Daily Current Affairs – 14-08-2023

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    Wildfires in Maui (Hawai)

    Syllabus: GS 1 / Geography

    Context

    • Hawaii is experiencing a number of wildfires, particularly on the islands of Maui and Lahaina.
      • Maui is the second-largest island in Hawaii.

    What are Wildfires?

    • Wildfires are uncontrolled fires that quickly spread over vegetation like forests, meadows, or shrublands. 
    • These flames may begin spontaneously, such with lightning strikes ,or may be purposefully created by people, as with campfires, dropped cigarettes, equipment sparks, or intentional activities.
    • A wildfire can be small and controlled, clearing out underbrush and promoting healthy ecosystem processes, or it can be large and destructive, endangering people’s lives, property, and the environment.

    Causes

    • Natural Causes: It includes volcanic activity and lightning strikes. Maui is home to one of the six active volcanoes of Hawaii. Most of Maui was experiencing severe drought, so dry non-native grasses and vegetation were ready fuel for fires.
      • Winds of Hurricane Dora: The fire in Hawaii started in the wild and was carried by the wind of Hurricane Dora (a strong storm in the Pacific Ocean). It majorly hit the islands which caused fire to expand , making it difficult to control.
      • Dry weather: It sucks moisture out of vegetation, meaning it can catch alight more easily and then spread.
      • Role of Fossil Fuels: 
        • The burning of fossil fuel which releases large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, causing global warming. 
        • According to the United Nations, there will be an increase of extreme fires globally by up to 14 per cent by 2030, 30 per cent by the end of 2050 and 50 per cent by the end of the century.
    • Anthropogenic Causes
      • Negligence of Humans: Most wildfires in the US are caused by humans that involve campfires, garbage burning, malfunctioning equipment and burning cigarettes, among others.
      • Agriculture expansion: Slash-and-burn agriculture is a major contributor to the global spread of forest fires.
      • Poaching: To catch animals, poachers often utilize fire in many places of the world. These fires may become stronger and develop into forest fires.

    Implications

    • Pollution: Air pollution caused by wildfires is more intense than other forms of air pollution, although it tends to occur over a shorter period of time.
      • Wildfire smoke is a complex mixture of fine and coarse particulate matter and gases, including carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic compounds and air toxics.
    • Health hazards: While fire poses a direct risk to people’s life and property, wildfire smoke, and particularly the concentration of PM 2.5, or particles smaller than 2.5 microns, can also affect the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. 
      • For those already suffering from cardiovascular or respiratory illnesses, there is a risk of flare-ups.
    • Wildlife: Wildfires destroy not only flora (tree, herbs, grassland, forbs, etc.) and their diversity but also have considerable long-term negative impact on fauna including wild endangered species.
      • They impact the wildlife by burning eggs, killing young animals and driving the adult animals away from their habitat.
    • Forests & Soil: Wildfires destroy the organic matter in the soil and expose the top layer to erosion.
      • This also leads to the loss of crops. They damage the regeneration in the forests and their productivity.
    • Economic: Wildfires can disrupt transportation, communications, power and gas services, and water supply. 

    Prevention & Mitigation of wildfires

    • Prevention:
      • Forecasting fire-prone days using meteorological data.
      • Clearing camping sites of dried biomass.
      • Early burning of dry litter on the forest floor.
      • Growing strips of fire-hardy plant species within the forest.
      • Creating fire lines (strips in the forest kept clear of vegetation to prevent the fire from spreading) in the forests.
      • Controlled burns are also used to prevent forest fires.
        • A controlled burn is a wildfire that people set intentionally for a specific purpose. 
        • Well-thought-out and well-managed controlled burns can be incredibly beneficial for forest management because they can help stop an out-of-control wildfire.
    • Mitigation:
      • Early detection and quick action by fire-fighting squads are crucial.
      • For such activities, the forest departments have a fire protection and fire control unit.
      • The best way to control a forest fire is, therefore, to prevent it from spreading, which can be done by creating firebreaks in the shape of small clearings of ditches in the forests.

    Wildfires in India

    • This public policy think group claims that over the past 20 years, there has been a tenfold increase in Wildfire incidences.
    • More than 62 % of the Indian states are at risk from severe wildfires. These comprise the Northeastern states as well as Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, and Telangana.
    • Over the past two decades, Mizoram has had the most wildfires of any state. The majority of its districts are hotspots for wildfire.
    • As per the India State of Forest Report:
      • According to the 2021 assessment, more than 36% of India’s forest cover is at risk for regular forest fires, 6% is “very highly” at risk, and over 4% is “extremely” at risk.
      • Between November 2021 and June 2022, Madhya Pradesh experienced the most fire incidents , followed by Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Odisha, and Andhra Pradesh.

