Current Affairs Oct 22

Cooperation in the Exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, was apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Nigeria on Cooperation in the exploration and uses of outer space for peaceful purposes.
  • The MoU has been signed between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) of India at Bengaluru in June,2020 and by National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) of Nigeria at Abuja on August 13, 2020. 


  • This MoU shall enable potential interest areas of cooperation such as,
  • Remote sensing of the earth;
  • Satellite communication and satellite-based navigation;
  • Space science end planetary exploration;
  • Use of spacecraft, launch vehicles, space systems and ground systems;
  • Practical applications of space technology including geospatial tools and techniques; and
  • Other areas of cooperation to be’ determined by the Signatories.

Implementation Strategy & Targets:

  • The signed MoU would lead to set up a Joint Working Group, drawing members from Department of Space (DOS)/ISRO and National Space Research and Development Agency (NASRDA) of Nigeria, which will further work out the plan of action including the time-frame and the means of implementation.


  • Cooperation with and the Government of Nigeria through this MoU would lead to develop a joint activity in the field of application of space technologies for the benefit of humanity.
  • Thus, all sections and regions of the country will get benefited.

Cabinet approves MoU between ICAI, India and CPA, Papua New Guinea

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved Memorandum of Understanding between
  • the Institute of Chartered Accounts of India (ICAI) and the Certified Practising Accountants, Papua New Guinea (CPA PNG)
  • to work together in capacity building and strengthening the Accounting, Financial and Audit Knowledge base in Papua New Guinea.


Implementation strategy and Targets:

Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and Certified Practising Accountants Papua New Guinea (CPA PNG) will work together for the following:

 To hold and conduct technical events, seminars and conferences in PNG,

  • Establishing possible cooperation and collaboration in areas of Corporate Governance, technical research and advice, quality assurance, forensic accounting, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and other subjects of mutual interest.
  • Share available unrestricted information concerning the accountancy profession in India and PNG and internationally when required, develop the modules for specific subjects for CPA, PNG Examination.
  • To have students and faculty exchange programs.
  • Offer short term professional courses in the domain of accounting, finance and audit in PNG.

 Major Impact:

  • The Indian Chartered Accountants (CA) fraternity is helping the local business community and stakeholders on Financial Reporting matters and is held in high esteem.
  • The proposed MoU is expected to consolidate the trust and help to build positive image for Indian Chartered Accountants in Papua New Guinea.
  • ICAI has a strong membership of over 3000 members in Australasia-Oceania Region comprising its chapter in PNG.
  • The contemplated MoU for providing assistance to CPA, PNG shall benefit the ICAI members in the region and would provide an additional impetus to the prospects of the ICAI members.





  • Government of India has acknowledged the contribution of UDAN initiative and identified 21st October 2020 (the day on which the UDAN Scheme document was first released) as UDAN Day.
  • UDAN scheme has established the importance of travelling by air for common man specially to far flung areas.
  • The most important features of the scheme is that different agencies collaborated and synchronised their efforts towards the success of the scheme.
  • AAI is committed to build the infrastructure required for the UDAN scheme across the country.
  • RCS-UDAN, “Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik” is a Government of India’s flagship program which aims to provide affordable, economically viable and profitable air travel on regional routes.
  • This Regional Connectivity Scheme offers unique opportunity to a common man to fly at an affordable price.
  • UDAN has played a major role in adding new airports and routes to the aviation landscape of the country.
  • 50 unserved and underserved airports (including 5 heliports) with 285 routes have been added under UDAN across the length and breadth of India.
  • As the implementing agency, AAI has an ambitious plan to develop at least 100 airports/waterdromes/heliports by 2024 under the Scheme.



