1) Consider the following statements with respect to Zika Virus Disease
- It is a mosquito-borne flavivirus caused primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day.
- Symptoms are generally mild and include fever, rash, and conjunctivitis.
- Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause infants to be born with microcephaly and other congenital malformations, known as congenital Zika syndrome.
Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?
a. 3 only
b. 1 and 2 only
c. 2 and 3 only
d. 1, 2 and 3
2)Bonalu is a popular religious festival celebrated in which of the following states?
c. West Bengal
d. Himachal Pradesh
3)Naitwar Mori Hydro Electric Project is located in which of the following?
d. Arunachal Pradesh
4) Buxwaha Protected Forest Region is located in which of the following states?
a. West Bengal
d. Madhya Pradesh
Mains Question for the Day:
Democratic regimes are better suited for a balanced development of the citizens of a nation, though Non democratic regimes might be lucrative at the start they are troublesome in the long run. Discuss.
- Terrain, facilities will affect delimitation in J&K, says ECI
The Jammu and Kashmir Delimitation Commission will base its final report on the 2011 Census and will also take into account the topography, difficult terrain, means of communication and convenience available while delimiting seven additional seats for the 83 member Assembly of the Union Territory (UT), besides granting reservation to the Schedule Tribe (ST) and Schedule Caste (SC) communities.
“Delimitation is not a mathematical exercise. It must reflect the political aspirations of society bound in a particular geography.
Though the population forms the base [for delimitation], the Commission shall take into account constituencies’ practicality, geographical compatibility, topography, physical features, means of communication and convenience available.”
J&K has already seven seats reserved for SC people, mainly in the Kathua Samba belt in the Jammu region. It
will be for the first time that STs, including Bakerwals and Gujjars, will get reservation in this delimitation exercise.
2. Cooperation Ministry will usurp States’ rights: Oppn.
The government said the Ministry “will provide a separate administrative, legal and policy framework for strengthening the cooperative movement in the country” and do much to streamline the processes for “ease of doing business” and enable development of Multi State Cooperative Banks”
(MSCBs). Significantly, the MSCBs have now been solely taken under the Reserve Bank of India for regulatory purposes.
Opposition leaders, however, said the move was to “hijack the cooperative movement” that currently falls under the State governments.
Cooperatives is a State subject under entry 32 of the State list under the Schedule 7 of the Constitution.
How can they create a Ministry without an Act of Parliament?”
The government is yet to explain the purpose and objective of this Ministry. And the appointment of Mr. Shah
raises several questions as it encroaches on a State’s power.
3. Crime and Criminal Tracking Network and Systems (CCTNS)
CCTNS aims at creating a comprehensive and integrated system for enhancing the efficiency and effective policing at all levels and especially at the Police Station level.
It aism at adoption of principles of e-Governance, and creation of a nationwide networked infrastructure for evolution of IT-enabled state of- the-art tracking system around “investigation of crime and detection of criminals” in real time.
It is is a critical requirement in the context of the present day internal security scenario.
The scope of CCTNS spans all 35 States and Union Territories and covers all Police Stations (15,000+ in number) and all Higher Police Offices (6,000+ in number) in the country.
The CCTNS project includes vertical connectivity of police units (linking police units at various levels within the States – police stations, district police offices, state headquarters, SCRB and other police formations – and States, through state headquarters and SCRB, to NCRB at GOI level) as well as horizontal connectivity, linking police functions at State and Central level to external entities.
National Intelligence Grid (NATGRID)
First conceptualised in 2009, NATGRID seeks to become the one-stop destination for security and intelligence agencies to access database related to immigration entry and exit, banking and telephone details of a suspect on a “secured platform”.
All State police are mandated to file First Information Reports (FIR) in the CCTNS.
It is only a repository and the data pertaining to FIRs of a particular police station are a State subject.
4)Agriculture Infrastructure Fund (AIF) Schemes
It is a Central Sector Scheme meant for setting up storage and processing facilities, which will help farmers, get higher prices for their crops.
The Union Cabinet approved this scheme in July 2020 for a period of 10 years.
It will support farmers, PACS, FPOs, Agri-entrepreneurs, etc. in building community farming assets and post-harvest agriculture infrastructure.
These assets will enable farmers to get greater value for their produce as they will be able to store and sell at higher prices, reduce wastage and increase processing and value addition.
The AIF is a medium – long term debt financing facility for investment in viable projects for post-harvest management infrastructure and community farming assets through interest subvention and credit guarantee.
Under the scheme, Rs. 1 Lakh Crore will be provided by banks and financial institutions as loans with an interest subvention of 3% per annum.
