(PRELIMS + MAINS FOCUS)
Part of: GS Prelims and GS- II – Health
In news According to a study conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the combination of an adenovirus vector platform-based vaccine (Covishield) followed by an inactivated whole virus vaccine (Covaxin) was safe and also elicited better immunogenicity than two doses of the same vaccine.
More about the study and its findings
- It has not yet been peer reviewed.
- To conclusively prove these findings, a multicentre Research Trial needs to be carried out because the sample size & follow up period (60-70 days) for this study was small
- The findings have an important implication for the COVID-19 vaccination programme wherein heterologous immunisation will pave the way for induction of improved and better protection against the variant strains of Covid-19.
- Such mixed regimens will also help to overcome the challenges of shortfall of particular vaccines and remove hesitancy around vaccines in people’s mind.
|Constituents and Action||
Do you know?
- Immunogenicity is the ability of a foreign substance, such as an antigen, to provoke an immune response in the body of a human or other animal.
- ICMR, New Delhi is the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination, and promotion of biomedical research. It is funded by the Government of India through Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. The Governing Body of ICMR is presided over by the Union Health Minister
News Source: TH
Part of: GS Prelims and GS I – Geography and GS – III – Climate change
In news Wildfires on the island of Evia have charred vast areas of pine forest, destroyed homes and forced tourists and locals to flee.
- Evia lies just northeast of the capital Athens.
- Euboea or Evia is the second-largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete.
- It is separated from Boeotia in mainland Greece by the narrow Euripus Strait.
- Greece and Turkey have been battling devastating fires for nearly two weeks as the region suffered its worst heatwave in decades, which experts have linked to climate change.
- It is always difficult to determine forthwith the impact of climate change on extreme weather patterns, but scientific studies indicate that extreme weather events are likely to become more frequent or more intense with rising anthropogenic climate change.
What is Heat wave?
- It is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that occurs during the summer season in the North-Western and South Central parts of India.
- Heat waves typically occur between March and June.
- Heat wave is declared under these circumstances:
- An increase of 5°C to 6°C when the normal maximum temperature is less than or equal to 40°C. An increase of 7°C or more is considered as severe heat wave condition.
- An increase of 4°C to 5°C when the normal maximum temperature of a station is more than 40°C. An increase of 6°C or more is considered as severe heat wave condition.
- If the actual maximum temperature remains 45°C or more irrespective of normal maximum temperature.
News Source: TH
Part of: Prelims and GS – II – Government policies and interventions
In news The Delhi High Court has ruled that a person interested in adopting a child was not limited by his or her religion, if adoption was sought under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.
What’s the case?
- The court was hearing a case where Christian couple had adopted a child in 2014 under the Hindu law.
- The adoptive parents had moved the court seeking directions to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) to issue a ‘No Objection Certificate’ (NOC) to enable them to take their ‘adopted child’ to the U.S.
- The CARA had submitted that the couple had not validly adopted the minor, therefore, it could not issue the NOC.
- The argument was that Christian and Muslim couples could not adopt a Hindu child under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (HAMA).
What is the Legal Framework Governing Adoption Laws in India?
- In India, adoption falls under the ambit of personal laws, and due to the incidence of diverse religions practised in our country, mainly two different laws operate.
- Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Jews are governed by the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890, as formal adoption is not allowed in these religions.
- Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, and Jains, on the other hand, follow the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act (HAMA), 1956.
- Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act also deals with adoption.
What was the judgement?
- The High Court said the personal law of the Hindus recognised adoption. “Therefore, the adoption ceremony known as ‘Datta Homam’, where the biological parents voluntarily surrender and hand over the child to the recipient, following religious ceremonies, was considered sufficient to result in a valid and legal adoption,”
- However, this right to adopt had been brought under the HAMA which laid down certain limitations on adoption.
- HAMA was applicable only to Hindus, and specifically provided that it applied to “any other person who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion”, the court clarified.
- However, Court said that a person interested in adopting a child was not limited by his or her religion, if adoption was sought under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.
