Argutes

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – 01 October 2021

1. Right to Apply for Bail

  1. The Supreme Court has held that the right to apply for bail is an “individual right” implicit in the Constitution.
  2. The right of an accused, an undertrial prisoner, or a convicted person awaiting appeal court’s verdict to seek bail on suspension of sentence is recognized in Sections 439, 438, and 389 of the Code of Criminal Procedure
  3. Rajasthan High Court earlier had passed an order not to list bails, appeals, applications for suspension of sentence in appeals, and revisions in the category of extreme urgent matters.
  4. This blanket would effectively block access for seekers of liberty to apply for bail and in substance suspend the fundamental rights of individuals in or apprehending detention.

Bail

  1. It’s a provisional release of a detained person, who is accused of a criminal offense and therefore the judgment is yet to tend.
  2. The term ‘Bail’ has been derived from a French verb ‘Bailer’ which suggests ‘to give’ or ‘to deliver.’
  3. Bail is granted keeping in mind the target behind arrest which is to make sure the presence of the accused before the court for the trial with no inconvenience.
  4. However, if the presence of the accused is often guaranteed without detaining the person, then it might be unjust to violate his right to liberty.
  5. Therefore, bail may be a sort of security deposited to seem before the court for release.

2. Contempt of Court

Recently the Supreme Court bench held that the power to punish for contempt is a constitutional power vested in this court which cannot be abridged or taken away even by legislative enactment

Highlights of the Judgment

  1. SC stressed that the authority is bestowed by the Constitution itself, and no law can be enacted to mitigate or nullify it.
  2. Even Parliament can’t take away the power of the Supreme Court to punish for contempt
  3. The power to punish for contempt is a constitutional power
  4. Article 142 (2) states that “subject to the provisions of any law made on this behalf by Parliament” the Supreme Court shall have all and every power to make any order on the punishment of any contempt of itself.
  5. Article 129 lays down that the Supreme Court shall be a court of record, and shall have all the powers of such a court, including the power to punish for contempt.
  6. The comparison of the two provisions shows that whereas the founding fathers felt that the powers under clause (2) of Article 142 could be subject to any law made by the Parliament, there is no such restriction as far as Article 129 is concerned.
  7. It emphasized that the rationale behind the contempt jurisdiction is to maintain the dignity of the institution of judicial forums.

About Contempt of Court

  1. Parliament framed the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971, laying down procedure and punishment.
  2. The Act divides contempt into civil and criminal contempt.
  3. Civil contempt refers to the willful disobedience of an order of any court
  4. Criminal contempt includes any act or publication which: scandalizes the court, prejudices any judicial proceeding, or interferes with the administration of justice in any other manner

The Delhi High Court asked the Centre to consider as a representation a petition seeking to remove provisions from the statute such as Section 66A of the Information and Technology Act, which have already been declared unconstitutional.

What is Section 66A of the IT Act?

Punishment for sending offensive messages through communication service, etc. -Any person who sends, by means of a computer resource or a communication device,-

  1. any information that is grossly offensive or has menacing character; or
  2. any information which he knows to be false, but for the purpose of causing annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will, persistently by making use of such computer resource or a communication device; or
  3. any electronic mail or electronic mail message for the purpose of causing annoyance or inconvenience or to deceive or to mislead the addressee or recipient about the origin of such messages,
  4. shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and with a fine.

Struck Down

On March 24, 2015, a bench of Justices J. Chelameswar and R.F. Nariman ruled in Shreya Singhal v. Union of India declared Section 66A unconstitutional for “being violative of Article 19(1)(a) and not saved under Article 19(2).”

