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Daily UPSC Current Affairs and Latest Daily News on IAS Prelims Bits

G.S II - Bilateral/International Relations

India & South Pacific

Why in news?

The visit of the Indian PM to south pacific region, reflects India’s global status, and its significance of its engagement with Pacific Island Countries (PICs) and the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC).

What are the PICs?

  • PICs is a cluster of 14 island nations dotting the Southwestern Pacific: the Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.
  • All these islands are located at the crossroads of strategically important maritime trade corridors.
  • Of the 14 PICs, Fiji and Papua New Guinea (PNG) are the ones with the biggest populations and the most heft.

FIPIC 2023 - 1

What is the relationship between India with Fiji and PNG?

  • India’s interaction with the PICs has traditionally focused on its engagement with Fiji and PNG, mainly due to the presence of a large diaspora.
  • About 37% of Fiji’s 849,000 population (2009 estimates) is of Indian origin, and about 3,000 Indians live in PNG.

India and Fiji 2023

What is the relationship between India and Pacific Island Countries (PICs)?

  • Fiji and Papua New Guinea - India’s interaction with the PICs has traditionally focused on its engagement with Fiji and PNG, mainly due to the presence of a large diaspora.
  • India’s Act East Policy - Indian officials say the engagement with the 14 PICs is part of India’s Act East Policy.
  • Strengthen India’s engagement - The visit aimed to strengthen India's engagement with the Pacific Island Countries (PICs) and the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC).
  • Reassuring presence - India aimed to establish a reassuring presence in the region that is not solely based on financial assistance.
  • Global South - India to amplify the voice of global south in international forums.
  • South-South cooperation - India's engagement with the PICs includes development assistance through South-South Cooperation.
  • This assistance takes the form of capacity building, training, scholarships, grants, and loans.
  • Community development projects, such as solar electrification, supply of agricultural equipment, and infrastructure development, are also part of India's engagement.
  • Climate Change and Resilience - India's initiatives such as International Solar Alliance (ISA) and the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI) complement its relationship with the PICs.
  • Reliable Partner - Recent visit by Prime Minister Modi has emphasized India's role as a reliable partner to the PICs.
  • FIPIC - Prime Minister Modi attended FIPIC which was held at Papua New Guinea.
  • Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) - Provided by India to PICs during critical times which includes supply of covid-19 vaccines.
  • India aims to be a development partner based on mutual respect and aligned with the priorities of the PICs.

What is the status of China in Pacific Island Countries (PICs)?

  • China has made forays into the Pacific Islands through economic incentives and has sought to boost its security relationship with the island states.
  • There is an increasing rivalry between China and the US and its allies in the region.
  • China’s increasing presence in the region has unnerved the US and has caused alarm in Australia and New Zealand.
  • China’s development support peaked in 2016, and its loans and grants amounted to 8% of all foreign aid to the area between 2011 and 2017, surpassing the US’s 0.3% over the same period.


  1. The Indian Express│ India’s Prominence In South Pacific
  2. India Today │ China looming, India steps up presence in south Pacific

G.S II - Health

World Health Organization (WHO)

Why in news?

On global world health day, April 6, 2023 the WHO has completed 75 years, despite some great successes, the WHO has received its fair share of criticism.

What is World Health Organization (WHO)?

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) came into effect on April 7, 1948.
  • The WHO is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that is responsible for international public health.
  • The WHO's mission is to achieve health for all people.
  • WHO states that health is a human right that every human being is entitled to, without distinction of race, religion, or political belief, an individual’s economic or social condition.
  • It also states that the health of all peoples is fundamental to the attainment of peace and security.
  • The WHO’s headquarters is based in Geneva, Switzerland with six regional and 150 country offices across the world.
  • The WHO is a democratic organization with role to guide the response, develop guidance, but not to go into a country to help address a specific health threat.

WHO 2023 75 years

What are the activities of WHO?

  • Smallpox - Is the only human disease to be eradicated by WHO.
  • WHO played a key role galvanizing the world around about eradication of small box.
  • Ebola outbreak - The organization was criticized, among other things, for not reacting swiftly enough to address the epidemic.
  • The WHO has even made structural changes considering the future.
  • Malaria - WHO launched the Global Malaria Eradication Programme (GMEP) in 1955.
  • It looked promising, with 15 countries and one territory managing to eradicate the disease.
  • But there was little to no progress in sub-Saharan Africa under the program, and in many places, failure to sustain GMEP actually led to a resurgence of malaria and eventually discontinued in 1969.
  • COVID-19 – US President Donald Trump and others complained at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic that the WHO was not doing enough to support member states in their fight against the disease.

Public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) is defined as an extraordinary event which is determined to constitute a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease and to potentially require a coordinated international response.

What are some of the WHO’s success?

