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Today's Headlines - 12 February 2023

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

GS Paper - 1 (Society)

Celebrated every year on 11 February, the International Day of Women and Girls in Science is observed by the United Nation to promote the full and equal access and participation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

More about the day

  1. It will be the eighth International Day of Women and Girls in Science and the theme is IDEAS (Innovate, Demonstrate, Elevate, Advance, Sustain).
  2. The aim is to build a bridge between the international community and women in science through linking their knowledge and expertise and its applications in a systematic, critical way for the 2030 agenda and its 17 global goals.
  3. This year, the focus is on the role of women and girls and science as relates to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) including— SDG 6 (clean water and sanitation)SDG 7 (affordable and clean energy)SDG 9 (industry, innovation, and infrastructure)SDG 11 (sustainable cities and communities) and SDG17 (means of implementation).
  4. This year, the aim is to connect the international community to women and girls in science, strengthening the ties between science, policy, and society for strategies oriented towards the future.
  5. The United Nations will showcase best practices, strategies, applied solutions in addressing SDGs challenges and opportunities.
  6. It will also include a science workshop for blind girls and a session from the blind fellow scientists on “Science in Braille: Making Science Accessible.” This workshop and session will be held for the first time.
  7. As per the United Nations, “gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls will make a crucial contribution not only to economic development of the world, but to progress across all the goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well.”


  1. On 14 March 2011, the Commission on the Status of Women adopted a report that aimed to encourage the participation of women and girls in education, training and science and technology; moreover, focusing on the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work.
  2. On 20 December 2013, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on science, technology and innovation for development, in which it recognised that to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls, they should have full and equal access and participation in science, technology and innovation. It is imperative for women and girls of all ages.


Lithium ‘inferred’ in J&K

GS Paper -1 (Resources)

The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has established “inferred” lithium resourcesof 5.9 million tonnes in Salal-Haimana area of Reasi District of Jammu and Kashmir. These resources have been established as part of the “Reasi Sersandu-Kherikot-Rahotkot-Darabi '' mineral block, where prospecting has been on-going since 2021-22.

More about the news:

  1. Under the United Nations Framework for Classification for Reserves and Resources of Solid Fuels and Mineral Commodities (UNFC 1997), the stage of prospecting is categorised as ‘G4’ when it entails reconnaissance surveys, a fairly advanced stage of prospecting.
  2. The finds in this case are learnt to include bauxite (the ore for aluminium) and rare earth elements, alongside lithium.

About the findings:

  1. The new find is categorised as “inferred”, one of three categories that mineral resources are subdivided into, in order of increasing geological confidence.
  2. The “inferred” mineral resource is the part of a resource for which quantity; grade and mineral content are estimated only with a low level of confidence based on information gathered from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes.
  3. They are limited or uncertain quality, and also of lower reliability from geological evidence.

4.    The lithium find in J&K, in inferred terms, is also comparatively small, considering that proven reserves in Bolivia are 21 million tonnes, 17 million tonnes in Argentina, 6.3 million tonnes in Australia, and 4.5 million tonnes in China.

Status in India:

  1. The country currently imports all its lithium needs. The domestic exploration push, which also includes exploratory work to extract lithium from the brine pools of Rajasthan and Gujarat and the mica belts of Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
  2. It comes at a time when India has stepped up its economic offensive against China — a major source of lithium-ion energy storage products being imported into the country.
  3. India is almost entirely dependent on import of these cells and the move to ink sourcing pacts for lithium is seen as another salvo in the front against imports from China, the major source of both the raw material and cells.
  4. India is seen as a late mover as it attempts to enter the lithium value chain, coming at a time when EVs are predicted to be a sector ripe for disruption.
  5. The 2023 is likely to be an inflection point for battery technology, with several potential improvements to the Li-ion technology.
  6. Over 165 crore lithium batteries are estimated to have been imported into India between FY17 and FY20 at an estimated import bill of upwards of $3.3 billion.
  7. The GSI has found lithium reserves in Jammu and Kashmir for the first time and that it has established lithium inferred resources in Salal-Haimana area of Reasi district of J&K.

