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DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 8th October 2022

  • IASbaba
  • October 8, 2022
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VyomMitra

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology

Context: Vyom mitra, the humanoid designed and developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to fly aboard unmanned test missions ahead of the Gaganyaan human space-flight mission, is undergoing pre-flight ground tests at the ISRO Inertial Systems Unit (IISU) here.

About the Half-humanoid:

  • Vyommitra is a female-looking spacefaring humanoid robot being developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation to function on-board the Gaganyaan, a crewed orbital spacecraft.
  • A humanoid is basically a robot with the appearance of a human being.
  • ISRO’s Vyommitra (vyoma = space, mitra = friend) is also being called a half-humanoid since she will only have a head, two hands and a torso, and will not have lower limbs. Like any robot, a humanoid’s functions are determined by the computer systems to which it is connected.

Why is ISRO developing a humanoid?

  • ISRO plans to send a human into space for the first time by 2022.
  • It is racing against time to develop a crew module and rocket systems that will ensure the safe travel and return of the Indian astronaut.
  • Other countries that have successfully launched humans into space did so after having used animals for conducting tests of their rockets and crew recovery systems.
  • ISRO will use the humanoid to test the efficacy of its GSLV Mk III rocket to transport a human to space and back.
  • The humanoid is under development at a robotics laboratory at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre.
  • Once flown into space, ISRO’s half-humanoid will be able to test systems in the crew module meant for the survival and safe travel of the first Indian astronaut in 2022.

What are the tasks that Vyommitra will perform in space?

  • A central character in the science-fiction film Interstellar (2014), which is about space and time travel, is an artificial-intelligence -and-robotics-powered computer system called TARS, which talks to the astronauts, assists them in mission functions, and even rescues them in times of crisis.
  • TARS was not a humanoid, but a robotic system with exceptional capabilities.
  • The Vyom mitra humanoid, which will test the ground for the human spaceflight, will be a very basic version of a TARS-type, artificial-intelligence-and-robotics system.
  • The activities that Vyom mitra will be able to perform, once fully developed for the unmanned flight, will include:
    • procedures to use equipment on board the spacecraft’s crew module such as safety mechanisms and switches,
    • receiving and acting on commands sent from ground stations
    • attaining launch and orbital postures,
    • responding to the environment,
    • generating warnings,
    • replacing carbon dioxide canisters,
    • operating switches,
    • monitoring of the crew module,
    • receiving voice commands,
    • responding via speech (bilingual).
  • Vyommitra will also report back to Earth on the changes occurring in the crew module during the spaceflight and return, such as heat radiation levels, to enable ISRO to understand the safety levels required in the crew module that will eventually fly a human being.

MUST READ: ISRO’s Small Satellite Launch Vehicle

Source:   The Hindu                        

Previous Year Question

Q.1) With reference to India’s satellite launch vehicles, consider the following statements:

  1. PSLVs launch the satellites useful for Earth resources monitoring whereas GSLVs are designed mainly to launch communication satellites.
  2. Satellites launched by PSLV appear to remain permanently fixed in the same position in the sky, as viewed from a particular location on Earth.
  3. GSLV Mk III is a four-staged launch vehicle with the first and third stages using solid rocket motors; and the second and fourth stages using liquid rocket engines.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct? (2018)

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 and 3
  3. 1 and 2
  4. 3 only

Quality Council of India (QCI)

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance

Context: Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and Textiles, recently asked the Quality Council of India (QCI) to strive to bring about convergence of all the various quality and standards organizations in the country.

About Quality Council of India:

  • Quality Council of India (QCI) was established as a National body for Accreditation on recommendations of Expert Mission of EU through a Cabinet decision in 1996.
  • Accordingly, QCI was set up through a PPP(Public-Private partnership) model as an independent autonomous organization with the support of Government of India and the Indian Industry represented by the three premier industry associations:
    • Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM),
    • Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and
    • Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
  • QCI is a non-profit organization registered under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860.
  • The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry was designated as the nodal point for all matters connected with quality and QCI to structure and help implementation of the Cabinet decision.
  • QCI has been established to create a mechanism for independent third party assessment of products, services and processes.

