- CURRENT AFFAIRS – 27/09/2023
- Central Govt and Navy’s new project to reconstruct an ancient ‘stitched ship’
- Delay in Judicial Appointments
- With climate change, tackling new disease scenarios
- Is Ukraine’s counteroffensive working?
- Tackling the various myths within the field of microbiome research
- Indo-Pacific region is ‘a web of interdependencies’: Army Chief
- High Salt Intake in India
- Centre seeks to soften angel tax
CURRENT AFFAIRS – 27/09/2023
Central Govt and Navy’s new project to reconstruct an ancient ‘stitched ship’
(General Studies- Paper I)
Source : The Indian Express
The Indian government is embarking on a significant endeavor to resurrect India’s ancient maritime heritage in partnership with the Indian Navy and Hodi Innovations based in Goa.
- This project aims to reconstruct an ancient stitched ship reminiscent of those that sailed India’s maritime trade routes around 2,000 years ago.
- Project Collaboration and Funding
- This ambitious project involves collaboration across various government ministries and departments.
- The Indian Navy is responsible for designing, constructing, and sailing the stitched ship along ancient maritime trade routes.
- The Ministry of Culture is providing full funding for the project.
- Additionally, the ministries of Shipping and External Affairs will offer support during the execution phase.
- The project received approval from the National Implementation Committee, chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah, in December 2022.
- Traditional Shipbuilding Technique
- The core of this initiative lies in reviving the age-old stitched ship technique.
- Traditional shipwrights, led by expert BabuSankaran, will shape wooden planks using traditional steaming methods to match the hull’s shape.
- These planks will then be stitched together using cords or ropes, sealed with a combination of coconut fiber, resin, and fish oil.
- This method harkens back to the ancient Indian shipbuilding practices, preserving historical craftsmanship.
- Budget and Timeline
- The project is expected to cost approximately Rs 9 crore and will span around 22 months to complete.
- BabuSankaran, recognized for his expertise in the stitched ship technique and known for building ships using this method in the Gulf countries, has been enlisted to lead the construction.
- The Voyage to Bali
- The reconstructed stitched ship will embark on a voyage in November 2025.
- The crew will consist of 13 Indian Navy members from Cuttack, Odisha.
- The voyage will set sail for Bali, Indonesia, coinciding with Kartik Purnima, a significant Hindu festival celebrated on the full moon night of the Kartik month.
- The purpose of the voyage is to revive and honor India’s ancient maritime trade routes.
- Part of a Larger Decolonization Project
- This initiative aligns with India’s broader decolonization project leading up to 2047, marking India’s centenary as an independent nation.
- The ancient stitching technique faced near extinction during British colonial rule when wooden planks were nailed instead of stitched together.
- Historical Significance of Sewn Boats
- Sewn boat construction techniques have a rich history worldwide and were prevalent before the use of metal fasteners.
- Historical examples include a 40+ meters long funerary boat in Egypt dating back to 2,500 BC.
- Finland, Russia, Karelia, and Estonia continued using sewn boat construction until the 1920s.
- Alignment with Project Mausam
- The project is in synergy with the Ministry of Culture’s Project Mausam, aiming to re-establish cultural and maritime connections with countries bordering the Indian Ocean.
- Project Mausam is India’s response to China’s Maritime Silk Road.
- India plans to seek UNESCO recognition for Project Mausam as a transnational heritage project, with several countries expressing interest.
What is ‘Project Mausam’?
- ‘Project Mausam’ is an initiative by the Ministry of Culture in India.
- It is coordinated by the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) with support from the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the National Museum.
- The project aims to showcase a Transnational Mixed Route on the UNESCO World Heritage List, emphasizing both natural and cultural heritage.
- ‘Project Mausam’ was launched by India at the 38th World Heritage Session in Doha, Qatar, in June 2014.
- The Director General of UNESCO and ambassadors from various countries, including China, UAE, Qatar, Iran, Myanmar, and Vietnam, expressed strong interest in the project.
- The project focuses on monsoon patterns, cultural routes, and maritime landscapes in the Indian Ocean region.
- It seeks to understand how the knowledge and manipulation of monsoon winds have influenced interactions across the Indian Ocean and led to the exchange of knowledge systems, traditions, technologies, and ideas.
