CURRENT AFFAIRS – 08/05/2024

CURRENT AFFAIRS - 08/05/2024

CURRENT AFFAIRS – 08/05/2024

CURRENT AFFAIRS – 08/05/2024

Advertisers should submit self-declarations before promoting products: SC

(General Studies- Paper II)

Source : The Hindu

India – Australia Bilateral Relationship

  • The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed that advertisers should submit self-declarations that they are not misrepresenting or making false claims about products before promoting them in the media.
  • The Bench passed the order to protect consumers from being trapped by misleading advertisements.
  • The directions came in a case stemming from the misleading advertisements run by Patanjali Ayurved, co-founded by yoga guru Baba Ramdev, for years.
  • As a “tide-over” measure, the court ordered that advertisers should submit their self-declarations in line with the Cable TV Network Regulations Rules of 1994.
  • Advertisers intending to run advertisements in TV channels should upload their self-declarations on the Information and Broadcasting Ministry’s ‘Broadcast Seva’ portal. A copy should be given to the broadcaster also.
  • The court directed the Ministry to open a similar portal for print advertisers in four weeks.
  • “Immediately after the portal is activated, all ads in the Press/Print Media, the advertisers shall file their self-declarations before issuing advertisements,” the court said.
  • Sense of responsibility: “A person who endorses a product should have adequate experience and information about the product,” and “The consumer should not be left oblivious of the outcome of the complaint,” the court observed in the order.
  • Crucial part: The Bench further ordered the Ministry of Health to provide data on the number of complaints received by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) about misleading advertisements and misbranding of food and health products.

Focus on mother tongue from the early stages : CBSE

(General Studies- Paper II)

Source : The Hindu

Mother tongue as medium of instruction –

  • The NEP has directed focus on students’ mother tongue as the medium of instruction even as it sticks to the ‘three language formula’ but also mandates that no language would be imposed on anyone.
  • Under the ‘three language formula’, the students must learn two Indian languages, with English not to be considered as one.
  • It also says that the freedom to choose the two Indian languages should be left to the states, regions or students.
  • The policy indicates that the medium of instruction till at least Grade 5, but preferably up till Grade 8 and beyond, will be the mother tongue/local language/ regional language in both public and private schools.


Initiatives Taken to Promote Regional Languages

  • National Education Policy 2020- It states that wherever possible, the medium of instruction must in the mother tongue or local languages. This must be done until at least class 5, but preferably till class 8.
  • NIPUN Bharat- National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy is launched under National Education Policy 2020. It promotes mother tongue-based instruction as an integral aspect of achieving Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) goals.
  • Bhasha Sangam- It is an initiative under the ‘Ek Bharat Shreshta Bharat’ mission implemented by NCERT. It aims to teach 100 sentences in 22 scheduled vernacular languages sentences in 22 scheduled vernacular languages in Devnagri script with translation in English language.
  • Publication grant- The Commission for Scientific and Technical Terminology is providing publication grant towards the publications of University Level Books in regional languages.
  • National Translation Mission- It is implemented by the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL), Mysore. The text books of various subjects prescribed in universities and colleges are being translated in all languages of the 8th Schedule of the Constitution of India.
  • Centre for Endangered Languages in Central Universities- It is implemented by University Grants Commission (UGC) to promote regional languages in higher education courses and supports 9 Central Universities.

Significance of teaching & learning in the child’s mother tongue, or regional and local language

  • Language as an identity- In a diverse and culturally rich country like India, language is more than just a means of communication; it is the essence of our identity.
  • Crucial skills- The foundational years of education lay the cornerstone for a child’s future intellectual growth.
    • It is imperative that children acquire and enhance their Foundational Literacy and Numeracy (FLN) skills, and language should not hinder the development of these crucial skills.
    • Neuroscientific research reveals that more than 85% of a person’s brain development takes place before the age of 6.
  • Fosters inclusivity- It makes Right to Education under Article 21A a ‘substantive right’.
    • By offering education in regional languages, it breaks down language barriers, making education accessible to a wider audience and ensuring that no child feels left behind.
  • Preserve linguistic heritage- Embracing regional languages in education helps preserve India’s linguistic heritage.
    • India has over 22 officially recognised languages and hundreds of dialects, each with its own unique cultural and historical significance.
  • Enhance language proficiency- Research suggests that multilingual individuals tend to have stronger communication skills, greater adaptability, and improved cognitive abilities.
  • Build an equitable education system – It will ensure unbiased education and will be culturally and academically inclusive with better learning outcomes.
  • Incredible learning experience- It allows the students to absorb the knowledge effectively leading to a higher level of optimism among students and boost students self-confidence.