INS Kavaratti


  • The last of the four indigenously built Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) stealth corvettes ‘INS Kavaratti’ under the Project 28 (Kamorta class) is scheduled to be commissioned into the Indian Navy at the Naval Dockyard in Visakhapatnam on 22nd October.
  • A potent stealth ASW corvette, Kavaratti is indigenously designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house organisation Directorate of Naval Design (DND), and built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) in Kolkata.
  • This initiative portrays the growing capability of the Indian Navy, GRSE and the nation in becoming self-reliant, in tune with the national objective of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.
  • The ship has up to 90% indigenously built content.
  • Kavaratti has the state-of-the-art weapons and sensor suite which are capable of detecting and destroying submarines.
  • In addition to its anti-submarine warfare capability, the ship has a credible self-defence capability and good endurance for long-range deployments.
  • The ship will be commissioned into the Navy as a combat-ready platform as it has completed the sea trials of all the systems on board.
  • Kavaratti takes her name from the erstwhile INS Kavaratti, an Arnala class missile corvette. The older Kavaratti played a key role during the 1971 war.



IFSCA prescribes regulatory framework for REITs, InvITs in IFSC


  • The International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA), with an objective to develop the financial products and services in the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City International Financial Services Centre (GIFT IFSC) has prescribed
  • the regulatory framework for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs) in IFSC.
  • IFSCA has permitted global participants i.e. REITs and InvITs incorporated in FATF compliant jurisdictions to list on the stock exchanges in GIFT IFSC.
  • Additionally, InvITs have been permitted to raise funds through private placements also.
  • The REITs and InvITs registered in IFSC have been permitted to invest in real estate assets and infrastructure projects respectively in IFSC, India and other foreign jurisdictions, which is in line with the framework provided in the global financial centres.
  • The REITs and InvITs that are already listed in any of the permissible jurisdictions other than IFSC (currently USA, Japan, South Korea, United Kingdom excluding British Overseas Territories, France, Germany, Canada and India) or India have been permitted to list and trade on the recognised stock exchanges in IFSC, subject to compliance with their respective laws of home jurisdiction.
  • The listing of REITs and InvITs in IFSC shall be in accordance with the requirements of the stock exchanges in IFSC.
  • The entities in IFSC can participate and benefit from the growth of real estate and infrastructure sector in international jurisdictions.
  • The IFSCA was established on April 27 this year with head office in Gandhinagar with an objective to develop the financial products and services in the Gujarat International Finance Tec-City International Financial Services Centre (GIFT IFSC).
  • In December 2019, Parliament passed a Bill to set up a unified authority for regulating all financial activities at the IFSCs in the country.




Mobile application for Geo tagging


  • Ministry of Jal Shakti launched a Mobile application for Geo tagging of the components of projects under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana- Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme(PMKSY-AIBP).
  • In 2016-17, the Union Govt, in consultation with States, prioritized Ninety-nine (99) ongoing Major/ Medium Irrigation (MMI) Projects in the country, for completion in phases under PMKSY-AIBP.
  • In order to track the pace of work and actual status of the projects, the Ministry with the help of Bhaskaracharya National Institute of Space Applications & Geo-informatics (BISAG-N) has developed and launched the mobile application.
  • Mobile Application can be used by monitoring team/ project authorities to capture the image of project component along with other details such as location, type of canal/ structure, completion status, etc and this captured information can be submitted by the user for geo-tagging on the GIS portal developed for this purpose.
  • The mobile application can be operated in both online & offline mode depending on the network availability in the region.




Khadi Footwear


  • Ministry of Micro,Small & Medium Enterprises launched India’s first-ever high quality Khadi Fabric Footwear, designed by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC).
  • These footwear are made of Khadi fabric like Silk, Cotton and Wool.
  • Khadi footwear is a unique product. International quality and use of fine fabric like Patola Silk, Banarasi Silk, Cotton, Denim would attract the youngsters who can purchase it online.
  • By developing and marketing such products overseas, Khadi India can capture a market worth Rs 5000 crore.
  • The idea behind launching Khadi Fabric Footwear was to tap the international market where a large section of international consumers are increasingly going vegan and hence, Khadi will become a preferred choice of this segment.
  • The size of Indian footwear industry is approx Rs 50,000 crore which includes exports worth nearly Rs 18,000 crore.
  • Initial target is to capture at least 2% of this Industry that is estimated to be around Rs 1000 crore.



