- PM CARES Fund has accorded sanction for procurement of 1,50,000 units of ‘Oxycare’ system developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) at a cost of Rs 322.5 crore.
- Oxycare is a SpO2 based Oxygen Supply System which regulates the oxygen being administered to patients based on the sensed SpO2 levels.
- The Oxycare system delivers supplemental oxygen based on the SpO2 levels and prevents the person from sinking into a state of hypoxia which can be fatal.
- This system was developed by Defence Bio-Engineering & Electro Medical Laboratory (DEBEL), Bengaluru of DRDO for soldiers posted at extreme high-altitude areas.
- The system is indigenously developed for operation in field conditions and is robust.
India’s Transformative Mobility program
Why in News?
- The objectives of India’s Transformative Mobility program for promoting EVs are to reduce carbon emissions, improve air quality and to reduce the dependence on import of crude oil.
- The several initiative taken by by the NITI-Aayog (Mission for Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage) and the launch of FAME-2 incentives are intended to stimulate the production and demand for EVs in India.
- Yet, the consumer adoption of EVs will also depend on the easy availability of EV charging infrastructure.
- The share of Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) two-wheelers & three-wheelers is ~84% of total vehicle sales in our country.
- Therefore, the fastest adoption of EVs is expected to be in two-wheelers and three-wheelers. By 2025, forecasts expect up to 4 million of such vehicles could be sold each year, growing to almost 10 million by 2030.
- The Department of Science and Technology (DST), the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) to the Government of India, in close co-ordination with NITI Aayog team had taken on this challenge.
- A committee involving all the key stakeholders including EV manufacturers, auto and electronic component suppliers, power utilities, and communication service providers has worked in fast-track mode to develop specifications, prototype products, and undertake testing and validation of the proposed standards.
- These will be formally issued by the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
- The Group had set a target price of less than Rs. 3500 ($50) for a smart AC charge point operated with a smartphone, for a global breakthrough in affordable EV charging infrastructure.
- This Low-Cost AC Chargepoint (LAC) allows up to 3 kW of power to be drawn charging eScooters and eAutorickshaws.
Memorandum of Understanding between India & Qatar
Why in News?
- The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister has approved signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) and Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFCA).
- The MoU would enhance cooperation between the Institutes to work together to strengthen the Accounting profession and entrepreneurship base in Qatar.
Implementation strategy and Targets:
- MoU will endeavour to increase opportunities for members of ICAI to provide professional services through setting up practice for providing professional services in the State of Qatar in the areas of assurance and auditing, advisory, taxation, financial services and allied areas.
- ICAI shall also nurture and develop local Qatar professionals, entrepreneurs and students through a specialized training programme, in collaboration with QFCA.
- ICAI and QFCA will work together to explore the opportunities for Indian businesses in Qatar by organizing roundtables, networking events etc., as the case may be mutually agreed.
- ICAI and QFCA shall collaborate on opportunities that may arise in the fields of corporate governance, technical research and advice, quality assurance, forensic accounting, issues for small and medium sized practices (SMPs), Islamic Finance, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and other subjects of mutual interest.
National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell Battery Storage
Why in News?
- The Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister has approved the proposal of Department of Heavy Industry for implementation of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme ‘National Programme on Advanced Chemistry Cell (ACC) Battery Storage’ for achieving manufacturing capacity of Fifty (50) Giga Watt Hour (GWh) of ACC and 5 GWh of “Niche” ACC.
- ACCs are the new generation of advanced storage technologies that can store electric energy either as electrochemical or as chemical energy and convert it back to electric energy as and when required.
- The consumer electronics, electric vehicles, advanced electricity grids, solar rooftop etc. which are major battery consuming sectors are expected to achieve robust growth in the coming years.
The outcomes/ benefits expected from the scheme are as follows:
- Setup a cumulative 50 GWh of ACC manufacturing facilities in India under the Programme.
- Direct investment of around Rs.45,000 crore in ACC Battery storage manufacturing projects.
- Facilitate demand creation for battery storage in India.
- Facilitate Make-ln-lndia: Greater emphasis upon domestic value-capture and therefore reduction in import dependence.
- Net savings of Indian Rs. 2,00,000 crore to Rs.2,50,000 crore on account of oil import bill reduction during the period of this Programme due to EV adoption as ACCs manufactured under the Programme is expected to accelerate EV adoption.
