CURRENT AFFAIRS


16th Sep, 2020

 

National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2020 passed

Recently, Indian Parliament has passed the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2020 and the National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill.

The National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2020 

It seeks to repeal the Homoeopathy Central Council Act, 1973.

National Commission for Homoeopathy will also be set up.

Composition of the Commission: 20 members including a Chairperson, the President of the Homoeopathy Education Board, the Director General of National Institute of Homoeopathy, the

President of the Medical Assessment and Rating Board for Homoeopathy in addition to other members.

The National Commission for Indian System of Medicine Bill, 2020 

It seeks to repeal the Indian Medicine Central Council Act, 1970.

National Commission for Indian System of Medicine will also be set up.

Composition of the Commission: 29 members including a Chairperson, the President of the Board of Ayurveda, President of the Board of Unani, Siddha, and Sowa-Rigpa.

The two bills also propose constitution of Advisory Councils for Homoeopathy as well as for Indian System of Medicine. 

These Councils will be the primary platform through which the states and union territories will put forth their views and concerns before the two Commissions.

The Councils will also suggest measures to the Commission to determine and maintain standards of medical education in the country.

The bills also envisage a National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for admission to both undergraduate and Post-Graduate courses of Homoeopathy and for various disciplines of Indian System of Medicine.


 

The discovery of phosphine gas in the atmosphere of Venus 

Recently, phosphine gas in the atmosphere of Venus was discovered by an international team of astronomers.

The discovery throws light about the possibility of the presence of life forms on Venus.

A team of scientists have reported traces of phosphine in a concentration of approximately 20 parts per billion, thousands to millions of times more than what could otherwise be expected.

The discovery is more significant than the discovery of water on the Moon or Mars.

The finding can further ignite interest in space missions to Venus. 

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is also planning a mission to Venus, tentatively called Shukrayaan, in the near future. 

The plan is still on the drawing board.

There are several things that make life unsustainable on Venus. 

The temperature of Venus is too high.

Its atmosphere is highly acidic.

However, Scientists also suggest that this phosphine could be remnants from a time when Venus was a much more hospitable place.

Apart from being produced in industrial processes, phosphine, a colourless but smelly gas, is known to be made only by some species of bacteria that survive in the absence of oxygen.


 

Sanskrit Grams Programme: Uttarakhand

The Uttarakhand Government has decided to develop ‘Sanskrit Grams’ across the state.

Aim: To teach people to use Sanskrit regularly.

Several villages were selected according to the availability of Sanskrit schools so that teachers may visit the villages often and motivate residents to learn and use Sanskrit.

Villages were selected at the meeting of the Uttarakhand Sanskrit Academy, chaired by the Uttarakhand Chief Minister.

The Academy shall also be renamed as Uttaranchal Sanskrit Sansthanam Haridwar, Uttarakhand.

Focus: School-going children so that they can learn the language from a young age.

Sanskrit is the second official language in Uttarakhand after Hindi.

Article 345 of the Constitution deals with the Official language or languages of a State.


 

5th BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meet held

The 5th BRICS Culture Ministers’ Meeting was held through a video conference.

Chairmanship: Russian Federation.

Impact of the Covid-19 situation on the cultural sphere in the BRICS countries was discussed.

Possible implementation of joint cultural online-projects within BRICS was reviewed.

India also suggested exploring possibilities of hosting a Digital Online Exhibition on a shared theme towards the end of 2021 under the auspices of BRICS Alliance of Museums.

The National Gallery of Modern Arts, New Delhi will host the BRICS Joint Exhibition titled

‘Bonding Regions & Imagining Cultural Synergies’ under the auspices of the BRICS Alliance of Art Museums and Galleries in 2021.

 

BRICS

BRICS is an association of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

All are members of G20.

Represent over 3.1 billion people, 41% of the world population.

As of 2018, BRICS have US $40.55 trillion (32% of World’s GDP PPP). 

Bilateral relations among BRICS nations are conducted on the basis of non-interference, equality, and mutual benefit.

There are two components that make up the financial architecture of BRICS:

(1) New Development Bank (NDB) (BRICS Development Bank);

(2) Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA).

The chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S.

During the Sixth BRICS Summit in Fortaleza (Brazil) in 2014, the leaders signed the Agreement establishing the New Development Bank (NDB – Shanghai, China). 

They also signed the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement to provide short-term liquidity support to the members.


 

Bradykinin Storm phenomenon amongst Covid-19 patients

A recent analysis of samples of patients with the Covid-19 infection has shown a phenomenon called a ‘bradykinin storm’.

