Contents

  1. Rising trade, and rising tensions: India China
  2. Citizens manipulated on social media, FB’s selective curbs
  3. NDPS Act 1985 and possession of drugs explained
  4. Disasters in Western Ghats
  5. Reasons for India’s bouts of extreme weather
  6. Jammu and Kashmir and the Public Safety Act (PSA)
  7. Insulin and tissue health, 100 years of insulin discovery

Rising trade, and rising tensions: India China

Context:

India’s trade with China is rising to record levels in 2021 and set to cross the $100-billion mark for the first time. Hence, New Delhi faces a new challenge as it looks to recalibrate relations amid a more than year-long border crisis while remaining locked in a deep commercial embrace.

On the investment front, India has imposed certain curbs on Chinese companies and Chinese firms have been kept out of 5G trials – yet, Trade ties have boomed to record levels during 2020-21: Therefore, two seemingly contradictory trends in the bilateral relations between India and China.

Relevance:

GS-II: International Relations (India’s Neighbors, India’s Foreign Policy, Foreign Trade, Foreign Policies affecting India’s Interests)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Recent data on trade between India and China
  2. Significance and Concerns regarding trade with China for India
  3. Understanding what we import and what we export to China

Recent data on trade between India and China

  • India’s increase of trade with China by more than 60% in the first half of 2021 is the highest increase among China’s major trade partners — with total two-way trade surpassing the pre-pandemic levels.
  • India’s imports, driven by record purchases of medical supplies increased by more than 60% and higher than the first-half 2019 figure.
  • India’s exports to China climbed by almost 70% which is also the highest figure on record for the first half of any year.
  • The trade deficit for India with China after the first six months of 2021 stood at $28.04 billion.

Significance and Concerns regarding trade with China for India

  • Given the huge economic market by China, the India-China relationship has a huge potential for trade ties for Indian companies. The pharmaceutical sector in particular has huge potential yet to be realised.
  • However, there is a risk of India becoming increasingly dependent on China: India imports up to 70% of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) from China, more than 90% of solar components and a large share of auto components as well. India’s trade deficit in bilateral trade relations has only increased over the years.
  • Trade ties booming to record levels amid persistent border crisis with China does not augur well for India’s strategic interests. The deepening commercial relations pose challenges for India which is looking to recalibrate relations with China amid the border crisis.
  • India’s goods and services also face a number of market access impediments in China, including non-tariff barriers in critical segments like agricultural products, pharmaceuticals, IT/ITES, etc.

Understanding what we import and what we export to China

  • India’s exports to China have risen and imports have fallen over the last few years and a closer look at the items traded between the two countries shows the unequal bilateral trade.
  • Trade numbers between 2014-15 and 2019-20 show that export of low-value raw materials and import of high-value manufactured goods has characterised India’s trade relationship with China, akin to the ties the country had with its colonial ruler Britain in the years before Independence, said trade experts.
  • This “colonial pattern” of trade has meant that India’s exports to China over the last six years have been only fifth in value of India’s imports from China.
  • While average exports from China have been around $13 billion in the six years 2014-20, the average value of imports from China has been $66 billion in the period.
  • India’s exports have ranged from food items like fish and spices to essential inputs like iron ores, granite stones, and petroleum products.
  • India’s major exports to China in the last six years were iron ore, petroleum fuels, organic chemicals, refined copper and cotton yarn. Among food items, some of the other major items exported were fish and seafood, pepper and vegetable oils and fats. Blocks of granite and other building stones and raw cotton were also among exports.
  • India’s imports from China have been dominated by electrical machinery and equipment, and other mechanical appliances. India’s major imports from China have been of items like automatic data processing machines and units, telephone equipment and video phones, electronic circuits, transistors and semiconductor devices, antibiotics, heterocyclic compounds including nitrogen, fertilisers, sound recording devices and TV cameras, automobile components and accessories and project goods.