Aditi Urja Sanch Unit


  • The Union Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences inaugurated the Dimethyl ether (DME) fired “Aditi Urja Sanch” unit along with the DME-LPG blended fuel cylinders and handed  them over for common public and CSIR-NCL (National Chemical Laboratory) canteen use on a trial basis at CSIR-NCL premises.
  • The launch of this burner will also provide a significant boost to the ‘Make in India’ campaign as all the manufacturers of cylinders, gas stoves, regulators, and gas hose are domestic.
  • Dimethyl ether (DME) is an ultra-clean fuel.
  • CSIR-NCL has developed nation’s first kind of DME pilot plant with 20-24 Kg/day capacity.
  • The conventional LPG burner is not suitable for DME combustion as DME density is different than LPG.

Salient features of newly designed Burner are:

  1. The new design is efficient for both DME and the blend of DME and LPG.
  2. Novel design and flexible air ingress.
  3. The new nozzle design allows optimum oxygen ingress for combustion.   
  4. The angles at which nozzles are placed maximize the heat transfer area across the utensils.
  5. Optimum flame velocity can be obtained.
  6. The length of the flame (high, low, and medium) can be adjusted by altering the oxygen ingress.
  7. The experiment shows that it increases the heat transfer rate as well.
  • Trial runs have demonstrated an improvement by 10-15 %, compared to conventional burners using LPG alone.
  • A clean cooking fuel combination of DME-LPG also safeguards the well-being of women and children.
  • The DME process technology is economical, cost-effective, and scalable with in-situ product purification as well as a heat integration unit that produces pure DME.
  • This technology developed by CSIR-NCL at present has the capacity of 20-24 kg/ day DME production.
  • t is to be scaled up to 0.5 Ton per day through the CSIR-FTC project.




Third phase of National Supercomputing Mission


  • The third phase of the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) will kickstart in January, taking computing speed to around 45 petaflops.
  • The NSM is rapidly boosting high power computing in the country through its various phases to meet the increasing computational demands of academia, researchers, medium, small and micro enterprises and start-ups in areas like oil exploration, flood prediction as also genomics, and drug discovery.
  • The Rs 4,500 crore-National Supercomputers Mission (NSM) envisages nearly 50 supercomputers across the country in three phases.
  • As the infrastructure planned in NSM phase I has already been installed and much of Phase II is in place, the speed of supercomputers in the country will soon reach to around 16 PF.
  • The NSM is jointly steered by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) and implemented by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.
  • Param Shivay, the first supercomputer assembled indigenously, was installed in IIT (BHU), followed by Param Shakti and Param Brahma at IIT-Kharagpur and IISER, Pune.
  • The three phases will provide access to High-Performance Computing (HPC) facilities to around 75 institutions and more than thousands of active researchers, academicians working through Nation Knowledge Network (NKN), the backbone for supercomputing systems.
  • The mission has also created the next generation of supercomputer experts by training more than 2400 supercomputing manpower and faculties till date.
  • While in Phase-I, 30 percent value addition is done in India, that has been scaled up to 40 percent in Phase-II.
  • India has developed an Indigenous server (Rudra), which can meet the HPC requirements of all governments and PSUs.
  • This is the first time that a server system was made in India, along with the full software stack developed by C-DAC.




ICMR approves COVIRAP method developed by IIT Kharagpur


  • A new coronavirus diagnostic method, using a low-cost portable unit developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur,
  • has been approved by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)
  • after testing with patient samples showed an accuracy level slightly lower than the gold standard RT-PCR method at a fraction of the cost.
  • Once the viral RNA was extracted, the testing process took about one hour.
  • It has a 94% sensitivity and 98% specificity in comparison to RT-PCR.
  • The COVIRAP method requires very little equipment, and is ideal for use in rural areas with limited facilities.
  • The machine employed an isothermal nucleic acid amplification method, which did away with need for a thermocycler.
  • Once the sample was processed in the machine after being mixed with solutions developed by the IIT team, treated paper strips — similar to the pregnancy strips — are dipped into it, and the emergence of coloured lines will depict the presence of the virus.
  • A mobile app has been developed to analyse the strips placed in a hand-held unit, in order to minimise human error.
  • The COVIRAP method could be used to diagnose diseases such as influenza, malaria, dengue and tuberculosis.




