IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


3rd February, 2020


Coronavirus: Wuhan institute's study on bats and bat hunters in Nagaland to be probed

The government has ordered an inquiry into a study conducted in Nagaland by researchers from the U.S., China and India on bats and humans carrying antibodies to deadly viruses like Ebola.



About the Study:

-       Two of the 12 researchers belonged to the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Department of Emerging Infectious Diseases.

-       The United States Department of Defense’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) funded it.

-       The study, ‘Filovirus-reactive antibodies in humans and bats in Northeast India imply Zoonotic spillover’ found “the presence of filovirus (e.g. ebolavirus, marburgvirus and dianlovirus) reactive antibodies in both human (e.g. bat hunters) and bat populations in Northeast India.

-       Region has no historical record of Ebola virus disease.

-       Bats often carry ebola, rabies, Marburg and the SARS coronavirus.

-       The Nagaland study suggests bats in South Asia act as a reservoir host of a diverse range of filo viruses, and filo virus spill over occurs through human exposure to these bats.

-       The majority of bat hunters were male, aged between 18 and 50, and participated at least eleven times in the harvest.

-       The study says the potential virus present in the bats may not be an exact copy of the virus responsible for various outbreaks.

Government Arguments:

-       Study is now being investigated for how the scientists were allowed to access live samples of bats and bat hunters (humans) without due permissions.

-       They would have required special permissions as foreign entities.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/study-on-bats-and-bat-hunters-of-nagaland-come-under-the-scanner/article30722099.ece

Second case of coronavirus infection confirmed in Kerala

India’s second case of the novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection was confirmed in Alappuzha.

Government action:

-       Suspected cases had been admitted to isolation wards.

-       The government temporarily suspended the e-visa facility for Chinese and foreigners residing in China.

-       Indian citizens have been asked to refrain from travel to China.




-       Suspected cases had been admitted to isolation wards.

The government temporarily suspended the e-visa facility for Chinese 


Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/second-case-of-coronavirus-infection-confirmed-in-kerala/article30722853.ece



In Kerala, 2,130 islands brought under CRZ regime

As many as 2,130 backwater islands of Kerala, including Maradu, have been brought under the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) regime.

Protection of Coastal Zone:


Coastal Regulation of 2018:

-       Allowing FSI as per current norms in CRZ areas.

-       Densely populated rural areas to be afforded greater opportunity for development

-       For CRZ-III (Rural) areas, two separate categories have now been stipulated as below:

-       CRZ-III A: Such areas shall have a No Development Zone (NDZ) of 50 meters from the HTL as against 200 meters from the High Tide Line stipulated in the CRZ Notification, 2011.

-       CRZ-III B: Rural areas with population density of below 2161 per square kilometre as per 2011 Census. Such areas shall continue to have an NDZ of 200 meters from the HTL.

-       Tourism infrastructure for basic amenities to be promoted: Temporary tourism facilities such as shacks, toilet blocks, change rooms, drinking water facilities etc. have now been permitted in Beaches.

-       CRZ Clearances streamlined: Only such projects/activities, which are located in the CRZ-I (Ecologically Sensitive Areas) and CRZ IV (area covered between Low Tide Line and 12 Nautical Miles seaward) shall be dealt with for CRZ clearance by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.

-       A No Development Zone (NDZ) of 20 meters has been stipulated for all Islands.

-       All Ecologically Sensitive Areas have been accorded special importance.

-       Pollution abatement has been accorded special focus.

-       Defence and strategic projects have been accorded necessary dispensation.



Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/in-kerala-2130-islands-brought-under-crz-regime/article30723865.ece


Nirbhaya case: Delhi HC reserves judgement on Centre’s plea against stay of execution

Government arguments:

-       There was “a deliberate, calculated, well-thought-out design to frustrate the mandate of the law”.

-       The convicts were moving the court one after another with one of them, Pawan Kumar Gupta, yet to file his curative petition.

-       Delay in execution is abuse of Process of law.

-       It is mockery of criminal justice system.

Lawyer’s arguments:

-       As of today, there is no definitive law, which permits singling out execution.

-       Why the Centre has woken up just yesterday to execute the death warrant when they were never a party in the proceedings before the trial court.

-       Centre has already approached the Supreme Court for a clarification on the law which dealt with executing co-convicts separately.

-       Urged the court to be cautions and not hasten on a punishment which is “irreversible”.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/nirbhaya-case-delhi-high-court-hears-centres-plea-against-stay-of-execution/article30719095.ece


‘Haryana’s Harappan site to create jobs’

The residents on Sunday welcomed the announcement to develop the Harappan site at Hisar’s Rakhigarhi village, as an iconic site and set up a national museum.

