national-grid-5
Current Affair Analysis

3rd & 4th February 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

POWERGRID; Rajadhyaksha Committee on Power Sector Reforms; National Grid; National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH); Know My India Programme; Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM); National School of Drama (NSD); Price Monitoring and Research Unit (PMRU); National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA); Drugs Prices Control Order, 1995; Celling prices and Non-celling prices; What is Suo-motu pricing? What is Pro-rata Pricing? Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010; Millet Village Scheme; 2nd February: World Wetlands Day; Ramsar convention; Montreux Record; Loktak Lake; Bedin 1; Hubble Space Telescope; ‘Operation Smile-V’; Nilavembu kudineer; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
February 09, 2019

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • Kerala sets up drug price monitor

Government Schemes & Policies

  • State catching up with superfoods
  • Centre’s crackdown hits Greenpeace

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Special Workshop in Bengaluru under Know My India Programme

Economy

  • PM dedicates 220 kV Srinagar – Alusteng – Drass – Kargil – Leh Transmission Line to the Nation

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • 2nd February: World Wetlands Day

Art & Culture

  • Bharat Rang Mahotsav brings the largest theatre spectacle

Science & Technology

  • NASA’s Hubble Telescope finds dwarf galaxy in our cosmic neighbourhood

Key Facts for Prelims

  • ‘Operation Smile-V’
  • Nilavembu kudineer kills dengue virus, protects from chikungunya

For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here

Polity & Governance

Kerala sets up drug price monitor

Kerala has become the first State to set up a price monitoring and research unit (PMRU) to track violation of prices of essential drugs and medical devices under the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO).

Kerala-sets-up-drug-price-monitor-1

  • It comes more than five years after the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) proposed such a system.

Significance of PMRU:

  • It looks at over-charging for medicines. NPPA had fixed the prices of around 1,000 drugs and the PMRU would track if buyers were being overcharged.
  • It helps to monitor notified prices of medicines, detect violation of the provisions of the DPCO, collect test samples of medicines, and collect and compile market-based data of scheduled/ non-scheduled formulations.
  • It will help the State ‘Drugs Control’ wing which has severe staff shortage.
  • It would also check if pharma companies were hiking the prices of non-scheduled drugs by more than 10% a year.

Why PMRU is required?

  • Pharma companies have been accused of overcharging prices of drugs in the scheduled category fixed by the ‘Drug Price Control Orders’ (DPCO) and those outside its ambit.
  • The suggestion to set up PMRU is made due to the lack of a coordination between the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) and the State Drugs Controllers and State Drug Inspectors to monitor drug prices.
  • About ₹10,000 crores worth medicines were sold in Kerala in a single year which reflects high prices of medicines.

Structure of PMRU unit:

  • The State Health Secretary would be the Chairman of the society and the Drugs Controller would be its member secretary.
  • Its members include a State government representative, representatives of private pharmaceutical companies, and those from consumer rights protection fora.
  • The society would also have an executive committee headed by the Drugs Controller.

Way ahead:

  • There is also a plan to collect data on the prices of surgical devices and stents in the market and to check shortage of essential medicines.

National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)

  • The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), formed in August 1997, is a government regulatory agency that controls the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in India.
  • The manufacturer of a non-scheduled drugs (drugs not under direct price control) is not required to take price approvals from NPPA for such drugs.

Functions of NPPA:

  • To implement and enforce the provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order in accordance with the powers delegated to it.
  • To deal with all legal matters arising out of the decisions of the Authority.
  • To monitor the availability of drugs, identify shortages, if any, and to take remedial steps.
  • To collect data on production, exports and imports and market share of individual companies for bulk drugs.
  • To undertake and/ or sponsor relevant studies in respect of pricing of pharmaceuticals.
  • To recruit the officers and other staff members, as per rules and procedures laid down by the Government.
  • To render advice to the Central Government on changes in the drug policy.
  • To render assistance to the Central Government in the matters relating to the drug pricing.

