Daily Current Affairs : 25th & 26th June 2022

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Roe v wade
  2. Wetlands
  3. Eco Sensitive Zone
  4. Zika
  5. NITI Aayog
  6. Facts for Prelims

1 . Roe v wade

Context : In a significant curtailment of women’s rights, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a 1973 landmark decision giving women in America the right to have an abortion before the foetus is viable outside the womb — before the 24-28 week mark.

Details of the Verdict

  • U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a 1973 alongwith Planned Parenthood v. Casey, a 1992 case that upheld Roe.
  • According to the judgement constitution makes no reference to abortion, and no such right is implicitly protected by any constitutional provision. Judgement called Roe’s reasoning “exceptionally weak” and said Roe and Casey had not brought a “settlement” of the issue nationally, but “enflamed debate and deepened division”
  • Decades ago, Roe itself was decided 7-2, with five Republican-appointed judges joining the majority at the time. Currently court has a strong conservative bent, which is based on a 6-3 majority, was evident this week.

What is the Roe vs. Wade case?

  • Roe, short for Jane Roe, is the pseudonym for a Texas woman named Norma McCorvey who in 1970 sought to have an abortion when she was five months pregnant, notwithstanding Texas’ ban on abortions except to save a mother’s life.
  • Wade refers to Henry Wade, the district attorney in Dallas County, Texas, at the time, who was the defendant in the case.
  • The 7-2 majority opinion of the SCOTUS was written on January 22, 1973, by Justice Harry Blackmun, paving the way for the recognition of abortion as a constitutional right in the U.S., effectively striking down a wide range of state-level abortion limitations applied before foetal viability.
  • Foetal viability is the point at which a foetus can survive outside the womb, at the time considered to be around 28 weeks, but today is closer to 23 or 24 weeks owing to advances in medicine and technology.
  • Based on the Roe vs Wade case, the framework of regulations that applied towards the right to abortion required that in the first trimester, almost no limitations could be placed on that right; in the second trimester, only limitations to abortion rights that were aimed at protecting a woman’s health were permitted; and in the third trimester, state governments had greater leeway to limit the right to abortion except for cases in which the life and health of the mother were endangered.
  • However, Roe vs Wade was not the last word on abortion rights in the U.S. In the 1992 Planned Parenthood vs Casey case, the SCOTUS threw out the so-called trimester framework yet retained the Roe vs Wade case’s “essential holding,” which established women’s constitutional right to abortion until foetal viability.

Abortion in India

  • India’s Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 allows abortion until 20 weeks of pregnancy. Through an amendment in 2021, the ceiling for abortions was raised to 24 weeks, but only for special categories of pregnant women such as rape or incest survivors, that too, with the approval of two registered doctors.
  • In case of foetal disability, there is no limit to the timeline for abortion, but that is allowed by a medical board of specialist doctors set up by the governments of states and union territories.
  • In approximately 16 countries around the world, abortion is entirely prohibited and even criminalised. But several Catholic majority nations such as Ireland and Mexico have decriminalised abortion in the last decade.

2 . Wetlands

Context : Menar in Udaipur district is set to be notified as Rajasthan’s new wetland.

About the News

  • Menar was recognised as the “bird village” following community-driven conservation efforts, it is now notified as Rajasthan’s new wetland
  • This will pave the way for getting the Ramsar site status. The two lakes in the village – the Brahma and Dhandh – play host to a large number of migratory birds in the winter season.
  • The State government’s Forest Department has initiated the process for notification of Menar as a wetland, which will recognise its role in the storage of sediment and nutrients and enable the local authorities to maintain the Brahma and Dhandh lakes. With the status of wetland, the two lakes will be strengthened for increasing vegetation of aquatic plants and protecting biodiversity.
  • Environmental activists in the region have high expectations of the declaration of Menar as a Ramsar site under the 1971 Ramsar convention on wetlands of international importance. At present, Rajasthan has two wetlands recognised as Ramsar sites – Keoladeo Ghana in Bharatpur district and Sambhar Salt Lake in Jaipur.
  • More than 150 species of local and migratory birds inhabit the two lakes in the winter season. They include greater flamingo, white-tailed lapwing, pelican, marsh harrier, bar headed goose, common teal, greenshank, pintail, wagtail, green sandpiper and red-wattled lapwing. Bird lovers and tourists flock to the village after the arrival of migratory birds from as far as Central Asia, Europe and Mongolia.
  • The district administration has also formulated a management plan for systematic development of the lakes, while an action plan is under way to get Menar notified as a wetland at the earliest. The fresh water lakes supporting the ecosystem of the region will be protected with the application of the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2019.

About Wetlands & Ramsar Convention

  • The Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, better known as the Ramsar Convention, is an international agreement promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands. It is the only global treaty to focus on a single ecosystem.
  • The convention was adopted in the Iranian city of Ramsar in 1971 and came into force in 1975. Traditionally viewed as a wasteland or breeding ground of disease, wetlands actually provide freshwater and food, and serve as nature’s shock absorber.
  • Wetlands, critical for biodiversity, are disappearing rapidly, with recent estimates showing that 64% or more of the world’s wetlands have vanished since 1900.
  • Major changes in land use for agriculture and grazing, water diversion for dams and canals and infrastructure development are considered to be some of the main causes of loss and degradation of wetlands.
  • February 2 is celebrated as World Wetlands Day. It was on this date in 1971 that the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was adopted in Ramsar, Iran.

Why the focus on wetlands?

  • The Ramsar Convention definition for wetlands includes marshes, floodplains, rivers and lakes, mangroves, coral reefs and other marine areas no deeper than 6 metres at low tide, as well as human-made wetlands such as waste-water treatment ponds and reservoirs.
  • The IPBES (Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) the global assessment identified wetlands as the most threatened ecosystem.
  • This impacts 40% of the world’s plant and animal species that live or breed in wetlands, according to UNESCO. Thirty per cent of land-based carbon is stored in peatland; one billion people depend on wetlands for their livelihoods; and wetlands provide $47 trillion in essential services annually, according to the Wetlands Day official website.
  • This year’s Wetlands Day theme is Wetlands and Biodiversity.

What is the status of wetlands in India?

  • India has over 7 lakh wetlands and rules for their protection; yet not one of the wetlands has been notified under domestic laws
  • Wetlands are regulated under the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2017. The 2010 version of the Rules provided for a Central Wetland Regulatory Authority; the 2017 Rules replace it with state-level bodies and created a National Wetland Committee, which functions in an advisory role. The newer regulations removed some items from the definition of “wetlands” including backwaters, lagoon, creeks, and estuaries.
  • “The 2010 Rules required States to identify and prepare Brief Documents, submit them to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, which was to notify them. Under the 2017 regulations, the whole process has been delegated to States
  • In February 2017, the Court extended protection to 2,01,503 of these under Rule 4 of the 2010 Rules, and ordered authorities to notify sites. The wetlands were supposed to have been notified by March 25, 2019, 180 days after the 2017 Rules went into force (September 26, 2017). Yet so far, not a single wetland has been notified,” Arya said. The 2,01,503 wetlands, measuring over 2.25 hectares, were identified using ISRO’s satellite imagery..
  • In October 2017, the Supreme Court expressed concern over the disappearance of wetlands, and observed, “If there are no wetlands left, it will affect agriculture and several other things. It is a very, very important issue.”

What does being a Ramsar Site mean?

  • The designation is for “Wetlands of International Importance”. “They are recognised as being of significant value not only for the country or the countries in which they are located, but for humanity as a whole… The inclusion of a wetland in the list embodies the government’s commitment to take the steps necessary to ensure that its ecological character is maintained.
  • The Convention includes various measures to respond to threats to the ecological character of Sites
  • Selection is made on the basis of various criteria defined under the convention. Article 2.2 says: “Wetlands should be selected for the List on account of their international significance in terms of ecology, botany, zoology, limnology or hydrology.”
  • There are currently over 2,300 Ramsar Sites around the world, covering over 2.1 million square km.

3 . Eco Sensitive Zone

Context : Farmers in Kerala continue to protest across several high ranges of the state against the Supreme Court’s recent order to establish 1-km Eco-Sensitive Zones around all protected areas, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks.

About SC judgment

  • A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court heard a PIL which sought to protect forest lands in the Nilgiris in Tamil Nadu, but was later expanded to cover the entire country.
  • In its judgment, the court while referring to the 2011 guidelines as “reasonable”, directed all states to have a mandatory 1-km ESZ from the demarcated boundaries of every protected forest land, national park and wildlife sanctuary.
  • It also stated that no new permanent structure or mining will be permitted within the ESZ.
  • If the existing ESZ goes beyond 1-km buffer zone or if any statutory instrument prescribes a higher limit, then such extended boundary shall prevail, the court, as per the Live Law report, said.

