fbpx

Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 13th April to 19th April – 2020

  • IASbaba
  • April 27, 2020
  • 0
IASbaba's Press Information Bureau, UPSC Articles
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 13th April to 19th April – 2020

ARCHIVES

GS-2

Video Conference of the Health Ministers of G20 countries

(Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate)

Hallmark of India’s approach has been fivefold: 

(i) Maintaining a continuous situation awareness

(ii) Pre-emptive and proactive approach

(iii) Graded response as per continuously evolving scenario

(iv) Inter-sectoral coordination at all levels

(v) Creating a people’s movement to combat this disease

India has the requisite national core capacities stipulated in the International Health Regulations to manage public health emergencies –  

The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP), which is a nation-wide surveillance system for epidemic prone diseases has been activated towards COVID response, and is being further strengthened with substantive digital inputs.

Exclusive infrastructure for management of COVID patients: To avoid intermingling of COVID patients. All the people who are tested positive are treated in one of three types of dedicated COVID management Centres: 

  • COVID Care Centres (CCCs) for mild symptomatic cases
  • COVID Health Centres (CHCs) for moderate cases
  • COVID Hospitals (CHs) for severe cases

These dedicated COVID facilities are mapped to each other in the design of a referral network architecture for dynamic movement of patients as symptoms evolve, so that optimal clinical care can be provided timely, commensurate to symptoms.

G20: 

  • An international forum for the governments of 19 countries and the European Union (EU). 
  • The 19-member countries of G20: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America and India.

Movement of stranded Migrant Labourers

(Topic: COVID-19 crisis)

Due to the spread of COVID-19 virus, workers employed in industry, agriculture, construction and other sectors have moved from their respective places of work, and are housed in relief/ shelter camps being run by State/ UT Governments. 

Since additional new activities, outside the containment zones, have been permitted in the consolidated revised guidelines with effect from 20th April 2020, these workers could be engaged in industrial, manufacturing, construction, farming and MNREGA works.

In order to facilitate their movement within the State/UT, the following guidelines may be followed:

  • The migrant labourers currently residing in relief/ shelter camps in States/UTs should be registered with the concerned local Authority and their skill mapping be carried out to find out their suitability for various kinds of works.
  • In the event, that a group of migrants wish to return to their places of work, within the State where they are presently located, they would be screened and those who are asymptomatic would be transported to their respective places of work. 
  • There shall be no movement of labour outside the State/UT where they are currently located.
  • During the journey by bus, it would be ensured that safe social distancing norms are followed and the buses used for transport are sanitized as per the guidelines of the Health authorities. 
  • The local authorities shall also provide for food and water etc., for the duration of their journey.

Harnessing the power of technology for e-learning

 (Topic: Learning in the times of COVID-19 crisis)

With the possibility of shutdowns in certain countries going into months, students will need to be given learning environments where knowledge distribution is regulated, graded and personalised. Schools have been shut to prevent the spread of the virus and this has given way to online classrooms, a very new concept in India even for the most sophisticated schools.

A lot of schools across the world have already started taking academic activities online — setting up classrooms, sending notes and sharing assignment prompts — many through free apps and some through customised learning management systems.

Information, Interaction and Self-Study

There are three sides to the act of schooling: information, interaction and self-study.

Information: The Google revolution has empowered us with a lot of information and provided access to teaching and learning mechanisms across the world. These help teachers prepare and integrate the learning schemes of much of the world better.

Self-study: Students now have access to materials much beyond their text and notebooks for better understanding and revision. Getting good material only requires orientation and cultivating of online surfing around studies, and a provision of time for such works.

Interaction: The real dilemma lies here – teacher-student interaction, where cyber technology has a crucial role when schools are not functioning regularly. Online classrooms, starting from Google Classrooms, Zoom, Skype, Electa, Goto Meeting, Tokbox (Vonage) are supposed to stand in here. 

A lot of things that are taken care of unknowingly in classrooms will need to be planned into the online scheme: lessons have to be broken down to smaller units, key takeaways in each section have to be identified and spelled out, everyday small little online tests have to be made available so that students get a concrete idea about the interaction, videos and notes have to be given for clarity and revision.

