Monday, 6th March 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day


Cotton: Crying out for change

2   Daily Current Affairs


Supreme Court verdict on Election Commissioner Appointments


World Bank Programme to Support India’s Health Sector


SC Eases Norm for Selection of Consumer Court Presidents and Members




Assam Moidams


Sea Horse


CO2 Emission in 2022 - IEA Report


K Shaped Recovery


Liberalised Remittance Scheme


Easter Island


Surety Bonds


A 13th Century Temple is discovered in Pushpagiri Kshetram


Vienna Convention on Road and Signals Treaty

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Editorial of the day

Cotton: Crying out for change

Exam view: Cotton farming; Status of cotton in India; Challenges faced by cotton farmers in India; Three pronged strategy to tackle the challenges.

In News: Cotton output has been falling continuously over the last decade leading to severe imbalance in the textile sector.

From a fundamental change in cropping pattern to pricing of seeds, there is a host of policy measures that are needed.

Status of cotton in India:

  • According to the Agriculture Ministry’s second advance estimates, cotton output is estimated at 322 lakh bales (of 170 kg each), down by 48 lakh bales from the target of 370 lakh bales in 2022-23.
  • Cotton productivity estimate: It was reported to be at its lowest in the North zone comprising Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan at 518.4 kg lint per hectare.
  • Textile industry’s reliance on imports: It increased to 35.3 lakh bales worth ₹8,339.26 crore in 2018-19. The relaxation in import duty structure would hit the balance of trade in cotton, which remained favourable over the last two decades.
    • This has been compounded by a surge in domestic market price, hoarding and trade related developments emanating from the US ban on import of fashion and textile products from China’s Xinjiang region, which mostly source raw cotton from India and the earthquake-hit Turkish textile manufacturing.
  • Cotton exports: It peaked at 116.96 lakh bales worth ₹23,153.24 crore in 2014-15 and have since declined.

Challenges faced by cotton farmers in India: Cotton farmers in Northern India suffered heavy losses in the last kharif due to -

  • The rising cost of cultivation;
  • Climate induced change in pest dynamics;
  • Rampant sale of unauthorised seeds;
  • Unchecked pesticides sprays, especially the boom and tractor mounted sprayers, that are dangerous to human health and environment;
  • The white fly transmitted severe cotton leaf curl virus;
  • Sudden outbreak of para wilt have worsened the situation for North zone farmers.

Cotton growers in Central and Southern cotton growing zones face:

  • Climate change induced weather aberration;
  • Widespread infestation of boll devouring pink bollworm;
  • New tobacco streak virus disease;
  • Boll rot has recently threatened cotton farmers.

Three-pronged strategy to tackle the challenges:

  • Cropping pattern change:

Dibbling based sowing

High density planting system (HDPS)

Current method being used.

New method that should be adopted.

This method includes sowing of seeds at a large spacing accommodating fewer plants per acre and harvesting seed cotton 3-4 times in a season spanning 180 to 280 days in different cotton growing zones.

This method includes accommodating more plants per unit area supported by technological inputs for weed management, defoliation and mechanical picking.

Bushy-type, long duration hybrid cotton

New erect type hybrid cotton genotypes have been introduced to optimise plant population, but this forms just one-fourth of what is being practised under HDPS in countries with high cotton yield.

  • Progressive evidence-based policies:
    • Enforcement of IPR on new varieties suitable for HDPS;
    • Ensuring farmers’ rights to attract investment in R&D;
    • Breeding of high-density suitable genotypes;
    • Exchange of pre-breeding germplasm under material transfer agreement (MTA);
    • Access and benefit sharing (ABS) mechanism for cross border material transfer;
    • Price control of cotton seeds under the Cotton Seed Price (Control) Order, 2015 should be considered. It has discouraged breeding activities and stalled introduction of technologies for weed management and fuelled the growth of the illegal market for herbicide tolerant (HT) cotton.
  • Technology Mission on Cotton 2.0: It was announced in the 2023-24 Budget and has a minor sop for enhancing the productivity of speciality extra-long staple cotton (ELS) by promoting a cluster-based and value chain approach through public-private partnerships (PPP). India is traditionally deficit in ELS cotton production and the textile industry imports around one million bales annually.



