World Dairy Summit 2022:


In News

  • Recently, the Prime Minister inaugurated the International Dairy Federation World Dairy Summit (IDF WDS) 2022 at India Expo Centre and Mart in Greater Noida.
    • The last such dairy summit was held in India about half a century ago in 1974. 

Major Highlights of the Summit 

  • Theme
    • Dairy for Nutrition and Livelihood.
  • Animal Base scheme 
    • With the help of modern technology, biometric identification of animals is being done under the scheme ‘Animal Base’.
  • Database of dairy animals 
    • India is building the largest database of dairy animals, and every animal associated with the dairy sector is being tagged. 
    • More than 1,000 startups set up in the agriculture and dairy sector in the last 5-6 years.
  • Data on Indian dairy industry
    • Accounts for about 23 percent of global milk.
    • It produces around 210 million tonnes annually, empowering more than 8 crore dairy farmers.
    • Total value of dairy production in the country is about Rs 8.5 lakh crore which is more than the combined value of paddy and wheat production.
  • Pashu dhan
    • The concept of ‘pashu dhan’ and occupations associated with milk has been an important part of the 1,000-year-old Indian culture.
  • Indigenous vaccine for lumpy skin disease
    • Our scientists have developed an indigenous vaccine for lumpy skin disease. Efforts are also being made to control the disease by expediting testing and restricting the movement of animals.

Characteristics of the Indian dairy sector

  • Small farmers
    • The highest contribution in this sector is from small farmers.
  • Vast network of dairy cooperatives
    • Which are spread across 2-lakh villages involving 2-crore farmers
  • No middle men
    • There are no middle men in this system; more than 70 per cent of the money received from the customers goes directly to the farmers.
  • Indigenous species
    • They can adapt to extreme climates.
  • Role of women in the dairy sector
    • It is a unique feature of the Indian dairy sector. Women make up 70 per cent of the workforce in the sector. The sector provides livelihood to 8-crore families.

Challenges Faced By the Indian Dairy Sector

  •  New regulation: 
    • Dairy analogues, plant-based products and adulteration pose a major challenge and threat to the dairy industry. The new regulation for analogues and ghee standards has been amended by the Food Safety Standards Authority of India recently.
  • Shortage of feed/fodder:
    • There is an excessive number of unproductive animals which compete with productive dairy animals in the utilisation of available feeds and fodder.  
    • The grazing area is being reduced markedly every year due to industrial development resulting in a shortage of supply of feed and fodder to the total requirement.
  • Education and Training:
    • Lack of vigorous education and training programmes on good dairy practices in India mostly in rural areas.
  • Health:
    • Veterinary health care centres are located in far off places. The ratio between cattle population and veterinary institution is wider, resulting in inadequate health services to animals.
  • Hygiene Conditions:
    • Many cattle owners do not provide proper shelter to their cattle leaving them exposed to extreme climatic conditions which further leads to mastitis conditions.
  • High import duty:
    • The constraints being faced in exports i.e market access issues in China, EU, South Africa and Mexico, high import duty charged by SAARC and neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh (35%) and Pakistan (45%).

