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[Mission 2023] INSIGHTS DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB SUMMARY 10 August 2022

 

InstaLinks :  help you think beyond the issue but relevant to the issue from UPSC prelims and Mains exam point of view. These linkages provided in this ‘hint’ format help you frame possible questions in your mind that might arise(or an examiner might imagine) from each current event. InstaLinks also connect every issue to their static or theoretical background. This helps you study a topic holistically and add new dimensions to every current event to help you think analytically

 

Table of Contents:

GS Paper 1:

1. India got Swaraj in 1947. It must now strive for good governance

 

GS Paper 2:

1. Judicial Interventions in Indian Economic decisions

2. Fair trial goes beyond courts, to the police and media

3. Rankings that make no sense

4. On guardianship and adoption of minors

5. India, Bangladesh, Pakistan: What east can teach the west

 

GS Paper 3:

1. India’s solar power dream

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Essay/Ethics)

1. Eggs and Faith

2. Data Points: Cyber Crime against children

3. Shoonya- Zero pollution Mobility Campaign

 

Facts for Prelims:

1. Bhitarkanika National Park

2. Katchal island in the Nicobars

3. Vasculitis

4. Novel Langya henipavirus

5. AGM-88 HARM

6. Him Drone-e-thon Programme

7. Ex Vajra Prahar 2022


 

India got Swaraj in 1947. It must now strive for good governance

GS Paper 1

Syllabus: Indian society

 

Source: The Indian Express

Context: This is in continuation of yesterday’s article India, democracy and the promised republic

Direction: Few points from this Venkaiah Naidu article can be seen once. No need to make notes.

What is the ancient cultural ethos that present India needs to follow?

  • Principle of ahimsa or non-violence: The mantra of ahimsa is rooted in the cultural and civilizational ethos of our great nation.
  • Lessons of resilience and hope in difficult times: Neither invaders nor the colonizers could sever the cultural and civilizational continuity that binds us together.
  • Idea of equality, unity, and inclusivity
  • Nature conservation: India’s ancient scriptures are filled with examples of the worship of the divine in the elements — rivers, mountains, holy plants, and trees. It encourages us to conserve nature.

Presently India is still suffering from issues like poverty, illiteracy, gender discrimination, corruption, and inequalities.

To overcome these issues, Mr Naidu prescribes the following suggestions:

  • Universal and affordable access to quality education and healthcare.
  • Improving rural infrastructure across the country on a fast-track basis.
  • Promotion of the mother tongue will revolutionize the educational landscape by making it more inclusive and equitable.

Judicial Interventions in Indian Economic decisions

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Polity: Indian Judiciary

 

Source: The Times of India

Context: Recently, Supreme Court proposed to create an expert committee of the Election Commission, Finance Commission, NITI Aayog, RBI officials and others to look into the economic impact of freebies doled out by the executive.

Directions: Judicial Review, Judicial Activism, and Judicial Overreach are always important topics in Indian Polity. Do keep a prepared note on it.

Issues with judicial interventions in the areas of economic growth:

  • Disincentivizes investment: E.g., SC cancelling of 2G spectrum and coal licensing led to the private sector becoming sceptical of future investments.
  • Policy paralysis: The bona fide decisions of the civil servants are being reopened in the courts leading to fear in taking important decisions.
    • g., In 2021, a two-judge SC bench directed CBI to inquire into the two-decade-old case of strategic disinvestment of Hindustan Zinc Limited (HZL), where a preliminary inquiry was closed by the CBI itself.
    • Former SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri was arrested on a magistrate court’s order, for an asset reconstruction case, long after retirement. Ironically, the right forum to hear that matter was NCLAT.
  • Violation of Separation of Power: Judiciary decisions that override economic growth or which reopen already settled matters are putting the executive and judiciary at cross-purposes.
  • Judiciary doesn’t have expertise in policy matters: The governments are accountable to citizens for providing them with a good standard of living but the judiciary is not accountable to people directly. Further, The Judiciary doesn’t have the expertise in many matters.
  • Issues of judicial overreach: E.g. In the Goa Foundation vs Sesa Sterlite case (2018), the SC halted iron ore mining.  Till now a vast number of jobs have been lost.
  • SC in 2019 suspended the MOPA Airport project’s Environmental Clearance (EC) despite the Environment Assessment Committee and NGT following due process.

