1.Bangalore Blue Grapes

Context:
  • Due to the Covid-19 lockdown has impacted the sale of Bangalore Blue variety of grapes.
About Bangalore Blue Grapes:
  • Its characteristics are foxy flavour (effect of a flavour substance called methyl anthranilate), is exclusively grown in Bangalore Urban, Chikkaballapur and Kolar districts.
  • It is grown in red sandy loam soil at a day temperature of about 35-37 degrees Celsius and night temperature of 12-15 degree Celsius which is unique to Bangalore and its surrounding areas.
  • It develops their typical dark purple colour at this temperature. It is mostly used for making juice and wine/spirit.
  • It has been given Geographical Indication Status in 2013.
About Geographical Indication Status:
  • It is an indication used to identify goods having special characteristics originating from a definite geographical territory.
  • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 seeks to provide for the registration and better protection of geographical indications relating to goods in India. It is administered by the Controller General of Patents, Designs and TradeMarks- who is the Registrar of Geographical Indications.
  • It is valid for a period of 10 years. It can be renewed from time to time for a further period of 10 years each.
  • It is also a part of the World Trade Organisation’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS).

2.Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme

Why in News?
  • The Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme has recently been activated as a response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
About Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme:
  • It was launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, in assistance with the World Bank, in 2004.
  • It continued as the Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme (IDSP) during 12th Plan (2012–17) under the National Health Mission with a domestic budget.
  • Under it, a Central Surveillance Unit (CSU) at Delhi, State Surveillance Units (SSU) at all State/Union Territories (UTs) headquarters and District Surveillance Units (DSU) at all Districts have been established.
  • Its main objective is to strengthen/maintain decentralized laboratory based and IT enabled disease surveillance systems for epidemic prone diseases to monitor disease trends. To detect and respond to outbreaks in the early rising phase through trained Rapid Response Teams (RRTs).
About the Components of Programme:
  • The Integration and decentralization of surveillance activities through establishment of surveillance units at Centre, State and District level.
  • The Human Resource Development is Training the State Surveillance Officers (SSOs), District Surveillance Officers (DSOs), RRT and other medical and paramedical staff on principles of disease surveillance.
  • The use of Information Communication Technology for collection, collation, compilation, analysis and dissemination of data.By strengthening of public health laboratories and Inter Sectoral Coordination for zoonotic Diseases.
Significance:
  • The Data is collected on epidemic prone diseases on a weekly basis. Its weekly data gives information on the disease trends and seasonality of diseases.
  • Its information is collected on three specified reporting formats, namely “S” (suspected cases), “P” (presumptive cases) and “L” (laboratory confirmed cases) filled by Health Workers, Clinicians and Laboratory staff respectively.
  • Whenever there is a rising trend of illnesses in any area, it is investigated by the RRT to diagnose and control the outbreak.
  • IDSP Portal: It is a one stop portal which has facilities for data entry, view reports, outbreak reporting, data analysis, training modules and resources related to disease surveillance.

3.Temporary Ration Cards

Context:
  • The Pune Zilla Parishad has recently decided to provide temporary ‘ration cards’ to more than 80,000 undocumented people in the district.  It migrants trapped by the lockdown, and to those who are unable to provide documents, has been a major concern across states.
Highlights:
  • It is a first innovation of its kind to help larger numbers of peoplesaccess government benefits during the Covid-19 lockdown.
  • It will use one-time Aadhaar authentication to open accounts for the people with the India Post Payments Bank. It would serve as the only authentication that will be needed for these undocumented people to draw rations from the PDS system.
  • It will enable the Home Delivery of grains at the gram panchayat level to avoid crowds and maintain physical distancing.
  • It will include individuals belonging to the Primitive Tribes and the Transgender community who are often left out of the ambit of such benefits.
  • The Identification of the beneficiaries has been given to the village police patil, who maintains records of outsiders in a register.
  • According to the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, the gram sabha has the right to identify beneficiaries — however, in the current situation when the gram sabha is not functional, a committee of three viz., the gram panchayat’s sarpanch, a member of the gram sabha, and the local police patil will identify them.
  • Its only verification that will be carried out is that of the kitchen of the beneficiary to prove that they qualify for the scheme.
  • It will widen and deepen the scope and reach of the Sharad Bhojan Yojana, under which cooked meals are provided to people in Pune district at concessional rates. It is modelled after the Maharashtra government’s flagship Shiv Bhojan Yojana, which serves subsidised meals to the poor.
  • The Janakidevi Bajaj Gram Vikas Sansthan, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) wing of the Bajaj Group, will be the corporate CSR partner of the Pune Zilla Parishad for the scheme.
About Public Distribution System (PDS):
  • It is an Indian Food Security System established under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
  • It evolved as a system of management of scarcity through distribution of food grains at affordable prices.
  • It is operated under the joint responsibility of the Central and the State Governments. The Central Government, through Food Corporation of India (FCI), has assumed the responsibility for procurement, storage, transportation and bulk allocation of food grains to the State Governments.
  • At present, the commodities namely wheat, rice, sugar and kerosene are being allocated to the States/UTs for distribution. Some States/UTs also distribute additional items of mass consumption through the PDS outlets such as pulses, edible oils, iodized salt, spices, etc.
  • National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013: It legally entitles up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to receive subsidized food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System.