It will provide credit guarantee coverage under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) for loans up to Rs. 2 Crore.
5) Free legal aid in India
Article 21 of the Constitution of India states, “No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law”.
Hence ensuring legal aid to everyone is necessary for ensuring substantive equality.
Article 39A of the Constitution of India provides for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society, to promote justice on the basis of equal opportunity.
Articles 14 and 22(1) also make it obligatory for the State to ensure equality before the law and a legal system that promotes justice on a basis of equal opportunity to all.
6)NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has detected an unusually high concentration of methane, along with carbon dioxide and dihydrogen, in the moons of Saturn by flying through their plumes.
What is the new observation?
The spacecraft has found that Titan has methane in its atmosphere and Enceladus has a liquid ocean with erupting plumes of gas and water.
Are there methane-producing organisms on Earth?
Most of the methane on Earth has a biological origin.
Microorganisms called methanogens are capable of generating methane as a metabolic byproduct.
They do not require oxygen to live and are widely distributed in nature.
They are found in swamps, dead organic matter, and even in the human gut.
They are known to survive in high temperatures and simulation studies have shown that they can live in Martian conditions.
Methanogens have been widely studied to understand if they can be a contributor to global warming.
Could there be methanogens on Enceladus?
We cannot conclude that life exists in the Enceladus ocean.
It is the probability that Enceladus’ hydrothermal vents could be habitable to Earth-like microorganisms.
There can be life hypotheses.
The Cassini–Huygens space-research mission, commonly called Cassini, involved a collaboration among NASA, the European Space Agency, and the Italian Space Agency to send a space probe to study the planet Saturn and its system, including its rings and natural satellites.
7) ‘NGT bench in Delhi not superior to zonal benches’
Observing that all five zonal Benches of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) are equally powerful and that their orders would be applicable pan India, the Madras High Court has disapproved of a 2017 Central notification which terms the north zone Bench in Delhi as the principal Bench.
The court said that “Though in the notification dated August 10, 2017 the north zone Bench in Delhi is called principal Bench, it is prima facie contrary to the NGT Act of 2010 as the latter does not speak about any principal Bench.”
8) Graded response plan approved :- A Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) was passed at aDelhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) meeting chaired by Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal to discuss the COVID situation in the Capital with Chief Minister.
What is the plan :-
9) Himalayan yaks to be insured
The high altitude yak, feeling the climate change heat across the Himalayan belt, will now be insured.
The National Research Centre on Yak (NRCY) at Dirang in West Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh, has tied up with the National Insurance Company Ltd. for insuring their livestock. The insurance policy would shield the yak owners against the risks posed by weather calamities, diseases, intransit mishaps, surgical operations and strikes or riots.
10) All about BSE
Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE)
- BSE is the oldest stock exchange in Asia formed by eight native stock brokers association in 1875 located at Dala street, Mumbai.
- It had received temporary approval from Bombay government in 1927 and permanent approval by Indian Government on 31 Aug 1957.
- Today it is 10th largest stock market in the world by market capitalization at $1.7 trillion and has more than 5,000 companies listed in it.
- Its iconic building named Phiroze Jeejeebhoy Towers, Dalal Street in Mumbai, Maharashtra has received image trademark under Trade Marks Act, 1999.
Why in News?
Leading stock exchange BSE has acted as a catalyst for investments and helped in the creation of $3 trillion wealth since it was set up in 1875.
Editorial of the Day
In defence of India’s noisy democracy
Relevance: The article compares the much talked about Chinese authoritarian model with India’s democratic model of governance.
Synopsis: Rather than looking into China’s authoritarian model, it is time to defend the noise of Indian democracy.
- China’s development over the last century has been impressive. Hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty and also social indicators have improved dramatically.
- Whereas, India’s developmental record has been much more mixed. Since the 1990s, the Indian economy has grown impressively, but it remains far behind China in its global competitiveness.
- Moreover, improvements in basic social development indicators have lagged. Recently, Jean Drèze and Amartya Sen have pointed out that India has actually fallen behind Bangladesh and Pakistan.
- Many educated Indians think India’s problem is that it is just too democratic. Unlike China, making and implementing key decisions about public investment and various reforms is problematic and challenging in a democratic setup.
- However, the claim that less democracy is good for development does not stand up to comparative, theoretical, and ethical scrutiny.
Why democratic regimes are better than non-democratic regimes?
- One, Authoritarian states barring China have not performed better than democracies.
- Africa and West Asia, where authoritarian governments have dominated, remain world economic laggards.
