Wednesday, 19th April 2023

Table of contents

1   Editorial of the day


Dealing with extreme Heat Wave

2   Daily Current Affairs


India Clinical Trial Registry


National Investigating Agency


Voice Samples in Criminal Investigations


Carbon-free Electricity Production by 2035: G7


WTO Panel Rules against India in Tariff Dispute




Indian Bureau of Mines


Great Pacific Garbage Patch


Toque Macaque


Ethylene oxide


Stockholm agreement

.... Show less Show more
Editorial of the day

Dealing with extreme Heat Wave

Exam View: Weather variability effects; Mitigating the problem of Urban heat; Case study of Chandigarh.


  • Around 350 million Indians were exposed to strong heat stress between April and May 2022.
  • Between 1990 and 2019, summer temperatures on average rose by 0.5-0.9°C across districts in Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Rajasthan.
  • Between 2021 and 2050, it is expected that the maximum temperature will rise by 2-3.5°C in 100 districts and by 1.5– 2°C in around 455 districts.
  • Winter temperatures will rise between 1°C and 1.5°C in around 485 districts.

Decoding the editorial: Weather variability effects

  • Urban heat island (UHI) effect:
    • Temperatures are 4-12°C higher than rural outlying areas.
    • Humidity has exacerbated the felt temperature, with wet bulb temperatures often rising above 32°C in many cities.
  • Consequences for agriculture:
    • 90% of India’s cumin production is from Gujarat and Rajasthan. The recent weather variability has destroyed the majority of the cumin crop in Rajasthan.
    • This is a short step towards drought and higher mortality.
  • Impact on labour productivity:
    • For labourers doing heavy work, heat exposure leads to a loss of 162 hours per year, as per one study.
    • About 50% of India’s workforce is estimated to be exposed to heat during their working hours. This includes marginal farmers, labourers at construction sites and street vendors parlaying their produce on the streets; increasingly, even gig economy workers are affected.

Mitigating the problem of urban heat:

  • Greening could help mitigate part of the problem.

  • Development plans for Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities can set up a mandate to increase urban surface area that is permeable, while pushing to increase the density and area of urban forests.
  • Expanding wetlands and restoring dead and decaying ponds or lakes may also help ensure ecological functioning along with reducing urban heat.
  • Greater usage of permeable materials is required in civic infrastructure and residential construction and enhancing natural landscapes in urban areas.
  • Urban layouts such as brick jalis for ventilation and terracotta tiles to allow hot air to escape, and curbs on anthropogenic heat emissions from vehicles, factories, etc. may be considered.
  • Urban building standards should be upgraded to avoid usage of heat-absorbent galvanised iron and metal roof sheets.
  • Using cleaner cooking fuels will reduce indoor air pollution, which may also help reduce urban heat.
  • Streets with low ventilation may need further expansion, or an increase in natural vegetation.
  • Embracing public transportation and reducing personal vehicle usage will help in reducing urban heat.
  • Reducing the size of landfills will help as methane production from mountainous landfills may lead to fires, often exacerbating urban heat and weather variability in our cities. A push for waste segregation, along with solid waste management at source, can help.
  • There is a need to improve forecasting ability, including the potential impact of heat on food production.
    • Current econometric models associated with food inflation primarily look at the variability in the monsoon, minimum support prices and vegetable prices.
  • There is a need for detailed policies and guidelines on weather variability and urban heat management at the State, district, city and municipality ward levels.

Case study of Chandigarh:

  • The urban design of Chandigarh considered climate responsiveness as a key factor.
  • The city was set up by the foothills of the Shivaliks, between two river beds, while natural green belts were incorporated within the city’s master plan.
  • A large green belt of mango trees was also planted around the city to help reduce urban sprawl and to serve as a buffer between the residential city and the industrial suburbs.
  • Local architecture such as mud houses within the region was considered as a template to build climate-responsive architecture.
  • A small rivulet was dammed to create the Sukhna lake, to help cool the city, while small water bodies were developed near large buildings.
  • Parks were planned out in every sector, along with tree plantations alongside all the major roads. Large forest areas were also reserved.
  • Over time, such complementary urban design has been overlaid by modern construction materials and impacted by factors as varied as climate change and traffic congestion.



