Monday, 22nd May 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day


Decarbonising the steel sector

2   Daily Current Affairs


Self-Help Group Kudumbashree


India’s Pharmaceutical Industry


Groundwater Extraction and Land Subsidence


India- EU Trade and Technology Council


Rasht-Astara Railway and INSTC


Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)


Baobab Tree




25th Anniversary of Pokhran-II


Supreme Court Upholds Laws Allowing Jallikattu


Green Energy Open Access Rules 2022

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Editorial of the day

Decarbonising the steel sector

Exam View: India’s crude steel production; Accelerated steel industry decarbonisation actions; Implications of accelerated steel industry decarbonisation.

Context: Accelerated shift to cleaner production methods will help save huge amounts of forex and make India a supplier of green steel. A greener steel industry can enable India to be a global green steel manufacturing hub.


  • India’s crude steel production is expected to increase to about 435 million tonnes (mt) by 2050, from about 118 mt in 2021.
  • India’s steel industry accounts for about 11 percent of the country’s emissions
  • To meet demand, coking coal-based steel-making capacity additions of 50-70 mt have been announced.
    • These have a life-cycle of 30-50 years, and will also result in continued rise in emissions.

Decoding the editorial: Accelerated steel industry decarbonisation actions

  • Introducing CO2 pricing and enabling rapid development of hydrogen:
    • Hydrogen-based low carbon steel-making technology is in early stages of commercial development. It remains uncompetitive for hydrogen prices above $1/kg, especially in absence of a carbon cost for emissions.
    • However, introduction and calibration of CO2 pricing in the next few years will encourage investments in low carbon technologies and accelerate adoption of hydrogen-based steel-making.
    • A carbon price of $50 per tonne of emissions can make green steel competitive by 2030, even at a hydrogen price of $2/kg, and can catalyse a 150 mt shift from coal-based to hydrogen-based steel-making.
    • This will also accelerate investment in other green technologies in the steel value chain such as green hydrogen and renewables-based electricity.
  • Policies for material efficiency:
    • Scrap-based steel-making has the lowest carbon emissions of all current commercial steel-making technologies, but is dependent on price and availability of quality scrap to be economic and to achieve scale.
    • India relies on scrap imports, which will become a challenge in the future as quality scrap demand increases globally for steel-making.
    • To scale up domestic scrap-based steel-making, policies incentivising scrap collection and recycling would need to be implemented, to set up dismantling, collection and processing centres.

  • Encourage green steel consumption in end-use:
    • The government could encourage the use of green steel, set up targets for embodied carbon in public and private construction, and in automotive uses.
    • This will support creation of a domestic green steel market for domestic steel-makers, who can initially tap export markets where green steel commands a premium.
  • Incremental levers to decarbonise existing assets:
    • For existing assets, steel-makers can implement energy-efficiency and process improvement measures to achieve up to 25-30 percent abatement, depending on plant configuration.
    • These measures could include higher usage of scrap in the BF-BOF process, sourcing of green power, use of biomass and setting up of process control systems.
  • Investing in carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS):
    • CCUS is currently an expensive but an important lever for reducing emissions.
    • To make it a viable decarbonisation solution for the steel industry, more R&D efforts are required to reduce capture costs, besides creating hubs in steel producing centres like in Odisha and Jharkhand.

Implications of accelerated steel industry decarbonisation:

  • The steel industry will have to do incremental spending on green power and hydrogen, which will entail an additional capex of about $135 billion, which is about 40 percent more than the capex allocated for the steel value chain across technologies.
  • Cumulative emissions would be lower by five billion tonnes by 2050 in the ‘accelerated decarbonisation scenario’ relative to the ‘line-of-sight scenario’; the latter scenario is based on announced policies and expected technology adoption.
  • In the accelerated transition, forex savings of approximately $500 billion would accrue by 2050 from reduced spending on coking coal alone.
  • A greener steel industry can also enable India to be a global green steel manufacturing hub.


Keywords: GS Paper-2, Government Policies and Interventions, GS Paper-3, environmental pollution and degradation, Growth and Development, Conservation.
Daily Current Affairs

Self-Help Group Kudumbashree

In News: Recently, President Droupadi Murmu inaugurated the silver jubilee celebrations of Kudumbashree, the largest self-help group network in the country. She also released a handbook titled Chuvadu (footsteps) that codified ideas for the movement’s future and the achievements it has gained so far.


