Today Current Affairs English 22 January 2022

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River Saraswati

Why is it in the news?

Haryana and Himachal Pradesh are on the verge of signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the reintroduction of the Saraswati River.

The Saraswati River has the following characteristics:

  • The Saraswati River will be revitalised through the construction of the Adi Badri Dam, which will be located near the river’s source and will ensure year-round flow.
  • The ‘Lost Saraswati River’ in North-Western India is the holiest and mightiest river in the Vedic Period (8000-5000 BCE), and it runs through the region.

It is mentioned in the early Rigvedic hymn ‘Nadistuti’ (between the east and west banks of the Yamuna) as flowing between the east and west banks of the Yamuna.

  • This river serves as a transboundary waterway connecting India and Pakistan.

This ancient river began in the Himalayas and flowed through Punjab, Haryana, western Rajasthan, and Gujarat between the Indus and Ganges rivers before flowing into the Arabian Sea.

  • It eventually empties into the Gulf of Kachchh, which is part of the Arabian Sea.

Saraswati’s role in ancient times was as follows:

It appears in the Vedas, Manusmriti, Mahabharata, and Puranas as well as other ancient works of literature under the name ‘Saraswati’.

  • Sites associated with the Harappan civilization have been discovered along the banks of the Saraswati River.
  • This river disappeared around 5000 years ago as a result of climatic and geological changes.
  • It is believed that the Saraswati River continues to flow beneath the Thar desert and that the river’s Himalayan connection is still intact. •
  • The paleochannels of this long-gone river have been preserved beneath aeolian sand/alluvium, indicating that it once flowed here.

Heart Failure Genetic Risk Factors

Why in the news?

  • Scientists at the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) are working to identify genetic mutations that cause dilated cardiomyopathy, a common cardiovascular disease that can progress to heart failure.

    • When compared to western countries, India has a disproportionately high death rate due to cardiovascular disease and other causes. The condition known as severe cardiomyopathy is a type of cardiovascular disease that frequently results in heart failure.
    • Cardiomyopathy is a condition in which the essential structure of the heart muscle is altered, impairing the heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently.
    • As a result, the risk of developing heart failure increases, which may result in unexpected cardiac death.
    • Cardiomyopathies are subdivided into a number of different categories. • Dilated cardiomyopathy is the most common type of heart disease. • The beta myosin heavy chain gene (-MYH7) is one of the most frequently implicated genes in heart disease throughout the world.

    Significance:

    • This gene was examined in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy and ethnically matched healthy controls to determine which mutations were associated with the condition in Indian patients.
    • The investigation discovered 27 variants, seven of which were unique and were only found in Indian individuals who had dilated cardiomyopathy, according to the researchers.
    • Four of them were so-called missense mutations, which are genetic changes that affect the way a protein functions.
    • Pathogenicity was predicted by bioinformatics tools, which confirmed the findings.

    In addition, this discovery may aid in the development of gene-editing techniques that could be used to restore cardiac contractility in Indians who have developed new mutations.

Deputation Policy and Recent Events:

The Centre has proposed changes to the IAS (Cadre) Rules in order to exert greater control over the central deputation of IAS officers. Why is this in the news?

  • A number of times, Central Delegation has been at the heart of disagreements between federal and state governments.

In what state is the deputation policy currently in effect?

It is governed by Rule-6 (1) of the IAS (Cadre) Rules-1954, which was amended in May 1969, that central deputation is allowed in the Indian Administrative Service.

  • Specifically, according to the rule, a cadre officer may be assigned to work for the Central Government or another State Government, or for a firm, organisation, or group of persons, whether or not they are incorporated, that is wholly or partially owned or controlled by either the Central Government or another State Government.

Suppose there’s a disagreement. What happens then?

The Central Government will resolve any disputes that arise, and the State Government or State Governments involved will give effect to the Central Government’s decision.

According to the most recent guidelines, there is no time limit for resolving these types of conflicts.

Was it decided that there would be some modifications?

  • As a result of the proposal, the Centre will have a stronger voice.

If the State government fails to implement a Central government decision within a specified period of time, the Union government may engage the services of an Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS), or Indian Forest Service (IFoS) officer stationed in the State without obtaining prior approval from the State government. • The Centre may discharge an officer from his or her cadre if the State government fails to comply with a Central government decision within a specified period of time.

  • In the event of a dispute, the central government will resolve the issue, and the state government or state governments involved will be required to implement the central government’s decision “within a specified time frame.
  • The services of an AIS officer with domain knowledge may be required for any significant and time-sensitive flagship initiative or project.

What is the root cause of these recent shifts in behaviour and culture?

Numerous state and joint cadres are failing to sponsor enough officers for central deputation as part of the Central Deputation Reserve, resulting in a backlog of officers. As a result, the number of officers available for central deputation is insufficient in comparison to the number of officers required at the centre.

How many IAS/IPS officers have been deputised to work?

  • According to the Indian Administrative Service, only 10 percent of mid-level IAS officials will be assigned to the Union government in 2021, compared to 19 percent in 2014.
  • The decline in the central deputation of IAS officials becomes even more pronounced because the overall pool of such officers has increased from 621 in 2014 to 1130 in 2021, representing an increase of approximately 80% compared to 2014.
  • According to statistics from the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), the number of IAS officials serving on the central deputation reserve has decreased from 309 in 2011 to 223 in 2015.

Debris in space

Why in the news?

  • In November, Russia conducted a missile test that resulted in the destruction of one of its older satellites, provoking worldwide outrage due to the amount of space debris it strewn across the Earth’s orbit. A Chinese satellite (the Tsinghua Science Satellite) came perilously close to colliding with one of the numerous fragments of debris left over from a Russian anti-satellite missile test that took place in December of last year.

What exactly is the problem?

In addition, recent events, such as Russia’s anti-satellite weapons test, have exacerbated the situation by increasing the number of countries that are sending astronauts into space with each passing decade.

  • The debris is now contributing to the growing problem of space trash and posing a significant threat to the International Space Station (ISS) and geostationary satellites.
  • Additionally, the debris poses a threat to the lives of astronauts and cosmonauts from the United States, Russia, and China who are currently on board the International Space Station.

In terms of global security and the safety of Indian public and commercial space assets, space debris poses a threat to the continued use of space-based technology that provides critical services such as communication, transportation, weather and climate monitoring, and remote sensing. Predicting the likelihood of collisions between these space objects is critical for national security and the safety of Indian public and commercial space assets.

Approximately how much space debris is there:
• It is estimated that there are between 500,000 and one million pieces of space debris in orbit because current sensor technology is incapable of detecting smaller items. They all travel at speeds of up to 17,500 mph (28,162 kmph), which is fast enough to cause damage to a satellite or spacecraft if a piece of orbital debris collides with one of them.

The Importance of the Project:

  • The output of this project would immediately benefit India’s $7 billion (Rs 51,334 crore) space industry by providing a collision probability solution that is operationally flexible, scalable, transparent, and indigenous.

Electoral Bonds in India and Concerns

Why in News?

In advance of the Assembly elections in five states, the 19th tranche of electoral bonds, which were marketed as a substitute for monetary contributions, went on sale in five states.

Political parties misusing funds obtained through electoral bonds has previously been highlighted by the Supreme Court as a potential threat to the intended purpose of these bonds, which was to increase election finance transparency while also reining in the criminalization of politics.

When it comes to Electoral Bonds, the following information is available:
• These bonds are available in denominations of 1,000, 10,000, 1 lakh, 10,000, and 1 crore rupees with no upper limit on the amount that can be invested.

  • The State Bank of India is authorised to issue and redeem these bonds, which have a maturity period of fifteen days.
    • These bonds can only be redeemed through the authorised account of a registered political party.

Purchase of the bonds by any Indian citizen is permitted during the months of January, April, July, and October (or as otherwise specified by the Central Government) for a period of 10 days.

People can purchase bonds individually or in groups. The bond does not include the donor’s name, which makes it anonymous.

Concerns about Electoral Bonds include the following:
• The Union government amended the Finance Act 2017 to exempt political parties from disclosing contributions made through the use of electoral bonds. Therefore, voters will be unaware of which individual, business, or organisation has contributed to which political party, or how much they have contributed.

  • According to the Indian Supreme Court, the “right to know,” particularly in the context of elections, is an inherent aspect of the country’s constitutional right to freedom of expression (Article 19).
  • Electoral bonds, on the other hand, provide no information to the public. Because the current government can always obtain donor information by requesting it from the State Bank of India, the previously mentioned anonymity does not apply to them (SBI).
  • The concept of electoral bonds eliminates all current restrictions on political contributions and allows well-funded corporations to finance elections, paving the way for crony capitalism.

RADPFI 2021 New Guidelines

Why in News?

  • The Rural Area Development Plan Formulation and Implementation (RADPFI) guidelines for 2017 have been revised by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj in order to modernise rural India and ensure rural prosperity.

    The following are the new guidelines:

    These guidelines are part of the Ministry’s ongoing efforts to promote spatial rural planning and would pave the way for rural transformation by establishing an overarching vision for village planning.

    • They would allow for more efficient land use planning in rural areas and would aid in the improvement of the quality of life of rural residents.

    Village Planning Schemes (VPSs), which are similar to those found in metropolitan areas, are included in the Gram Panchayat Development Program.

    • Spatial land use planning and spatial standards for Gram Panchayat development are integrated with the Gram Panchayat Development Program (GPDP).
    • Its objectives are to improve the quality of village life and to contribute to the reduction of migration to large cities by providing the necessary infrastructure and amenities, as well as resources and opportunities for livelihood in rural areas.

    The significance of this initiative is that it will encourage the formation of strong economic clusters in rural areas, thereby contributing to the socioeconomic development of rural areas. Additionally, it will complement existing Central Government initiatives, such as the SVAMITVA Scheme of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj and the RURBAN Mission of the Ministry of Rural Development, by facilitating improved use of geographic information.

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