Friday, 10th March 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day


The ideal track to run India’s logistics system

2   Daily Current Affairs


India-Central Asia Joint Working Group (JWG) on Afghanistan


Different faces of the India women's movement


Govt to develop 23 river systems


SEBI framework for adopting cloud services


Govt brings crypto under money laundering law


Moon’s own time zone






Scrub typhus


H3N2 outbreak


Janaushadhi Kendra

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Editorial of the day

The ideal track to run India’s logistics system

Exam View: Logistic composition of India, Benefits and Challenges of freight movement by railways, Way forward

In News: Union Budget 2023 has doubled the PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan to States from Rs 5,000 crores to 10,000 crores, and has announced an outlay of Rs 2.4 lakh crores for the Indian Railways.

About the logistics composition of India

  • Logistics costs in India are 14 percent of the GDP. Transportation and inventory costs account for around 90 percent of these costs.
  • Currently, the freight movement is skewed by a considerable extent towards road transport, with 65% of freight movement by road.
  • PM Gati Shakti targets to increase the share of the railways in freight movement from 27% to 45% i.e. from 1.2 billion tonnes to 3.3 billion tonnes, by 2030.
  • In 2020-21, coal constituted 44% of total freight movement of 1.2 billion tonnes, followed by iron ore (13%), cement (10%), Transportation of non-bulk commodities accounted for a very small share in rail freight movement.

Benefits of transport through railways:

  • Suitable for varied commodities mix that has a high share of bulk goods and has regular flows of low-to-medium-value density goods between fixed origin/destination points.
  • Freight travel is often over longer distances and is suitable to rail’s economies of scale relative to road transport.
  • Reduces congestion and pollution on roads and delays in deliveries, thus significantly reduces logistics cost.
  • India has a low coast-to-landmass ratio: Between the two low carbon freight modes, i.e. rail and coastal, India’s geography makes rail more feasible in many areas of the country as compared to coastal mode.
  • Significantly lower logistics cost: The comparable costs of different forms of transportation suggests that freight movement cost is the highest in the road sector — nearly twice the rail cost.
  • Multimodal and intermodal transports by combining rail and road transport for containerized goods. Through this, railways can compete for a market share of higher value, non-bulk goods.

Challenges of freight movement by railways

  • Infrastructural challenges of railways such as lack of necessary terminal infrastructure, maintenance of good sheds and warehouses, and uncertain supply of wagons
  • Over utilisation: About two-thirds of India’s railway lines are already above 100 percent utilisation when 80 percent capacity utilisation is considered ideal.10
  • Operational challenges: Pre-movement and post-movement operational delays such as wagon placement, loading and unloading, multi-modal handling, etc., hamper freight movement by rail.
  • Connectivity challenges due to absence of integrated first and last-mile connectivity by rail increases the chances of damage due to multiple handling and also increases the inventory holding cost.
  • Lower speeds: Freight trains in India carry smaller loads and travel at lower speeds increasing lead times of goods and reducing capacity of the network.

What can be done to increase logistics transport through railways?

  • Dedicated Freight Corridors along India’s eastern and western corridors and multimodal logistics parks will ease the oversaturated line capacity constraints and improve the timing of trains.
  • Improve Infrastructure by adequate policy tools and also encourage private participation in the operation and management of terminals, containers, and warehouses
  • Establishing a special entity under railways to handle intermodal logistics in partnership with the private sector to address the first and last-mile issue faced by the railways.
  • Uber like models for Cargo wagons in passenger trains wherein customers can book the wagon using an online application to increase the utilisation rate of these wagons.
  • Integrated logistics infrastructure with first and last-mile connectivity is essential to make railways competitive and facilitate exports by rail to neighbouring countries.




Keywords: GS-3 Infrastructure: Ports, roads, Railways etc.
Daily Current Affairs

India-Central Asia Joint Working Group (JWG) on Afghanistan

In News: The first meeting of the India-Central Asia Joint Working Group on Afghanistan was held in New Delhi which was attended by the Special Envoys and Senior Officials of India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.