  • Eradication of smallpox in 1980
  • Reduction in the number of deaths from malaria and tuberculosis
  • Development of vaccines and treatments for HIV/AIDS, polio, and other diseases
  • Provision of technical assistance to countries to improve their health systems
  • Coordination of the global response to health emergencies

What are the challenges to WHO?

  • Lack of funding
  • Political interference and lack of coordination by members
  • Inefficient bureaucracy
  • Resistance to change
  • The spread of new and complex diseases


  1. The Indian Express│ Issues And Challenges Of WHO

G.S III - Economy

U.S. Debt Ceiling Crisis

Why in news?

The US government could default on its borrowings, an unprecedented situation that could potentially hit economies worldwide, if Congress doesn’t raise the nation’s debt ceiling.

What is Debit ceiling?

  • The debt ceiling, or debt limit, is the total amount the US government is allowed to borrow to finance its expenditure, such as paying salaries and welfare allowances.
  • The debt limit was introduced in 1917, when the US entered World War I.
  • The debt ceiling was introduced in order to make it easier for the executive to operate without having to turn to Congress every time it wanted to spend.
  • The debt ceiling allows the government to borrow as required as long as it kept under the debt limit approved by Congress.
  • The debt ceiling has been raised 78 times (49 times under Republicans and 29 times under Democrats) since 1960, with the most recent raising was in 2021.

What is the issue?

  • Constitutionally, Congress controls the government’s purse strings.
  • Currently the limit of debt ceiling is at $31.4 trillion.
  • The Republicans, who have a majority in the House, are refusing to raise it unless the Democrat-run government agrees to their demands, which include a significant cut in spending.
  • If the debt ceiling is not raised, the government will be unable to pay its bills and will default on its debt.

us debt crisis 2023-1

What are the demands of Republicans?

  • The Republicans are ideologically fiscal conservatives, while Democrats believe the government should spend more on social welfare schemes.
  • To agree to raise the debt ceiling, the Republicans have demanded that spending be kept at 2022 levels in the next financial year, and subsequent increases capped at 1% for some years.
  • The Democrats say the spending should be kept at 2023 levels.

What happens if the government defaults?

  • The US government has never defaulted, and hence there is no exact answer, however, the consequences could be catastrophic.
  • The government would no longer have the money to function, and would have to decide who gets salaries, and how much.
  • The dollar would weaken, the stock markets would collapse, and millions might lose their jobs.
  • Also, the US’s credit rating would be downgraded, making future borrowing more expensive.
  • The crisis in the US will have wider repercussions.

US debt ceiling crisis

Has anything similar happened earlier and is there a way out?

  • The crisis is similar to what happened in 2011 when Barack Obama was President but the House of Representatives was controlled by Republicans.
  • Back then, the crisis ended just hours before the deadline, only after the Obama administration agreed to spending cuts worth more than $ 900 billion.
  • Technically, the US President can sidestep Congress by invoking the 14th Amendment, whose Section Four states that the “validity of the public debt of the United States … shall not be questioned.”
  • But if Biden were to use this option, it could trigger lawsuits, and he has seemed to prefer the Congressional route.

What is the way forward?

  • The debt ceiling is a terrible way to try to impose fiscal responsibility.
  • However, the US government needs to find ways to reduce the deficit and the national debt.
  • The two parties in the congress should arrive at an agreement at the earliest.


  1. The Indian Express│ Debt Ceiling Crisis
  2. The Hindu│ US Debt Ceiling

Prelim Bits

Prelim Bits 27-05-2023 | UPSC Daily Current Affairs


The X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) that is scheduled to be launched later this year by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).

  • The X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) is being built in collaboration with the Raman Research Institute (RRI), Bengaluru.
  • XPoSat will study various dynamics of bright astronomical X-ray sources in extreme conditions.
  • India’s first, and only the world’s second polarimetry mission.
  • It is meant to study various dynamics of bright astronomical X-ray sources in extreme conditions.
  • IXPE - The first polarimetry mission is NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) that was launched in 2021.
  • Payloads - The spacecraft will carry two scientific payloads in a low earth orbit.
    1. Primary payload POLIX
    2. XSPECT
  • POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays) is being developed by RRI in collaboration with ISRO’s U.R.Rao Satellite Centre (URSC) in Bengaluru.
  • POLIX will measure the polarimetry parameters (degree and angle of polarisation).
  • The XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing) payload will give spectroscopic information.
  • It would observe several types of sources, such as X-ray pulsars, blackhole binaries, low-magnetic field neutron star, etc.

 X-rays have much higher energy and much shorter wavelengths, between 0.03 and 3 nanometers.


  1. IE - What is XPoSat, India’s first polarimetry mission?
  2. ISRO - XPoSat

Pygmy Hogs

The conservation of pygmy hogs is crucial to India’s wildlife protection goals.

