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Current Affairs 20 May 2023


  1. Hysterectomy
  2. India- EU Trade and Technology Council
  3. Wholesale Price Index
  4. Open network for digital commerce
  5. Global Depository Receipts (GDRs)
  6. Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve



The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India has taken steps to tackle the problem of unjustified hysterectomies, particularly among economically disadvantaged and less-educated women, especially those residing in rural areas.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Hysterectomy
  2. Issues Associated with Hysterectomy in India
  3. Efforts to Address the Issue of Unnecessary Hysterectomies in India


  • A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure involving the removal of the uterus, the organ responsible for baby development during pregnancy.
  • Types of hysterectomy:
    • Partial hysterectomy: Removal of the uterus only.
    • Total hysterectomy: Removal of the uterus and cervix.
    • Radical hysterectomy: Removal of the uterus, cervix, part of the vagina, and surrounding ligaments and tissues.
Indications for Hysterectomy in India
  • Fibroids: Non-cancerous growths in or around the womb.
  • Endometriosis: Condition where tissue similar to the uterus lining grows outside the uterus.
  • Abnormal bleeding: Unusual or heavy bleeding.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease: Infection and inflammation of the female reproductive organs.
  • Treatment of cancer: Hysterectomy may be part of cancer treatment to remove cancerous tissues.
  • Severe pelvic pain: When other treatments have failed to provide relief.

Issues Associated with Hysterectomy in India

Age Discrepancy:

  • The recent Supreme Court judgment highlighted that hysterectomies are typically performed on premenopausal women aged 45 and above in developed countries.
  • However, community-based studies in India show an increasing number of hysterectomies among younger women, ranging from 28 to 36 years old.


  • According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) -5, 3% of women aged 15-49 in India have had a hysterectomy. The prevalence of hysterectomy is highest in Andhra Pradesh (9%) and Telangana (8%), while it is lowest in Sikkim (0.8%) and Meghalaya (0.7%) among women aged 15-49.

Regional Disparities:

  • The prevalence of hysterectomy is highest in the Southern region of India (4.2%), followed by the Eastern part of India (3.8%), and lowest in the Northeast region (1.2%).

Unnecessary Hysterectomies:

  • A public interest litigation (PIL) filed in 2013 brought attention to the issue of “unnecessary hysterectomies” in certain states such as Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Rajasthan.
  • Women in these states were subjected to hysterectomies that were deemed unnecessary and potentially harmful to their health.

Involvement of Private Hospitals:

  • Private hospitals were found to be involved in performing these unnecessary hysterectomies, with more than two-thirds (70%) of women undergoing hysterectomy in private health facilities.

Misuse of Procedure:

  • Hysterectomy was misused by healthcare institutions to claim higher insurance fees under various government healthcare schemes, indicating potential financial exploitation.

Efforts to Address the Issue of Unnecessary Hysterectomies in India

Supreme Court Intervention:

  • In response to the public interest litigation (PIL), the Supreme Court directed states and union territories to adopt health guidelines formulated by the Centre to monitor and prevent unnecessary hysterectomies. States were given a three-month timeframe to implement these guidelines.

Acknowledgment of Fundamental Rights:

  • The Supreme Court recognized that the unnecessary hysterectomies violated the fundamental rights of women.
  • It affirmed that the right to health is an intrinsic part of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution, emphasizing the importance of robust health conditions for a fulfilling life.

Action Plan:

  • The Supreme Court urged the formulation of an action plan to address the issue, which included the creation of national, state, and district-level hysterectomy monitoring committees.
  • Additionally, a grievance portal was proposed to facilitate the reporting of concerns and complaints related to hysterectomies.

Health Ministry Guidelines:

  • In 2022, the Health Ministry issued guidelines aimed at preventing unnecessary hysterectomies. States were instructed to comply with these guidelines to ensure appropriate use of the procedure.

Data Sharing and Audits:

  • The Ministry of Health has directed states to share data on hysterectomies performed by medical institutions.
  • Compulsory audits for all hysterectomies were also advised, similar to the existing audits conducted for maternal mortality, to monitor the appropriateness and necessity of the procedure.

