Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Ease of Doing Annual Business Ranking
- Bradykinin storm
- GST Compensation
- 13th Amendment
- Research on effects of inhaling polluted air
- Research based on Stalagmites
- Kesavananda Bharati
- Dictionary of Martyrs: India’s Freedom Struggle 1857-1947
- Assam Rifles
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Ease of Doing Annual Business Ranking
Context: Andhra Pradesh for the third time in a row has topped in the ease of doing annual business ranking of states and Union Territories (UTs) by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).
About Ease of Doing Business (EODB)
- The Department for Promotion of Industries and Internal Trade in collaboration with the World Bank conducts an annual reform exercise for all States/UTs under the Business Reform Action Plan (BRAP)
- The ranks were released by the Department of Industrial Promotion and Internal Trade
- This was the fourth edition of the report, which was first released in 2015. The Business Reform Action Plan 2018-19 includes 181 reform points covering 45 business regulatory areas such as access to information, single window system, labour, and environment.
- The ranking is based on the implementation of the business reform action plan 2019 by States and UTs
- The exercise is aimed at promoting competition among States with a view to improving the business climate to attract domestic as well as foreign investments.
Findings of Ease of Doing Business
- Andhra Pradesh has topped the country in the latest ease of doing business rankings.
- Registering a jump of 10 places in the rankings, Uttar Pradesh occupied the second position in 2019 as against 12th in 2018.
- Telangana slipped to the third position from second in 2018. It was followed by Madhya Pradesh (4th), Jharkhand (5th), Chhattisgarh (6th), Himachal Pradesh (7th), Rajasthan (8th), West Bengal (9th) and Gujarat (10th).
- Delhi’s position improved to 12th from 23rd in the last edition, while Gujarat slipped from 5th place in 2018.
- Among the laggard States and UTs in the ranking, Assam was at 20th, J&K at 21st, Goa at 24th, Bihar at 26th and Kerala 28th place. Tripura was ranked at the bottom 36th.
- In 2015 Index, Gujarat featured at the top, with Andhra Pradesh grabbing the second position and Telangana 13th. In 2016, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana jointly topped the chart. In the last ranking released in July 2018, Andhra Pradesh topped the chart, followed by Telangana and Haryana (3rd). Haryana slid to 16th position in the latest ranking.
- State rankings will help attract investments, foster healthy competition and improve business climate
2 . Bradykinin storm
Context: Scientists are trying to study the bradykinin hypothesis as a means of explaining some of the more deadly effects that the COVID-19 virus has on the human body.
- Scientists are still trying to understand the causes for the rapid deterioration in some patients with COVID-19.
- While the cytokine storm is able to explain certain aspects of what goes wrong, doctors treating patients are often foxed by the severity with which the SARS-CoV-2 virus seems to affect some people.
About the Study
- A team of scientists led by Dan Jacobson at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORLN) in the U.S. have been doing data analytics work employing the super computer Summit.
- Supercomputer’s recent analysis of data on the contents collected earlier from the lungs of patients with the COVID-19 infection has showed that a phenomenon called a ‘bradykinin storm’ might explain how the virus works in the body, including some of the more puzzling extreme events.
- This plausible explanation has emerged from the data analytics work that a team of scientists led by Dan Jacobson at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORLN) in the U.S. have been doing employing the super computer Summit.
- In a paper published in July in eLife, a peer reviewed journal, Michael R. Garvin et al advance the bradykinin hypothesis as a means of explaining some of the more deadly effects the virus has on the human body.
What are the scientists trying to determine?
- Scientists are trying to understand the causes for the rapid deterioration in some patients with COVID-19 and according to them, a phenomenon called a ‘bradykinin storm’ might explain how the virus works in the body, including some of the more puzzling extreme events.
What is the bradykinin hypothesis?
- Bradykinin is a compound that is related to pain sensation and lowering blood pressure in the human body.
- According to the researchers, “SARS-CoV-2 uses a human enzyme called ACE2 like a ‘Trojan Horse’ to sneak into the cells of its host. ACE2 lowers blood pressure in the human body and works against another enzyme known as ACE (which has the opposite effect).”
