Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Current Affairs – 13th September 2023



Today’s Topics List:

  1. Centre – Navy : Revival of Maritime Heritage

  2. A report card on Privacy

  3. CBI: Prior approval for Corruption probe

  4. Revenue from scrap: Special campaign 3.0

  5. The Nipah Virus

  6. Spotting the Blackholes:




Centre – Navy : Revival of Maritime Heritage


  • A 21 meter “stitched ship”, is set to start a voyage with a 13-member Indian Navy crew from Odisha to Indonesia’s Bali in November 2025.
    • It is part of an initiative to revive and honour India’s traditional maritime heritage.
    • It is time to “reclaim our legacy as seafarers of the world” says the Minister of State for Culture.

What is the initiative:

  • The idea of the stitched ship is taken from an Ajanta painting.
    • It will have square sails, two masts, two trailing oars and a flexible hull (no frame) and will not use rudder.
    • It is for the first time in generations, a large ship is being built using this technique.

What is the Stitched ship method?

  • It an ancient technique of constructing a ship by stitching plank of woods using ropes, cords, coconut fibres, natural resins and oils.
    • The wooden planks are shaped using the traditional steaming method to conform to the shape of the hull.
    • Each plank is stitched to another using cords, ropes, sealed with a combination of coconut fiber, resin, and fish oil.

Why they fell out of favour?

  • It fell out of favour around 16th century, when European powers began to colonise the Indian Ocean region.
    • It is found that stitch ships had a flaw: They were not suitable for use of canons, as they could not withstand the recoil from blast of canons.
    • Hence, Overtime, everyone shifted to the European nailed frame style of ship building and the stitched style was relegated to small coastal boats.

Ship building and Navigation In India:

  • There have been many references of Maritime activities by Indian during ancient times.
    • The Sanskrit and Pali literature had a mention of ship building and navigation activities.
  • Yukti Kalpa Taru is a treatise in Sanskrit by Bhoj paramar, which deals with various techniques used in ship building in Ancient times.
  • It contains minute details about the types of ships, their sizes and the types of materials used to build those ships.
  • Indian builders possessed good knowledge about the materials used for ship building during ancient times.




A report card on Privacy


  • After over half a decade of deliberations and numerous iterations of India’s data protection law, both the houses of parliament passed the Digital Personal Data Protection Act.
    • This comes exactly after six years of Ks Puttaswamy vs Union of India case, where Supreme Court reaffirmed the Right to Privacy and stressed the need for dedicated data protection law.

Ks Puttaswamy Judgement:

  • The Puttaswamy judgement formed the cornerstone of privacy jurisprudence in the country, holding the right to privacy was an integral part of the fundamental rights under the Constitution.
    • The court construed privacy not as a narrow right against physical invasion, but as one that includes the body and mind, enables us to make free decisions, and is deeply tied to human dignity and autonomy.

What Privacy means in our lives:

  • The conception of privacy recognises how central it is to our daily lives.
    • It enables us to make meaningful choices. Such as,
  • Sexual and reproductive health
  • Choice of partners
  • Control over personal information.

Supreme Court’s conception of Privacy:

  • It has explored the principles of autonomy, dignity, and identity in relation to privacy to strengthen the framework of Constitutional rights.
    • It decriminalised all sexual relations between consenting adults, including adults of same sex, while linking privacy to freedom of expression, equality and non-discrimination.
    • It reaffirmed the right of adults to marry across religious and caste lines, linking such rights to autonomy and self-recognition.
    • It decriminalised adultery both based on protecting sexual autonomy and privacy and on the grounds of excessive state involvement in married life of individuals.
    • It also affirmed the right to die with dignity

Effects of Puttaswamy Judgement and its evolution:

  • We can see the effects of the judgements percolate through various High court judgements. They have provided more nuanced versions of the Right to Privacy.
    • Right to be forgotten, where individuals can ask for information about themselves to be removed from public records in some cases.
    • Privacy as a basis has been used for taking down intimate images of individuals where they are shared without consent.
    • To clarify the limitations on the power of investigative authorities in relation to surveillance, search and seizure, and DNA testing.

Some cases where it is used as restriction:

  • In a split verdict Supreme Court limited the right to privacy in public spaces and curtailed the right of women to wear a hijab in educational institutions.
  • Court decided to review its verdict in the Sabarimala case, which struck down the customary prohibition on women aged between 10 – 15 from entering the Sabarimala Shrine.

The Future course on Right to Privacy:

  • The state will have to decide on the ongoing case relating to the State’s alleged use of the Pegasus suite of spyware on Indian citizens.
  • It will deliver its judgement on the right to marry for individuals from the LGBTQIA+ community.
  • The contentious provisions of the Digital Personal Data Protection Act are also likely to be challenged

Since Puttaswamy, the court has steadily built-up jurisprudence that has expanded the scope of the right to privacy, and it should continue to do son to allow individuals to more effectively exercise their rights and freedoms in India.


CBI: Prior approval for Corruption probe


  • A Constitution bench of Supreme Court in 2014 ruled that Section 6Aof the Delhi Police Special Establishment Act is invalid.
    • Section 6A of the Act provided that any investigation into corruption charges agaist officials of the rank of Joint Secretary and above, can begin only after the Central Governments approval.

The Single Directive to Prior Approval

  • It was introduced to restore the Centre’s ‘Single Directive’.
  • Single Directive is a set of instructions to the CBI on the modalities of holding an inquiry.
  • In Vineet Narayan case (1997) The Supreme Court struck down the directive on the ground that a statutory investigation cannot be impeded by administrative instructions.
  • Six years later, in 2003 Section 6A was introduced to restore the prior approval requirement.
  • In 2014, court struck down this section too.
    • It held that it violated the norm of equality by extending its protection only to a class of public servants and not everyone.

The latest Judgement and its impact:

  • It rejects arguments by some facing investigation that they should be given the protection of Section 6A as they were charged with offences that date back to the time before 2014 judgement.
    • It reiterated the position that post constitutional laws cannot be inconsistent with the constitution and when they are so declared by the court, the invalidation is with effect from their inception i.e. 2003 in this case.
  • This will have limited applicability now, as it will impact only allegations that date back to period between 2003 and 2014.
    • It’s because the law as it stands now is quite different.
    • In 2018, when the prevention of Corruption Act was amended , Section 17 A was introduced to make the government’s previous approval a mandatory before any probe can be begun into decisions or recommendations made by a public servant.
    • This initial stage filter has been created even while sanction is necessary for prosecuting any public servant at the stage of the trail court taking cognizance of chargesheet.

Is Prior approval desirable?

  • In 2014, the court observed that such prior approval provisions are destructive of the objective of the anti corruption laws.
    • It blocks the truth from surfacing and sometimes result in a forewarning to those officials involved as soon as allegations arise against them.

Way forward:

  • It may be necessary to have safeguards to filter out frivolous inquiries into the conduct of public servants making crucial bona fide decisions, but it is equally in the interest of public that these provisions do not become a shield for the unscrupulous.




Revenue from scrap: Special campaign 3.0


  • The centre is eyeing a revenue of Rs. 400 crores from non-ferrous scrap disposal during the ‘Special Campaign 3.0’ for cleanliness and reducing pendency.
    • During the Special Campaign 2.0 last year Rs. 370.10 crore was raised.
    • In all, the Centre has earned Rs. 511. Crore from the sale of non-ferrous scrap in the last one year.

Special Campaign 3.0:

  • It will be organised in two phases – preparatory phase from September 15 to September 30.
    • It was conducted in the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade
  • The campaign will focus on liquidating pendency in the MPs references, references from the state governments, inter-ministerial references, Parliamentary assurances, PMO references, public references and PG appeals.
    • This decision to hold special campaign for cleanliness and reducing pendency comes after the council of ministers, decided to adopt the saturation approach in implementation of programmes.
  • Apart from setting a target of earning revenue of Rs. 400 crores, the centre also aims at freeing up 100 lakh square feet of space.
    • In the ‘Special Campaign 2.0’ 90 lakh square feet space was freed.
    • In all, 172.71 lakh square feet of space has been freed till July 2023 through special campaigns.



The Nipah Virus


Case Fatality Ratio: Is the proportion of deaths among those who test positive for the infection.

  • Recently, Kerala reported 2 death cases with the outbreak of Nipah Virus.

What is Nipah Virus:

  • Nipah is a zoonotic disease, which means it is transmitted to humans through infected animals or contaminated food. It can also be transmitted directly from person to person through close contact.
    • This viral infection mainly affects animals such as bats, pigs, dogs, and horses.
    • The recent strain is Bangladesh variant that spreads from human to human and is less infectious but with high morality
    • The Nipah virus is known to spread far more slowly than SARS-CoV-2. However, Case Fatality Ratio is very high in case of Nipah virus


  • Fever and swelling of the brain called encephalitis.
  • Breathing difficulties.
  • Cough and sore throat.
  • Muscle pain and severe weakness.
  • In extreme cases, disorientation and seizures

Treatment & Cure:

  • There is no vaccine or medications to cure Nipah virus.
  • A real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test through nasal or throat swabs, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), urine and blood samples can confirm Nipah virus.
  • There are no antivirals and there is only symptomatic management.
    • Drinking water, resting, using medication to control nausea or vomiting, inhalers and nebulisers for breathing and anti-seizure medication in extreme cases.

Previous Nipah Outbreak

  • In India, West Bengal had seen outbreak in 2001 & 2007.
  • While Kerala in 2018, 2019, 2021.
  • In Bangladesh it has taken the form of a seasonal disease since 2001, with people getting the infection between December and May.
  • Malaysia & Singapore has also seen Nipah cases.

Why Kerala is a Hotbed of such virus?

  • Kerala is the state where these diseases are first detected. For example, Monkeypox & covid-19 are first detected in Kerala. Reasons are as follows:
    • Large diaspora: People who live abroad carry these viruses while coming back
    • Awareness & Surveillance: Though other states have more population than Kerala, awareness among people help to detect the virus. Kerala’s strong surveillance mechanism helps in detecting & monitoring cases earlier.
    • Human encroachments: Depletion of forests for agriculture & livestock resulted in more contact with wildlife.
    • Kerala lacks in bio safety level 3 lab for timely diagnosis of infectious diseases

Virus of concern by WHO:

  • Nipah remains a concern, not just in India but for the entire planet.
  • The World Health Organization classifies it as a “virus of concern” for future epidemics because “each year it spills over from its animal reservoir into humans

Suggested Precautions:

  • Refrain from coming in close contact with the infected person
  • Washing the fruits and peeling them before consumption
  • Fruits with signs of bat bites should be discarded.
  • Palm sap or juice should be boiled before consumption.
  • Keeping fruit bats away
  • Avoiding contact with pigs



Spotting the Blackholes:

Black Holes:

  • Black hole is a heavy star that is extremely compact.
    • It is generally formed during supernova explosions and has extremely high density: typically a cubic centimetre of its matter will weigh a trillion tones. 
    • It has a strong gravitational force that even photons (light particles), travelling at a speed of about three lakh kilometres per second, cannot escape from it.
    • The boundary of black hole is called the event horizonwhich acts as a one way towards the black hole and allows nothing to get out of it.

How it is identified?

  • A black hole is identified by the gravitational forceit exerts on nearby stars. 
    • Astronomers have found systems in which a visible star orbits around an unseen companion. 
    • One cannot conclude that the companion is a black hole always; it might merely be a star that is too faint.
    • the unseen companion happens to be a black hole, then because of its high gravity it will start pulling matter off the surface of the visible star. 
    • This matter starts falling towards the black hole in a characteristic spiral path. In the process it also emits X­-rays which can be detected from the Earth.
    • From the observed orbit of the visible star one can determine the lowest possible mass of the black hole. 
  • Astronomers have identified such an X­ray source in the constellation Cygnus (also called as Northern Cross and Swan) and have named it as Cygnus Xl. 
    • The unseen object is estimated to be about six times the mass of the sun, which is too big for the star to be a dwarf star or a neutron star. 
    • Therefore, they have concluded that it must be a black hole.

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