What should be done by the judiciary:

  • Take holistic impact assessment of its decisions: g. In Shiva shakti Sugars Limited vs Shree Renuka Sugar Limited verdict (2017), SC observed that the socio-economic impact of a decision ought to be kept in mind, before delivering judgement.
    • Applying an economic impact/cost-benefit analysis must become a fundamental process for judges to arrive at responsible and sustainable decisions
  • Taking help of experts: The SC can constitute an independent committee of experts, that can assist the court to help balance its final assessment by offering quantifiable analysis.

Conclusion:

Judicial interventions having economic implications require further deliberation, external expertise, a new assessment framework, and a macro-perspective.

Insta Links

Judicial activism and judicial over-reach

Mains Links

Q. What is Judicial Overreach? What factors lead to Judicial Overreach? Discuss with relevant examples.

 

Prelims Links

Which one of the following in Indian polity is an essential feature that indicates that it is federal in character? (UPSC 2021)

(a)    The independence of the judiciary is safeguarded.

(b)    The Union Legislature has elected representatives from constituent units.

(c)    The Union Cabinet can have elected representatives from regional parties.

(d)    The Fundamental Rights are enforceable by Courts of Law.

Answer: A

Written Constitution, Supremacy of the Constitution, and Independent Judiciary are all features of a federal form of government.

Q. In India, separation of judiciary from the executive is enjoined by (UPSC 2020)

(a) the Preamble of the Constitution.

(b) a Directive Principle of State Policy.

(c) the Seventh Schedule

(d) the conventional practice

Answer: B

Article 50 of the Indian constitution: The State shall take steps to separate the judiciary from the executive in the public services of the State

Fair trial goes beyond courts, to the police and media

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Structure, functioning and organization of Courts, the role of executive, media etc

 

Source: The Hindu

Context:

  • This is in continuation of the article Biased media weaken democracy
  • Recently, the Chief Justice of India objected to the lack of media accountability in the media’s coverage of legal issues.

Direction: Those giving mains this year can make note of a few issues and suggestions (it is important for this year’s exam), others can just go through it once.

Role of Police in ‘media trial’:

  • Important Source for media and communication to the judiciary: Police are a crucial source for the media and communication between the judiciary and police is often a starting point of the troubles of media trials.
  • Public stripping of rights: Unregulated divulgence of case details by an eager police force results in a public stripping of the rights that typically accompany a fair trial.
  • g., Delhi police admitted to informing the media about the outcome of AltNews’ co-founder Mohammed Zubair’s bail hearing before the judicial order was even pronounced in open court.

Role of Media:

  • Role in preventing insidious effects: Police narratives are sometimes designed to achieve political goals, and the media’s ready acceptance of these narratives does little to prevent their insidious effects.
  • Shaping of political opinion: Given the media’s ability to shape political opinion, law enforcement agencies are sometimes under pressure to selectively reveal certain facets of the investigation or to mischaracterize incidents as communal or systemic.
  • Bhim Koregaon case: For example, the investigation of the Bhima Koregaon violence (2018) was marked by a slew of motivated arrests of popular dissenters critical of the Government.
    • While the investigation was underway, the police exposed letters purportedly written by these activists that were still undergoing forensic analysis.
    • While these letters received extensive news coverage, none of them was presented as evidence in court.

Issues with the media:

  • Non-uniform government regulations: Government regulation is not uniform for print and television media and enforcement of these regulations, where it occurs, is slow.
    • In any event, Government regulation of the media is problematic and likely to increase the politicization of the press.
  • Self-regulations easily avoided: Self-regulation set-ups such as the National Broadcasting Standards Authority and Indian Broadcasting Foundation are membership-based and easily avoided by simply withdrawing from the group.
  • Weak regulatory norms: A weak regulatory environment effectively leaves reporting norms to the conscience of reporters and their editors.
  • Mentioning arrest without proper information: Many reports mention “arrest” without any information about whether such arrests are conducted in the course of an investigation or after the filing of a charge sheet.
  • Pressure on media organizations: The growing financial pressures on media organizations, beat reporters specializing in crime and legal reporting are becoming rare.

Analysis of steps taken till now: 

  • Supreme Court in Romila Thapar vs Union of India: Courts have repeatedly directed law enforcement authorities not to reveal details of their investigations, especially the personal details of the accused before the trial is complete.
  • Statutory restrictions: Kerala is one of the few States to have disallowed photographs and parades of persons in custody within its Police Act.
  • Media policy guidelines: Most other States have issued disparate media policy guidelines.
    • However, the enforcement mechanisms remain weak.
  • Directions from the Home Ministry: The Ministry of Home Affairs issued an office memorandum outlining a media policy.
    • However, its implementation is lacking as the ‘Police’ is an entry in the State List and thus falls primarily within the jurisdiction of State governments.

 Conclusion:

  • An inward-looking solution to the ethical crisis: With an increasing call for media regulation, it is now in the immediate interest of the media and the general interest of the free press, that media institutions look inward to find an answer to what is essentially an ethical crisis.
  • Upholding the basic principles of justice: The media’s immense power to shape narratives regarding public conceptions of justice makes it a close associate of the justice system, bringing with it a responsibility to uphold the basic principles of our justice system.
    • The media should feel subject to the obligation to do its part in aiding mechanisms that aim to preserve these principles.
  • Structured and well-designed media policy: A structured and well-designed media policy with training and enforcement mechanisms is the need of the hour for the police.

 

Insta Links:

Social media

Mains Link:

Q. Judicial legislation is antithetical to the doctrine of separation of powers as envisaged in the Indian Constitution. In this context justify the filing of a large number of public interest petitions praying for issuing guidelines to executive authorities. (UPSC 2021)

Rankings that make no sense

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Issues related to the development of the social sector related to education, NEP, National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) etc

 

Source: The Hindu

Context:

  • The National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF)’s ranking of higher education institutions (HEIs), released in July, has received considerable flak.

 Directions: Just go through it once. Not so important

HEIs are ranked overall, university-wise, college-wise and also under disciplines such as law, medical, pharmacy, management, architecture, and engineering.

Parameters of ranking:

 

Issues with the Data:

  • Private institutions placed above NLUs: The NIRF places some private multi-discipline institutions higher than many prestigious national law universities (NLUs) and law departments.
    • Generally, students who cannot secure a seat in NLUs are admitted to private institutions.
  • These institutions are not the first choice: NIRF ranking shows that a private law university scored 100% in perception.
    • Considering this score, it should have been the most preferred place for students.
    • But the Common Law Admission Test admission choices show different picture-this institution figures below 10 NLUs as a preferred place to study.
  • Lack of rigorous system: An analysis of the data submitted by some multi-discipline private universities participating in various disciplines under the NIRF provides evidence of data fudging.
  • Faculty-student ratio:
    • Evidence suggests that some private multi-discipline universities have claimed the same faculty in more than one discipline.
  • Funding in research: Research funding for research projects and consultancy is an essential parameter for ranking.
    • Data show that research grants and consultancy charges received in other disciplines appear to have been claimed as those in law.
  • No transparency: The NIRF requires the data submitted to it to be published by all the participating HEIs on their website so that such data can be scrutinised.
    • Some private multi-discipline universities have not granted free access to such data on their website; instead, they require an online form to be filled along with the details of the person seeking access.
  • Discrepancy in data:
    • For instance, the data uploaded on the websites omit details on the number, name, qualification and experience of the faculty.
  • Same parameters to all institutions: The NIRF applies almost the same parameters to all the institutions across varied disciplines in research and professional practice.
  • Publication data only from Scopus and web of science: While the National Assessment and Accreditation Council gives due weightage to publications in UGC-Care listed journals, the NIRF uses publication data only from Scopus and Web of Science.