Drugs Prices Control Order, 1995:

  • The Drugs Prices Control Order, 1995 is an order issued by the Government of India under Essential Commodities Act, 1955 to regulate the prices of drugs.
  • The Order inter alia provides the list of price controlled drugs, procedures for fixation of prices of drugs, method of implementation of prices and penalties for contravention of provisions.
  • The penalty for contravention of DPCO is minimum imprisonment of 3 months, which may extend to seven years and the violator is also liable to a fine.
  • If a manufacturer sells a medicine at a price higher than the price approved/ fixed for the product the manufacturer is liable for prosecution under Essential Commodities Act.

Celling prices and Non-celling prices:

  • As per the provisions of DPCO, NPPA fixes two types of prices viz. Ceiling prices and Non-ceiling prices for medicines in the controlled category.
  • In the case of each bulk drug, which is under price control a single maximum selling price is fixed that is applicable throughout the country. The ceiling prices are usually notified as exclusive of excise duty, local tax, etc.
  • Non-celling price is specific to a particular pack size of scheduled formulation of a particular company. Hence they are formulation specific and company specific. The prices fixed for non-ceiling packs are communicated to the respective firms by issuing office orders.
  • In such order, usually excise duty element is added while local taxes are not included in the Non-ceiling price.

What is Suo-motu pricing?

  • The NPPA fixes/revises prices of both bulk drugs and formulations on suo-motu basis, where it is felt that manufacturers are not filing their applications as per the provisions of the DPCO, 1995 after the decrease in bulk drug prices and statutory duties, etc.
  • Hence, with a view to passing on the benefits of such decreases to the consumers, suo-motu price is fixed.

What is Pro-rata Pricing?

  • NPPA has issued notification on pro -rata pricing. According to this, the manufacturers of all the scheduled formulation pack sizes different from the notified pack sizes under DPCO, 1995, shall have to work out the price for such pack sizes, in respect of tablets and capsules of the same strength or composition packed in different strips or blisters, on pro-rata basis of the latest ceiling price fixed for such formulations. This was done to ensure that:
  1. i) manufacturers are not forced to approach frequently for price approvals for different pack sizes
  2. ii) The manufacturers do not change the pack sizes in a bid to remain out of price control

Key facts:

  • On the occasion of NPPA Foundation Day in 2016, a mobile app developed by NPPA which shows the MRP for various scheduled drugs on real time basis called “Pharma Sahi Daam” is launched.
  • Pharma Price Data Bank’ launched under NPAA is an integrated Pharmaceutical Database Management System to make online submission of mandatory information as prescribed under the Drugs Price Control Order, 2013.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Government Schemes & Policies

State catching up with superfoods

Kerala government earmarks farm space in more districts for growing nutrient-rich millets under ‘Millet Village Scheme’.

Millet-Village-scheme-2

Millet Village Scheme:

  • It is a scheme to promote the cultivation of cereals, such as millet, ragi, bajra and maize by setting up a millet village at Attappady, Kerala.
  • It is a 3-year project which started in the year 2017-18.
  • It is implemented jointly by Agriculture Department and Scheduled Tribes Development Department.
  • The project aimed at protecting seeds of traditional varieties of millets and ensures food security and livelihood for villages.
  • Under this scheme, the department had harvested ragi (finger millet), thina (foxtail millet), cholam (sorghum) and kuthiravaali (barnyard millet) in 1,200 acres.
  • This scheme is planning to expand cultivation in other parts of Palakkad, including more tribal villages at Attappady.
  • Moreover, in association with Agriculture Department, site specific packages will be prepared which will include promoting ethnic food crops, minor irrigation, soil and moisture conservation and protection from wild animals.

Why Producing Millet only?

  • A combination of factors such as high protein content, short growing season, climate change resilience and low water requirement make millets an ideal crop for the Kerala.
  • Millets can be harvested in 60 to 97 days.

Keya facts:

  • 160th session of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Council, held in Rome in December 2018, approved India’s proposal to observe an International Year of Millets in 2023.