-Source: The Hindu


Citizens manipulated on social media, FB’s selective curbs

Context:

Journalist Maria Ressa from the Philippines is one of two journalists to have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2021, along with Russian Editor Dmitry Muratov. Maria Ressa recently spoke about journalism in the age of authoritarianism, big tech and terrorism.

Facebook in India has been selective in curbing hate speech, misinformation and inflammatory posts, particularly anti-Muslim content, according to leaked documents obtained by a news agency company.

Relevance:

GS-III: Science and Technology (IT & Computers, social media), GS-II: Governance (Government Policies and Innovations, Accountability and Transparency, Issues Arising Out of the Design and Implementation of Policies)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What the Nobel Laureate said about Social Media Manipulation
  2. About Facebook’s selective curbing
  3. Issues of Social Media Misuse
  4. Extras: Pros of Social Media for the Youth
  5. Extras: Cons of Social Media for Youth

What the Nobel Laureate said about Social Media Manipulation

  • In the recent years, journalists are losing their gatekeeping powers to social media and now the use of social media lead to an erosion of trust in mainstream media.
  • When citizens are being manipulated by parties on social media, they begin to distrust everything.
  • In 2021, an Oxford University research Programme on Democracy and Technology found that the “cheap armies on social media” (people working for leaders etc., to spread content on social media) are rolling back democracy in 81 countries around the world.

How this manipulation on Social Media works:

  • Studies now have shown us that lies laced with anger can be spread faster and further than facts.
  • As human beings, we have a lot more in common than we realise because the very same platforms are using an algorithmic manipulation in order to change what we think, to change how we feel.
  • According to one biologist who studied this behaviour, our greatest crisis comes from “palaeolithic emotions, medieval institutions and God-like technology”. The technology is God-like because social media has become a behaviour modification system.
  • With a lack of accountability, and the potential to make significant amounts of money, it is a business model that takes our data and uses it to manipulate us.

About Facebook’s selective curbing

  • From research as recent as March of 2021 to Facebook’s memos that date back to 2019, the internal company documents on India highlight Facebook’s constant struggles in quashing abusive content on its platforms in the world’s biggest democracy and the company’s largest growth market.
  • Communal and religious tensions in India have a history of boiling over on social media and stoking violence. The files show that Facebook has been aware of the problems for years, raising questions over whether it has done enough to address these issues.
  • According to the documents, Facebook saw India as one of the most “at risk countries” in the world and identified both Hindi and Bengali languages as priorities for “automation on violating hostile speech.” Yet, Facebook didn’t have enough local language moderators or content-flagging in place to stop misinformation that at times led to real-world violence.
  • Facebook has said that Hate speech against marginalised groups, including Muslims, is on the rise globally and that it is improving enforcement and is committed to updating its policies as hate speech evolves online.

Issues of Social Media Misuse

  • Paradoxical Utility- It is true that social media is effective in galvanizing democracy. Social and civil right activists use this platform quite often in garnering attention on the social issues and instances of injustice. However, social media also allows fringe sites and hate groups, including peddlers of conspiracies, to reach audiences far broader than their core readership.
  • Fake narratives on online platforms have real life implications. For example, recently in India, online rumours, regarding child traffickers, through popular messaging platform WhatsApp, led to a spate of lynchings in rural areas.
  • It enables the communalising agents to polarise people for electoral gains. For example, during the election campaign of recently conducted Delhi legislative assembly elections, a leader enticed crowds with the use of communalising and violence on social media platforms. Following this, a young man translated these words into reality by opening fire on protesters.
  • Social media platforms’ artificial intelligence based algorithms that filter out hate speeches are not adapted to local languages. Also, the companies have invested little in staff fluent in them.

