Daily Current Affairs : 8th and 9th January 2023

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Macro/microporous ionic organic framework
  2. Land Subsidence in Joshimath
  3. MTP Act and Amendments
  4. Facts for Prelims

We have restarted CA MCQs. We strongly suggest you to attempt the Current Affairs MCQs as it will help you to revise Current Affairs better. It covers CA from Hindu, Indian Express and PIB.

1 . Macro/microporous ionic organic framework

Context : Water contamination is one of the world’s leading causes of death and the problem is only getting worse. To tackle this a team from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune came up with a custom-designed unique molecular sponge-like material — macro/microporous ionic organic framework — which can swiftly clean polluted water by soaking up sinister contaminants. The results were published recently in the journal,  Angewandte Chemie.

What is Water Pollution?

  • Whenever harmful substances such as sewage, toxic chemicals, silt, etc., get mixed with water, the water becomes polluted. The substances that pollute water are called water pollutants.
  • Water which is suitable for drinking is called potable water

What are the factors responsible for the Water Pollution?

  • Industries discharges harmful chemicals into rivers and streams, causing the pollution of water
    • Examples are oil refineries, paper factories, textile and sugar mills and chemical factories. These industries cause chemical contamination of water.
  • Releasing domestic waste into the water.
    • Example- Bathing, Washing of clothes
  • Excessive quantities of chemicals which get washed from the fields acts as a water pollutant.
    • Example- Urea
  • Sometimes untreated sewage is thrown directly into rivers. It contains food wastes, detergents, microorganisms, etc which acts as a water pollutant.

What are the effects of water pollution?

  • Water become unfit for drinking.
  • Algal Bloom which increases the biological oxygen demand of the water.
  • It will affect the marine organisms reduce the productivity of the marine ecosystem
  • The soil is affected by impure water, causing changes in acidity, growth of worms, etc.
  • Spreading of water borne diseases like cholera, etc.,

Carcinogenic Pollutants

  • Systematic studies have identified various organic (organic dyes, antibiotics, pesticides, etc.) as well as inorganic toxic pollutants such as iodides, oxo-pollutants like perrhenate that are carcinogenic in fresh water sources and can pose direct threat to humanity and living organisms.
  • In general, commonly utilised sorbent materials often trap these pollutants through ion-exchange strategy to purify water but suffer from poor kinetics and specificity.
  • To mitigate this issue, our group prepared a newly engineered material called viologen-unit grafted organic-framework (iVOFm).

Working of iVOFm

  • The material employs amalgamation of electrostatics driven ion-exchange combined with nanometre-sized macropores and specific binding sites for the targeted pollutants.
  • The size and number of tunable macropores along with the strong electrostatic interaction of iVOFm can quickly remove various toxic pollutants from water.
  • This material features inherent cationic nature and macroporosity to allow fast diffusion of pollutants.
  • Among all the tested pollutants, the new material showed ultrafast removal of sulfadimethoxine antibiotic from water almost completely.
  •  The engineered material could remove sulfadimethoxine antibiotic with high efficiency when tested using different real water samples.
  • The fast pollutant trapping capacity is attributed to faster diffusion of pollutants through the ordered interconnected presence of macropores in the material. 
  • This cationic compound is adaptable for sequestering various pollutants and is a possible solution to the water pollution problem.
  • These results open a new avenue for the creation of numerous sophisticated sorbent materials for practical water filtration.

2 . Joshimath Land subsidence

Context: Days after the homes and buildings in Joshimath, home to the monastery of Adi Shankaracharya and gateway to the Badrinath temple, started developing deep cracks prima facie due to land subsidence, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami reached the revered town to take the stock of the situation.

About the News

  • The town of Joshimath in Uttarakhand is on edge with 610 of a total of 4,500 buildings developing cracks. Joshimath falls on the way to Badrinath, Auli, and trek routes such as the Valley of Flowers and Hemkund Sahib.
  • The town has been facing land subsidence, resulting in cracks in over 500 homes and other structures, making it risky for residents to live there.
  • Authorities have declared it a landslide-subsidence zone, evacuating residents after they were deemed unfit for habitation

What is Land Subsidence?

  • Land subsidence is a gradual settling or sudden sinking of the Earth’s surface due to removal or displacement of subsurface earth materials. It can happen for a host of reasons, man-made or natural.
  • Subsidence is most often caused by the removal of water, oil, natural gas, or mineral resources out of the ground by pumping, fracking, or mining activities.
  • This feature can also be caused by natural events such as earthquakes, soil compaction, erosion and sinkhole formation.
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration notes that subsidence can occur over very large areas such as whole states or small corners such as a person’s garden.

