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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 3rd August 2021

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  • August 3, 2021
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(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)


Delta and its sub lineages reduce Covaxin antibodies: ICMR study

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II -Health and GS- III – Sci and Tech

In news According to a study by scientists at the Indian Council of Medical Research-National Institute of Virology, antibodies produced in response to Covaxin were reduced when tested against the Delta variant and its sub lineages but continued to be high enough to remain protective, 

  • This demonstrates the possible role of memory cells in immune boosting with post-infection or infection after immunisation. 

What is Adaptive response?

  • When infected by a virus, non-specific immune response in the form of macrophages, neutrophils and other cells tend to prevent the virus from causing symptoms. 
  • Soon after, the body makes antibodies specific to the virus called the immunoglobulins — IgG and IgM, called the adaptive response. 
  • In addition, cellular immunity kicks in when the body makes T cells that destroy cells that have been infected by the virus. 
  • The combination of adaptive response and cellular immunity may prevent progression to severe illness or re-infection by the same virus. 
  • This process is often measured by the presence of antibodies in blood.
  • Besides T cells, people infected with coronavirus also make memory B cells, which rapidly produce antibodies when required. 
  • If they find the virus again, they remember and start to make antibodies very, very quickly.
  • Even when the antibodies were present at low levels, it was sufficient to neutralise the virus. 
  • Most convalescent plasmas obtained from individuals who recover from COVID-19 do not contain high levels of neutralizing activity yet have antibodies with potent antiviral activity were found in all these individuals.
  • Also, pre-existing memory T cells may only reduce COVID-19 severity, do not prevent infection

How the memory T cells may help reduce the severity of the disease?

  • The cross-reactive memory T cells on activation would help in the development of plasma cells, antibody production, and in the development of killer T cells that would kill virus infected cells. 
    • Cross-reactivity refers to a situation in which an antibody reacts to a substance other than its corresponding antigen
  • The latter reduces the reservoirs of infection. 
  • This would most likely reduce disease severity. 

Why do antibodies reduce over time?

  • B cells are responsible for releasing antibodies into the blood. 
  • When an infection or vaccination occurs, some of them will metamorphose into specialised antibody-production factories, known as plasma cells.
  • Antibodies are proteins, and like any other protein will be naturally broken down and removed from the body within a few months at most. 
  • For longer-term protection, we need to produce antibodies for ourselves.
  • Once the infection or vaccine has been completely removed, memory B cells no longer replenish the plasma cell population, which then declines. 

News Source: TH


Preventive detention only to forestall public disorder: SC

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II – Rights and Duties 

In news  The Supreme Court held in a judgment recently that Preventive detention could be used only to prevent public disorder.

  • It is also said that the State should not arbitrarily resort to “preventive detention” to deal with all and sundry “law and order” problems, which could be dealt with by the ordinary laws of the country.
  • Preventive detention must fall within the four corners of Article 21 (due process of law) read with Article 22 (safeguards against arbitrary arrest and detention) and the statute in question.

What is Preventive Detention?

  • It is the imprisonment of a person with the aim of preventing him from committing further offences or of maintaining public order.
  • Article 22 (3) – If a person is arrested or detained under preventive detention, then the protection against arrest and detention under Article 22 (1) and 22(2) shall not be available.
  • A detainee under preventive detention can have no right of personal liberty guaranteed by Article 19 or Article 21. 
  • To prevent reckless use of Preventive Detention, certain safeguards are provided in the constitution:
  • A person may be taken to preventive custody only for 3 months at the first instance. 
  • The detainee is entitled to know the grounds of his detention.
  • The detaining authorities must give the detainee earliest opportunities for making representation against the detention. 

News Source: TH


Zika virus

Part of: Prelims and GS -II- Health 

In news A multidisciplinary team to Maharashtra to monitor the Zika virus situation and support the State government in management of infections.

What is Zika virus? 

  • Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys. 
  • It was later identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.
  • ZVD is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes (AM), mainly Aedes aegypti.
  • This is the same mosquito that transmits dengue, chikungunya and yellow fever.
  • Transmission: From mother to fetus during pregnancy, through sexual contact, transfusion of blood and blood products, and organ transplantation.
  • Symptoms: Fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. 
  • Most people with Zika virus infection do not develop symptoms.
  • Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause infants to be born with microcephaly (smaller than normal head size) and other congenital malformations, known as congenital Zika syndrome.
  • Treatment: There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. 
  • The focus is on relieving symptoms and includes rest, rehydration and acetaminophen for fever and pain.

News Source: TH


Launch of ‘Adi-Prashikshan Portal’

Part of: GS Prelims and GS – II –  Policies and interventions

In news Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) has launched ‘Adi-Prashikshan Portal’.