Kudumbashree is a poverty eradication and women empowerment program implemented by the Government of Kerala, a state in southern India. It was launched in 1998 and has since become one of the largest women's empowerment programs in the country.

The word "Kudumbashree" means "prosperity of the family" in the Malayalam language, which is the official language of Kerala. The program aims to empower women by providing them with opportunities for self-employment, skill development, and entrepreneurship.

Key features of Kudumbashree include:

  • Neighborhood Groups: The program organizes women into small self-help groups called Neighborhood Groups (NHGs) at the grassroots level. Each NHG consists of 10-20 women from the same locality.

  • Microfinance and Livelihood Activities: Kudumbashree provides microfinance loans to NHGs to support their income-generating activities. These activities can range from small businesses like farming, livestock rearing, and handicrafts to service-oriented ventures like tailoring catering, and beauty parlors.
  • Capacity Building: Kudumbashree offers various training programs and skill development initiatives to enhance the capabilities of women in areas such as entrepreneurship, financial management, marketing, and leadership.
  • Community Development: The program encourages NHGs to engage in community development activities like sanitation, waste management, and social welfare programs. This approach fosters a sense of social responsibility and collective action among the members.
  • Networking and Federations: Kudumbashree facilitates networking among NHGs at different levels, such as ward-level federations, block-level federations, and district-level federations. These federations enable the exchange of knowledge, experiences, and resources among NHGs.

Role of SHGs in Women's Empowerment

  • Economic Empowerment: SHGs provide a platform for women to come together, pool their resources, and engage in income-generating activities. The earnings from SHG activities contribute to the economic well-being of individual members and their families, lifting them out of poverty.
  • Savings and Credit: SHGs collective savings and credit mechanisms enable women to access financial services, meet their immediate needs, invest in income-generating activities, and cope with emergencies. It reduces their dependence on moneylenders and enhances their financial resilience.
  • Skill Development and Capacity Building: SHGs often organize training programs and workshops to enhance the skills and capabilities of their members. These programs focus on areas such as entrepreneurship, vocational skills, financial management, marketing, and leadership. By acquiring new skills and knowledge, women gain confidence, become self-reliant, and expand their employment opportunities.
  • Social Empowerment: SHGs provide a platform for women to voice their opinions, share experiences, and support each other. They become spaces for building social capital, fostering solidarity, and advocating for women's rights and welfare. Participation in SHGs boosts women's self-esteem, social status, and decision-making power within their families and communities.
  • Access to Government Schemes and Services: SHGs often act as intermediaries between their members and government agencies, facilitating access to various social welfare schemes, subsidies, and development programs. They help women navigate bureaucratic processes, understand their entitlements, and leverage available resources to improve their living conditions.
  • Community Development and Social Impact: SHGs contribute to community development by undertaking collective initiatives such as sanitation, health awareness campaigns, environmental conservation, and education programs. They actively engage in social issues and mobilize resources to address local challenge Through their community-oriented activities, SHGs promote social cohesion and foster sustainable development.

Keywords: GS-1 Society
Daily Current Affairs

India’s Pharmaceutical Industry

In News: India’s Pharmaceutical Industry, renowned as the "pharmacy of the world", has been under the scanner lately for its product quality and safety issues.

Cases of lapses in Quality Control:

  • In January 2020, 12 children in Jammu died after consuming contaminated medicine manufactured by Digital Vision. 6 months later, a two-year-old from Himachal died after consuming cough syrup, manufactured by the same company.
  • In February, Global Pharma Healthcare, a Tamil Nadu based firm, was forced to recall an entire batch of eye drops exported to the US after it was linked to vision loss.
  • Cough syrups made in India by Maiden Pharmaceuticals and Marion Biotech were linked to the death of children in Gambia and Uzbekistan respectively in 2022.

