GS PAPER II NEWS
Supreme Court of India
Why in News
The Supreme Court cannot remain a “mute spectator” in the face of a national calamity.
- The top court will not interfere in the work done by the various High Courts to monitor lifesaving COVID19 management amid a second wave of the pandemic.
- The Bench sat for almost the whole day, grilling the Centre, the States and the authorities on the various aspects of COVID management in a suo motu hearing called, ‘In re distribution of essential supplies and services during COVID-19’.
- Over 11 High Courts are hearing COVID19 related cases and passing orders on a daily basis.
- High Courts are best suited to make an assessment of ground realities in each State and find flexible solutions for problems faced by citizens.
- No need to interfere in the work of the High Courts.
Supreme Court of India
- Supreme Court of India is the top authority in Judiciary and the final appeal Court under the Constitution of India.
- It was first established in India under the Regulating Act of 1773 at Calcutta.
- Objective behind this was to hear and determine grievances of crimes and to entertain, hear and determine any suits or actions in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa provinces.
- After that, the Supreme Courts at Madras and Bombay were established by King George – III in 1800 and 1823 respectively.
- In 1861, India High Courts Act was enacted under which Supreme Courts at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay abolished and High Courts for various provinces and the Sadar Adalats in Presidency towns was established.
- After India got independence in 1947, the Constitution of India came into force on 26 January 1950 under which the honorable Supreme Court of India was established and its first sitting was held on 28 January 1950.
- Under Part V of the Indian Constitution, Article 124-147 deals with the subjects related to the Supreme Court of India.
- The Jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of India can broadly be categorized into original jurisdiction, appellate jurisdiction and advisory jurisdiction.
- Originally, the strength of the Supreme Court was fixed at eight (one chief justice and seven other judges), but now there are thirty-one judges (one chief justice and thirty other judges).
Interference of Supreme Court in the proceedings of High Court
- Article 139A deals with the power of the Supreme Court to withdraw the cases from the High Court if they are pending and it is believed by the Supreme Court that it involves important question on law.
- Article 141 states that the judgment of the Supreme Court is binding on all the lower or subordinate courts.
- Under the Writ Jurisdiction, the Supreme Court has the power to issue the Writ of Mandamus even against the High Court even though the High Courts have also been provided with the power to issue such Writs under Article 226 to do an act or to abstain from doing an act.
- Certiorari is another writ that can be issued by the Supreme Court to the High Court.
- It can be issued when the superior court wants to decide a matter in the case itself or if there is an excess of jurisdiction by the inferior court.
- It can also be issued when there is a fundamental error in the procedure followed by the inferior court or if there is a violation of the principles of natural justice.
GS PAPER III
Election Commission of India
Why in News
The Election Commission of India announced that the enforcement of COVID-19 protocols under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 was the responsibility of the State authorities.
- This statement given by the ECI in the response of Madras High Court that blamed the ECI for the second wave of COVID-19 in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, where polling was held on April 6 and counting of votes is scheduled for May 2.
- The ECI stated that it would comply with the directions of the court and apprise it of the steps taken to ensure safe elections.
- The enforcement under the 2005 Act has to be ensured by the State Disaster Management Authority concerned and notified authorities under the Act.
- According to the ECI, the Commission has always emphasized in its all subsequent
- instructions that the State authorities shall ensure COVID19 compliance in the matter of public gatherings, etc. for campaign purposes.
Disaster Management Act, 2005
The Disaster Management Act, 2005 was enacted in 2006.
- The purpose of the implementation of the Act is to manage disasters, including preparation of mitigation strategies, capacity-building and more.
- It provides the effective management of disasters and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto.
- With the enforcement of the Disaster Management Act 2005, the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has been established, with the Prime Minister of India as chairperson.
- The Act also constitute a National Executive Committee (NEC) to assist the National Authority.
- It mandated all State Governments to establish a State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA).
National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA)
- It is an apex Body of Government of India, with a mandate to lay down policies for disaster management.
- It was constituted through the Disaster Management Act enacted by the Government of India on 23 December 2005.
- It is responsible for framing policies, laying down guidelines and best-practices for coordinating with the State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) to ensure a holistic and distributed approach to disaster management.
- It is chaired by the Prime Minister of India and can have up to nine other members, but since 2020, there have been five other members.