Click here to know about IT Act

4. Evidence of Artemisinin-Resistant Malaria

  1. New England Journal of Medicine published an article `Evidence of Artemisinin-Resistant Malaria in Africa’.
  2. The study described the presence of two mutations responsible for artemisinin resistance in Northern Uganda.
  3. The current report of artemisinin resistance in East Africa is a matter of great concern as this is the only drug that has saved several lives across the globe.
  4. In India, after the failure of chloroquine to treat P. falciparum malaria successfully, artemisinin-based combination therapy was initially introduced in 117 districts that reported more than 90% falciparum burden in 2008.
  5. Artemisinin-based antimalarial drugs are the first-line choice for malaria treatment especially against the Plasmodium falciparum parasite which is responsible for almost all malaria-related deaths
  6. In recent years there is increasing evidence for the failure of artemisinin-based combination therapy for falciparum malaria either alone or with partner drugs

5. Hydrogel to regenerate cornea

A team fromIndian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad have developed a hydrogel from discarded corneas from human and bovine sources using a novel and simple method.

Mechanism

  1. Hydrogel was developed from discarded corneas of human and bovine sources using novel and simple method.
  2. The team discovered the most significant feature of this tissue-specific hydrogel in order to prevent cells from scar tissue formation.
  3. Tissue formation is attributed to micro-environment which cannot be offered by any synthetic or other natural material.
  4. Hydrogel is capable of being injected because of its two phases viz., liquid and gel on the basis of incubation temperature.
  5. Researchers also explored the potential of Hydrogel to serve as a material for minimally invasive treatment in order to replace complicated surgeries.

Corneal Scarring

  1. Till date, no solution is available to prevent corneal scarring due to an injury.
  2. But, researchers of IIT-H demonstrated that this hydrogel can be applied immediately after injury.
  3. It will help in regenerating cornea without scarring.
  4. Till date, only partial donor corneal graft or corneal transplantation is available as treatment for scarring.
  5. Corneal disease is a main cause of blindness and visual impairment in countries where there is a huge shortage of donor corneal tissue.

Cornea

  1. Cornea is the transparent front part of the eye, covering iris, pupil, and anterior chamber.
  2. Cornea refracts light and accounts for about two-thirds of the eye’s total optical power.
  3. Refractive power of the cornea is 43 dioptres in Humans.
  4. Cornea can be reshaped by surgical procedures like LASIK.

6. Genes to Increase Grain Size of Sorghum

Genes that can increase the grain size of sorghum, a versatile grain crop used for human consumption, fodder, and bioenergy generation, have been discovered, according to a new report.

New Variant and its Significance

  1. New variants have been identified that are capable of doubling grain weight
  2. As many as 125 regions in the sorghum genome have now been identified where variation in the DNA sequence was associated with grain size and response to environmental conditions.
  3. The grain is popular across the world because it has a low glycaemic index, is gluten-free and nutritious.
  4. The lower the glycemic index of cereal, the lower is the relative rise in blood glucose level after two hours of consuming it.
  5. About 80 percent of the crop’s grain size characteristics depend on genes, and can thus be inherited.
  6. The quality of the yield can be improved without much alterations to environmental resources, such as water or nitrogen

Jowar\Sorghum

  1. The variety of the crop found in India is called jowar.
  2.  It is said to have its origin in the country and is one of its most important food and fodder crops.
  3. Jowar has had a dedicated All-India Coordinated Research Project since 1969
  4. Sorghum plants are very hardy and can withstand high temperature and drought conditions.
  5. Larger grains make it more digestible for both people and animals and improve processing efficiency

7. Cyclone Gulab

  1. It started as a depression in the Bay of Bengal.
  2. The system got intensified as a deep depression and later a cyclone that made landfall on Odisha and Andhra Pradesh coasts.
  3. As a tropical cyclone, it became the third cyclone in 2021 to hit India after Tauktae and Yaas.

Unusual Turning

  1. The cyclone got weakened gradually after wreaking havoc on the eastern coast of India and bringing heavy rains to central states.
  2. The depression moved westwards to Vidarbha in Maharashtra and some districts of south Gujarat.
  3. It started getting stronger, the primary reason being the availability of monsoon trough – a system that was already giving good rainfall to Gujarat.
  4. The depression got moisture from the system and continued its westward journey
  5. As it reached the Arabian Sea, the depression got intensified into a deep depression.
  6. Later it became a full-fledged cyclone, which would be named Shaheen.
  7. The cyclone is likely to travel as far as the Middle East after traversing the Pakistan coast.

