Press Information Bureau for IAS/UPSC Exam
Weekly Analysis May 08-14 2020
Technology Interventions for Disabled and Elderly (TIDE)
- Recently the Department of Science and Technology has taken several initiatives to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 among Divyangjan and Elderly and identified various challenges faced by them for finding technological solutions.
- It is the Department of Science and Technology’s (DST) focused initiative on Science and Technology (S&T) interventions for the benefit of elderly and also the differently-abled Divyangjan persons in the country.
- In addition to improving the quality-of-life of the target population with appropriate and/or innovative scientific technological interventions, TIDE also aims at giving them autonomy, and independence through holistic development by creating requisite enabling environments for their empowerment.
- Proposals on Research and Development for technological solutions with multidisciplinary approach to improve the quality of life of Elderly population and Divyangjan making them self sufficient.
- Under this TIDE programme an e-Tool to create awareness and impart health and hygiene related information along with education and entertainment to overcome loneliness of the persons with intellectual disabilities, due to COVID-19 pandemic has been developed by Rajalakshmi Engineering College, Chennai.
- This will help the persons with Intellectual Disability to learn with fun through Tabs and mobiles.
- The e-Tool can also be converted to other vernacular languages and the Beta Version of the e-tool is being used by 200 specially-abled children.
National Biomedical Resource Indigenization Consortium (NBRIC)
- Department of Biotechnology has also launched a National Biomedical Resource Indigenization Consortium (NBRIC) in a Public Private Partnership model
- It aims to foster indigenous innovation focused on developing reagents and resources for diagnostics, vaccines and therapeutics for COVID19.
- Under its ‘Fast Track Review Process’ Process BIRAC has created a provision to fund COVID solutions that are ready for immediate deployment.
- Through this initiative Startups with PPE solutions have been approved for supporting manufacturing of “Full body coverage suits” and “Face Shields”.
Exploring River Nila
Recently, the Ministry of Tourism organised a webinar- ‘Exploring River Nila’ as a part of the Dekho Apna Desh Webinar series.
About River Nila
- River Nila is also known as Bharathapuzha and Ponnani.
- Amaravathipuzha originating from Thrimoorthy Hills of Anamalais in Tamil Nadu joins with Kalpathipuzha at Parali in Palakkad District and forms Nila.
- Kerala and Tamil Nadu are its drainage area.
- It flows westward through Palakkad Gap (most prominent discontinuity in the western ghats) and drains into the Arabian Sea.
- Kannadipuzha (Chitturpuzha), Kalpathipuzha (Korapuzha), Gayathripuzha and Thuthapuzha were its main Tributaries.
- Malampuzha dam is the largest among the reservoirs built across Bharathapuzha.
Recently, the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) has launched CHAMPIONS portal.
About the Portal
- The CHAMPIONS stands here for Creation and Harmonious Application of Modern Processes for Increasing the Output and National Strength.
- It is a technology driven Control Room-Cum-Management Information System which utilises modern information and communication technology (ICT) tools.
- In addition to ICT tools including telephone, internet and video conference, the system is enabled by Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics and Machine Learning.
- It is also fully integrated on a real time basis with the Government of India’s main grievances portal Centralized Public Grievances Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) and the Ministry’s other web based mechanisms.
- The entire ICT architecture is created in house with the help of the National Informatics Centre.
Aims and Objectives
- Its aim is to assist Indian MSMEs march into the big league as National and Global CHAMPIONS by solving their grievances and encouraging, supporting, helping and hand holding them.
- Three basic objectives:
- To help the MSMEs in this difficult situation in terms of finance, raw materials, labour, permissions, etc.
- To help them capture new opportunities like manufacturing of medical accessories and products like Personal Protection Equipments (PPEs), masks, etc.
- To identify the sparks, i.e., the bright MSMEs who can not only withstand but can also become national and international champions.
- A day-long digital conference on Rebooting the Economy through Science, Technology, and Research Translations’ (RESTART),organised on the occasion of National Technology Day was recently conducted.
- It highlighted the importance of transformation of manufacturing companies post-COVID 19 pandemic, collaborations and that Research should be brought closer to the Industry in overcoming the present challenge.
- The pandemic is a great opportunity for R&D and needs to be used for strengthening it.