Conclusion:

  • Revised methodology: Severe methodological and structural issues in the NIRF undermine the ranking process.
    • The methodology must be revised in consultation with all the stakeholders.

 

Insta Links:

Union Education Minister Releases India Rankings 2022 of higher educational institutes

 

Mains Link:

Q. National Education Policy 2020 is in line with the Sustainable Development Goals-4 (2030). It intended to restructure and re-orient the education system in India. Critically examine the statement(UPSC 2020)

 

Prelims Link

Which of the following is/are parameters used by NIRF for ranking of higher educational institutions?

    1. Teaching, learning and resources(TLR)
    2. Graduation outcome
    3. Number of students enrolled yearly
    4. Inclusivity and perception

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

a. 1, 2 and 4 only

b. 1, 3 and 4 only

c. 2 and 3 only

d. 1, 2, 3 and 4

Ans: (a)

Justification:

Refer to the image above

On guardianship and adoption of minors

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: Government policies and Interventions

 

Source: The Hindu

Context: A Parliamentary Standing Committee has said that there is an “urgent need to amend the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act (HMGA), 1956 and accord equal treatment to both mother and father as natural guardians.”

Direction: Just go through it once. Not so important.

Current legal status:

  • Indian laws accord superiority to the father in case of guardianship of a minor.
  • The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 says that the Shariat or the religious law will apply in case of guardianship according to which the father is the natural guardian, but custody vests with the mother until the son reaches the age of seven and the daughter reaches puberty.
  • The Adoption Regulations, 2017 is silent on adoption by LGBTQI people and neither bans nor allows them to adopt a child.
  • SC judgment (Githa Hariharan vs Reserve Bank of India in 1999) challenged the HMGA for violating the guarantee of equality of sexes under Article 14 of the Constitution of India.
    • But the judgment failed to recognise both parents as equal guardians, subordinating a mother’s role to that of the father.

 

Recommendation of the Panel:

  • Conferring equal rights to mothers as guardians under the HMGA 1956 instead of treating them as subordinates to their husband
  • Joint custody of children during marital disputes instead of mothers getting preference.
  • Allow the LGBTQI community to adopt children: There is a need for new legislation that harmonizes the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (HAMA), 1956 and that such a law should cover the LGBTQI community as well.

 

Insta Links

Simplification of the child adoption process

India, Bangladesh, Pakistan: What east can teach the west

GS Paper 2

Syllabus: International Relations

 

Source: The Indian Express

Context: Based on the editorial in the Indian Express. He discusses how good Indo-Bangladesh relations can guide Indo-Pakistan relations.

Direction: C Raja Mohan’s articles are important for IR. Do go through it once, and note 1-2 unique points.

Indo-Bangladesh Relations positive takeaways:

  • Security Dimension:
    • Settlement of border disputes: E.g., 2015 land boundary agreement between India and Bangladesh, and the settlement of the maritime dispute.
      • (Indian government accepted the award of the international arbitrationon settling the maritime boundary dispute between Delhi and Dhaka)
    • Cooperation in reducing Cross-Border Terrorism: Incidences of support from insurgents in Bangladesh have reduced significantly. This has helped build much-needed political trust between the two national security establishments.
  • Economics dimension:
    • Flourishing Border Trade: India opened the Indian market for Bangladeshi goods, and Dhaka allowed Indian goods to transit to India’s northeast.
      • Transboundary bus services (Agartala-Dhaka-Kolkata ‘Maitri’ (friendship) bus), reopening of railway lines (Bandhan Express), and the revitalization of waterways are restoring connectivity in the eastern subcontinent that was severed.
    • Growing trade: Bilateral trade touched nearly $16 billion last year. Bangladesh is one of India’s top export markets.
      • Developed inter-connected power grids facilitating Dhaka’s purchase of power from India. It now imports 1200 MW of power from India, with plans to add another 1500 MW.
    • Geopolitical Dimension
      • Cooperative strategy: Bangladesh has discarded the temptation to balance India. Instead, it has embarked on a cooperative strategy with India, focusing on its economic growth and lifting itself in the regional and global hierarchy.

