Daily Current Affairs : 3rd and 4th April 2022

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Economic Cooperation Agreement with Australia
  3. Anticipatory Bail
  4. Necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum
  5. Near Field Communication Technology
  6. Frontier Report
  7. Facts for Prelims

1 . Economic Cooperation Agreement with Australia

Context : India and Australia signed an Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) on Saturday in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his counterpart in Canberra Scott Morrison, with an eye on doubling bilateral trade to $50 billion in five years and easing movement of people, goods and services across borders.

Salient features of India-Australia ECTA

  • The India-Australia ECTA is the first trade agreement of India with a developed country after more than a decade.
  • The Agreement encompasses cooperation across the entire gamut of bilateral economic and commercial relations between the two friendly countries, and covers areas like Trade in Goods, Rules of Origin, Trade in Services, Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, Dispute Settlement, Movement of Natural Persons, Telecom, Customs Procedures, Pharmaceutical products, and Cooperation in other Areas.
  • Eight subject specific side letters covering various aspects of bilateral economic cooperation were also concluded as part of the Agreement.

Impact or benefits

  • ECTA provides for an institutional mechanism to encourage and improve trade between the two countries. The ECTA between India and Australia covers almost all the tariff lines dealt in by India and Australia respectively.
  • India will benefit from preferential market access provided by Australia on 100% of its tariff lines. This includes all the labour-intensive sectors of export interest to India such as Gems and Jewellery, Textiles, leather, footwear, furniture, food, and agricultural products, engineering products, medical devices, and Automobiles.
  • On the other hand, India will be offering preferential access to Australia on over 70% of its tariff lines, including lines of export interest to Australia which are primarily raw materials and intermediaries such as coal, mineral ores and wines etc.
  • As regards trade in services, Australia has offered wide ranging commitments in around 135 sub sectors and Most Favoured Nation (MFN) in 120 sub sectors which cover key areas of India’s interest like IT, ITES, Business services, Health, Education, and Audio visual. Some of the key offers from Australia in the services space include: Quota for chefs and yoga teachers; Post study work visa of 2-4 years for Indian students on reciprocal basis; mutual recognition of Professional Services and Other licensed/regulated Occupations; and Work & Holiday visa arrangement for young professionals.
  • On the other hand, India has offered market access to Australia in around 103 sub-sectors and Most Favoured Nation in 31 sub-sectors from the 11 broad service sectors such as ‘business services’, ‘communication services’, ‘construction and related engineering services’, and so on. Both sides have also agreed to a separate Annex on Pharmaceutical products under this agreement, which will enable fast track approval for patented, generic and biosimilar medicines.


  • India and Australia enjoy excellent bilateral relations that have undergone transformative evolution in recent years, developing along a positive track, into a friendly partnership. This is a special partnership characterized by shared values of a pluralistic, parliamentary democracies, Commonwealth traditions, expanding economic engagement, long standing people-to-people ties and increasing high level interaction. The India-Australia Comprehensive Strategic Partnership initiated during the India-Australia Leaders’ Virtual Summit held between Hon’ble Prime Minister of India His Excellency Shri Narendra Modi and Hon’ble Prime Minister of Australia His Excellency Mr. Scott Morrison MP, on 04 June 2020 is the cornerstone of multi-faceted bilateral relations.
  • Growing India-Australia economic and commercial relations contribute to the stability and strength of a rapidly diversifying and deepening bilateral relationship between the two countries. India and Australia have been each other’s important trading partners. These excellent bilateral economic and commercial relations have continued to enhance and deepen over time. Australia is the 17th largest trading partner of India and India is Australia’s 9th largest trading partner. India-Australia bilateral trade for both merchandise and services is valued at US$ 27.5 billion in 2021. India’s merchandise exports to Australia grew 135% between 2019 and 2021. India’s exports consist primarily of a broad-based basket largely of finished products and were US$ 6.9 billion in 2021. India’s merchandise imports from Australia were US$ 15.1 billion in 2021, consisting largely of raw materials, minerals and intermediate goods.
  • India and Australia are partners in the trilateral Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) arrangement along with Japan which seeks to enhance the resilience of supply chains in the Indo-Pacific Region. Further, India and Australia are also members of the recently formed Quad, also comprising US, and Japan, to further enhance cooperation and develop partnership across several issues of common concerns.
  • The India-Australia ECTA will further cement the already deep, close and strategic relations between the two countries and will significantly enhance bilateral trade in goods and services, create new employment opportunities, raise living standards, and improve the general welfare of the peoples of the two countries.


