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[Newsbits] 8.12.2023: Pompe Disease, Aspirational Blocks Programme, Section 6A of Citizenship Act & more

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Aspirational Blocks Programme (ABP)Launched During2nd National Conference of Chief Secretaries (5th – 7th January, 2022)
Based onAspirational District Programme (ADP)
Coverage500 districts across 31 states and Union Territories
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)49 KPIs under 5 socio-economic themes
Flagship InitiativesSaksham Bitiyan Abhiyan, Anemia Mukt Bharat, Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum
Recent Developments1st Delta Ranking of ABP, Wall of Fame, Geographical Division
Programme StrategyImproving governance, Convergence of schemes, 40 KPIs
Aspirational District Programme (ADP)Launched in2018
AimsTransforming lesser-progress districts focusing on key social areas
Coverage112 districts
Anchored byNITI Aayog and Individual Ministries
Broad ContoursConvergence, Collaboration, Competition
ObjectivesFocus on district strengths, Identifying immediate improvement areas, Measuring progress, Encouraging competition, Cooperative federalism spirit, “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas aur Sabka Vishwas”, Localizing Sustainable Development Goals
1st Delta Ranking of ABPDateAnnounced on 7th December 2023
Top RankersTiryani Block, Telangana (1st); Kaushambi Block, Uttar Pradesh (2nd)
Ranking BasisPerformance on KPIs in June 2023
Competitive and Cooperative FederalismCore strategy of the Programme
Wall of FameShowcasesTop Rankers of ABP and ADP
Launched atNITI Aayog
CelebratesAchievements and social impact
VisionViksit Bharat by 2047
Geographical DivisionZonesSix zones with zone-specific rankings and prize amounts
Programme StrategyImproving GovernanceEnhancing quality of life in underdeveloped blocks
Coverage329 districts across 27 states and 4 Union Territories
Convergence of SchemesDefining outcomes, Constant monitoring
40 KPIsGrouped into 5 themes, Baseline data from March 31, 2023, and June 30, 2023
Management Information SystemSourced from 11 ministries
1st Delta RankBased on first quarter improvement
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NewsPM inaugurates on 8th December, Venue: Red Fort, New Delhi, Dates: 9th to 15th December 2023, Pavilions remain until 31st March 2024
WhatFirst edition, Organized by Ministry of Culture
Cultural initiative – Comparable to International Biennales (Venice, Sao Paulo, Singapore, Sydney, Sharjah), Nationwide campaign to reinvent museums, Develop cultural spaces in 5 cities (Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Varanasi), Introduction to Cultural Space at Delhi
Exhibition – Theme: BAGH-E-BAHAR: Gardens as Universe, Rock Art of India by IGNCA’s Adi Drishya Division
WhyPM’s vision for a flagship global cultural initiative, Strengthen cultural dialogue, Empower artisan communities, Aatmanirbhar Bharat Centre for Design (ABCD) for new designs and innovations, Vocal for Local initiative
WhereRed Fort Complex Delhi, Lalit Kala Akademi for Student Biennale – Samunnati
When9th December 2023 to 31st March 2024, Daily theme based exhibitions (Day 1 to Day 7 with specific themes)
WhoParticipants: Indian and international artists, curators, designers, architects
Organizers: Ministry of Culture, IGNCA’s Adi Drishya Division
HowKeynote addresses, Public art installations, Art bazaar, Student exhibits, Heritage walks, Panel discussions, Art workshops
ChallengesGlobal cultural positioning, Integrating local artisans into global narratives
Way ForwardReinvent cultural heritage, Expand global cultural dialogue, Empower local artisans and designers, Sustainable cultural economy
/ Diseases
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NewsDecember 7, 2023Mitochondria dysfunction linked to cardiomyopathy in Pompe patients
Study from China
Patient-derived heart cell model
Characteristics of Pompe disease
December 8, 2023India’s first Pompe disease patient, Nidhi Shirol, passes away
Age at death: 24 years
Last six years in a semi-comatose state
WhatGenetic conditionLysosomal storage disease
Lysosomes as cell compartments
Glycogen storage disease type II (GSD2)
Acid alpha-glucosidase (GAA) deficiency
WhyMutations in GAA geneCauses reduced or lack of GAA enzyme
Autosomal recessive inheritance
Both parents carriers
WhereGlycogen buildupIn lysosomes
Organs and tissues affected, especially heart and skeletal muscles
WhenTypesInfantile-onset: Within first year, often around 4 months
Late-onset: Any age, from infancy to adulthood
WhoPrevalence1 in 40,000 in the United States
Affected individualsInfants, children, adults
HowDiagnosisPhysical exam, family history
Blood tests for muscular damage
Enzyme activity analysis
Genetic testing
Additional tests: Pulmonary function tests, Electromyography, Heart studies (EKG, echo), Sleep studies
TreatmentEnzyme replacement therapy (ERT): Alglucosidase alfa, Avalglucosidase alfa
Supportive care: Physical, occupational, respiratory therapy; Cardiologists; Neurologists
Additional needs: Feeding tube, Mechanical ventilation
Research: Gene therapy clinical trials

