Focus: GS II- Government policies and Interventions

Why in news?

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana extended till Deepawali.

About Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana:

  • It is considered as world’s largest food security scheme, aims at ensuring sufficient food for the poor and needy during the coronavirus crisis.
  • It was announced as part of the first relief package during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Part of the scheme, the food needs to be provided to all the beneficiaries under public distribution system (TPDS) for Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and priority household (PHH) ration cardholders.
  • As per updates, the eligible beneficiaries will receive 5kg of foodgrains and 1 kg Gram per month.


  • Families belonging to the Below Poverty Line – Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH) categories will be eligible for the scheme.
  • PHH are to be identified by State Governments/Union Territory Administrations as per criteria evolved by them. AAY families are to be identified by States/UTs as per the criteria prescribed by the Central Government:
  • Households headed by widows or terminally ill persons or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more with no assured means of subsistence or societal support.
  • Widows or terminally ill persons or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more or single women or single men with no family or societal support or assured means of subsistence.
  • All primitive tribal households.
  • Landless agriculture labourers, marginal farmers, rural artisans/craftsmen such as potters, tanners, weavers, blacksmiths, carpenters, slum dwellers, and persons earning their livelihood on daily basis in the informal sector like porters, coolies, rickshaw pullers, hand cart pullers, fruit and flower sellers, snake charmers, rag pickers, cobblers, destitutes  and other similar categories in both rural and urban areas.
  • All eligible Below Poverty Line families of HIV positive persons.
National Food Security Act
  • The basic concept of food security globally is to ensure that all people, at all times, should get access to the basic food for their active and healthy life and is characterized by availability, access, utilization and stability of food.
  • In pursuance of this, the enactment of the National Food Security Act, (NFSA) 2013 marks a paradigm shift in the approach to food security from welfare to the rights-based approach.
  • The Act legally entitles up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized foodgrains under the Targeted Public Distribution System.


Focus: GS II – Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

Why in news?

National Financial Reporting Authority (NFRA) has set up a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) to provide NFRA with inputs from the perspective of various key stakeholders.

  • The TAC has undertaken a consultative exercise to review NFRA’s engagement with its stakeholders.

About National Financial Reporting Authority :

  • NFRA was constituted in 2018 under section 132 (1) of the Companies Act, 2013.
  • It is an independent regulator for enforcement of auditing standards and ensuring the quality of audits so as to enhance investor and public confidence in financial disclosures of companies.
  • It can probe listed companies and those unlisted public companies having paid-up capital of no less than Rs 500 crore or annual turnover of no less than Rs 1,000 crore. (while ICAI retains jurisdiction of small listed companies)
  • It can even investigate professional misconduct committed by members of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) for prescribed class of body corporate or persons.

The Companies Act requires the NFRA to have a chairperson who will be appointed by the Central Government and a maximum of 15 members.

Functions and Duties:
  • Recommend accounting and auditing policies and standards to be adopted by companies for approval by the Central Government;
  • Monitor and enforce compliance with accounting standards and auditing standards;
  • Oversee the quality of service of the professions associated with ensuring compliance with such standards and suggest measures for improvement in the quality of service;
  • Perform such other functions and duties as may be necessary or incidental to the aforesaid functions and duties.
Institute of Chartered Accountants of India
  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) is a statutory body.
  • It was established by The Chartered Accountants Act, 1949.
  • The Institute functions under the administrative control of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs.
  • It is aimed at regulating the profession of Chartered Accountancy in the country.


Focus: GS III- Environmental pollution

Why in News?

Environment Minister launches awareness campaign on Single Use plastics.

About Single Use Plastic:

  • Single-use plastics are goods that are made primarily from fossil fuel based chemicals (petrochemicals) and are meant to be disposed of right after use often, in mere minutes.
  • Single-use plastics are most commonly used for packaging and service ware, such as bottles, wrappers, straws, and bags.
  • Single-use plastic products often have a smaller environmental footprint than reusable items.
  • Many items considered “single-use” are actually able to be reused, or recycled, which gives them a second life.
  • The single-use plastic ban is expected to cover six single-use plastic items initially including plastic bags, straws, cups, plates, small bottles and certain types of sachets.
  • The ban will cover manufacturing, usage and import of such items.
  • In June 2017, Costa Rica announced its intention to completely eradicate single-use plastic by 2021 , the first country in the world to do so.
  • The statement that India would phase out single-use plastics by 2022 was a reiteration of the commitment that the Indian government made in 2018.
  • Not only does banning single-use plastic reduce pollution, but it also reduces demand for plastic production that’s contributing to global climate change.
  • But beyond these impacts, the bans have cultural effects, companies are forced to innovate, rethinking their designs and sourcing sustainable materials.
  • Many governments outlawed conventional plastic bags, allowing only the use and production of “biodegradable” bags.
  • “Biodegradable” plastic items often do not degrade automatically in the environment and especially not in the ocean. They require exposure to prolonged high temperatures, above 50°C. Such conditions are met in incineration plants, but very rarely in the environment.
The plastic Much Of the plastic we produce is desigrped be uæd only (single use What happens to plastic waste? of all plastic eæ of 2015 9% 12% 01 in Since the 1050s, the of plastic has that of almst othu World production in 201 S: 36% Which is plastic Total plutic pukaging nSte in 2015 141 millim Problematic single-use plastics mt single on in order of magnitude cigarette butts. plastic plastic bottle caps. plastic bags. plutic lids, stillus, take IS. AltEmgh that aim to of plastics drive by f. on plutic and. a f.d plutic
About Impacts of Mismanaged Single-Use Plastic