Keywords: GS-Paper 3: Environmental Pollution & Degradation, Disaster Management
Daily Current Affairs

India Clinical Trial Registry

In News: The speedy approval of Covid-19 vaccines during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic spotlighted the importance of clinical trials.

About Clinical Trials

  • A clinical trial is a systematic study to generate data for discovering or verifying the clinical and pharmacological profile (including pharmacodynamic and pharmacokinetic) or adverse effects of a new drug on humans.
  • It is the only way of establishing the safety and efficacy of any drug before its introduction in the market for human use and is preceded by animal trials where the efficacy and side effects are observed in animals and an estimated drug dose is established.

Regulatory Mechanism for Clinical Trials in India

  • Clinical trials in India are governed by the acts: Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, Medical Council of India Act, 1956 and Central Council for Indian Medicine Act, 1970.

Fundamentals of conducting clinical trials in India

  • Permission from the Drugs Controller General, India (DCGI)
  • Approval from respective Ethics Committee where the study is planned
  • Mandatory registration on the ICMR maintained website

About Clinical Trials Registry-India (CTRI)

  • CTRI is a free and online public record system for registration of clinical trials conducted in India.
  • Initially it was launched on a voluntary basis in 2007. In 2009, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) mandated all trials to be registered in the CTRI.
  • CTRI is one of 17 public trial registries under the International Clinical Trials Registry Portal. It is one of the 18 primary registries recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).
  • Submission of Ethics approval and DCGI approval is essential for trial registration in the CTRI.

Ethical Implication of clinical trials

  • Access to Treatment: Clinical trials mostly held by poor often result in treatments that they cannot afford.
  • Conflicts of Interest: Organizers with financial interests in their sponsoring companies may compromise their professional judgment.
  • Lack of informed consent by participants due to literacy and deception by companies.


Keywords: GS-3 Science and Technology
Daily Current Affairs

National Investigating Agency

In News: NIA registers FIR against 2 men held for radicalising youth through end-to-end encrypted social media platforms

About National Investigating Agency (NIA):

  • The National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act was introduced by P Chidambaram in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist attacks.
  • The agency came into existence in 2008, and started functioning in 2009 with its headquarter in Delhi and branches across 14 other cities in India.
  • The Act gives the NIA powers to:
    • Take suo motu cognisance of terror activities in any part of India and register a case
    • To enter any state without permission from the state government
    • To investigate and arrest people for terror acts and their possible links with crimes like smuggling of arms, drugs, and fake Indian currency, and infiltration from across the borders.
  • It can take actions against activities affecting:
    • Sovereignty, security, and integrity of India,
    • Friendly relations with foreign states,
    • Offences under statutory laws enacted to implement international treaties.
  • The law under which the agency operates extends to the whole of India and also applies to Indian citizens outside the country.
  • The NIA can investigate scheduled offences listed in the Explosive Substances Act, Atomic Energy Act, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Anti-Hijacking Act, and other relevant laws.
  • The agency can take up a probe after the state governments refer the cases pertaining to the scheduled offences registered at any police station to the Central government.
  • The Central government can also direct the NIA to take over the probe, even when the scheduled offence has been committed outside India, wherever the law applies.


Keywords: GS-II: Important Government Agencies
Daily Current Affairs

Voice Samples in Criminal Investigations

In News: CBI wants Jagdish Tytler's Voice Samples in 1984 anti-Sikh riots Case

About Voice Sampling in Investigation:

  • Voice identification analysis or spectrographic analysis is a method which uses international phonetic alphabets while recording a voice sample in an echo-proof room for a controlled and noise-free environment.
  • The person is asked to speak a specific clue word from a statement already part of the evidence and the spectral analysis of the audio speech are undertaken to study and match the original audio sample.
  • Voice sample either turns out to be positive or negative while inaccuracies arise when the person’s voice is altered due to the effect of medicines or if the person is suffering from a cold.
  • A matching voice helps confirm the evidence already collected by the investigating agency.
  • Voice sampling in criminal investigation was first used by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in the 1950s.
  • In India,the legality behind collecting voice samples is not specifically mentioned in criminal procedure laws because it is a relatively new technological tool.
  • However, in several past cases in India, such as the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) drugs case, Aftab Poonawala's case, and Aniksha Jaisinghani's case, courts have allowed the collection of voice samples.


Keywords: GS-II: Policies of Government
Daily Current Affairs

Carbon-free Electricity Production by 2035: G7

In News: Climate and Energy Ministers and envoys from Group of Seven (G7) countries at a two day meeting in Japan, committed to work towards ensuring carbon-free electricity production by 2035 and “accelerating” the phase-out of coal.

Key highlights of the meeting:

  • The participants agreed to accelerate solar and wind energy investments to produce 1,000 GW by 2030 from solar power and 150 GW of wind power from off-shore platforms.
  • Reaffirmation to the commitment elimination of inefficient fossil fuel subsidies by 2025, which are inconsistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
  • The members agreed to accelerate the phase-out of unabated fossil fuels without using technology to capture the resulting C02 emissions, in order to achieve net zero in energy systems by 2050.
  • The members recognized the need to urgently reduce carbon emissions and achieve a “predominantly decarbonized power sector” by 2035.

Challenges to phasing out of coal in India:

  • India, at UNCOP- Glasgow 2021, had objected to language in the agreement to “phase out” and pushed instead for a “phase down” of coal.
  • At the COP-2022 in Sharm el Sheikh, India pushed for a proposal to phase out all fossil fuel sources, including coal and gas, since several developed nations depended on gas for electricity production.
  • For India coal is the primary energy contributor with a 57% share of India's energy mix and coal demand is expected to not peak until the 2030, thus phase out of coal would not be economically feasible for India.




Keywords: GS-2 Global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Daily Current Affairs

WTO Panel Rules against India in Tariff Dispute

In News: World Trade Organization (WTO) panel ruled against India stating that it had violated global trading rules in a dispute with the European Union, Japan and Taiwan over import duties on IT products.

About the dispute

  • In 2019, EU challenged India’s introduction of import duties ranging between 7.5% and 20% for a wide range of IT products, such as integrated circuits, mobile phones and components, saying they exceeded the maximum rate.
  • Japan and Taiwan also filed similar complaints the same year. According to the European Commission, the EU is India's third largest trading partner in 2021.
  • The WTO panel said that India had already brought some of the challenged tariffs into line with global trading rules since last year.
  • India can appeal the WTO panel’s decision and if it does, the case will sit in legal purgatory as WTO's highest appeals bench is defunct due to U.S. opposition to judge appointments.

About WTO

  • WTO is an intergovernmental organisation that regulates and facilitates international trade between nations.
  • It commenced operations on 1 January 1995, pursuant to 1994 Marrakesh Agreement, thus replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) established in 1948.
  • Principles of WTO:
    • Non-discrimination which includes the most favoured nation (MFN) rule and the national treatment policy.
    • Reciprocity principle which means a desire to limit the scope of free-riding that may arise because of the MFN rule and a desire to obtain better access to foreign markets.
    • Binding and enforceable commitments among WTO members in multilateral trade negotiation.
    • Transparency through publishing trade regulations and periodic Trade Policy Review Mechanism (TPRM).



Keywords: GS-2 Important International Institutions
Daily Current Affairs


Why in news? Recently, Nearly 100 confirmed and probable cases of a rare fungal infection have been linked to a Michigan paper mill.


  • Blastomycosis is a rare fungal infection caused by the fungus Blastomyces dermatitidis.
  • The fungus is found in soil, particularly in areas near waterways, and can be inhaled by humans and animals.
  • It is mainly found in the midwestern, south-central, and southeastern states of the US.
  • Symptoms of blastomycosis include fever, cough, breathing difficulty, and muscle aches, with severe infections potentially spreading to other organs such as the skin, lungs, bones, and brain.
  • Blastomycosis is diagnosed through a combination of clinical presentation, laboratory testing, and imaging studies. Treatment typically involves antifungal medications, such as itraconazole or amphotericin B, and may require hospitalization in severe cases.
  • Prevention of blastomycosis involves avoiding exposure to soil in endemic areas, wearing appropriate protective gear, and minimizing activities that disturb soil or decaying organic matter.


Keywords: GS-3 Science and Technology, Health and diseases
Daily Current Affairs

Indian Bureau of Mines

Why in news? Indian Bureau of Mines flags massive corruption in Odisha.


  • IBM was set up by Central Government in March 1948 under the Ministry of Works, Mines, and Power (now Ministry of Mines).
  • It is a multi-disciplinary government organization engaged in the promotion of conservation, scientific development of mineral resources, and protection of the environment in mines other than coal, atomic minerals, petroleum & natural gas, and minor minerals.
  • It is headquartered in Nagpur, Maharashtra.
  • It is primarily an advisory body to help in the formulation of policy and legal framework for the mining sector and advising Central and State Governments on the development and utilization of mineral resources.
  • It helps states in the preparation of auction blocks, publishing of average sale price, and assisting in post-auction monitoring and approval process.


Keywords: GS-3, Indian Economy, Government organization
Daily Current Affairs

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

Why in news? Recently, scientists reported that plastic trash has given rise to a previously unknown type of ocean community


  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean. Marine debris is litter that ends up in oceans, seas, and other large bodies of water.
  • The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also known as the Pacific trash vortex, spans waters from the West Coast of North America to Japan. The patch is actually comprised of the Western Garbage Patch, located near Japan, and the Eastern Garbage Patch, located between the U.S. states of Hawai'i and California.
  • The entire Great Pacific Garbage Patch is bounded by the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre.


Keywords: GS-3 Environment and Ecology
Daily Current Affairs

Toque Macaque

Why in news? Sri Lankan activists protest proposal to export monkeys to China.


  • The Toque Macaque is a commonly found monkey in Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan Toque Macaques (Macaca sinica) are the smallest species of Macaca, a golden-brown coloured monkey, endemic to Sri Lan
  • Locally known as the “Rilawa”, it is easily distinguished by the toque-shaped swirl of hair on the top of its head, with the amount of hair on the top of the head being geographically variable within their range.

Threats and Conservation

  • The major threat to these species is extreme habitat loss and habitat fragmentation due to development and urbanisation.
  • This decreasing species is currently endangered on the IUCN Red List and is protected internationally under CITES Appendix II.
  • Enjoys very little protection as it is considered to be a pest to crops such as coconut etc.

Species of Macaque

There are three recognised subspecies of Toque Macaque;

  • Dry zone Toque Macaque (M.s. sinica)
  • Wet zone Toque Macaque (M.s. aurifrons)
  • Highland Toque Macaque (M.s. opisthomelas).


Keywords: GS-3 Environment and Ecology
Daily Current Affairs

Ethylene oxide

Why in news? European Commission brings ethylene oxide under pesticide residue classification.


  • Ethylene oxide is a colorless, flammable, and highly reactive gas with a sweet, ether-like odor.
  • It is an important industrial chemical used primarily as a sterilizing agent for medical equipment and supplies, as well as for the production of other chemicals such as ethylene glycol, surfactants, and plastics.
  • Ethylene oxide is also a highly toxic and carcinogenic substance that can cause serious health effects if not handled properly.
  • It can be absorbed through inhalation, ingestion, or skin contact, and exposure to high levels of ethylene oxide can cause respiratory irritation, lung damage, and even death.
  • Long-term exposure has been linked to an increased risk of cancer, particularly of the blood and lymphatic system.
  • Ethylene oxide is handled and used safely in industrial and medical settings. These include the use of protective equipment such as gloves and respirators, proper ventilation systems, and regular monitoring of air quality levels in the workplace.
  • Other uses, like in agriculture, oil and gas industry, adhesive and sealants, etc.


Keywords: GS-3 Science and Technology
Daily Current Affairs

Stockholm agreement

Why in news? Yemen's conflict parties reach deal to release 887 detainees under stockholm agreement.


This deal is a follow-up to the 2018 Stockholm Agreement - an accord between the parties to the

conflict in Yemen with three main components:

  • Hudaydah Agreement on the City of Hodeidah and Ports Hodeidah, Salif and Ras Isa.
  • A Prisoner Exchange Agreement for the exchange prisoners, detainees, missing persons, arbitrarily detained and forcibly disappeared persons, and those under house arrest.
  • The Taiz Agreement on Statement of Understanding on Ta’iz


Keywords: GS-3 Environment and Ecology
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