Daily News Analysis 19 July 2023

Table of Contents


  1. India-UAE Bilateral Trade and Currency Agreements

Prelims facts and basics

  1. Rudragiri Hillock: A Fusion of Rock Art
  2. GM Mustard and the Debate on GM Crops in India
          India-UAE Bilateral Trade and Currency Agreements (PM Modi’s recent visit) 


India and the UAE decided to strengthen the use of local currencies for cross-border transactions, interlink their payment and messaging systems, put more oil in the Gulf nation’s strategic crude reserves stored in India and finalise plans for food corridor projects in India.

Key Agreements: Local Currency Settlement System (LCSS)

  1. LCSS covers all current account transactions and permitted capital account transactions.
  2. Enables exporters and importers to pay in their respective domestic currencies, fostering an INR-AED forex market.
  3. Reduces transaction costs and settlement time, benefiting remittances by Indians in the UAE.
  4. Facilitates India\’s payment for oil and other commodities imports from the UAE, its 4th largest energy supplier.

Key Agreements: UPI-IPP Link

  1. Central banks of both countries cooperate to link India\’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) with the UAE\’s Instant Payment Platform (IPP) and RuPay switch and UAESWITCH.
  2. Enables fast, safe, and cost-effective cross-border transfers.
  3. Facilitates mutual acceptance of domestic cards and processing of card transactions.
  4. Exploring linking India\’s Structured Financial Messaging System (SFMS) with the UAE\’s payments messaging system.

IIT Delhi Campus in Abu Dhabi

  1. MoU signed for the establishment of IIT Delhi campus in Abu Dhabi.
  2. Part of the \’IITs go Global\’ campaign.
  3. Second international IIT campus after IIT Madras Zanzibar, Tanzania.
  4. Courses to cover Energy and Sustainability, AI, Computer Science, Engineering, Healthcare, Mathematics, and other disciplines.

Significance of Rupee Based Cross Border Transaction

  1. Mitigates exchange rate risks for Indian exporters, limiting losses.
  2. Part of India\’s efforts to internationalize the Rupee and reduce dollar demand.
  3. Countries in Africa, Gulf region, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh also expressed interest in trading in rupee terms.

India-UAE Bilateral Relations


Diplomatic Ties

  1. Established diplomatic relations in 1972.
  2. Strategic partnership began with India\’s PM visit to the UAE in August 2015.
  3. Upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership during Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi\’s visit to India in January 2017.

Bilateral Trade

  1. Bilateral trade worth ~USD 85 billion in 2022-23.
  2. UAE is India\’s 3rd-largest trading partner and 2nd-largest export destination.
  3. UAE was India\’s 4th biggest supplier of crude in 2022.
  4. Signed Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in 2022.
  5. UAE pledged USD 2 billion to develop food parks in India.

Defence Exercises


  1. In-UAE BILAT (bilateral naval exercise)
  2. Desert Eagle-II (bilateral air force exercise).


  1. Pitch Black: Biennial, multilateral air combat training exercise of Australia.
  2. Red Flag: Multilateral air exercise of the USA.

Rudragiri Hillock: A Fusion of Rock Art



Rudragiri hillock in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, boasts a celebrated historical past and remarkable archaeological monuments.

Location and Historical Significance

  1. Rudragiri hillock is located in the village of Orvakallu, Atchampet mandal, Guntur district, Andhra Pradesh.
  2. Boasts a rich historical past and remarkable archaeological monuments.
  3. Showcases a fascinating fusion of prehistoric rock paintings from the Mesolithic period and exquisite artwork from the Kakatiya dynasty.

Prehistoric Mesolithic-Era Rock Paintings

  1. Five naturally formed rock shelters at the foothills served as living quarters during the Mesolithic age (around 5000 B.C.).
  2. Unveils luminous rock paintings from that era.
  3. Depicts scenes from the prehistoric past.