  • Pygmy hogs are smallest and rarest wild piggy.
  • Their skin is dark brownish-black in colour and their hair is dark.
  • Distribution - Native to alluvial grasslands in the foothills of the Himalayas.
  • Once found all the way from Uttar Pradesh to Assam, but vanished by the early 1960s.
  • Now their population is confined to Assam and southern Bhutan.
  • Diet - They are omnivores and feed on roots, tubers, insects, rodents, and small reptiles.
  • Significance - they are an indicator species. They live only in the wet high grasslands at the foothills of the Himalayas.
  • Their presence ensures a healthy habitat for other rarities such as the one-horned rhinoceros, hog deer, Eastern barasingha, tiger, water buffalo, lesser florican and the hispid hare.
  • Threats - loss and degradation of habitat due to agricultural encroachments, human settlements, livestock grazing, etc.
  • Conservation Status
    1. IUCN - Endangered
    2. CITES - Appendix 1
  • Conservation Efforts - Pygmy Hog Conservation Programme in 1995



  1. IE - Why the conservation of pygmy hogs is crucial to India?
  2. Animalia - Pygmy Hog
  3. IUCN - Pygmy Hog

NHRC and Paris Principles

An organisation affiliated to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has deferred re-accreditation of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India for a year.

  • The Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions’ (GANHRI) Sub Committee on Accreditation (SCA) deferred re-accreditation to NHRC for the second time.
  • The first such instance was in 2016 and accreditation was restored in 2017.
  • Significance of Accreditation - Without the accreditation, NHRC will be unable to represent India at the UN Human Rights Council.
  • NHRC - The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) of India was established on 12 October, 1993.
  • It is a statutory body under the Protection of Human Rights Act (PHRA), 1993.
  • The statute was amended by the Protection of Human Rights (Amendment) Act, 2006.
  • NHRC is in conformity with the Paris Principles.
  • The NHRC is an embodiment of India’s concern for the promotion and protection of human rights.
  • Paris Principles - Officially known as ‘Principles Relating to the Status of National Human Rights Institutions’.
  • The Paris Principles set out the minimum standards that NHRIs must meet in order to be considered credible and to operate effectively.
  • The key pillars of the Paris Principles are pluralism, independence and effectiveness.
  • Paris Principles was adopted Paris in October 1991, and adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1993.
  • Paris Principles are a crucial step in development of standards for national human rights institutions across the world.
  • The six principles require a country‘s human rights agency to be independent from the government in its structure, composition, decision-making and method of operation.



  1. IE - Global agency affiliated to GANHRI defers NHRC accreditation
  2. GANHRI - Paris Principles

WTO Appellate Body Division

India has appealed against a ruling of the World Trade Organization's (WTO) trade dispute settlement panel in the Appellate Body.

  • The World Trade Organization's (WTO) trade dispute settlement panel ruled that India’s import duties on certain information and technology products are inconsistent with the global trade norms.
  • India has appealed against it ruling in the Appellate body of WTO.
  • The Appellate Body was established in 1995.
  • It is a standing body of seven persons that hears appeals from reports issued by panels in disputes brought by WTO Members.
  • The Appellate Body can uphold, modify or reverse the legal findings and conclusions of a panel.
  • Appellate Body Reports are adopted by the Dispute Settlement Body (DSB) unless all members decide not to do so.
  • The Appellate Body has its seat in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Currently, the Appellate Body is unable to review appeals given its ongoing vacancies. 
  • The term of the last sitting Appellate Body member expired on 30 November 2020.


  1. The Hindu - India challenges WTO panel ruling
  2. WTO - Appellate Body

Community-based initiative for Hornbills

A community-based conservation initiative, involving the Kadar tribal community, has restored the dwindling hornbill population.

  • Initiative - The Hornbill nest tree monitoring programme was started in 2005 to address the declining hornbill population and restore their vanishing nesting habitat
  • It involved the Kadars, an indigenous community, in the Vazhachal forest division.
  • The programme had technical support of the Western Ghats Hornbill Foundation for the conservation processes.
  • The Athirappilly - Vazhachal areas is the only location where all the four south Indian species of hornbills are seen.
    1. The Great Hornbill (the State bird of Kerala)
    2. Malabar Pied Hornbill
    3. Malabar Grey Hornbill
    4. Indian Grey Hornbill

Kadar Tribal Community

  • Kadar, small tribe of southern India residing along the hilly border between Cochin in Kerala and Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.
  • Kadar live in the forests and do not practice agriculture.
  • They are specialized collectors of honey, wax, sago, cardamom, ginger.


  1. The Hindu - How a community-based initiative restored dwindling hornbill population in Western Ghats
  2. Britannica - Kadar
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Keeping up with UPSC Current Affairs through IAS Parliament

Preparing for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) examination is a rigorous process that requires not just knowledge of various subjects but also a thorough understanding of current affairs. The UPSC syllabus covers a vast range of topics, and current affairs play a significant role in shaping the exam questions. Aspirants need to stay updated with the latest happenings in India and the world to crack the exam successfully. One of the most reliable sources of current affairs for UPSC is the IAS Parliament.

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