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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 7th April 2022

Today Current Affairs: 7th April 2022 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc


Babu Jagjivan Ram Birth Anniversary:

The Prime Minister paid tributes to freedom fighter Babu Jagjivan Ram on his 115th birth anniversary (5th April).

  • Jagjivan Ram, popularly known as Babuji, was a national leader, a freedom fighter, a crusader of social justice, a champion of depressed classes and an outstanding Parliamentarian.
  • Jagjivan Ram was born on 5th April 1908 in Chandwa in Bihar to a Dalit family.
  • He was considered ‘untouchable’ and had to drink water from a different pot.
  • Jagjivan Ram protested against this by breaking the pot.
  • The principal then had to remove the separate pot from the school.
  • In 1925, Jagjivan Ram met scholar Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya and was greatly inspired by him. On Malaviya’s invitation, he joined the Banaras Hindu University.
  • Even at the university, Jagjivan Ram faced discrimination. This inspired him to protest against such social boycotts of a section of society.
  • He also organised the scheduled castes to protest against injustice.
  • After his stint at BHU, he joined the University of Calcutta from where he secured a B.Sc. degree in 1931.
  • Jagjivan Ram had organised a number of Ravidas Sammelans and had celebrated Guru Ravidas Jayanti in different areas of Calcutta (Kolkata).
  • In 1931, he became a member of the Indian National Congress (Congress Party).
  • He was instrumental in the foundation of the All India Depressed Classes League, an organisation dedicated to attaining equality for untouchables, in 1934-35.
  • He was a champion of social equality and equal rights for the Depressed Classes.
  • In 1935, he proposed at a session of the Hindu Mahasabha that drinking water wells and temples be open to untouchables.
  • In 1935, Babuji also appeared before the Hammond Commission at Ranchi and demanded, for the first time, voting rights for the Dalits.
  • He was jailed twice in the early 1940s for his political activities associated with the Quit India movement against British rule.
  • After independence he held the labour portfolio until 1952. Thereafter he served in Nehru’s cabinet in the posts of minister for communications (1952–56), transport and railways (1956–62), and transport and communications (1962–63).
  • He served as minister for food and agriculture (1967–70), and in 1970 he was made minister of defence.
  • The Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 was fought when he was the defence minister.
  • He left Congress in 1977 and joined the Janata Party alliance, along with his Congress for Democracy (new party). He later served as the Deputy Prime Minister of India (1977–79).
  • Jagjivan Ram was a member of the Parliament uninterrupted from 1936 to 1986 (40 years) and this is a world record.
  • He also holds another record for being the longest-serving cabinet minister in India (30 years).
  • He died on 6th July 1986 at New Delhi.

Prahlad Patel 115th Birth Anniversary:

The Prime Minister recalled the ‘Nation First’ spirit of freedom fighter Prahlad Patel on his 115th birth anniversary.

  • He noted Shri Prahladji Patel’s generosity in social service and his sacrifice. And requested universities in Gujarat should carry out research and bring to light such forgotten freedom fighters and underscore their contribution in the independence movement.
  • Prahlad Patel hailed from Becharaji in Gujarat and fought for India’s independence from British rule, and later joined the ‘Bhoodan’ movement of social reformer Vinoba Bhave.
  • He donated 200 bighas of land that he owned.
  • The freedom fighter joined the freedom struggle on the call of Mahatma Gandhi and underwent imprisonment in Sabarmati and Yerawada .
  • Shri Patel’s father passed away when he was incarcerated but Shri Prahladji Patel did not accept the conditions of apology that were put forward by the colonial rulers for allowing him to perform the last rites.
  • He also supported many freedom fighters who were fighting underground.
  • Prahlad Patel also helped Sardar Patel in the merger of princely states after independence.
  • When Gujarat was formed in 1960, he even contested elections from the Chanasma seat in Patan district and took the entire region on the path of development.

WHO Suspended Covaxin:

The WHO has suspended Covid-19 vaccine Covaxin’s supply through UN agencies, after an inspection flagged issues relating to manufacturing.