All about Millets:

list of millets iastoppers2

  • Millet is a common term that categorize small-seeded grasses termed as ‘Nutri-Cereals’ or ‘Dryland-Cereals’.
  • These nutri-cereals are sorghum, pearl millet, ragi, small millet, foxtail millet, proso millet, barnyard millet, kodo millet and other millets.
  • Millet is an important staple cereal crop for millions of dryland farmers across Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.

Benefits of Millets:

Why-Millets-iastoppers

  • Millets are smart food and good for consumers, farmers and planet multiple and has untapped uses such as food, feed, biofuels and brewing.
  • Millets offer nutrition, income and livelihood for farmers even in difficult times.
  • They can be used in various forms such as food, feed, fodder, biofuels and brewing.
  • They are nutritionally superior to wheat & rice as they have higher levels of protein with more balanced amino acid profile, crude fiber & minerals such as Iron, Zinc, and Phosphorous.
  • They can offer nutritional security and act as a shield against nutritional deficiency, especially among children and women.
  • Some major deficiencies such as anaemia (iron deficiency), B-complex vitamin deficiency, pellagra (niacin deficiency) can be dealt easily with intake of less expensive but nutritionally rich millets.
  • Millets can also help tackle health challenges such as obesity, diabetes and lifestyle problems as they are gluten free, have a low glycemic index and are high in dietary fibre and antioxidants.
  • Moreover, in times of climate change, they will be the last crop standing and will be a good risk management strategy for resource-poor marginal farmers. Millets are photo-insensitive and resilient to climate change.
  • They are hardy, resilient crops that have low carbon and water footprint. They can withstand high temperatures and grow on poor soils with little or no external inputs.
  • As per the government, Millets are Smart Food as they are ‘Good for You, Good for the Farmer and Good for the Planet’.

Efforts made by government to promote millets:

  • In order to promote ‘millets’, India had on its part notified these climate resilient crops as “Nutri-Cereals”. The millets in the category of “Nutri-Cereals” include Sorghum (Jowar), Pearl Millet (Bajra), Finger Millet (Ragi), Foxtail Millet (Kangani/Kakun) and Buckwheat (Kuttu) among others.
  • Recognising millets’ anti-diabetic properties, the notification called it a “powerhouse of nutrients” and identified several varieties of millets for promotion.
  • Millets has been included in the Public Distribution System (PDS) for improving nutritional support in April.
  • Besides, the government had in July substantially hiked the minimum support price (MSP) of millets so that more and more farmers may opt for cultivation of these less water consuming crops.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Centre’s crackdown hits Greenpeace

NGO named ‘Greenpeace’ has been forced to close two of its offices in India because of a government crackdown on allegedly unlawful foreign funding of NGOs.

Centre’s crackdown hits Greenpeace

  • Greenpeace close its offices in New Delhi and Patna and forced to fire one – third of its staff.

What is the issue?

  • Greenpeace has been campaigning on environmental issues in India for nearly two decades.
  • But in recent years, according to government, Greenpeace has violated India’s foreign funding laws.
  • The main Greenpeace office in Bengaluru was raided by officials last year and nearly a dozen of its bank accounts were frozen over alleged violation of rules.
  • Greenpeace India had its foreign funding blocked in 2015 as part of a nationwide crackdown on charities.
  • However, the NGO has denied the allegations and said it generates donations from within India.

Role of Greenpeace in India:

  • Greenpeace India has been critical of government policies over their environmental impact, including coal mining and nuclear power.
  • It has also campaigned over worsening air pollution across the country, which is accused for nearly a million deaths.

Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010

  • The Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 2010 regulate the receipt and usage of foreign contribution by non-governmental organisations (‘NGOs’) in India.
  • It is implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India effecting from May 2011.
  • The intent of the Act is to prevent use of foreign contribution for any activity detrimental to the national interest.
  • It is applicable to a natural person, body corporate, all other types of Indian entities as well as NRIs and overseas branches/subsidiaries of Indian companies in India.

