Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - April 10, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Science Ministry’s depts. develop tools like digital infrared thermometers to fight coronavirus

Focus: GS3.                           

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Context

  • Amid the rising cases of coronavirus in the country, different departments of the Ministry of Science and Technology have developed products like digital infrared thermometers and oxygen enrichment units for battling the pandemic.
  • BMEK, a CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL)''s incubate, has developed the infrared thermometer and its design is available open source with complete know how of the hardware as well as the software design.

Background

  • The NCL of the CSIR and Bharat Electronic Limited (BEL) will scale up the production of digital infrared thermometers, an important tool in battling coronavirus.
  • This is an effort to enable a large number of manufacturers to produce the thermometers and cater to their local demands.
  • Now it is being scaled up in partnership with BEL (Bharat Electronics Ltd, Pune).

Highlights

  • The NCL is a laboratory under the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) which comes under the Ministry of Science and Technology. 
  • The NCL and Genrich Membranes, a start-up innovation venture founded by Ulhas Kharul, the head of the Polymer Science and Engineering Division at NCL, have prepared an Oxygen Enrichment Unit (OEU).
  • The OEUs increase the oxygen concentration from the ambient air of 21-22 per cent to 38-40 per cent.
  • It is a hollow fibre membrane bundles for separation and filtration of ambient air to produce enriched oxygen for patients in home and hospital settings.
  • The SCTIMST is an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • Generally, in the ICU, the secretions are sucked by a machine into bottles or canisters, which have to be emptied when full, subjected to a decontamination process in a sluice room and discarded through the waste fluid disposal systems.
  • Apart from the re-contamination risk during the handling involved in these processes, there is a need for well-equipped sluice rooms with disinfection facilities, which can be an issue in less well-equipped hospitals or makeshift isolation wards during epidemics.

Source: Times of India.

On Shaurya Diwas, PM Modi, Amit Shah's Tribute To CRPF Personnel Who Fought Off Pak Attack

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Various Security forces and agencies and their mandate.

Context

Ø  Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah celebrated the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in tweets that honoured a small contingent of soldiers stationed at a border outpost in Gujarat.
Ø  The soldiers, despite being outnumbered, fought off an attack by a Pakistani force on April 9, 1965.
Ø  The valiant CRPF personnel killed 34 and captured four Pakistani soldiers.

Background

Ø  The CRPF marks this heroic moment every year as Shaurya Diwas (Valour Day).
Ø  "The courage of India's CRPF is widely known. On CRPF Valour Day, I salute this brave force and remember the bravery of our personnel (at) Gujarat's Sardar Patel Post in 1965. The sacrifices of the brave martyrs will never be forgotten," Prime Minister Modi tweeted.

Highlights

  • The landmark battle that took place 55 years ago on this day saw a small group of the CRPF's 2nd Battalion - around 150 soldiers - attacked by a heavily-armed Pakistani force that consisted of 3,500 men of the 51st Infantry Brigade, among other divisions.
  • The assault, most of which took place on a tactically disadvantageous flat area, began at 3.30 pm and went on for a gruelling 12 hours, during which the enemy made three attempts to overrun the CRPF post.
  • Six CRPF soldiers died in the attack.

Source: NDTV.

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Kerala scientists develop new equipment to ensure better treatment, safety of health workers

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Context

Ø  Giving a major boost to the battle against Covid-19, scientists in Kerala had developed new equipment ensuring better treatment and safety of the health workers.

Background

  • The Scientists in Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology, Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala had developed few new equipment for the treatments of covid 19.
  • One of the main inventions is the Acrylosorb, the equipment to collect body fluids of patients and dispose it safely.
  • Under the system, suction canisters which are spill-proof and that can be sealed after use, is used to collect liquid respiratory secretions from patients.
  • The merit of AcryloSorb is that there is no risk of re-contamination as the waste is absorbed by the equipment itself and also it can handle more liquid waste at a time. 

Highlights

  • Another major innovation is the isolation pod that restricts COVID-19 patients from having contact with others.
  • It is a special module that can be used to shift the COVID-19 patient safely from one place to another.
  • A sterilized tend cover is attached with a pod that prevents any kind of contact  
  • A light bed is also arranged on the isolation pod. 
  • Bubble helmet is the third equipment which will be revolutionary in the treatment COVID-19.
  • Bubble helmet is an alternative option for the traditional oxygen masks.
  • Bubble helmetcompletely covers the head of the patient will be connected through a special collar on it.
  • This device will help the patient to overcome breathing problems and avoid using ventilator facility.
  • The automatic disinfection gateway is another equipment developed that is designed for the decontamination of people, one at a time.
  • It is completely controlled electronically as the sensorsmounted in the chamber detects the entry of a person and starts the hydrogen peroxide mist generation process.
  • Meanwhile, the hospital authorities said that they will hand over the technology to companies for free without any restrictions on the patent.

Source: AIR.

CIL Allows Usance LC as Payment Method for Coal Purchases

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.

Context

  • In its effort to provide some relief to the power sector at the time of lockdown in the county, the country's largest coal producer Coal India Limited(CIL) has extended the letter of credit facility for payment of coal instead of cash advance - for coal procurement to power sector consumers – that is mandated for supplies made under the Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA).

About the Usance letter of credit

  • It is a payment security mechanism for CIL where there are two banks and they are issuing bank and receiving bank.
  • Issuing bank is the one that issues a letter of credit to the coal consumers depending on their credit profiles while the Receiving bank is based on the letter of credit releases payment to CIL once certain conditions are met.
  • However, the CIL gets payments on the presentation of invoices from the receiving bank and the coal companies can make payments after some time.

Highlights

  • The CIL has also introduced the same mechanism for customers of Non-Power Sectors in April 2020.
  • This will be a big boost to the liquidity in the markets and at the same time will also provide the much-anticipated relief to the consumers of coal.
  • CIL is supplying about 80 per cent of its coal to power sector consumers and 550 million tonnes of coal has been offered for the power sector in the current fiscal year 2020-21.
  • Earlier, CIL had decided to not impose late payment penalties on power sector customers for not lifting contracted coal quantities within the stipulated period.
  • CIL continues to supply coal, despite payment defaults, to the power generating companies in the Central and State sectors amid COVID-19 crisis.

Source: AIR.

Bio fortified carrot variety developed by farmer scientist benefits local farmers

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country, different types of irrigation and irrigation systems storage, transport and marketing of agricultural produce and issues and related constraints; e-technology in the aid of farmers.



Context

  • Madhuban Gajar, a biofortified carrot variety with high β-carotene and iron content developed by Shri Vallabhhai Vasrambhai Marvaniya, a farmer scientist from Junagadh district, Gujarat is benefitting more than 150 local farmers in the area.
  • It is being planted in an area of over 200 hectares in Junagadh, and the average yield, which is 40-50 t/ha, has become the main source of income to the local farmers.

Background

  • The variety is being cultivated in more than 1000 hectares of land in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh during the last three years.
  • The Madhuvan Gajar is a highly nutritious carrot variety developed through the selection methodwith higher β-carotene content (277.75 mg/kg) and iron content (276.7 mg/kg) dry basis and is used for various value-added products like carrot chips, juices, and pickles.
  • Among all the varieties tested, beta-carotene and iron content were found to be superior.

Highlights

  • National Innovation Foundation (NIF) – India, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology,Govt. of India conducted validation trials for this variety at Rajasthan Agricultural Research Institute (RARI), Jaipur, between 2016 and 2017.
  • In the trials, it was found that Madhuban Gajar carrot variety possesses a significantly higher root yield (74.2 t/ha) and plant biomass (275 gm per plant) as compared to check variety.
  • The on-farm trials of the variety were conducted over 25 hectares of land by NIF in different states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Assam, Haryana, Punjab and West Bengal which involved more than 100 farmers where the performance of the variety (MadhuvanGajar) was found to be appreciable in term of yield and its other properties.
  • Shri VallabhaiVasrambhai Marvaniyawas conferred with a National Award by the President of India at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi during Festival of Innovation (FOIN) – 2017.
  • He was conferred with Padma Shri in the year 2019 for his extraordinary work.

Source: PIB.

Test your Knowledge

  1. Consider the following statements wrt OPCW:
    1. OPCW is an intergovernmental organisation and the implementing body for the Chemical Weapons Convention, which entered into force in 1997.
    2. It oversees the global endeavour to permanently and verifiably eliminate chemical weapons.
    3. The Headquarters is in New York.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. AOTA

Solution: A

2. Consider the following statement:

  • The Headquarters is in Hague, Netherlands.
Which of the following country borders Mediterranean Sea:

     1. Jordan
     2. Iraq
     3. Syria
     4. Hungary

Solution: C

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