 

Issues in the India-Pakistan Relations:

  • Continuance of cross-border terrorism
  • Border disputesg. war over Kashmir,
  • Militarization of the border
  • Lack of connectivity: There is almost insignificant trade between India and Pakistan currently
  • Absence of official intergovernmental dialogue: no formal inter-governmental negotiations between the two countries.

Lessons which can be learnt from India’s good relations with Bangladesh:

  • Overcome past to build a mutually-beneficial future:g., Prime Ministers Sheikh Hasina and Narender Modi have proclaimed a “Sonali adhyay” or “golden chapter” in Indo-Bangladesh bilateral relations.
  • Reduced defence expenditure can be directed towards social goals: good relations with Bangladesh have significantly eased its security challenges. India’s northeast has seen increased trade and economic engagement.
  • Common stand on the issue of global governance: South Asia faces a similar issue and is on a similar level of development. Thus, good relations have helped them take a common stand on global issues such as Climate change, WTO governance, UNSC reforms etc.

Conclusion:

A lot of issues are still to be resolved in the east between Delhi and Dhaka. For example, protecting the rights of minorities, sharing the waters of more than 50 rivers, promoting cross-border investments facilitating trade and preventing illegal migration, etc. The 75th anniversary of independence offers Delhi and Dhaka a special opportunity to elevate the ambition for their bilateral partnership.

In related news:

India and Bangladesh in talks for major river agreement

  • In the upcoming meeting of the Joint River Commission (JRC), India and Bangladesh will try to reach an agreement on the Kushiyara that flows from Assam into Bangladesh as well as on Ganga Water Treaty (signed in 1996 and due to be renewed in 2026).
  • Further, countries will intensify collaboration on the rivers like Manu, Muhuri, Khowai, Gomti, Dharla and Dudhkumar.

Bangladesh and India share 54 rivers and Dhaka has been keen on accessing more data from the Indian side to plan better fisheries and flood control strategies.

 

India-Bangladesh Teesta Dispute: The treaty is an agreement to share surface waters at the Farakka Barrage near their mutual border. Bangladesh sought a fair and equitable distribution of Teesta waters from India, on the lines of the Ganga Water Treaty 1996.

  

Insta Links

Basics: India-Bangladesh Relation

Mains Links

Q. Highlight the recent developments in the India-Bangladesh relationship. What are the straining points and major issues in the bilateral relations? Explain (15M)

 

Prelims Links

With reference to river Teesta, consider the following statements

  1. The source of the river Teesta is the same as that of Brahmaputra but it flows through Sikkim
  2. River Rangeet originates in Sikkim and it is a tributary of river Teesta.
  3. River Teesta flows into Bay of Bengal on the border of India and Bangladesh.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 3 only

(b) 2 only

(c) 1 and 3 only

(d) 1, 2 and 3

Answer: B

Teesta originates from Pahunri glacier while Brahmputra originates from Angsi glacier near Mount Kailash. River Rangeet is largest river of Sikkim and is also a tributary to Teesta.

India’s solar power dream

GS Paper 3

Syllabus: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.

 

Source: Indian Express

Context: Based on ‘Explained article of Indian Express’, the article talks about the challenges faced by solar PV manufacturing in India.

Direction: Just go through the article once to understand the issues. No need to make notes.

Status:

  • From less than 10 MW in 2010, India has added significant solar PV capacity over the past decade, achieving over 50 GW by 2022.
  • By 2030, India is targeting about 500 GW of renewable energy deployment, out of which 280 GW is expected from solar PV.

About Solar PV panels

A typical solar PV value chain consists of first fabricating polysilicon ingots which need to be transformed into thin Silicon wafers that are needed to manufacture the PV mini-modules.

