Exception to the rule | TH
- The new law authorising an extension of the services of the heads of the Central Bureau of Investigation and the Enforcement Directorate until they complete a total tenure of five years will seriously compromise the autonomy of those agencies.
- It goes against the spirit of the Supreme Court judgment in Vineet Narain vs Union of India (1997) which laid down a dictum that the Directors of the CBI and the ED should have a minimum tenure of two years.
- This was to prevent their sudden transfer out of office if their functioning goes against the interests of the regime of the day.
- While it did not specifically bar longer terms or extensions, the prospect of getting an annual extension can be an incentive for displaying regime loyalty in the discharge of their duties.
- As it is, the fixed tenure for certain posts means their superannuation within that period will not end their term.
- The protection given by a fixed tenure and the use of a high-ranking committee to recommend appointments and transfers were meant to dilute the ‘doctrine of pleasure’ implicit in civil service.
The EU’s role in the Indo-Pacific | TH
- Where does Europe stand in relation to the churning in the Indo-Pacific Region?
- Quad + AUKUS + U.S.-China strategic contestation
- Europe’s Asia connect is old, strong and multi-layered.
- Asia is viewed and evaluated through national and regional perspectives.
- This explains why at least since 2018, countries such as France, the Netherlands, Germany and the U.K. announced their specific policies towards the Indo-Pacific.
- The European Union (EU) is in the process of coping with the rise of China and other Asian economies
- The tensions due to China’s aggressiveness along its periphery
- Economic consolidation through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
- Economic consolidation through the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.
- Seen from Brussels, the EU and the Indo-Pacific are “natural partner regions”.
- The EU is already a significant player in the Indian Ocean littoral states, the ASEAN area and the Pacific Island states, but the strategy aims to enhance the EU’s engagement across a wide spectrum
- The policy document also says cooperation will be strengthened in sustainable and inclusive prosperity, green transition, ocean governance, digital governance and partnerships, connectivity, security and defence, and human security.
- EU’s security and defence capabilities are quite limited
- France has sizeable assets
- U.K. – ‘Global Britain’ strategy
- The EU suffers from marked internal divisions on China.
- Russia next door is the more traditional threat.
- India has reasons to be pleased with the EU’s policy.
- India’s pivotal position in the region necessitates a closer India-EU partnership.
- The India-EU Leaders’ Meeting on May 8, followed by the External Affairs Minister’s Gymnich meeting in Slovenia with the EU foreign ministers on September 3, were designed to “foster new synergies”.
- Early conclusion of an ambitious and comprehensive trade agreement and a standalone investment protection agreement will be major steps.
- Cooperation in Industry 4.0 technologies is desirable.
- Consolidating and upgrading defence ties with France, Germany and the U.K. should also remain a significant priority.
- The EU can create a vantage position for itself in the Indo-Pacific by being more candid with itself, more assertive with China, and more cooperative with India.
Batting for an important yet misunderstood species | TH
- Bats and humans have cohabited since time immemorial.
- Nearly 128 species in India; over 1,200 species worldwide
- Throughout the night, these bats devour insects in farms, fields, forests, grasslands and around our homes, including agricultural pests and disease-causing mosquitoes.
- Some bats sip nectar, pollinate flowers, eat fruits, and spread the seeds of many important tree species including wild varieties of bananas, guava, cashew, mango, figs, mahua and other fruits.
- A study in Thailand has shown that pest biocontrol provided by just one species of bat prevented the loss of 2,900 tons of rice per year — or a savings of $1.2 million, and meals for 26,200 people annually.
- Bat droppings (guano) mined from caves are widely used as a fertilizer for agricultural crops as they have high concentrations of nitrogen and phosphorous.
- Unfortunately, despite these critical roles bats remain among the most misunderstood of all animals.
- In India, we have almost no studies on the ecosystem services that bats provide.
- With scientific evidence mounting that the SARS-CoV2 virus that causes COVID-19 originated in bats, there are growing fears of further disease transmission from bats.
- In gaining the ability to fly long distances, bats have also inherited an immune system that protects them from viruses.
- The same immune system also makes them age slower, and live longer.
- They are among the longest lived mammals for their body size.
