National Current Affairs – UPSC/KAS Exams- 4th February 2019

‘Inkjet’ solar panels


Topic: Science and Technology

In News: Polish physicist developed a novel inkjet processing method for perovskites — a new generation of cheaper solar cells — that makes it possible to produce solar panels under lower temperatures, thus sharply reducing costs. she developed an inkjet printing procedure that lowered production costs enough to make mass production economically feasible.

More on the topic:

  • Solar panels coated with the mineral are light, flexible, efficient, inexpensive and come in varying hues and degrees of transparency.
  • They can easily be fixed to almost any surface — be it laptop, car, drone, spacecraft or building — to produce electricity, including in the shade or indoors.
  • Though the excitement is new, perovskite has been known to science since at least the 1830s, when it was first identified by German mineralogist Gustav Rose while prospecting in the Ural mountains and named after Russian mineralogist Lev Perovski.

About Perovskite solar cell:

  • A perovskite solar cell is a type of solar cell which includes a perovskite structured compound, most commonly a hybrid organic-inorganic lead or tin halide-based material, as the light-harvesting active layer.
  • Perovskite materials such as methyl ammonium lead halides and all-inorganic cesium lead halide, are cheap to produce and simple to manufacture.
  • A perovskite is any material with the same type of crystal structure as calcium titanium oxide (CaTiO3), known as the perovskite structure.
  • Natural compounds with this structure are perovskite, loparite, and the silicate perovskite bridgmanite.

About Inkjet Technology:

  • Inkjet technology is a method for depositing liquid droplets on a substrate. It was originally developed for the publishing industry, but has become a popular method in digital fabrication of electronic and mechanical devices.
  • As in many other additive manufacturing processes the part to be printed is built up from many thin cross sections of the 3D model. An inkjet print head moves across a bed of powder, selectively depositing a liquid binding material.

Model Mains Question: Distinguish 3-D and 4-D printing and list down their applications?

Source:The Hindu

Pink Revolution


Topic: Economy

In News: A ‘pink revolution’ is quietly taking shape in Maharashtra. The objective is to breed imported pigs to address the problem of protein deficiency in a sizeable section of the population that has been deprived of access to affordable meat besides providing livelihood to farmers.

More on the Topic:

  • Mumbai-based Gargi Genetics Pvt. Ltd., supported by the Maharashtra government’s policy, is gearing up to create an ecosystem for supply of high quality pork.
  • The company is planning to partner with farmers by supplying them pigs imported from Canada. They would be bred under hygienic conditions for production of high quality meat.
  • Many consumers stay away from consuming pork as local pigs are mostly bred under unhygienic conditions.
  • Gargi Genetics is planning to address this concern through supply of hygienic pork produced from imported breeds in clean environment and is launching an education campaign.
  • The company plans to build a fully-equipped international-standard piggery that would support animal husbandry, food and medical industry.
  • While it would create a comprehensive value chain for pork production, it would also supply high quality animals for medical and research industry (organ transplant and insulin),

Source: The Hindu



Topic: Environment and Ecology

In News: The representatives of the victims of endosulfan poisoning in Kasaragod district called off their five-day-old sit-in in front of the Secretariat on Sunday after the State government conceded to their demand to bring more affected families within the ambit of the State’s compensation and rehabilitation programme.

More on the Topic:

  • SC earlier has directed Kerala government to release entire Rs. 500 crore compensation to over 5,000 victims in three months who have suffered from various deformities and health complications due to use of Endosulfan in the state.
  • It also asked the state to consider setting up a centre to provide lifelong medical treatment to all the victims
  • Kerala have one of the largest population of endosulfan poisoning victims.

About Endosulfan:

  • Endosulfan is a toxic pesticides having hazardous effects on human genetic and endocrine systems.
  • The Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants in 2011 added it in list of banned substances and phasing it out as an agrichemical.
  • It is banned in over 80 nations due to its ‘high toxicity.
  • It is sprayed as pesticide on crops like cotton, fruits, tea, paddy, cashew, tobacco etc. for control of pests in agriculture such as whiteflies, aphids, beetles, worms etc.
  • In case of humans it causes delayed reproductive development, autism, bioaccumulation, endocrine disruption (stunting of hormones), long-range contamination, neurotoxicity, long-range contamination and sensory Loss.
  • It blocks the inhibitory receptors of the Central Nervous System, disrupts the ionic channels and destroys the integrity of the nerve cells.
  • The spraying of endsosulfan also destroys biodiversity of the area.

Source: The Hindu

Ban on water sachets mooted in Araku Valley

Topic: Environment and Ecology

In News: Having banned the use of plastic carry bags and polythene covers in Araku Valley, the officials of Integrated Tribal Regional Development Authority (ITDA), Paderu are now planning to enforce a prohibition on the sale of plastic water sachets at tourist spots.

More on the Topic:

  • According to officials, the water sachets amount to around 40% to 50% of the total plastic waste dumped at the tourist destinations at Araku valley. Apart from environment pollution, these sachets are inadvertently consumed by stray cattle, putting their lives at risk.
  • The authorities imposed a ban on plastic carry bags and covers on January 1 and the officials have started collecting fines from shopkeepers for selling plastic bags irrespective of thickness.