Key Observations and Recommendations of MC Mishra Committee Report

  • Almost 50 years ago, the Centre had appointed MC Mishra, the then collector of Garhwal, to look into why Joshimath was sinking. 
  • Key Observations of the Report
    • Joshimath lies on an ancient landslide, resting on a deposit of sand and stone, not  rock. The rivers Alaknanda and Dhauli Ganga play their part in triggering landslides, by eroding the river banks and mountain edges. It’s believed that increased construction activity and growing population have contributed to frequent landslides in the area, the 1976 Mishra Committee Report had pointed out.
    • “Joshimath is a deposit of sand and stone — it is not the main rock — hence it was not suitable for a township. Vibrations produced by blasting, heavy traffic, etc., will lead to a disequilibrium in natural factors…” the report has stated.
    • Lack of proper drainage facilities also leads to landslides. The existence of soak pits, which allow water to slowly soak into the ground, is responsible for the creation of cavities between the soil and the boulders. This leads to water seepage and soil erosion, the report had said.
  • Preventive Measures Recommended by the committee
    • The most important preventive measure it suggested was the imposition of restrictions on heavy construction. Construction should only be allowed after examining the load-bearing capacity of the soil and the stability of the site, and restrictions should also be imposed on the excavation of slopes.
    • It had said that for road repairs and other construction work, it was advisable not to remove the boulders by digging or blasting the hill side. Also, in the landslide areas, stones and boulders should not be removed from the bottom of the hill as it would remove toe support, increasing the possibility of landslides. Cracks which have developed on the slopes should be sealed. The toe of a landslide is its bottom-most point
    • It said that cutting trees to supply the township with timber and firewood was to be strictly regulated, and it was imperative that the local people were provided with alternative sources of fuel.
    • Agriculture on the slopes must be avoided.
    • Water seepage in the area is profuse, therefore to prevent any more landslides in the future, the seepage of open rain water must be stopped by the construction of a pucca drainage system.
    • Roads should be metalled and without scuppers, that drain away the water from the road surface.
    • Water should not be allowed to accumulate in any depression, drains should be constructed to carry it away to safe areas, the report had said.
    • To prevent the erosion of the river bank, cement blocks should be placed in vulnerable spots on the bank, it said.
    • Hanging boulders on the foothills should be provided with appropriate support, and erosion prevention and river training measures should be taken up. River training is the construction of structures to guide the river’s flow.

Land Subsidence in India

  • Land subsidence isn’t a new phenomenon in India; studies have shown that certain parts of Delhi like Kapashera, near the Indira Gandhi International airport, have seen land subsidence, with this specific land sinking at the rate of 11 cm per year during 2014-2016, which grew to more than 17 cm per year during the two years that followed.
  • In India, the main cause of subsidence is the unregulated pumping of groundwater and the rapid pace of urbanisation.
  • Such is the severity of land subsidence that experts estimate that by 2040, land subsidence will affect eight per cent of the world’s surface and an approximate 1.2 billion people living in 21 per cent of the major cities across the globe.

Effects of land subsidence

  • Land subsidence can cause the settlement of clay on the upper levels — leading to damage of infrastructure (roads, bridges) and flooding due to ineffective drainage systems of the city.
  • Experts cite that it could impact houses and other infrastructure, making them weaker, and also lead to the weakening of foundations or develop cracks in the buildings (what is happening in Joshimath).
  • This phenomenon can also cause earthquakes in the area.

3 . Unmarried and Single women access to safe and legal abortion

Context : Despite the landmark judgment by the Supreme Court in September 2022 that unmarried women too can terminate their pregnancy until 24 weeks, the situation on the ground remains dismal as the MTP Act hasn’t been amended yet

About MTP Act

  • The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act allows termination of pregnancy by a medical practitioner in two stages.
  • After a crucial amendment in 2021, for pregnancies up to 20 weeks, termination is allowed under the opinion of one registered medical practitioner. For pregnancies between 20-24 weeks, the Rules attached to the law prescribe certain criteria in terms of who can avail termination. It also requires the opinion of two registered medical practitioners in this case.
  • For pregnancies within 20 weeks, termination can be allowed if:
    • The continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health; or
    • There is a substantial risk that if the child was born, it would suffer from any serious physical or mental abnormality.
  • The explanation to the provision states that termination within 20 weeks is allowed “where any pregnancy occurs as a result of failure of any device or method used by any woman or her partner for the purpose of limiting the number of children or preventing pregnancy, the anguish caused by such pregnancy may be presumed to constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman”.
  • The phrase “any woman or her partner” was also introduced in 2021 in place of the earlier “married woman or her husband”.
  • By eliminating the word “married woman or her husband” from the scheme of the MTP Act, the legislature intended to clarify the scope of Section 3 and bring pregnancies which occur outside the institution of marriage within the protective umbrella of the law.
  • For both stages — within 20 weeks and between 20-24 weeks — termination is allowed “where any pregnancy is alleged by the pregnant woman to have been caused by rape, the anguish caused by the pregnancy shall be presumed to constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman”.

Recent Judgement on Rule 3B

  • Recently Supreme Court in a significant judgment said it is unconstitutional to distinguish between married and unmarried women for allowing termination of pregnancy on certain exceptional grounds when the foetus is between 20-24 weeks.
  • The decision follows an interim order in July by which the court had allowed a 25-year-old woman to terminate her pregnancy.