India recorded export growth of 4% in September: UNCTAD


  • Export growth declined in India in the third quarter of 2020 relative to the same quarter last year but picked up pace in September, according to a global trade update by the UN.
  • The UNCTAD’s new global trade update said that global trade recorded a 5 per cent drop in the third quarter of 2020 compared with the same period last year.
  • This marks an improvement on the 19 per cent year-on-year plunge recorded in the second quarter, and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) expects the frail recovery to continue in the fourth quarter.
  • Depending on how the COVID-19 pandemic evolves in the winter months, the UN trade and development body expects the value of global trade to contract by 7 per cent to 9 per cent with respect to 2019.
  • The UNCTAD said the sharp and widespread decline in international trade in Q2 2020 was similar for developing and developed countries. But exports from developing economies appear to be recovering faster.
  • The pandemic has hit the energy and automotive industries the hardest, while mitigation responses including teleworking and personal protection measures have led to strong growth in sectors such as communication equipment, office machinery, and textiles and apparel.
  • UNCTAD’s analysis gives special attention to COVID-19 medical supplies, which include personal protective equipment, disinfectants, diagnostic kits, oxygen respirators and other related hospital equipment.
  • According to the report, exports of COVID-19 medical supplies from China, the European Union and the United States rose from about USD 25 billion to USD 45 billion per month between January and May 2020.
  • The UNCTAD warns that if a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available, the access divide between residents in wealthy and poor countries could be even more drastic.




EC sets up panel to study candidates expenditure limit


  • The Election Commission said it had set up a committee “to examine the issues concerning expenditure limit for a candidate in view of the increase in number of electors and rise in the Cost Inflation Index and other factors.”
  • The expenditure limit for Lok Sabha and Assembly candidates is ₹70 lakh and ₹28 lakh respectively, but recently the Law Ministry has approved a 10% hike for the COVID-19 period.
  • The committee, comprising former IRS officer and Director General (Investigation) Harish Kumar and Secretary General and DG (Expenditure) Umesh Sinha, would submit its report within 120 days of its constitution.
  • The expenditure limit for a candidate was last revised in 2014, and for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, it was revised in 2018.
  • In last six years the limit was not increased despite increase in electorate from 834 million to 910 million in 2019 to 921 million now.
  • Further, the Cost Inflation Index during this period has increased from 220 to 280 in 2019 to 301 now.
  • The committee’s terms of reference will include assessment of the change in the number of electors and its bearing on spending, assessment of the change in the Cost Inflation Index and to examine other factors that may impact the expenditure.



New Pair Of Salivary Glands In Humans Discovered


  • Researchers from the Netherlands Cancer Institute have discovered a new pair of salivary glands hidden between the nasal cavity and throat.
  • They noticed the new gland while studying patients with prostate cancer using a new type of scan — a PSMA PET/CT scan.
  • The team proposed the name “tubarial glands” as it was found draped over the torus tubarius, the structure that supports the entrance of the auditory tube.
  • The glands were about 3.9 centimeters in length on average.
  • As far as we knew, the only salivary or mucous glands in the nasopharynx are microscopically small, and up to 1000 are evenly spread out throughout the mucosa.
  • This identification “could help to explain and avoid radiation-induced side-effects” such as trouble during eating, swallowing, and speaking.

Should it be a new organ?

  • The classification of the tubarial glands was a matter of debate.
  • It could be either a conglomerate of minor glands, a major gland, a separate organ, or a new part of an organ system.
  • As the glands have clinical relevance, they require a name that allows unique identification in daily clinical practice.



Made in India web browser


  • Taking on the global players like Google, Bing and Yahoo, Reliance Jio Platforms, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Industries, launched a ‘Made in India’ web browser.
  • The web browser — JioPages — promises data privacy and security by preventing browsing history from being stored in the system and blocks unsolicited ads and pop-ups.
  • It provides user an option to setting a four-digit security PIN or fingerprint as an access code.
  • The browser supports Hindi, Marathi, Tamil, Gujarati, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada and Bengali.
  • It also provides users the option of customising the content according to their preferred language.
  • The browser is built on Chromium Blink engine.
  • At present, the browser is launched only for Android smartphones, while the company intends to provide support for other Operating Systems such as iOS shortly.