- The analyses further found that the virus caused the levels of ACE to fall in the lungs, and consequently pushed up the levels of ACE2.
- As a chain reaction, this increases the levels of the molecule bradykinin in the cells, causing a bradykinin storm.
- Bradykinin causes the blood vessels to expand and become leaky, leading to swelling of the surrounding tissue. In addition, the levels of a substance called hyaluronic acid, which can absorb more than 1,000 times its own weight in water to form a hydrogel, increased.
- In effect, the bradykinin storm-induced leakage of fluid into the lungs combined with the excess hyaluronic acid would likely result in a Jello-like substance that is preventing oxygen uptake and carbon dioxide in the lungs of severely affected COVID-19 patients.
- This rapid accumulation of fluid in the lungs of patients sometimes makes even the most sophisticated intensive care, including ventilators, futile.
Is more confirmation needed?
- According to the scientists further confirmation was needed, in terms of actually measuring the proteins.
What follows confirmation of this hypothesis?
- Jacobson and other scientists have advocated targeting the bradykinin pathway to evolve more therapeutic interventions to offset the severe effects of COVID-19.
- Repurposing of available drugs, subject to the outcome of clinical trials, has also been suggested.
3 . GST compensation
Context: The 41st meeting of the GST Council was held recently with the singular agenda of finding a solution to the question of how best to ensure that the compensation payable to the States as part of the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax continues to be paid.
- The Constitution (One Hundred and First Amendment) Act, 2016, was the law which created the mechanism for levying a nationwide GST.
- The adoption of the GST was made possible by the States ceding almost all their powers to impose local-level indirect taxes and agreeing to let the prevailing multiplicity of imposts be subsumed under the GST.
- The States would receive the SGST (State GST) component of the GST, and a share of the IGST (Integrated GST).
- The law had a provision to compensate the States for loss of revenue arising out of implementation of the GST.
What is the GST compensation?
- GST compensation is the amount that was agreed to be paid for the revenue shortfalls arising from the transition to the new indirect taxes regime
- The computation of the shortfall, the mechanism for which is spelt out in Section 7 of the GST (Compensation to States) Act, 2017 is done annually by projecting a revenue assumption based on 14% compounded growth from the base year’s (2015-2016) revenue and calculating the difference between that figure and the actual GST collections in that year.
- Compensation would be provided from a pooled GST Compensation Fund for a period of five years and is set to end in 2022. This corpus, in turn, is funded through a compensation cess that is levied on so-called ‘demerit’ goods. Demerit good is “a good or service whose consumption is considered unhealthy, degrading, or otherwise socially undesirable due to the perceived negative effects on the consumers themselves
- For the 2020-21 fiscal year, the revenue shortfall has been anticipated at ₹3 lakh crore, with the Compensation Fund expected to have only about ₹65,000 crore through cess accruals and balance to pay the compensation to the States.
- The Centre has also contended that of the projected shortfall of about ₹2.35 lakh crore, only ₹97,000 crore is the deficit arising out of GST implementation, with the balance ₹1.38 lakh crore attributable to an ‘act of God’ (the COVID-19 pandemic) that is independent of implementation of the new indirect tax regime.
How are the borrowing options supposed to work?
- Option 1: The Union government has proposed that the States borrow directly from the market by issuing debt under a special window coordinated by the Ministry of Finance.
- This option entails the States selling debt securities in the market to raise the ₹97,000 crore.
- The Centre will “endeavour” to keep the interest cost on these borrowings “at or close to” the yield on G-Sec (bonds issued by the Government of India), and in the event of the cost being higher, bear a part of the difference through a subsidy.
- This additional borrowing by the States will not be accounted for as a part of the State’s debt for purposes of its overall debt calculation, and the repayment of the principal and interest on these borrowings will be done from the Compensation Fund by extending the period of cess collections beyond 2022.
- Option 2: Under this, the States can sell debt in the market to raise the entire ₹2.35 lakh crore shortfall but with the terms of the borrowing being far less favourable.
