South China Sea

Why in news?

The Philippine coast guard removed a floating barrier
placed by China’s coast guard to prevent Filipino
fishing boats from entering a lagoon in a disputed
shoal in the South China Sea.

What is the South China Sea dispute?

 Several countries claim various parts of the sea, and these
claims often overlap.
 In particular, China’s sweeping claims – which include
sovereignty claims over land parcels and their adjacent waters –
have angered competing claimants like Vietnam, the Philippines,
Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei.
 Other countries have staked claims on islands and various zones
in the sea, such as the Paracels and the Spratly’s.

Nine-dash line:

 China claims by far the largest portion of territory in an area demarcated by its so-called “nine-dash line”.
 The line comprises nine dashes, which extend hundreds of miles
south and east from its most southerly province of Hainan.
About South China Sea:
 It is an arm of the western Pacific Ocean that borders the
Southeast Asian mainland.
 It is bordered by
 China
 Taiwan
 Philippines
 Malaysia,
 Indonesia
 Brunei,
 Vietnam.

 It is connected by the Taiwan Strait with the East China Sea and
by the Luzon Strait with the Philippine Sea (both marginal seas
of the Pacific Ocean).
 The South China Sea and the East China Sea together form the
China Sea.
 The two major archipelagos are known as the Paracel Islands,
controlled by China, and the Spratly Islands.


 Weather in the sea is tropical and largely controlled by
 It is the second most used sea lane in the world.
 It is a significant trade route for crude oil from the Persian Gulf
and Africa through the Strait of Malacca to Singapore, Thailand,
Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, and Japan.

Major Ports:

 Hong Kong, Singapore, and Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.

Source: The Hindu

Justice Gita Mittal Committee

Why in news?

Faced with myriad complaints and grievances from petitioners in the Manipur ethnic violence case,
the Supreme Court said it could not run the State administration, and petitioners had to trust the Justice Gita Mittal Committee to do its job.

About Justice Gita Mittal Committee

 The committee was constituted to supervise, intervene and
monitor relief and rehabilitation, restoration of homesteads,
religious places of worships, better relief work, etc. in Manipur.
 The committee is led by former Jammu & Kashmir High Court
Chief Justice Gita Mittal, the committee includes Justices (retd)
Shalini P Joshi and Asha Menon.
 This move aims to oversee various aspects beyond the investigation, such as relief, rehabilitation, and compensation for
those affected by the violence.The committee’s role extends beyond investigation, encompassing vital aspects of recovery and rebuilding.
 The primary goal behind the committee is to restore public
confidence, reinforce faith in the rule of law, and rebuild trust
within the affected community.

Source: The Hindu

Overseas Citizen of India (OCI)

Why in news?

Amid the ongoing India-Canada row, India is in the process of
cancelling the registration of Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) card

About Overseas Citizen of India (OCI):

 It is given to overseas Indians.
 OCI Scheme was introduced by amending the Citizenship Act,
1955, in August 2005.
 It provides long-term visa-free travel and stay in India and gives
the cardholders a host of privileges normally not given to a
foreign national.

Who is eligible for an OCI card?

 As per the ministry’s statement, a foreign national –
 who was a citizen of India at the time of, or at any time after 26
January, 1950;
 who was eligible to become a citizen of India on 26th January,
 who belonged to a territory that became part of India after 15th August, 1947; who is a child or a grandchild or a great-
grandchild of such a citizen;

 who is a minor child of such persons mentioned above;

 who is a minor child and whose both parents are citizens of
India or one of the parents is a citizen of India – is eligible for
registration as an OCI cardholder.


 A registered OCI is granted multiple entry, multipurpose, life- long visa for visiting India.He/she is exempted from registration with the Foreign Regional Registration Officer or Foreign Registration Officer for any length of stay in India.
 He/she is entitled to general ‘parity with Non-Resident Indians
in respect of all facilities available to them in economic,
financial and educational fields except in matters relating to the
acquisition of agricultural or plantation properties.

OCI cardholder is NOT entitled to:

 OCI is not to be misconstrued as ‘dual citizenship’. OCI does not
confer political rights to vote;
 To be a member of a Legislative Assembly or of a Legislative
Council or of the Parliament of India;
 To hold Indian constitutional posts such as that of the President,
Vice President, Judge of the Supreme Court or High Court etc.;
 He/she cannot normally hold employment in the Government;
 To undertake any Missionary work, Mountaineering and
Journalism work without prior permission of the Govt. of India;
 OCI cardholder shall also require Protected Area Permit
(PAP)/Restricted Area Permit (RAP) to visit any place which
falls within the Protected/Restricted Area notified by the
Government as in the case of any other foreigner.

Renunciation of OCI:

 If any overseas citizen of India of full age and capacity makes in
the prescribed manner a declaration renouncing his overseas
citizenship of India, the declaration shall be registered by the
Central Government, and; upon such registration, that person
shall cease to be an overseas citizen of India.
 Where a person ceases to be an overseas citizen of India, every
minor child of that person registered as an overseas citizen of
India, shall thereupon cease to be an overseas citizen of India.

India Post Payments Bank (IPPB)

About India Post Payments Bank (IPPB):

 IPPB has been established under the Department of Posts,
Ministry of Communication, with 100% equity owned by the
Government of India.
 IPPB was launched on September 1, 2018, aimed at making
banking services available at people’s doorstep.

 Mandate: To remove barriers for the unbanked and under-
banked and reach the last mile, leveraging a network comprising 160,000 post offices (145,000 in rural areas) and
400,000 postal employees.
 Headquarters: New Delhi


o The operations of IPPB will be on a smaller scale as
compared to other banks and will not advance loans or
issue credit cards to avoid risk.
o It will accept deposits, offer remittance services, mobile
payments/transfers/purchases and other banking services
like ATM/debit cards, net banking and third-party fund
o It will accept deposits upto Rs 2 lakh, beyond which the
account will be automatically converted into a post office
savings account.
o The products and services of the bank will be made
available through various mediums such as counter
services, micro ATMs, mobile banking apps, messages,
and interactive voice responses.
o The IPPB will use Aadhaar to open accounts, and a QR
card and biometrics will be used for
authentication, transactions, and payments.

What are Payments Banks?

 A payments bank is like any other bank but operates on a
smaller scale without involving any credit risk.
 It was set up on the recommendations of the Nachiket Mor
 Objective: Widen the spread of payment and financial services
to small businesses, low-income households, and migrant labor
workforce in a secured technology-driven environment.
 They are registered under the Companies Act 2013 but
are governed by a host of legislations such as the Banking
Regulation Act, 1949; RBI Act, 1934; Foreign Exchange
Management Act, 1999, etc.
 It needs to have a minimum paid-up capital of Rs.

Activities that can be performed:

o It can take deposits up to Rs. 2,00,000. It can accept
demand deposits in the form of savings and current
o The money received as deposits can be invested in secure
government securities only in the form of Statutory
Liquidity Ratio (SLR). This must amount to 75% of the
demand deposit balance.
o The remaining 25% is to be placed as time deposits with
other scheduled commercial banks.
o It can offer remittance services, mobile
ayments/transfers/purchases, and other banking
services like ATM/debit cards, net banking, and third-party
fund transfers.

 Activities that cannot be performed:

o It cannot issue loans and credit cards.
o It cannot accept time deposits or NRI deposits.
o It cannot set up subsidiaries to undertake non-banking
financial activities.

Source – The Hindu

The Phosphorus Problem

Why in News?

The global phosphorus problem is gaining attention. With limited
phosphorus reserves, contamination issues, and disruptions in the
fertilizer market, finding sustainable solutions has become a critical
Major Facts Related to Phosphorus


 Phosphorus is a chemical element with the symbol “P” and atomic number 15
 It is an essential element for life and has various important
properties and applications.
Chemical Properties:
 Phosphorus readily forms compounds with other elements,
especially oxygen, forming various phosphates.
 It is highly reactive and can spontaneously combust in air,
producing a white smoke.
 Phosphorus compounds are crucial in biology, as they are a
fundamental component of DNA, RNA, and ATP (adenosine

Natural Occurrence:

 Phosphorus is commonly found in the Earth’s crust in the form of various phosphate minerals, such as apatite.

Industrial Uses:

 Phosphorus compounds are used in the production of fertilizers,
as they are necessary for plant growth.
 It is also used in detergents, where phosphate compounds help
break down and remove stains.
 Phosphorus is utilized in the production of steel and other
metallurgical processes.

Phosphorus in India:

 India is deficient in Apatite (group of phosphate minerals) & Rock Phosphate availability.
 According to Indian Minerals Yearbook 2018, in case of apatite,
the country is fully dependent upon imports, while the Rock
Phosphate production is only from two states namely, Rajasthan
and Madhya Pradesh. India is the world’s largest importer of phosphorus, primarily
sourcing it from West African deposits contaminated with
 Paddy, a staple crop in India, is particularly prone to cadmium
uptake, and Indian farmers extensively use fertilizers on paddy

Challenges Associated with Phosphorus:

Limited Reserves and Cadmium Contamination:
 Phosphorus is scarce and primarily found in specific geological formations. This is a major geopolitical concern.
 Morocco and the Western Sahara region possess the world’s
largest phosphorus reserves, but these reserves contain
cadmium, a harmful heavy metal that can accumulate in the
kidneys of animals and humans when consumed.
 The extraction and removal of cadmium from phosphorus
resources are costly processes.
 Cadmium-laden fertilizers can contaminate crops, leading to
potential health risks, such as heart disease.

Phosphorus Overuse:

 Excessive fertilizer application leads to phosphorus runoff into
water bodies.
 Excessive phosphorus promotes algal blooms, depleting oxygen
in water bodies and causing fish deaths.
 Algal blooms can also be toxic to humans, leading to respiratory
issues and other health problems.

Energy Intensive Mining:

 Extracting and processing phosphate rock is energy-intensive,
contributing to greenhouse gas emissions and environmental

Source – The Hindu