  • Covaxin had got emergency use listing (EUL) from the WHO in November 2021 as it met the standards set by the WHO for protection against the coronavirus disease.
  • The WHO’s EUL is also a prerequisite for a vaccine to be part of supply under COVAX initiative.
  • The licence thus paved the way for Bharat Biotech to supply Covaxin to UN agencies including through COVAX.
  • At the time the EUL for Covaxin was granted, however, the WHO had not done an inspection.
  • The inspection was done in March 2022, based on which the WHO has announced the suspension of supply of Covaxin through UN procurement agencies.
  • In its inspection, the WHO found deficiencies in good manufacturing practices (GMP).
  • Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) is a system for ensuring that products are consistently produced and controlled according to quality standards.
  • It is designed to minimize the risks involved in any pharmaceutical production that cannot be eliminated through testing the final product.
  • More than 100 countries have incorporated the WHO GMP provisions into their national medicines laws, and many more countries have adopted its provisions and approach in defining their own national GMP requirements.
  • The WHO GMP continues to be used as a basis for the WHO Certification Scheme and prequalification of vaccines for procurement by UN agencies.
  • Covaxin is a whole virion-inactivated vaccine against SARS-CoV-2, developed in partnership with the Indian Council of Medical Research and the National Institute of Virology, Pune.

The ‘Scheduled Tribes And Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights Act)’:

Ignoring the law that stresses that original inhabitants, traditional forest dwellers and Adivasis must not be evicted from Tiger Reserves, the MoEFCC, has recently simply stated that they will be rehabilitated so that they do not lose their traditional livelihood. No details on any modalities have, however, been provided.

  • However, activists have raised voice for the protection of these vulnerable sections under the provisions of the Forest Rights Act.
  • The Act passed in 2006 grants legal recognition to the rights of traditional forest dwelling communities.

Rights under the Act:

  • Title rights – i.e. ownership – to land that is being farmed by tribals or forest dwellers as on 13 December 2005, subject to a maximum of 4 hectares; ownership is only for land that is actually being cultivated by the concerned family as on that date, meaning that no new lands are granted.
  • Use rights – to minor forest produce (also including ownership), to grazing areas, to pastoralist routes, etc.
  • Relief and development rights – to rehabilitation in case of illegal eviction or forced displacement; and to basic amenities, subject to restrictions for forest protection.
  • Forest management rights – to protect forests and wildlife.
  • According to Section 2(c) of Forest Rights Act (FRA), to qualify as Forest Dwelling Scheduled Tribe (FDST) and be eligible for recognition of rights under FRA, three conditions must be satisfied by the applicant/s, who could be “members or community”:
    • Must be a Scheduled Tribe in the area where the right is claimed; and
    • Primarily resided in forest or forests land prior to 13-12-2005; and
    • Depend on the forest or forests land for bonafide livelihood needs.
    • And to qualify as Other Traditional Forest Dweller (OTFD) and be eligible for recognition of rights under FRA, two conditions need to be fulfilled:
  • Primarily resided in forest or forests land for three generations (75 years) prior to 13-12-2005.
  • Depend on the forest or forests land for bonafide livelihood needs.

International Day Of Sport For Development And Peace:

On 6th April, the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace (IDSDP) is observed annually. This day is celebrated to highlight the importance of sports in society.

  • This day recognizes the positive impact due to sports on the harmony and peace of various communities across the globe.
  • Sports help in promoting social ties, peace, and sustainable development across the planet.
  • In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had declared that the 6th of April is to be celebrated as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. April 6th was selected as on this day in 1896 the first-ever Modern Olympics took place in Athens. Since 2014, this day has been annually observed across the planet.
  • In 2015, sports were included in the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations after it was considered to play a crucial role in sustainable development.
  • Hence, this day acts as a platform for nations to turn their focus to the development of this sector.
  • The nations are encouraged to invest in the development of sports and sporting infrastructures, awareness among the masses, and quality education.

The theme for this year

  • ‘Securing a Sustainable and Peaceful Future for All: The Contribution of Sport’ is the theme for this year’s the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.
  • The theme highlights the importance of sport in creating a better future for humans.
  • The focus of this year’s theme is on lowering Greenhouse Gas emissions and climate change.