What are Eco-Sensitive Zones?

  • As per the National Wildlife Action Plan (2002-2016), issued by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, land within 10 km of the boundaries of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries is to be notified as eco-fragile zones or Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZ).
  • While the 10-km rule is implemented as a general principle, the extent of its application can vary. Areas beyond 10-km can also be notified by the Union government as ESZs, if they hold larger ecologically important “sensitive corridors.”

Why are Eco-Sensitive Zones created?

  • According to the guidelines issued by the Environment Ministry on February 9, 2011, ESZs are created as “shock absorbers” for the protected areas, to minimize the negative impact on the “fragile ecosystems” by certain human activities taking place nearby. Furthermore, these areas are meant to act as a transition zone from areas requiring higher protection to those requiring lesser protection.
  • The guidelines also state that the ESZs are not meant to hamper the daily activities of people living in the vicinity, but are meant to guard the protected areas and “refine the environment around them”.
  • To do so, the guidelines list the activities prohibited in an ESZ, such as commercial mining, saw mills, commercial use of wood, etc., apart from regulated activities like felling of trees. Lastly, there are permitted activities like ongoing agricultural or horticultural practices, rainwater harvesting, organic farming, among others.

3 . Zika

Context : Scientists at the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune, have raised an alarm about the spread of the Zika virus, along with dengue and chikungunya, in several States and Union Territories where it has never been reported earlier, establishing local transmission in India.

About Zika Virus

  • Zika virus is a mosquito-borne illness that is spread by the Aedes mosquito, the same species that transmits the dengue and chikungunya viruses.
  • Unlike malaria-carrying mosquitoes, Aedes is most active during the day. Barrier methods of prevention, such as mosquito nets, are less effective. The mosquitoes can survive in both indoor and outdoor environments.
  • Several species of Aedes can transmit Zika. The main ones are the Aedes albopictus, or Asian tiger mosquito, and the Aedes aegypti, known as the yellow fever mosquito.
  • The Zika virus was first identified in monkeys in Uganda in 1947, but it has affected people in Africa, Asia, the Pacific Islands, and South and Central America. In 2016, a major outbreak in Brazil raised international awareness.
  • The symptoms of infection are mild, but if a pregnant woman catches the virus, it can have a severe impact on the pregnancy and the unborn child. It can cause a brain defect known as microcephaly in the unborn child. The brain and head of the newborn will be smaller in size than is usual. Loss of pregnancy, stillbirth, and other congenital disabilities are also more likely.
  • There have also been reports of people developing Guillain-Barré syndrome following a Zika virus infection. Guillain-Barré syndrome is a rare but serious autoimmune disorder that affects the central nervous system.

5 . NITI Aayog

Context : The Department of Personnel and Training announced on Friday that Former Drinking Water and Sanitation Secretary Parameswaran Iyer has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NITI Aayog.

About NITI Aayog

  • National Institution for Transforming India, better known as NITI Aayog is the premier policy think tank of the Government of India, providing directional and policy inputs. Apart from designing strategic and long-term policies and programmes for the Government of India, NITI Aayog also provides relevant technical advice to the Centre, States, and Union Territories.
  • The Government of India constituted NITI Aayog to replace the Planning Commission, which had been instituted in 1950. This step was taken to better serve the needs and aspirations of the people. An important evolutionary change, NITI Aayog acts as the quintessential platform of the Government of India to bring the States to act together in national interest, and thereby fosters cooperative federalism.

Governing Council

  • The Governing Council of NITI Aayog is chaired by the Hon’ble Prime Minister and comprises Chief Ministers of all the States and Union Territories with legislatures and Lt Governors of other Union Territories. 


