15 Jun | UPSC Current Affairs: Satnamis, NCISM, NHIT, Arabian Oryx, Kavli Prize & More



  • News:  A huge mob from the Satnami community has been protesting in Chhattisgarh. 
  • Origin and Meaning of “Satnamis”: The term “Satnamis” denotes those who believe in a God whose name is ‘truth’.
  • Community Background: The Satnamis constitute a significant group within Chhattisgarh’s 11% Scheduled Caste (SC) population, believed to have roots in the Ravidassia community.
  • Founding and Leadership: Founded on April 21, 1657, by Bir Bhan in Narnaul, Haryana, the community was initially guided by Udhodas, a disciple of Saint Ravidas, who served as its first spiritual guru.
  • Geographical Distribution: The Satnamis primarily inhabit the plains of central Chhattisgarh, with significant populations in the historical districts of Bilaspur, Durg, Rajnandgaon, and Raipur.
  • Core Principles of the Satnamis:
    • Devotional Attire: The Satnamis emphasize adorning the attire of a devoted follower.
    •  Ethical Earnings: They emphasize earning money through legitimate and ethical means.
    •  Stand Against Injustice: They staunchly opposed any form of injustice or oppression.
  • Political Influence and Representation: 
    • The community wields significant political influence through collective voting practices.
    • Satnamis occupy a majority of the 10 assembly segments designated for Scheduled Castes (SCs), showcasing their political clout.
  •  Reverence for Mini Mata:
    • Mini Mata, the first female Member of Parliament from Chhattisgarh, holds a revered status among the Satnamis.
    • Her victory in the 1955 by-election remains pivotal, and political parties often invoke her legacy to garner support from the Satnami community during elections.
  • Cause of Current Protest: 
    • Members of the Satnami religious sect express outrage over the desecration of the Jaitkham shrine.
    • The shrine, located near Giraud village in Baloda Bazar district, holds significant religious importance as the birthplace of Guru Ghasidas.

Mains Article: None of the Above (NOTA): Significance and Challenges | UPSC


Standards For Awarding Death Sentence

  • News:  President Droupadi Murmu has rejected a mercy petition filed by Pakistani national Mohammed Arif who was sentenced to death for the 2000 terrorist attack at the Red Fort.
  • Constitutional Provisions:
    • Article 21 (Right to Life and Personal Liberty): Article 21 guarantees every person the right to life and personal liberty, subject to procedure established by law.
    • Pardon Powers: Articles 72 and 161 empower the President and Governors, respectively, to grant pardons, reprieves, respites, or remissions of punishment, and to suspend, remit, or commute sentences of persons convicted of offences.
262nd  Law Commission

  • The Report of the 262nd Law Commission, published in 2015, recommended the “absolute abolition” of the death penalty “for all crimes other than terrorism-related offences and waging war”. 
  • Judicial Principles:
    • Rarest of the Rare Doctrine: The doctrine, laid down in Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab (1980), mandates that the death penalty should only be imposed in the “rarest of the rare” cases, where no alternative punishment is sufficient.
    • Proportionality and Balancing: Courts must balance aggravating factors (severity of the crime) with mitigating circumstances (such as offender’s background) before deciding on the death penalty.
    • Judicial Review and Confirmation: A death sentence passed by a trial court requires confirmation by the High Court. The Supreme Court can also review the case. Mercy petitions can be filed with the President and Governors.
  • Statutory Provisions:
    • Indian Penal Code (IPC), 1860: Specifies offences punishable by death, including murder (Section 302), treason (Section 121), and terrorism-related offences (Section 121A), among others.
    • Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973: Provides procedural safeguards in death penalty cases, such as the requirement for sentence confirmation by a higher court (Section 366) and the right to appeal (Section 374).
    • Special Legislation: Special laws like the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) prescribe death penalty for specific crimes.