- In this case the interest cost would have to be borne by them with only the principal being serviced by the Compensation Fund.
Why is there an impasse on this issue?
- Several States, including West Bengal, Kerala, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, have rejected the options and made clear that the onus is on the Centre to borrow from the market to make good any shortfall in the Compensation Fund.
- Tamil Nadu has stressed that the States had agreed to the implementation of the GST only on the basis of the “unequivocal commitment given by the Government of India to compensate the States for any revenue loss”.
- Tamil Nadu has asserted that any delay in ensuring the compensation payments would compromise essential capital spending by the States to restart the economy effectively which have been at the forefront of the battle to prevent the spread of the disease.
- These States have dismissed the Centre’s contention that any additional borrowing by it would have deleterious macro-economic consequences and have pointed out that global credit rating agencies essentially monitor the overall general government deficit and borrowing levels.
4 . 13th Amendment
- After Rajapaksas’ win in the November 2019 presidential polls and the August 2020 general election, the spotlight has fallen on two key legislations in Sri Lanka’s Constitution.
- 19th Amendment: It was passed in 2015 to curb powers of the Executive President, while strengthening Parliament and independent commissions. The Rajapaksa government has already drafted and gazetted the 20th Amendment.
- 13th Amendment: It passed in 1987 and it mandates a measure of power devolution to the provincial councils established to govern the island’s nine provinces.
What is the legislation?
- It is an outcome of the Indo-Lanka Accord of July 1987, signed by the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and President J.R. Jayawardene, in an attempt to resolve Sri Lanka’s ethnic conflict that had aggravated into a full-fledged civil war, between the armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which led the struggle for Tamils’ self-determination and sought a separate state.
- The 13th Amendment led to the creation of Provincial Councils and assured a power sharing arrangement to enable all nine provinces in the country, including Sinhala majority areas, to self-govern.
- Subjects such as education, health, agriculture, housing, land and police are devolved to the provincial administrations, but because of restrictions on financial powers and overriding powers given to the President, the provincial administrations have not made much headway.
- The provisions relating to police and land have never been implemented.
- Initially, the north and eastern provinces were merged and had a North-Eastern Provincial Council, but the two were de-merged in 2007 following a Supreme Court verdict.
Why is it contentious?
- The 13th Amendment carries considerable baggage from the country’s civil war years.
- It was opposed vociferously by both Sinhala nationalist parties and the LTTE. The former thought it was too much power to share, while the Tigers deemed it too little.
- A large section of the Sinhala polity, including the leftist-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) which led an armed insurrection opposing it, saw the Accord and the consequent legislation as an imprint of Indian intervention.
- Though signed by the powerful President Jayawardene, it was widely perceived as an imposition by a neighbour wielding hegemonic influence.
- The Tamil polity, especially its dominant nationalist strain, does not find the 13th Amendment sufficient in its ambit or substance.
- However, some including the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) — which chiefly represented the Tamils of the north and east in Parliament in the post-war era until its setback in the recent polls — see it as an important starting point, something to build upon.
Why is the 13th Amendment significant?
- Till date, the 13th Amendment represents the only constitutional provision on the settlement of the long-pending Tamil question.
- It is considered part of the few significant gains since the 1980s, in the face of growing Sinhala-Buddhist majoritarianism from the time Sri Lanka became independent in 1948.
Who wants it abolished and why?
- From influential Cabinet ministers in the current government to state ministers, including a former naval officer who has been assigned the Provincial Councils & Local Government portfolio, many have openly called for the abolition of provincial councils after the new government took charge.
- They deem the councils “white elephants” and have argued that in a small country the provinces could be effectively controlled by the Centre.
- The opposition camp also includes those fundamentally opposed to sharing any political power with the Tamil minority.
- All the same, all political camps that vehemently oppose the system have themselves contested in provincial council elections.
- The councils have over time also helped national parties strengthen their grassroots presence and organisational structures.
What is the stand of the Rajapaksas?
- Neither President Gotabaya Rajapaksa nor Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has commented on the Amendment so far.
