PIB Analysis for UPSC CSE I May 15-21 2020 I IAS Abhiyan

Press Information Bureau for IAS/UPSC Exam

Weekly Analysis May 15-21 2020


Protocol on Transit and Trade

  • —Recently Bangladesh and India have added new ports and routes under have a long standing and time-tested Protocol on Transit and Trade through inland waterways of both countries.
  • —This Protocol, which was first signed in 1972 (immediately after independence of Bangladesh).
  • —It was last renewed in 2015 for five years with a provision for its automatic renewal for a further period of five years giving long term assurance to various stakeholders.

Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes

  • —The number of Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes are being increased from 8 to 10
  • —New locations are also added to the existing routes.
  • —Inclusion of SonamuraDaudkhandi stretch of Gumti river.
  • —Operationalization of Rajshahi-Dhulian-Rajshahi Routes and their extension up to Aricha which will help the augmentation of infrastructure in Bangladesh
  • —Kolaghat in India and Ghorasal in Bangladesh has also been added.

Ports of Call (An Intermediate Stop for ship on its scheduled journey for cargo operation)

  • —Presently there are six Ports of Call each in India and Bangladesh under the Protocol.
  • —Inclusion of Jogigopha in India and Bahadurabad in Bangladesh as new Port of Call will provide connectivity to Meghalaya, Assam and Bhutan.
  • —Jogigopha also becomes important, since, a Multimodal Logistics Park is proposed to be established there.
  • —Both sides have agreed to introduce trade between Chilmari (Bangladesh) and Dhubri (India) through the use of shallow draft mechanized vessels.
  • —The Indian transit cargo is mainly coal, fly-ash, Over Dimensional Cargo (ODC) for power projects in North East region.

Coir Geo Textiles

Context

  • —National Rural Infrastructure Development Agency(NRIDA) has announced that coir geo textiles will be used for construction of rural roads under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY-III).

What is Coir geotextiles?

  • a woven net material made of coconut husk
  • used to check soil erosion, road-building and renovation of water bodies and landfills.

Significance:

  • It is naturally resistant to rot, molds and moisture
  • free from any microbial attack
  • it needs no chemical treatment.
  • It has the right strength, permeability and durability to protect the slopes from erosion while allowing vegetation to flourish.
  • It has apermeable, natural and strong fabricwith high durability.
  • It protects the land surface and promotes quick vegetation.
  • It is totally biodegradable,and helps in soil stabilisation.
  • It can dissipate the energy of flowing water and absorb the excess solar radiation.

Inputs GeotextileIt refers to a permeable synthetic textile material. Generally it is produced from polyester or polypropylene polymers. They are used to increase soil stability, provide erosion control or aid in drainage.


100% solarisation of Konark Sun temple

Context

—Government of India has launched a scheme for 100% solarisation of Konark sun temple and Konark town in Odisha.

  • Objective: To develop the historical Sun temple town of Konark in Odisha as ‘Surya Nagriand to convey a message of synergy between the modern use of solar energy and the ancient Sun Temple.
  • Implementation: Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency.
  • Plan: It envisages setting up of the 10-MW grid connected solar project and various solar off-grid applications such as solar trees, solar drinking water kiosks and off-grid solar power plants with battery storage.
  • Funding: 100% Central Financial assistance(CFA) support through the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

Konark Sun Temple:

  • built in the 13th century by King Narasimhadeva I (AD 1238-1264) of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty and is located near the sacred city of Puri, Odisha.
  • a classic example of the Odisha style of Architecture or Kalinga Architecture.
  • a World Heritage Site in 1984 by UNESCO.
  • carefully oriented towards the east so that the first rays of sunrise strikes the principal entrance. 
  • known as Black Pagoda due to its tower which appeared as black
  • used as a navigational landmark by sailors to Odisha.

Agappe Chitra Magna

Context

  • —Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) in collaboration with Agappe Diagnostics Ltd has commercially launched the Agappe Chitra Magna Kit for detection of Covid-19.

Agappe Chitra Magna

  • a magnetic nanoparticle-based RiboNucleic Acid (RNA) extraction kit for use during testing for the detection of COVID-19.

Application

  • The kit can be used for RNA extraction for RT-LAMP, RT-PCR and other isothermal and Polymerase Chain Reaction(PCR) based protocols for the detection of COVID-19.

Reverse Transcription-based Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification (RT-LAMP):

  • a technique for the amplification of RNA.
  • used in the detection of viruses.
  • In this method, a DNA copy of the viral RNA is generated by reverse transcriptase and then isothermal amplification is carried out to increase the amount of total DNA.

