Daily News Analysis 20th October 2023 (The Hindu)

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Here are the topics covered for  20th October 2023: 

GS-1: Frequent Earthquakes in Afghanistan

GS-2: Contempt of Court Proceedings, NIA

GS- 3: Ophthalmology with Artificial Intelligence

Facts for Prelims: Different Collar Jobs, Gig Economy



Frequent Earthquakes in Afghanistan


  • Afghanistan has been plagued by a series of devastating earthquakes, with recent occurrences leaving destruction and loss of life in their wake. This article delves into the geological reasons behind the frequent earthquakes in the region, shedding light on the tectonic forces at play.

Turbulent History of Afghan Earthquakes

A brief overview of the significant earthquakes that have afflicted Afghanistan, resulting

in widespread destruction and loss of lives.

    • The 2022 earthquake in Khost and Paktika provinces.
    • The 2015 earthquake affected northeastern Afghanistan and northern Pakistan.
    • The 2002 earthquake that claimed numerous lives in northern Afghanistan.
  • The catastrophic earthquake in 1998, led to substantial casualties.

Anatomy of an Earthquake

Earthquakes occur, covering:

  • Tectonic plates and their movements.
  • Fault lines and their significance.
  • The focus and epicentre of an earthquake.
  • The role of plate boundaries in seismic events.

Why Afghanistan Experiences Frequent Earthquakes

  • Afghanistan\’s location on the Eurasian plate.
  • Interaction between the Indian and Arabian plates, causing subduction.
  • Geological complexity in the Hindu Kush mountain range and the Pamir Knot.
  • Northward movement of the Indian Plate, leading to compression and Himalayan uplift.
  • The creation of faults and fractures due to tectonic stress.
  • Active fault systems like the Chaman Fault and the Main Pamir Thrust.


  • The earthquakes that frequently afflict Afghanistan are a harsh reminder of the geological complexities and tectonic forces that shape the region. 
  • Understanding these factors is crucial for both disaster preparedness and the well-being of the nation and its people. 
  • Afghanistan\’s path forward requires a combination of resilience-building, reconstruction, and support for the affected communities to mitigate the impact of these recurring natural disasters.


Contempt of Court Proceedings


  • The Supreme Court (SC) has initiated Contempt of Court Proceedings against two members of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), sparking discussions about the application and criticism of contempt laws in India.

Regarding case:

  • In the recent case, the SC issued show cause notices to NCLAT members for delivering a judgment in the Finolex Cables case, in defiance of the SC\’s directive to maintain the status quo. This action by NCLAT raised concerns about the functioning of certain tribunals.

Contempt of Court:

  • Contempt of court is a legal concept aimed at safeguarding judicial institutions from motivated attacks and unwarranted criticism.
  •  It is also a mechanism to punish those who undermine the authority of the courts. 
  • The statutory basis for contempt laws in India can be traced back to Article 19(2) of the Indian Constitution, which placed restrictions on freedom of speech and expression. 
  • Furthermore, Article 129 of the Constitution granted the Supreme Court the power to penalize contempt of itself, while Article 215 provided High Courts with similar authority. The Contempt of Courts Act, of 1971, offers statutory support to these principles.

Types of Contempt of Court:

  • Civil Contempt: This type involves willful disobedience to court judgments, decrees, directions, orders, writs, or breaches of an undertaking given to the court.
  • Criminal Contempt: It encompasses the publication of material or actions that scandalize or lower the authority of any court, interfere with the due course of judicial proceedings, or obstruct the administration of justice in any manner. 
  • Notably, fair and accurate reporting of judicial proceedings and fair criticism of judicial orders post-disposition do not constitute contempt of court.
  1. Punishment for Contempt of Court
  • The Contempt of Court Act of 1971 prescribes punishment for those found guilty of contempt, which may include imprisonment for up to six months, a fine of Rs 2,000, or both. An amendment in 2006 introduced \”truth and good faith\” as a defence. The Act also specifies that punishments can only be imposed when the actions substantially interfere with the due course of justice.