Bucha Civilian Killings:

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused Russian troops of committing “the most terrible war crimes” since World War II in an address to the United Nations Security Council.

  • The grimmest discoveries have been made in a Kyiv suburb called Bucha, a town located about 25 km to the northwest of the capital, which had an estimated population of around 36,000 before the invasion began.
  • More than 300 bodies have been found in the town that Zelenskyy visited, some with their hands bound, flesh burned, and shot in the back of the head.
  • War crimes are defined as “grave breaches” of the Geneva Conventions, agreements signed after World War II that laid down international humanitarian laws during war time. Deliberately targeting civilians amounts to a war crime.
  • The International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague has already opened an investigation into possible war crimes by Russia. Russia does not recognise the ICC and will likely not cooperate with the investigation.

The Hindu Succession Act, 1956:

The Supreme Court asked the Centre to respond to a petition challenging provisions in the Hindu Succession Act as gender discriminatory.

  • The petition filed by Kamal Anant Khopkar said Sections 15 and 16 of the Act, which deals with inheritance of self-acquired and inherited properties of Hindu women, “unveils deeply rooted patriarchal ideology”.
  • The petition draws attention to Section 15 of the 1956 Act which actually mandates how the husband’s heirs have the first right over the self-acquired property of a woman who dies intestate. That is, the husband’s family comes first in the line of inheritance.
  • The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to amend and codify the law relating to intestate or unwilled succession, among Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs.
  • The Act lays down a uniform and comprehensive system of inheritance and succession into one Act.
  • Parts of this Act was amended in December 2004 by the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005.

Hydra : Russia ‘s Dark Marketplace

German police said they have taken down Russian-language illegal darknet marketplace Hydra, the largest such network in the world, and seized bitcoins worth €23 million ($25 million).

  • Founded in 2015, Hydra sold illegal drugs, stolen credit card data, counterfeit currency and fake identity documents, masking the identities of those involved using the Tor encryption network.
  • The marketplace had around 17 million customer accounts and over 19,000 vendor accounts, according to the BKA federal police.
  • The Hydra market was probably the illegal marketplace with the highest turnover worldwide, with sales amounting to at least €1.23 billion in 2020 alone.
  • A dark net or darknet is an overlay network within the Internet that can only be accessed with specific software, configurations, or authorization, and often uses a unique customized communication protocol.

De-notified, Nomadic And Semi-Nomadic Tribes:

A standing committee of Parliament, in its report, has criticised the functioning of the development programme for de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic tribes.

  • They are communities that were ‘notified’ as being ‘born criminals’ during the British regime under a series of laws starting with the Criminal Tribes Act of 1871.
  • They are the most vulnerable and deprived.
  • The National Commission for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (NCDNT) was constituted in 2006.
  • It was headed by Balkrishna Sidram Renke.
  • Scheme for economic empowerment of DNT communities: It has been formulated to provide coaching, health insurance, facilitate livelihood and financial assistance for construction of homes for the members of DNT.
  • The Development and Welfare Board for De-notified, Nomadic and Semi-Nomadic Communities (DWBDNC) has been set up in 2019 under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 under the aegis of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for the purpose of implementing welfare programmes.
  • A committee has been set up by the NITI Aayog to complete the process of identification.
  • Ethnographic studies of DNCs are being conducted by the Anthropological Survey of India, with a budget of Rs 2.26 crore sanctioned.
  • These tribes somehow escaped the attention of our Constitution makers and thus got deprived of the Constitutional support unlike Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.
  • A number of these tribes are categorised under SC, ST and OBC, many are not. However, 269 DNT communities are not covered under any reserved categories.
  • No money spent in 2021-22 under the Scheme for economic empowerment of DNT communities.
  • Budgetary allocation has been reduced to Rs 28 crore for 2022-23 against the budgetary allocation of Rs 50 crore for 2021-22.
  • There is no permanent commission for these communities
  • The Renke commission estimated their population at around 10.74 crore based on Census 2001.
  • 1,262 communities have been identified as de-notified, nomadic and semi-nomadic.

Death Penalty:

A Bench of Supreme Court (SC) has agreed to comprehensively examine procedures in death penalty cases to ensure that judges who have to choose between life imprisonment and the death sentence have comprehensive sentencing information.

