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26th January Current Affairs

What is a living will, and the new Supreme Court order for simplifying the passive euthanasia procedure?

(GS-II: Issues Relating to Development and Management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health)

In News:

A five-judge SC bench decided to modify the existing rules for “living wills” as established in its 2018 decision allowing passive euthanasia, in order to make the process of passive euthanasia easier.


Meaning of ‘Living Will’: Living will is a person’s right to make an advance directive about the course of his or her treatment, including the removal of life support, if such a situation arises.

Evolution of the concept of ‘Living Will’ in India:

Law Commission of India (2006) in its 196th Report titled ‘Medical Treatment to Terminally Ill Patients (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners)’: A patient’s decision to not receive medical treatment did not constitute an attempt to commit suicide under Section 309 IPC. Also, a doctor who obeys the instructions of a competent patient to withhold/withdraw medical treatment does not commit a breach of professional duty.

Aruna Shanbaug case (2011): The SC allowed passive euthanasia for the nurse lying in a vegetative state at a hospital in Mumbai.

  1. Puttaswamy case/ the Right to Privacy case (2017): – Article 21 includes the concept of individual dignity and thus allows passive euthanasia.

Common Cause case (2018): The SC decided that passive euthanasia will be legally allowed henceforth in India and also laid down guidelines for living wills.

“We declare that an adult human being having the mental capacity to take an informed decision has the right to refuse medical treatment including withdrawal from life-saving devices. The right to die with dignity is a part of the right to live with dignity.”

Meaning of active and passive euthanasia:

Active euthanasia: involves an active intervention to end a person’s life with substances or external force, such as administering a lethal injection.

Passive or negative or non-aggressive euthanasia is the denial of medical care necessary for maintaining life, such as the denial of antibiotics when the patient is likely to die without them.

Different countries, different laws:

NETHERLANDS, LUXEMBOURG, and BELGIUM allow both euthanasia and assisted suicide (active euthanasia) for anyone who faces “unbearable suffering” that has no chance of improvement.

SWITZERLAND bans euthanasia but allows assisted dying in the presence of a doctor or physician.

CANADA had announced that euthanasia and assisted dying would be allowed for mentally ill patients, however, the decision has been widely criticised.

The US has different laws in different states. Euthanasia is allowed in some states like Washington, Oregon, and Montana.

The UK considers it illegal and equivalent to manslaughter.

Govt to hand over 1,000 monuments to the private sector under Monument Mitra Scheme

In News:

The government will hand over around 1,000 monuments to the private sector for their upkeep under the Monument Mitra Scheme.

About Monument Mitra Scheme / Adopt A Heritage:

The Scheme was started a few years back under the Ministry of Tourism.

It is now transferred to the Ministry of Culture in respect of the monuments under the Archaeological Survey of India, the ASI.

Applies to all Centrally protected heritage properties.

IAims at ensuring quality & inclusive provision of amenities and facilities across heritage, natural, & tourist sites through the active participation of private and public sector organizations and individuals.

These organizations would be known as “Monument Mitras” for their collaboration initiative.

Can India’s BharOS replace Android, iOS?

In News:

Developed by an IIT Madras-incubated startup, BharOS is being pitched as India’s answer to the Google-owned Android and Apple’s iOS, the two most dominant mobile operating systems in the world.

What is BharOS? How was it made?

BharOS is an Android Open-Source Project and was developed by JandK Operations Private Limited, a non-profit organisation incubated at IIT Madras.

Concerns existed with respect to the collection, storage, and usage of data that is generated by Indian smartphone users. BharOS tries to address these issues.

How is BharOS different from Android?

BharOS uses AOSP or Android Open -Source Project, the functionalities and the methodologies both OS use are essentially the same.

What sets BharOS apart from Android, is that it is free from Google Services and Apps. It comes with no default app (NDA), which allows users to have more control over permissions that an app can have.

Google has used its preinstalled apps and services to collect data, sometimes without explicitly asking a user. Similarly, other apps from Google’s PlayStore share data with third-party services. BharOS does not come with any such preinstalled services or apps, and hence, is deemed to be more secure.

It also comes with a native over-the-air update (NOTA) feature that keeps the devices safe and with organisation-specific Private App Store Services (PASS), the device gives access to only those apps which have been thoroughly verified by the organization.

How will apps work on BharOS?

  • It will let users choose what apps they want to use for their own devices.
  • Furthermore, it will have its own app store which will allow users to download and install apps, eliminating the need for the Google App Store.
  • Users may be allowed to sideload apps in a much easier manner than Android allows.
  • Barring a few essential apps, BharOS may favour indigenously developed apps or apps that have been designed with a particular focus on India and Indian

The indigenously-built BharOS paves the way for Atmanirbhar Bharat & could help put a check on Big Tech and the duopoly of Google-Apple in the mobile ecosystem.

Artificial synapse developed for brain-like computing with industry-compatible Nitride Semiconductors

In News:

A team of scientists from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) have used scandium nitride (ScN) and Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (CMOS) compatibility to develop brain-like computing.


This invention can provide a new material for stable, CMOS-compatible optoelectronic synaptic functionalities at a relatively lower energy cost and hence has the potential to be translated into an industrial product.

How it works:

The human brain is a supreme biological computer that is smaller and more efficient due to the presence of a synapse (the connection between two neurons) that plays the role of both processor and memory storage unit. In the current era of artificial intelligence, the brain-like computing approach can help meet the escalating computational demands.

Scientists used ScN to develop a device mimicking a synapse that controls the signal transmission as well as remembers the signal.

An artificial optoelectronic synapse with ScN thin films that can mimic synaptic functionalities like short-term memory, long-term memory, the transition from short-term to long-term memory, learning–forgetting, frequency selective optical filtering, frequency-dependent potentiation and depression, Hebbian learning, and logic-gate operations.

It can act as a platform for both excitatory and inhibitory functions. The industrial processing techniques of ScN are similar to the existing semiconductor fabrication infrastructure. Response to the optical stimuli also has the advantage of possible integration with photonic circuits known for higher speed and broader bandwidth than electronic circuits.

‘Green comet’ appearing close to Earth after 50,000 years

In News:

A green comet is estimated to come closest to Earth, termed the C/2022 E3 (ZTF), the comet was named to refer to those who first spotted it – astronomers using the wide-field survey camera at the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) in the US.

The Green Comet:

Orbits sun in 50,000 years

The comet comes from the Oort cloud

It gets its beautiful green glow from diatomic carbon (pairs of carbon atoms that are bound together) that is present in the comet’s head.

When the ultraviolet rays of solar radiation fall on the comet, these molecules emit green light.

Comet C/2022 E3 is visible in the northern hemisphere and as the sky gets darkens in the evening, it can be seen below and left to the Plough constellation handle.

About comets:

Comets are frozen rocky or gas-filled objects that are remnants of the formation of the solar system.

Due to their composition, characteristics, and the path they move in, they tend to leave a light “behind them”.

Oort Cloud:

The Oort Cloud is a predicted collection of icy objects that surrounds the sun at a distance of about one light-year.

The existence of the Oort cloud has not been directly observed, but it is thought to be the source of long period comets that have been observed entering the inner solar system.