About India’s Pharmaceutical Industry

  • The Indian Pharmaceutical industry is currently ranked 3rd in production by volume and growing at a CAGR of 9.43% since the past nine years. It contributes to around 72% of the country’s GDP.
  • Generic drugs, over-the-counter medications, bulk drugs, vaccines, contract research & manufacturing, biosimilars, and biologics are some of the major segments of the Indian pharma industry.
  • The Indian pharmaceutical sector supplies over 50% of global demand for various vaccines, 40% of generic demand in the US and 25% of all medicine in the UK.
  • The domestic pharmaceutical industry includes a network of 3,000 drug companies and around 10,000 manufacturing units and also has a large pool of scientists and engineers with a potential to steer the industry to greater heights.
  • Presently, over 80% of the antiretroviral drugs, used globally to combat AIDS are supplied by Indian pharmaceutical firms.

Issues associated with the Pharmaceutical Industry:

  • Quality compliance issues: India has undergone the highest number of FDA inspections since 2009; highlighting frequent cases of quality control failures despite strict regulatory regime.
  • Multiplicity of regulators: India has 36 regional regulators which inspect drug manufacturers in their zones, thereby resulting in lack of standardisation.
  • Lack of a stable pricing and policy environment has created a vague environment for investments and innovations.
  • Cases of violation of IPR rules by Indian pharmaceutical companies result in frequent legal disputes.

Steps to reform the Pharmaceutical Industry:

  • Despite the negative publicity, several countries still seek access to Indian generics. Therefore, the industry must take up the challenge and strive for zero defects in its products.
  • Amendment in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act (1940) to create a centralised drug database for effective surveillance of all pharmaceutical manufacturers.
  • Merging of India’s 36 regional drug regulators into a single body through Centre-State cooperation and setting of common standards to reduce the risk of inconsistent regulatory enforcement.
  • Increased transparency and credibility through public access to detailed notes of drug application reviews, past violations, inspection records, and failure history.
  • Additional budgetary support to strengthen inspection teams under state drug controllers and to enable a higher frequency of quality-related inspections.
  • Greater centralisation of drug licensing and inspection. Clear penalties which include victim compensation should be outlined for firms exporting spurious drugs to international agencies.
  • A national law on drug recall needs to be framed along with providing statutory backing and independence to the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
  • The industry must move from being a manufacturer of generic drugs to becoming one associated with quality generic/innovative drugs.



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

Groundwater Extraction and Land Subsidence

In News: Groundwater extraction in India is leading to land subsidence in regions such as Haryana, Punjab, Delhi, and Faridabad.

About Groundwater Extraction in India:

  • Agricultural practices heavily rely on groundwater withdrawal or groundwater extraction causing the groundwater table to be dangerously low.
  • Data from the Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) have shown that a significant percentage of groundwater blocks are overexploited in Punjab (76%), Chandigarh (64%), and Delhi (50%).
  • Failure to recharge aquifers results in their depletion, causing the layers of soil and rock above them to sink.
  • Research have also indicated that groundwater extraction plays a role in land subsidence, similar to the effects of oil and gas extraction.
  • GRACE satellites have helped identify the link between excessive groundwater extraction and land subsidence by measuring changes in gravity.
  • In the National Capital Region (NCR), urbanization and unplanned growth exacerbate groundwater withdrawal, leading to an average sinking of 15 mm per year from 2011-2017.
  • According to the findings, recharging aquifer levels through rainwater harvesting practices can reverse subsidence while areas without groundwater are experience sinking.
  • In this regard, there is need to improve awareness among structural and civil engineers regarding the impact of groundwater extraction on structural damage which is limited at present.

Keywords: GS-III, Urban development, Groundwater
Daily Current Affairs

India- EU Trade and Technology Council

In News: India to participate in the first Ministerial meeting of the India-European Union Trade and Technology Council (TTC) to be held in Brussels, Belgium.

About India-EU Trade and Technology Council:

  • The India-European Union Trade and Technology Council (TTC) is a high-level coordination platform between India and the European Union.
  • Announced first in 2022, it aims to address strategic challenges related to trade, trusted technology, and security.
  • India will be represented by Union Ministers from Commerce & Industry, External Affairs and Electronics and Information Technology while the EU will be represented by its Executive Vice Presidents.
  • It also aims to enhance bilateral trade, promote investment, foster technology collaboration, and strengthen cooperation in various sectors.
  • It includes working groups on strategic technologies, digital governance, digital connectivity, green and clean energy technologies, and trade, investment, and resilient value chains.
  • The ministerial meetings will also facilitate discussions on issues of mutual interest, such as free trade agreements, market access, WTO reforms, and cooperation in multiple areas.
  • Thus, The TTC will serves as a platform to deepen economic ties, promote innovation, and address challenges related to trade and technology between India and the European Union.

