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Government Interventions

Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS)

Why in news?

In the seven phases spanning GE 2019, a total of 18,02,646 postal ballots were dispatched electronically using the flagship IT programme – ETPBS of Election Commission of India.

About ETPBS

  • Electronically transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) is developed by Election Commission of India with the help of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), for the use of the Service Voters.
  • This system enables the entitled service voters to cast their vote using an electronically received postal ballot from anywhere outside their constituency.
  • The voters who make such a choice will be entitled for Postal Ballot delivered through Electronic Media for a particular election.
  • The developed System is implemented in line with the existing Postal Ballot System.

How it works?

  • Postal Ballot will be transmitted through Electronic Means to the voters.
 
  • It enables the voters to cast their vote on an electronically received postal ballot from their preferred location, which is outside their originally assigned voting constituency.
  • The purpose of the online system was to create convenient and easy-to-use online system for Defense Personnel to become Service Voters.
  • This system would be an easier option of facilitating voting by the electors as the time constraint for dispatch of postal ballot has been addressed using this system.
  • With the motto of “no voter to be left behind”, Election Commission of India’s ETPBS has empowered and ensured all eligible service electors with their constitutional power to vote while performing their duty for the nation.

Security

  • It is a fully secured system, having two layers of security.
  • Secrecy is maintained through the use of OTP and PIN and no duplication of casted Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot (ETPB) is possible due to the unique QR Code.

Class of Electors who are eligible for ETPBS

  • Service Voters, other than those who opt for proxy voting (Classified Service Voters)
  • The wife of a Service Voter who ordinarily resides with him
  • Overseas Voters

Features

  • Service voters can avail this service from anywhere outside their constituency.
  • System facilitates creation of service voter electoral roll data.
  • Easy, Efficient and Hassle free.
  • It is a secure system, having two layer security.
  • OTP is required to download encrypted Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot file.
  • Secrecy is maintained and no duplicate of casted ETPB is possible due to QR code.
  • PIN is required to decrypt, print and deliver ETPB.

Science and Technology

LIGO India

Why in news?

The LIGO India project is expected to join the international network in a first science run in 2025.

The LIGO-India (INDIGO)

  • The LIGO-India project is an international collaboration between the LIGO Laboratory and three lead institutions in the LIGO-India consortium:
  1. Institute of Plasma Research, Gandhinagar
  2. IUCAA, Pune
  3. Raja Ramanna Centre for Advanced Technology, Indore
  • IndIGO is the Indian partner (along with the LIGO Laboratory in U.S.) in planning the LIGO-India project.
 
  • INDIGO (Indian Initiative in Gravitational-wave Observations) is a consortium of Indian gravitational-wave physicists.
  • This is an initiative to set up advanced experimental facilities for a multi-institutional observatory project in gravitational-wave astronomy located at Aundha, Hingoli district, Maharashtra.
  • The LIGO lab would provide the complete design and all the key detector components.
  • Indian scientists would provide the infrastructure to install the detector and it would be operated jointly by LIGO-India and the LIGO-Lab.
  • The project, piloted by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Department of Science and Technology (DST), costs ₹1,200 crore.
  • It is expected to be ready by 2025.

What are the LIGO detectors?

  • The acronym LIGO stands for Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.
  • LIGO consists of a pair of huge interferometers, each having two arms which are 4 km long.
  • Remarkable precision is needed to detect a signal as faint as a gravitational wave, and the two LIGO detectors work as one unit to ensure this.
  • LIGO, unlike usual telescopes, does not “see” the incoming ripples in space-time.
  • It does not even need to, because gravitational waves are not a part of electromagnetic spectrum or light.
  • They are not light waves but a different phenomenon altogether, a stretching of space-time due to immense gravity.
  • A single LIGO detector cannot confidently detect this disturbance on its own.
  • At least two detectors are needed, because the signal is so weak that even a random noise could give out a signal that can mislead one into thinking a genuine gravitational wave has been detected.

What is LIGO?

  • The Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) is a large-scale physics experiment and observatory to detect cosmic gravitational waves and to develop gravitational-wave observations as an astronomical tool.
  • The LIGO project operates three gravitational-wave (GW) detectors.
  • Two are at Hanford in the State of Washington, north-western USA, and one is at Livingston in Louisiana, south-eastern USA.
  • The proposed LIGO-India project aims to move one Advanced LIGO detector from Hanford to India.
  • LIGO is funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and operated by the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
  • LIGO’s mission is to open the field of gravitational-wave astrophysics through the direct detection of gravitational waves.

What are Gravitational Waves?

  • Gravitational waves are 'ripples' in the fabric of space-time caused by some of the most violent and energetic processes in the Universe.
  • Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves in 1916 in his general theory of relativity.
  • Einstein's mathematics showed that massive accelerating objects (such as neutron stars or black holes orbiting each other) would disrupt space-time in such a way that 'waves' of distorted space would radiate from the source.
  • First detection - September 14, 2015, when LIGO, for the first time, physically sensed distortions in Space-time itself caused by passing gravitational waves generated by two colliding black holes.

