Sarat Chandra IAS Academy

Sarat Chandra IAS Academy -UPSC Civils Daily Current Affairs 13th July-2021


  • New Population Policy 2021-30 – World Population Day
  • Office of Speaker and Deputy speaker
  • Acute Encephalitis Syndrome
  • ‘Right to Repair’ Movement
  • Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra
  • VSS Unity spaceship’s suborbital flight:


  1. New Population Policy 2021-30 – World Population Day

#GS2 #Population and associated issues #Government Policies

Context: Recently, Uttar Pradesh (UP) unveiled its New Population Policy 2021-30, on the occasion of World Population Day which is celebrated on July 11th.

About U. P’s New Population Policy:

  • Five Key Targets: Through the proposed policy, efforts will be made to increase the accessibility of contraceptive measures issued under the Family Planning Programme and provide a proper system for safe abortion and on the other hand, and efforts will be made for population stabilization by providing accessible solutions to impotence/infertility and reducing the infant and maternal mortality rate.
  • One of the key points in the new policy is to make comprehensive arrangements for the care of the elderly, apart from better management of education, health, and nutrition of adolescents between 11 to 19 years.
  • The UP-government’s law commission has also prepared a population control bill, under which a two-child norm will be implemented and promoted.
  • As per the draft, violation of the policy is penalised with measures such as barring for elections and abidance is rewarded with measures such as promotion in jobs, subsidy etc.
  • New policy will work towards stabilizing the population to promote sustainable development with more equitable distribution.
  • This will also create awareness among the people on this issue.
  • In the new Population Policy, a target has been set to bring the birth rate to 2.1 per thousand population by 2026 and to 1.9 by 2030.
  • The new policy has a proposal to set up ‘Health Clubs’ in schools with the awareness efforts for population stabilization, as well as a system for digital tracking of infants, adolescents, and elderly people in line with the spirit of the Digital Health Mission.

About World Population Day:

  • In 1989, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) recommended that 11th July be observed by the international community as World Population Day, a day to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues.
  • UNDP was inspired by the public interest and awareness that was created by “Five Billion Day” on 11th July 1987 when the world’s population reached 5 billion.
  • A resolution to the effect was passed, and the day was first marked on 11th July, 1990.
  • The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) was created in 1969, the same year the United Nations General Assembly declared “parents have the exclusive right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children.
  • The World Population Day is observed with the goal of highlighting the difficulties created by overpopulation and raising awareness about how overpopulation may harm the ecosystem and progress of humanity.
  • The United Nations has sent up a population fund (UNFPA) and a population division to plan programmes and coordinate with other agencies in order to highlight and disseminate information about population control measures.
  • The theme of World Population Day 2021 is ‘the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on fertility’.

Population Trends & Issues:

  • World’s population stands at about 7.7 billion, and it’s expected to grow to around 8.5 billion in 2030, 9.7 billion in 2050, and 10.9 billion in 2100.
  • This population growth has been driven largely by increasing numbers of people surviving to reproductive age, and has been accompanied by major changes in fertility rates, increasing urbanization and accelerating migration.
  • They affect economic development, employment, income distribution, poverty and social protection.
  • They also affect efforts to ensure universal access to health care, education, housing, sanitation, water, food and energy.

India’s Population Related Facts:

  • India has just 2% of the world’s landmass and 16% of the global population.
  • Mismatch in birth and death rate resulted in faster growth of population in the past few decades.
  • However, India’s Total Fertility Rate (TFR) is declining. It is now 2.2 per woman, nearing the replacement rate of 2.1, according to the latest government data.
  • TFR indicates the average number of children expected to be born to a woman during her reproductive span of 15-49 years.

Way Forward

  • Family planning is a powerful tool for ensuring a stable population rise. It is the responsibility of the government at all levels – the Union, State, and Local, as well as the citizens, civil society and businesses, to promote awareness and advocate the sexual and reproductive rights of women.
  • In order to harness the population growth for the maximum benefit of society and the country, well-researched planning and implementation is needed.


