Daily Current Affairs : 23rd and 24th August 2022

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Study on Sex Ratio at birth
  2. Benami Law
  3. Tomato flu 
  4. Delhi-Centre case 
  5. Facts for Prelims

1 . Study on Sex ratio at birth  

Context: The latest study by the Pew Research Center has pointed out that “son bias” is declining in India.  

Key highlights of the report 

  • The average annual number of baby girls “missing” in the country fell from 480,000 (4.8 lakh) in 2010 to 410,000 (4.1 lakh) in 2019. The “missing” refers to how many more female births would have occurred during this time if there were no female-selective abortions. 
  • The problem began in the 1970s with the availability of prenatal diagnostic technology allowing for sex-selective abortions.  
  • Among the major religions, the biggest reduction in sex selection seems to be among the groups that previously had the greatest gender imbalances, particularly among Sikhs 
  • From a large imbalance of about 111 boys per 100 girls in India’s 2011 census, the sex ratio at birth has normalised slightly in the last decade, narrowing to about 109 in the 2015-16 wave of the National Family Health Survey and to 108 boys in the latest wave of the NFHS, conducted from 2019-21. 
  • The new data suggests that Indian families are becoming less likely to use abortions to ensure the birth of sons rather than daughters.  
  • This follows years of government efforts to curb sex selection – including a ban on prenatal sex tests and a massive advertising campaign urging parents to “save the girl child” – and coincides with broader social changes such as rising education and wealth. 

On abortion 

  • The world over, boys modestly outnumber girls at birth, at a ratio of approximately 105 male babies for every 100 female babies.  
  • That was the ratio in India in the 1950s and 1960s, before prenatal sex tests became available across the country.  
  • India legalised abortion in 1971, but the trend of sex selection started picking up in the 1980s due to the introduction of ultrasound scan technology.  
  • In the 1970s, India’s sex ratio was at par with the global average of 105-100, but this widened to 108 boys per 100 girls in the early 1980s and reached 110 boys per 100 girls in the 1990s.  
  • The report points out that between 2000 and 2019, nine crore female births went “missing” because of female-selective abortions.  

Religion-wise sex selection 

  • The report has analysed religion-wise sex selection, pointing out that the gap was the highest for Sikhs.  
    • In the 2001 census, Sikhs had a sex ratio at birth of 130 males per 100 females, far exceeding that year’s national average of 110.  
    • By the 2011 census, the Sikh ratio had narrowed to 121 boys per 100 girls.  
    • It now hovers around 110, about the same as the ratio of males to females at birth among the country’s Hindu majority (109), according to the latest NFHS. 
  • Both Christians (105 boys to 100 girls) and Muslims (106 boys to 100 girls) have sex ratios close to the natural norm, and this trend is holding. 
  • While the Sikhs make up less than 2% of the Indian population, they accounted for an estimated 5%, or approximately 440,000 (4.4 lakh), of the nine crore baby girls who went “missing” in India between 2000 and 2019.  
  • The share of “missing” girls among Hindus is above their respective population share. 

2 . Benami Law  

Context: The Supreme Court of India stated the provision of the Benami Transaction Amendment Act “unconstitutional” on the grounds of being “manifestly arbitrary”. Some of the provisions dealt with a three-year jail term and a penalty. 

About 1988 Benami Property Act 

  • Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Act, 1988 or 1988 Benami Property Act is an act of the Indian parliament that disallows certain financial transactions.  
  • This act labels a ‘benami’ transaction as any transaction in which property is transferred to one person for the amount paid by another person. 
  • In legal terms, it means any transaction in which property is transferred to one person for consideration paid or provided is called a ‘benami transaction’ 

What is Benami property 

  • The literal translation of the Hindi word ‘benami’ is without a name. However, a benami property is not a property without a legal owner. Instead, it is a property bought by a person, not under his or her name.  
  • It is rather held in the name of spouse or child or just anyone for which the amount is paid out of known sources of income.  
  • In India, there have been several cases where corrupt officials or ministers were found with benami property held in the name of their servants as well. 
  • The transaction involved in the purchase of a benami property is called a benami transaction.  
    • Through benami transactions, people buy different kinds of assets, including movable, immovable, tangible, intangible, any right or interest, or legal documents. The person in whose name the property is bought is called ‘benamdar’. 
  • As in most cases, people buy a benami property to use their black money or evade taxation, or both. In some cases, it gets hard for the investigation agencies to find out about the real owner (or the purchaser) of the benami property due to fake names and identities. 

Benami Transaction Amendment Act 2016 

  • In 2016, the government of India amended the Benami Transaction Amendment Act.  
  • The motive of this amendment was to curb black money in India.  This new law amended the Benami Transactions Act, 1988 and renamed the same as Prohibition of Benami Property Act (PBPT), 1988. 
  • The law allows for a person involved in crimes relating to benami property to be sent for rigorous imprisonment of up to seven years. In such cases, a fine may also be imposed upon the accused. 
  • According to the 2016 law, this fine may extend to 25 percent of the fair market value of the benami property. Further, the law empowers the government to confiscate deposits of people using accounts of other people to convert their unaccounted wealth into white money. 

Why is Benami Property Act unconstitutional? 

  • Chief Justice of India wrote a judgment where he stated that provision violated Article 20(1) of the Indian Constitution. 
  • According to Article 20(1), no person should be convicted of an offence or violation which was not in force “at the time of the commission of the act charged as an offence”. 
  • “Section 3 (criminal provision) read with Section 2(a) and Section 5 (confiscation proceedings) of the 1988 Act are overly broad, disproportionately harsh, and operate without adequate safeguards in place,” the court said.
  • The SC held that Benami Transactions (Prohibition) Amendment Act, 2016 does not have retrospective application and the authorities cannot initiate or continue criminal prosecution or confiscation proceedings for transactions entered into prior to the coming into force of the legislation.
  • Chief Justice Ramana dismissed the government’s version that acquisition, confiscation of property, and forfeiture were not like prosecution and can not be restricted under Article 20. 

3 . Tomato flu 

Context: A new infection dubbed tomato flu, or tomato fever, has been detected in India mostly among children younger than five, according to a report in the Lancet Respiratory Journal. 

About Tomato Flu

  • Tomato flu or tomato fever is characterised by fever, joint pain, and red, tomato-like rashes usually seen in children below the age of five years. This is accompanied by other symptoms of viral fevers such as diarrhoea, dehydration, nausea and vomiting, and fatigue.
  • This was thought to be an after effect of dengue and chikungunya that is commonly seen in Kerala. However, researchers now believe that it is HFMD caused by enteroviruses like Coxsackievirus A-6 and A-16.
  • “Tomato flu could be an after-effect of chikungunya or dengue fever in children rather than a viral infection. It could also be a new variant of the viral hand, foot, and mouth disease, a common infectious disease targeting mostly children aged 1–5 years and immunocompromised adults,” the recent correspondence in The Lancet read.

Why is tomato flu infection spreading now?

  • There is more attention on the infection because more cases are being reported this year — this could either be because there actually are more cases or because we are more vigilant about viral infections and testing after Covid-19.”
  • Another explanation for the infection picking up now is the re-opening of schools, said Dr Asawathyraj, scientist at Institute of Advanced Virology, who has been working with the infection.

Which pathogen is causing it now? And how is the clinical presentation different?

  • Current HFMD cases are mainly caused by Coxsackievirus A-6 and A-16. Another pathogen — Enterovirus71 — that also causes the disease is not very prevalent now
  • This is good because the pathogen was known to lead to severe neurologic symptoms, including fatal encephalitis (brain inflammation).
  • In almost all cases, say 99.9% cases, the disease is self-limiting. But, in a small number of cases it can lead to CNS (central nervous system) complications

Is there a treatment for tomato flu?

  • There is no specific treatment or vaccine available for the disease. Those with the infection are treated symptomatically, such as prescription of paracetamol for fever.

How can tomato flu be prevented?

  • As it happens mainly in children, the Centre’s advisory to states that was issued focuses on preventions in these age groups.
  • As per the advisory, anyone suspected to have the infection should remain in isolation for five to seven days after the onset of the symptoms.
  • It states that children must be educated about the infection and asked not to hug or touch other children with fever or rashes. The children should be encouraged to maintain hygiene, stop thumb or finger sucking, and use a handkerchief for a running nose, the advisory states.
  • If a child develops symptoms, they should be isolated, their utensils, clothing, and bedding must be regularly sanitised, they must be kept hydrated, and the blisters must be cleaned using warm water, according to the advisory.
  • It also states that testing should be conducted to take measures if there is an outbreak. Any respiratory, faecal, or cerebrospinal fluid samples (in cases with encephalitis or inflammation of the brain) have to be collected within 48 hours of illness. The biopsy of the lesions or skin scraping samples does not have such time limits.

4 . Delhi centre case  

Context:  A Constitution Bench led by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud will hear the legal battle between the Centre and the Government of Delhi for control over officials in the national capital


  • In May, a three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice Ramana, in a judgment, referred to a Constitution Bench the limited question concerning “services” or bureaucracy for an authoritative pronouncement.
  • Four years ago, another Constitution Bench had unanimously held that the Lieutenant-Governor of Delhi was bound by the “aid and advice” of the elected Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government and both had to work harmoniously with each other. It had noted that there was no room for anarchy or absolutism in a democracy. However, the 2018 judgment had not specifically dealt with the issue of ‘services’.
  • The Delhi government had compared its predicament without power over the ‘services’ to that of a king without a kingdom. The situation was such that a “democratic representative government” had to get the approval of the Lieutenant-Governor to appoint a Health Secretary or a Commerce Secretary, it had argued. The 2018 judgment had made it clear that the powers of the Centre and the Delhi government were collective and coextensive, senior advocate A.M. Singhvi, for the Delhi government, had submitted. “What collective responsibility will the Delhi government have without the power to control the transfers and postings of the officers? Federalism is itself being eroded,” the senior lawyer had argued.
  • Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, for the Centre, had argued in favour of referring the issue to a Constitution Bench. The Centre had argued that Delhi should be under its control and could not be left to the “small mercies and smaller resources” of a State legislature.
  • On February 14, 2019, a Supreme Court Bench of Justices A.K. Sikri and Ashok Bhushan (both have since retired) had given a split opinion on the question of control over ‘services’ in the capital.

The special status of Delhi 

  • Article 239 AA was inserted in the Constitution by The Constitution (69th Amendment) Act, 1991 to give Special Status to Delhi following the recommendations of the S Balakrishnan Committee that was set up to look into demands for statehood for Delhi. 
  • It provided a Legislative Assembly and a Council of Ministers responsible to such Assembly with appropriate powers to deal with matters of concerns to the common man. That’s when Delhi was named as National Capital Region (NCT) of Delhi. 
  • As per Article 239AA – Public Order, Police & Land in NCT of Delhi fall within the domain and control of Central Government which shall have the power to make laws on these matters.  
  • For remaining matters of State List or Concurrent List, in so far as any such matter is applicable to UTs, the Legislative Assembly shall have the power to make laws for NCT of Delhi. 

The Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (Amendment) Act, 2021  

  • It amends the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991.   
  • The Act provides a framework for the functioning of the Legislative Assembly and the government of the National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi.   
  • It amends certain powers and responsibilities of the Legislative Assembly and the Lieutenant Governor. 
  • Restriction on laws passed by the Assembly: The Bill provides that the term “government” referred to in any law made by the Legislative Assembly will imply Lieutenant Governor (LG).  
  • Rules of Procedure of the Assembly: The Act allows the Legislative Assembly to make Rules to regulate the procedure and conduct of business in the Assembly.  Such Rules must be consistent with the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Lok Sabha. 
  • Inquiry by the Assembly into administrative decisions: The Bill prohibits the Legislative Assembly from making any rule to enable itself or its Committees to (i) consider the matters of the day-to-day administration of the NCT of Delhi and (ii) conduct any inquiry in relation to administrative decisions.   Further, the Bill provides that all such rules made before its enactment will be void. 
  • Assent to Bills: The Act requires the LG to reserve certain Bills passed by the Legislative Assembly for the consideration of the President.  These Bills are those: (i) which may diminish the powers of the High Court of Delhi, (ii) which the President may direct to be reserved, (iii) dealing with the salaries and allowances of the Speaker, Deputy Speaker, and members of the Assembly and the Ministers, or (iv) relating to official languages of the Assembly or the NCT of Delhi.  The Bill requires the LG to also reserve those Bills for the President that incidentally cover any of the matters outside the purview of the powers of the Legislative Assembly. 
  • LG’s opinion on executive actions: The Act specifies that all executive action by the government, whether taken on the advice of the Ministers or otherwise, must be taken in the name of LG.   The Bill adds that on certain matters, as specified by the LG, his opinion must be obtained before taking any executive action on the decisions of the Minister/ Council of Ministers. 

5 . Facts for Prelims 


Context: The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Navy successfully flight tested the indigenously developed Vertical Launch Short Range Surface-to-Air Missile (VL-SRSAM) from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the coast of Odisha. 

