Tuesday, 20th June 2023

Table of contents

1   Daily Current Affairs


Reforming Arbitration Law - Edukemy Current Affairs


Gender Social Norms Index - Edukemy Current Affairs


Dark Patterns in Digital Advertisement


Punchhi Commission Proposals for Resolving Manipur Crisis


Natural Arch in Odisha - Edukemy Current Affairs


VAIBHAV Fellowship Programme - Edukemy Current Affairs


National Time Release Study (NTRS) 2023 report


Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS) platforms


Global Fund for Recycling Lithium-ion Batteries


Lab-grown human embryo models - Edukemy Current Affairs


31 MQ-9B armed drones - Edukemy Current Affairs

2   Daily Editorial Analysis


Trend in wages - Edukemy Current Affairs

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Daily Current Affairs

Reforming Arbitration Law - Edukemy Current Affairs

In News: Centre sets up a panel led by former Law Secy T K Vishwanathan to recommend reforms in arbitration law.


The Indian government has set up a panel led by former law secretary T K Vishwanathan to recommend reforms in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act. The panel has 30 days to report back, and its terms of reference include evaluating and analysing the operation of the present arbitration ecosystem of the country, and recommending reforms to reduce the burden on courts.

The Need for Reform

  • Arbitration is a process by which parties to a dispute agree to have their differences resolved by a neutral third party, rather than going to court. It is often seen as a more efficient and cost-effective way to resolve disputes, and India has a long history of arbitration.
  • However, there are some areas where the current arbitration law in India could be improved. For example, the law could be made more streamlined and efficient, and the cost of arbitration could be reduced. Additionally, the law could be strengthened to ensure that arbitrators are impartial and independent and that the rights of the parties to the dispute are protected.

Panel's Recommendations

The panel is expected to submit its recommendations in the next few weeks. It will be interesting to see what reforms they recommend, and how they will impact the arbitration landscape in India.

Key issues that the panel is likely to consider:

  • Streamlining the arbitration process: The panel could recommend reforms to make the arbitration process more streamlined and efficient. This could include shortening the time limits for completing arbitration proceedings, and reducing the number of procedural steps that need to be taken.
  • Reducing the cost of arbitration: The panel could also recommend reforms to reduce the cost of arbitration. This could include capping the fees that arbitrators can charge, and providing for more cost-effective ways to appoint arbitrators.
  • Strengthening the impartiality and independence of arbitrators: The panel could recommend reforms to strengthen the impartiality and independence of arbitrators. This could include requiring arbitrators to disclose any conflicts of interest, and providing for more effective mechanisms for challenging arbitrators.
  • Protecting the rights of the parties to the dispute: The panel could also recommend reforms to protect the rights of the parties to the dispute. This could include ensuring that the parties have a right to be heard, and that their evidence is fairly considered.

The reforms recommended by the panel will have a significant impact on the arbitration landscape in India. They could make India an even more attractive destination for international arbitration, and boost foreign investment and trade. It will be interesting to see what the panel recommends, and how the reforms are implemented.




Keywords: GS-2 Polity and governance
Daily Current Affairs

Gender Social Norms Index - Edukemy Current Affairs

In News: The report by the UNDP on 2023 Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI), titled "Breaking down gender biases: Shifting social norms towards gender equality", reveals that biased gender social norms continue to impede progress towards achieving gender equality and violate human rights.

About Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI):

  • The Gender Social Norms Index (GSNI) quantifies biases against women, capturing people’s attitudes on women’s roles along four key dimensions: political, educational, economic and physical integrity.
    • Each dimension is characterised by one or two indicators of biases against women.
    • Each indicator takes a value of 1 when an individual has a bias and 0 when the individual does not.
  • The GSNI captures beliefs on gender equality in capabilities and rights. First introduced in the 2019 human development report, it differs from achievement-based objective measures of gender equality, which assess gender gaps in terms of outcomes.