Salient Features:

This act:

  • Prohibits acceptance and use of foreign contribution or foreign hospitality.
  • Regulates the inflow to and usage of foreign contribution by NGOs by prescribing a mechanism to accept, use and report usage of the same.

What is included in FCRA act?

  • Any person contravening the provisions of the Act shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to five years or with fine or with both.
  • No funds other than foreign contribution shall be deposited in the FC account to be separately maintained by the associations.
  • Any organisation of a political nature and any association engaged in the production and broadcast of audio or audio visual news have been placed in the category prohibited to accept foreign contribution.
  • After receiving permission, foreign contribution shall be utilized for the purpose for which it has been received and can be used for administrative expenses up to 50% of such contribution in a financial year.

In which situation foreign fund can be accepted?

  • The Act permits only NGOs having a definite cultural, economic, educational, religious or social programme to accept foreign contribution, that too after such NGOs either obtain a certificate of registration or prior permission under the Act.

Registration under Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FRCA):

  • An NGO must be in existence for at least three years and must have undertaken reasonable activity in its field for which the foreign contribution is proposed to be utilised.
  • It must have spent at least INR 1,000,000 over three years preceding the date of its application on its activities.
  • The registration certificate is valid for a period of five years and must be thereafter renewed.

Restriction on use of foreign funding:

  • All funds received by a NGO must be used only for the purpose for which they were received.
  • Such funds must not use in speculative activities identified under the Act.
  • Except with the prior approval of the Authority, such funds must not be given or transferred to any entity not registered under the Act.
  • Every asset purchased with such fund must be in the name of the NGO and not its office bearers or members.

Similar situations:

  • A number of NGOs receiving foreign funding are seen by the India’s central government as involved in anti-development activism.
  • Some US based NGOs are financing the protests against ‘Kundankulam Nuclear Power Plant’. In result, bank accounts of that NGOs were frozen.
  • Home ministry has cancelled some registrations including top 8 national educational institutions such as –Jawaharlal Nehru University, IIT-Kanpur and Jamia Milia Islamia accused of not maintaining proper FCRA account.
  • Recently, another NGO ‘Compassion International’ had to shut down India operations after the government refused permission to accept foreign funding.

Allegations:

  • At the 2017 “peer review” by the UN Human Rights Council held at Geneva, Indian government faced tough questioning by fellow nations on FCRA policy.
  • The charge was led by the U.S. and Germany, who called the Act and the government’s actions “arbitrary”.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Issues related to Health & Education

Special Workshop in Bengaluru under Know My India Programme

The Art of Living, in collaboration with the National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH), is organising a special 5-day workshop for 42 youth in the age group of 15 to 22 years, who have been victims of communal violence in the past, under the Know My India Program.

know-my-india

  • It will be held at Art of Living International Center in Bengaluru.

Objectives of the Workshop:

The cornerstone of this workshop is to teach the powerful rhythmic breathing practice called ‘Sudarshan Kriya’, whose regular practice is known to significantly reduce stress hormones, improve clarity of mind and increase one’s happiness quotient.

Other objectives include –

  • Help the children deal with the post-traumatic stress.
  • Provide them life tools to manage their emotions.
  • Eliminate disturbing impressions of the past events.
  • Make them experience deep relaxation and peace.
  • Give them a broader and more inclusive view of the world and how each individual is connected with the others beyond social identities.
  • Teach them various body-breath mechanisms and practical tools of wisdom.

About National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH):

The National Foundation for Communal Harmony (NFCH) is an autonomous organisation under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs.

  • NFCH was set up as an autonomous organisation under the Societies Registration Act, 1860 and was registered on 19th February, 1992.

Functions of NFCH:

  • Provide assistance for the rehabilitation of child victims of different kinds of societal violence, promotes communal harmony and national integration either independently or through state governments or NGOs, etc.
  • Confer Awards on Individuals and Organizations for their outstanding contribution towards fosters communal harmony & strengthening national integration.
  • Sponsor and conduct research studies.
  • Bring out publications on themes related to communal harmony and national integration.

