Insights Daily Current Affairs, 13 August 2016
Paper 3 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.
Deep Brain Stimulator
Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences & Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram have agreed to join hands to develop ‘Deep Brain Stimulator’ (DBS).
What is DBS and how it operates?
DBS involves implanting electrodes within certain areas of brain and the regular electrical pulses generated by a pacemaker-like device placed under the skin in upper chest regulates the abnormal impulses of the brain.
- The DBS consists of implanted pulse generator, electrodes and extension cables which interface with external Programmer module and wireless battery charger.
DBS is used in typical neurological conditions of Essential tremor, Parkinson’s disease and Dystonia.
These devices are currently being imported, limiting its wider usage due to the high cost. The planned joint development is targeted to provide an affordable alternative.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Central Agricultural University (Amendment) Bill, 2016
Parliament has passed the Central Agricultural University (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
- The bill seeks to amend the Central Agricultural University Act, 1992, that was enacted for the establishment and incorporation of a university for the north-eastern region in order to promote development and research in agriculture and allied sectors.
- The bill includes Nagaland under the jurisdiction of Imphal Central Agriculture University (CAU). The amendment will help Nagaland to reap the benefit of the Imphal Central Agriculture University, established for the entire north eastern region.
- After inclusion of Nagaland under jurisdiction of the CAU, the College of Veterinary Sciences in Nagaland would produce the much-needed professional manpower in the fields of animal husbandry, which will facilitate socio-economic growth in the region.
- The new college would help familiarise the farmers with new techniques, thereby contributing to the production and productivity of domestic animals in the State of Nagaland.
Paper 3 Topic: infrastructure.
CAG uncovers roads to nowhere
According to the performance audit report of the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) by CAG, tabled in Parliament recently, a total of 372 works under the rural road connectivity scheme were abandoned/proposed to be abandoned mid-way in 11 States, due to non-availability of land or land disputes. Of these, Rajasthan accounts for the highest – 213 abandoned works – followed by Odisha with 107 works.
Highlights of the report:
- In 26 States, 4,496 works were delayed from one month to 129 months. Among these, Bihar accounted for the highest number of delays at 1,243, due to paucity of funds and non-availability of material, followed by 572 in Odisha, 378 in Rajasthan due to land dispute, heavy rain, as well as paucity of funds, and 367 works in Uttar Pradesh.
- The report also found a few discrepancies, such as unconnected habitations that were shown as connected, non-inclusion of eligible habitations, etc, in 19 States.
- In seven States – Bihar, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, and West Bengal – 73 road works were executed and shown as completed.
- To reduce systemic deficiencies and closer monitoring of the scheme, the CAG report urged the nodal Rural Development Ministry to create a Geographical Information System data base of rural roads information system for each State, and fix responsibility and accountability of agencies and individuals.
PMGSY was launched on 25th December 2000 as a fully funded Centrally Sponsored Scheme to provide all weather road connectivity in rural areas of the country. The programme envisages connecting all habitations with a population of 500 persons and above in the plain areas and 250 persons and above in hill States, the tribal and the desert areas.
The objective was to give roads to villages:
- With a inhabitants of 1000 persons & more by year 2003
- Having populace of 500 & more by 2007
- Mount states, ethnic & desert region villages having a population of 500 & more by the year 2003, &
- Mount states, ethnic & desert region villages having population of 250 & more by 2007.
Sources: the hindu.
Facts for Prelims:
- Diamond Quadrilateral: Six corridors on Diamond Quadrilateral connecting metropolitan cities and growth centers of the country (Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai & Kolkata) have been identified for feasibility studies for high speed rail connectivity viz: (i) Delhi-Mumbai, (ii) Mumbai-Chennai, (iii) Chennai-Kolkata, (iv) Kolkata-Delhi and both diagonals i.e. (v) Delhi-Chennai and (vi) Mumbai-Kolkata routes. Feasibility studies are being undertaken through Government to Government cooperation, with China and Spain respectively.
- Longest living vertebrate: Greenland sharks have been named the longest-living vertebrate on Earth. University of Copenhagen researchers estimated that these sharks live at least 400 years, nearly two centuries longer than the whales. They are the largest fish native to Arctic seas, with adults typically measuring between 13 and 16 feet and females consistently outgrowing the males. To determine the age of Greenland sharks, researchers examined the eye lens nuclei of 28 females, caught during scientific surveys. Analysis suggested that these sharks reach sexual maturity around the age of 150.
- S-400: It is the new advanced S-400 air defence missile system deployed by Russia to annexed Crimea
- Rhino horn verification: The verification of rhino horns to check their genuineness and updating of the complete inventory of horns kept in various treasuries in the custody of Assam government since 1980, has begun in Assam. The first treasury to be opened will be Golaghat with the highest number of rhino horns in government custody with most from Kaziranga National Park. The rhino horns are scattered in 12 treasuries of Assam, the maximum being in Golaghat followed by Nagaon, Guwahati and Tezpur.
- Krishna Pushkaralu: It is a festival of River Krishna which normally occurs once in every 12 years and is celebrated with much glory. The Pushkaram is observed for a period of 12 days from the time of entry of Jupiter into Virgo (Kanya rasi). Krishna Pushkaralu 2016 recently began in Telangana.
- Huge LPG subsidy savings: CAG findings have revealed that about 92% of the Rs. 23,300-crore savings in subsidy payouts by the Petroleum Ministry in 2015-16 was due to the sharp fall in oil prices.
- M.S. Subbulakshmi : The United Nations will issue a stamp to mark the birth centenary of M.S. Subbulakshmi during celebrations for India’s Independence Day. Subbulakshmi, whose birth anniversary falls on September 16, performed at the UN fifty years ago, making her the first Indian to have the honour. Subbulakshmi was a Carnatic vocalist. She was the first musician ever to be awarded the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian honour. She is the first Indian musician to receive the Ramon Magsaysay award, often considered Asia’s Nobel Prize.
- 100 million for 100 million: It is a campaign launched by Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi recently. It targets 100 million youth, whose idealism, energy and enthusiasm would help liberate the 100 million children shackled in slavery and poverty across the world.
- Bharatavani: The government is planning to digitize as many as 165 important Tulu works and make available on-line on a Union government portal. They will be uploaded under the Bharatavani project, an initiative of the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development. Bharatavani project is about making available “knowledge in and knowledge about” all languages in the country in multimedia formats (text, audio, video and images) through an online portal.