Difference between other observatories and LIGO

  • Unlike optical or radio telescopes, LIGO does not examine electromagnetic radiation (e.g., visible light, radio waves, microwaves) because gravitational waves are not part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Since LIGO doesn’t need to collect light from stars, it doesn’t have large dome like structures of usual telescopes involving mirrors etc.
  • LIGO require a twin facility to definitely detect the gravitational wave.
 
  • Because the only way to definitively detect a gravitational wave is by operating in unison with a distant twin so that local vibrations are not mistaken for signals from gravitational waves.
  • Other observatories usually operated in solo.

What is an Interferometer?

  • Interferometers are investigative tools used in many fields of science and engineering.
  • They are called interferometers because they work by merging two or more sources of light to create an interference pattern, which can be measured and analyzed; hence "Interferometer".
  • The interference patterns generated by interferometers contain information about the object or phenomenon being studied.
  • They are often used to make very small measurements that are not achievable any other way.
  • This is why they are so powerful for detecting gravitational waves.
  • LIGO's interferometers are designed to measure a distance 1/10,000th the width of a proton.
  • LIGO’s interferometers are L-shaped.
micro RNA

Why in news?

A team from the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), Bengaluru, has found that the rich colour in fruits and leaves of plants are indirectly controlled by specific micro RNAs, miR828 and miR858.

What is microRNA?

  • A microRNA, also known as miRNA is a small non-coding Ribonucleic acid (RNA) molecule containing about 22 nucleotides.
  • It is found in plants, animals and some viruses that functions in RNA silencing and post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression.
  • miRNAs function via base-pairing with complementary sequences within mRNA molecules.
  • As a result, these mRNA molecules are silenced, by one or more of the following processes
  1. Cleavage of the mRNA strand into two pieces.
  2. Destabilization of the mRNA through shortening of its poly (A) tail.
 
  • Less efficient translation of the mRNA into proteins by ribosomes.

How micro RNAs regulate the colour of fruits, leaves?

  • Grape plants bear fruits having colours that can be deep purple or green.
  • This colour is due to compounds called anthocyanins and flavonols, both of which are present in grape fruits.
  • When the grape plant has a high amount of anthocyanin as compared to flavonol, the fruits are deep purple.
  • When the reverse is true, the grapes are not brightly coloured.
  • The relative abundance of anthocyanin and flavonol is controlled by genes known as the MYB transcription factors.
  • They are also referred to as activators.
  • When present in large amounts, they result in dark purple grape, as in the Bangalore Blue variety, and absence correlates with lack of bright colour but high incidence of flavonols as in the Dilkhush grape variety.
  • Micro RNAs are regulators of gene expression, acting like switches.
  • They decide which protein should be made and how much in a given cell or tissue or an organism.
  • They are tiny, having some 20 to 22 digits of RNA.
  • The miRNA inhibit target RNAs by cutting them into two bits in plants.
  • The miRNAs partner with a protein called Argonaute to do this regulation.

Bio fortification

  • Bio fortification is the process by which the nutritional quality of food crops is improved through agronomic practices, conventional plant breeding, or modern biotechnology.
  • Plants having anthocyanin and flavonol can be generated by controlling the microRNAs affecting them, which can be used in biofortification.
Chandipura virus (CHPV)

Why in news?

5 Year Old giel Dies of Chandipura Virus in Gujarat.

About CHPV

  • Chandipura vesiculovirus (CHPV) is a member of the Rhabdoviridae family that is associated with an encephalitic illness in humans.
  • It was first identified in 1965 after isolation from the blood of two patients from Chandipura village in Maharashtra state and is named after the same place.
  • The likely vector (carrier) of the virus is the female phlebotomine sandfly.
  • The virus predominantly infects children between the ages of 2-16, spreading through the bite of a sandfly, and in some cases, even the mosquito during the monsoon and pre-monsoon season.
  • It has been detected in sand flies in Senegal and Nigeria, apart from India.
  • The virus is known to cause inflammation of the brain, and progresses rapidly from an influenza-like illness to coma and death.

Symptoms

  • Sudden high fever accompanied by headaches and altered consciousness
  • Convulsions
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Unconsciousness

Treatment

  • There is no known vaccine to treat or prevent the Chandipura virus.

Map Aided Programme     

Lonar Lake
  • notified National Geo-heritage Monument, saline, soda lake, located at Lonar in Buldhana district, Maharashtra.
  • The water in the lake is both saline and alkaline.
  • Lonar Lake was created by a meteor impact during the Pleistocene Epoch.
  • Lonar Lake has a mean diameter of 1.2 kilometres (3,900 ft) and is about 137 metres (449 ft) below the crater rim. The meteor crater rim is about 1.8 kilometres (5,900 ft) in diameter.

Previous Year Questions Revision Series (Pqrs)

  1. What is the correct sequence of occurrence of the following cities in South-East Asia as one proceeds from south to north?
  2. Bangkok
  3. Hanoi
  4. Jakarta
  5. Singapore

Select the correct answer using the code given below.

  1. 4 – 2 – 1 – 3 b) 3 ­– 2 – 4 – 1
  2. 3 – 4 – 1 – 2 c)4 – 3 – 2 – 1