Context : In its 25th year, and at its fifth summit held in hybrid format in Colombo, the organisation adopted a charter which aims at providing greater coordination among the seven members — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar and Thailand.

Why is there a need to revitalise the multilateral grouping?

  • The new charter comes at a time when the need for an alternative regional-global organisation is increasingly being felt because of the moribund nature of SAARC which has not met since November 2014. For long, BIMSTEC existed as a platform for policy dialogue but the global churning over sanctions on Russia after the war in Ukraine appears to have contributed towards finetuning the focus of the grouping.
  • It wants to be an organisation which can find autonomous space away from bigger trade and defence groupings and work for the development of the region around the Bay of Bengal.

What does BIMSTEC’s connectivity vision aim to achieve?

  • The BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity seeks to connect several major transport projects in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Thailand and establish a shipping network across the Bay of Bengal that will benefit the littoral states as well as the Bay of Bengal dependent states like Nepal and Bhutan.
  • The BBIN connectivity project of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal is expected to be merged with the port and infrastructure projects like the Sittwe port of Myanmar and Payra port of Bangladesh and Colombo of Sri Lanka.

Is the Free Trade Agreement plan feasible?

  • A framework agreement for a Free Trade Agreement among the members of BIMSTEC was signed in 2004, and has been revived again. The idea is to create stronger trade relations among players in the Bay of Bengal region but negotiations on finalising legal instruments for coastal shipping, tying up road transport and other issues will take time to be sorted out.

What is the security pillar aiming to achieve?

  • The Bay of Bengal has enormous significance from the security point of view. It borders the Strait of Malacca which is the main energy lane for the eastern and Southeast Asian nations. That apart, Indonesia, Thailand, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have often suffered from terrorism. The security relevance of BIMSTEC, therefore, has been growing especially after the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka in 2019.
  • India will steer the security pillar of BIMSTEC and is expected to coordinate regionwide security cooperation on jointly agreed issues.

Will it mediate in bilateral issues?

  • BIMSTEC members like Myanmar and Bangladesh have challenges like the Rohingya crisis that both sides have been dealing with since 2017. The tense relations between the two countries had hampered smooth working of the BIMSTEC for some time. But as of now the grouping, by including Myanmar in the summit in Colombo, has indicated that it will not interfere in domestic political problems and nor will it allow any member to be sidelined within the organisation. SAARC has been weighed down by bilateral problems between India and Pakistan and a lesson probably has been learnt to keep bilateral troubles away from a regional grouping for better coordination among the members.

3 . Anticipatory Bail

Context : The government has urged the Supreme Court to give an authoritative decision on whether a child or juvenile accused of a crime can apply for anticipatory bail.

About the Issue

  • According to the Govt the question of law has been a dilemma with courts giving opposing judgments over the years. In fact, just earlier this year, the Calcutta High Court referred the question to a larger Bench after coordinate Benches gave differing opinions.