Reverse Transcription Polymerase Chain Reaction(RT-PCR) Tests:

  • a nuclear-derived method for detecting the presence of specific genetic material from any pathogen including a virus.

Star Rating of Garbage Free Cities

Context

  • —The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA) has launched the Protocol for Star Rating of Garbage Free cities.

Why?

  • —to enable cities to gradually evolve into a model (7-star) city, with progressive improvements in their overall cleanliness.
  • —aspirational in nature, feeding cities’ ambitions and dreams of becoming an ideal city for its residents, and a role model for other cities to follow.

Star Ratings Cities

  • The government has now declared India’s top garbage-free cities, also revealing names of the 5-star garbage-free cities, with six cities getting this honour recently.
  • 141 cities were rated in total, 65 of them got a 3-star rating, while 70 cities got 1-star rating.
  • According to a statement by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, cities that got the 5-star rating are Mysuru, Ambikapur, Rajkot, Surat, Navi Mumbai, and Indore. 

National Migrant Information System (NMIS)

  • —National Disaster Management Authority(NDMA) has developed an online Dashboard called National Migrant Information System(NMIS).

About NMIS

An online dashboard to

  • —monitor and facilitate the inter state movement of migrant workers and their contact-tracing during lockdown across the country.
  • —The key data pertaining to the persons migrating has been standardized for uploading such as name, age, mobile no., originating and destination district, date of travel etc.
  • —States will be able to visualize how many people are going out from where and how many are reaching their destination States.
  • —It has additional advantages like contact tracing, which may be useful in overall Covid-19 response work.

Social Protection Response Programme

Context

  • —Recently, the World Bank has approved USD 1 billion for accelerating India’s Covid-19 Social Protection Response Programme.
  • —With this announcement, commitment from the World Bank towards emergency Covid-19 response in India has reached to USD 2 billion.

This new support will be funded in two phases – 

  • an immediate allocation of $750 million for fiscal year 2020 and
  • a $250 million second tranche that will be made available for fiscal year 2021.
  • The first phaseof the operation will be implemented countrywide through the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana(PMGKY). 
  • In the second phase, the programme will deepen the social protection package, whereby additional cash and in-kind benefits based on local needs will be extended through state governments and portable social protection delivery systems.

PM eVidya program

Context

  • —The finance minister has announced PM eVidya program for students.
  • —This program is announced for the top 100 universities of the country and for schools also.
  • —Under this program, online education courses will be allowed.

Objectives Of PM eVidya Program

  • —to educate students through digital platforms so that the education of students does not suffer due to nationwide lockdown

Benefits Of PM eVidya Program

  • —Students will get education sitting at home
  • —It will be a one-stop solution for all learning needs of students
  • —Special radio podcast will arrange for visually and hearing-impaired students
  • —Students can study through e-content
  • —Dedicated channel for education on tv  will help students who do not have access to internet

Manodarpan

  • —Union Finance Minister had announced that Manodarpan is being launched for the psychological well being of students, family members and teachers during the time of covid 19 pandemic.
  • —Manodarpan initiative provides psychological counselling through website, toll free helpline,  national directory of counsellors and through  interactive chat platform.

ICGS Sachet

  • —Recently, the Defence Minister of India has commissioned Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Sachet and two Interceptor Boats (IBs) C-450 and C-451 in Goa via video conference.

ICGS Sachet

  • —‘Sachet’ means alert.
  • —It is the first in the series of five Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs)
  • —Designed and built indigenously by Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL)
  • —Fitted with state-of-the-art navigation and communication equipment.
  • —Capable of carrying limited pollution response equipment to undertake oil spill pollution response at sea.
  • —It is for the first time in Indian maritime history that a ship was commissioned through digital medium, maintaining strict protocol of social distancing in the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic.

IBs C-450 and C-451

  • —These are indigenously designed and built by Larsen & Toubro Shipyard, Hazira and fitted with the latest navigation and communication equipment.

Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme(DTIS)

  • —Defence minister has approved the launch of the Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme(DTIS) with an outlay of ₹400 crore.
  • —Aim: promote indigenous defence production with special focus on participation of MSMEs and Start Ups by bridging gaps in defence testing infrastructure in the country. 
  • —Duration: duration of five years and envisages to set up six to eight new test facilities in partnership with private industry. 

Funding:

  • —Government will provide up to 75% funding in the form of ‘Grant-in-Aid’. 
  • —The remaining 25% of the project cost will have to be borne by the Special Purpose Vehicle(SPV) whose constituents will be Indian private entities and State Governments. 
  • —The SPVs under the scheme will be registered under Companies Act 2013.
  • —Significance: It will facilitate indigenous defence production, consequently reduce imports of military equipment and help make the country self-reliant.