National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCISM)

  • News: The National Commission for Indian Medical Systems organized a two-day National Conference, ‘PRANA’ Protecting Rights and Novelties in ASUS (Mind to Market for Indian System of Medicines [ISM] Professionals).
  • Establishment: NCISM is a statutory body constituted under the NCISM Act, 2020, created by notification by the Central Government.
  • Scope: The Indian System of Medicine regulated under NCISM includes: Ashtang Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha, and Sowa-Rigpa systems of medicine.
  • Composition of the Commission: 
    • The Commission is composed of a Chairperson, fifteen ex-officio members, and twenty-three part-time members.
  • Chairperson Qualification:
    • A person of outstanding ability, proven administrative capacity, and integrity, possessing a postgraduate degree in any discipline of the Indian System of Medicine from a recognized University.
  • Functions of NCISM: 
    • Policy and Standards
    • Lays down policies to maintain high quality and standards in the education of the Indian System of Medicine.
    • Develops necessary regulations for educational standards.
    • Regulation of Institutions and Professionals:
    • Lays down policies for regulating medical institutions, medical research, and medical professionals.
    • Develops necessary regulations for these areas.
    • Healthcare Requirements:
    • Assesses healthcare requirements, including human resources and infrastructure.
    • Develops a roadmap to meet these requirements.
    • Guidelines and Coordination:
    • Frames guidelines and policies for the proper functioning of NCISM, Autonomous Boards, and State Medical Councils of the Indian System of Medicine.
    • Ensures coordination among Autonomous Boards.
    • Compliance and Ethics:
    • Ensures State Medical Councils comply with guidelines and regulations for effective functioning.
    • Promotes observance of professional ethics and ethical conduct among medical practitioners.
    • Appellate Jurisdiction:
    • Exercises appellate jurisdiction over decisions made by Autonomous Boards.
    • Fee Regulation:
    • Frames guidelines for determining fees and other charges for 50% of seats in private medical institutions and deemed universities governed by the Act.

National Highway Infra Trust (NHIT)

  • News:  NHAI has unveiled a new corporate identity with the launch of a logo of its infrastructure Investment Trust, National Highways Infra Trust (NHIT). 

National Highway Infra Trust (NHIT)

  • Establishment and Purpose: 
    • NHIT is an infrastructure investment trust established to support the Government of India’s National Monetization Pipeline (NMP).
    • It was registered as a trust with SEBI in October 2020.
  • Rebranding: 
    • NHAI recently unveiled a new corporate identity for NHIT, including a new logo representing ‘Agility’ and ‘Progress’.
    • This new identity aligns with NHIT’s core values of Accountability, Agility, Continuous Learning, Excellence, Integrity, and Collaboration.
  • Milestone Achievement:
    • The launch of the new corporate identity marks a significant milestone in NHIT’s evolution and aims to enhance its brand visibility among stakeholders.
  • Strategic Positioning:
    • The new corporate identity and strategic initiatives position NHIT as a leading player in the InvIT space.
  • Financial Channelization:
    • NHIT plays a critical role in channelizing financial capital for the further development of the National Highway network across India.
  • About New Logo:
    •  Depicting ‘Agility’ and ‘Progress’, the launch of the new corporate identity marks a significant milestone in NHIT’s evolution.
    •  The rebranding aligns NHIT’s image with its core values of:
    • Accountability
    • Agility
    • Continuous Learning
    • Excellence
    • Integrity
    • Collaboration


Arabian Oryx

  • News:  The Arabian Oryx has the remarkable ability to survive for several months without water.

Arabian Oryx

  • Common Names:
    • Arabian Oryx
    • White Oryx
    • Sabre Antelope
  • Species Adaptation:
    • The Arabian Oryx is a desert antelope highly adapted to its harsh desert environment.
    •  It is the world’s smallest oryx species and the only one found outside Africa.
    •  It can survive long periods without water by obtaining moisture from plants and dew.
  • Native Regions: Saudi Arabia, Oman, UAE
  • Habitat:
    • Stony plains
    • Wadis
    • Sand dunes
    • Physical Description
  • Coat: Striking white, reflecting sunlight to help stay cool.
  • Facial Features: Long, straight horns and a distinct facial mask with dark markings.
  • Diet: Herbivorous, primarily feeding on:
    • Grasses
    • Leaves
    • Herbs
  • Conservation Status:
    • IUCN Status: Vulnerable
    • CITES Listing: Appendix I
  • Threats: 
    • Hunting: Hunted for their meat and hides.
    • Habitat Loss: Due to human activities and environmental changes.

MD2 Pineapple

  • News: Recently, the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority facilitated the export consignment of MD 2 variety pineapples to the UAE.
  • Definition: The MD 2 pineapple, also known as “Golden Ripe” or “Super Sweet.”
    • Developed by Del Monte in the 1980s through selective breeding.

MD2 Pineapple

  • Production: Largely cultivated in Costa Rica, the Philippines, and Thailand.
    • In India, it is produced in the Sindhudurg district of the Konkan region in Maharashtra.
  • Unique Features: 
    • Known for its exceptionally sweet flavor, with a higher sugar content than traditional pineapples.
    • Lower acidity, making it more palatable and easier on the stomach for those sensitive to acidic fruits.
    • Contains more vitamin C than traditional varieties, making it a healthier choice.
    • MD2 pineapples have a uniform cylindrical shape and golden-yellow skin when ripe. Their flesh is also more golden compared to other varieties.
    • Longer shelf life, making them ideal for export and extended storage.
  • Uses of MD2 Pineapple: 
    • Nutritional Value: High in vitamins, especially vitamin C, and minerals.
    • Digestive Aid: Contains bromelain, an enzyme that aids in digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties.
    • Versatility: Can be used in a variety of dishes, including salads, desserts, juices, and as a garnish.
  • Consumption: 
    • Eaten fresh as a snack or in fruit salads.
    • Used in recipes for cooking and baking, adding a sweet and tangy flavor to dishes.
    • Made into fresh juice or smoothies.

Read also: Wholesale Price Index (WPI) Vs Consumer Price Index (CPI): Composition, Methodology, and Uses

Olympus Mons

  • News:  Scientists recently discovered frost on Mars’ tallest volcano, Olympus Mons, revealing an active water cycle on the Red Planet. 
  • About Olympus Mons:
  • Location and Type: Olympus Mons is a shield volcano situated in Mars’ western hemisphere.
  • Size and Height: It holds the distinction of being the highest point on Mars and is also recognized as the largest known volcano in the solar system.
    •  It stands 16 miles (24 kilometers) tall, towering approximately three times higher than Mt. Everest.

Olympus Mons

  • Dimensions: In terms of width, Olympus Mons spans an impressive 340 miles (550 kilometers), covering an area larger than the entire Hawaiian Islands chain.
    •  In comparison, Earth’s largest volcano, Mauna Loa in Hawaii, is 120 kilometers across and 9 kilometers high.
  • Age and Formation: Formed around 3.5 billion years ago, Olympus Mons is one of Mars’ oldest features, originating early in the planet’s history.
  • Topography and Structure: Despite its enormous size, Olympus Mons has a very gradual slope of only 2 to 5 degrees, giving it a remarkably flat appearance for a mountain of its magnitude.
  • Summit Features: At its summit lies a caldera—a large depression formed by past volcanic activity—measuring about 50 miles (80 kilometers) wide. 
    • This caldera is characterized by several overlapping pits, created during different eruptive phases. 
  • Comparison with Earth Volcanoes: Unlike many Earth-based volcanoes that typically exhibit a single, less complex caldera, Olympus Mons showcases a more intricate summit structure due to its multiple eruption episodes.

Facts for Prelims 

Kavli Prize

  • News: The winners of the 2024 Kavli Prize were announced recently. 
  • Kavli Prize: 
    • The Kavli Prize is awarded in honour of Norwegian-American businessman and philanthropist Fred Kavli (1927-2013).
    • The Kavli Prizes are awarded in three areas: astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience.
    • The prize comprises a $1 million cash prize (per field), a scroll, and a medal, 7 cm in diameter. 

Kavli Prize

  • 2024 Winners: 
    • Astrophysics: This year’s prize for astrophysics has been awarded to David Charbonneau, and Sara Seager for discoveries of exoplanets, and the characterisation of their atmosphere.
    • Nanoscience: Robert Langer, Armand Paul Alivisatos, and Chad Mirkin were given the prize for nanoscience for biomedical applications breakthroughs.
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