Keywords: GS-III, IR
Daily Current Affairs

Rasht-Astara Railway and INSTC

In News: Russia and Iran Sign Deal for Railway Corridor to Rival Suez Canal

About Rasht-Astara Railway and INSTC:

  • The Rasht-Astara railway is a railway line being constructed between Rasht in Iran and Astara in Azerbaijan.
  • It is a vital link in the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), intended to connect India, Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, and other countries.
  • The railway aims to create a direct and efficient trade route between the Indian Ocean, Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea.
  • The 162 km (100 mile) railway along the Caspian Sea coast will connect Russian Baltic Sea ports with Iranian ports in the Indian Ocean and the
  • It is expected to facilitate the movement of goods, reducing transportation time and costs compared to traditional sea routes.
  • The INSTC seeks to enhance regional connectivity and boost trade by integrating rail, road, and sea transport infrastructure.
  • The corridor aims to provide an alternative to existing trade routes, such as the Suez Canal, offering greater accessibility and reducing dependence on maritime transport.
  • The Rasht-Astara railway will connect Iranian ports in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf with Russian ports on the Baltic Sea.
  • The development of the Rasht-Astara railway and the INSTC signifies a significant step in boosting regional trade and transportation infrastructure, fostering economic development and cooperation among participating nations.

Keywords: GS-III, IR
Daily Current Affairs

Greater Flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus)

Why in news? Recently, A greater flamingo was rescued from Najafgarh wetland, bordering Haryana.


  • Greater flamingoes are the most widespread and largest in size among all Flamingos.
  • Range:
  • Greater flamingoes are found in various regions of Africa, the southeastern parts of Asia as well as southern Europe.
  • In Asia, their distribution range includes the coastal areas of India and Pakistan.
  • Greater flamingoes are the state bird of Gujarat.
  • Northern populations of these birds often migrate to warm regions during winter.
  • Habitat:
  • The species inhabits shallow eutrophic waterbodies such as saline lagoons, saltpans and large saline or alkaline lakes.
  • These species form monogamous pairs which mean each pair remains together for their entire lives.
  • Of the six species of flamingos in the world, two are found in India: the tallest of them, the greater flamingo and the smallest one, the lesser flamingo (Phoeniconaias minor).
  • They are taller, with black-tipped light pinkish beaks, yellowish eyes and pinkish-white body colour.
  • This omnivorous species feed on mollusks, crustaceans, insects, crabs, worms and small fishes. Their diet also consists of various plant materials such as algae, grass, decaying leaves, and shoots.
  • The flamingoes are the indicators of a healthy coastal environment.
  • IUCN status: Least concern.

Keywords: General Studies – 3, environment, Conservation
Daily Current Affairs

Baobab Tree

Why in news? Recently, The Madhya Pradesh government has decided that the forest department cannot grant permission for the translocation of Baobab trees in Dhar, after the protest from Bhil tribes.


  • Baobab trees are found in mainland Africa, Madagascar, and Australia.
  • They are native to Africa and known as the ‘World Tree in Africa’.
  • They are deciduous trees ranging in height from 5 to 20 meters.
  • They can live up to 2,000 years and are known for their extraordinary longevity.
  • The Baobab Tree is also known as the upside-down tree.
  • Baobab trees can provide food, livestock fodder, medicinal compounds, and raw materials.
  • Baobab trees can store large amounts of fresh water in their extraordinary trunks.
  • It also allows the baobab tree to produce nutritious fruits even during the driest years. That’s why the baobab tree is called the tree of life.
  • IUCN Status: Endangered

More Information:

  • Under the Biodiversity Act, meaning that any commercial use of the trees will require permission from the state biodiversity board.

Keywords: General Studies - 3, environment, Conservation
Daily Current Affairs


Why in news? Concerned about the high risk faced by poor and less-educated women, especially in rural areas, who undergo unjustified hysterectomies, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India has initiated measures to address this issue.