- During Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s two terms as President, for a decade from 2005, he gave several assurances to implement the 13th Amendment and go even beyond its provisions, popularly referred to as his promise of “13 plus”.
- The conduct of the historic Northern Provincial Election in 2013 was a welcome step, but his government was reluctant to part with land and police powers.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has referenced the Amendment more than once, especially during high-level bilateral visits, but observers in Sri Lanka wonder how far India can go on the Tamil question, amid growing geopolitical insecurities.
5 . Research on effects of inhaling polluted air
Context: New research conducted on mice shows that continually inhaling dirty air could be bad not just for the lungs but could also damage the brain tissue.
About the study
- The study was conducted at the chemistry department of Fudan University of Shanghai, China,
- In the study, eight male mice were exposed to polluted air, and eight controls were exposed to filtered air.
- The whole experiment lasted two years and the mice were exposed to dirty air six days a week, eight hours a day, for 24 weeks (six months).
- The researchers used a number of different analytical techniques to examine different tissues.
- For the concentration of PM2.5, 70 microgram per cubic metre to perform the study was used which is about twice the average value of PM2.5 seen in Shanghai.
Findings of the study
- Damaged Brain Tissues: The researchers found that the mice that inhaled dirty air had developed amyloid deposits, neurofibrillary tangles and plaques, while those that had inhaled filtered air showed no such developments. The brains of mice exposed to dirty air showed tangles and plaques as well as neurofibrillary inflammations.
- Alzheimer’s disease: A chemical analysis was also done and upregulation (concentration increase) in ceramide and sulfatides was found. Earlier studies have shown that ceramide is directly involved in the aggregation of amyloid beta and the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Sulphated galactosyl ceramide, also known as sulphatides (ST), are found in abundance at the myelin sheath of brain cells. Upregulation of sulphatide in the brain tissues from dirty air compared to the filtered air was found which suggests damages in the myelin sheath and blood-brain function dysfunction as a result of particulate matter exposure
- This hypothesis is supported by previous reports that have shown that the expression levels of sulphatides are associated with the physiological activity of the blood-brain barrier, and increased concentration of sulphatide has impact on myelin sheath at early stages of HIV-1 infection.
6 . Research based on Stalagmites
Context: Researchers are studying about the mega-drought which happened about 4,000 to 5,000 years ago when a severe drought crippled countries of Southeast Asia forcing a shift in human settlement patterns of the area.
The procedure of the study
- The team collected stalagmite samples from the caves in Laos and examined the oxygen, carbon isotopes and trace metals.
- They also conducted different modelling and paleoclimate experiments.
- A stalagmite is a type of rock formation that rises from the floor of a cave due to the accumulation of material deposited on the floor from ceiling drippings.
- Stalagmites are typically composed of calcium carbonate, but may consist of lava, mud, peat, pitch, sand, sinter and amberat
Findings of the study
- The mineral deposits of caves in Vietnam were studies that point to a connection between the end of the Green Sahara and this mega-drought.
- The data suggested that during this period the Sahara started losing its vegetation. The reduced plant growth led to increased airborne dust which cooled the Indian Ocean, shifted the atmospheric circulation patterns and caused a condition similar to today’s El Niño events.
- This ultimately led to a large reduction in monsoon moisture across Southeast Asia that lasted more than 1,000 years
- Previous studies have shown that this demise of the Green Sahara also caused the collapse of the Akkadian Empire of Mesopotamia and the de-urbanisation of the Indus Valley Civilization.
- This mega-drought period also brought about many lifestyle changes in the mainland Southeast Asian countries of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
- The first appearance of cultivated cereals – millet in central Thailand and rice in northeast Thailand were during this period. It also introduced the nucleated village agrarian lifeway.
- Studies of ancient DNA sequencing of human genomes have also pointed to population changes in mainland Southeast Asia about 4,000 years ago leading to some emigration in the region.
Significance of the study
- Results from this work could help in better understanding the varying degrees and observing the societal shifts across many parts of the tropics and extratropics.