About India-Central Asia Joint Working Group on Afghanistan:

  • The JWG meeting comes more than a year after the India-Central Asia summit in January 2022, where the decision to hold a special contact group on Afghanistan was announced.
  • During the meeting, the Special Envoys exchanged views on the current situation in Afghanistan, including the political, security and humanitarian situation.
  • While emphasising the respect for sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity and non-interference in its internal affairs, the sides reiterated support for a peaceful, secure and stable Afghanistan.

Key highlights of the JWG Meeting

  • Focus on an inclusive and representative political structure that respects the rights of all Afghans and ensures equal rights of women, girls and members of minority groups, including access to education.
  • The issues of drugs, the export of terrorism and radicalism, and refugees were discussed which has been at the top of concerns for neighbouring countries in Central Asia.
  • Terrorist refuge: The JWG stated that no terror organisations including UN-designated terrorists should be provided sanctuary or allowed to use the territory of Afghanistan.
  • Decision on delivery of Wheat:
    • To address the current humanitarian situation, India announced its partnership with the UN World Food Programme (UNWFP) for the delivery of 20,000 MTs of wheat for Afghan people through the Chabahar Port.
    • India had already sent about 40,000 metric tons (MT) of 50,000 MT wheat to Afghanistan, via land routes through Pakistan, after agreement with Pakistan. However due to floods the shipment had to be stopped and the agreed time period expired.
  • Tackling opium production and trade:
    • India has agreed to offer “customised capacity building courses” for United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) officials and stakeholders and cooperate on initiatives to counter drug trafficking and rehabilitation efforts for Afghan drug users, especially women.
    • According to UNODC reports, opium production is up by nearly a third in the past year, especially after the Taliban took control of Kabul.
    • More than 80% of the world’s opium and heroin are smuggled out of Afghanistan, where an estimated 3 million people, or nearly one-tenth of the population is addicted.



Keywords: GS-2 Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests, India and its neighbours
Daily Current Affairs

Different faces of the India women's movement

In News:

  • The vibrancy of the Indian women’s movement is acknowledged worldwide with the Indian women's movement undergoing a gradual transformation over the years.
  • Over the years, its thrust has moved from serving as the beacon for the nationalist movement to a rights-based civil society movement to a state-led movement for economic empowerment.
  • According to The Economic Survey, there are about 1.2 crore SHGs in India, most of which are all women.
  • The key is to not put all eggs in the single basket of state-led programmes and to ensure that other spaces for women’s activism are preserved.

Phases of Women's movement in India:


Key points

Phase 1:

Political Movements

  • Women's movement was marked by women satyagrahis being arrested during the salt satyagraha and the Quit India movement.
  • Women aligned themselves with political parties, and others sought to reshape political discourse.
  • Women played a pivotal role in the nationalist movement and were used as the face of the movement.
  • The greatest success of this mobilization came with the 73rd Amendment to the Constitution, which reserved one-third of seats in panchayat and leadership positions in local bodies for women.

Phase 2:

Grassroots Organizing for Legal and Policy Reforms

  • The quiet revolution of the 1970s did as much to enhance attention to women's specific needs as street protests.
  • The Self-Employed Women's Association began to unionize women in the informal sector, leading the advocacy for reforms in legal and social protection for women workers.
  • Feminist advocacy highlighted sex-selective abortion and discrimination in inheritance patterns, leading to legal reforms.
  • Women's formal and informal collectives worked hard to reform and implement laws against sexual harassment in the workforce and in public spaces.

Phase 3:

State-led Organizations for Economic Empowerment

  • It is the latest epoch in women's activism and is distinct from the strident politics of protest and quietly organized rights-based movements.
  • The government has invested heavily in building and supporting Self Help Groups (SHGs).
  • Today there are about 1.2 crore SHGs in India, most of which are all-women, typically supported and mentored by Community Resource Persons paid by the state.
  • SHGs function mainly as thrift and credit institutions, where members deposit small amounts of savings per month and can borrow in an emergency.
  • The current generation of the SHG movement, in close connection with the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), seeks to address deficiencies in different schemes of the government.