Governance Structure of QCI:

The various bodies of QCI which makes Governance Structure are:

  • The Governing Council (GC)
  • The Governing Body (GB)
  • Finance Committee (FC)
  • Accreditation Boards (ABs) and Quality Promotion Board

Key Objectives:

  • QCI has been established to create a mechanism for independent third party assessment of products, services and processes.
  • It plays a pivotal role at the national level in propagating, adoption and adherence to quality standards in all important spheres of activities including education, healthcare, environment protection, governance, social sectors, infrastructure sector and such other areas of organized activities that have significant bearing in improving the quality of life and wellbeing of the citizens of India.

Additional Information:

Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC):

  • ONDC is in an early stage of formation that been incorporated as a Section 8 company in December 2021 with the Quality Council of India and Protean eGov Technologies Limited as initial promoters.
  • ONDC is an initiative aiming at promoting open networks for all aspects of exchange of goods and services over digital or electronic networks.
  • The foundations of ONDC are to be open protocols for all aspects in the entire chain of activities in exchange of goods and services, similar to hypertext transfer protocol for information exchange over internet, simple mail transfer protocol for exchange of emails and unified payments interface for payments.

About Food Corporation of India (FCI)

  • The Food Corporation of India was setup under the Food Corporation’s Act 1964 , in order to fulfil following objectives of the Food Policy:
    • Effective price support operations for safeguarding the interests of the farmers.
    • Distribution of foodgrains throughout the country for public distribution system.
    • Maintaining satisfactory level of operational and buffer stocks of foodgrains to ensure National Food Security
  • Since its inception, FCI has played a significant role in India’s success in transforming the crisis management oriented food security into a stable security system.

Objectives of FCI:

In its 50 years of service to the nation, FCI has played a significant role in India’s success in transforming the crisis management oriented food security into a stable security system. FCI’s Objectives are:

  • To provide farmers remunerative prices
  • To make food grains available at reasonable prices, particularly to vulnerable section of the society
  • To maintain buffer stocks as measure of Food Security
  • To intervene in market for price stabilization

Source: PIB                  


Begum Samru

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – History

Context: The Basilica of Our Lady of Graces, one of India’s minor basilicas situated in Sardhana in Uttar Pradesh, was constructed in 1822 by Begum Samru, a woman of humble origins that came to be popularly known as the only Catholic queen of India.

About Begum Samru:

  • Begum Samru (1750’s – 1836) was a Muslim who converted to Catholicism.
  • She was a nautch-girl (dancing girl) who became a warrior and an aristocrat.
  • She was a shrewd leader who was able to find a favourable position in the ever-dynamic political terrain of 18th century northern India.
  • While she had first supported the waning Mughal empire, from the 1790’s the Begum began to provide service to the rising Marathas, before joining the British to ensure that she could maintain her landholding rights if they emerged victorious.
  • It was in a kotha (household) she met Walter Reinhardt, an Austrian mercenary whom she married.

The Basilica of Our Lady of Graces:

  • It is one of the 23 minor basilicas of India, and the only one in the north, after the church was bestowed the status by Pope John XXIII in 1961.
  • The architect was an Italian engineer, Antonio Reghellini.
  • Completed in 1822, it is commonly believed that the church was built as a replica of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.
  • The structure consists of a blend of architectural styles, of Indian and Islamic features added to a European cross-plan church.
  • The church’s domes lie next to large steeples reminiscent of Islamic minarets, while the central altar contains pietra dura or parchinkari designs that are found in the Taj Mahal and Red Fort.

Source: Indian Express

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) Who among the following was associated as Secretary with Hindu Female School which later came to be known as Bethune Female School?  (2021)

  1. Annie Besant
  2. Debandranath Tagore
  3. Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar
  4. Sarojini Naidu

No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) bill

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – International Relations

Context: The No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) bill, which passed a Senate committee recently, is intended to protect U.S. consumers and businesses from engineered oil spikes.