ERT improves heart size, function, muscle function, tone, strength, reduces glycogen buildup
ChallengesEarly detection crucialLifelong management
No cureProgressive muscle weakness
Way ForwardOngoing researchGene therapy
Support and counseling: Psychologist, Support groups, Caregiver support
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NewsAntonio Guterres invokes Article 99For war in Gaza
WhatSpecial power for Secretary-General
Unique political tool in UN Charter
Enables Secretary-GeneralCall Security Council meetings
Issue warnings about threats
Address matters not on council’s agenda
WhyTo prevent threats to international peace
To mobilize UN action
For preventive diplomacy
WhereChapter XV of the UN Charter
WhenFirst invoked in 1960Dag Hammarskjold on Congo conflict
Other notable invocations1979 Iran crisis (Kurt Josef Waldheim’s tenure)
1989 Lebanese civil war (Javier Perez de Cuellar’s tenure)
WhoSecretary-General of the United NationsDiscretionary power
Requires political judgment
HowSecretary-General may bring to UNSC’s attentionMatters threatening peace and security
ProsAdds political role to Secretary-General
Key in mobilizing UN action
Allows addressing UNSC without invitation
ConsCannot ensure lasting peace
Does not change political calculations of UNSC’s powerful members
One veto can derail interventions
ChallengesDependent on UNSC’s responseNeeds agreement of all five permanent members
Vulnerable to veto power
Past failure to invokeExample: Rwandan Genocide in 1994
Way ForwardExplore ways to enhance Article 99’s effectiveness
Address challenges related to UNSC dynamics
Increase awareness of Article 99’s potential and limitations

This topic of “Section 6A of the Citizenship Act” is important from the perspective of the UPSC IAS Examination, which falls under General Studies Portion.

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NewsSupreme Court hearings on constitutional validityChallenging Section 6A
WhatSpecial provision for AssamAdded in line with Assam Accord
Memorandum of Settlement signed in 1985
Persons coveredEntered India between January 1, 1966, and March 25, 1971
Living in Assam
Allowed to register as citizens
WhyEnacted on humanitarian groundsConnected to liberation of Bangladesh
Deeply connected to India’s history
Address demographic changes in AssamProtests against perceived demographic change
WhereApplicable in Assam
WhenIntroduced in 1985Following Assam Accord
Cut-off datesJanuary 1, 1966 – March 25, 1971
WhoUnion government
Leaders of the Assam Movement
All Assam Students Union
HowRegistration for citizenshipUnder Section 6A
Same rights and obligations as citizens
No electoral roll inclusion for 10 years
ProsGrants citizenship to certain immigrantsBased on specific criteria
Addresses humanitarian concerns
ConsDiscriminatory allegationsDifferent cut-off date from rest of India
Excludes West Bengal
Shares larger border with Bangladesh
ChallengesSupreme Court queriesInflow of illegal migrants
Data on granted citizenship
Foreigners Tribunal cases
Border fencing extent and timelines
Petitioners’ concernsCultural identity impact
Influx of immigrants
Resource scarcity
Way ForwardSupreme Court deliberationsAssessing constitutional validity
Understanding historical context
Analyzing demographic impact
Solicitor General submissionsLimited application period
Focus on specific immigrants
Future legislation considerationsApplicability across India
Assam’s cultural identity