The phenomenon of a cyclone from the Bay of Bengal to again emerge as a cyclone in the Arabian Sea, though recorded earlier, is rare. The simple reason is the loss of intensity once the landfall takes place. It would not have happened if it were not for the ongoing monsoon season

8. NASA’s Lucy mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids

  1. The first ever spacecraft to visit the Trojans will be launched that could reveal secrets of the early solar system.
  2. Far out in Jupiter’s orbit lie the Trojan asteroids — fossils from the rock collection that spawned the giant planets over 4 billion years ago.
  3. These hovering time capsules could hold the key to unlocking the origins of planets.
  4. Lucy’s 12-year-long trek promises to reveal a cosmic evolutionary record.
  5. The spacecraft will catch close-up views of a diverse selection of Trojan asteroids to help scientists decipher how and why our solar system’s planets came to be. .

Trojan asteroids

  1. Long before planets came into existence, the solar system overflowed with trillions of rocky and icy bodies orbiting a dim sun.
  2. Some of these fragments slowly fused together to form larger planets, such as the Earth and Mars.
  3. But along the way, a bunch of floating rocks were left over.
  4. Many were swept into the endless depths of the universe — taking their secrets with them — but a smattering still live in the outer reaches of our solar system.
  5. Caught between the gravitational pull of the sun and Jupiter are these primitive pieces of rock that have been around for billions of years.
  6. They’re known as Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids.

Lucy Mission

  1. Lucy will be the first spacecraft to asteroid-hop among seven of the Trojan asteroids, but before heading to both the leading and trailing swarms, it’ll visit a main belt asteroid located between Mars and Jupiter.
  2. Lucy aims to sight eight never-before-seen asteroids in 12 years with a single spacecraft
  3. No other space mission in history has been launched to as many different destinations in independent orbits around our sun.
  4. The spacecraft will use traditional chemical propulsion technology that’ll help with maneuvering, but to save fuel, it’ll fly past points of interest instead of treading slowly.

Mission objectives

The spacecraft will check out several key features of these asteroids by capturing their physical properties:

  1. Surface geology: This includes things like shape, crater size, crustal structure and layering.
  2. Surface color and composition: Tones and colors of the rocks, mineral makeup and regolith properties, such as loose soil composition, are some of these features.
  3. Interiors and bulk properties: Masses, densities, powder blankets around craters and other nitty gritty details comprise this section.
  4. Satellites and rings: A few of the asteroids might have mini-asteroids orbiting them, as though they’re the center of their own solar system. Some might even have Saturn-like rings consisting of super small rocks or icy bodies

9. Fiscal Deficit

  1. The government’s fiscal deficit stood at 31.1 % of the Budget estimates at the end of August, as per data released by the Controller General of Accounts (CGA)
  2. The deficit figure in the current fiscal appears much better than the previous financial year when it had soared to 109.3 % of the estimates
  3. For the current financial year, the government expects the deficit at 6.8 % of GDP
  4. As per the data, the central government’s total receipts stood  40.9 % of the corresponding Budget Estimate (BE) 2021-22 up to August 2021.
  5. The total receipts were 16.8 % of the BE of 2020-21 during the corresponding period of the last financial year.
  6. Of the total receipts, the tax revenue was 41.7 % of BE. The tax revenue was only 17.4 % of BE of 2020-21 in the year-ago period.

Citing the All India Debt and Investment Survey (AIDIS) data from 2013-2019, domestic agency India Ratings said household indebtedness both in rural and urban areas was higher in southern states than rest of India.

