Current Affairs Analysis

13th & 14th September 2020 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

What are virtual courts?; What is Dark matter?; Gravitational lensing; Quad countries; National School of Drama; Paradip-Haldia-Durgapur Pipeline Augmentation Project; Deep Vein Thrombosis; iRAD App; G-20 Agriculture and Water Minister’s Meeting; COVID-3D; Methane hydrate in Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin; Indian Brain Templates; waterway with Bangladesh from Tripura; Singapore Convention on Mediation; eCourts Project; J&K grievance redressal system; Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System; What is Net Present Value (NPV)?; Hindi Diwas 2020; Ecological Threat Register (ETR);etc.
By IASToppers
September 14, 2020

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Law Ministry panel demands for more virtual courts
  • Election Commission revises timeline for political parties

Government Schemes & Policies

  • J&K grievance redressal system launched

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Ecological Threat Register (ETR)
  • Environment Ministry rejects plea for exemption from forest penalty

Bilateral & International Relations

  • Opening of waterway with Bangladesh from Tripura
  • Singapore Convention on Mediation comes into force

Defence & Security Issues

  • India in talks for logistics pacts with Russia, U.K. and Vietnam

Art & Culture

  • National School of Drama

Science & Technology

  • New findings on universe’s mysterious dark matter
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis
  • Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin, an excellent source of fuel methane
  • NIMHANS develops new Indian Brain Templates and brain atlas

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Paradip-Haldia-Durgapur Pipeline Augmentation Project
  • iRAD App
  • G-20 Agriculture and Water Minister’s Meeting
  • COVID-3D
  • Hindi Diwas 2020

For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here

Polity & Governance

Law Ministry panel demands for more virtual courts

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice recommended continuation of virtual courts for identified categories of cases even after the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

What are virtual courts?

  • Virtual Court is a concept aimed at eliminating presence of litigant or lawyer in the court and adjudication of the case online.
  • In an e-court, the entire work is executed digitally, where the information that is shared and generated is stored as a database and synched to a particular software.
  • This software can be accessed by litigants, judges and advocates.
  • In the current COVID-19 scenario facility is provided for litigants to file the complaint electronically through e-Filing and also pay the Court Fees or Fine online.
  • The litigant can view the status of the case online through various channels created for service delivery.

Advantages:

  • Enable the mediator and parties to assemble together, each on their computer screens hundreds of miles away.
  • Discussion can be guided, giving parties and lawyers the opportunity to put forth their views.
  • The process is flexible as the mediator at the click of a button, move the other party and its lawyer to another virtual room.
  • Convenient, cost-effective and an efficient use of time.
  • Parties do not have to bear coststravel, wait long hours, undergo adjournments and multiple visits to the mediation centre.
  • Curtail chances of face-to-face confrontation and emotional overhaul which is common during direct mediation.
  • Easy to get people from different locations on to one platform, facilitating parties located in different countries.

Disadvantages:

  • Confidentiality of the parties involved can be compromised since hearings could be recorded.
  • Poor quality of internet connection, substandard audio and video equipment, power cuts, inability to establish real time connection.
  • Manipulation of the witness, lack of trust and confidence in the judicial process.
  • There is the apprehension that online communication will exclude the underprivileged, those who cannot afford access to Internet or do not have the capacity or assistance to use it.
  • Such exclusion will be similar to denial of access to justice.

Key recommendations of the committee:

  • The panel strongly pitched for continuation of virtual courts even after the COVID-19 pandemic gets over.
  • The virtual proceedings can be extended permanently to various Appellate Tribunals like TDSAT, IPAB, NCLAT etc. located across the country which do not require personal appearances of the parties/advocates.
  • Infrastructure needs to be upgraded especially in district courts to implement this.