Extras: Pros of Social Media for the Youth

  • Platforms like Facebook and Twitter give teens and young adults a sense of belonging and acceptance. This is particularly true for those who feel isolated or marginalized, such as LGBTQ youth.
  • Social media outlets provide students with a platform to share their creativity and their ideas with a neutral audience and get an honest response. The response becomes a guide for them to better shape their skills if they are looking to pursue that skill professionally.
  • Social media can help youth to enhance their confidence and creativity. It connects young people with a world of ideas and a world of possibilities. These platforms encourage students to exercise their creative skills in terms of engaging with their friends and their general audience.
  • Social networks can create peer motivation and inspire young people to develop new and healthy habits. Teens can also find positive role models online.
  • Adolescent years are a time when youth are attempting to master their identities and finding their place in society. Social media provides a forum for teens to practice skills related to identity development. A study has shown that young people who express their opinions on social media experience increased well-being.
  • Mental health experts and researchers can use social media to collect data that subsequently informs research. In addition, therapists and other professionals can network with each other within online communities, thereby expanding their knowledge and reach.
  • Social media has allowed teens to develop a voice of advocacy. This can be a very positive influence when exposed to the right outlets.

Extras: Cons of Social Media for Youth

  • Studies have found close links between social media usage and teen depression. As per a study, youth with moderate to severe depressive symptoms were nearly twice as likely to use social media almost constantly.
  • Teenagers on social media spend much of their time observing the lives and images of their peers. This leads to constant comparisons, which can damage self-esteem and body image, exacerbating depression and anxiety among adolescents.
  • Over usage of social media has resulted in less time being spent on doing healthy, real-world activities. sleep deprivation due to staying up late to continue scrolling through their social media feeds, a habit known as vamping.
  • Adolescence is a key time for developing social skills. However, as teens spend less time with their friends face-to-face, they have fewer opportunities to practise them.
  • Scientists have found that teen social media overuse creates a stimulation pattern similar to the pattern created by other addictive behaviors.
  • Social media allows reaffirmation of prejudices and stereotypes they have about others. This is exacerbated by meeting like-minded people online, giving them a sense of community.
  • Cyberbullying or Trolling has posed serious problems and has even led to cases of teenage suicides. Moreover, even teens who commit acts of cyberbullying are more likely to report substance use, aggression, and delinquent behaviors.
  • A study in USA found that nearly half of all American children surveyed indicate that they have been made to feel uncomfortable, been bullied, or had an interaction of a sexual nature while online. In another study, it was found that over 50 percent of the victims of online sexual exploitation are between the ages of 12 and 15.

-Source: The Hindu


NDPS Act 1985 and possession of drugs explained

Context:

Recently, a special court in Mumbai denied bail to Aryan Khan, son of Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan, even though the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) did not find any drugs on him during his arrest.

Relevance:

GS-II: Social Justice and Governance (Government Policies and Interventions, Issues Arising Out of the Design and Implementation of Policies), GS-III: Internal Security Challenges (Organized Crime and Terrorism)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985
  2. Key provisions and other Highlights of the NDPS act
  3. Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)

Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985

  • The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 prohibits a person the production/manufacturing/cultivation, possession, sale, purchasing, transport, storage, and/or consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance. (India had no legislation regarding narcotics until 1985.)
  • The Act extends to the whole of India and it applies also to all Indian citizens outside India and to all persons on ships and aircraft registered in India.
  • The Act is designed to fulfill India’s treaty obligations – India is a signatory to the United Nations (UN) Single Convention on Narcotics Drugs 1961, the Convention on Psychotropic Substances, 1971 and the Convention on Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances, 1988.
  • The Narcotics Control Bureau was set up under the act with effect from 1986.
  • The Act is in line with the DPSP is Article 47 of the Constitution: Article 47 of The Constitution of India is one of the Directive Principles which directs the State to raise the level of nutrition and the standard of living and to improve public health as among its primary duties and, in particular, the State shall endeavour to bring about prohibition of intoxicating drinks and drugs which are injurious to health