Recent Judgements

  • Arguments in High Courts favouring anticipatory bail under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code for juveniles are based on the principle that every person has a right not to be hounded by the police. They note that the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015 is silent about anticipatory bail. However, this silence cannot be interpreted to conclude that the 2015 law was averse to anticipatory bail. A “beneficial legislation” such as the juvenile justice law cannot be interpreted to exclude a component of Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution. Besides, they argue that if an adult can seek anticipatory bail, a child should also be able to do the same.
  • On the other hand, those countering this stream of argument say the question of law is non-existent. Children are never “arrested” or put behind bars. The question of anticipatory bail does not arise because the law does not entail or envisage the detention or placement of a child in jail or police lock-up. In fact, they say, the 2015 Act consciously uses the term ‘apprehended’ instead of ‘arrest’. “A child cannot be arrested and he can at best be apprehended and placed in charge of Special Juvenile Police Unit (SJPU) or Designated Child Welfare Police Officer (CWPO) for production before the Juvenile Justice Board within 24 hours… therefore the jurisdiction of the court under Section 438 of the Code is not liable to be invoked,” a Calcutta High Court decision reasoned.

About Anticipatory bail

  • Section 438 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) talks about grant of bail to a person anticipating arrest. 
  • An application for such a bail can be made before a high court or a sessions court whenever anyone feels they may be arrested on accusation of having committed a non-bailable offence.
  • So the difference between an ordinary bail order and an anticipatory bail order is that the former is granted after arrest and, therefore, leads to the release of the accused from custody, while an anticipatory bail is granted in anticipation of the arrest and is, therefore, effective at the very moment of arrest.
  • A transit anticipatory bail is sought when a case against a person has been or is likely to be filed in a state different from the one in which he or she is likely to be arrested. So the purpose of a transit bail is to allow the person bail, so they can approach the appropriate court in the state in which the case has been filed for anticipatory bail.
  • In the absence of transit anticipatory bail, the result would be that another state’s police could arrest a person from their home state without them having the opportunity to apply for anticipatory bail at all. The only option then left would be to apply for regular bail once they are arrested and taken to the state in which the case is registered.

4 . Necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum

Context : After the U.S. and Canada, India too has admitted incidence of a rare but serious infection of the genitals and area around the genitals among Type 2 diabetes patients using sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors (a class of Type 2 diabetes medication).

About Necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum

  • This rare but serious infection, called necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum, is also referred to as Fournier’s gangrene.
  • As a precautionary measure, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has requested all State Drug Controllers to direct the manufacturers of SGLT2 inhibitor class drugs, named Canagliflozin, Dapagliflozin and Empagliflozin, under their jurisdiction to include warnings in the package and promotional literature of these drugs.
  • SGLT2 inhibitors and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors are recommended as preferred add-on oral anti-diabetic drugs (OADs) after metformin among Type-2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), heart failure (HF), and chronic kidney disease (CKD). They are generally many times costlier than other OADs, experts say.
  • As per 10th edition of Diabetes Atlas 2021 of International Diabetes Federation (IDF), the estimated number of Diabetes patient between the age group of 20 and 79 is 74.2 million in 2021 and it is estimated to increase to 124.8 million in 2045.

About Diabetes

  • Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. 
  • Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough—or any—insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.
  • The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
    • Type 1 diabetes : If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.
    • Type 2 diabetes : If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.
  • As per Diabetics Atlas published by International Diabetes Foundation One in six people with diabetes in the world is from India. The numbers place the country among the top 10 countries for people with diabetes, coming in at number two with an estimated 77 million diabetics. China leads the list with over 116 million diabetics.

5 . Near Field Communication Technology

Context : Google Pay has recently launched a new feature in India, ‘Tap to pay for UPI’, in collaboration with Pine Labs. The feature makes use of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. The functionality will allow users with NFC-enabled Android smartphones and UPI accounts linked to Google Pay to carry out transactions just by tapping their phones on any Pine Labs Android point-of-sale (POS) terminal across the country, Google said in a release. Till now, Tap to Pay was only available for cards.

What is NFC and how does it work?