Doctors treating Covid-19 patients often cannot identify the severity with which the SARS-CoV-2 virus seems to affect some people. 

‘Bradykinin storm’ might explain the working of the virus in the body.

However, the cytokine storm is able to explain certain causes for the rapid deterioration in some patients with Covid-19.

 

The bradykinin hypothesis

SARS-CoV-2 uses a human enzyme called ACE2 to enter 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 virus causes the levels of ACE to fall in the lungs, and consequently pushes up the levels of ACE2.

This happens as a chain reaction and increases the levels of the molecule bradykinin in the cells, causing a bradykinin storm.

The storm causes the blood vessels to expand and become leaky, leading to swelling of the surrounding tissue.

The levels of hyaluronic acid also increase.

The leakage of fluid into the lungs and the excess of hyaluronic acid result in a Jello-like substance.

It prevents oxygen uptake in the severely affected Covid-19 patients.

Thus, it sometimes makes even the most sophisticated intensive care futile.

Knowing the mechanism, doctors can target the bradykinin pathway to evolve more therapeutic interventions to offset the severe effects of Covid-19.

Bradykinin is a compound that is related to pain sensation and lowering blood pressure in the human body.

Hyaluronic acid is a sugar molecule that occurs naturally in the skin, and it helps to bind water to collagen (a protein). It can absorb more than 1,000 times its own weight in water to form a hydrogel.


 

Number of Giant Radio Galaxies

Indian Researchers working on giant radio galaxies (GRG) at Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA) Pune, India and Leiden University, Netherlands, have found nearly 400 new GRGs.

Giant Radio Galaxies (GRG)

GRGs are large single structures in the universe.

When some of the radio galaxies grow to enormous sizes, bigger than 33 lakh light years across, they are called giant radio galaxies (GRGs).

GRGs were discovered in 1974 and until 2016, only about 300 GRGs were known.

The latest findings indicate that they are over 800.

It is not clearly understood how some objects grow to such large scales and what is the fuel of their respective black holes.

The study of GRGs gives important clues to unveiling how massive black holes accrete mass and the efficiency with which they produce the magnificent jets.


 

Limits on Multi-Cap Fund Investments

Recently, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has imposed some limits on multi-cap funds.

A multi cap fund will be required to invest a minimum of 75% of its total assets in equities and equity-related instruments.

At present, the rule is to invest a minimum of 65% in equities.

Minimum investment of 75% has to be allocated in between large cap companies, mid cap companies and small cap companies, with a minimum share of 25% in each.

The rest 25% can be invested as per the investor’s choice.

Till now, fund managers of multi cap mutual funds were investing across market capitalisation as per their choice.

 

Multi-Cap Fund

Multi-cap funds are those that diversify their investments into all three categories (small, medium, and large-cap).

These funds invest by market capitalization of shares.

 

Large cap stocks: Stocks of top 100 listed companies in terms of full market capitalisation.

Mid-cap stocks: Stocks of top 101 to 250 companies in terms of full market capitalisation.

Small-cap stocks: Stocks of companies above 251 in terms of full market capitalisation.

Market capitalization is the aggregate valuation of the company based on its current share price and the total number of outstanding stocks.

It is calculated by multiplying the current market price of the company’s share with the total outstanding shares of the company.


 

Revised Guidelines for Parole and Furlough: MHA

Recently, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has revised the Model Prison Manual, 2016 guidelines related to parole and furlough.

Both parole and furlough are considered as reformative processes. 

These provisions were introduced with a view to humanising the prison system.

Parole and furlough are covered under the Prisons Act of 1894. 

 

Parole

It is a system of releasing a prisoner with suspension of the sentence. 

The release is conditional, usually subject to behaviour, and requires periodic reporting to the authorities for a set period of time.

Parole is not a right.

It is given to a prisoner for a specific reason, such as a death in the family or a wedding of a blood relative.

It may be denied to a prisoner even when he makes out a sufficient case, if the competent authority is satisfied that releasing the convict would not be in the interest of society.

 

Furlough

It is similar to parole, but with some significant differences. 

It is given in cases of long-term imprisonment. 

The period of furlough granted to a prisoner is treated as remission of his sentence.

Unlike parole, furlough is seen as a matter of right for a prisoner, to be granted periodically irrespective of any reason.

It is provided to enable the prisoner to retain family and social ties, and to counter the ill-effects of prolonged time spent in prison.


 






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