Daily Current Affairs for 30th January 2023

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Safe abortion

Why in News?

Delhi High Court has allowed a raped minor to terminate her 25-week pregnancy, and framed guidelines forofficersinvestigating cases of rape and sexual assault where the pregnancy exceeds 24 weeks.

How did abortion laws come about in India?

  • In the 1960s, in the wake of a high number of induced abortions taking place, the Union government ordered the constitution of the Shantilal Shah Committee to deliberate on the legalisation of abortion in the country.
  • In order to reduce maternal mortality owing to unsafe abortions, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act was brought into force in 1971.
  • This law is an exception to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) provisions of 312 and 313 and sets out the rules of how and when a medical abortion can be carried out.

What is the MTP (Amendment) Act, 2021?

  • Under the 2021 Act, medical termination of pregnancy is permitted if it is backed by medical opinion and is being sought for at least one of the following reasons —
  • If the continuation of pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman
  • If its continuation would result in grave injury to the woman’s physical or mental health (if the pregnancy is a result of rape or failure of contraceptive used by the pregnant woman or her partner to limit the number of children or to prevent pregnancy, the anguish caused by its continuation would be considered to be a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman)
  • In the case of a substantial risk that if the child was born, it would suffer from serious physical or mental abnormality.
  • The pregnancy can be terminated up to 24 weeks of gestational age after the opinion of two registered medical practitioners under these conditions —
    • If the woman is either a survivor of sexual assault or rape or incest.
    • If she is a minor.
    • If her marital status has changed during the ongoing pregnancy (i.e. either widowhood or divorce)
    • If she has major physical disabilities or is mentally ill.

What is IPC Sec 312 and 313?

  • Under Section 312 of the IPC, a person who “voluntarily causes a woman with child to miscarry” is liable for punishment, attracting a jail term of up to three years or fine or both, unless it was done in good faith where the purpose was to save the life of the pregnant woman.
  • This section effectively makes unconditional abortion illegal in India.
  • Section 313 of the IPC states that a person who causes the miscarriage without the consent of the pregnant woman, whether or not she is in the advanced stages of her pregnancy, shall be punished with life imprisonment or a jail term that could extend to
  • On the grounds of fetal malformation incompatible with life or if the child is born, it would be seriously handicapped
  • If the woman is in humanitarian settings or disaster, or emergency situations as declared by the government
  • Besides, if the pregnancy has to be terminated beyond the 24-week gestational age, it can only be done on the grounds of fetal abnormalities if a four-member Medical Board, as set up in each State under the Act, gives permission to do so.
  • The law also provides that where it is immediately necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman, abortion can be carried out at any time by a single registered medical practitioner.
  • Under the 2021 Act, Unmarried women can also access abortion under the above-mentioned conditions, because it does not mention the requirement of spousal consent. If the woman is a minor, the consent of a guardian is required.
  • The Act contains provisions for the protection of the privacy of a woman undergoing an abortion.
  • The registered medical practitioner cannot “reveal the name and other particulars of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated”, except to a person authorised by the law.

Bombay HC judgment

  • Building on the Aspects Of a woman’s“reproductive autonomy”, “reproductive choice”, and “right to dignity” in the apex court’s 2022 judgment,BombayHighCourt on January 20 this year allowed the termination of a 33-week-old pregnancy on account of severe abnormalities in the foetus.
  • A two-judge Bench of Justices Gautam S Patel and S G Dige said that it is a woman’s right to choose whether she wants to go ahead with a pregnancy with foetal abnormalities. “Given a severe foetal abnormality, the length of the pregnancy does not matter,” the court said. (ABC vs. State ofMaharashtra).

New Cases before SC

The question of striking a balance between a woman’s reproductive choice and the fetus’s right to life came before the Supreme Court this month after a 20-year old unmarried college student approached it seeking termination of her 29-week-old pregnancy. (P vs.Union of India & Another)



Why in News?