About NOPEC bill:

  • The bipartisan NOPEC bill would tweak U.S. antitrust law to revoke the sovereign immunity that has protected OPEC+ members and their national oil companies from lawsuits.
  • If signed into law, the U.S. attorney general would gain the option to sue the oil cartel or its members, such as Saudi Arabia, in federal court.
  • It is unclear exactly how a federal court could enforce judicial antitrust decisions against a foreign nation.
  • Previous versions of the NOPEC bill have failed amid resistance by oil industry groups, including the top U.S. oil lobby group, the American Petroleum Institute (API).

Concerns about the bill:

  • One industry concern is that NOPEC legislation could ultimately lead to overproduction by OPEC, bringing prices so low that U.S. energy companies have difficulty boosting output.
  • Saudi Arabia and other OPEC countries have some of the world’s cheapest and easiest reserves to produce.
  • A wave of oil from OPEC producers, even at a time of concerns about Russian supply could chill U.S. drillers, some of which are already reluctant to boost output despite the cut.
  • Some analysts have said that NOPEC could lead to unintended blowback, including the possibility that other countries could take similar action on the United States for withholding agricultural output to support domestic farming, for example.
  • OPEC nations could also strike back in other ways.
    • In 2019, for example, Saudi Arabia threatened to sell its oil in currencies other than the dollar if Washington passed a version of the NOPEC bill.
    • Doing so would undermine the dollar’s status as the world’s main reserve currency, reduce Washington’s clout in global trade, and weaken its ability to enforce sanctions on nation-states.
  • The kingdom could also decide to buy at least some weapons from countries other than the United States, hitting a lucrative business for U.S. defense contractors.
  • The kingdom and other oil producers could limit U.S. investments in their countries or simply raise their prices for oil sold into the United States – undermining the basic aim of the bill.

MUST READ: OPEC+ Countries

Source: Indian Express


Strengthening the CSR framework

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance
  • Mains – GS 2(Governance) and GS4 (Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)

Context: Ever since the establishment of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) regime in India under Section 135 of the Companies Act 2013, CSR spending in India has risen from ₹10,065 crore in 2014-15 to ₹24,865 crore in 2020-21.

  • But there is no data to verify whether this increase is commensurate with the increase in profits of Indian and foreign (having a registered arm in India) companies.

In this regard. Let us know CSR in detail.

What is Corporate Social Responsibility?

  • CSR is a concept that suggests that it is the responsibility of the corporations operating within society to contribute towards economic, social and environmental development that creates a positive impact on society at large.
  • CSR in India is based on the Gandhian concept of Trusteeship.
  • Trusteeship Philosophy is a socio-economic philosophy propounded by Mahatma Gandhi. It provides a means by which the wealthy people would be the trustees of trusts that looked after the welfare of the people in general.

Evolution of CSR in India:

  • Companies Act, 2013 is a landmark legislation that made India the first country to mandate and quantify CSR expenditure. The inclusion of CSR is an attempt by the government to engage the businesses with inclusive growth, welfare and national development.
  • CSR also promotes responsible and sustainable business philosophy at a broad level and encourage companies to come up with innovative ideas and robust management systems.
  • Section 135(1) of the Act prescribes thresholds to identify companies which are required to constitute a CSR Committee – those, in the immediately preceding financial year of which:
    • Net worth is Rs 500 Crore or more or
    • Turnover is Rs 1000 Crore or more or
    • Net profit amounts to Rs 5 Crore or more
  • As per the Companies (Amendment) Act, 2019,CSR is applicable to companies before completion of 3 financial years.
  • Companies are required to spend, in every financial year, at least 2% of their average net profits generated during the 3 immediately preceding financial years.
  • For companies that have not completed 3 financial years, average net profits generated in the preceding financial years shall be factored in.
  • The CSR activities in India should not be undertaken in the normal course of business and must be with respect to any of the 17 activities of CSR mentioned in Schedule VII of the act.

Evaluation of the working of CSR law in India:

  • If a company spends an amount in excess of the minimum 2%, as stipulated, the excess amount is liable to be set off against spending in the succeeding three financial years.
  • The latter proviso in the Act weakens the former provision since the requirement of 2% is only a minimum requirement. Ideally, companies should be encouraged to spend more than this.
  • Besides, many private companies have registered their own foundations/trusts to which they transfer the statutory CSR budgets for utilisation. It is unclear if this is allowed under the Companies Act/CSR rules.