Why is this significant?

  1. This is part of a concerted domestic exploration push for the alkali metal, a vital ingredient of the Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that power electric vehicles (EVs), laptops and mobile phones.
  2. The Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), an arm of the Department of Atomic Energy, had earlier conducted preliminary surveys that had shown the presence of lithium resources of 1,600 tonnes in the igneous rocks of the Marlagalla–Allapatna region of Karnataka’s Mandya district.

3.    The AMD has been carrying out exploration, both on surface and some subsurface exploration, to augment lithium resources in the potential geological domains of the country.


  1. According to the Ministry of Mines’ approved annual Field Season programme (prospecting plan), the GSI takes up different stages of mineral exploration.
  2. They are reconnaissance surveys (G4), preliminary exploration (G3), and general exploration (G2) as per the guidelines of UNFC and the Minerals (Evidence of Mineral Contents) Amendment Rules, 2021 (Amended MMDR Act 2021) for augmenting mineral resource for various mineral commodities, including lithium.
  3. Lithium can be extracted in different ways, depending on the type of the deposit, generally either through solar evaporation of large brine pools, or from hard-rock extraction of the ore.
  4. In India, there is some potential to recover lithium from brines of Sambhar and Pachpadra areas in Rajasthan, and Rann of Kutch, Gujarat.


Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy

GS Paper -2 (International Relations)

Ahead of her scheduled participation in the G20 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in March in New Delhi, Canada’s Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly made a quiet bilateral visit to the capital this week. It was to draw a line under the bitterness that has dogged their relationship over the last few years — and Canada’s freshly minted Indo-Pacific strategy.

More about the news:

  1. The Ministry of External Affairs said the two Ministers “expressed interest in deepening collaboration across domains and look forward to the Early Progress Trade Agreement (EPTA).
  2. India welcomed Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy; it shared a vision of a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific.
  3. The Canadian side discussed strengthening the economic partnership, advancing security cooperation, facilitating migration and mobility, and growing our strong people-to-people ties.
  4. They discussed furthering Canada-India cooperation in the Indo-Pacific, due to India’s growing strategic, economic, and demographic importance making it a critical partner for Canada in the Indo-Pacific.
  5. For India, Canada can be a reliable supplier of critical minerals, a strong partner in the green transition and a major investor.

Embrace of Indo-Pacific:

  1. Canada’s Indo-Pacific strategy was released last November, amid domestic and international calls for Ottawa to join the US-led alliance against China and stand for the “shared interests and values” of Western democracies.
  2. Canada, 20 percent of whose population originates in the Indo-Pacific region, is the last G7 nation to embrace the concept of the Indo-Pacific; it has been more comfortable earlier with “Asia Pacific”.
  3. From last year, a series of steps signalled a change in Canada’s China policy, including a sudden tightening of investment rules to prevent Chinese state companies from taking control of its critical minerals and mines industry.
  4. The Trudeau government suggested the basis for this decision was an assessment of threats to national security. It also banned Huawei 5G. Canada’s Parliament passed a resolution to declare China’s treatment of its Uighur minority as “genocide”.

Features of the strategy

  1. Canada’s Indo-Pacific Strategy is informed by its clear-eyed understanding of this global China, and Canada’s approach is aligned with those of our partners in the region and around the world.
  2. China remains Canada’s main export destination. So cooperation is necessary to address issues such as climate change and health and the Chinese economy “offers significant opportunities for Canadian exporters”.
  3. In short, Canada is saying it will both “unapologetically” defendits national interest and cooperate with China when required.
  4. The strategy contains a funding commitment of US $1.7 billion over five years, spread over infrastructure projects through the US-led G7 Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, US $403 million for an enhanced military presence including a third frigate in the Indian Ocean, and expanded participation in regional military exercises.

Five objectives are outlined:

  1. To promote peace, resilience and security;
  2. Expand trade, investment and supply chain resilience;
  3. Invest in and connect people;
  4. Build a sustainable and green future;
  5. Be an active and engaged partner to the Indo-Pacific;

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