Current Issue

  • Rule 3(2)(b) of the MTP (Amendment) Rules, 2021 does not permit single women to abort after 20 weeks
  • There is no clear indication in the SC judgment telling the government to amend Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act to include unmarried women under the extended 24-week ambit.
  • There is no direction to the government to change rules in accordance with the judgment. Unless rules in the Act are changed in black and white, women will find it difficult to seek abortion in health facilities.
  • Even after the judgment, many doctors are apprehensive citing the fact that the Act has not been amended. Doctors are scared of prosecution under the complex labyrinth of laws which includes linking of MTP with the Indian Penal Code. “Under section 3(1) of IPC, termination of pregnancy is a criminal act if it does not fulfil MTP conditions. With the law not amended, this has a chilling effect on doctors when police are not aware of the recent SC judgment

4 . Facts for Prelims

Bardeen-Cooper-Schrieffer (BCS) theory

  • BCS theory has been used to explain superconductivity in various materials.
  • In BCS superconductors, vibrational energy released by the grid of atoms encourages electrons to pair up, forming so-called Cooper pairs.
  • These Copper pairs can move like water in a stream, facing no resistance to their flow, below a threshold temperature.
  • This theory also supplies a means by which the energy required to separate the Cooper pairs into their individual electrons can be measured experimentally.
  • The BCS theory also explains the isotope effect, in which the temperature at which superconductivity appears is reduced if heavier atoms of the elements making up the material are introduced.
  • In 1911, Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes discovered superconductivity in mercury.
  • He found that at a very low temperature, called the threshold temperature, solid mercury offers no resistance to the flow of electric current.

Root Bridges

  • Meghalaya is known for its living root bridges, locally known as  jingkieng jri.
  • A living root bridge is like a suspension bridge formed by guiding the pliable roots of the rubber fig tree (Ficus elastica) across a stream or river and allowing the roots to grow and strengthen over time.
  • Rubber fig trees were originally planted by the elders in the village to make bridges. 
  • They are on the tentative list of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites. Many bridges across the State are over a century old.
  • Root Bridges were built to overcome natural calamities, especially since Meghalaya is highly prone to floods due to the excessive rainfall during the monsoon

Aspirational block programme

  • Aspirational Block Programme (ABP) is implemented by the Government of India with an aim to improve the performance of blocks lagging on various development parameters.
  • The ABP was launched during the 2nd National Conference of Chief Secretaries, which was held on January 5-7
  • This Programme will enable holistic development in those areas that require added assistance.
  • The focus area will also be more specific thus ensuring greater attention to detail.
  • This programme will cover 500 districts across 31 states and Union Territories initially. Over half of these blocks are in 6 states—Uttar Pradesh (68 blocks), Bihar (61), Madhya Pradesh (42), Jharkhand (34), Odisha (29) and West Bengal (29). However, states can add more blocks to the programme later.

Parliamentary Secretaries

  • A Parliament Secretary often holds the rank of Minister of State and has the same entitlements and is assigned to a government department. 
  • Manipur, HP, Mizoram, Assam, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Goa are some of the states where MLAs have been appointed Parliament Secretaries by the Government.
  • The appointment of Parliament Secretaries is ultra vires the 91st Amendment of the Indian Constitution which introduced Article 164 (1A) to the Constitution.
  • Article 164 (1A) provides for limiting the number of ministers in the state cabinets.
  • The total number of ministers including the Chief Minister, must be within 15 per cent of the total number of members of the legislative assembly of the state.
  • Article 164 (1A) was inserted in the Constitution on the recommendation of theNational Commission for Review of the Working of the Constitution headed by former Chief Justice of India, M.N. Venkatachaliah on misuse and drainage of public money to put a ban on an over-sized cabinet.
  • Various High Courts have deemed the appointment of Parliamentary Secretaries unconstitutional
  • It held that ‘(Parliamentary Secretaries) are usurpers of public office since their appointments did not owe their origin to any constitutional or legal provision, they are having been appointed by person(s) not vested with the power of appointment
  • Recently six legislators were appointed as the Chief Parliamentary Secretaries  


  • SPRINT Challenges’, aimed at giving a boost to the usage of indigenous technology in Indian Navy.
  • It is an initiative to promote development of niche defence technologies by domestic companies.
  • It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last July.  
  • NIIO, in conjunction with the Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO), aims to induct at least 75 new indigenous technologies/products into the Indian Navy.
  • This collaborative project is named SPRINT {Supporting Pole-Vaulting in R&D through Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX), NIIO and Technology Development Acceleration Cell (TDAC)}.
  • The Indian Navy has signed an agreement with Sagar Defence Engineering Pvt. Ltd for armed autonomous boat swarms under the ‘SPRINT’initiative.

Leave a comment

error: DMCA Protected Copying the content by other websites are prohibited and will invite legal action. © iassquad.in