- Since the child was being well taken care of by the foster parents and their family, the court said there is no cause to remove the child from their charge and custody.
- To avoid further delay in the adoption process, the High Court directed the CARA to issue the requisite NOC to the couple.
What is the procedure for adoption?
- All prospective parents irrespective of nationality have to register with the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA).
- CARA is a statutory body of the Ministry of Women and Child Development which functions as a nodal body for the adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoption.
- Then, the appropriate local authorities are called for a home study.
- Subsequently, registration with the ‘Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System’ is done.
- After registration, children are assigned by turn, and foreign couples are treated at par with Indian ones.
- Countries that are signatories to the ‘Hague Adoption Convention’ have standardised and streamlined such processes.
Do you know?
- Currently, adoption procedure involves a seal of approval by the Civil Court, which passes the final adoption order.
- The JJ Amendment Bill 2021 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.
News Source: TH
Part of: GS Prelims and GS – I – Culture and GS- III – Economy
In news Coffee producing company Tata Coffee is set to buy coffee beans grown by tribal people in Koraput district of Odisha.
- It is likely to give confidence to tribal coffee growers for continuing their beverage plantation.
Major Tribes of Koraput district
News Source: TH
(News from PIB)
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – Policies and interventions
In news The Government has decided to close down RMK as it has lost its relevance and utility in the present scenario with substantial alternative credit facilities becoming available to women through various governmental initiatives and efforts such as Jan Dhan Yojana, PM Mudra Yojana etc and also to avoid duplicacy of efforts.
- The Government had set up Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK) in 1993 as a national level autonomous body for socio-economic empowerment of women, especially those in the rural and unorganized sector, by providing them concessional, collateral free micro-credit.
- The operating model followed by RMK has been of extending loans to Intermediary Micro-Finance Organizations (IMOs) which further on lend for entrepreneurial activities of women.
- However, the Government decided to close down RMK as it has lost its relevance and utility in the present scenario with substantial alternative credit facilities becoming available to women through various governmental initiatives and efforts such as Jan Dhan Yojana, PM Mudra Yojana etc and also to avoid duplicacy of efforts.
News Source: PIB
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-2: Health & Education
In news: Ayush Minister assure all help in establishing the world’s first Bio Bank of Ayurveda at All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA)
About The All-India Institute of Ayurveda
- It has been conceived as an Apex Institute for Ayurveda.
- It aims at bringing a synergy between Traditional Wisdom of Ayurveda and Modern tools and technology.
- Established in 2015, AIIA is a public Ayurveda medicine and research institution located in New Delhi.
- It is an autonomous institute under the Ministry of AYUSH.
- The institute would offer postgraduate and doctoral courses in various disciplines of Ayurveda
- It will focus on fundamental research of Ayurveda, drug development, standardization, quality control, safety evaluation and scientific validation of Ayurvedic medicine.
- The Institute will also help in boosting medical tourism in India and showcasing strengths of Ayurveda.
News Source: PIB
Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III- Economy
In news: PM Modi will launch Ujjwala 2.0 (Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana – PMUY) by handing over LPG connections, at Mahoba Uttar Pradesh on 10th August, 2021.
The journey from Ujjwala 1.0 to Ujjwala 2.0
- It is implemented by Union Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas
- Ujjwala 1.0 was launched in 2016, during which a target was set to provide deposit-free LPG connections to 5 crore women members of BPL households.
- Subsequently, the scheme was expanded in April 2018 to include women beneficiaries from seven more categories (SC/ST, PMAY, AAY, most backward classes, tea garden, forest dwellers etc).
- EMI facilities will be given for stove and refill cost (Interest-free loan).
- The scheme is complementary to the Prime Minister’s ‘Give It Up Campaign’ through which a huge number of middle-class families have voluntarily surrendered their cooking gas subsidy.
- The target was revised to 8 Crore LPG connections and this target was achieved in August 2019, seven months ahead of the target date.
