Current Affairs Jun 22

M-Yoga App

Why in News?

  • The Prime Minister of India, launched ‘WHO M-Yoga’ App while addressing on the occasion of 7th International Day of Yoga.
  • M-Yoga app will provide many videos of Yoga training and practice based on common Yoga protocol in many languages.


  • The Ministry of AYUSH and the World Health Organization (WHO) had jointly undertaken a project in mid 2019, focussing on mobile-Yoga.
  • It envisaged the concept of the ‘Be Healthy, Be Mobile’ (BHBM) under the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals to achieve Universal Health Coverage by 2030.
  • Be Healthy, Be Mobile (BHBM) initiative is a global partnership led by WHO which supports the scale up of mobile health (m-Health) technology within the scope of the National Health system to combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
  • In order to achieve the above objectives, a memorandum of understanding was signed in July, 2019 between WHO and the Ministry of AYUSH. T

The m-Yoga project focused on four areas:

(1) Common Yoga Protocol for GeneralWellness;

(2) Yoga for mental health and resilience;

 (3) Yoga for Adolescents; and

(4) Yoga for pre – Diabetics.




Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020

Why in News?

  • For the purposes of preventing unfair trade practices in e-commerce, the Central Government had notified the Consumer Protection (E-Commerce) Rules, 2020 with effect from 23 July 2020.
  • However, since the notification of these rules, the Government has received several representations from aggrieved consumers, traders and associations complaining against widespread cheating and unfair trade practices being observed in the e-commerce ecosystem.

Why Required?

  • It was observed that there was an evident lack of regulatory oversight in e-commerce which required some urgent action.
  • Moreover, the rapid growth of e-commerce platforms has also brought into the purview the unfair trade practices of the marketplace e-commerce entities engaging in manipulating search result to promote certain sellers, preferential treatment to some sellers, indirectly operating the sellers on their platform, impinging the free choice of consumers, selling goods close to expiration etc.
  • To protect the interests of consumers, prevent their exploitation and encourage free and fair competition in the market, the Government of India is sharing a draft of the proposed amendments to the Consumer Protection (E-commerce) Rules, 2020.
  • The proposed amendments aim to bring transparency in the e-commerce platforms and further strengthen the regulatory regime to curb the prevalent unfair trade practices.

The proposed amendments are as follows

  • To ensure compliance of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 and Rules, appointment of Chief Compliance Officer, a nodal contact person for 24×7 coordination with law enforcement agencies, officers to ensure compliance to their orders and Resident Grievance Officer for redressing of the grievances of the consumers on the e-commerce platform, has been proposed. This would ensure effective compliance with the provisions of the Act and Rules and also strengthen the grievance redressal mechanism on e-commerce entities.
  • Putting in place a framework for registration of every e-commerce entity with the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) for allotment of registration number. Registration of e-commerce entities would help create a database of genuine e-commerce entities and ensure that the consumers are able to verify the genuineness of an e-commerce entity before transacting through their platform.
  • To protect the interests of consumers, mis-selling has been prohibited i.e selling goods and services entities selling goods or services by deliberate misrepresentation of information by such entities about such goods or services.
  • To ensure that consumers are not adversely affected in the event where a seller fails to deliver the goods or services due to negligent conduct by such seller in fulfilling the duties and liabilities in the manner as prescribed by the marketplace e-commerce entity, provisions of Fall-back liability for every marketplace e-commerce entity have been provided.




Food security (Assistance to State Government Rules) 2015

Why in News?

  • The Department of Food & Public Distribution has issued a notification to ensure right quantity to beneficiaries in distribution of subsidized foodgrains as per their entitlement under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013.


  • In order to incentivise States who are operating their ePoS devices in a judicious manner and are able to generate savings from the additional margin of Rs.17.00 per quintal provided to them, and to take forward the reform process for improving transparency in operations of the Targeted Public Distribution System under NFSA, Rule 7 in sub-rule (2) of Food security (Assistance to State Government Rules) 2015 has been amended.
  • So that any savings if accrued by any State/Union Territory from the additional margin provided towards the cost of purchase, operation and maintenance of the point of sale device, its running expenses and incentive for its use, can henceforth be utilised for purchase, operations and maintenance of electronic weighing scales and their integration with the point of sale devices.
  • This amendment is an attempt to take forward the reform process envisaged under Section 12 of the Act, through improving transparency of operations of the Targeted Public Distribution System under NFSA.

Food security (Assistance to State Government Rules) 2015

  • It was notified in August 2015, provides for additional margin to Fair Price Shop (FPS) Dealers for sale through electronic point of sale devices (ePoS) as an incentive to ensure transparent recording of transactions at all levels.
  • Accordingly, the scheme “Assistance to State agencies for intra-State movement of foodgrains and FPS dealers margin under NFSA” provides for additional Margin of Rs.17.00 per quintal to all State Governments/Union Territories towards the cost of purchase, operation and maintenance of the point of sale device, its running expenses and incentive for its use.
  • The additional margin is payable for the fair price shop which has installed a point-of-sale device and shall be limited to the transactions made through it.





Why in News?

  • Recently, the EU and India conducted a joint naval exercise in the Gulf of Aden.
  • The exercise involved Indian Navy frigate INS Trikand, EU NAVFOR Somalia – Operation Atalanta assets, including Italian frigate Carabiniere (Atalanta’s flagship) and Spanish frigate Navarra, French frigate Surcouf and French amphibious assault helicopter carrier Tonnerre. The exercise was based on the scenario of an anti-piracy operation.
  • The EU and India are committed to a free, open, inclusive and rules-based order in the Indo-Pacific region, underpinned by respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, democracy, rule of law, transparency, freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded lawful commerce, and peaceful resolution of disputes.
  • They reaffirm the primacy of international law, including the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
  • In January 2021, the EU and India launched a dialogue on maritime security and agreed to deepen their dialogue and cooperation in this domain. The Indian Navy has been providing escort to World Food Programme chartered vessels, coordinated by EU NAVFOR Somalia – Operation Atalanta.

Operation Atalanta

  • Operation Atalanta, formally European Union Naval Force (EU NAVFOR) Somalia, is a current counter-piracy military operation at sea off the Horn of Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean that is the first naval operation conducted by the European Union (EU).
  • The operational headquarters is currently located at the Spanish Operation Headquarters (ESOHQ) at Naval Station Rota (NAVSTA Rota) in Spain, having moved from London as a result of the British withdrawal from the EU.
  • It is part of a larger global action by the EU to prevent and combat acts of piracy in the Indian Ocean, and it is the first EU naval operation to be launched.




NASA sends squid from Hawaii into space

Why in News?

  • The baby Hawaiian bobtail squid were raised at the University of Hawaii’s Kewalo Marine Laboratory and were blasted into space earlier this month on a SpaceX resupply mission to the International Space Station.
  • The squid have a symbiotic relationship with natural bacteria that help regulate their bioluminescence.
  • When astronauts are in low gravity their body’s relationship with microbes changes.
  • As astronauts spend more and more time in space, their immune systems become what’s called dysregulated. It doesn’t function as well.
  • Their immune systems don’t recognize bacteria as easily. They sometimes get sick.




Indira Gandhi Canal

Why in News?

  • The repair and relining of the Indira Gandhi Canal, the country’s longest canal which terminates in irrigation facilities in Thar desert, was accomplished in a record 60-day period, restoring 70 km of both the main canal and the feeder distributaries.
  • The work was taken up mainly in Rajasthan and partly in neighbouring Punjab.
  • A tripartite agreement for the project was signed among the Union Ministry of Water Resources and the Rajasthan and Punjab governments on January 23, 2019, for rehabilitation of Rajasthan and Sirhind feeders, the pandemic-triggered lockdown halted the process after rabi season in 2020.

About Indira Gandhi Canal

  • The Indira Gandhi Canal (originally, Rajasthan Canal) is the longest canal of India.
  • It starts from the Harike Barrage at Harike, a few kilometers below the confluence of the Satluj and Beas rivers in the Indian state of Punjab and terminates in irrigation facilities in the Thar Desert in the north west of Rajasthan state.
  • Previously known as the Rajasthan Canal, it was renamed the Indira Gandhi Canal on 2 November 1984 following the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.




Great Barrier Reef

Why in News?

  • The Great Barrier Reef should be added to a list of “in danger” World Heritage Sites a UN committee recommended, prompting an angry response from Australia which said it had been blindsided by the move and blamed political interference.
  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation committee, which sits under UNESCO, said the world’s biggest coral reef system should be added to the list due to the impact of climate change.
  • Australia has for years been battling to keep the Great Barrier Reef, a major tourist attraction that supports thousands of jobs, off the “in danger” list.
  • In 2015, UNESCO noted the outlook for the reef was poor but kept the site’s status unchanged. Since then, scientists say it has suffered three major coral bleaching events due to severe marine heatwaves.

About Great Barrier Reef

  • The Great Barrier Reef is the world’s largest coral reef system.
  • The reef is located in the Coral Sea, off the coast of Queensland, Australia.
  • The Great Barrier Reef can be seen from outer space and is the world’s biggest single structure made by living organisms.
  • This reef structure is composed of and built by billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. It supports a wide diversity of life and was selected as a World Heritage Site in 1981.




Bats in Mahabaleshwar cave

Why in News?

  • A cross-sectional survey by Indian Council of Medical Research- National Institute of Virology to study the prevalence of Nipah virus (NiV) in bats of India has picked up samples with the presence of antibodies against the Nipah virus in some bat species from a cave in Mahabaleshwar, Maharashtra.
  • NiV is on the top-10 priority list pathogens identified by the World Health Organization.
  • Till date, India has experienced four episodes of NiV outbreaks with Case fatality rate, CFR ranging from 65% to 100%.
  • The presence of NiV antibodies were detected in Mynaguri and Dubri district of Assam and Cooch Behar of West Bengal, both places situated close to Bangladesh border.
  • A study in 2018 has identified many South East Asian countries including Indian states as potential hotspots for the NiV disease.
  • Pteropus medius bats, which are large fruit-eating bats, are the incriminated reservoir for NiV in India as both NiV RNA and antibodies were detected in the samples of these bats collected during previous NiV outbreaks.
  • The new study has found the virus and antibodies in different species. During March 2020, from a cave in Mahabaleshwar, two species of bats, Rousettus leschenaultii (medium-sized fruit eating bats) and Pipistrellus pipistrellus (tiny insectivorous bats), were trapped by researchers using mist nets.
  • RNA was extracted from samples and Anti-NiV IgG antibodies were detected in a number of the samples. One bat each from R leschenaultii and P pipistrellus species tested positive for both NiV RNA and anti NiV IgG antibodies.
  • This is the first report of possible NiV infection in R leschenaultii bats in India, which was demonstrated by the presence of both NiV RNA and anti-NiV IgG antibodies in bats.

About Nipah virus

  • Nipah virus infection in humans causes a range of clinical presentations, from asymptomatic infection (subclinical) to acute respiratory infection and fatal encephalitis.
  • The case fatality rate is estimated at 40% to 75%. This rate can vary by outbreak depending on local capabilities for epidemiological surveillance and clinical management.
  • Nipah virus can be transmitted to humans from animals (such as bats or pigs), or contaminated foods and can also be transmitted directly from human-to-human.
  • Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are the natural host of Nipah virus.
  • There is no treatment or vaccine available for either people or animals. The primary treatment for humans is supportive care.




 Film certification

Why in News?

  • Recently he Centre released the draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021 to the general public for comments.
  • The new draft proposes to amend the Cinematograph Act of 1952 with provisions that will give the Centre “revisionary powers” and enable it to “re-examine” films already cleared by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

Revision of certification

  • The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting proposes to add a provision to the Act that will equip the Centre with revisionary powers on account of violation of Section 5B(1) (principles for guidance in certifying films).
  • The proposed revision “means that the Central Government, if the situation so warranted, has the power to reverse the decision of the Board”.

Why it is significant

  • The draft comes shortly after the abolition of the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal, which was the last point of appeal for filmmakers against the certificate granted to their film.

Age-based certification

  • The draft proposes to introduce age-based categorisation and classification. Currently, films are certified into three categories — ‘U’ for unrestricted public exhibition; ‘U/A’ that requires parental guidance for children under 12; and ‘A’ for adult films. The new draft proposes to divide the categories into further age-based groups: U/A 7+, U/A 13+ and U/A 16+.
  • This proposed age classification for films echoes the new IT rules for streaming platforms.

Provision against piracy

  • The draft proposes to add Section 6AA that will prohibit unauthorised recording.
  • The proposed section states, “notwithstanding any law for the time being in force, no person shall, without the written authorisation of the author, be permitted to use any audio-visual recording device in a place to knowingly make or transmit or attempt to make or transmit or abet the making or transmission of a copy of a film or a part thereof”.
  • Violation shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term “which shall not be less than three months but which may extend to three years and with a fine which shall not be less than Rs 3 lakh but which may extend to 5 per cent of the audited gross production cost or with both”.

Eternal certificate

  • The draft proposes to certify films for perpetuity. Currently a certificate issued by the CBFC is valid only for 10 years.




Delimitation in Jammu and Kashmir

What is delimitation and why is it needed?

  • Delimitation is the act of redrawing boundaries of an Assembly or Lok Sabha seat to represent changes in population over time.
  • This exercise is carried out by a Delimitation Commission, whose orders have the force of law and cannot be questioned before any court.
  • The objective is to redraw boundaries (based on the data of the last Census) in a way so that the population of all seats, as far as practicable, be the same throughout the State.
  • Aside from changing the limits of a constituency, the process may result in change in the number of seats in a state.

Delimitation in J&K?

  • Delimitation exercises in J&K in the past have been slightly different from those in the rest of the country because of the region’s special status — which was scrapped by the Centre in August 2019.
  • Until then, delimitation of Lok Sabha seats in J&K was governed by the Constitution of India, but the delimitation of the state’s Assembly seats was governed by the Jammu and Kashmir Constitution and Jammu and Kashmir Representation of the People Act, 1957.




Kangaroo mother care

Why in News?

  • Neonatal experts say that is a myth that Covid positive mothers should not be kept with their newborns.
  • In fact, it is only breastmilk that provides the baby with the required immunity to fight against Covid-19 as well as other infections.

What is kangaroo mother care?

  • Kangaroo mother care refers to a special kind of care that is given to the newborns, involving prolonged skin-to-skin contact of the baby with its parents, especially mother.
  • Kangaroo mother care is highly recommended for babies who are born preterm (premature) or who are underweight (weighing less than 2 kilos) at birth.
  • It primarily includes resting the baby on the mother’s chest to provide warmth and motherly affection which helps the baby recover.
  • It also includes the promotion of breastmilk feeding, to provide needed immunity to the child to fight against infections, including Covid-19, after birth.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends kangaroo care for all babies weighing less than 2 kilos.




Solar power and microbes

  • Combining solar power and microbes could produce 10 times more protein than crops such as soya beans.
  • The system would also have very little impact on the environment, in stark contrast to livestock farming which results in huge amounts of climate-heating gases as well as water pollution.
  • The concept uses electricity from solar panels and carbon dioxide from the air to create fuel for microbes, which are grown in bioreactor vats and then processed into dry protein powders.
  • The process makes highly efficient use of land, water and fertiliser and could be deployed anywhere, not just in countries with strong sunshine or fertile soils.
  • Food security is a “critical issue” for humanity in coming decades, with the global population growing, biofuels competing for land with crops, and about 800 million people already undernourished today.
  • Furthermore, tackling the climate crisis will be near impossible without slashing emissions from animal and dairy food production.
  • Microbes are already used to make many common foods, such as bread, yoghurt, beer and Quorn.
  • Some researchers said converting consumers to eating microbial protein might be difficult and that such foods may not be nutritionally complete.
  • The team focused on soya beans, as these are linked to the destruction of forests and are mostly fed to animals, but other bacteria produce the main elements of palm oil.
  • At least a dozen companies are already producing animal feed from microbes but the bacteria are typically fed either sugars from other crops or methane or methanol from fossil fuels. Solar Foods, based in Finland, is using electricity to create food for humans.
  • Researchers found the microbial system used just 1% of the water needed by the crops and a small fraction of the fertiliser, most of which is wasted when used in fields.
  • The analysis estimated that the solar-microbial process could produce 15 tonnes of protein from each hectare (or per 2.5 acres) a year, enough to feed 520 people.
  • In comparison, a hectare of soya beans could produce 1.1 tonnes of protein, feeding 40 people. Even in countries with relatively low sunlight levels like the UK, microbial protein production was at least five times greater from each hectare than plants.
  • Plants’ ability to photosynthesise is remarkable but, in terms of energy efficiency, staple crops only convert about 1% of solar energy into edible biomass. This is because plants have evolved to compete and reproduce as well as just grow, and use less of the solar light spectrum than photovoltaic panels.