    Initiatives taken:

    • By educating, equipping, and encouraging people around forests to work with state forest departments, The National Action Plan for Forest Fires (NAPFF) aims to reduce forest fires.
    • The sole government-sponsored program that helps states combat forest fires is the Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme (FPM).

    Know about Hawaii

    • The state of Hawaii is an archipelago of islands in the Pacific Ocean.
    • It is located in the central Pacific area,Southwest of the continental United States.
    • Hawaii (also known as the Big Island), Maui, Oahu, The Archipelago of Hawaii. It consists of 8 main islands of Hawaii.
    •  Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Niihau, and Kahoolawe are the eight primary islands that make up Hawaii.

    Source: IE

    Indian judicial data on bail appeals

    Syllabus: GS2/ Important Aspects of Governance, Government Policies & Interventions, Issues Relating to Development

    In Context

    • The number of bail appeals filed in India’s High Courts surged post 2020, according to the ‘High Court dashboard’ by DAKSH.
      • DAKSH is a think-tank focussed on law and justice system reforms.

    More about Bail appeals

    • Bail appeals went up from around 3.2 lakh to 3.5 lakh each year before 2020, to 4 lakh to 4.3 lakh thereafter.
    • Consequently, the number of pending bail appeals in High Courts also surged from around 50,000 to 65,000 to between 1.25 lakh to 1.3 lakh.
      • Between July 2021 and June 2022, 4.3 lakh bail appeals were filed in High Courts.
    • The database also reveals that the median number of days taken from the filing date to the decision date for regular bail applications was 23. 
      • Although, for some High Courts, the median days taken for disposal were much higher.

    More about the ‘Bails’

    • Meaning:
      • The term “bail” is not defined in India’s Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC)
      • The bail is described as a security such as money or bond, especially required by a court for the release of a prisoner who must appear at a future date. 
      • As such, “bail” refers to the release of a person from legal custody. 
    • Bail has obtained its legal status from the following sources:
      • Article 21 of the Indian constitution: Article 21 gives everyone the right to life and personal liberty. It provides the fundamental right to live with human dignity and personal freedom, which entitles us to seek bail when detained by any law enforcement entity.
      • Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973: Section 438 of the CrPC clearly states that anticipatory bail is only granted in case of non-bailable offences. CrPC defines the terms “Bailable Offence” and “Non-Bailable Offence”.
      • Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Bail, particularly anticipatory bail, is founded on the legal concept of presumption of innocence, which states that everyone accused of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
    • “Bailable Offence” and “Non-Bailable Offence”:
      • Bailable: In the case of bailable offences, the police may grant bail to the offender at the moment of arrest or detention.
      • Non-Bailable: A non-bailable offence is one in which bail cannot be granted as a matter of right unless ordered by a competent court. In such instances, the accused may seek bail under Sections 437 and Section 439 of the Criminal Procedure Code of 1973.

    Issues & Challenges

    • Uncertain Reasons of higher number of bails:
      • One possible reason could be the sharp increase in cases related to the flouting of COVID-19-related lockdown norms during the pandemic. 
      • At the same time, pending bail cases piled up as the functioning of the courts was compromised during this time.
      • However, the exact reason cannot be ascertained from court data.
    • Non establishment of required Acts:
      • The DAKSH ‘High Court dashboard’ explains that in 77% of regular bail cases, it was not possible to ascertain the Act under which the person seeking bail was imprisoned
      • It was not mentioned in the e-courts data of various High Courts.
    • Lack of data on delays:
      • Given the very high number of days it takes to dispose of bail cases (which are generally considered to not require much judicial time or deliberation), the lack of data to understand the reason for delay is worrying. 
      • Delays in resolution have the same effect as denying bail as the accused remains in prison for the duration of their trial.
    • Missing data on bail outcomes:
      • Data regarding the outcome of bail appeals in High Courts were also missing in many cases. 
      • In close to 80% of the disposed bail cases in all High Courts, the outcome of the bail appeal — whether it was granted or rejected — was either unclear, or the outcome was missing. 
      • For instance, in the Bombay High Court, the bail outcome of over 95% of appeals was not known.
    • Outcome – Overcrowding prisons:
      • The inconsistencies in the bail system and the pendency of court cases are some of the key reasons for overcrowding in prisons. 
      • Undertrials not having anyone to stand as guarantors nor assets to furnish as bail bonds lead them to continue suffering in prisons.

