18thMarch,2022 ; Daily Current Affairs

Daily Current Affairs   Date :18thMarch,2022

 (30+ Questions hit in Prelims 2021 from this series)

Covers 4 Most relevant Sources

  • The Hindu
  • Indian Express
  • PIB
  • Mint


  • HasdeoAranya Regionand the Bridge Linkage Plan (TH, pg 3)
  • What is Development Policy Financing (DPF)? (TH, pg 8)
  • Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) (TH, pg 12)
  • Most Favoured Nation (MFN) Status (TH, pg 6)
  • Sealed Cover Jurisprudence (TH, pg 10)
  • Double Membership (TH, pg 11)
  • Urals Crude (TH, pg 1)
  • India’s Line of Credit to Sri Lanka (TH, pg 1)
  1. HasdeoAranya Region and the Bridge Linkage Plan (TH, pg 3)

  • Context:Thermal power stations in Rajasthan, facing an acute shortage of coal, will shortly get the coal under a bridge linkage plan following a recommendation of the Union Ministry of Power.
  • The inordinate delay in Parsa coal block allocation in Chhattisgarh for the State has adversely affected the availability for thermal power plants.


Bridge Linkage Plan

  • As per the norms of the Coal Ministry, the bridge linkage acts like a short-term arrangement to bridge the gap between the requirement of coal of a specified end use plant of the Central and State public sector undertakings and the start of production from the linked allotted coal mine or block.
  • The bridge linkage may be granted for a fixed period of three years from the date of allotment of coal mines.
  • The shorter duration of bridge linkage acts as an incentive for the allottees to expedite production from coal mines and blocks.
  • While there is no minimum assured quantity, the coal is supplied on the “best effort basis” after meeting the existing contractual obligations of coal companies.

Concern of tribals

  • Parsa is one of the six coal blocks (other blocks – Tara, Parsa, Parsa East and KenteBasan, and Kente Extension) located in the HasdeoAranya region.
  • HasdeoAranya is a dense forest stretch spread across over 1,500 km through central India.
  • The area is home to India’s tribal communities, with an estimated five billion tonnes of coal buried under the dense forests.
  • This part of India is historically known for its elephants.
  • Mining has become a huge business in the area, leading to protests by the locals.

Proposals for Elephant Reserves

  • In August 2019, the new Congress government in Chhattisgarh unveiled its plan to address the two main issues – protecting the elephants and saving the HasdeoAranya forest from coal mining.
  • The plan was to create a 1995-square-kilometre reserve – the Lemru Elephant Reserve.
  • More than 25 elephant reserves have been established in India since the 1990s.
  • The reserves do not have the status of national parks.
  • Traditional activities of the Adivasi can continue within elephant reserves, where there is a strong emphasis on managing human-wildlife conflict.
  • Various forms of development are allowed within the reserves.
  1. What is Development Policy Financing (DPF)? (TH, pg 8)

  • Context:750 million dollars have been approved by the World Bank to help Kenya’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
  • In 2019, the East African nation qualified for the World Bank’s Development Policy Operations (DPO), and the funding is part of the DPO loan series through which the WB provides low-cost budget financing.


  • Development Policy Financing (DPF) is a World Bank lending instrument that provides credits, loans, grants or guarantees to a borrowing country [through ‘fungible’ (i.e. non-earmarked) budget support].
  • It is issued by the International Development Association (IDA), the Bank’s low-income country arm, and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), the Bank’s middle-income country arm.
  • Unlike the Bank’s Investment Project Financing (IPF) and Program-for-Results Financing (PforR), DPF is not earmarked for specific projects, such as bridges and hydroelectric dams, but instead supports targeted policy reforms and provides finance directly to a borrowing country’s general budget.
  • This budget support comes with strings attached, as each loan contains policy conditions that borrowing countries must meet.
  • Each of these individual loans, grants or guarantees is called a development policy operation (DPO).
  • When developing a DPO, the Bank often consults with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Bank’s private sector arm, to develop a macroeconomic framework for the borrowing country.
  1. Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) (TH, pg 12)

  • Context: Nineteen drugmakers in India have signed sub-licence agreements with the United Nations-backed Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) to manufacture the generic version of Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 antiviral nirmatrelvir.


  • The Medicines Patent Pool (MPP) is a United Nations-backed public health organisation working to increase access to, and facilitate the development of, life-saving medicines for low- and middle-income countries.
  • Through its innovative business model, MPP partners with civil society, governments, international organisations, industry, patient groups, and other stakeholders, to prioritise and license needed medicines and pool intellectual property to encourage generic manufacture and the development of new formulations.
  1. Most Favoured Nation (MFN) Status (TH, pg 6)

  • Context:Canada has suspended the most favoured nation (MFN) treatment to Russia, which it owes to the latter under the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO), i.e., the global institution that polices the international law on multilateral trade.
  • Under the WTO regime, the right of countries to impose trade sanctions, such as suspending MFN, on security grounds, is regulated by Article XXI of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).
  • For countries outside the WTO, such as Iran, North Korea, Syria or Russian ally Belarus, WTO members can impose whatever trade measures they wish without flouting global trading rules.


