Factly articles for November 7, 2020

Pandemic has worsened gender inequality in India, says Oxfam

News: Oxfam has released a report titled “India Inequality Report 2020 — On Women’s Back”.


  • About the report: The report is based on data and responses collected from urban and rural women in New Delhi and Rajasthan in the past year.

Key Takeaways:

  • Covid-19 induced inequality: The onset of the covid-19 pandemic may have worsened inequality between men and women in terms of income and time in India given their roles in society as “breadwinner men” and “caregiver women.”
  • Unpaid Work: Women and Girls in India put in 3.26 billion hours of unpaid care work each and every day.It is equivalent to the contribution of ₹19 lakh crore (trillion) a year to the Indian economy.
  • Women’s Contribution to GDP: In India, women’s contribution to the GDP is one of the lowest in the world at 17%.On the Other hand, in China women’s work contributes to 41% of the GDP.


  • Provide public amenities and services for women to realize their rights to rest, leisure and equal participation in the labour market.
  • Offer decent local employment, better working conditions and fair pay for women and men.
  • Initiate gender sensitization and behaviour-change strategies in schools and colleges, specifically messaging of redistribution of care work.
  • Run public campaigns on progressive models of masculinity and femininity, based on de-gendered labour within and outside the household.

Fast radio bursts detected in the Milky Way for the first time

News: Intense pulses of radio waves known as fast radio bursts (FRB) have been found in the Milky Way for the first time.


  • What are Fast Radio Bursts(FRB): These are bright bursts of radio waves (radio waves can be produced by astronomical objects with changing magnetic fields) whose durations lie in the millisecond-scale, because of which it is difficult to detect them and determine their position in the sky.
  • Who discovered it? It was detected by several satellites including NASA’s Wind mission and Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME), a radio telescope located in British Columbia.
  • Source of FRBs: The study has suggested that magnetars could be the source of some fast radio bursts(FRBs).
  • Significance: The FRB was the closest signal ever recorded near the Earth.It was also 3,000 times brighter than any other magnetar radio signal detected till now.

Additional Facts:

  • Magnetar: It is a type of neutron star.The magnetic field of such a star is very powerful, which can be over 10 trillion times stronger than a refrigerator magnet and up to a thousand times stronger than a typical neutron star’s.
  • Neutron: Neutron stars are formed when the core of a massive star undergoes gravitational collapse when it reaches the end of its life.

Brown carbon ‘tarballs’ found in Himalayan atmosphere

News: Study has found that nearly 28% of particles collected from the air samples from a research station in the Himalaya-Tibetan Plateau were tarballs.


  • Tarballs: They are small light-absorbing, carbonaceous particles formed from Brown Carbon due to burning of biomass or fossil fuels that deposit on snow and ice.
  • Where did Tarballs come from? The study has indicated that the tarballs were emitted from biomass burning in the Indo-Gangetic Plain.
  • Concerns: The percentage of the tarballs increased on days of higher levels of pollution and could contribute to hastening of glacial melt and global warming.

Additional Facts:

  • Brown Carbon: It is the brown smoke released by the combustion of organic matter.It coexists with black carbon when released in the atmosphere.
  • Black carbon: It is formed through the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, biofuel and biomass.

Vice President launches ‘International Satavadhanam’ event

News:During the International ‘Satavadhanam’ program, the Vice President has observed that ‘avadhanam’ as a literary feat has greatly contributed to the Telugu language’s glorious tradition.


  • Avadhānaṃ: It is a literary performance popular from the very ancient days in India.
  • Origin: It originated as a Sanskrit literary process and is revived by poets in Telugu and Kannada in modern times.
  • Features: It involves solving tricky literary posers, improvising poems and tests a person’s capability of performing such multiple tasks simultaneously.


4th High-Level Meeting of the OPEC-India Dialogue

News: The OPEC Secretariat hosted the 4th High-Level Meeting of the OPEC-India Dialogue via videoconference.


  • Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries(OPEC): It is a permanent, intergovernmental Organization created at the Baghdad Conference in 1960 by Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela.
  • Aim: To manage the supply of oil in an effort to set the price of oil on the world market and to avoid fluctuations that might affect the economies of both producing and purchasing countries.
  • Members: Algeria, Angola, Congo, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela
  • Headquarters: Vienna, Austria.

Additional Facts:

  • OPEC Fund for International Development: It is a multilateral development finance institution established in 1976. Its 12 Member Countries are: Algeria, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela.

STPI invests ₹400 cr. in office, connectivity infra

News: Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) is investing up to ₹400 crore in setting up office and connectivity infrastructure across several cities offering small technology firms a ‘plug-and-play’ facility.


  • STPI: It is an Autonomous Society set up in 1991 under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
  • Aim: To encourage, promote and boost the Software Exports from India.
  • Governing Council: It is chaired by the Union Minister for Electronics & Information Technology.
  • Headquarters: New Delhi.

Additional Facts:

  • Next Generation Incubation Scheme(NGIS): It is STPI’s incubation scheme with the aim to drive the rise of India as a Software Product Nation so as to make India a global player in development, production and supply of Innovative, Efficient and Secure Software Products.
  • Chunauti: It is an online Challenge under NGIS to find the products & solutions to address the issues/challenges faced during and post pandemic situation.


Indian teens rank low on BMI, among shortest

News: A Study published in The Lancet has provided new estimates for height and Body Mass Index(BMI) trends in 2019 across 200 countries after analysing data from 2,181 studies.


  • Body Mass Index(BMI):It is measured as the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in metres.The normal BMI ranges between 20 and 25.
  • India’s Rank in BMI:
    • The study has ranked India at the 196th spot.India’s 19-year-old boys and girls have a BMI of 20.1.
    • Comparatively, China ranks 88 with its boys having a BMI of 23 and 119 for its girls at 22.2.
  • Height: Indian teens are among the shortest in the world.India’s boys ranked 180th with an average height of 5.46 feet while girls ranked 182nd with an average height of 5.06 feet.
  • Analysis of India’s Situation:
    • In developing countries like India, there is a dual burden of overnutrition as well as undernutrition.
    • However, the prevalence of overweight and obesity among adolescents of both Indian girls and boys is lower when compared to children of developed nations.
  • Suggestions:
    • There is a need for regular diet and nutrition surveys in India to avert the increase of overweight and obesity among children and adolescents.

Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance,2020

News: President of India has promulgated the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2020 to further amend Arbitration and Conciliation Act.


  • Aim: To ensure that all the stakeholders get an opportunity to seek unconditional stay of enforcement of arbitral awards where the underlying arbitration agreement or contract is induced by fraud or corruption.

Key amendments:

  • Amendment to Section 36: If the arbitration award is being given on the basis of an agreement based on fraud or corruption, then the court will not impose a condition to stay the award and grant an unconditional stay during the pendency of the appeal.
    • Till now, an arbitration award was enforceable even if an appeal was filed against it in the court.But the court could grant a stay on the award on conditions as it deemed fit.
  • Omission of Eighth Schedule: The ordinance has also deleted Eighth Schedule of the Arbitration & Conciliation Act 1996 which enables foreign practitioners to act as arbitrators in India.

Additional Facts:

  • Arbitration: It is a procedure in which the dispute is submitted to an arbitral tribunal which makes a decision on the dispute that is binding on the parties.
  • Conciliation: It is a non-binding procedure in which an impartial third party, the conciliator assists the parties to a dispute in reaching a mutually satisfactory agreed settlement of the dispute.