7 . Kesavananda Bharati
Context: Kesavananda Bharati Swamiji, who passed away on Sunday, was the sole unwitting petitioner in the historic Fundamental Rights case which prevented the nation from slipping into a totalitarian regime.
Who was Kesavananda Bharati?
- Kesavananda Bharati was the head seer of the Edneer Mutt in Kasaragod district of Kerala since 1961. He left his signature in one of the significant rulings of the Supreme Court when he challenged the Kerala land reforms legislation in 1970.
- A 13-judge Bench was set up by the Supreme Court, the biggest so far, and the case was heard over 68 working days spread over six months.
- The Bench gave 11 separate judgments that agreed and disagreed on many issues but a majority judgment of seven judges was stitched together by then Chief Justice of India S M Sikri on the eve of his retirement.
- However, the basic structure doctrine, which was evolved in the majority judgment, was found in the conclusions of the opinion written by one judge — Justice H R Khanna.
What was the case about?
- The case was primarily about the extent of Parliament’s power to amend the Constitution. First, the court was reviewing a 1967 decision in Golaknath v State of Punjab which, reversing earlier verdicts, had ruled that Parliament cannot amend fundamental rights.
- Second, the court was deciding the constitutional validity of several other amendments. Notably, the right to property had been removed as a fundamental right, and Parliament had also given itself the power to amend any part of the Constitution and passed a law that it cannot be reviewed by the courts.
- The executive vs judiciary manoeuvres displayed in the amendments ended with the Kesavananda Bharati case, in which the court had to settle these issues conclusively.
- Politically, the case represented the fight for supremacy of Parliament led by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
What did the court decide?
- In its majority ruling, the court held that fundamental rights cannot be taken away by amending them. While the court said that Parliament had vast powers to amend the Constitution, it drew the line by observing that certain parts are so inherent and intrinsic to the Constitution that even Parliament cannot touch it.
- However, despite the ruling that Parliament cannot breach fundamental rights, the court upheld the amendment that removed the fundamental right to property. The court ruled that in spirit, the amendment would not violate the “basic structure” of the Constitution.
- Kesavananda Bharati, in fact, lost the case. But as many legal scholars point out, the government did not win the case either.
What is the basic structure doctrine?
- The origins of the basic structure doctrine are found in the German Constitution which, after the Nazi regime, was amended to protect some basic laws. The original Weimar Constitution, which gave Parliament to amend the Constitution with a two-thirds majority, was in fact used by Hitler to his advantage to made radical changes. Learning from that experience, the new German Constitution introduced substantive limits on Parliament’s powers to amend certain parts of the Constitution which it considered ‘basic law’.
- In India, the basic structure doctrine has formed the bedrock of judicial review of all laws passed by Parliament. No law can impinge on the basic structure. What the basic structure is, however, has been a continuing deliberation. While parliamentary democracy, fundamental rights, judicial review, secularism are all held by courts as basic structure, the list is not exhaustive.
What was the fallout of the verdict?
- Politically, as a result of the verdict, the judiciary faced its biggest litmus test against the executive. The Indira Gandhi-led government did not take kindly to the majority opinion and superseded three judges —J M Shelat, A N Grover and K S Hegde — who were in line to be appointed CJI after Justice Sikri.
- Justice A N Ray, who had dissented against the majority verdict, was instead appointed CJI. The supersession resulted in a decades-long continuing battle on the independence of the judiciary and the extent of Parliament’s power to appoint judges.
- But the ruling has cemented the rejection of majoritarian impulses to make sweeping changes or even replace the Constitution and underlined the foundations of a modern democracy laid down by the makers of the Constitution.
8 . Dictionary of Martyrs: India’s Freedom Struggle 1857-1947
Context: A report submitted to the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) in 2016 had recommended the de-listing of Wagon Tragedy victims and Malabar Rebellion leaders Ali Musliyar, Variamkunnath Ahmad Haji, and the latter’s two brothers from a book on martyrs of India’s freedom struggle
About Dictionary of Martyrs of India’s Freedom Struggle
- The Ministry of Culture has released the Dictionary of Martyrs of India’s Freedom Struggle which contains an account of the martyrs from India’s First War of Independence in 1857, to India’s Independence in 1947.