Key provisions and other Highlights of the NDPS act

  • The Act provides stringent provisions for the control and regulation of operations relating to narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
  • It also provides for forfeiture of property derived from, or used in, illicit traffic in narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances.
  • It also provides for death penalty in some cases where a person is a repeat offender.
  • Penalties depend on the quantity of drugs involved. The Centre has notified the small and commercial quantities for each drug.
  • Addicts volunteering for treatment enjoy immunity from prosecution.
  • According to the act: Narcotic drugs include coca leaf, cannabis, opium and poppy straw while the psychotropic substances refer to any natural or synthetic material or any salt or preparation that is protected by the Psychotropic Substances Convention of 1971.
  • All the offences under the Act are non-bailable and the property acquired from a person from drug-related offences can be seized, frozen and forfeited by the government, provided that the offender has been convicted under the Act.

Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)

  • The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) is a statutory body, under the Ministry of Home Affairs, established under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985.
  • NCB is tasked with combating drug trafficking and the use of illegal substances under the provisions of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.
  • The NCB is responsible for coordination with the Indian state governments and other central departments, implementation of India’s international obligations with regard to drug trafficking, and assisting international and foreign drug law enforcement agencies.

Data on Drug Abuse problem in India: Report by AIIMS

  • In terms of users, India’s illicit drug markets are mostly dominated by cannabis and opioids. Alcohol is the most abused substance in India.
  • The use of illegal cannabis in India is much lower than the global average – less than one-third. However, opioid use is three times higher than the worldwide average.
  • Cannabis in the form of bhang is legal in India, whereas its other forms – ganja (marijuana) and charas (hashish) – are illegal. Opioids are sold as opium (doda, phukki or poppy husk), heroin (brown sugar, smack) and pharma opioids.
  • India reported more than 2 crore opioid users in 2018, which was a five-fold jump in 14 years.
  • The maximum growth was reported in consumption of heroin.
  • India has more than 1 crore sedative users, the maximum number being in Uttar Pradesh, followed by Maharashtra, Punjab and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Some drug users, relatively less in number, are taking the inhalational route and psychoactive drugs.
  • Inhalants are the only drug category prevalent among children. More than 1% of children consume inhalants. Nearly 18 lakh adults and 4.6 lakh children are in the badly-addicted category.
  • Cocaine is the less popular illicit drug in India with more than 10 lakh users. Being pretty expensive, it is mostly used by the well-off.
  • Another drug category, hallucinogens, is used in limited circles, with over 12 lakh users in this category, of which one-third are in the harmful or dependent category.
  • Findings show there are an estimated 8.5 lakh people who inject drugs (PWID) in India. Almost half of them inject heroin, while the same proportion is using injectable pharmaceutical opioids.

-Source: The Hindu


Disasters in Western Ghats

Context:

Flash floods and landslides in the aftermath of heavy rains in the hilly regions of the Western Ghats in central Kerala districts of Kottayam, Idukki and Pathanamthitta has resulted in the loss of lives and property.

Relevance:

GS-III: Disaster and Management (Natural and Anthropogenic Disasters, Disaster Management in India), GS-I: Geography (Important Geophysical phenomena)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Western Ghats
  2. Significance of Western Ghats
  3. Threats to Western Ghats ecology
  4. Madhav Gadgil committee
  5. Kasturirangan Committee
  6. Way Forward
  7. Prelims Fact Bits on Western Ghats

About the Western Ghats

  • The Western Ghats (also known as Sahyadri) is a mountain chain that runs almost parallel to India’s western coast. It runs to a length of 1,600 km, starting from the mouth of the river Tapti near the border of Gujarat and Maharashtra to Kanyakumari, the southernmost tip of India in Tamil Nadu.
  • It traverses the 6 states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat.
  • It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is one of the eight “hottest hot-spots” of biological diversity in the world.
  • According to UNESCO, the Western Ghats are older than the Himalayas.

