13.1. JIGYASA INITIATIVE
- “JIGYASA” (means curiosity) is one of the major initiatives taken up by CSIR at national level, during its Platinum Jubilee Celebration Year.
- CSIR is widening and deepening its Scientific Social Responsibility (SSR) further with the programme.
- It is a student- scientist connect programme which will be implemented by Council of
- Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in collaboration with Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS).
13.2. PROPOSALS FOR HIGH-TECH PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Why in News?
- NITI Ayog cleared six new proposals for public transportation system of India.
- These technologies include metrino, stadler buses, hyper loop, pod taxis, hybrid buses and freight rail road.
About new technology
- Metrino: It is fully automatic small pods travel independently suspended over an overhead network
- Pod Taxis: Small automated vehicles cable cars or pod cars equipped to carry a small group of passengers.
- Hyperloop: Pod-like vehicle is propelled through a near-vacuum tube connecting cities at speeds matching that of an aircraft.
- Stadler Bus: Tram like high frequency bus service for end to end connectivity.
- Hybrid Bus: Transport system uses hybrid propulsion systems, consisting diesel and electric ones.
- Freight Rail System: Under this, Elevated corridors would be built with rail lines where freight trucks can be placed. It would move on rails at high speed, reducing freight time and increasing freight quantity.
- Recently, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) has signed an agreement with the Andhra Pradesh government to connect the city centres of Amravati and Vijayawada.
- It’s the first agreement in India for the new transportation system.
- Recently, Nagpur becomes first city with electric mass mobility system.
- With this, Maharashtra also has become the first state to provide various incentives to e-taxis.
13.3. PRIVATE PARTICIPATION IN DEFENCE
Why in news?
- Recently, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has simplified ‘Make II’ procedure.
More on news
- Make II procedure will amend the existing ‘Make Procedure’ in Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)-2016.
- This will allow Ministry of Defence to accept suo-motu proposals from the industry and also allows start-ups to develop equipment for Indian Armed Forces.
- The minimum qualification criteria to participate in ‘Make II’ projects have been relaxed and projects involving cost of less than three crores will be reserved for MSME.
Other Steps taken by Government in indigenous defence manufacturing
- Under Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP)-2016, preference to’ Buy (Indian-IDDM)’ ‘Buy (Indian)’, ‘Buy & Make (Indian)’ & ‘Make’ categories of acquisition over ‘Buy (Global)’ category. IDDM stands for Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured with a minimum of 40% local content.
- The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved the broad contours of the Strategic Partnership Model (SPM). The policy is intended to engage the Indian private sector in the manufacture of hi-tech defence equipment in India.
- Foreign Investment upto 49% is allowed through automatic route and above 49% under Government route on case-to-case basis. Moreover, Government is thinking of 100 percent FDI in defence through automatic route.
13.4. INDIA’S FIRST PRIVATE MISSILE PRODUCTION FACILITY UNVEILED
Why in news?
- Recently, India’s first private missile production facility was unveiled near Hyderabad.
India’s first private sector small arms manufacturing plant
- It is a Joint Venture (JV) between Punj Lloyd and Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) at Malanpur in Madhya Pradesh.
- It’s the first JV under the Make in India initiative.
- The missile sub-section manufacturing
- facility has been established as a joint venture (51:49) between Kalyani Group and Israel’s Rafael Advanced Defence System Ltd.
- The Kalyani Rafael Advanced System Facility will initially manufacture Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) Spike.
- The facility has been established in line with ‘Make in India’ initiative and Defence Procurement Policy, 2016 to ‘Make (Indian)’ and ‘Buy and Make (Indian)’.
13.5. LIQUID NITROGEN IN FOOD AND DRINKS
Why in news?
- The Haryana government recently banned the use of liquid nitrogen in drinks and food, reacting to a cocktail accident at a Gurgaon pub that burnt a hole in a man’s stomach.
- The Haryana food and drugs administration department issued an order that any eatery found using liquid nitrogen with any drink or food will be booked under Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.
About Liquid Nitrogen
- Liquid nitrogen (nitrogen in a liquid state at an extremely low temperature) is colourless and has a boiling point of -195.79 °C. It is used in bars to quickly chill glasses, freeze ingredients, provide a smoky effect to drinks.
- Due to its low temperature, liquid nitrogen can be extremely damaging to body tissue, causing frostbite and cryogenic burning on contact. Moreover, if ingested, it could lead
to severe internal damage, destroying tissue in the mouth and intestinal tract.
- Liquid nitrogen also has an expansion ratio of 1:694 at 20 degree Celsius, meaning one litre of liquid nitrogen at 20 degree Celsius can expand to 694 litres of nitrogen gas. If it is swallowed and gets into a person’s stomach, it could explode
- According to experts, food and drinks that are prepared with liquid nitrogen should be consumed only after all the smokes have evaporated.