Lost river that ran through Thar Desert, found


  • Researchers have found the evidence of a “lost” river that ran through the central Thar Desert, near Bikaner, as early as 172 thousand years ago, and may have been a lifeline to human populations enabling them to inhabit the region.
  • Stone Age populations lived in a distinctly different Thar Desert landscape than we encounter today.
  • This evidence indicates a river flowed with phases of activity dating to approximately up to 172 thousand years ago, nearby to Bikaner, Rajasthan, which is over 200 km away from the nearest modern river.
  • These findings predate evidence for activity in modern river courses across the Thar Desert and dried up course of the Ghaggar-Hakra River.
  • The presence of a river running through the central Thar Desert would have offered a life-line to Paleolithic populations, and potentially an important corridor for migrations.
  • The researchers used a method called luminescence dating to understand when quartz grains in the river sands were buried.
  • The results indicated that the strongest river activity at Nal occurred at approximately 172 and 140 thousand years ago, at a time when the monsoon was much weaker than today in the region.
  • River activity continued at the site between 95 and 78 thousand years ago, after which only limited evidence for the presence of a river at the site, with evidence for a brief reactivation of the channel 26 thousand years ago.
  • The timeframe over which this river was active also overlaps with significant changes in human behaviour in the region, which have been linked with the earliest expansions of Homo sapiens from Africa into India.



Microsoft to take Azure to space


  • Microsoft is launching Azure Space to help deal with the vast amount of data generated from satellites, bring cloud services and bandwidth to remote locations, and design highly complex space systems.
  • The new connectivity will help bring valuable customer data from geosynchronous orbit (GEO) satellites directly into Azure.
  • Azure Orbital Emulator to enable testing satellite constellation operations in simulation, using both software and hardware.
  • This will allow satellite developers to evaluate and train AI algorithms and satellite networking before ever launching a single satellite.
  • The US-based company aims to make space connectivity attainable across industries like agriculture, energy, telecommunications, and government, with the new initiative.
  • The company partnered with SpaceX Starlink to provide high-speed, low-latency satellite broadband for the new Azure Modular Datacenter (MDC), a container-based data center unit that can be deployed in remote locations.
  • The MDC can run on low-bandwidth networks, or be completely disconnected that helps to deploy them in even remote locations.
  • This offerings can help mobile command centres, military mission needs, mineral exploration, and other areas that require high intensity and secure computing on Azure.


Secret To uncrushable Beetles Strength


  • The species, which can be found in Southern California’s woodlands, withstood compression of about 39,000 times its own weight.
  • Other local beetle species shattered under one-third as much pressure.
  • Now scientists are studying what the bug’s crush-resistant shell could teach them about designing stronger planes and buildings.
  • The species — aptly named diabolical ironclad beetle — owes its might to an unusual armor that is layered and pieced together like a jigsaw.
  • And its design, could help inspire more durable structures and vehicles.
  • Researchers used electron microscopes and CT scans to examine the beetle’s exoskeleton and figure out what made it so strong.
  • As is often the case for flightless beetles, the species’ elytra — a protective case that normally sheaths wings — had strengthened and toughened over time.
  • Scientists realized this cover also benefited from special, jigsaw-like bindings and a layered architecture.
  • When compressed, they found the structure fractured slowly instead of snapping all at once.
  • It could also be useful for engineers who design aircrafts and other vehicles and buildings with a variety of materials such as steel, plastic and plaster.
  • Currently, engineers rely on pins, bolts, welding and adhesives to hold everything together. But those techniques can be prone to degrading.
  • The beetle study is part of an $8 million project funded by the U.S. Air Force to explore how the biology of creatures such as mantis shrimp and bighorn sheep could help develop impact-resistant materials.





Why the NGT wants a relook at Kaleshwaram project

What is the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project?

