News: July 24, 2020

Sub: Science And Technology
Topic: Physics And Chemistry
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 1/5

COVID Control

Drugs

  • Dexamethasone
    • Is an anti-inflammatory drug, and has gained traction for its success against corona virus
    • UK's 'RECOVERY Trial' study showed success with low doses of Dexamethasone to target lung inflammation
    • As per Clinical Management Protocol, it can be used as an alternative to methylprednisolone for managing moderate to severe cases.
    • Dexamethasone is part of the National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM)
  • Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ)
    • Anti-malarial drug, which was seen as part of preventive treatment against COVID
      • WHO in June said HCQ shows very limited success in reducing mortality rate of COVID patients. Following this, India lifted all bans on its export.
    • Cleared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for treatment of COVID-19 patients under emergency use
  • Methylprednisolone - anti-inflammatory drug used in COVID-19 treatment
  • Favipiravir
    • Sold under brand FabiFflu, is an anti-viral drug for COVID-19 patients from age group 18-75 with mild to moderate symptoms
    • Originally developed to treat influenza
  • Itolizumab 
    • From biocon, approved by ICMR for patients with moderate to severe acute respiratory distress
    • Normally used to cure skin ailment psoriasis
  • Remdesivir
    • Antiviral drug, cleared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for treatment of COVID-19 patients under emergency use for patients in moderate stage requiring oxygen support
    • As part of the agreements, the drugmakers will receive technology transfer of the manufacturing process for Remdesivir, and get to set their own prices for the generic product they produce.
    • The licenses are royalty-free until the World Health Organization (WHO) declares the end of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern regarding COVID-19 or until an alternative is approved to treat or prevent COVID-19, whichever is earlier.
  • Tocilizumab
    • Antiviral drug, cleared by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for treatment of COVID-19 patients with moderate disease with progressively increasing oxygen requirements and in mechanically ventilated patients not improving despite use of steroids
    • Thwarts pro-inflammatory cytokines released by immune system
  • Covaxin
    • Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation(CDSCO) has permitted phase-I and II of human clinical trials of ‘Covaxin’, the country’s first vaccine candidate for COVID-19, developed by Bharat Biotech in collaboration with ICMR-National Institute of Virology
    • It is an inactivated vaccine, wherein a dead virus is injected into the body to generate an antibody response
  • Sputnik V
    • The vaccine is based on an adenoviral vector which normally causes respiratory viral infections. Vectors are vehicles, which can induce a genetic material from another virus into a cell.
    • The gene from adenovirus, which causes the infection is removed, while a gene with the code of a protein from another virus spike is inserted. This inserted element is safe for the body but still helps the immune system to react and produce antibodies, which protect us from the infection.
    • Sputnik V uses two vaccines using two different vectors, the second vaccination takes place in 21 days for long lasting immunity

Initiatives

  • Clinical Management Protocol for COVID-19
    • By Directorate General of Health Services, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
    • Symptoms - fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, sore throat and diarrhoea. They have also complained of loss of smell (anosmia) or loss of taste (ageusia)
    • Risk factors - For ages more than 60 years, and in those with underlying non-communicable disease like diabetes, hypertension, cardiac arrest, etc.
    • Treatment
      • Mild COVID-19 cases - may be given symptomatic treatment such as antipyretic (Paracetamol) for fever and pain.
      • Moderate COVID019 cases - patients will be isolated in Dedicated Covid Health Centre (DCHC) or District hospital or Medical College hospitals.
      • Severe - Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) may be considered for any of those having high risk features for severe disease
  • Policy Responses to COVID19: Policy tracker by International Monetary Fund, summarizes the key economic responses, governments are taking to limit the human and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic
  • COVID-19 Economic Stimulus Index (CESI)
    • By Columbia University and World Bank, the index standardises the economic responses taken by governments, thus allowing use to study cross-country differences in policies
    • The two main components of index are: fiscal stimulus package (as a percentage of GDP) and the interest rate cut by the monetary policy authority 

Terminology

  • Pre-symptomatic spread - Pre-symptomatic spread is the transmission of the virus by people who don't look or feel sick, but will eventually get symptoms later. 
  • Asymptomatic spread  - Asymptomatic spread is the transmission of the virus by people who do not have symptoms and will never get symptoms from their infection.
  • Spike protein / S protein - A protein that protrudes from the surface of SARS-CoV-2 virus that attaches it to human enzyme ACE2 receptor, after which the virus enters the cell and makes multiple copies of itself.

Tests

  • Enzyme-Linked Immuno-Sorbent Assay antibody test (ELISA)
    • developed by National Institute of Virology in Pune along with Zydus Cadila. 
    • The blood sample is placed inside the small wells of an ELISA plate. These plates are coated with the antigen or the inactivated form of the virus. If the blood contains antibodies, it binds to the antigen and a substrate solution is added to the well. The reaction usually produces a colour change, thus detecting antibodies.
    • In India, the ELISA test for Covid-19 is only approved for serosurveys - which estimate the proportion of the population exposed to infection, and for surveys in high-risk areas and segments like containment zones
  • Rapid Antigen Detection Test (RADT)
    • Approved by ICMR. RADT checks for antigen production from a nasal swab.
      • An antigen means any toxin in the body which produces an immune response.
    • It takes about 30 minutes to give result. However rapid test has been found to have a higher chance of false negatives.
  • Real Time Reverse Transcription–Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR)
    • Real time RT–PCR is one of the most precise (and expensive) laboratory methods for detecting the COVID-19 virus.
    • Cleared by ICMR, it takes about 1 day to get result
    • Once the swab is taken, RT–PCR checks for virus's RNA
    • RT–PCR cannot be used for detecting past infections, only for active infections.
  • TrueNat
    • Commonly used for tuberculosis and HIV 
    • Cleared by ICMR, it works on same principle of RT-PCR. It involves taking nasal or oral swabs
    • The TrueNat machine is small and portable, mostly running on batteries, and provides result within 60 minutes.

A positive result from ELISA or rapid antibody test may not mean the person needs isolation or is infectious; it may simply mean the person was exposed to the virus and has developed antibodies. These two tests, being cheaper than RT-PCR, are employed in large-scale population surveys

Treatment

  • Convalescent plasma therapy
    • Convalescent plasma therapy is a passive immunisation process. It is simply the transfusion of plasma containing antibodies from immune survivors of infectious diseases to the affected individuals
    • As per protocol by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare , Convalescent plasma therapy may be considered for patients with moderate illness with no improvement in condition despite the use of steroids.

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • SARS-COVID 2, COVID-19
    • Drug approvals
  • July, 20
    • Russian vaccine clears first phase clinical trial.
    • ICMR cautions itolizumab, tocilizumab over claims of significantly reducing mortality rates
    • A new research shows spike protein changing its shape to hairpin form after attaching to ACE2 receptors
  • Aug, 20
    • Russia registers first COVID-19 vaccine

Sub: Politics
Topic: Constitution
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 2/5

Constitution Schedules in focus

Sixth Schedule - Articles 244 and 275

Provisions as to the Administration of Tribal Areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram. Based on recommendation of Bardoloi sub committee.

Autonomous districts and autonomous regions

  • Autonomous districts and autonomous regions
    • Governor can include, exclude, create boundaries of autonomous districts. He can appoint a commission for examining their administration and accordingly dissolve them too on its recommendation.
    • If there are different Scheduled Tribes in an autonomous district, the Governor can divide the area into autonomous regions.
  • Constitution of District Councils and Regional Councils:
    • There shall be a District Council for each autonomous district consisting of not more than thirty members; of whom not more than four persons shall be nominated by the Governor and the rest shall be elected on the basis of adult suffrage.
    • There shall be a separate Regional Council for each area constituted an autonomous region. Each District Council and each Regional Council shall bear the name respectively of "the District Council of (name of district)" and "the Regional Council of (name of region)"
    • In an autonomous district with Regional Councils, the District Council shall have only such powers with respect to the areas under the authority of the Regional Council as may be delegated to it by the Regional Council, in addition to the powers conferred on it by this Schedule with respect to such areas.
    • The elected members of the District Council shall hold office for a term of five years from the date appointed for the first meeting after the general elections to the Council
      • Can be extended to one year in case of emergency, but not beyond six months after emergency ceases
  • Powers of the District Councils and Regional Councils to make laws:
    • Have rights over land for promoting interests of its inhabitants, except for reserved forests and rights of state government for land occupation for public purposes. They can impose land revenue
    • District Council for an autonomous district can establish and manage primary schools (can prescribe language), dispensaries, markets, transport in the district after approval from Governor.
    • Within their territorial jurisdictions they may constitute village councils or courts for the trial of suits between parties belonging to Scheduled Tribes within such areas. The jurisdiction of high court over these suits and cases is to be specified by the governor.
    • After approval from Governor, can make rules regulating the constitution and enforcement of village councils and courts
    • There shall be a District Fund and a Regional Fund, and Governor to make rules for its management; and CAG to conduct audits of its accounts.
    • The acts of Parliament or the state legislature do not apply to autonomous districts and autonomous regions or apply with specified modifications and exceptions

 

Tenth Schedule - Articles 102(2) and 191(2)

The 52nd Amendment Act of 1985, also called Anti-defection law' provided for the disqualification of the members of Parliament and the state legislatures on the ground of defection from one political party to another.

Disqualification on ground of defection

 A member of a House belonging to any political party becomes disqualified for being a member of the House:

  • Para 2(1)(a) - if he voluntarily gives up his membership of such political party
    • In the absence of a formal resignation by the member, the giving up of membership can be inferred by his conduct
    • There are supreme court judgements, where members who publicly expressed opposition to their party, or support for another party were deemed to have resigned
  • if he votes or abstains from voting in such House contrary to any direction issued by his political party, and such act has not been condoned by the party within 15 days of voting.
  • An elected member who has been elected as a candidate set up by any political party, shall be disqualified for being a member of the House if he joins any political party after such election.
  • A nominated member of a House becomes disqualified for being a member of the House if he joins any political party after the expiry of six months from the date on which he takes his seat in the House.

Exceptions

  • If a member goes out of his party as a result of a merger of the party with another party. A merger takes place when two-thirds of the members of the party have agreed to such merger.
  • If a member, after being elected as the presiding officer of the House, voluntarily gives up the membership of his party or rejoins it after he ceases to hold that office.
  • 91st Amendment Act of 2003, removed the provision, that gave exemption from disqualification in case of split by one-third members.

Process

  • Any question arising for disqualification of member is referred for the decision of the Chairman / Speaker and his decision is final.
    • Any question arising for disqualification of speaker/chairman himself lies with the member elected by House
  • The Presiding Officer can take up a defection case only when he receives a complaint from a member of the House. The law does not specify a time-period for the Presiding Officer to decide on a disqualification plea
  • Before taking the final decision, Presiding Officer must give the member a chance to submit his explanation. Presiding Officer may also refer the matter to the committee of privileges for inquiry.
  • Judicial review: Appeals against final decision of Presiding Officer can be made in the High Court and Supreme Court. A challenge can be made if there is a threat of disqualification before final decision of speaker.
    • Supreme Court, after Kihoto Hollohan v. Zachillhu case (1993), became the final authority over disqualification of member.

[In News]

  • July, 20
    • Support withdrawal and defection in Manipur assembly
    • Disqualification of Sachin Pilot and other MLAs
  • Aug, 20
    • Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu seeks debate on the demand for two autonomous councils - Mon Autonomous Region (MAR) and Patkai Autonomous Council (PAC)

Sub: Geography
Topic: India Physical Setiings Resources
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 3/5

Water Resource Management Initiatives

National Mission for Clean Ganga / Namami Gange, 2014

  • Under Department of Water Resources,River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Ministry of Jal Shakti
  • Its implementation has been divided into Entry-Level Activities (for immediate visible impact), Medium-Term Activities (to be implemented within 5 years of time frame) and Long-Term Activities (to be implemented within 10 years).
  • Ganga Gram - To develop model villages on banks of ganga. Focus to be on ODF, waster management, water conservation, tourism, etc.
  • UNDP to be executive agency for rural sanitation programme.

Jal Jivan Mission (JJM)

  • JJM, with moto  'Har Ghar Jal', aims to provide tap water to every rural household through Freshwater Household Tap Connection (FHTC) by 2024.
  • It is administered by Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, under Ministry of Jal Shakti 

Manipur Water Supply Project

  • The mission aims to provide FHTCs, giving clean drinking water to Greater Imphal and 1,700 villages in Manipur
  • The project is funded by the Central Government under 'Jal Jeevan Mission', with loan from New Development Bank 

[In news]

  • June, 20
    • Ministry of Jal Shakti wants control of finance panel’s panchayat grants for water
    • Returning labourers may be deployed for Jal Jeevan Mission
  • July, 20
    • World Bank has approved a five-year loan to the Namami Gange project worth ₹3,000 crore
    • Prime Minister Modi laid the foundation of the Manipur Water Supply Project via video conferencing

Sub: Science And Technology
Topic: Research and Technology Information Technology
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 4/5

IT Acts And Bodies

Acts

Information Technology Act, 2000

  • Provisions
    • Allows authentication by electronic signature, giving them legal recognition
    • Provides recognition to foreign Certifying Authorities
    • Dispute resolution by Appellate Tribunal set up under TRAI Act and Finance Act. Appeals can be made in High Court.
  • Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA)
    • Under Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY)
    • Give license and regulate the working of Certifying Authorities (CAs). The Certifying Authorities (CAs) issue digital signature certificates for electronic authentication of users.
  • Sections
    • 66A : Punishment for sending offensive messages
      • Shreya Singhal v. Union of India, 2015 - Supreme court made Section 66A unconstitutional on grounds of violating the freedom of speech guaranteed under Article 19(1)(a)
    • 66F : Punishment for cyber terrorism.
    • 67 : Punishment for publishing or transmitting obscene material
    • 69 : Power to issue directions for interception or monitoring or decryption of any information
    • 69A : Power to issue directions for blocking for public access of any information
  • Rules
    • Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009
      • Gets exercising powers under Section 69A of Information Technology Act, 2000
      • Central Government shall designate an officer not below the rank of Joint Secretary  for the the purpose of issuing direction for blocking access.
      • Every organisation shall designate a Nodal officer and intimate Department of Information Technology under Ministry of Communications and Information Technology.

National Data Sharing and Accessibility Policy (NDSAP), 2012

  • To facilitate the access to Government of India owned shareable data and information
  • NDAP applies to all data and information created and archived using public funds provided by Government of India directly or through authorized agencies
  • A state-of-the-art data warehouse and data archive with online analytical processing (OLAP) capabilities, which includes providing, a multi-dimensional and subject oriented view of the database needs to be created.
  • Department of Science & Technology to be the nodal agency, and NIC to create data.gov.in under Open Government Data (OGD) Platform
    • Open Government Data (OGD) : A platform for supporting Open Data initiative of Government of India. It facilitates Government Organizations to publish their datasets in open formats for free public use. OGD is also available as Software as a Service (SaaS).

Personal Data Protection Bill, 2019

  • The Bill seeks to provide for protection of personal data of individuals, and establishes a Data Protection Authority for the same. 
  • Obligations of data fiduciary: A data fiduciary is an entity or individual who decides the means and purpose of processing personal data.
  • The Bill allows processing of data by fiduciaries only if consent is provided by the individual. However, in certain circumstances, personal data can be processed without consent.  These include: (i) if required by the State for providing benefits to the individual, (ii) legal proceedings, (iii) to respond to a medical emergency.
  • The Bill amends the Information Technology Act, 2000 to delete the provisions related to compensation payable by companies for failure to protect personal data

Bodies

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)

  • Umbrella organisation for operating retail payments and settlement systems in India, is an initiative of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) under the provisions of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007
  • NPCI is a 'Not for Profit' Company registered under the provisions of Section 8 of Companies Act 2013
  • RuPay : an Indigenously developed Payment System 
  • Unified Payments Interface (UPI) :  One-stop bill payment solution for all recurring payments
  • National Automated Clearing House (NACH) : For Banks, Financial Institutions, Corporates and Government a web based solution to facilitate interbank, high volume, electronic transactions which are repetitive and periodic in nature.
  • National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) : Toll collection through FASTag. FASTag are Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) stickers which are affixed on the vehicle windshield

Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In)

  • CERT-In is a functional organisation of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology with the objective of securing Indian cyber space
  • Provides a single point of contact for reporting local problems
  • Provides a 24 x 7 security service. 

Miscellaneous

  • Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C):
    • Set up in 2018 deal with all types of cybercrimes in a comprehensive and coordinated manner.
    • Functions under Ministry of Home Affairs, and to act as a nodal point in the fight against cybercrime
    • National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal: cybercrime.gov.in ,is a citizen-centric initiative that enables citizens to report cybercrimes online through the portal
  • Cyber Prevention, Awareness & Detection Centre (CyPAD) -  CyPAD is the nodal Cyber Crime Unit of Delhi Police.

Global

Group of Governmental Experts (GGE)

The issue of ICT security has been on the UN agenda since 1998, when Russia introduced a draft resolution on the subjec.

  • UN GGE process has been the primary avenue for inter-state dialogue about the international legal regulation of cyberspace
  • The first Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) was established in 2004 but it did not agree on a substantive report
  • Till now there have been 6 GGE meetings with two year terms; India being member in 5 of them.
  • GGE has limited membership based on equitable geographical distribution. Current GGE with 25 members was set in 2019, and will give its report in 2021

Open-ended Working Group (OEWG) for security in ICT

  • Set up in 2019, similar to Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) with membership open to all. The group will report back to Assembly in 2020

[In News]

  • June, 20
    • NPCI denies breach in BHIM app leak
  • July, 20
    • MeitY bans 59 Chinese apps, under Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules exercising authority under Section 69A of IT Act, to safeguard the "sovereignty and integrity of India"
    • CERT-In received concerns from citizens about privacy in these apps.
    • Environmental website www.fridaysforfuture.in protesting EIA 2020 notification was blocked by Union Environment Ministry under section 66 of IT Act
    • Growing cyber attack in pandemic and call for order
  • Aug, 20
    • CyPAD asked to submit report by high court on plea from a student about misuse of her photographs on social media

Sub: International Relations
Topic: Internal Security Defence
Weightage:
Category: Prelims & Mains

 

News: 5/5

Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF)

Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) refers to seven security forces under the authority of Ministry of Home Affairs.

  1. Assam Rifles (AR)
  2. Border Security Force (BSF)
    • BSF came into existence in 1965 to man the borders with Pakistan and Bangladesh
    • BSF is India's "First Line of Defence", with moto "Jeevan Paryant Kartavya". BSF can even hold ground is less threatened situations as long as main attack does not develop into something outside the domain of BSF
    • BSF also acts as the representative of the Indian government in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping missions
    • The peacetime tasks include preventing smuggling and any other illegal activity, and unauthorised intrusions
  3. Central Industrial Security Force (CISF)
    • CISF came into existence in 1969, established under an Act of Parliament, “Central Industrial Security Force Act, 1968 
    • CISF provides security to the strategic establishment, including the Department of Space, the Department of Atomic Energy, the Airports, the Delhi Metro, the ports, the historical monuments and the basic areas of Indian economy such as petroleum and natural gas, electricity, coal, steel and mining.
    • After the Mumbai terrorist attack on November 2008, the mandate of the force has been broadened to provide direct security cover to private sector also
    • CISF is the only force with a customized and dedicated fire wing.
  4. Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF)
  5. Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP)
    • Patrols entire stretch of Indo-China border, from Karakoram pass in Jammu & Kashmir to Jechap La in Arunachal Pradesh.
    • ITBP replaced Assam Rifles in Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh in 2004
  6. National Security Guard (NSG)
  7. Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB)
    • SSB  is India's primary border patrol organization along borders of Nepal and Bhutan.

 

[In News]

  • July, 20
    • Prime Minister Modi's visit to Leh
    • Women officers can now get Permanent Commission and command postings in all services other than combat
  • Aug, 20
    • CISF to probe ‘Are you Indian?’ taunt at DMK MP Kanimozhi’s complaint by paramilitary agency at the Chennai airport

Comments

Please upgrade your subscription for this section