  • It will act as a central repository of all training programs conducted by Ministry of Tribal Affairs and other organizations funded by the Ministry. 

About the Portal

  • It was launched for strengthening the capacities (in terms of knowledge, skills, attitude) of government functionaries, ST PRI members, Teachers, SHG women, Youth and Tribal Communities.
  • The main objective of the portal is to create an end-to-end centralized online interactive training platform on tribal development which brings together training organizers, resource persons, master trainers, trainees and training material at one place.
  • All Tribal Research Institutes including Gujarat Tribal Research & Training Society, Gandhinagar have been given training on the functionality of the portal.

News Source: PIB


Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -III – Discoms

In news The Union Cabinet has approved a Reforms-based and Results-linked, Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme recently.

About Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme

  • The Scheme seeks to improve the operational efficiencies and financial sustainability of all DISCOMs/ Power Departments excluding Private Sector DISCOMs.
  • It provides conditional financial assistance to DISCOMs for strengthening of supply infrastructure. 
  • The assistance will be  based on meeting pre-qualifying criteria as well as upon achievement of basic minimum benchmarks by the DISCOM evaluated on the basis of an agreed evaluation framework tied to financial improvements. 
  • Implementation of the Scheme would be based on the action plan worked out for each state rather than a “one-size-fits-all” approach.
  • Duration of the scheme: The Scheme would be available till the year 2025-26. 
  • Nodal agencies: REC Limited (formerly Rural Electrification Corporation Limited) and Power Finance Corporation Ltd.have been nominated as nodal agencies for facilitating implementation of the Scheme.
  • Scheme Objectives
    • Reduction of AT&C losses to pan-India levels of 12-15% by 2024-25.
    • Reduction of ACS-ARR gap to zero by 2024-25.
    • Developing Institutional Capabilities for Modern DISCOMs
    • Improvement in the quality, reliability, and affordability of power supply to consumers through a financially sustainable and operationally efficient Distribution Sector.

Other key Features of the scheme

  • The Scheme provides for annual appraisal of the DISCOM performance against predefined and agreed upon performance trajectories including AT&C losses, ACS-ARR gaps, infrastructure upgrade performance, consumer services, hours of supply, corporate governance, etc. 
  • DISCOMs have to score a minimum of 60% of marks and clear a minimum bar in respect to certain parameters to be eligible for funding against the Scheme in that year.
  • The Scheme has a major focus on improving electricity supply for the farmers and for providing daytime electricity to them through solarization of agricultural feeders. 
  • Under the scheme, works of separation of 10,000 agriculture feeders would be taken up.
  • This Scheme converges with the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha Evem Utthan Mahabhiyan (PM-KUSUM) Scheme, which aims to solarize all feeders, and provide avenues for additional income to farmers.
  • Scheme is to enable consumer empowerment by way of prepaid Smart metering to be implemented in Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) mode.
  • It is proposed to install approximately 10 crore prepaid Smart Meters by December, 2023 in the first phase. 

News Source: PIB


Ozone Levels Exceeding Permitted Levels

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -III -Pollution

In news Recently, a Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) study has found that ozone levels are exceeding the permitted levels even during winter in Delhi-NCR, making the smog more “toxic”.

  • Despite the pandemic and lockdowns, more days and locations witnessed higher and longer duration of ozone spells.
  • CSE is a public interest research and advocacy organisation based in New Delhi.

What are the key findings of the report?

  • Contrary to the notion that Ozone is a summer phenomenon, it has been found that gas has emerged as an equally strong concern during winter as well.
  • But the ‘good’ category days have fallen to 115 days in 2020, which is 24 days less than in 2019 in Delhi.
  • A location-wise analysis shows that exceeding the eight-hour average standard is quite widely distributed in the city.
  • Even smaller towns of NCR, including Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh and Bhiwani in Haryana, appeared in the top 20 list of ozone-afflicted towns and cities. South Delhi locations dominate the list with four mentions in top 10.

What is Smog?

  • Smog is air pollution that reduces visibility.
  • The term “smog” was first used in the early 1900s to describe a mix of smoke and fog.
  • The smoke usually came from burning coal. Smog is common in industrial areas, and remains a familiar sight in cities today. Today, most of the smog we see is Photochemical Smog.
    • Photochemical smog is produced when sunlight reacts with nitrogen oxides (NOx) and at least one volatile organic compound (VOC) in the atmosphere.
    • Nitrogen oxides come from car exhaust, coal power plants, and factory emissions. VOCs are released from gasoline, paints, and many cleaning solvents. When sunlight hits these chemicals, they form airborne particles and ground-level ozone – or smog.

What is Ozone?

