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September 30, 2023 @ 7:30 am - 11:30 pm



Context: Ruixiang Zhang, Assistant Professor, University of California, Berkeley, USA will be awarded with the 2023 SASTRA Ramanujan Prize for his outstanding contributions in mathematics.

What is SASTRA Ramanujan Prize?

The annual cash prize of USD 10,000 will be given at an international conference in Number Theory during December 20 and December 22 at SASTRA University in Kumbakonam, mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan’s hometown.

  • The age limit for the prize has been set at 32 influenced by Ramanujan’s achievements in his brief life of 32 years, a press release said.
  • Zhang is a young mathematician whose fundamental work spans from analytic number theory, combinatorics, Euclidean harmonic analysis to geometry.



 Context: Output at India’s eight core infrastructure sectors climbed by a combined 12.1% in August, the fastest pace in 14 months, with five of them reporting double-digit growth

  • Steel production rose 10.9% last month
  • Fertilizers was the only sector to record the slowest growth in at least a year,
  • Crude oil output grew 2.1% for the second successive month after a contractionary streak



Context: The navies of India and Singapore began their annual maritime military exercise, which will involve drills in the southern South China Sea

The Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) has been undertaken since 1994 and is “the longest continuous naval exercise that Indian Navy has with any other country.



  • India retains 40th rank out of 132 economies in the Global Innovation Index 2023 rankings published by the World Intellectual Property Organization.
  • The consistent improvement in the GII ranking is owing to the immense knowledge capital, the vibrant start-up ecosystem, and the amazing work done by the public and private research organizations.
  • The GII is a reliable tool for governments across the world to assess the innovation-led social and economic changes in their respective countries.
  • This year, the NITI Aayog, in partnership with the CII and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO), is hosting, virtually, the India Launch of the GII 2023 on 29th September 2023.



Context: India’s trade ecosystem does not include enough women.


  • Yet, working women’s participation in trade and trade-related services stands at less than 5 percent in comparison to almost 15 percent of working men.
  • Additionally, women’s participation in India’s cross-border trade is limited to production and manufacturing and is significantly lower in higher levels of trade value chains such as research and development, marketing, distribution, or policymaking positions.
  • A study carried out by the World Bank Group in 2020 on the cross-border value chains in Northeast India for spices and agricultural products revealed that women are largely involved in on-farm tasks such as “cultivation, harvesting, sorting, grading, packaging, and labelling”.
  • By providing equal employment opportunities to women, India could add US$770 billion to its GDP by 2025.

Barriers to women’s participation in high-value jobs

1.The gender gap in education, skills and training along with occupational sex-segregation hinders women’s capacity to participate in and progress

As per UNESCO, the Indian literacy rate stands at 77.7 percent in 2022; but the female literacy rate stands at 70.3 percent while the global average female literacy rate is 79 percent.

As a result, most Indian women remain in manufacturing, agricultural production, and other bottom-value

2.Further, there is a significant gender wage gap in manufacturing sectors.

This wage disparity further discourages women from joining the industry.

3.Jobs operating at port areas such as traders, freight forwarders, customs house agents, transporters, and other service providers are usually conducted at remote and isolated locations, requiring regular travel and late and unpredictable operating hours.

4.Along with issues related to public infrastructure and services, the threat of harassment and other socio-cultural problems such as the disproportionate burden of unpaid work and caregiving responsibilities as well as societal restrictions on women’s movements are additional limiting factors.

Barriers for women-owned businesses

1.High working capital requirements impede involvement.

Female-dominated sectors such as garments and food face higher tariffs on inputs, otherwise known as the “Pink Tax,” which in India amount to 6 percentage points.

2.Moreover, acquiring knowledge about regulations and procedures for compliance, meeting the standards for export quality, overseeing logistics providers and financial institutions

  1. The time burden of the customs and clearance processes pose greater challenges for female traders compared to their male counterparts.

Possible solutions

A problem with policy

  • India’s Foreign Trade Policy 2023—which provides guidelines and procedures for trade exports and imports set by the Director General of Foreign Trade—failed to mainstream gender.
  • Promotion of gender inclusive trade was a significant action point in India’s National Trade Facilitation Action Plan (2020-23).
  • It was included as a response to the country’s 66.7 percent score in the “Women in Trade Facilitation” component of the Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation carried out by the United Nations in 2021.
  • Following this, it was expected “gender” would be mentioned in India’s FTP. However, when the document was finally released, it lacked any mention of “gender,” or any specific measures to improve women’s involvement in trade.​​


  • India’s upcoming policy cycle must recognize women’s roles in trade and consider gender separately.
  • For example, the “Gender Mainstreaming at India’s Land Ports” report was released by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) to make the land ports more gender-inclusive and increase women’s participation in port-related trade activities.
  • A gender-responsive trade policy would also consider suitable measures for women-intensive industries such as jewellery, food processing, and textiles, especially ensuring fair and liveable wages for workers.
  • aim to utilise multilateral initiatives such as the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF), the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad), and India’s G20 Presidency in 2023.



