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Current Affairs 13 May 2024

  1. Supreme Court Grants Interim Bail to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal
  2. Northern and Southern Lights
  3. CDSCO Reclaims Authority Over Drug Export Approvals
  4. Ancient Trade Route Unearthed at Sri Madhava Perumal Temple
  5. Kamikaze Drones
  6. Kawasaki Disease
  7. Hanooman AI Platform


Context:

The Supreme Court (SC) has granted interim bail to Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who was arrested by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) on March 21 in connection with the Delhi excise policy case. This decision provides temporary relief to Kejriwal amid ongoing legal proceedings.

Relevance:

GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Interim Bail to Delhi CM
  2. Background of the Present Case
  3. About Bail

Interim Bail to Delhi CM:

A Level Playing Field in Elections:

  • The Supreme Court’s decision to grant temporary bail to the Delhi Chief Minister for campaigning aims to ensure a level playing field in elections.
  • This move underscores the importance of allowing all candidates the opportunity to actively participate in the democratic process.

Potential for More Interventions:

  • The decision to grant interim bail to the Delhi CM may set a precedent for similar interventions in the future.
  • Other political detainees, such as former Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren, may seek bail for campaigning purposes, especially during crucial election periods.

Establishment of a New Precedent:

  • This decision by the Supreme Court establishes a new precedent for addressing political needs during elections.
  • Unlike previous practices where bail was typically confirmed by High Courts during trials, the Supreme Court’s intervention for temporary bail signifies a shift in approach.

Debate on the Right to Campaign:

  • Some analysts criticize the judgement, arguing that the right to campaign for an election is not explicitly enshrined as a fundamental, constitutional, or legal right.
  • They reference a 2017 decision by the Delhi High Court in Election Commission vs Mukthar Ansari to support their position.

Background of the Present Case

Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22 and Associated Controversy:

  • The Delhi Excise Policy 2021-22, also known as the new liquor policy, was implemented on November 17, 2021.
  • It marked a significant change in how liquor was sold in the city, with the government withdrawing from the business and allowing only private operators to run liquor shops.
  • Allegations emerged later, suggesting that kickbacks were received by the Delhi government and its leaders from owners and operators of alcohol businesses for preferential treatment.
  • These kickbacks were purportedly used to influence the Assembly elections held in Punjab and Goa in early 2022.

 ED Summons and Subsequent Arrest:

  • The Delhi Chief Minister reportedly skipped 9 summons issued by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with the excise policy case.
  • The ED claimed that the CM was the kingpin and key conspirator in the Delhi excise scam.
  • Subsequently, on March 21, he was arrested by the ED.

Supreme Court Hearing and Interim Bail:

  • After the Delhi High Court rejected the petition challenging the arrest of the Delhi CM, he approached the Supreme Court.
  • The Supreme Court Bench, on May 10, decided to grant him interim bail until June 1, coinciding with the closing day of voting for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Bail Conditions:

  • The Supreme Court imposed certain conditions for the Delhi CM’s interim bail:
  • He shall refrain from visiting the Office of the Chief Minister and the Delhi Secretariat.
  • He shall not sign official files unless necessary for obtaining clearance/approval of the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi.
  • He will abstain from making any comments regarding his role in the present case.
  • He is prohibited from interacting with any witnesses or having access to any official files connected with the case.

About Bail:

  • The term “bail” originates from an old French verb “bailer,” meaning “to give” or “to deliver.”
  • Bail refers to the provisional release of the accused in a criminal case in which the court is yet to announce the judgment.
  • It represents the security deposited to secure the release of the accused.
Types of Bail in India:
  • The Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) does not provide a specific definition of bail.
  • In India, there are three commonly recognized types of bail, depending on the stage of the criminal matter:

Regular Bail:

  • Regular bail is typically granted to a person who has been arrested or is in police custody.
  • A bail application for regular bail can be filed under sections 437 and 439 of the CrPC.

Interim Bail:

  • Interim bail is granted for a short period, usually before the hearing for the grant of regular bail or anticipatory bail.

Anticipatory Bail:

  • Anticipatory bail is granted under section 438 of the CrPC, either by the session court or High Court.
  • An individual may file an application for anticipatory bail if they anticipate being arrested by the police for a non-bailable offence.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

Recently, the northern lights, also known as the aurora borealis, adorned the night sky over Hanle village in Ladakh. Similar sightings were reported in other parts of the world, including the US and the UK, while Australia and New Zealand experienced the southern lights, or aurora australis.

Relevance:

GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What are Auroras?
  2. Northern and Southern Lights Phenomenon
  3. Expansion to Midlatitudes

What are Auroras?

  • An aurora is a natural light display in Earth’s sky, predominantly visible in high-latitude regions, such as around the Arctic and Antarctic.
  • Auroras exhibit dynamic patterns of brilliant lights, appearing as curtains, rays, spirals, or dynamic flickers covering the entire sky.
  • Commonly known as the “northern lights” (aurora borealis) in the northern hemisphere and the “southern lights” (aurora australis) in the southern hemisphere.
Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights):
  • Occurs predominantly in the northern hemisphere, particularly in regions near the Arctic Circle.
  • Countries like Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Canada, and Alaska are among the prime viewing locations.
  • The northern lights result from charged particles from the sun, mainly electrons and protons, colliding with the Earth’s magnetosphere and interacting with gases in the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • These collisions produce colorful displays of light, primarily in green, red, and purple hues.
Aurora Australis (Southern Lights):
  • Also known as the Southern Lights, it occurs in the Southern Hemisphere, primarily around the Antarctic Circle.
  • Countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica, and parts of southern South America offer viewing opportunities.
  • Similar to the northern lights, the southern lights are caused by charged particles from the sun interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere in the Southern Hemisphere, resulting in colorful light displays.

Northern and Southern Lights Phenomenon

  • The northern and southern lights, or auroras, are natural light displays in the Earth’s sky, resulting from the interaction of charged particles from the sun with the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • Solar Activity: Auroras occur due to activity on the surface of the Sun, where it continuously releases a stream of charged particles, mainly electrons and protons, along with magnetic fields known as the solar wind.
  • Interaction with Earth’s Magnetic Field: As the solar wind approaches the Earth, it is deflected by the planet’s magnetic field, which acts as a protective shield. However, some charged particles are trapped in the magnetic field and travel down the magnetic field lines towards the Earth’s poles.
  • Interaction with Atmosphere: These particles interact with gases in the Earth’s upper atmosphere, resulting in tiny flashes of light that illuminate the night sky. For instance, when solar wind particles collide with oxygen, green light is produced, while interaction with nitrogen produces shades of blue and purple.

Expansion to Midlatitudes

  • Solar Wind Intensity: Under normal conditions, auroras are predominantly visible in high-latitude regions near the poles. However, when solar activity is exceptionally strong, auroras can expand to midlatitudes.
  • Solar Flares and Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs): Increased activity on the Sun’s surface, such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs), can lead to heightened solar wind intensity.
  • Geomagnetic Storms: Strong solar wind can cause geomagnetic storms, brief disruptions of the Earth’s magnetic field. These storms can expand the reach of auroras to midlatitudes. Geomagnetic storms may also affect various space-dependent operations, including GPS, radio and satellite communications, flight operations, power grids, and space exploration programs.
  • Recent Events: For example, a recent aurora event observed in many regions of the world was triggered by a geomagnetic storm resulting from a CME striking the Earth, originating from the AR13664 region of the Sun.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

India’s drug regulatory body, the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO), has revoked the power delegated to State licensing authorities to issue no objection certificates (NOCs) for manufacturing unapproved, banned, or new drugs meant for export. This decision, amid concerns of low-quality drug exports, consolidates the approval process under CDSCO alone, aiming to enhance oversight and ensure compliance with quality standards.

Relevance:

GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. The Pharmaceutical Industry in India
  2. Industry Scenario
  3. Centralization of Licensing Authority

The Pharmaceutical Industry in India:

Notable Achievements:
  • Global Contribution: The Indian pharmaceutical industry is renowned as ‘the pharmacy of the world’ and plays a crucial role in advancing global public health and ensuring universal healthcare access.
  • Production Ranking: India ranks 3rd worldwide in pharmaceutical production by volume and 14th by value, highlighting its significant presence in the global pharmaceutical market.
  • Provider of Generic Medicines: India is the largest provider of generic medicines globally, holding a substantial 20% share in global supply by volume. The industry offers an extensive range of 60,000 generic brands across 60 therapeutic categories.
  • Leading Vaccine Manufacturer: India is a frontrunner in vaccine manufacturing, producing 62% of the world’s vaccines. A substantial portion of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) vaccines, meeting essential immunization schedules, is sourced from India.
Industry Scenario:

Foreign Direct Investment (FDI):

  • The pharmaceutical sector allows 100% FDI under the automatic route for greenfield projects.
  • In brownfield pharmaceuticals, 100% FDI is permitted, with 74% under the automatic route and the remainder through government approval.

Market Size:

  • The Indian pharmaceutical industry was valued at $50 billion in 2022-23, with exports constituting 50% of production.
  • Projections indicate a growth to $65 billion by 2024 and a significant surge to $130 billion by 2030.

