[PIB] Weekly Analysis for UPSC CSE I May 01-07 2020 I IAS ABHIYAN

Press Information Bureau for IAS/UPSC Exam

Weekly Analysis May 01-07 2020


Zanskar Catchment Area

  • The scientists and students from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG) have explored the Zanskar catchment area.
  • The study was conducted to understand the landform evolution in transitional climatic zones, using morphostratigraphy, Optically Stimulated Luminescence (OSL) dating and provenance analysis of landforms like valley fill terraces and alluvial fans.

About Zanskar River

  • It is one of the largest tributaries of the upper Indus catchment.
  • It drains transversely northward from the Higher Himalaya, dominated by the Indian summer monsoon, to flow through the arid, westerlies-dominated, highly folded and thrusted Zanskar ranges in Ladakh.
  • The Doda and the Tsarap Lingti Chu confluence at Padam to form the Zanskar, which in turn joins the Indus at Nimu.
  • Zanskar valley can be divided into upper and lower divisions, separated by a gorge of nearly 60 km in length.

About the study:

  • Scientists traced where the rivers draining Himalaya and its foreland erode the most and identified the zones which receive these eroded sediments and fill up.
  • The study suggested that the wide valley of Padam in the upper Zanskar is a hotspot of sediment buffering and has stored a vast amount of sediments.
  • The sediment contribution from such transient basins is significant when compared to the sediment reportedly eroded from the entire Indus system in Ladakh.
  • Most of the sediments in the Padam valley were derived from Higher Himalayan crystalline that lie in the headwater region of Zanskar.
  • The dominant factors responsible for sediment erosion were deglaciation and Indian Summer Monsoon derived precipitation in the headwaters.
  • The provenance analysis suggested that despite the presence of the deep narrow gorge and a low gradient, the upper and lower Zanskar valleys remained connected throughout their aggradational history.
  • The study will help to understand river-borne erosion and sedimentation, which are the main drivers that make large riverine plains, terraces and deltas that eventually become the evolving grounds for civilizations.
  • The study brought forwards the 35 thousand-year history of river erosion and identified hotspots of erosion and wide valleys that act as buffer zones.
  • It showed how rivers in drier Ladakh Himalaya operated on longer time scales and how they responded to varying climates.

Important Facts to Remember

  • Morphostratigraphy: The organization of rock or sediment strata into units based on their surface morphology (landforms).
  • Optically-Stimulated Luminescence: It is a late Quaternary dating technique used to date the last time a quartz sediment was exposed to light. As sediment is transported by wind, water or ice, it is exposed to sunlight and zeroed of any previous luminescence signal.
  • Provenance Analysis: It aims to determine the source region (provenance) of a sediment sample. It is aimed to reconstruct the parent rock or rocks of sand bodies, the time of deposition of the sand and, if possible, the climate conditions during the formation of the sediments.
  • Valley Fill Terrace: The fill terrace is created either a stream or river starts to incise into the material that it deposited in the valley. Once this occurs benches composed completely of alluvium form on the sides of the valley. The upper most benches are the fill terraces.
  • Alluvial Fans: Triangle-shaped deposit of gravel, sand and even smaller pieces of sediment, such as silt.

Ayush Entrepreneurship Development Programme

  • Recently, AYUSH Entrepreneurship Development programme was jointly organized by the Ministry of AYUSH and Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) for promoting the AYUSH sector in the country under different Schemes of the Ministry of MSME.
  • Indian Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Yoga, Siddha are required to be promoted at a larger level.
  • A great demand for Indian Ayurveda, Yoga, Homeopathy, Siddha in other countries, existing Entrepreneurs to take this opportunity & open their clinics/ outlets there & support export.
  • A need to launch a programme that can strengthen AYUSH Sector, create -more Enterprises, Job Creation to support Indian Economy.
  • The raw materials of Ayurveda usually found in Forest area, rural areas, tribal areas, aspiration districts & there is a need to for Processing units, clusters there for Job creation, enterprise development, self employment.
  • AYUSH denotes Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha & Homeopathy System of medicines. The Major Cluster of AYUSH are: Ahmedabad, Hubli, Thrissur, Solan, Indore, Jaipur, Kanpur, Kannur, Karnal, Kolkata, Nagpur.