    Suggestions

    • Liberalize bails:
      • Experts argue that courts must step in to lay down criteria to further liberalize bail, particularly in cases where trials are prolonged, and where the accused have been in prison for years.
    • Speedy appointment of judges:
      • By not appointing judges, the government is depriving common persons of justice. Justice delayed is justice denied
      • There is an urgent need to improve the judge-to-population ratio to reduce the workload of judges. 
    • Avoid needless arrests:
      • It also recommended that the police should avoid needless arrests, while magistrates should refrain from mechanical remand orders
    • E-platforms:
      • Improve judicial infrastructure through the use of e-platforms and setting up of more courts.
      • India has launched the e-Courts National portal “ecourts.gov.in” of the eCourts Project.

    Way ahead

    • In most bail cases there is always going to be a conflict between the interest of the society at large and the personal liberty of the accused.
    • In conclusion, the right to life and personal liberty is just too important to be ignored. 
    • The Indian judicial and legal systems have frequently emphasised the significance of such unalienable rights of persons, notably in the circumstances of bail approval and denial.

    Source: TH

    Monsoon Session of Parliament Adjourns Sine Die 

    Syllabus: GS-2/Indian Polity and Constitution

    In News

    • The Monsoon Session, 2023 of Parliament which commenced on 20th of July, 2023 was adjourned sine die on the 11th of August, 2023.

    What is Adjournment Sine Die?

    • It describes the indefinite temporary suspension of a parliamentary session.
    • In other words, an adjournment sine die occurs when there is no specified date for the House to resume.
    • The authority to adjourn sine die rests with the House’s presiding officer.
    • The presiding officer of a House may convene a meeting of the House at any time after the House has been adjourned sine die or before the day or hour specified for suspension.

    More about the News

    • The Monsoon session lasted for 23 days and 17 sittings were held during this period.
    • Total number of Bills passed by both Houses of Parliament during the Session is 23. Out of which 7 have been examined by the Standing Committee.
    • The ‘Delhi Amendment Bill’ was discussed for a very long duration in both the houses and passed by recorded voting.
    • The first no-confidence motion involves the discussion on the issues of violence in Manipur and Haryana and actions taken by the government. 
    • The 17th Lok Sabha has not elected a Deputy Speaker as it enters the final year of its term.This is the longest time that the Lok Sabha has functioned without a Deputy Speaker. 

    Sessions of Parliament

    • Three sessions of Parliament:
      • India does not have a fixed parliamentary calendar. By convention, Parliament meets for three sessions in a year
      • Budget Session: The longest, the Budget Session, starts towards the end of January and concludes by the end of April or the first week of May. 
        • The session has a recess so that Parliamentary Committees can discuss the budgetary proposals.
      • Monsoon Session: The second session is the three-week Monsoon Session, which usually begins in July and finishes in August. 
      • Winter Session: The parliamentary year ends with a three-week-long Winter Session, which is held from November to December.
    • Duration & dates of the sessions:
      • Over the years, governments have shuffled around the dates of sessions to accommodate political and legislative exigencies. 

    Major Bills Considered during Session 

    S No. 

    Name of the Bill

    Brief Description

    1.  

    The Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023

    • It added elements to control film piracy, introducing age-based certification categories, and removing redundant provisions from the existing Act; 
    • it intends to make the process of approving films for screening more effective.
    1.  

    The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Third Amendment) Bill,

    • It seeks inclusion of Hattee community of Trans Giri area of Sirmour district in the list of Scheduled Tribes in Himachal Pradesh. 
    1. T

    The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Fifth Amendment) Bill, 2023

    • It seeks inclusion of Bhuinya, Bhuiyan, and Bhuyan communities as synonyms of the Bharia Bhumia community. 
    •  It includes three Devanagari versions of the name of the Pando community in Chhattisgarh.
    1.  

    The Multi-State Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Bill, 2023

    It seeks to:

    • It strengthened governance in Multi-State Cooperative Societies by adding to existing law and adopting the requirements of the 97th Constitutional Amendment. This includes improving transparency, strengthening accountability, revising the voting process, etc.
    • To enhance monitoring procedures and guarantee Multi-State Cooperative Societies have an easy time conducting business.
    1.  

    The Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023

    • Introducing Exploration Licence & to delist some minerals from the list of atomic minerals.
    1.  