Exports:

  • India serves over 200 countries through its pharmaceutical exports, playing a vital role in meeting global healthcare needs.
  • Significant portions of Africa’s, US’, and UK’s generic medicine demands are fulfilled by Indian pharmaceutical exports.
  • Exports of drugs and pharmaceutical products reached $24.6 billion in 2021-22, reflecting substantial growth from $11.6 billion in 2014.

Centralization of Licensing Authority:

  • Background: The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) has revoked the authority of state licensing authorities to issue no objection certificates (NOCs) for exporting unapproved, banned, or new drugs. This responsibility will now lie with the head of the CDSCO zonal office.
Reasoning:
  • Market Opportunity: India anticipates significant opportunities in the pharmaceutical sector, with drugs worth $251 billion expected to go off-patent between 2022 and 2030. Centralizing NOCs aims to streamline processes to capitalize on this market growth.
  • Formalization: Centralization will formalize the Indian pharmaceutical industry, enhancing efficiency, standardization, and bolstering exports to key international markets.
  • Uniformity: The move aims to bring uniformity in protocols and align with the goal of reaching $450 billion in pharmaceutical exports by 2047.
  • Addressing Delays: Obtaining NOCs from local drug regulators was often cumbersome, leading to delays in the export process. Centralization seeks to address this issue.
Challenges:
  • Existing Challenges: India faces challenges in various aspects such as intellectual property rights, inadequate research and development, among others.
  • Comprehensive Approach: Understanding the political, economic, sociocultural, technological, environmental, and legal factors is crucial for assessing opportunities and challenges in the pharmaceutical market.
Steps to Ensure Manufacturing Quality:
  • The Indian government has taken stringent steps against poor-quality manufacturing, including issuing notices and cancelling licenses of pharmaceutical companies not complying with good manufacturing practices.
Vision Pharma 2047:
  • Objective: To position India as a global leader in manufacturing affordable, innovative, and quality pharmaceuticals and medical devices, aligning with the principle of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.
National Pharmaceutical Policy (2023):
  • Draft Policy: A comprehensive framework is being drafted to address challenges faced by the Indian pharmaceutical industry, focusing on fostering global leadership, promoting self-reliance, enhancing health equity and accessibility, improving regulatory efficiency, and attracting investments.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

Inscriptions discovered at the Sri Madhava Perumal Temple unveil evidence of a significant trade route dating back over 1,000 years, linking the Kongu region in western Tamil Nadu with southern Karnataka and Kerala. This finding sheds light on the historical interconnectedness and trade networks of the region during ancient times.

Relevance:

GS I: History

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Facts About the Madhava Perumal Temple:
  2. Key Facts about Hoysala Dynasty

Key Facts About the Madhava Perumal Temple:

  • Dedication: The temple is dedicated to the Hindu deity Vishnu, worshipped as Madhava Perumal. It is situated in Mylapore, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
Historical Background:
  • Mylapore was ruled by the Hoysala dynasty, particularly under King Veera Ballala III.
  • The Dhandanayaka Fort, constructed by the general of the Hoysala army, housed the temple in the Dravidian style of architecture.
  • The region later came under the rule of the Vijayanagara Empire and Tipu Sultan.
  • The Battle of Sathyamangalam during the Third Anglo-Mysore War (1790-1792) occurred near the fort.

Cultural Significance:

  • The temple is believed to be the birthplace of Peyalvar, one of the twelve Alvar saints of the 6th-9th century CE.
Submersion and Relocation:
  • The temple was largely submerged in the water-spread area of the Bhavanisagar dam in Erode district.
  • As the water level in the dam receded, the temple became visible again.
  • Inscriptions revealed the existence of the village named Thuravalur and its significance as a trunk road for traders.
  • The construction of the Bhavanisagar dam in 1948 led to the relocation of nearby residents and the shifting of temple idols in 1953.

Key Facts about Hoysala Dynasty:

Origin and Rule:

  • The Hoysalas were initially feudatories of the Chalukyas of Kalyana.
  • They established their capital in Dorasamudra (present-day Halebid) in 1060 AD.
  • Notable rulers included Vishnuvardhana, Veera Ballala II, and Veera Ballala III.

Territory and Succession:

  • The dynasty ruled over areas spanning Karnataka and Tamil Nadu in the Kaveri river valley from the 11th to the 14th century.
  • They were succeeded by the Vijayanagar dynasty.

Religious Patronage:

  • The Hoysalas patronized Hinduism, Jainism, and Buddhism.
  • King Vishnuvardhana, initially a Jain, converted to Vaishnavism under the influence of Saint Ramanuja.