- The COVID crisis has unfolded some of the best medical advancements and innovations in history like drug discovery, vaccines, and diagnostic tools, and other medical devices, as well as ways to preserve electronic health records.
Revamping the Industry’s product lines
- The novel materials such as smart materials, special purpose alloys, engineering polymers & blends, graphene, composites, etc. will be the key to revamping the industry’s product lines in the future.
- Research workers across the world are engaged in developing novel materials designed with specific properties and engineered to deliver focused functional requirements.
- Investment in such knowledge-based value-added materials will go a long way in accelerating the economic activities and ensuring an attractive return for the industry.
- The sessionn on ‘Global Innovation & Technology Alliance for Global Economic Leadership’ emphasized the importance of global collaborations in dealing with the challenge of COVID 19.
- It was organized by Technology Development Board (TDB), an autonomous organization of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) along with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan
- Recently, the Prime Minister of India has announced the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan (or Self-reliant India Mission)’ with an economic stimulus package — worth Rs 20 lakh crores aimed towards achieving the mission.
- The announced economic package is 10% of India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2019-20.
- The amount includes packages already announced at the beginning of the lockdown incorporating measures from the RBI and the payouts under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
- The package is expected to focus on land, labour, liquidity and laws. (4L)
- It will cater to various sections including cottage industry, MSMEs, labourers, middle class, industries, among others.
- This economic package will serve as an important link in the ‘AtmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” (Self Reliant India Campaign)‘.
- First Pillar is Economy, an economy that brings Quantum Jump rather than Incremental change.
- Second Pillar is Infrastructure, an infrastructure that became the identity of modern India.
- Third Pillar is Our System. A system that is driven by technology which canfulfill the dreams of the 21st century; a system not based on the policy of the past century.
- Fourth Pillar is Our Demography. Our Vibrant Demography is our strength in the world’s largest democracy, our source of energy for self-reliant India.
- The fifth pillar is Demand. The cycle of demand and supply chain in our economy, is the strength that needs to be harnessed to its full potential. In order to increase demand in the country and to meet this demand, every stake-holder in our supply chain needs to be empowered. We will strengthen our supply chain, our supply system built up with the smell of the soil and the sweat of our labourers.
Value Edition for Mains
- Self-reliance is possible only through inner strength and self-belief.
- Self-reliance also prepares the country for a tough competition in the global supply chain.
- And today it is the need of the hour that India should play a big role in the global supply chain.
- This will increase the efficiency of all our sectors and also ensure quality.
- In our culture, it is said ‘सर्वम् आत्म वशं सुखम्‘ i.e. what is in our control, is happiness.
- Self-reliance leads to happiness, satisfaction and empowerment.
- Our responsibility to make the 21st century, the century of India, will be fulfilled by the pledge of self-reliant India.
- This responsibility will only get energy from the life force of 130 crore citizens.
- This era of self-reliant India will be a new vow for every Indian as well as a new festival.
- To relieve the distress of the student community during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government has launched Central University of Odisha Helpline “Bharosa’’.
Aims & Objectives
- To provide Cognitive Emotional Rehabilitation Services to all University Students of Odisha.
- Social distancing and self-isolation because of Covid-19, has led to decline in social interactions which further impact mental and physical health.
- It is being called the ‘social recession’ i.e. a collapse in our social contacts.
- This app would provide mental and psychological assistance to the students.
- Recently, the National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL), Bangalore has developed BiPAP ventilator named SwasthVayu,
- It is a non-invasive (involves use of masks or similar device) breathing support device, for the use of non-critical non-ICU cases of Covid-19.
- BiPAP stands for Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure.
- It is a type of positive pressure ventilator.
- While using BiPAP, positive air pressure is received during breathing in and breathing out.
- But higher air pressure is received during breathing in.
- SwasthVayu is connected with an oxygen concentrator, and will be ideal to treat moderate or mid-stage severe Covid-19 patients who do not require intubation and invasive ventilation.
- The ventilator is ideal for treating Covid-19 patients in wards, makeshift hospitals, dispensaries and homes in the current Indian Covid-19 scenario.
- The major advantage of this machine is that it is simple to use without any specialized nursing, cost effective, compact and configured with majority of indigenous components.
