Table of Contents
INDIAN POLITY, GOVERNANCE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE
1. ARREST SHOULD NOT BE ROUTINELY MADE: SC
THE CONTEXT: The Supreme Court has said that merely because an arrest can be made as it is lawful does not mandate that it must be made. SC observed that personal liberty is an important aspect of constitutional mandate.
- The apex court said if arrest is made routine, it could cause “incalculable harm” to the reputation and self-esteem of a person. If the investigating officer of a case does not believe that the accused will abscond or disobey the summons, he or she is not required to be produced before the court in custody.
- Personal liberty is an important aspect of our constitutional mandate. The occasion to arrest an accused during investigation arises when custodial investigation becomes necessary or it is a heinous crime or where there is a possibility of influencing the witnesses or accused may abscond.
- The top court passed the order while hearing a plea against the Allahabad High Court verdict which had dismissed an application seeking anticipatory bail in a case in which FIR was registered seven years ago.
- The bench noted that contrary to the observations made in the apex court verdict of 1994 on how a police officer has to deal with a scenario of arrest, the trial courts are stated to be insisting on arrest as a pre-requisite formality to take charge sheet on record in view of provisions of section 170 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC). Section 170 of the CrPC deals with cases to be sent to magistrate when evidence is sufficient.
- The top court said the word ‘custody’ appearing in section 170 of the CrPC does not contemplate either police or judicial custody but it merely connotes the presentation of accused by the investigating officer before the court while filing charge sheet.
- It noted that section 170 of the CrPC does not impose an obligation on the officer-in-charge to arrest the accused at the time of filing of charge sheet.
Reference: Indian express
2. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF INDIA MOBILE APP
THE CONTEXT: Geological Survey of India has decided to make itself accessible to the masses and make its presence felt digitally by launching the GSI Mobile App (Beta Version). Through the App, people will become more enlightened about various facets of GSI activities. It is also in line with the Digital India campaign initiated by the Central Government.
- The App is divided into various sections where it talks about the legacy of GSI, the in-house publications of the organisation, various case studies on different missions of GSI, the picture gallery etc.
- E-news division updates masses about the latest news as far as the organization is concerned in terms of work and the career opportunities as well as the training facilities that are available with GSI.
- It also deals with various maps, videos and downloads of GSI work.
- The e-book section would give the masses an idea of the exploration works done by GSI.
- It connects the YouTube, Facebook and Twitter pages of GSI from the app as well.
- This App will be further upgraded for higher versions of Android OS and for iOS compatible mobiles (i-Phones) and many more features will be added in the near future.
- The Geological Survey of India (GSI) was set up in 1851 primarily to find coal deposits for the Railways. Over the years, GSI has not only grown into a repository of geo-science information required in various fields in the country but has also attained the status of a geo-scientific organisation of international repute.
- Its main functions relate to creating and updating of national geoscientific information and mineral resource assessment. These objectives are achieved through ground surveys, air-borne and marine surveys, mineral prospecting and investigations, multi-disciplinary geoscientific, geo-technical, geo-environmental and natural hazards studies, glaciology, seism tectonic study, and carrying out fundamental research.
- GSI’s chief role includes providing objective, impartial and up-to-date geological expertise and geoscientific information of all kinds, with a focus on policy making decisions, commercial and socio-economic needs.
- GSI also emphasises on systematic documentation of all geological processes derived out of surface and subsurface of India and its offshore areas. The organisation does so by using the latest and most cost-effective techniques and methodologies, including geophysical and geochemical and geological surveys.
- GSI’s core competence in survey and mapping is continuously enhanced through accretion, management, co-ordination and utilization of spatial databases (including those acquired through remote sensing).
- It functions as a ‘Repository’ or ‘clearing house’ for the purpose and uses latest computer-based technologies for dissemination of geoscientific information and spatial data, through cooperation and collaboration with other stakeholders in the Geo-informatics sector.
- GSI, headquartered in Kolkata, has six regional offices located in Lucknow, Jaipur, Nagpur, and Hyderabad, Shillong and Kolkata and state unit offices in almost all states of the country.
- GSI is an attached office to the Ministry of Mines.
ENVIRONMENT, GEOGRAPHY AND AGRICULTURE
3. GSI LISTS GEO-TOURISM SITES IN NE TO VISIT AFTER ‘UNLOCK’
THE CONTEXT: Geological Survey of India (GSI) has identified certain geological sites across the Northeast for promotion of geo-tourism as some States in the region prepare to ‘unlock’ from September.
- Twelve locations in the Northeast are included in the 32 approved geo-tourism or geo-heritage sites in the country.
- Of the 12 sites, three are in Meghalaya, two each in Assam and Tripura, and one each in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Naga- land and Sikkim.
- Mawmluh Cave: Near Cherrapunjee in the East Khasi Hills district, this cave led scientists to the Meghalayan Age associated with a major climatic event – very abrupt, critical and significant drought and cooling – 4,200 years ago. A stage of the Meghalayan Age is defined from a specific level in a stalagmite from this cave. According to geologists, speleothems from the cave provide important records of Holocene paleo-climate and paleo-monsoon. The cave is about 55 km from the State capital Shillong.