Dementia is a clinical syndrome caused by a range of diseases or injuries to the brain. Worldwide, 47.5 million people have dementia, and up to 135.5 million could by 2050.

About Dementia

  • It is a syndrome in which there is deterioration in cognitive function beyond what might be expected from the usual consequences of biological ageing.
  • Dementia mainly affects older people, it is not an inevitable consequence of ageing.
  • Currently, more than 55 million people live with dementia worldwide, and there are nearly 10 million new cases every year.
  • Dementia results from a variety of diseases and injuries that primarily or secondarily affect the brain.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and may contribute to 60-70% of cases.
    • It affects memory, thinking, orientation, comprehension, calculation, learning capacity, language, and judgement.
  • Consciousness is not affected.

Clinical presentation

  • The most common cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which is implicated in up to 70% of dementia diagnoses.
  • Early symptoms include absent-mindedness, difficulty recalling names and words, difficulty retaining new information, disorientation in unfamiliar surroundings, and reduced social engagement.
  • Typical symptoms include impairment in recognising visually presented objects despite a normal visual field, acuity and color vision.
  • It can also cause word finding difficulties.
  • There is a marked memory loss and loss of other cognitive skills, including reduced vocabulary and less complex speech patterns.
  • It may be accompanied by mood swings, apathy, a decline in social skills, and the emergence of psychotic phenomena.
  • Advanced disease is characterized by monosyllabic speech, psychotic symptoms, behavioral disturbance, loss of bladder and bowel control, and reduced mobility.
There is no genetic or biomarker test that can be used to diagnose dementia.

Preventing dementia

  • According to WHO, preventing Alzheimer’s disease can be helpful to treat Dementia.
  • Delaying the onset of the disease by even one year could reduce its prevalence by 11%.
  • Studies Found that demonstrated a strong relationship between midlife hypertension and dementia in later life.
  • Smoking cessation is known to reduce the risk to the level of never smokers.
  • Regular exercise helps offset cardiovascular health risks and improves cerebral perfusion, synaptic function, and stimulates the growth of new brain cells in the hippocampus.
  • Depression almost doubles the risk of developing dementia.
  • Higher educational and occupational attainments have consistently been implicated as protection against developing dementia later in life.

How to treat dementia?

  • Dementia care has four pillars
    • The first two include managing the important aspects of the disease, with a goal to reverse their effects or to delay its progression in the brain as well as managing the cognitive, neuropsychiatric, and functional symptoms.
    • The other two pillars involve providing systematic, evidence based supportive care to patients and to carers.
  • Cognitive symptoms associated with dementia are treated with cholinesterase inhibitors.
  • They have modest and temporary effects in 10­15% of persons with dementia and their effects last 6­12 months.
  • Neuropsychiatric symptoms of dementia respond modestly to aromatherapy, physical therapy, and music therapy, among others.

Future trends

  • In the 2013 FINGER trial, researchers selected an ultra high risk population for dementia and trialed multi­domain interventions, involving changes to nutrition, physical activity, education, and cognitive training.
  • The intervention group’s cognitive outcomes improved 25­150% compared to the control group, which only received health advice.
  • Future studies will aim to demonstrate the benefit of such interventions on this principal public health outcome the time before dementia onset.
  • Despite large gains that may accrue from controlling risk factors, we will still need disease modifying therapies to reduce the global burden of dementia.
  • Need of cultural transition moving from dementia to a framework of brain health will destigmatize cognitive decline, empower people to take more responsibility towards prevention, and encourage society to adopt inclusive solutions to maintain functional independence.


The inflation in milk

Why in News?

Milk prices rose by around Rs 8 in 2022 the last time this happened was almost nine years ago.