About Know My India Programme:

‘Know My India Programme’ is a unique programme initiated by the NFCH.

Objectives of the Programme:

  • Bring together financially assisted children of the Foundation from different States/Regions of the country to promote oneness, fraternity and national integration.
  • Acquaint them with varied and diverse culture of the country.
  • Familiarization them with the environment, family life, social customs, etc. of the people living in different parts of the country.
  • Develop understanding of the common historical and cultural heritage of the country.

About Art of Living:

  • The Art of Living is a non-profit organization (NGO) founded in 1981 by the world-renowned philanthropist and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.
[PIB, IBTimes]

 

Economy

PM dedicates 220 kV Srinagar – Alusteng – Drass – Kargil – Leh Transmission Line to the Nation

PM Modi recently dedicated the 220 kV Srinagar- Alusteng – Drass- Kargil – Leh Transmission Line to the Nation.

national-grid-5

  • With this, Ladakh is now connected to the National Grid.

About the Project:

national_grid_5

  • The foundation stone for the project was laid on 12 August, 2014.
  • This approx. 335 km long transmission line, at a height of around 3000-4000 meters, is built within 4.5 years by the Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID), a Navratna Company of Government of India, under Ministry of Power.
  • It is a flagship project of Government of India, under PMRP scheme which was aimed to improve reliability and quality of power supply in Ladakh region of J&K by connecting with National Grid.

Significance of the Project:

  • This project will help to ensure 24×7 quality power in all weather conditions.
  • This project aimed to supply power to the people of Ladakh in harsh winters and evacuation of surplus power of Kargil and Leh Hydel stations of NHPC in summers.
  • It will result in minimizing the massive use of diesel generating sets during winters, and thus will help in protection of beautiful environment, of pristine Ladakh region.
  • It would ensure quality power supply to Ladakh round the year at economical rates.
  • Besides, it would give huge boost to the tourism sector and enhance socio-economic development of Ladakh.

What is POWERGRID?

  • Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID), is an Indian state-owned electric utility company headquartered in Gurugram, India.
  • It is a “Navratna” Central Public Sector Enterprise and India’s largest Electric Power Transmission Utility.
  • This Central Transmission Utility (CTU) of India transmits about 50% of the total power generated in India on its transmission network.

Objectives of POWERGRID:

The Corporation has set following objectives in line with its mission and its status as Central Transmission Utility to:

  • Undertake transmission of electric power through Inter-State Transmission System.
  • To ensure development of an efficient, coordinated and economical system of inter-state transmission lines for smooth flow of electricity from generating stations to the load centres.
  • Restoring power in quickest possible time in the event of any natural disasters like super-cyclone, flood etc. through deployment of Emergency Restoration Systems.
  • Provide consultancy services at national and international levels in transmission sector based on the in-house expertise developed by the organization.
  • Participate in long distance Trunk Telecommunication business ventures.

Background:

  • In 1980, the Rajadhyaksha Committee on Power Sector Reforms submitted its report to the Government of India (GOI) suggesting that extensive reforms were needed in the Indian power sector.
  • In 1981, the GOI took a policy decision to form a National Power Grid, which would pave the way for the integrated operation of the central and regional transmission systems.
  • In October 23, 1989 under the Companies Act, 1956, the National Power Transmission Corporation Limited was formed, and assigned the responsibility of planning, executing, owning, operating and maintaining the high voltage transmission systems in the country.
  • In October 1992, the National Power Transmission Corporations name was changed to Power Grid Corporation of India Limited (POWERGRID).

What is National Grid?

The National Grid is the high-voltage electric power transmission network in mainland India, connecting power stations and major substations and ensuring that electricity generated anywhere in mainland India can be used to satisfy demand elsewhere.

National+Grid-6

  • It is owned, operated, and maintained by state-owned Power Grid Corporation of India.
  • It is one of the largest operational synchronous grids in the world with 307.8 GW of installed power generation capacity.
  • The Union Government regulates grid frequency by requiring States to pay more when they draw power at low frequencies. However, the union territories of Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Lakshadweep are not connected to the National Grid.

