Gist of The Hindu: SEPTEMBER 2022

Gist of The Hindu: SEPTEMBER 2022

Centre formed special task force to monitor monkeypox

  • The Union health ministry has formed a special task force to monitor monkeypox cases, assist in the expansion of diagnostic facilities, and explore the possibility of vaccine development or sourcing to control the infection.


  • The task force will also coordinate cases from states and provide any expertise that the states need,” said a health ministry official, who did not want to be named.
  • India has so far reported three monkeypox cases from Kerala and one from Delhi. The cases exclude that of a 22-year-old man, who died in Kerala’s Thrissur on Saturday. 
  • Monkeypox is a viral zoonosis, or a virus transmitted to humans from animals, with symptoms similar to those in smallpox patients. 
  • The World Health Organisation has said it is clinically less severe than smallpox and declared monkeypox a “public health emergency of international concern”.
  • Over 20,000 monkeypox cases have been reported from 75 countries globally.

Centre notifies new health warnings on tobacco product packs

  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has notified new sets of specified health warnings for all tobacco product packages by makingan amendment in the Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Packaging and Labelling) Rules, 2008.


  • All tobacco products manufactured, imported, or packaged on or after December 1, 2022 shall display a new image with thetextual health warning ‘Tobacco causes painful death’
  • New health warnings shall be for a period of twelve months.
  • According to Global Adult Tobacco Survey India (2016-17), nearly 267 million adults in India (29% of all adults) are users oftobacco.
  • Tobacco use is a major risk factor for many chronic diseases, including cancer, lung disease, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
  • It accounts for more than 1.3 million deaths every year.

Programme against tobacco use: 

  • National Tobacco Control Programme (NTCP).
  • Specified health warnings to cover 85% of the principal display area of tobacco product packs.
  • Guidelines for Tobacco Free Educational Institutions.

Ex  VINBAX 2022

  • The 3rd Edition of Vietnam-India Bilateral Army Exercise “Ex VINBAX 2022” will begin from 1st of August 2022.


  • India and Vietnam share a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and defence cooperation is a key pillar of this partnership. Vietnam is an important partner in India’s Act East policy and the Indo-Pacific vision.
  • The theme of Ex VINBAX - 2022 is the employment and deployment of an Engineer Company and a Medical Team as part of the United Nations Contingent for Peace Keeping Operations.

Electoral bonds

  • Data from State bank of India shows that since 2018, political parties havecollected more than Rs 10000 cr. from Electoral bonds (EB).
  • Union Budget 2017-18 introduced EBs as interest-free bearer instruments inan attempt to cleanse the system of political funding in the country.


  • Electoral bonds (valid for 15 days from the date of issue) can be purchased by acitizen of India or entities incorporated or established in India.
  • Rationale was to: limit the use of cash in political funding, eliminate fraudulent political parties, Protecting donor from political victimization, curbblack money etc.
  • Sold in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, and Rs 1 crore.SBI is the only bank authorised to sell them.

Concern over Electoral Bonds: 

  • Anonymous donation may compromise with the principle of free and fair election.
  • Allowed possibility of corporate misuse as it removes limits and disclosure requirements onCompany donations to Political Parties.
  • Lack of level playing field in terms of political funding as it restricts the benefits of electoral bonds only to a few political parties.

Creation of Districts

  • The West Bengal cabinet has approved the creation of seven new districts in the state. This will take the number of districts in West Bengal to 30 from the existing 23.

Key highlights: 

  • A new Sundarban district will be carved out of South 24-Parganas district;
  • Two new districts will be created out of North 24-Parganas district — Ichhamati in Bongaon subdivision and a yet unnamed district in Basirhat;
  • Ranaghat, a city and municipality in Nadia district, will become the fourth new district;
  • A new district of Bishnupur will be carved out of the existing Bankura district; and
  • Two new districts of Baharampur and Jangipur will be created out of Murshidabad.


  • States keep creating new districts from time to time. 
  • The smaller units would make governance easier and would benefit the people by bringing the government and the administration closer to them, and making them more accessible. Sometimes, the decision to create a new district is driven by local demands.

India to work towards unlocking trade potential with Central Asia through Chabahar Port

  • On the occasion of Chabahar Day, India affirmed its commitment towards unlocking its trade potential with Central Asian Region (CAR)by making Chabahar Port a transit hub under INSTC.


  • Chabahar port is located in Gulf of Oman at Sistan-Baluchistan Province of Iran on Makran Coast. It is jointly developed by India, Iran And Afghanistan.
  • Using Chabahar, India can bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan and landlocked Central Asia.