Significance of Western Ghats

  1. A total of thirty-nine areas in the Western Ghats, including national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and reserve forests, were designated as world heritage sites in 2012 – twenty in Kerala, ten in Karnataka, five in Tamil Nadu and four in Maharashtra.
  2. The Western Ghats is home to a vast biological diversity of flora, fauna, bird, amphibian, reptile and fish species including hundreds of globally threatened species. Many of these species are also endemic to the region. Though covering an area of 180,000 sq.km, or just under 6 per cent of the land area of India, the Western Ghats contain more than 30 per cent of all the plant, fish, herpeto-fauna, bird, and mammal species found in India.
  3. They influence Indian monsoon weather patterns by intercepting the rain-laden monsoon winds that sweep in from the south-west during late summer.
  4. The dense forests also contribute to the precipitation of the area by acting as a substrate for condensation of moist rising orographic winds from the sea. The Western Ghats form one of the four watersheds of India, feeding the perennial rivers of India. Approximately 245 million people live in the peninsular Indian states that receive most of their water supply from rivers originating in the Western Ghats. It feeds a large number of perennial rivers of peninsular India including the three major eastward-flowing rivers Godavari, Krishna, and Kaveri.
  5. The forests of Western Ghats play a significant and important ecological function in the sequestration of atmospheric CO2 and hence have an important role in climate change. They account for a substantial proportion of carbon sequestration from the Indian forests.
  6. The Western Ghats include a diversity of medicinal plants and important genetic resources such as the wild relatives of grains, fruit and spices.
  7. The Western Ghats are rich in mineral resources like iron, manganese and bauxite ores in parts of their ranges.
  8. The Western Ghats host important plantation crops like pepper and cardamom, which are native to the evergreen forests of the Western Ghats. It also hosts large scale plantations of tea, coffee, oil palm and rubber. Also, the forests of Western Ghats are an important source of timber and support a large number of forest-based industries such as paper, plywood, poly-fibres and matchwood.
  9. The Western Ghats host a number of tourist destinations drawing tourists not only from India but also from foreign nations and thus they contribute to the economy of the host states.

Threats to Western Ghats ecology

  • Developmental activities: Large dam projects in the Western Ghats have resulted in significant environmental damage. This has led to large scale deforestation and submergence of pristine forests. Also, the conversion of forest land into agricultural land or for commercial purposes like tourism has resulted in shrinkage of the habitat for the endemic species of the region. This has had significant negative effects on biodiversity.
  • Resource extraction: Illegal logging for timber and livestock grazing within and bordering protected areas by high densities of livestock is leading to habitat degradation across the Western Ghats.
  • Mining activity: Environmentally unsustainable mining activities have increased the vulnerability of the fragile ecosystem to landslides and environmental pollution. Sand mining is of particular concern.
  • Climate change: Global warming and climate change have led to big variations in the duration and intensity of rainfalls in the region. This is giving rise to increased instances and intensity of extreme weather events in the region.

Madhav Gadgil committee

  • The Ministry of Environment & Forests had constituted the Western Ghats Ecology Expert Panel (WGEEP) under the Chairmanship of Madhav Gadgil in 2010 to recommend measures for the management of the ecologically sensitive Western Ghats region.
  • The panel took a strong stance in favour of ecological conservation efforts of the Western Ghats region.
  • It designated the entire Western Ghats as an Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA).
  • It recommended the establishment of a Western Ghats Ecology Authority, as a statutory authority under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, with the powers under Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.
  • It sought to have strict regulation of developmental activities like dam construction, mining.
  • It specified a bottom-up approach for governance of the environment with the establishment of fully empowered Biodiversity Management Committees in all local bodies.

Kasturirangan Committee

  • The Gadgil committee report was criticised for being too environment friendly and impractical to implement. The states opposed the report based on the stand that it would hamper the development process of the states. In this context, the Kasturirangan committee was constituted to examine the WGEEP report.
  • Its mandate was to give special attention to “the preservation of the precious biodiversity” and “the rights, needs and development aspirations of the local and indigenous people”.
  • The Kasturirangan committee took a more moderate stance on the conservation issue. Unlike Gadgil Committee, it designated only 37% of the Western Ghats as ESA. It sought to regulate developmental activities mainly in the ESA only.