  • NFC is a short-range wireless connectivity technology that allows NFC-enabled devices to communicate with each other and transfer information quickly and easily with a single touch — whether to pay bills, exchange business cards, download coupons, or share a document.
  • NFC transmits data through electromagnetic radio fields, to enable communication between two devices. Both devices must contain NFC chips, as transactions take place within a very short distance. NFC-enabled devices must be either physically touching or within a few centimetres from each other for data transfer to occur.

How will this technology work with the recently launched feature, ‘Tap to pay for UPI’?

  • Google Pay has been the first among UPI apps to bring the Tap to Pay feature working on POS terminals. It will allow users with UPI accounts configured on Google Pay to make payments just by tapping their NFC-enabled Android smartphones on any Pine Labs Android POS terminal.
  • Once users tap their phones on the POS terminal, it will automatically open the Google pay app with the payment amount pre-filled. Users can then verify the amount and merchant name and authenticate the payment, using their UPI PIN. They will be notified once the payment is successful
  • The process is much faster compared to scanning a QR code or entering the UPI-linked mobile number which has been the conventional way till now.

What are the other applications of NFC technology?

  • NFC tech has a wide range of applications besides driving payment services like Google Wallet and Apple Pay. It is used in contactless banking cards to perform money transactions or to generate contact-less tickets for public transport. Contactless cards and readers use NFC in several applications from securing networks and buildings to monitoring inventory and sales, preventing auto theft, keeping tabs on library books, and running unmanned toll booths, according to investopedia.
  • NFC is behind the cards that we wave over card readers in subway turnstiles and on buses to check tickets. It is present in speakers, household appliances, and other electronic devices that we monitor and control through our smartphones. With just a touch, NFC can also set up WiFi and Bluetooth devices in our homes, investopedia noted.
  • It also has an application in healthcare, to monitor patient stats through NFC-enabled wristbands. NFC is used in wireless charging too.

How safe is this technology ?

  • NFC technology is designed for an operation between devices within a few centimetres from each other. This makes it difficult for attackers to record the communication between the devices compared to other wireless technologies which have a working distance of several metres, according to the NFC forum, a non-profit industry association.
  • The user of the NFC-enabled device determines by the touch gesture which entity the NFC communication should take place with, making it more difficult for the attacker to get connected. The security level of the NFC communication is by default higher compared to other wireless communication protocols.
  • The NFC Forum has also added Peer to Peer communication which is a mechanism to cipher all exchanged data to avoid external interpretation of recorded communication. Since the receiving device reads your data the instant you send it, NFCs also reduce the chance of human error

Where does it stand in comparison to other wireless technologies?

  • There are other wireless technologies available which are replacing cable-based connections. The IrDa technology is a short range (a few metres) connection based on the exchange of data over infrared light where the two communication devices must be positioned within a line of sight. Today, this technology is mainly used for remote control devices. For larger data communication with computer devices this technology was replaced by Bluetooth or WiFi connections.
  • However, for these technologies’ receiver devices need their own power supply due to the larger working distance. Therefore, the receiving device cannot be powered by the radiofrequency (RF) field like in NFC, the NFC forum highlighted. Another consequence of the larger working distance is the need for the user to configure their device and to pair them together for communication. Connection cannot be initiated by a simple touch gesture like in NFC.

When did NFC tech start?

  • In 2004, consumer electronics companies, Nokia, Philips and Sony together formed the NFC Forum, which outlined the architecture for NFC technology to create powerful new consumer-driven products.

6 . Frontier Report

Context : A February report commissioned by the United Nations Environment Programme on the environmental challenges posed by noise, wildfires and the disruption of biological rhythms of plants, animals and ecological cycles became controversial on account of the mention of a single city, Moradabad.

What was the controversy?

