1.Indian Staffing Federation (ISF)

Why in News?
  • Recently, ISF has asked the government to make labour codes a reality and get them operational from April this year.
About Indian Staffing Federation (ISF):
  • ISF is the apex body representing the Staffing industry/Private Employment Services that is authorised to discuss with government agencies and other trade bodies on behalf of the staffing industry/ private employment services.
  • It is to enhance long-term growth and ensure its continued ability to make positive contributions to the economy as well as the society through the services of the Staffing Industry.
  • Of 400 million employable in India, about 10% are employed in the organised sector, and while about 250 million are self-employed. This leaves almost 110 million who are employed by the Flexi-Staffingand the unorganised sector.
  • The Staffing / private employment services is an enabler to provide social security and long term medical, and retirement benefits to temp/flexi-staff.
Flexi-staffing:
  • It is an Arrangement in an organization where the employees can be from temporary agencies, leased employees or contract workers. It is more commonly known as temporary staffing and predominantly focuses on the white collar industry.

2.Bhuvan Panchayat V 3.0

Why in News?
  • The Union Minister of State for the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space launched the Bhuvan Panchayat V 3.0 web portal in Bengaluru.
Bhuvan Panchayat:
  • For better planning and monitoring of government projects, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched the Bhuvan Panchayat web portal’s version 3.0.
  • For the first time, a thematic database on a 1:1000 scale for the entire country is available with integrated high resolution satellite data for planning.
  • ISRO will collaborate with the gram panchayat members and stakeholders to understand their data requirements.
  • The third version of the portal will provide database visualisation and services for the benefit of panchayat members, among others.
  • The project is meant to provide geo-spatial services to aid gram panchayat development planning process of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj.
  • Taking advantage of information and communication technology, the Bhuvan Panchayat web portal was launched for visualisation, planning and monitoring of schemes at panchayat levels.The new portal has a higher resolution and about 47 parameters in total.
Bhuvan:
  • The Bhuvan portal provides geospatial services.
  • It disseminates tile-wise one-time satellite data of IRS sensors, and satellite-derived products pertaining to various themes and domains.
  • Its services are used for getting information about natural resources, agriculture, forestry and environment, rural development, water resources, urban infrastructure, ocean sciences and atmosphere, and providing disaster management support.
  • It is run by the National Remote Sensing Centre of the ISRO.

3.Stem Cell Banking

Why in News?
  • Stem cell banking or preservation is the extraction, processing and storage of stem cells, so that they may be used for treatment in the future, when required.
Stem Cells:
  • Stem cells taken from umbilical cord blood are like those taken from bone marrow, capable of producing all blood cells: red cells, platelets and immune system cells.
  • When used, stem cells are first concentrated, and then injected into the patient. Once transfused, they produce new cells of every kind.
  • They’re capable of producing all types of blood cells: red cells, platelets and immune System Cells.
  • The stem cells can treat around 70 blood related disorders and genetic disorders including thalassemia, sickle cell anaemia, leukaemia, and immune related disorders.
Harvesting stem cells:
  • The blood collected from the umbilical cord of the newborn is a rich source of stem cells. This blood is collected and sent to a cord blood bank, where the stem cells are separated, tested, processed, and preserved in liquid nitrogen. Technically, there is no expiry date and these stem cells can be preserved for a lifetime.
Drawbacks:
  • The primary disadvantage of cord blood banking is that it isn’t a cheap procedure and many families may not be able to afford it.
  • The odds that any given child will need their cord blood are only about 1 in 217. So it may prove to be unnecessary expenditure.
  • Current research suggests that cord blood can be stored for a maximum of 15 years. New technologies in this field may extend that timeframe in the future, but how that would affect current samples stored is unknown.

4.High pesticide levels found in potato and carrot in Nilgiris

Why in News?
  • A study of fruits and vegetables grown in the Nilgiris has found that some of the produce might be harbouring high levels of pesticide, beyond what is considered advisable. This was considerable in potato and Carrot.
Highlights:
  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) prescribes a maximum residual level (MRL) for some of the organophosphate pesticides used but it does not prescribe it for some other pesticides used in the cultivation of fruit and vegetables.
  • The team developed a sensitive method to estimate the levels of organophosphates in the fruits and vegetables using liquid chromatography in tandem with mass spectrometry.
  • It is known that organophosphate pesticides such as acephate, malathion, profenofos, chlorpyrifos and quinalphos are used in the cultivation of fruits and vegetables.  Researchers collected samples of 18 varieties of fruit and vegetable from four cities of the Nilgiris namely Ooty, Gudalur, Kothagiri and Coonoor.
  • The Researchers did not detect pesticides in approximately 57% of the samples. Close to 34% had pesticides used below the MRLs and the remainder showed usage of pesticides above the MRLs.
  • Of the 659 randomly picked fruit and vegetable samples studied, 53 had higher levels of pesticide. These were mainly in strawberry, potato, cabbage, cauliflower, carrot, garlic and broccoli.
  • About 85% of these samples contained chlorpyrifos, which was the most common, followed by quinalphos, acephate, profenofos and malathion.
  • Among the varieties of vegetables and fruits studied, potato and carrot had the highest usage of these pesticides. Researchers say that residual monitoring in fruits and vegetables is important to ensure minimal pesticide residue level to safeguard consumer health.

5.Spitzer Space Telescope

Why in News?
  • Recently the NASA’s Spitzer Mission, will come to an end will come to an end since it is low on fuel and has been drifting away from Earth for a few years now.
About the Spitzer Space Telescope (SST):
  • It is an infrared space telescope. It is named in honour of astronomer Lyman Spitzer, who had promoted the concept of space telescopes in the 1940s.
  • It is one of the elements of NASA’s Great Observatories that include the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-Ray. Using different infrared wavelengths, Spitzer was able to see and reveal features of the universe including objects that were too cold to emit visible light.
  • It could also see through large amounts of gas using infrared wavelengths to find objects that may otherwise have been invisible to human beings.
Highlights:
  • Spitzer has logged over 106,000 hours of observation time in the past 15 years. It has illuminated some of the oldest galaxies in the universe, revealed a new ring around Saturn, and peered through shrouds of dust to study new-born stars and black holes.
  • It includes the detection of seven Earth-size planets orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1, among Other Accomplishments.
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