Disadvantages: 

  • Teachers do find the absence of a blackboard a disadvantage and network connectivity a constant problem.
  • Many students have not been able to take advantage of the virtual platform because they do not have a suitable device at home or lack a good internet connection.

GS-3

Four Years of National Agriculture Market portal – e-NAM 

(Topic: Agriculture and market)

e-NAM is an innovative initiative in agricultural marketing to 

  • Enhance farmers accessibility digitally to multiple number of markets & buyers
  • To bring transparency in trade transactions with the intent to improve price discovery mechanism, quality commensurate price realization
  • To develop the concept of One Nation One Market for agriculture produce

Reach:

  • Today, it has reached 585 mandis across 16 States and 02 UTs.
  • More than 1.66 crore farmers and 1.28 Lakh traders registered on e-NAM platform. 

Measures taken during lockdown period:

  • Created an interface with large transport aggregators that would help traders to find and arrange timely movement of produces from mandi to various other locations. With this interface, Traders would be able to access more than 7.76 lakh trucks through eNAM Platform.

Coming up

  • e-NAM is being expanded to cover additional 415 mandis which will take the total number of e-NAM mandis to 1000 soon. 
  • The online platform will prove to be a giant leap in reforming the agriculture market in India.

Solve: What is e-NAM? Discuss its features.


Initiatives of Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare 

(Topic: Agriculture in the times of COVID-19 crisis)

Aim: To promote farming and allied sectors during lockdown

  • During Rabi season 2020, NAFED has procured 1,21,883 MT Pulses and Oilseeds on MSP for an amount of Rs. 596 crore, which has benefitted 89,145 farmers.
  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PM-GKY) about 88,234.56 MT of pulses has been dispatched for delivery to the States/UTs.
  • Under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme, about 8.78 crore farmer families have been benefitted and an amount of Rs. 17,551 crore has been released so far.
  • Launched “Kisan Rath” App to ensure smooth and seamless supply linkages between farmers, warehouses, FPOs, APMC mandis and intra-State & inter-State buyers and help in reduction of food wastage by providing timely services. All these will contribute in better prices for perishable commodities.
  • Issues discussed in a meeting to assess the problems being faced by the exporters of agriculture and allied commodities –
    • Availability and movement of labour
    • Bottlenecks in inter-state transport
    • Shortage of raw materials
    • Phyto-sanitary certification
    • Closure of courier services
    • Availability of freight services
    • Access to ports/yards and clearance of goods for imports/exports 

Note:

Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme: The scheme aims to supplement the financial needs of the farmers in procuring various inputs to ensure proper crop health and appropriate yields, commensurate with the anticipated farm income.

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package 

In order to ensure that weaker sections of the society continue to get the basis amenities and do not get impacted during the lock down period due to COVID 19, Rs 1.70 lakh crore Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) was announced to protect such people from the impact of the lockdown.

  • Free food grains and cash payment to women and poor senior citizens and farmers.
  • Fintech and digital technology have been employed for swift and efficient transfer to the beneficiary. 
  • Direct benefit transfer, i.e. transfer that ensures that the amount is directly credited into the account of the beneficiary, eliminates leakage and improves efficiency has been employed. This has also ensured credit to the beneficiary’s account without the need for the beneficiary to physically go to the branch.

Progress so far:

  • More than 32crore poor people received financial assistance of Rs 29,352 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package
  • 5.29 Crore beneficiaries distributed free ration of food grains under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana
  • 97.8 Lakh free Ujjwala cylinders delivered

RBI Announces Nine Measures to Revive the Struggling Domestic Economy

(Topic: Measures to revive the economy during COVID-19  crisis)

“…In the midst of death life persists, in the midst of untruth truth persists, in the midst of darkness light persists.” – Mahatma Gandhi, during his famous Kingsley Hall, London address in October 1931.