Keywords: GS Paper-3, agriculture
Daily Current Affairs

Supreme Court verdict on Election Commissioner Appointments

In News: A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court (SC) unanimously ruled that a high-power committee consisting of the Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, and the Chief Justice of India must pick the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs).

About the News:

  • In 2015, a PIL was filed challenging the constitutional validity of the practice of the Centre appointing members of the Election Commission.
  • In October 2018, a two-judge bench of the SC referred the case to a larger bench for a close examination of Article 324 of the Constitution, which deals with the mandate of the CEC.
  • As per the current provisions, the Law Minister suggests a pool of suitable candidates to the PM for consideration and the President makes appointments on the advice of the PM (Council of Ministers).

Reason for challenging the appointment of members of the election commission

  • Article 324(2) provides for parliament to make a law for the appointment of CEC and EC. Since there is no law made by Parliament on this issue, the Court must step in to fill the “constitutional vacuum.
  • This PIL also leads to an examination of a larger question of separation of powers and if the judiciary is overstepping its role in filling this gap in the law.
  • The challenge also seeks to examine whether the process of removal of the two EC must be the same as the CEC.
  • Furthermore, the PIL inquiries into the funding of the ECI.

Major Highlights of the Verdict of SC

  • The appointment of CEC and EC shall be made by the President on the advice of a Committee consisting of the PM, the Leader of the Opposition of the Lok Sabha, and in case no leader of Opposition is available, the leader of the largest opposition Party in the Lok Sabha in terms of numerical strength, and the Chief Justice of India.
  • The Parliament can undo the effect of the SC verdict by bringing in a new law on the issue
  • The court cannot encroach on a purely legislative power, but in this case inertia of the Legislature and the vacuum created by it, makes it necessary for the court to intervene.
  • Regarding the process of removal of EC and CEC, the Court ruled that it cannot be the same for both. Despite the equality of CEC and EC over various matters dealt with under The Election Commission Act, 1991, CEC has special position and article 324 becomes inoperable without CEC.
  • On the issue of funding the EC, the Court left it to the government, appealing that there is an urgent need to provide for a permanent Secretariat and the expenditure of ECI be charged to the Consolidated Fund of India.

Rationale behind court’s verdict:

  • The Court’s verdict is based on the debates of the Constituent Assembly which ascertains the vision of founding members of the Constitution that elections must be conducted by an independent Commission and Parliament would step in and provide norms for appointment to the post of CEC and EC.
  • The ruling also examined various provisions in the Constitution, such as the powers of the SC & HC; establishing the SC, ST and BC Commissions, etc. where the Constitution uses the phrase “subject to the provisions of any law made by Parliament




Keywords: GS-2: Appointment to various Constitutional posts, Powers, functions, and responsibilities of various Constitutional Bodies
Daily Current Affairs

World Bank Programme to Support India’s Health Sector

In News: Recently the Government of India and World Bank signed two complimentary loans worth $1 billion to support and enhance India’s healthcare infrastructure.


  • India is set to receive a total of $1 billion in loans from the World Bank aimed at improving its health infrastructure and pandemic preparedness.
  • The loans are being provided through two programs - the Public Health Systems for Pandemic Preparedness Program (PHSPP) and the Enhanced Health Service Delivery Program (EHSDP) - each of which will receive $500 million.
  • The PHSPP program will focus on enhancing India's surveillance system to detect and report potential epidemics, while the EHSDP program will support the government's efforts to redesign its primary healthcare model to improve service delivery.
  • Both programs will utilize the Program-for-Results financing instrument, which emphasizes achieving tangible results rather than inputs. The loans will support India's Pradhan Mantri-Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM) and improve health service delivery in seven states - Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Meghalaya, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh.

