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Daily Current Affairs

2-November-2023

1. October gross GST collections climb to ₹1.72 lakh crore.

Topic: GS3 – Indian economy.

Context:

  • In October, India’s gross Goods and Services Tax (GST) revenues experienced a strong rebound, with a 10-month high growth rate of 13.4%.
  • This growth resulted in the second-highest monthly GST collection of ₹1.72 lakh crore.
  • The October GST receipts were 5.7% higher than the previous month (September), which had seen a slowdown in growth to a 27-month low of 10.2%.

Reasons for better GST performance in recent time:

  • Economic Recovery: Improved economic conditions and recovery from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to increased consumption and economic activity, contributing to higher GST collections.
  • Anti-Evasion Measures: Enhanced anti-evasion measures, such as stricter enforcement and digital tracking of transactions, have helped curb tax evasion and boost GST revenue.
  • Compliance Improvements: Greater compliance by businesses and taxpayers has led to more accurate reporting and timely payment of GST dues.
  • Increased Imports: Growth in imports of goods has contributed to higher GST collections, especially the levies on imported goods.
  • GST Compensation Cess: Record-high GST Compensation Cess collections, including those from goods imports, have added to the overall GST revenue.
  • Fiscal Discipline: A focus on fiscal discipline and efficient tax administration has played a role in improving GST performance.
  • Policy Reforms: Ongoing policy reforms and adjustments in GST rates and regulations have also influenced revenue growth.

2. Musician-musicologist Leela Omchery no more

Topic: GS1 – Indian art and culture.

Context:

  • Classical musician and musicologist Leela Omchery, known for her extensive research in Indian classical and folk music, passed away in New Delhi at the age of 94.

More information on the news:

  • She excelled in Carnatic music, Hindustani music, Sopana Sangeetham, and folk songs.
  • Leela Omchery served as the head of the music department at Delhi University for 28 years.
  • Her notable works include books like “Immortals of Indian Music,” “Gleanings in Indian Music,” “Indian Music and Allied Arts” (5 volumes), “Abhinayasangeetham,” “Keralathile Laasya Rachanakal,” and “Leela Omcheriyude Pathangal.”
  • In addition to her contributions to music, she also wrote short stories and translated from Tamil.
  • She was honored with the Padma Shri award in 2005.

3. Reconciliation over retribution

Topic: GS2

The Consequences of Revenge

  • Revenge perpetuates a vicious cycle of unending self-destructive events.
  • Human beings possess the capacity for restraint, and removing restraint leads to social disorder.
  • International law and treaties bind people and countries to acceptable conduct, preventing disorder and unmanageable conflicts.

Retribution vs. Lasting Solutions

  • Retaliation may seem like a short-term triumph, but it often leads to permanent conflicts and deep-seated animosity.
  • Cooperation and unity provide longer-lasting solutions and minimize subterranean sentiments.

Responsibility of Judicial System and Governments

  • The judicial system should punish offenders, while governments must seek consensual solutions to minimize conflicts.
  • Lack of efforts to find consensual solutions empowers fringe elements and invites government retaliation.
  • Such retaliation can lead to collateral damage and discredit the government’s actions, perpetuating violence.

The Logic of Retaliation

  • Retaliation may sound convincing when passions are inflamed, but it results in indiscriminate injury and more innocent deaths.
  • Exchange of innocent lives, even if unintended, should not be seen as a justifiable price for retaliation.
  • Equanimity, restraint, and dialogue are essential in a civilized world where might cannot determine who is right.

4. Rajya Sabha privilege panel to review pleas against members

Topic: GS2 – Indian polity.

Context:

  • The Privileges Committee of the Rajya Sabha has scheduled a meeting to review complaints against House members, including suspended AAP MPs Sanjay Singh and Raghav Chadha, and Trinamool Congress member Derek O’
  • The Supreme Court expressed concerns about the indefinite suspension of MPs, including Raghav Chadha, during a recent hearing.

The Privileges Committee:

  • The Privileges Committee is a parliamentary committee in the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India’s Parliament.
  • It is responsible for examining and addressing issues related to the privileges and conduct of members of the Rajya Sabha.
  • The committee reviews complaints and allegations against House members, including issues of privilege and misconduct.
  • The Privileges Committee plays a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and decorum of the Rajya Sabha.
  • It is responsible for determining appropriate actions and consequences for members found in breach of parliamentary rules and privileges.
  • This committee also considers matters related to the suspension of members from parliamentary proceedings and activities.
  • Its decisions and recommendations can have a significant impact on the parliamentary standing and conduct of members within the Rajya Sabha.

5. 53 accidents, 19 deaths per hour in road crashes in 2022, says Ministry

Topic: GS3 – road safety.

Context:

  • India’s road network expansion and increased vehicle ownership have led to a rise in road accidents and fatalities.
  • In 2022, India witnessed an average of 1,264 accidents and 42 deaths daily, totaling 4,61,312 road accidents and 1,68,491 fatalities for the year.
  • The severity of road crashes, measured by the number of people killed per 100 accidents, has increased over the past decade, reaching 36.5 in 2022.

Issue of Road safety in India:

Causes of Road Accidents in India

The main causes of road accidents in India include:

  • Speeding:Speeding is one of the leading causes of road accidents in India. It is estimated that over 70% of road accidents in India are caused by speeding.
  • Drunken driving:Drunken driving is another major cause of road accidents in India. It is estimated that over 30% of road accidents in India are caused by drunken driving.
  • Overloading:Overloading of vehicles is another common cause of road accidents in India. Overloaded vehicles are more difficult to control and are more likely to be involved in accidents.
  • Poor road conditions:Poor road conditions, such as potholes and uneven surfaces, also contribute to road accidents.
  • Lack of traffic enforcement: Lack of traffic enforcement is another major contributor to road accidents in India. Traffic laws are often flouted with impunity, which leads to accidents.

Impact of Road Accidents

         Road accidents have a devastating impact on individuals, families, and society as a whole. They can lead to loss of life, serious injuries, and financial hardship. Road accidents also have a significant impact on the economy.

Measures to Improve Road Safety in India

  • Stricter enforcement of traffic laws:Traffic laws should be strictly enforced to deter people from violating them. This includes imposing stricter penalties for violations and increasing the presence of traffic police on the roads.
  • Improved road infrastructure:Road infrastructure should be improved to make roads safer for all users. This includes fixing potholes, widening roads, and building more traffic lights and pedestrian crossings.
  • Public awareness campaigns:Public awareness campaigns should be conducted to educate people about the importance of road safety and the dangers of violating traffic laws.
  • Safer vehicles:Vehicles should be made safer through design and by incorporating safety features such as airbags and anti-lock braking systems (ABS).

Conclusion

 Road safety is a shared responsibility of all stakeholders, including the government, road users, and vehicle manufacturers. By working together, we can make the roads of India safer for everyone.

6. PMI points to manufacturing growth easing to 8-month low.

Topic: GS3 – Indian economy.

Context:

  • The growth in India’s manufacturing sector eased in October, reaching its slowest pace since February.

Put on this news

  • The S&P Global India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) dropped to 55.5 from September’s 57.6.
  • Demand for consumer goods saw the most significant decline, with new
  • Job creation was at its weakest since April, with fewer than 4% of firms hiring new staff.
  • Business confidence hit a five-month low due to concerns about inflation and demand, particularly compared to the first half.el.

Manufacturing Purchasing ManagersIndex (PMI):

  • PMI Definition: PMI stands for Purchasing Managers’ Index, an economic indicator.
  • Monthly Assessment: It’s calculated monthly to evaluate the manufacturing sector’s performance.
  • Surveys and Data: PMI is derived from surveys conducted among purchasing managers in manufacturing businesses.
  • Key Variables: Surveys cover areas like new orders, production, employment, supplier deliveries, and inventories.
  • Threshold of 50: A PMI above 50 indicates sector expansion, while below 50 suggests contraction.
  • Leading Indicator: It often predicts broader economic trends and is closely watched by financial markets and policymakers.
  • International Comparisons: PMIs are calculated for various countries, enabling global assessments.

7. Haemoglobin isn’t used only in blood, scientists discover

Topic: GS3 – science

  • Serendipitous Discovery: Haemoglobin, traditionally associated with red blood cells, has been discovered in chondrocytes, the cells responsible for making cartilage.
  • Haemoglobin Bodies: Scientists found spherical structures in chondrocytes, which they termed “haemoglobin bodies” or Hedy.
  • Vital for Survival: Research with genetically modified mice revealed that Hedy is essential for chondrocytes’ survival, without which they undergo cell death.
  • Oxygen Storage: The study suggests that haemoglobin in chondrocytes stores and supplies oxygen to these cells, especially under low-oxygen conditions.
  • Potential Implications: The discovery breaks down barriers between haematology and skeletal biology, leading to the exploration of new possibilities in stem cell fate and its relevance to joint diseases.

8. Dengue Outbreak in Bihar: A Surge in Cases and Deaths

Topic: GS2- Health

Context:

  • In a worrying trend, Bihar reported 59 fatalities and an astounding 15,000 cases of dengue in the current yearthe greatest number of cases and deaths in at least the previous five years.
  • Numerous causes have contributed to this concerning increase.

Causes of the Outbreak

  • A major reason for the increase in cases of dengue is the extended monsoon season, which normally ends by mid-September but continued into mid-October this year.
  • Mosquitoes found this extended rainy season to be excellent for breeding, especially in the highly populated districts of Patna where stagnant pools of water formed.
  • Furthermore, the prolonged warm weather has promoted the ongoing usage of water coolers, which mosquitoes that spread dengue love to nest in.
  • The situation was made worse by the state’s municipal corporations’ inadequate defogging and inadequate sanitation measures. Patna Municipal Corporation blamed resource problems for their incapacity to handle the problem.

New Dengue Symptoms and Platelet Demand

  • This year, doctors have noticed new symptoms associated with dengue, such as lung and liver infections, as well as a shift in the frequency of fever recurrence which now happens after 2-3 hours instead of the customary 6-8 hours.
  • Body itching has also been experienced by a few patients.
  • The need for platelets has increased dramatically, to the point where doctors are turning to platelet transfusions as a safety precaution rather than the recommended 15,000 even in cases when patients have platelet counts of about 25,000.
  • This strategy seeks to lessen the high number of dengue-related deaths this season.

Dengue in Bihar Over the Past Five Years

  • When looking back over the last five years, Bihar’s dengue outbreaks have shown some noticeable fluctuations.
  • There was an increase in cases in 2019, with 6,712 cases recorded as opposed to 2,142 cases the year before.
  • Interestingly, neither year had any recorded deaths.
  • In 2020 and 2021, the state experienced a reduction in dengue cases to 493 and 633, respectively.
  • In 2022, there was a significant jump in cases and deaths, totaling 13,972 and 32, primarily in Patna, where there were 9,256 cases and 15 fatalities.
  • It’s crucial to remember that these numbers exclude people who receive care or deaths that take place in private medical institutions.

Conclusion

  • A number of reasons, including the delayed monsoon, stagnant water pools, prolonged use of water coolers, poor sanitation, and limited resources for mosquito control operations, have contributed to the current dengue outbreak in Bihar.
  • In addition, this epidemic has led to an increase in the need for platelets and new dengue symptoms, underscoring the necessity of a coordinated effort to address this persistent public health issue.

9. India’s own CAR-T cell therapy

Topic: GS3- Science and Tech

Context:

  • ImmunoACT, a firm established by IIT Bombay, has been awarded market authorization for NexCAR19, India’s first indigenous CAR-T cell therapy, by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO).
  • This achievement makes it possible for NexCAR19 to be commercially introduced in India, giving cancer patients new hope at a price that is far cheaper than it would be elsewhere.

What is CAR-T Cell Therapy?

  • The novel tactic known as CAR-T cell therapy involves modifying immune cells, particularly T-cells, to produce powerful anti-cancer agents known as CAR-T cells.
  • Reintroducing these genetically altered cells into the patient’s body causes them to actively seek out and eradicate cancer cells, particularly those seen in blood malignancies such as lymphomas and leukemia.

Efficacy and Distinction from Other Treatments

  • CAR-T cell therapy is intended to potentially offer a cure and lifetime advantages, in contrast to conventional cancer therapies like chemotherapy, which may only prolong a patient’s life to a limited extent.
  • For patients, particularly those who do not respond to traditional therapies, this one-time therapy can be transformative and provide a lifeline.

NexCAR19: India’s Indigenous CAR-T Therapy

  • One form of CAR-T therapy called NexCAR19, created by ImmunoACT and incubated at IIT Bombay, is intended to specifically target cancer cells that express the CD19 protein.
  • This protein functions as a marker on cancer cells, making it possible for CAR-T cells to identify and adhere to cancer cells in order to start the eradication process.
  • Notably, with its own CAR-T and gene therapy platform, India has risen to the status of a developed nation.

Effectiveness and Reduced Side Effects

  • Research conducted in laboratories and on animals indicates that India’s exclusive CAR-T therapy has special properties, one of which is that it reduces drug-related toxicities.
  • It produces little Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS), which is characterized by inflammation in reaction to the death of tumor cells targeted by CAR-T cells, and it reduces neurotoxicity, which can happen when CAR-T cells penetrate the brain.

10. Inauguration of Agartala-Akhaura Rail Link: Enhancing Connectivity Between India and Bangladesh

Topic: GS2-IR

Context:

  • Recently, in a historic development, Bangladesh and northeast India re-established rail connectivity through Tripura, ending a nearly seven-and-a-half-decade hiatus.
  • The long-anticipated Akhaura-Agartala rail connection was virtually inaugurated by the Prime Minister of India and Bangladesh’s Prime Minister.

Details:

  • The 12.24-kilometer Agartala-Akhaura railway line is divided into 5.46 kilometers in Tripura, India, and 6.78 kilometers in the Akhaura upazila, which is part of Bangladesh’s Brahmanbaria district.
  • The train travels from Agartala to Nischintapur, which is the border between India and Bangladesh, where passengers would be subject to immigration controls.
  • Gangasagar is the first station on the Bangladeshi side.
  • While a goods train trial run was carried out on the route, the start date of passenger train services will be decided upon by negotiations between the governments of the two nations.
  • Full-fledged passenger rail services between Agartala-Akhaura and Agartala-Chittagong (Chattogram) are envisaged if the experiment ends successfully.
  • The ultimate goal of the project is to build out the railway network to include Dhaka and Kolkata.

What is the significance of Agartala-Akhaura cross-border rail link project?

1.Shortened Routes: The rail link will significantly reduce the travel time between Agartala and Kolkata via Dhaka. At present, the rail route from Agartala to Kolkata is around 1600 kilometers and takes 38 hours.Once the rail link opens, the travel time will be reduced to roughly 10 hours.

2.Trade Boost: Expected to boost India-Bangladesh trade in various goods such as agriculture products, tea, sugar, construction items, iron and steel, and consumer goods.

3.People-to-People Connections: Will help foster closer relationships between people from India and Bangladesh.

11. Biggest China Antarctic fleet sails to build research station

Topic: Prelims

Context:

  • With two icebreaker research vessels, Xuelong 1 and Xuelong 2 (Snow Dragon 1 and Snow Dragon 2), and a cargo ship called “Tianhui” (Divine Blessings), China set off on its most ambitious Antarctic expedition with the goal of completing the building of China’s fifth Antarctic research station.
  • With almost 460 people on board, this project is China’s largest fleet of research vessels launched to the southern continent.
  • This mission’s main goal is to construct a new station on Inexpressible Island, which is close to the Ross Sea and is a notoriously difficult area of the Antarctic.

Fifth Chinese Antarctic Station

  • In order to carry out environmental research in the region, China started building its first station in the Pacific region of Antarctica in 2018.
  • With an observatory and a satellite ground station, the new station is projected to close a large gap in China’s research capacity in the area.
  • Because of its advantageous location, the facility may be able to gather telemetry data from rockets launched from Australia’s Arnhem Space Centre as well as signals intelligence over New Zealand and Australia.
  • It is important to remember that China has continuously denied claims that it is conducting espionage out of its Antarctic sites.

Expedition Details

  • The two research vessels, Xuelong 1 and Xuelong 2, which are icebreakers, set off from Shanghai with the primary purpose of transporting personnel and supplies for logistics.
  • Transporting building supplies for the future Antarctic station, the cargo ship “Tianhui” sailed from Zhangjiagang’s eastern port.
  • A thorough investigation of the effects of climate change in the area will also be part of the five-month expedition.
  • Apart from their construction goals, the icebreakers will carry out environmental surveys in the eastern Ross Sea and Amundsen Sea, the Prydz Bay, and the Astronaut Sea in southeast Antarctica.

Significance

  • China’s 40th Antarctic expedition will promote cooperation in logistics supply and cooperative research projects with other nations, such as the US, UK, and Russia.
  • This collaborative approach emphasizes how international scientific research in the Antarctic is and how crucial it is to collaborate in order to meet the opportunities and problems this isolated and delicately ecologically sensitive area presents.

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