2.Office of Speaker and Deputy speaker

#GS2 # Parliament and State Legislatures—Structure, Functioning, Conduct of Business

Context: Maharashtra has been without a Speaker since February, 2021 while Lok Sabha and several State Assemblies are without a Deputy Speaker.

  • The previous Speaker of Maharashtra assembly was Nana Patole of the Congress, elected to the post in 2019 following the Assembly elections.
  • The Indian Constitution provides that the office of the Speaker should never be empty.

About Speaker:

  • The Office of the Speaker occupies a pivotal position in our parliamentary democracy. It has been said of the Office of the Speaker that while the members of Parliament represent the individual constituencies, the Speaker represents the full authority of the House itself.
  • He/She symbolises the dignity and power of the House over which he/she is presiding.
  • The Speaker is looked upon as the true guardian of the traditions of parliamentary democracy.
  • His/Her unique position is illustrated by the fact that he/she is placed very high in the Warrant of Precedence in our country, standing next only to the President, the Vice-President and the Prime Minister.
  • In India, through the Constitution of the land, through the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business in Lok Sabha and through the practices and conventions, adequate powers are vested in the Office of the Speaker to help him/her in the smooth conduct of the parliamentary proceedings and for protecting the independence and impartiality of the Office.
  • The Constitution of India provides that the Speaker’s salary and allowances are not to be voted by Parliament and are to be charged on the Consolidated Fund of India.

Election of speaker:

  • The Constitution requires the Speaker to be a member of the House.
  • Although there are no specific qualifications prescribed for being elected the Speaker, an understanding of the Constitution and the laws of the country is considered a major asset for the holder of the Office of the Speaker.
  • Usually, a member belonging to the ruling party is elected Speaker.
  • The Speaker (along with the Deputy Speaker) is elected from among the Lok Sabha members by a simple majority of members present and voting in the House.

Term of Office:

  • Speaker holds Office from the date of his/her election till immediately before the first meeting of the Lok Sabha after the dissolution of the one to which he/she was elected.
  • The speaker once elected is eligible for re-election.
  • On the dissolution of the Lok Sabha, although the Speaker ceases to be a member of the House, he/she does not vacate his/her Office and continues till the newly-elected Lok Sabha meets.

Role and Powers of Speaker:

  • He/She is the final interpreter of the provisions of the Constitution of India, the Rules of Procedure and Conduct of Business of Lok Sabha and the parliamentary precedents, within the House.
  • He/She presides over a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament.
  • The speaker does not vote in the first instance but in the case of a tie; when the House is divided equally on any question, the Speaker is entitled to vote.
  • He/She decides whether a bill is a money bill or not and his/her decision on this question is final.
  • The 52nd amendment gives Speaker the power to decide on the questions of disqualification of a member of the Lok Sabha, arising on the ground of defection under the provisions of the Tenth Schedule.
    • This decision is subjected to Judicial review.
  • The Committees of the House are constituted by the speaker and function under the speaker’s overall direction.
  • The Chairmen of all Parliamentary Committees are nominated by him/her.
  • Committees like the Business Advisory Committee, the General Purposes Committee and the Rules Committee work directly under his Chairmanship.
  • The Speaker is the guardian of the rights and privileges of the House, its Committees and members.

Removal and Resignation from the office:

  • The Speaker may, at any time, resign from Office by writing under his/her hand to the Deputy Speaker.
  • The Speaker can be removed from Office only on a resolution of the House passed by a majority of all the then members of the House. Such a resolution has to satisfy some conditions like:
    • it should be specific with respect to the charges and
    • it should not contain arguments, inferences, ironical expressions, imputations or defamatory statements, etc.
    • Not only these, discussions should be confined to charges referred to in the resolution. It is also mandatory to give a minimum of 14 days’ notice of the intention to move the resolution.
  • When a resolution for the removal of the Speaker is under consideration of the House, he/she may be present at the sitting but not preside.

Deputy Speaker of the Lok Sabha:

  • The Deputy Speaker is also elected by the Lok Sabha from amongst its members right after the election of the Speaker has taken place.
  • The date of election of the Deputy Speaker is fixed by the Speaker (date of election of the Speaker is fixed by the President).
  • Like the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker remains in office usually during the life of the Lok Sabha.
  • The Deputy Speaker may vacate his/her office earlier in any of the following three cases:
    • If he ceases to be a member of the Lok Sabha.
    • If he resigns by writing to the Speaker.
    • If he is removed by a resolution passed by a majority of all the then members of the Lok Sabha.
  • Such a resolution can be moved only after giving 14 days’ advance notice.

Responsibilities and Powers:

  • The Deputy Speaker performs the duties of the Speaker’s office when it is vacant.
  • He/She also acts as the Speaker when the latter is absent from the sitting of the House.
  • He/She also presides over the joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament, in case the Speaker is absent from such a sitting.
  • The Deputy Speaker has one special privilege, that is, whenever he/she is appointed as a member of a parliamentary committee, he/she automatically becomes its chairman.


3.Acute Encephalitis Syndrome

#GS2 #Health related issues #Government policies and Interventions

Context: The Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) has provided tap water supply to more than 97 lakh households in five JE-AES (Japanese Encephalitis-Acute Encephalitis Syndrome) affected states in a period of just 22 months.

Key Details:

  • This milestone is a work on the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi’s emphasis on providing clean tap water on priority to every household in Japanese Encephalitis – Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (JE-AES) affected areas.
  • By this, Jal Jeevan Mission has significantly strengthened the preventive measures to reduce spread of JE-AES by providing clean tap water supply to economically poor households in the affected districts of 5 priority states i.e Assam, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.
  • This increase in household tap water connections in JE-AES priority districts is about 12 per cent higher than the national average increase of 23.43 per cent in tap water supply across the country during the same period.

About Jal Jeevan  Mission:

  • JJM envisages supply of 55 litres of water per person per day to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) by 2024.
  • The Jal Shakti Ministry is the nodal ministry for the implementation of the scheme.

It also includes:

  • Prioritizing provision of FHTCs in quality affected areas, villages in drought prone and desert areas, Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) villages, etc.
  • Providing functional tap connection to Schools, Anganwadi centres, Gram Panchayat buildings, Health centres, wellness centres and community buildings.
  • Technological interventions for removal of contaminants where water quality is an issue.

Implementation of the mission:

  • The Mission is based on a community approach to water and includes extensive Information, Education and Communication as a key component of the mission.
  • JJM looks to create a jan andolan for water, thereby making it everyone’s priority.
  • The fund sharing pattern between the Centre and states is 90:10 for Himalayan and North-Eastern States, 50:50 for other states, and 100% for Union Territories.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES):

  • AES is a severe case of encephalitis transmitted by mosquitoes and is characterized by high fever and inflammation of the brain.
  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2006, coined the term AES to signify a group of diseases which seem similar to one another but are difficult to differentiate in the chaotic environment of an outbreak.
  • The disease most commonly affects children and young adults and can lead to considerable morbidity and mortality.
  • Viruses are the main causative agents in AES cases, although other sources such as bacteria, fungi, parasites, spirochetes, chemicals, toxins, and noninfectious agents have also been reported over the past few decades. It is not vaccine-preventable.
  • Japanese Encephalitis virus (JEV) is the major cause of AES in India (ranging from 5%-35%).
  • Herpes simplex virus, Nipah virus, Zika virus, Influenza A virus, West Nile virus, Chandipura virus, mumps, measles, dengue, scrub typhus, S.pneumoniae are also found as causative agents for AES.
  • Symptoms: Confusion, disorientation, coma, or inability to talk, high fever, vomiting, nausea, and unconsciousness.

Status of AES in India:

  • According to the NVBDCP, 10,485 AES cases were diagnosed in 2018 with 632 deaths across 17 states.
  • India records fatality rate at 6% in AES, but the fatality rises to 25% amongst children.
  • Bihar, Assam, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Tripura are worst affected.
  • Government Initiatives: To reduce morbidity and mortality the government of India developed a multi-pronged strategy with the convergence of the concerned ministries.


4.‘Right to Repair’ Movement

#GS2 # Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora. #Conservation

Context: In recent years, countries around the world have been attempting to pass effective ‘right to repair’ laws despite facing resistance from tech giants such as Apple and Microsoft over the years.

  • Recently, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling on the Federal Trade Commission to curb restrictions imposed by manufacturers that limit consumers’ ability to repair their gadgets on their own terms.

What is the ‘Right to Repair’ movement?

  • It is the right of consumers to be able to repair their own electronics and other products.
  • The goal of the movement is to get companies to make spare parts, tools and information on how to repair devices available to customers and repair shops to increase the lifespan of products and to keep them from ending up in landfills.
  • The movement traces its roots back to 1950s, to the very dawn of the computer era.

Why did this movement start? What was the motive behind this?

  • Activists argue that electronic manufacturers are encouraging a culture of ‘planned obsolescence’ — which means that devices are designed specifically to last a limited amount of time and to be replaced.
  • This leads to immense pressure on the environment and wasted natural resources.
  • Manufacturing an electronic device is a highly polluting process. It makes use of polluting sources of energy, such as fossil fuel, which has an adverse impact on the environment.
  • Also, consumers, more often than not, are left at the mercy of manufacturers who make repairs inaccessible for most, by dictating who can fix your device and making it an inordinately expensive affair.

Benefits of the Right to Repair:

  • This this will help boost business for small repair shops, which are an important part of local economies.
  • If a manufacturer has monopoly on repairs, then prices rise exponentially and quality tends to drop.
  • Price is a major factor. As there is a lack of competition in the repair market, consumers are not able to hunt for the best deal.

why do electronic manufacturers oppose this movement?

  • Large tech companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Tesla, have been lobbying against the right to repair.
  • Their argument is that opening up their intellectual property to third party repair services or amateur repairers could lead to exploitation and impact the safety and security of their devices.
  • For example: Tesla has fought against right to repair advocacy, stating that such initiatives threaten data security and cyber security.

Right to Repair in various countries:

  • Recently, US President Joe Biden signed an executive order calling on the Federal Trade Commission to curb restrictions imposed by manufacturers that limit consumers’ ability to repair their gadgets on their own terms — either themselves or using a technician of their choice
  • As of 2021, almost all of the 50 US states have proposed a right to repair bill.
  • Earlier this month, the UK government introduced right-to-repair rules with the aim of extending the lifespan of products by up to 10 years.
  • Manufacturers of products like washing machines, TVs and refrigerators are required to make spare parts available to people purchasing electrical appliances.
  • Meanwhile, the European Union’s right to repair laws require manufacturers to ensure that electronic goods can be repaired for up to a decade.
    • The aim is to reduce electrical waste, which has been on the rise in the continent due to a spike in manufacturing.


5.Jagannath Puri Rath Yatra

#GS1 #Culture #Temple Architecture

Context: Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi conveyed his greetings to everyone on the occasion of the beginning of the 144th Rath Yatra

About Jagannath Rath Yatra:

  • Ratha Jatra, the Festival of Chariots of Lord Jagannatha is celebrated every year at Puri, the temple town in Odisha, on the east coast of India.
  • The presiding deities of the main temple, Sri Mandira, Lord Jagannatha, Lord Balabhadra and Goddess Subhadra, with the celestial wheel Sudarshana are taken out from the temple precincts in an elaborate ritual procession to their respective chariots.
  • The huge, colourfully decorated chariots, are drawn by hundreds and thousands of devotees on the bada danda, the grand avenue to the Gundicha temple, some two miles away to the North.
  • After a stay for seven days, the deities return to their abode in Srimandira.
  • The festival is celebrated on the 2nd day of Shukla Paksha of Ashadh, the third month, according to the traditional Oriya calendar.
  • It is a 9 day-long event and marks the return of Lord Krishna to Vrindavan with his brother Balabhadra and sister Subhadra to Gundicha Temple via Mausi Maa Temple (maternal aunt’s home) near Saradha Bali, Puri.

About Jagannath Temple:

  • The present temple was rebuilt from the 10th century onwards, on the site of an earlier temple, and begun by Anantavarman Chodaganga Deva, the first king of the Eastern Ganga dynasty.
  • Jagannath Puri temple is called ‘Yamanika Tirtha’ where, according to the Hindu beliefs, the power of ‘Yama’, the god of death has been nullified in Puri due to the presence of Lord Jagannath.
  • Unlike the stone and metal icons found in most Hindu temples, the image of Jagannath (which gave its name to the English term ‘juggernaut’) is made of wood and is ceremoniously replaced every twelve or 19 years by an exact replica.
  • The temple is sacred to all Hindus, and especially in those of the Vaishnava traditions.
  • Many great Vaishnava saints, such as Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya, Nimbarkacharya, Vallabhacharya and Ramananda were closely associated with the temple.
  • Ramanuja established the Emar Mutt near the temple and Adi Shankaracharya established the Govardhan Math, which is the seat of one of the four Shankaracharyas.
  • It is also of particular significance to the followers of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, whose founder, Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, was attracted to the deity, Jagannath, and lived in Puri for many years.
  • This temple was called the “White Pagoda” and is a part of Char Dham pilgrimages (Badrinath, Dwaraka, Puri, Rameswaram).
  • There is a carving of each form at each gate.
  • In front of the entrance stands the Aruna stambha or sun pillar, which was originally at the Sun Temple in Konark.

Structure of the temple:

  • The huge temple complex covers an area of over 400,000 square feet and is surrounded by a high fortified wall.
  • It contains at least 120 temples and shrines. With its sculptural richness and fluidity of the Oriya style of temple architecture.
  • The temple has four distinct sectional structures, namely –
    • Deula, Vimana or Garba griha (Sanctum sanctorum) where the triad deities are lodged on the ratnavedi (Throne of Pearls) in Rekha Deula style;
    • Mukhashala (Frontal porch);
    • Nata mandir/Natamandapa, which is also known as the Jagamohan (Audience Hall/Dancing Hall), and
    • Bhoga Mandapa (Offerings Hall).[33]
  • The main temple is a curvilinear temple and crowning the top is the ‘srichakra’ (an eight spoked wheel) of Vishnu. Also known as the “Nilachakra”.
  • Among the existing temples in Orissa, the temple of Shri Jagannath is the highest.
  • The temple tower was built on a raised platform of stone.


6.VSS Unity spaceship’s suborbital flight

#GS3 #Awareness in fields of Space

Context: VSS Unity spaceship, with six people onboard, recently took off from New Mexico and reached an altitude of 85 km from Earth before returning. Such a trip is called a “suborbital flight”.

About the Unity 22 mission:

  • As part of the mission, the crew flew to the edge of space on July 11 on board the ‘Unity’ rocket ship developed by Virgin Galactic.
  • This was Virgin Galactic’s fourth crewed spaceflight.
  • It was also the first to carry a full crew of two pilots and four mission specialists in the cabin.x
  • Unity 22 will focus on testing the cabin and customer experience.
  • Currently, two additional test flights remain before the Virgin Galactic plans to commence commercial service in 2022.

What’s suborbital?

  • When an object travels at a horizontal speed of about 28,000 km/hr or more, it goes into orbit once it is above the atmosphere.
  • Satellites need to reach that threshold speed in order to orbit Earth. Such a satellite would be accelerating towards the Earth due to gravity, but its horizontal movement is fast enough to offset the downward motion so that it moves along a circular path.
  • Such a trip allows space travellers to experience a few minutes of “weightlessness”.

Significance of Suborbital flights:

  • Suborbital flights are helpful for microgravity research.
  • They would be far less expensive than carrying experiments and people to the International Space Station.
  • Suborbital flights could also be an alternative to parabolic flights in aeroplanes that space agencies currently use to simulate zero gravity.

Significance for India:

  • Sirisha Bandla, an astronaut born in India, was a part of the crew.
  • She was the third woman of Indian origin to go to space after Kalpana Chawla and Sunita Williams.
  • Rakesh Sharma is another Indian who went into space before Bandla.

Uniqueness of VSS Unity Spaceship:

  • Virgin Galactic’s suborbital spacecraft are air-launched from beneath a carrier aircraft ‘White Knight Two’. The space vehicle can climb to an altitude of around 90 kilometres, enough to give passengers a few minutes of weightlessness and a view of Earth’s curvature from the edge of space.


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