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Current Affairs 20th January 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee

Context: Prioritising national well-being, the Supreme Court questioned the government’s claims about genetically modified (GM) crops’ impact on oil prices and foreign dependence.

About Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee

  • Body: It is a statutory body.
  • Foundation and Jurisdiction: The Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC) is established under the 1989 Rules for hazardous microorganisms and genetically engineered organisms, as part of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • Administrative Oversight: GEAC operates under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC).
  • Evolution: Originally named the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee, its title was updated to Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee in 2010.
  • Primary Responsibilities:
    • Evaluates large-scale use of hazardous microorganisms and recombinants in research and industrial production from an environmental perspective.
    • Appraises proposals for the release of genetically engineered (GE) organisms and products, including experimental field trials, into the environment.
    • Monitors the usage, import, and export of genetically modified (GM) organisms and crops.
    • Possesses authority to ban the manufacture and use of specific recombinants deemed hazardous for commercial purposes.
  • Committee Structure:
    • Chaired by the Special Secretary/Additional Secretary of MoEF&CC, with a co-chair from the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
    • Currently includes 24 members, meeting monthly to evaluate applications related to the aforementioned areas.
    • Members are experts from various ministries and institutions, including ICAR, ICMR, CCMB, among others.

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Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs)

Context: The uncertainty over the US Federal Reserve rate cut looming large over the stock markets, foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) dumped shares worth Rs 20,479 crore ($2.46 billion), triggering a 2.6 per cent slump in the benchmark indices.

About Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs)

  • Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI) entails possessing financial assets from a country different from the investor’s home nation.
  • These assets may comprise equities, American Depository Receipts (ADRs), Global Depository Receipts (GDRs), bonds, mutual funds, and exchange-traded funds.
  • FPIs hold a passive position in their investments, lacking any management influence or direct claim over a company’s assets or property.
  • Moreover, investments made by Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) are not classified as FPI.

Difference Between FPI And FDI

Aspect Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Foreign Portfolio Investment (FPI)
Definition Investment from foreign entities aimed at gaining significant influence in a company in another country. Investment in foreign financial assets like stocks or bonds on an exchange.
Type Direct investment in enterprises. Indirect investment in financial assets.
Market Capital is directed into the primary market. Capital flows into the secondary market.
Investor Role Investors play an active role in management and operations. Investors remain passive with no role in daily operations.
Control Level Substantial control and influence over business decisions. Minimal to no control over business operations.
Investment Term Typically aimed at long-term engagement. Usually short-term placements.
Investment Focus Targets physical assets in the host country. Focuses on financial assets like securities.
Market Entry/Exit Entry and exit are more complex due to larger investments and regulations. Entry and exit are relatively easier due to the nature of the assets involved.
Risk Profile Generally stable due to long-term involvement and tangible assets. Tends to be more volatile due to market fluctuations and shorter investment horizons.

Women-led Startups and Unicorns

Context: President Smt Droupadi Murmu interacted with a group of women who are founders and cofounders of leading start-ups and unicorns at Rashtrapati Bhavan. This meeting took place under the initiative “The President with the People” which aims to establish a deeper connection with people and recognise their contributions.

Facts Related to Startup

  • Start-up India programme: It was launched to harness youth’s potential and strengthen the country’s entrepreneurial environment.
  • India has the third largest start-up ecosystem in the world with about 1,17,000 start-ups and more than 100 unicorns.

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