Geographical bias of CSR:

  • Section 135(5) of the Act says that the company should give preference to local areas/areas around it where it operates. However, this creates regional disparity.
    • For example, a report by Ashoka University’s Centre for Social Impact and Philanthropy says that more than half of India’s CSR companies are concentrated in 4 states Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Gujarat while populous Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh receive little.
  • An analysis of CSR spending (2014-18) reveals that while most CSR spending is in education, health and sanitation, only 9% was spent on the environment even as extractive industries such as mining function in an environmentally detrimental manner in several States.

Monitoring of CSR:

  • Under the existing regulation, monitoring is by a board-led, disclosure-based regime, with companies reporting their CSR spends annually to the Corporate Affairs Ministry (MCA) through filing of an annual report. It is not known if there is a review of these reports and companies taken to task.
  • The Standing Committee on Finance had also observed that the information regarding CSR spending by companies is insufficient and difficult to access.

Recommendations by the high-level committee on CSR (2018):

These should be incorporated in the current CSR framework to improve the existing monitoring and evaluation regime, including measures on:

  • Strengthening the reporting mechanisms with enhanced disclosures concerning selection of projects, locations, implementing agencies etc.
  • Bringing CSR within the purview of statutory financial audit with details of CSR expenditure included in the financial statement of a company
  • Mandatory independent third-party impact assessment audits.
  • CSR non-spend, underspend, and overspend should be qualified by the auditor in the audit report as a qualification to accounts, and not just as a note to accounts.

Way forward:

  • There is a need to curate a national-level platform centralised by the MCA where all States could list their potential CSR-admissible projects so that companies can assess where their CSR funds would be most impactful across India with preferential treatment to areas where they operate.
  • Invest India’s ‘Corporate Social Responsibility Projects Repository’ on the India Investment Grid (IIG) can serve as a guide for such efforts.
    • This model would be very useful for supporting deserving projects in the aspirational districts and projects identified by MPs under the Government’s Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana.
  • Companies need to prioritise environment restoration in the area where they operate, earmarking at least 25% for environment regeneration.
  • All CSR projects should be selected and implemented with the active involvement of communities, district administration and public representatives.
  • The MCA and the line departments need to exercise greater direct monitoring and supervision over CSR spend by companies through the line ministries (for public sector undertakings) and other industry associations (for non-public units) instead of merely hosting all information on the Ministry’s website.

The revamped CSR framework in India incorporating above recommendations would usher in a true trusteeship model.

Source:  The Hindu


Moonlighting

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Economy
  • Mains – GS 3 (Economy)

Context: Moonlighting has been a controversial topic in recent months after a few companies sacked their employees citing it as a reason.

What is Moonlighting?

  • Moonlighting — or employees working for remuneration with entities other than their employers.
  • Moonlighting is neither new nor unusual.
  • The practice has been around for a while with scores of professionals such as doctors, teachers, and consultants, routinely doing so for years.

Reasons for surge in Moonlighting in recent years:

  • Upcoming work structure:
    • In the last few years, the prevalence of remote working, and hybrid work structures made it more mainstream in certain industries.
  • Pandemic changing the work dynamic:
    • During the pandemic, those with desk jobs had more time on their hands and thus it was easier to take on a few projects outside of work.
    • A private study said that at least 60% of 400 employees surveyed said they themselves had or knew someone who had engaged in moonlighting.
  • The superfluous employers:
    • The dispensable attitude that many employers demonstrated during COVID-19 has led to an erosion of job loyalty among employees.
    • Now more than ever, people are aware that organisations can give up on them, and that they must safeguard their own interests.
  • Skill enhancement:
    • For a lot of professionals, moonlighting has also become a way to upskill, learn new things, and ensure they don’t become redundant in their careers.

Indian companies reacting to moonlighting:

  • Wipro sacked 300 employees following the discovery that they were working for rival firms on the side, leading to a conflict of interest.
  • Infosys has warned staff against moonlighting, saying it could lead to termination.
  • On the contrary, a few other companies like for example Swiggy announced a ‘moonlighting policy’ that allows employees “to pursue their passion for economic interests alongside their full-time employment.”

