Daily Current Affairs : 21st and 22nd June

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Secrecy of Ballot
  2. Jal Jeevan Mission
  3. CDSCO
  4. Election process to Rajya Sabha
  5. Convalescent plasma Therapy
  6. Galwan Valley
  7. Sansad Aadarsh Gram Yojana
  8. World Food Prize
  9. Facts for Prelims

1 . Secrecy of ballot is the cornerstone of free and fair elections

Context : Secrecy of ballot is the cornerstone of free and fair elections. The choice of a voter should be free and the secret ballot system in a democracy ensures it, the Supreme Court has held in a judgment

Background of the Case

  • The judgment came on an appeal against the Allahabad High Court decision setting aside the voting of a no-confidence motion in a zila panchayat in Uttar Pradesh in 2018.
  • The High Court found that some of the panchayat members had violated the rule of secrecy of ballot. It relied on CCTV footage to conclude that they had either displayed the ballot papers or by their conduct revealed the manner in which they had voted.

About the Judgement

  • The apex court referred to Section 28(8) of the Uttar Pradesh Kshettra Panchayat and Zila Panchayat Adhiniyam, 1961. This provision states that a motion of no confidence shall be put to vote in the prescribed manner by secret ballot.
  • The apex court ordered a re-vote of the motion within the next two months. It ordered the Allahabad District Judge or his nominee to act as the presiding officer. Justice Khanna, for the Bench, ordered that the vote should be conducted by the secret ballot system.


  • Free and Fair Election : “It is the policy of law to protect the right of voters to secrecy of the ballot, even a remote or distinct possibility that a voter can be forced to disclose for whom she has voted would act as a positive constraint and a check on the freedom to exercise of franchise,” According to the judgement he principle of secrecy of ballots is an important postulate of constitutional democracy
    • The judgement also referred to Section 94 of the Representation of People Act, which upholds the privilege of the voter to maintain confidentiality about her choice of vote.
  • Waiving the Privilege : A voter can also voluntarily waive the privilege of non-disclosure. The privilege ends when the voter decides to waive the privilege and instead volunteers to disclose as to whom she had voted. No one can prevent a voter from doing. Nor can a complaint be entertained from any

2 . Additional funds sought for Jal Jeevan Mission

Context: Faced with a financing shortfall for the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), the Jal Shakti Ministry is pitching for additional funding of ₹82,000 crore from the 15th Finance Commission for the project to provide drinking water tap connections to every rural household by 2024. Only 18% of households are currently covered.

About the News

  • There had been a 45% shortfall in financing the JJM by both the Centre and the States in its first year of 2019-20. The planned Central share for the year was ₹ 20,798 crore, but actuals were only at ₹12,000 crore. The share due from States was ₹8,329 crore, but the shortfall was more than ₹4,200 crore. Similarly, in 2020-21 as well, there has been a 32% shortfall at the Central level.
  • It pitched for additional funding of ₹82,000 crore to meet the need for capital intensive projects in water scarce areas, and areas where the water has been contaminated by arsenic or flouride, or has high-salinity levels.
  • The Ministry also wished to take more direct control of the Finance Commission’s grants to panchayats.
    • In its interim report for 2020-21, the Commission had allocated ₹30,375 crore as tied grants to rural local bodies for drinking water and sanitation “in order to ensure additional funds to the local bodies over and above the funds allocated … under the Centrally sponsored schemes, Swachh Bharat and Jal Jeevan Missions.”
    • However, the Ministry complained that there is “no handholding and identification of work,” “no criteria and indicators to assess the performance of panchayati raj institutions” and “no pressure on gram panchayats to dovetail FC grants with JJM.
    • Suggestion: It proposed that the money be placed with the Jal Shakti Ministry instead, which would in turn release it to the panchayats, to ensure that they follow the JJM’s five-year village action plans.
    • Issue with the Proposal : This kind of centralisation would be a regression from the 14th Finance Commission’s move to empower panchayati raj institutions

About Jal Jeevan Mission

  • Jal Jeevan Mission, is envisioned to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections by 2024 to all households in rural India.
  • The programme will also implement source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, such as recharge and reuse through grey water management, water conservation, rain water harvesting.
  • The Jal Jeevan Mission will be based on a community approach to water and will include extensive Information, Education and communication as a key component of the mission.
  • JJM looks to create a jan andolan for water, thereby making it everyone’s priority.


