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Daily Current Affairs - 24-08-2021

  • IAS NEXT, Lucknow
  • 24, Aug 2021
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Exercise Konkan 2021

Reference news:

Indo-UK Naval Exercise, ‘Konkan 2021’ was recently held between INS Tabar and HMS Westminster in the English Channel.

  • The English Channel is located between the Isle of Great Britain’s southern coast and France’s northern coast and separated from the North Sea on the north by the Strait of Dover.

Next Analysis-

  • About:
    • ​The Bilateral Konkan exercise is a naval exercise conducted between India and the United Kingdom. The Konkan series of exercises was started in 2004. Since then, the exercise is hosted in rotation by both the Navies and has grown in complexity, scale, and intensity.
  • INS Tabar:
    • It is the third Talwar-class frigate in the Indian Navy, which was commisioned in 2004 in Kaliningrad, Russia.
    • This warship can handle air or surface or subsurface missions and defend itself.
    • The Talwar class of frigates of the Indian Navy have been built in Russia under an Indo-Russian joint production. The Talwar class guided missile frigates are modified Krivak III class frigates from Russia. Other Frigates are:INS Teg, Tarkash, Trikand, Talwar and Trishul.
    • In October 2016, India and Russia signed an Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) for four Krivak or Talwar stealth frigates.
      • The first two frigates will be built in Yantar Shipyard, in Kaliningrad, Russia. The following two will be built in Goa Shipyard Ltd (GSL).

Drug abuse on rise, will have huge consequences: HC

Reference News:

The Delhi High Court has observed that the menace of drug abuse was on the rise in the country.

  • It’s consequences can be experienced across the board from causing economic issues to societal disintegration.
  • The harmful effects of drugs on an individual and on society have been researched extensively
  • The purpose of enacting the NDPS [Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances] Act was to curb this menace.
  • An NCB team had recently intercepted a person of Nepali nationality who was caught with 475gm of charas.

Next Analysis-

What is Narcotics Control Bureau?

  • It was constituted by the Government of India in 1986 under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.
  • It is the apex coordinating agency under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • The National Policy on Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances is based on Article of the Indian Constitution which directs the State to endeavour to bring about prohibition of the consumption, except for medicinal purposes, of intoxicating drugs injurious to health.
  • Drug abuse control is the responsibility of the central government.
  • Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985
  • It provides for the penalty of property derived from or used in illegal traffic in narcotic drugs.
  • The Act made an express provision for constituting a Central Authority for the purpose of exercising the powers and functions of the Central Government under the Act.

Gig Workers

Reference news:

Recent posts on Social Media leveling allegation on Food Delivery Companies. Some of the complaints on Food Delivery Platforms like Swiggy & Zomato are:

  • Low payouts
  • Opaque payout calculations and alleged cheating,
  • Unexplained differences in surge rates
  • Order clubbing and assignments to avoid incentive pay
  • Zone extensions to avoid return bonuses


  • Lack of Transparency & Trust: Many of the grievances arise because of a trust deflict between the gig workers and the platforms.
  • Outdated Governance Framework: India has protected workers through heavy-handed industrial regulation and labour laws, which suit the factory floor. They are irrelevant, insufficient, and ineffective in addressing disputes that originate on these platforms.
  • Algorithm dependent decisions: A large component of delivery platform’s cost is gig worker fees. An analysis of the grievances suggests that many are linked to the way gig work is assigned, performed and rewarded - all of which are decided by Machine Learning (ML) algorithms that try to cut costs & maximise profits.

Way Ahead:

  • Need to harness the power of technology towards improving trust between platforms and gig workers.
  • Algorithm audits are one such technique, where an auditor has access to the algorithms and examine the results produced by them to expose any biases or shortcomings.
  • Another technique is the use of “sock puppets” where researchers use computer programmes to impersonate user accounts. Auditors can use these accounts to identify instances where the platform algorithms produce undesirable results.
  • Regulators can examine work conditions as a function of work allocation, performance, and pay related to each gig, and mandate transparency related to each of these.

Daily Topic

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established with the signing of the SAARC Charter in Dhaka on 8 December 1985. The idea of regional cooperation in South Asia was first raised in November 1980. After consultations, the foreign secretaries of the seven founding countries—Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka-met for the first time in Colombo in April 1981.

  • Afghanistan became the newest member of SAARC at the 13th annual summit in 2005.
  • The Headquarters and Secretariat of the Association are at Kathmandu, Nepal.
  • Meetings are held at the Summit level, usually on an annual basis.


  • Cooperation within the framework of the SAARC shall be based on:
    • Respect for the principles of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence, non-interference in the internal affairs of other States and mutual benefit.
    • Such cooperation shall not be a substitute for bilateral and multilateral cooperation but shall complement them.
    • Such cooperation shall not be inconsistent with bilateral and multilateral obligations.

Members of SAARC

  • SAARC comprises of eight member States:
    • Afghanistan
    • Bangladesh
    • Bhutan
    • India
    • Maldives
    • Nepal
    • Pakistan
    • Sri Lanka
  • There are currently nine Observers to SAARC, namely: (i) Australia; (ii) China; (iii) the European Union; (iv) Iran; (v) Japan; (vi) the Republic of Korea; (vii) Mauritius; (viii) Myanmar; and (ix) the United States of America.

Areas of Cooperation

  • Human Resource Development and Tourism
  • Agriculture and Rural Development
  • Environment, Natural Disasters and Biotechnology
  • Economic, Trade and Finance
  • Social Affairs
  • Information and Poverty Alleviation
  • Energy, Transport, Science and Technology
  • Education, Security and Culture and Others

The Objectives of the SAARC

  • To promote the welfare of the people of South Asia and to improve their quality of life.
  • To accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to provide all individuals the opportunity to live in dignity and to realize their full potentials.
  • To promote and strengthen collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia.
  • To contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one another’s problems..
  • To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields.
  • To strengthen cooperation with other developing countries.
  • To strengthen cooperation among themselves in international forums on matters of common interests; and
  • To cooperate with international and regional organizations with similar aims and purposes.

Principal Organs

  • Secretariat
    • ​The SAARC Secretariat was established in Kathmandu on 16 January 1987. Its role is to coordinate and monitor the implementation of SAARC activities, service the meetings of the association and serve as a channel of communication between SARC and other international organizations.
    • The Secretariat comprises the secretary-general, seven directors, and the general services staff. The secretary-general is appointed by the Council of Ministers on the principle of rotation, for a non-renewable tenure of three years.

SAARC and its Importance

  • SAARC comprises 3% of the world's area, 21% of the world's population and 3.8% (US$2.9 trillion) of the global economy.
  • Creating synergies: It is the world’s most densely populated region and one of the most fertile areas. SAARC countries have common tradition, dress, food and culture and political aspects thereby synergizing their actions.
  • Common solutions: All the SAARC countries have common problems and issues like poverty, illiteracy, malnutrition, natural disasters, internal conflicts, industrial and technological backwardness, low GDP and poor socio-economic condition and uplift their living standards thereby creating common areas of development and progress having common solutions.

SAARC Achievements

  • Free Trade Area (FTA): SAARC is comparatively a new organization in the global arena. The member countries have established a Free Trade Area (FTA) which will increase their internal trade and lessen the trade gap of some states considerably.
  • SAPTA: South Asia Preferential Trading Agreement for promoting trade amongst the member countries came into effect in 1995.
  • SAFTA: A Free Trade Agreement confined to goods, but excluding all services like information technology. Agreement was signed to reduce customs duties of all traded goods to zero by the year 2016.