  • Balancing freedom of speech with the need to preserve the legitimacy of judicial institutions is essential. 
  • To address the concerns surrounding contempt of court proceedings, rules and guidelines should be established to define the process for superior courts when initiating 
  • These rules should be designed to uphold principles of natural justice and fairness.


National Investigation Agency(NIA)


  • NIA raids over 60 locations in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana in Naxal case
  • A total of 60 locations in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana are being searched in Left Wing Extremism (LWE) or Naxal case

About NIA:

  • The NIA was established in response to the 2008 Mumbai terror attack. It was created under the National Investigation Agency (NIA) Act, 2008, and began operations in 2009. It operates from its headquarters in New Delhi.
  • Jurisdiction: The NIA\’s jurisdiction covers the entire country and extends to Indian citizens abroad. It also includes government personnel, those on Indian-registered ships and aircraft, and individuals who commit scheduled offences affecting India\’s interests.
  • Cases can be referred to the NIA by state governments or the central government. The NIA investigates scheduled offences related to terrorism and other crimes.
  • For prosecuting the accused under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) and certain other scheduled offences, the NIA seeks the sanction of the Central Government. The Central Government grants this sanction based on a report from the relevant authority.
  • NIA Special Courts: Special Courts are established for the trial of scheduled offences. These courts have powers equivalent to the court of sessions under the Code of Criminal Procedure. They are presided over by judges appointed by the Central Government, with the option to appoint additional judges.
  • The NIA Act was amended in 2019 to allow the NIA to investigate offences outside India, under international treaties and foreign laws. The scope of the NIA\’s jurisdiction was also expanded to include crimes like human trafficking, cyber-terrorism, and counterfeit currency. Special Courts can be designated by the central and state governments.


  • The NIA plays a crucial role in addressing a wide range of criminal activities, with a focus on terrorism. It has effectively expanded its jurisdiction and capabilities to combat threats both within and outside India.
  • Ongoing training and capacity-building programs should be a priority to keep NIA personnel equipped with the latest investigative techniques and technologies.
  • Ensuring that NIA operations are transparent and accountable is essential to maintain public trust. Regular reporting and adherence to legal protocols are crucial.

Ophthalmology with Artificial Intelligence


  • In today\’s world, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become an integral part of various sectors, and its transformative impact extends to the field of medicine. This article explores the significant role of AI in ophthalmology, particularly in the diagnosis and treatment of eye-related conditions.

AI\’s Crucial Role in Modern Medicine

  • AI, as a domain of computer science, is designed to create systems that can replicate human intelligence, encompassing capabilities such as problem-solving, learning, reasoning, and perception. 
  • In the medical realm, AI is rapidly gaining prominence, particularly in areas where data analysis, image interpretation, and predictive functions are indispensable.

Diverse Applications of AI in Ophthalmology

AI is making remarkable strides in ophthalmology, offering a spectrum of applications:

  • Retinal Disease Diagnosis: AI algorithms analyze retinal images, including fundus photographs and optical coherence tomography (OCT) scans, to detect and categorize retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), and glaucoma. This aids in early disease identification, facilitating prompt treatment and reducing the risk of vision loss.
  • Automated Screening: AI-powered screening programs can swiftly detect eye diseases by examining extensive datasets of retinal images. This is particularly valuable in regions with limited access to ophthalmologists and during mobile medical camps.
  • Glaucoma Diagnosis and Management: AI assists in monitoring the progression of glaucoma through the analysis of visual field tests and OCT scans. It provides ophthalmologists with valuable insights for making informed treatment decisions.
  • Customized Treatment Plans: AI recommends personalized treatment plans for conditions like AMD, optimizing their effectiveness by analyzing patient data and clinical information.
  • Surgical Assistance: AI is employed during eye surgeries, offering real-time guidance to surgeons. This enhances precision and reduces the risk of complications.
  • Retinopathy of Prematurity (ROP) Diagnosis: AI is instrumental in diagnosing and staging ROP, a blinding disease affecting premature and low birth weight infants. Additionally, it is utilized in telemedicine.
  • Drug Discovery: AI plays a key role in identifying potential therapeutic targets and compounds for ophthalmic conditions by analyzing extensive datasets. It also predicts the likelihood of individuals developing eye diseases based on their health records and genetic data, enabling early intervention.
  • Electronic Health Records: AI is essential for managing and analyzing electronic health records while ensuring data security.
  • Disease Pathway Modeling: In ophthalmic research, AI is used to model disease pathways, expediting the development of new treatments and technologies.