About Rakhigarhi Site:

-       It became famous when the DNA extracted from a woman who lived there around 4,500 years ago yielded clues to the much-debated ancestry of ancient Indians.

-       The studies showed that she was not of Aryan descent — her DNA did not have the Steppe pastoralist ancestry — highlighting that the Aryan migration to the region happened after the IVC declined.

-       It is the site of a pre-Indus Valley Civilisation settlement going back to about 6500 BCE.

-       It was also part of the mature Indus Valley Civilisation, dating to 2600-1900 BCE.

-       It has become the largest IVC (Indus Valley Civilization) site.

-       In May 2012, the Global Heritage Fund, declared Rakhigarhi one of the 10 most endangered heritage sites in Asia.

-       Evidence of paved roads, drainage system, large rainwater collection, storage system, terracotta bricks, statue production, and skilled working of bronze and precious metals have been uncovered

-       Jewellery, including bangles made from terracotta, conch shells, gold, and semi-precious stones, have also been found.

Other Sites to be developed as Iconic site:

Hastinapur in Uttar Pradesh:

-       Hastinapur is a city in the Meerut district of the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.

-       It was the centre to the glorious tales of the epic Mahabharata.

-       It is also the birth place of three Jain Teerthankara, and it has become an important centre of pilgrimage for the Jains.

Shivsagar in Assam:

-       It was once the capital of the Ahom rulers.

-       It has over 500 historical sites, including the famous Rangghar. Often referred to as the 'Colosseum of the East', Rang Ghar is one of the oldest surviving amphitheatres in Asia.

Dholavira in Gujarat

-       It is an archaeological site at Khadirbet in Bhachau Taluka of Kutch District.

-       Dholavira’s location is on the Tropic of Cancer.

-       Unlike Harappa and Mohenjo-daro, the city was constructed to a pre-existing geometrical plan consisting of three divisions – the citadel, the middle town, and the lower town.

-       The most striking feature of the city is that all of its buildings, at least in their present state of preservation, are built of stone, whereas most other Harappan sites, including Harappa itself and Mohenjo-daro, are almost exclusively built of brick.

-       Dholavira is flanked by two storm water channels; the Mansar in the north, and the Manhar in the south.

Adichanallur in Tamil Nadu

-       Adichanallur is an archaeological site in Thoothukudi district in Tamil Nadu.

-       In 2004, a number of skeletons were found buried in earthenware urns. Some of these urns contained writing in Tamil Brahmi script.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/haryanas-harappan-site-to-create-jobs/article30722211.ece


U.S. economist backs Cong. on ‘misery’ index

About Misery Index:

-       The misery index is an economic indicator, created by economist Arthur Okun.

-        The index helps determine how the average citizen is doing economically.

-       It is calculated by adding the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate to the annual inflation rate.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/us-economist-backs-cong-on-misery-index/article30719666.ece

New dividend distribution tax framework would encourage investments, debt MFs: CBDT

New Framework:

-       Removed dividend distribution tax on companies, and shifted the tax to recipients at the applicable rate.

-       Currently, companies are required to pay dividend distribution tax (DDT) on the dividend paid to its shareholders at the rate of 15 per cent plus applicable surcharge and cess.

Government argument on New DDT framework:

-       The new regime is expected to encourage more people, especially in the low tax bracket, to invest in the capital market.

-       The proposal would make India more attractive market for investment.

-       Non-residents will get some relief even as it addresses the “issue of inequity in dividend taxation”.

-       Single rate of taxation is always iniquitous as it favours taxpayers who are in higher tax brackets and works against those who are in lower tax brackets.

-       Earlier, it was a case of reverse subsidy from the poor to rich taxpayers.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/new-ddt-framework-would-encourage-investments-debt-mfs-cbdt/article30720970.ece

Budget 2020 | Money earned in India by NRIs will be taxed, says Nirmala Sitharaman

The Finance Bill has proposed three major changes to prevent tax abuse by citizens that don’t pay taxes anywhere in the world:

-       reducing the number of days that an Indian citizen can be granted non-resident status for tax purposes from 182 to 120;

-       citizens who don’t pay taxes anywhere will be deemed to be a resident;

-       The definition of ‘not ordinarily resident’ has been tightened.

Government Response:

-       Only income derived from an Indian business or profession will be taxable for such citizens.

Reference: https://www.thehindu.com/business/budget/budget-2020-money-earned-in-india-by-nris-will-be-taxed-says-nirmala-sitharaman/article30719238.ece