  • Every rural household has drinking water supply in adequate quantity of prescribed quality on regular and long-term basis at affordable service delivery charges leading to improvement in living standards of rural communities.


Jal Jeevan Mission is to assist, empower and facilitate:

  •  States/ UTs in planning of participatory rural water supply strategy for ensuring potable drinking water security on long-term basis to every rural household and public institution, viz. GP building, School, Anganwadi centre, Health centre, wellness centres, etc.
  •  States/ UTs for creation of water supply infrastructure so that every rural household has Functional Tap Connection (FHTC) by 2024 and water in adequate quantity of prescribed quality is made available on regular basis.
  •  States/ UTs to plan for their drinking water security
  •  GPs/ rural communities to plan, implement, manage, own, operate and maintain their own in-village water supply systems
  •  States/ UTs to develop robust institutions having focus on service delivery and financial sustainability of the sector by promoting utility approach
  •  Capacity building of the stakeholders and create awareness in community on significance of water for improvement in quality of life
  •  In making provision and mobilization of financial assistance to States/ UTs for implementation of the mission.


The broad objectives of the Mission are:

  • To provide FHTC to every rural household.
  • To prioritize provision of FHTCs in quality affected areas, villages in drought prone and desert areas, Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) villages, etc.
  • To provide functional tap connection to Schools, Anganwadi centres, GP buildings, Health centres, wellness centres and community buildings
  • To monitor functionality of tap connections.
  • To promote and ensure voluntary ownership among local community by way of contribution in cash, kind and/ or labour and voluntary labour (shramdaan)
  • To assist in ensuring sustainability of water supply system, i.e. water source, water supply infrastructure, and funds for regular O&M
  • To empower and develop human resource in the sector such that the demands of construction, plumbing, electrical, water quality management, water treatment, catchment protection, O&M, etc. are taken care of in short and long term
  • To bring awareness on various aspects and significance of safe drinking water and involvement of stakeholders in manner that make water everyone’s business

Components Under JJM

The following components are supported under JJM

  • Development of in-village piped water supply infrastructure to provide tap water connection to every rural household
  • Development of reliable drinking water sources and/ or augmentation of existing sources to provide long-term sustainability of water supply system
  • Wherever necessary, bulk water transfer, treatment plants and distribution network to cater to every rural household
  • Technological interventions for removal of contaminants where water quality is an issue
  • Retrofitting of completed and ongoing schemes to provide FHTCs at minimum service level of 55 lpcd;
  • Greywater management
  • Support activities, i.e. IEC, HRD, training, development of utilities, water quality laboratories, water quality testing & surveillance, R&D, knowledge centre, capacity building of communities, etc.
  • Any other unforeseen challenges/ issues emerging due to natural disasters/ calamities which affect the goal of FHTC to every household by 2024, as per guidelines of Ministry of Finance on Flexi Funds

Scheme(s) subsumed into JJM

  • Several schemes under the erstwhile National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) have been subsumed into JJM. These schemes are given below:
    • Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project for low income States (RWSSP-LIS)
    • National Water Quality Sub-Mission (NWQSM)
    • Japanese Encephalitis – Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (JE-AES)
    • Swajal
    • Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance (WQM&S)
    • Support activities

3 . Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO)

Context: Hetero, drug-maker with headquarters in Hyderabad has received approval from the Drug Controller-General of India (DCGI) to manufacture and sell a generic version of Gilead’s Remdesivir drug for the treatment of COVID-19 patients in the country.


  • Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) is the Central Drug Authority for discharging functions assigned to the Central Government under the Drugs and Cosmetics Act

Major functions of CDSCO

  • Under the Drug and Cosmetics Act, the regulation of manufacture, sale and distribution of Drugs is primarily the concern of the State authorities while the Central Authorities are responsible for approval of New Drugs, Clinical Trials in the country, laying down the standards for Drugs, control over the quality of imported Drugs, coordination of the activities of State Drug Control Organisations and providing expert advice with a view of bring about the uniformity in the enforcement of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act.
  • Drug Controller General of India is responsible for approval of licenses of specified categories of Drugs such as blood and blood products, I. V. Fluids, Vaccine and Sera.


  • Initiate in framing of rules, regulations and guidance documents to match the contemporary issues in compliance with the requirements of Drugs & Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules 1945.
  • Facilitate in Uniform implementation of the provisions of the Drugs & Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules 1945.
  • Function as Central license Approving Authority under the provisions of Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules 1945.
  • Collaboration with other similar International agencies.
  • Providing training to the Indian regulatory personnel.

4 . Elections to the Rajya Sabha

Context:  Another round of Rajya Sabha elections has been completed. Polls to some seats were postponed in view of the situation caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak. There was a hint of controversy about who ought to have been allowed to vote or barred from voting in Manipur. Such issues arise mainly due to the interpretation of rules and features peculiar to the Rajya Sabha elections.

What is peculiar to the Rajya Sabha polls as far as the electorate is concerned?

  • Only elected members of the State Legislative Assemblies can vote in a Rajya Sabha election. The legislators send a batch of new members to the Upper House every two years for a six-year term.
  • A third of Members of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha (which is a permanent House and is not subject to dissolution), from each State retire once in two years and polls are held to fill up the vacancies.
  • In addition, vacancies that arise due to resignation, death or disqualification are filled up through bypolls after which those elected serve out the remainder of their predecessors’ term.
  • Voting is by single transferable vote, as the election is held on the principle of proportional representation. In other words, a bloc of MPs belonging to one or more parties can elect a member of their choice if they have the requisite numbers. This is to avoid the principle of majority, which would mean that only candidates put up by ruling parties in the respective States will be elected. The Delhi and Puducherry Assemblies elect members to the Rajya Sabha to represent the two Union Territories.

What is the voting process?

  • Polling for a Rajya Sabha election will be held only if the number of candidates exceeds the number of vacancies. Since the strength of each party in the Assembly is known, it is not difficult to estimate the number of seats a party would win in the Rajya Sabha poll.
  • For instance, if there are four seats to be filled up, and the ruling party and its allies command a two-thirds majority, and the Opposition a third, it will mean that the election will go three seats to one in favour of the ruling party. In many States, parties avoid a contest by fielding candidates only in respect to their strength. Where an extra candidate enters the fray, voting becomes necessary.
  • Candidates fielded by political parties have to be proposed by at least 10 members of the Assembly or 10% of the party’s strength in the House, whichever is less. For independents, there should be 10 proposers, all of whom should be members of the Assembly.

 What is Single transferable vote?

  • A single transferable vote means electors can vote for any number of candidates in order of their preference. A candidate requires a specified number of first preference votes to win.
  • Value of 1 vote : Each first choice vote has a value of 100 in the first round. To qualify, a candidate needs one point more than the quotient obtained by dividing the total value of the number of seats for which elections are taking place plus one. For instance, if there are four seats and 180 MLAs voting, the qualifying number will be 180/5= 36 votes or a value of 3,600. Normally, the results are clear after one round itself. The extra candidate is eliminated for want of enough first preference votes.
  • Second round of counting : However, counting may go to the second round, if more than one candidate fails to get the specified number. In such a situation, the second preference polled by the candidates (in ballots where the first preference has gone to those already qualified) will be transferred to their kitty, but with a diminished value. The total value of the votes polled by the remaining candidates both as first and subsequent preferences would be used to decide the winner.