Way Forward:

  • Investment in IT infrastructure to facilitate access to e-courts.
  • Guidelines on the types of cases that can be resolved in the virtual space.
  • Technical glitches have to be minimised, and Internet services must gear up for providing screen clarity and uninterrupted feed.
  • Records of the proceedings should be taken care of in terms of its dissemination and service providers have to be vigilant.
  • Strict rules to penalise participants for breach.
  • Building confidence in virtual courts with landmark verdicts and a sense of inclusion.
  • If the State and its Courts are going to allow and encourage online mediation to resolve disputes, weaker parties must be assisted and enabled to avail of this facility.

eCourts Project:

  • The eCourts Project was conceptualized on the basis of National Policy and Action Plan for Implementation of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Indian Judiciary 2005.
  • Vision: To transform the Indian Judiciary by ICT enablement of Courts.
  • The project is a pan-India project monitored and funded by the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law and Justice, Government of India for the District Courts across the country.

Objective:

  • To provide efficient & time-bound citizen centric services delivery as detailed in eCourt Project Litigant’s Charter.
  • To develop, install & implement decision support systems in courts.
  • To automate the processes to provide transparency in accessibility of information to its stakeholders.
  • To enhance judicial productivity, both qualitatively & quantitatively, to make the justice delivery system affordable, accessible, cost effective, predictable, reliable and transparent.
[Ref: The Hindu; Economic Times]

Election Commission revises timeline for political parties

The Election Commission (EC) had put in place a detailed timeline for publicity of criminal records by contesting candidates in the elections.

  • The move will help voters in exercising their franchise in a more informed manner.

New guidelines:

  • The declaration by candidates with criminal antecedents will have to spread over three rounds of publicity beginning with soon after filing nomination and ending towards the end of campaign period.
  • As per the revised guideline, the candidates as well as the political parties, regarding candidates nominated by them, will publish the details of criminal antecedents, if any, in newspapers and television in following manner.
  • The detailed timeline includes:
    • First publicity within first four days of last date of withdrawal.
    • Second within fifth to eighth day of last date of withdrawal
    • Last from ninth day till the last day of campaign which means two days prior to polling date.
  • The cost of such publicity is borne by candidates and political parties.
  • With the first round of publicity ending before last day of withdrawal of nomination, it would mean that even those candidates who do not end up contesting elections will also have to publicize such records if they file nomination papers.
  • Uncontested winner candidates as well as the political parties who nominate them shall also publicise the criminal antecedents, if any, as prescribed for other contesting candidates and political parties.

Feb 2020 ruling of SC:

  • It shall be mandatory for political parties during central and state elections to put out detailed information about candidates with criminal cases pending against them, including the nature of the offences.
  • Parties must also list the reasons for selecting such candidates and state why others without criminal antecedents were not selected.
  • The information should be published in one local vernacular newspaper, a national newspaper, and on the official social media platforms of the political party, including Facebook and Twitter.
  • These details are to be published within 48 hours of the selection of the candidate.

Report of Compliance to EC:

  • The political party concerned shall then submit a report of compliance with these directions with the Election Commission within 72 hours of the selection of the said candidate.
  • If a political party fails to submit such compliance report with the Election Commission, the Election Commission shall bring such non-compliance by the political party concerned to the notice of the Supreme Court as being in contempt of this court’s orders.

Rationale of the move:

  • The court noted that there has been an alarming increase in the number of candidates with criminal records entering politics.
  • In 2004, 24% of members of Parliament (MPs) had criminal cases pending against them. In 2009, that went up to 30%, in 2014 to 34%, and in 2019 as many as 43% of MPs had criminal cases pending against them.
  • The series of directions by SC are aimed at checking the criminalization of politics.
[Ref: The Hindu; Live Mint]

Government Schemes & Policies

J&K grievance redressal system launched

Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) launched the Jammu and Kashmir Integrated Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (JK-IGRAMS).

Aim:

  • For making grievance redressal robust and efficient.

