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UPSC Daily Current Affairs : 22-June-2020

Topic Covered :

  • ICMR considers biobank of samples for research, test validation

  • Section 309 IPC

  • Air Shields

  • Pokhran potteries

  • Assam’s endangered langurs observed to practice forced abortion 

  • Secrecy of ballot is key to free and fair elections: SC 

  • Fixed term for IAS officers


  • Why in news? The task force set up by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has recommended launching a biobank or repository of test samples to understand clinical patterns in coronavirus cases, expedite test kit validation, and study the immune response to the virus.


  • The task force members overseeing diagnostics and biomarkers said the agency has selected at least nine ICMR laboratories with easy access to COVID hospitals, where they can store positive and negative throat, nasal, and blood samples for research purposes.

  • Commercial manufacturers of technologies, diagnostic kits, and AYUSH regimes will now send their products to designated institutes, while ICMR’s own centers will still validate diagnostic kits, viral transfer mediums, and RNA extraction kits.

  • In addition to the bio-repository, the task force has also recommended validating a new antibody assay that would help determine the level of protection a patient has against re-infection.

Source : Indian Express ( https://indianexpress.com/article/india/icmr-biobank-of-coronavirus-covid-19-samples-research-test-validation-6469492/ )


Why in news?

  • Soon after the suicide of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, the conversation moved around the sensitivity with which issues surrounding mental health should be handled. However, one of the most archaic laws that punishes attempts to commit suicide – Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC)— contrary to popular perception that it has been repealed, continues to exist in the statute book and, as reports suggest, is often misused.


  • Anyone who survives an attempted suicide can be booked under Section 309 IPC, which deals with “Attempt to commit suicide”.

  • The section reads: “Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year (or with fine, or with both)”.

  • The law, brought in by the British in the 19th century, reflected the thinking of the time, when killing or attempting to kill oneself was considered a crime against the state, as well as against religion.

  • The Mental Healthcare Act (MHCA), 2017, which came into force in July 2018, has significantly reduced the scope for the use of Section 309 IPC — and made the attempt to commit suicide punishable only as an exception.

Source : Indian Express ( https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/sec-309-ipc-questions-and-issues-around-an-archaic-section-of-the-l