Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 23 July 2023

India and France have agreed to use UPI

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India and France have agreed to use Unified Payments Interface (UPI) payment mechanism and it will begin from the iconic Eiffel Tower. Indian tourists in France will now be able to make payments in rupees.

More about the News

  • Unified Payments Interface (UPI) is India’s mobile-based payment system and allows people to make round-the-clock payments through a virtual payment address created by the customer.
  • Earlier this year, UPI and Singapore’s ‘PayNow’ signed an agreement facilitating users in either country to make cross-border transactions.
  • The announcement is seen as a significant development for bilateral trade and tourism, between India and France.
  • India and France are working on archaeological missions for a long time. Digital infrastructure strengthens the ties between two nations.

What is Unified Payment Interface (UPI)?

  • UPI is the indigenous digital payment system in India that was conceptualised and operated by the National Payments Corporation of India in.
  • UPI today holds 96.5 per cent market share in overall mobile payments and 56 per cent (volume-wise) in person-to-merchant payments.

What is UPI Lite?

  • Smartphones and an internet connection are a must to use the UPI app. UPI Lite is said to be the feature phone version, specifically for low-denomination transactions.
  • Given that about 75 per cent of the total volume of retail transactions in India (including cash transactions) is below 100 each and 50 per cent of UPI transactions are for ₹200 each, UPI Lite initially target transactions of 200 or less.


Bilateral Drug Policy Framework

GS Paper - 2 (International Relations)

India and the United States agreed to work towards a broader and deeper bilateral Drug Policy Framework for the 21st Century, the Biden administration said after talks between officials from the two countries. One is the counter-narcotics and the work to do to disrupt the networks of traffickers and producers of illicit drugs. The second one is to work on drug demand reduction and harm-reduction.

More about Framework

  • During the two-day meeting, the delegations discussed President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Narendra Modi's joint commitment to work toward a broader and deeper bilateral Drug Policy Framework for the 21st Century.
  • Under this framework, both countries plan to expand cooperation and collaboration to disrupt the illicit production and international trafficking of illicit drugs, including synthetic drugs, such as fentanyl and amphetamine-type stimulants and illicit use of their precursors.
  • The leaders committed to strengthening our bilateral drug policy relationship, one that goes beyond just counternarcotics to one with a more forward-looking and affirmative vision – and we are working to deliver on that commitment.
  • Together, both countries will prevent and treat addiction, disrupt the global trafficking of illicit drugs, and create safe, healthy, and prosperous communities for both nations.
  • India, he said, has joined the Global Coalition Against Synthetic Drugs that includes more than 80 nations and 11 international organizations.


  • In India, drug consumption or possession is a criminal offence. The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985 is the main legislation dealing with drugs and their trafficking.
  • Currently, the NDPS Act only adopts a reformative approach towards addicts. It gives addicts immunity from prosecution and imprisonment (if found guilty) if they volunteer to undergo treatment and rehabilitation.
  • However, there is no provision for relief or exemption for, say, first-time users or recreational users.
  • Section 27 of the NDPS Act prescribes imprisonment of up to a year or a fine of up to Rs 20,000, or both, for consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance. It makes no distinction between addicts, first-time users and recreational users.


Govt nods Semiconductor Lab modernization

GS Paper - 3 (Science and Technology)

The government has approved the modernisation of the Semiconductor Laboratory as a brownfield chip manufacuring unit, Parliament was informed. Till date only one proposal of Micron Technology Inc for setting up a semiconductor ATMP unit in India has been approved. Government has also approved modernisation of Semiconductor Laboratory, Mohali as a brownfield Fab.

What are semiconductors?

  • Also known as microchips or integrated circuits, semiconductors are made from silicon, and consist of millions or billions of transistors that act like miniature electrical switches that flip on and off to process data such as images, radio waves, and sounds.
  • They are practically inside every essential product of the modern world — from household appliances to sophisticated defence systems, mobile phones to cars, toys to high-end luxury products.
  • Globalisation as we know it wouldn’t exist without the trade in semiconductors and the electronic products they make possible.

Semiconductors become a flashpoint

  • Until relatively recently, the critical importance of semiconductors was not commonly known or realised outside the tech ecosystem and its enthusiasts.
  • The coronavirus pandemic that broke out in early 2020 changed this. Lockdowns around the world brought the microchip industry to a standstill.
  • Both the supply and demand of these chips were disrupted as factories shut, and the demand for laptops and computers shot up dramatically with people switching to work from home.
  • The shortage of semiconductors made countries realise their dependency on Taiwan, the world leader in manufacturing microchips.
  • Taiwan produces more than 60 per cent of semiconductors globally, and more than 90 per cent of the most advanced ones.
  • The US’s share of the market is only around 12 per cent and European nations together account for just 9 per cent. In 2021,
  • More than 90% of semiconductors used in China are imported or manufactured locally by foreign suppliers”, with Taiwan being a “critical supply” source.

Book A Free Counseling Session

What's Today