Kakatiya Murals from 1300 AD

  1. Two natural caves at the southern end of the hillock showcase exceptional murals from the Kakatiya kingdom (13th century A.D.).
  2. Artistic brilliance of the Kakatiya period, though some paintings have suffered damage over time.
  3. Paintings adorned with a variety of colors derived from white kaolin and pigments.
  4. Depict captivating scenes from the epic Ramayana.

Kakatiya Patronage

  1. The illustrious Ganapati Deva Maharaja (1199-1262 AD), founder of Muppavaram temple and a prominent figure of the Kakatiya dynasty, likely patronized the rich ancient mural heritage found at Rudragiri.

Rock Art in India

  1. Ancient, human-made markings, paintings, sculptures on natural stone.
  2. Encompasses paintings, drawings, engravings, stencils, prints, bas-relief carvings, and figures in rock shelters, caves, boulders, and platforms.
  3. India has one of the largest, richest, and most diverse repositories of rock art.
  4. Examples include prehistoric rock paintings, rock-cut architectures of caves & temples, and sculptures carved out of rock.

Mural Paintings in India:

  1. Large pictures painted or affixed directly on walls or ceilings.
  2. Existence dates back to the 2nd century BC to 8-10th century AD in India.
  3. Found in places like Ajanta, Bagh, Sittanavasal, Armamalai cave, Ravan Chhaya rock-shelter, and Kailashnath temple in Ellora caves.
  4. Majority of themes relate to religion, including Buddhism, Jainism, and Hinduism.

GM Mustard and the Debate on GM Crops in India



  1. Environmentalists battling in the Supreme Court against Delhi University\’s genetically modified (GM) herbicide-tolerant (HT) mustard.
  2. GM crops differ from conventional varieties and hybrids, as biotechnologists insert select genes to develop them.
  3. GM mustard designed to withstand herbicides, making it easier to develop hybrid seeds and allowing farmers to kill unwanted plants.


The GM Crop Debate in India

  1. Robust debate on GM crops in India in the past two decades.
  2. Concerns raised about the safety, efficacy, and necessity of GM food.
  3. Experience with Bt cotton, the only approved GM crop, showed fleeting benefits for farmers and increased costs and risks.
  4. Standing Committees of the Parliament and a Technical Expert Committee (TEC) examined GM crops and called for caution.

Convergence in Risk Assessment

  • Both Standing Committees highlighted weaknesses in the regulatory system and called for thorough assessment before releasing GM food.
  • TEC members warned of serious harm to the environment, livelihoods, and sustainable agriculture from HT crops.

Government\’s Approach and Recklessness

  1. The government disregards science and law by pushing ahead with GM mustard without transparently presenting the full biosafety dossier.
  2. Critics argue that non-GM mustard hybrids have better yields, but the government does not adequately respond to these concerns.
  3. Government\’s argument that GM mustard is not HT but developed to improve yields is misleading and a red herring.

The Significance and Implications

  1. The government\’s disregard for science-based concerns is concerning.
  2. If GM mustard is allowed, it may lead to the release of other HT crops like cotton, rice, and maize.
  3. The future of farming, India\’s food culture, and heritage are at stake.

Genetically Modified (GM) Crops


Definition and Purpose

  1. GM foods are derived from plants with artificially modified genes.
  2. Genetic material inserted from other organisms to impart new properties, like increased yield, herbicide tolerance, disease or drought resistance, or improved nutritional value.

Example: Golden Rice

  1. GM rice enriched with Vitamin A.
  2. Genes inserted from daffodils and maize, along with a soil bacterium.

GM Crops in India

  1. Only one GM crop approved for commercial cultivation: Bt cotton.
  2. No GM food crop approved for commercial cultivation.
  3. Confined field trials allowed for at least 20 GM crops.
  4. Includes GM rice with improved resistance to insects and diseases, hybrid seed production, and nutritional enhancements like golden rice.

Cons of GM Foods

  1. Potential allergic reactions due to altered DNA.
  2. Risk of increased antibiotic resistance.
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