- The system has been certified for safety and performance by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).
Atal Pension Yojana (APY)
- The flagship social security scheme of the Government of India – ‘Atal Pension Yojana’ (APY) – has completed five years of implementation and garnered over 2.2 crore subscribers.
- The scheme was launched on 9th May, 2015, with the objective of creating a universal social security system for all Indians, especially the poor, the under-privileged and the workers in the unorganized sector.
- The Yojana is administered by Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority through National Pension System (NPS).
- Any citizen of India can join the APY scheme.
- The age of the subscriber should be between 18-40 years.
- The contribution levels would vary and would be low if a subscriber joins early and increases if she joins late.
Benefits of the Yojana
- It provides a minimum guaranteed pension ranging from Rs 1000 to Rs 5000 on attaining 60 years of age.
- The amount of pension is guaranteed for lifetime to the spouse on death of the subscriber.
- In the event of death of both the subscriber and the spouse, the entire pension corpus is paid to the nominee.
- Contributions to the Atal Pension Yojana (APY) are eligible for tax benefits similar to the National Pension System (NPS).
Other Key Facts
- The scheme has been implemented comprehensively across the country covering all states and Union Territories with male to female subscription ratio of 57:43.
- However, only 5% of the eligible population has been covered under APY till date.
Gopal Krishna Gokhale
- Recently the Prime Minister of India paid tribute to Gopal Krishna Gokhale on his 154th birth anniversary.
- Gopal Krishna Gokhale was a great social reformer and educationist who provided exemplary leadership to India’s freedom movement.
- He worked towards social empowerment, expansion of education , struggle for freedom in India for three decades and rejected the use of reactionary or revolutionary ways.
- Between 1899 and 1902, he was a member of the Bombay Legislative Council followed by work at the Imperial Legislative Council from 1902 till his death (1915).
- At the Imperial legislature, Gokhale played a key role in framing the Morley-Minto reforms of 1909.
- He was associated with the Moderate Group of Indian National Congress (joined in 1889).
- He became president of INC in 1905 in Banaras session.
Works of Gokhale
- He established the Servants of India Society in 1905 for the expansion of Indian education.
- He was also associated with the Sarvajanik sabha journal started by Govind Ranade.
- In 1908, Gokhale founded the Ranade Institute of Economics.
- He started English weekly newspaper, The Hitavada (The people’s paper).
- Recently the Prime Minister of India has paid tributes to Rabindranath Tagore on his 159th Jayanti on 7th May, 2020.
- He was also referred to as ‘Gurudev’, ‘Kabiguru’, and ‘Biswakabi’.
Facts on Tagore
- In 1913 Rabindranath Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work on Gitanjali.
- He was the first non-European to receive the Nobel Prize.
- In 1915 Tagore was awarded knighthood by the British King George V.
- In 1919, following the Jallianwalla Bagh massacre he renounced his Knighthood.
- Rabindranath Tagore was a good friend of Mahatma Gandhi and is said to have given him the title of Mahatma.
Automated Contactless UVC
- Recently, the Research Centre Imarat (RCI), has developed an automated contactless UVC sanitisation cabinet, called Defence Research UltraViolet Sanitiser (DRUVS) and an automated UVC currency sanitising device, called NOTESCLEAN.
About Defence Research Ultraviolet Sanitiser
- It has been designed to sanitise mobile phones, iPads, laptops, currency notes, cheque leafs, challans, passbooks, paper, envelopes, etc.
- The DRUVS cabinet has a contactless operation which becomes crucial to contain the spread of Covid-19 and other viruses.
- It has proximity sensor switches, clubbed with drawer opening and closing mechanism which makes its operation automatic and contactless.
- It provides 360 degree exposure of UVC to the objects placed inside the cabinet and it automatically goes into sleep mode after the sanitation process.
- The device picks the note inserted from the input slot and makes them pass through a series of UVC lamps for complete disinfection.
- It will save a lot of time because disinfection of each currency note by DRUVS or any other sanitising process is a time consuming process.
- Recently India has sent Indian Naval Ship (INS) Kesari, carrying food items and medical assistance teams, to countries in the southern Indian Ocean to deal with Covid-19 pandemic as part of a “Mission Sagar” initiative.