- The project for compilation of “Dictionary of Martyrs” of India’s Freedom Struggle was commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, to the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) to commemorate the 150th anniversary of uprising of 1857.
- In this dictionary a martyr has been defined as a person who died or who was killed in action or in detention, or was awarded capital punishment while participating in the national movement for emancipation of India. It includes ex-INA or ex-military personnel who died fighting the British.
- It includes the martyrs of 1857 Uprising, Jallianwala Bagh Massacre (1919), Non-Cooperation Movement (1920-22), Civil Disobedience Movement (1930-34), Quit India Movement (1942-44), Revolutionary Movements (1915-34), Kissan Movements, Tribal Movements, Agitation for Responsible Government in the Princely States (Prajamandal), Indian National Army (INA, 1943-45), Royal Indian Navy Upsurge (RIN, 1946), etc. Information of about 13,500 martyrs has been recorded in these volumes.
- A report was submitted to the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) in 2016 by C.I. Isaac which had recommended the removal of the Wagon Tragedy victims and Malabar Rebellion leaders Ali Musliyar and Variamkunnath Ahmad Haji, and Haji’s two brothers from a book on martyrs of India’s freedom struggle.
- The report sought the removal of names of 387 ‘Moplah rioters’ from the list of martyrs. The report has described Haji as the “notorious Moplah Riot leader” and a “hardcore criminal,” who “killed innumerable innocent Hindu men, women, and children during the 1921 Moplah Riot, and deposited their bodies in a well, locally known as Thoovoor Kinar”.
- According to the review report almost all the Moplah outrages were communal. They were against Hindu society and done out of sheer intolerance. Thus, the following names should be deleted from the yet-to-be published project
- None of those who died in the Wagon Tragedy were freedom fighters of India as they hoisted the Khilafat flag and established Khilafat and Khilafat courts for a brief period. They were arrested by the army for participating in riots. Around 10 Hindus who participated in the riots too are on the list of persons to be removed from the dictionary
- The British convicted the rioters after proper trial. While some were hanged to death, some died in jail and some others in hospitals. These dead were never recognised as freedom fighters elsewhere. Haji was arrested by the army, tried by an army court and shot dead on January 20, 1922, the report said.
- The wagon tragedy was the death of 64 prisoners on 20th of November, 1921 in the Malabar region of Kerala state of India.
- The prisoners had been taken into custody following the Mappila Rebellion against British in various parts of Malappuram district .
- Their deaths through apparent negligence discredited the British Raj and generated sympathy for the Indian independence movement.
9 . Assam Rifles
Context: The Delhi High Court has given ‘last opportunity’ to the Centre to take a call on the issue of bringing Assam Rifles out of the dual control of the Home Ministry (MHA) and the Defence Ministry (MoD).
About Assam Rifles
- Assam Rifles is a Central Para Military Force along with two other forces namely, Special Frontier Force and Coast Guard.
- Only Assam Rifles functions under the administrative control of the Home Ministry.
- The operational control of Assam Rifles rests with the MoD.
About the issue
- A petition was filed by Assam Rifles Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association seeking direction to the government for placing to bring Assam Rifles under one control, preferably under Indian Army (MoD).
- It argued that the objective and functions of Assam Rifles is that of a military and para-military force and its categorisation as a ‘Police’ force is arbitrary, unreasonable and in violation of the rights of Assam Rifles personnel.
- The plea stated that it is the greatest inequity and affects the morale of the Assam Rifles personnel operating alongside the Army on similar duties.
- Though they operate alongside the army the disparity in the pay scale of the two exists and the Assam Rifles personnel’s call themselves a ‘Cheap Army
- The HC has stated that in-principle decision regarding Assam Rifles, like other CAPFs (Central Armed Police Forces), has already been taken where it will fall under the exclusive control of MHA.
- The HC has stated that as the matter involves servicemen/ ex-servicemen whose interest is not only to be paramount, but is also proclaimed from various platforms of the Government it is of paramount importance. But the final decision is still not taken.