Way ahead:

  • Women's incorporation in the nationalist movement set the stage for the acceptance of women's leadership in politics, and the current state-led movement has the potential to transform women's lives by taking economic empowerment programs forward.
  • These different strands of the women's movement, political movements, grassroots organizing for legal and policy reforms, and state-led organizations for economic empowerment, each can address the various dimensions of women's lives.


Keywords: GS - 2 Social Justice, Women Empowerment
Daily Current Affairs

Govt to develop 23 river systems

In News: 23 river systems will be developed for cargo and passenger vessel movement, as the government's focus is on increasing the movement through river systems.


  • It aims to utilize inland waterways to improve cargo and passenger vessel movement at cheap transportation costs.

National Waterways

  • Any major navigable body of water, having commercial and strategic importance is declared a National waterway (thereby Central government holds the responsibility of developing it).
  • As per the National Waterways Act 2016, 111 waterways have been declared as National Waterways (NWs).
  • Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly River System (Allahabad to Haldia) was first NW declared in 1986.
  • Inland waterways contribute only around 2% of India’s internal freight movement. India has about 14,500 km of navigable waterways which comprise rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks, etc.

Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI)

  • IWAI is the statutory body in charge of the waterways in India, its headquarters is located in Noida, UP.
  • It was constituted in 1986 for the development and regulation of inland waterways for shipping and navigation.
  • Its main function is to build the necessary infrastructure in the inland waterways, surveying the economic feasibility of new projects, and also carrying out administration and regulation.
  • It undertakes projects for the development and maintenance of IWT infrastructure on national waterways through a grant received from the Ministry of Shipping.


Keywords: GS-1 Geography, River System
Daily Current Affairs

SEBI framework for adopting cloud services

In News: SEBI unveils framework for adopting cloud services by stock exchanges.


  • SEBI’s Principle-based Framework for Cloud Adoption is a set of guidelines to ensure the safe usage of cloud services by registered entities (REs) and cloud service providers (CSPs) in the securities industry.
  • REs include stock brokers through exchanges, depositories, mutual funds, Asset Management Companies, and KYC Registration Agencies.
  • SEBI Principle-based Framework for Cloud Adoption provides instructions on governance, risk, and compliance, choosing CSPs, data ownership and localization, due diligence by REs, security controls, legal and regulatory obligations, and vendor lock-in risks.
  • The registered entities must be responsible for monitoring and controlling cloud activities and services and performing regular audits.
  • They can only use Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology-approved CSPs. Data must remain within India’s legal boundaries and encrypted at all times. A clear agreement that protects everyone’s interests must be in place between the REs and CSPs.


Keywords: GS-3 Indian Economy
Daily Current Affairs

Govt brings crypto under money laundering law

In News: The Centre's move to bring the cryptocurrency sector under the ambit of PMLA is in line with the global trend of requiring digital-asset platforms.


Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002 now also cover provision related to:

  • Crypto trading, safekeeping, and related financial services.
  • The exchange between virtual digital assets and fiat currencies,
  • The exchange between one or more forms of virtual digital assets,
  • Transfer of virtual digital assets,
  • Safekeeping or administration of virtual digital assets or instruments enabling control over virtual digital assets, and participation
  • Provision of financial services related to an issuer's offer and sale of a virtual digital asset"
  • Virtual digital assets: Virtual digital assets were defined as any code or number or token generated through cryptographic means with the promise or representation of having inherent value.
  • FIU-IND: Indian crypto exchanges will have to report suspicious activity to the Financial Intelligence Unit India (FIU-IND).


Keywords: GS-3 Indian Economy
Daily Current Affairs

Moon’s own time zone

Why in news? With more lunar missions than ever on the horizon, the European Space Agency wants to give the moon its own time zone.

About Moon’s own time zone

  • Time on Earth is precisely tracked by atomic clocks, but synchronizing time on the moon is tricky because clocks run faster there, gaining around 56 microseconds, or millionths of a second, per day.
  • Once a new lunar time zone is established, the methods used to create it will be useful for future space exploration.
  • Right now, without a standard lunar time, each moon mission runs on the time of the country that is operating the spacecraft.




Keywords: GS –3 Space Technology
Daily Current Affairs


Why in news? Recently, The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has received the NASA-ISRO SAR (NISAR) satellite from the U.S. space agency.


