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Science & technology

Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QRSAM)

Why in news?

  • India test-fires Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile.

Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile:

  • The state-of-the-art missile has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the India Army.
  • QRSAM uses solid-fuel propellant and has a range of 25-30 km.
  • It is a sophisticated all-weather and all-terrain missile.
  • It can be mounted on a truck and stored in a canister.
  • It is equipped with electronic counter measures against jamming by aircraft radars.
  • The first trial of the QSRAM was conducted on June 4, 2017.
  • The system is being developed for the Army with search and track on move capability with very short reaction time.
  • The systems are equipped with indigenously developed phased array radar, inertial navigation system, data link and radio frequency seeker. 
 
Genome India Initiative

Why in news?

  • The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) plans to scan nearly 20,000 Indian genomes over five years, in a two-phase exercise, and develop diagnostic tests that can be used for cancer.

More about the news:

  • The first phase involves sequencing the genomes of nearly 10,000 Indians to capture the biological diversity of the country.
  • In the next phase, genomes of about 10,000 diseased individuals will be sequenced.
  • These data would be compared using machine learning to identify genes that can predict cancer risk, as well as other diseases that could be significantly influenced by genetic anomalies.
  • 22 institutions, including those from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the DBT would be involved in the exercise.
  • The data generated would be accessible to researchers anywhere.

Genome Sequencing:

  • A genome is an organism’s complete set of DNA, including all of its genes.
  • Genome sequencing is figuring out the order of DNA nucleotides, or bases, in a genome—the order of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts that make up an organism's DNA.
  • It is method of isolating and identifying variable elements within the base-pair sequence of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) as it shows high degree of polymorphism (variation) at genetic level.
  • Polymorphism forms the basis of genome sequencing since DNA from every tissue (such as blood, hair-follicle, skin, bone, saliva, sperm etc.) from an individual show the same degree of polymorphism.
  • Genomics is an interdisciplinary field of science focusing on the structure, function, evolution, mapping, and editing of genomes.
  • Genomics also involves the sequencing and analysis of genomes through uses of high throughput DNA sequencing.
  • Advances in genomics have triggered a revolution in discovery-based research and systems biology to facilitate understanding of even the most complex biological systems such as the brain.
  • It can be noted that a group of Indian scientists and companies are already involved with a 100k Genome Asia project, which aims to sequence the whole genomes of 100k Asians, including 50,000 Indians.
Impacting Research Innovation and Technology (IMPRINT) India

Why in news?

  • Union HRD Minister inaugurates TechEx a technology exhibition organized to demonstrate products and prototypes developed under IMPRINT and UAY.

IMPRINT  India:

  • A national initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
  • IMPRINT is a first-of-its-kind Pan-IIT and IISc joint initiative to develop a (a) New Education Policy, and (b) Roadmap for Researchto solve major engineering and technology challenges in selected domains needed by the country.
 
  • The first phase of IMPRINT is dedicated to creating a policy document defining the scope, strategy and mandate for pursuing engineering challenges in the country and not developing a specific technological product or process. The real engineering pursuit will ensue in the second phase.
  • Under the IMPRINT-I Programme, 142 projects are already under implementation. These projects cover crucial domains like security and defence, information technology, energy, sustainable habitat, advance materials, health care, nano technology, climate change, etc.

Objectives of IMPRINT

  • Identify areas of immediate relevance that requires innovation in the society.
  • Ensure support and higher funding for research for identified areas.
  • Measure outcomes of innovation and research efforts and its impact on people’s standard of living.

IMPRINT India II:

  • IMPRINT-2 has been approved by Government of India (GoI) with a revised strategy under which, this national initiative will be jointly funded and steered by MHRD and Department of Science and Technology (DST).
  • While any faculty member from an MHRD funded Higher Education Institute (HEI) including Centrally Funded Technical Institution (CFTI) may lead as the Principal Investigator (PI), single or multiple partners from stake holder ministry, institutions, PSUs, strategic agencies and industry are welcome as Co-PI, partner or collaborator.
  • Proposals under IMPRINT II Projects should (a) address any declared theme (thrust area) under one of the 10 domains of IMPRINT, and (b) connect either with already identified or new research topics defined by the PI under the same 10 domains.

Important features of IMPRINT-2

  • Principal objective is to translate knowledge into viable technology
  • About 425 projects with up to Rs 2 crore budget will be supported
  • MHRD and DST are equal partners to steer the scheme
  • IMPRINT-2 is open to all MHRD funded HEIs / CFTIs
  • 27 ministries of GoI remain partners of IMPRINT-2
  • Projects with industry support will be preferred

Polity & governance

Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019

Why in news?

  • The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019 that empowers the Union Home Ministry to designate individuals as terrorists was passed in the Rajya Sabha.

The Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Bill, 2019:

  • Only those individuals who participate in terrorist activities, aid those indulging in such activities, propagate the ideology of terrorism and members of known terrorist organizations will be declared as terrorists after this amendment is passed.
 
  • The Amendment gives powers to DG, NIA to attach properties acquired from proceeds of terrorism.
  • When NIA takes up a case having international and inter-state ramifications, all the facts pertinent to the case are with the NIA, and not with the state police. Currently, the law requires that NIA take prior permission from the respective state DGP to attach the proceeds of terrorism.
  • Earlier, officers of ranks DSP and above were empowered to investigate cases under UAPA as per Section 43. The Amendment seeks to empower officers with the rank of inspectors and above to do the same. 

About the Bill:

  • The amendments seek to allow the government to designate an individual as terrorist and bring in embargo on arms/assets seizures. 
  • Under the law, personal/financial information of an individual designated as terrorist can be shared with various Western agencies. 
  • It gives power to officers of the rank of Inspector of NIA to investigate the offences under chapter IV and Chapter VI. 
  • The bill seeks to empower NIA to conduct raids anywhere without the relevant state government's prior permission, a clause that has raised concerns and caused consternation in various quarters. 
  • Besides designating an individual as a terrorist, the bill empowers the NIA to grant approval to seize/attach property when the case is being probed. 
  • To allay fears about misuse of the law, home ministry has said that an individual designated as terrorist can appeal to the Home Secretary, who will have to dispose of the appeal within 45 days. 
  • The Centre will constitute a review committee under the act. An implicated individual can appeal against the inclusion of his/her name and seek a hearing before the committee. 
  • If not satisfied with the Home Secretary's decision, the individual in question can move the committee head headed by a sitting/retired judge of a high court and comprising at least two retired secretaries of the central government. 
  • The provisions of the law are similar to a UN policy used by the Security Council to apply pressure on a state or entity to comply with the objectives set by the UN without resorting to the use of force. 

Social justice

The Draft National Education Policy, 2019

Why in news?

  • Union Human Resource Development Minister holds a series of meetings with Members of Parliament of South Indian states in connection with draft NEP.

The Draft National Education Policy, 2019:

More about:

  • The Government of India had initiated the process of formulating a New Education Policy to meet the changing dynamics of the
 
  • requirements of the population with regard to quality education, innovation and research, aiming to make India a knowledge superpower.
  • The Draft National Education Policy, 2019 is built on the foundational pillars of Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability and Accountability.
  • The path breaking reforms recommended will bring about a paradigm shift by equipping our students, teachers and educational institutions with the right competencies and capabilities and also create an enabling and reinvigorated educational eco-system for a vibrant new India.
  • The Committee led by the Chairman Kasturirangan submitted the Draft National Educational Policy.

Key recommendations:

  • The Committee has proposed to rename MHRD as Ministry of Education (MoE).
  • In School Education, a major reconfiguration of curricular and pedagogical structure with Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) as an integral part of school education is proposed.
  • The Committee also recommends Extension of Right to Education Act 2009 to cover children of ages 3 to 18.
  • Schools will be re-organized into school complexes. It also seeks to reduce content load in school education curriculum.
  • There will be no hard separation of learning areas in terms of curricular, co-curricular or extra- curricular areas and all subjects, including arts, music, crafts, sports, yoga, community service, etc. will be curricular. 
  • The Committee proposes for massive transformation in Teacher Education by shutting down sub-standard teacher education institutions and moving all teacher preparation/education programmes into large multidisciplinary universities/colleges.
  • A new apex body Rashtriya Shiksha Ayog is proposed to enable a holistic and integrated implementation of all educational initiatives and programmatic interventions, and to coordinate efforts between the Centre and States.
  • The National Research Foundation, an apex body is proposed for creating a strong research culture and building research capacity across higher education.
  • The four functions of Standard setting, Funding, Accreditation and Regulation to be separated and conducted by independent bodies:
  • National Higher Education Regulatory Authority as the only regulator for all higher education including professional education.
  • Creation of accreditation eco-system led by revamped NAAC.
  • Professional Standard Setting Bodies for each area of professional education
  • UGC to transform to Higher Education Grants Commission (HEGC).
  • Promotion of Indian and Classical Languages and setting up three new National Institutes for Pali, Persian and Prakrit and an Indian
 
  • Institute of Translation and Interpretation (IITI) has been recommended.
  • The path breaking reforms recommended will bring about a paradigm shift by equipping our students, teachers and educational institutions with the right competencies and capabilities and also create an enabling and reinvigorated educational eco-system for a vibrant new India.

Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY):

  • Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana has been launched to promoting innovation of a higher order that directly impacts the needs of the Industry and thereby improves the competitive edge of Indian manufacturing.
  • The scheme focusses on a viable industry-academic collaboration where industry shares a part of the cost of research.

Map aidede programme

SPICES

ZZ

Spices

States of India

1

Pepper

Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu.

2

Cardamom (Small)

Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu.

3

Cardamom (Large)

Sikkim, West Bengal.

4

Ginger

Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Meghalaya, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh, West Bengal, Mizoram, Sikkim, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Uttaranchal, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand.

5

Turmeric

Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Kerala, Assam, Bihar, Meghalaya, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh.

6

Chilli

Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Orissa, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Uttaranchal.

7

Coriander

Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Uttaranchal.

8

Cumin

Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh

9

Fennel

Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh

10

Fenugreek

Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat,

11

Celery

Uttar Pradesh, Punjab

12

Clove

Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka.

13

Nutmeg & Mace

Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka.

14

Cinnamon & Cassia

Kerala, Tamil Nadu.

15

Saffron

Jammu & Kashmir

16

Aniseed

Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Uttaranchal.

17

Vanilla

Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu.

18

Garlic

Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chattisgarh, Bihar.

19

Ajowan

Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir.

20

Dill Seed

Gujarat, Rajasthan.

21

Kokam

Karnataka.

22

Mustard

Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Andhra Pradesh.

23

Tejpat

Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim.

24

Pomegranate seed

Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu.

25

Herbal & Exotic Spices

Tamil Nadu.

v26

Cambodge

Kerala, Karnataka.

 

                                                                                                    

PREVIOUS YEAR QUESTION

  1. During a thunderstorm, the thunder in the skies is produced by the
    1. meeting of cumulonimbus clouds in the sky
    2. lightening that separates the nimbus clouds
    3. violent upward movement of air and water particles

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

(a) 1 only              

(b) 2 and 3           

(c) 1 and 3            

(d) None of the above produces the thunder