TDB National Award 2021
Why in News?
- A Bangalore based startup has received the National Award 2021 from Technology Development Board (TDB) for developing a commercial solution for conversion of CO2 to chemicals and fuels.
- Breathe Applied Sciences, a startup incubated at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) developed efficient catalysts and methodologies for the conversion of CO2 to methanol and other chemicals.
- It has led to improvisation of process engineering to enhance the production of chemicals and fuels from anthropogenic CO2
- Generated from various sources including coal and natural gas power generation sectors, steel industry, cement industry, and chemical industries and
- Integrating multiple components involved in the CCUS (Carbon capture, utilization, and sequestration) to develop a complete solution for the environmental issues due to global warming.
Clues to Star Formation And Galaxy Evolution
Why in News?
- A scientist has estimated the three-dimensional distribution of molecular and atomic hydrogen in a nearby galaxy which can help lead to clues to the star formation processes and the evolution of the galaxy.
- Galaxies like the one we reside in, the Milky Way, consist of discs containing stars, molecular and atomic hydrogen, and helium.
- The molecular hydrogen gas collapses on itself in distinct pockets, forming stars, its temperature was found to be low –close to 10 kelvin, or -263 ºC and thickness is about 60 to 240 light-years. The atomic hydrogen extends both above and below the discs.
- Astronomers have estimated that molecular hydrogen extends farther from the disc in both directions, up to about 3000 light-years.
- This gaseous component is warmer than the one straddling the disc and has comparatively lesser densities, thus escaping earlier observations. They called it the ‘diffuse’ component of the molecular disc.
- In a new study, a researcher from Raman Research Institute (RRI), has carried out mathematical calculations on the computer and used publicly available astronomical data of a nearby galaxy to pin down the ratio of the narrow and diffuse gaseous components.
- The molecular hydrogen gas converts to individual stars under the pull of gravity, thus holding clues to the star formation processes and the evolution of the galaxy.
- For the study, astronomers focussed on a single galaxy about 20 million light-years away from the Milky Way.
- The galaxy’s proximity makes it easier to observe with telescopes, and spectral lines of carbon monoxide (CO) are available for public research. “The carbon monoxide molecule is known to accurately trace molecular hydrogen, whose spectral lines are more difficult to observe.
- The researcher used the observed spectral lines of the CO molecule to infer the three-dimensional distribution of both the narrow disc component and the diffuse component of molecular hydrogen.
- Estimating how the ratio of the two components varies with the distance away from the centre of the galaxy, he found that the diffuse component makes up about 70 percent of the molecular hydrogen, and this fraction remains roughly constant along the radius of the disc.
- This is the first time that such a calculation has been done for any galaxy.
Government to give assistance to each Transgender person
Why in News?
- As the country is fighting with COVID19, members of the Transgender community have been critically affected by the pandemic majorly because of serious disruption of livelihoods.
Subsistence Allowance for Transgender Persons
- The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment being the nodal ministry for Transgender Welfare has decided to provide a subsistence allowance of Rs.1500 to each Transgender person as immediate support to meet their basic requirements.
- This financial assistance will help the Transgender community to meet their day-to-day needs.
Cooperation in Agriculture
Why in News?
- Taking forward the ever-growing partnership in agriculture between Israel and India, the two governments have agreed to enhance their cooperation in agriculture and signed a three-year work program agreement for development in Agriculture cooperation, while affirming the ever-growing bilateral partnership and recognizing the centrality of agriculture and water sectors in the bilateral relationship.
- India and Israel are implementing the “INDO-ISRAEL Agricultural Project Centres of Excellence” and “INDO-ISRAEL Villages of Excellence”.
- The work program will aim to grow existing Centres of Excellence, establish new centers, increase CoE’s value chain, bring the Centres of Excellence into the self-sufficient mode, and encourage private sector companies and collaboration.
INDO-ISRAEL Villages of Excellence
- As for the “INDO-ISRAEL Villages of Excellence”, this is a new concept aimed at creating a model ecosystem in agriculture across eight states, alongside 13 Centers of Excellence within 75 villages.
- The program will promote the increase of net income and better the livelihood of the individual farmer, transforming traditional farms into modern-intensive farms based on IIAP standards.
- Large-scale and complete value chain approach with economic sustainability, embedded with Israeli novel technologies and methodologies will be tailored to local conditions.
- The IIVOE program will focus on: (1) Modern Agriculture infrastructure, (2) Capacity Building, (3) Market linkage.
Hallmarking of Gold Jewellery
Why in News?
- Hallmarking of Gold Jewellery is set to begin from 15thJune 2021. Earlier it was expected to be implemented from 1stJune 2021.
- A committee was formed to ensure proper coordination and resolve the implementation issues. Pramod Tewari DG (BIS) would be the convener of Committee.
- Additional Secretary, Smt. Nidhi Khare, Department of Consumer Affairs and representatives of Jewellers Associations, trade, hallmarking bodies etc. are going to Constitute the committee.
- Under Hallmarking scheme of Bureau of Indian Standards, Jewellers are registered for selling hallmarked jewellery and recognise testing and Hallmarking centres.
- BIS (Hallmarking) Regulations, were implemented w.e.f. 14.06.2018.
- Hallmarking will enable Consumers/Jewellery buyers to make a right choice and save them from any unnecessary confusion while buying gold. At present, only 30% of Indian Gold Jewellery is hallmarked.
- This step will also help to develop India as a leading gold market center in the World.
COVID-19 death certificates
Why in News?
- The Supreme Court said death certificates of those who died of COVID-19 often did not reveal that fact.
- The death certificates of persons who die from COVID in hospitals show the reason as lung or heart problem or something else… Whatever has happened should be reflected in the death certificate for the families to get any benefits in the future. Death certificates have to show the reason as COVID.
- Hearing separate pleas to direct the government to grant an ex-gratia compensation of ₹4 lakh each to the families of people who lost their lives to COVID-19.
- A petitioner, said under Section 12 (iii) of the Disaster Management Act, ex-gratia compensation of ₹4 lakh was payable to families of disaster victims. The COVID-19 pandemic is a disaster.
Military detain Mali’s president, Prime Minister and Defence Minister
Why in News?
- Military officers in Mali detained the President, Prime Minister and Defence Minister of the interim government, deepening political chaos just months after a military coup ousted the previous president.
- All taken to a military base in Kati outside the capital Bamako, hours after two members of the military lost their positions in a government reshuffle.
- The development could exacerbate instability in the West African country where violent Islamist groups linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State control large areas of the desert north.
- Political instability and military infighting have complicated efforts by Western powers and neighbouring countries to prop up to the impoverished nation, contributing to regional insecurity.
- Kati’s military base is notorious for ending the rule of Malian leaders.
- Last August, the military took President Keita to Kati and forced him to resign. A mutiny there helped topple his predecessor Amadou Toumani Toure in 2012.
New multi drug-resistant bacteria
Why in News?
- A group of researchers from Pune and Chandigarh has discovered new “multi drug-resistant” bacteria from the scats of vine snake, a mildly venomous reptile, commonly found in Northern Western Ghats.
- The newly-isolated bacteria are resistant to at least 35 types of antibiotics.
- The microorganisms present in scats of animals can very easily come in contact with human beings and other animals through water flow during rainy season and also through air.
- The bacteria reported here comes under family Planococcaceae and some species of this family are pathogenic in nature.
- Recently, it has been observed that the Chinese krait and the Chinese cobra may be the original source of coronavirus. When the researchers performed a more detailed bioinformatics analysis of the sequence of 2019-nCoV, it suggests that this coronavirus might have come from snakes.
- World Health Organization (WHO) recently claimed that 70% of infectious diseases will cause due to microorganisms from wildlife.
- Many bacteria, including those which are multi drug-resistant in snakes, lead to wound infection after the snake bites.
- “In some serious cases, patients may suffer from cellulitis, tissues necrosis, finger or toe gangrene, and/or extensive necrotizing fasciitis.
- To avoid such type of infections, antibiotic therapy is the only way.
- However, these newly-isolated bacteria are resistant to antibiotic drugs, which is a cause of serious concern.
High-powered panel meets to choose next CBI chief
Why in News?
- A high-powered committee, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and comprising Chief Justice of India Justice N.V. Ramana and Leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Adhir Ranjan Chowdhary, met to finalise the choice of the next director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
- The post of CBI Director has been lying vacant since February 3 when Rishi Kumar Shukla completed his tenure. Additional Director Praveen Sinha, a 1988-batch officer, has been functioning as the interim chief of the premier agency.
- The new CBI director will hold office for a period of not less than two years from the date on which he or she takes charge.
Eastern Rajasthan canal
- The Rajasthan Government has again sought the national project status for the proposed Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) during the pandemic, while affirming that it would transfer excess waters from the Chambal river basin to 13 districts facing water scarcity.
- The ambitious project with an estimated budget of ₹40,000 crore will be a major initiative for interlinking of rivers in the State.
- The Central Water Commission has already given in-principle approval to the feasibility report, while the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti had finalised a Cabinet note on it as an intra-basin water transfer scheme in 2018.
- The mega project will also provide water for irrigation to an additional 2 lakh hectares.
- The national project status would facilitate solution to the water scarcity issue in eastern and south-eastern districts at least till 2051 by linking Parvati, Kalisindh and Chambal rivers. It will also supply water to the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.
- The State government has taken up transport of water tanks, construction of new water sources and replacement of pipelines and pump sets as part of drinking water management in both rural and urban areas during the pandemic.
New IT Rules
Why in News?
- The three-month deadline for social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube to comply with new stricter rules for intermediaries ends on 25th May, even as at least five industry bodies, including CII and the U.S.-India Business Council (USIBC), have asked the government for up to a one-year compliance window, particularly in the view of the pandemic.
- The industry has also raised concerns over potential unavailability of ‘safe harbour’ protection given to intermediaries under Section 79 of the IT Act, under the new rules.
- They have requested a re-think over a clause in the new rules which can lead to imposition of criminal liability upon the employees for non-compliance by intermediaries, asking for it to be dropped in the interest of ease of doing business.
- The Centre had on February 25 notified the ‘The Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021’, which make it mandatory for platforms such as WhatsApp, Signal and Telegram to aid in identifying “originator” of “unlawful” messages, while also requiring social media networks to take down such messages within a specific time frame, set up grievance redressal mechanism as well as assist government agencies in investigation.
- The ‘significant social media intermediary’ were given three months for compliance.
North Sea green energy
Why in News?
- The UK’s half-century legacy as a leading offshore oil and gas hub will be eclipsed by the North Sea’s fast-growing green energy industry within the next decade, according to new research.
- An academic study has found that by 2030 most of the UK’s offshore energy jobs will be in the low carbon energy industry.
- The research found that the number of green jobs off the UK’s coastlines is likely to climb from 20% of the country’s offshore energy sector to 65% by the end of the decade in a “significant change for the offshore energy industry”.
- Almost half of the jobs in the UK’s offshore energy industry will be supported by the offshore wind sector, which is the largest in the world and could support up to 90,000 roles by 2030 under a new deal with the government to support a quadrupling of wind power capacity.
- Meanwhile a fifth of offshore energy industry jobs in 2030, or 40,000 roles, will be linked to other clean energy sectors such as producing hydrogen from renewable energy, or capturing and storing the carbon emissions from factories and heavy industry under the seabed.
- The number of jobs supported by the North Sea oil and gas industry is expected to fall to 40% of all offshore energy jobs, or just over a third of the total, as the oil industry continues to decline.