  • The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation System is considered to be one of the world’s largest multi-purpose projects.
  • It is designed to provide water for irrigation and drinking purposes to about 45 lakh acres in 20 of the 31 districts in Telangana, apart from Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

What does the project entail?

  • This project is unique because Telangana will harness water at the confluence of two rivers with Godavari
  • by constructing a barrage at Medigadda in Jayashankar Bhupalpally district and reverse pump the water into the main Godavari River and
  • divert it through lifts and pumps into a huge and complex system of reservoirs, water tunnels, pipelines and canals.
  • The project has set many records with the world’s longest water tunnels, aqueducts, underground surge pools, and biggest pumps.
  • By the time the water reaches Kondapochamma Sagar, the last reservoir in the system, about 227 kms away in Gajwel district, the Godavari water would have been lifted to a height of 618 metres from its source at Medigadda.
  • There are 20 water lifts and 19 pump houses in the project.

How important is KLIS to Telangana?

  • Kaleshwaram will transform Telangana into an agricultural powerhouse.
  • The project will enable farmers in Telangana to reap multiple crops with a year-round supply of water wherein earlier they were dependent on rains resulting in frequent crop failures.
  • This year, Telangana farmers have already delivered bumper rabi crops of paddy and maize due to better irrigation facilities and an extended monsoon.
  • KLIS covers several districts which used to face rainfall deficit and the groundwater is fluoride-contaminated.
  • There is a burgeoning fresh water fishing industry in the state as the numerous water bodies created under the project are also being used to grow fish and locals are given rights to fish and sell.

What is the recent order of the National Green Tribunal?

  • On October 12, the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal, New Delhi, ruled that the Environmental Clearance given to the project in December 2017 was void as the Telangana government subsequently changed the design of the project to increase its capacity. T
  • The NGT observed that by increasing its capacity to pump 3 TMC water from 2 TMC, which was originally planned, major changes were made in the project due to which large tracts of forest land and other land was taken over and massive infrastructure was built causing adverse impact on the environment.
  • The Telangana Government’s argument that the expansion of the project to extract 3 TMC instead of 2 TMC did not involve any infrastructural changes and therefore a fresh EC was not required, was not accepted by the NGT.
  • The NGT also directed the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change to constitute a seven-member Expert Committee within a month to assess the extent of damage caused in going ahead with the project’s expansion and identify the restoration measures necessary.
  • The Expert Committee will complete its exercise within six months.
  • The NGT directed the Telangana Government to stop all work except the drinking water component and obtain a Forest Clearance from the Centre before going ahead with the project.





Google anti-trust case


  • The United States Department of Justice (DoJ) sued Google, alleging that the company had abused its dominant position in a way that had harmed its competitors as well as customers.
  • Eleven US states have joined the DoJ in the anti-trust lawsuit against Google “for unlawfully maintaining a monopoly in general search services and search advertising”. 

What is the lawsuit about?

  • In his statement announcing the initiation of the lawsuit, Deputy Attorney General of the DoJ said the main concerns are business practices that may have led to “massive concentrations of economic power” in a few companies such as Google.
  • The lawsuit will focus on Google as it “is the gateway to the Internet and a search advertising behemoth”.

What led to the lawsuit?

  • Earlier this month, a US House of Representatives panel submitted the report of a bipartisan investigation into the working of Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook.
  • The probe had started in July 2019. These companies have been on the radar of governments in many countries for being big spenders and trying to steamroll competition by either buying out their rivals or pushing vendors to avoid working with these rivals.

Why is the lawsuit important?

  • The lawsuit marks the first time there has been a bipartisan effort — involving both the Democratic and the Republican parties — to look into the monopolistic powers of Google.
  • Google is a global market player.
  • This (lawsuit) would have a worldwide impact where Google’s practices could potentially be looked at.
  • The CCI (Competition Commission of India) is already looking into such practices and has already fined Google previously.
  • This is very much under the CCI radar to keep these practices under check.

What are the allegations that Google faces in India?

