Polity & Governance
- Kerala High Court bans all forms of agitations in college, school campuses
- Cabinet approves surrogacy Bill
Government Schemes & Policies
- Cabinet gives clearance forTechnical Textiles Mission
Issues related to Health & Education
- Conference on Standardisation of AYUSH Terminologies concludes in Delhi
- Launch of UKIERI-UGC for Administrators in New Delhi
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Panel to study Ulsoor lake pollution
Defence & Security Issues
- EX Indradhanush – V 2020
Science & Technology
- What InSight has told us about Mars so far
- Henneguya salminicola lost aerobic respiration
- National Science Day 2020
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Polity & Governance
Kerala High Court bans all forms of agitations in college, school campuses
The Kerala High Court banned all forms of agitations by student groups in school and college campuses in the state that disrupt functioning of educational institutions.
What did the High court say?
- Court said that Educational institutions are meant for academic-related activities and not for protests and said no one has the right to violate the fundamental rights of other students.
- In 2017, the court had said if any student is found to be indulging in such activities, he would make himself liable to be expelled and/or rusticated.
Is conducting protest a fundamental right in India?
- Holding a protest rally, can be protected under Article 19 (1)(a), 19(1)(b) and 19(1)(c).
- The Supreme Court in the case Ramlila Maidan Incident vs. Home Secretary, Union Of India stated “Citizens have a fundamental right to assembly and peaceful protest which cannot be taken away by an arbitrary executive or legislative action.”
Permission that needs to be taken and limitation for protest in India
- Only states have powers to make laws relating to maintenance of public order. The permits which would be required therefore may change from state to state. There are no laws at the Union level to be complied with while holding a protest rally.
- Generally, a person needs only a Police permit and a No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the Police. The police have powers to not grant permit if it deems the rally to be against public order.
- Many states have enacted state laws giving powers to police to curb such assemblies. The provisions of various state legislations like the Delhi Police Act, Bombay Police Act, Mysore Police Act are also being used to prevent the holding of meetings and assemblies.
Section 144 of CrPC
- Section 144 of Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) gives powers to the district magistrate, sub-divisional magistrate or any other executive magistrate to issue order in urgent cases of nuisance of apprehended danger.
- This usage of 144 in many cases has been held arbitrary and has been seen as a way to stop protest rallies.
Right of Strike in India
- Right to Strike is not a fundamental right in India.
- It was only after the enactment of Industrial Disputes Act in 1947 that the right to strike was recognized under Section 22(1)(a) of the act as a statutory right.
- On the other hand, Article 19(1)(c) gives the right to form association and trade unions.
Cabinet approves surrogacy Bill
The Union Cabinet approved the Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill, 2020, allowing a willing woman to be a surrogate mother.
What is surrogacy?
- A practice where a woman gives birth to a child for an eligible couple and agrees to hand over the child after the birth to them.
Highlights of the Bill
- Allows any “willing” woman to be a surrogate mother and proposes that widows and divorced women can also benefit from its provisions, besides infertile Indian couples.
- Proposes to regulate surrogacy by establishing National Surrogacy Board at the central level and, State Surrogacy Board and appropriate authorities in states and Union Territories respectively.
- The proposed insurance cover for surrogate mother has now been increased to 36 months from 16 months provided in the earlier version.
- It prohibits commercial surrogacy, but allows altruistic surrogacy.
- Allows ethical surrogacy to lndian married couples, Indian-origin married couples and Indian single woman (only widow or divorcee between the age of 35 and 45 years) on fulfilment of certain conditions.
Eligibility criteria for surrogate mother:
To obtain a certificate of eligibility from the appropriate authority, the surrogate mother has to be:
- A close relative of the intending couple.
- A married woman having a child of her own.
- 25 to 35 years old.
- A surrogate only once in her lifetime.
- Possess a certificate of medical and psychological fitness for surrogacy.
- The surrogate mother cannot provide her own gametes for surrogacy.