Working on PV panel

When the sun shines onto a solar panel, energy from the sunlight is absorbed by the PV cells in the panel. This energy creates electrical charges that move in response to an internal electric field in the cell, causing electricity to flow.

The bigger size of the solar wafer there is an advantage in terms of silicon cost per wafer, as this effectively means lower loss of silicon during ingot to wafer processing.

 

Challenges in solar PV manufacturing in India:

  • Dependency on Imports: India’s current solar module manufacturing capacity is limited to 15 GW per year.
    • India has no manufacturing capacity for solar wafers and polysilicon ingots, and currently imports 100% of silicon wafers and around 80% of solar cells.
  • Older technology: Indian manufacturers are still dependent on older Al-BSF technology (Aluminum Back Surface Field Solar Cells) (low efficiencies of 18-19%), whereas worldwide PV cell efficiency is greater than 21%.
  • India is more of an assembly hub than a manufacturing one: Several raw materials such as silicon wafers, metallic pastes of silver and aluminium to form the electrical contacts too, are almost 100% imported.
    • India is dependent on China for the Silicon wafers (the most expensive raw material). More than 90% of the world’s solar wafer manufacturing currently happens in China.
  • Poor investment in research: India has hardly invested in creating centres for the try and test solar technologies in a cost-effective manner. E.g., IMEC Belgium or the Holst Centre in the Netherlands.
  • Challenges at the WTO: India lost the case in WTO (challenged by US PV manufacturers) over India’s import duty.

Government initiatives:

  • India has implemented a 40% duty on the import of modules and 25% duty on the import of cells
  • PLI scheme to support manufacturing capex.
  • Government has made it mandatory to procure modules only from an approved list of manufacturers (ALMM) (till now only India-based manufacturers have been approved) for projects that are contracted to state/ central government grids

What should India do:

  • Technology tie-up with global manufacturers: India will have to work on technology tie-ups to make the right grade of silicon for solar cell manufacturing
  • Move towards Atmanirbhar manufacturing:  India should move up the value chain by making components locally that could drive the price and quality of both cells and modules
  • PV panel Manufacturing parks: India needs to create industry-like centres to work on specific technology domains with clear roadmaps and deliverables for the short and long term
  • Strong industry-academia collaboration in an innovative manner to start developing home-grown technologies.

Insta Links

India’s solar capacity: Milestones and challenges

 

Mains Links

Q. India needs a Solar Waste Management and Manufacturing Standards Policy. Do you agree? Comment. (10M)

 

Prelims Links

With reference to technologies for solar power production, consider the following statements:

    1. ‘Photovoltaics’ is a technology that generates electricity by direction conversion of light into electricity, while ‘Solar Thermal’ is a technology that utilizes the Sun’s rays to generate heat which is further used in electricity generation process.
    2. Photovoltaics generate Alternating Current (AC), while solar Thermal generates Direct Current (DC).
    3. India has manufacturing base for Solar Thermal technology, but not for Photovoltaics.

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

(a) 1 only

(b) 2 and 3 only

(c) 1, 2 and 3

(d) None

Answer: A

The principle behind both types of solar panels – solar photovoltaic (PV) and solar thermal – is the same. They absorb raw energy from the sun and use it to create usable energy. In solar PV systems, this is through the creation of electricity, whereas thermal systems are used directly for heating water or air.

Both technology covert solar energy into DC. India has a manufacturing base for both Solar Thermal as well as PV cells.

 

Content for Mains Enrichment (Essay/Ethics)


Eggs and Faith

As per the findings of the recent study commissioned by the Karnataka government covering over 4,500 students in two districts: There is “clear evidence of significant improvement” in the growth of children who are given eggs as part of mid-day meals, with girls in Class 8 gaining up to 71% more weight than their peers who were not served eggs, as per a study

Currently, eggs are served in mid-day meals in 13 states and three UTs as part of “additional food items”, with the states/UTs picking the tab. The frequency ranges from five days a week to once a month.

In Karnataka, proposals to add eggs have been fiercely resisted in the past by Lingayat and Jain seers.

