AFPA

Seventh Schedule: Division of powers between union & states

 

The seventh schedule under Article 246 of the constitution separates the powers between the union and the states.

It contains three lists- Union List, State List and Concurrent List.

  • The union list contains the subjects on which Parliament may make laws while the state list contains those under the purview of state legislatures.
  • The concurrent list on the other hand has subjects in which both Parliament and state legislatures have jurisdiction. However, the Constitution provides federal supremacy (that is union law prevails when subject is in conflicts) to Parliament on concurrent list items.
  • Recently the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has requested for inclusion of tourism in the concurrent list to enable the Centre and States to effectively develop and regulate the sector as well as frame policies for growth of tourism.
  • Tourism in India is crucial for the country’s economy and is growing rapidly.
  • According to World Travel and Tourism Council tourism generated  approximately ₹17 lakh crore(US$240 billion) or 9.2% of India‘s GDP in 2018 and provided employment to around 4.2 crore people that is 8.1% of its total employment.
  • The sector is predicted to grow at an annual rate of 7% to ₹32 lakh crore (US$450 billion) by 2028 (9.9% of GDP).

 

 

AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

 

Viral Vector

  • AstraZeneca’s/University of Oxford COVID-19 vaccine works on principle of Viral Vector. This vaccine uses Adeno viruses, these are viruses that can cause the common cold.
  • Humans, Monkey and many other animals have them in their body. For years, scientists and medical probationer’s have been using these viruses to deliver DNA, which are instructions for proteins (What kind of protein to be manufactured and how?).
  • For the COVID-19 vaccine, researchers swap in a gene from SARS-CoV-2. When the vaccine is given to someone, the modified cold virus makes the SARS-CoV2 protein, which builds up the immune response.
  • This vaccine works in a different way than the mRNA vaccines.

Types of vaccines

  1. Inactivated: These are vaccines produced by using remains of the Covid-19 virus that were killed, these killed virus are unable to infect or replicate. Injecting doses of these particles of virus serves to build immunity by helping the body create antibodies against the dead virus.
  2. Non-replicating viral vector: It uses a weakened, genetically modified version of a different virus but like SARS to induce the production Covid-19 spike protein. Example AstraZeneca and University of Oxford
  3. RNA: This kind of vaccines use the messenger RNA (mRNA) that tell cells what proteins to build (especially the instruction is embedded into genes of DNA, so the messenger RNA Delivers the instruction to DNA to produce Spike Protein). Once it is injected, the cells will use the mRNA’s instructions, creating copies of the spike protein, which in turn is expected to prompt the immune cells to create antibodies to fight it. Example Moderna and BioNTech, Pfizer.
  4. DNA: These vaccines use genetically engineered DNA molecules that, again, are coded with the antigen instructions against which the immune response is to be built.

India’s Indigenous Vaccine Candidate

COVAXIN is Indias indigenous COVID-19 vaccine by Bharat Biotech is produced in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune.

Ethanol

 

The Union Cabinet has given a go ahead to a modified scheme for interest subvention for ethanol production, extending the scheme to include grain-based distilleries and not just molasses-based ones.

Implications:

  1. The decision would promote ethanol production from grains like maize, barley, corn and rice.
  2. The scheme would increase the production and distillation capacity estimated by 1,000 crore litres and will bridge in the gap set by govt in meeting the goal of 20% ethanol blending with petrol by 2030.
  3. This scheme will in turn also helps India to be eco friendly and reduce the CO2 emission.

Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP)

The objective is to promote the use of substitute and eco-friendly fuels.

Ethanol:

  • Ethanol can be produced from grains like sugarcane, maize, wheat, etc which are having high starch content.
  • In India, ethanol is mainly produced from sugarcane molasses by fermentation process.
  • Ethanol can be mixed with gasoline to form different blends.
  • As the ethanol contains oxygen, it allows the combustion process to be clean and fuel is completely burned, resulting in fewer emissions and thereby reducing the emission of environmental pollution.
  • As ethanol is produced from plants that harness the sun energy, ethanol is also been considered as renewable fuel.

 

Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA)

 

Context:

Entire State of Nagaland has been declared as a “disturbed area” for six more months by the Ministry of Home Affairs.

What does the AFSPA mean?

In simple terms, AFSPA gives armed forces the power to maintain public order which usually a task of state police forces as law and order is state subject in “disturbed areas”.

The disturbed area needs to be explicitly declared by Home ministry or State authorities.

Powers given to armed forces:

  1. Armed forces get an authority to prohibit a gathering of five or more persons in an area, can use force or even open fire after giving due warning if they feel a person is in contravention of the law.
  2. If reasonable suspicion exists, the army can also arrest a person without a warrant
  3. Forces can enter or search premises without a warrant; and ban the possession of firearms.
  4. Any person arrested or taken into custody may be handed over to the officer in charge of the nearest police station along with a report detailing the circumstances that led to the arrest.

What’s “disturbed area”?

When declared by notification under Section 3 of the AFSPA an area is declared as a disturbed area.

Who has the power to declare it?

The whole or part of the State or Union Territory can be declared as a disturbed area by the Central Government, or the Governor of the State or administrator of the Union Territory.

To repeal the AFSPA was recommended by the 5th report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission on public order.

Justice Jeevan Reddy Commission

The AFSPA is regarded as “the Act is a symbol of hate, oppression and instrument of high handedness”, the commission recommended to repeal AFSPA.

 

 

Dibru-Saikhowa National Park

 

About the National Park:

  • It is Located along the south bank of the river Brahmaputra in Assam.
  • Largest swamp forest: north-eastern India.
  • It is one of the notified Important Bird Area (IBA) identified by the Birdlife International Agency.
  • It is famous for the feral horses as well as rare white-winged wood ducks.
  • The forest type comprises all types of forest except mountain and desert forest like semi-evergreen forests, wet evergreen forests, deciduous forests, littoral and swamp forests.
  • Maguri Motapung wetland is a part of the Dibru-Saikhowa National Park.