Major Highlights:

  • The system is being launched on a pilot basis in three districts — Jammu, Srinagar, and Reasi — and will gradually be rolled out in the remaining districts by October 2.
  • The revamped system will decentralise handling and redressal of public grievances by making district collectors and deputy commissioners the primary level of receiving, disposing and monitoring grievances.
  • The existing portal has been integrated downwards to the district level by mapping nearly 1,500 public offices in 20 districts of the Union Territories.
  • From the existing 250 to the proposed 1,500 offices, this is the widest possible coverage that has been conceived and enabled in online management of public grievances in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • It is the first online grievance management system in the country which is linked to the central government (at the top level) and districts, tehsils and blocks (at the bottom level).
  • The new system will be available 24×7 with applicant OTP authentication, acknowledgement to applicant at each stage, feedback by complainant, and grievance submission through call centre.

Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System:

  • CPGRAMS is an online web-enabled system over NICNET (Network of National Informatics Centre).
  • It was developed by National Informatics Centre (NIC), in association with Directorate of Public Grievances (DPG) and Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG).
  • CPGRAMS is the platform based on web technology.

Aim:

  • To enable submission of grievances by aggrieved citizens from anywhere and anytime (24×7) basis to Ministries/ Departments/Organizations who scrutinize and take action for speedy and favourable redress of these grievances.
  • Tracking grievances is facilitated on this portal through system generated unique registration number.

Issues which are not taken up for redressal:

  • Sub-judice cases or any matter concerning judgment given by any court.
  • Personal and family disputes.
  • RTI matters.
  • Anything that impacts upon territorial integrity of the country or friendly relations with other countries.
[Ref: Hindustan Times]

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Ecological Threat Register (ETR)

The inaugural edition of the ETR has been launched in September 2020.

Salient features:

  • It covers 157 independent states and territories and produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP).
  • The ETR measures ecological threats that countries are currently facing and provides projections to 2050.
  • The ETR includes: population growth, water stress, food insecurity, droughts, floods, cyclones and rising temperature and sea levels.
  • The ETR clusters threats into two major domains: resource scarcity and natural disasters.
  • The resource scarcity domain includes food insecurity, water scarcity and high population growth.
  • The natural disaster domain measures the threat of floods, droughts, cyclones, sea level rise and rising temperatures.

Major Highlights:

  • Out of 157 countries’ assessed, 141 countries faced at least one ecological threat by 2050.
  • The sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, the Middle East and North Africa the regions face the largest number of threats.
  • Countries such as India and China, are most threatened by water scarcity.
[Ref: IEP]

Environment Ministry rejects plea for exemption from forest penalty

The Union Ministry of Mines has requested an expert advisory committee of the Environment Ministry to exempt it from the Supreme Court-mandated fees that prospectors pay when they dig exploratory boreholes in forests.

  • The Secretary of the Environment Ministry refused saying that it would be ‘inappropriate’ to grant such an exemption as this was mandated by the Supreme Court.

What is Net Present Value (NPV)?

  • The Net Present Value is a monetary approximation of the value that is lost when a piece of forest land has been razed.
  • This is on the basis of the services and ecological value.
  • There are prescribed formulae for calculating this amount which depends on the location and nature of the forest and the type of industrial enterprise that will replace a particular parcel of forest.
  • The Supreme Court mandates this must be paid by those who use forest land for non-forestry purposes and only limited exemptions are permitted.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Bilateral & International Relations

Opening of waterway with Bangladesh from Tripura

Tripura opens its first-ever inland waterway with Bangladesh from Sonamura in Sepahijala district.

  • A big boat carrying 50 MT cement from Bangladesh’s Munshiganj port is scheduled to come in as part of the trial run.

Background

  • The route connecting Sonamura and Daudkandi of Bangladesh was included in the list of Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes agreed up on May 20, 2020.
  • The project has already been projected by Tripura government as a major catalyst to catapult Tripura into a gateway to the North-East.
  • The Protocol on Transit and Trade (PTT) through inland waterways was first signed between People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Republic of India in 1972.
  • The protocol was renewed in 2015 for five years and it has the provision of automatic renewal for further five years.

