Daily News Analysis 21th Dec. 2023 (The Hindu)


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Here are the topics covered for  21th December 2023:

GS-2: Greenwashing 

GS-3: Ketamine drug , Disinflation -interest rate reduction, India’s defence budgeting 

FACTS FOR PRELIMS: Places of Worship Act, Solid-fuel missiles 




  • The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in the United Kingdom has recently banned advertisements from prominent airlines such as Air France, Lufthansa, and Etihad. These airlines are accused of \’greenwashing,\’ implying that they misled consumers by making false claims about the sustainability of their flights and downplaying the environmental impact of air travel.


Understanding Greenwashing:

  • Greenwashing is a deceptive practice where companies or governments exaggerate their actions and impact on mitigating climate change. This often involves providing misleading information or making unverifiable claims, capitalizing on the increasing demand for environmentally friendly products.



  • The infamous Volkswagen scandal, where the car company cheated emissions testing, is a notable example of greenwashing.
  • Other multinational corporations, including oil giants like Shell and BP, and Coca-Cola, have faced accusations of engaging in greenwashing.

 Major Concerns:

  • Greenwashing poses a risk of diluting the authenticity of climate goals by presenting misleading or exaggerated information about environmental initiatives.
  • Entities engaging in greenwashing may receive undeserved recognition or benefits, potentially rewarding irresponsible behaviour.
  • Greenwashing can distort markets by creating an uneven playing field, where entities employing deceptive practices gain an unfair advantage over those adhering to genuine environmental standards.
  • The absence of comprehensive regulations and standards for environmental claims allows greenwashing to persist without adequate scrutiny.
  • Greenwashing challenges the integrity of carbon credit systems, especially in informal markets, where transparency and reliability concerns arise.


Global  Initiatives:

  • At COP27, the UN Secretary-General declared zero tolerance for greenwashing, urging private corporations to rectify their practices.
  • The EU approved the world\’s first green bond standards to combat greenwashing in October 2023. This legislation mandates transparency and directs funds to EU sustainable activities.


Laws in India:

  • In India, greenwashing is designated as an unfair trade practice under the Consumer Protection Act, 2019. The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) issued guidelines for green debt securities to ensure transparency.
  • Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI)



Addressing greenwashing requires a collective effort from consumers, businesses, and regulatory bodies to promote genuine environmental sustainability and combat deceptive practices.


Ketamine drug 


  • In recent times, the drug Ketamine has garnered attention, sparking discussions and debates concerning its various applications, effects, and safety considerations. Ketamine is employed for treating depression and mental illnesses, but it is also used recreationally through methods such as snorting, injecting, or smoking.


Key Facts about Ketamine:

  • Ketamine serves as a dissociative anaesthetic used by doctors to induce general anaesthesia without requiring muscle relaxation.
  • General anaesthesia induced by Ketamine creates a sleep-like state, while the term \”dissociative\” refers to the detachment from the body and the external world.
  • Originally developed as an animal anaesthetic in the 1960s, Ketamine later received approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for human use.
  • Ketamine is administered through various methods, including intravenous (IV), nasal spray, or tablet form for mental illness treatment.


Effects of Ketamine:

  • Ketamine operates by blocking the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor in the brain.
  • By blocking the NMDA receptor, Ketamine can induce analgesia (pain relief) and euphoria.
  • The drug can generate pleasant visualizations and a sense of detachment, creating hallucinations similar to other substances like LSD and angel dust.
  • Ketamine use can result in hallucinations, characterized by distorted perceptions of sounds and sights.


Safety Considerations:

  • Some doctors consider Ketamine safe for medicinal purposes.
  • Reported risks include potential addiction and cognitive impairment in high doses.
  • Despite its use, there is limited research on the prolonged safety of Ketamine, hindering a comprehensive understanding of its long-term effects.



The surge in discussions surrounding Ketamine highlights the dual nature of the drug -recognized for its medical applications in treating depression yet associated with potential risks, especially in recreational use. Ongoing debates aim to balance the therapeutic benefits of Ketamine with its associated risks, navigating a complex landscape of medicinal and recreational applications.


Disinflation -interest rate reduction


  • In a recent article published in the RBI Bulletin, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) officials, led by the Deputy Governor, provided insights into the current state of the economy and future projections.


Overview of RBI Officials\’ Statements

  • The RBI officials, including the Deputy Governor, anticipate a potential slowdown in global growth during 2024.
  • Disinflation trends in various regions might lead to considerations for reducing interest rates.
  • In India, a broad-based strengthening of economic activities is expected to continue.
  • Factors supporting this sustained growth include easing input costs and corporate profitability.


Inflation and Monetary Policy:

  • Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation in India rose to 5.6% in November, influenced by food price spikes.
  • Forecasts suggest a potential easing of CPI inflation to 4.6% in the first three quarters of 2024-25.
  • The real economy\’s strength has positively impacted domestic financial markets.