  • This example can be used to show – Right to food vs the Right to faith.
  • Why eggs as well as certain food items should be seen above faith and religion so as to tackle issues relating to health and nutrition.

Data Points: Cyber Crime against children

  • Highest recorded in Maharashtra
  • Poor charge sheeting rate: only 27%
  • Poor conviction rate: Only 0.5%

 

Shoonya- Zero pollution Mobility Campaign:

It has been launched under Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav and aims at improving air quality in India by accelerating the deployment of electric vehicles (EVs)

 

 


Facts for Prelims


Bhitarkanika National Park

Context: Experts on saltwater crocodiles say the park has reached a saturation point, which could prove to be a big problem if not addressed properly.

Bhitarkanika National Park, the second-largest mangrove forest in India after the Sundarbans, is known for a successful saltwater crocodile conservation programme

It was found that crocodiles have killed as many as 50 people since 2012 in and around the park, while 25 crocodiles died during the same time after entering human settlements or getting caught in fishing nets.

 

Katchal island in the Nicobars

Context: The United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently highlighted the loss of mangrove cover on Katchal island, a part of India’s Nicobar archipelago. 

More than 90% of mangrove cover on the island was lost due to the Indian Ocean Tsunami.

 

Vasculitis

Context: Actor Ashton Kutcher had a “weird, super rare form of vasculitis” two years ago that “knocked out” his vision, hearing, and “equilibrium”. He mentioned about it in a recent tweet.

Vasculitis is simply an inflammation of blood vessels.

Inflammation is the natural response of the body’s immune system to any injury or infection, which in normal course can help the body fight invading germs. However, in vasculitis, the body’s immune system turns on healthy blood vessels, causing them to swell up and narrow down.

 

Novel Langya Henipavirus

Context: Cases of a novel Langya henipavirus (LayV) have been reported in Shandong and Henan provinces of China.

The newly discovered virus is a “phylogenetically distinct Henipavirus”, according to a recent study — A Zoonotic Henipavirus in Febrile Patients in China — published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Nipah and Hendra virus also belong to the same genus, henipavirus, from the Paramyxoviridae family. Paramyxoviridae is a family of single-stranded Ribonucleic acid (RNA) viruses that cause different types of viral infections.

These viruses are found in bats, rodents and shrews and are known to infect humans and potentially cause fatal diseases.

There is currently no vaccination or therapy for the Langya virus, hence the primary option is supportive care to treat zoonotic disease complications.

 

 

AGM-88 HARM

Context: The US announced it has sent AGM-88 Harm missiles to Ukraine, designed to track and destroy radar systems — a move that could significantly boost countermeasures against Russian air defences.

Direction: Don’t overthink over such technology or armed exercises. High Effort little benefit. Just read it once.

According to the Federation of American Scientists’ Military Analysis Network, the AGM-88 HARM (high-speed antiradiation missile) is a supersonic air-to-surface tactical missile designed to seek and destroy enemy radar-equipped air defence systems. The AGM-88 can detect, attack, and destroy a target with minimum aircrew input.

 

Him Drone-e-thon Programme

Context: Him Drone-e-thon Programme was recently unveiled by the Indian Army, in association with the Drone Federation of India.

The programme was launched in line with “make in India in defence manufacturing”. It aims to catalyse and provide focused opportunities for the Indian drone ecosystem, in a bid to build drone capabilities for meeting the needs of Indian troops at the frontline.

The ‘Him Drone-a-thon’ is a pan-India programme. It seeks to connect all the stakeholders including industry, software developers, academia, and drone product manufacturers.

 

Ex Vajra Prahar 2022

Context: A joint exercise between the special forces (13th edition) of India and the US began in Himachal Pradesh’s Bakloh.

Aim: The drill aims to improve interoperability between the special forces of both the countries

Other Exercises of India with the USA: Exercise Yudh Abhyas (Army); Cope India (Air Force); Red Flag (USA’s multilateral air exercise); Malabar Exercise (trilateral naval exercise of India, USA and Japan).


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