Surrogacy in India
- Altruistic surrogacy involves no monetary compensation to the surrogate mother other than the medical expenses and insurance coverage during the pregnancy.
- Commercial surrogacy includes surrogacy or its related procedures undertaken for a monetary benefit or reward (in cash or kind) exceeding the basic medical expenses and insurance coverage.
- The 228th report of the Law Commission of India has recommended for prohibiting commercial surrogacy and allowing ethical altruistic surrogacy by enacting a suitable legislation
For more information, refer to IASTopper’s Editorial on ‘How to make the Surrogacy Bill more inclusive?’ https://www.iastoppers.com/editorial-notes-surrogacy-bill/[Ref: The Hindu]
Government Schemes & Policies
Cabinet gives clearance for Technical Textiles Mission
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the setting up of a National Technical Textiles Mission at a total outlay of ₹1,480 Crore.
About the Mission
Objective: To position India as a global leader in technical textiles and increase the use of technical textiles in the domestic market.
Implementation: For 4 years from 2020-2021.
Components of the National Technical Textiles Mission
Component -l (Research, Innovation and Development)
- Will focus on research and development at both, fibre level and application-based in geo, agro, medical, sports and mobile textiles and development of bio-degradable technical textiles.
- Research activities will also focus on development of indigenous machinery and process equipment.
- Will have an outlay of ₹1,000 crores.
Component -II (Promotion and Market Development)
- Will be for promotion and development of market for technical textiles.
- Will aim at average growth rate of 15-20% per annum taking the level of domestic market size to 40-50 Billion USD by the year 2024.
Component – III (Export Promotion)
- Will focus on export promotion so that technical textile exports from the country reach from the ₹14,000 crore now to ₹20,000 crores by 2021-2022.
- Ensure 10% average growth every year till the Mission ends.
- An export promotion council for technical textiles will be set up.
Component- IV (Education, Training, Skill Development)
- Will promote technical education at higher engineering and technology levels related to technical textiles and its application areas.
Significance of the Mission
- The Mission will focus on usage of technical textiles in various flagship missions, including strategic sectors. The use of technical textiles in agriculture, aquaculture, dairy, poultry, etc. JalJivan Mission; Swachch Bharat Mission; Ayushman Bharat will bring an overall improvement in cost economy, water and soil conservation, better agricultural productivity and higher income to farmers per acre of land holding in addition to promotion of manufacturing and exports activities in India.
- The use of geo-textiles in highways, railways and ports will result in robust infrastructure, reduced maintenance cost and higher life cycle of the infrastructure assets.
- Promotion of innovation amongst young engineer will be taken up by the Mission; along with creation of incubation centres and promotion of ‘start-up’ and Ventures’.
- The research output will be reposited with a ‘Trust’ with the Government for easy and assessable proliferation of the knowledge.
- A sub-component of the research will focus on development of bio degradable technical textiles materials, particularly for agro-textiles, geo-textiles and medical textiles.
- It will also develop suitable equipment for environmentally sustainable disposal of used technical textiles, with emphasis on safe disposal of medical and hygiene wastes.
- There is another important sub-component in the research activity aiming at development of indigenous machineries and process equipment for technical textiles, in order to promote ‘Make In India’ and enable competitiveness of the industry by way of reduced capital costs.
Current scenario of Indian textiles segment
- Indian technical textiles segment is estimated at $16 billion which is approximately 6% of the $250 billion global technical textiles market.
- The penetration level of technical textiles in India varies between 5% and 10% against the level of 30% to 70% in developed countries.
- Indian textile industry is the 2nd largest manufacturer and exporter in the world, after China.
- The share of textile and clothing in India’s total exports stands at a significant 13 % (2017-18).
- The textile industry contributes to 7% of industry output in value terms, 2% of India’s GDP and to 15% of the country’s export earnings.
What are Technical textiles?
- Technical textiles are textiles materials manufactured primarily for technical performance and functional properties rather than aesthetic characteristics.
- Technical Textiles products are divided into 12 broad categories (Agrotech, Buildtech, Clothtech, Geotech, Hometech, Indutech, Mobiltech, Meditech, Protech, Sportstech, Oekotech, Packtech) depending upon their application areas.
Issues related to Health & Education
Conference on Standardisation of AYUSH Terminologies concludes in Delhi
ICoSDiTAUS-2020 concluded in New Delhi with adopting the “New Delhi Declaration on Collection and Classification of Traditional Medicine (TM) Diagnostic Data”.
- The 16 participating countries of this conference are Sri Lanka, Mauritius, Serbia, Curacao, Cuba, Myanmar, Equatorial Guinea, Qatar, Ghana, Bhutan, Uzbekistan, India, Switzerland, Iran, Jamaica and Japan.
- ICoSDiTAUS stands for International Conference on Standardisation of Diagnosis and Terminologies in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha Systems of Medicine.
- ICoSDiTAUS 2020 was the biggest ever such international event, jointly organized by the Ministry of AYUSH and WHO.
New Delhi declaration
- New Delhi declaration emphasised the commitment of the countries to Traditional Medicine as a significant area of health care.
International Classification of Diseases (ICD)
- ICD, under the aegis of the WHO, is the global standard for recording and reporting causes of death and morbidity.
- ICD defines the universe of diseases, disorders, injuries and other related health conditions, listed in a comprehensive, hierarchical fashion.
- It is mainly used to monitor the incidence and prevalence of diseases, determine case-mix for reimbursement and resource allocation, and keeping track of patient safety and quality guidelines.
- The first international classification edition, known as the International List of Causes of Death, was adopted by the International Statistical Institute in 1893.
Traditional Medicine (TM) Systems in ICD
- TM Conditions, which were earlier not part of ICD, have been included for the first time in 11th Revision (which is currently under implementation) of ICD.
- The inclusion of the TM Chapter in ICD-11 is a breakthrough, as it provides an instrument that will enable counting and comparing TM conditions, and offer the means for comparing research and evaluate its results.
Launch of UKIERI-UGC for Administrators in New Delhi
The Union Minister for Human Resource Development, launched ‘Higher Education Leadership Development Programme for Administrator’.
About Higher Education Leadership Development Programme for Administrator
- It is a joint initiative of University Grants Commission (UGC) and British Council under the auspices of UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI).
- It aims to deliver a leadership development programme for middle and senior level administrative functionaries in Indian Universities.
- The UGC will conduct this programme in collaboration with Advance HE (a Training provider institution based in UK).
- This programme includes workshops conducted by UK trainers, which will train about 300 academic administrators in the level of Registrar and Joint/Deputy/Assistant Registrar.
- Further, to make the programme sustainable, 30 future leadership development programme trainers from among the 300 participants will be chosen and will be given additional training to train others.
- Address the critical aspect of enhancing leadership capacity in the mid and senior level functionaries of Indian Universities.
- The programme will serve as a stimulant for the functionaries to improve their which consequently enhance the institutional profile and reputation of Universities in India.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Panel to study Ulsoor lake pollution
The southern bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the constitution of a joint committee to take samples of water from Bengaluru’s Ulsoor lake and neighbouring areas to ascertain whether the lake is being polluted due to illegal activity.
Order of NGT
- The NGT bench made a suo moto direction saying that ‘The water analysis should include not only Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) limit but also the Total Coliforms and Faecal Coliforms and also the presence of any heavy metals like Arsenic, Phosphorus, etc. which are likely to affect the human health.’
National Green Tribunal (NGT)
- NGT was established in 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act 2010.
- It aims for expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources including enforcement of any legal right relating to environment and giving relief and compensation for damages to persons and property.
- NGT is not bound by the procedure laid down under the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, but guided by principles of natural justice.
- NGT is mandated to make disposal of applications within 6 months of filing of the same.
- New Delhi is the Principal Place of Sitting of the Tribunal and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai are the other four place of sitting of the Tribunal.
- The Chairperson of the NGT is a retired Judge of the Supreme Court. Other Judicial members are retired Judges of High Courts.
- Each bench of the NGT will comprise at least one Judicial Member and one Expert Member. Expert members should have a professional qualification and a minimum of 15 years’ experience in the field of environment/forest conservation and related subjects.
Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD)
- BOD represents the amount of oxygen consumed by bacteria and other microorganisms while they decompose organic matter under aerobic (oxygen is present) conditions at a specified temperature.
- BOD indicates the amount of putrescible organic matter present in water. Therefore, a low BOD is an indicator of good quality water, while a high BOD indicates polluted water.
- Dissolved oxygen (DO) is consumed by bacteria when large amounts of organic matter from sewage or other discharges are present in the water. When the DO drops below a certain level, the life forms in that water are unable to continue at a normal rate.
- The rate of oxygen consumption is affected by a number of variables: temperature, pH, the presence of certain kinds of microorganisms, and the type of organic and inorganic material in the water.
- The high BOD results in aquatic organisms being stressed, suffocate, and die.
- Sources of BOD include topsoil, leaves and woody debris; animal manure; effluents from pulp and paper mills, wastewater treatment plants, feedlots, and food-processing plants; failing septic systems; and urban stormwater runoff.
Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD)
- COD is a measure of water and wastewater quality.
- The COD is the amount of oxygen consumed to chemically oxidize organic water contaminants to inorganic end products.
- The COD test is often used to monitor water treatment plant efficiency. This test is based on the fact that a strong oxidizing agent (e.g. potassium dichromate, potassium iodate, potassium permanganate), under acidic conditions, can fully oxidize almost any organic compound to carbon dioxide.
- The higher the chemical oxygen demand, the higher the amount of pollution in the test sample.
- Coliforms are bacteria that are always present in the feces of all warm-blooded animals and humans. They are also found in plant and soil material. They are widely distributed in nature.
- Most coliform bacteria do not cause disease. However, their presence in drinking water indicates that disease-causing organisms (pathogens) could be in the water system.
Drinking water quality indicators
Total coliform, fecal coliform, and E. coli are all indicators of drinking water quality.
- Total coliform group is a large collection of different kinds of bacteria.
- Fecal coliforms are types of total coliform that mostly exist in feces.
- E. coli is a sub-group of fecal coliform.
Defence & Security Issues
EX Indradhanush – V 2020
The Indian Air Force (IAF) and Royal Air Force (RAF) jointly commenced the fifth edition of Ex Indradhanush.
- The theme of the Exercise Indradhanush V was ‘Base Defence and Force Protection’.
About Exercise Indradhanush
- Exercise Indradhanush is a joint air force exercise conducted by the Royal Air Force of United Kingdom and the Indian Air Force.
- The exercise was started in 2006.
Science & Technology
What InSight has told us about Mars so far
Recently, NASA published a set of six papers on findings of the InSight Mission.
What is InSight?
- The Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) is the mission is a robotic lander designed to study the deep interior of the planet Mars.
- It is the first outer space robotic explorer to study in-depth the inner space of Mars: its crust, mantle, and core.
- Launched in May 2018, the InSight mission is part of NASA’s Discovery Program.
- It is being supported by a number of European partners, which include France, German and United Kingdom.
- Among its science tools are a seismometer for detecting quakes, sensors for gauging wind and air pressure, a magnetometer, and a heat flow probe designed to take the planet’s temperature.
Key findings of the Mission
Findings by the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument:
- Mars has more earth quakes than expected, but those are mild ones.
- Mars doesn’t have tectonic plates like Earth, but it does have volcanically active regions that can cause rumbles. The largest quake was just about magnitude 4.0 in size.
- Seismic waves are affected by the materials they move through. As such, they help scientists study the composition of the planet’s inner structure. Mars can help scientists better understand how all rocky planets — including Earth — first formed.
Findings of magnetometer
- Billions of years ago, Mars had a magnetic field. Although it is no longer present, it left behind what magnetised rocks that are now between 61 m to several km below ground.
- At a Martian site called Homestead hollow, the magnetic signals are 10 times stronger than what was predicted earlier.
- These magnetic signals change over time. The measurements vary by day and night; they also tend to pulse around midnight.
Findings of weather sensor wind
- Weather sensors have detected thousands of whirlwinds, which are called dust devils when they pick up grit and become visible. Whirlwinds are perfect for subsurface seismic exploration.
Core of Mars
Findings of Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment (RISE)
- An X-band radio, known as the Rotation and Interior Structure Experiment (RISE), will tell in future whether the Mar’s core is solid or liquid. A solid core would cause Mars to wobble less than a liquid one would.
Henneguya salminicola lost aerobic respiration
An international team of biologists has discovered that a tiny parasite of salmon called Henneguya salminicola has no mitochondrial genome and thus lost the ability to perform aerobic respiration.
What is Henneguya salminicola?
- Henneguya salminicola, also known as milky flesh or Tapioca disease, is a species of a parasite of certain species of salmon fish.
- Aerobic (presence of oxygen) respiration allows organisms take in oxygen and release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Through this mechanism, energy is transferred to cells, which can use it for multiple purposes — for instance, to burn food.
About the new discovery
- Researchers have discovered that Henneguya salminicola stopped the consumption of oxygen for the production of energy. In other words, it relies on anaerobic respiration (through which cells extract energy without using oxygen).
- It was found that H. salminicola did not have a mitochondrial genome. Mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell, which captures oxygen to make energy. Its absence indicates that the parasite does not breathe oxygen.
Conclusion of the study
- Other organisms such as fungi and amoebas that are found in anaerobic environments lost the ability to breathe over time. The new study shows that the same can happen in the case of animals, too.
National Science Day 2020
National Science Day (NSD) was celebrated in India on 28th February with ‘Women in science’ as the focal theme of the programme.
- On this day, several awards were also given by president of India including National Science and Technology and Communication Awards, Augmenting Writing Skills For Articulating Research (AWSAR) awards, SERB Women Excellence Awards and National Award For Young Woman Showing Excellence Through Application Of Technology For Societal Benefits.
About National Science Day
- Since 1986, National Science Day is celebrated every year on 28 February to commemorate the discovery of the ‘Raman Effect’.
- National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC), Department of Science and Technology (DST) acts as a nodal agency to coordinate celebration of the National Science Day with the Department of Science and Technology.
- National Awards for Science Popularization are presented every year on National Science Day.
- National Science Day is the only day in the year when all prominent institutes in the country are open for public.
National Awards for Science Popularization
- Raman Effect was discovered by Sir C.V. Raman for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1930.
- Raman effect is the scattering of a photon (light) by surface molecules which are excited to higher vibrational or rotational energy levels, also called Raman scattering.
- Raman noticed that when a light beam travels through a medium, the beam is deflected by the molecules of sample/surface.
- But more important he observed that a small part of the emerging light beam, after deflection by the molecules, had a different wave length from the original beam. This change in wavelength of the light beam is known as the Raman Effect.
- The science that deals with this change of frequency is referred to as Raman spectroscopy.
Raman effect application:
- Raman scanners are used by narcotics squads and airports to detect drugs.
- Raman amplification is used in optical amplifiers.
- The Raman effect is also involved in producing the appearance of the blue sky.
- For solid materials, Raman scattering is used as a tool to detect high-frequency particle excitation.
- Raman lidar is used in to measure the atmospheric extinction coefficient and the water vapour vertical distribution.
What is a wavelength?
- Wavelength is the distance between two successive crests or troughs of a wave.