About Araku Valley:

  • Araku Valley is a hill station and valley region in the southeastern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. It’s surrounded by the thick forests of the Eastern Ghats mountain range. The Tribal Museum is dedicated to the area’s numerous indigenous tribes, known for their traditional Dhimsa dance, and showcases traditional handicrafts.
  • A miniature train runs through Padmapuram Gardens, with its sculptures and tree-top huts.

About ITDA:

  • The main objective of ITDA is socio-economic development of tribal communities through income generating schemes allied with Infrastructure Development programmes and protection of the tribal communities against exploitation.
  • The ITDA project areas are generally contiguous areas of the size of a Tehsil or Block or more in which the ST population is 50% or more of the total.
  • Due to the demographic profile of the tribal people in these regions, however, the ITDPs in Assam, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal may be smaller or not contiguous. Andhra Pradesh and Orissa have opted for an Agency model under the Registration of Societies Act and the ITDPs there are known as ITD Agencies (ITDAs).

Source:The Hindu

Odisha’s Kalia scholarship scheme

Topic: Government Policies

In News: The Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced the new ‘KALIA Chhatravritti Yojana’, which is a scholarship for the children of farmers who are the beneficiaries of Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme.

More on the Topic:

  • Under this scheme, the children of farmers, who are the beneficiaries of the KALIA scheme will be provided scholarships for pursuing higher education in professional courses free of cost.

About Kalia Scheme:

  • Financial assistance of 25,000/- per farm family over five seasons will be provided to small and marginal farmers so that farmers can purchase inputs like seeds, fertilizers, pesticides and use assistance towards labour and other investments. This scheme is implemented from current Rabi Season 2018-19 onwards.
  • Financial Assistance of Rs.12,500/-will be provided to each landless Agricultural Household for Agricultural allied activities like for small goat rearing unit, mini-layer unit, duckery units, fishery kits for fisherman, mushroom cultivation and bee-keeping, etc. This will particularly benefit to SC & ST population of our State.
  • Vulnerable cultivators/landless agricultural laborers will get financial assistance of Rs. 10,000/- per family per year to enable them to take care of their sustenance.
  • Life insurance cover of Rs. 2.00 lakh at a very nominal premium of Rs.330/- will be provided to all savings bank account holder of age between 18-50 years. Government of Odisha will bear farmers’ share of annual premium of Rs.165/-. Personal accident cover of Rs.2.00 lakh at a very nominal annual premium of Rs.12/- for all savings bank account holder aged between 18-50 years.

Source:The Hindu

Kole Wetland and World Wetland day


Topic: Environment and Ecology

In News: The Kole Fish Count, conducted on February 2 in connection with World Wetland Day across the Kole wetlands of central Kerala, recorded 82 aquatic species. These include 71 fish species (18 species of brackish water fish and 53 species of freshwater fish), five shrimp species, four crab and two mollusc species.

More on the Topic:

  • However, the teams also came across six non-native fish species, raising concerns on the sustainability of the fishery and aquaculture practices being followed in the Kole and vicinity.
  • The presence of six species of non-native fish in the Kole is of significant concern as these have the potential to compete with, and outnumber native species

About World Wetland Day:

  • World Wetlands Day is celebrated every year on 2 February. This day marks the date of the adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2 February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on the shores of the Caspian Sea.
  • Since 1997, the Ramsar Secretariat has provided outreach materials to help raise public awareness about the importance and value of wetlands.

Source: The Hindu

Nilavembu kudineer kills dengue virus, protects from chikungunya

Topic: Science and Technology

In News: Under in vitro conditions, nilavembu kudineer (a Siddha medicine) was found to provide protection against chikungunya virus while it was effective as a treatment during acute phase of dengue infection.

More on the Topic:

  • Currently, there is no treatment for dengue and chikungunya.
  • The Tamil Nadu government had distributed nilavembu kudineer concoction to treat people infected with dengue during the outbreak in late 2017.
  • A team of researchers from the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), Delhi found that the nilavembu kudineer formulation was modulating the host response in the case of both chikungunya and dengue virus but in a different manner. The mode of action of the concoction is antiviral in the case of dengue while immuno-modulatory in chikungunya infection.
  • To study the antiviral activity, the researchers tested the formulation on monocytes and macrophages in the case of dengue and epithelial kidney cells for chikungunya virus. “The monocytes and macrophages are the primary sites of infection in the case of dengue. And kidney is the secondary site of infection by chikungunya virus.
  • Monocytes are a type of leukocyte, or white blood cell. They are the largest type of leukocyte and can differentiate into macrophages and myeloid lineage dendritic cells. As a part of the vertebrate innate immune system monocytes also influence the process of adaptive immunity.

Source: The Hindu

Kerala sets up drug price monitor

Topic: Government Policies

In News: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).

More on the Topic:

  • The move comes more than five years after the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) proposed such a system for the States and the Union Territories.
  • 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.
  • The new watchdog will offer technical help to the State drug control officials and the NPPA to monitor notified prices of medicines, detect violation of the provisions of the DPCO, look at price compliance, collect test samples of medicines, and collect and compile market-based data of scheduled as well as non-scheduled formulations.

Source: The Hindu

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