Initiatives Related to the Dairy sector

  • “Dairy Sahakar” scheme
    • Union Minister of Home Affairs and Corporation launched the “Dairy Sahakar” scheme at Anand, Gujarat, during the function organised by Amul for the celebration of the 75th Foundation Year of Amul
      • The Dairy Sahakar with a total investment of Rs 5000 crore will be implemented by NCDC under the Ministry of Cooperation to realize the vision, “from cooperation to prosperity”.  
  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM): It has been launched in December 2014 with an outlay of Rs 2025 crore for the development and conservation of indigenous breeds through selective breeding in the breeding tract and genetic up-gradation of the nondescript bovine population.
  • National Animal Disease Control Programme (NADCP): It is a flagship scheme launched in September 2019 for control of Foot & Mouth Disease and Brucellosis by vaccinating 100% cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population for FMD and 100% bovine female calves of 4-8 months of age for brucellosis in five years (2019-20 to 2023-24).
  • Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development (AHIDF): It has been approved for incentivizing investments by individual entrepreneurs, private companies, MSME, Farmers Producers Organizations (FPOs) and Section 8 companies to establish 
    • The dairy processing and value addition infrastructure.
    • Meat processing and value addition infrastructure.
    • Animal Feed Plant.
  • Dairy Entrepreneurship Development Scheme (DEDS): The department of Animal Husbandry, dairying and fisheries is implementing DEDS for generating self-employment opportunities in the dairy sector, covering activities such as enhancement of milk production, procurement, preservation, transportation, processing and marketing of milk by providing back ended capital subsidy for bankable projects. 
  • Pashu-Aadhar: It is a unique ID on a digital platform for traceability for the animals.
  • National Digital Livestock Mission(NDLM) 
    • It is a digital platform being developed jointly by the Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying (DAHD) and NDDB on the foundation of the existing Information Network for Animal Productivity and Health (INAPH).
    • The bedrock of NDLM will be the unique identification of all livestock, which will be the foundation for all the state and national level programmes including domestic and international trade. 
  • Livestock Health & Disease Control (LH&DC) Scheme
    • It aims to reduce risk to animal health by prophylactic vaccination against diseases of animals, capacity building of Veterinary services, disease surveillance and strengthening veterinary infrastructure. 
  • Dairy Processing and Infrastructure Development Fund (DIDF) Scheme
    • Launched: 21st December 2017
    • Objectives: To modernize the milk processing & chilling plants including value addition
  • E-GOPALA: The web version of the e-GOPALA application developed by the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) has been launched to aid dairy farmers. 
  • Gopal Ratna Award 2021
    • It was launched by the Department in 2021 and is one of the highest National Awards in the field of livestock and dairy sector. 
  • Nationwide Artificial Insemination Programme:
    • It was initiated in September 2019 and under the programme, AI services are delivered free of cost at farmers’ doorstep.  
  • Launching of Breed Multiplication farm Portal
    • Breed Multiplication Farm Portal was launched on 26th November 2021 to receive an online application from interested private individuals/ Entrepreneurs, FPOs, SHGs, FCOs, JLGs, and Section 8 companies for breed multiplication farms.
  •  Launching of Dairy mark
    • The National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) together developed a dedicated ‘Dairy Mark’ logo as a unified quality mark across India to boost the confidence of consumers in milk and milk products.
    • A unified Conformity Assessment Scheme has been chalked out by BIS with the help of NDDB after extensive stakeholder consultations.

Way Forward

  • The Indian dairy sector is known more for production by masses than mass production.
  • The per capita availability of milk in India is higher than the world average.
  • Increase in production: India produced 146 million tonnes of milk in 2014. It has now increased to 210 million tonnes. That is, an increase of about 44 per cent.
  • Growth: compared to the 2 per cent production growth at the global level, India is clocking the milk production growth rate at more than 6 per cent.
  • Vaccination: by 2025 thade government will vaccinate 100% of the animals against foot and mouth disease and brucellosis.

Pornography and Sex Crimes

  • GS 1 + GS 2
  • Mechanisms, Laws, Institutions & Bodies for Protection & Betterment of these Sections

In News

  • Recently, Supreme court looked into individual cases to find out whether or not viewing of pornography had triggered the crime.

More about the news

  • The petition:
    • The petition had sought direction from the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) to study the link between free access to internet pornography and child sexual abuse cases as well as rape.
    • The plea was advocating a link between watching internet porn and sex crimes, including child abuse.
  • Supreme Court’s response:
    • The court said the government, if necessary, has enough material in its arsenal to ensure that criminal material is not uploaded on the Internet. 
  • Court’s fear on online surveillance:
    • Seeking a judicial declaration from the Supreme Court that porn on the Internet has led to child sex crimes would be equal to giving a go-ahead to online surveillance.