4.DRDO develops Contactless Sanitiser Dispenser, UV light-Based Disinfection Box

Why in News?
  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) introduced Automatic Mist Based Sanitiser Dispensing Unit and UV Sanitisation Box and Hand-held UV device.
Automatic Mist Based Sanitiser Dispensing Unit:
  • Centre for Fire Explosive & Environment Safety (CFEES), Delhi, using its expertise in mist technology for fire suppression, has developed an automatic mist based sanitiser dispensing unit.It is a contactless sanitiser dispenser that sprays alcohol-based hand rub sanitiser solution for sanitisation of hands while entering the buildings/office complexes, etc. It is based on water mist aerator technology, which was developed for water conservation.
Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety:
  • The Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety is an Indian defence laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation.
  • Located in Timarpur, Delhi, its main function is the development of technologies and products in the area of explosive, fire and environmental safety.
  • It was established in 1992 by merging three DRDO establishments; DRDO Computer Centre, Delhi, The Directorate of Explosives Safety, DRDO, and the Fire Adviser’s Office, DRDO.
UV Sanitisation Box and Hand-held UV Device:
  • Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences (DIPAS) and Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (INMAS), DRDO laboratories in Delhi have designed Ultraviolet C Light based sanitisation box and hand held UV-C (ultraviolet light with wavelength 254 nanometres) device.
  • The UV-C consists of a shorter, more energetic wavelength of light. It is particularly good at destroying genetic material in COVID-19.
  • The radiation warps the structure RNA which prevents the viral particles from making more copies of themselves. Sanitisation of the items by employing UV-C light avoids the harmful effects of the chemicals used for the disinfection.

5.Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences

Why in News?
  • Recently, the Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS) has developed a compact solid-state sensor to detect the heavy metal ions in water.
New Device:
  • It is a portable device which can help onsite detection of heavy metal ions like lead ions (Pb2+) down to 0.4 parts per billion (ppb).
  • A sensor film was prepared by forming a composite between manganese doped zinc sulfide quantum dots and reduced graphene oxide on a glass substrate.
  • These particular quantum dots are water-soluble and have high photoluminescence (~30%) quantum yield, making them suitable for luminescence (emission of light by certain materials when they are relatively cool)-based sensing.
  • If a drop of water containing heavy metal ions such as mercury (Hg), lead (Pb), cadmium (Cd), etc. are added to the composite film, the emission of the film extinguishes within seconds.
  • The development of efficient and portable sensors for rapid onsite detection of heavy metal ions becomes important due to the health hazards associated with them.
Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences:
  • Located at Jalahalli, Bengaluru, it is an autonomous research institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • Centre was established in 1991 by an eminent liquid crystal scientist, Prof. S. Chandrasekhar. After years of expansion and name changes, in 2014, it became the Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS).
  • DST provides core support to the Centre in the form of a grant-in-aid for conducting basic and applied research in nano and soft matter sciences.
  • It is being mentored by Nano-Mission of the Government of India.
  • The current activities are focussed on a variety of metal and semiconductor nanostructures, liquid crystals, gels, membranes and hybrid materials.

6.Blazars

Why in News?
  • Researchers from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Bangalore have conducted the first systematic study on the gamma-ray flux variability nature on different types of Blazars.
Blazars:
  • At the center of most galaxies, there’s a massive black hole that can have mass of millions or even billions of Suns that accrete gas, dust, and stellar debris around it.
  • As these material falls towards the black hole, their gravitational energy gets converted to light forming active galactic nuclei (AGN).
  • A minority of AGN (~15%) emit collimated charged particles called jets travelling at speeds close to the speed of light.
  • Blazars are AGN whose jets are aligned with the observer’s line of sight.
  • Some blazars are thought to host binary black holes in them and could be potential targets for future gravitational-wave searches.
Studying Blazars:
  • Blazars are the most luminous and energetic objects in the known universe were found to be emitters of gamma-rays in the 1990s.
  • It is only with the capability of Fermi Gamma-ray space telescope (launched in 2008) to scan the entire sky once in three hours one is able to probe the flux variability characteristics of blazars on a range of time scales.
  • Gamma-ray band is one of the bands of the electromagnetic spectrum on which there is limited knowledge on the flux variability of blazars.
  • Major problem while studying them is to localize the site for the production of gamma rays.
Significance:
  • The study of blazars could provide clues to the processes happening close to the black hole, not visible through direct imaging.
  • Exploring blazars will provide key inputs to constrain the high energy production site as well as the high Energy Emission Processes.
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