    The Biological Diversity (Amendment) Bill, 2023

    • To reduce the pressure on wild medicinal plants by encouraging cultivation of medicinal plants
    • To encourage Indian system of medicine
    • To  facilitate fast-tracking of research, patent application process, transfer of research results while utilising the biological resources available in India
    • To decriminalise certain provisions
    • To bring more foreign investments in the chain of biological resources, including research, patent and commercial utilisation, without compromising the national interest.
    1.  

    The Offshore Areas Mineral (Development and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2023 

    • It seeks to provide for grant of production lease to private sector only through auction by competitive bidding to enable early allocation of operating rights through a transparent and non-discretionary process. 
    1.  

    The Forest (Conservation) Amendment Bill, 2023 

    • It intends to amend the Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980 by inter-alia clarifying the applicability of the Act in various types of lands and to streamline the process of approvals under the Act.
    1.  

    The Jan Vishwas (Amendment of Provisions) Bill, 2023 

    • Besides decriminalisation of minor offences, the Bill envisages rationalisation of monetary penalties, depending on the gravity of offence, bolstering the trust-based governance. 
    1.  

    The Registration of Births and Deaths (Amendment) Bill, 2023 

    • It seeks to accommodate progressive changes in the society making the registration process people friendly and to update databases at national and state level using a database of registered births and deaths.
    1.  

    The Mediation Bill, 2023

    • It seeks to promote and facilitate mediation, especially institutional mediation, for resolution of disputes, commercial or otherwise, enforce mediated settlement agreements, provide for a body for registration of mediators, to encourage community mediation and to make online mediation an acceptable and cost effective process.
    1.  

    The Inter-Services Organisations (Command, Control and Discipline) Bill, 2023 

    • It seeks to empower the Commander-in-Chief or Officer-in-Command of Inter-services Organisations to exercise disciplinary or administrative control over the service personnel under their command, irrespective of their service.  
    1.  

    The Indian Institutes of Management (Amendment) Bill, 2023

    • The Bill amends the Indian Institutes of Management Act, 2017.   The Act declares Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) as institutes of national importance and regulates their functioning.  IIMs provide post-graduate education in the field of management and allied areas.
    1.  

    The National Dental Commission Bill, 2023

    • The Bill repeals the Dentists Act, 1948. It seeks to regulate the profession of dentistry in the country, to provide for quality and affordable; dental education, and to provide high quality oral healthcare.
    1.  

    The National Nursing and Midwifery Commission Bill, 2023 

    • It repeals the Indian Nursing Council Act, 1947.  The Bill provides for the regulation and maintenance of standards of education and services for nursing and midwifery professionals.
    1.  

    The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2023 

    • It seeks Inclusion of Mahra, Mahara community as a synonym of Mahar, Mehra, Mehar in the list of Scheduled Castes of Chhattisgarh.
    1.  

    The Anusandhan National Research Foundation Bill, 2023

    • The Anusandhan National Research Foundation Bill, 2023 was introduced in Lok Sabha on August 4, 2023.  It repeals the Science and Engineering Research Board Act, 2008 and dissolves the Science and Engineering Research Board set up under it. It provides a high level strategic direction for research, innovation and entrepreneurship in the fields of natural sciences.
    1.  

    The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2023

    • It seeks to provide for the processing of digital personal data in a manner that recognizes both the right of individuals to protect their personal data and the need to process personal data for lawful purposes.
    1.  

    The Coastal Aquaculture Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023

    • The Bill amends the Coastal Aquaculture Authority Act, 2005.  The Act defines coastal aquaculture as farming, under controlled conditions, of: (i) shrimp, (ii) prawn, (iii) fish or (iv) any other aquatic life in saline or brackish water.  The Bill expands the scope of coastal aquaculture to include allied activities such as hatcheries and nucleus breeding centres.
    1.  

    The Pharmacy (Amendment) Bill, 2023 

    •   It amends the Pharmacy Act, 1948. The Bill specifies that anyone who is registered as a pharmacist under the Jammu and Kashmir Pharmacy Act, 2011 or possesses qualifications prescribed under the 2011 Act will be deemed to be registered as a pharmacist under the Pharmacy Act, 1948. 

    Issues on Parliamentary functioning 

    • Small Parliamentary Sessions : With time Parliamentary sessions are getting shorter. 
      • In 2022, Lok Sabha session was cut short ahead of  the scheduled date.
      • In 2021, the session got over two weeks earlier than expected.
      • In 2020, the Monsoon session lasted for 18 days and the Winter Session got canceled.
    • Absence of the Deputy Speaker in Lok Sabha: According to Article 93 of the Constitution, the Lok Sabha elects the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
      • The Deputy Speaker is not present in the current Lok Sabha; he or she is elected within a few months of the establishment of a new Lok Sabha.
    • Disruptions and Adjournments: The opposing parties frequently cause delays in the proceedings of the house, wasting time and money.
      • The Monsoon session of Parliament in 2021 disrupted due to protests on various issues like farm laws.