Architectural Legacy:

  • Hoysala temples, built during the 12th and 13th centuries CE, exhibit unique architectural brilliance in the Vesara style.
  • Notable examples include the Chennakeshava Temple in Belur, Hoysaleshwara Temple in Halebid, and Keshava Temple of Somanathapur, recognized as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • Hoysala architecture is characterized by a blend of Bhumija, Nagara, and Karnataka Dravida styles, featuring intricately carved sculptures on soapstone.

-Source: The Hindu



Context:

In the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Russia’s utilization of the Lancet Kamikaze drone, which incorporates American AI technology, highlights complex global supply chain issues.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What are Kamikaze drones?
  2. Which countries have such drones?

What are Kamikaze drones?

  • These are small unmanned aircraft packed with explosives that can be flown directly at a tank or a group of troops that are destroyed when it hits the target and explodes.
  • The name comes from the World War 2 era’s feared Japanese kamikaze pilots, who conducted suicide attacks by intentionally crashing their explosive filled aircraft into enemy targets.
  • The modern drone versions have the capability of surpassing traditional defences to strike their targets and are also cheaper than their larger counterparts.
  • The small lethal drones are difficult to detect on radar, and through the use of facial recognition, can be programmed to hit targets without human intervention.

Which countries have such drones?

  • Some countries have admitted to using such armed drones, while others have been accused of utilising them to carry out covert attacks.
  • According to the US military, Iranian-backed militias have used small drones in 10 attacks on US bases in Iraq this year.
  • Azerbaijan had used small Turkish-made drones against the Armenian military in the last few years, shifting the prolonged stalemate over a disputed enclave decisively in Azerbaijan’s favour.
  • There have been also multiple occasions where Russia has used such suicide drones to launch attacks in Ukraine following their invasion.
  • Iranian-backed Houthi rebels also used them to blow up Saudi oil facilities in 2019.

-Source: Indian Express



Context:

Two baby girls diagnosed with kawasaki disease, a condition causing inflammation of blood vessels, were successfully treated at Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) very recently.

Relevance:

GS II: Health

About Kawasaki Disease:

  • Definition: Kawasaki disease is a rare heart condition characterized by a high fever and inflammation of the blood vessels.
  • Affected Population: It primarily affects children under the age of 5, making it one of the leading causes of heart disease in this age group.
Pathophysiology:
  • The condition involves the immune system attacking blood vessels, leading to inflammation and swelling.
  • It predominantly affects the coronary arteries, which supply blood to the heart muscle.
  • Other affected areas may include lymph nodes, skin, and the lining of the mouth, nose, and throat.
Clinical Presentation:
  • Common signs and symptoms include fever, rash, swelling of the hands and feet, redness of the eyes, swollen lymph glands in the neck, and irritation of the mouth, lips, and throat.

Historical Background:

  • Kawasaki disease was first described by Dr. Tomisaku Kawasaki in Japan in 1967.
  • The first cases outside of Japan were reported in Hawaii in 1976.

Epidemiology:

  • The exact cause of Kawasaki disease remains unknown, although it is observed that more cases occur in late winter and early spring.

Complications:

  • If left untreated, Kawasaki disease can lead to serious complications, including coronary artery aneurysms and other cardiovascular issues.
Diagnosis and Treatment:
  • Diagnosis typically involves clinical evaluation and may include blood tests, echocardiography, and other imaging studies.
  • Treatment often involves intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) and aspirin to reduce inflammation and prevent complications.

-Source: The Times of India



Context:

Recently, 3AI Holding Limited and SML India, announced the launch of ‘Hanooman’, India’s homegrown multilingual GenAI platform.

Relevance:

Facts for Prelims

About Hanooman AI Platform:

  • Overview: Hanooman AI Platform is described as the largest multilingual and most affordable Gen AI platform.
Features:
  • Multilingual Support: It supports 98 global languages, including 12 Indian languages such as Hindi, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, and others.
  • Versatility: The platform can handle various tasks, from casual chat to offering professional advice and performing complex technical tasks like coding and tutoring.
  • Multimodal Capabilities: Hanooman AI Platform offers text, voice, image, and code capabilities to users.
  • Target Sectors: It aims to cater to sectors including healthcare, governance, financial services, and education.
  • Open-Source Alternative: The platform provides an open-source alternative to commercially available Large Language Models (LLMs).

Generative Artificial Intelligence (Gen AI):

  • Definition: Gen AI refers to deep-learning models capable of generating statistically probable outputs from raw data when prompted.
  • Foundation Models: These are large AI models capable of multitasking and performing various tasks such as summarization, Q&A, and classification.
  • Minimal Training: Gen AI models, based on foundation models, require minimal training and can be adapted for specific use cases with little example data.
  • Operation: Gen AI models learn patterns and relationships in human-created content datasets, then use these patterns to generate new content.

-Source: The Hindu


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