Optimistic Outlook for the Indian Economy:

  • Despite global challenges, the Indian economy remained the fastest-growing major economy in 2023.
  • Cautious optimism prevails with positive consumer confidence and improved perceptions about current income.
  • Supply chain pressures in India are below historical averages, although recent months have seen a slight increase.
  • RBI\’s economic activity index (EAI) forecasts GDP growth for Q3 2023-24 at 6.7%.


Monetary Policy Challenges:

  • The softer inflation prints for September and October 2023, along with a prolonged pause in monetary policy, have led to calls for rate cuts.
  • Some stakeholders\’ expectations for lower interest rates are cautioned against, emphasizing the need for a balanced approach.
  • Projections indicate a potential increase in inflation before a subsequent decrease.
  • Inflation forecasts for Q3: 2023-24 are 5.6%, for the year 2023-24, it is 5.4%, and for the first three quarters of 2024-25, it is projected at 4.6%.
  • Stakeholders\’ calls for rate cuts or a commitment to rate moderation are viewed critically.
  • Rising inflation poses a challenge to discretionary consumer spending, impacting manufacturing companies\’ growth and capex.
  • Achieving the inflation target and maintaining it on a durable basis remains uncertain.



The statements from RBI officials provide insights into the complex economic landscape, both globally and in India. While cautious optimism surrounds the Indian economy, the challenges of inflation, monetary policy expectations, and the need for a balanced approach highlight the intricacies policymakers face. The potential impact on growth due to inflation underscores the delicate balance required for sustained economic well-being.


India’s defence budgeting


  • The challenges faced by India\’s defence budgeting, particularly in the context of the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) program and its impact on the Indian Air Force (IAF) raises concerns about budget constraints, the squadron strength deficit, and potential cuts in defence spending amid electoral priorities.


Key Highlights: 

  • India’s defence expenditure as a percentage of central government expenditure has decreased from around 16.4% in 2012-13 to 13.3% in 2022-23.
  • The Ministry of Defence requested ₹1,76,346 crore for capital acquisitions in 2023-24, but only ₹1,62,600 crore was allotted, creating a deficit of ₹13,746 crore.
  • China spent $421 billion on research and development in 2022, equivalent to 2.54% of its GDP.
  • The purchase of only 36 Rafale jets instead of the required 126, led to a depleted squadron strength in the IAF.
  • Concerns about the impact of budgetary constraints on defence preparedness, especially during elections, potentially lead to cuts in the defence budget.


Key Challenges:

  • Budget Constraints Impacting Procurement
  • IAF Squadron Strength Deficit
  • Potential Cuts in Defense Budget



India\’s defence budgeting challenges, urging a strategic and balanced approach to ensure national security imperatives are met while navigating the complexities of electoral priorities. The call for bipartisan statesmanship and sustained momentum in indigenous efforts serves as a roadmap for the way forward in enhancing India\’s defence capabilities.




Places of Worship Act

  • The Places of Worship Act 1991 was introduced by the government led by P V Narasimha Rao during the peak of the Ram temple movement.
  • The Act dictates that the nature of all places of worship, excluding the Ayodhya site under litigation, must be maintained as it existed on August 15, 1947.
  • It serves as legislation to prevent the conversion of any place of worship.
  • The primary objective is to ensure the upkeep of the religious character of any place of worship in line with its status on August 15, 1947.
  • The Act was intended to apply to disputed sites such as the Kashi Vishwanath temple-Gyanvapi mosque complex in Varanasi and the Krishna Janmabhoomi temple-Shahi Idgah mosque in Mathura.
  • The Supreme Court, in the 2019 Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case, emphasised that the Act represents a legislative intervention preserving non-retrogression as a crucial element of India\’s secular values.


Solid-fuel missiles 

  • Solid-fuel missiles don\’t require fueling right before launch, providing the advantage of immediate readiness.
  • They are generally considered easier and safer to operate, requiring less logistical support than liquid-fuel alternatives.
  • Solid-fuel missiles are harder to detect and offer increased survivability compared to their liquid-fuel counterparts.
  • Solid propellants consist of a mixture of fuel and oxidizer.
  • Commonly used fuel includes metallic powders like aluminium.
  • Ammonium perchlorate, a salt of perchloric acid and ammonia, is the primary oxidiser.
  • The fuel and oxidizer are bound together by a resilient, rubbery material.
  • This mixture is then packed into a metal casing.
  • During combustion, oxygen from ammonium perchlorate reacts with aluminium, producing significant energy.
  • Temperatures exceeding 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit (2,760 degrees Celsius) are generated.
  • This process creates thrust, lifting the missile off the launch pad.


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