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UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 18 June 2024 covers important current affairs of the day, their backward linkages, their relevance for Prelims exam and MCQs on main articles


InstaLinks :  Insta Links help you think beyond the  current affairs issue and help you think multidimensionally to develop depth in your understanding of these issues. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background.

Table of Contents 

GS Paper 2: (UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 18 June 2024)

  1. Need for Democratization of Tech
  2. Prime Minister review India-Italy Strategic Partnership
  3. Indian Migrants to Gulf Countries


Facts for Prelims (FFP)

  1. Solid Waste Management Cess
  2. Bioluminescence
  3. Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome (STSS)
  4. E-Flow Ecological Monitoring System
  5. Tarang Shakti-2024



GS Paper 2:

Need for Democratization of Technology

Syllabus: Governance/ International Relations

 Source: BS

Context: At the recent G7 meeting, the Indian PM emphasized the need to turn technology monopolies into mass usage to build an inclusive society and eliminate social inequalities. He also highlighted India’s commitment to making AI transparent, fair, secure, accessible, and responsible.


What is the Democratization of Technology? 

Democratization of technology refers to making advanced technological tools and innovations accessible to a broader population, rather than being confined to a privileged few.


Need for Democratization of Technology

  1. Inclusion and Equality: Ensures technology benefits all sections of society, reducing social inequalities.
  2. Access to Knowledge: Provides widespread access to information and educational resources. e.g., Massive Open Online Courses offered by NPTEL.
  3. Empowerment: Empower individuals to innovate and participate in technological advancements.
  4. Economic Opportunities: Creates new economic opportunities and supports small businesses.
  5. Innovation and Creativity: Encourages diverse perspectives, leading to more creative and innovative solutions.
  6. Transparency and Accountability: Enhance transparency in governance and corporate practices.
  7. Global Connectivity: Facilitates global communication and collaboration.
  8. Public Participation: Increases public participation in decision-making processes.
  9. Sustainability: Promotes the use of technology for sustainable development and environmental protection.
  10. Security and Fairness: Ensures technology is secure, fair, and accessible to all users.


Impact of Democratization of Technology

  1. Cultural Impact: Broader access to technology has challenged traditional expertise and supported the DIY trend. The economic shift demanded technological innovation, fostering optimism in progress. Technology’s design includes diverse interests, promoting inclusiveness.
  2. Industry Impact: Democratization has broadened markets and reduced professional demand due to consumer empowerment. This shift has led to increased business device usage and associated security concerns.
  3. Political Impact: Technology promotes citizen advocacy and government transparency, supporting democratic engagement. Increased global connectivity and access to information have fostered democratic trends worldwide.
  4. Major Innovations: The Internet democratized knowledge and access to high-tech products. Cloud computing and social media furthered accessibility and user engagement. Open-source models, Arduino, littleBits, and 3D printers made technology more accessible to everyone.


How India Has Democratized Technology: 

  1. Digital Public Infrastructure: ‘India Stack’ was created for digital identification, payments, and data management.
  2. Common Service Centres: Access point for delivery of Government-to-Citizen (G2C) e-services by creating physical ICT infrastructure.
  3. Ayushman Bharat: World’s largest health insurance scheme providing a safety net for 200 million families using a tech platform.
  4. CoWIN Platform: Managed the world’s largest COVID-19 vaccine drive.
  5. Svamitva Scheme: Used drones to map rural land and provide property cards, reducing land disputes and improving access to financial services.
  6. Jan Dhan – Aadhaar – Mobile Trinity: Enabled direct transfer of benefits to authenticated beneficiaries, reaching billions of rupees to the poor.
  7. Government e-Marketplace (GeM): An e-commerce platform for small traders and businesses to fulfil government needs, reducing corruption and boosting transparency.
  8. Online Tendering: Accelerated projects and improved transparency with a procurement value of ₹1 trillion in 2021.
  9. Open Courses: One of the largest repositories of free online courses with over 10 million certifications.
  10. Low Data Tariffs: India has some of the lowest data tariffs in the world, making internet access more affordable.
  11. NAMO Drone Didi Initiative: Helps Women SHGs purchase drones for farming purposes.
  12. India AI Mission: Aims to democratize the benefits of AI across all strata of society.


Challenges in Democratization of Technology

  1. Digital Divide: Lack of reliable and affordable internet, especially in remote areas.
  2. Gender and Social Inequities: Persistent disparities in access to education, employment, and resources.
  3. Cybersecurity and Privacy: Concerns about data privacy and online fraud deter full tech adoption.



To advance technology’s democratization, India and the world must prioritize expanding internet access, promoting gender equality, strengthening cybersecurity, fostering digital literacy, and encouraging collaborative efforts between stakeholders. These steps can ensure that technology becomes a force for equality, empowerment, and societal progress.


