08 May, 2020
53 Min Read
|GS-II||Analysis of Motor Vehicle Act||Governance|
|Nashik model to combat COVID-19|
|Trump says crisis ‘worse than Pearl Harbor’||International Relations|
|GS-III||Vishakhapatnam Gas Leak Incident- Styrene gas|
|Indian Navy’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)|
|Environment Impact Assessment|
|Year of Awareness on Science and Health (YASH)|
|PT Pointer||Ayush Sanjivani application|
|Band-like clouds seen over Sun’s neighbour-Luhman 16A||Human Geography|
Govt extends validity of Motor Vehicle Act related documents
Part of: GS-II- Governance and acts (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Amid lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, the government has extended the validity of documents related to Motor Vehicle Act and Central Motor Vehicle Rules till June 30.
The validity has been extended for the documents whose validity expires between February 1, 2020 and June 30, 2020.
New MOTOR vehicle act analysis
India sees more than five lakh road accidents a year leading to 1.5 lakh deaths. According to the Union Transport Minister, this could come down by half if the provisions of this Bill are implemented. The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 is based on the recommendations of the Group of Transport Ministers (GoM) of States constituted by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways to address the issue of road safety and to improve the access of the citizens while dealing with transport departments.
The amendments in the Bill mainly focus on issues relating to improving road safety, citizens’ facilitation while dealing with the transport department, strengthening rural transport, last mile connectivity and public transport, automation and computerization and enabling online services.
Key Features of the bill
Issues and challenges
Road safety Initiatives in India
Vehicle manufacturers should update their technologies and adopt the best global practices regarding vehicles’ and passengers’ safety. Simultaneously, the rise of Internet of Things-enabled, connected cars in India, which international auto majors are heavily investing in currently, can give a digital edge to road safety. With an array of embedded sensors informing drivers of other on-road cars, onboard analytics can give them real-time driving suggestions to avoid collisions.
The unprecedented pace of construction and infrastructure improvement is one more link in the journey to safer roads. Strict and effective enforcement of the amended rules in Motor Vehicle Act would surely help in curbing road-accident related deaths in India. The central and state governments should work out proper plans to effectively implement the rules. State governments should ensure transparency and provide a hassle-free experience for citizens at the Regional Transport Offices.
Nashik model to combat COVID-19
Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) has taken-up numerous initiatives to fight COVID-19. Some of the key initiatives at the city level include:
1. Cleanliness/ Sanitization of Public Places: Spraying of Sodium Hypochlorite
2. Separate vehicles for Waste collection & Disposal from Quarantined households.
3. Provision of: Provision of safety
4. Provision of Facility of Institutional Quarantine wards
5. Frontline Testing by Doctors & Health Workers in Sealed Zone
6. Smartphone App ‘MahaKavach’:
The MahaKavach is a real-time digital contact tracing mobile application which enables citizens to contribute and assist the health authorities in contact tracing, geo-fencing and tracking of quarantined COVID-19 Patients. Selfie attendance feature has been also added in application to get virtual attendance. This app is to be used by Individuals as directed by their doctor or medical worker. The app also encourages to update the quarantine status for greater adherence. This update increases reliability of home location data. It also ensures a breach update is sent only once.
7. Smartphone App “Nashik Bazzar”: Nashik Municipal Corporation and Maharashtra Chambers of Commerce Industry & Agriculture (MCCIA), jointly developed "Nashik Bazzar" app to benefit city residents to order online the daily necessary essentials such as Grocery, Tiffin, Meals, Medical Help, Fruits, Grains, Medicine, Dairy, Snacks, Vegetable etc. & get free home delivery.
8. Smartphone App ‘NMC COVID-19’: It provides 11 Services to the citizens. Services such as Covid-19 informer – to inform about Corona Suspects, Provision of necessary contact numbers such as doctors, hospitals, ambulances etc.
9. Social Awareness via VMD(Variable Message Display) & PAS(Public Addressing System). Crowded locations such as Central Bus Stand, Railway Station road, Institutional areas & Junctions were covered for the installation of such smart elements.
10. Body Sanitizing Machine
11. Aerosol Box: Use of Aerosol Box & Aerosol Intubation Box in Municipal Hospital to collect swab sample & to protect medical workers such as doctors and patients while operating COVID-19 suspects.
12. Door to door COVID-19 Survey, Social awareness & check-ups for Corona virus in various regions by Nurses & ASHA Workers
13. Daily visits & Calls to quarantined patient’s residents by Nurses & ASHA Workers
14. COVID-19 Help Survey Questionnaire: Citizen Information form has been developed which will capture details of citizens regarding COVID-19 Symptoms, travel history & their location details which will help officials to identify symptomatic citizens.
15. Decentralization of Fruit & Vegetable Market
Part of: GS-II- International issues (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
President Donald Trump said that fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic has hit the United States harder than Pearl Harbor in World War II or the 9/11 attacks.