Key Highlights

  • The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation has raised the maximum retail price (MRP) of its Amul brand full-cream milk (containing 6% fat and 9% SNF or solids-not-fat) in Delhi from Rs 58 to Rs 64 per liter.
  • The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB)-owned Mother Dairy went further from Rs 57 to Rs 66 per liter between March 5 and December 27, 2022.
  • The last time milk prices went up by Rs 8/litre was between April-end 2013 and May 2014.
  • MRP rise in Amul milk wasn’t very significant after May 2014, when the NDA government came to power. It rose by just Rs 10/litre over almost eight years until February 2022.
  • The MRP revision in toned milk (3% fat and 8.5% SNF) by Mother Dairy has been only Rs 6 per litre (from Rs 47 to Rs 53), as against Rs 9 for full cream.

About National Milk Day

  • The day celebrates the importance of milk in a person’s life.  And to promote the benefits related to the milk & milk industry and to create awareness among people about the importance of milk and milk products.
  • 26th November 2022 commemorates 101st birth anniversary of Dr. Verghese Kurien, the “Father of White Revolution in India”.

White Revolution (Operation Flood)

  • Operation Flood was launched on 13th January, 1970. It was the world’s largest dairy development programme.
  • Within 30 years, the operation helped double milk available per person in India, making dairy farming India’s largest self-sustainable rural employment generator.
  • The operation gave farmers direct control over the resources they create, helping them direct their own development. This was achieved not only by mass production, but by production by the masses. It is also now known as the “White Revolution”.

Operation Flood was implemented in the following phases:

1. Phase I (1970–1980) was financed by the sale of skimmed milk powder and butter oil donated by the European Union (then the European Economic Community) through the World Food Programme.

2. Phase II (1981–1985) increased the number of milk sheds from 18 to 136; urban markets expanded the outlets for milk to 290. By the end of 1985, a self-sustaining system of 43,000 village cooperatives with 42,50,000 milk producers had been covered.

3. Phase III (1985–1996) enabled dairy cooperatives to expand and strengthen the infrastructure required to procure and market increasing volumes of milk. This phase added 30000 new dairy cooperatives, which led to a total of 73,000.

What explains this recent inflation?

  • Crash in prices following the Covid-induced lockdowns, which forced the closure of hotels, restaurants, canteens and sweatshops, apart from cancellation of weddings and other public functions.
  • Demand destruction led dairies to slash procurement prices of cow milk (with 3.5% fat and 8.5% SNF) to Rs 18-20 per litre during April-July 2020 and that of buffalo milk (6.5% fat and 9% SNF) to Rs 30-32.
  • Farmers responded first by shrinking or at least not expanding the size of their herds, as milk prices would not cover the cost of feeding and maintaining the animals. Two, they underfed them particularly the calves and the pregnant/ dry cattle not giving milk.
A newborn crossbred typically reaches puberty and is ready for insemination in 15-18 months. Adding 9-10 months of pregnancy, it will deliver and start lactating after 24-28 months. The age of first calving in buffaloes is higher, at 36-48 months.
  • The calves that were underfed during the lockdown which extended past the second Covid wave until June 2021 and beyond are today’s cows.
    • Most of them, even if they have survived, would be poor milkers.

Is the legacy of underfed animals the only reason?

There are also other reason as well which on demand and supply side

  • The average cost of cattle feed spiked from Rs 16-17 per kg in 2020-21 to Rs 22-23 by mid-2022, on the back of more expensive ingredients such as cotton-seed, rapeseed and groundnut extractions, soyabean meal, maize, de-oiled rice bran and molasses.
  • Availability of straw (particularly wheat, due to a poor 2021-22 crop) and fodder (because of near-incessant rains, especially in the South, from October-December 2021 through 2022, which did not allow the grass to fully come out) has also been an issue.
  • Outbreak of lumpy skin disease among cattle in July-September 2022, and seemingly impacted milk output further.
  • Higher exports of butter, ghee, and anhydrous milk fat, enabled by soaring international prices, have added to the domestic shortage — and as noted earlier, full cream milk has become dearer, with branded ghee and butter also disappearing from store shelves.

