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28 September, 2019

12 Min Read

GS-I :

GS-I: Goldschmidtite


A new, curious mineral has been discovered inside a diamond unearthed from a mine in South Africa.


  • The mineral has been named goldschmidtite, after Victor Moritz Goldschmidt, the Norwegian scientist acknowledged as the founder of modern geochemistry.
  • Goldschmidtite has an unusual chemical signature for a mineral from Earth’s mantle, according to the University of Alberta, a student of which discovered it.


  • While the mantle is dominated by elements such as magnesium and iron, goldschmidtite has high concentrations of niobium, potassium and the rare earth elements lanthanum and cerium.
  • It is dark green and opaque.
  • Though the mantle makes up about 80 per cent of the Earth’s volume, very little is known about it.
  • Reaching the mantle is not easy; it is about 2,900 km thick and no attempt to drill into it has been successful.
  • Diamonds hold clues as they are found up to 160 km beneath the surface, in the upper mantle.
  • Diamonds that are unearthed were brought up closer to the surface, probably as a result of violent volcanic eruptions when the Earth was hotter, according to the Smithsonian Magazine.

Source: Indian Express

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Not their business: OIC remarks on Art 370

GS-II: Not their business: OIC remarks on Art 370


The OIC’s Kashmir Contact Group issued a statement calling on India to “rescind its actions revoking Article 370”.

Impact of the statement

  • It allows the Pakistan Prime Minister to sell the theory back at home that his trip to New York has met with some success.
  • From the mid-1990s, when this Contact Group was formed, it has issued several statements on behalf of Pakistan.

Organisation of Islamic Cooperation:

  • Pakistan is a member along with Turkey, Niger, Azerbaijan, and Saudi Arabia. It boasts of a membership of 57 countries
  • It is headquartered in Jeddah and receives its financial raison d’etre from its chief benefactor, Saudi Arabia.
  • Its influence on world affairs has always been marginal.

Differences within OIC:

  • It is doubtful if the statement issued by the Contact Group reflects the national positions of the individual member states.
  • UAE conferred the Order of Zayed, its highest civilian award on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, more than a week after New Delhi’s moves on Article 370, and declared that Kashmir was India’s internal matter.
  • The OIC’s record of conflict resolution on issues between OIC member states is poor.
  • Its attempts to meddle in Kashmir by appointing a so-called special envoy on Jammu and Kashmir, have amounted to nothing.

Need for reforms in OIC:

  • It should ask Pakistan to change its state policy on terrorism.
  • Pakistan should abjure support to Kashmir-centric groups such as the Jaish-e-Mohammed and the Lashkar-e-Taiba
  • It can mediate between warring Saudi Arabia and Yemen.
  • India, though not a part of the OIC, has the second-largest number of Muslims in the world.

Way Forward:

India must demonstrate to the world that its new Kashmir policy is in the larger interest of all Kashmiris.


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The Morbidity of Jihad

GS-II: The Morbidity of Jihad.


The absence of exact data on crime could pose serious problems. In India, crime is under-reported and under-registered.

Problems with crime data:

  • The manner in which crime data are collected and compiled.
  • Crime data in India are collected and published by NCRB.
  • The data reported in this publication is based on the crime reported to local police stations.
  • Police stations getting information about the crime is one thing and such incidents being recorded as an FIR is another.
  • Challenges of a complainant – All kinds of pressures and obstacles are put on a complainant, especially when the nature of crime is that of sexual assault, domestic violence or when it involves family members, relatives or powerful people.
  • There is enormous resistance put up by the police station personnel in registering such crimes or reducing the seriousness of the incident.
  • The NCRB data fall short of expectations in many respects.
  • It is short on information about crime victims and witnesses.

The potential of a victimisation survey:

  • A victimisation survey is often seen as a solution to such shortcomings.
  • Many countries have conducted victimisation surveys to supplement their official crime data, India has yet to make a start.
  • Such surveys reveal details that are missed out by the local police.
  • They describe how crime has impacted the lives of victims and convey their safety concerns.
  • These surveys gather information through personal or telephonic interviews with a set of people who represent the geographical and social correlates of a city or state over a period of time.
  • The information may detail the victimisation suffered by a person but not recorded by the police for a variety of reasons.
  • The other data include risk and vulnerability, perceptions about the local police and the views of people about the criminal justice system.

Indian crime data – road ahead:

  • India-specific yardsticks, which the NCRB does not cover, could be evolved.
  • There could be several challenges to such surveys. People might not reveal more than what they have divulged to the police.
  • There are several methodological innovations to overcome bottlenecks.
  • It should be assigned to an institution that specialises in criminology, victimology and criminal justice administration.

Source: Indian Express

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GS-II: Ranitidine


  • India’s drug regulator this week began looking into concerns of potential cancer-causing substances contaminating popular acidity drug ranitidine.
  • The move came over a week after the US flagged the issue to American patients, some companies have suspended sales of the product worldwide, and some have ordered recalls of the product.


  • Ranitidine is an over-the-counter prescription antacid used in the treatment of acid reflux and peptic ulcer diseases.
  • It is popularly known through brand names like Aciloc, Zinetac, Rantac and Rantac-OD, R-Loc and Ranitin.
  • It is commonly used to relieve acid-related indigestion and heartburn by decreasing stomach acid production.
  • While other medicines like pantoprazole and omeprazole (omez) too treat these symptoms and are more commonly prescribed today, ranitidine is still widely used in India.

Why in news?

  • Ranitidine is a much older medication, but it was always thought to be a very safe drug because it has less side effects than the other drugs that patients use nowadays to treat these symptoms.
  • The US FDA stated in a release that it had learned that some ranitidine medicines contained “low levels” of a substance called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA).
  • An environmental contaminant found in water and foods, NDMA has been classified as probably carcinogenic to humans, which means it has the potential to cause cancer.

How has India responded?

  • The Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) wrote to state regulators asking them to direct ranitidine active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) manufacturers to verify their products and take appropriate measures to ensure patient safety.
  • DCGI asked states to inform him of action taken in this matter “at the earliest”.
  • So far, the DCGI has not called for any halting of supplies, which means the ranitidine brands marketed in the country can continue to be sold until further notice.
  • APIs are the ingredients that give a medicine its therapaeutic effect.

How have other countries responded?

  • While India and the US are still looking into the issue, regulators of around 15 countries are learnt to have called for recalls of ranitidine sold in their markets.
  • These include Singapore, Canada, Italy, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Switzerland and Pakistan.

Source: Indian Express

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