13.6. NOVEL MOLECULE TO TREAT CANCER – DISARIB
- Disarib is a novel small molecule, designed and synthesised by Indian researchers which has shown promise in targeted killing of cancer cells.
- The molecule (Disarib) works by binding itself to a protein called BCL2, which suppresses the death of cancerous cells while sparing normal cells.
- However, the Disarib molecule would be ineffective in cases where expression of BCL2 is low in cancer cell lines such as breast cancer, cervical cancer etc.
13.7. BACTERIA NAMED AFTER A P J ABDUL KALAM
Why in news?
- Scientists at NASA have named a new organism – a bacteria as Solibacillus kalamii in honour of Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam.
- This form of bacteria has only been found on the International Space Station and not on earth as of yet.
- NASA launched the world’s smallest satellite (weigh= 64 grams), built by 18-year old Tamil Nadu student Rifath Sharook and his team.
- Named as Kalamsat, after former President
- APJ Abdul Kalam, it’s a 3-D printed satellite and equipped with nano Geiger Muller counter for measuring the radiation in space
- Objective: To demonstrate the performance of 3D-printed carbon fibre as it’s for the first time that 3-D printing technology is being used in space.
- NASA launched a sounding rocket CHESS (Colorado High-resolution Echelle Stellar Spectrograph) to study vast interstellar clouds and know about the earliest stages of star formation.
- It studied Beta Scorpii — a hot, brightly shining star in the Scorpius constellation to probe the material between the star and our own solar system.
- It is a two-staged, liquid-fuelled intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), developed by North Korea.
- Recently, Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), has set a new world record in range by hitting targets at a distance of 48 km.
- It is being jointly developed by the Defence
- Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and the private sector.
- ATAGS is a 155mm, 52 calibre towed artillery gun being developed in mission mode by DRDO as a part of the Army’s artillery modernisation programme.
- It’s the world’s largest amphibious aircraft capable of carrying 50 people and can stay airborne for 12 hours.
- It’s also known as AG600 and makes China among the world’s few countries capable of developing a large amphibious aircraft.
- Application: Millitary, firefighting and marine rescue.
13.13. STRATOLAUNCH PLANE
- It’s an airplane with the world’s largest wingspan, has successfully completed its initial engine tests.
- It’s designed to serve as a launching platform for sending rockets into low-Earth orbit.
13.14. SMART ROBO COP
- A life-sized robot, claimed to be the world’s first smart policing robot was launched in Hyderabad by H-BOTS, a Hyderabad-based start-up
- ‘Robocop’ can assist police in handling law and order, and traffic management.
- It can move, recognizes people, takes complaints, detects bombs, identified suspects, interacted with people, and answers peoples queries.
13.15. GOOGLE LUNAR XPRIZE
- Recently, $30-million Google Lunar XPRIZE (GLXP) organizer has called off its 10-year-old challenge, as no team competing will make a launch attempt to reach the moon by March 31.
- Competing Team: SPACEIL from Israel, Moon Express from USA, Synergy Moon, an international team, Hakuto from Japan and Team Indus from India.
- Team Indus is India’s first privately funded start-up and if its moon mission is successful, then it would have become the first private Indian startup to land a craft on the moon. It had planned to send a lander-rover to the moon on an ISRO launcher.
13.16. CHANG’E 4
- It is China’s lunar probe on the dark side of the moon.
- It incorporates a orbiter, lander and rover.
13.17. GAIA MISSION
- It is a mission of European Space Agency which aims to chart a three-dimensional map of about 1 billion stars throughout our Galaxy, the Milky Way and beyond.
13.18. TABBY’S STAR
- It is also known as Boyajian’s star.
- It is a part of the Cygnus constellation which shows anomalously large fluctuations of light intensity i.e its light intensity drops by more than 20% at times, with regular smaller fluctuations which are also in excess of that seen in many other stars.
13.19. KIMBERLY PROCESS CERTIFICATION SCHEME
Why in news?
- Recently, Kimberly Process Certification Scheme Plenary was held at Brisbane which resolved to create an Ad hoc Committee on Review and Reform with India as the chair.
About Kimberly Process Certification Scheme (KPCS)
- It is a joint Government, International Diamond Industry and Civil Society initiative to stem the flow of Conflict Diamonds (rough diamonds used to finance the conflicts and topple the established government).
- It was started in 2003 after the United Nations General Assembly adopted a landmark resolution in 2000 supporting the
creation of an international certification scheme for rough diamond. It also finds mention in the United Nations Security Council resolutions.
- India is one of the founding member of KPCS. At present, KPCS has 54 members representing 81 countries including the EU with 28 members.
- KPCS enables the participating countries to certify the shipment in rough diamonds as ‘conflict-free’ and prevent entrance of conflict diamonds in legitimate trade.
- According to the KPCS terms, member states have to meet the ‘minimum requirements’ and also put in place national legislations and institutions, export, import and internal controls, commit to transparency and exchange of statistical data.