    Source: PRS

    History of Indian Penal Code

    Syllabus:GS1/Modern History

    News

    • Union Home Minister,introduced a bill in the Lok Sabha to replace the Indian Penal Code of 1860. 

    About

    • The Indian Penal Code was enacted in 1860, and came into force on January 1, 1862. This makes it the longest surviving code in the common law world.
    • The Code came up during the heyday of British colonialism in India and was very much a product of prevailing attitudes and circumstances.

    The need for codification

    • As British colonial control expanded across the Indian subcontinent, so did the difficulties it faced in administration, particularly in the legal sphere.
    • Indian law prior to codification consisted of a complex array of Parliamentary Charters and Acts, Indian legislation (after 1833), East India Company Regulations, English common law, Hindu law, Muslim law, and many bodies of customary law.
    • Hence Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859), saw codification as the means to lift India from backwardness into modernity – as promised by the British “civilizing mission”.

    Influence of Bentham

    • Macaulay was most directly influenced by the ideas of Jeremy Bentham, English philosopher commonly recognised as the father of modern utilitarianism. One of Bentham’s most central concerns was the codification of law.
    • For Macaulay, in a country like India, where laws did not just vary, but were also, in many cases, unwritten, a code was perhaps even more important. It would not only bring about consistency in laws, but also do away with the judicial discretion that marked the legal system of the time.

    Macaulay drafts the IPC

    • In 1833, the British Parliament passed the first Government of India Act to organize British rule in the country. Subsequently, a Law commission was created under Macaulay to “modernize laws and the colonial governance of civil society.”
    • Macaulay began his task by focussing on criminal law and completed the first version of the IPC in 1837.The IPC completely ignored existing Indian laws and instead was founded on British common law. 

    The Rebellion of 1857 and the IPC

    • While Macaulay did receive a lot of latitude when it came to framing the IPC, it would take years for his proposal to finally be enacted. The IPC remained in limbo for years, undergoing revisions during that time.
    • However, the Rebellion of 1857 changed everything. It led to the eventual demise of the East India Company, with the British Crown taking over direct control in 1858.This helped the enactment of the IPC.

    Source:IE

    Urea Gold

     

    Syllabus: GS3/Indian Agriculture; Science and Technology

    Context

    • The Prime Minister of India launched ‘Urea Gold’ fertiliser, which was developed by the state-owned Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers Ltd (RCF).

    About

    • Urea Gold is basically a kind of urea which is fortified with sulphur, having 37% Nitrogen plus 17% Sulphur, while normal urea contains 46% of a single plant nutrient i.e. Nitrogen.

    Objectives of Urea Gold

    • It is to deliver Sulphur along with Nitrogen.
      • Indian soils are deficient in Sulphur, which is needed by oilseeds and pulses, and the country is significantly import dependent in both.
    • It is to improve the Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) of urea.
      • Coating of Sulphur over urea ensures a gradual release of Nitrogen.

    Issues

    • Urea is India’s most widely used fertiliser, with its consumption/sales rising from 26.7 million tonnes (mt) to 35.7 mt between 2009-10 and 2022-23.

    urea 1urea 2

    There are two concerns over rising urea consumption

    • Imports:
      • It accounted for 7.6 mt out of the total 35.7 mt sold last fiscal. Even with regard to domestically-manufactured urea, the feedstock used – natural gas – is mostly imported.
      • Amongst the major fertilisers, against the total requirement, around 75% of Urea, 40% of DAP, and 85% of NPKS are produced in the country by PSUs and private companies. The rest is imported on account of the Government of India (as in case of Urea) & by the companies in case of P&K (under Open General Licences) to bridge the gap between requirement & production of fertilisers.
      • India’s nearly 36-mt annual consumption of urea is today next only to China’s 51 mt, with the latter’s production largely coal-based.
    • Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE):
      • Barely 35% of the Nitrogen applied through urea in India is actually utilised by crops to produce harvested yields. The balance 65% Nitrogen is unavailable to the plants, much of it “lost” through release into the atmosphere as ammonia gas or leaching below the ground after conversion into nitrate.
      • Declining NUE, from an estimated 48% in the early 1960s, has resulted in farmers applying more and more fertiliser for the same yield.