Lightweight Carbon Foam

  • —Recently, scientists (including a recipient of the INSPIRE Faculty award) from the CSIR-Advanced Materials and Processes Research Institute (Bhopal) have developed the ‘lightweight carbon foam’ which has the potential to replace lead grid in lead-acid batteries.

Applications and Significance

  • —useful for heat sinks in power electronics, electromagnetic interference shielding in aerospace, hydrogen storage and electrode for lead-acid batteries and water purification systems.
  • —highly resistive to corrosion, has good electrical and thermal conductivity with high surface area, and have recently attracted a lot of attention owing to their potential applications in various field.
  • —can replace the lead-acid batteries, which are heavy, corrosive, and have poor thermal stability.
  • —cost-effective for the removal of arsenic, oil, and other metals from contaminated water.
  • —The raw material for the fabrication of carbon foam is easily available everywhere
  • —no requirement of any costly equipment for the fabrication of carbon foam and filtration.
  • —can be safely used in remote areas where power supply is scarce.

injectable Silk Fibroin-based Hydrogel (iSFH)

  • —Scientists at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), an autonomous research institute under the Department of Science and Technology, have recently developed an injectable Silk fibroin-based hydrogel for sustained insulin delivery in diabetic patients. 

About iSFH

  • —can ease insulin delivery in diabetic patients.
  • —successfully delivered active insulin in rats.
  • —The porous form of iSFH allowed the encapsulation of recombinant insulin (identical to human insulin) in its active form in diabetic rats.
  • —proved to be an effective insulin delivery tool with excellent mechanical strength, biocompatibility, encapsulation, storage, and demonstration of its sustained delivery of active insulin in the diabetic animal.
  • —have implications for the future development of formulations for oral insulin delivery.

West Bengal Major Irrigation and Flood Management Project

  • —Recently, the Government of India, the Government of West Bengal, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the World Bank have signed a loan agreement for a project titled ‘West Bengal Major Irrigation and Flood Management Project’.
  • —The project includes the improvement in irrigation and flood management in the Damodar Valley Command Area (DVCA).

About Damodar Valley Corporation

  • Established in 1948as thefirst multipurpose river valley project of independent India.

Under this project, four dams were constructed namely,

  • Tilaiya Dam:constructed across the Barakar riverJharkhand.
  • Konar Dam:constructed across the Konar river—a tributary of the Damodar River-Jharkhand.
  • Maithon Dam:constructed across the Barakar river
  • Panchet Dam:constructed across the Damodar river, south of the Maithon Dam.

The Damodar river

  • rises in the Palamu hills of the Chota Nagpur plateau-Jharkhand.
  • passes through two Indian states namely, Jharkhand and West Bengal.
  • occupies the eastern margins of the Chotanagpur Plateau where it flows through a rift valleyand finally joins the Hugli.
  • The Barakar riveris itsmain tributary.
  • it is also known as the ‘sorrow of Bengal’ due to the devastating floods and its tributaries in the plains of West Bengal,

GOAL (Going Online As Leaders)

  • —Recently, the Union Minister for Tribal Affairs launched “GOAL (Going Online As Leaders)” programme at a webinar in New Delhi.
  • —GOAL is a joint initiative of Facebook and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.

About GOAL

  • —provide mentorship to tribal youth through digital mode.
  • —focus on three core areas – Digital Literacy, Life Skills and Leadership and Entrepreneurship.
  • —upskill and empower 5,000 tribal youths in the current phase to harness the full potential of digital platforms 
  • —enable Scheduled Tribe (ST) youth in remote areas to use digital platforms

SAMARTH ERP

  • —The Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD) has developed an e-governance platform ‘SAMARTH Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)’ under the National Mission of Education in Information and Communication Technology Scheme (NMEICT).

About the Platform

  • —an open source, open standard enabled robust, secure, scalable, and evolutionary process automation engine for Universities and Higher Educational Institutions.
  • —implemented at the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Kurukshetra, a participating unit under the World Bank-supported Technical Education Quality Improvement Program (TEQIP).
  • —automate the processes of the enhancement of productivity through better information management. 

Z-scan method

  • —Recently, scientists from IIT (Indian School of Mines) Dhanbad and CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (Kolkata) have developed the Z-scan method to monitor the origin as well as the progression of Parkinson’s disease in human beings.
  • —The team found that the Z-scan method is really a technique that could help in monitoring both the early and late stages of the aggregation of ASyn nicely.

Parkinson’s disease

  • a common neuro-degenerative disease that has no cure
  • It is believed that an aggregation of a protein called alpha synuclein (ASyn) plays a crucial role in the pathology of the disease.
  • The aggregation is found in abundance in what is called the substantia nigra portion in the midbrain of patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease.