Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS | 7th November 2021

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All India Judicial Services

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper II –  Judiciary
Sub Theme:  AIJS | All India Judicial Services | UPSC
Context: Creation of All India Judicial Service (AIJS) common to Union and States was added in Article312 through Constitution 42nd Amendment way back in 1976. Even NITI Aayog in its Report – “StrategyforIndia@75”, has supported constituting AIJS to bring judicial reforms and improve the judicial administration. However, the service has not been created due to number of oppositions and hurdles.

Important Constitutional Provisions – AIJS

  • Article 312(3) – The all-India judicial service referred shall not include any post inferior to that of a district judge as defined in article 236.
  • Article 312(4) – any amendment made in CHAPTER VI of PART VI due to enactment of legislation setting up an AIJS would not be deemed to be amendment of the Constitution for the purpose of Article 368.
  • Why would amendment of Chapter VI of Part VI be needed – Chapter VI pertains to State and Chapter VI pertains to Subordinate Judiciary where conditions of appointment of District Judge is defined.
  • Article 233 – A person shall only be eligible to be appointed a district judge if he has been for not less than seven years an advocate or a pleader and is recommended by the High Court for appointment.
  • To facilitate creation of AIJS, “administration of justice” was transferred from State List to the present Entry 11A of Concurrent List as per Constitution 42nd Amendment.
  • Concurrent List – Entry 11A – Administration of Justice; constitution and organisation of all courts, except the Supreme Court and the High Courts.
  • State List – Entry 65 – Jurisdiction and powers of all courts, except the Supreme Court, with respect to any of the matters in this List.

HURDLES IN CREATING AIJS – 116TH LAW COMMISSION REPORT

 

  • Inadequate knowledge of regional language would corrode judicial efficiency both with regard to understanding and appreciating evidence & pronouncing judgments.
  • Promotional avenues of the members of State Judicial Service would be severely curtailed.
  • Erosion of the control of the High Court over Subordinate judiciary would impair independence of judiciary.
  • Stiff opposition from various state governments and their respective High Courts.
  • Judiciary cannot be compared with the executive as far as service is concerned – on holding examination by UPSC
  • AIJS will bring the thin wedge of executive as the service will be brought under political control.

 

OTHER CONCERNS ON CREATING AIJS

  • Goes against the Federalism: Presently, it is the responsibility of the state Governments to  appoint the Judges at the lower Judiciary. Hence, any changes in the Judicial structure have to be approved by the State Legislatures. However, as discussed before, the AIJS can be established without any constitutional amendment wherein the prior approval of the State legislature is not needed.
  • Problem of Promotional Avenues – When AIJS will be implemented, three category of judges will be appointed – 1. AIJS 2. State Judicial Service/High Courts (Lower & Higher Judiciary) and 3. Practicing Advocates appointed from the bar. There is a concern among these members that promotional avenues will reduce as much of the seats in higher judiciary will be manned by members of AIJS.
  • Unequal Representation from States – As candidates will compete at an all India level.
  • Problem of Cadre Allocation – This problem arises from the language issue.
  • Creation of National Judicial Appointment Commission to conduct AIJS Exam – Supreme Court has declared NJAC Act as unconstitutional. So, government again has to bring fresh legislation in the Parliament whereby executive or legislative interference must be avoided in the functioning of judiciary.

BENEFITS OF CREATING AIJS 

  • Timely Recruitment: In some of the states, the exams for the appointment for the appointment for the lower judiciary have not been held every year leading to huge vacancies. Once the AIJS is established, exams will be conducted annually to fill up regular vacancies.
  • Uniformity in Judicial Administration: Conduct of judicial services examination is not uniform and this results in increasing vacancies and also increment in pending cases. A uniform All India Examination conducted periodically will help in solving both the issues

as the candidates would be allocated to the different states based on vacancies. This will ensure uniformity in judicial administration.

  • Improvement in Efficiency of Judicial Administration: AIJS would attract the best talent in the country and hence it would be able to maintain high standards of Judicial administration.
  • Promote National Integration: AIJS would be able to promote all-India outlook and promote the national integration. This will allow the talented Judges of AIJS officers to function beyond their regional and linguistic interest.
  • Beneficial to the states: Some of the states that are poor in human resources may not be able to find the best talent within their state for the recruitment of the judges at the lower judiciary. The AIJS would be able to solve this problem by conducting all India Exams and appointing the best talent from other states in such resource poor states.

Conclusion

Creation of All India Judicial Services is the need of the hour and the government must try to solve the hurdles of language, promotional avenues, creating National Judicial Appointment Commission and others in creating AIJS for administration of Justice.