    Solutions: Fortification

    • A country with hardly any natural gas or rock phosphate, potash and sulphur reserves shouldn’t encourage the consumption of these commodity fertilisers.  Instead, they must be coated with secondary nutrients (Sulphur, Calcium and Magnesium) as well as Micronutrients (Zinc, Boron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Iron, Copper and Nickel).
    • Coating allows urea or DAP to be used as “carrier products” for delivering secondary and micro nutrients to crops, and improves their own N and P use efficiency through synergetic effects and controlled release that helps reduce losses through ammonia volatilisation and nitrate leaching.
      • Yara International, a Norwegian crop nutrition company, has a proprietary ‘Procote’ technology for coating all commodity fertilisers with any micronutrient.
      • Yara is planning to commercialise ‘Procote B’ (Boron) and ‘Procote BMZ’ (Boron, Manganese and Zinc) in India – based on the same dust-free micronutrient coating technology platform
      • Its Indian subsidiary – which has a 1.2-mt urea plant at Babrala in Uttar Pradesh’s Sambhal district – launched ‘Procote Zn’ for coating of urea with zinc oxide during the 2022 kharif season.
    • Zinc sulphate is prone to losses during mixing and application. However, Procote Zn is a palm oil-based suspension concentrate that farmers can simply pour, mix and rub in their urea before application.

    IE

    National Medical Commission’s New Guidelines

    Syllabus: GS2/Health

    In News

    • Guidelines for the professional conduct of registered doctors of modern medicine are notified by the ethics and medical registration board under the National Medical Commission (NMC).

    About the Guidelines

    • Receiving Commissions: The guidelines warn against receiving commissions from pharmacies or diagnostic laboratories or attending conferences sponsored by the pharmaceutical industry.
      • Instead they should encourage patients to purchase drugs from Jan Aushadhi Kendras and other generic pharmacy outlets and promote access to generic medicines.
    • No doctor can deny birth control measures or abortions based on religious beliefs.
    • Use of Social Media: Doctors may provide information or make announcements online, but the information should be verifiable and not mislead people.
      • It forbids doctors from “purchasing” likes, followers, or any fees to boost their profile on search algorithms and says that doctors should not participate in telemedicine platforms that provide ratings, reviews, and promotions of certain doctors by any means.
      • It also adds that the educational material that doctors put out on social media must relate to their own field of expertise. 
      • The doctors have been asked not to discuss the specifics of the treatment of their patients or post their scans online.
      • Doctors have also been asked to refrain from sharing testimonials by patients or images and videos of cured patients.
    • Writing Prescriptions: Doctors have been asked to write prescriptions in legible, capital letters. And, they have been asked to prescribe only generic medicines, except for cases where medicines have a narrow therapeutic index .
      • It urges judicious use of fixed-dose combinations, with doctors being asked to prescribe only the approved, rational combinations. 
    • Right to refuse: The guidelines give doctors the right to refuse treatment when patients or their family members are abusive, unruly, or violent. 
      • Consultation fees should be made known to the patient before examination or treatment of the patient. 
      • A reasonable estimation of the cost of surgery or treatment should be provided to the patient to enable an informed decision.
      • The guidelines forbid doctors from refusing treatment, however, in cases of medical emergencies. 
    • Continuous Professional Development (CPD): For the first time, the regulator has made it mandatory for doctors to continue to learn throughout their active years.
      • Every degree, diploma, or recognised course undertaken by a doctor will keep getting added to their unique ID on the national medical register. 
      • The doctors have also been asked to only write these recognised degrees as suffixes on materials such as prescriptions and visiting cards.
    • Violations: In case of violations, a doctor may be given a warning to be more careful about the regulations or instructed to attend a workshop or academic programme on ethics, personal and social relations and/or professional training.
      • On repeated violations, the doctor’s license to practice may be suspended for a particular period.

    About National Medical Commission

    • It has been constituted by an act of Parliament known as National Medical Commission Act, 2019 which came into force in 2020.
    • Medical Council of India constituted under section 3A of the Indian Medical Council Act, 1956 stands dissolved thereafter.
    • The Aim of the National Medical Commission are to:
      • improve access to quality and affordable medical education, 
      • ensure availability of adequate and high quality medical professionals in all parts of the country; 
      • promote equitable and universal healthcare that encourages community health perspective and makes services of medical professionals accessible to all the citizens; 
      • encourages medical professionals to adopt latest medical research in their work and to contribute to research; 
      • objectively assess medical institutions  periodically in a transparent manner; 
      • maintain a medical register for India; 
      • enforce high ethical standards in all aspects of medical services; 
      • have an effective grievance redressal mechanism.