- The manufacturing of ACCs will facilitate demand for EVs, which are proven to be significantly less polluting. As India pursues an ambitious renewable energy agenda, the ACC program will be a key contributing factor to reduce India’s Green House Gas (GHG) emissions which will be in line with India’s commitment to combat climate change.
- Import substitution of around Rs.20,000 crore every year.
- Impetus to Research & Development to achieve higher specific energy density and cycles in ACC.
- Promote newer and niche cell technologies.
Why in News?
- The United Nations chief has appointed veteran British diplomat Martin Griffiths, as the new UN humanitarian chief.
- Griffiths has spent the last three years as the UN special envoy for Yemen and he briefed the UN Security Council recently on his latest efforts to peacefully resolve the six-year conflict.
- Griffiths will replace Mark Lowcock, a Briton who has served as undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs and emergency relief coordinator for four years.
- The UN’s top humanitarian post has traditionally gone to someone from Britain, part of an unofficial division of top UN posts among the five permanent Security Council nations — the US, Russia, China, Britain and France.
- There have been calls to end this practice and open up the UN’s most important jobs to other countries, but so far they have not been successful.
- Researchers at Columbia Engineering have built what they say is the world’s smallest single-chip system.
- The chip is less than 0.1 cubic millimetre in volume, about the size of a dust mite.
- The chip can be used for developing wireless and miniaturised implantable medical devices.
How to be a bean
- Tepary beans (Phaseolus acutifolis A. Gray) found in the United States and Mexico are known to survive in harsh conditions.
- By studying the genome, researchers have now decoded the possible mechanisms behind its resilience to heat stress.
- They noticed that in tepary bean, specific genes sensitive to heat stress get activated and protect the plant.
- Increasing ocean temperatures may kill off many species of marine animals in the coming centuries, notes a new study.
- It adds that most of the survivors would shift away from the equator.
- Analyses indicate that many equatorial marine animals are living close to their thermal limits in the modern ocean and are unlikely to be able to adapt to warming oceans over the coming centuries.
Diamonds tell a story of Earth’s history
- Under conditions of intense heat and pressure, diamonds are formed deep within the Earth at about 150 to 200 kilometers under the surface.
- Now by studying these diamonds researchers are trying to trace the past geologic events and evolution of our planet.
- They studied 10 diamonds mined from South Africa and noted that the diamond-formation phase spanned a possible time frame of 550 million to 300 million years ago.
- A new study found that “bats encode the world in terms of time and do not translate time into distance.”
- This means that when a bat locates an insect, it perceives the prey as being at a distance of nine milliseconds, and not one and a half meters.
- The team also found that bats have this ability to know the speed of sound from birth and is not an acquired or learned talent.
NASA’s Voyager 1
Why in News?
- Instruments aboard NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft, which nine years ago exited our solar system’s outer reaches, have detected a faint monotonous hum caused by the constant vibrations of the small amounts of gas found in the near-emptiness of interstellar space.
- It essentially represents the background noise present in the vast expanse between star systems.
- These vibrations, called persistent plasma waves, were identified at radio frequencies in a narrow bandwidth during a three-year period as Voyager 1 traverses interstellar space.
About the Voyager 1 Spacecraft
- The Voyager 1 spacecraft, launched in September 1977, is currently located about 14.1 billion miles (22.7 billion km) from Earth — roughly 152 times the distance between our planet and the sun — and is still obtaining and transmitting data.
- Having decades ago visited the huge planets Jupiter and Saturn, Voyager 1 is now providing insight into interstellar space.
- The immense regions between star systems in a galaxy are not a complete vacuum. The stew of matter and radiation present in low densities — mostly gas — is called the interstellar medium.
- About 15% of the visible matter in our Milky Way galaxy is composed of this interstellar gas, dust and energetic particles like cosmic rays.
- Much of the interstellar medium is in what is called an ionized, or electrically charged, state called plasma.
International Nurses Day 2021
- Every year we observe May 12 as International Nurses Day along with the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing.
- International Nurses Day is observed to honour nurses every year on May 12. Nurses are essential caretakers for a prosperous society.
History of International Nurses Day
- The celebration of International Nurses Day started in 1965 by the International Council of Nurses(ICN).
- This day is the birth anniversary of the famous Florence Nightingale. She was an English nurse, social reformer, and statistician. During the Crimean war, she gained fame while serving as a manager and trainer of nurses, being the pillar of modern nursing.
The theme of International Nurses Day 2021
- The theme for this year’s International Nurses Day is Nurses: A Voice to Lead-A Vision for Future Healthcare.
Fatal Road Accident Victims
Why in News?
- The Supreme Court has held that an extra 40% should be added to the income of fatal road accident victims, aged below 40 and self-employed, while calculating compensation.
- The recent judgment, authored by Chief Justice Ramana, came in a petition filed by the children of a 37-year-old self-employed woman who died in a car accident 11 years ago.
- The judgment is significant as it recognises self-employment as gainful employment and calls for an increase in the compensation amount accordingly.
- Chief Justice Ramana referred to a Constitution Bench decision in National Insurance versus Pranay Sethi, which had “clearly held that in case the deceased is self-employed and below the age of 40, 40% addition would be made to their income as future prospects”.
- The High Court held the victim ineligible for future prospects because she was self-employed. The High Court had also deduced 50% towards personal expenses of the victim from the compensation.
- The apex court however disagreed with the High Court’s conclusions. It said “deduction towards personal and living expenses for a person such as the deceased who was married with two dependents should only be one-third … Since the High Court deducted 50% it merits interference by this court”.
- The Supreme Court then granted 40% addition towards “future prospects” and deducted only one-third towards personal expenses while determining the total compensation due to the woman’s family.
Placenta in Pregnant Women
Why in News?
- A new study in pregnant women who received the Covid-19 vaccine found no evidence of injury in the placenta. The finding adds to growing literature that Covid-19 vaccines are safe in pregnancy.
- While India’s vaccination protocol recommends against pregnant and lactating women taking the vaccine, some countries such as the US and Brazil does not bar such women.
- The placenta is the first organ that forms during pregnancy.
- It performs duties for most of the foetus’s organs while they are still forming, such as providing oxygen while the lungs develop and nutrition while the gut is forming.
- Additionally, the placenta manages hormones and the immune system, and tells the mother’s body to welcome and nurture the foetus rather than reject it as a foreign intruder.
Israel’s Iron Dome intercepts rockets
Why in News?
- In the conflict between Israel and Palestine, both sides have taken to air strikes and rocket attacks.
- Rockets fired from Gaza being intercepted by the Israeli Iron Dome air defence system. It appeared that the rockets were hitting an invisible shield.
What is the Iron Dome?
- It is a short-range, ground-to-air, air defence system that includes a radar and Tamir interceptor missiles that track and neutralise any rockets or missiles aimed at Israeli targets.
- It is used for countering rockets, artillery & mortars (C-RAM) as well as aircraft, helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles.
- The genesis of the Iron Dome goes back to the 2006 Israeli-Lebanon war, when the Hezbollah fired thousands of rockets into Israel.
- The following year, Israel announced that its state-run Rafael Advance Systems would come up with a new air defence system to protect its cities and people. It was developed with Israel Aerospace Industries.
- The Iron Dome was deployed in 2011. While Rafael claims a success rate of over 90%, with more than 2,000 interceptions, experts agree the success rate is over 80%
How does it work, and what makes it so effective?
- The Iron Dome has three main systems that work together to provide a shield over the area where it is deployed, handling multiple threats.
- It has a detection and tracking radar to spot any incoming threats, a battle management and weapon control system (BMC), and a missile firing unit. The BMC basically liaises between the radar and the interceptor missile.
- It is capable of being used in all weather conditions, including during the day and night.
Climate emissions shrinking the stratosphere
Why in News?
- Humanity’s enormous emissions of greenhouse gases are shrinking the stratosphere, a new study has revealed.
- The thickness of the atmospheric layer has contracted by 400 metres since the 1980s, the researchers found, and will thin by about another kilometre by 2080 without major cuts in emissions.
- The changes have the potential to affect satellite operations, the GPS navigation system and radio communications.
- In April, scientists showed that the climate crisis had shifted the Earth’s axis as the massive melting of glaciers redistributes weight around the globe.
- The stratosphere extends from about 20km to 60km above the Earth’s surface. Below is the troposphere, in which humans live, and here carbon dioxide heats and expands the air. This pushes up the lower boundary of the stratosphere.
- But, in addition, when CO2 enters the stratosphere it actually cools the air, causing it to contract.
- The ozone layer that absorbs UV rays from the sun is in the stratosphere and researchers had thought ozone losses in recent decades could be to blame for the shrinking.
- Less ozone means less heating in the stratosphere. But the new research shows it is the rise of CO2 that is behind the steady contraction of the stratosphere, not ozone levels, which started to rebound after the 1989 Montreal treaty banned CFCs.