The Worst Effects of Plastic Pollution as explained below;-

  • Physical impact on marine life (entanglement, ingestion, starvation),
  • Chemical impact (the buildup of persistent organic pollutants like PCBs and DDT),
  • Transport of invasive species and pollutants from polluted rivers to remote areas in the ocean.
Impacts of mismanaged single-use plastics Cost of inaction: If we don't improve our consumption patterns and waste management practices, by 2050 there will be around 12 million metric tonnes of plastic litter in landfills and in the environment. o B Contaminates soil and water Choke waterways and exacerbate natural disasters By 2050, an estimated 99% of seabirds will have ingested plastic •ots Block sewage systems and provide breeding grounds for Cause economic loss in tourism, fishing and shipping industries High cost of transport to centralized plant of lightweight foamed plastics due to difficulty in recycling at local plants Future costs of removal of accumulated plastic litter in the environment mosquitoes, raising the risk of malaria transmission Release toxic chemicals and emissions if burned Welfare losses (visual pollution) Food chain contamination act
About Priority actions to minimize single-use plastics
  • Improve waste management systems.
  • Promote eco-friendly alternatives to phase out single-use plastics.
  • Educate consumers to make environmentally friendly choices.
  • Enable voluntary reduction strategies.
  • Ban or introduce levies on the use and sale of single use plastic items.


Focus: GS III- Science and technology

Why in news?

The Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy has emerged as a breakthrough in cancer treatment.

About Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy

  • Chimeric antigen receptor T cells (also known as CAR T cells) are T cells that have been genetically engineered to produce an artificial T-cell receptor for use in immunotherapy.
  • Chimeric antigen receptors  are receptor proteins that have been engineered to give T cells the new ability to target a specific protein. The receptors are chimeric because they combine both antigen-binding and T-cell activating functions into a single receptor.

The diagram above represents the process of chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy (CAR), this is a method of immunotherapy, which is a growing practice in the treatment of cancer. The final result should be a production of equipped T-cells that can recognize and fight the infected cancer cells in the body.

  1. T-cells (represented by objects labeled as ’t’) are removed from the patient’s blood.
  2. Then in a lab setting the gene that encodes for the specific antigen receptors are incorporated into the T-cells.
  3. Thus producing the CAR receptors (labeled as c) on the surface of the cells.
  4. The newly modified T-cells are then further harvested and grown in the lab.
  5. After a certain time period, the engineered T-cells are infused back into the patient.
Key takeaways:
  • Clinical trials of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy was conducted globally. Therapy has emerged as a breakthrough in cancer treatment. It has shown promising results on end stage patients, especially in patients of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia.
  • CAR-T technology has a remarkable therapeutic potential for cancer patients.
  • This technology is not available in India, currently.
  • BIRAC and DBT have initiated and launched specialised calls and invitation to promote and support development of CAR-T cell technology against cancer and other diseases.
  • CAR-T cell therapy costs rupees 3-4 crore for each patient. Thus, biggest challenge is there to develop this technology in cost-effective manner and make it available patients. Manufacturing of this technology is complex which increases the cost.
  • First CAR-T cell Therapy was done by IIT Bombay and cancer care in India at Bone Marrow Transplant unit of Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai. CAR-T cells were designed and manufactured at Bioscience and Bioengineering (BSBE) department, IIT Bombay. This was also supported by BIRAC-PACE scheme. Now, this therapy will undergo Phase I and II trial of their CAR-T product through National Biopharma Mission.
About DBT 

The Department of Biotechnology (DBT), under the Ministry of Science & Technology, promotes and accelerates the development of biotechnology in India, including growth and application of biotechnology in the areas of agriculture, healthcare, animal sciences, environment and industry. 

About BIRAC  

Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) is a not-for-profit Section 8, Schedule B, Public Sector Enterprise, set up by Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Government of India as an Interface Agency to strengthen and empower the emerging Biotech enterprise to undertake strategic research and innovation, addressing nationally relevant product development needs.

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