More about pornography and associated laws against it in India

  • About:
    • The term “pornography” can be defined as the reporting or portrayal of sexual actions in order to produce sexual excitement through books, films, or other media
      • Pornographic websites, pornographic material created using computers, and the use of the internet to download and transmit pornographic films, texts, photographs, and photos, among other things, fall under this category. 
    • Is it an offence?
      • Put simply, watching porn in India, privately, does not fall within the ambit of an offence under Indian penal laws but, there are certain limitations to the liberty of watching porn that the Indian judiciary has laid down time and again.
  • Associated laws/punishments:
    • The following laws specify the events and situations that trigger punishment but they do not define “pornography” or “obscenity” precisely and specifically.
    • Indian Penal Code (IPC):
      • Sections 292 and 293 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 make it illegal to sell, distribute, and exhibit or circulate obscene objects
      • The Criminal Law Amendment Act of 2013 added Section 354 D to the Indian Penal Code, 1860, which deals with stalking
    • Information Technology (IT) Act 2000:
      • The transmission of photographs of “a private part of any person without his or her agreement” is covered under the Act. 
        • For the same, the penalty is either three years in prison or a fine of not more than two lakh rupees, or both.
      • The publication or transmission of obscene material is covered by the Act
      • Publishing or sending anything that depicts sexually explicit acts or conduct is punishable
    • Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act 2012:
      • POCSO Act, 2012 is a significant piece of law aimed at protecting children’s rights and preventing child sexual abuse and exploitation. 
      • This Act deals with sexual offences against children, and a kid is defined as a person under the age of 18 under the Act.
      • The POCSO’s provisions address the use of minors for pornographic purposes, which we are not concerned with in this case. 
      • This Act establishes Special Courts to hear cases involving minors. 
    • Women’s Indecent Representation (Prohibition) Act of 1986 (IRWA):
      • The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act (IRWA), enacted in 1986, forbids indecent representation of women in ads, publications, writings, paintings, figures, and other forms. 
      • In 2012, the Rajya Sabha proposed the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Amendment Bill
        • According to revisions recommended by the Ministry of Women and Child Development on the bill, the indecent portrayal of women on digital messaging platforms such as WhatsApp and Skype should be made criminal.

Way Ahead

  • Legality:
    • The Hon’ble High Court noted that privately watching pornography will not be considered a crime. 
    • But, every act relating to child pornography is punishable, therefore even watching child pornography is illegal.
  • Pornography in relation to sexual violence:
    • The relation between the consumption of pornography and sexual violence remains inconclusive. 
    • In view of its impact on policy-making and judicial decision-making (freedom of speech vis-à-vis regulating the behavior of an individual in private), this issue needs to be further explored.
  • Awareness:
    • It is not possible to bring a social change in one day by banning porn websites, the only way to deal with this situation is to make the general public aware of the dos and don’ts surrounding porn. 


States may have NITI Aayog-like Bodies Soon:

In News

  • Recently, the NITI Aayog will handhold each state to set up similar bodies replacing their planning boards for faster and inclusive economic growth with the vision of becoming a developed nation by 2047.

About the proposal 

  • Aim: Initially it aims for 8-10 states to set up such bodies before reaching out to all by 2023.
    • Four states Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Assam have already begun work in this regard while Maharashtra, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat will likely begin work soon.
  • Function of SIT: it will guide states in policy formulation, take up monitoring and evaluation of government policies and programmes, and suggest better technology or models for delivery of schemes.

Challenges faced by the states currently 

  • Most states so far have done little to rejuvenate their planning departments/ boards, which earlier dealt with the Planning Commission and prepared parallel state five year-plans with the Centre.
  • Planning departments in most of the states with huge manpower are almost defunct and have no clarity what work they will do.

Significance of the move

  • Increasing the role of states in GDP: The move is in recognition of the fact that except for sectors like defence, railways and highways, the national GDP growth is an aggregation of states rates of growth.
    • Health, education and skilling are primarily with the state government.
  • Sustained economic growth: State government’s role is critical to improving ease of doing business, land reforms, infrastructure development, credit flows and urbanisation.
  • State support mission: It will likely extend support to states including experts from IIMs and IITs to fulfil the ambitious target of making India a developed nation by 2047.
  • Lateral entry of professionals will be encouraged in SITs to undertake high-quality analytical work and policy recommendations.