Drawbacks

  • Since the waterway project’s trade volume would be low, there isn’t massive local employment to count upon either.
  • Most importantly, the river route would not stay operational throughout the year.

Cross-border trade of Tripura

  • Tripura’s cross-border trade commenced in 1995.
  • Currently, the state exports goods and materials worth Rs 30 crore to Bangladesh annually, but imports good worth Rs 645 crore.
  • This huge trade deficit is due to abnormally high import duty apparatus in Bangladesh and the absence of many commodities abundant in the state in the list of goods allowed for export as well as port restrictions.
  • The forthcoming Agartala-Akhaura rail project, Indo-Bangla bridge over River Feni and a second Integrated Check Post (ICP) at Sabroom are aimed at taking up the quantum of trade between the two sides.

Sonamura-Daudkandi Route

  • Sonamura-Daudkandi Route is an inland waterway route over river Gumati connecting the Sonamura in Sepahijala district of Tripura to the Daudkandi of Chittagong in Bangladesh.
  • The overall route is of around 93 km, from which 89.5 km is in the neighbouring country.
  • The route is connecting Gumati river with India’s national waterways through Bangladesh’s Meghna river.

Significance

  • It would provide a faster, safer and economically viable mode of transportation of goods for both nations and boost trade.
  • It would boost Indo-Bangla bilateral trade making Tripura a key trade hub in the northeast region.
  • Tripura would benefit from the transit charges of goods transported through Bangladesh.

Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Routes

  • Indo-Bangladesh Protocol on Inland Water Transit & Trade exists between India and Bangladesh under which inland vessels of one country can transit through the specified routes of the other country.
  • The existing protocol routes are:
    • Kolkata-Pandu-Kolkata
    • Kolkata-Karimganj – Kolkata
    • Rajshahi-Dhulian-Rajshahi
    • Pandu-Karimganj-Pandu

River Gumati

  • Gumti River originates from Dumur in the northeastern hilly region of Tripura state of India.
  • From its source it flows about 150 km along a meandering course through the hills, turns west and enters Bangladesh near Katak Bazar.
  • The Gumti is a hilly river having a strong current.
  • A dam has been constructed near Dumbur on the river that has formed a lake covering 40 square kilometres.
[Ref: Indian Express]

Singapore Convention on Mediation comes into force

The Singapore Convention on Mediation came into force on September 12, 2020.

  • It will provide a more effective way for enforcing mediated settlements of corporate disputes involving businesses in India and other countries that are signatories to the Convention.

Singapore Convention on Mediation

  • Also known as the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation, this treaty is the first UN treaty to be named after Singapore.
  • It was opened for signature in Singapore on August 7, 2019, and came into force six months after being ratified by at least three State Parties.
  • The Convention has 53 signatories, including India, China and the U.S.
  • The Singapore Convention responds to the demand from a growing body of mediation users for an enforcement mechanism applicable to mediated settlement agreements in cross-border disputes.
  • The Convention would boost India’s ‘ease of doing business’ credentials by enabling swift mediated settlements of corporate disputes.
  • The Singapore Convention applies only to mediated settlements of international commercial disputes, namely where at least two parties to the settlement agreement have their places of business in different States.

Settlement agreements excluded from the scope of the Convention

  • Settlement agreements that have been approved by a court or concluded in court proceedings, and that are enforceable as a judgment in the State of such a court, or those that have been recorded and are enforceable as part of an arbitral award.
  • Settlement agreements pertaining to certain subject matters are also excluded, namely family, inheritance or employment law, and disputes arising from transactions engaged in by a consumer for personal, family or household purposes.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Defence & Security Issues

India in talks for logistics pacts with Russia, U.K. and Vietnam

India now has military logistics agreements with all Quad countries, Australia, Japan and the U.S., significantly improving interoperability as they also operate several common military platforms.