- Similarly, the Latin American military dictatorships of the 1960s and 1970s had a terrible economic and social record. It was with the return of democracy and the “pink wave” of Left populist parties that prosperity and social progress were ushered in.
- In Taiwan and South Korea, their transitions to democracy saw their economies moving up to the next level and become much more inclusive.
- Two, examples from Indian states such as Kerala and Tamil Nadu suggest that democracies nourish inclusive society.
- Kerala and Tamil Nadu have done more to improve the lives of all their citizens across castes and classes than any other State in India.
- Both states have also had the longest and most sustained popular democratic movements and intense party competition in the country.
- In contrast, in Gujarat, where a single-party rule has been in place for nearly a quarter century, growth has been solid. But it is accompanied by increased social exclusion and stagnation in educational achievement and poverty reduction.
- Third, the assumption that the authoritarianism model of decision-making can rise above the challenges in a democratic setup is false.
- Democracies are in fact more likely to meet the necessary conditions for successful decision-making.
- Because, elected representatives, need to answer to a broad electorate if, they want to win elections.
- Fourth, democracy allows for forms of negotiation and compromise that can bridge across interests and even balance otherwise conflicting imperatives for growth, justice, sustainability, and social inclusion.
- The Welfare policies such as National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, the Right To Information, the right to food, and other programs are a testament to how democracy can master even the most complex policy goals.
- Fifth, democracy promotes equality by endowing all citizens with the same civic, political and social rights even as it protects and nurtures individuality and difference.
- Whereas in China (authoritarian state) the cost of development is huge.
- The party-made great famine took some 35 million lives.
- Cultural Revolution has made enemies out of neighbors
- One child policy devastated families and erased a generation.
- Ongoing violent, systematic repression of the Uyghur Muslim and Tibetan minorities
- Conversely, India’s democracy has opened social and political spaces for subordinate groups and has built a sense of shared identity and belonging in the world’s largest and most diverse society.
- It has preserved individual liberties, group identities, and religious and thought freedoms.
- Whereas in China (authoritarian state) the cost of development is huge.
Relevance: Bar Council of India is a statutory body. Keeping an eye on its functioning of national importance is important from an exam point of view.
The new Bar Council of India rules undermines the constitutional guarantees of free speech and freedom of profession guaranteed under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution. They should be duly reviewed and changed in consonance with the spirit of fair criticism in a democracy.
- On June 25, 2021, amendments to the Bar Council of India rules were announced. These rules govern the professional conduct and etiquette of advocates.
About the new rules:
- They render advocates liable for disciplinary proceedings for making derogatory statements about a court, judge, the Bar Council of India (or State Bar Councils), or its members. The consequences include suspension and disbarment.
- The amendments clarify that healthy and bona-fide criticism, made in good faith, shall not be treated as a ‘misconduct’”.
Rationale behind their introduction:
- The bar introduced the amendments as the current framework was not able to prevent the sanctity of the courts and bar council of India.
- For instance, in May 2020, some lawyers wrote an open letter urging the Supreme Court of India to intervene in the migrant crisis. Later, a former SC judge condemned SC’s inaction on the letter.
- The Bar Council of India (BCI) characterised the criticism as a sustained and synchronized attack on the SC by disgruntled members of the bar and some unhappy former judges.
- Similarly, BCI was seen criticising a live law article wherein the reputation of the Chairman of BCI was jeopardised and the use of office was portrayed in a bad light.
- The new rules will save the judiciary’s time that is spent by the institution on hearing cases related to contempt of court.
- The Court spent a significant amount of time charging individuals (including advocating Prashant Bhushan) with criminal contempt even during the pandemic.
Problems associated with new rules:
- First, it undermines basic constitutional guarantees of free speech and the freedom of profession under Article 19 of the Indian Constitution.
- Second, they perpetuate the fiction that the authority of these public institutions rests on the fragile foundation of ‘public faith’. As per this notion, the dissent would reduce the ability of powerful institutions such as courts and government bodies to carry out their duties.
- Third, it would impair the exercise of fair criticism that is essential to hold public institutions accountable.
- Fourth, the pain of the disciplinary process and the possible consequences, for the careers of advocates, would have a chilling effect.
- Chilling effect is the inhibition or discouragement of the legitimate exercise of natural and legal rights by the threat of legal sanction.
- The Bar Council of India has kept the rules on hold, pending a review by a committee comprising senior advocates, members of bar associations, and the Bar Council of India.
- The amendments also require the Chief Justice of India’s approval before coming into effect, which has not yet been obtained.
- Thus, the Chief Justice of India along with the Committee reviewing the new rules still have an opportunity to prevent a further assault on free speech by rejecting the amendments.