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PRESS INFORMATION BUREAU (PIB) IAS UPSC – 18th January to 24th January – 2021

  • IASbaba
  • January 27, 2021
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Press Information Bureau (PIB) IAS UPSC – 18th to 24th January, 2021

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GS-2

National Education Policy (NEP) 2020: Implementation Plan for School Education

(Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Education, Human Resources)

The National Education Policy, 2020 is the third in the series of National Education Policies (1968 and 1986 modified in 1992) in India and is the first education policy of the 21st century. NEP 2020 covers wider spectrum of school education from pre-primary to senior secondary.

  • To undertake 50 hours of mandatory Continuous Professional development of teachers, 18 modules of 4-5 hours each comprehensively covering all aspects of elementary education have been launched under NISHTHA for in service teacher training (CPD) in the online mode on DIKSHA platform. 
  • In-principle approval has been given for setting up the National Mission on Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission. A Committee has been formed for preparing framework on FL&N, codification of learning outcomes etc.
  • E-learning has been expanded through DIKSHA. DIKSHA provides access to a large number of curriculum linked e-content through several solutions such as QR coded Energized Textbooks (ETBs), courses for teachers, quizzes etc. 
  • The department has launched an initiative called ‘Manodarpan’ for mental health and wellbeing of students. It aims to provide emotional support and counselling to the students under distress. Issuance of advisory guidelines, web page and national toll-free number, interactive online chat options and, national-level database and directory of counsellorsare part of the initiative. 
  • MoU has been signed between Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC) and NCERT to develop Indian Sign Language dictionary for school education.
  • CBSE exam reforms have been initiated; CBSE will introduce improvement examination from the year 2021 and will introduce English and Sanskrit in 2 levels from the session 2021-22 (already offers Mathematics and Hindi at two levels). Competency based questions have been introduced in the Board exams for class X and XII in a phased manner, increasing by 10% every year.
  • Learning Outcomes upto Secondary level have been notified and draft of learning outcomes for senior secondary level have been released for inviting suggestions.
  • The department is also aligning its existing schemes i.e, Samagra Shiksha, Mid Day Meal and Padhna Likhna Abhiyan with the recommendations of NEP 2020. 
  • States and UTs are also constituting their own Task Force to steer implementation of the NEP provisions in their respective jurisdiction.

1st India-EU IPR dialogue

(Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.)

Between the EU Commission and Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) through a virtual platform

The aim of the dialogue was to further strengthen the India-EU relation & facilitate enhanced cooperation in the field of Intellectual Property Rights.

  • The India Co-Chair provided an overview of various IPR developments, with an aim to meet the objectives set forth in the National IPR policy 2016. He also reiterated importance of legislative reforms brought in by India to stimulate innovation and creativity among start-ups and MSMEs. Various initiatives taken up by the Indian government in this context were appreciated by EU representatives. 
  • The EU Co-Chair provided brief overview of DG trade and the various activities being undertaken by them including IPRs in relation to Free Trade Agreements as well as effective enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights.
  • Indian counterparts updated the functionaries on reduced pendency on trademarks and department’s continuous efforts to further improve the process. Further, there were discussions on plant protection and farmer’s right and their importance for Indian economy. Representative from India also briefed on the various enforcement initiatives being taken by the government so as to ensure the right of the owners are respected.

It is an opportunity to bring the two nations closer through collaboration in the area of IP protection and its enforcement. It was emphasized that this dialogue is an effective platform to discuss key intellectual property issues that affect business entities and to identify areas for closer collaboration for mutual benefit of both economies.


GS-3

NITI Aayog to Launch Second Edition of India Innovation Index 2020

(Topic: Innovation)

The release of the second edition of the index—the first was launched in October 2019—demonstrates the Government’s continued commitment towards transforming the country into an innovation-driven economy.

The India Innovation Index 2020 seeks to rank the states and union territories based on their relative performance of supporting innovation, and to empower them to improve their innovation polices by highlighting their strengths and weaknesses. The ranking methodology is designed in a way that states can draw lessons from the national leaders in innovation. 

  • The states and union territories have been divided into 17 ‘Major States’, 10 ‘North-East and Hill States’, and 9 ‘City States and Union Territories’, for effectively comparing their performance. 
  • The states and union territories have been ranked on two broad categories: outcome and governance. 
  • Overall, the framework of India Innovation Index 2020 consists of 36 indicators, which include hard data (32 indicators) and four composite indicators.

India Innovation Index 2020 builds on the previous year’s methodology by introducing more metrics and providing a holistic outlook of the Indian innovation ecosystem. 

  • The framework has been updated to include globally considered parameters for measuring innovation (such as the percentage of gross domestic product spent on research and development), while also retaining the parameters specific to the Indian economy.
  • The index captures the trends and provides detailed analyses of the various factors that drive innovation at the country, state, and district levels.

It is believed that these analyses would enable policymakers in identifying catalysts and inhibitors of innovation at the national and sub-national levels.


AstroSat’s Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope spots rare ultraviolet-bright stars in a massive intriguing cosmic dinosaur in the Milky Way

(Topic: Space and technology)

Astronomers exploring the massive intriguing globular cluster in our Galaxy called NGC 2808 that is said to have at least five generations of stars have spotted rare hot UV-bright stars in it. These stars whose inner core is almost exposed, making them very hot, exist in the late stages of evolution of a Sun-like star. It is not clear how these stars end their lives as not many of them are detected in these fast-evolving phases, making their study crucial.

With spectacular ultraviolet images of the cluster from Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UVIT) onboard India’s first multi-wavelength space satellite, AstroSat, they distinguished the hot UV-bright stars from the relatively cooler red giant and main-sequence stars which appear dim in these images. The findings of this study have been accepted for publication in the journal ‘The Astrophysical Journal’.

About 34 UV-bright stars were found to be members of the globular cluster. From the data, the team derived the properties of these stars such as their surface temperatures, luminosities and radii.

One of the UV-bright stars was found to be about 3000 times brighter than the Sun with a surface temperature of about 100,000 K.  The properties of these stars were then used to place them on what astronomers call the Hertzsprung-Russel (HR) diagram along with theoretical models to throw light on the characteristics of their parent stars and to predict their future evolution. Most of the stars were found to have evolved from a solar stage called the horizontal branch stars with hardly any outer envelope. Thus they were bound to skip the last major phase of life called the asymptotic giant phase and directly become dead remnants or white dwarfs.

Such UV-bright stars are speculated to be the reason for the ultraviolet radiation coming from old stellar systems such as elliptical galaxies which are devoid of young blue stars. Hence, it is all the more important to observe more such stars to understand their properties.  


Successful Flight Test of Smart Anti Airfield Weapon

(Topic: Defence)

In yet another milestone, DRDO successfully conducted captive and release trial of indigenously developed Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW) from Hawk-I of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) off the Odisha coast

  • The smart weapon was successfully test fired from Indian Hawk-Mk132 of HAL. This was the 9th successful mission of SAAW conducted by DRDO till now. It was a text book launch, which met all mission objectives. The telemetry and tracking systems installed at Interim Test Range (ITR), Balasore captured all the mission events.
  • SAAW is indigenously designed and developed by DRDO’s Research Centre Imarat (RCI) Hyderabad. This is 125 Kg class smart weapon, capable of engaging ground enemy airfield assets such as radars, bunkers, taxi tracks, and runways etc. up to a range of 100 kms. The high precision guided bomb is light weight as compared to weapon system of the same class. The weapon was earlier successfully test fired from Jaguar aircraft.

New ant species discovered from Kerala

(Topic: Biodiversity)

Two new species of a rare ant genus have been discovered in India. The species of the ant genus Ooceraea found in Kerala, and Tamil Nadu add to the diversity of this rare genus. They differ from others of the same genus on the basis of the number of antennal segments.

One of them found in the Periyar Tiger Reserve of Kerala, has been named Ooceraea joshii, in honour of Prof. Amitabh Joshi, a distinguished evolutionary biologist from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India.

  • New species are typically named after some distinguishing attribute or location but are often named after scientists as a means of honouring their research contributions to biology, especially in the fields of evolutionary and organismal biology, ecology or systematics.
  • The genus is currently represented by 14 species of which eight possess nine-segmented antennae, while five possess eleven- segmented antennae and one species has recently been reported with eight-segmented antennae. In India, the genus was so far represented by two species with nine- and eleven-segmented antennae respectively.
  • The newly discovered ant species with ten segmented antennae discovered, establish an old world lineage that contains a species emerging as the only model organism among the ant subfamily.

Year-end Review: Ministry of Science & Technology

Pilot Plant for Continuous Flow Manufacture of Silver Nanowires inaugurated: CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL has developed the world’s most inexpensive technology for continuous large scale production of precision silver nanowires on a large scale. This technology development was carried out under the Advanced Manufacturing Technologies (AMT) initiative by the Department of Science and Technology (DST). With this technology developed at CSIRNCL, Indian industries will be able to enter into manufacturing of this precision material. Patents have been filed to protect the technology and the product has been tested for various applications including conducting inks in various forms.

3D-Printed Patient-Specific Medical Implants developed: CSIR-Central Scientific Instruments Organisation (CSIO has developed a technology for manufacturing patient-specific medical implants for several human body parts. Patient-specific implants are also required in the case of unavailability of implants for specific sites of the human body or when available implants do not fulfil the anatomical requirement of a patient. Scientists at CSIR-CSIO have attempted to solve this complex problem with the help of Computer Aided Design (CAD) followed by 3D printing of the biocompatible metals. In this process, the patient’s CT-Scan/MRI data is utilised to design the implant with specifications compatible with patients.

Licensing Agreement for Glass-lined Micro-reactors signed: CSIR-NCL has developed the first of their kind miniaturised glasslined flow reactors, where glass is coated on metal, thereby increasing the chemical compatibility of the reactors without compromising on its performance. These micro-reactors are the first of their kind among the existing microreactors and flow reactors typically available in metals, polymers, glass and ceramic. 

Peptide discovered for Effective in Fighting Rheumatoid Arthritis: CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute has recently reported that a specific fragment of a protein potentially helps in treating rheumatoid arthritis. Besides reducing the inflammation in joints, it also prevents the joint bones from being destroyed. This protein does not affect the overall immune system of the body and instead selectively protects the joints in case of rheumatoid arthritis. This protein is secreted by a liver fluke or parasitic worm called Fasciola which helps these parasites in concealing their identity from the host immune system by diminishing the inflammatory attack that is set in motion by the host as a defensive strategy to kill the parasites. This protein is called Fasciola Helminth Defense Molecule-1 (FhHDM-1)and is similar to a human protein that plays an important role in reducing inflammatory responses. The liver fluke protein also has a very high anti-inflammatory response. The CDRI researchers are considering this study as an important breakthrough in terms of effectiveness and selectivity in treating rheumatoid arthritis.

CSIR partnered clinical trials on COVID-19 (CuRED) portal launched: Called CuRED or CSIR Ushered Repurposed Drugs, the website provides information about the drugs, diagnostics and devices including the current stage of the trials, partnering institutions and their role in the trials and other details.

Pravasi Bharatiya Academic and Scientific Sampark (PRABHASS) portal launched: The virtual platform, a portal, is named PRABHASS which means a ray of light, and is an acronym for “Pravasi Bharatiya Academic and Scientific Sampark – Integrating Indian Diaspora with the Mother Land”. PRABHASS is being developed with collaborative effort of all major scientific ministries / departments and the Ministry of External Affairs of India to serve as National Digital Platform to effectively collaborate with Global Indian S&T Community for collectively promoting inclusive growth in India, strengthening Indian innovation ecosystem and contributing towards nation building.

Sustainable Processing of Municipal Solid Waste: ‘Waste to Wealth’: The mechanized segregation system segregates solid waste into metallic waste (metal body, metal container etc.), biodegradable waste (foods, vegetables, fruits, grass etc.), non-biodegradable (plastics, packaging material, pouches, bottles etc.) & inert (glass, stones etc.) wastes. The bio-degradable component of the waste is decomposed in an anaerobic environment popularly known as bio-gasification. In this process biogas is liberated through conversion of organic matter. The biogas can be used as fuel for cooking purpose. The gas can also be utilized in gas engine for generation of electricity. The residual slurry from biogas plant is converted to compost in a natural process known as vermi-composting by introducing earthworms. The vermi-compost is utilized in organic farming.

Eco-friendly , efficient and DME fired “Aditi Urja Sanch” Unit launched: Dimethyl ether (DME) is an ultra-clean fuel. CSIR-NCL has developed nation’s first kind of DME pilot plant with 20-24Kg/day capacity. The newly designed stove can burn with up to 30 % DME blended with LPG or 100% DME as fuel. The air to fuel ratio is different for DME blended fuel to achieve optimum combustion and thermal performance. A 20% DME blending with LPG, with fewer infrastructure changes, is expected to result in substantial savings annually. The DME from Methanol process developed by CSIR-NCL is producing 20-24 kg/ day. This economical, cost-effective process will be scaled up to 0.5 Ton per day through CSIR-FTC project.

Technology transfer of Community level Water Purification system by High Flow Rate Fluoride & Iron Removal: This Community Level Water Purification System has a Flow-Rate capacity of 10,000 Ltr/hr and uses commonly available raw materials such as sand, gravel and adsorbent materials. It comprises a three-stage purification process which purifies water within permissible limits (1.5 ppm & 0.3 ppm for Fluoride and Iron respectively). The technology uses a combination of Oxidation, Gravitational Settling and Chemisorption process in an Affordable Package. The integrated backwashing profile of the technology will help in improving the shelf-life of the filtration media in a resource rationalised manner.

Phytorid Technology Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) set up at NCL-Pune: The Sewage treatment using Phytorid Technology by the CSIR scientists is a natural treatment method by which treated water could be utilised for various purposes including for drinking. Phytorid is a subsurface mixed flow constructed wetland system developed and internationally patented by CSIR-NEERI, Nagpur with successful demonstration in the field for more than 10 years of continuous operation as a stand-alone sewage treatment system. Phytorid is a self-sustainable technology for wastewater treatment that works on the principle of natural wetland. It uses certain specific plants which can absorb nutrients directly from wastewater but do not require soil. These plants act as nutrient sinker and remover. Using Phytorid Technology for the treatment of sewage, it is possible to recover and reuse the treated water for gardening purposes.

India International Science Festival-2020 sets five Guinness Records, attracts over 1.3 lakh participants: The theme of the year’s IISF was ‘Science for Self-Reliant India and Global Welfare’.

Kisan Sabha App – Connecting farmer to the supply chain: Kisan Sabha App has been developed by CSIR-CRRI to connect farmers to the supply chain and freight transportation management system. This portal acts as a one-stop solution for farmers, transporters, and other entities engaged in the agriculture Industry.

Clinical trials of Anti-Cancer Drug received DGCI approval: The IND application of IIIM-290 (anticancer lead) has been approved by DCGI, for conducting Phase I/II clinical trial in pancreatic cancer patients.

Trials of car fitted with Fuel Cell Technology (LT-PEMFC) Stack successfully ran by CSIR and KPIT Ltd.: CSIR and KPIT Technologies Ltd. successfully ran trials of India’s first Hydrogen Fuel Cell (HFC) prototype car running on an indigenously developed fuel cell stack at CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, Pune. The HFC technology uses chemical reactions between hydrogen and oxygen (from air) to generate electrical energy, eliminating the use of fossil fuels. Further, the fuel cell technology emits only water, thus cutting down the emission of harmful greenhouse gases along with other air pollutants. The fuel cell is a low-temperature PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) type Fuel Cell that operates at 65-75 degree centigrade, which is suitable for vehicular applications. 

Safe Biometric-based exploder developed: The exploders available in the market are found unsafe when it is stolen and misused by the unauthorised person. To avoid misuse, a biometric-based exploder has been developed.

World’s Largest Solar Tree fabricated: CSIR-CMERI has developed the World’s Largest Solar Tree, which is installed at CSIR-CMERI Residential Colony, Durgapur. The installed capacity of the Solar Tree is above 11.5 kWp and has the annual capacity to generate 12,000-14,000 units of Clean and Green Power. This Solar Tree is a Quantum Leap towards making an Energy Reliant and Carbon Negative India. The solar tree has 35 solar panels, each with a capacity of 330 watts. The solar panels connected through metal branches produce solar power. Has the potential to save 10–12 tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere every year. Since the shadow area is minimum in solar trees, they could be set up in agricultural farms to run pumps, e-tractors and tillers as an alternative to diesel. The excess power can be sent to the grid, providing an economic return to farmers.

Made in India aviation weather monitoring system installed at Bengaluru International airport: Aviation Weather Monitoring System (AWMS)

Geochemical baseline atlas under National Geochemical Mapping (NGCM) of soils for 22 elements: First “Geochemical Baseline atlas of India” in continental scale, consisting of geochemical maps of oxides and trace elements in topsoil and bottom soil.

Introduction of Asafoetida (Heeng) cultivation in the Indian Himalayan region: In Lahaul valley in Himachal Pradesh

Major Success Stories of DST in 2020

  1. India is placed 3rd among countries in scientific publication as per NSF database. The country has featured within the top 50 innovative economies globally (at 48th rank), as per Global Innovation Index (GII). It has also reached 3rd Position in terms of no of PhDs, in size of Higher Education System; as well as in terms of No of Startups.
  2. India was elected as Chair of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) executive board + Global partnership on artificial intelligence (GPAI)
  3. DRAFT 5th National Science Technology and Innovation Policy Released for Public Consultation: The objective of the policy is to identify and address strengths and weaknesses of the Indian STI ecosystem to catalyse socio-economic development of the country and also make the Indian STI ecosystem globally competitive.
  4. The National Super Computing Mission (NSM) is rapidly boosting High-Performance Computing (HPC) in the country to meet the increasing computational demands of academia, researchers, MSMEs,and startups in oil exploration, flood prediction, genomics, and drug discovery. Param Shivay, the first supercomputer assembled indigenously, was installed in IIT (BHU), followed by Param Shakti and Param Brahma at IIT-Kharagpur and IISER, Pune, respectively. Thereafter facilities were set up in two more institutions, and MoUs signed for providing itto 13 institutions. Param Siddhi the high-performance computing-artificial intelligence (HPC-AI) achieved global ranking of 63 among the top 500 most powerful non-distributed computer systems.
  5. Sophisticated Analytical & Technical Help Institutes (SATHI) centres to house major analytical instruments have been established to provide common servicesof high-end analytical testing, thus reducing dependency on foreign sources. TheST has set up three such centres—at IIT Kharagpur, IIT Delhi and BHU under the SATHI programme which are being operated with a transparent, open-access policy to make professionally managed,S&T infrastructure readily accessible to academia, start-ups, industry and R&D labs.
  6. New S&T areas of Cyberphysical systems like AI, Robotics, IOT receive big boost with the launch of the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (ICPS).
  7. Three Centres of Excellence (CoE) were established in Himalayan Universities in Kashmir, and North Eastern States of Sikkim & Assam to lead climate change research. Research on monsoons, aerosols, glacial lake outburst floods saw significant publications.
  8. Gender Advancement for Transforming Institutions (GATI), an innovative pilot project launched by the DST ushered a novel intervention for promoting gender equity in science and technology. It nudges institutions of higher education and research towards supporting diversity, inclusion and the full spectrum of talent for their own success and progression. In particular, it aspires to create an enabling environment for equal participation of women in Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine andMathematics (STEMM) disciplines at all levels.
  9. The Survey of India (SoI), a subordinate department under the Department of Science & Technology has embarked on a pan-India geospatial mapping of the country at a very high resolution of 10 cm scale usingmost advanced technologies like drone technology. With this, India joins the select club of few nations to have Ultra High-resolution National Topographic Data as foundation data. This effort has been launched in three States — Haryana, Maharashtra, and Karnataka and also for the Ganga basin.
  10. Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a Statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, initiated a Scheme to mitigate gender disparity in science and engineering research funding in Indian academic institutions and R&D laboratories. A well-thought- out Scheme titled “SERB-POWER (Promoting Opportunities for Women in Exploratory Research)” has been designed exclusively for women scientists.
  11. Indian astronomers have worked with 2020 Physics Nobel Laureate Prof. Andrea Ghez on the design of backend instruments and possible science prospects of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project being installed at Maunakea in Hawaii which can revolutionize the understanding of the universe and the enigmas in it.
  12. The QuIC lab at RRI achieved the first successful implementation in Indiaof a highly secure efficient Quantum Cryptographic scheme for an end to end free space QKD under the RRI-ISRO project on “Quantum Experiments using Satellite Technology”. The lab has also come up with an end-to-end simulation toolkit named as “qkdSim” to ensure safety in secure quantum communication platforms, a first of its kind that enables Quantum Key Distribution Protocol (QKD) experimentalists to obtain a realistic estimate of the result from an experimental setup meant to demonstrate a QKD protocol.

Prelims-oriented News

National Girl Child Day: 24th January

11th National Voters’ Day (NVD): 25th January

850 MW Ratle Hydro Electric (HE) Project: Located on river Chenab, in Kishtwar district of Union Territory  of Jammu and Kashmir

PARAKRAM DIWAS on 23rd January: To celebrate the 125th Birth Anniversary year of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose; to inspire people of the country, especially the youth, to act with fortitude in the face of adversity as Netaji did, and to infuse in them a spirit of patriotic fervor

Exercise Kavach: Training for Joint Operation in Andaman Sea by Indian Army, Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and Indian Coast Guard

  • The exercise involves synergised application of maritime surveillance assets, coordinated air and maritime strikes, air defence, submarine and landing operations. 
  • Concurrently Joint Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) exercise involving various technical, electronic and human intelligence from three services will be conducted. 
  • The ISR exercise will validate the capabilities of intelligence gathering from space, air, land and sea-based assets/ sensors, its analysis and sharing to achieve battle field transparency for quick decision making at different stages of operations.
  • The joint force would execute multi domain, high intensity offensive and defensive manoeuvres in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal and carry out amphibious landing operations, air landed operation, helicopters-borne insertion of Special Forces from sea culminating in tactical follow-on operations on land.
  • The tri-services exercise aims to fine tune joint war-fighting capabilities and SOPs towards enhancing operational synergy.

For Migrant workers

  • National Migration Support Portal: It would effectively help in the smooth formulation of state and national level programs for migrant workers.
    • Will address the data gap and empower migrant workers who generally migrate in search of employment and income generation. 
    • Help the government for linking the migrant population with existing Welfare Scheme- under Atam Nirbhar Bharat. 
    • The various data that will be recorded via Shram Shakti include demographic profile, livelihood options, skill mapping and migration pattern.
  • Shramshakti Digital Data Solution for Migrant Workers – a training manual for migrant workers
    • After training via this module, tribal migrant workers will be able to demand and access services, rights and entitlements related to livelihood and social security at their village before migration, as well after migration at destination towns and cities.
  • Launch of a tribal migration cell, a tribal museum at Goa

Cabinet approves signing of Memorandum of Understanding between India and Uzbekistan for cooperation in the field of Solar Energy

The main area of work under is to identify research/demonstration/pilot projects between the National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Ministry of New & Renewable Energy, India and the International Solar Energy Institute (ISEI), Uzbekistan in the following mutually identified areas:

  • Solar Photovoltaic
  • Storage Technologies
  • Transfer of Technology

5TH India – Singapore Defence Ministers’ Dialogue

Defence and security engagements between India and Singapore have broadened significantly in scale and scope across all three Services of the Armed Forces as well as in the areas of defence technology and industry. Both countries have also found common ground on multilateral fora and engagements.

  • Signing of the Implementing Agreement on Submarine Rescue Support and Cooperation between the two Navies
  • Conveyed their full support towards the early conclusion of agreements to facilitate conduct of live firings and to establish reciprocal arrangements for the cross-attendance of military courses
  • Welcomed initiatives to expand bilateral defence cooperation including the implementing agreement on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) cooperation in August 2020 for the two Armed Forces to have closer operational collaboration in response to disasters and capacity-building activities of mutual interest. The cyber agencies of both armed forces have also stepped up engagements.
  • The Ministers were pleased that the Indian Navy and Republic of Singapore Navy successfully conducted the 27th edition of Singapore-India Maritime Bilateral Exercise (SIMBEX) and also participated in the second edition of the Singapore-India-Thailand Maritime Exercise (SITMEX).These exercises enhance interoperability amongst the navies and underscore the shared responsibility of the countries to work together to keep sea lines of communications open.

DRDO hands over Motor Bike Ambulance ‘Rakshita’ to CRPF: A bike-based casualty transport emergency vehicle

  • The bike ambulance will help in overcoming the problems faced by Indian security forces and emergency healthcare providers. It will provide life-saving aid for evacuation of injured patients from low intensity conflict areas. This will be handy in the congested streets and remote locations, where access through ambulance is difficult and time consuming. 
  • The bike can respond to a medical emergency need of patients faster than a four-wheeler due to its functionality and integrated emergency medical support system.
  • Rakshita is fitted with a customized reclining Casualty Evacuation Seat (CES), which can be fitted in and taken out as per requirement. Other major features are the head immobilizer, safety harness jacket, hand and foot straps for safety, adjustable footrest, physiological parameter measuring equipment with wireless monitoring capability and auto warning system for driver. The vital parameters of the patient can be monitored on the dashboard mounted LCD. It is also equipped with air splint, medical and oxygen kit for on spot medical care.

Government of India strengthens cargo handling capacity of Chabahar Port, Iran

  • India has supplied a consignment of two Mobile Harbour Cranes (MHC) to Iran’s Chabahar port, with a total contract value of over USD 25 Million under a contract agreement for supply of 6 MHC.
  • With 140 metric tons lifting capacity, multipurpose equipment and accessories like Mobile Harbour Cranes (MHC) will enable  India Ports Global Limited (IPGL) to provide seamless services for Container, Bulk and General Cargo at Shahid Beheshti Port of Chabahar. This is a step towards India’s commitment towards infrastructure development of ‎Shahid Beheshti Port of Chabahar.

The bilateral contract between the Islamic Republic of Iran and Republic of India was signed on 23rd  May 2016 with a total value of USD 85 million ‎for Equipping, Mechanizing and starting Operations at Shahid Beheshti Port of Chabahar development Phase- I. To achieve this ambitious aim, an SPV namely India Ports Global Limited (IPGL) Mumbai was incorporated under the ambit of the Ministry of Ports, ‎Shipping and Waterways.

About Chabahar Port

  • Located on the Makran coast
  • South-eastern coast of Iran
  • It is relatively underdeveloped free trade and industrial zone (compared to the sprawling port of Bandar Abbas further west)

For India, Chabahar is of strategic importance for two reasons:

  • First, it is the nearest port to India on the Iranian coast, which provides access to the resources and markets of Afghanistan and Central Asia.
  • Second, it is located 76 nautical miles (less than 150km) west of the Pakistani port of Gwadar, being developed by China; this makes it ideal for keeping track of Chinese or Pakistani military activity based out of Gwadar.

Mining of Potash in the state of Rajasthan

  • Rajasthan has huge Potash and Halite resources spread across 50,000 sq. kms in the Nagaur – Ganganagar basin in the northwest. 
  • Bedded Salt formations are strategically useful for underground oil storage, repositories for hydrogen, ammonia and helium gas, storage of compresses gas and nuclear waste. 
  • Potash & Sodium Chloride from the Bedded Salt are extensively used in the Fertiliser Industry and the Chemical Industry respectively.

The first-ever WasteWater Treatment Technology Model – Purifies Waste Water for Irrigation/Farming purposes

  • An Integrated Waste Water Rejuvenation Model which has Six-Stage purification profile for comprehensive treatment of Waste Water, based upon diverse purification parameters. 
  • The approx. 24,000 litres of Water that can be rejuvenated using ARP will be sufficient for almost 4 acres of Agricultural Land (barring seasonal variations in water requirements). The used filtration media have been specially developed to handle Indian Sewage Water Parameters and based upon Geographical Variations they may be modified. 
  • The filter media is also locally source-able, so as to ensure that there would not be any stress in the Supply Chain for scaled-up Manufacturing of ARP. 
  • The treated water which is now being used for irrigationcan be used even for drinking purpose also when little more time is given for settling. 
  • The system has dual benefit as while the treated water is being used for irrigation purpose, the filtered sludge generated is also utilized as manure / fertilizer. 
  • The bio char prepared from dry leaves falling in autumn season is also used for mixing in soil as it reduces the water requirement for irrigation thus saving precious water. 

Personality in News

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose 

  • Subhash Chandra Bose was twice elected President of the Indian National Congress, (1938-Haripur and 1939-Tripuri).
  • Owing to political differences, he resigned from the Congress Presidentship in 1939 and organised the All India Forward Bloc a faction within the Congress in Bengal.
  • In Calcutta, Bose organised mass protests and was arrested. 
  • He was later put under house arrest from where he escaped. 
  • He went to Germany via Afghanistan.
  • However, in 1943 Bose lost hope that Germany could be of any help in gaining India’s independence. 
  • He then turned to Asia where he finally came at the helm of the Indian National Army (INA).
  • INA found support among expatriate Indians and Bose formed the Azad Hind government which came to produce its own currency, postage stamps, court and civil code. 
  • It was recognised by Axis states.
  • During the final two years of the war, Bose with considerable Japanese backing- led the forces of the Indian National Army into battle against the British.
  • The I.N.A. was essentially non-communal, with Muslims quite prominent among its officers and ranks, and it also introduced the innovation of a women’s detachment named after the Rani of Jhansi.

Azad Hind Fauj

  • Leader of Azad Hind Government
  • Head of State of this Provisional Indian Government-in-exile

Bose was convinced that armed struggle was the only way to achieve independence for India. He had been a leader of the radical wing of the Indian National Congress in the late 1920s and 1930s, rising to become Congress president in 1938 and 1939 but was ousted following differences with Mahatma Gandhi and the Congress leadership.

  • Subhas Chandra Bose had escaped from India in 1941 and gone to Germany to work for India’s Independence. In 1943, he came to Singapore to lead the Indian Independence league and rebuild the Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj) to make it an effective instrument for the freedom of India.
  • Netaji went to the Andaman which had been occupied by the Japanese and hoisted there the flag of India. In early 1944, three units of the Azad Hind Fauj (INA) took part in the attack on the north-eastern parts of India to oust the British from India.
  • The Azad Hind Fauj, with the slogan of ‘Delhi Chalo’ and the salutation Jai Hind was a source of inspiration to Indians, inside and outside the country. Netaji rallied together the Indians of all religions and regions, living in south-east Asia, for the cause of India’s freedom.
  • A women’s regiment of Azad Hind Fauj was formed, which was under the command of Captain Lakshmi Swaminathan. It was called the Rani Jhansi regiment. The Azad Hind Fauj became the symbol of unity and heroism to the people of India.

Bose’s death was seen as the end to the Azad Hind movement.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep: Ross Island of Andaman & Nicobar Island

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