- In the Union budget for FY 21-22, provision for an additional one crore LPG connection under the PMUY scheme was announced.
- This one crore additional PMUY connections (under Ujjwala 2.0) aim to provide deposit-free LPG connections to those low-income families who could not be covered under the earlier phase of PMUY.
- Along with a deposit free LPG connection, Ujjwala 2.0 will provide first refill and hotplate (stove) free of cost to the beneficiaries.
- Also, the enrolment procedure will require minimum paperwork.
- In Ujjwala 2.0, migrants will not be required to submit ration cards or address proof.
- A self-declaration for both ‘family declaration’ and as a ‘proof of address’ will suffice. Ujjwala 2.0 will help achieve the Prime Minister’s vision of universal access to LPG.
News Source: PIB
- GS-3: Disaster and disaster management.
- GS-3: Environmental Conservation & Climate Change
Context: A study published in Nature Climate Change notes that the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is losing its stability
What is AMOC?
- The AMOC is a large system of ocean currents.
- It is the Atlantic branch of the ocean conveyor belt or Thermohaline circulation (THC), and distributes heat and nutrients throughout the world’s ocean basins.
- AMOC carries warm surface waters from the tropics towards the Northern Hemisphere, where it cools and sinks.
- It then returns to the tropics and then to the South Atlantic as a bottom current.
- From there it is distributed to all ocean basins via the Antarctic circumpolar current.
What happens if AMOC collapses?
- Gulf Stream, a part of the AMOC, is a warm current responsible for mild climate at the Eastern coast of North America as well as Europe. Without a proper AMOC and Gulf Stream, Europe will be very cold.
- Modelling studies have shown that an AMOC shutdown would cool the northern hemisphere and decrease rainfall over Europe.
- It can also have an effect on the El Nino.
- There will be sea ice increases over the Greenland-Iceland-Norwegian seas and to the south of Greenland, and a significant southward rain-belt migration over the tropical Atlantic
- Previous models overestimated the AMOC’s stability as it did not look at freshwater influence. Freshwater from melting Greenland ice sheets and the Arctic region can make circulation weaker as it is not as dense as saltwater and doesn’t sink to the bottom.
Has the AMOC weakened before?
- AMOC and Thermo-haline Circulation strength has always been fluctuating, mainly if we look at the late Pleistocene time period (last 1 million years).
- The extreme glacial stages have seen weaker circulation and slowdown in AMOC, while the glacial terminations have shown a stronger AMOC and circulation.
- But the changes we experience in the last 100-200 years are anthropogenic, and these abrupt changes are destabilising the AMOC, which could collapse the system
- In February, researchers noted that AMOC is at its weakest in over a millennium.
- The study results suggest that AMOC has been relatively stable until the late 19th century. With the end of the little ice age in about 1850, the ocean currents began to decline, with a second, more drastic decline following since the mid-20th century
Why is the AMOC slowing down?
- Climate models have long predicted that global warming can cause a weakening of the major ocean systems of the world.
- Melting of Arctic: Researchers noted that a part of the Arctic’s ice called “Last Ice Area” has melted. The freshwater from the melting ice reduces the salinity and density of the water. Now, the water is unable to sink as it used to and weakens the AMOC flow.
- Indian Ocean Warming: As the Indian Ocean warms faster and faster, it generates additional precipitation. With so much precipitation in the Indian Ocean, there will be less precipitation in the Atlantic Ocean, leading to higher salinity in the waters of the tropical portion of the Atlantic.
- This saltier water in the Atlantic, as it comes north via AMOC, will get cold much quicker than usual and sink faster.
- This would act as a jump start for AMOC, intensifying the circulation
- If other tropical oceans’ warming, especially the Pacific, catches up with the Indian Ocean, the advantage for AMOC will stop.
- If we continue to drive global warming, the Gulf Stream System will weaken further – by 34 to 45 percent by 2100 according to the latest generation of climate models
- We urgently need to reconcile our models with the presented observational evidence to assess how far or how close the AMOC really is to its critical threshold.