Associated Issues:

  • Moonlighting in turn has raised larger questions about issues related to job loyalty, employee satisfaction, employer-employee dynamics, and the future of work in a post-pandemic world.

Legalities concerning Moonlighting

  • Statute:
    • Moonlighting is not defined in any of the statutes in India.
    • However, there are enactments that deal with double employment.
    • Factories Act on double employment:
    • Factories Act deals with restriction on double employment stating that “No adult worker shall be required or allowed to work in any factory on any day on which he has already been working in any other factory, save in such circumstances as may be prescribed”.
  • However, this enactment is applicable only to employees working in factories.

Court judgments:

  • Moonlighting is subject to the law of the land.
  • The sphere of employment cannot be extended by the employer beyond working hours and outside his place of employment, which is the principle laid down in the Supreme Court judgment.
    • In other words, the employee can choose to arrange his affairs as he pleases beyond the working hours of the employer.
  • Punitive action against moonlighting:
  • Unless an employer is able to prove that an employee acted against the interest of the company, Courts may not uphold severe punishment of termination of employment.

Way Forward:

The court jurisdiction:

  • The Courts of law in India dealing with employment are Writ Courts and Labour Courts.
  • These Courts exercise jurisdiction based on equity or fairness.
  • The Courts may lean in favour of the employee unless the contravention of the employee has led to serious prejudice and loss to the employer.

For employers:

  • Eventually, organisations need to understand that they don’t own all of their employees’ time, nor should they expect to.
  • What they pay for are fixed work hours defined by targets, set out in contracts.

Call for side gig:

  • Delineating clearly between side gigs for gainful employment versus projects that require data confidentiality, an ethical moonlighting policy could be an effective way for both employees and employers to meet midway.

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) In India, which one of the following compiles information on industrial disputes, closures, retrenchments and lay-offs in factories employing workers? (2022)

  1. Central Statistics Office
  2. Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade
  3. Labour Bureau
  4. National Technical Manpower Information System

Liquid Water on Mars

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Science and Technology
  • Mains – GS 3 (Science and Technology)

Context: A team of researchers has found new evidence for the possible existence of liquid water beneath the south polar ice cap of Mars.

Background:

  • The study published in the journal Nature Astronomy is the first independent evidence of liquid water beneath Mars’ South Pole using data other than radar.
  • The researchers, led by the University of Cambridge, used a spacecraft laser-altimeter.
  • Measurements of the shape of the upper surface of the ice cap to identify subtle patterns in its height were carried out.
  • It showed that patterns match computer model predictions in the same way a body of water beneath the ice cap would affect the surface.
  • The results agree with earlier ice-penetrating radar measurements which predicted a potential area of liquid water beneath the ice.

Significance of the study:

  • The liquid water interpretation from the radar data alone has been subjected to debates as some studies suggest the radar signal is not due to liquid water.
  • This study is the best indication that there is liquid water on Mars today.
  • There is evidence which suggests the existence of subglacial lakes on Mars like the Earth.

Does life exist on Mars?

  • Liquid water is said to be found on Mars which is an essential ingredient for life but still there is no evidence of existence of life on Mars.
  • In order to be liquid at such low cold temperatures of Mars the water beneath the South Pole might need to be really salty.
  • This would make it difficult for any microbial life to inhabit it.
  • However, the existence of water on Mars gives hope that there were more habitable environments in the past when the climate was less unforgiving.

Exploring water on the Mars’s surface:

Ice is present on the Mars-

  • Like the Earth, Mars has thick water ice caps at both poles whose combined volume can be equated to the Greenland Ice Sheet.
  • Earth’s ice sheets which are underlain by water-filled channels and even large subglacial lake
  • The polar ice caps on Mars have been thought to be frozen solid all the way to their beds due to the cold Martian climate.