Why do not the Rajya Sabha polls have a secret ballot?

  • The Rajya Sabha polls have a system of open ballot, but it is a limited form of openness. As a measure to check rampant cross-voting, which was taken to mean that the vote had been purchased by corrupt means, the system of each party MLA showing his or her marked ballots to the party’s authorised agent, before they are put into the ballot box, has been introduced.
  • Showing a marked ballot to anyone other than one’s own party’s authorised agent will render the vote invalid.
  • Not showing the ballot to the authorised agent will also mean that the vote cannot be counted. And independent candidates are barred from showing their ballots to anyone.

Why does not none of the above, or NOTA, apply to the Rajya Sabha polls?

  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) issued two circulars, on January 24, 2014 and November 12, 2015, giving Rajya Sabha members the option to press the NOTA button in the Upper House polls.
  • However, in 2018, the Supreme Court of India struck down the provision, holding that the ‘none of the above’ option is only for general elections held on the basis of universal adult suffrage, and cannot be applied to indirect elections based on proportional representation.

Does cross-voting attract disqualification?

  • No. The Supreme Court, while declining to interfere with the open ballot system, ruled that not voting for the party candidate will not attract disqualification under the antidefection law.
  • As voters, MLAs retain their freedom to vote for a candidate of their choice.
  • However, the Court observed that since the party would know who voted against its own candidate, it is free to take disciplinary action against the legislator concerned.

Can a legislator vote without taking oath as a member of the Assembly?

  • While taking oath as a member is for anyone to function as a legislator, the Supreme Court has ruled that a member can vote in a Rajya Sabha election even before taking oath as legislator.
  • It ruled that voting at the Rajya Sabha polls, being a non-legislative activity, can be performed without taking oath. A person becomes a member as soon as the list of elected members is notified by the ECI, it said. Further, a member can also propose a candidate before taking oath.

5 . Convalescent plasma Therapy

Context: A team of scientists led by Dennis R. Burton from the Scripps Research Institute has discovered that neutralising antibodies present in the blood of COVID-19 infected who have recovered offers powerful protection against novel coronavirus in animals.

About the research

  • The researchers found that passive transfer of neutralising antibodies into Syrian hamsters protects them against the disease when exposed to the virus. The protection was found when antibodies at high dose were transferred to the animals.
  • The antibodies can be injected into patients in the early stage of the disease to reduce the viral load and thus protect the patient from progressing to the severe form of the disease.
  • The antibodies also may be used to provide temporary, vaccine-like protection against SARS-CoV-2 infection for healthcare workers, elderly people and others who respond poorly to traditional vaccines or are suspected of a recent exposure to the coronavirus,”
  • The antibodies can then be mass-produced either as a treatment to prevent deterioration of the disease and as a preventive vaccine, as in the case of Ebola virus

How Antibodies were identified

  • More than 1,000 antibody-producing immune cells called the B cells were first isolated. These antibodies were isolated based on their ability to bind to the virus and prevent it from infecting the test cells.
  • Each of the 1,000 immune B cells produced a distinct antibody against the virus. In order to mass-produce the antibody, the scientists obtained the gene sequence of each antibody. They then screened each antibody and 33 antibodies that could block the virus from binding to the test cells were identified. They identified one antibody that could also protect hamsters against heavy viral exposure.