Highlights of the report

  1. Per capita income in southern states was higher than other states of the country
  2. Household indebtedness is higher in the southern states as compared to the other parts of the country
  3. In 2019, Telangana with 67.2% had the highest proportion of its rural households indebted and Nagaland with 6.6% had the lowest proportion of its rural households indebted.
  4. Kerala with 47.8% of urban households indebted had the highest incidence of indebtedness among the urban households and Meghalaya with 5.1% the lowest, it said.
  5. Among the major states, the lowest proportion of indebted households in rural areas were in Uttarakhand, and in urban areas in Chhattisgarh.
  6. Four southern states – Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Telangana – figured among the five states having the highest debt to asset ratio both for rural and urban households, while the fifth – Karnataka – has a debt to asset ratio higher than all India average both for rural and urban households.
  7. This indicates that not only a higher proportion of households in southern states are indebted, but they were also more leveraged

11. Listing of Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC)

  1. Union Cabinet approved capital infusion in the state-owned Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) and its listing through an initial public offering.
  2. The Cabinet also approved the continuation of the National Export Insurance Account (NEIA) scheme and infusion of Rs 1,650 crore Grant-in-Aid over five years.

Highlights

  1. The government will inject Rs 4,400 crore in the ECGC over a period of five years beginning 2021-22
  2. The listing of ECGC is likely to happen next year.
  3. The Cabinet also approved the continuation of the National Export Insurance Account (NEIA) scheme and infusion of Rs 1,650 crore Grant-in-Aid over five years.
  4. Capital infusion in NEIA will help tap the huge potential of project exports in the focus market.

ECGC

  1. The ECGC Limited (Formerly Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd) is a government-owned export credit provider.
  2. It is under the ownership of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India based in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  3. The government of India had initially set up Export Risks Insurance Corporation (ERIC) in July 1957.
  4. It was transformed into Export Credit and Guarantee Corporation Limited (ECGC) in 1964 and to Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India in 1983.
  5. ECGC was established to promote exports by providing credit insurance services to exporters against non-payment risks by the overseas buyers due to commercial and political reasons.
  6. It also provides insurance covers to banks against risks in export credit lending to the exporter borrowers.
  7. ECGC is a market leader with around 85 percent market share in the export credit insurance market in India.

National Export Insurance Account Scheme

  1. NEIA Trust was established in 2006 to promote project exports from India that are of strategic and national importance.
  2. The NEIA Trust promotes Medium and Long Term (MLT) /project exports.
  3. It extends (partial/full) support to covers issued by ECGC (ECGC Ltd, formerly known as Export Credit Guarantee Corporation of India Ltd.) to MLT/project export and to Exim Bank for Buyer’s Credit (BC-NEIA) tied to project exports from India.

12. Extension of CPEC to Afghanistan

Pakistan has discussed Taliban-led Afghanistan joining the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) infrastructure project

This project. provides good opportunities, good potential for providing infrastructure and energy connectivity between Afghanistan and Pakistan also connecting South Asia to the Central Asian region.

CPEC

  1. CPEC is a central part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), under which Beijing has pledged over $60 billion for infrastructure projects in Pakistan.
  2. The project is aimed at enhancing Beijing’s influence around the world through China-funded infrastructure projects.
  3. The 3,000 km-long China–Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) consists of highways, railways, and pipelines.
  4. CPEC eventually aims at linking the city of Gwadar in South Western Pakistan to China’s North Western region Xinjiang through a vast network of highways and railways.
  5. The proposed project will be financed by heavily subsidised loans, that will be disbursed to the Government of Pakistan by Chinese banks.

Issues with India

  1. It passes through PoK.
  2. CPEC rests on a Chinese plan to secure and shorten its supply lines through Gwadar with an enhanced presence in the Indian Ocean.
  3. It is widely believed that upon CPEC’s fruition, an extensive Chinese presence will undermine India’s influence in the Indian Ocean.
  4. It is also being contended that if CPEC were to successfully transform the Pakistan economy that could be a “red rag” for India which will remain at the receiving end of a wealthier and stronger Pakistan.
  5. Besides, India shares a great deal of trust deficit with China and Pakistan and has a history of conflict with both.