  • Over the last three years, Google has had multiple run-ins with the CCI for alleged abuse of its dominant position in the search engine market, the Android smartphone and television market, as well as the Google Flights service.
  • In 2019, India’s antitrust body had held Google guilty of misuse of its dominant position in the mobile Android market and said the company had imposed “unfair conditions” on device manufacturers to prevent them from using other operating systems.



Greece wants to extend the wall along its border with Turkey


  • Greece said it would be extending a wall along its border with Turkey to prevent potential mass crossings by migrants into its territory.
  • The move, seen as the latest sign of fast deteriorating relations between Greece, a European Union member, and Turkey, a candidate for EU membership, comes months after a spike in border tensions after Turkey said it would not be stopping refugees from crossing into Europe.
  • Greece had called on three EU partners, including Germany, to halt arms exports to Turkey.
  • Two countries have been bickering over a range of issues, including refugees, oil exploration and the Hagia Sophia monument.

The Greece-Turkey migration dispute

  • Since the beginning of the Syrian war in 2011, vast numbers of displaced Syrians have sought refuge in Turkey.
  • According to the latest known figures, Turkey hosts some 37 lakh refugees from Syria, and is feeling the socio-economic and political strain of their presence in the country.
  • In 2015, the refugee crisis reached its peak as thousands drowned while attempting to cross over to the West using water routes. Around 10 lakh reached Greece and Italy.
  • In 2016, Turkey agreed to prevent migrants from crossing into the EU, and the bloc in return promised funds to help the former manage the refugees on its soil.
  • However, in February this year, Turkey said it would not be honouring the 2016 agreement, asserting its inability to sustain another refugee wave.
  • Greece said the migrants were being “manipulated as pawns” by Turkey, which in turn accused Greece of illegally pushing back migrants from reaching its island territories.
  • Subsequently, in March, thousands of migrants sought to enter Europe through Greece and Bulgaria, but numbers fell sharply due to the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and tougher border policing.
  • Now, the Greek government has said it would extend its already existing 10 km long wall with Turkey by an additional 26 km by the end of April 2021.

Turbulent ties that are worsening

  • Greece won independence from modern Turkey’s precursor, the Ottoman Empire, in 1830.
  • In 1923, the two countries exchanged their Muslim and Christian populations — a migration whose scale has only been surpassed in history by the Partition of India.
  • The two nations continue to oppose each other on the decades-old Cyprus conflict, and on two occasions have almost gone to war over exploration rights in the Aegean Sea.
  • Both countries are, however, part of the 30-member NATO alliance, and Turkey is officially a candidate for full membership of the European Union, of which Greece is a constituent.

The Eastern Mediterranean dispute

  • For 40 years, Turkey and Greece have disagreed over rights to the Eastern Mediterranean and the Aegean Sea, which covers significant oil and gas deposits.
  • Turkey in July announced that its drilling ship Oruc Reis would be exploring a disputed part of the sea for oil and gas.
  • Greece responded by placing its air force, navy and coastguard on high alert.
  • Athens, which considers the waters surrounding the island its own, has described the ship’s movements as a “direct threat to peace in the region”.
  • A signatory of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), it maintains that its continental shelf should be calculated while considering its island territories in the Eastern Mediterranean.
  • On its part, Ankara, which has not signed UNCLOS, argues a nation’s continental shelf should be calculated from its mainland, and maintained that Oruc Reis’s activity was “fully within Turkish continental shelf”. 

The Hagia Sophia row

  • Greece was also irked this year after Turkey ordered the centuries-old Hagia Sophia, a UNESCO World Heritage site, open to Muslim worship in July.
  • The Hagia Sophia was originally a cathedral in the Byzantine Empire before it was turned into a mosque in 1453, when Constantinople fell to Sultan Mehmet II’s Ottoman forces.
  • In the 1930s, however, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey, shut down the mosque and turned it into a museum in an attempt to make the country more secular.
  • Many Greeks continue to revere the Hagia Sophia, and view it as a key part of Orthodox Christianity.
  • On July 24, when Friday prayers were held at the Hagia Sophia for the first time in 90 years, church bells tolled across Greece in protest, and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis called the site’s conversion an “affront to civilisation of the 21st century”, describing Turkey’s move as a “proof of weakness”.