    Source: IE

    Facts In News

    Yelagiri Hut Shelters

    Syllabus:GS1/Society and Culture

    News

    • More than two centuries ago, over 200 Malaiyali tribes people built traditional clay huts on the flat peak of the picturesque Yelagiri hill in northern Tamil Nadu.

    About

    • The hut was meant for people to live in, but it eventually turned into a storage space for the seeds , collected before the sowing period began. 
    • Today there is only a single hut remaining ,a standing testament to the tribe’s evolution from foraging to a more modern lifestyle. The rest have given way to concrete houses over the decades.
    • It was formed by placing red clay on a frame of beams and posts built using teakwood. 
    •  A unique feature of the munn veedu (mud house) or andara kotai (storage facility) is that it stands on a stilt-like structure made of teakwood. This holds the house two feet above the ground to keep rodents at bay and to prevent the house from flooding during torrential rain.

    The Malaiyali tribe

    • Malaiyali tribemalai meaning “hill” and yali meaning “people” — is spread across Tamil Nadu’s hilly regions. 
    • The tribespeople were foragers and settled in the upper Nillavur region of Yelagiri.Agriculture is their main occupation.

               

    Source:TH
     

    Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA)

    Syllabus: GS2/Education

    News

    • 14 states are yet to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Union Education Ministry, to participate in the Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA) scheme. 

    About

    • Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA):In 2013 RUSA was launched as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme to fund States/UTs institutions, with the vision to attain higher levels of access, equity, and excellence in the State higher education system
    • The second phase of the scheme was launched in 2018.
    • In the light of the National Education Policy-2020, RUSA scheme was launched as Pradhan Mantri Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (PM-USHA). 
    • Funding:The proposal entails an expenditure of ₹12929.16 crore between 2023-24 and 2025-26,out of which Central Share is Rs. 8120.97 crores and the State Share is of Rs. 4808.19 crores.
    • Focus districts: Under the scheme, priority would be given to the Focus Districts. The focus districts shall be identified by the concerned States/UTs on the basis of the following indicators:
    1. Low GER (Gross Enrolment Ratio)
    2. Population proportion and enrollment proportion for Females, transgenders, SCs, STs and OBCs 
    3. Aspirational/ Border Area/ Left Wing Extremism prone district 
    4. Gender parity

    The objectives of the scheme are:

    • To improve the overall quality of existing state higher educational institutions (HEIs) by ensuring their conformity to prescribed norms and standards and adoption of accreditation as a quality assurance framework; 
    • Implementation of recommendations of the NEP 2020 through funding support provided to State HEIs;
    • Ensure governance, academic, and examination (and evaluation) reforms in the State higher educational institutions and establish backward and forward linkages with school education on one hand and employment market, on the other hand;
    • Create an enabling atmosphere in the higher educational institutions to devote themselves to research and innovations;
    • Correct regional imbalances between urban and rural areas in access to higher education;
    • Developing infrastructure for ODL/Online/Digital mode of education in such States/UTs;
    • Enhancing employability through skilling and vocationalization; 
    • Focus on multidisciplinary education, including STEM, commerce and humanities fields of education.

    Source:PIB

    First India-made MRI scanner

    Syllabus: GS3/ Science & Technology

    In News

    • The first India-made MRI scanner to be launched for clinical work in October, 2023.  This MRI scanner is designed in a way to avoid reliance on liquid helium, instead using  liquid nitrogen.

    About

    • The indigenously developed machine is characterised by several innovations, including avoiding reliance on scarcely available liquid helium, bottom-up software design, and customised hardware.
    • This will reduce the cost of scanning  by 30%. 
    • Helium is the  most common use as a coolant in large superconducting magnets powering Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scanners.
    • The Russia-Ukraine war has squeezed liquid helium supply which has rippling effects on diagnostic facilities around the world, including India, thus unable to fully utilise their MRI scanners.

    What is Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)?

    • MRI is a noninvasive medical imaging test that produces detailed images of almost every internal structure in the human body including organs, bones and tissue.
    • MRI scanners create images of the body using a large magnet and radio waves. No radiation is produced during an MRI exam, unlike X-rays.

    Working of MRI

    • The MRI machine is a large, cylindrical (tube-shaped) machine that creates a strong magnetic field around the patient and sends pulses of radio waves from a scanner.
    • The strong magnetic field created by the MRI scanner causes the atoms in your body to align in the same direction. Radio waves are then sent from the MRI machine and move these atoms out of the original position. 
    • As the radio waves are turned off, the atoms return to their original position and send back radio signals. These signals are received by a computer and converted into an image of the part of the body being examined. 

    Key Facts about Helium

    • Helium (He) is a chemical element, inert gas of Group 18 (noble gases) of the periodic table.
    • It is the second lightest element after hydrogen.
    • It is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that becomes liquid at −268.9 °C (−452 °F).
    • Helium is the only element that cannot be solidified by sufficient cooling at normal atmospheric pressure and it is necessary to apply pressure of 25 atmospheres at a temperature of 1 K (−272 °C, or −458 °F) to convert it to its solid form.
    • The only way to source helium is to extract it from natural gas reserves.

    Source: TH

    Metagenome Sequencing Technology

    Syllabus: GS3/ Science and Technology

    In News

    • Metagenome sequencing technology is transforming pathogen surveillance.

    What is Metagenome sequencing technology?

    • Metagenomics is the study of the entire genetic content of all microbiota members in a natural habitat by utilisation of the whole genome sequencing technique. 
    • The field of metagenomics centres upon direct genetic analysis of microbial genomes isolated from various environments ranging from the human gastrointestinal tract (gut microbiome) to geothermal hot springs. 
    • Genomics vs Metagenomics: The main difference between genomics and metagenomics is the nature of the sample. 
      • Genomics explores the complete genetic information of a single organism only, whereas metagenomics explores a mixture of DNA from multiple organisms and entities, such as viruses, viroids and free DNA.

    Significance

    • By offering direct access to the entire genetic make-up of microbial communities, metagenomics can provide valuable molecular insights into novel enzymes and biocatalysts, as well as into genomic linkages between community function and structure. 
    • The metagenomics approach serves as a powerful tool for elucidating the relationship between host-associated microbial communities and host phenotype.

    Application

    • COVID -19: One of the initial breakthroughs in the definitive identification of SARS-CoV-2 as the causative agent of COVID-19 came from the application Metagenome Sequencing Technology instead of the more time-consuming microbiology route.
    • It also allowed the scientists to rule out viral infections in some individuals and link their symptoms to pesticide poisoning instead. 
    • The studies have demonstrated the power of metagenomic sequencing investigations for pathogen detection and disease diagnosis, and to inform public health outbreak responses.
    • The global mpox virus outbreak 2022 was attributed to a super-spreader event and threatened the planet with another epidemic, but which fortunately ‘fizzled’ out. 
      • One reason is that scientists were able to apply genome-sequencing technologies perfected during the COVID-19 pandemic to understanding the origin and spread of the mpox virus.
      • Such initiatives have also been mooted for other seasonal pathogenic viruses, including Zika and dengue.
    • More recently, experts have used genome sequencing technologies as frontline tools to motivate the detection and surveillance of lumpy skin disease in cattle and the emergence of drug-resistant tuberculosis.

    Source: TH

    SARAS Aajeevika and ODOP Wall

    Syllabus: Prelims/Scheme; GS2/Welfare Schemes

    Context

    • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) and Ministry of Rural Development jointly launch ‘One District One Product’ Wall at SARAS Ajeevika Store to promote indigenous crafts and artisans of India.
      • The convergence is one more step forward towards showcasing the uniqueness of Indian Craft before the world.

    About

    The One District One Product (ODOP) Program:

    • It is an initiative by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry, aimed to make the country and its people self-reliant by fostering balanced regional development across all districts of the country.
    • The program selects, brands, and promotes one unique product from each district, showcasing the diverse range of products across the country which encompasses various sectors, including handlooms and handicrafts.

    SARAS Aajeevika:

    • It is an initiative by Deendayal Antyodaya (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development.
    • It is a strong supporter of women’s empowerment, with a special focus on uplifting women artisans and Self-Help Groups (SHGs).
    • By creating a special marketplace for their well-crafted products, SARAS Aajeevika boosts the skills and talents of these women, helping them become independent entrepreneurs.
    • ODOP Wall at SARAS Aajeevika Store which stands as a symbol of the harmonious partnership between the Ministry of Commerce & Industry and the Ministry of Rural Development.

    What are the objectives of the collaboration?

    • It aims to implement innovative features such as product tagging and story cards, which aim to guide consumers and enthusiasts towards emporiums, thereby boosting sales and magnifying the visibility of India’s exceptional products.
    • The products are being identified from all districts to be promoted for their unique qualities and cultural significance which include various handicrafts, handloom, and agricultural products that have been associated with the identity of their place of origin.
    • It aims to drive consumers towards emporia, boosting sales and increasing the visibility of SARAS products even further to promote indigenous crafts and artisans of rural SHGs women.

    PIB