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Current Affairs 22 July 2023


  1. Health Ministry Launches Online Portal to Report E-Cigarette Violations
  2. Amendment to All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules 1958
  3. Potential Bacterial Link to Endometriosis
  4. Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill, 2023
  5. Zombie fire

Health Ministry Launches Online Portal to Report E-Cigarette Violations


Despite the 2019 ban on e-cigarettes by the Union government, they are still being sold on e-commerce sites, including to children below 18. To address this issue, the Health Ministry has introduced an online portal to report violations under the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Act.


GS II: Government Policies and Interventions

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2019:
  2. Electronic Cigarettes
  3. Difference Between E-Cigarettes and Vapes

Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2019:

  • Title: The Act is named the Prohibition of Electronic Cigarettes (Production, Manufacture, Import, Export, Transport, Sale, Distribution, Storage, and Advertisement) Act, 2019.
  • Union Government’s Authority: The Act grants the Union government the authority over the electronic cigarettes industry.
  • Definition of Electronic Cigarette: As per the Act, an electronic cigarette is an electronic device that heats a substance, with or without nicotine and flavors, to create an aerosol for inhalation.
  • Ban on Activities: The Act prohibits all individuals and entities from producing, manufacturing, importing, exporting, advertising, transporting, selling, or distributing electronic cigarettes in India from the commencement date of the Act.
  • Penalties: Anyone found guilty of engaging in the above-mentioned activities related to electronic cigarettes may face punishment, including imprisonment for up to one year or a fine of up to one lakh rupees, or both.

Electronic Cigarettes:

An electronic cigarette, or e-cigarette, is a device shaped like a cigarette, cigar, or pen that does not contain tobacco. It operates using a battery and contains a solution of nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals, which can be inhaled into the lungs as a mist.

Safety Concerns:
  • Nicotine Content: Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which is addictive and potentially harmful to the developing fetus and young adults’ brain development.
  • Chemicals in Aerosol: E-cigarette aerosol can contain harmful chemicals that may be detrimental to lung health.
  • Youth Use: E-cigarette use among youth is associated with an increased likelihood of using other tobacco products.

Difference Between E-Cigarettes and Vapes:


  • Look like traditional cigarettes.
  • Usually disposable after use.
  • One-piece unit.

Vapes (Vape Pens):

  • Rechargeable battery and refillable tank.
  • Can be used multiple times by refilling with different e-liquids.

-Source: The Hindu

Amendment to All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules 1958


The Central government has introduced amendments to the Rules 1958, renaming them as Rules 2023. The amendments primarily concern the retirement benefits of IAS, IPS, and IFoS pensioners, with a specific focus on those from intelligence or security-related organizations.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Changes made by the 2023 Rule to All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules
  2. Effect of Changed Rules
  3. All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules, 1958

Changes made by the 2023 Rule to All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules:

Empowering Central Government:

  • The central government gains the authority to take action against IAS, IPS, and IFoS pensioners.
  • It can withhold or withdraw their pension even without a reference from the state government.
  • This applies when pensioners are found guilty of grave misconduct or convicted of a serious crime.

Final Decision:

  • The amended rules emphasize that the decision of the Central Government on withholding or withdrawing pension will be deemed final.

Definitions of ‘Grave Misconduct’ and ‘Serious Crime’:

  • The new rules include ‘grave misconduct’ such as the unauthorized disclosure of information under the Official Secrets Act.
  • ‘Serious crime’ covers offenses involving the Official Secrets Act.

Earlier Rule Modification:

  • Rule 3(3) in the All-India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules, 1958, is amended.
  • The rule previously required a reference from the State Government to withhold or withdraw pension.

Restrictions on Writings:

  • Members of intelligence or security-related organizations with prior experience in such roles are restricted from writing or publishing without clearance from their respective organization heads.

Effect of Changed Rules:

Streamlined Action:

  • The Centre can now act promptly against pensioners involved in grave misconduct or convicted of serious crimes without waiting for a reference from the state government.
  • In cases where the state government doesn’t provide such references, the central government can initiate action independently.

Restrictions on Expression:

  • Pensioners from security and intelligence organizations will face consequences for disclosing sensitive information through media, writings, or books.

Weakening State’s Control:

  • The proposed amendment may weaken the State’s political control over the bureaucracy.

Impact on Governance:

  • Effective governance may be hampered due to the discretionary powers granted to the central government.
  • It could lead to legal and administrative disputes and create uncertainties for retired officers.

All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement Benefits) Rules, 1958

  • Empowering Provision: Section 3 of the All-India Services Act, 1951(61 of 1951) grants authority to the Central Government, after consulting with State Governments, to create these rules.
  • Applicability: The rules are applicable to individuals who retired from the Service on or after October 29, 1951.
  • Exceptions: The rules do not apply to Service members promoted from State Services or appointed under specific schemes like the Indian Administrative Service (Extension to States) Scheme or the Indian Police Service.
  • Cut-off Date: Individuals appointed to the service on or after January 1, 2004, are not covered by these rules.

-Source: Indian Express

Potential Bacterial Link to Endometriosis


Despite the prevalence of Endometriosis, the underlying causes and mechanisms of endometriosis remain unclear. However, a recent study has shed light on a potential link between a specific bacteria and the development and aggravation of endometriosis.