 Vertical Launch Short Range Surface-to-Air Missile (VL-SRSAM) 

  • The VL-SRSAM, a ship-borne weapon system, is meant for neutralising various aerial threats at close ranges, including sea-skimming targets, and was the last test-fired in June.
    • The tactic of sea skimming is used by various anti-ship missiles and some fighter jets to avoid being detected by the radars onboard warships. For this, these assets fly as close as possible to sea surface and thus are difficult to detect and neutralise. 
  • The missiles, equipped with indigenous Radio Frequency (RF) seeker, intercepted the target with high accuracy.  
  • The VL-SRSAM system has been indigenously designed and developed by DRDO. 
  • The missile has been designed to strike at the high-speed airborne targets at the range of 40 to 50 km and at an altitude of around 15 km. 
  • Two key features of the VL-SRSAM are cruciform wings and thrust vectoring.  
  • The cruciform wings are four small wings arranged like a cross on four sides and give the projective a stable aerodynamic posture.  
  • The thrust vectoring is an ability to change the direction of the thrust from its engine control the angular velocity and the attitude of the missile. 


Context: Tension between India and China since May 2020 is worrying Indian astrophysicists involved in an ambitious project to install an India-made spectroscope aboard the developing Chinese space station, Tiangong. 

About Tiangong 

  • Tiangong space station, or “Heavenly Palace”, is China’s new permanent space station. The country has previously launched two temporary trial space stations, named as Tiangong-1 and Tiangong-2. 
  • It is a space station that the Chinese Manned Space Agency (CMSA) is building in low Earth orbit.  
  • In May 2021, China launched Tianhe, the first of the orbiting space station’s three modules, and the country aims to finish building the station by the end of 2022.  
  • CMSA hopes to  keep Tiangong inhabited continuously by three astronauts for at least a decade. The space station will host many experiments from both China and other countries. 
  • Tiangong, which means “Heavenly Palace,” will consist of Tianhe, the main habitat for astronauts, and two modules dedicated to hosting experiments, Mengtian and Wentian. 
  • Shenzhou spacecraft, launching from Jiuquan in the Gobi Desert, will send crews of three astronauts to the space station, while Tianzhou cargo spacecraft will launch from Wenchang on the Chinese island of Hainan to deliver supplies and fuel to the station. 

 Ranganathitu Bird Sanctuary 

Context: After a gap of nearly one month, the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary near Mysuru in Karnataka has reopened for tourists. Boating, one of the major attractions of the popular tourist destination, has also been resumed. 

About Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary 

  • Declared a sanctuary in 1940 at the behest of the famous ornithologist Dr Salim Ali, it is a paradise for bird watchers and nature lovers.  
  • The sanctuary is spread over an area of 0.67 sq km and is located on the banks of River Cauvery.  
  • This bird paradise is the preferred nesting ground for several species of resident birds.  
  • Birds: Around 170 different species of birds have been recorded from Ranganathittu.  
  • Most commonly seen birds have Painted Stork, Kingfishers, Cormorants, Darter, Herons, River Tern, Egrets, Indian Roller, Blackheaded Ibis, Spoonbill, Great Stone Plover, and Spot-billed Pelicans.  
  • It has been declared as the Ramsar site, signifying its status as a wetland of global importance.  


Context: The Standing Committee on Finance has summoned top executives of Amazon, Twitter, Netflix, Google, Apple and Microsoft on the subject of ‘anti-competitive practices in the digital market. The panel has already held deliberations with the Competition Commission of India (CCI) and the Ministry of Corporate Affairs. There are many complaints about unfair business practices and the CCI is probing them.  

About Competition Commission of India (CCI)  

  • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is the chief national competition regulator in India.  
  • It is a statutory body within the Ministry of Corporate Affairs and is responsible for enforcing the Competition Act, 2002 in order to promote competition and prevent activities that have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India.  
  • The CCI looks into cases and investigates if the same has negative impact on competition 
  • CCI also approves combination under the act so that two merging entities do not overtake the market. 
  • The commission was established on 14 October 2003. It became fully functional in May 2009. 
  • Objectives 
  • Eliminate practices having adverse effect on competition 
  • Promote and sustain competition 
  • Protect the interests of consumers 
  • Ensure freedom of trade in the markets of India 
  • Establish a robust competitive environment 

Leave a comment

error: Content is protected !! Copying and sharing on Social media / websites will invite legal action