Insta Links: 

  1. Use of Technology for election 
  1. Social Construction of Technology Theory


Prime Ministers review India-Italy Strategic Partnership

Syllabus: International Relations

 Source: TH

Context: The Prime Minister met Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni at the G7 Summit to review their strategic partnership. They focused on the Indo-Pacific and the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEC).


What is Strategic Partnership in International Relations? 

A strategic partnership is a formal alliance between countries that collaborate on key issues such as security, trade, and political matters. It involves mutual commitments to support each other’s interests and aims to enhance stability and prosperity through cooperation. These partnerships often include agreements on defence cooperation, economic collaboration, and diplomatic support in international forums.


Highlights of the recent meeting between the two PMs:

  1. Commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific.
  2. Discussed expanding commercial ties in clean energy, manufacturing, space, AI, and critical minerals.
  3. Welcomed recent MoU on Industrial Property Rights.
  4. Announced forthcoming visit of Italian naval ships to India.
  5. Emphasized strong people-to-people ties and the establishment of an ICCR chair at the University of Milan.
  6. Discussed the implementation of the Migration and Mobility Agreement.
  7. Indian PM thanked Italy for recognizing Indian contributions during WWII and informed about upgrading the Yashwant Ghadge Memorial in Italy.


Various dimensions of the India-Italy relationship are as follows:

Diplomatic tiesIndia and Italy established diplomatic relations in 1947. India and Italy have elevated their bilateral relationship to the level of strategic partnership 2020-2025 Action Plan for bilateral relations
TradeIn 2022, bilateral trade has reached $15bn between both countries. Italy is India’s 4th largest trading partner in the EU, after Germany, Belgium, and Netherlands. The balance of trade has been in India’s favour since the early eighties. India invited Italy to partner in ‘Make in India’ and ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’ with a focus on the areas of renewable energy, green hydrogen, IT, telecom, and space among others.
InvestmentEstablishment of a ‘Startup Bridge’ between India and Italy (2023)
India-Italy Strategic Partnership on Energy Transition announced in 2021
Indo-Italian Joint Economic Commission Cooperation has been in existence since 1976.
Migration and Mobility Partnership Agreement signed in 2023 to ensure safe and legal migration.
Italian car manufacturer Fiat has been operating in India since 1997. Indian IT company Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) has a large presence in Italy, with over 2,500 employees in the country.


Cultural tiesSettimana della Lingua Italiana nel Mondo (Week of the Italian Language in the World) celebrated the Italian language and culture in India. Year-long Festival of India in Italy ‘Srijan’. Indian community in Italy is the third largest community of Indians in Europe after the UK and the Netherlands.
ScienceItalian Space Agency (ASI)-ISRO working group in heliophysics
New Executive Programme of Cooperation for 2025-27 to promote joint research and development in Science & Technology


EducationItaly is a popular destination for Indian students studying abroad. India and Italy have also signed agreements for academic and research cooperation.
DefenceIndian Army played a significant role in the liberation of Italy in the 2nd world war. Joint military exercises and training courses on a regular basis: PASSEX Exercise, MILAN (Naval Exercises)
CollaborationsIn 2023, Italy joined the Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative’s Science and Technology Pillar. Italy joined the India-led International Solar Alliance, Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure, Global Biofuels Alliance, and IMEC


Who was Yashwant Ghadge?

Naik Yeshwant Ghadge was an Indian war hero in WWII’s Italian campaign (1943-45). He captured an enemy post in Montone, Italy, at age 23. Posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest military honour.


What was the Italian campaign of World War II? 

  1. Allied Forces fought against the Axis Powers (Nazi Germany, Italy, Japan).
  2. Aimed to liberate Italy, beginning with the 1943 invasion of Sicily.
  3. Naik Ghadge died battling German resistance between the Trasimene/Albert Line and the Gothic Line.


The heroism of Indian soldiers in the war:

  1. Over 2.5 million Indian soldiers fought for the Allies in WWII.
  2. Around 50,000 participated in the Italian campaign, with 5,782 casualties.
  3. Indian forces, including several divisions and brigades, were the third-largest Allied group in Italy.
  4. They played key roles in battles like Monte Cassino and the Gothic Line breach, earning high recognition.


Insta Links:


Mains Link:

Elucidate upon the potential of a trilateral relationship between India, Japan & Italy.


Prelims Link:

The region often mentioned in the news: (UPSC 2022)

  1. Anatolia                                              Turkey
  2. Amhara                                               Ethiopia
  3. Cabo Delgado                                     Spain
  4. Catalonia                                             Italy

How many pairs given above are correctly matched?

(a) Only one pair

(b) Only two pairs

(c) Only three pairs

(d) All four pairs


Indian Migrants to Gulf Countries

Syllabus: International Relations: Diaspora

Source: TH

Context: The article discusses the tragic death of 49 migrant workers in a fire in Kuwait, primarily caused by poor living conditions and employer negligence. It criticizes Kuwait’s inadequate enforcement of worker protections and the Kafala system, which leaves migrants vulnerable by limiting their rights.


What is the Kafala System?

The Kafala system is a sponsorship system used in some Middle Eastern countries, including Kuwait, to regulate the employment of migrant workers. Under this system, a migrant worker’s legal residence and work permits are tied to an individual employer or sponsor (Kafeel). This sponsor has significant control over the worker’s employment and residency status, often leading to situations of exploitation and abuse, as workers may find it challenging to change jobs or leave abusive employers without risking deportation.


Status of Indian Workers in Gulf Countries:

  1. There are around 8.88 million Indian Workers residing in six Gulf nations, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, and Bahrain. Indians form the largest expatriate community in the region, constituting approximately 30% of the total expatriate workforce.
  2. Kerala has been a major contributor to the migrating workforce, but recently, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar have seen an increase in migration to the Gulf.
  3. The migrating workforce primarily consists of individuals aged between 20 and 40, with an increasing participation of women, particularly in the hospitality sector.
  4. Education levels vary, with many workers having minimal formal schooling or vocational training.
  5. Around 70% of Indian migrants in the GCC are blue-collar workers, contributing to various sectors in the region.


Diaspora can be a tool for advancing national interests:

  1. Soft power ambassadors: The Indian diaspora serves as unofficial global ambassadors, showcasing India’s rich culture, diverse languages, and artistic heritage.
    • Bollywood’s international reach, the popularity of festivals like Diwali, and the success of Indian cuisine worldwide are testaments to their soft power influence.
  2. Knowledge and expertise transfer: India boasts a highly skilled diaspora in fields like technology, medicine, and finance.
  3. Economic catalysts: India saw the highest amount of remittance inflows in the world in 2023 at USD 125 billion, which are a crucial lifeline for the Indian economy.
  4. Political lobbying and advocacy: The Indian diaspora actively lobbies for India’s interests in foreign policy issues like trade agreements and international aid distribution.
  5. Cultural exchange: The diaspora acts as a bridge between India and the world, fostering cultural exchange and networking opportunities.
    • Events like Pravasi Bharatiya Divas strengthen this connection.


Migrant workers in GCC States are vulnerable due to:

  1. Dependence on Employers: The Kafala system ties visas to employers, leaving workers reliant on them for housing, food, and transportation.
  2. Low Wages: Workers often earn insufficient wages, leading to financial insecurity.
  3. Poor Living Conditions: Workers reside in crowded and unsafe accommodations, as seen in the Mangaf fire incident.
  4. Limited Rights: GCC states prohibit labour organizing, depriving workers of the ability to demand better conditions.
  5. Family Separation: High minimum salary requirements prevent low-income workers from sponsoring family members, leading to family separation.
  6. Labour Exploitation: Low-skilled workers face exploitation through withheld pay and inadequate conditions.
  7. Recruitment Abuses: Agents charge high fees and alter contracts, risking passport confiscation.
  8. Legal Vulnerabilities: Visa restrictions and the kafala system limit migrants’ rights and expose them to deportation threats.
  9. Poor Living Conditions: Overcrowded and unsafe accommodations impact migrants’ health.
  10. Data Gaps: Lack of data hinders addressing migrant issues effectively.
  11. Legal Hurdles: Complex legal procedures and lack of aid worsen migrants’ plight.
  12. Cultural Barriers: Language and cultural differences hinder integration and support access.
  13. Mental Health Struggles: Migration stress leads to mental health issues.


Government Initiatives:

Emigration ActThe Emigration Act of 1983 regulates emigration and mandates the registration of recruitment agencies to ensure adherence to emigration procedures.
E-Migrate SystemAn online platform enabling skilled and semi-skilled workers to obtain emigration clearances and monitor immigration status, preventing exploitation by unregistered agents.
Labor Mobility PartnershipsIndia has signed agreements with GCC nations to enhance worker protection, covering employment contracts, labour policies, and rights.
Pre-Departure Orientation ProgramsPDOS aims to enhance the soft skills of migrants, especially in the Gulf and Malaysia, educating them on destination country culture, laws, and customs.
Indian Community Welfare FundICWF provides financial aid to distressed Indian workers abroad for repatriation, legal assistance, shelter, and medical needs.
Indian Workers Resource CentreSet up in Dubai and approved for four additional locations, IWRCs offer guidance and counselling on various issues concerning overseas Indian workers.
Awareness CampaignThe ‘Surakshit Jaaye Prasikshit Jaaye’ campaign promotes safe and legal migration among prospective migrants.