About Convalescent plasma therapy

  • The therapy aims to use the antibodies in the convalescent plasma to minimise the presence of the virus in patients
  • Donors must be recovered patients who are up to the standard for being discharged from hospital.
  • Only plasma will be collected while red blood cells, white blood cells and blood platelets will be transfused back into the donor’s body
  • Donating plasma causes little harm to the donor, and there is no need to worry

How it works

  • People who have recently recovered still have antibodies to the coronavirus circulating in their blood.
  • Antibodies are proteins produced and secreted by B cells. They bind to foreign substances that invade the body, such as pathogens. The term “antibody” refers to its function, which is to bind to an antigen. Another name for this protein molecule is immunoglobulin 
  • Injecting those antibodies into sick patients could help patients’ better fight the infection.
  • This treatment will transfer the immunity of a recovered patient to a sick patient, an approach that has been used previously in flu pandemics

6 . Galwan Valley

Context : On June 15, the worst violence on the India-China border since 1967 claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers. The clash occurred in the Galwan Valley, which hasn’t been a site of conflict since 1962. On June 19, the Chinese Foreign Ministry in a statement claimed that the entire valley is located “on the Chinese side of the Line of Actual Control (LAC)”, which followed a statement from the People’s Liberation Army stating that “China always owns sovereignty over the Galwan Valley region”. India has described the claims as “exaggerated and untenable”.

Where is Galwan Valley?

  • The valley refers to the land that sits between steep mountains that buffet the Galwan River.
  • The river has its source in Aksai Chin, on China’s side of the LAC, and it flows from the east to Ladakh, where it meets the Shyok river on India’s side of the LAC.
  • The valley is strategically located between Ladakh in the west and Aksai Chin in the east, which is currently controlled by China as part of its Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
  • At its western end are the Shyok river and the Darbuk-Shyok-Daulet Beg Oldie (DSDBO) road. Its eastern mouth lies not far from China’s vital Xinjiang Tibet road, now called the G219 highway.
  • The Galwan river was named after Ghulam Rasool Galwan, a Ladakhi adventurer and explorer, who had been part of many European explorations, including two in 1890 and 1896 led by Francis Younghusband — a British explorer and Army officer, who became famous for his role in blocking Russian advances in Tibet.
The Hindu Explains | Who does Galwan Valley belong to?

Where does the Line of Actual Control lie?

  • The LAC lies east of the confluence of the Galwan and Shyok rivers in the valley, up to which both India and China have been patrolling in recent years.
  • After the June 15 clash, however, China has claimed the entire valley lies on its side of the LAC.
  • Since early May, China has been objecting to India’s road construction activities at the western end of the valley, in the area between the Galwan-Shyok confluence and the LAC.
  • Beijing is now saying the entire valley is on its side of the LAC, which pegs the line further west near the Shyok river. India has rejected the claim as “exaggerated and untenable”.

What do maps tell us?

  • Maps paint a complicated picture. As Manoj Joshi of the Observer Research Foundation notes, in 1959, then Premier Zhou Enlai said a 1956 map portrayed the correct alignment. This showed the entire Galwan Valley as a part of India.
  • However, in June 1960 China put out a map claiming sovereignty over the valley. A Chinese map from November 1962 also claims the entire valley, but subsequent maps have not shown the western tip of the river as a part of China.

By citing its territorial claims, can China alter the Line of Actual Control?

  • Territorial claims and LAC claims are not the same. Regardless of whether or not China claims territorial rights to the valley, as one scholar suggested this week, the LAC that both countries abided by until recently ran through the valley.
  • The distinction between territorial claims and LAC claims is sometimes blurred. The LAC refers to territory under the effective control of each side, not to their entire territorial claim.
  • For instance, India’s territorial claims extend 38,000 sq km on the other side of the LAC across all of Aksai Chin, but the LAC India observes runs through the valley.
  • It is true that the LAC has never been demarcated and there are differences in perception of where it lies in more than a dozen spots, but there have not been previous incidents in the valley.
  • By now staking a claim to the entire Galwan Valley and up to the confluence of the rivers, China is, in India’s view, unilaterally altering the LAC here.
  • According to the 1993 Border Peace and Tranquility Agreement (BPTA), India and China agreed to “strictly respect and observe the LAC between the two sides”. This referred to the LAC at the time, rendering irrelevant the line of actual control in 1959 or 1962.
  • It also says that “when necessary, the two sides shall jointly check and determine the segments of the line of actual control where they have different views as to its alignment.”
  • Clarifying the LAC has also been explicitly codified in the 1996 agreement on confidence-building measures and subsequent agreements. China, however, has refused to exchange maps in the western sector to take this process forward.
  • The BPTA also said “the two sides agree that references to the line of actual control in this agreement do not prejudice their respective positions on the boundary question.”

