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Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Exam – 16 January 2021


  1. Yamuna pollution in Delhi attracts SC’s attention
  2. Henley Passport Index
  3. Indigenous 9-mm machine pistol ‘Asmi’



The Supreme Court took suo motu cognizance of the rising pollution level in the Yamuna in the national capital and appointed senior counsel as amicus curiae to assist the court in the matter.


GS-III: Environment and Ecology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. The story so far regarding Pollution of Yamuna
  2. Highlights of the SC’s Suo Motu
  3. Yamuna’s Polluted situation
  4. Constitutional Provisions regarding SC’s Suo Motu cognizance of pollution
  5. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)

The story so far regarding Pollution of Yamuna

  • In the 2017 Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti v. Union of India case, the SC directed that norms for generating funds, for setting up and/or operating the Common Effluent Treatment Plant and Sewage Treatment Plants, shall be finalised by the State Pollution Control Board’s on or before 31st march 2017.
  • It was directed that for the purpose of setting up these plants, the state government will prioritise such cities, towns and villages, which discharge industrial pollutants and sewer directly in rivers and water bodies.

Highlights of the SC’s Suo Motu

  • The court directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to submit a report identifying municipalities along the river Yamuna, which have not installed total treatment plants for sewage as per the requirement or have gaps in ensuring that the sewage is not discharged untreated into the river.
  • It asked CPCB to highlight any other source of prominent contamination within the limits of Municipalities and to submit priority-wise list of Municipalities, river stretches adjacent to which have been found to be most polluted.

Yamuna’s Polluted situation

  • The Yamuna flows into Delhi from Haryana and the state has industrial units in Sonipat (on the banks of Yamuna). Ammonia is used as an industrial chemical in the production of fertilisers, plastics and dyes.
  • Mixing of two drains carrying drinking water and sewage or industrial waste, or both, in Sonipat.
  • The two drains often mix due to overflow or damage to the wall that separates them.
  • Ammonia reduces the amount of oxygen in water as it is transformed to oxidised forms of nitrogen. Hence, it also increases Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD).
  • If the concentration of ammonia in water is above 1 ppm, it is toxic to fishes.
  • In humans, long term ingestion of water having ammonia levels of 1 ppm or above may cause damage to internal organs.

Constitutional Provisions regarding SC’s Suo Motu cognizance of pollution

  • Article 243W of the Constitution vests municipalities and local authorities with the performance of functions and implementation of schemes as may be entrusted to them, including those in relation to the matters listed in item 6 of the 12th schedule.
  • Item 6 of the 12th Schedule includes “public health, sanitation conservancy and solid waste management”.
  • Article 21: The right to clean the environment, and further, pollution-free water, has been protected under the broad rubric of the right to life.

Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB)

  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) of India is a statutory organisation under the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).
  • It was established in 1974 under the Water (Prevention and Control of pollution) Act, 1974.
  • CPCB is also entrusted with the powers and functions under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981.
  • It serves as a field formation and also provides technical services to the Ministry of Environment and Forests under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • It Co-ordinates the activities of the State Pollution Control Boards by providing technical assistance and guidance and also resolves disputes among them.
  • It is the apex organisation in country in the field of pollution control, as a technical wing of MoEF

-Source: The Hindu



Japan tops the list of being the most powerful passport in the world and India has been ranked 85th for the year 2021, according to the latest report by the Henley Passport Index.


GS-II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Henley Passport Index
  2. Highlights of the Henley Passport Index 2021

Henley Passport Index

  • The Henley Passport Index is the original ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa.
  • The ranking is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA), which maintains the world’s largest and most accurate database of travel information.
  • It was launched in 2006 and includes 199 different passports.

Highlights of the Henley Passport Index 2021

  • Japan continues to hold the number one position on the index, with passport holders able to access 191 destinations around the world visa-free.
  • Singapore is in second place (with a score of 190) and South Korea ties with Germany in third place (with a score of 189).
  • The top spots were traditionally held by EU countries, the UK, or the US. This year, it is the Asia-Pacific (APAC) passports which are the most powerful in the world as it includes some of the first countries to begin the process of recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • India ranks 85th with access to 58 countries without Visa.
  • The Indian passport ranked higher in both 2020 (84th) and 2019 (82nd).
  • Pakistan was ranked 107th and Nepal was ranked 104th.
  • Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan continue to be the countries with the worst passport to hold with a passport score of 29, 28 and 26 respectively.

-Source: The Hindu



The Pune-based facility of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the Indian Army’s Infantry School have jointly developed India’s first indigenous 9mm machine pistol named ‘Asmi’.


GS-III: Internal Security Challenges

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About “Asmi” Machine-Pistol
  2. Recently in news: Joint Venture Protective Carbine (JVPC)

About “Asmi” Machine-Pistol

  • The Pistol is named “Asmi” meaning “Pride”, “Self-Respect” & “Hard Work”. Machine pistols are primarily self-loading versions of pistols which are either fully automatic or can also fire bursts of bullets.
  • 3D printing technology has been used in designing and prototyping of various parts, including trigger components which have been made by metal 3D printing.
  • The weapon has huge potential in armed forces as a personal weapon for heavy weapon detachments, commanders, tank and aircraft crews, drivers and dispatch riders, radio or radar operators, for closed quarter battles, counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations etc.
  • This is also likely to find huge employability with the central and state police organisations, as well as VIP protection duties and policing.

Recently in news: Joint Venture Protective Carbine (JVPC)

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) designed 5.56×30 mm Protective Carbine has successfully undergone the final phase of User trials on 7th December 2020. This has paved the way for induction into the services.
  • JVPC is a Gas Operated Semi Bull-pup automatic weapon with key features like high reliability, low recoil, retractable Butt etc., which make it a very potent weapon for Counter Insurgency /Counter Terrorism operations by security agencies.
  • The carbine has been designed as per Indian Army’s GSQR, by Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), a Pune based laboratory of DRDO.

-Source: The Hindu

December 2023