- The HC requested the Ministers of Home and Defence, the Secretaries, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Home Affairs, the Chief of Army Staff and the Director General of Assam Rifles and all other persons involved to cooperate in the decision making within the aforesaid time.
10 . Facts for Prelims
- The Dongria Kondh is a particularly vulnerable tribal group.
- They live in Odisha’s Niyamgiri Hill range rising to 4,500 ft above sea level.
- They practice at least 10 types of cooperative labour sharing within the community.
- Farming on the steep hill slopes requires more labour which a single family cannot provide. Therefore, they have evolved an indigenous system to engage the labour available in the community to accomplish the farming tasks of all the families of the village.
- Community members come together to reduce costs as well as ensuring dignity to all members. Through the cooperative, adolescent boys and girls, men, women and the elderly contribute equally in terms of labour towards the village’s fields and orchards.
- Types of Cooperatives
- Sahabati system: In the sahabati system, all Dongria households of the village work in turns for a day on the land of one villager.
- Pundabati system: In it 10 to 15 members of the community are called upon when fewer workers are required in the fields.
- Daasibati: The daasibati is a cooperative of younger, unmarried girls from the village who are called upon to take up less strenuous but tedious work such as weeding, fencing of fields, cleaning or harvesting of crops.
- Dhangdabati: In it, young bachelors are required to take up work such as felling trees, hoeing, carrying logs and digging pits.
- Datarubati: In it older men help each other for a share of liquor.
Cycle Threshold Value
- Currently in India RT-PCR tests are being used to determine if a person is infected with novel coronavirus or not.
- The PCR test amplifies the genetic material from coronavirus through multiple cycles. Since coronavirus has RNA, it is first converted into DNA, and each cycle of amplification doubles the amount of DNA.
- In a real time PCR assay a positive reaction is detected by accumulation of a fluorescent signal. The Ct (cycle threshold) is defined as the number of cycles required for the fluorescent signal to cross the threshold (ie exceeds background level)
- Ct levels are inversely proportional to the amount of target nucleic acid in the sample (ie the lower the Ct level the greater the amount of target nucleic acid in the sample).
- If there is just one DNA molecule to start with, the amount of DNA after 30 cycles of amplification will be 230 (2 raised to 30) times, or one billion molecules. If there is more genetic material to begin with, then fewer cycles of amplification would be sufficient to detect the DNA. But the test does not reveal the amount of virus (viral load in scientific parlance) present in the person.
- The real-time RT-PCR is not an absolute but only a relative measure of viral load.
- RT-PCR test presently being conducted is qualitative in nature. Ct values may give only a rough estimate of viral load.
- The cycle threshold value can be suggestive of the amount of virus in an infected person. But there is no reliable way of correlating the Ct value with COVID-19 disease severity or infectiousness.
- An FCRA licence is mandatory for a non-profit organisation to receive foreign funds.
- FCRA issue has already been covered – FCRA
- The RBI has come up with revised long format audit report (LFAR) norms with a view to improving the efficacy of internal audit and risk management systems.
- Under the new norms, the banks would be required to send a copy the LFAR and the relative agenda note, together with the Board’s views or directions, to the Reserve Bank within 60 days of submission of the LFAR by the statutory auditors.
- The coverage in the LFAR should be ‘credit risk areas’, ‘market risk areas’, assurance functions and operational risk areas’, ‘capital adequacy’ and ‘going concern and liquidity risk assessment’, among others.
- The LFAR will apply to statutory central auditors (SCA) and branch auditors of banks.
- The revised LFAR format will be put into operation for the period covering 2020-21 and onwards
- The LFAR should be placed before the Audit Committee of Board and Local Advisory Board of the bank indicating the action taken or proposed to be taken for rectification of the irregularities
- It has been updated keeping in view the large scale changes in the size, complexities, business model and risks in banking operations.
- The overall objective of the LFAR should be to identify and assess the gaps and vulnerable areas in the business operations, risk management, compliance and the efficacy of internal audit and provide an independent opinion on the same to the Board of the bank and provide their observations