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Current Affairs 1st April 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam

India’s Trade – UNCTAD report

Context: According to a report from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), India’s trade dependence on China and the European Union (EU) grew by 1.2 per cent while its reliance on Saudi Arabia declined by 0.6 per cent.

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  • This came despite India’s efforts to cut reliance on China by implementing its flagship Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme and Quality Control Orders (QCOs) largely to limit entry of cheap Chinese products.
  • As per the report, towards the end of 2023, trade in goods saw growth in several major economies, including China with a 5% rise in imports) and India with a 5% growth in exports.

About UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development)

  • Role: UN’s leading trade and development institution
  • Established: 1964 by the UN General Assembly
  • Body: Permanent Intergovernmental Body
  • Mission: Supports developing countries in benefiting fairly from the globalised economy
  • Membership: 195 Countries
  • Activities:
    • Provides economic & trade analysis
    • Facilitates consensus building
    • Offers technical assistance on using trade, investment, finance & technology for sustainable development
The activities of UNCTAD are advisory in nature
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
  • Key Reports:
    • Trade and Development Report
    • World Investment Report
    • The Least Developed Countries Report
  • UNCTAD Structure:
    • Highest Policy Body: Conference (meets every 4 years to set policy and work program)
    • Executive Body: Trade and Development Board (operates when the Conference is not in session)
    • Secretariat: Performs policy analysis, monitors & implements decisions, provides technical cooperation & information exchange (part of the UN Secretariat)

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Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act (RERA), 2016

Context: The Real Estate Act is under review by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, aiming to refine it with homebuyer consultations and a new data unit.

About RERA

What is RERA?

  • An act passed by the Indian Parliament in 2016 to regulate and promote the real estate sector.
  • Establishes a Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA) in every state.
  • Objective: To make known the status of building approvals, to enable customers to make accurate decisions.
  • Applies to: Under-construction projects with a plot size above 500 sq m or projects with 8 apartments or more.

Salient Provisions

  • Fast-track dispute resolution: RERA establishes appellate tribunals and adjudicating officers for quick resolutions.
  • Project registration: All real estate projects must be registered with RERA.
  • Promoter consent transfer: Requires written consent from two-thirds of allottees and RERA approval for transferring project rights.
  • Complaint filing: Allows filing complaints with RERA regarding violations of the Act by promoters, buyers, or agents.
  • Power to stop activities: During enquiry, RERA can stop agents, promoters, or buyers from continuing activities related to the complaint.
  • Appeals process: An aggrieved party can appeal RERA’s decisions before the Appellate Tribunal.
  • Penalties for non-compliance:
    • Promoter non-compliance: Penalty up to 5% of property cost.
    • Appellate Tribunal order non-compliance: Imprisonment up to 3 years or fine (up to 10% of project cost), or both.
  • Company offence: Company and person in charge during the offence will be held guilty and punished.
  • Exclusive jurisdiction: No civil court jurisdiction over matters under RERA or the Appellate Tribunal.

Current Status

  • Projects Registered: Over 1.09 lakh real estate projects.
  • Complaints Disposed: Over 1.11 lakh.

Katchatheevu Island

Context: Prime Minister Modi criticised the ceding of Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka in 1974 by the then Indira Gandhi Government.

About Katchatheevu Island

Katchatheevu Island is an uninhabited island of Sri Lanka in the Palk Strait, formed from a 14th-century volcanic eruption. It is located 24 kilometers off the coast of Neduntheevu (Delft Island), Sri Lanka, and 33 kilometers from Rameswaram, India. Initially a disputed territory between India and Sri Lanka over fishing rights, the dispute was resolved in 1974 when India renounced its claim to the island in exchange for fishing rights for Indian fishermen. However, this right was later reneged upon by Sri Lanka.

Geographical Location

Katchatheevu is a small, uninhabited island in the Palk Strait, positioned northeast of Rameswaram (India) and southwest of Jaffna (Sri Lanka).

Current Affairs 1st April 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam_4.1

Examples, Data & Case Studies for Value Addition

  1. Indian Economy (GS 3): Tamil Nadu is the leading exporter of electronics in India, accounting for 30% of the FY23 exports and 40% growth in FY24.
    • Close to 40% of India’s smartphone exports in the last two fiscal years were from the Kancheepuram district in Tamil Nadu.
    • The top states for electronic goods exports from India are Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and Gujarat.
    • Top Importer Countries of Electronics (FY24):
      • US: $8.7 billion
      • UAE: $3.4 billion,
    • Netherlands: $1.3 billion.

2. Climate Change (GS 1): The Arctic region’s temperature is increasing at a rate four times faster than the global average.

  • This accelerated warming extends its impact beyond the Arctic Circle, with the thawing of permafrost and the expansion of sea levels posing severe threats to global ecosystems and climate stability.

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