Key Highlights of the GSNI-2023:

  • Biased gender social norms, undervaluation of women’s capabilities and rights in society, constrain women’s choices and opportunities by regulating behaviour and setting the boundaries of what women are expected to do and be.
  • Persistent Gender Social Norms: The GSNI values have stagnated over the past decade showing little progress, despite powerful global and local campaigns for women’s rights such as Me Too, Ni Una Menos, Time’s Up and Un Violador en Tu Camino.
  • Impediment to economic empowerment: Despite increase in women's education, it has not translated into better economic outcomes due to gender social norms. In 59 countries where adult women are more educated than men, the average income gap still remains 39%.
  • Domestic chore and care work are indiscriminately considered the responsibility of women, who spend nearly six times more time on these tasks than men, thus limiting their opportunities.
  • Poor political representation: On average, the share of women heads of state or government has remained around 10% since 1995 and they occupy just a quarter of parliament seats globally.
  • Biased gender norms deprive societies from the benefits of women’s leadership and the diversity of perspectives, experiences, abilities, voices and ideas they bring.




Keywords: GS -2 Issues Related to Children and Women
Daily Current Affairs

Dark Patterns in Digital Advertisement

In News: The Advertising Standards Council of India (Asci) issued guidelines for dark patterns in advertisements, asking the companies not to mislead the customer via omission, exaggeration, implication, or ambiguity.

About the Dark Patterns:

  • Dark patterns refer to deceptive design patterns that prompt users to purchase without giving explicit consent.
  • They are a persuasion marketing technique based on misleading people using subtle design and interface messaging to make an offer appear more compelling in order to increase revenue.

Types of Dark patterns:

  • Drip pricing, which increases the price of a product after customers commit to purchasing it. Example showing a low initial price but adding extra charges at checkout.
  • Disguised ads, where ads are designed to look like some other content. Example placing an ad that looks like a news article or social media post.
  • Bait and switch, where a customer adds a product to their basket, is replaced by another similar product. Example adding a popular item to the cart and replacing it with an inferior product before checkout.
  • False urgency, where a sense of fake shortage of stock is implied which prompts the customer to purchase a product. Example, displaying a countdown timer or “limited stock” message to pressure immediate purchase.
  • Hidden Costs: Concealing additional charges or fees. Example, not disclosing shipping or handling fees until the final checkout.

The ASCI guidelines:

  • The guidelines specify that incomplete price representations by companies would be considered misleading. Moreover, offering alternative products or services will also be considered deceptive.
  • The advertisers would be required to demonstrate that the stock position at the time of appearance of the limited quantity message was of a level where urgency communicated could not be considered misleading.
  • The advertisers would also be required to clearly differentiate between organic and paid ads on their platform



Keywords: GS-4 Code of Conduct/Code of Ethics
Daily Current Affairs

Punchhi Commission Proposals for Resolving Manipur Crisis

In News: Experts deliberates on Punchhi commission recommendations that could potentially address the ongoing crisis in Manipur.

About Punchhi Commission recommendations and potential solutions for Manipur Crisis:

  • The Punchhi Commission was established in 2007 to examine Centre-state relations, and it offers a potential solution to the current impasse in Manipur.
  • The Commission's Fifth Task Force studied criminal justice, national security, and Centre-state cooperation.
  • Major recommendations:
    • It recommended the feasibility of supporting legislation under Article 355 for the deployment of Central forces in states when the situation demands.
    • It acknowledged the reluctance of political parties, especially in Opposition-ruled states, to allow the Centre to take over elected administrations during temporary breakdowns in law and order.
    • It proposed "Localised Emergency provisions" under Article 355, enabling the imposition of Central rule in a limited affected area for a period not exceeding three months while the rest of the state's elected government continues functioning.
    • It suggested to amend the Communal Violence Bill to ensure that state consent does not hinder the deployment of central forces during serious communal riots.
    • The proposed amendment suggests a one-week deployment, followed by post-facto consent from the state.
  • Previously, similar strategies were employed during the Telangana insurgency in 1950, where the central Intelligence Bureau(IB) took charge of law and order in Communist strongholds.
  • Overall, by implementing these recommendations through constitutional amendments, the Centre can administer specific areas in Manipur without disrupting the elected government.