Some Steps Taken by the Government are:

  • Ayushman Bharat: It follows a two- pronged approach by Creation of health and wellness centres to bring health care closer to homes and formulation of a Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) to protect poor and vulnerable families against financial risk arising out of health episodes.
  • Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission: It aims to connect the digital health solutions of hospitals across the country. Under this, every citizen will now get a digital health ID and their health record will be digitally protected.
  • Pradhan Mantri-Ayushman Bharat Health Infrastructure Mission (PM-ABHIM): it aims to strengthen India’s health infrastructure and improve the country’s primary, secondary and tertiary care services.
  • Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY): It aims to correct regional imbalances in the availability of affordable/reliable tertiary healthcare services and also to augment facilities for quality medical education in the country


Keywords: GS-3, Indian Economy, Health infrastructure
Daily Current Affairs

SC Eases Norm for Selection of Consumer Court Presidents and Members

In News: The Supreme Court uses its extraordinary powers under Article 142 to attract younger talent to preside over consumer courts by reducing the mandatory professional experience from 20 to 10 years.

About the Judgment:

  • The SC introduced written exams which would have two papers on subjects like current affairs, the Constitution, consumer laws, drafting, etc. and viva voce to check the candidates' performance.
  • Qualifications required: The court directed that in future and hereinafter, a person having bachelor’s degree from a recognized university and who is a person of ability, integrity and standing, and having special knowledge and professional experience of not less than 10 years in consumer affairs, law, public affairs, administration, etc. shall be qualified for appointment of president and members of the State Commission.
  • The appointments to the district consumer commissions would also be made on the same criteria.
  • Consumer courts have been established under Consumer Protection Act to safeguard the interest of consumers and ensure speedy resolution of disputes with minimum inconvenience and expense to consumers.
  • Article 142 provides power to the SC to pass such decree or make such order as is necessary for doing complete justice in any cause or matter pending before it.




Keywords: GS-2 Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
Daily Current Affairs



  • World Bank has recently released Women, Business and the Law Index report on the legal gap between men and women.
  • As per the report, Women enjoy only 77% of legal rights compared to men with the global pace of reforms toward equal treatment of women slumping to a 20-year low.
  • The report has also stressed that all countries need to mobilize their full productive capacity to confront the confluence of crises besetting them.

Key Findings:



Key parameters

  •  Nearly 2.4 billion women of working age still do not have the same rights as men.
  • Only 14 countries have laws that give women the same rights as men, all of which are high-income economies
  • Global average score on the index is 77.1, indicating that women enjoy barely 77% of the legal rights that men do.
  • Only 34 gender-related legal reforms were recorded across 18 countries in 2022, the lowest number since 2001.
  • It will take another 1,549 reforms to reach substantial legal gender equality in the areas measured by the report
  • At the current pace, it would take at least 50 years on average to reach that target.


  • High-income countries have the highest equality of economic opportunities.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa made significant progress last year, accounting for over half of all reforms worldwide in 2022
  • Seven economies - Benin, Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon, Malawi, Senegal, and Uganda - enacted 18 positive legal changes.


  • Gender parity reforms reached a peak in the first nine years of the 2000s, but it has slowed down since 2009.
  • Reforms related to women’s rights to inherit and own property have slowed down significantly.

Economic Impact

  • Closing the gender employment gap could raise long-term GDP per capita by nearly 20% on average across countries
  • Studies estimate global economic gains of $5-6 trillion if women started and scaled new businesses at the same rate as men do. 


Keywords: GS - 3 Economy
Daily Current Affairs

Assam Moidams


  • Assam’s pyramid-like structures known as moidams or maidams have met all the technical requirements of UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre.
  • The achievement is a landmark in the endeavor to get World Heritage Site status for the mound-burial system in Charaideo.
  • Charaideo Moidams were chosen from among 52 tentative sites across India for nomination as a World Heritage Site.
  • Previously, the Assam government had sent a dossier to the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) for submission to UNESCO for evaluation for the 2023 cycle.
  • Nomination of the Charaideo Moidams coincided with the 400th birth anniversary of Lachit Borphukan, the most celebrated Ahom general who thwarted the attempts of Mughal emperor Aurangzeb’s army to capture Assam.

Key points:

  • Moidams are highly venerated mound-burial system which enshrines the mortal remains of Ahom royalty along with the objects they cherished.
  • Ahoms ruled large swathes of the present-day State and beyond for some 600 years until the advent of the British in the 1820s.
  • It represents the late medieval (13th-19th century CE) mound-burial tradition of the Tai Ahoms in Assam.
  • Out of 386 Moidams explored so far, 90 royal burials at Charaideo are the best preserved, representative, and most complete examples of this tradition.