  • While the term ‘Most Favoured Nation’ suggests special treatment to one country, the MFN clause in WTO’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade is intended to ensure the opposite — that member countries of the organisation do not discriminate between their trade partners.
  • In trade contracts, the ‘most favoured customer clause’ is a clause by which the seller agrees to give a buyer the best terms he makes available to any other buyer.
  • Thus, every WTO member nation usually grants MFN status to all other members, in effect promising that everyone will receive equitable treatment from it.
  • The primary condition under MFN is that a country must charge the same tariff rate on imports irrespective of their origin.
  • Say country A accorded MFN status to all the members of WTO. Later, if country A grants a concession to country B as a part of negotiations between them, the same concession will be granted to all other WTO members by virtue of their MFN status, even if the latter offer no concession in return.
  • GATT does accommodate specific exceptions though. For example, two countries can enter into a preferential arrangement liberalising trade in services without extending this benefit to other members.
  • Tariff differences arising from existing double taxation agreements are also permitted. This is expected to result in a tariff regime that is transparent and economically efficient.
  • India had cancelled the MFN (most favoured nation) status to Pakistan following the February 14 Pulwama terror attack
  • Pakistan has never grantedthe Most Favoured Nation (MFN) status to India.
  1. Sealed Cover Jurisprudence (TH, pg 10)

  • Context:The Supreme Court’s recent expression of aversion to “sealed covers” comes after years of receiving documents and materials in sealed covers from the government.


  • “Sealed cover jurisprudence”, as the top court calls it, precludes the other party from knowing the content of what the government hands over to the court.
  • The government has often justified this in the name of national security or even as a measure to safeguard the sanctity of an ongoing investigation.
  • Questions of fair hearing and principles of natural justice have been raised against sealed covers.
  • However, the government’s move to submit documents in a sealed cover met with resistance in the Anuradha Bhasin case in January 2020.
  • The case concerned restrictions imposed on the rights of citizens and the press in Jammu and Kashmir in the name of national security, following the removal of Article 370.
  • In this case, the apex court said the government had to file an affidavit specifying reasons for claiming the “privilege” if it did not want to give copies of the restrictive orders to the petitioners.
  • The Supreme Court of India has repeatedly held that judicial review of executive action is the basic feature of the Constitution.
  • The decisions in Minerva Mills vs Union of India (1980) and L. Chandra Kumar vs Union of India (1997) reiterated this fundamental principle.
  • If the executive wishes to limit rights it must show that the test of reasonable restrictions is satisfied. This principle is the bedrock of judicial review.
  • The ‘sealed cover’ practice inverses this position. The moment the executive utters ‘national security’, courts often permit them to inform the justification in a ‘sealed cover’.
  • These ‘reasons’ are not disclosed to the party whose rights are clearly at stake. The court satisfies itself of the defence of the state and dismisses the petition.
  • When an action is alleged to have curtailed fundamental rights, the court is bound to examine the legality of the action through the lens of proportionality.
  • In Modern Dental College vs State of Madhya Pradesh (2016), the top court adopted the proportionality test proposed by Aharon Barak, the former Chief Justice, Supreme Court of Israel, “a limitation of a constitutional right will be constitutionally permissible if:
  • (i) it is designated for a proper purpose;
  • (ii) the measures undertaken to effectuate such a limitation are rationally connected to the fulfillment of that purpose;
  • (iii) the measures undertaken are necessary in that there are no alternative measures that may similarly achieve that same purpose with a lesser degree of limitation; and finally
  • (iv) there needs to be a proper relation (‘proportionality strictosensu’ or ‘balancing’) between the importance of achieving the proper purpose and the social importance of preventing the limitation on the constitutional right”.
  • This was reiterated in K.S. Puttaswamy vs Union of India (2017). But this entire process of proportionality analysis is sidelined by the High Court.
  1. Double Membership (TH, pg 11)

  • Context:The debacle in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly election has put Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav in an uncomfortable position.
  • With the Lok Sabha election two years away, he is staring at a tough choice between continuing as the MLA for Karhal, the seat that he won in the U.P. Assembly election, or continuing as the MP for Azamgarh.


  • A person cannot be a member of both Houses of Parliament at the same time.
  • Thus, the Representation of People Act (1951) provides for the following:
  • (a) If a person is elected to both the Houses of Parliament, he must intimate within 10 days in which House he desires to serve. In default of such intimation, his seat in the Rajya Sabha becomes vacant.
  • (b) If a sitting member of one House is also elected to the other House, his seat in the first House becomes vacant.
  • (c) If a person is elected to two seats in a House, he should exercise his option for one. Otherwise, both seats become vacant.
  • Similarly, a person cannot be a member of both the Parliament and the state legislature at the same time.
  • If a person is so elected, his seat in Parliament becomes vacant if he does not resign his seat in the state legislature within 14 days.
  1. Urals Crude (TH, pg 1)

  • Urals is the most common export grade of crude oil from Russia and an important benchmark for the medium sour crude market in Europe.
  • Uralsbrand oil has a large amount of sulfur, and is a mixture of oil extracted in the Khanty-Mansiisk Autonomous Area and Tatarstan.
  • The basic producers of Urals are companies from the Russian Federation, that’s why this oil is called the Russian oil.
  • Urals oil is considered to be of poor quality compared to Brent and usually Urals is sold at a discount.
  • Ural Mountain Range in west-central Russia forms the major part of the traditional physiographic boundary between Europe and Asia.
  1. India’s Line of Credit to Sri Lanka (TH, pg 1)

  • India recently extended a $1 billion credit facility to Sri Lanka to assist the island nation through its worst foreign exchange crisis and enable it to procure food, medicines and essential items.
  • In 2022, so far India has extended $1.4 billion support to Sri Lanka, through a $400-million RBI currency swap, deferral of a $0.5 billion loan and another half a billion as a line of credit for the country to sustain its essential fuel imports.
  • Sri Lanka is facing its worst financial crisis, and had declared an emergency in August 2021 in the face of a crippling foreign exchange crunch.

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