Keywords: GS-2: Internal Security
Daily Current Affairs

Natural Arch in Odisha - Edukemy Current Affairs

In News: GSI proposes 'Geo Heritage' tag for Jurassic age ‘Natural Arch’ in Odisha

About Natural arch in Odisha:

  • The state unit of Geological Survey of India (GSI) has proposed to declare the ‘Natural Arch’ in Kanika range of Sundargarh forest division as a Geo Heritage Site.
  • The arch is believed to be dating back to the Jurassic period and once approved will be the biggest natural arch in the country to have the Geo Heritage tag.
  • The oval-shaped arch has a length of 30 meters at the base and is 12 meters high while the alcove has a maximum height and width of 7 meters and 15 meters
  • It is composed of ferruginous sandstone from the Upper Kamthi formation, dating back approximately 184 to 160 million years.
  • The formation of the natural arch is attributed to fault activities and sub-aerial weathering processes over a long period.
  • India currently has two other natural arches, one in Tirumala hills in Tirupati and another in Andaman and Nicobar, but both are smaller compared to the one in Sundargarh.
  • Being in the reserved forest, the arch will be safeguarded under the Indian Forest Act 1927 and only restricted, responsible tourism will be allowed




Keywords: GS-1: Geographical formations
Daily Current Affairs

VAIBHAV Fellowship Programme - Edukemy Current Affairs

Why in news? Recently, the Government has launched a new fellowship programme (Vaishvik Bhartiya Vaigyanik) to connect the Indian STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine) diaspora with Indian academic and R&D institutions.


  • The Vaishvik Bhartiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) fellowships programme to be implemented by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • This program aims to recognize outstanding scientists and technologists of Indian origin residing in other countries (NRI/OCI/PIO) who are engaged in research.
  • The program will award fellowships to 75 selected individuals who will be invited to work in various knowledge verticals such as quantum technology, health, electronics, agriculture, and more.
  • The VAIBHAV Fellow would identify an Indian Institution for collaboration and may spend up to two months in a year for a maximum of 3 years.
  • Fellowship would include fellowship grant (INR 4,00,000 per month), international and domestic travel, accommodation and contingencies.
  • The VAIBHAV program was initiated after the VAIBHAV Summit, which connected the Indian STEMM diaspora with Indian institutions.
  • The fellowship program will foster collaboration between scientists from the Indian diaspora and Indian educational institutions, universities, and scientific institutions.



Keywords: General Studies –2 Government Policies & Interventions
Daily Current Affairs

National Time Release Study (NTRS) 2023 report

Why in news? Recently, the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has released the National Time Release Study (NTRS) 2023 report, which measures the cargo release time at various ports in India.


  • The report aims to assess the progress made towards the National Trade Facilitation Action Plan (NTFAP) targets, identify the impact of various trade facilitation initiatives, and identify the challenges to more expeditious reduction in release time.
  • The study was conducted based on a sample period of January 1-7, 2023, comparing the performance with the corresponding periods of 2021 and 2022.
  • The Time Release Study (TRS) is a performance measurement tool that quantifies the time taken for cargo release at customs stations.
    • It measures the duration from cargo arrival to its out-of-charge for domestic clearance in imports and from cargo arrival to carrier departure in exports.
  • The study covers seaports, air cargo complexes (ACCs), inland container depots (ICDs), and integrated check posts (ICPs),which handle a significant proportion of entry and shipping bills in the country.

Key Highlights of NTRS 2023:

  • The findings highlight the importance of the “Path to Promptness” strategy, which includes advance filing of import documents, risk-based facilitation, and benefits for trusted clients.
    • Cargoes that incorporate all three features achieve the National Trade Facilitation Action Plan release time target across all port categories.
  • In line with the government’s focus on export promotion, NTRS 2023 places greater emphasis on measuring export release time.
  • NTRS 2023 recognises the distinction between regulatory clearance (also referred as customs release), which gets completed with the grant of Let Export Order (LEO) and the wider aspect of physical clearance which occurs on completion of logistics processes with departure of the carrier with the goods.




Keywords: General Studies – 3 Growth & Development
Daily Current Affairs

Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS) platforms

Why in news? Recently, Reserve Bank expanded the trade receivables discounting system (TReDS) by permitting insurance companies to function as participants, a move aimed at improving the cash flows of MSMEs.


  • It is an electronic platform for facilitating the financing/discounting of trade receivables of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through multiple financiers.
  • These receivables can be due from corporates and other buyers, including Government Departments and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).
  • Purpose is to allow MSME sellers to discount invoices raised against major corporations, which helps them manage their working capital demands.
  • The platform enables MSMEs to receive payments more quickly.
  • RBI has not made it compulsory for any buyer, seller, or financier to participate in TReDS.
  • The Government has made it compulsory for certain segments of companies to mandatorily register as buyers on the TReDS platform(s).
  • Participants:
    • Sellers, buyers, and financiers are the participants on a TReDS platform.
    • Only MSMEs can participate as sellers in TReDS.
    • Corporates, Government Departments, PSUs, and any other entity can participate as buyers in TReDS.
    • Banks, NBFC - Factors, and other financial institutions, as permitted by the RBI, can participate as financiers in TReDS.
  • TReDS platforms facilitate transparent and competitive bidding by the financiers.




Keywords: General Studies – 3 Growth & Development, Government Policies & Interventions
Daily Current Affairs

Global Fund for Recycling Lithium-ion Batteries

Why in news? Recently, a policy brief for the G20 suggests establishing a global fund to invest in increasing recycling capacities for lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles (EVs).


Lithium-ion Batteries

  • A lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery is a type of rechargeable battery.
  • Li-ion batteries use an intercalated lithium compound as one electrode material, compared to the metallic lithium used in a non-rechargeable lithium battery.
  • Lithium ions move from the negative electrode to the positive electrode during discharge and back when charging.

Battery recycling

  • Battery recycling is a recycling activity that aims to reduce the number of batteries being disposed of as municipal solid waste.
  • Batteries contain a number of heavy metals and toxic chemicals.
  • Battery recycling is at a nascent stage with gaps concerning technology in reducing recycling costs and improving material recovery capacity.

Lithium-ion battery recycling technologies:

  • Mechanical Separation: This technology involves the physical separation of lithium-ion battery components through mechanical processes such as shredding and sieving.
  • Pyrometallurgical Process: It is a high-temperature process that uses heat to melt and separate battery components, recovering valuable metals like lithium, cobalt, etc.
  • Biological Process: This emerging technology involves the use of biological agents or microorganisms to extract and recover valuable materials from lithium-ion batteries.
  • Lithium Recovery from Electrolyte: This specific process targets the recovery of lithium from the electrolyte of lithium-ion batteries, which can then be reused or processed further.
  • Hydrometallurgical Process: In this process, lithium-ion batteries are dissolved in a liquid solution, and chemical reactions are used to separate and recover valuable metals.




Keywords: General Studies – 3 Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Government Policies & Interventions
Daily Current Affairs

Lab-grown human embryo models - Edukemy Current Affairs

Why in news? Recently, Scientists have announced that they have grown embryo-like structures, made entirely from human stem cells.


  • The synthetic embryos developed to a stage equivalent to that of natural embryos about 14 days after fertilization.
  • The ability to study embryo models beyond 14 days is significant because it allows researchers to explore developmental defects and pregnancy loss, which are challenging to study using animal models.
  • Such experiments could provide opportunities to study human embryonic development at later stages than ever before.
  • But they also raise ethical and legal questions about the status of such ‘embryo models’ and how they should be regulated.




Keywords: General Studies –3 Scientific Innovations & Discoveries
Daily Current Affairs

31 MQ-9B armed drones - Edukemy Current Affairs

Why in news? Recently, India’s defence ministry approved the acquisition of 31 MQ-9B armed drones from the US.


  • The MQ-9B drone is a variant of the MQ-9 "Reaper" which was used to launch a modified version of the Hellfire missile that eliminated al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in Kabul.
  • The drones, with an endurance of over 27 hours and an operating capability of up to 50,000 feet, will strengthen India’s defence capabilities.
  • The MQ-9B has two variants SkyGuardian and its sibling SeaGuardian. The Indian Navy has been operating the MQ-9B Sea Guardian since 2020.
    • The Sky Guardian variant has a wingspan of 79 feet and can carry a payload of 2,155kg on nine hardpoints.
    • The Sea Guardian variant can fly over the horizon via satellite for more than 30 hours and has advanced intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.
  • MQ-9B drones are equipped with advanced features such as automatic take-off and landing, detect and avoid system, anti-spoofing GPS, and encrypted communication links.
  • The hunter-killer MQ-9 drones are capable of a variety of roles, including maritime surveillance, anti-submarine warfare, over-the-horizon targeting, airborne early warning, and electronic warfare.




Keywords: General Studies –3 Defence Technology
Daily Editorial Analysis

Trend in wages - Edukemy Current Affairs

Exam View: Rural occupation data; Different Approaches to estimating trend in real wages; NSS/PLFS data.

Context: Despite India being one of the best-performing macro-economies in the world, the debate remains on whether this growth has translated into exceptional growth for the poor, especially in rural India.

Decoding the editorial: Data and Counter-data

Rural occupation data

  • As per the critics of the government, “representative” rural wage data is inconsistent with the picture of a rosy economy as revealed by GDP data.
    • They site the rural occupation data as published by the Ministry of Labour in the pages of the Indian Labour Journal.
  • Four-digit industrial classification codes have been chosen to approximately capture rural India trends reported in ILJ data.
  • However, one reason for the relative obscurity of the ILJ data is that it is not based on individual wages, but rather on a survey of 600 villages in 20 states.
    • For each village, average wage data are compiled for 25 occupations (12 agricultural and 13 non-agricultural).
    • The average all-India ILJ wage is “derived by dividing the sum total of wages of all the 20 states by the number of quotations”.
  • Workforce information is not available in the ILJ data. Therefore, the correct methods must incorporate state-region-specific inflation to arrive at the real wage, and weigh the wage information based on the number of workers in that occupation in each state.

Different Approaches to estimating trend in real wages

  • To assume a common price level for all of rural India.
    • However, inflation varies enormously from state to state.
    • For example, in rural Kerala, the price level is about 25 percent higher than in rural Bihar; as is rural inflation. Between 2011-21, Kerala’s annual inflation rate was 6.2 percent, vs 4.9 percent in Bihar.
  • To assume that the average all-India wage is just a simple average of all the ILJ state quotations.
    • When workforce size varies across states, computing simple averages across states may misrepresent the true all-India wage level.
  • Log growth method
    • Log growth ensures that base year values do not confound the computation of growth rates.
    • Assume the wage is 80 in year one, 120 in year two, and 80 in year three. If growth is calculated on a simple arithmetic percent change basis, then growth in year two is 50 percent and in year three growth is minus 33.3 percent.
      • Average growth then (50-33.3)/2 is 8.5 percent, which is incorrect given that real growth is zero.
      • In log changes, however, the growth from 80 to 120 is 40.5 percent; from 120 to 80, growth is equal and opposite at -40.5 percent. And the average growth is at zero percent.
    • After these corrections, the results convey very different information to policymakers and researchers. Instead of 0.2 percent average growth for rural male construction workers 2014-21 by the first method, a growth average six times higher at 1.2 percent is observed.
    • This method involves using more than 2,000 units of data to estimate an all-India growth average.
    • And it can include state-specific inflation rates and the rural population in each state to obtain average sex occupation wage across India.


  • Real wage growth (Compound Annual Growth Rate) averaged 4.9 percent per annum between 2011 and 2017, and a higher 5.3 percent during 2017-2021.

  • For construction workers, the average wage growth increases from 3 percent (2011 to 2017) to 5 percent per annum (2017-21).
  • These PLFS male rural wage estimates are entirely consistent with national robust investment and growth, as observed in GDP data.
  • In sharp contrast, ILJ construction worker wage growth (First method of Computation) for 2015-22 is reported to be minus 0.02 percent.



Keywords: GS Paper-3: Growth & Development, Employment.
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