- Mawblei or God’s Rock: Situated near Syntung village in East Khasi Hills district, it is a huge balancing rock slanting at an angle of about 45 degrees in the south-southeast direction on a hill slope at 1,303 metres above mean sea level overlooking the Wahrashi River valley. The rock is composed of the reddish-purple Mahadek sandstone belonging to the Khasi group of cretaceous age. Thin partings of shale are also observed in the boulder. Mawblei in the Khasi language means God’s Rock and is a sacred place for the local populace. The rock is about 63 km from Shillong.
- Therriaghat: Also in East Khasi Hills district, it is probably one of the best-preserved and most complete Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary sections in India. Most of the large vertebrates, planktons and many tropical invertebrates suddenly became extinct at the end of the Cretaceous period. A new assemblage of ammonites recorded recently probably represents a few of the last representatives just before the mass extinction in which the complete sub-class Ammonidea vanished from the face of the earth.
- Majuli: A river “island”, among the world’s largest, Majuli is a district at the mercy of the Brahmaputra. The river erodes the island every year but also deposits soil to ensure a constant change in its shape. The island is also the hub of spiritualism in Assam because of a number of ‘satras’ or Vaishnav monasteries established by the 15th-16th century saint-reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva and his disciples. The island is about 330 km east of Guwahati.
- Umananda: One of the smallest inhabited islands in the Brahmaputra, Umananda is off the administrative hub of Guwahati and sports an old Shiva temple. The island is actually an inselberg, composed of the rocks of the Assam-Meghalaya gneissic complex.
- Chabimura: In Gomati district, this site is known for its panels of rock carving on a steep hill wall on the bank of river Gomati. The huge images of Shiva, Vishnu, Karthikeya, Durga and other gods and goddesses date back to the 15th-16th century and the biggest carved deity is about 20 ft. The hill range is covered with thick jungles and one can reach this abode of gods after trekking through the foliage but rafting or boating on the river is the only option for a view of the rock-face carvings. The site is about 82 km from the State capital Agartala.
- Unakoti: This site in the Unakoti district has numerous rock-cut sculptures and temples made between the 7th and 9th centuries. The hilly environs and waterfalls are an added attraction at Unakoti, which means “one less than a crore”. The place is a historic Shaiva pilgrimage 172 km from Agartala. The central Shiva head, known as ‘Unakotiswara Kal Bhairava’ is about 30 feet high, including an embroidered headdress that is 10 feet high.
- Sangetsar Tso: Popularly known as Madhuri Lake, this waterbody in Tawang district is close to the border with Tibet and was formed due to the damming of a river during a major earthquake in 1950. The lake is surrounded by a lush valley and snow-capped mountains.
- Loktak Lake: About 40 km from State capital Imphal, this lake in the Bishnupur district is the largest freshwater lake in the Northeast. The attractions of this lake are the ‘ phumdis’ or floating biomass and the ‘phumsangs’ or huts of fishermen on them. The Keibul Lamjao National Park, the only floating wildlife habitat on earth, is on the southwestern part of the lake and is the last natural habitat of the sangai or brow-antlered dancing deer.
- Reiek Tlang: About 29 km from State capital Aizawl, this hill is a cuesta formed due to erosion of the tertiary sand shale alternations. Cuesta means a ridge with a gentle slope or dip on one side and a steep slope or scarp on the other. The local authorities host the annual anthurium festival at a heritage village near the Reiek peak.
- Naga Hill Ophiolite: Geologically referred to as NHO, it is in the Pungro region of Kiphire district and about 240 km from State capital Kohima. It refers to the ophiolitic rocks of mantle and oceanic crust percentage at the continental plate margin with vast potential for intensive research and economic growth. The NHO consists of a variety of Mesozoic and the subsequently Cenozoic rocks – magmatic, metamorphic and sedimentary – that originated at the India-Myanmar convergent plate boundary. It has been assigned ages ranging from Cretaceous to Paleocene.
- Stromatolite Park: At Mamley, about 80 km from State capital Gangtok, this site comprising stromatolitic (algal) development – boulder outcrops with circular structures – hosted in the limestone of Buxa Formation was discovered a little over a decade ago. It provides one of the rare examples of early life on earth in the Sikkim Himalayas. The age of the Buxa Formation is tentatively assigned as Meso-Neoproterozoic based on the available evidence of stromatolites and organic-walled microfossils.
Reference: The Hindu
4. EXTREME HEAT GROWING HEALTH ISSUE: LANCET
THE CONTEXT: Extreme heat is an increasingly common occurrence worldwide, with heat-related deaths and illnesses also expected to rise. The authors of a new two-paper Series on Heat and Health, published in The Lancet, recommended immediate and urgent globally coordinated efforts to mitigate climate change and increase resilience to extreme heat to limit additional warming, avoid permanent and substantial extreme heat worldwide, and save lives by protecting the most vulnerable people.
- In alignment with the Paris Agreement, the Series authors call for global warming to be limited to 1.5°C to avoid substantial heat-related mortality in the future.
- Reducing the health impacts of extreme heat is an urgent priority and should include immediate changes to infrastructure, urban environment, and individual behavior to prevent heat-related deaths.
- The series is published ahead of this year’s COP26 UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.
- Effective and environmentally sustainable cooling measures can protect from the worst health impacts of heat. These range from increasing green space in cities, wall coatings that reflect heat from buildings, and widespread use of electric fans and other widely available personal cooling techniques that have been shown by thermal physiologists to help people regulate their body temperature without exacerbating other types of physiological strain.
- While air conditioning is becoming more widely available around the world, it is unaffordable for many of the most vulnerable, is financially and environmentally costly, and leaves many defence less against extreme heat during power outages.
- Two strategic approaches are needed to combat extreme heat. One is climate change mitigation to reduce carbon emissions and alter the further warming of the planet. The other is identifying timely and effective prevention and response measures, particularly for low-resource settings.
Reference: Indian express
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
5. ZYCOV-D- INDIA’S FIRST COVID-19 VACCINE FOR THOSE ABOVE 12
THE CONTEXT: The Drug Controller General has granted emergency approval to the Zycov-D, a COVID-19 vaccine developed by the Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadilla group, making it the first vaccine in India that can be administered to adults as well as those 12 and above.
- It is also the only DNA- based vaccine in the world and can be administered without a needle, purportedly minimising chances of reactions.
- Interim results from phase-III clinical trials in July, in over 28,000 volunteers, showed a primary efficacy of 66.6% for symptomatic RT-PCR positive cases.
- The vaccine has been developed in partnership with the Department of Biotechnology under the ‘Mission COVID Suraksha’.
- The three-dose vaccine once administered produces the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and elicits an immune response.
Reference: The Hindu
6. J&J SEEKS APPROVAL FOR COVID VACCINE TRIALS ON ADOLESCENTS
THE CONTEXT: U.S. pharma major Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has applied for permission to conduct Clinical trials of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine on adolescents aged 12-17 years in India.
- The company has moved an application to the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) seeking approval.
- Previously in August, J&J’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine had been granted emergency use approval (EUA) in India.
- J&J vaccine has demonstrated 85% efficacy in staving off severe COVID-19 disease in its phase 3 trials.
Reference: The Hindu
7. CHINA FORMALLY PASSES THREE-CHILD POLICY INTO LAW
THE CONTEXT: China’s legislature formally amended the country’s family planning rules to allow couples to have three children, also announcing a number of policy measures aimed at boosting declining birth rates.
- The amended law calls on the authorities to take supportive measures, including those in finances, taxes, insurance, education, housing and employment, to reduce families’ burdens as well as the cost of raising and educating children.
- In 2016, a “two-child policy” was introduced that largely failed to boost birth rates.
- The changes come in the wake of China’s once-in-ten year population census that recorded rapidly declining birth rates over the past decade.
- The census said China’s population was 1.41 billion in 2020, an increase of 72 million since the last census in 2010.
- The census recorded 264 million in the age group of 60 and over, up 5.44% since 2010 and accounting for 18.70% of the population.
Reference: The Hindu
8. U.S. NOT INTERESTED IN FTA
THE CONTEXT: Commerce and Industry Minister said that hopes of an India-U.S. trade pact are off the table for now, with the Joe Biden administration conveying to India that it is not interested in a Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
- The US, as of now, has kind of indicated that they are not looking for new trade agreements, but we will look at working with them on market access issues on both sides.
- Resolving issues like non-tariff barriers, entering mutual recognition agreements and aligning on higher quality international standards will help spur trade between the two countries.
- The minister also said that India has begun working on an FTA with Bangladesh, and is close to sealing an early harvest deal with Australia ‘which has almost agreed’ on the matter, with a similar deal being worked out with the U.K.
- Other FTAs currently on the government’s priority list are UAE, GCC and Israel.
Reference: The Hindu
Q 1. Which of the following pairs are correctly matched?
GSI Site Region
1. Therriaghat Meghalaya
2. Unakoti Tripura
3. Reiek Tlang Sikkim
4. Stromatolite Park Mizoram
Select the correct answer using code given below:
a) 1, 2 and 3 only
b) 1 and 2 only
c) 2 and 4 only
a) 1, 2 , 3 and 4
ANSWER FOR AUGUST 20, 2021 PRELIMS PRACTICE QUESTIONS (REFER RELEVANT ARTICLE)
Q.1 Answer: c)
- The Delhi-Chandigarh Highway has become the first e-vehicle friendly highway in the country, with a network of Solar-based Electric Vehicle Charging stations (SEVCs) set up by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) under the FAME-1 [Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid) & Electric Vehicles in India] scheme of the Ministry of Heavy Industries.
- The EV charging station at Karnal lake resort, is strategically located at the midpoint of Delhi-Chandigarh highway, and is equipped to cater to all types of E- cars plying currently in the country.