Way Forward

  • A balance between conservation efforts and development should be sought. The focus should be on sustainable economic growth.
  • There is the need for exempting areas of very high susceptibility in the Western Ghats from any types of constructions while urging the government and the local communities to increase the vegetative cover as a first defence against the landslide vulnerability with a high emphasis on nature-based solutions.

Prelims Fact Bits on Western Ghats

  1. Western Ghats are continuous range of mountains (Gaps exist, but not like the Eastern Ghats)
  2. Major gaps in the range are the Goa Gap, between the Maharashtra and Karnataka sections, and the Palghat Gap on the Tamil Nadu and Kerala border between the Nilgiri Hills and the Anaimalai Hills.
  3. The Western Ghats meet the Eastern Ghats at the Nilgiri mountains in north-western Tamil Nadu.
  4. Evergreen Forests are found here.
  5. Anaimudi is the highest peak.
  6. Western Ghats are older than Himalayas.
  7. Nilgiri Biosphere is the most famous Biosphere reserve in WG.
  8. Local Names for western ghats are: Sahyadri in Maharashtra, Nilgiri hills in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, Anaimalai hills and Cardamom hills in Kerala.
  9. The northern portion of the narrow coastal plain between the Western Ghats and the Arabian Sea is known as the Konkan, the central portion is called Kanara and the southern portion is called Malabar.

-Source: The Hindu


Reasons for India’s bouts of extreme weather

Context:

Kerala and Uttarakhand have received incessant rainfall in October 2021 leading to doubts over the potential role of climate change behind these extreme weather events. In both these States and other states as well, over the last few years, there have been variations in the pattern and intensity of rainfall.

Relevance:

GS-III: Environment and Ecology (Climate Change and its Impact, Conservation of Environment, Effects of Environmental Pollution), GS-III: Disaster and Management (Natural and Anthropogenic Disasters, Disaster Management in India)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Recent extreme rainfall events
  2. Cause of Extreme Rainfall Events
  3. Factors contributing to torrential rains
  4. Connection with global warming

Recent extreme rainfall events

  • Several parts of the western Konkan coast and the southern peninsula were seeing instances of extreme rainfall with the ‘Southern Peninsula’ region seeing almost 30% more rain than normal during the June-July period.
  • Recently, Mahabaleshwar in western Maharashtra reported over 60cm of rainfall in just one day which “exceeded its all-time record” according to the IMD.
  • Rainfall, the IMD said the torrential rains over the Konkan coast was likely to continue for the rest of the week due to the position of the monsoon trough.
  • July and August are the most important monsoon months contributing over two-third of the seasonal rainfall and central India as well as the south Peninsula are expected to see most of the rainfall during this interim.
  • However, climate scientists have warned that monsoon patterns, overall have been changing.

Cause of Extreme Rainfall Events

  • The frequency and strength of cyclones over the Arabian Sea has increased in the last two decades.
  • There is a 52% increase in the frequency of cyclones over Arabian Sea from 2001-2019 and 8% decrease over Bay of Bengal compared to 1982-2002, when historically most cyclones have been in Bay of Bengal, according to a study
  • Even the duration of these cyclones has increased by 80%. More cyclones were bringing in more moisture from the Arabian Sea and contributing to extreme rainfall events.

Factors contributing to torrential rains

  • There have been two rain-bearing ‘low pressure systems’ that are active in the Arabian Sea as well as the Bay of Bengal. The low pressure system in the Arabian Sea has contributed significantly to the heavy rain in Kerala. Winds from the Bay of Bengal low pressure system have been reaching as far as Uttarakhand and contributing to rainfall in northern parts of India.
  • Western disturbances are periodic influxes of moisture-laden clouds from the Mediterranean which are common during winter. String western disturbances are contributing to heavy rain in northern India.
  • This year, the monsoon began its retreat on early October and though it was expected to fully retreat by mid-October, it is yet to completely withdraw, with the associated clouds still lingering on and thus contributing to continued rainfall activity. October is the month when the southwest monsoon entirely retreats from India.