- ‘Project Mausam’ operates at both macro and micro levels:
- At the macro level, it aims to reconnect and enhance communication among countries in the Indian Ocean world, fostering a deeper understanding of cultural values and concerns.
- At the micro level, it focuses on understanding national cultures within their regional maritime contexts.
- The project encompasses various themes and is explored through UNESCO Culture Conventions, with the Ministry of Culture and ASI serving as the nodal agency.
Delay in Judicial Appointments
(General Studies- Paper II)
Source : TH
The Supreme Court of India has expressed concern over the prolonged delay in judicial appointments, leading to the loss of talented legal minds who were shortlisted for judgeships in High Courts.
- The court noted that prospective candidates are becoming increasingly reluctant to join the Bench as months pass without any decision from the government.
- The court pointed out that the government tends to segregate names recommended for judicial appointments by the Collegium, seemingly favoring certain candidates over others for undisclosed reasons.
- This practice has led to the withdrawal of candidates who were initially willing to sacrifice their legal practices for a judgeship.
- Senior advocates and petitioners argued that the government’s segregation of names from the Collegium’s recommendations is embarrassing and goes against the Collegium’s directives.
- Despite the Collegium’s objections, the government continues to segregate names.
- Pending Judicial Appointments
- The court highlighted that numerous judicial positions remain vacant, with 70 recommended names pending with the government since November 2022.
- These names were recommended for judgeships by the High Court Collegiums.
- Additionally, 26 transfers recommended by the Supreme Court Collegium have received no response from the government.
- Court’s Ultimatum
- The court warned that it would take more stringent actions if the government does not act promptly on pending judicial appointments and transfers.
- The Attorney General sought one week’s time to inquire about the status of these appointments.
What is the process of appointment of Judges in India?
- The process of appointment of judges in India involves several stages and is primarily based on the recommendations of the judiciary through the Collegium system.
- Recommendation by High Court Collegium:
- When a vacancy arises in a High Court, the High Court Collegium, consisting of the Chief Justice of that High Court and a few senior judges, recommends suitable candidates.
- They consider factors like seniority, competence, integrity, and other relevant criteria.
- Recommendation by Supreme Court Collegium:
- The High Court Collegium’s recommendations are forwarded to the Supreme Court Collegium, which is composed of the Chief Justice of India and a group of senior judges of the Supreme Court.
- The Supreme Court Collegium evaluates the recommendations and may either approve or reject them.
- Government’s Consultation:
- The approved recommendations are then sent to the central government for consultation.
- While the government is required to seek the opinion of the Chief Justice of India and may consult other judges if necessary, it cannot reject the recommendations without strong reasons.
- Appointment by the President:
- After considering the government’s consultation, the President of India formally appoints the judges.
- Once appointed, judges serve until they reach the age of retirement, which is typically 62 years for High Court judges and 65 years for Supreme Court judges.
What is ‘Collegium System’?
- The Collegium System is a method used in India for the appointment and transfer of judges to higher courts, particularly the Supreme Court and various High Courts.
- Under this system, a group of senior judges, known as the Collegium, is responsible for making recommendations for judicial appointments and transfers.
- The Collegium primarily consists of the Chief Justice of India and a few senior judges of the Supreme Court.
- Before the Collegium System was established, the appointment of judges in India was primarily controlled by the executive branch of the government, with the President of India acting on the advice of the Union Cabinet.
- P. Gupta vs. Union of India (1982):
- In this case, also known as the “First Judges Case,” the Supreme Court held that the President’s power to appoint judges should be exercised based on the advice of the Chief Justice of India, but with the concurrence of the Executive.
- This case laid the foundation for the Collegium System.
- Supreme Court Advocates-on-Record Association vs. Union of India (1993):
- This case, referred to as the “Second Judges Case,” clarified the process of judicial appointments.
- It ruled that the Chief Justice of India should consult with a collegium of senior judges for appointments and transfers.
- It added that it was not the CJI’s individual opinion, but an institutional opinion formed in consultation with the two senior-most judges in the SC.
- The government’s role was reduced to seeking the opinion of the Chief Justice of India.
- In Re: Special Reference (1998):
- This case, known as the “Third Judges Case,” further refined the Collegium System.
- It emphasized that the opinion of the Chief Justice of India and the senior-most judges would be determinative in the appointment process, and the government’s role was limited to offering its inputs.
- This case expanded the Collegium to a five-member body, comprising the CJI and four of his senior-most colleagues.
- Supreme Court Collegium:
- The Supreme Court collegium is headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI).
- It comprises four other senior-most judges of the Supreme Court.
- High Court Collegium:
- Each High Court in India has its own collegium.
- The High Court collegium is headed by the Chief Justice of the respective High Court.
- It usually includes the two or more senior-most judges of that particular High Court.
With climate change, tackling new disease scenarios
(General Studies- Pape III)
Source : TH
The IPCC’s latest report warns that climate change is heightening the global risk of infectious diseases.
- The relationship between climate and disease is becoming increasingly evident.
- Climate change is disrupting expected disease patterns.
- For example, mosquito-borne diseases like dengue no longer follow traditional seasonal peaks.
- Variability in temperature, precipitation, and humidity affects disease transmission cycles and alters the distribution of disease vectors and animal reservoirs.
- Heat can affect the genomic structure of pathogens, changing their infectivity and virulence.
- Habitat loss due to climate change forces disease-carrying animals into human territory, increasing the risk of human-animal interaction and pathogen transfer.
- Diseases that do not harm animals can be fatal for humans, as seen with Nipah virus outbreaks in Kerala.
- Broadened Spectrum of Infectious Agents
- Climate change has led to a broader spectrum of infectious agents affecting humans, with over half of known infectious diseases worsening due to changing climate patterns.
- New transmission routes emerge, including environmental sources, medical tourism, and contaminated food and water.
- Transformation of Ecosystems
- Climate change transforms ecosystems, introducing invasive species and expanding the range of existing life forms.
- This disruption complicates predictions of disease outbreaks.
- Health Vulnerability Crisis
- Human-induced climate change is causing an unprecedented health vulnerability crisis.
- India, in particular, is experiencing the impact of climatic shifts, leading to health crises like dengue epidemics and Nipah outbreaks.
- Surveillance and Reporting for Emerging Diseases
- India has improved its outbreak reporting over the past two decades through programs like the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) and the Integrated Health Information Platform (IHIP).
- IHIP, a web-enabled system, was expected to enable real-time tracking of emerging disease outbreaks but has not met expectations.
- Inadequate Surveillance for Emerging Diseases
- The current surveillance system is not adequate for the changing disease scenario, especially those induced by climate change.
- A unified approach called One Health is needed, which integrates monitoring human, animal, plant, and environmental health, recognizing their interconnectedness.
- One Health is crucial in preventing outbreaks originating from animals and encompasses various health and environmental aspects.
- Need for a Unified Approach
- India should launch One Health and infectious disease control programs by building synergies between the central and state governments and their specialized agencies.
- Different departments such as animal husbandry, forest and wildlife, municipal corporations, and public health need to collaborate to set up robust surveillance systems.
- Trust, data sharing, and clear lines of responsibility are essential for effective coordination.
- Challenges Beyond Infectious Diseases
- Climate change exacerbates various health issues, including injuries and deaths from extreme weather events, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and mental health problems.
- The re-emergence of diseases like Nipah in Kerala highlights the need for a broader approach beyond biomedical responses.
- Protecting ecosystems, fostering collaboration, and embracing the One Health paradigm are crucial for addressing the challenges posed by climate change and infectious diseases.
What is the concept of ‘One Health’?
- “One Health” is a concept that recognizes the interconnectedness of the health of humans, animals, plants, and the environment.
- It emphasizes the idea that the health of these different components is closely linked and that addressing health issues in one area can have a significant impact on the others.
- Diseases can be transmitted between species (zoonoses), and environmental factors can influence disease spread.
Is Ukraine’s counteroffensive working?
(General Studies- Paper II)
Source : TH
Ukraine launched a counteroffensive against invading Russian troops in June, using advanced Western weapons and NATO-trained soldiers.
- While they have made some territorial gains, a major breakthrough remains elusive.
- The Ukrainians are committed to reclaiming lost land and have requested more military aid from the West.
- Ukraine’s Preparedness
- Before the counteroffensive, Ukraine’s Western allies supplied advanced weapons, including Patriot missile defense systems, HIMAR and MLRS rockets, armored vehicles, main battle tanks, and cruise missiles.
- The plan was to execute a blitzkrieg operation, involving a lightning strike with an armored force to capture territories and weaken Russian positions.
- Three Axes of Attack
- Ukraine opened three axes in its counteroffensive: Orikhiv in the south, VelykaNovosilka in the Zaporizhzhia-Donetsk border area, and Bakhmut in Donetsk.
- The primary goal was to reach Melitopol and the Sea of Azov, cutting off Russia’s land bridge to Crimea, which it annexed in 2014.
- Taking Melitopol would pressure Russia’s hold on Crimea, disrupt supply lines, and enable attacks on Berdyansk and Mariupol further north.
- Flaws in Ukraine’s Blitzkrieg Plan
- Ukraine’s blitzkrieg strategy faced significant challenges.
- Russia had established three lines of defense with trenches, landmines, heavy weapons, and fortifications.
- The battle for Bakhmut pinned down Ukrainian troops and allowed Russia to reinforce its defenses.
- Ukraine’s reliance on old Soviet-style fighter jets left them without advanced air cover, a crucial component for a blitzkrieg operation.
- Ukraine’s Tactical Shift
- Recognizing the flaws in their initial strategy, Ukraine shifted tactics from a major thrust into Russian defenses to smaller operations targeting the rear of Russia’s military and using long-range fire to attack supply lines.
- While this led to gains in some villages, breaching Russian defenses remained challenging.
- Russian Strategies to Slow Ukrainian Advances
- Initially, Russia’s plan to capture territories quickly and hold them with limited forces faltered when Ukraine resisted.
- This exposed Russian weaknesses and allowed Western intervention.
- Russia shifted its focus from offense to defense, ordered partial mobilization, and used tactics like mine-laying systems, precision-guided bombs, attack helicopters, anti-tank missiles, and artillery to deter Ukrainian advances.
- Russia’s air force, while lacking air superiority, remained intact and continued to pose a threat.
- S. Intelligence Skepticism
- S. intelligence agencies expressed skepticism about Ukraine’s counteroffensive well before its launch.
- Leaked U.S. intelligence documents indicated a bleak assessment, suggesting modest territorial gains and potential falling short of its goals.
- The U.S., despite supplying $40 billion in military aid to Ukraine, began realizing the difficulties of the counteroffensive.
- Criticism of Ukraine’s Tactics
- S. officials criticized Ukraine’s “risk-averse” tactics, citing a lack of an effective campaign combining infantry, artillery, and airpower.
- Ukrainian soldiers challenged this criticism, questioning when American troops last fought a conventional war with equal force on the battlefield.
- S. Commitment to Aid
- Despite the challenges, the U.S. has not changed its approach.
- President Biden approved sending long-range army tactical missile systems (ATACMS) to Ukraine, allowing Kyiv to target Russian positions beyond the frontline.
- S.-supplied Abrams main battle tanks are set to enter the battlefield, and President Biden seeks an additional $24 billion in aid for Ukraine.
- Russia’s Response and Adaptation
- Russia has learned from its early mistakes and adapted to new battlefield realities.
- Despite economic sanctions, Russia has increased its defense production, manufacturing more tanks and artillery shells than before the war.
- However, Russia has also suffered significant military casualties.
- Erosion of Russian Power
- The prolonged war in Europe has eroded Russian power in its periphery, with NATO expanding closer to its border.
- Russia has faced setbacks in the Caucasus, where Azerbaijan used force to take over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh territory.
- Despite these setbacks, President Putin remains committed to continuing the war, while Ukraine seeks quick battlefield gains, leaving peace a distant prospect.
About Ukraine- Russia Crisis
The Russian-Ukraine crisis refers to the ongoing conflict and tensions between Russia and Ukraine, which began in 2014 with Russia’s annexation of Crimea and escalated into a war in Eastern Ukraine.
- Historical Background
- Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union until its dissolution in 1991.
- It became an independent nation, and Crimea was part of Ukraine.
- However, the Russian Black Sea Fleet remained in Crimea under a lease agreement with Ukraine.
- Orange Revolution (2004):
- Ukraine experienced political turmoil following the 2004 presidential election.
- The Orange Revolution resulted in the election of Viktor Yushchenko, who pursued closer ties with the West.
- Yanukovych Presidency:
- In 2010, Viktor Yanukovych was elected president and pursued closer ties with Russia.
- This shift led to tensions between pro-European and pro-Russian factions in Ukraine.
- Annexation of Crimea (2014)
- In late 2013 and early 2014, Euromaidan protests erupted in Ukraine, demanding closer ties with the European Union.
- Yanukovych’s decision to abandon an EU association agreement triggered the protests.
- In February 2014, Russia seized Crimea following Ukraine’s political turmoil.
- Russia held a controversial referendum in Crimea, claiming it as part of Russia.
- The international community largely rejected this move, considering it a violation of Ukraine’s territorial integrity.
- Separatist Movements:
- After Crimea’s annexation, pro-Russian separatist movements emerged in Eastern Ukraine’s Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
- These separatists declared independence, leading to a conflict between Ukrainian forces and separatist militias.
- The conflict received international attention, with Western countries supporting Ukraine and accusing Russia of arming and supporting the separatists.
- Russia denied direct involvement but was widely accused of providing military support.
- Ceasefire Agreements:
- Multiple ceasefire agreements were brokered, such as the Minsk agreements, but none resulted in a lasting resolution.
- The conflict continues, with sporadic fighting and casualties.
Tackling the various myths within the field of microbiome research
(General Studies- Paper III)
Source : TH
A recent assessment published in Nature Microbiology challenges several common myths and misconceptions related to the human microbiome, shedding light on the complexity of microbial interactions within the human body.
- Myth 1: Human Microbiome Outnumbering Human Cells
- Common belief: Microbes in the human body outnumber human cells 10 to one.
- Reality: A 2016 study cited by the assessment estimated that a “reference man” weighing 70 kg has 38 trillion bacterial cells and 30 trillion human cells, debunking the 10 to one ratio.
- Myth 2: Recent Emergence of Microbiome Research
- Common belief: Microbiome research is a relatively new field.
- Reality: Scientists have described gut bacteria and their potential benefits as far back as the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
- Myth 3: Joshua Lederberg Naming the Field
- Common belief: Joshua Lederberg is credited with naming the microbiome research field in 2001.
- Reality: Researchers used the term “microbiome” in its modern form as early as 1988 to describe microbial communities.
- Myth 4: Exaggerated Size of Microbiome
- Common belief: The human microbiota weighs 1-2 kg.
- Reality: The microbiota’s actual weight is about 200 grams, according to the 2016 study.
- Myth 5: Mothers Passing Microbiomes to Children
- Common belief: Mothers transmit their microbiomes to their children at birth.
- Reality: While some microorganisms are transferred during birth, they make up a small fraction of an individual’s microbiota.
- Every adult ends up with a unique microbiota configuration.
- Myth 6: Microbes as Strictly ‘Good’ or ‘Bad’
- Common belief: Diseases result from undesirable interactions between microbial communities and human cells.
- Reality: Whether a microbe is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ depends on context.
- Many people carry bacteria like Clostridium difficile without diseases.
- Myth 7: Firmicutes-Bacteroidetes Ratio and Obesity
- Common belief: Obesity is linked to the ratio of two bacterial phyla, firmicutes and bacteroidetes.
- Reality: Such a broad phylum-level comparison cannot confidently determine effects.
- Myth 8: Functional Redundancy Among Microbes
- Common belief: Different microbes in the microbiome are functionally redundant.
- Reality: While some functions are shared, many important functions are specific to a few species.
- Myth 9: Unbiased Sequencing
- Common belief: Sequencing microbial DNA is unbiased.
- Reality: Sequencing can introduce biases at various stages, affecting data analysis.
- Myth 10: Need for Standardized Methods
- Common belief: Standardized methods are necessary for comparing different microbiome studies.
- Reality: No methodology is perfect, and universal standardization may ignore method limitations.
- Myth 11: The Unculturability of Microbes
- Common belief: Microbes from the human microbiome are challenging to grow in the lab.
- Reality: Efforts in the 1970s successfully cultured diverse microbiome species, suggesting that gaps in culture collections result from a lack of previous effort.
What is Microbiome?
- The microbiome refers to the community of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses, fungi, archaea, and other microbes, that inhabit a particular environment.
- In the context of the human body, the term “microbiome” is often used to describe the diverse population of microorganisms that live on and inside the human body.
- This includes microorganisms that reside on the skin, in the mouth, in the gastrointestinal tract, and in other bodily systems.
- The human microbiome plays a crucial role in various aspects of human health and physiology.
- It is involved in digestion, the synthesis of certain vitamins and nutrients, the development of the immune system, and protection against harmful pathogens.
- Imbalances or disruptions in the microbiome can contribute to various health conditions and diseases.
What does Sequencing mean?
- Sequencing refers to the process of determining the precise order of nucleotides (adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine) in a DNA or RNA molecule.
- DNA sequencing, in particular, is a fundamental technique in molecular biology and genetics that allows scientists to decipher the genetic code of an organism.
Indo-Pacific region is ‘a web of interdependencies’: Army Chief
(General Studies- Paper II)
Source : TH
Indian Army Chief Gen Manoj Pande emphasized that the Indo-Pacific region is not just a collection of nations but a “web of interdependencies.”
- He highlighted that beyond maritime challenges, there are various security and humanitarian concerns on land, referring indirectly to China’s land reclamation activities in the South China Sea.
- Gen Pande noted that these challenges include territorial disputes, transnational terrorism threats, climate change impacts, and natural disasters, affecting multiple nations.
- He stressed the importance of cooperation among land forces in responding to these challenges.
- The army Chiefs was addressing a press conference on the 13th Indo-Pacific Army Chiefs Conference (IPACC) that India is hosting for the first time
Indo-Pacific Army Chiefs Conference (IPACC)
- The Indo-Pacific Army Chiefs Conference (IPACC) is a biennial event that brings together the chiefs of armies from various countries in the Indo-Pacific region.
- The 13th IPACC is being hosted by India for the first time and includes participation from 30 countries, with 20 Chiefs present.
- It serves as a platform for sharing perspectives, identifying priorities, and enhancing collective responses to regional challenges.
India-U.S. Bilateral Army Exercise
- The 19th edition of the India-U.S. bilateral Army exercise, YudhAbhyas, commenced in Alaska, focusing on the employment of an integrated battle group in mountain and extreme climatic conditions under a UN mandate.
What is ‘Indo-Pacific’?
- The term “Indo-Pacific” refers to a geopolitical concept that encompasses the maritime region connecting the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean.
- It is a vast area that stretches from the eastern coast of Africa, across the Indian Ocean, and into the western and central Pacific, including the South China Sea.
- The Indo-Pacific is witnessing competition and rivalry among major powers, including the United States, China, India, Japan, and Russia.
- These powers are vying for influence and strategic advantages in the region.
- Regional organizations and forums play a crucial role in fostering multilateral cooperation and dialogue in the Indo-Pacific.
- Examples include the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the East Asia Summit (EAS), and the Quad (comprising the United States, Japan, India, and Australia).
In Image: The Indo-Pacific Region.
High Salt Intake in India
(General Studies- Paper II)
Source : TH
A recent survey conducted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) reveals that the average daily salt intake in India stands at 8.0 grams, significantly higher than the World Health Organization’s (WHO) recommended daily intake of up to 5 grams.
- Gender and Regional Disparities
- The survey indicates that salt intake is higher among men, with men consuming an average of 8.9 grams per day compared to women’s 7.1 grams.
- Furthermore, salt intake is notably elevated in rural areas compared to urban areas.
- Impact of Weight and Lifestyle Factors
- The study also found that overweight and obese individuals tend to have higher salt intake.
- Additionally, employed individuals, current tobacco users, and those with high blood pressure consume more salt on average.
- Low Awareness of Health Risks
- One concerning finding from the survey is the low awareness among the study population regarding the harmful effects of excessive salt consumption.
- Participants generally displayed limited awareness of the health risks associated with high salt intake and had few practices in place to limit their salt consumption.
- Recommendations and Health Implications
- Reducing salt intake is identified as a beneficial and cost-effective method to lower elevated blood pressure by 25%.
- The study advocates for a 30% reduction in mean population salt intake by 2025.
- Cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension, are a major concern in India, accounting for a significant percentage of total deaths.
- The study highlights the urgent need for measures to control dietary salt consumption and promote awareness of its health implications.
- Methodology and Limitations
- The study estimated salt intake using spot urine samples, a validated method for assessing dietary sodium intake.
- While the study provides valuable insights into salt consumption patterns in India, it has limitations, including potential information bias related to self-reported awareness and behavior regarding salt intake.
- The study also did not analyze specific dietary sources of salt in food items and condiments.
What is ‘Common Salt’?
- Common salt, also known as table salt or sodium chloride (NaCl), is a mineral compound that is essential for human health and is widely used as a seasoning and preservative in food.
- It is one of the most commonly consumed salts in the world.
- Common salt is composed of equal parts sodium and chloride ions, which are essential electrolytes that play vital roles in various physiological processes within the human body.
- Health Implications:
- While sodium is essential for bodily functions, excessive salt consumption can lead to health issues, such as high blood pressure (hypertension) and cardiovascular diseases.
- As a result, health authorities often recommend limiting salt intake.
- Iodized Salt:
- Many countries, including India, add iodine to table salt to prevent iodine deficiency disorders like goiter.
- Iodized salt ensures that people receive sufficient iodine in their diet for thyroid health.
- Types of Salt:
- Besides common salt, there are various types of specialty salts, such as sea salt, kosher salt, and Himalayan pink salt, each with its unique flavor and texture, used in specific culinary applications.
Centre seeks to soften angel tax
(General Studies- Paper III)
Source : TH
The central government has eased some provisions of the angel tax, which was introduced in this year’s budget, on investments into startups by non-resident investors at a premium over their fair market value.
- These changes aim to provide relief to foreign investors in Indian startups.
- Amendment to Rule 11UA
- Rule 11UA under the Income Tax Act has been amended, bringing changes to the draft norms that were released earlier.
- These changes provide clarity and flexibility to prospective foreign investors in startups.
- The amendment introduces five alternative valuation methods for equity shares, offering more flexibility to merchant bankers for valuing a company.
- Previously, only the Net Asset Value (NAV) and Discounted Free Cash Flow methods were available for valuing equity shares.
- 10% Tolerance for Deviations
- The new rules also allow for a 10% tolerance for deviations from the accepted share valuations, reducing the likelihood of future litigation and addressing illegitimate or non-genuine transactions.
- Impact on Indian Companies and Investors
- Indian companies and investors had been facing practical difficulties in executing capital infusion transactions due to a lack of clarity in the rules.
- These changes are expected to encourage investments in eligible startups.
What are Angel Investors?
- Angel Investors:
- Angel investors are individuals who provide financial backing to startups or small businesses in exchange for ownership equity or convertible debt.
- They are typically affluent individuals with a high net worth and are willing to take on the high risk associated with early-stage investments in exchange for potential high returns.
- Angel investors not only provide capital but often offer their expertise, experience, and valuable connections to help the startups grow and succeed.
- They play a crucial role in funding and nurturing early-stage businesses, bridging the gap between seed funding and venture capital.
- Angel Tax:
- Angel tax, also known as the angel tax regime, is a tax imposed on the capital raised by unlisted companies from individual investors who are termed “angel investors.”
- In India, angel tax is levied as per Section 56(2)(viib) of the Income Tax Act.
- It was introduced to curb money laundering and discourage the use of unaccounted funds.
- Under this provision, if a startup receives funding at a valuation exceeding its “fair market value,” the excess amount is considered income and is subject to taxation.
What is seed funding and venture capital?
- Seed Funding:
- Seed funding, often referred to as seed capital or seed investment, is the initial capital provided to a startup or early-stage company to help it get off the ground.
- It is the earliest stage of funding that a startup receives and is used to cover initial expenses such as product development, market research, and building a prototype.
- Seed funding is typically provided by angel investors, venture capitalists, or, in some cases, by the founders themselves or friends and family.
- Venture Capital:
- Venture capital (VC) refers to the financial capital provided to startups and early-stage companies by venture capital firms or venture capitalists.
- Venture capital firms are professional investment firms that manage funds from various sources, including institutional investors, high-net-worth individuals, and corporations.
- These funds are then invested in startups and emerging companies with high growth potential.