Connecting the dots:
- Floods in Europe
- GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors
- GS-3: Indian Economy and challenges with regard to resource mobilization
Context: The Central government is facing opposition to the Electricity Amendment Bill 2021 even before it is introduced in Parliament.
- West Bengal CM has written to PM requesting that the Bill not be brought before Parliament claiming it was “anti-people” and would promote crony capitalism.
What are the key changes in the Electricity Act that the amendment seeks to bring?
- The Amendment is bringing in provisions to de-license power distribution allowing private sector players to enter the sector and compete with state-owned power distribution companies (discoms).
- The move would allow consumers to choose between power distribution companies.
- Finance Minister had announced in the union budget that the government would bring a framework to allow consumers to choose between power distribution companies.
- Power distribution in most of the country is currently controlled by state-owned distribution companies with some cities including Delhi, Mumbai and Ahmedabad being exceptions where private players operate power distribution.
- Discoms are however struggling with high levels of losses and debt.
What is are the objections to delicensing of power distribution?
- States have highlighted concerns that allowing the entry of private players could lead to “cherry-picking”, with private players providing power to only commercial and industrial consumers and not residential and agricultural consumers.
- Tariffs for power currently vary widely in India with commercial and industrial players cross subside the power consumption of rural residential consumers and agricultural consumers by paying far higher tariffs.
- There is fear that the amendment would lead to “a concentration of private, profit-focussed utility players in the lucrative urban-industrial segments while poor and rural consumers would be left to be tended by public sector discoms.”
- This would make it difficult for existing Public sector discoms to continue to operate if all their industrial commercials are taken over by the private sector
- Also, earlier plans to introduce private sector players had also envisaged a gradual reduction in cross-subsidy levels which have not materialised.
- Other key concerns that states have raised are higher penalties for failure to meet Renewable Energy Purchase Obligations (RPOs)
- Also, States are objecting the requirement that Regional Load Dispatch Centres and State Load Dispatch Centres follow instructions by the National Load Dispatch Centre. This proposed amendment is criticised as being the spirit of federalism
- A universal service obligation in which any private player will be required to provide power supply to all consumers including residential and agricultural consumers may help address the issue of cross-subsidy
- Minimum area to be covered by private sector competitors needs to be defined in a manner to include an urban rural mix, a universal service obligation, and elements of cross-subsidy in the ceiling tariff.
Connecting the dots:
(AIR – SPOTLIGHT)
Spotlight 24 (July): AIR NEWS EXCLUSIVE- Interview with Union Steel Minister RCP Singh
- GS-2: India Economy
- GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- Context: The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021 was introduced in Lok Sabha on July 26, 2021. It amends the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
- Insolvency is a situation where individuals or companies are unable to repay their outstanding debt.
- The Bill replaces the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Ordinance, 2021, which was promulgated on April 4, 2021.
- The Code provides a time-bound process for resolving the insolvency of corporate debtors (within 330 days) called the corporate insolvency resolution process (CIRP).
- The debtor himself or its creditors may apply for initiation of CIRP in the event of a default of at least one lakh rupees.
- Under CIRP, a committee of creditors is constituted to decide on the insolvency resolution. The committee may consider a resolution plan which typically provides for the payoff of debt by merger, acquisition, or restructuring of the company.
- If a resolution plan is not approved by the committee of creditors within the specified time, the company is liquidated. During CIRP, the affairs of the company are managed by the resolution professional (RP), who is appointed to conduct CIRP.
What exactly does this amendment do?
- The Bill introduces an alternate insolvency resolution process for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), called the pre-packaged insolvency resolution process (PIRP).
- It creates a framework for small enterprises to be a part of insolvency process. The current corporate insolvency resolution process that is there for MSME is very a well worked but rather expensive and given the size and scale of MSME it’s not required hence the government has come up with the pre-packaged insolvency resolution process (PIRP).
- Application for initiating PIRP may be filed in the event of a default of at least one lakh rupees. The central government may increase the threshold of minimum default up to one crore rupees through a notification.
- PIRP may be initiated in the event of a default by a corporate debtor classified as an MSME under the MSME Development Act, 2006.
- Currently, under the 2006 Act, an enterprise with an annual turnover of up to Rs 250 crore, and investment in plant and machinery or equipment up to Rs 50 crore, is classified as an MSME.
- For initiating PIRP, the corporate debtor himself must apply to the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The authority must approve or reject the application for PIRP within 14 days of its receipt.
Rationale of the need behind the pre-packaged insolvency resolution process (PIRP)
- Unlike CIRP, PIRP may be initiated only by debtors. The debtor should have a base resolution plan in place. During PIRP, the management of the company will remain with the debtor.
- This allows faster mode of resolution from both sides (debtor and creditors). Hence it has the advantage of providing speedy resolution and not choking the capacity of the existing system.
- Unlock land labour and capital and cleaning up sheet of the books of the bank by fastening the resolution process.
- Help the MSME sector which is recovering from the pandemic shock.
How will the pre-packaged insolvency resolution process (PIRP) work?
- For applying for PIRP, the debtor must obtain approval of at least 66% of its financial creditors (in value of debt due to creditors) who are not related parties of the debtor.
- Before seeking such approval, the debtor must provide creditors with a base resolution plan (RP).
- The debtor will submit the base resolution plan to the RP within two days of the commencement of the PIRP.
- A committee of creditors will be constituted within seven days of the PIRP commencement date, which will consider the base resolution plan.
- The committee may provide the debtor with an opportunity to revise the plan. The RP may also invite resolution plans from other persons.
- Alternative resolution plans may be invited if the base plan:
- is not approved by the committee, or
- is unable to pay the debt of operational creditors (claims related to the provision of goods and services).
- A resolution plan must be approved by the committee (with at least 66% of the voting shares) within 90 days from the commencement date of PIRP.
- The resolution plan approved by the committee will be examined by the NCLT. If no resolution plan is approved by the committee, the RP may apply for the termination of PIRP.
- The authority must either approve the plan or order termination of PIRP within 30 days of receipt. Termination of PIRP will result in the liquidation of the corporate debtor.
- During PIRP, the debtor will be provided with a moratorium under which certain actions against the debtor will be prohibited. These include filing or continuation of suits, execution of court orders, or recovery of property.
- During PIRP, the board of directors or partners of the debtor will continue to manage the affairs of the debtor. However, the management of the debtor may be vested with the RP if there has been fraudulent conduct or gross mismanagement.
- At any time from the PIRP commencement date but before the approval of the resolution plan, the committee of creditors may decide (with at least 66% of the voting shares) to terminate PIRP and instead initiate CIRP.
How the IBC act has performed so far?
- Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code 2016, (IBC) in a span of four years, has turned out to be the proverbial giant in the annals of Indian corporate law.
- The legislation catapulted India in World Bank’s Doing Business rankings from a lowly 142 in 2014 to 63 in 2019.
- Jurisprudence of any legislation takes time to evolve and IBC was no exception.
- Covid-19 disrupted IBC’s stellar run as filings under IBC were suspended.
- An opportunity to reduce the backlog amidst Covid-19 was missed, which would have been possible, with better infrastructure, more members, and expeditious hearings.
Can you attempt this question now?
- Discuss the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Amendment) Bill, 2021.
(TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE)
Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)
- 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 Which of the following tribal group is Famous for their typical Dhemsa dance which is performed by the women wearing saree called Kereng?
Q.2 Which of the following Act does not deal with adoption?
- Guardians and Wards Act, 1890
- Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956.
- Juvenile Justice Act
- Both (b) and (c
Q.3 Kunduz, Sar-e-Pul and Taloqan cities, recently seen in news, are located in which of the following country?
ANSWERS FOR 7th August 2021 TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE (TYK)
On shutting down of old power plants:
On Police Brutality:
On Secure Indian Ocean: