Current Affairs August 3

Strait Island

  • The Government of India had shifted the Great Andamanese tribe. 56 of them, to their tribal settlement at Strait Island to ensure their safety against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
  • The status of Strait Island as a tribal reserve where entry of outsiders is prohibited, had prevented the spread of contagion among the Great Andamanese.

About strait island

  • Strait Island is an island of the Andaman Islands. It belongs to the North and Middle Andaman administrative district, part of the Indian union territory of Andaman and Nicobar Islands.The island lies 63 km (39 mi) north from Port Blair.

Strait Island is a small island located 6 km (4 mi) east of Baratang Island, Great Andaman, in the Diligent Strait, which separates Great Andaman from Ritchie’s Archipelago. The island belongs to the East Baratang Group and lies east of Colebrooke Island. The island is comma-shaped, and heavily forested.


Sabja seeds

  • Sabja are seeds of the tulsi plant found in Indian homes and used in tea to treat runny noses and sore throats.
  • The herb falls under the genus Ocimum that has over 150 species across the world.
  • While most species are found in tropical rain forests of Africa, India is considered its place of origin
  • The seeds have recently been popular among those looking to eat healthy.
  • The small black seeds, also called falooda seeds, become mucilaginous (gain a gelatinous consistency) when soaked in water and are said to help reduce weight, deal with constipation and acidity and also manage diabetes.
  • The mucilage is rich in dietary fibre such as the polysaccharides glucomannan and xylan that make one feel satiated for a long time
  • Sabja seeds are not just used in cooking; they yield an oil which has antimicrobial qualities and inhibits the growth of yeasts and fungi on the skin


Fortified food is dangerous

  • Centre’s plan to mandatorily fortify rice and edible oils with vitamins and minerals, a group of scientists and activists has written to the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), warning of the adverse impacts on health and livelihoods.
  • They cited multiple studies to show that dietary diversity and higher protein consumption are key to solving undernutrition in India, rather than adding a few synthetic micronutrients which could harm the health of consumers
  • “evidence supporting fortification is inconclusive and certainly not adequate before major national policies are rolled out.
  • Both anaemia and Vitamin A deficiencies are over diagnosed, meaning that mandatory fortification could lead to hypervitaminosis.
  • It also noted that many of the studies which FSSAI relies upon to promote fortification were sponsored by food companies which would benefit from it, leading to conflicts of interest.
  • Major problem with chemical fortification of foods is that nutrients don’t work in isolation but need each other for optimal absorption.
  • Undernourishment in India is caused by monotonous cereal-based diets with low consumption of vegetables and animal protein.
  • “Adding one or two synthetic chemical vitamins and minerals will not solve the larger problem, and in undernourished populations can lead to toxicity
  • mandatory fortification would harm the vast informal economy of Indian farmers and food processors, including local oil and rice mills, and instead benefit a small group of multinational corporations.
  • Dietary diversity was a healthier and more cost-effective way to fight malnutrition,
  • “Once iron-fortified rice is sold as the remedy to anaemia, the value and the choice of naturally iron-rich foods like millets, varieties of green leafy vegetables and flesh foods will have been suppressed by a policy silence.

Zika virus

  • Zika virus disease is caused by a virus transmitted primarily by Aedes mosquitoes, which bite during the day.
  • Symptoms are generally mild and include fever, rash, conjunctivitis, muscle and joint pain, malaise or headache. Symptoms typically last for 2–7 days. Most people with Zika virus infection do not develop symptoms.
  • Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause infants to be born with microcephaly and other congenital malformations, known as congenital Zika syndrome. Infection with Zika virus is also associated with other complications of pregnancy including preterm birth and miscarriage.
  • An increased risk of neurologic complications is associated with Zika virus infection in adults and children, including Guillain-Barré syndrome, neuropathy and myelitis.
  • Zika virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that was first identified in Uganda in 1947 in monkeys. It was later identified in humans in 1952 in Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania.


  • In essence, e-RUPI will be like the gift vouchers one gets after making a payment through Google Pay.
  • These vouchers are redeemable at a specific store, with certain terms and conditions. e-RUPI will operate in a similar fashion.
  • These are prepaid gift vouchers that will be delivered to the mobile phones of the beneficiaries of welfare schemes in an SMS string or a QR code. These vouchers will be redeemable at specific accepting centres.
  • It is expected that since these vouchers can be delivered through SMS, even those with feature phones will be able to access their benefits under a welfare scheme. e-RUPI vouchers won’t require the beneficiary to either download a specific mobile app or even have an internet connection.
  • These vouchers will not require the beneficiary to have a bank account, thus ensuring access to welfare benefits for the unbanked population
  • e-RUPI is expected to be a revolutionary initiative in the direction of ensuring a leak-proof delivery of welfare services. It also ensures that the payment to the service provider is made only after the transaction is completed.
  • Being prepaid in nature, it assures timely payment to the service provider without the involvement of any intermediary,
  • e-RUPI has been built by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) on the UPI platform
  • Any corporate or government agency will have to approach the partner banks, which include both private and public sector banks, to issue e-RUPI vouchers to an identified set of beneficiaries.
  • The beneficiaries will be identified using their mobile numbers.
  • At the time of making the payment through the voucher, there might be a one-time password delivered to the beneficiary for two-factor authentication.
  • The merchant will only require an application to scan and accept the e-RUPI voucher and OTP.
  • These vouchers can be used for a single transaction and are non-transferable.
  • The Bloomberg report mentions that there might be a maximum payment limit of Rs 10,000 for one voucher.
  • e-RUPI can be used for providing drugs and nutritional support under Mother and Child welfare schemes, TB eradication programmes, drugs & diagnostics under schemes like Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana, fertiliser subsidies, etc.
  • Even the private sector can use e-RUPI for its employee welfare initiatives or corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations

SC on preventive detention

  • Preventive detention, the dreaded power of the State to restrain a person without trial, could be used only to prevent public disorder, the Supreme Court held in a judgment
  • “Preventive detention is a necessary evil only to prevent public disorder.
  • The court must ensure that the facts brought before it directly and inevitably lead to a harm, danger or alarm or feeling of insecurity among the general public or any section thereof at large
  • The State should not arbitrarily resort to “preventive detention” to deal with all and sundry “law and order” problems, which could be dealt with by the ordinary laws of the country.
  • Preventive detention must fall within the four corners of Article 21 (due process of law) read with Article 22 (safeguards against arbitrary arrest and detention) and the statute in question.
  • Mere contravention of law, such as indulging in cheating or criminal breach of trust, certainly affects ‘law and order’,
  • but before it can be said to affect ‘public order’, it must affect the community or the public at large,”

Education and Technology

  • The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 has rightfully identified 21st century skills as fundamental to developing creators.
  • Critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration, creativity and innovation, flexibility and adaptability, initiative and self-direction, social and cross-cultural interactions, and productivity and accountability all strengthen the individuals’ abilities at the workplace
  • An individual must be motivated enough to remain immersed in a specific activity to be creative and happy.
  • EdTech apps can deliver content that caters to multiple learning styles, learning curves and pace of learning.
  • The pandemic has shown that traditional teacher and brick-and mortar schools may become obsolete if radical pedagogical changes do not follow.
  • However, over-reliance on technology comes at a cost. Technology tools are forcing human beings to remain consumers rather than become creators.
  • For example, social media forces you to scroll mindlessly rather than contemplate or engage meaningfully.
  • Entertainment channels create addictive content that makes you suspend reality till all the seasons are done.
  • And with the pandemic shutting down schools, children have lost all personal contact with their social group and parents are forced to rely upon technology to provide their children constant gratification to keep them engaged.
  • The disruptive nature of digital tools has thrown up interesting challenges to the traditional education system.
  • Educators will have to find ways to upgrade their engagement strategies while integrating technology into their approach through hybrid learning