail.
    • Two attempts will be made to facilitate home voting.
  • Subsequent Visits:
    • If the voter is not present during the first visit, a second visit will be scheduled.
    • However, if the voter is absent during the second attempt, no further visits will be made.
    • Such individuals will become ineligible to vote both at polling stations and through the home voting scheme in that election cycle.

-Source:  Indian Express


A new study underlines the risk of using water contaminated with arsenic to cook rice, a staple food serving more than half the world’s population.


Facts for Prelims

About Arsenic: An Overview

  • Origin: Arsenic is a naturally occurring semimetallic element found in the Earth’s crust.
  • Environmental Presence: It can be found in various environmental sources including air, water, and land.
  • Chemical Classification: Arsenic belongs to Group 15 of the periodic table, also known as the nitrogen group. It is found in both gray and yellow crystalline forms.
  • Toxic Form: In its inorganic form, arsenic is highly toxic.
  • Exposure Sources: Elevated levels of inorganic arsenic exposure can occur through:
    • Drinking contaminated water.
    • Using contaminated water for food preparation and irrigation.
    • Industrial processes.
    • Consumption of contaminated food.
    • Smoking tobacco.
Health Implications:
  • Chronic Exposure: Long-term exposure to inorganic arsenic, primarily via drinking water and food, can result in chronic arsenic poisoning.
  • Symptoms: Skin lesions and skin cancer are among the most commonly observed health effects of arsenic poisoning.
Arsenic Contamination in India:
  • Affected States:
    • West Bengal
    • Jharkhand
    • Bihar
    • Uttar Pradesh
    • Assam
    • Manipur
    • Chhattisgarh
  • Concern: These states report arsenic contamination levels in groundwater that exceed permissible limits, posing significant health risks to the population.

-Source:  The Hindu


Earlier this year, Indian multinational ridesharing company, Ola, introduced Krutrim AI, claiming it as “India’s own AI”.


Facts for Prelims

About Krutrim AI: An Overview

Objective and Purpose:

  • Personalised Assistant: Krutrim AI aims to act as a personal assistant that simplifies both personal and professional tasks for users.

Cultural Adaptation:

  • Indian Context: This AI model is designed to cater specifically to the needs based on Indian languages and cultural nuances.
  • Language Understanding: Utilizes Natural Language Processing (NLP) to comprehend human language intricacies, including colloquialisms and cultural contexts.

Technological Components:

  • Machine Learning: Employs Machine Learning (ML) algorithms to learn from extensive datasets, enhancing its responses and performance over time.
  • Deep Learning: Incorporates Deep Learning, a specialized ML branch, to identify patterns and analyze intricate data structures.

Distinctive Features:

  • User Intent Understanding: Unlike many AI models that rely on keyword matching and statistical analysis, Krutrim AI aims to understand the user’s intent more deeply.


  • Task Assistance: Krutrim AI can assist with various tasks including:
    • Writing emails.
    • Information retrieval on diverse topics.
    • Skill learning.
    • Travel planning.
    • Recipe learning and more.

-Source:  Indian Express

April 2024