Technological constraints-

  • European Space Agency’s Mars Express satellite in 2018 revealed an area at the base of the ice that strongly reflected the radar signal which was interpreted as an area of liquid water beneath the ice cap.
    • The Mars Express satellite has an ice-penetrating radar called MARSIS, which can see through Mars’ southern ice cap.
    • Other studies suggested dry materials which exist on Mars, could produce similar patterns of reflectance if they exist beneath the ice cap.

Geothermal heat source will aid existence of water-

  • Mars has a very cold climate, thus liquid water beneath the ice cap would require an additional heat source, such as geothermal heat from within the planet.
  • The combination of the new topographic evidence, modal results and the radar data make it look at least one area of subglacial liquid water exists on Mars today
  • Mars must still be geothermally active in order to keep the water beneath the ice cap liquid.

Shape of ice sheets is crucial-

  • On Earth, subglacial lakes affect the shape of the surface topography of the overlying ice sheets.
  • The water in subglacial lakes lowers friction between the ice sheet and its bed, affecting the velocity of ice flow under gravity.
  • This in turn affects the shape of the ice sheet surface above the lake, often creating a depression in the ice surface followed by a raised area further down-flow.

Research methodology

  • Researchers used a range of techniques to examine data from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor satellite of the surface topography of the part of Mars’ south polar ice cap where the radar signal was identified.
  • Analysis revealed a 10-15-kilometre-long surface undulation comprising a depression and a corresponding raised area, which deviated from the surrounding ice surface by several meters.
    • This is similar in scale to undulations over subglacial lakes here on Earth.
  • The team then tested whether the observed undulation on the surface of the ice could be explained by liquid water at the bed.
  • They ran computer model simulations of ice flow, adapted to specific conditions on Mars.
  • They then inserted a patch of reduced bed friction in the simulated ice sheet bed where water would allow the ice to slide and speed up.
  • The researchers also varied the amount of geothermal heat coming from inside the planet.

Way Forward:

  • The extensive experiments generated undulations on the simulated ice surface that were similar in size and shape to the real ice cap surface.
  • The similarity was observed between the model-produced topographic undulation and the actual spacecraft observations.
  • This with the earlier ice-penetrating radar evidence suggests that there is an accumulation of liquid water beneath Mars’ south polar ice cap
  • This magmatic activity occurred relatively recently in the subsurface of Mars to enable the enhanced geothermal heating needed to keep the water in a liquid state.

About the Red Planet:

  • Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the solar system.
  • It is half the size of Earth and is a cold desert world.
  • Mars has two small moons, Phobos and Deimos, that may be captured asteroids.
  • It’s red because of the presence of rusty iron in the ground surface thus called the red planet.
  • It is also a dynamic planet with seasons, polar ice caps, canyons, extinct volcanoes, and evidence that it was even more active in the past.
  • It has a very thin atmosphere made of carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and argon.
  • There are signs of ancient floods on Mars, but now water mostly exists in icy dirt and thin clouds.

India’s Mars Orbiter Mission /Mangalyaan:

  • It was launched by the ISRO from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in November 2013.
  • It was launched on board a PSLV C-25 rocket
  • It aims of studying Martian surface and mineral composition
  • It will scan Mars’ atmosphere for methane which is an indicator of life on Mars.

Some Important Mars missions:

  • NASA(USA)—>Phoenix(2007), Curiosity(2011), Maven(2013), Perseverance(2021)
  • European Space Agency(EU)—>Mars Express(2001)
  • ISRO(India)—> Mangalyaan(2014)
  • UAE’s Space Agency—>Amal (Hope Mission)(2021)
  • China’s Space Agency—>Tianwen 1(2021)

Source: The Hindu

Previous Year Question

Q.1) If a major solar storm (solar flare) reaches the Earth, which of the following are the possible effects on the Earth?  (2022)

  1. GPS and navigation systems could fail.
  2. Tsunamis could occur at equatorial regions.
  3. Power grids could be damaged.
  4. Intense auroras could occur over much of the Earth.
  5. Forest fires could take place over much of the planet.
  6. Orbits of the satellites could be disturbed.
  7. Shortwave radio communication of the aircraft flying over polar regions could be interrupted.