- Its vision is to “build a safer and disaster resilient India by a holistic, pro-active, technology-driven and sustainable development strategy that involves all stakeholders and fosters a culture of prevention, preparedness and mitigation”.
Election Commission of India
- The Election Commission of India (ECI) is a permanent constitutional body under the Ministry of Law and Justice.
- It is responsible for the conduct of elections at the national level, state level and local level (municipality, panchayat etc.).
- Article 324 of the India Constitution mentioned about the ‘Election Commission of India.’
- Election Commission is amongst the few institutions which function with both autonomy and freedom, along with the country’s higher judiciary, the Union Public Service Commission and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
GS PAPER III
CT-Value in COVID Test
Why in News
Among various scientific terms that the Covid-19 pandemic has made part of the public vocabulary, one is the ‘Ct value’ in RT-PCR tests for determining whether a patient is positive for Covid-19.
Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR tests)
- Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction is the COVID-19 Test.
- In RT-PCR test, RNA is extracted from the swab collected from the patient.
- It is then converted into DNA, which is then amplified.
- Amplification refers to the process of creating multiple copies of the genetic material — in this case, DNA.
- This improves the ability of the test to detect the presence of virus.
- Amplification takes place through a series of cycles — one copy becomes two, two becomes four, and so on — and it is after multiple cycles that a detectable amount of virus is produced.
- CT Value is the acronym of Cycle Threshold, that emerges during RT-PCR tests, the gold standard for detection of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.
- Ct value is a measure of transmission.
- According to the ICMR advisory, the Ct value of an RT-PCR reaction is the number of cycles at which fluorescence of the PCR product is detectable over and above the background signal.
- It refers to the number of cycles after which the virus can be detected.
- If a higher number of cycles is required, it implies that the virus went undetected when the number of cycles was lower.
- The lower the Ct value, the higher the viral load because the virus has been spotted after fewer cycles.
Importance of CT Value
- According to the ICMR, a patient is considered Covid-positive if the Ct value is below 35.
- The ICMR stated that lowering Ct threshold parameter may lead to missing several infectious persons.
- A benchmark of 35, therefore, means that more patients would be considered positive than we would get if the benchmark were 24.
Significance of threshold of 35
- Globally, the accepted cut-off for Ct value for Covid-19 ranges between 35 and 40, depending on instructions from the respective manufacturers of testing equipment.
- The ICMR has arrived at the Ct value of 35 based on laboratory experiences and inputs taken from several virology labs.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)
- ICMR is the apex body in India for the formulation, coordination and promotion of biomedical research under Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- In 1911, the Government of India set up the Indian Research Fund Association (IRFA) with the specific objective of sponsoring and coordinating medical research in the country.
- It was replaced as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in 1949, considerably expanded scope of functions.
- It is the oldest and largest medical research bodies in the world.
GS PAPER III
Organic food in India
Why in News
As compared to 2019-20, India’s export of Organic food products rose by 51%, to USD 1040 million (Rs 7078 crores) during financial year 2020-21.
- In terms of quantity, the exports of organic food products grew by 39% to 888,179 metric tons (MT) during FY 2020-21 compared to 638,998 MT shipped in 2019-20.
- Despite of logistical and operational challenges by the pandemic the growth in organic products has been achieved.
- Oil cake meal has been a major commodity of the organic product exports from the country followed by oil seeds, fruit pulps and purees, cereals & millets, spices & condiments, tea, medicinal plant products, dry fruits, sugar, pulses, coffee, essential Oil etc.
- India’s organic products have been exported to 58 countries including USA, European Union, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, Switzerland, Israel, South Korea.
- Organic products are the products that are grown in the farm without any usage of artificial chemicals or Chemical Fertilizers.
- These products use natural fertilizers like manure to improve plant growth and animals raised organically are also not given antibiotics or hormones.
- It improves soil quality and the conservation of groundwater and aid to reduce pollution and may be better for the environment.
- According to FSSAI,’ organic farming’ is a system of farm design and management to create an ecosystem of agriculture production without the use of synthetic external inputs such as chemical fertilizers, pesticides and synthetic hormones or genetically modified organisms.
India in Organic Farming
- Indian organic products, nutraceuticals and health food are gaining more demand in overseas market.
- Organic Products are currently exported from India only if they are produced, processed, packed and labelled as per the requirements of the National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP).
- In order to facilitate the trade between major importing countries, negotiations are underway with Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Australia, UAE, New Zealand for achieving Mutual Recognition Agreements for exports of Organic products from India.
National Programme for Organic Production (NPOP)
- The NPOP has been implemented by APEDA since its inception in 2001 as notified under the Foreign Trade (Development and Regulations) Act, 1992.
- The equivalency with EU also facilitates export of Indian organic products to the United Kingdom even in the post Brexit phase.
- NPOP has also been recognized by the Food Safety Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) for trade of organic products in the domestic market.
- Organic products covered under the bilateral agreement with NPOP need not to be recertified for import in India.
Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA)
- The APEDA was established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act passed by the Parliament in December, 1985.
- APEDA is mandated with the responsibility of export promotion and development of the products like fruits, vegetables and their products, etc.,
- APEDA has been entrusted with the responsibility to monitor import of sugar.
- It headquartered at New Delhi.
- Its regional offices situated at Mumbai, Kolkata, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Guwahati.
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)
- It is a statutory body established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
- It has been established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, which is a consolidating statute related to food safety and regulation in India.
- It is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety.
- It headquartered at New Delhi.
- It has 6 regional offices located in Delhi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Kolkata, Cochin, and Chennai.
- With the aim of benefitting industries involved in manufacturing, handling, packaging and selling of food items in 2021, FSSAI decided to grant perpetual licenses to restaurants and food manufacturers on the condition that they file their returns every year.
GS PAPER III
Integrated Solar Dryer and Pyrolysis pilot
Why in News
A Solar Dryer and Pyrolysis pilot plant at Chennai will soon provide an innovative approach for smart cities to transform urban organic waste into biochar and energy.
The stone of the Integrated Solar Dryer and Pyrolysis pilot was founded by the Director of CSIR-Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI) at Chennai on the occasion of 74th foundation day of CLRI on 23rd April 2021.
- It is the part of the Indo-German project ‘Pyrasol’ launched to transform urban organic waste into biochar and energy in smart cities.
- It was awarded to CSIR-CLRI by the Indo-German Science & Technology Centre.
- It will lead to technology development for the joint processing of Fibrous Organic Waste (FOW) and Sewage Sludge (SS) of Indian smart cities into hygienic and highly valuable biochar associated with energy recovery, carbon sequestration and environmental improvement.
Indo-German Science & Technology Centre (IGSTC)
- It was established by the:
- Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India &
- Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), Govt. of Germany
- It aims to facilitate Indo-German R&D networking with emphasis on industry participation, applied research and technology development.
- IGSTC through its flagship program ‘2+2 Projects’, catalysis innovation centric R&D projects by synergizing the strength of research and academic institutions and public/private industries from India and Germany.
- Under this program, the project titled ‘Pyrasol: Smart Cities integrated energy supply, carbon sequestration and urban organic waste treatment through combined solar sludge drying and pyrolysis’ was awarded by IGSTC to CSIR-CLRI, Chennai; Ramky Enviro Engineers, Chennai; Leibniz Universität, Hannover and BiomaconGmbH, Rehburg.
- It focuses on:
- Managing and organizing collection,
- Treatment and disposal systems of urban wastes in Indian Smart Cities as well as in other urban centers with an integrated and interactive approach.
- It can reduce the carbon footprint of smart cities by an innovative organic waste drying system using the solar natural chimney effect followed by a highly efficient single-chamber pyrolysis.
CSIR-Central Leather Research Institute (CLRI)
- It is the world’s largest leather research institute in terms of research papers and patents.
- It was founded on 24 April 1948 as a constituent laboratory under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is located at Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
- Objective behind the establishment is:
- To meet the needs of the leather and allied sectors through:
- Technology development and transfer,
- Training and industrial support and
- Formulation of policies and plan of action that ensures a technology based competitive advantage for Indian leather.
Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
- The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) is an autonomous body, was established by the Government of India in September 1942.
- It emerged as the largest research and development organization in India.
- Its objective is to provide scientific industrial research and development that maximizes the economic, environmental and societal benefit for the people of India.
- Through this Pyrasol project, simple and robust processing technologies for urban organic waste will be combined in a synergetic manner.
- It further developed to improve sanitation and welfare, supply regenerative energy, convert waste into products.