 

UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS: India’s Glasgow Announcements 

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper III –  Environment

Sub Theme:  Glasgow Summit | UPSC

Net-zero: Details unclear, but there’s time

Of the five-point targets announced by Modi on Tuesday (November 2), achieving net-zero emission status by 2070 is the one with least clarity as of now. This is because this promise seems to have been made primarily to satisfy the international demand. At the same time, 2070 is a long way away — and there is plenty of time to plan a roadmap to achieve that target.

Promises on emissions intensity, renewables

The other four targets have to be achieved in a much more immediate timeframe, by 2030.

Two of these, about reducing emissions intensity and increasing the renewable mix in electricity generation, are already part of India’s official climate action plan, called the Nationally Determined Contributions or NDCs, that has been submitted as part of the requirement under the Paris Agreement.

In that NDC, submitted in 2015, India had promised to reduce its ‘emissions intensity’, or emissions per unit of GDP, by 33 per cent to 35 per cent from 2005 levels by the year 2020. Also, India had said it would ensure that at least 40 per cent of its installed capacity of electricity generation in the year 2030 would come through non fossil-fuel based energy sources.

Both these targets have been enhanced by Modi. The emissions intensity reduction target has been raised to 45 per cent, and the share of renewables in installed electricity capacity has been increased to 50 per cent.

There was some confusion about the renewables target because of the words used by Modi during his speech. The Prime Minister said India intended to fulfil 50 per cent of its energy requirement through renewable energy by 2030. This came as a surprise, since electricity is only one part of the larger energy basket, and all previous commitments were formulated for electricity generation, not energy.

A senior official of the Environment Ministry has since confirmed to The Indian Express that the enhanced target indeed related to installed electricity capacity and not energy requirement. This will be correctly reflected in the revised NDC that India will submit to the UN Climate secretariat incorporating the new targets.

India was already on course to achieve both these existing targets well before the 2030 deadline.

India’s emissions intensity was 24 per cent below 2005 levels in 2016 itself, the latest year for which official data are available. A 33-35 per cent reduction is expected to be achieved within the next two years.

Although initial reductions are much easier to achieve than later ones, achieving a 40 per cent reduction is not expected to pose too much of a challenge.

The case of renewable installed capacity is also not very different.

By November 2020, the share of renewables, including large hydropower, in total installed capacity of electricity generation had already reached over 36 per cent, according to government data. The share of non-fossil fuel energy sources was over 38 per cent. Most of the new capacity additions are happening in the renewable space, and therefore taking this share to 50 per cent will likely not be too difficult.

Forest cover: Tough goal left unaddressed

Incidentally, the third promise made in India’s NDC, about increase in forest cover, did not find a mention in Modi’s speech in Glasgow. And that is the only target that India is struggling to achieve.

In the NDC, India has promised to create an additional carbon sink of 2.5 billion to 3 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent through forest and tree cover by the year 2030. Although India’s forest cover has been growing, according to official data, the pace of growth as of now is far from being commensurate with what is required to achieve the target.

 

UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS: HPV Vaccines

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper III –  Science and Techonolgy

Sub Theme:  HPV | UPSC

A new research, funded by Cancer Research UK, has found that the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, which protects against cervical cancer in women, reduced the risk of developing the cancer by 62 per cent in women between the ages of 14 and 16.

It reduced the risk by 34 per cent in women who were aged 16-18 years when they were offered the jab. The paper was published in the journal Lancet this week and looked at all cervical cancers diagnosed in England in women aged between 20 and 64 years, between January 2006 and June 2019.

The results are important because the vaccine was introduced in the 2000s and studies confirming that it is effective against cancer have come up only recently.

Essentially, the study shows that the HPV vaccination in combination with cervical cancer screening reduces the cancer to a point where almost no one develops it. It also shows that over a period of 11 years (since 2006), the vaccine prevented around 450 cervical cancers and around 17,200 cases of precancerous conditions. England extended administration of the vaccine to boys aged 12-13 years in 2018.

What is HPV?

HPV is a type of virus, of which there are more than 100 types. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) notes that more than 40 types of HPV are spread through direct sexual contact. Out of these 40, two cause genital warts, while about a dozen of HPV cause different types of cancer including cervical, anal, oropharyngeal, penile, vulvar and vaginal.

Significantly, almost all cervical cancers are caused by HPV and the vaccine protects against two of the cancer-causing strains, which are HPV 16 and 18.

Once infected, most people do not develop any symptoms, thereby are not aware that they have the virus. In most cases, the body’s immune system will be able to clear the virus out, which means it won’t do any harm to the individual. Even so, the virus can sometimes take years before it causes any symptoms.

How many types of HPV vaccines are there and who should get it?

