Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 29 December 2022

Official recognition to Esports

GS Paper - 3 (Technology)

The Government of India gave Esports a major boost by integrating it with mainline sports disciplines in the country. The President of India, Droupadi Murmu, in exercise of the powers "conferred by clause (3) of article 77 of the Constitution" amended the rules governing Esports and asked the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Sports Ministry to include "e-Sports as part of multi-sports events".

More about Esports

  1. There had been a growing demand for Esports to be included in the curriculum of multi-discipline events after it was included in the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games as a demonstration sport, meaning medals won in the sport were not counted in the official overall medals tally.
  2. But following the President's notification, issued on 23 December 2022, that IT Ministry will be the nodal agency for online gaming-related matters and the sports ministry will have to include it in its curriculum, it has come as shot in the arm for Esports enthusiasts.
  3. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) too is going big on popularising e-Sport with Singapore being confirmed to host the inaugural Olympic Esports Week in June next year.
  4. This marks the next big step in supporting the development and integration of virtual sports with the Olympic movement and engaging further with competitive gamers.


  1. The IOC had said in November this year that the Olympic Esports Week would showcase the best of virtual sports -- hybrid physical and simulated sports -- in the four-day festival from 22 to 25 June, including exhibiting the latest technologies, panel discussions, education sessions and show matches.
  2. IOC President Thomas Bach had said last month that the inaugural Olympic Esports Week would mark an important milestone "in our ambition to support the growth of virtual sports within the Olympic Movement".
  3. The Indian DOTA 2 team had clinched bronze at the first Commonwealth Esports Championship held in Birmingham in August defeating New Zealand.
  4. The sport will make its debut at the Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China next year.


I&B unveils policy draft for AVGC-XR

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The government released a policy draft for Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming and Comics - Extended Reality (AVGC-XR), to spruce up India's domestic capacity and develop opportunities in the sector. The Centre is preparing to unveil a national skilling academy in Mumbai dedicated to animation and gaming in the next few months and is also working with the industry on a new curriculum for these sectors, targeting about 2 million jobs by 2030.

More about the draft

  1. The draft - both for national-level as well as states - has recommended launching a 'Create in India' campaign with exclusive focus on Indian content.
  2. While an international AVGC platform will be set up, along with a gaming expo with focus on Foreign Direct Investmentco-production treaties and innovation, the government will also launch a mission and a campaign to showcase the promise of these sectors to students and parents.
  3. The information and broadcasting ministry released the draft policies for the AVGC-XR sector based on recommendations by a task force set up last year to decide on a roadmap for the sector.
  4. The report has, however, skipped issues such as "game of skill" and "game of chance" often raised by courts when it comes to gaming.
  5. It has specifically recommended that industry participation be enhanced to ensure employment opportunities and absorption of students from non-metro cities and northeastern states.


  1. The AVGC sector in India has witnessed unprecedented growth in recent times and could witness a growth of 14-16% in the next decade.
  2. India is emerging as a primary destination for high-endskill-based activities in the AVGC sector. Indian content is anyway very popular and across Indian towns there are creative students waiting to get the right opportunity.
  3. The sector is the best example of creativity and technology. The draft policies for growth of the AVGC-XR sector, both at the national and state level, will help the growth of the M&E industry in general and contribute to India's growth as an AVGC hub.


Drug developed for GNB1 Encephalopathy

GS Paper - 3 (Health and Diseases)

Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), MadrasTel Aviv University and Columbia University are studying a rare genetic brain disease called "GNB1 Encephalopathy" and trying to develop a drug to treat it effectively. With less than 100 documented cases worldwide, GNB1 Encephalopathy is a kind of brain disease or neurological disorder which affects individuals in the foetus stage.


  1. Scientists say delayed physical and mental developmentintellectual disabilitiesfrequent epileptic seizures, are among the early symptoms of the disease and since genome sequencing is an expensive exercise, not many parents opt for it early on.
  2. According to Haritha Reddy, a former PhD scholar at IIT Madras, a single nucleotide mutation in the GNB1 gene that makes one of the G-proteins, the "G1 protein," causes this disease.
  3. This mutation affects the patient since they are a foetusChildren born with GNB1 mutation experience mental and physical developmental delay, epilepsy (abnormal brain activity), movement problems.
  4. To date, less than a hundred cases have been documented worldwide. However, the actual number of affected children is probably much greater as diagnosis is not widely available since it requires a sophisticated and expensive procedure.
  5. Every cell in the human body has a wide variety of signalling molecules and pathways that help in communicating with other cells and within it. The major signalling mechanism used by cells is 'G-Protein Coupled Receptor' (GPCR) signalling".


  1. GPCR is a receptor that receives a signal (e.g. a hormone, light and neurotransmitter) from the outside of the cell and transduces it to the inside of the cell.
  2. GPCR is present in the cell membrane and has a G-protein (a?) attached to it from inside the cell. G-proteins are the immediate downstream molecules that relay the signal received by the GPCR. These G-proteins are present in every cell, and any malfunction will cause disease.
  3. Mutations in GNB1 gene cause the neurological disorder (GNB1 Encephalopathy) characterised by general develop- mental delay, epileptiform activity in the electroencephalogram (EEG) and seizures of several types, muscle hypotonia or hypertonia, and additional variable symptoms, are seen in the patients.


No plan to revise age of consent: centre

GS Paper -2 (Policy Making)

The government does not have a plan to revise the age of consent under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012 despite appeals from the judiciary to lower it from the current 18 years to 16 years.

More about the news:

  1. In response to a question from a MP in the Rajya Sabha on whether the government was considering any proposal to lower the age of consent from 18 years to 16 years in order to prevent the criminalisation of consensual relationships between adolescents, the Minister for Women and Child Development said “No”.
  2. The Minister said, the act clearly defines a child as any person below the age of 18 years. The POCSO Act provides punishment as per the gravity of offence.
  3. The Act was further amended in 2019 to introduce more stringent punishment including death penalty for committing sexual crimes on children, with a view to deter the perpetrators & prevent such crimes against children.
  4. The Minister also told the Rajya Sabha that the Majority Act, 1875 provided 18 years as the age for attainment of majority. She said that where an offence under the POCSO Act was commissioned by a child, Section 34 provided procedures for determining the age of the accused.

Appeal by judges

  1. Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud appealed to Parliament, saying it must relook at the issue of age of consent, as cases involving consensual sexual relationships among adolescents posed “difficult questions for judges across the spectrum”.
  2. He also pointed out that the peculiar challenge posed by POCSO was that it criminalises all sexual activities for those under the age of 18 years even if consent was factually present between two.minors.

Why the voice for reducing age of consent?

  1. The Madras High Court recently said that it is “eagerly” waiting for the legislature to reduce the age of consent under the POCSO Act from the current 18 years, as it upheld the conviction of a man sentenced to seven years imprisonment for having kidnapped and repeatedly raped a 17-year-old girl.
  2. The Karnataka High Court too recently said that the Law Commission must look at the issue, while rejecting a plea against the acquittal of a boy who was accused of rape under POCSO after eloping with a 17-year-old girl and having a sexual relationship with her in 2017.
  3. A recent study by Enfold Proactive Health Trust, which analysed 1,715 “romantic cases” under the POCSO Act found that one in four cases registered and disposed of under the Act, was a “romantic case” involving adolescents whose parents were opposed to the relationship.
  4. It found that 80.2% of such cases were filed by parents or relatives of the girl, while in 87.9% of cases the girls expressly admitted to being in a consensual relationship.