Way forward

  • The Centre has set up 10 working groups under various secretaries to set those socio-economic goals to achieve sustainable, inclusive and job-creating high growth, while addressing carbon footprint and energy security. 
National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog)About:It was set up in 2015 to replace Planning Commission.It is an Executive Body (acts as a think tank and advisory body)Objective: To foster the spirit of Cooperative and Competitive federalism through structured support initiatives on a continuous basis.Composition of NITI Aayog:Chairperson: Prime Minister of IndiaGoverning Council consists of the Chief Ministers of all the States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories in India.The NITI Aayog’s governing council is the premier body tasked with evolving a shared vision of national priorities and strategies with the involvement of the States and Union Territories. It presents a platform to discuss inter-sectoral, inter-departmental and federal issues.Regional Councils will be created to address particular issues and possibilities affecting more than one state.These will be formed for a fixed term and summoned by the PM.These will be chaired by the Chairperson of the NITI Aayog or his nominee.Special invitees: Eminent experts, specialists with relevant domain knowledge, which will be nominated by the Prime Minister.Full-time organizational framework:Prime Minister as the Chairperson:Vice-Chairperson (appointed by the Prime Minister)Members:Full-timePart-time members on a rotational basis: Maximum of 2 members from foremost universities, leading research organizations, and other innovative organizations in an ex-officio capacity.Ex Officio members: Maximum of 4 members of the Council of Ministers which is to be nominated by the Prime Minister.Chief Executive Officer: The CEO will be appointed by the Prime Minister for a fixed tenure. He will be in the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.Key Initiatives and Recent Achievements:Aspirational Districts Scheme.3 Documents: 3-year action agenda, 7-year medium-term strategy paper and 15-year vision document.Monitoring and Analysing Food and Agricultural Policies (MAFAP) programme in IndiaPromoted Zero Budget Natural Farming.Promoting ‘Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Paddhati’ programme under Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY).Village Storage Scheme

Health Spending in India

In News

  • The Union government’s healthcare spend dropped to 1.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2018-19 from the previous year’s figure of 1.35 percent.

Key Findings

  • Fall in expenditure: 
    • According to the National Health Accounts Estimates 2018-19, the total health expenditure — the total money spent on healthcare by the government, people, private entities and external funding — has fallen from 3.9% of the GDP to 3.2% in five years ending in 2018-19.
    • The decline in proportion to GDP has happened despite an increase in the government’s share of the country’s total health expenditure — from 29 percent in 2014-15 to 40.6 percent in 2018-19.
  • Spending on Health Schemes: 
    • Government spending on health schemes contributed 9.6 percent of the total health expenditure, as against 9 percent the previous year. 
    • Ayushman Bharat was rolled out in the September of the same year to which the report pertains. Hence, this proportion is likely to increase in the subsequent reports.
  • Increasing Non-Government Spending: 
    • Other than government spending and people spending out-of-pocket, private health insurance accounted for 6.6 percent of the total health expenditure, against 5.8 percent the previous year.
    • There have been huge increases in the premiums over the last few years. 
    • People paying for healthcare expenses out-of-pocket made-up 48.2 percent of the total health expenses in the year 2018-19, a small drop from 48.8 percent the previous year. Out-of-pocket expenses have now decreased substantially from the 62.6 percent seen during 2014-15.
    • There is no on-ground explanation for the drastic drop in out-of-pocket expenditure. This drop has been worrying many,

Challenges with Health Sector

  • Lack of Infrastructure: India has been struggling with deficient infrastructure in the form of lack of well-equipped medical institutes and less-than-adequate human resources. 
  • Shortage of Manpower: Shortage of efficient and trained manpower and the situation remains worrisome in rural areas.
  • Adversely Affects the Poorest: 
    • The chronic under-funding of the healthcare sector affects the poorest. 
    • Bad infrastructure in public facilities, long queues at hospitals such as AIIMS, or issues with accessing the facility leads to even the poorest spending out of pocket and going even to unlicensed practitioners.
    • The share of the richest 20 percent of the population in total public sector subsidies is nearly 31 percent, almost three times the share of the poorest 20 percent of the population.
  • Huge Patient Load: Even prior to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, healthcare facilities had been feeling the strain due to unmanageable patient-load. 
  • Large Out-of-Pocket Expenditure: High out-of-pocket expenditure remains a stress factor. It is estimated that public funding accounts for only 22% of the expenses on healthcare in India. Most of the remaining 78% of private expenditure is out-of-pocket expense. 

Recent Government Initiatives

  • The Union Budget 2022-23
    • Rs. 86,200.65 crore was allocated to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
    • Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY) was allocated Rs. 10,000 crore
    • Human Resources for Health and Medical Education was allotted Rs. 7,500 crore.
    • The National Health Mission was allotted Rs. 37,000 crore 
    • Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) was allotted Rs. 6,412 crore.
  • Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission:
    • In September 2021, Prime Minister of India launched the Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission
    • The mission will connect the digital health solutions of hospitals across the country with each other. 
    • Under this, every citizen will now get a digital health ID and their health record will be digitally protected.
  • The Ministry of Health has issued guidelines to states to establish a public health cadre.
  • In November 2021, the Government of India, the Government of Meghalaya and the World Bank signed a US$ 40-million health project for the state of Meghalaya. 

