Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - October 9, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2020

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Context

  • Recently, Emmanuelle Charpentier of France and Jennifer Doudna of the U.S. won the Nobel Chemistry Prize for the gene-editing technique known as the CRISPR-Cas9 DNA snipping “scissors”.
  • This is the first time a Nobel science prize has gone to a women-only team. 

About the research

  • Charpentier, 51, and Ms. Doudna, 56, are just the sixth and seventh women to receive the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
  • Using the tool, “researchers can change the DNA of animals, plants and microorganisms with extremely high precision”.
  • The CRISPR-Cas9 tool has already contributed to significant gains in crop resilience, altering their genetic code to better withstand drought and pests.
  • This technology has had a revolutionary impact on the life sciences, is contributing to new cancer therapies and may make the dream of curing inherited diseases come true.

About CRISPR technology

  • The CRISPR stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats and was developed in the year 2012.
  • It has revolutionised and has made gene editing very easy and has imparted extreme efficiency in gene editing. 
  • The technology works in a simple way it locates the specific area in the genetic sequence which has been diagnosed to be the cause of the problem, cuts it out, and replaces it with a new and correct sequence that no longer causes the problem.
  • The technology replicates a natural defence mechanism in some bacteria that use a similar method to protect itself from virus attacks.

Source: Indian Express.

Public places cannot be occupied indefinitely

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Context

  • The Supreme Court said that occupying public places like Shaheen Bagh for protests is not acceptable and such a space cannot be occupied “indefinitely”.
  • The top court’s verdict came on a plea against the anti-CAA protests which had led to blocking of a road in Shaheen Bagh in the national capital last December.

Background

  • A bench headed by Justice S K Kaul held that public places cannot be occupied indefinitely like during the Shaheen Bagh protests.
  • The bench also said that Delhi Police ought to have taken action to clear Shaheen Bagh area from the protesters.

Highlights

  • The judgment upheld the right to peaceful protest against a law but made it unequivocally clear that public ways and public spaces cannot be occupied, and that too indefinitely.
  • In a democracy, the rights of free speech and peaceful protest were indeed “treasured”.
  • They were to be encouraged and respected, the court said.
  • But these rights were also subject to reasonable restrictions imposed in the interest of sovereignty, integrity and public order.
  • Police regulations also weighed in.
  • Fundamental rights do not live in isolation.
  • The right of the protester has to be balanced with the right of the commuter.
  • They have to co-exist in mutual respect.
  • The bench also said that Delhi Police ought to have taken action to clear Shaheen Bagh area from the protesters.
  • It was entirely the responsibility of the administration to prevent encroachments in public spaces.

Source: The Hindu.

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Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' virtually inaugurates Gyan Circle Ventures

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

Union Minister for Education Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' virtually inaugurated the Gyan Circle Ventures, a MeitY funded Technology Business Incubator (TBI) of Indian Institute of Information Technology, Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh through Video Conference.

About Gyan Circle Ventures

  • Gyan Circle Ventures would function as a Technology Incubation and Development of Entrepreneurs (TIDE 2.0) incubation center as approved by the Ministry of Information Technology (MeitY).
  • The incubator would leverage the institutions’ entrepreneurial spirit via utilizing its intellectual capital and engage in using emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Block-chain, Cyber Physical Systems (CPS), Cyber Security, Internet of Things (IoT), Robotics, etc.
  • The Gyan Circle Ventures will serve as a hub for innovation and startups by providing support, in various phases, via investments, infrastructure and mentoring.

Highlights

  • Innovation is the engine that powers the progress of the nation.
  • Innovation and entrepreneurship needs to be fostered to ensure self-sustainability and remain a global leader.
  • Centres like ‘Gyan Circle ventures’ instill entrepreneurship in young minds and steward them to become successful innovators.

Source: AIR News.

Dr Harsh Vardhan Inaugurates DBT-BIRAC Clean Tech Demo Park In Delhi

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

  • Union Minister for Science and Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the "DBT-BIRAC Clean Tech Demo Park" at Barapullah drain site, near Sundial Park, Sarai Kale Khan, New Delhiin a virtual event.
  • Clean Tech Demo Park at Barapullah drain site is a Department of Biotechnology (DBT) initiative that will demonstrate innovative waste-to-value technologies.

Background

  • This Clean Tech Demo Park would be a good attraction not only for Innovators, Investors but also for students and common public for awareness and popularization of clean technological solution for waste management.
  • The novel indigenous technologies developed for the treatment of sewage and industrial wastewaters should be promoted and given wide publicity to ensure their commercialization and adoption for achieving Swachh Bharat and Atmanirbhar Bharat goals.

Highlights

  • This Clean Technology Waste to Value demonstration Park is an important initiative of the Department of Biotechnology to demonstrate the feasibility of these technologies for scale-up and this will encourage partnership with local bodies and other Stakeholders for large scale technology deployment.
  • According to an official release of the Ministry of Science and Technology, the DBT-BIRAC Clean Tech Demo Park will be used to demonstrate innovative Waste-to-Value technologies with support from Department of Biotechnology (DBT), the Government of India, and the Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), a DBT PSU.
  • This park will be managed by the Clean Energy International Incubation Centre (CEIIC), a public-private-partnership incubator set up jointly by DBT, BIRAC and Tata Power.