  • Ozone (composed of three atoms of oxygen) is a gas that occurs both in the Earth’s upper atmosphere and at ground level. 
  • Ozone can be “good” or “bad” for health and the environment, depending on its location in the atmosphere.
  • The ‘good’ ozone present in the earth’s stratosphere layer protects human beings from harmful Ultraviolet (UV) radiation whereas the ground level ozone is highly reactive and can have adverse impacts on human health.
  • Ground level ozone is dangerous for those suffering from respiratory conditions and asthma.

News Source: TH


(Mains Focus)


GOVERNANCE/ SOCIETY

Topic:

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation. 
  • GS-2: Mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections. 

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021

Context: The above bill which seeks to amend the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, was passed by both Houses of Parliament.

Key Features of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children Act) 2015

  • Change in nomenclature: The Act changes the nomenclature from Juvenile to child or ‘child in conflict with law’. Also, it removes the negative connotation associated with the word “juvenile”.
  • Special Provisions for Age 16-18 years: One of the main provisions of the new Act was that juveniles charged with heinous crimes and who are between the ages of 16-18 years would be tried as adults and processed through the adult justice system. 
  • Juvenile Justice Board: The nature of the crime, and whether the juvenile should be tried as a minor or a child, was to be determined by a Juvenile Justice Board (set up in every district). Also Child Welfare Committees must be set up in every district. Both must have at least one woman member each.
  • Adoption Related Clauses: It streamlined adoption procedures for orphans, abandoned and surrendered children and the existing Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has been given the status of a statutory body to enable it to perform its function more effectively
  • Inclusion of New Offences: The Act included several new offences committed against children (like, illegal adoptions, use of child by militant groups, offences against disabled children, etc) which are not adequately covered under any other law.

Key Features of 2021 Amendment Bill

  1. Re-defines Serious offences

“serious offences” includes the offences for which the punishment 

under the Indian Penal Code or any other law for the time being in force, is, 

  • minimum imprisonment for a term more than three years and not exceeding seven years; or 
  • maximum imprisonment for a term more than seven years but no minimum imprisonment or minimum imprisonment of less than seven years is provided.

Under the 2015 Act offences committed by juveniles are categorised as heinous offences, serious offences, and petty offences

  • There was ambiguity over definition of “Serious Crime” hence the amendment tries to define it.
  • Heinous Crimes are those where maximum sentence of seven years or more, but also a minimum sentence of seven years.
  1. Classification of offences
  • Offences punishable with imprisonment of more than 7 years shall be cognizable and non-bailable. 
    • cognizable – where arrest is allowed without warrant
  • Offences punishable with imprisonment between 3-7 years shall be non-cognizable and non-bailable. Earlier, such offences are cognizable and non-bailable.
  • Offences punishable with imprisonment less than 3 years shall be non-cognizable and bailable
  1. Designated Court
  • The Bill also proposes that notwithstanding anything contained in CrPC or the POCSO Act, or the Child Rights Act, offences under the JJ Act shall be triable by the Children’s Court.
  • Presently, only such offences that are punishable with imprisonment for more than 7 years are triable by the Children’s Court. Other offences (punishable with imprisonment less than 7 years) are triable by Judicial Magistrate.
  1. Adoption
  • Currently, adoption procedure involves a seal of approval by the Civil Court, which passes the final adoption order.
  • The Bill provides that instead of the court, the District Magistrate (including Additional District Magistrate) will issue such adoption orders, both for intra-country and inter-country adoptions.
  1. Appeals
  • The bill provides that any person aggrieved by an adoption order passed by the District Magistrate may file an appeal before the Divisional Commissioner within a period of 30 days. 
  • Endeavour shall be made to dispose of such appeals within 4 weeks
  1. Additional Functions of District Magistrate (DM)
  • DM including Addition DM will monitor the functions of various agencies under JJ Act.
  • This includes the Child Welfare Committees, the Juvenile Justice Boards, the District Child Protection Units and the Special juvenile Protection Units.
  • No new children’s home can be opened without the sanction of the DM. 
  • DM is also responsible now for ensuring that child Care institutions falling in their district are following all norms and procedures (earlier the process was relaxed and lacked effective oversight)
  1. Child Welfare Committees (CWCs)
  • The Bill seeks to strengthen the CWCs by incorporating provisions relating to educational qualifications for its members and stipulating eligibility conditions for selection of the Committee

The bill provides that a person will not eligible to be a member of the CWC if he/she

  • has any record of violation of human rights or child rights,
  • has been convicted of an offence involving moral turpitude,
  • has been removed or dismissed from service of the central government, or any state government, or a government undertaking,
  • is part of the management of a child care institution in a district.