-Source: The Hindu

India- EU Trade and Technology Council


Recently, the 1st Ministerial meeting of the India-European Union Trade and Technology Council (TTC) took place, in Brussels, Belgium.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Highlights of the Meeting
  2. About India-EU Trade and Technology Council
  3. Significance of the India-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC)

Key Highlights of the Meeting:

Working Groups:

The meeting involved discussions on roadmaps for future cooperation under three working groups:

  • Strategic Technologies, Digital Governance, and Digital Connectivity
  • Green and Clean Energy Technologies
  • Trade, Investment, and Resilient Value Chains


  • The meeting aimed to provide direction and lay the roadmap for cooperation between India and the EU in various areas of mutual interest.
  • This included addressing mutual market access, WTO reforms, ongoing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations, and cooperation in different sectors.

Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM):

  • India and the EU were also working towards resolving a trade-related issue concerning the EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM).
  • The CBAM is described as a tool that places a price on carbon emissions during the production of goods entering the EU, encouraging cleaner production practices outside the EU.

About India-EU Trade and Technology Council:

  • India-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC) is a high-level coordination platform established in 2022 by the Indian Prime Minister and the President of the European Commission.
  • It aims to address strategic challenges related to trade, trusted technology, and security.
  • The TTC operates through ministerial meetings held annually, alternating between India and the EU for balanced participation and stronger bilateral cooperation.
Working Groups of TTC:

WG on Strategic Technologies, Digital Governance, and Digital Connectivity:

  • Focuses on areas of mutual interest such as digital connectivity, Artificial Intelligence, 5G/6G, Quantum Computing, Semiconductors, Cybersecurity, and digital skills.
  • Aims to foster cooperation in digital platforms and systems.

WG on Green and Clean Energy Technologies:

  • Emphasizes green technologies, research, and innovation.
  • Covers areas like clean energy, Circular Economy, waste management, plastic pollution, waste-to-hydrogen, and battery recycling for e-vehicles.
  • Promotes collaboration between EU and Indian incubators, SMEs, and start-ups.

WG on Trade, Investment, and Resilient Value Chains:

  • Focuses on enhancing supply chain resilience, critical component access, energy, and raw materials.
  • Aims to resolve trade barriers and address global trade challenges.
  • Promotes cooperation in multilateral fora, international standards, and addresses geopolitical challenges.

Significance of the India-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC):

Addressing Geopolitical Challenges:

  • The establishment of the TTC reflects the recognition by both India and the EU of the evolving geopolitical landscape.
  • It signifies their commitment to building a strong collaborative framework to tackle strategic challenges together.

Political Guidance and Implementation:

  • The TTC serves as a platform for political guidance and coordination.
  • It provides a structured framework to effectively implement political decisions, coordinate technical endeavors, and ensure accountability at the political level.

Boosting Bilateral Trade:

  • The TTC aims to enhance EU-India bilateral trade, which has reached historical highs. In 2022, the trade volume between the two reached Euro 120 billion, including Euro 17 billion worth of digital products and services.
  • The TTC will contribute to further increasing trade and expanding economic cooperation between the two parties.

Strengthening Technical Collaboration:

  • Through the working groups of the TTC, collaboration in strategic technologies, digital governance, clean energy, trade, and investment will be strengthened.
  • The TTC provides a platform for sharing expertise, exchanging knowledge, and fostering innovation in these key areas.

-Source: The Hindu, PIB

Wholesale Price Index


The latest data released by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry reveals that the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) in India fell to a near three-year low with deflation rate of (-) 0.92% in April, marking its entry into negative territory after 33 months.


GS III: Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Details
  2. Difference Between WPI and CPI
  3. Factors influencing WPI inflation include


The decline in the rate of inflation in April 2023 is primarily contributed by fall in prices of basic metals, food products, mineral oils, textiles, non-food articles, chemical & chemical products, rubber & plastic products, and paper & paper products.

About Wholesale Price Index

  • Wholesale Price Index (WPI) is an indicator that measures changes in the prices of goods sold in bulk by wholesale businesses to other businesses.
  • It is published by the Office of Economic Adviser under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in India. The WPI is widely used as an inflation indicator in the country.
  • However, the WPI has faced criticism because it does not reflect the prices at which the general public purchases goods, as it focuses on wholesale prices.
  • Despite this criticism, the WPI remains an important tool for assessing price changes in the wholesale sector.
  • The base year for the All-India WPI was revised from 2004-05 to 2011-12 in 2017, in order to provide a more updated and relevant index.

The WPI is composed of three major groups with different weightages:

  • Primary Articles (22.6% weightage): This includes food articles such as cereals, pulses, vegetables, fruits, milk, eggs, meat, and fish. It also includes non-food articles like oil seeds, minerals, and crude petroleum.
  • Fuel & Power (13.2% weightage): This category covers items like LPG, petrol, and high-speed diesel.
  • Manufactured Products (64.2% weightage): This group includes manufactured goods such as food products, beverages, tobacco products, wearing apparel, pharmaceuticals, and non-metallic mineral products.

Additionally, there is a Food Index within the WPI, which comprises both food articles from the Primary Articles group and food products from the Manufactured Products group. The Food Index carries a weightage of 24.4%.

Difference Between WPI and CPI

  • Scope: WPI tracks inflation at the producer level, measuring changes in prices of goods sold in bulk by wholesale businesses to other businesses. On the other hand, CPI captures changes in price levels at the consumer level, reflecting the prices paid by consumers for a basket of goods and services.
  • Coverage: While both indices measure inflationary trends within the economy, they differ in terms of the items they include. WPI includes wholesale prices of various goods, including primary articles, fuel and power, and manufactured products. However, WPI does not capture changes in the prices of services. CPI, on the other hand, includes a broader range of goods and services consumed by households, encompassing items like food, housing, transportation, healthcare, education, and recreation.
  • Weightage: The weightage assigned to different categories of items also varies between WPI and CPI. In WPI, more weightage is given to manufactured goods, reflecting their significance in the wholesale market. In CPI, more weightage is given to food items, as they form a major component of household expenses.
  • Base Year: The base year of WPI is 2011-2012, while for CPI it is 2012. The base year provides a reference point against which price changes are measured.

Factors influencing WPI inflation include:

  • Base Effect: Experts suggest that WPI inflation is expected to remain moderate due to the high base effect. This means that the comparison is made to a previous period with a higher inflation rate, making the current rate appear relatively lower.
  • Global Commodity Prices: The decline in global commodity prices can have an impact on WPI inflation, particularly on the inflation of manufactured products. When commodity prices decrease, it can help keep the inflation of manufactured goods at a lower level.
  • Wheat Prices: The prices of wheat are influenced by market conditions and fluctuations. Monitoring these prices is important as they can impact WPI inflation, especially in the food articles category.
  • Monsoon Impact on Kharif Crops: The performance of the monsoon and its impact on the production of Kharif crops can be a concern for WPI inflation. If the monsoon is inadequate or unevenly distributed, it can affect crop yields and subsequently impact prices, particularly in the primary articles category.

-Source: The Hindu

Open network for digital commerce


After the revolution brought in the realm of digital payments by the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) is set to break new ground in the country’s digital commerce ecosystem.


GS III- Indian Economy

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is ONDC?
  2. What led to formation of ONDC?
  3. What are the likely benefits of ONDC?

What is ONDC?

  • It is a not-for-profit organisation that will offer a network to enable local digital commerce stores across industries to be discovered and engaged by any network-enabled applications.
  • It is neither an aggregator application nor a hosting platform, and all existing digital commerce applications and platforms can voluntarily choose to adopt and be a part of the ONDC network.
  • The ONDC model is trying to replicate the success of the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) in the field of digital payments.
  • UPI allows people to send or receive money irrespective of the payment platforms they are registered on.
  • The open network concept also extends beyond the retail sector, to any digital commerce domains including wholesale, mobility, food delivery, logistics, travel, urban services, etc.
The main aims of ONDC are to:
  • Promote open-source methodology, using open specifications and
  • Promote open network protocols independent of any specific platform
  • Digitise value chains,
  • Promote inclusion of suppliers,
  • Standardize operations,
  • Derive efficiencies in logistics
  • Enhance value for consumers.


  • Currently, a buyer needs to go to Amazon, for example, to buy a product from a seller on Amazon.
  • Under ONDC, it is envisaged that a buyer registered on one participating e-commerce site (for example, Amazon) may purchase goods from a seller on another participating e-commerce site (for example, Flipkart).