About Logistics agreements:

  • Logistics agreements are administrative arrangements facilitating access to military facilities for exchange of fuel and provisions on mutual agreement simplifying logistical support and increasing operational turnaround of the military when operating away from India.
  • India and Australia signed the Mutual Logistics Support (MLSA), elevated their partnership to Comprehensive Strategic partnership in the Indo-Pacific.
  • India and Japan have already signed an implementing arrangement for cooperation between the Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defence Force (JMSDF).
  • India has signed several logistics agreement with the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Understanding (LEMOA) with the U.S. in 2016.

Significance:

  • The Reciprocal Logistics Support (ARLS) agreement gives India access to Russian facilities in the Arctic region.
  • The utility of the agreements will be visible at the Malabar trilateral naval exercise (United States, Japan and India) scheduled to be held in November.
  • There has been a sharp increase in India’s maritime interactions with the Quad countries on a bilateral basis centred around information sharing for improved Maritime Domain Awareness (MDA) in the Indian Ocean Region and Indo-Pacific.
  • The Andaman and Nicobar islands located close to the strategic Strait of Malacca have been of interest to several countries including Australia and Japan.

Quad countries:

  • The grouping of four democracies –India, Australia, US and Japan– known as the quadrilateral security dialogue or quad, was first mooted by Japan in 2007.
  • All four nations find a common ground of being the democratic nations and common interests of unhindered maritime trade and security.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Art & Culture

National School of Drama

Paresh Rawal is appointed as a new Chairman of National School of Drama.

National School of Drama:

  • The National School of Drama was set up by the Sangeet Natak Akademi in 1959.
  • Objective: to train students in all aspects of theatre, including theatre history, production, scene design, costume design, lighting, make-up, etc.
  • 1975: it became an independent entity and was registered as an autonomous organization under the Societies Registration Act 1860.
  • It is fully financed by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
  • The School has a Regional Research Centre at Bengaluru to cater to the theatrical needs of the four southern states and Puducherry.
  • The NSD has promoted children’s theatre (renamed as Sanskar Rang Toli– Theatre In Education Company) has been involved in production of plays for children.
  • The School has organized National Theatre Festival for Children christened ‘Jashne Bachpan’ every year.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Science & Technology

New findings on universe’s mysterious dark matter

Dark matter is confounding scientists again, with new observations of distant galaxies conflicting with the current understanding of its nature.

About the findings:

  • It revealed an unexpected discrepancy between observations of dark matter concentrations in three massive clusters of galaxies encompassing trillions of stars and theoretical computer simulations of how dark matter should be distributed.
  • Either there is a missing ingredient in the simulations or scientist made a fundamental incorrect assumption about the nature of dark matter.
  • The new study involved observations from the Hubble Space Telescope and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile.
  • The new observations showed that gravitational lensing effects produced by galaxies residing inside the huge galaxy clusters were far stronger than current dark matter theory envisioned.

What is Dark matter?

  • The visible universeincludes Earth, the sun, other stars, and galaxies—the rest of the universe appears to be made of a mysterious, invisible substance called dark matter and a force that repels gravity known as dark energy.
  • Dark matter is the invisible glue that holds stars together inside a galaxy. It also creates an invisible scaffold that enables galaxies to form clusters.
  • It has very peculiar properties. It does not emit, absorb or reflect light and does not interact with any known particles.
  • The bulk of the matter in the universe, about 96%, is thought to be dark matter, with ordinary matter – the visible stuff that makes up stars, planets and people – a mere 4%.
  • Dark matter’s presence is known only through its gravitational pull on visible matter in space.
  • It differs from the similarly enigmatic and unseen dark energy, which is considered a property of space and is driving the universe’s accelerated expansion.
  • Dark energy is repulsive. Dark matter attracts through gravity. 

