Daily current affairs for IAS upsc

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ISRO chief Nair met Antrix CEO twice


Former ISRO chairman G. Madhavan Nair, had met alleged U.S.-based mastermind in the Antrix-Devas deal Ramachandra Vishwanathan twice before the agreement got the final government approval, the CBI said.

Beyond news:

  • The CBI already has sanction for the prosecution of Mr. Nair, apart from former ISRO director A. Bhaskar Narayana Rao and former Antrix executive director K.R. Sridhara Murthi.
  • Incidentally, the Bengaluru-based Devas Multimedia was incorporated in December 2004 with a capital of just Rs. 1 lakh.
  • Devas Multimedia is being treated by the CBI as a shell company.
  • It had received investments to the tune of $130 million from four companies, three based in Mauritius and one in Singapore.
  • The agency has identified the investors as Columbia Capital Devas Mauritius Limited, Telecom Devas Mauritius Limited, Devas Employees Mauritius Private Limited and Deutsche Telekom Asia Ltd, Singapore.

What next?

Learn about shell company


“Sell company is a non-trading company used as a vehicle for various financial manoeuvres or kept dormant for future use in some other capacity.” &  is not illegal unless they them self indulge in illegal activities.

India, China to join Indian Ocean exercise


Despite growing tensions with China, official sources said the Indian Navy would join the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in a maiden maritime search and rescue exercise to be chaired by Bangladesh at the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) in November this year.

Beyond news:

  • Bangladesh, the current Chair, is scheduling a maiden International Maritime Search and Rescue Exercise (IMMSAREX) in November in the Bay of Bengal to be attended by ships and aircraft of the members and observers of the IONS..
  • The IONS is a regional forum of Indian Ocean littoral states, represented by their Navy chiefs, launched by India in February 2008.
  • It presently has 23 members and nine observers.

Beauty and the regulatory beast

News: Baby designing

Beyond news:

  • Within the realm of modern science, we now have the impending threat of designer babies, stemming from a revolutionary technique entailing the editing of our genes by bacterial DNA scissors called CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats).
  • The gene editing technique using such DNA scissors is titled “CRIPSR/Cas9” and was the subject of an intense patent battle between the University of California, Berkeley and MIT/Broad Institute.
  • The verdict was somewhat Solomonic, splitting the patent pie between these two rivals.
    Since its evolution, CRISPR/Cas9 has been tested across an array of domains, such as human health (gene-based therapy) and agro biotech (pest-resistant crops).
  • In fact, trials for gene-based therapies are already under way, with scientists successfully editing out genetic mutations that code for disorders such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (a functional impairment of the heart) and retinitis pigmentosa (a degenerative disorder of the eye).
  • It is this scary spectre of a new age eugenics that forms the starting point for this piece.

A full antibiotics course

News: A single analysis piece published in theThe BMJ journal has done more harm than good to antibiotics stewardship.

Beyond news:

  • The authors say that patients who are not admitted in hospitals “might be best advised to stop treatment when they feel better”.
  • The bone of contention is the WHO’s advice to patients to “always complete the full prescription, even if you feel better, because stopping treatment early promotes the growth of drug-resistant bacteria”.
  • According to the authors of The BMJ article, this advice is not evidence-based and is incorrect.As per the available evidence, patients cannot stop antibiotics when they feel better.
  • Antibiotics misuse such as inappropriate use (for viral infections), over medication, self-medication, and stopping treatment midway are already leading to problems.
  • Asking patients to stop medication when they feel better can be dangerous, especially in the case of TB.
  • One of the main reasons why drug-resistant TB strains have emerged is because patients discontinue medication mid-course when they feel better, much like what the authors are advocating.
  • The BMJarticle has failed to clarify upfront that its suggestion is restricted to common bacterial infections.

GIS-enabled portal maps land-related information


In a little over six months beginning February, the Centre has brought out an online database of more than half a million hectares of land assisting industry.

Beyond news:

  • The Geographic Information System-enabled database also has details of close to 3,000 industrial parks/clusters, as well as area-wise availability of agricultural/horticultural crops, and mineral production.
  • The portal will soon incorporate information on warehouses, power-grid and financial institutions as well as the demand for industrial infrastructure captured on the basis of applications from entrepreneurs for projects.
  • The exercise is to eliminate the information asymmetry that is currently adversely affecting the country’s industrial policy-making and investments in the manufacturing sector.
  • The development comes in the backdrop of the Centre firming up a new industrial and manufacturing policy to push up the contribution of the manufacturing sector in India’s GDP to 25% by 2020 from the current level of about 16%.

The aim is to make India a global manufacturing hub and in the process generate employment locally. The details on the database about government-approved technical institutions will indicate the availability of skilled and semi-skilled talent.
Data is available on agricultural crops such as fibre crops, food grains, oilseeds, plantation crops, pulses and spices, and horticultural crops, including most fruits and vegetables. Also available are the details of mineral production including that of agate, apatite, bauxite, chromite, copper, diamond, flint stone, fluorite, garnet, gold, graphite, iron ore, kyanite, lead and zinc ore, lead, limeshell, limestone, magnesite, manganese ore, moulding sand, phosphorite, selenite, sillimanite, silver, sulphur, tin, vermiculite, wollastonite and zinc.

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