GS II: Health

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Endometriosis: Causes and Symptoms
  2. Bacterial Link to Endometriosis: Fusobacterium Infection

Endometriosis: Causes and Symptoms

  • Endometriosis is a chronic condition affecting approximately one in 10 women worldwide.
  • It involves the abnormal growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, leading to lesions on pelvic organs. The exact cause of endometriosis is still not fully understood.
  • Common symptoms include chronic pain during periods, pelvic pain, bloating, fatigue, and infertility.
Available Treatments for Endometriosis

Hormonal Therapy: Birth control pills or hormone-containing intrauterine devices can help manage endometrial tissue growth.

Surgery: Laparoscopic surgery can be performed to remove or destroy endometrial growths.

Fertility Treatment: Assisted reproductive technologies like in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be considered for women facing fertility issues.

Bacterial Link to Endometriosis: Fusobacterium Infection

  • Fusobacterium, a bacterial species commonly found in the mouth and gut, has been linked to endometriosis.
  • This bacterium is known to cause dental plaque, gum disease, appendicitis, and inflammatory bowel disease. Fusobacterium can spread to other parts of the body through the bloodstream or sexual contact, causing infections in various organs, including the reproductive organs.
  • A research study involving 155 women, 79 with endometriosis and 76 without, found Fusobacterium in 64% of the women with endometriosis compared to only 7% without the condition.
  • Targeting Fusobacterium with antibiotics or probiotics could potentially offer new treatment options for endometriosis, but further research is required to establish a clear causal relationship and its impact on different women with varying symptoms and severity of the condition.

-Source: The Hindu

Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill, 2023


The Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill, 2023, introduced by the Rajasthan government, aims to provide additional income support to people in the state. The Bill seeks to help citizens cope with inflation and improve their financial stability.


GS II: Polity and Governance

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill, 2023: Key Components
  2. Distinguishing Features of Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill, 2023 from Cash Transfer Schemes
  3. Criticism against the Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill, 2023

Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill, 2023: Key Components

Right to Minimum Guaranteed Income:
  • Every adult citizen will be guaranteed a minimum income for 125 days a year.
  • Minimum income will be provided through Indira Gandhi Shahri Rozgar Guarantee Yojana in urban areas and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in rural areas.
  • 25 additional days of employment will be added to MGNREGA’s existing 100 days for rural areas.
Right to Guaranteed Employment:
  • Minimum wages will be paid weekly or fortnightly after completing work in urban and rural employment schemes.
  • Job sites will be located within a 5-kilometer radius of the registered job card address.
  • If employment is not provided within 15 days of application, applicants will receive a weekly unemployment allowance, not later than a fortnight.
Right to Guaranteed Social Security Pension:
  • Special provisions for pensions to categories like old age, specially abled, widows, and single women.
  • Pensions will see an annual increase of 15% in two installments, starting from the financial year 2024-2025.

Distinguishing Features of Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill, 2023 from Cash Transfer Schemes:

  • Comprehensive Guarantee: The Bill legally guarantees both minimum income support and guaranteed employment and pensions, reflecting Mahatma Gandhi’s vision of comprehensive welfare measures. In contrast, regular cash transfer schemes may focus solely on direct cash transfers without employment guarantees or comprehensive pension provisions.
  • Universal Coverage: The Bill covers all families in the state, providing employment and pension support to various vulnerable groups. Cash transfer schemes may have limited coverage, targeting specific beneficiaries based on certain criteria.
  • Annual Increment in Pensions: The Bill includes an annual increment in pensions, ensuring that the pension amount keeps pace with inflation. Cash transfer schemes may not have such provisions, leading to potential challenges in maintaining the real value of transferred amounts over time.
  • Holistic Social Security Approach: The Bill adopts a comprehensive approach towards social security, aiming to benefit vulnerable sections of society. In contrast, cash transfer schemes may focus on addressing specific immediate needs without necessarily considering the broader welfare of individuals and families.

Criticism against the Rajasthan Minimum Guaranteed Income Bill, 2023:

  • Financial Strain: Some critics argue that the additional expenditure of Rs 2,500 crore per year to implement the Bill’s provisions may strain the state’s finances. They are concerned about the feasibility of sustaining such a significant financial commitment in the long run.
  • Sustainability Concerns: The critics raise questions about the long-term sustainability of the scheme. They worry that the financial burden of providing minimum income support, guaranteed employment, and pensions to all eligible citizens may become unsustainable over time.
  • Taxpayer Burden: The potential financial burden of the Bill raises concerns among critics about its impact on taxpayers. They worry that the increased expenditure may lead to higher taxes or budgetary cuts in other essential sectors, affecting overall economic growth and development.

-Source: Indian Express

Zombie Fire


As global temperatures rise, fires are also spreading farther north and into the Arctic , which is causing an increase in “zombie fires.”


GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Zombie Fire
  2. Impact

Zombie Fire

  • Zombie fires refer to fires that smoulder under the ground, often in carbon-rich peat, from a previous growing season.
  • These fires burn at lower temperatures, leading to the production of more smoke.
  • Changing climate conditions, particularly the rapid warming of the Arctic, contribute to the occurrence of zombie fires.
  • Rising temperatures in the Arctic, known as Arctic amplification, dry up organic-rich soils, making them prone to slow-burning fires.
  • Changes in atmospheric circulation result in extreme heat, vegetation drying out, reduced soil moisture, and increased frequency of lightning strikes, all of which can spark wildfires.


  • The Arctic’s warming and the northward movement of fires lead to accelerated burning of peat soils rich in dead plant material.
  • Burning peat removes the insulating layer over permafrost, the region’s frozen carbon-rich soil.
  • The Arctic’s peat and permafrost ecosystems store twice as much carbon as the atmosphere, making them highly vulnerable to fire-induced carbon release.

-Source: Down To Earth

December 2023