12 May, 2020
62 Min Read
|GS-I||Polar vortex brings spring snow||Human Geography|
|GS-III||National Technology Day-Technology Development Board|
|One Nation One Ration Card system.|
|Atal Pension yojana completes 5 years||Economic Issues|
|ICMR's clearance on using convalescent plasma therapy|
|National Technology Day|
|PT Pointer||Gandhi Peace Prize|
|City Liveability Index||Human Geography|
|Bright nights||Human Geography|
|Lord Jagannath Temple||Art and Culture|
|Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI)||Economic Issues|
|World’s largest floating solar plant|
Polar vortex brings spring snow to parts of North America
Part of: GS-I- Geography (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Winter in May - snowfall covers parts of northeast United States and Canada. A polar vortex has brought cold weather and springtime snow to parts of the northeast United States and Canada.
The stream of arctic air slipped south on Saturday, bringing the unusual weather. In many areas, snow flurries fell against a backdrop of sunny skies, green trees and flowers. The US National Weather Service issued a freeze warning extending into early Sunday for most of the country's northeast.
Parts of New Jersey woke up to a rather cold surprise on Saturday with a dusting of snow as temperatures in some areas of the US state dropped to below zero degrees Celsius.
What it is?
Recently, the United States is grappling with extreme cold with temperature reaching to -30°C in cities like Chicago and Dakota.
How is it Linked to Global Warming
Part of: GS-I- CULTURE (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Toda artisans from the Nilgiris have come forward to use their traditional skills in making face-masks and to help people ward off the infection and also provide Todas with livelihood.
National Technology Day
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today paid tributes to all the scientists in the country who are using science and technology to bring a positive difference in the lives of others.
On National Technology Day (May 11th), our nation salutes all those who are leveraging technology to bring a positive difference in the lives of others.
About National Technology Day
India is observing its 29th National Technology Day on May 11,2020. The day, which was first observed on May 11, 1999, aims to commemorate the scientific and technological achievements of Indian scientists and engineers.
1. May 11 is also the day when India conducted its first successful test in Pokhran. On May 11, 1998, India successfully fired the Shakti-I nuclear missile at an Army test range in Rajasthan’s Pokhran. Two days later, the country conducted two more nuclear tests as a part of the same operation, following which India joined the elite club of nuclear power nations.
2. The day also marks the flight of indigenously developed Hansa-3. It was developed jointly by National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) lab.
3. On the same day, that is, May 11, 1988, the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) completed the final test fire of the surface-to-air Trishul missile.
4. Former Indian PM Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee coined this term to celebrate the contributions made by Indian scientists.
5. Every year since 1999, the Technology Development Board (TBD) celebrates this day by awarding individuals for their scientific contributions to India.
About Technology Development Board
The Government of India constituted the Technology Development Board (TDB) in September 1996, under the Technology Development Board Act, 1995, as a statutory body, to promote development and commercialization of indigenous technology and adaptation of imported technology for wider application. The board consists of 11 Board members.
The TDB is the first organization of its kind within the government framework with the sole objective of commercializing the fruit of indigenous research. The Board plays a pro-active role by encouraging enterprises to take up technology oriented products.
Provides equity capital or loans to industrial concerns and financial assistance to research and development institutions.
The Fund has been receiving grants from the Government of India out of the cess collections from the industrial concerns under the provisions of the Research and Development Cess Act, 1986, as amended in 1995. Any income from investment of the amount of the Fund and the recoveries made of the amounts disbursed from the Fund are credited for building up the Fund. The finance Act, 1999, enabled full deductions to the donations made to the fund for income tax purposes.
The objectives are to:
One Nation One Ration Card system.
The timeline given to all States/UTs, under the Aadhaar notification of the Department of Food and Public Distribution dated 07.02.2017 (as amended from time-to-time) to complete the seeding of Aadhaar numbers with all ration cards/beneficiaries, has been extended up to 30/09/2020 by the Department.
Further, instructions are also issued that food grains under NFSA shall not be denied due to failure of biometric / Aadhaar authentication of beneficiary because of poor biometrics of the beneficiary, issues with network/connectivity/linking or any other technical reasons. During the current crisis situation, a pragmatic approach is needed so that no poor or deserving person or family is denied access to food grains.
About Integrated Management of PDS
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution has launched a new central sector scheme- Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IMPDS). It will be implemented during 2018-19 and 2019-20.
To sustain the reforms brought in by scheme on ‘End to End Computerization of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) Operations’ the Department has launched a new scheme namely “Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS)” for implementation during 2018-19 and 2019-20.
The main objective of the scheme is to introduce nation-wide portability of ration card (One Nation-One Ration Card) holders under National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA), to lift their entitlement foodgrains from any FPS of their choice in the country without the need of obtaining a new ration card, by integrating the existing PDS systems/portals of States/UTs with the Central systems/portals under Central Repository of all NFSA ration cards/beneficiaries thereby enabling One Nation One Ration Card system.