The additional measures are aimed to:

  • Maintain adequate liquidity in the system and its constituents in the face of COVID-19 related dislocations
  • Facilitate and incentivise bank credit flows
  • Ease financial stress, and
  • Enable the normal functioning of markets

The Measures

Liquidity Management

1) Targeted Long-Term Operations (TLTRO) 2.0: 

  • A second set of targeted long-term repo operations (TLTRO 2.0) for an initial aggregate amount of Rs. 50,000 crore will be conducted to facilitate funds flow to small and mid-sized corporates, including NBFCs and MFIs, who have been more severely impacted by the disruptions due to COVID-19. 
  • The funds availed by banks under TLTRO 2.0 should be invested in investment grade bonds, commercial paper, and non-convertible debentures of non-banking financial companies (NBFCs), with at least 50 per cent of the total amount availed going to small and mid-sized NBFCs and micro finance institutions (MFIs).

2) Refinancing Facilities for All India Financial Institutions

  • Special refinance facilities for a total amount of Rs. 50,000 crore will be provided to National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) and the National Housing Bank (NHB) to enable them to meet sectoral credit needs. This will comprise Rs. 25,000 crore to NABARD for refinancing regional rural banks (RRBs), cooperative banks and micro finance institutions (MFIs); Rs. 15,000 crore to SIDBI for on-lending / refinancing; and Rs. 10,000 crore to NHB for supporting housing finance companies (HFCs).
  • Advances under this facility will be charged at the RBI’s policy repo rate at the time of availment, in order to enable them to provide credit at rates affordable for their borrowers.

3) Reduction of Reverse Repo Rate under Liquidity Adjustment Facility

  • Reverse repo rate has been reduced by 25 basis points from 4.0% to 3.75% with immediate effect, in order to encourage banks to deploy surplus funds in investments and loans in productive sectors of the economy.
  • What is reverse repo rate: The interest offered by the RBI to banks who deposit funds into the treasury.

4) Raising Limit of Ways and Means Advances of states and UTs

  • Ways and Means Advances (WMAs) Limit of states and union territories has been increased by 60% over and above the limit, in order to provide greater comfort to states for undertaking COVID-19 containment and mitigation efforts, and also to help them plan their market borrowing programmes better. The increased limit will be available till September 30, 2020.
  • What are WMAs: These are temporary loan facilities provided by RBI to help governments tide over temporary mismatches in receipts and expenditure. 

Regulatory Measures

To lessen debtors’ burden in wake of the pandemic

5) Asset Classification

  • The moratorium period will be excluded while considering 90-day NPA norm for those accounts for which lending institutions decide to grant moratorium or deferment and which were standard as on March 1, 2020. This means that there will be an asset classification standstill for such accounts from March 1 – May 31, 2020. NBFCs will have the flexibility under the prescribed accounting standards to provide such relief to their borrowers.
  • Simultaneously, banks have been asked to maintain higher provision of 10% on all accounts whose classification has been put on a standstill as above, so that banks maintain sufficient buffers
  • What are Non-performing Assets: A classification for loans or advances that are in default or in arrears. A loan is in arrears when principal or interest payments are late or missed. A loan is in default when the lender considers the loan agreement to be broken and the debtor is unable to meet his obligations.
  • Solve: Why are NPAs detrimental for the economy? Examine.

6) Extension of Resolution Timeline

  • Recognizing challenges to resolution of stressed assets or accounts which are or are likely to become NPAs, the period for implementation of resolution plan has been extended by 90 days. 
  • Currently, scheduled commercial banks and other financial institutions are required to hold an additional provision of 20 per cent if a resolution plan has not been implemented within 210 days from the date of such default.

7) Distribution of Dividend

  • Scheduled commercial banks and cooperative banks shall not make any further dividend pay-outs from profits pertaining to FY 2019-20; the decision will be reviewed based on the financial position of banks at the end of the second quarter of the financial year 2019-20.
  • This has been done in order to enable banks to conserve capital so that they can retain their capacity to support the economy and absorb losses in an environment of heightened uncertainty.

8) Lowering of Liquidity Coverage Ratio requirement

  • To improve the liquidity position for individual institutions, Liquidity Coverage Ratio requirement for scheduled commercial banks has been brought down from 100% to 80% with immediate effect. 
  • This will be gradually restored in two phases – 90% by October 1, 2020 and 100% by April 1, 2021.

9) NBFC Loans to Commercial Real Estate Projects

  • The treatment available for loans to commercial real estate projects with respect to the date for commencement for commercial operations (DCCO) has been extended to NBFCs, in order to provide relief to both NBFCs and the real estate sector. 
  • As per the current guidelines, DCCO in respect of loans to commercial real estate projects delayed due to reasons beyond the control of promoters can be extended by an additional one year, over and above the one-year extension permitted in normal course, without treating the same as restructuring.

Government amends the extant FDI policy

(Topic: FDI during COVID-19 crisis)

Objective: To curb opportunistic takeovers/acquisitions of Indian companies due to the current COVID-19 pandemic and amended para 3.1.1 of extant FDI policy as contained in Consolidated FDI Policy, 2017.

Present Position: 

  • A non-resident entity can invest in India, subject to the FDI Policy except in those sectors/activities which are prohibited. 
  • However, a citizen of Bangladesh or an entity incorporated in Bangladesh can invest only under the Government route
  • Further, a citizen of Pakistan or an entity incorporated in Pakistan can invest, only under the Government route, in sectors/activities other than defence, space, atomic energy and sectors/activities prohibited for foreign investment.

Revised Position – Para 3.1.1:

3.1.1(a): 

  • A non-resident entity can invest in India, subject to the FDI Policy except in those sectors/activities which are prohibited. 
  • However, an entity of a country, which shares land border with India or where the beneficial owner of an investment into India is situated in or is a citizen of any such country, can invest only under the Government route. 
  • Further, a citizen of Pakistan or an entity incorporated in Pakistan can invest, only under the Government route, in sectors/activities other than defence, space, atomic energy and sectors/activities prohibited for foreign investment.

3.1.1(b) 

  • In the event of the transfer of ownership of any existing or future FDI in an entity in India, directly or indirectly, resulting in the beneficial ownership falling within the restriction/purview of the para 3.1.1(a), such subsequent change in beneficial ownership will also require Government approval.

MHA issues order to exempt certain activities in Rural Areas from Lockdown Restrictions to fight COVID-19

(Topic: Measures on rural economic activities during COVID-19 crisis)

  • Collection, harvesting and processing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP)/ Non-timber Forest Produce (NTFP) by Scheduled Tribes and other forest dwellers in forest areas.
  • Bamboo, coconut, arecanut, cocoa, spices plantations and their harvesting, processing, packaging, sale and marketing.
  • Non-banking financial institutions (NBFCs) including Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) and Micro Finance Companies (NBFC–MFIs), with bare minimum staff.
  • Cooperative Credit Societies.
  • Construction activities in rural areas to include water supply and sanitation , laying/erection of power transmission lines and laying of telecom optical fiber and cable along with related activities.

Note:

Minor Forest Produce (MFP)

  • Section 2(i) of the Forest Rights Act defines a Minor Forest Produce (MFP) as all non-timber forest produce of plant origin and includes bamboo, brushwood, stumps, canes, cocoon, honey, waxes, Lac, tendu/kendu leaves, medicinal plants etc.
  • The definition of “minor forest produce” includes bamboo and cane, thereby changing the categorization of bamboo and cane as “trees” under the Indian Forest Act 1927.

Minimum Support Price for Minor Forest Produce Scheme

  • The scheme for forest produce has been started with following objectives:
    • To provide fair price to the MFP gatherers and enhance their income level. 
    • To ensure sustainable harvesting of MFPs.
    • To ensure huge social dividend for MFP gatherers, majority of whom are tribals.
  • Earlier, the scheme was only implemented in States having Schedule areas as listed in the Fifth Schedule of the constitution of India. 
  • Since 2016, the scheme is applicable in all States.

Key amendment to Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2006

(Topic: Environment Impact Assessment)

Aim: To address unprecedented situation arising from global outbreak of Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19), and to ramp up availability or production of various drugs

  • All projects or activities in respect of bulk drugs and intermediates, manufactured for addressing various ailments, have been re-categorized from the existing Category ‘A’ to ‘B2’ category.
  • Projects falling under Category B2 are exempted from requirement of collection of Base line data, EIA Studies and public consultation.

Technological Development in the Times of COVID-19

How a creative team of clinicians and scientists working together seamlessly can leverage knowledge and infrastructure to make relevant breakthroughs

A. Development of Integrated geospatial platform 

Aim: To help decision making during the current COVID-19 outbreak and aid devising area-specific strategies to handle the socio-economic impact in the recovery phase.

By: The Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India

This integrated geospatial platform will strengthen the Nation’s health emergency management due to the COVID-19 outbreak and support the socio-economic recovery process through the seamless provision of spatial data, information, and linkage between human, medical, technological, infrastructural and natural resources.

This mobile application will complement the “AAROGYA-SETU” mobile application – for Contact tracing, Public awareness, and Self-assessment objectives

B. Pusa Decontamination and Sanitizing Tunnel

Developed by: Division of Agricultural Engineering, ICAR- Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi

The sanitization protocol includes hand washing with foot-operated soap and water dispenser and fogging in a sanitizing tunnel for 20 seconds. In this tunnel, Quaternary Ammonium Compounds (QAC) are used at concentration of 0.045%

C. Chitra GeneLAMP-N makes confirmatory tests results of COVID 19 possible in 2 hours

  • Detects the N Gene of SARS- COV2 using reverse transcriptase loop-mediated amplification of viral nucleic acid (RT-LAMP)
  • The test kit is highly specific for SARS-CoV-2 N-gene and can detect two regions of the gene, which will ensure that the test does not fail even if one region of the viral gene undergoes mutation during its current spread.
  • The tests performed at NIV Alappuzha (authorized by ICMR) show that Chitra GeneLAMP- N has 100% accuracy and match with test results using RT-PCR.

D. Inactivated virus vaccine in focus for novel coronavirus

By: Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB)

Inactivated vaccines are known for their safety and easy production.

The mechanism: 

  • Active virus is cultured in large numbers and then killed either by a chemical or heat.
  • Although the pathogen is killed, or made to lose its reproduction capacity, various parts of the virus are intact. 
  • For example, the spike protein with which it enters the cells. The antigen (the chemical structure) that is recognised by the immune system is left unimpaired.  When this dead microbe is introduced, the immune system is tricked to respond by producing antibodies against specific antigens still left intact, without knowing that the pathogen is dud. Inactivated polio vaccine and the rabies vaccines are made this way. 
  • As the pathogen is dead, it cannot reproduce nor cause even a mild disease. Thus, it is safe to administer to even people with lesser immunity, like the old and those who have co-morbidity.

The challenge: Culturing the virus outside of the human host

  • As the novel coronavirus has evolved to life on human cells, especially in cells with active ACE2 receptors, locating the right source of the cell line to culture the virus outside of the human body is key to this technology. 
  • CCMB is using the epithelial cell line from African green monkey grown in Petri dish to artificially culture and harvest the deadly virus. A few more options of cell lines will be explored to find the right one on which the novel coronavirus can infect, grow and multiply.  
  • The cells will be observed and if the cells show changes, including dying of cells and release of the virus, then the culture is positive. 
  • The novel coronavirus grown in the cell culture will be harvested, inactivated and the vaccine would be developed.
  • Finding a right cell culture technology for the novel coronavirus will also help in drug development. Once a virus infects the cells, the potential drug candidate can be tested against the same.

E. CeNS develops TriboE masks

  • These masks can hold electric charges to restrict the entry of infections but interestingly, without any external power.
  • When two non-conducting layers are rubbed against each other, the layers develop positive and negative charges instantly and continue to hold the charges for some time. They have used this electric field, quite strong at proximity, to deactivate or possibly even kill the germs.

F. CSIR-CFTRI’s protein-enriched biscuits

The biscuits contain 14% of protein while usual biscuits contain around 8-9% protein. The enriched biscuits will provide protein needed for recuperating patients


Other Technological Developments

(Topic: Technology)

A. Development of a portable sensor to ease heavy metal detection in water especially in rural areas

By: Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS) 

Why is it important?

Heavy metal ions such as lead, mercury and cadmium pose severe potential threats to living beings as they can easily be accumulated in the body and cannot be detoxified by any chemical or biological processes. 

Heavy metals cause a number of distress
HEAVY METAL SOURCES HEALTH EFFECTS
LEAD Mining, coal, automobile,paper, dyeing,petrochemicals, etc. Learning disability;mental retardation
CHROMIUM Leather/tannery, thermal power plants, mining fertilisers, textile, photography Bronchial asthma, allergies,
CADMIUM Coal, nuclear and coal power plants,batteries, ceramics, toys Itai Itai disease (fragile bones)
NICKEL Mining, coal power plants,phosphate fertiliser,  chocolate, automobile,    electroplating Dermatitis, pneumonia
MERCURY Mining, paper and pulp, coal power plants, cement, pesticides, cosmetics Minimata disease (disorder of the nervous system)
ZINC Phosphate fertilisers, distillery,pharmaceuticals Fever
IRON Coal mining, Skin becomes sensitive to light

Source: DownToEarth

B. Stable material for organic pseudocapacitor can offer a low-cost scalable energy storage solution

By: Scientists at the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India

What is it: A stable material for pseudocapacitors or supercapacitors which store electrical energy by electron charge transfer. The material can offer a low-cost scalable energy storage solution as an alternative to batteries.

  • Can serve as a universal approach and as a model system for organic-inorganic hybrid xerogel pseudocapacitors.
  • Will offer new insights into improving the long-standing issue of stability and inferior power output of pseudocapacitors.
  • It can promote future research in the field of organic pseudocapacitors and provide an effective strategy to facilitate progress towards self-sustaining energy future.

Pseudocapacitors are a type of supercapacitors which store electrical energy by electron charge transfer.

C. Development of a substrate (the surface or material on which an organism lives, grows) for optical sensing applications using a gold nanostructure

Substrate: The surface or material on which an organism lives, grows

By: Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS)

Such substrates are sensitive to change in the refractive index of the surrounding medium and can detect biologically important molecules and chemicals in the laboratory. The substrate has potential applications in chemical sensing and can help one to follow up the kinetics of a reaction as in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

To put it into perspective:

We often encounter vivid and vibrant colours in plants animals and in other natural phenomena. Colours which we see can also arise from the interaction of light with the smallest building blocks of matter. Then the question arises, can we change properties (colour) of matter by shrinking it?  The answer is, yes.

It was first discovered by Michael Faraday that on reducing the size of the gold particle to the nanometer, its colour changes to red from its familiar metallic yellow. When light interacts with free electrons in a metal, it generates collective oscillation of free electrons known as surface plasmons.

D. IIA scientists connect Lithium abundance in interstellar space to new Lithium rich red giants

Researchers have discovered hundreds of Li-rich giant stars indicating that Li is being produced in the stars and accounts for its abundance in the interstellar medium. They have also associated such Li enhancement with central He-burning stars, also known as red clump giants, thereby opening up new vistas in the evolution of the red giant stars.

E. ARI researchers develop bug sniffer for efficient detection of pathogens

Developed a sensitive and low-cost sensor to rapidly detect bacteria – a biosensor that uses synthetic peptides, magnetic nanoparticles, and quantum dots to detect the presence of bacteria, providing a cost- and time-effective way of screening water and foodborne pathogens

The portable device can detect as low as ten bacterial cells from a sample size of one milliliter in just 30 minutes. At present, they are working on a method for simultaneous separation and detection of Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium.

F. Gamma-ray flux variability of luminous and high energy blazars: clues to blazar emission mechanisms

At the center of most galaxies, there’s a massive black hole that can have mass of millions or even billions of Suns that accrete gas, dust, and stellar debris around it. As these material falls towards the black hole, their gravitational energy gets converted to light forming active galactic nuclei (AGN).  A minority of AGN (~15%) emit collimated charged particles called jets travelling at speeds close to the speed of light.  Blazars are AGN whose jets are aligned with the observer’s line of sight. Some blazars are thought to host binary black holes in them and could be potential targets for future gravitational-wave searches.

Conducted the first systematic study on the gamma-ray flux variability nature on different types of blazars which could provide clues to the processes happening close to the black hole, not visible through direct imaging.

Note:

National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of India

India houses a repository of unique Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) traditions, 13 of which have also been recognized by UNESCO as Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. This initiative is also a part of the Vision 2024 of the Ministry of Culture.

Following UNESCO’s 2003 Convention for Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage, this list has been classified into five broad domains in which intangible cultural heritage is manifested:

  • Oral traditions and expressions, including language as a vehicle of the intangible cultural heritage
  • Performing arts
  • Social practices, rituals and festive events
  • Knowledge and practices concerning nature and the universe
  • Traditional craftsmanship

Read the list here: Link to the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of India

Science-based website on COVID 19 – CovidGyan: The topics covered range from the exact behaviour of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), transmission dynamics of the Corona flu and its diagnostics to innovative technologies to scale up the fight, means of coping up with physical distancing, and critical assessment of communications. The initiative is the brainchild of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR), Indian Institute of Science (IISc), and Tata Memorial Centre (TMC).

Ministry of Tourism has launched “DekhoApnaDesh” webinar series: To provide information on the many destinations and the sheer depth and expanse of the culture and heritage of our Incredible India. 

Supply of non-essential goods by e-commerce companies will remain prohibited during lockdown.

SHG women 

A. Working as Business Correspondents for banks – Bank Sakhis

The Union Government had announced release of 500/- per month for 3 months in 20.39 Crore Women PMJDY accounts, and has also released other DBT funds like Rs.2000/- to PM Kisan Yojana accounts, MGNREGA wages payments to all rural population to address the financial stress being faced by the community.

In most of the cases, the services of BC Sakhis (SHG women working as Business Corresspondents for banks) were utilized for making payments to the rural households.

Out of around 8800 BC Sakhi and 21600 Bank Sakhi, around 50% of both cadre voluntarily started working amidst lockdown across the country right from Assam, Mizoram, Sikkim, Manipur to Bihar, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh & Tamil nadu. 

  • Supporting Bank Branch Managers in managing rush at branches during DBT payment
  • Ensuring social distancing of customers by creating awareness among rural community
  • Ensuring the disbursement of financial relief packages provided by Government of India. 
  • Bank Sakhi has become a focal point person in disseminating information regarding the financial relief packages announced by the Government of India in the rural areas, through which financial provisions laid down under PMGKY, PM Kisan and MGNREGS reach the population during COVID-19 pandemic.

B. Ensure access to essential nutrition and health services amidst Lockdown

  • Supporting the supply of PDS by collecting ration supply using the cards and distributing them to the cardholders to prevent crowding of PDS shops.
  • In Odisha and Chhattisgarh, SHGs have also utilised the Vulnerability Reduction Fund (VRF) to ensure adolescent girls have access to enough clean pads.  
  • Supporting front line health workers in the delivery of essential child, maternal & adolescent health and nutrition-related entitlements. This also includes Antenatal and Post Natal Care services and micronutrient supplementation via IFA tablets.

Case Study: Surat evolves Rapid Crisis Management Plan under SBM-Urban

Surat, also known as the ‘diamond city’, has shown a SMART spirit in protecting and serving its citizens better by developing and implementing a rapid crisis management plan which became a blueprint for the state government of Gujarat to follow.

SMC adopted three-pronged approach which they call “3-T Strategy” – Track, Test and Treat to fight against COVID-19

Tracking: 

  • SMC developed ‘SMC COVID-19 Tracker System’ within the span of 5 days, which includes a web portal and mobile application named “SMC COVID-19 Tracker” to track people who have abroad or inter-state travel history and persons who have come in direct contact with positive COVID-19 individual. 
  • Further, SMC has also started a helpline number 1800-123-800 where citizen can share details about travelers or suspects, verified by SMC team including health officials. 
  • The same app is also used to observe individuals under quarantine and contact them if any of them develop any symptoms.
  • Paying special attention that the routine solid waste collection, transportation and disposal activities along with cleaning and scrapping are carried out efficiently to keep the city clean.

Testing and Treatment

  • Identified a taskforce team and specific tasks including training with nodal officers have been assigned for the combating epidemic situation. 
  • SMC has also put a Grievances Redressal system in place for quick response in the current situation. 
  • Keeping the health and welfare of sanitation workers in mind, SMC has made available free-of-cost Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to all the personnel involved, thus exhibiting their resolve for protecting the Swachhata Warriors on the forefront of this combat against corona virus.

For a dedicated peer group, Motivation & Quick updates, Join our official telegram channel – https://t.me/IASbabaOfficialAccount

Search now.....