TB vaccine MTBVAC gets approval for Phase 2 trials

(General Studies- Paper II)

Source : The Hindu


  • Bharat Biotech, in collaboration with Spanish biopharmaceutical company Biofabri, has initiated clinical trials for the Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Vaccine (MTBVAC) in India, marking a significant milestone in TB vaccine development.
  • The only currently available TB vaccine, the Bacillus Calmette-Guérin vaccine (BCG), was developed 100 years ago and is less effective.



  • MTBVAC is a unique TB vaccine based on a genetically modified form of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, containing all antigens present in human-infecting strains, unlike the BCG vaccine.
  • It is developed in the laboratory of the University of Zaragoza with contributions from Dr. Brigitte Gicquel of the Pasteur Institute, Paris.
  • MTBVAC is designed to offer superior and potentially longer-lasting protection compared to the BCG vaccine, particularly for newborns and in preventing TB in adults and adolescents.


Objectives of Clinical Trials in India

  • Safety and Immunogenicity: The ongoing trials in India aim to evaluate the safety and immunogenicity of MTBVAC, with plans for a pivotal Phase 3 trial in 2025.
  • Population Significance: Studying the vaccine’s efficacy in India, with its high TB burden, is crucial for advancing TB vaccine research and addressing the global TB epidemic.


What is Tuberculosis?

  • Tuberculosis is an infection caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
  • Robert Koch discovered Mycobacterium tuberculosis which causes TB, and his discovery opened the way towards diagnosing and curing this disease.
  • It can practically affect any organ of the body.
  • The most common ones are lungs, pleura (lining around the lungs), lymph nodes, intestines, spine, and brain.



  • It is an airborne infection that spreads through close contact with the infected, especially in densely populated spaces with poor ventilation.



  • Common symptoms of active lung TB are cough with sputum and blood at times, chest pains, weakness, weight loss, fever and night sweats.


Treatment Facilities in India:

  • DOTS (Directly Observed Treatment, Short-Course) regimen: It is the recommended treatment approach for TB by the WHO. Patients receive a combination of four antibiotics: isoniazid, rifampicin, pyrazinamide, and ethambutol. These drugs are usually administered daily for the first two months of treatment, followed by a continuation phase with isoniazid and rifampicin for an additional four to seven months.
  • Nikshay Poshan Yojana (2018): It was launched to support every Tuberculosis (TB) Patient by providing a Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) of Rs 500 per month for nutritional needs.


Issues in TB Treatment: Drug Resistance

  • Drug resistance emerges when anti-TB medicines are used inappropriately, through incorrect prescription by health care providers, poor quality drugs, and patients stopping treatment prematurely.
    • Multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB): Itis a form of TB caused by bacteria that do not respond to isoniazid and rifampicin, the 2 most powerful, first-line anti-TB drugs. MDR-TB is treatable and curable by using second-line drugs such as
    • Extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB): It is a more serious form of MDR-TB caused by bacteria that do not respond to the most effective second-line anti-TB drugs, often leaving patients without any further treatment options.

‘The unseen effects of climate change on mental health

(General Studies- Paper II)

Source : The Hindu


A study found that people with mental health conditions seem to be at a greater risk of succumbing to heat-related deaths. The risk is even higher for people diagnosed with schizophrenia, anxiety or bipolar disorder.


Affecting society

  • Climate change is disproportionately affecting society’s most vulnerable members, including those with physical ailments, the elderly, the poor, and the socially and economically marginalised.
  • And we also know climate change has become the basis of a slew of psychological afflictions of its own, including eco-anxiety, eco-paralysis, and solastalgia (a form of emotional or existential distress rendered by environmental changes).
  • It also potentially includes being able to worsen existing mental health conditions.


A dubious distinction

  • Studies have reported that an extreme heat event affected people with schizophrenia more than those with kidney and heart disease.
  • Also, people with mental health conditions seem to be at a greater risk of succumbing to heat-related deaths.
  • The stakes were found to be even higher for people diagnosed with schizophrenia, anxiety or bipolar disorder.
  • Scientists reported that 8% of the people surveyed in 2021 were previously diagnosed with schizophrenia as opposed to 2.7% of the people surveyed nine years ago.
  • People with schizophrenia were found to be at greater risk of heat-related distress than those with kidney and heart diseases, the latter weren’t immune: they were at risk as well, just less so.


Dysfunction of the hypothalamus

  • The researchers believe one of the main reasons people with schizophrenia were more vulnerable to heat stress could be as a result of the dysfunction of the hypothalamus, a structure embedded deep in the human brain.
  • Its main function is to maintain the homeostasis of the body, i.e. to keep the body in a stable condition that ensures it can carry out its normal function. This means it controls the body’s temperature, heart rate, hunger, thirst, mood, libido, sleep, and the regulation of hormones.
  • Certain antipsychotic medications prescribed to people with schizophrenia have also been found to interfere with the hypothalamus’s workings.
  • One side-effect of such drugs has been a tendency to raise the body’s temperature, which when coupled with anomalously high ambient temperatures can rapidly prove fatal.
  • People with schizophrenia also often have psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, disorganised thinking, and memory loss.
  • They may also suffer from anosognosia: a condition in which they’re unable to sense that they’re ill.
  • All this together with comorbidities like diabetes and hypertension can make life very difficult for people with schizophrenia, including potentially interfere with their ability to seek help.
  • As it happens, marginalisation, lower economic status, and a propensity for loneliness are risk factors for people with schizophrenia, and the same factors can heighten an individual’s vulnerability to heat-related illnesses.

India opens up investment options for Russia to channel rupee balance

(General Studies- Paper III)

Source : The Hindu


  • Russia’s payment woes with India may finally be coming to an end.
  • Russian entities now have a bouquet of investment options not just government securities and bonds but equity and loans to channelise their accumulating rupee balance.
  • “Russia is no longer struggling to repatriate the rupee balance which has been continuously accumulating in its special vostro accounts in Indian banks due to increased shipments to India.
  • “The RBI, through various amendments to FEMA regulations and procedures, has made it possible for Russian entities to invest in a whole bouquet of avenues, which the country has started to make full use of now,”.


Russian investments

  • In October, the RBI enabled countries holding rupee accounts to invest in government securities/treasury bills. Recently, a FEMA (Foreign Exchange Management Act) regulation has been amended making it easier for foreign investors to trade in derivatives.


Equity, debt

  • Russia is also being allowed to invest in equity and debt and it has shown tremendous interest in doing so, the source added.
  • Anyway, the West’s economic sanctions against Russia are unlikely to have a bearing on Russia’s investments in India.
  • Russia is now India’s second largest source of imports, after China, surpassing the UAE and the U.S.
  • In 2023-24, India’s imports from Russia rose 32.95% to $61.44 billion, while its exports were at $4.26 billion resulting in a $57.18 billion trade deficit.
  • “Most of India’s imports from Russia comprises oil, but we are also buying defence equipment, fertilizers, edible fats and oil, and precious and semi-precious stones and jewellery.
  • “While payment for defence equipment was largely in rupee, that for Russian oil was in other currencies.
  • “Now that the rupee balance is finding various investment avenues, India can make a larger part of payment for Russian imports in its domestic currency,”.


Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999

  • The legal framework for the administration of foreign exchange transactions in India is provided by the Foreign Exchange Management Act, 1999.
  • Under the FEMA, which came into force with effect from 1st June 2000, all transactions involving foreign exchange have been classified either as capital or current account transactions.

An inheritance tax will help reduce inequality

(General Studies- Paper III)

Source : The Hindu

Context :

A remark by Chairman of Indian Overseas Congress Sam Pitroda on implementing an inheritance tax as a tool of wealth redistribution has sparked massive debates.


The issue

  • Primarily, we underscore the need to take a view of citizenship where the poor and the rich can participate equally in democratic decision-making.
  • However, in an unequal society, a handful of dominant individuals can wield a disproportionate amount of power through control of resources.
  • This will likely lead to a few wealthy elites dictating the socioeconomic and political decisions aimed to benefit them at the cost of the majority.


 Why inequality matters

  • First, inequality harms growth in the medium-to-long run, by hampering firm productivity, reducing labour income, and diverting resources away from rights such as education.
  • Second, in unequal countries, the place of birth holds inordinate power in directing lifetime outcomes. In India, almost a third of the variation in consumption can be explained by the place of residence: the State, and city or village.
  • Third, high inequality is also associated with political polarisation and increased conflict.
  • Fourth, inequality is likely to have a negative multiplier effect on the economy — diminished earnings for the poor lead to reduced consumption and savings and increased indebtedness.
  • This reduces aggregate demand, limits production and investments, and leads to lower growth rates in the future.
  • The Constitution mandates equality of status and of opportunity. As such the government is obliged to take steps to reduce the disparities arising from accidents of birth.


An inheritance tax

  • A wealth tax is a recurring tax on all physical and financial assets an individual owns.
  • An inheritance tax differs from a wealth tax in two ways: it is intergenerational and levied once in a lifetime.
  • These taxes are meant to be applied to individuals having high wealth above a threshold.
  • When implemented well, these taxes reduce the concentration of wealth and encourage shifting investments from non-productive to productive activities.
  • Property of the elite being bequeathed to descendants implies that the descendants do no work to acquire it.
  • There is no economic reason for it to be a freebie for them.
  • Some might argue that inheritance tax will disincentivise innovations. But this disregards that innovation is needed to be competitive today and suggests that innovation is solely to propagate dynastic control of resources which is at odds with democratic ideals.
  • On the contrary, revenue generated from inheritance tax can be used to fund a diversified set of innovations.
  • An advanced country like Japan has up to 55% inheritance tax.
  • A variant of the inheritance tax, called estates duty, was levied in India between 1953-1985 but this was abolished owing to administrative costs.
  • However, the economist Rishabh Kumar shows that this was effective in reducing the top 1% personal wealth share from 16% to 6% between 1966 and 1985.


Land value tax

  • Another approach is the land value tax (LVT): this taxes the rental value of land, without considering the property built on it.
  • This is borne by the landowner and not the tenants. Unlike labour, land is a natural resource and is unresponsive to changes in taxes, making the LVT an efficient source of revenue.
  • Given the role of land ownership in perpetuating feudal caste relations in rural India and the pervasive politician-builder nexus in urban India, LVT can be a useful redistributive mechanism.



  • Economists Jayati Ghosh and Prabhat Patnaik demonstrate that a 2% wealth tax and a 33.3% inheritance tax only on the top 1% in India can raise an additional public expenditure of 10% of the GDP.
  • This can be used to ensure a bouquet of socioeconomic rights for the poor like living wages, right to health, employment, and food.
  • Given technological advancements, these are possible if there is political will.

North America : Physical Divisions


  • North America is a continent entirely within the Northern Hemisphere and almost all within the Western Hemisphere. It can also be considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas.
  • It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the west and south by the Pacific Ocean, and to the southeast by South America and the Caribbean Sea.
  • North America is the third largest continent after Asia and Africa. It covers an area of nearly 24 million square kilometers.
  • From south to north, it extends from 7°N to 85°N latitude and east to west from 20°W to 179° W.
  • In other words, its northern boundary is only about 500 kilometers away from the North Pole and its western boundary only 10 kilometers away from the International Date Line.
  • There are five time zones in North America.
  • The Tropic of Cancer and the Arctic Circle passes through the continent and the 100°W longitude cuts through the center of the continent.
  • This huge landmass includes three large countries – Canada, the United States of America and Mexico, seven small states of Central America, and the islands of the West Indies.
  • In the north-west, the Bering Strait separates it from Asia and in the south-east, the Isthmus of Panama joins it to South America. North America has a smooth coastline except for the existing in the north-west.

Major Physical Divisions of North America

  1. The Western Cordilleras
  2. The Central Lowlands
  3. The Eastern Highlands 
  1. The Western Cordilleras
  • The parallel ranges of young fold mountains run from Alaska and extend into South America as the Andes.
  • As they resemble twisted cords they are known as Cordilleras.
  • Fold mountains are formed when tectonic plates push the Earth’s crust and force it to form ridges and valleys.
  • Volcanic rocks from the base of fold mountains.
  • The Cordilleras are part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. Mount St. Helena is in the USA.
  • The snow-covered Cordilleras act as a barrier to moisture-laden winds and cause relief rainfall.
  • Some of the rivers flow westwards and some eastwards with the Cordilleras acting as the water divide between them.
  • Rocky Mountains, Alaska Range, Cascades, Sierra Nevada, and the Sierra Madre are the chief ranges of the Western Cordilleras.
  • The Grand Canyon is a network of deep narrow valley cuts into the dry Colorado Plateau.
  • The Old Faithful” is a natural geyser (a hot waterspout). Once in every 90 minutes, the water from the geyser comes out roaring up to 60 meters high. It is found in Yellowstone National Park.

  1. The Central Lowlands
    • These stretch from around the Arctic Shores and Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico.
    • They are hemmed in by the Cordilleras in the west and the highlands in the east.
    • In the west, they are known as high plains because of the greater altitudes.
    • In the north, they form the Canadian Shield.
    • The Canadian Shield is a peneplain with a number of lakes. They are large enough to be called seas. They are the five Great lakes – Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario.
    • Lake Winnipeg, Great Bear Lake, and Lake Athabaska are also on the Canadian Shield.
    • South of the Canadian Shield, the Central Lowlands are covered with layers of sediment brought by glaciers and rivers. It is a very fertile region.
    • Great Lakes of USA –

Importance of great lakes region

  • Glacial lakes
  • The largest freshwater system
  • Together – they hold 1/5 th of the earth surface’s freshwater
  • Source of drinking water, irrigation, transport, sulfide and iron mining in the periphery

  1. The Eastern Highlands
  • They are old fold mountains that stretch from the valley of River St. Lawrence to Southern USA.
  • They are not high or as continuous as the Cordilleras.
  • The highlands are also known as the Laurentian highlands in Canada and the Appalachians in the USA and are less than 2,000 meters in height.
  • Their eastern slopes facing the Atlantic Ocean are very steep causing waterfalls in the streams that flow to the coast.
  • Canadian Shield – The Canadian Shield is a raised but relatively flat plateau. It extends over eastern, central, and northwestern Canada. The Canadian Shield is characterized by a rocky landscape pocked by an astounding number of lakes.