Connection with global warming

  • The generation of low pressure systems and the western disturbances are connected to the larger pattern of global warming.
  • Global warming is leading to increased sea temperatures in general giving rise to enhanced cyclonic activities. The heating effect has been more intense in the Arabian Sea, thus leading to significant cyclonic activity in the Arabian Sea region.
  • Overall elevated temperatures are contributing to warmer waters in the Arctic Ocean and is subsequently drawing colder air from the poles with greater intensity. This added to the increased moisture in the atmosphere is leading to more intense western disturbance activity over north India. As air temperature increases, air can hold more water molecules.
  • Warming oceans are contributing to intense spells of rainfall in pockets followed by long rainless spells. This is being considered as one of the most visible manifestations of climate change.

-Source: The Hindu


Jammu and Kashmir and the Public Safety Act (PSA)

Context:

Post-civilian killings and in the days running up to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Srinagar – around 700 people have been detained in Jammu and Kashmir, including a few under the stringent Public Safety Act (PSA).

Relevance:

GS-II: Governance (Government Policies and Innovations, Issues Arising Out of the Design and Implementation of Policies)

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. About the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA), 1978
  2. What are some concerns with the PSA?
  3. SC’s views on the Public Safety Act

About the Jammu & Kashmir Public Safety Act (PSA), 1978

  • The Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act, 1978 (PSA) is a preventive detention law applying only to Jammu and Kashmir. It is very similar to the National Security Act that is used by the central and other state governments of India for preventive detention.
  • Under the PSA, an individual can be detained on the basis of an executive order for a maximum of two years, without trial, if their act is prejudicial to the security of the State or the maintenance of public order.
  • The Detention order is passed either by the Divisional Commissioner or the District Magistrate.
  • The only way the administrative preventive detention order can be challenged is through a habeas corpus petition filed by relatives of the detained person.
  • The High Court and the Supreme Court have jurisdiction to hear such petitions and pass a final order seeking quashing of the PSA.
  • However, if the order is quashed, there is no bar on the government passing another detention order under the PSA and detaining the person again.
  • There can be no prosecution or any legal proceeding against the official who has passed the order.

What are some concerns with the PSA?

  • Detention Without Trial: The PSA allows for the detention of a person without a formal charge and without trial. It can be slapped on a person already in police custody; on someone immediately after being granted bail by a court. Unlike in normal circumstances, a person who is detained under the PSA need not be produced before a magistrate within 24 hours of the detention.
  • No Right to File Bail Application: The detained person does not have the right to move a bail application before the court, and cannot engage any lawyer to represent him or her before the detaining authority.
  • Section 8 of the PSA: It provides a vast number of reasons for detention, ranging from “promoting, propagating, or attempting to create, feelings of enmity or hatred or disharmony on grounds of religion, race, caste, community, or region” to incitement, instigation, abetment and actual commission of such acts. It leaves it to district collectors or district magistrates to decide, giving a 12-day period within which an advisory board has to approve the detention.
  • No Distinction Between Minor and Major Offences: It allows detention for up to 1 year for disturbance of public order and 2 years for actions prejudicial to the security of the State.

SC’s views on the Public Safety Act

  • The Supreme Court (SC) has held that while detaining a person under the PSA, the DM has a legal obligation to analyse all the circumstances before depriving that person of his/her personal liberty.
  • It has also held that when a person already under police custody is slapped with the PSA, the DM has to record “compelling reasons” for detaining that person.
  • While the DM can detain a person multiple times under the PSA, he or she has to produce fresh facts while passing the subsequent detention order.
  • Also, all the material on the basis of which the detention order has been passed, should be provided to the detained person for making an effective representation.
  • The grounds of detention have to explain and communicate to the person in the language understood by the detained person.