  • Endowed with commercially viable quantities of minerals like coal,gas, uranium etc.
  • Participation of private sector in building infrastructure projectsrail, road, highways, power transmission lines, nuclear power, etc.
  • Provides a near abroad market for India’s industry.
  • Provides significant energy supplies at relatively short distances.

India Maldives ties 

  • Maldives President Ibu Solih arrived in Delhi for a bilateral visit on Monday, amid rows within his government over ties with India, the Yoga Day attack, and a bitter row with Maldivian Speaker, former President and party colleague Mohammad Nasheed.


  • During his four-day visit, Mr. Solih will is expected to focus on enhancing trade and connectivity between the two countries.
  • He will meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bilateral talks, discuss strategic ties, and the status of infrastructure agreements between them, and sign a number of MoUs (Memorandum of Understanding).
  • The infrastructure projects include the Greater Male Connectivity Project of bridges connecting the capital city to neighboring islands, to be built by Indian company Afcon with the help of a $400-million Line of Credit and a $100-million grant from India, along with other projects under India’s $1.4-billion assistance announced during Mr. Solih’s last visit to India in December 2018.

Responsible AI for Youth 2022

  • National E-Governance Division of the Ministry of Electronics & IT in collaboration with Intel India launched the ‘Responsible AI for Youth 2022’ program.


  • Program is aimed at enabling school students with Artificial intelligence (AI) skills in an inclusive manner through exclusive hands-on learning and mentorship opportunities.
  • It is open to all school students studying in classes 8-12 across India.
  • Objectives of the program: Foster a deeper understanding of AI-tech and social skills, enable youth to develop AI-enabled solutions etc.

Alpha Fold

  • Deep Mind, a company based in London and owned by Google, announced this week that it had predicted the three-dimensional structures of more than 200 million proteins using AlphaFold. 

What is Alpha Fold?

  • AlphaFold is an AI-based protein structure prediction tool. 
  • It is based on a computer system called deep neural network. Inspired by the human brain, neural networks use a large amount of input data and provides the desired output exactly like how a human brain would. 
  • The real work is done by the black box between the input and the output layers, called the hidden networks. AlphaFold is fed with protein sequences as input. 
  • When protein sequences enter through one end, the predicted three-dimensional structures come out through the other. It is like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

Wild Life (Protection)  Amendment Bill, 2021

  • The Lok Sabha passed the Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Bill, 2021.
  • It seeking to increase the species protected under the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, and implement the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, CITES.
  • The Bill amends the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.  The Act regulates the protection of wild animals, birds and plants.

 Key features of the Bill include:

  • CITES:  CITES is an international agreement between governments to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species.  Under CITES, plant and animal specimens are classified into three categories (Appendices) based on the threat to their extinction. 
  • Rationalising schedules: Currently, the Act has six schedules for specially protected plants (one), specially protected animals (four), and vermin species (one).  Vermin refers to small animals that carry disease and destroy food.  The Bill reduces the total number of schedules to four by: (i) reducing the number of schedules for specially protected animals to two (one for greater protection level), (ii) removes the schedule for vermin species, and (iii) inserts a new schedule for specimens listed in the Appendices under CITES (scheduled specimens).
  • Obligations under CITES:   The Bill provides for the central government to designate a: (i) Management Authority, which grants export or import permits for trade of specimens, and (iii) Scientific Authority, which gives advice on aspects related to impact on the survival of the specimens being traded.  
  • Invasive alien species: The Bills empowers the central government to regulate or prohibit the import, trade, possession or proliferation of invasive alien species.  Invasive alien species refers to plant or animal species which are not native to India and whose introduction may adversely impact wild life or its habitat.  
  • Control of sanctuaries: The Act entrusts the Chief Wild Life Warden to control, manage and maintain all sanctuaries in a state.  The Chief Wild Life Warden is appointed by the state government.  The Bill specifies that actions of the Chief Warden must be in accordance with the management plans for the sanctuary.  
  • Conservation reserves: Under the Act, state governments may declare areas adjacent to national parks and sanctuaries as a conservation reserve, for protecting flora and fauna, and their habitat.  The Bill empowers the central government to also notify a conservation reserve.
  • Surrender of captive animals: The Bill provides for any person to voluntarily surrender any captive animals or animal products to the Chief Wild Life Warden.  No compensation will be paid to the person for surrendering such items.  The surrendered items become property of the state government.  
  • Penalties: The Act prescribes imprisonment terms and fines for violating the provisions of the Act.  The Bill increases these fines.


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Courtesy: The Hindu