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January 19, 2021
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January 21, 2021
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20th January Current Affairs

25th Amendment of the US Constitution

In News:

In the aftermath of Donald Trump supporters storming the US Capitol, many have urged Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment.

What is the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution?

The Twenty-fifth Amendment is known as amendment (1967) to the Constitution of the United States.

It set forth succession rules relating to vacancies and disabilities of the office of the president and of the vice president.

It was proposed by the U.S. Congress on July 6, 1965, and it was ratified on Feb. 10, 1967.

The amendment has four sections:

The first section codified the traditionally observed process of succession in the event of the death of the president—that the vice president would succeed to the office—it also introduced a change regarding the ascent of the vice president to president should the latter resign from office.

The second section of the amendment addresses vacancies in the office of the vice president.

The third section of the amendment set forth the formal process for determining the capacity of the president to discharge the powers and duties of office. If the president is able to declare his/her inability, then the vice president takes over as the acting president.

The fourth section of the amendment requires the vice president and the cabinet to jointly ascertain if the president is unable to declare his/her incompetence. In this case the vice president immediately assumes the position of acting president.

It is this fourth section of the 25th Amendment that many are asking Vice President Pence to invoke against President Trump.

When was it introduced and has it been used in the past?

In the aftermath of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the 25th Amendment was proposed by Congress on July 6, 1965, and ratified by the states on February 10, 1967.

However, the fourth section of the 25th Amendment has never been invoked.

Why did Donald Trump supporters storm the Capitol?

Trump has repeatedly asserted, although without any valid evidence, that the presidential election in November, was rigged.

He has been urging his supporters to make their voices heard as members of the US Congress came together to confirm the counting of Electoral College votes and formally pave the way for Joe Biden to take over on January 20th.

Panel to study NFHS-5 findings

In News:

The Health and Family Welfare Ministry has set up a technical expert group to examine the adverse findings from the National Family Health Survey-5.

About the committee:

The committee is chaired by Joint Secretary Preeti Pant and includes experts from medicine and nutrition.


To recommend programmatic and policy interventions to improve” indicators pertaining to malnutrition, stunting, anaemia, and C-section.

Findings of NFHS 5:

The survey provides data of States and UTs on over 130 parameters. On various parameters, major number of states have worsened over the last round of survey (NFHS 4 – 2015-16).

The children born between 2014 and 2019 are more malnourished than the previous generation.

Infant and child mortality declined in most of the Indian states.

Sikkim, Assam, Goa and Jammu & Kashmir witnessed a steep decline in Neonatal Mortality Rate (NMR), Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Under-Five Mortality Rate (U5MR).

Meghalaya, Manipur and Andaman & Nicobar Island reported increase in all the three categories of child mortality – NMR, IMR and U5MR.

Among all the surveyed states and UTs, Bihar displayed the highest prevalence in Infant and child mortality in all three categories, while the lowest death rate was reported in Kerala.

Significance of NFHS 5 Results:

Massive increase in child malnutrition and rising levels of anaemia in women and pregnant ladies clearly imply that the children born during 2015-2019 might be suffering from deficiencies.

Though India displayed improvement in child malnutrition between NFHS 3 (2005-06) and NFHS 4 (2015-16), the nation has now taken U-turn for the worse in terms of malnutrition among children, as per the NFHS 5 results.

What are the spectrum auctions?

In News:

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT), recently said that auctions for 4G spectrum will begin from March 1.

The main objectives of the sale were:

To obtain a market-determined price for the spectrum on offer,

Ensure efficient use of spectrum and avoid hoarding,

Stimulate competition in the sector and maximise revenue proceeds.

What are spectrum auctions?

A spectrum auction is a process whereby a government uses an auction system to sell the rights to transmit signals over specific bands of the electromagnetic spectrum and to assign scarce spectrum resources.

Spectrum auctions in India:

Devices such as cellphones and wireline telephones require signals to connect from one end to another. These signals are carried on airwaves, which must be sent at designated frequencies to avoid any kind of interference.

The Union government owns all the publicly available assets within the geographical boundaries of the country, which also include airwaves.

With the expansion in the number of cellphone, wireline telephone and internet users, the need to provide more space for the signals arises from time to time.

To sell these assets to companies willing to set up the required infrastructure to transport these waves from one end to another, the central government through the DoT auctions these airwaves from time to time.

These airwaves are called spectrum, which is subdivided into bands which have varying frequencies.

All these airwaves are sold for a certain period of time, after which their validity lapses, which is generally set at 20 years.

The likely bidder for the spectrum:

All three private telecom players, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel, and Vi are eligible contenders to buy additional spectrum to support the number of users on their network.

Apart from these three, new companies, including foreign companies, are also eligible to bid for the airwaves.

Foreign companies, however, will have to either set up a branch in India and register as an Indian company, or tie up with an Indian company to be able to retain the airwaves after winning them.

Last chance to clear stand on same-sex marriages for Center: Delhi HC

In News:

The Delhi High Court on Friday granted the Centre and the Delhi government one last chance to file a response to petitions seeking the recognition and registration of same-sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act, the Special Marriage Act and the Foreign Marriage Act.


The court was told that no reply has been filed in the case by authorities despite issuance of notice in October and November.


The petitions filed in Delhi High Court contended that marriages between same sex couples are not possible despite the Supreme Court decriminalising consensual homosexual acts.

Petitioners sought a declaration to recognise same sex marriages under the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) and Special Marriage Act (SMA).

The two other pleas are — one filed by two women seeking to get married under the SMA and challenging provisions of the statute to the extent it does not provide for same sex marriages.

The other plea by two men who got married in the U.S. but were denied registration of their marriage under the Foreign Marriage Act (FMA).

Legality of same-sex marriages in India:

The Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code makes sex or marriage with persons of the same gender punishable by law.

However, on September 6, 2018, the Supreme Court of India decriminalised Section 377 making gay sex legal.

On 2 July 2009, in Naz Foundation v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi, the Delhi High Court held that provision to be unconstitutional with respect to sex between consenting adults, but the Supreme Court of India overturned that ruling on 11 December 2013.