About Mission Sagar
- Mission Sagar` is inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi`s vision of SAGAR — Security and Growth for All in the Region.
- The countries including Maldives, Mauritius, Madagascar, Comoros, and Seychelles had requested India for assistance in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The medical assistance teams will be deployed in Mauritius and Comoros, helping their governments deal with COVID-19 emergency and dengue fever.
Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship Scheme
- Recently, the Ministry of Human Resources and Development has carried out various amendments in the Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship Scheme to boost research in the country.
Recent Changes in PMRFS
- Now, students from any recognized university can apply for the fellowship.
- Earlier the fellowship scheme was open only for students from Central Universities, IITs, IISc, NITs, IISERs, IIEST and IIITs.
- The requirement of GATE score has also been reduced from 750 to 600.
- As per new guidelines there will be two channels of entries i.e direct entry and lateral entry.
- In lateral entry, the students, who are pursuing PhD in PMRF granting institutions, and have completed 12 months or 24 months as per certain requirements, can also apply to become fellow under the scheme.
- National Institute of Technologies (NITs) which appear in top 25 institutions in the National Institute Ranking Framework (NIRF) ranking can also become PMRF Granting institution.
‘AYUSH Sanjivani’ App
- Recently, the government has launched the ‘AYUSH Sanjivani’ App.
- It is developed by the Ministry of AYUSH and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY).
- It targets to reach out to 50 lakh people in the country.
- The app intends to generate data on usage of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, Sowa-rigpa and Homoeopathy) advocacies and measures among the population and its impact in prevention of Covid-19.
- The data collected through this app will be analyzed to find out usage of AYUSH interventions and its efficacy in maintaining health by enhancing immunity.
National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR)
- National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, Goa (erstwhile NCAOR) continues to contribute its share in the fight against COVID19 Pandemic.
- The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) was established as an autonomous Research and Development Institution of the Ministry of Earth Sciences (formerly Department of Ocean Development), Government of India on the 25th May 1998.
- With a mission mandate that is quite challenging, the Centre is designated as the nodal organization for the co-ordination and implementation of the Indian Antarctic Programme, including the maintenance of India’s permanent station in Antarctica.
- Its responsibilities include management and upkeep of the Indian Antarctic Research Bases “Maitri” and “Bharati”, and the Indian Arctic base “Himadri”.
Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project
- Recently, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved US$ 500 million for ‘Covid-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project’ initiated by India.
- The project is expected to help India to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic and strengthen its public health preparedness.
- The project intends to slow down and limit the spread of Covid-19 in India.
- It includes an immediate support for enhancement of disease detection capacities, oxygen delivery systems and medicines among others.
- The project also strives to strengthen India’s Integrated Disease Surveillance Program (IDSP) and the capacity to effectively manage future disease outbreaks.
- IDSP aims to strengthen/maintain decentralized laboratory based and IT enabled disease surveillance systems for epidemic prone diseases to monitor disease trends.
- It also aims to develop capacity and systems to detect existing and emerging zoonoses and upgrade viral research and diagnostic laboratories for testing and research.
- The project will be implemented by the National Health Mission (NHM), the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
- Recently, scientists from the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) have fabricated a wafer-scale photodetector (thin slice-based) device, using gold-silicon interface.
Details about the Interface
- The scientists have fabricated gold (Au)-silicon (n-Si) interface, which shows high sensitivity towards light demonstrating the photodetection action.
- The detector exhibits a rapid response of 40 microseconds and can detect low light intensities.
- The device covers a broad spectral range from Ultraviolet to Infrared and shows excellent uniformity throughout the entire active area with less than 5% variation in response.
Au-Si interface Photodetector
- The process of fabricating a detector takes only a few minutes, making it a quick and simple process.
- Being a solution-based technique, the method is highly economical and enables large-area fabrication without compromising the detector response.
- The device can help detect weak scattered light as an indication of unwanted activity.
- The detector operates in self-powered mode, which means the device does not require external power for its operation.
- With a commonly available protective coating, the device shows a long-term environmental stability, under harsh conditions.
- It can also be used as a prototype imaging system, lux and power meter and as a tool for security applications.
Source: Press Information Bureau Website