Arctic Region and Arctic Council

The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.

8 Jul, 2020


About Brahmaputra River: The Brahmaputra called Yarlung

3 Jul, 2020
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    Current Affairs – 4th February 2022


    • News: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is set to launch India’s official digital currency in 2022-23, even as other central banks tread with caution.
    • About Central Bank Digital Currency:
      • A central bank digital currency (CBDC) is the legal tender issued by a central bank in a digital form.
      • It is identical to fiat currency and is exchangeable one-to-one with it, only different in form.
      • Globally, central banks are exploring digital currencies for reasons ranging from seeking to popularize the use of electronic currency, to countering the rise of private digital assets like cryptocurrencies.
      • The primary difference between CBDCs and other forms of digital payments is that payments made using the former are final in nature and reduce settlement risks in the financial system.
      • Essentially, it is the digital equivalent of purchasing goods and services using cash, where there is no need for inter-bank settlements.
      • Transactions using a CBDC, therefore, would allow for an even more real-time payments system.
      • As RBI points out, an Indian importer may be able to pay its American exporter on a real-time basis in digital dollars, without the need of an intermediary. This transaction would be final.
      • RBI governor Shaktikanta Das has expressed concerns over the risk of frauds in digital currencies, pointing to the need for systems to thwart mala fide attempts.
      •  Another risk, of course, is the technological challenge in storing and dealing in such CBDC by retail customers. It depends upon the availability of strong internet connectivity and wider access to technology to store and use CBDCs.


    • News: India has achieved 9% ethanol blending in petrol and is confident of meeting the 20% target by 2025, oil minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Thursday.
    • Details:
      • Presently, 10% ethanol, extracted from sugarcane or surplus foodgrain, is required to be blended or mixed in petrol (meaning 10% of ethanol mixed with 90% of petrol) with a view to cutting oil import dependence and provide farmers with an additional source of income.
    • About the Programme:
      • Ethanol is an agro-based product, mainly produced from a by-product of the sugar industry, namely molasses.
      • In years of surplus production of sugarcane, when prices are depressed, the sugar industry is unable to make timely payment of cane price to farmers.
      • The Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP) seeks to achieve blending of Ethanol with motor sprit with a view to reducing pollution, conserve foreign exchange and increase value addition in the sugar industry enabling them to clear cane price arrears of farmers.
      • The Central Government has scaled up blending targets from 5% to 10% under the Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP).
      • The procedure of procurement of ethanol under the EBP has been simplified to streamline the entire ethanol supply chain and remunerative ex-depot price of ethanol has been fixed.
      • To facilitate achieving of new blending targets, a “grid” which networks distilleries to OMC depots and details quantities to be supplied has been worked out.
      • State-wise demand profile has also been projected, keeping in view distances, capacities and other sectoral demands. Excise duty has also been waived on ethanol supplies to OMCs for EBP by sugar mills during 2015-16 (up to 10 August, 2016).


    • News: Oil retreated as traders wait to see whether Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies (Opec+) can deliver on its latest promised increase in supply, while stock markets fell.
    • About West Texas Intermediate:
      • West Texas Intermediate (WTI) can refer to a grade or a mix of crude oil, and/or the spot price, the futures price, or the assessed price for that oil; colloquially WTI usually refers to the price of the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) WTI Crude Oil futures contract or the contract itself.
      • The WTI oil grade is also known as Texas light sweet, although oil produced from any location can be considered WTI if the oil meets required qualifications.
      • This grade is described as light crude oil because of its relatively low density, and sweet because of its low sulfur content.
      • The price of WTI is often included in news reports on oil prices, alongside the price of Brent crude from the North Sea.
      • Other important oil markers include the Dubai crude, Oman crude, Urals oil, and the OPEC reference basket.
      • WTI is lighter and sweeter, containing less sulfur than Brent, and considerably lighter and sweeter than Dubai or Oman.
    • About Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC):
      • The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries is an intergovernmental organization or cartel of 13 countries.
      • Founded on 14 September 1960 in Baghdad by the first five members (Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela), it has since 1965 been headquartered in Vienna, Austria, although Austria is not an OPEC member state.
      • As of September 2018, the 13 member countries accounted for an estimated 44 percent of global oil production and 81.5 percent of the world’s “proven” oil reserves, giving OPEC a major influence on global oil prices that were previously determined by the so-called “Seven Sisters” grouping of multinational oil companies.
      • The stated mission of the organization is to “coordinate and unify the petroleum policies of its member countries and ensure the stabilization of oil markets, in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers, and a fair return on capital for those investing in the petroleum industry.”
      • The formation of OPEC marked a turning point toward national sovereignty over natural resources, and OPEC decisions have come to play a prominent role in the global oil market and international relations.