The Roadmap ahead for promotion include need assessment &Identify AYUSH Clusters by field offices, roping them in Schemes of Mo MSME such as:

  • Zero Defect Zero Effect / Lean – Good Manufacturing Practice.
  • Procurement & Marketing Support Scheme – National/International Trade fair, Exhibition, GeM, Packaging, E-Marketing, Export.
  • ATI – Capacity Building & Skill Development.
  • ESDP, Incubation – Start-Up / Enterprise Development.
  • Cluster Development (SFURTI / CDP) – Technology Upgradation.
  • CLCS, PMEGP – Financial support
  • CART (Centre for Agro Rural Technology) Division – AYUSH in rural areas.
  • Technology Centres (Hub & Spoke) – AYUSH focused Technology support.
  • Testing Centres – Quality Improvement / Standardization

Janaushadhi Sugam Mobile App

  • Amid nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 crisis Janaushadhi Sugam Mobile App is helping people in a big way to locate their nearest Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Janaushadhi Kendra (PMJAK) and availability of  affordable generic medicine with its price

About the App

  • Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP)  has been developed by Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI) under Department of Pharmaceuticals , Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, Government of India,
  • for facilitating the general public by providing a digital platform at the tip of their fingers,
  • by the virtue of which they can avail a host of user-friendly options like locate nearby Janaushadhi kendra,
  • direction guided through Google Map for location of the Janaushadhi kendra, search Janaushadhi generic medicines,
  • analyze product comparison of Generic and Branded medicine in form of MRP & overall Savings, etc. 
  • Janaushadhi Sugam Mobile App is available on both Android & I-phone  platforms.
  • It can be downloaded free of cost by the user from Google Play Store and Apple Store.

Lifeline Udan

  • The ‘Lifeline Udan’ intends to transport essential medical cargo to remote parts of the country amid the lockdown to support India’s fight against Covid-19.
  • The essential cargo include goods such as regents, enzymes, medical equipment, testing kits and PPE, masks, gloves and other essential items as applicable by the State and Union Territory Governments.
  • It is launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to ensure a steady supply of essentials, even in the most remote locations in the country.
  • However, the special focus has been on the North East Region, island territories and the hill states.
  • The flights under the initiative ‘Lifeline Udan’ have been operated by Air India, Alliance Air, Indian Air Force, Pawan Hans and private carriers.
  • It is to be noted that ‘Lifeline Udan’ is different from the UDAN where the former focuses on the transport of medical essentials to fight against Covid-19 and latter focuses purely on the regional connectivity in the country.

Atulya sterliser

  • Recently, the Defence Institute of Advanced Technology has developed a microwave steriliser named as ‘Atulya to disintegrate Covid-19 virus.
  • The Covid-19 virus gets disintegrated by differential heating of Atulya in the range of 56° to 60° Celsius temperatures.

About the sterliser

  • Atulya is a cost effective solution, which can be operated in portable or fixed installations.
  • It has been tested for human/operator safety and found to be safe.
  • The time of sterilization can be varied from 30 seconds to one minute depending upon size and shape of various objects.
  • Sterilisation refers to any process that eliminates, removes, kills, or deactivates all forms of life (in particular referring to microorganisms such as fungi, bacteria, viruses, spores, etc.) and other biological agents.
  • Approximate weight of the system is 3 kilogrammes and it can be used for non-metallic objects only.