“We went through the worst attack we’ve ever had on our country. This is really the worst attack we’ve ever had,” he told reporters at the White House.
The surprise Japanese attack in 1941 on the Pearl Harbor naval base in Hawaii (PT) drew the United States into World War II.
September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks killed about 3,000 people, mostly in the World Trade Center in New York, triggering two decades of US wars and anti-terrorism operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries.
So far, more than 70,000 Americans have died in the flu-like global pandemic, while severe social distancing measures to stop the virus have forced the shutdown of much of the economy.
Impact on the US
PM reviews Vishakhapatnam Gas Leak Incident
The incident of Styrene gas leakage occurred in a chemical plant in the early hours today at 3 am in RR Venkatapuram village, Gopalapatnam Mandal in Visakhpatnam District.
Early morning leakage from LG Polymers, which manufactures general purpose polystyrene, high impact polystyrene and coloured polystyrene caused panic in several areas of the city.
It was decided that a team from CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) unit of NDRF from Pune,along with an expert team of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur would be rushed to Vishakhapatnam immediately to support the State Government in the management of the crisis on the ground, and also to take measures for resolving the short term as also long term medical impact of the leak.
Styrene, also known as ethenylbenzene, vinylbenzene, and phenylethene, is an organic compound with the chemical formula C6H5CH=CH2. This derivative of benzene is a colorless oily liquid although aged samples can appear yellowish. The compound evaporates easily and has a sweet smell, although high concentrations have a less pleasant odor. Styrene is the precursor to polystyrene and several copolymers.
Styrene, the chemical involved in the disaster-struck plant that produces polystyrene products, is included in the schedule of the Manufacture, Storage and Import of Hazardous Chemical Rules, 1989.
Styrene gas is a poisonous, inflammable gas used in plastic engineering industry, and could have triggered a series of explosions.
Styrene gas, which is toxic in nature, may cause irritation to the skin, eyes and causes respiratory problems and other medical conditions.
The Styrene gas can cause nausea and dizziness when inhaled, and experts say that person exposed to the gas should be given medical treatment immediately.
The Styrene gas affects the central nervous system, throat, skin, eyes and some other parts of the body.
Styrene is used to make insulation, pipes, automobile parts, printing cartridges and copy machine toner, food containers, packaging material, carpet backing, luggage, shoes, toys, floor waxes and polishes.
Impact and Symptoms
The exposure of styrene is through ingestion, inhalation or contact (skin). Common symptoms of styrene exposure include irritation to eyes, nose and skin; gastrointestinal and respiratory effects.
Its long term exposure may cause central nervous system and kidney related problems, depression, headache etc. The department of health and human services USA has listed styrene as reasonably anticipated to be human carcinogen.
Detection of Gas in Air
For ascertaining the level of styrene in a contaminated air, samples of air may be taken from different places of suspected exposure and be subjected to detailed analysis using a special styrene detection device. Gas chromatography may also be used for its qualitative and quantitative estimation
Hazards related to Environment
When released into the soil or water, styrene is expected to readily biodegrade and evaporate quickly. While released into the air, styrene is expected to be readily degraded by reaction with photo-chemically produced hydroxyl radicals and is expected to have a half-life of less than 1 day.
Indian Navy’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) designed and produced by Indian Navy has been tested by INMAS (Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences) Delhi, a DRDO organization tasked with the testing and certification of PPE and is certified to be mass produced and used in clinical COVID situations.
Shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is of serious concern as it imperils the well-being and availability of the Healthcare Workforce, apart from adversely impacting their security and morale.
The PPE is required to meet stringent criteria on testing and the benchmarks of the same are set by the ICMR and the MoHFW.
A team formed by the Innovation Cell, Institute of Naval Medicine, Mumbai and the Naval Dockyard Mumbai collaborated to design and produce PPE.
About Indian Navy’s PPE
The PPE passed with 6/6 Synthetic blood penetration resistance test pressure. (GoI mandates minimum 3/6 and above level as per ISO 16603 standard) and is thus certified to be mass produced and used in clinical COVID situations.
The outstanding features of the PPE are its simple, innovative and cost-effective design; thus it can be made by basic gown manufacturing facilities.
The PPE is noteworthy for the innovative choice of fabric used, which gives the PPE its 'breathability' and penetration resistance rendering it both comfortable and safe for the user.
The cost for this PPE is significantly lower than those commercially available.
Environment Impact Assessment Notification(EIA), 2020 extended till 30th June.
The Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred under Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 published the draft notification namely, Environment Impact Assessment Notification extending the EIA assessment by 2 months till 30th June due to COVID-19 pandemic.
About Environmental Impact Assessment
The EIA Process
Screening: The project plan is screened for scale of investment, location and type of development and if the project needs statutory clearance.
Scoping: The project’s potential impacts, zone of impacts, mitigation possibilities and need for monitoring.
Collection of baseline data: Baseline data is the environmental status of study area.