  • The NITI Aayog will comprise the following:
    • Prime Minister of India as the Chairperson
    • Governing Council comprising the Chief Ministers of all the States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories
    • Regional Councils will be formed to address specific issues and contingencies impacting more than one state or a region.  These will be formed for a specified tenure.  The Regional Councils will be convened by the Prime Minister and will comprise of the Chief Ministers of States and Lt. Governors of Union Territories in the region.  These will be chaired by the  Chairperson of the NITI Aayog or his nominee.
    • Experts, specialists and practitioners with relevant domain knowledge as special invitees nominated by the Prime Minister
    • The full-time organizational framework will comprise of, in addition to the Prime Minister as the Chairperson:
      • Vice-Chairperson: To be appointed by the Prime Minister
      • Members: Full-time 
      • Part-time members: Maximum of 2 from leading universities research organizations and other relevant institutions in an ex-officio capacity.  Part time members will be on a rotational basis.
      • Ex Officio members: Maximum of 4 members of the Union Council of Ministers to be nominated by the Prime Minister. 
      • Chief Executive Officer : To be appointed by the Prime Minister for a fixed tenure, in the rank of Secretary to the Government of India.
      • Secretariat as deemed necessary.


  • To evolve a shared vision of national development priorities, sectors and strategies with the active involvement of States in the light of national objectives.    The vision of the NITI Aayog will then provide a framework ‘national agenda’ for the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers to provide impetus to.
  • To foster cooperative federalism through structured support initiatives and mechanisms with the States on a continuous basis, recognizing that strong States make a strong nation.
  • To develop mechanisms to formulate credible plans at the village level and aggregate these progressively at higher levels of government.
  • To ensure, on areas that are specifically referred to it, that the interests of national security are incorporated in economic strategy and policy.
  • To pay special attention to the sections of our society that may be at risk of not benefitting adequately from economic progress. 
  • To design strategic and long term policy and programme frameworks and initiatives, and monitor their progress and their efficacy.  The lessons learnt through monitoring and feedback will be used for making innovative improvements, including necessary mid-course corrections.
  • To provide advice and encourage partnerships between key stakeholders and national and international like-minded Think Tanks, as well as educational and policy research institutions.
  • To create a knowledge, innovation and entrepreneurial support system through a collaborative community of national and international experts, practitioners and other partners.
  • To offer a platform for resolution of inter-sectoral and inter-departmental issues in order to accelerate the implementation of the development agenda.
  • To maintain a state-of-the-art Resource Centre, be a repository of research on good governance and best practices in sustainable and equitable development as well as help their dissemination to stake-holders.
  • To actively monitor and evaluate the implementation of programmes and initiatives, including the identification of the needed resources so as to strengthen the probability of success and scope of delivery.
  • To focus on technology upgradation and capacity building for implementation of programmes and initiatives.
  • To undertake other activities as may be necessary in order to further the execution of the national development agenda, and the objectives mentioned above.

6 . Facts for Prelims

What is Tokenisation of Service

  • Tokenisation refers to replacement of actual credit and debit card details with an alternate code called the “token”, which will be unique for a combination of card, token requestor and device.
  • Tokenisation involves a process in which a unique token masks sensitive card details. The token is then used to perform card transactions in contact-less mode at Point Of Sale (POS) terminals, Quick Response (QR) code payments, etc.
  • This will ensure safety in digital transaction thereby preventing cybercrimes
  • The Reserve Bank of India has extended the card-on-file tokenisation deadline by three months to September 30, given various representations received from industry bodies.


  • The G20 or Group of Twenty is an intergovernmental forum comprising 19 countries and the European Union (EU).
  • It works to address major issues related to the global economy, such as international financial stability, climate change mitigation, and sustainable development.
  • The G20 is composed of most of the world’s largest economies, including both industrialized and developing nations, and accounts for around 90% of gross world product (GWP), 75–80% of international trade, two-thirds of the global population, and roughly half the world’s land area.
  • The G20 was founded in 1999 in response to several world economic crises. Since 2008, it has convened at least once a year, with summits involving each member’s head of government or state, finance minister, foreign minister, and other high-ranking officials; the EU is represented by the European Commission and the European Central Bank.
  • Other countries, international organizations, and nongovernmental organizations are invited to attend the summits, some on a permanent basis.
  • As of 2022, there are 20 members in the group: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, South Korea, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. Spain, the United Nations, the World Bank, the African Union, and other organizations are permanent guest invitees.

Padma Bridge

  • The Padma Multipurpose Bridge is a two-level road-rail bridge across the Padma River, the main distributary of the Ganges in Bangladesh. It connects Shariatpur and Madaripur, linking the southwest of the country to the northern and eastern regions. The bridge was inaugurated on 25 June 2022
  • The bridge will connect Dhaka with Kolkata in a faster way. Southern part of Bangladesh will be connected with Dhaka in a shorter time.

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