- Scientists have shown that when bats are disturbed, they become stressed and could shed viruses that they carry, increasing the risk of spillover.
- Several indigenous people had understood the importance of giving enough space to all animals including bats whilst staying with them.
- Local practices and traditions could serve as a guide for us to understand how we should minimise risk of infectious disease spillover from bats in the future.
- The rich biodiversity and cultural diversity in India serves as an excellent and unique place for such studies.
- The Bomrr clan in Nagaland, for example, have traditionally celebrated the annual bat harvest for many years.
- They gather at a place called Mimi to smoke a cave full of bats and as bats start exiting, kill them for consumption.
- In the process, the bats bite them or scratch them.
- Yet, there has been no major disease outbreak among the Bomrr clan.
- To understand how and why the Bomrr are immune to the viruses in the bats they interact with, the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS-TIFR), an aided Centre of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) are carrying out sero-ecological studies on this human-bat interface.
- They are exploring microbial diversity associated with the bats, and also serology (antibody response to known viral families) to investigate which part of this diversity is potentially pathogenic.
- So far, they have found: genetic prevalence/detection (between 3%-10% of bats) of several bacterial and viral families and evidence that both bats and humans have shared antibody response to some viral families, indicative of a spillover.
- The NCBS is also in the process of sequencing whole genomes of bat viruses.
- We could take a few sensible precautions that minimise our direct interactions with bats — such as avoiding handling or eating bats, and not eating fallen fruits gnawed by bats or fruits likely to be contaminated by bat fluids.
- In the longer term, we should work towards restricting and reversing land-use change practices that are bringing us in greater contact with, and increasingly stressing out, animals that may harbour ‘emerging infections’.
- We can regain this balance with nature and animals through a combination of habitat restoration and co-existence with wildlife such as bats.
- Integrated approaches such as One Health, where human health is linked to that of the environment and animals can result in the best possible outcomes.
- A world with fewer bats around us will be one that suffers greater crop losses to agricultural pests, witnesses increased incidences of other diseases such as those transmitted by mosquitoes, and one without mahua, too.
- Industry experts and associations informed the parliamentary committee on finance that cryptocurrency is here to stay, and the challenge is to find ways of regulating it, a view endorsed by some members of the panel who expressed concern over its misuse.
- The experts said the government should decide how cryptocurrency is to be regulated.
- Committee chairman Jayant Sinha told ET the intent of Monday’s meeting was to get a better understanding of the market.
- “Countries including Japan and Korea have recognised cryptos in view of other aspects of the technology,” the person said.
- The parliamentary panel meeting on Monday saw a broad consensus on cryptocurrency regulation, with experts saying how this should be done was up to the Centre.
- The Centre will provide ₹95,082 crore to states in November, including the advance release of one instalment of central tax devolution, to help them drive up capital expenditure and aid growth.
- Two instalments – of ₹47,541 crore each – together instead of one will be released to states on November 22, union finance minister Sitharaman said on Monday, after a marathon meeting with chief ministers, state finance ministers and officials on scaling up investments in infrastructure and growth, which in turn will spur employment opportunities.
- States are entitled to 41% of central taxes as per the Finance Commission formula, which is devolved in 14 instalments in a financial year.
- The Union Budget for 2021-22 has allocated a ₹5.54 lakh crore capital outlay, an increase of 34.5% over the previous year.
- Nation celebrates Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas; Birsa Munda Museum inaugurated in Ranchi
- PM Modi inaugurates redeveloped Rani Kamlapati Railway Station in Bhopal
- Delhi pollution: SC directs Centre, States to consider Work From Home; asks farmers not to burn farm waste
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inaugurate Purvanchal Expressway at KarwalKheri in Sultanpur district of Uttar Pradesh today
- India’s Covid vaccination coverage crosses 113 crore mark
Q.) Which State Govt will bring a resolution in the Assembly against the Centre’s move to increase the territorial jurisdiction of the Border Security Force (BSF)?
- West Bengal
Q.) NALCO reported a more than seven-fold jump in second-quarter net profit at Rs. 758 crore. What is the full form of NALCO?
- Natural Aluminium Corporation
- National Aluminium Company Limited
- National Aluminium Corporation
- National Arsenic Company Limited