Context: once again taken center stage, as Tamil Nadu appeals to the Supreme Court of India for intervention in ensuring the release of 24,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) from its reservoir’s water by Karnataka.

 The Dispute:

  • As the river originates in Karnataka, flows through Tamil Nadu with major tributaries coming from Kerala and drains into the Bay of Bengal through Pondicherry the dispute therefore involves 3 states and one Union Territory.
  • The genesis of the dispute is 150 years old and dates back to the two agreements of arbitration in 1892 and 1924 between the then Madras presidency and Mysore.
  • It entailed the principle that the upper riparian state must obtain consent of lower riparian state for any construction activity viz. reservoir on the river Cauvery.
  • The Cauvery water dispute between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu began in 1974 when Karnataka started diverting water without Tamil Nadu’s consent.
  • After several years, the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal (CWDT) was established in 1990 to resolve the issue. It took 17 years for the CWDT to reach a final order in 2007, which outlined the sharing of Cauvery water among the four riparian states. In distress years, water would be shared on a pro-rata basis.
  • The central government notified the ‘Cauvery Water Management Scheme’ in June 2018, constituting the ‘Cauvery Water Management Authority’ and the ‘Cauvery Water Regulation Committee’.

River Cauvery (Kaveri):

  • It is known as ‘Ponni’ in Tamil and is a sacred river of southern India.
  • It rises on Brahmagiri Hill of the Western Ghats in southwestern Karnataka state, flows in a southeasterly direction through the states of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, and descends the Eastern Ghats in a series of great falls and drains into Bay of Bengal through Pondicherry.
  • Left Bank Tributary: Arkavathi, Hemavathi, Shimsa, and Harangi.
  • Right Bank Tributary: Lakshmantirtha, Suvarnavati, Noyil, Bhavani, Kabini, and Amaravathi.

Today in news?

  • Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA)Asking Karnataka to release 3,000 cubic feet per second (cusecs) to Tamil Nadu till October 15.
  • CWMA tells Karnataka to make good the shortfall of 0.71 thousand million cubic feet (tmc ft) that arose during the 15-day period that ended on September 27



Context: The External Affairs Minister said he hoped both sides emerged ‘better informed’ after meeting with top U.S. officials; Mr. Blinken has urged New Delhi to cooperate fully with the ongoing Canadian investigation

Todays in news?

  • To understand the issue External affairs minister told the audience at Hudson, one had to appreciate that there had been “great friction”, since the 1980s, between India and Canada because of Ottawa’s “very permissive” attitude towards terrorists and extremists.
  • For India, he said, the perception was that Canada had a “very toxic combination” of organized crime from India, trafficking in people, mixed with secessionism.
  • The Canadian Prime Minister made some allegations initially privately and then publicly. And our responses to him, both in private and public, were that what he was alleging was not consistent with our policy
  • If the Canadian government had anything “relevant and specific” for India to look at (i.e., evidence), the government would look at it.



Context: His contributions in the fields of conservation and environmental protection are no less significant. 

His works:

  • He worked extensively on four aspects of conservation: mangrove ecosystem, biodiversity conservation, genetic conservation and Keystone Dialogues (which pertained to plant genetic resources and biological diversity).
  • Even though mangrove ecosystems possess the capacity to survive in the most challenging environment of saline brackish waters, under low oxygen tension and high temperatures, apart from providing benefits to coastal populations,
  • mainly protection against natural events such as storms and rising sea levels, they constantly face the threat of destruction on account of human depredations including the expansion of coastal aquaculture
  • It was for this and many other reasons that Swaminathan sought urgent measures to prevent any further destruction of the mangrove forests and restore the partially degraded ones.
  • Swaminathan wanted every country to “achieve harmony between human and animal populations, and the natural resource endowments
  • Unless the livelihood security of people was strengthened, conservation of unique natural endowments could become a lost cause in poor and overpopulated countries
  • For promoting the theme of conservation agriculture, he formulated an educational programme, ‘Every Child a Scientist’, to sensitise children to the country’s biological heritage




September 30, 2023
7:30 am - 11:30 pm
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