  • The first chapter of the report, called Frontiers 2022: Noise, Blazes and Mismatches, deals with noise. It compiles studies about noise levels in several cities around the world and illustrates a subset of 61 cities and the range of dB (decibel) levels that have been measured. Delhi, Jaipur, Kolkata, Asansol and Moradabad are the five Indian cities mentioned in this list and Moradabad in Uttar Pradesh was shown as having a dB range from 29 to 114. At a maximum value of 114, it was the second-most-noisiest city in the list. The first was Dhaka, Bangladesh at a maximum value of 119 dB.
  • While road traffic, industry and high population density are well-known factors associated with high dB levels, the inclusion of Moradabad appeared strange because similar studies in the past had never suggested it to be an unusually noisy city. There was no mention of the city in any of the scientific reports listed out in the bibliography of sources. A perusal of the list of research articles, linking each city to the scientific study undertaken to measure noise levels, pointed to a study, “Environmental noise challenges and policies in low-and middle-income countries. South Florida Journal of Health.” This was authored by Dietrich Schwela, a researcher at the University of York, but surprisingly had no reference to Moradabad.
  • There were references to noise levels in Aurangabad (40-102), Chandigarh (51-75) and Kolkata (70-83). Schwela’s study itself is a compilation of studies by several authors from around the world and the studies on Aurangabad, Chandigarh and Kolkata were done by independent authors. Another place that finds itself in the Frontiers report is Asansol, India, again referenced to Schwela’s study and like Moradabad has no mention in the study.

So, is Moradabad the second-noisiest city?

  • The actual study linked to Moradabad was: “Assessment of noise level status in different areas of Moradabad city” by Avnish Chauhan, of the Graphic Era Hill University, Dehradun. Incidentally this study was published in 2010 and, as is routine in many studies measuring noise levels, involved measurements in different parts of the city: residential areas, industrial areas and commercial places during the day and night. The 114 measurement was an average of measurements reported from a factory in an industrial zone. Aletta added that inferring Moradabad to be the ‘second-noisiest city’ was incorrect because the list of cities whose values were illustrated were only indicative.
  • The noise indicators that the different studies/reports included weren’t “necessarily consistent/harmonised and it was generated simply as an example of the spread of noise values that different people have observed in different cities over time in different places.”

Why are measurements of noise important?

  • The latest 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines established a health-protective recommendation for road traffic noise levels of 53 dB. The Frontiers report compiled a host of evidence, including the adverse effects of noise on public health, which range from mild and temporary distress to severe and chronic physical impairment. Night-time noise disturbs sleep and affects well-being the following day.
  • Estimates suggest that in Europe 22 million and 6.5 million people suffer from chronic noise annoyance and sleep disturbance, respectively. The elderly, pregnant women and shift workers are among those at risk of noise-induced sleep disturbance. Noise-induced awakenings can trigger a range of physiological and psychological stress responses because sleep is necessary for hormonal regulation and cardiovascular functioning. Traffic noise exposure is a risk factor for the development of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders such as elevated blood pressure, arterial hypertension, coronary heart disease and diabetes. Long-term exposure to environmental noise contributes to 48,000 new cases of ischemic heart disease and causes 12,000 premature deaths annually in Europe.
  • Two 15-year-long studies of long-term residents of Toronto, Canada found that exposure to road traffic noise elevated risks of acute myocardial infarction and congestive heart failure, and increased the incidence of Type 2 diabetes by 8%, and hypertension by 2%, says the report.

What is India doing about noise pollution?

  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) is mandated to track noise levels, set standards as well as ensure, via their State units, that sources of excessive noise are controlled.
  • The agency has a manual monitoring system where sensors are installed in major cities and few cities have the facility to track noise levels in real time. The CPCB also measures noise levels before and after Diwali in major cities, to publicise the impact of firecrackers.

7 . Facts for Prelims

Recombinant Variant XE

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has flagged the emergence of a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, the XE recombinant, in the United Kingdom, and with a possibly higher rate of transmission.
  • A recombinant variant occurs when an individual becomes infected with two or more variants at the same time, leading to a mixing of genetic material in the human body. Several such recombinants have emerged in the past during the pandemic.

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