Keywords: GS - 1 History, Heritage Site
Daily Current Affairs

Sea Horse


  • A recent study has suggested that extensive fishing off the Coromandel coast is forcing the great seahorse to migrate toward Odisha.
  • The great seahorse is however not migrating in large numbers, as the Odisha coast does not have coral reefs or seagrass meadows that the species can call home.
  • The intensity of fishing in Odisha is much lower compared to the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay region.
  • Seahorses would not have a suitable habitat unless the fishing nets that catch them are banned or the fishing practices are stopped.

Key Points:

  • Seahorses migrate by rafting, clinging to floating substrata such as macroalgae or plastic debris for dispersal by ocean currents to new habitats.
  • The 1,300 km northward migration of the great seahorse from Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar to Odisha is likely a response to extensive fishing activities around the southern coast of India.
  • India houses nine out of 12 species of seahorses found in the Indo-Pacific.
  • These nine species are distributed along the coasts of eight states and five Union Territories from Gujarat to Odisha, apart from Lakshadweep and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • The great seahorse is among the eight species tagged ‘vulnerable’, and its population is declining due to overexploitation for traditional Chinese medicines and as ornamental fish.

Conservation Efforts:

  • Despite the ban on fishing and trading activities on seahorses from 2001, clandestine fishing and trading still take place in India.
  • Increased monitoring of the coastal ecosystems of India on the east coast is required for better conservation and management of the remaining seahorse populations.
  • Better conservation and management practices, such as banning fishing nets that catch seahorses or stopping fishing practices such as trawling, are necessary.


Keywords: GS - 3 Environment
Daily Current Affairs

CO2 Emission in 2022 - IEA Report


  • The International Energy Agency (IEA) has recently released a report titled “CO2 Emissions in 2022” calling for stronger actions to accelerate clean energy transition.
  • The report is the first in a new series of the IEA’s Global Energy Transitions Stocktake
  • The report covers CO2 emissions from all energy combustion and industrial processes and highlights that global CO2 emissions rose less than initially feared in 2022.
  • It also includes information on methane and nitrous oxide emissions, providing a complete picture of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions in 2022.

Key Findings:

  • CO2 Emissions: Global energy-related CO2 emissions grew in 2022 by 0.9%, or 321 million tonnes, reaching a new high of over 36.8 billion tonnes. The rise in emissions was significantly slower than the global economic growth of 3.2%.
  • Emissions from Coal and Oil: CO2 emissions from coal grew by 1.6%, as gas-to-coal switching continued in Asia and to a lesser degree in Europe. CO2 emissions from oil grew by 2.5%, with around half of the increase coming from The increase in coal and oil emissions more than offset the decline in emissions from natural gas.
  • Regional Emissions: Emissions from Asia's emerging and developing economies, excluding China, increased by 4.2%. In the United States, emissions grew by 0.8%, mainly due to increased energy consumption in buildings.
  • Factors Contributing to Rise in Emissions: Extreme weather events, such as droughts and heatwaves, and offline nuclear power plants contributed to the rise in emissions. Increased deployment of clean energy technologies avoided additional 550 million tonnes of emissions.


Keywords: GS - 3 Environment
Daily Current Affairs

K Shaped Recovery

Why in news? Recently, Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) said describing India’s recovery as ‘K-shaped’ was wrong as both rural and urban economies were recovering, albeit at different paces.


  • A K-shaped recovery occurs when, following a recession, different parts of the economy recover at different rates, times, or magnitudes. This is in contrast to an even, uniform recovery across sectors, industries, or groups of people.
  • A K-shaped recovery leads to changes in the structure of the economy, or the broader society as economic outcomes and relations are fundamentally changed before and after the recession.
  • This type of recovery is called K-shaped because the path of different parts of the economy when charted together may diverge, resembling the two arms of the Roman letter "K."