Gravitational lensing:

  • When the light from distant sources like faraway galaxies travels through matter such as another galaxy or a cluster of them, the light is deflected and bends – a phenomenon called gravitational lensing.

To know more about the Gravitational lensing, kindly visit the link given below:

[Ref: Times of India]

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum (SCTIMST), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology, has developed a device for the prevention of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).

Deep Vein Thrombosis:

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a serious condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein located deep inside human body.
  • A blood clot is a clump of blood that’s turned to a solid state. Deep vein blood clots typically form in thigh or lower leg, but they can also develop in other areas of human body.
  • Causes: caused by anything that prevents blood from circulating or clotting normally, such as injury to a vein, surgery, certain medications and limited movement.
  • A deep vein thrombosis can break loose and cause a serious problem in the lung, called a pulmonary embolism.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin, an excellent source of fuel methane

In a recent study by the Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) have found that the methane hydrate deposits are located in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin are of biogenic origin.

About the study

  • The study was conducted as a part of the DST-SERB young scientist project titled ‘Elucidating the community structure of methanogenic archaea in methane hydrate’.
  • It revealed maximum methanogenic diversity in the KG basin.
  • Also the rate of biogenic methane generation in KG Basin predicted; hydrates to be 0.031 millimoles methane/gTOC/Day, resulting in total deposits of methane around 0.56 to 7.68trillion cubic feet (TCF).
  • A predominance of genus Methanosarcina in KG basin is documented, followed by a few other genera Methanoculleus, Methanobacterium.
  • Genus Methanosarcina was found to be more diverse among the obtained genera with four different species M. siciliae, M. barkeri, M. flavescens, and M. mazeias.
  • Cultivation, isolation, and characterization of putative novel Methanoculleus sp. nov. and Methanosarcinaspnov. from methane hydrate sediments of Krishna Godavari basin, India are reported for first time.

Methane hydrate

  • Methane hydrate is formed when hydrogen-bonded water and methane gas come into contact at high pressures and low temperatures in oceans.
  • Methane hydrate deposit in KG basin is a rich source that will ensure adequate supplies of methane, a natural gas.
  • Methane is a cleaner and economical fuel. One cubic meter of methane hydrate contains 160-180 cubic meters of methane.

Krishna Godavari Basin

  • Extensive deltaic plain formed by two large east coast rivers, Krishna and Godavari in the state of Andhra Pradesh and the adjoining areas of Bay of Bengal in which these rivers discharge their water is known as Krishna Godavari Basin.
  • The Krishna Godavari Basin is a proven petroliferous basin of continental margin located on the east coast of India.
  • Its onland part covers an area of 15000 sq. km and the offshore part covers an area of 25,000 sq. km up to 1000 m isobath.
  • The basin contains about 5 km thick sediments with several cycles of deposition, ranging in age from Late Carboniferous to Pleistocene.
  • The major geomorphologic units of the Krishna Godavari basin are Upland plains, Coastal plains, Recent Flood and Delta Plains.
[Ref: PIB]

NIMHANS develops new Indian Brain Templates and brain atlas

Five sets of Indian brain templates and a brain atlas for five age groups covering late childhood to late adulthood (six to 60 years) have been developed by neuroscientists from National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Sciences (NIMHANS).

Significance

  • The templates and atlas will provide more precise reference maps for areas of interest in individual patients with neurological disorders like strokes, brain tumors, and dementia.
  • These templates and atlas will also help pool information more usefully in group studies of the human brain and psychological functions.
  • It will aid the understanding of psychiatric illnesses like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), autism, substance dependence, schizophrenia, and mood disorders.
  • Currently, Medical practitioners uses the brain atlas created by the Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI), based on Caucasian brains, not ideal to analyze Indian population. Hence, these MRI images are likely to lead to a misdiagnosis as they are not based on Indian brains.
  • Now, doctors can compare the MRI images with Indian Brain Atlas as reference to avoid misdiagnosis.