  • A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the uterus (womb), the organ in a woman's body where a baby develops during pregnancy, and sometimes surrounding organs and tissues.
  • Types:
  • When only the uterus is removed, it is called a partial hysterectomy.
  • When the uterus and cervix are removed, it is called a total hysterectomy.
  • When the uterus, cervix, part of the vagina, and a wide area of ligaments and tissues around these organs are removed, it is called a radical hysterectomy.
  • These procedures may be done through the vagina (with no incisions in the abdomen) or through an incision (cut) in the abdomen.
  • Hysterectomy is performed in India for gynecological conditions like fibroids (non-cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb), endometriosis (disease in which tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus), abnormal bleeding, and pelvic inflammatory disease, when other treatments fail.

Keywords: General Studies - 2, Health, Government Policies & Interventions, Issues Related to Women
Daily Current Affairs

25th Anniversary of Pokhran-II

Why in news? Recently, India celebrated the 25th anniversary of Pokhran-II marking the successful nuclear bomb test explosions.


  • India’s nuclear programme can be traced to the work of physicist Homi J Bhaba.
  • In 1945, he lobbied for the establishment of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) in Bombay, dedicated to nuclear physics research.
  • TIFR became India’s first research institution dedicated to the study of nuclear physics.
  • Pokhran-II refers to a sequence of five nuclear bomb test explosions conducted by India on between 11-13th May 1998 at Rajasthan's Pokhran desert.
  • Code name - Operation Shakti, this event marked India's 2nd successful attempt.
  • Pokhran-II cemented India's status as a nuclear power.
  • It demonstrated India's ability to possess and deploy nuclear weapons, thus enhancing its deterrence capabilities.

Keywords: General Studies – 3, Science & Technology, Indigenization of Technology
Daily Current Affairs

Supreme Court Upholds Laws Allowing Jallikattu

Why in news? Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) has upheld amendments made by Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, to allow the traditional bull-taming sports of Jallikattu, Kambala (Karnataka) and bullock-cart racing.


  • Jallikattu also called Eru Thazuvuthal (literally, bull hugging), is a traditional sport that is popular in Tamil Nadu.
  • It is celebrated in the month of January, during the Tamil harvest festival, Pongal.
  • It finds a mention in the Sangam literature and is being celebrated since nearly 2,500 years.
  • Jalli means coins and kattu means to tie.
  • The sport involves releasing a wild bull into a crowd of people, and the participants attempt to grab the bull's hump and ride it for as long as possible or attempt to bring it under control.

Keywords: General Studies – 2, Indian Polity, Judgements & Cases
Daily Current Affairs

Green Energy Open Access Rules 2022

Why in news? Recently, Ministry of Power & New and Renewable Energy, Government of India has chaired a meeting on Green Energy Open Access Rules 2022.


These rules are notified for promoting generation, purchase and consumption of green energy, including the energy from Waste-to-Energy plants, with the objective of ensuring access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and Green Energy for all.

It aims to cut emissions by 45% in line with India’s updated Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) target for 2030.

Salient Features of Green Energy Open Access Rules:

  • The Green Open Access is allowed to any consumer and the limit of Open Access Transaction has been reduced from 1 MW to 100 kW for green energy, to enable small consumers also to purchase renewable power through open access.
  • The transaction limit would be a minimum of 100 KW for non-captive consumers, but there is no limit for open-access transactions that has been kept for captive consumers.
  • Captive Consumers are individuals who have limited or no choice but to purchase a particular product or service due to various factors, such as market conditions, lack of alternatives, or contractual obligations.
  • There would be a uniform Renewable Purchase Obligation (RPO). Green Hydrogen/Green Ammonia has also been included for fulfilment of its RPO.
  • Consumers are entitled to demand supply of Green Power from Discoms. Discoms would be obligated to procure and supply green power to eligible consumers.
  • Approval for Green Open Access is to be granted in 15 days or else it will be deemed to have been granted.
  • Commercial and Industrial consumers are allowed to purchase green power on a voluntary basis.
  • Consumers will be given Green Certificates if they consume green power and will also be facilitated.,renewable%20power%20through%20open%20access

Keywords: General Studies - 3, environment, Renewable Energy, GROWTH & DEVELOPMENT
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