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

  1. 1, 2, 4 and 5 only
  2. 2, 3, 5, 6 and 7 only
  3. 1, 3, 4, 6 and 7 only
  4. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7

Abortion rights vs Ethics

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Syllabus

  • Prelims – Governance
  • Mains – GS 2 (Governance) and GS 4(Ethics, Integrity and Aptitude)

Context: Recently, in a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court of India allowed abortions up to 24 weeks for all women, including unmarried women.

Abortion Rights and the Ethical Dilemma:

Issues with Respect to Women’s Right:

Woman’s Right over her Body:

  • A woman’s right over her body has been advocated as a premise for freedom.
  • One cannot force a woman to bear a child in her womb and give birth to a child if she does not want to do so for various reasons.

Women’s Health:

  • Unwanted pregnancies affect both physical and mental health.

Gender Equality:

  • The right to abortion is vital for gender equality.
  • The right to abortion should be part of a portfolio of pregnancy rights that enables women to make a truly free choice whether to end a pregnancy.

Issues with respect to Foetus:

  • Right to Life (Article 21): Abortion amounts to the murder of a living being.
  • Motherly Care: It is a unique unspoken bond shared between two lives, which cannot be questioned or regulated by laws.

Issues with respect to Society in General:

  • Responsibility of State: The State has the responsibility of valuing each life.
  • Inclusion of all: Abortion should not become a mechanism of social control for avoiding the appearance of differences or disabilities.
  • Giving better life for Existing Children: Many times, parents want abortion to be able to give a good life to existing children instead of dividing their meagre resources into more children.

What are the Arguments against Abortion?

  • Abortion is not viewed by some as liberating, but rather as a way for society not to cater to women’s needs.
  • Women don’t need free abortion access, but their needs for financial and social survival as mothers are what they need for equality:
  • inexpensive, readily available childcare
  • a workplace or school that acknowledges the needs of mothers,
    • g., providing flexible scheduling and maternity leave,
  • state support that helps to reintegrate a woman into the workforce

India’s Stance on Abortions:

  • The Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021 ensures that expectant mothers exercise self-determination in welcoming new life to their homes.
  • Abortions may be performed up to 24 gestational weeks on grounds of risk to the mother’s life, mental anguish, rape, incest, contraception failure or the diagnosis of foetal abnormalities.
  • It is a liberal achievement over countries where abortions are disallowed since conception, even in the most traumatising of circumstances of sexual abuse or incest.

Way Forward:

  • Ethical approaches to abortion frequently invoke four principles.
    • Respect for patients’ autonomy
    • Nonmaleficence (do no harm)
    • Beneficence (beneficial care) and
    • Justice
  • The abortion dilemma has overlapping issues from different realms like legal, medical, ethical, philosophical, religious and human rights and it should be analysed from different perspectives.
  • There cannot be any hard and fast rule over abortion and it must be discussed and deliberated to evolve a common consensus.

Source:  Indian Express

Previous Year Question

Q.1) Which Article of the Constitution of India safeguards one’s right to marry the person of one’s choice?  (2019)

  1. Article 19
  2. Article 21
  3. Article 25
  4. Article 29

Daily Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) Consider the following statements regarding Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR):

  1. CSR in India is based on the Gandhian concept of Trusteeship.
  2. India is the first country to mandate and quantify CSR expenditure.
  3. Indian Companies are now required to spend, in every financial year, at least 2% of their average net profits generated during the 3 immediately preceding financial years.

Which of the above statement(s) is/are correct ?

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 2 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Q.2) Consider the following statements regarding Quality Council of India (QCI):

  1. QCI is a non-profit organization registered under the Societies Registration Act of 1860.
  2. Ministry of Finance is designated as the nodal ministry to look after QCI.
  3. QCI has been established to create a mechanism for independent third party assessment of products, services and processes.

Which of the above statements are correct?

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 2 and 3 only
  4. 1 2 and 3

Q.3) The term ‘moonlighting’ often mentioned in news is related to

  1. Having a second or side job
  2. Light emitting from the moon during night time
  3. Exposing a scandal
  4. Preserving nocturnal wildlife

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’8th October 2022 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.


ANSWERS FOR 7th October – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – c

Q.2) – d

Q.3) – a

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