Impact prediction: Positive and negative, reversible and irreversible and temporary and permanent impacts need to be predicted which presupposes a good understanding of the project by the assessment agency.
Mitigation measures and EIA report: The EIA report should include the actions and steps for preventing, minimizing or by passing the impacts or else the level of compensation for probable environmental damage or loss.
Public hearing: On completion of the EIA report, public and environmental groups living close to project site may be informed and consulted.
Decision making: Impact Assessment Authority along with the experts consult the project-in-charge along with consultant to take the final decision, keeping in mind EIA and EMP (Environment Management Plan).
Monitoring and implementation of environmental management plan: The various phases of implementation of the project are monitored.
Assessment of Alternatives, Delineation of Mitigation Measures and Environmental Impact Assessment Report: For every project, possible alternatives should be identified, and environmental attributes compared. Alternatives should cover both project location and process technologies.
Once alternatives have been reviewed, a mitigation plan should be drawn up for the selected option and is supplemented with an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to guide the proponent towards environmental improvements.
Risk assessment: Inventory analysis and hazard probability and index also form part of EIA procedures.
Salient Features of 2006 Amendments to EIA Notification
Environment Impact Assessment Notification of 2006 has decentralized the environmental clearance projects by categorizing the developmental projects in two categories, i.e., Category A (national level appraisal) and Category B (state level appraisal).
Category A projects are appraised at national level by Impact Assessment Agency (IAA) and the Expert Appraisal Committee (EAC) and Category B projects are apprised at state level.
State Level Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) and State Level Expert Appraisal Committee (SEAC) are constituted to provide clearance to Category B process.
After 2006 Amendment the EIA cycle comprises of four stages:
Category A projects require mandatory environmental clearance and thus they do not undergo the screening process.
Category B projects undergoes screening process and they are classified into two types.
Thus, Category A projects and Category B, projects undergo the complete EIA process whereas Category B2 projects are excluded from complete EIA process.
Stakeholders in the EIA Process
Year of Awareness on Science and Health (YASH)
Part of: GS-III- S&T (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
The National Council for Science & Technology Communication (NCSTC), Department of Science & Technology (DST) has launched a programme on health and risk communication ‘Year of Awareness on Science & Health (YASH)’ with focus on Covid-19. The programme is a comprehensive and effective science and health communication effort for promoting grass-root level appreciation and response on health.
Health Minister Sh. Harsh Vardhan and Minister of State for AYUSH Sh. Shripad Yesso Naik jointly launched clinical research studies on Ayurveda interventions as an add-on to standard care to COVID-19 situation and Ayush Sanjivani application today at New Delhi.
About the Ayush Sanjivani app
The Ministry of AYUSH and MEITY has developed Ayush Sanjivani mobile app, for generating data on a large population with a target of 5 million people.
The core expected outcomes include generating data on acceptance and usage of AYUSH advocacies and measures among the population and its impact in the prevention of COVID-19.
A group of international astrophysicists have identified cloud bands on the surface of Luhman 16A, one of a pair of binary brown dwarfs in the Vela constellation.
They have used an idea put forth Indian astrophysicist Sujan Sengupta, who is at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru, that the light emitted by a cloudy brown dwarf, or reflected off an extrasolar planet, will be polarised.
He suggested that a polarimetric technique could serve as a potential tool to probe the environment of these objects.
Subsequently, many astronomers detected the polarisation of brown dwarfs. But what is special in the newest study of Luhman 16 is that the researchers have found the actual structure of the clouds — that they form bands over one of the pair (Luhman 16A) of brown dwarfs.
Luhman 16 is a binary star system, the third closest system to the Sun after Alpha Centauri and Barnard’s star.
At a distance of about 6.5 light years from the Sun, this pair of brown dwarfs referred to as Luhman 16A and Luhman 16B orbits each other, casting a dim light.
Brown dwarfs are objects which have a size between that of a giant planet like Jupiter and that of a small star. In fact, most astronomers would classify any object with between 15 times the mass of Jupiter and 75 times the mass of Jupiter to be a brown dwarf.
Given that range of masses, the object would not have been able to sustain the fusion of hydrogen like a regular star; thus, many scientists have dubbed brown dwarfs as "failed stars".
Starting in 1995, astronomers have been able to detect a few nearby brown dwarfs. All of the brown dwarfs discovered so far are parts of a binary system. A binary system is one in which two stars orbit around one another (just like the planets of our solar system orbit our star, the Sun).
It is believed that some of the more massive brown dwarfs fuse deuterium or lithium and glow faintly.
The faintness of the glow proved to be providential in finding the cloud bands. Unlike a star whose brightness would be too high, or an extrasolar planet orbiting a star, where the extra light from its star would have to be cut off to make the measurement, the light of the brown dwarfs was just right.
The group, by using the Very Large Telescope at European Southern Observatory, Chile, found that Luhman 16A had band-like clouds in its atmosphere, whereas the same was not true of Luhman 16B.
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