Way Ahead

  • Three Es: 
    • The existing scenario suggests that public healthcare service should ensure three “Es- Expand – Equity – Excellence”. 
  • Family Health Teams (FHT): 
    • Like in Brazil, India needs Family Health Teams (FHT) accountable for the health and wellbeing of a dedicated population.
    • The FHTs must consist of a doctor with a diploma in family medicine and a dozen trained personnel.
  • Expansion of Tertiary Care: 
    • Access to adequate health care would need expansion of tertiary care facilities. 
    • Tertiary care should be equitably distributed to different segments of population. 
  • Addressing Imbalances: 
    • The setting up of new facilities will have to address imbalances at three levels- Regional, specialties, and ratio of medical doctors to nurses and other healthcare professionals. 
  • Right Positioning: 
    • India needs to move beyond the doctor-led system and paramedicalise several functions. 
    • E.g. Instead of “wasting” gynaecologists in CHCs, midwives can provide equally good services except surgical, and can be positioned in all CHCs and PHCs. 
    • This needs to be acknowledged and trained persons appropriately positioned based on patient load and disease burden.
  • Quality Medical Education: 
    • The expansion in the next five year plan must be systematic whose contours must be based on infusing quality in the future medical education and care.
  • Public Health Cadre: 
    • More immediately, there must be a public health cadre manning the posts at the PHC and CHCs consisting of sub-specialists in family medicine, public health and public health management. 
  • Comprehensive Review: 
    • Bringing such a transformative health system will require a comprehensive review of the existing training institutions, standardising curricula and the qualifying criteria. 
    • It is time our political systems listen to peoples’ voices for a family doctor to ensure their everyday needs — and not easy options like privatisation, commodification and medicalisation of the system. 

Draft National Electricity Plan

In Context

  • Recently the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) has put up the ‘Draft National Electricity Plan‘forr feedback from stakeholders.

Draft Highlights

  • Coal-based capacity:
    • It is seen that apart from the under construction coal-based capacity of 25GW, the additional coal-based capacity required till 2031-32 may vary from 17 GW to around 28 GW.
  • Additional requirements for coal-based plants:
    • The Central Electricity Authority (CEA) had suggested no fresh requirement for thermal power plants during 2017-22.
    • CEA is now projecting an additional requirement for coal-based plants in the upcoming five-year periods ending 2026-27 and 2031-32.
      • The above-mentioned power plants can expand the thermal capacity base by as much as 15 percent, a notable rise compared to FY17-FY22.
  • Battery Energy Storage System:
    • It is also seen that the BESS (Battery Energy Storage System) requirement in 2031-32 is varying from 51GW to 84GW, stated the document.
  • Hydro-based plants:
    • It also said that in the event of delay in achievement of hydro-based plants, which are in concurred/under construction stage, there is additional requirement of coal of around 4 GW in capacity mix in 2026-27.
  • Cheaper coal candidates:
    • In the event of non-availability of the base load nuclear capacity, the (study) model opts for cheaper coal candidates available to provide base load support.

Power Sector in India:

  • India’s power sector is one of the most diversified in the world.
  • Sources of power:
    • Sources of power generation range from conventional sources such as coal, lignite, natural gas, oil, hydro and nuclear power to viable non-conventional sources such as wind, solar, and agricultural and domestic waste
    • The Indian power sector is undergoing a significant change that has redefined the industry outlook.
    • Sustained economic growth continues to drive electricity demand in India.
  • The electricity sector:
    • The electricity sector could be classified into three segments: 
    • Generation
      • Generation is the process of producing power using different sources of energy. 
    • Transmission
      • High voltage power is carried from the generation plants to the distribution sub-stations through a transmission grid. 
    • Distribution
      • Electricity is finally transferred from the sub-stations to individual consumers through a distribution network.  
        • Issues with distribution:
          • One of the key concerns in the power sector has been the financial health of the distribution companies (discoms), which are mostly state-owned.  
          • Discoms have had a high level of debt and have been running losses for the past several years.
Central Electricity Authority (CEA)About:As per the Electricity Act, 2003, CEA has to prepare the National Electricity Plan once every five years.The Act stipulates that CEA, while preparing the National Electricity Plan (NEP), shall publish the draft and invite suggestions and objections thereon from licensees, generating companies and the public. CEA officials:Officers from the Central Power Engineering Services Cadre, recruited through Engineering Services Examination conducted by the Union Public Service Commission, are posted to the Central Electricity Authority of India.The Electricity Act, 2003About:The Electricity Act, 2003 is the central law regulating the electricity sector.The Act provides for Electricity Regulatory Commissions at both the central and state levels (CERC and SERCs).The Electricity (Amendment) Bill, 2022 The bill amends the Electricity Act, 2003Key provisions under the Bill:Multiple discoms in the same area:  The Act provides for multiple distribution licensees (discoms) to operate in the same area of supply.  The Act requires discoms to distribute electricity through their own network.  The Bill removes this requirement. It adds that a discom must provide non-discriminatory open access to its network to all other discoms operating in the same area, on payment of certain charges.  Power procurement and tariff: Upon grant of multiple licenses for the same area, the power and associated costs as per the existing power purchase agreements (PPAs) of the existing discoms will be shared between all discoms.Cross-subsidy Balancing Fund: The Bill adds that upon grant of multiple licenses for the same area, the state government will set up a Cross-subsidy Balancing Fund.  Cross-subsidy refers to the arrangement of one consumer category subsidising the consumption of another consumer category.  Any surplus with a distribution licensee on account of cross-subsidy will be deposited into the fund.  The fund will be used to finance deficits in cross-subsidy for other discoms in the same area or any other area.Renewable purchase obligation:The Act empowers SERCs to specify renewable purchase obligations (RPO) for discoms. RPO refers to the mandate to procure a certain percentage of electricity from renewable sources.  The Bill adds that RPO should not be below a minimum percentage prescribed by the central government.  

Way Ahead

  • Electricity demand in the country has increased rapidly and is expected to rise further in the years to come. 
  • In order to meet the increasing demand for electricity in the country, massive addition to the installed generating capacity is required.
  • Suggestions:
    • Creating an enabling ecosystem to ensure power plants work efficiently.
    • Revisiting fuel allocation and supporting the priority dispatch of efficient plants could help India reduce coal demand by up to 6 percent of our annual requirement, and set aside more coal for the proverbial rainy day.
    • Enabling discoms to undertake smart assessment and management of demand.
    • Introducing time-of-day pricing and promoting efficient consumption behaviour would help shave peak demand and avoid panic buying in the market.
    • Empowering electricity regulators to help bring down discom losses. 
  • The ongoing initiatives like introducing smart metres and network strengthening, and empowering regulators would be critical to infuse payment discipline across the supply chain of the electricity sector and to keep cost recovery as a key metric.


Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T Cell T Therapy

In News

  • Recently, the researchers have said that India’s first indigenously developed Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T Cell T therapy for specific types of cancer patients has shown promising results and could be the safest therapy in this category so far.

What is CAR-T cell therapy?

  • CAR-T cells are a patient’s own immune cells that are genetically engineered in the laboratory to fight cancer.
    • CAR-T cell is a prospective therapy that has ushered in a new era of curing refractory and stubborn cancers.
  • CAR T cell therapy is used as third or second-line treatment for patients of specific types of cancers of blood and lymph nodes. In India, those willing to undergo this treatment have to travel to other countries, mostly the US. 
  • T-cell receptor is widely used in developed nations for immunotherapy during cancer treatment.
    • However, the technology was not available in India yet.

How does it work?

  • The therapy targets leukaemia and lymphoma.
    • Leukaemia is cancer of blood-forming tissues, including bone marrow.
    • Lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system, which is part of the body’s germ-fighting network.
  • It uses lentiviral technology.
    • In gene therapy, this is a method of inserting, modifying, or deleting genes in organisms using lentivirus, a family of viruses responsible for diseases such as AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
  • As part of the treatment, a specific type of white blood cells called T cells are changed in the lab so they can find and destroy cancer cells.
  • It is also sometimes referred to as a type of cell-based gene therapy because it involves altering genes inside T cells to help them attack cancerous cells.

In What types of cancer can it be used?

  • The therapy is mostly effective in blood cancer and lymphoma (cancer beginning in the cells of the lymph system).
    • In India, about 40,000-50,000 patients of these cancers are diagnosed every year.


  • HCAR19 therapy 
    • The participants received autologous HCAR19 therapy (humanised CAR 19 therapy developed by IIT Bombay and it was observed that there were no dose-limiting toxicities and only low grade Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS) was seen in 40 percent of participants.
  • No neurotoxicity syndrome
    • None of the participants had immune effector cell-associated neurotoxicity syndrome.
  • Safer version
    • Overall, the novel humanised HCAR19 tested in phase one clinical trials for adult lymphoma was found to be safe and has shown promising early signs of activity.
  • No deaths
    • Post-CAR-T cell therapy none of the participants required ICU admission and there were no CAR-T treatment related deaths.

Therapy in India/ Way forward 

  • Two start-ups
    • ImmunoACT along with Immuneel Therapeutics are two startups currently working to make CAR T cell therapy available in India.
  • Low cost therapy
    • Both of these companies have said the therapy would be available in the country at a fraction of cost charged for the treatment in the developed countries like the US where it can cost about Rs 2-3 crore.

Supreme Court’s Three-question Test for validity of 10% EWS Quota


  • The Supreme Court will examine whether The Constitution (103rd Amendment) Act, which introduced a 10 per cent quota for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) in government jobs and admissions, violates the basic structure of the Constitution.

Who are Economically Weaker Sections (EWS)?

  • Apart from social and educational backwardness and experiences of untouchability in India, there are some castes that are economically poor but not socially backward. 
  • They are not entitled for caste-based affirmative action under reservation. 
  • They are generally known as general category people, not entitled to reservation benefits meant for the SCs, STs and OBCs. 
  • The Government of India has defined them as EWS.

What is the 103rd Amendment?

  • The 103rd Amendment inserted Articles 15(6) and 16(6) in the Constitution to provide up to 10 per cent reservation to EWS other than backward classes, SCs, and STs in higher educational institutions and initial recruitment in government jobs. The amendment empowered state governments to provide reservation on the basis of economic backwardness.
  • Article 15 prohibits discrimination on grounds of religion, race, caste, sex, or place of birth. Article 16 guarantees equal opportunity in matters of public employment. The additional clauses gave Parliament the power to make special laws for EWS like it does for SCs, STs, and OBCs.

S R Sinho Commission

  • The EWS reservation was granted based on the recommendations of a commission headed by Major General (retd) S R Sinho. The commission, which was constituted in March 2005, submitted its report in July 2010.
  • The Sinho Commission recommended that all below-poverty-line (BPL) families within the general category as notified from time to time, and also all families whose annual family income from all sources is below the taxable limit, should be identified as EBCs (economically backward classes).

What is the basis of the challenge to the amendment?

  • Violates the Basic Doctrine of the Constitution: On the ground that it violates the Supreme Court’s 1992 ruling in Indra Sawhney & Ors v Union of India, which upheld the Mandal report and capped reservations at 50 per cent. The court had held that economic backwardness cannot be the sole criterion for identifying a backward class.
  • Issue of private, unaided educational institutions: They have argued that their fundamental right to practise a trade/ profession is violated when the state compels them to implement its reservation policy and admit students on any criteria other than merit.

Miyawaki Process


In News

  • The Japanese “Miyawaki method”  used in Kuharianwali village of Punjab in one acre of unused land  has grown into a “forest” in less than a year.
    • The village has become a trendsetter in expanding forest cover. 

Miyawaki Technique

  • About:
    • Miyawaki is a technique pioneered by Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, that helps build dense, native forests in a short time.
    • In the Miyawaki technique, various native species of plants are planted close to each other so that the greens receive sunlight only from the top and grow upwards rather than sideways. 
    • As a result, the plantation becomes approximately 30 times denser, grows 10 times faster and becomes maintenance-free after a span of 3 years.
  • Process:
    • The native trees of the region are identified and divided into four layers — shrub, sub-tree, tree, and canopy.
    • The quality of soil is analyzed and biomass which would help enhance the perforation capacity, water retention capacity, and nutrients in it, is mixed with it.
    • A mound is built with the soil and the seeds are planted at a very high density — three to five sapling per square meter.
    • The ground is covered with a thick layer of mulch.

Benefits of the Miyawaki method

  • They help lower temperatures in concrete heat islands, reduce air and noise pollution, attract local birds and insects, and create carbon sinks.
  • The Miyawaki afforestation method requires quite a small space, at least 20 square feet.
  • It has revolutionised the concept of urban afforestation by turning backyards into mini-forests.

How can the Miyawaki method transform Indian cities?

  • Miyawaki projects have been buoyed by India’s promise, under the Paris Agreement, to improve its green cover from 25 to 33 percent. 
  • A rough count reveals that there are over a hundred Miyawaki forests in India, but no one has kept track. 


Ban on Export of Rice

In News

Recently, the Ministry of Finance notified the slapping of a 20% duty on exports of rice “other than parboiled and basmati rice” with effect from September 9. 

  • Also, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry imposed a blanket ban on broken rice exports. 

Restrictions that have been put on rice exports

  • There are four categories of rice exports. 
    • Out of these, exports in the case of two – basmati rice and parboiled non-basmati rice –are still freely allowed. 
    • The curbs are only for the other two: raw (white) and broken non-basmati rice.
  • The curbs announced will affect just under half of India’s rice exports in terms of quantity and over a third by value.

Rationale Behind Government Ban of the Export

  • The possibility of India’s rice production declining significantly because of deficient monsoon rainfall in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Gangetic West Bengal. 
  • The stocks for rice, at 40.99 mt, was quite comfortable, but the government is worried about their depletion in the event of a sub-par kharif harvest. 
    • This is more so, given the political pressure to continue the free-foodgrains scheme (Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana) beyond September. 
  • India has a 40% share of the world’s total rice exports.

Parboiled and Broken Rice

  • Paddy typically has 20-21% husk (the inedible covering of the grain) and 10-11% bran (the brown outer layer of the edible kernel). 
  • What remains after removal of the husk and bran is the white raw rice that constitutes 68-69% of paddy
  • Parboiling is a process where the paddy is soaked in water, steamed and dried while retaining its outer husk. 
    • It results in the rice becoming harder with less breakage on milling.
    • The parboiled rice exported from India contains 5-15% broken grains. 
  • In raw rice, the brokens are normally up to 25%. 
    • It is the rice having 100% brokens whose exports have been prohibited.

G7’s Price Cap on Russian Oil

In Context

  • The Group of Seven countries is working to cap the price of Russian oil in an attempt to limit Moscow’s ability to fund its invasion of Ukraine.


  • Russian crude is priced at a discount and the G7 and EU want to cap the price, to keep down Russian oil revenue.
  • G7 and EU countries will decide a ‘price’ for Russian Oil and petroleum buyers would make “attestations” to providers saying they bought Russian petroleum at or below the cap. If they don’t adhere to it, they will be denied services including insurance, finance, brokering and navigation to oil cargoes priced above the cap.
  • The G7 wealthy nations – the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada – and the EU are hammering out details of the plan. The G7 wants to enlist other countries, including India and China, which have been snapping up heavily-discounted oil from Russia since its Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine.


  • There is no consensus on what should be the cap among G7+EU countries. Russia may withhold exports to countries that enforce the cap, and fears about the threat could cause petroleum markets to rise.

Braj Basi Lal

In News

  • Recently, Braj Basi Lal,  the former director general of the Archaeological Survey of India (1968-1972) and a Padma Vibhushan awardee, passed away.

Braj Basi Lal 

  • Braj Basi Lal was the lead archaeologist of the Ram Janmabhoomi site.
  • He was born in 1921 at Jhansi in Uttar Pradesh and resided in New Delhi. 
  • He has worked extensively on archaeological sites associated with the Harappan civilisation and the Hindu epic Mahabharata. As a result, discovered a number of Painted Grey Ware sites in the Indo-Gangetic divide and upper Yamuna-Ganga Doab.
  • He has also served on several UNESCO committees and is best known for his theory of a temple-like structure underneath the now demolished Babri mosque.
  • He was awarded  the Padma Vibhushan in 2021.

Literary works

  • He has worked on over 50 books and 150 research papers published in national and international journals.
  • Some of his most notable books include, ‘The Saraswati flows on: The continuity of Indian culture’ published in 2002 and ‘Rama, his historicity, mandir and setu: Evidence of Literature, Archaeology and other Sciences’ published in 2008.

Research works

  • In  1990, Lal wrote of the ‘pillar-base theory’ on the basis of his excavations in which he claimed to have found temple-like pillars which would have formed the foundation of the Babri Masjid.


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