R&D expenditure

  • India’s gross expenditure in R&D has tripled between 2008 & 2018 driven mainly by Govt sector and scientific publications have risen placing the country internationally among the top few.
  • This is as per the R&D Statistics and Indicators 2019-20 based on the national S&T survey 2018 brought out by the National Science and Technology Management Information (NSTMIS), Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • The report on R&D indicators for the nation is an extraordinarily important document for the evidence-based policymaking and planning in higher education, R&D activities and support, intellectual property, and industrial competitiveness.
  • While it is heartening to see substantial progress in the basic indicators of R&D strengths such as the global leadership in the number of scientific publications, there are also areas of concern that need strengthening.

Details about the Report

  • The report shows that with the rise in publication, the country is globally at the 3rd   position on this score as per the NSF database, 3rd in the number of Ph.D. in science & engineering. The number of researchers per million population has doubled since 2000.
  • The report captures the R&D landscape of the country through various Input-Output S&T Indicators in the form of Tables and graphs.
  • These pertain to Investments in national R&D, R&D investments by Government and Private sector; R&D relationship with economy (GDP), Enrolment of S&T personnel, Manpower engaged in R&D, Outrun of S&T personnel, papers published, patents and their international S&T comparisons.
  • The survey included more than 6800 S&T Institutions spread across varied sectors like central government, state governments, higher education, public sector industry, and private sector industry in the country, and a response rate of more than 90% was achieved.

Some of the key findings of the report are the following:

  • India’s gross expenditure in R&D has tripled between 2008 & 2018
  • Extramural R&D support by central S&T agencies has increased significantly
  • The number of researchers per mn populations has doubled since 2000
  • India is placed 3rd among countries in scientific publication as per NSF database
  • India is ranked at 9th position in terms of Resident Patent Filing activity in the world.

Kisan Sabha App

  • In present situation of COVID 19, farmers are looking for help in their harvest reaching the market, seed/ fertilizer procurement, etc.
  • A robust supply chain management is urgently required to facilitate the timely delivery of the produce at the best possible prices.
  • Kisan Sabha App developed by CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CSIR-CRRI), New Delhi to connect farmers to supply chain and freight transportation management system was remotely launched.
  • this portal as a one stop solution for farmers, transporters and other entities engaged in the agriculture Industry and offered that ICAR can work together with CSIR and use the Krishi Vigyan Kendra’s (KVK) networks for implementation.
  • The development and launch of the App reiterates the commitment of CSIR in supporting the farmers in these critical times in the country.
  • Partnering with ICAR, Industry, MSMEs, the trucker and farming community and all stakeholders to take this initiative forward.

Aims and Objectives

  • The portal connects the farmers, transporters, Service providers (like pesticides/ fertilizer/ dealers, cold store and warehouse owner), mandi dealers, customers (like big retail outlets, online stores, institutional buyers) and other related entities for timely and effective solution.
  • The portal acts as a single stop for every entity related to agriculture, be they a farmer who needs better price for the crops or mandi dealer who wants to connect to more farmers or truckers who invariably go empty from the mandis.
  • KisanSabha also works for people in agriculture services sector such as dealers of fertilizers/ pesticides,who can reach out to more farmers for their services.
  • It would also prove to be useful for those associated with cold store(s) or godown(s). KisanSabha also provides a platform for people who want to buy directly from the farmers.
  • Kisan Sabha has 6 major modules taking care of Farmers/Mandi Dealers/Transporters/Mandi Board Members/ Service Providers/Consumers.
  • Kisan Sabha aims to provide the most economical and timely logistics support to the farmers and increase their profit margins by minimizing interference of middlemen and directly connecting with the institutional buyers.
  • It will also help in providing best market rates of crops by comparing nearest mandis, booking of freight vehicle at cheapest cost thereby giving maximum benefit to the farmers.

Corona-Killer 100

  • an ISO-9001 company Garuda Aerospace has brought out an Automated Disinfecting Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) that aids in Sanitization of Public Places, Hospitals & Tall buildings.
  • Named as ‘Corona-Killer’, these drones can be used to spray disinfectants on buildings up to 450 feet.
  • Drone operations are faster, longer & safer than manual spraying by workers who can become potential carriers of COVID-19.
  • Also, drones can reach heights which are not possible through manual spraying. Drone based Swacch Bharat campaign to Clean India on a regular basis will prevent the spread of COVID-19, future pandemics & communicable diseases arising due to unhygienic conditions. 
  • This Corona-Killer -100 drone sanitization drone which is currently being used in 26 cities was selected as one of the top 10 socio economic innovations by NITI Aayog in 2016.
  • It consists of patented autopilot technology, advanced flight controller system & is equipped with fuel efficient motors that enables the drone to be deployed for 12 hours a day.
  • The features include: Payload capacity of 15-20 litres, flight duration of 40-45 minutes & maximum ceiling height of 450 feet which is sufficient to disinfect tall buildings across India.
  • Each drone can cover 20 km a day. Garuda Aerospace’s present fleet of 300 Corona Killer-100 drones can conduct sanitization operations covering 6,000 km every single day.

Minor Forest Produce & MSP

  • Government has raised the minimum support price for Minor Forest Produce of 49 items in view of circumstances arising out of Covid 19.

More Details

  • Tribal Affairs Ministry said, the increase across various items of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) ranges from 16 per cent to 66 per cent.
  • The increase is expected to provide an immediate and much needed momentum to procurement of Minor Tribal Produce in atleast 20 States.
  • The Ministry said that the MSP for Minor Forest Produces is revised once in every three years by the Pricing Cell constituted under the Ministry.

About Minor Forest Produce (MFP)

  • MFP includes all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and includes bamboo, canes, fodder, leaves, gums, waxes, dyes, resins and many forms of food including nuts, wild fruits, honey, lac, tusser etc.
  • It provides both subsistence and cash income for people who live in or near forests.
  • They form a major portion of their food, fruits, medicines and other consumption items and also provide cash income through sales.

About the MSP

  • The Minimum Support Price (MSP) is the rate at which the government buys produce from farmers and tribals.
  • The idea of MSP is to counter price volatility of commodities due to the factors like variation in their supply, lack of market integration and information asymmetry.

Destination- Sariska Tiger reserve

  • The 13th session of Ministry of Tourism’s Dekho ApnaDesh webinar on 1st May 2020, titled, ‘Destination- Sariska Tiger reserve’ was a presentation and virtual tour of wildlife adventure, safari experience for the traveller within the Sariska Tiger Reserve’ in Alwar district, Rajasthan.
  • The objective of Ministry of Tourism’s webinar series is to create awareness about and promote various tourism destinations of India – including the lesser known destinations and lesser known facets of popular destinations.

About the Tiger Reserve

  • Sariska Tiger Reserve is located in the Aravalli Hills, 35 km from Alwar, 250 km SW of Delhi and 110 km NE of Jaipur.
  • The former hunting reserve of the Maharaja of Alwar, the Sariska valley is home to a variety of flora and fauna.
  • The park has populations of tigers, leopards, Nilgai, Sambar, chital etc.
  • The place is a paradise for bird lovers as it shelters a large population of Indian peafowl, crested serpent eagles, sand grouse, golden backed woodpeckers, great Indian horned owls, tree pies, vultures and many others.
  • The sanctuary is strewn with ruins of ancient temples dating back to the 10th and 11th centuries. Some of the highlights are the ruins of the Kankwari Fort and the 10th century Neelkanth temples.
  • The way to the temples is rough but the architecture and the Khajuraho-like carvings will simply leave the visitor in awe of the place.
  • Neelkanth Mahadeva, houses the ruins of over 300 Hindu and Jain temples constructed between the 8th and 12th Centuries.
  • Chand Baoli(step well) at Abhaneri is enormous with 3500 steep steps built by the Nikhumbha dynasty is one of the largest stepwells in the world.
  • Alwar is a city dotted with heritage buildings, Forts, tombs and palaces.
  • Some of the important sights not to be missed are Bala Qila, Vijai Mandir Lake Palaces, Fateh jung ki Gumbad, Moti Doongri etc.

About Project Tiger

  • Project Tiger is an ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change providing central assistance to the tiger States for tiger conservation in designated tiger reserves.
  • India now has as many as 2,967 tigers in the wild, with more than half of them in Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, according to the latest tiger estimation report for 2018.
  • The population has increased by 33% since the last census in 2014 when the total estimate was 2,226.
  • Maintaining the source values of tiger reserve populations through good management, protection and making the core areas inviolate through incentivized voluntary relocation of human habitation has been the most important reason for continued improvement in the status of tigers in India.
  • Sariska is the first tiger reserve to have successfully relocated Royal Bengal tigers in India and at present there are around 20 tigers in the reserve.

IDEAthon

  • Recently, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) organized an IDEAthon on “The Future of River Management’.
  • The event aimed to explore how the Covid-19 crisis can shape river management strategies for the future.

About IDEAthon

  • National Mission for Clean Ganga had initiated this IDEAthon to garner more attention towards river management and also highlight the interconnectivity of Cities with the River.
  • A different perspective than traditional urban planning methods, the River cities need a special focus to capitalize on not only the socio-cultural significance of the river but also the ecological importance and economic potential which can help the city, if properly planned.
  • The IDEAthon sought to brainstorm the learnings from Covid-19 pandemic, the following lockdown and its impact on river management.
  • It examined how the social angle of rivers can be leveraged on to address other crises.
  • It sought to create a framework called River Management in a city’s Urban river management plan.
  • It aimed to garner more attention towards river management and also highlight the interconnectivity of cities with the river.

One-dimensional fluid simulation code

  • Scientists at the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (IIG) an autonomous institution of the Department of Science and Technology have developed a generalized one-dimensional fluid simulation code capable of studying a wide spectrum of coherent electric field structures in near-earth plasma environment or earth’s magnetosphere which can be useful in planning of future space missions.
  • The Earth’s magnetosphere is a vast region which has a finite number of satellites hurtling through this realm.
  • Hence, the in situ observations are finite and discrete.
  • The morphology of the plasma processes around the satellite can be understood quite well.
  • However, when they leave the observational domain of one satellite to enter into another, a vast blind arena is created. How the morphology of these processes changes over space and time can be ideally deciphered only through computer simulations.
  • The team developed a generalized 1D fluid code which modelled the coherent electric field structures in space plasmas.
  • They tested their code for various kinds of wave phenomena that generates coherent electric field structures in near Earth’s plasma environment.
  • These simulations were performed on the High-Performance Computing System at IIG. The results obtained through their fluid simulation code, published in the journal Physics of Plasmas, were found to be well in agreement with the spacecraft observations of coherent electric field structures.
  • Almost 99% of matter in the universe is in the form of plasma, Earth’s magnetosphere, too, contains this material and the plasma processes have the ability to hamper the working of a number of satellites that have been placed in orbit in the magnetospheric region.
  • Apart from the well being of these expensive satellites, the academic understanding of this region is quite essential to comprehend the cosmos in its entirety.
  • Sun is the major source of plasma deposition in space around the Earth.
  • Sun forces some of its plasma towards the earth in the form of the solar wind.
  • The speed of this wind varies between 300 to 1500 km/s, which carries with it solar magnetic field, called as Interplanetary Magnetic Field (IMF).  The interaction of the IMF with the earth’s magnetic field creates the magnetosphere of the earth.
  • The study of complex and nonlinear wave phenomena in the magnetosphere by IIG team will help advance the knowledge of plasma waves, instabilities, and coherent effects associated with wave-particle interactions that are useful in planning of future space missions. 
  • It can also lead to precisely controlled fusion laboratory experiments for ever-expanding energy needs of humanity.

Saras Collection

  • The Union Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj and Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, launched “The Saras Collection” on the Government e Marketplace (GeM) portal at Krishi Bhavan in New Delhitoday.

About the Collection

  • A unique initiative of GeM and the Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development, the Saras Collection showcases daily utility products made by rural self-help groups (SHGs) and aims to provide SHGs in rural areas with market access to Central and State Government buyers.
  • Under this initiative, the SHG sellers will be able to list their products in 5 product categories, namely (i) handicrafts, (ii) handloom and textiles, (iii) office accessories, (iv) grocery and pantry, and (v) personal care and hygiene.
  • GeM will provide dashboards for functionaries at the national, state, district and block level to provide them real time information about the number of products uploaded by SHGs, and value and volume of orders received and fulfilled.
  • In addition, Government buyers shall be sensitized through system generated messages/ alerts in the Marketplace about availability of SHG products on the portal.
  • Potential buyers shall be able to search, view, cart and procure such products through the stipulated modes of procurement.
  • About DAY-NRLM: DAY-NLRM aims to reduce poverty through promotion of diversified and gainful self-employment while creating skilled wage employment opportunities.
  • The scheme supports building social capital and ensuring financial linkages to alleviate poverty and enhance the quality of the life of rural poor women.
  • It has ambitious plans on innovations for alternate channels of financial inclusion like digital finance, creating value chains around rural products and improving market access, rural enterprise and strengthening community institutions.

About GeM:

  • Government e Marketplace (GeM) is a 100 percent Government owned Section 8 Company set up as the National Public Procurement Portal for procurement of goods and services required by Central and State Government organizations.
  • GeM provides an online, end to end solution for procurement of goods and services for all Central Government and State Government Ministries, Departments, Public Sector Enterprises (PSEs), local bodies and autonomous organisations.
  • The platform reduces human interventions in procurement and enables transparency, cost savings, inclusiveness and efficiency of faceless standardized public procurement.

Ultra Violet (UV) Disinfection Tower

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an Ultra Violet (UV) Disinfection Tower for rapid and chemical free disinfection of high infection prone areas

About UV Blaster

  • The equipment named UV blaster is a UV based area sanitiser designed and developed by Laser Science & Technology Centre (LASTEC), the Delhi based premier laboratory of DRDO with the help of M/s New Age Instruments and Materials Private Limited, Gurugram. 
  • The UV Blaster is useful for high tech surfaces like electronic equipment, computers and other gadgets in laboratories and offices that are not suitable for disinfection with chemical methods.
  • The product is also effective for areas with large flow of people such as airports, shopping malls, metros, hotels, factories, offices, etc.
  • The UV based area sanitiser may be used by remote operation through laptop/mobile phone using wifi link.
  • This sanitiser switches off on accidental opening of room or human intervention.
  • One more salient safety feature of the product is the key to arm operation.

Year of Awareness on Science & Health (YASH)

  • National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC), Department of Science & Technology (DST) has launched a programme on health and risk communication ‘Year of Awareness on Science & Health (YASH)’ with focus on COVID-19.

About YASH

  • It is a comprehensive and effective science and health communication effort for promoting grass-root level appreciation and response on health and would help saving and shaping the lives of people at large, as well as build confidence, inculcate scientific temper and promote health consciousness among them.
  • Under the programme, strategies have been worked out to involve academic, research, media, and voluntary organizations to facilitate necessary actions and emergency preparedness of society to address the challenge.
  • The programme is aimed at minimizing risks at all levels with the help of public communication and outreach activities, promoting public understanding of common minimum science for community care and health safety measures like personal sanitation and hygiene, physical distancing, maintaining desired collective behaviour and so on.
  • It also includes information dissemination mechanisms to reduce the fear of risks and build confidence with necessary understanding for adopting sustainable healthy lifestyles and nurturing scientific culture among masses and societies.
  • YASH will envisage specific outcomes, like improved risk understanding amongst target groups including working with local sensitivities, belief systems, traditions, and indigenous knowledge;
  • bringing about attitudinal changes among target groups about appreciating risks, associated challenges, solutions, and coping up the situation with courage and confidence; better working relations with community leaders, influencers including doctors, faith leaders and so on.
  • It also encompasses improved ability to clarify misperceptions, misbeliefs as well as introduce practices based on authentic knowledge duly verified by scientific processes; trust in scientific competence of solutions and service providers.

MATRICS scheme

  • Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB),a statutory body under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, has approved funding for 11 projects under MATRICS scheme for studyinMathematical modelling and computational aspects to tackle the COVID 19 pandemic.
  • Most of these studies attempt to propose mathematical/ simulation models to account for various factors relevant to COVID 19 by modifying the basic SIR (Susceptible-Infected-Recovered) models.
  • These studies will be primarily aimed to study Indian conditions and will provide an estimate of Basic Reproduction Number– the qualitative indicator of the degree of contagiousness of the disease.
  • These will be helpful to forecast future pandemic by using the data available and provide fundamental insights into kinetics and management of infectious diseases.
  • The proposed studies also aim to identify the maximum likelihood infection tree when infection reports and contact network structure are known to substantially reduce the efforts of the administration by targeting a subset of manageable size.
  • They will address the spread of pandemic and the impact of preventive issues through a parametric prediction process with an outcome consisting of a packaged solution in the form of usable software which may be made available for ready use by the Government of India and identify possible cure of COVID 19 through the study of DNA structures by creating patterns of DNA of different viruses.

About MATRICS Scheme

  • It was launched in 2017 by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB).
  • It aims to provide fixed grant support to active researchers with good credentials in Mathematical Sciences, Theoretical Sciences and Quantitative Social Sciences.
  • The support is provided in the form of research grant of Rs. 2 lakh per annum plus overheads for a period of three years.

50th Foundation Day of Department of Science and Technology (DST)

  • The Department of Science and Technology (DST), has undergone tremendous change in recent times evolving into an architect of profound science as against incremental science and the coronavirus crisis is an opportunity to escalate the process.

Important Schemes Covered in the Article:

  • SUPRA: The Scientific and Useful Profound Research Advancement (SUPRA) intends to fund exploration of new scientific and engineering breakthroughs with global impact.
  • IRHPA: The Intensification of Research in High Priority Areas (IRHPA) program of the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) supports proposals in high priority areas from the viewpoint of advances in fundamental science.
  • SERB was set up as a statutory body in 2009 under the Department of Science and Technology to promote and fund research in different scientific disciplines.
  • NIDHI Scheme: National Initiative For Developing And Harnessing Innovations (NIDHI) is an end to end plan for startups to double the number of incubators and startups in the duration of five years.
  • MANAK Scheme: MANAK (Million Minds Augmenting National Aspirations and Knowledge) intends to trigger innovations from annually 10 lakh school children throughout the country to convert their ideas into prototypes, preparing the children for challenges of future like innovation and entrepreneurship and helping them harness the power of their ideas.
  • SATHI Scheme: Sophisticated Analytical & Technical Help Institutes (SATHI) intends to create centres housing equipment dedicated to the needs of MSMEs and startups for rapid prototyping developed at the cost of Rs 125 crore each to connect industry with academia.

Nanomaterials Based Supercapacitors

  • A recipient of the INSPIRE Faculty Award instituted by the Department of Science & Technology(DST), Govt. of India at the Indian Institute of Technology (BHU), Varanasi, has made significant achievements in developing nanomaterials based supercapacitors to achieve high energy density and power density of supercapacitors.

Purpose:

  • Increasing energy demand due to the growth of human population and technological advancement poses a great challenge for human society. 
  • High energy density of supercapacitors suggests that constant current can be withdrawn for longer duration without recharging.
  • Hence automobiles can run longer distances without charging. Supercapacitors can be an alternative for such purposes.
  • IIT (BHU) have developed a reduced graphene oxide (rGO) at a moderate temperature of 100°C with high capacitance performance.
  • The production process is a cost-effective one, making it suitable for commercial purposes.
  • The group which works on carbon (Carbon Nanotubes, Graphene) and metal dichalcogenides (MoS2, MoSe2, etc.) nanomaterials based supercapacitors to achieve high energy density and power density of supercapacitors, have also developed a novel green approach for synthesis of Iron-based nanocatalyst, which can be used for large scale production of Cabon Nanotubes.

