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The Hindu 10 August 2019

UPSC - Daily Current Affair
The Hindu August 2019







IIT-H, Harvard varsity study mercury accumulation in fish



State didn’t release water from dams in time, says report



Every child to get Rotavirus vaccine



Supreme Court upholds law empowering homebuyers



Incisive interventions that blunt the RTI’s edge



Centre will not touch Article 371F’




1. IIT-H, Harvard varsity study mercury accumulation in fish (The Hindu, Page.08)    


Prelims: Environment and Ecology  

Mains: GS paper III, Environment and Ecology 


Minamata Convention 


Context: A joint research by the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IIT-H), Harvard University, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, a Canadian government agency, has found that though there has been a decrease in the levels of mercury pollution, the amount of mercury found in fish have been different in different species – some types of fish have less mercury than before, and some, alarmingly more.


Minamata Convention

  • It is an international treaty that aims to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds.

  • The Convention is named after the Japanese city Minamata.

  • This naming is of symbolic importance as the city went through devastating incident of mercury poisoning.

  •  It is expected that over the next few decades, this international agreement will enhance the reduction of mercury pollution from the targeted activities responsible for the major release of mercury to the immediate environment. 



2.State didn’t release water from dams in time, says report (The Hindu, Page .07)    


Mains: GS paper III, Disaster Management 


Disaster management-Flooding 


Recent context:

  • There were indications of the Koyna, Warna and Radhanagri dams getting full in the last week of July, but the administration did not release water. Therefore, when the heavy rainfall occurred in first week of August in the region, the dams had no capacity to hold the water. Subsequently the dams also released their water because of the increasing water table in the dam, leading to further flooding within the region.

  • The dams if they had released the stored-on time in July as per requirement, then they would have acted as a barrier to flooding water rather than a contributor to the flooding. 

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3. Every child to get Rotavirus vaccine (The Hindu, Page.12)    


Prelims: Science and technology 

Mains: GS paper, III Science and Technology 


About Rotavirus 


Recent Context:

  • GoI has decided to provide Rotavirus vaccine to every child across all States and Union Territories by September 2019.

  • In India, every year 37 out of every 1000 children born are unable to celebrate their 5th birthday, and one of the major reasons for this is diarrhea deaths. Rotavirus is a leading cause of diarrhea in children less than 5 years of age. 

  • Rotavirus vaccine (RVV) is part of the Universal Immunization Programme (UIP) & three doses of rotavirus vaccine are provided along with other vaccines, free of cost under UIP at one and half month, two and half moth, and three and half month of age of child.

  • Rotavirus vaccine was introduced in 2016 in a phased manner and is currently available in 28 States/UTs.


About Rotavirus:

  • The virus damages the cells of the small intestine so that the body cannot absorb water and nutrients. Children may lose interest in eating and drinking and become dehydrated from loss of fluids. 

  • Rotavirus is very contagious, and spreads easily from children who are already infected to other children and sometimes adults. It spreads most commonly through fecal-oral route of transmission. 

  • Rotavirus vaccine will not prevent or protect diarrhea or vomiting caused by other germs. This means that even when children are fully immunized against rotavirus, they may still get diarrhea caused by other agents.

  • Rotavirus vaccine along with proper sanitation, hand washing practices, ORS and zinc supplementation will go a long way in reducing the mortality and morbidity due to diarrhea in children.


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4.  Supreme Court upholds law empowering homebuyers (The Hindu, Page.01)    


Prelims: Indian Economy  

Mains: GS, paper III, Indian Economy 


Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Act of August 2018


In news-Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (Second Amendment) Act of August 2018 gave homebuyers the status of “financial creditors” with power to vote in the Committee of Creditors. 

  • The Act had brought the homebuyers on par with the creditor banks of the property builder. 

  • "Financial Creditor" under IBC is a person to whom a financial debt is owed and includes a person to whom such debt has been legally assigned or transferred.

  • It enabled the home buyers and long-term lessees under real estate projects to be able to invoke Section 7 of IBC, which allows financial creditor(s) to file an application in National Company Law Tribunal for initiating corporate insolvency resolution process against a defaulting company. 

  • IBC (Second Amendment) Act, 2018 brought IBC in closer sync with Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, which gives the allottees the right to demand i) refund of the entire amount paid by the allottees together with interest at prescribed rates, and ii) interest to be claimed for any delayed possession. 

  • Builders had argued that homebuyers were already protected under RERA. and therefore, not required to be financial creditors under IBC. This was rejected by the Supreme Court, which upheld the validity of BC (Second Amendment) Act, 2018. 


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5.  Incisive interventions that blunt the RTI’s edge (The Hindu, Page.10)    


Prelims: Indian Polity 

Mains: GS, paper II, Polity and Governance 


The Right to Information (Amendment) Bill, 2019


In news-When we say that India is a democracy, it includes a guarantee that is provided within our Constitution, that we as citizens of India enjoy a set of rights, to freedom of expression, life and personal liberty, and of equal opportunity and equal status.

  • However just listing these rights within the Constitution does not necessarily ensure that they are provided by the government in power to the Indian citizens. 

  • There has to be a mechanism through which such rights are enforced on the ground. Right to information act of 2005 is one such mechanism. 

  • Now the RTI Act, 2005 brought in a transformation in functioning of democracy within India. 

  • It revolutionized our ability hold our government accountable wherein we were to find the truth from the government which it did not want to directly reveal. This was seen during Delhi Commonwealth games in which misuse of funds was found out through the RTI Act. 

  • Similarly, the problems in forming the NRC in Assam is also being put forward to the Indian public through the use of RTI. Within that context, the Supreme Court has also on repeated occasions has said that the RTI Act is intrinsic to the right to freedom of expression (for example, in PUCL v. Union of India, 2004).

  • However, the new amendments being introduced by the government to the RTI Act, 2005 is going to weaken the law and therefore our ability as citizens of India to hold our government accountable.

  • Now you need to understand that the author is trying to make a connection that new amendments to RTI Act would dilute the autonomy and independence of the CIC and IC. They would become more depended on the government in power for functioning and ensuring job security. This might lead to a situation in which they would not provide the correct information or incomplete information if the information is against the government's interests. 


News in transition, let us wait for the SC's view on the final amended RTI Act.


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6. ‘Centre will not touch Article 371F’ (The Hindu, Page.06)    


Prelims: Indian Polity 

Mains: GS, paper II, Polity and Governance 


Provisions for Sikkim 


In news-Sikkim’s CM assured the people of state on the state’s special status. He further asserted that Article 371F is a special feature for Sikkim and its people and there can be no question of its modification.


About Article 371F: The 36th Constitutional Amendment Act of 1975 made Sikkim a full-fledged state of India. It included a new Article 371-F containing special provisions with respect to Sikkim. These are as follows -

  • The Sikkim legislative Assembly is to consist of not less than 30 members.

  • One seat is allotted to Sikkim in the Lok Sabha and Sikkim forms one Parliamentary constituency.

  • For the purpose of protecting the rights and interest of the different sections of the Sikkim population, the Parliament is empowered to provide for the: 

    • The number of seats in Sikkim Legislative which may be filled by the candidates belonging to such sections: and

    • Delimitation of the Assembly constituencies from which candidates belonging to such sections alone may stand for election to the Assembly.

  • The Governor shall have special responsibility for peace and for an equitable arrangement for ensuring the social and economic advancement of the different sections of the Sikkim population. In the discharge of this responsibility, the governor shall act in his discretion, subject to the directions issued by the President.

  • The president can extend (with restrictions or modifications) to Sikkim any law which is in force in a state of the Indian Unio.