What led to formation of ONDC?

  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), under Ministry of Commerce and Industries, conducted an outreach during the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic to understand its impact on small sellers and hyperlocal supply chain functioning.
  • Post which, it found that there is a huge disconnect between the scale of online demand and the ability of the local retail ecosystem to participate.
  • Following this, consultations were held with multiple ministries and industry experts and “ONDC was envisioned to revolutionise digital commerce in India,” as per the strategy paper.

What are the likely benefits of ONDC?

  • The ONDC will standardise operations like cataloguing, inventory management, order management and order fulfilment, hence making it simpler and easier for small businesses to be discoverable over network and conduct business.
  • However, experts have pointed out some likely potential issues such as getting enough number of e-commerce platforms to sign up, along with issues related to customer service and payment integration.

-Source: Indian Express

Global Depository Receipts


Tata Consumer Products recently said that it will delist its global depository receipts (GDRs) from the London Stock Exchange and Luxembourg Stock Exchange.


GS III: Indian Economy

About Global Depository Receipts

Global Depository Receipts (GDRs) are foreign currency-denominated financial instruments issued by a depositary bank, allowing investors to hold shares of foreign companies. Here are the key points about GDRs:

  • Structure: GDRs are certificates issued by a depository bank, which purchases shares of a foreign company and holds them in an account. Investors hold GDRs, representing ownership of the underlying shares.
  • Capital raising: GDRs are commonly used by companies to raise capital from international investors through public stock offerings or private placements. Indian companies can use GDRs to get their shares listed on foreign exchanges.
  • Access to foreign funds: GDRs provide Indian companies with the opportunity to access foreign funds and tap into international capital markets. The depository bank acts as the custodian of the shares issued by the Indian company.
  • Conversion and trading: The depository bank can convert GDRs into shares and trade them on domestic stock exchanges. GDRs are denominated in foreign currencies, while the underlying shares are denominated in the local currency of the deposit receipt issuer.
  • Value: The value of a GDR is directly linked to the value of the underlying share. Changes in the share price affect the value of the GDR.
  • Currency flexibility: GDRs can be denominated in multiple forms of freely convertible currency, allowing for wider participation from investors around the world.
  • Eligibility: Companies must have a three-year sound financial record to be eligible for GDR issuance. They need to obtain clearance from the Ministry of Finance and Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) in India.

-Source: The Hindu

Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve


After a gap of six years, the Tamil Nadu Forest department recently commenced a three-day long elephant census at Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve.


GS III: Environment and Ecology

About Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve:

Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve is a significant wildlife reserve located in Tamil Nadu, India. Here are some key details about the reserve:

  • Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve is situated in the Erode District of Tamil Nadu, at the junction of the Eastern and Western Ghats.
  • It is part of the larger Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve, and its area is contiguous with Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Bandipur Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, and BR Tiger Reserve and Wildlife Sanctuary in Karnataka.
  • Collectively, these reserves form the Nilgiris biosphere landscape, which has the highest tiger population in the world, with over 280 tigers.
  • The reserve features hilly and undulated terrain, with elevations ranging from 750m to 1649m above sea level.
  • Vegetation:
  • The vegetation in Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve includes southern tropical dry thorn forests, mixed deciduous forests, semi-evergreen forests, and Riparian forests.
  • It is characterized by a diverse range of trees and shrubs, such as Albizzia amara, Chloroxylon swietenia, Gyrocarpus jacquini, Neem, Tamarind, Sandalwood, Randia dumetorum, Zizyphus, and various other associated species.
  • The reserve is home to a rich variety of wildlife species, including elephants, tigers, panthers, sloth bears, gaurs (Indian bison), blackbucks, spotted deer, wild boars, black-naped hares, common langurs, Nilgiri langurs, striped-neck mongooses, and bonnet macaques.
  • These diverse animal species contribute to the biodiversity and ecological significance of the reserve.

Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve serves as a crucial habitat for various wildlife species, particularly the endangered tiger population. Its location at the convergence of two major mountain ranges and its diverse vegetation make it an important conservation area within the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve.

-Source: The Hindu


December 2023