Daily Current Affairs : 19/2/2019

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
  2. Interim Dividend
  3. Social Accountability Bill

1 . Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Context : A team of Japanese researchers will carry out an unprecedented trial using human-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) to treat spinal cord injuries

About Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell

  • Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), as their name suggests, are pluripotent. This means they have the ability to differentiate into all cell types found in the human body.
  • iPSCs are a relatively new type of stem cells that are artificially created through human intervention.
  • They were first discovered in 2006 by reprogramming specialised adult cells back into the stem cell state. This process of inducing pluripotency reverts the adult cells back to a state where they look and act like embryonic stem cells (ESCs).

Ethical concerns over ESCs

  • ESCs are primarily made from cells found in a human blastula, one of the earliest stages of human life. A fertilised egg grows into a blastula (made of ~100 cells), which can only survive for a short time before it must be implanted in a womb. Blastulas used in research are typically harvested, isolated and cultivated in a laboratory or fertility clinic.
  • Some people see destroying a blastula for its cells as destroying an unborn child.

Advantage of IPSCs over ESCs

  • The main advantage of using iPSCs is that they bypass the ethical concerns attached to ESCs.
  • Even though iPSCs bear a resemblance to ESCs, they are not genetically similar. Because iPSCs are created from adult cells, their genetic content is aged and worn, unlike the new genes found in ESCs.


  • iPSCs are able to differentiate into many different cell types, and have potential for medical application.
  • iPSCs are seeing use in treating degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and diabetes.

Process of Creating and using IPSCs

  • The process of creating iPSCs begins with extracting adult cells usually skin cells—from the patient for genetic manipulation so that they may be reverted to iPSCs.
  • The cultured iPSCs are then stimulated to differentiate into the cell type required according to the patient’s condition.
  • These cells are then reintroduced into the patient’s body to replace or regenerate the lacking cells.
  • Because these cells are sourced from the patient’s own body, it is autologous, and carry no risk of rejection.

2 . Social Accountability Bill

Context : The Congress government in Rajasthan has started the process for bringing the legislation on social accountability, which will make officials accountable for timely delivery of public goods and services as citizens’ entitlement. The Bill will also set up a grievance redressal mechanism starting from village panchayats.

About Social Accountability

  • Social Accountability is a process of constructive engagement between citizens and government to check the conduct and performance of public officials, politicians, and service providers as they use public resources to deliver services, improve community welfare, and protect people’s rights

About the Bill

  • The draft says that bill is intended to seek the accountability of public functionaries and authorities for timely delivery of goods and services.
  • It aims to create democratic, decentralized and participative approach to enable wider public participation. Initiate monitoring of programmes and policies through community score cards, citizens report card and social audits
  • The purview of bill includes any entity or body, which is under the control of the government, governor and the high court of Rajasthan.
  • Entity or the body set up by Central Government to function within the State of Rajasthan and partially or wholly providing public goods and services provided there is consent of the Central Government

Importance of Social Accountability Law

  • The accountability law is required to hold public servants and bureaucrats accountable for not performing or delivering their service.
  • This law will compliment RTI which is becoming far more challenging. The citizen centric law will enable citizens to initiate enquiries rather than relying on the departmental enquires in the existing system

3 . Interim Dividend

Context : The board of Reserve Bank of India on Monday decided to transfer an interim surplus (dividend) of Rs. 28,000 crore to the government, the central bank said.

About Interim Dividend

  • An interim dividend is a distribution to shareholders (in this case the Govt) that has been both declared and paid before it has determined its full-year earnings
  • Dividend give in between a Financial year interim dividend whereas dividend provided after determining the earning of the whole year is final Dividend

About RBI Reserves

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