  • Earlier, the SC had raised concerns in the process of assessments of mitigating information in death penalty cases.
  • The court is undertaking an exercise to reform the procedures by which information necessary in a death penalty case is brought before courts.
  • In doing so, the Supreme Court is acknowledging concerns with the manner in which death penalty sentencing is being carried out.
  • While the death penalty has been held to be constitutional, the manner in which it has been administered has triggered accusations of unfairness and arbitrariness.
  • Capital punishment, also called the death penalty, is the execution of an offender sentenced to death after conviction by a court of law of a criminal offence.
  • It is the highest penalty awardable to an accused. Generally, it is awarded in extremely severe cases of murder, rapes, treason etc.
  • The death penalty is seen as the most suitable punishment and effective deterrent for the worst crimes.
  • Those who oppose it, however, see it as inhumane. Thus, the morality of the death penalty is debatable and many criminologists and socialists all across the globe, have been long demanding abolition of the death penalty.
  • Prior to the Criminal Procedure (Amendment) Act (Cr PC) of 1955, the death penalty was the rule and life imprisonment an exception in India.
  • Further, the courts were bound to give an explanation for awarding a lighter penalty than death for capital offences.
  • After the amendment of 1955 courts were at liberty to grant either death or life imprisonment.
  • As per Section 354 (3) of the Cr PC, 1973 the courts are required to state reasons in writing for awarding the maximum penalty.
  • The situation has been reversed and a life sentence is the rule and death penalty an exception in capital offences.
  • Moreover, despite a global moratorium against the death penalty by the United Nation, India retains the death penalty.
  • India is of view that allowing criminals guilty of having committed intentional, cold-blooded, deliberate and brutal murders to escape with a lesser punishment will deprive the law of its effectiveness and result in travesty of justice.
  • In concurrence of this, a proposal for the scrapping of the death penalty was rejected by the Law Commission in its 35th report 1967.
  • In India as per official statistics, 720 executions have taken place in India after it became independent in the year 1947, which is a minuscule fraction of the people who were awarded death penalty by the trial courts.
  • In the majority of the cases, death was commuted to life imprisonment and some were acquitted by the higher courts.

Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal:

The Haryana Vidhan Sabha has passed a resolution seeking completion of the Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) Canal.

  • The canal, once completed, will enable sharing of the waters of the rivers Ravi and Beas between Haryana and Punjab.
  • The Satluj Yamuna Link Canal is a proposed 214-kilometre-long canal connecting Sutlej and Yamuna rivers.
  • Water resources are under the State List, while the Parliament has the power to make laws regarding inter-state rivers under the Union List.
  • Many areas in Punjab may go dry after 2029 and the state has already over-exploited its groundwater for irrigation purposes as it fills granaries of the Centre by growing wheat and paddy worth Rs 70,000 crore every year.
  • Water in about 79% of the state’s area is over-exploited and in such a situation, the government says sharing water with any other state is impossible.
  • It says that providing irrigation is tough for the state and there was a problem of drinking water in southern parts of Haryana, where groundwater has depleted up to 1,700 feet.
  • Haryana has been citing its contribution to the central food pool and arguing that it is being denied its rightful share in the water as assessed by a tribunal.

Nipah virus Infection: Findings

Scientists detected the presence of IgG antibodies against Nipah virus infection (NiV) in 51 bats that were captured from Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

  • It is a zoonotic virus (it is transmitted from animals to humans).
  • The organism which causes Nipah Virus encephalitis is an RNA or Ribonucleic acid virus of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus, and is closely related to Hendra virus.
  • Hendra virus (HeV) infection is a rare emerging zoonosis that causes severe and often fatal disease in both infected horses and humans.
  • It first broke out in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999.
  • It first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
  • The disease spreads through fruit bats or ‘flying foxes,’ of the genus Pteropus, who are natural reservoir hosts of the Nipah and Hendra viruses.
  • The virus is present in bat urine and potentially, bat faeces, saliva, and birthing fluids.
  • The human infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death.
  • Currently, there are no vaccines for both humans and animals. Intensive supportive care is given to humans infected by Nipah virus.