  • Ultimately, while AI complements ophthalmologists by aiding in early disease detection, diagnosis, and treatment, it should not supplant human clinicians. 
  • Ophthalmologists must interpret AI-generated recommendations and exercise clinical judgment to ensure the highest quality of care for their patients.
  • AI is reshaping the landscape of ophthalmology, offering advanced tools to enhance patient care and eye health, with a strong emphasis on responsible integration and the indispensable role of human expertise.

Facts for Prelim:


Different Collar Jobs

    • Blue-Collar Workers: 
      • Manual labourers who earn hourly wages.
      • Typically part of the working class. 
      • Examples include construction workers, factory workers, and plumbers.
  • White-Collar Worker
      • Salaried professionals, often associated with office jobs.
      • Includes managers, office administrators, and corporate professionals.
      • Typically work in non-manual, administrative, or managerial roles.
  • Gold-Collar Worker
      • Highly skilled knowledge workers.
      • Valued for their expertise.
      • Professions like lawyers, doctors, and research scientists are considered gold-collar.
  • Grey-Collar Worker
      • A broad category encompassing various job types not classified as blue or white-collar.
      • Often associated with public service and essential roles.
      • Examples include firefighters, police officers, and healthcare professionals.
  • Green-Collar Worker
      • Employed in environmental sectors.
      • Work in jobs related to sustainability, conservation, and alternative energy.
      • Examples include solar panel installers and environmental activists.
  • Pink-Collar Worker
      • Employed in jobs traditionally associated with women\’s work.
      • Includes roles in nursing, teaching, and administrative support.
      • Often reflects gender-based occupational stereotypes.
  • Scarlet-Collar Worker
      • Often refers to individuals working in the pornography industry.
      • Particularly used for women entrepreneurs in internet pornography.
  • Red-Collar Worker
      • Government employees in various sectors.
      • Encompasses a wide range of public service roles, from civil servants to military personnel.
  • Open-Collar Worker
    • Individuals who work from home, often via the internet.
    • Includes remote freelancers, telecommuters, and online entrepreneurs.


Gig Economy

  • The gig economy is a system where temporary work is common, and organizations hire independent workers for short-term projects. 
  • As per the Code on Social Security (2020), a gig worker is someone who earns from work outside traditional employer-employee relationships.
  • India is the fifth-largest country in flexi-staffing worldwide, following the US, China, Brazil, and Japan.
  • Gig workers can be categorized into two groups:
    • Platform workers: Rely on digital platforms like Zomato and Ola.
    • Non-platform workers: Work part-time or full-time in traditional sectors.
  • Around 56% of new jobs in India come from the gig economy, spanning blue-collar and white-collar professions.
  • The gig economy is expanding into white-collar jobs, including consultants, salespeople, web designers, writers, and software developers.
  • The gig economy could create up to 90 million non-farm jobs in India and potentially contribute 1.25% to the GDP over the long term.
  • The gig economy will play a crucial role in India\’s goal of achieving a $5 trillion economy by 2025, helping reduce income disparity and unemployment.
  • NITI Aayog released a report called \’India\’s Booming Gig and Platform Economy,\’ projecting a gig workforce of 2.35 crore by 2029-30.
  • In 2020-21, there were 77 lakh (7.7 million) gig workers in India, constituting 2.6% of the non-agricultural workforce or 1.5% of the total workforce.
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