-Source: The Hindu


Insulin and tissue health, 100 years of insulin discovery

Context:

In a study that examined the effect of insulin – researchers have uncovered how insulin amounts shape the flow of information through the signalling network. It showed that abnormalities in insulin signalling impacts health and survival of tissues.

2021 is a year to celebrate, as it marks the centenary of the discovery of insulin in 1921 at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Relevance:

Prelims, GS-III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is Diabetes?
  2. Basics of Insulin and Glucagon
  3. Insulin’s role in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
  4. What is Human Insulin?

What is Diabetes?

  • Diabetes is a chronic, progressive non-communicable disease (NCD) characterized by elevated levels of blood sugar (blood glucose).
  • It occurs when:
  • the pancreas does not produce enough of the insulin hormone, which regulates blood sugar
  • the body cannot effectively use the Insulin it produces.
  • Diabetes is a major cause of blindness, kidney failure, heart attacks, stroke and lower limb amputation.
  • Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body’s systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.
  • There are 2 types od diabetes:
    1. Type 1 diabetes occurs when the body doesn’t make enough insulin,
    2. Type 2 diabetesoccurs when the body doesn’t make or use insulin very well, causing glucose to remain in the blood, which can lead to serious problems.
  • The main symptom of diabetes is excess fatigue, frequent urination, dysentery, excessive thirst, etc.
  • Diabetes can also be genetic, but its main cause is obesity, lack of adequate nutrition, etc.
  • People with type 1 diabetes require insulin, people with type 2 diabetes can be treated with oral medication, but may also require insulin; blood pressure control; and foot care.

Basics of Insulin and Glucagon

  • Insulin and glucagon are hormones that help regulate the body’s glucose levels.
  • Insulin helps store glucose in the liver, fat, and muscles and also regulates the body’s metabolism of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. Insulin also assists in breaking down fats or proteins for energy.
  • The pancreas is an organ behind the stomach that is the main source of insulin in the body. Clusters of cells in the pancreas called islets produce the hormone and determine the amount based on blood glucose levels in the body.
  • The higher the level of glucose, the more insulin goes into production to balance sugar levels in the blood.
  • When the body digests food rich in carbohydrates, glucose is released into the bloodstream. This leads to an increase in blood glucose levels in the body. Most of this glucose is used up to provide energy to the cells. The excess glucose in the bloodstream is converted into glycogen and absorbed by the liver and muscle cells to be used later.
  • Several hours after a meal, the blood glucose levels in the body are low. This signals the pancreas to secrete glucagon, which signals the liver and muscle cells to convert the glycogen back to glucose, which is then readily absorbed by the other cells to produce energy.

Insulin’s role in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes

  • In some people, the immune system attacks the islets, and they cease to produce insulin or do not produce enough. When this occurs, blood glucose stays in the blood and cells cannot absorb them to convert the sugars into energy. This is the onset of type 1 diabetes, and a person with this version of diabetes will need regular shots of insulin to survive.
  • In some people, especially those who are overweight, obese, or inactive, insulin is not effective in transporting glucose into the cells and unable to fulfill its actions. The inability of insulin to exert its effect on tissues is called insulin resistance. Type 2 diabetes will develop when the islets cannot produce enough insulin to overcome insulin resistance.

What is Human Insulin?

  • The human insulin is the synthetic insulin that is grown in the laboratory to imitate the insulin in humans. After developing it in the 1960s to 70s, it was finally approved for medical purposes in 1982.
  • Before the human insulin was developed, porcine insulin, an animal insulin was used by the doctors.
  • Human insulin was first synthesised in the year 1975, by Dr Teusche, in Switzerland.
  • The first synthetic human insulin was approved in the year 1982, by the Food and Drug Administration, US.
  • In the 1990s, a more advanced form of human insulin was developed. This was known as analogue insulin.

-Source: The Hindu

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