Keywords: General Studies –3 Economy, GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT
Daily Current Affairs

Liberalised Remittance Scheme

Why in news? India’s wealthy individuals have invested all their surplus foreign remittances in various securities over the last few months to comply with a Reserve Bank of India (RBI) diktat.


  • Liberalised Remittance Scheme (LRS) allows Indian residents to freely remit up to USD $250,000 per financial year for current or capital account transactions or a combination of both.
  • Any remittance exceeding this limit requires prior permission from the RBI.
  • The scheme was introduced on February 4, 2004
  • Only individual Indian residents, including minors, are permitted to remit funds under LRS.
  • Corporates, partnership firms, HUF, trusts, etc., are excluded from its ambit.
  • There are no restrictions on the frequency of remittances under LRS.
  • Once a remittance is made for an amount up to USD 2,50,000 during the financial year, a resident individual would not be eligible to make any further remittances under this scheme.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Economy, GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT, CAPITAL MARKET
Daily Current Affairs

Easter Island

Why in news? Researchers on Easter Island have found a previously undiscovered moai - one of the Pacific island's distinctive stone statues.


  • It was found in a dried-out lake bed around the Rano Raraku volcano.

About Easter Island:

  • Easter Island is an island and special territory of Chile.
  • It is located in the southeastern Pacific Ocean.
  • Easter Island is a volcanic high island, consisting mainly of three extinct connected volcanoes.
  • The island is most famous for its nearly 1,000 extant monumental statues, called moai, which were created by the early Rapa Nui people.
  • In 1995, UNESCO named Easter Island a World Heritage Site, with much of the island protected within Rapa Nui National Park.


Keywords: General Studies –1 Geographical location
Daily Current Affairs

Surety Bonds

Why in news? New India Assurance becomes second company to offer surety bonds.


  • Surety bonds are legally enforceable tripartite contracts that guarantee compliance, payment and/or performance.
  • The issuing insurer provides guarantee, for a premium, in case of a default in execution of a project.
  • It assures one party (obligee) that the entity (principal) responsible for the project or service delivery delivers on the project in a time-bound manner by adhering to the prescribed stipulations.
  • The principal is also reassured that the surety will assume responsibility for timely payments.
  • If the principal defaults on the performance, the surety insurance provider pays damages to the obligee.


Keywords: General Studies –3 Banking Sector & NBFCs, Government Policies & Interventions, Monetary policy
Daily Current Affairs

A 13th Century Temple is discovered in Pushpagiri Kshetram

Why in news? Recently, a 13th-century temple was discovered at Pushpagiri Kshetram in the Kadapa district.


  • The hillock, also known as Pushpachala, is famous for the chain of temples dedicated to the pantheon of Hindu gods such as Chennakesava, Umamaheswara, etc.
  • River Penna flows to the southwest of the area.
  • Pushpagiri is referred to as Hari-Hara Kshetra, as there are a number of temples dedicated to both Shiva and Vishnu.
  • The architectural features of the ruins reveal a style that is contemporary to a temple at Vallur, built by the Kayastha rulers in the 13th Century AD.
    • Kayasthas were subordinates to rulers of Kakatiya dynasty.
    • They ruled the region with Vallur as the capital.


Keywords: General Studies –1 Art & Culture
Daily Current Affairs

Vienna Convention on Road and Signals Treaty

Why in news? A recent collision between a Rawalpindi-bound passenger bus and a private car on the Karakoram Highway (KKH) near Shatial in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) brings the Vienna convention in news.


  • The Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals is a treaty that was adopted in 1968 and came into force in 1978.
  • It is designed to increase road safety and aid international road traffic by standardizing the signing system for road traffic (road signs, traffic lights, and road markings) in use internationally.
  • Membership: Signatories: 35 (US, Japan not signatory). India is a member.

Additional Information

  • The Vienna Convention on Road Traffic is a treaty that was adopted in 1968 and came into force in 1977. It establishes the rules and regulations for international road traffic and aims to facilitate international road traffic and increase road safety. The treaty covers various topics such as driving licenses, traffic rules and regulations, and road signs and signals.
  • Both treaties were adopted under the auspices of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and are administered by the United Nations.


Keywords: General Studies –2 International Relation, Treaty
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