Daily Current Affairs for 07nd Feb 2024

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Uttarakhand UCC Bill

Why in the news?

  • Recently the Uttarakhand government tabled the Uniform Civil Code (UCC) 2024 Bill in the Assembly which makes important changes in areas such as marriage, divorce, and succession.

Key highlights of the bill

  • The UCC aims to replace distinct personal laws of every religion, focusing on marriage, divorce, adoption, and inheritance.
  • The key proposals put forth by the committee include the prohibition of  https://d18x2uyjeekruj.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/uk-ucc.jpgPolygamy, halal, iddat (a mandatory period of waiting to be observed by women following the dissolution of a Muslim marriage), triple talaq, and child marriage, uniform age for girls’ marriage across all religions, and mandatory registration of live-in relationships.
  • The Code is also likely to extend an equal property share to Muslim women against the existing 25% share accorded under Muslim personal laws.
  • The minimum age for marriage for men and women is set to remain the same, 18 years for women and 21 years for men.
  • STs have been exempted from the purview of the bill. The tribal population in the state, which is around 3%, had been voicing its dissent against UCC in the wake of the special status accorded to them.



CAR-T cell therapy

Why in the news?

  • India’s drug regulator approved the commercial use of CAR-T cell therapy, a pioneering treatment that genetically reprogrammes a patient’s immune system to fight cancer.
  • Dr V K Gupta Gupta, a Delhi-based gastroenterologist, became one of the first patients to access the therapy by paying Rs 42 lakh — a treatment that costs approximately Rs 3-4 crore abroad. 

About the therapy

  • As part of the therapy, the patient’s T-cells (types of immune cells) are collected and genetically modified into potent cancer fighters known as CAR-T cells so that they express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) specific to cancer cells.
  • The modified CAR-T cells are then expanded in the laboratory before being infused back into the patient. Once in the body, these engineered cells recognise and attack cancer cells, with a focus on B-cell cancers, thus offering a targeted and potent immunotherapy.

What are T Cells?

  • White blood cells called T lymphocytes sometimes referred to as T Cells, are a key component of the immune response.
  • They may aid in the fight against cancer and protect the body from infection. also known as a thymocyte and a T lymphocyte.
  • As part of cell-mediated immunity, T cells assist the body in identifying and reacting to foreign substances such as viruses, bacteria, and aberrant cells such as cancer cells.
  • The helper T cell and the cytotoxic T cell are the two main subtypes of T cells.
    Helper T cells, as their names imply, “assist” other immune system cells, whereas cytotoxic T cells “kill” virally-infected cells and malignancies.




Atmospheric river and its impact on California

Why in news?

  • A second atmospheric river storm, or Pineapple Express weather system, has hit California and is expected to continue, bringing heavy rain that could cause flash floods and mudslides.


About Atmospheric river

  • An atmospheric river is vast airborne current of dense moisture carried aloft for hundreds of miles from the Pacific and funneled over land to fall as bouts of heavy rain and snow.
  • It can appear as a trail of wispy clouds that can stretch for hundreds of miles.
  • Some atmospheric rivers are weak weather systems that bring beneficial rain or snow that feed water supplies and are a crucial element to the global water cycle.

What are the current water, Snowpack levels in California?

  • The heavy rains and snow are welcome in California, which has experienced below average precipitation since the beginning of October.
  • The state has received 9.81 inches of precipitation over that time, about 82% of its historic average.
  • Major reservoir levels in California are 116% above their average levels, but snowpack across the state is only 32% of its average.
  • More specifically, snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains is well below average, while to the north around Mount Shasta it is closer to average.
  • Reservoirs and melting snowpack help offset arid conditions during drier months.

Danger posed by it

  • Atmospheric rivers can carry up to 15 times the volume of the Mississippi River.
  • It cause flash flooding and wash out roadways.
  • Wind gusts may take down trees and powerlines, causing power outages.

Impact of climate change

  • Atmospheric rivers that drenched California and flooded British Columbia in recent years will become larger — and possibly more destructive — because of climate change.

They will also become more frequent and more likely to arrive as part of series, causing up to four times more economic damage than they would have individually



Bill introduce to modify SC/ST list in Odisha and Andhra

Why in news?

  • Recently Rajya Sabha passed the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order Amendment Bill, 2024 and Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes) Order Amendment Bill, 2024, clearing the way for the addition of several new communities to the Scheduled Tribes list of Odisha and the inclusion of synonyms and phonetic variations of existing tribes in the ST lists of both Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. 

Addition of new communities

  • In Odisha, the PVTG communities added are Pauri Bhuyan and Paudi Bhuyan as synonyms of the Bhuyan tribe; the Chuktia Bhunjia as a synonym of the Bhunjia tribe; the Bondo as a sub-tribe of the Bondo Poraja tribe; and the Mankidia as a synonym for the Mankirdia tribe.
  • In Andhra Pradesh, the PVTG communities included were Bondo Porja and Khond Porja as synonyms of the Porja tribe and the Konda Savaras as a synonym for the Savaras tribe.

Other additions and changes

  • In addition to this, the Bill to amend Odisha’s ST list also shifted two entries — Tamadia and Tamudia — from the Scheduled Castes list to the Scheduled Tribes list. The Bill also added synonyms, phonetic variations and sub-tribes of at least eight existing communities in the State’s ST list.
  • Further, Odisha’s ST list was expanded by adding two communities to it as new entries. These are the Muka Dora community (and synonyms) in undivided Koraput District which includes Koraput, Nowrangapur, Rayagada and Malkangiri districts; and the Konda Reddy (and synonyms) community.



Visa free visit to Iran

Why in news?

  • Iran has announced a visa-waiver programme for Indians visiting the country for tourism.
  • The visa-free entry is effective for Indian citizens as of February 4 subject to four conditions.
  • Indian tourists can now visit Iran for a maximum of 15 days without a visa.

The four conditions under which you can travel to Iran visa-free:

  • Indians holding ordinary passports will be allowed to enter the country without a visa once every six months, with a maximum stay of 15 days. This 15-day stay period cannot be extended.
  • The visa-free rule applies to individuals entering Iran for tourism purposes only.
  • If Indians wish to stay for a longer period or make multiple entries within a six-month period, they must get a visa.
  • The visa-free rule specifically applies to Indians entering the country by air.

Visa waiver by Iran

  • Iran has approved its new visa-waiver programme for 33 countries.
  • India, Russian, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Lebanon, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Tunisia, Mauritania, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Seychelles, Indonesia, Darussalam, Japan, Singapore, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brazil, Peru, Cuba, Mexico, Venezuela, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia and Belarus.

Tourism in Iran:

  • According to the World Tourism Organization, Iran’s foreign tourist arrivals during 2022 rose 315% from a year earlier. Data showed some 4.1 million tourists came to Iran in 2022, up from 990,000 in 2021.
  • Moslem Shojai, who heads the Iranian tourism ministry’s foreign tourism marketing and development office, said in December that there had been a “notable growth” in travellers from India in 2023.
  • A total of 31,000 Indians visited Iran in the first six months of 2023, marking 25% growth compared to the same period in 2022.

Countries where Indians can travel without visa

  • Earlier, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and Sri Lanka had also eased visa rules for Indian tourists.
  • According to the Henley Passport Index, as of 2023 Indian passport holders had visa-free access to 62 destinations globally.



Bill to amend water Act

Why in news?

  • The Union Environment Ministry plans to do away with criminal prosecution of minor offences under four green laws for better and faster compliance.
  • rRecently the Rajya Sabha passed a bill that seeks to decriminalise minor offences under the Water Act of 1974 and preparing the grounds for exempting certain categories of industries like the green ones from statutory clearances.

What is bill about?

  • The Water (Prevention and Control) Amendment bill, 2024 was passed by the Upper House following a brief discussion with the Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav observing that the new law would be in the line of “ease of doing business”.
  • The Union Environment Ministry plans to do away with criminal prosecution of minor offences under four green laws for better and faster compliance.
  • The laws undergoing modifications are Environment Protection Act, 1986; Water Act of 1974; Air Act of 1981; and Public Liability Insurance Act of 1991.
  • The amendments to three of the four laws were passed as a part of the Jan Vishwas bill of 2023 that amended 183 provisions in 42 central laws, decriminalising minor offences. But a separate legislation to amend the water act is needed since water is a state subject.


  • The penalties collected would be deposited in a corpus named Environment Protection Fund and 75% of the money would be shared with the states.
  • The rules on fund distribution will be made later.
  • According to the bill’s statement of objects and reason, the bill proposes to rationalise criminal provisions and ensure that citizens, businesses and companies operate without fear of imprisonment for minor, technical or procedural defaults.
  • The nature of penalty will commensurate with the seriousness of offence.
  • The bill also seeks to streamline the appointment of chairpersons of State Pollution Control Boards and allow the central government to prescribe the manner of nomination as well as the terms and conditions of service.
  • This amendment will provide certain mandatory qualifications, experience and procedure to ensure fair appointment of chairpersons.
  • According to the Bill, the central government will be empowered to exempt certain categories of industrial plants from the application of Section 25 relating to restriction on new outlets and new discharges. “This will reduce the duplication of surveillance and unnecessary burden on regulatory agencies



Bill to give OBC quota in J&K local bodies

Why in news?

  • Recently the Lok Sabha passed a draft legislation to provide reservation to other backward classes in local bodies in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The bill seeks to provide reservation to OBCs in panchayats and municipalities in Jammu and Kashmir and bring consistency in the local body laws of the Union territory with the provisions of the Constitution.

What is bill about?

  • Presently, there are no provisions for OBC reservations in panchayats and municipalities in Jammu and Kashmir. The bill aims to address this by ensuring OBC reservations in these local bodies and aligning the UT’s laws with constitutional provisions.
  • The government reiterating that the repeal of Article 370 in 2019 has brought important changes in the Union territory and the opposition demanding that statehood be restored and assembly elections held at the earliest.
  • During the debate on the Jammu and Kashmir Local Bodies Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2024, in the lower house, Union minister of state for home Nityanand Rai said the people of Jammu and Kashmir have started enjoying the benefits of development ushered in by the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The bill seeks to provide reservation to OBCs in panchayats and municipalities in Jammu and Kashmir and bring consistency in the local body laws of the Union territory with the provisions of the Constitution.
  • With this, justice will be ensured to the citizens of Other Backward Classes of Jammu and Kashmir for the first time after 75 years of independence.

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