Section 6A of the Citizenship Act of India is a special rule about who can become a citizen in the state of Assam. It was made in 1985 based on the Assam Accord, an agreement to solve problems in Assam about people moving there. This rule says that people who came to Assam from other countries between January 1, 1966, and March 25, 1971, can become Indian citizens, but they can’t vote for 10 years. This rule was made to help people and has to do with India’s history, like helping Bangladesh become free. The Supreme Court of India is looking at whether this rule is fair and follows the constitution. Some people think it’s not fair because it treats Assam differently than other states, like West Bengal, which also has many people coming from other countries. The court is also trying to figure out how this rule has changed Assam and what should be done about people who move to India illegally.

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The Revised Rubber (Promotion and Development) Bill, 2023, is an initiative by the Indian Union Government aimed at modernizing and promoting the rubber industry in India. The Bill focuses on replacing the Rubber Act of 1947 to address contemporary challenges in the industry, such as falling rubber prices, high labor costs, and increasing import competition. It proposes changes to the Rubber Board’s structure, including quality standards and stakeholder representation. The Bill has attracted both support for its potential to strengthen the sector and criticism for certain exclusions and lack of emphasis on vital areas like research. Going forward, measures such as promoting research and development, adopting new technologies, providing financial support, and strengthening market linkages are suggested to revitalize the industry.

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To summarize, the Central Universities (Amendment) Bill, 2023, passed in the Lok Sabha, aims to establish the Sammakka Sarakka Central Tribal University in Telangana, focusing on empowering tribal communities and enhancing access to higher education and research in tribal art, culture, customs, and technology. It amends the Central Universities Act, 2009, in alignment with the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.

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NewsIntroduction of bills– Date: July 26, 2023
– Bills Introduced:
– J&K Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023
– J&K Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023
Passed in Lok Sabha– Date: December 6, 2023
WhyAddressing regional issues
Adjusting legislative representation
Reshaping reservation policies
WhatJammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill, 2023– Amends Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019
– Union territories created:
– Jammu and Kashmir (with legislature)
– Ladakh (without legislature)
– Legislative Assembly changes:
– Seats increased from 83 to 90
– Nominations by Lieutenant Governor:
– Kashmiri migrants
– Up to two members
– At least one woman
– Displaced persons from PoK
– One member representing
– Reserved seats:
– Scheduled Castes
– Previously six seats
– Now seven seats
– Scheduled Tribes
– Previously none
– Now nine seats
Jammu & Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2023– Amends Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004
– Reservation in jobs and education:
– For Scheduled Castes, Tribes
– Other socially, educationally backward classes
– Socially, educationally backward classes:
– Criteria for classification:
– Village status
– Proximity to Line of Control, International Border
– Change in nomenclature:
– From “social castes”
– To “other backward classes”
HowLegislative process– Introduction in Lok Sabha
– Debate and discussion:
– Duration: Six-hour debate
– Voting and approval
WhereLok Sabha– Lower house of Indian Parliament
Jammu and Kashmir– Impact region
/ Species
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Impatiens karuppusamyi is a newly discovered plant species, identified on December 8, 2023, in the Kalakad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu, India. It was discovered by researchers from the Botanical Survey of India and Madras Christian College, Chennai, and named in honor of Dr. S Karuppusamy for his significant contributions to the taxonomy of South Indian angiosperms. The plant resembles Impatiens Bicornis but is distinguished by its small leaves, 6-8 flowered short scapes, and small flowers with unique characteristics like a conical spur, purplish auriculate projections, biseriate purplish-blue hairs, and orange-pinkish pollen grains. It grows as a lithophytic tuberous scapigerous herb, primarily amongst mosses and Selaginella sp., on wet rocky slopes at elevations between 1200–1500 meters above sea level, and is currently found only in the Agasthyamalai hill ranges within the protected area of the tiger reserve. The discovery highlights the rich biodiversity of the region and raises concerns about the potential risks of climate change on such limitedly distributed species.

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