What’s the current situation and the future outlook?

  • Milk shortfall is mainly in the South; it is better in Maharashtra. Even in the northern buffalo belt, supply hasn’t picked up as much as one would expect for the flush season.
  • The calving season (“flush”) for animals, when more milk flows from their udders, generally begins from September. That’s the time temperature and humidity levels dip, alongside improved fodder-cum-straw availability from the monsoon rain and harvesting of the kharif crop. The calvings peak in the winter and continue until March-April before the onset of summer.


Hormonal therapy

Why in News?

Researchers from the Integrated Cancer Genomics Laboratory at the Advanced Centre for Training, Research, and Education in Cancer (ACTREC) has shed more light on the molecular mechanism through which progesterone treatment prior to breast cancer surgery is quite likely to increase the survival rates of patients.

Key Highlights

  • Hormone therapy targets hormone receptors in breast cancer cells to slow/stop the growth of cancer.
  • A study found two genes being produced in excess amount, while the expression of a few microRNAs was reduced when breast cancer cell lines were treated with progesterone.
  • Through the action of SGK1 and two other genes, and two microRNAs, the ability of the breast cancer cells to migrate and invade is reduced.
  • Current work focused on the role of non-coding genes; non- coding genes do not produce any proteins but regulate the expression of other genes.
  • Treatment of breast cancer cells with progesterone results in down-regulation of a long non-coding linc RNA called DSCAM-AS1. This results in elevated levels of a microRNA known as miR-130a.
  • As with progesterone therapy, reducing the expression of DSCAM-AS1 slowed down the ability of breast cancer cells to invade and migrate.
  • The detection of DSCAM-1 in blood or tumour tissue is likely to provide information about the aggressiveness of cancer and prognosis.
  • The researchers hypothesise that cancer cells might be resistant to hormone therapy when the microRNA miR-130a binds to the estrogen receptors.

What is the reason for cancer?

  • Hormones such as oestrogen and progesterone have been linked to some forms of breast cancer.
  • Breast cancer cells have receptors (proteins) that bind to oestrogen and progesterone, allowing them to proliferate.

Hormone treatement

  • Most methods of hormone treatment either reduce oestrogen levels in the body or prevent oestrogen from aiding in the growth of breast cancer cells.
  • Hormone treatment has the ability to reach cancer cells practically anywhere in the body, not only the breast.
  • It is advised for women who have hormone receptor-positive malignancies. It is ineffective for women whose tumours lack hormone receptors (these tumours are called hormone receptor-negative).
  • Hormone treatment is frequently used following surgery (called adjuvant therapy) to help lower the likelihood of the cancer returning.
  • It is sometimes begun prior to surgery (as neoadjuvant therapy).
  • It is normally taken for a minimum of five years.


  • High cost: Treatment is quite expensive and not every patient can afford it.
  • Limited effectiveness: A few experts note that delaying of progression will only allow the patient to live a little longer.


Swallowtail butterfly

Why in News?

A swallowtail butterfly (Noble’s Helen) has been recorded for the first time at Namdapha National Park in India.

About Noble’s Helen

  • Scientific Name: Papilio Noblei
  • It is a swallowtail butterfly Noble’s Helen with a wingspan of 100-120 mm.
  • Myanmar, Yunnan, Hubai (China), North Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam are all home to them.
  • The butterfly has an extra white spot in the dorsum of the forewing.

About Namdapha National Park

  • It is located in the state of Arunachal Pradesh and has an area of 1,985 square kilometres.
  • It is near to the Indo-Myanmar-China trijunction.
  • The park is situated between the Mishmi Hills’ Dapha bum range and the Patkai range.
  • It is India’s fourth largest national park.
  • It was established as a national park in 1983, and it was designated as a Tiger Reserve in the same year.
  • It is also on India’s Tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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