The central repository also ensures that no duplicate ration card/beneficiary exist in any State/UT under NFSA
With a view to address challenges such as leakage and diversion of foodgrains, inclusion/exclusion errors, fake and bogus ration cards, Government is implementing a scheme on “End-to-End Computerization of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) Operations”.
The scheme comprises digitization of ration cards/beneficiary and other databases, online allocation, computerization of supply-chain management, setting up of transparency portal and grievance redressal mechanisms
Atal Pension yojana completes 5 years
The flagship social security scheme of Government of India ‘Atal Pension Yojana’ (APY) has completed five years of successful implementation which was launched on 9th May 2015.
About Atal Pension yojana
Atal Pension Yojana (APY) addresses the old age income security of the working poor and the longevity risks among the workers in unorganised sector. It encourages the workers in unorganised sector to voluntarily save for their retirement. The Government had launched the scheme with effect from 1st June, 2015. The scheme replaces the Swavalamban Yojana / NPS Lite scheme.
Benefits of APY
Eligibility for APY
Age of joining and contribution period
The minimum age of joining APY is 18 years and maximum age is 40 years. Therefore, minimum period of contribution by the subscriber under APY would be 20 years or more.
Focus of APY
Mainly targeted at unorganised sector workers.
All Points of Presence (Service Providers) and Aggregators under Swavalamban Scheme would enroll subscribers through architecture of National Pension System.
Operational Framework of APY
It is Government of India Scheme, which is administered by the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority. The Institutional Architecture of NPS would be utilised to enroll subscribers under APY.
Funding of APY
Age of Joining, Contribution Levels, Fixed Monthly Pension and Return of Corpus to the nominee of subscribers
The Table of contribution levels, fixed monthly pension to subscribers and his spouse and return of corpus to nominees of subscribers and the contribution period is given below. For example, to get a fixed monthly pension between Rs. 1,000 per month and Rs. 5,000 per month, the subscriber has to contribute on monthly basis between Rs. 42 and Rs. 210, if he joins at the age of 18 years. For the same fixed pension levels, the contribution would range between Rs. 291 and Rs. 1,454, if the subscriber joins at the age of 40 years.
Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is the statutory Authority established by an enactment of the Parliament, to regulate, promote and ensure orderly growth of the National Pension System (NPS) and pension schemes to which this Act applies. NPS was initially notified for central government employees recruits wef 1stJan 2004 and subsequently adopted by almost all State Governments for its employees. NPS was extended to all Indian citizens (resident/non-resident/overseas) on a voluntary basis and to corporates for its employees.
ICMR's clearance on using convalescent plasma therapy
The U.S. FDA and India’s ICMR have approved the use of plasma from recovered COVID-19 patients only for trial purposes.
With the ethics committee approval in hand on May 8, the ICMR cleared the last hurdle to conduct a multicentric phase-2 trial using convalescent plasma on COVID-19 patients with moderate illness.
Phase 2 trial- to check the efficacy of Plasma therapy
Convalescent plasma therapy
Convalescent plasma therapy, about a century old, has shown some benefit in treating measles, chickenpox and rabies.
Small studies have shown faster clearance of virus in the case of MERS and SARS if given early in the course of the disease .
Issues in Convalescent plasma therapy
Even in the absence of any effective treatment or a vaccine, the pandemic provides an opportunity to ascertain the clinical benefits of plasma therapy through randomised controlled trials.
The ICMR’s insistence on an evidence-based approach to plasma therapy is in contrast to the cavalier manner in which it approved the anti-malarial hydroxychloroquine, as a prophylaxis(treatment given or action taken to prevent disease) for coronavirus without carrying out any trial and relying on evidence that was slim and intended only for treatment, and also when the risks were unknown.
If the trial outcomes are overwhelmingly positive, the agency would be ethically obliged to recommend plasma therapy as a standard of care for COVID-19 patients.
Part of: GS-III- S&T (PT-MAINS-PERSONALITY TEST)
Recently, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) has developed India’s first paper strip test for Covid-19 namely, ‘Feluda’.
National Technology Day
India is observing its 29th National Technology Day on 11th May, 2020.
Gandhi Peace Prize
The Ministry of Culture invites nominations for awarding Gandhi Peace Prize every year. The nominations are to be made in accordance with the provisions of the Code of Procedure for Gandhi Peace Prize which is available on Ministry of Culture.
About the Gandhi Peace Prize
About Indira Gandhi Prize
City Liveability Index
CSIR - National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) Bangalore, a constituent of lab of CSIR has developed a Non Invasive BiPAP Ventilator in a record time of 36 days to treat COVID-19 patients.
About BiPAP Non-Invasive ventilator
Lord Jagannath Temple
Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI)
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