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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 23rd July 2022

Today Current Affairs: 23rd July 2022 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc


Right To Repair:

The Department of Consumer Affairs announced that it has set up a committee chaired by Nidhi Khare, Additional Secretary to develop a comprehensive framework on ‘Right to Repair’.

  • The Right to Repair refers to government legislation that is intended to allow consumers the ability to repair and modify their own consumer electronic devices, where otherwise the manufacturer of such devices require the consumer to use only their offered services.
  • When customers buy a product, it is inherent that they must own it completely, for which the consumers should be able to repair and modify the product with ease and at reasonable cost, without being captive to the whims of manufacturers for repairs.
  • The idea originally originated from the USA where the Motor Vehicle Owners’ Right to Repair Act 2012, required the manufacturers to provide the necessary documents and information to allow anyone to repair their vehicles.
    Proposed Framework:
  • Under this regulatory framework, it would be mandatory for manufacturers to share their product details with customers so that they can either repair them by self or by third parties, rather than depending on original manufacturers.
  • The law also aims to help harmonise the trade between the Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and third-party buyers and sellers, thus also creating new jobs.
  • The right to repair has been recognised in many countries across the globe, including the US, UK and European Union.
  • In the US, the Federal Trade Commission has directed manufacturers to remedy unfair anti-competitive practices and asked them to make sure that consumers can make repairs, either themselves or by a third-party agency.

Windfall Tax:

With crude oil prices easing amid fears of a global recession, the Indian government has cut the recently imposed cesses and levies on diesel and aviation turbine fuel (ATF) and removed the cess on exports of petrol.

  • A windfall tax is a higher tax rate on sudden big profits levied on a particular company or industry.
  • Reduction in Taxes:Additional excise duties equal to Rs 6 per litre on exports of petrol have been removed.
  • Duties on diesel exports have been cut to Rs 11 per litre from Rs 13 per litre earlier.
  • The cess by way of special additional excise duty (or windfall tax) on domestic crude being sold to domestic refineries at international parity prices has been cut to Rs 17,000 per tonne from Rs 23,250 per tonne,
  • The export duty on Aviation Turbine Fuel has been lowered by Rs 2 to Rs 4 per litre.

Kali Bein:

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann has been admitted to Delhi’s Apollo Hospital, days after he had drunk a glass of water directly from the Kali Bein, a holy rivulet in Sultanpur Lodhi.

  • Kali Bein, the 165-km rivulet starts from Hoshiarpur, runs across four districts and meets the confluence of the rivers Beas and Sutlej in Kapurthala.
  • Along its banks are around 80 villages and half a dozen small and big towns.
  • Waste water from there as well as industrial waste used to flow into the rivulet via a drain, turning its waters black, hence the name Kali Bein (black rivulet). Dense grass and weeds grew on the water until a cleaning project started.
  • The Kali Bein is of great significance to Sikh religion and history, because the first Guru, Nanak Dev, is said to have got enlightenment here.
  • When Guru Nanak Dev was staying at Sultanpur Lodhi with his sister Bebe Nanki, he would bathe in the Kali Bein.
  • He is said to have disappeared into the waters one day, before emerging on the third day. The first thing he recited was the “Mool Mantra” of the Sikh religion.

Right To a Safe Abortion:

Denying an unmarried woman the right to a safe abortion violates her personal autonomy and freedom, the Supreme Court held in an order.

  • A Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud was hearing the appeal of a woman who wanted to abort her 24-week pregnancy after her relationship failed and her partner left her.
  • The lower court had taken an “unduly restrictive view” that her plea for a safe abortion was not covered under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act as the pregnancy arose from a consensual relationship outside wedlock.
  • Chastising the lower court, the Bench said live-in relationships had already been recognised by the Supreme Court.
  • There were a significant number of people in social mainstream who see no wrong in engaging in pre-marital sex.
  • The law could not be used to quench “notions of social morality” and unduly interfere in their personal autonomy and bodily integrity.
  • The court noted that an amendment to the Act in 2021 had substituted the term ‘husband’ with ‘partner’, a clear signal that the law covered unmarried women within its ambit.
  • A woman’s right to reproductive choice is an inseparable part of her personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution. She has a sacrosanct right to bodily integrity.

The Gender Parity Index : UNESCO

Cases of crime against Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes have risen progressively in the years between 2018 and 2020, according to figures tabled by the Ministry of Home Affairs in Lok Sabha.

  • In the 2022 Gender Parity Index released by UNESCO, Rwanda has been ranked 6th among 146 nations way ahead of India (135), the US (27) and the UK (22).
  • Rwanda is the first and the only country in the world to have a female majority Parliamen
  • Thirteen of the 26 members of the Rwandan Cabinet are women. And so are the four of seven Supreme Court judges. Their share among workers in the informal sector is 88 per cent.
  • Thirty per cent of seats in any decision-making organ of the government were reserved for women.
  • A tough law on gender-based violence was introduced in 2009. Marital rape is now a crime
  • Gender Monitoring Office became operational to oversee gender indicators both in the government and private sectors.
  • A National Education Task Force was set up and gender parity was achieved in primary education.

Droupadi Murmu : 15th President Of India

Former Jharkhand Governor and National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Droupadi Murmu was elected the 15th President of India, the first tribal woman to be appointed to the position and the youngest as well.

  • After four rounds of polling, Ms. Murmu received 2,824 votes of 6,76,803 value, while Yashwant Sinha received 1,877 votes of 3,80,177 value.
  • She received 64.03% of the total valid votes polled, much more than what was openly declared in her support and pointing to the fact there had been a lot of cross-voting in Ms. Murmu’s favour from the Opposition ranks.
  • Murmu, who had been a former Governor of Jharkhand, hails from the Santhal tribe and was born in Mayurbhanj, coming up the hard way in life, graduating and teaching in Odisha before entering politics at the local body level and later being elected MLA and serving as a Minister from 2000 to 2004.
  • She holds the record of being the only Governor of Jharkhand till date to complete a full tenure, and was known to intervene in stopping amendments to the Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act that was being brought in by the BJP government of Raghubar Das, which involved changing land use in tribal areas.

NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index, 2022:

Karnataka has bagged the top rank in NITI Aayog’s India Innovation Index, 2022, which determines innovation capacities and ecosystems at the sub-national level. The State has held this position, under the Major States category, in all three editions of the Index so far.

  • In the Index released, Manipur secured the lead in the Northeast and Hill States category, while Chandigarh was the top performer in the Union Territories and City States category.
  • Karnataka was followed by Telangana, Haryana, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Bihar and Gujarat were at the bottom of the index.
  • Given the country’s ambitious targets to be named among the top 25 nations in the Global Innovation Index, the report has recommended measures, such as increasing Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GDERD), promoting private sector participation in R&D and closing the gap between industry demand and what the country produces through its education systems.
  • The report went on to state that countries that spend less on GDERD fail to retain their human capital in the long run and the ability to innovate is dependent on the quality of human capital; India’s GDERD as a percentage of GDP stood at about 0.7%.

Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022:

The Lok Sabha deferred the consideration and passing of the Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022, due to protests by the Congress members outside of Parliament over the Enforcement Directorate’s summoning of their party president Sonia Gandhi for questioning.

  • The Indian Antarctic Bill, 2022 was introduced in Lok Sabha on April 1, 2022.
  • The Bill seeks to give effect to the Antarctic Treaty, the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, and the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty.
  • The provisions of the Bill will apply to any person, vessel or aircraft that is a part of an Indian expedition to Antarctica under a permit issued under the Bill.
  • The central government will establish a Committee on Antarctic Governance and Environmental Protection.
  • The Committee will be chaired by the Secretary of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • A permit by the Committee or written authorisation from another party to the Protocol (other than India) will be required for various activities.
  • The Bill prohibits certain activities in Antarctica including: (i) nuclear explosion or disposal of radioactive wastes, (ii) introduction of non-sterile soil, and (iii) discharge of garbage, plastic or other substance into the sea which is harmful to the marine environment.

Nord Stream Pipeline:

Russia restored critical gas supplies to Europe through Germany via the Nord Stream pipeline after 10 days of maintenance, but uncertainty lingered over whether the Kremlin would still trigger an energy crisis on the continent this winter.

  • Germany, which is heavily dependent on Russian gas, had feared that Moscow would not reopen the pipeline after the scheduled work and accused Moscow of using energy as a “weapon”.
  • The showdown came amid the worst tensions in several years over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Germany believes Russia is squeezing supplies in retaliation for Western sanctions over the war.
  • Enduring German reliance on Russian gas coupled with alarming signals from Moscow has turned up the pressure on Europe’s top economy.
  • A total shutdown of imports or a sharp reduction in the flow from east to west could have a catastrophic effect, shutting factories and forcing households to turn down the heat.
  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said that a halt in supplies could slash Germany’s gross domestic product this year by 1.5%.

India’s Bioeconomy Report 2022:

Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) released India’s Bioeconomy Report 2022.

  • During the release, the government launched a special Biotech Ignition Grant call for North East Region (BIG-NER) and announced financial support of up to Rs 50 Lakhs each to 25 startups and entrepreneurs from North East Region to develop biotech solutions.
  • BIRAC is a not-for-profit Section 8, Schedule B, Public Sector Enterprise, set up by Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

Highlights of the Report:

  • India’s bioeconomy is likely to touch USD 150 billion by 2025 and over USD 300 billion by 2030.
  • The country’s bioeconomy has reached over USD 80 billion in 2021, registering a 14.1 percent growth over USD 70.2 billion in 2020.
  • On average, at least three biotech startups were incorporated every day in 2021 (a total of 1,128 biotech startups set up in 2021) and the industry crossed USD 1 billion in research and development spending.
  • India has the second highest number of USFDA-approved manufacturing plants outside the US.
  • USFDA: US Food and Drug Administration
  • India administered nearly 4 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines per day (a total of 1.45 billion doses given in 2021).
  • The country conducted 1.3 million Covid-19 tests each day in 2021 (a total of 506.7 million tests).

Data Related To Left Extremism In India:

During question hour in Lok Sabha, the Ministry of Home Affairs provided data related to left extremism in India.

  • The incidents of Naxal violence in the country have dropped by 77 % between 2009 and 2021, and deaths of security force personnel due to Maoist violence have more than doubled in Chhattisgarh in the past three years.
  • Similarly, the resultant deaths (civilians + security forces) have reduced by 85 % from an all-time high of 1,005 in 2010 to 147 in 2021.
  • In states, Chhattisgarh tops the countrywide figure for deaths of security personnel, as it accounted for 90% of all security personnel deaths in the country, followed by Jharkhand which recorded 5 personnel deaths.
  • There has been a decrease in the geographical spread of violence as only 46 districts reported LWE-related violence in 2021, compared to 96 districts in 2010.
  • Due to this, there has been a reduction in the number of districts covered under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme from 126 to 90 in 2018 and further to 70 in 2021.
  • Similarly, the number of districts generating almost 90% of LWE violence, classified as the most LWE-affected districts, decreased from 35 in 2018 to 30 in 2021.

Left-wing Extremism:

  • LWE organizations are the groups that try to bring change through violent revolution.
  • They are against democratic institutions and use violence to subvert the democratic processes at the ground level.
  • These groups prevent the developmental processes in the least developed regions of the country & try to misguide the people by keeping them ignorant of current happenings.