Removal of Members: The appointment of any member of the committee shall be terminated by the state government after an inquiry if they fail to attend the proceedings of the CWCs consecutively for three months without any valid reason or if they fail to attend less than three-fourths of the sittings in a year

Critical Analysis of Amendment Bill:

  • The Bill puts entire onus of children’s welfare on District Magistrates, ignoring the fact that the DMs are over-burdened authorities, with the charge of entire district and other multifarious duties. 
  • Centralizing all powers with respect to children rehabilitation in one authority (DMs) may lead to delays, and may have wider repercussions on child welfare.
  • The Grievance redressal powers under the Act have been taken away from the judiciary and have been given to the executive. It seeks to take away the role of judges who are specialized authorities in dealing with the nuances of law. This has serious implications on the doctrine of separation of powers.

Connecting the dots:

  • 2012 Gang Rape – Inflection point in fight against Women’s safety
  • Empowering the Youth
  • Skill India Mission

(AIR – SPOTLIGHT)


AIR Spotlight Discussion: Discussion on PM Mudra Yojana – A boon for entrepreneurs

General Studies 2: Schemes & Governance

Discussion on Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana – A boon for entrepreneurs

  • Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY) scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on April 8, 2015. Under this yojana, the government provides financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh to non-corporate, non-farm small/micro enterprises to promote startups. Commercial Banks, RRBs, Small Finance Banks, MFIs and NBFCs have been roped in to provide this loan facility to the right beneficiaries. 
  • Government has said that over 30 crore loans amounting to 15 lakh 97 thousand crore rupees have been sanctioned under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana since inception of the Scheme in April, 2015.

Significance and objective of mudra yojana:

  • Under the Pradhan Mantri MUDRA Yojana (PMMY), MUDRA scheme offers credit to businesses with a loan requirement of up to ₹ 10,00,000/-. The scheme aims to promote entrepreneurship among the youth, generate employment and enhance income. 
  • The yojana develop and improve entrepreneurial culture in the country by providing collateral free and cheap credit to “millions of unfunded micro units” which were otherwise struggling to establish due to lack of availability of funds. 
  • The MUDRA Yojna filled the gap of unfunding or shortage of the funds. 
  • It also boosts the morale of “first generation entrepreneurs” by providing financial assistance for setting up their businesses and expanding it further.

Advantages of mudra loan

  • Collateral-free: You do not run the risk of losing personal or business property in case you are unable to repay the loan.
  • Not expensive: The rates of interest are very reasonable – 8.40 – 12.45%. If you are a woman entrepreneur, you get the benefit of lower rates of interest.
  • Overdraft: In addition to the loan, you can avail an overdraft facility of up to ₹ 5000/-.
  • Debit card: You can apply for the MUDRA debit card that can be used at any ATM to access your loan funds.
  • Flexibility in loan tenure: You can choose to extend the tenure of the loan to 7 years or you may repay it within a shorter period.
  • Limited processing fees: The processing fees for loans is nominal. If you apply under the Shishu category, you do not have to pay any processing fees.

Rate of interest: rate of interest is bearable for people

The loan include under the MUDRA loan are ‘Shishu’, ‘Kishor’ and ‘Tarun’.

  • Shishu: For initial stages of a business or for those interested in starting a new business – for loans up to ₹ 50,000/-
  • Kishor: For those who need funds to expand their operations – for loans ranging from ₹ 50,000/- to ₹ 5,00,000/-
  • Tarun: For those who have an established business and are looking for further growth or diversification – for loans ranging from ₹ 5,00,000/- to ₹ 10,00,000/-

CONNECTING THE DOTS:

  • Discuss the significance and objectives of mudra yojana.

 (TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)

Note:

  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers.

Q.1 Aedes Mosquito species is responsible for the spread of

  1. Zika Virus
  2. Chikungunya
  3. Dengue
  4. All of the above 

Q.2 Consider the following statements regarding Preventive Detention?

  • A detainee under preventive detention can have no right of personal liberty guaranteed by Article 19 or Article 21. 
  • No safeguards are provided in the Constitution to prevent reckless use of Preventive Detention 

Select the correct statements 

  1. 1 only 
  2. 2 only 
  3. Both 1 and 2 
  4. Neither 1 nor 2 

Q.3  Revamped Distribution Sector Scheme is associated with Which of the following sector? 

  1. MSME
  2. Power Comapnies
  3. Agriculture
  4. Women working in Unorganised sector

ANSWERS FOR 2nd August 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)

1 C
2 D
3 D

Must Read

On Criminalising welfare issues:

The Hindu

On Parliamentary Standing Committees:

Indian Express

On Indo-Abrahamic accord:

Indian Express

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