1st August 2018 : Daily Current Affairs - UPSC CSE/IAS and State PSC

This page contains "1St August 2018" current affairs analysis from different newspapers and magazines like The Hindu, Indian express, PIB and Yojna.

Quality and relevance are two key features considered while writing the content, all the topics are based on the pattern of previously asked questions in exams like UPSC CSE, IAS, State PCS, SSC, Banks PO and likewise competitive exams.

Genetically modified (GM) crops in India

What is a Genetically modified (GM) crop ?

Genetically modified crops (GMCs, GM crops, or biotech crops) are plants used in agriculture whose DNA has been modified using genetic engineering methods, to introduce a new trait to the plant which does not occur naturally in the species.

Most GM crops are developed to achieve one or more of traits like: resistance to certain pests, diseases, or environmental conditions, reduction of spoilage, or resistance to chemical treatments, or improving the nutrient profile of the crop.

Genetically modified (GM) crops also have few disadvantages including, environmental impacts, food safety, accessible to farmers in developing countries and concerns related to intellectual property laws.

Genetically modified (GM) crop in India

India holds 5th largest area under Genetically modified crop, while United States have highest area under transgenic crops.

India's entire GM crop area is under a single crop - "cotton". Genetically modified cotton incorporate genes from the Bacillus thuringiensis or Bt soil bacterium coding for resistance against heliothis bollworm insect pests.

Apart from the already commercialised Bt/insect-resistant cotton, glyphosate-tolerant cotton and biotech hybrid mustard are also regulatory consideration in India. Their commercial release has, however, been stuck due to opposition from environmental activists.

Despite disliking of government and green NGOs an indication of demand for GM technology among Indian farmers.
Discuss: Genetically modified (GM) crops in India

The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill of 2018

According to a report of "National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)", there is an increase in human trafficking by almost 20 per cent in 2016 against the previous year.

What is Anti-trafficking Bill - 2018 ?

Anti-trafficking Bill 2018, addresses concerns related to the most vulnerable part of society i.e. women and children. There has been no specific law to deal with human trafficking before, which is considered the third largest organised crime violating basic human rights.

The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill of 2018 addresses following concerns:

1) Trafficking for forced labour or begging.
2) Trafficking by administering chemical substances or hormones to a person for the purpose of early sexual maturity.
3) Trafficking of a woman or child for the purpose of marriage or under the pretext of marriage or after marriage.
4) Promotion or facilitation of human trafficking.

The bill seeks to provide rehabilitation as a right of the survivor, speedy trials, stricter punishment for traffickers and compensation for victims, apart from this the bill ensures following things:

1) Confidentiality of victims and witnesses
2) Time-bound trial
3) Repatriation of victims
4) Rehabilitation of victims

A Rehabilitation fund is also proposed to be created for the physical, psychological and social well-being of the victim, including education, skill development, health care and psychological support, legal aid, and safe accommodation.

Special courts are also suggested to be setup under the bill, while requires to creates dedicated institutional mechanisms at the district, State and Central levels.

The bill mandates the "National Investigation Agency (NIA)" to perform as "Anti-Trafficking Bureau" at the national level under the Ministry of Home Affairs. A rigorous minimum of 10 years to life and a fine not less than 1 lakh rupees is suggested as punishment under the proposed law.

Bill is drawn in conformity with the International Conventions and Protocols on Trafficking (UNTOC).
Discuss: The Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill of 2018

What is Scutoid shape of Epithelial cells ?

What is "Scutoid" shape ?

Scutoid is an newly discovered geometric shape, which is said to be of Epithelial cells found on the surfaces of many organs. This particular shape of the cells make the tissue to curve.

Scutoid has six sides and a strange triangular surface, when looked at from one end, and five surfaces when looked at from the other end, cells found in the saliva of fruit flies and zebra-fish had the same scutoidal shape.

The discovery of "Scutoid" can be useful in many areas like, medical biology and artificial organs creation.

What are Epithelial cells ?

Epithelial cells forms a person's skin and even the inner linings of their organs, the scutoid shape of these cells makes them tightly packed and organised while the body stretches and contracts.

"Nature Communications" journal has recently revealed that the epithelial cells adopt this form which looks like 'twisted prisms'.

The epithelial cells are the construction blocks with which an organism is formed, epithelial formed structures also provides barrier against infections or absorbing nutrients.

Starting from the embryo formation epithelial cells start 'moving and joining together' to give the organ their final shape. Till now these blocks were believed to have prism-shape or a shape like truncated pyramids, but a new research has revealed that these cells can adopt other more complex shapes as well.
Discuss: What is Scutoid shape of Epithelial cells ?

Cabinet approves National Policy on Biofuels - 2018

Rajasthan has become the first State in the country to implement the National policy on biofuels 2018.

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has recently approved National Policy on Biofuels 2018, following are the Salient Features of the policy:

What is National Policy on Biofuels - 2018 ?

1) In a bid to provide appropriate financial and fiscal incentives, the policy divides biofules in two categories:
1.1) Basic biofuel: First Generation (1G) bioethanol & biodiesel.
1.2) Advanced biofule: Second Generation (2G) ethanol, Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) to drop-in fuels, Third Generation (3G) biofuels, bio-CNG etc.
2) The scope of raw material used in ethanol production has been expanded to allow use of Sugarcane Juice, Sugar containing materials like Sugar Beet, Sweet Sorghum, Starch containing materials like Corn, Cassava, Damaged food grains like wheat, broken rice, Rotten Potatoes, unfit for human consumption for ethanol production.
3) The policy also suggests to use surplus food grains for ethanol production, this will ensure appropriate price for farmer's produce during the surplus production phase.
4) A viability gap funding scheme for 2G ethanol Bio refineries of Rs.5000 crore, to be spent in 6 years is also suggested. 2G ethanol Bio refineries will attract higher purchase price and tax incentives as compared to 1G biofuels.
5) Bio-diesel production supply chain mechanisms from non-edible oil-seeds, used Cooking Oil and short gestation crops is also encouraged under the new policy.
6) In a bid to synergies efforts of different ministries/departments concerned with biofuels, their roles and responsibilities are captured in the Policy document.

Benefits of National Policy on Biofuels - 2018

150 crore litres of ethanol production is expected in 2017-18, this can save Rs.4000 crore of forex.

Biofuels generates lesser CO2 on burning than traditional fossil fuels; additionally waste agricultural residues are to be used in Biofuels production that will reduce crop burning to further decrease CO2 emission.

Municipal Solid Waste will be utilised in generating Biofuels, one ton of such waste has the potential to provide around 20% of drop in fuels.
Discuss: Cabinet approves National Policy on Biofuels - 2018

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