Key facts:

  • India began utilizing grid management on a regional basis in the 1961.
  • Individual State grids were interconnected to form 5 regional grids covering mainland India.

5 regional national grids

5 Regional Power Grids in India, which were connected to establish the National Grid

  • The grids were the Northern, Eastern, Western, North Eastern and Southern Grids. These regional links were established to enable transmission of surplus electricity between States in each region.
  • In the 1990s, the Indian government began planning for a national grid.
  • The first interconnection of regional grids was established in October 1991 when the North Eastern and Eastern grids were interconnected.
  • The Western Grid was interconnected with the aforementioned grids in March 2003.
  • The Northern grid was also interconnected in August 2006, forming a Central Grid synchronously connected operating at one frequency.
  • The sole remaining regional grid, the Southern Grid, was synchronously interconnected to the Central Grid on 31 December 2013 with the commissioning of the 765 kV Raichur-Solapur transmission line, thereby establishing the National Grid.
[PIB]

 

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

2nd February: World Wetlands Day

World Wetlands Day is celebrated annually on 2nd February.

World Wetlands Day 2019 2

Key facts:

  • On this day, the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands was adopted in the Iranian City of Ramsar in 1971.
  • The theme of this year’s World Wetlands Day is “Wetlands and Climate Change”.
  • Wetlands are the key to climate change mitigation.
  • They function as a natural and extremely efficient carbon sink.

world-wetlands-day-

About Ramsar convention:

  • The Convention on Wetlands was signed in Ramsar, a city in Iran, in 1971.
  • It came into force in 1975.
  • It is the intergovernmental treaty that provides the framework for the conservation and wise use of wetlandsand their resources.
  • The world’s first Ramsar site was the Cobourg Peninsula in Australia, designated in 1974.

Mission:

  • The mission of Ramsar Convention is “the conservation and wise use of all wetlands through local and national actions and international cooperation, as a contribution towards achieving sustainable development throughout the world”.

Under the “three pillars” of the Convention, the Contracting Parties commit to:

  • Work towards the wise use of all their wetlands
  • Designate suitable wetlands for the list of Wetlands of International Importance (the “Ramsar List”) and ensure their effective management
  • Cooperate internationally on transboundary wetlands, shared wetland systems and shared species.

In India:

  • India is a party to the Convention since 1982 and committed to the Ramsar approach of wise use of wetlands.
  • India currently has 27 sites designated as Wetlands.
  • Recently Sunderbans Wetland, West Bengal was added to this list on 30th January, 2019.

ramsar sites india

About Montreux Record:

  • Montreux Record under the Convention is a register of wetland sites on the List of Wetlands of International Importance where changes in ecological character have occurred, are occurring, or are likely to occur as a result of technological developments, pollution or other human interference.
  • The Montreux Record maintained as part of the Ramsar List.
  • The Montreux Record was established by recommendation of the Conference of the Contracting Parties (1990).
  • Sites may be added to and removed from the Record only with the approval of the Contracting Parties in which they lie.

Indian wetlands of International importance included in the Montreux Record are –

  • Keoladeo National Park, Rajasthan
  • Loktak Lake, Manipur

Chilika Lake was removed from the register in 2002, which is the first Ramsar site in Asia to be removed from the Montreux record.

Loktak Lake, Manipur:

  • Loktak Lake is the freshwater lake in Northeast India and is famous for the phumdis floating over it.
  • Phumdis are heterogeneous mass of vegetation, soil and organic matter at various stages of decomposition.
  • Located on this phumdi, Keibul Lamjao National Park is the only floating national park in the world.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Art & Culture

Bharat Rang Mahotsav brings the largest theatre spectacle

The 20th edition of the largest theatre festival of Asia – Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM), was organised by the National School of Drama (NSD).

Bharat-Rang-Mahotsav-2

Bharat Rang Mahotsav (BRM):

  • Bharat Rang Mahotsav was established in 1999 as an annual theatre festival of National School of Drama (NSD).
  • Originally, it was founded to show case works of Indian theatre practitioners. But later, it got international fame and attracted international performers as well.
  • Now, it is acknowledged as the largest theatre festival of Asia.

About National School of Drama:

National School of Drama (NSD) is a premier theatre training institute and only one of its kind in India operating under the aegis of Union Ministry of Culture.

  • It was set up by the Sangeet Natak Akademi as one of its constituent units in 1959.
  • In 1975, it became an independent entity and was registered as an autonomous organization under the Societies Registration Act XXI of 1860, fully financed by the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
  • In 2005, it was granted deemed university status. But, in 2011, it was revoked on the institute’s request.
  • Training provided here is highly intensive and is based on a thorough, comprehensive, carefully planned syllabus which covers every aspect of theatre and in which theory is related to practice.
  • As a part of their training, students are required to produce plays which are then performed before the public.

 [Times of India, Daily Pioneer]

 

Science & Technology

NASA’s Hubble Telescope finds dwarf galaxy in our cosmic neighbourhood

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered a dwarf galaxy in a globular cluster which is only 30 million light-years away.

NASA’s-Hubble-Telescope-1

  • This newly discovered cosmic neighbour is named Bedin 1.

Details:

  • The aim of their observations was to use these stars to measure the age of the globular cluster.
  • But during observation they found a compact collection of stars was visible.
  • After an analysis on their brightness and temperatures, the astronomers concluded that these stars did not belong to the cluster.
  • It measures only around 3, 000 light-years at its greatest extent – a fraction of the size of the Milky Way. It is not only tiny, but it is also incredibly faint. That is the reason why astronomers classify it as a dwarf spheroidal galaxy.

About the Hubble Space Telescope:

NASA-Hubble-telescope

  • The Hubble Space Telescope (HST) is a space telescope that was launched into low Earth orbit in 1990 and remains in operation.
  • The HST was built by the United States space agency NASA, with contributions from the European Space Agency.
  • Hubble is the only telescope designed to be serviced in space by astronauts.
  • As the Telescope is servicing now on Mission 4 after successfully completing 3 servicing Missions, telescope is operating as of 2019 and could last until 2030–2040.
  • The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) is responsible for the scientific operation of the telescope and the delivery of data products to astronomers.
  • Hubble orbits in low Earth orbit at an altitude of approximately 540 kilometers (340 mi) and an inclination of 28.5°.
  • Expanding the frontiers of the visible Universe, the Hubble Space Telescope looks deep into space with cameras that can see across the entire optical spectrum from infrared to ultraviolet.

 [Ref: The Hindu]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

‘Operation Smile-V’

‘Operation-Smile-V’-initiative-launched-by-Hyderabad-Police-3

  • The ‘Operation Smile-V’ initiative launched by Hyderabad Police has helped in rescuing 325 children, who were either working as labourers or begging on the streets, since January 1 this year.
  • Operation Smile also called as Operation Muskaan is an initiative of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to rescue/rehabilitate missing children.
  • To trace the missing children and rescue child labourers, Operation Smile-V was launched on January 1 across Telangana.

 

Nilavembu kudineer kills dengue virus, protects from chikungunya

Nilavembu-kudineer-1

What is Nilavembu kudineer?

  • Nilavembu kudineer is a poly herbal formula controls all types of fever associated with body ache.
  • Nilavembu kudineer (a Siddha medicine) was found to provide protection against chikungunya virus.
  • It is also effective as a treatment during acute phase of dengue infection.
  • There was significant antiviral activity of the formulation at 3% of human dose onwards.

Why in news?

  • The Tamil Nadu government had distributed nilavembu kudineer concoction to treat people infected with dengue during the outbreak in late 2017.

Key Fact:

  • Aedes Aegypti is a mosquito that can spread dengue fever and chikungunya.

 

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