  • NISAR is a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) observatory jointly developed by NASA and ISRO.
  • It is expected to be launched in January 2024 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre into a near-polar orbit.
  • The satellite will operate for a minimum of three years.
  • NISAR will map the entire globe in 12 days.
  • It will provide spatially and temporally consistent data for understanding changes in Earth’s ecosystems, ice mass, vegetation biomass, sea level rise, groundwater and natural hazards, including earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes and landslides.


  • It is a 2,800 kilograms satellite consisting of both L-band and S-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) instruments, which makes it a dual-frequency imaging radar satellite.
  • NISAR carries L and S dual-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), which operates with the Sweep SAR technique to achieve large swaths with high-resolution data.
  • SAR is capable of penetrating clouds and can collect data day and night regardless of the weather conditions.
  • The SAR payloads mounted on Integrated Radar Instrument Structure (IRIS) and the spacecraft bus are together called an observatory.
  • While NASA has provided the L-band radar, GPS, a high-capacity solid-state recorder to store data, and a payload data subsystem, ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation) has provided the S-band radar, the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) launch system, and spacecraft.




Keywords: GS –3 Space Technology
Daily Current Affairs


Why in news? Recently, Lebanon adopted ‘dollarization’ as currency, economy crumble.

About Dollarization:

  • Dollarization is when a country begins to recognize the U.S. dollar as a medium of exchange or legal tender alongside or in place of its domestic currency.
  • It is an example of currency substitution.
  • Dollarization usually happens when a country’s own currency loses its usefulness as a medium of exchange, due to hyperinflation or instability.
  • Dollarization can have both benefits and costs. It typically results in enhanced monetary and economic stability but necessarily involves a loss of economic autonomy in monetary policy.




Keywords: GS –3 Economy
Daily Current Affairs

Scrub typhus

Why in news? Recently, nearly one million cases are reported from South and Southeast Asia with 10% mortality.


  • Scrub typhus — a life-threatening infection caused by Orientia tsutsugamushi bacteria — is a major public health threat in South and Southeast Asia.
  • It is spread to people through bites of infected chiggers (larval mites).
  • Symptoms: Fever, headache, body aches, and sometimes rash.
  • Treatment: Scrub typhus should be treated with the antibiotic doxycycline. Doxycycline can be used in persons of any age.
  • There is no vaccine available for this disease.
  • Typhus fevers are a group of diseases caused by bacteria that include epidemic typhus, scrub typhus, and murine typhus.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Environment and Ecology
Daily Current Affairs

H3N2 outbreak

Why in news? Recently in many parts of the country rising cases of intense cough which lasts for more than a week coupled with fever has been observed.


  • H3N2 influenza, also known as the “Hong Kong flu,” is a type of influenza virus that can cause respiratory illness in humans.
  • It is a subtype of the Influenza A virus.
  • H3N2 viruses can infect birds and mammals.
  • Spread: H3N2 influenza is highly contagious and can spread from person to person through droplets generated when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes.
  • Symptoms: Prolonged illness, fatigue, chills, headache, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, cough and fever.
  • Treatment: Getting plenty of rest, drinking enough fluids, and taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen to reduce fever headache, and aches and pains.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Human Health & Diseases
Daily Current Affairs

Janaushadhi Kendra

Why in news? Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers and Health & Family Welfare launched NaMo Free Dialysis Centre and 100th Janaushadhi Kendra at Bengaluru on occasion of 5th Jan Aushadhi Diwas.


  • These are the centres from where quality generic medicines are made available to all.
  • Bureau of Pharma PSUs in India (BPPI) supports Janaushadhi Kendras as a part of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP).
  • The Government has set a target to increase the number of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Kendras (PMBJKs) to 10,000 by the end of December,2023.
  • Product basket of PMBJP comprises 1,759 drugs and 280 surgical instruments.
  • Further, new medicines and nutraceuticals products like protein powder, malt-based food supplements, protein bar, immunity bar, sanitizer, masks, glucometer, oximeter, etc. have been also launched.


Keywords: General Studies –2, 3 Government Policies & Interventions, Health
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