7 . Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY)

Context : Almost six years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY), urging MPs to adopt one or more villages in their constituency and turn them into ‘model villages’, a study commissioned by the Ministry of Rural Development has observed that the scheme has not made “any significant impact” and that “in the current format it is not achieving the desired purpose”.

Details of the study

  • According to the report in many of SAGY villages, the Hon’ble MP did not give any significant money from Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).
  • In isolated cases, where MPs have been pro-active, some infrastructure development has taken place, but the scheme has not made any perceptible impact. As such, these villages cannot be called Model (‘Adarsh’) villages
  • In some villages the concept of SAGY has not percolated down to field official.
  • According to the report some Adarsh Gram is yet to be declared ODF.”

About Saansad Aadarsh Gram Yojana

  • Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) is a village development project launched by Government of India in October 2014, under which each Member of Parliament will take the responsibility of developing physical and institutional infrastructure in three villages by 2019.


  • The goal is to develop three Adarsh Grams by March 2019, of which one would be achieved by 2016. Thereafter, five such Adarsh Grams (one per year) will be selected and developed by 2024.

8 . World Food Prize

Context : Eminent Indian-American soil scientist Rattan Lal was on Thursday named this year’s recipient of $250,000 World Food Prize

About World Food Prize

  • The World Food Prize is the foremost international honor recognizing — without regard to race, religion, nationality, or political beliefs — the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.
  • The $250,000 annual award recognizes contributions in any field involved in the world food supply including, but not limited to: plant, animal and soil science; food science and technology; nutrition; rural development; marketing; food processing and packaging; water and the environment; natural resource conservation; physical infrastructure; transportation, storage and distribution; special or extraordinary feeding programs; social organization and poverty elimination; economics and finance; policy analysis; and public advocacy. 
  • The World Food Prize emphasizes the importance of a nutritious and sustainable food supply for all people. By honoring those who have worked successfully toward this goal, The Prize calls attention to what has been done to improve global food security and to what can be accomplished in the future.
  • Dr. Norman E. Borlaug, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 for his work in global agriculture, envisioned a prize that would honor those who have made significant and measurable contributions to improving the world’s food supply. Beyond recognizing these people for their personal accomplishments, Borlaug saw The Prize as a means of establishing role models who would inspire others. His vision was realized when The World Food Prize was created in 1986 with sponsorship by General Foods Corporation.
  • A nominee must be living and in sufficiently good health to attend the World Food Prize Award Ceremony
  • The World Food Prize Sculpture was created by world-renowned designer Saul Bass

Contribution of Rattan lal

  • Rattan Lal was awarded for developing and mainstreaming a soil-centric approach to increasing food production that restores and conserves natural resources and mitigates climate change.
  • His research has shown that growing crops on healthy soils produces more food from less land area, less use of agrochemicals, less tillage, less water, and less energy.

9 . Facts for Prelims

Golden Langur

  • Gee’s golden langur also known as simply the golden langur, is an Old World monkey found in a small region of western Assam, India and in the neighboring foothills of the Black Mountains of Bhutan.
  • It is one of the most endangered primate species of India
  • They are listed in Appendix I of CITES and Schedule I of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972

Diabetes and COVID19

  • Those suffering from Diabetes have an immuno-comprised status, which tends to reduce their resistance and make them more vulnerable to Corona like infections as well as consequent complications.
  • This, he said, leads to an even more vulnerable situation when a patient suffering from Diabetes also has kidney involvement or diabetic-nephropathy, chronic kidney disease etc.
  •  In a situation patients blood sugar level should strictly be under control to avoid infection and at the same time educating them about precautions to be exercised.

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