Brain atlas

  • A brain atlas is a brain map or a template which becomes the ‘standard’ against which brain abnormalities can be measured.
  • A brain atlas helps researchers compare findings from different brain imaging methods like Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and functional MRI (fMRI), or between healthy and diseased brain states, or across individuals.

Indian Brain Atlas (IBA)

  • The average brain size of an Indian is smaller in height, width and volume in comparison to people of the Caucasian (western) and Eastern races (Chinese and Korean).
  • Indian Brain Atlas is more similar to the Chinese and Korean atlases than Caucasian one.
  • Differences are structural and are not associated with intelligence or behavior.

Key Fact

  • Researchers at the IIIT Hyderabad created the first ever Indian Brain Atlas (IBA). They stated that the next step is to prepare atlases for different age groups to study age related effects on brain anatomy.
[Ref: The Hindu]

Key Facts For Prelims

Hindi Diwas 2020

Hindi Diwas is celebrated on September 14 each year to celebrate the importance of Hindi, a language that resonates with most of the North India.

About Hindi language:

  • The word Hindi came from a Persian word ‘Hind’, which means the land of the Indus River.
  • Hindi is one of the 22 scheduled languages of the country.
  • Hindi is the third most spoken language in the world after English and Mandarin (Chinese).

Key Facts:

  • On September 14, 1949, the makers of Indian Constitution decided to designate Hindi as the official language of India.
  • The day marks the importance of this decision and aims to propagate the use of Hindi language in day-to-day life.
  • September 14 also marks the birthday of Beohar Rajendra Sinha, who is also regarded as the main person behind making Hindi the official language of India.
  • Every year on Hindi Diwas, President of India presents the Rajbhasha awards to people for their contribution towards the language.
[Ref: NEWS 18]

Paradip-Haldia-Durgapur Pipeline Augmentation Project

  • Prime Minister inaugurate two projects in Bihar: Durgapur-Banka section of the Paradip-Haldia-Durgapur pipeline project and two LPG bottling plants.
  • The 193-km long Durgapur-Banka pipeline section, built by state-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC), is a part of the Paradip-Haldia-Durgapur Pipeline Augmentation Project, for which the foundation stone was laid by PM in February 2019.

iRAD App

  • Integrated Road Accident Database Project iRAD app has been developed to analyse the causes of road crashes and in devising safety interventions to reduce accidents in India.
  • It has been decided to implement the proposal in six States, viz. Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
  • The development and implementation of iRAD has been entrusted to lIT Madras and National Informatics Centre Services Inc.
  • The App when developed and functional, will enable the stakeholders such as the Police, Transport, Health, etc to use their mobile phones to collect accident data on the spot.

G-20 Agriculture and Water Minister’s Meeting

  • A virtual meeting of G-20 Agriculture and Water Ministers was held.
  • The current chair of G20 is Saudi Arabia.
  • India will be part of G-20 Troika from December, 2020 and host G-20 Presidency from December, 2021 to November, 2022 when India celebrates its 75 years of Independence.
  • To ensure continuity of chairmanship, the G20 presidency is supported by a “troika” made up of the current, immediate past and next host countries.

COVID-3D

  • Scientists assessed the genome data the novel coronavirus, and have developed a new tool Covid-3D to monitor mutations in the virus that may make it difficult to develop vaccines and drugs for Covid-19.
  • It contains information about all the protein structures that coincide with the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2’s genome, including every known genetic mutation and its resultant variant protein structure.
  • Although the SARS-CoV-2 virus is a relatively new pathogen, its ability to readily accumulate mutations across its genes was evident from the start of this pandemic.
  • Several international universities and research institutions are already using Covid-3D in vaccine and treatment development.
  • Covid-3D can help researchers recognise how mutations operate, and identify more effective vaccine and drug targets.
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