There are various types of HPV vaccines, including the quadrivalent vaccine (Gardasil), which protects against four types of HPV (HPV 16, 18, 6 and 11). The latter two strains cause genital warts. The other kind of vaccine is the bivalent vaccine (Cervarix), which protects against HPV 16 and 18 only. The third type is a non valent vaccine (Gardasil 9), which protects against nine strains of HPV.

These vaccines prevent cervical cancer in women and girls who have not yet been exposed to the virus. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that the vaccine be given to girls and boys between the ages of 11 and 12.

Ideally, the vaccine should be administered before the individual makes their first sexual contact. While for teenagers, the vaccine is administered in a two-dose regimen, for those between the ages 15-26, a three-dose regimen is used in the US.

HPV vaccination and cervical cancer incidence in India

In India, bivalent and quadrivalent HPV vaccines were licensed in 2008 and a non valent vaccine was licensed in 2018. The Indian Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Immunization (IAPCOI) recommends that HPV vaccines be given as a two-dose regimen, six months apart for girls below the age of 14 years. For those who are 15 and older, the vaccine is given in a three-dose regimen.

A paper published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention notes that in India, the primary obstacle to HPV vaccination is financial. It also says that while India is home to 16-17 per cent of the world’s population, globally 27 per cent of total cervical cancer cases are from here. Further, in India about 77 percent cases of cervical cancer are caused by HPV 16 and 18.

 

UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS: LZTFL1 Gene 

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper III –  Science and Technology

Sub Theme:    LZTFL1 Gene | UPSC

Researchers at the Medical Research Council Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, University of Oxford, have identified the gene responsible for doubling the risk of respiratory failures from COVID-19.

This gene — called LZTFL1 — can be found in 60 percent of people with South Asian ancestry and the researchers say that it may be able to explain the excess deaths seen in some of the UK communities and the impact of pandemic during the second wave in India.

Even so, the gene is possibly just one factor that could have led to these outcomes, since socio-economic factors also partly explain why some communities were more severely impacted by the disease.

For instance, while 60 percent of people with South Asian ancestry carry this gene, 15 percent of those with European ancestry carry it and two percent of people with Afro-Caribbean ancestry also carry it. Therefore, this gene does not explain the higher death rates that were reported for black people and some minority ethnic communities.

 

UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS: Bridgmanite

UPSC Syllabus: Prelims: Science and Technology

Sub Theme:  Mineral | UPSC
Scientists find a mineral seen in the depths of the Earth in a meteorite (TH-31-10-21)

Context:

IIT Kharagpur has conducted a study on a meteorite found in Katol (Nagpur). They have found a mineral bridgmanite in the meteorite which is presently abundantly in the core of the earth. This finding could help us understand the formation and evolution of the Earth. Also adds evidence to the Moon-forming giant impact hypothesis.

Bridgmanite

  • Bridgmanite is the most volumetrically abundant mineral of the Earth’s interior.
  • It is present in the lower mantle (from 660 to 2700 km), and it is important to understand its formation mechanism to better comprehend the origin and evolution of planetary interiors.
  • Bridgmanite consists of magnesium, iron, calcium aluminium oxide and has a perovskite structure.
  • While the crystal structure of natural bridgmanite has been reported in other meteorites such as the Tenham and Suizhou meteorites, their chemical composition does not fully match with the terrestrial bridgmanite present in the Earth’s interior between 660 and 2700 km depth.

Moon-forming giant impact hypothesis

  • The Moon-forming giant impact hypothesis is that long ago, nearly 4.5 billion years ago, the Earth collided with a planet the size of Mars named Thela, and the force of this impact was so huge as to melt the Earth down from the surface to a depth of 750 km to 1,100 km.
  • The hypothesis goes that this caused the Earth to be bathed in a magma ocean, and the ejecta from the collision led to the formation of the Moon.
  • This is the most favoured hypothesis on the formation of the Moon and the present finding by the Kharagpur team lends further support to it.

UPSC CURRENT AFFAIRS: Invasive species

UPSC Syllabus: Mains – GS Paper III –  Environment

Sub Theme:  Invasive species | UPSC

►INVASIVE SPECIES

An alien species is a species introduced by humans – either intentionally or accidentally – outside of its natural past or present distribution, however not all alien species have negative impacts, and it is estimated that between 5% and 20% of all alien species become problematic. It is these species that are termed ‘Invasive alien species’ (IAS).

IMPACT

  • Driver of biodiversity loss
  • Lead to changes in the structure and composition of ecosystems leading to significant detrimental impact on ecosystem services, affecting economies and human wellbeing.

COMMON INVASIVE SPECIES OF INDIA 

FLORA FAUNA
  • Prosopis Juliflora
  • Water Hyacinth
  • Snowflake Corals
  • Lantana
  • African apple snail
  • Papaya Mealy Bug
  • Amazon sailfin catfish
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