India’s global diaspora presents a unique opportunity for the nation to expand its influence and soft power. While limitations exist, careful navigation and collaboration can transform them into valuable partners in advancing India’s interests, as seen in the institutionalisation of “diaspora diplomacy” under PM Modi.


Insta Links:


Mains Link: UPSC 2017

Indian Diaspora has an important role to play in Southeast Asian countries’ economies and societies. Appraise the role of the Indian Diaspora in South-East Asia in this context. (10M)


UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS – 18 June 2024 Facts for Prelims (FFP)

Solid Waste Management Cess

Source: TH

Context: Bengaluru’s BBMP proposes a monthly Solid Waste Management (SWM) Cess of ₹100 per household, as allowed by the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016.

Solid waste includes discarded items from households and businesses. In India, approximately 95% of waste is efficiently collected daily, but only about half undergoes treatment, leaving nearly a third unaddressed.


What is SWM Cess? 

Solid Waste Management (SWM) Cess is a fee levied by local authorities, such as municipal corporations, on households or businesses for the collection, transportation, and disposal of solid waste. This cess is intended to fund and support solid waste management initiatives, including waste collection, segregation, treatment, and disposal.




 Source: HT

Context: Animals have used bioluminescence for millions of years, but much about it remains a mystery. Scientists are exploring its origins and functions, particularly in deep-sea habitats like coral reefs.

Recent research suggests bioluminescence may have evolved as a means of communication and survival during the Cambrian Explosion, over 540 million years ago. Studying bioluminescent organisms, such as corals and shrimp, sheds light on how light production has shaped evolution and behaviour over geological time scales.


What is Bioluminescence? 

It is the ability of living organisms to emit light, generated through enzyme-catalyzed oxidation reactions involving unique chemicals like luciferin and luciferase or photoprotein. This phenomenon spans across various species including sponges, jellyfish, fireflies, and bacteria. Its functions range from camouflage and prey attraction to intraspecies communication.


Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome (STSS)

Source: NDTV

Content: The recent spread of “flesh-eating bacteria” in Japan, known as Streptococcal Toxic Shock Syndrome (STSS), has health officials alarmed, with close to 1,000 cases reported nationwide.


STSS is a severe illness caused by group A Streptococcus bacteria. It triggers a rare, rapid and severe inflammatory response affecting multiple organs. Symptoms include fever, muscle pain, nausea, and organ failure. Diagnosis involves blood tests to detect the bacteria and organ function. Treatment includes strong antibiotics, fluids, and sometimes surgery. Early medical intervention is crucial for recovery and preventing complications or death from STSS.


E-Flow Ecological Monitoring System

 Source: TH

Context: The Union Jal Shakti Ministry launched an e-flow ecological monitoring system for real-time tracking of river quality, aiding project planning and monitoring.


Developed by the National Mission for Clean Ganga ( Namami Gange, under the Ministry of Jal Shakti), it monitors the water quality of the Ganga, Yamuna, and tributaries, along with Namami Gange program activities. The system utilizes data from Central Water Commission reports to track key parameters like in-flow, out-flow, and mandated E-flow across 11 projects along the Ganga Main Stream.


More about E-flow: 

E-flow stands for environmental flow, which refers to the amount of water necessary to sustain the ecological health and functions of rivers, streams, and other water bodies. It ensures that enough water is available to support aquatic ecosystems, maintain water quality, and sustain biodiversity. In 2018, the Indian government mandated minimum E-flow requirements for different parts of the Ganga River to be maintained throughout the year. In response, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) specified flow parameters necessary to preserve the river’s ecological balance, protect aquatic life, and ensure sustainability amid various water usage demands.


Tarang Shakti-2024

 Source: TH

Context: India will host its inaugural multinational air exercise, Tarang Shakti-2024, in August.


Tarang Shakti Exercise:

  1. Participants: Ten countries with others as observers; including Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Spain, UAE, UK, and USA.
  2. Objectives: Enhance interoperability with friendly foreign countries.
  3. Exercise Phases: Two phases in southern India and the western sector.


Red Flag Exercise:

  1. About: Air combat exercise with realistic scenarios.
  2. Hosted by:S. Air Force at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska.
  3. Participants: Indian Air Force, Singapore Air Force, UK’s Royal Air Force, Royal Netherlands Air Force, and German Luftwaffe.
  4. Exercise Details: Simulates air defence (Red Force) and offensive elements (Blue Force); mainly USAF Aggressor Squadron.





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