Source: AIR News.

BRICS Bank approves funds for Delhi-Meerut rapid rail, Mumbai metro; aims to reduce journey time from Delhi to Meerut to 60 minutes

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.


Context

  • New Development Bank, also known as BRICS Bank has approved infrastructure projects worth 741 million dollars in India.
  • In a press statement, the Shanghai based bank said that its Board of Directors approved a loan of USD 500 million for the Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) Project and a loan of USD 241 million for Mumbai Metro Rail II (Line 6) Project.

Background

The loan for Delhi NCR region would be used by Government of India for on-lending to the National Capital Region Transport Corporation Limited (NCRTC) for construction of a rapid rail corridor connecting the National Capital Territory of Delhi with the cities of Ghaziabad and Meerut located in the State of Uttar Pradesh. 

Highlights

  • The RRTS will have a total length of 82.15 km (68.03 km elevated and 14.12 km underground) with 25 stations.
  • It will have a design speed of 180 km per hour, maximum operating speed of 160 km per hour and high-frequency operations, which will reduce the journey time from Delhi to Meerut to 60 minutes. 
  • The Project will develop an efficient and sustainable regional transport system and reduce congestion in Delhi, by offering people the alternative of settling in surrounding cities and being able to commute to Delhi through a fast, reliable, safe and comfortable public transport system.
  • The loan for Mumbai Metro will be used by the Government of India for on-lending to the Government of the State of Maharashtra for implementing a metro rail Line 6 with length of about 14.47 km in the city of Mumbai.
  • Line 6 will provide much needed rail-based connectivity between the western and eastern suburbs and will contribute towards an integrated seamless public transport network in Mumbai.

Source: AIR News.

Pusa Decomposer

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

  • Recently, the scientists have developed a bio-decomposer technique called ‘PUSA Decomposers’for converting crop stubble into compost.
  • Delhi and many other North Indian States are covered with smoke during winters due to stubble burning in the neighbouring States by the farmers.

About the decomposers

  • The decomposers are in the form of capsules made by extracting fungi strainsthat help the paddy straw to decompose at a much faster rate than usual.
  • The fungus helps to produce the essential enzymes for the degradation process.
  • It involves making a liquid formulation using decomposer capsules and fermenting it over 8-10 days and then spraying the mixture on fields with crop stubble to ensure speedy bio-decomposition of the stubble.
  • The farmers can prepare 25 litre of liquid mixture with 4 capsules, jaggery and chickpea flour.
  • The mixture is sufficient to cover 1 hectare of land.

Significance

  • The decomposer improves the fertility and productivity of the soil as the stubble works as manure and compost for the crops and lesser fertiliser consumption is required in the future.
  • The soil loses its richness due to stubble burning and it also destroys the useful bacteria and fungi in the soil, apart from causing harm to the environment.
  • It is an efficient and effective, cheaper, doable and practical technique to stop stubble burning.
  • It is an eco-friendly and environmentally useful technology and will contribute to achieve Swachh Bharat Mission.

Source: Business Standard.

Roads Ministry enhances fund allocation for developing roads in NE India

Focus: GS3.                                

Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.


Context

The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has increased the allocation of funds for expenditure under Special Accelerated Road Development Programme in North Eastern Areas (SARDP-NE) related works during the current financial year.

Background

  • Under the revised allocation, almost double the amount originally allocated, has been allowed.
  • Against the earlier ₹390 crore expenditure envisaged to be incurred from the National Investment Fund during 2020-2021, ₹760 crore has been set aside for the same period. Of this, ₹300 crore is specifically marked for the Arunachal Pradesh package.

Highlights

  • The Centre has undertaken a large-scale road development programme under SARDP-NE Scheme in the North East Region. Under SARDP-NE (Phase –A and Arunachal Pradesh), 6,418 km (5,998 km actual design length) has already been identified for development at an estimated investment of about ₹30,450 crore, out of which 3,356 km has been completed and 1,961 km is under construction.
  • Additionally, the allocations to National Highways in NE Region under 10 per cent mandatory Pool Fund has been on an increase in the last five years. According the statement, ₹4,520 crore was allocated for 2016-2017, ₹5,265 crore for 2017-2018, ₹6,210 crore for 2018-2019, ₹6,070 crore was allocated for 2019-2020, and ₹6,780 crore has been allocated for 2020-2021 under the said Fund, the statement added.

Source: AIR News.

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Test your Knowledge

  1. Consider the following statements wrt Television Rating Points:
  • TRPs represent how many people, from which socio-economic categories, watched which channels for how much time during a particular period.
  • The data is usually made public every month.
  • These households are classified into 12 categories under the New Consumer Classification System (NCCS).

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

    A. 1 and 2 only
    B. 2 and 3 only
    C. 1 and 3 only
    D. AOTA

Solution: C

  • The data is usually made public every week.

  1. New Development Bank is based in:

    A. Shanghai
    B. Wuhan
    C. Beijing
    D. Tibet

Solution: A

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