Surface-Enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS)

  • developing novel nanostructures of carbon and metal dichalcogenides semiconductors for photodetection and Surface-Enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS).
  • demonstrated excellent photodetection behaviour of different architectures of nanoscale MoS2 for the detection of visible light.
  • useful to develop ultrafast detectors for signalling purpose.
  • The SERS can help detect harmful molecules present in water at ultra-low concentrations. 

Rhodamine 6G (R6G)

  • Rhodamine 6G (R6G), an organic laser dye up to lowest limit of sub-nano-molar concentration using rGO and MoS2 nanomaterials.
  • focus on energy and optoelectronics devices paves the way for the development of cost-effective and efficient devices, which can be used for energy storage application.
  • Their findings make way for materials which can be used as advanced photodetectors and also be used as optical sensors for water pollution control.

Buddha Purnima

  • Ministry of Culture, Government of India in collaboration with the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC), a global Buddhist umbrella organization is holding a Virtual Prayer Event with the participation of all the supreme heads of the Buddhist Sanghas from around the world.
  • In 2020, Buddha Purnima is being celebrated on 7th May. It marks the birth anniversary of Gautam Buddha, founder of Buddhism.
  • Vesak- Buddha Poornima, is considered the Triple Blessed Day as Tathagata Gautam Buddha’s Birth, Enlightenment and Maha Parnirvana.

Important Places to remember

  • Prayer ceremonies on the occasion will be streamed live from the Sacred Garden Lumbini, Nepal,Mahabodhi Temple, Bodhgaya, India,Mulgandha Kuti Vihara, Sarnath, India, Parinirvana Stupa, Kushinagar, India, Pirith Chanting from Ruwanweli Maha Seya in the sacred and historic Anuradhapura stupa premises, Sri Lanka,  Boudhanath, Swayambhu, Namo Stupa, Nepal apart from other popular Buddhist sites.

FlytNow– an Internet of Drones (IoD)

  • Recently, FlytBase, an enterprise drone automation company has built FlytNow– an Internet of Drones (IoD) platform that allows seamless integration of intelligent fleets of drones with cloud-based business applications.

About FlytNow

  • FlytNow has been incubated by FlytBase, a Pune-based start-up, funded by the Department of Science and Technology.
  • The IoD platform assists the Police officials to stream live multi-video feeds from multiple drones to their control room, thus providing situational awareness and enabling them to respond quickly to emergencies.
  • FlytNow has also enabled police authorities to keep strict vigilance over the lockdown situation due to Covid-19.
  • FlytNow is currently being used by Police of many states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Impact of energy efficiency measures for the year 2018-19”

  • The Union Minister of State (IC), Power and New & Renewable Energy & Minister of State, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, released a Report on “Impact of energy efficiency measures for the year 2018-19” through Video conference. India have pledged in COP-21 that will bring down energy intensity of economy by 33 to 35% compared to 2005 levels by 2030.

About the Report

  • This report was prepared by an Expert agency PWC Ltd, who was engaged by Bureau of Energy efficiency (BEE) for an independent verification to assess the resultant annual savings in energy as well as CO 2 emissions through various initiatives in India.

Key Findings;

  • Implementation of various energy efficiency schemes have led to total electricity savings
  • energy savings achieved and various energy efficiency measures have translated into savings.
  • This year the study has identified following major programmes, viz. Perform, Achieve and Trade Scheme, Standards &Labelling Programme, UJALA Programme, Municipal Demand Side Management Programme, etc.
  • energy efficiency has dual benefit as it not only saves money but also saves environment.
  • there is huge capacity still for bringing  efficiencies especially in MSME ( Micro Small and Medium Enterprise) sector and Housing sector that have now been taken up. 

Source: Press Information Bureau