News Crux Ecology & Environment

Three-banded Rosefinch: 1340th Species Of The Bird Family In India

  • On 8th February 2021, the Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) team has spotted the three-banded Rosefinch at Sela (mountain pass on the border between Tawang and West Kameng districts) in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It has become the 1,340th species of the bird family in India.
  • The three-banded rosefinch belongs to the family Fringillidae, which are seed-eating passerine birds with a distinctively conical bill.
  • The three-banded rosefinch is a resident of southern China and a vagrant in Bhutan.
  • The researchers observed that the three-banded rosefinch may be using the high altitude temperate coniferous forest of Arunachal Pradesh as a passage while migrating from China to Bhutan.
  • Its conservation status is ‘Least Concern’ (Population stable).

News Crux Awards

Turing Award

  • On 31 March 2021, the Association for Computing Machinery, the world’s largest society of computing professionals, declared Dr. Aho and Dr. Ullman as the winners of this year’s Turing Award for their work on the fundamental concepts that underpin computer programming languages.
  • Given since 1966 and often called the Nobel Prize of computing, the Turing Award comes with a $1 million prize, which the two academics and longtime friends will split.
  • Dr. Aho and Dr. Ullman helped refine one of the key components of a computer: the “compiler” that takes in software programs written by humans and turns them into something computers can understand (Machine Language).

News Crux Awards

GD Birla Award For Scientific Research

  • Professor Suman Chakraborty, a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur has been selected for the 30th GD Birla Award for Scientific Research for his outstanding contribution to engineering science and its applications in developing technologies for affordable healthcare.
  • Instituted in 1991, the award is given by KK Birla Foundation.
  • The award recognises eminent Indian scientists below the age of 50 for their original and outstanding contributions to any branch of science or technology.

News Crux Defence

DRDO Develops Advanced Chaff Technology

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an Advanced Chaff Technology to safeguard the naval ships against enemy missile attack.
  • Defence Laboratory Jodhpur (DLJ), a DRDO laboratory, has indigenously developed three variants of this critical technology namely Short Range Chaff Rocket (SRCR), Medium Range Chaff Rocket (MRCR) and Long Range Chaff Rocket (LRCR) meeting Indian Navy’s qualitative requirements.
  • Recently, Indian Navy conducted trials of all three variants in the Arabian Sea on Indian Naval Ship and found the performance satisfactory.
  • Chaff is a passive expendable electronic countermeasure technology used worldwide to protect naval ships from enemy’s radar and Radio Frequency (RF) missile seekers. The importance of this development lies in the fact that very less quantity of chaff material deployed in the air acts as decoy to deflect enemy’s missiles for safety of the ships.
  • The DRDO has gained the expertise to meet the futuristic threats from adversaries. The technology is being given to the industry for production in large quantities.

News Crux Ecology & Environment

New Deadlines For Thermal Power Plants To Meet Emission Standards

  • On 1st April, 2021, the Union Environment Ministry has declared new rules that pushed back deadlines for coal-fired power plants to adopt new emission norms by up to three years and allowed utilities that miss the new target to continue operating after paying a penalty.
  • India had initially set a 2017 deadline for thermal power plants to install Flue Gas Desulphurization (FGD) units that cut emissions of sulphur dioxides.

Other Features of the new Rule

  • Plants near populous regions and the capital New Delhi will have to comply by 2022, while utilities in less polluting area shave up to 2025 to comply or retire units.
  • A task force will be constituted by the Central Pollution Control Board to categorise plants in three categories “on the basis of their location to comply with the emission norms”.
  • In case of non-compliance, a penalty of up to 0.20 rupees ($0.0027) will be levied for every unit of electricity produced.

Note: Thermal power companies, which produce three-fourths of the country’s electricity, account for some 80% of its industrial emissions of particulate matter, sulphur- and nitrous-oxides, which cause lung diseases, acid rain and smog.

News Crux Ecology & Environment

India's Biggest Floating Solar Power Plant To Be Set Up At Ramagundam

  • India's biggest floating solar power plant with a capacity of 100 MW will be set up at Ramagundam in Telangana.
  • The project expected to be opened in May, is being set up at Ramagundam thermal power plant reservoir.
  • The solar project is commissioned by the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC).
  • The world's largest solar power plant with 600 MW capacity is being set up on Omkareshwar Dam on Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh.

News Crux Health

National Policy For Rare Diseases 2021

  • Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan has approved the “National Policy for Rare Diseases 2021” on 30th of March.
  • The Rare Diseases Policy aims to lower the high cost of treatment for rare diseases with increased focus on indigenous research with the help of a National Consortium. Increased focus of research and development and local production of medicines will lower the cost of treatment for rare diseases.
  • The policy also envisages creation of a national hospital based registry of rare diseases so that adequate data is available for definition of rare diseases and for research and development.
  • The Policy also focuses on early screening and prevention through primary and secondary health care infrastructure such as Health and Wellness Centres and District Early Intervention Centres.
  • The Policy also aims to strengthen tertiary health care facilities for prevention and treatment of rare diseases by designating 8 health facilities as Centre of Excellence. These Centres will also be provided one-time financial support of up to 5 crore rupees for upgradation of diagnostics facilities.
  • A provision for financial support up to 20 lakh rupees under the Umbrella Scheme of Rastriya Arogya Nidhi is proposed for treatment of those rare diseases that require a one-time treatment. Beneficiaries of such financial assistance would not be limited to BPL families. The benefit will be extended to about 40 percent of the population, who are eligible under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.

News Crux International

BIMSTEC Finalises Connectivity Master Plan

  • The virtual meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Bay of Bengal Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) grouping on 1 April 2021 finalised a major Connectivity master plan for the Bay of Bengal region.
  • The seven-member regional grouping namely India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar will take up the Master plan for transport connectivity for adoption in the next summit of the organisation to be hosted by Sri Lanka in a few months from now.
  • The meeting also endorsed three MoUs/agreements relating to convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal matters, cooperation between diplomatic and training academies and establishment of BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility in Colombo.
  • The connectivity master plan is the outcome of more than a decade of consultations among the member states. The study conducted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2007 and 2014, identified 166 connectivity projects at an estimated cost of USD 50 billion out of which 65 projects were identified as priority projects.

News Crux Defence

Exercise ‘Shantir Ogroshena -2021’

  • Indian Army is participating in Multinational Military Exercise namely SHANTIR OGROSHENA -2021 in Bangladesh.
  • The nine days exercise started on the 4th April 2021 to commemorate the birth centenary of Bangladesh Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and mark glorious 50 years of liberation.
  • Indian Army contingent comprising 30 personnel from the Dogra Regiment is participating in the exercise along with contingents of Bhutan, Sri Lankan and Bangladesh Armies.
  • The theme of the exercise is Robust Peace Keeping Operations.

News Crux Awards

Saraswati Samman 2020

  • Noted writer Dr. Sharankumar Limbale will receive the 30th Saraswati Samman 2020 for his Marathi novel ‘Sanatan’ that features the story of socio-cultural struggles of the untouchables.
  • The Saraswati Samman is an annual award instituted by KK Birla Foundation in 1991.
  • The winner of the award is selected from the outstanding works from 22 Indian languages.

News Crux Science & Technology

CIISCO To Measure Solar Eruption In The Lower Corona

  • Researchers from ARIES, Nainital - an autonomous institute under DST, Government of India, along with their collaborators from Royal Observatory of Belgium have led to the development of an algorithm, CMEs Identification in Inner Solar Corona (CIISCO) to detect and track the accelerating solar eruption in the lower corona.
  • Earlier, a Software, named Computer Aided CME Tracking Software (CACTus) based on a computer vision algorithm was used to detect and characterise such eruptions automatically in the outer corona where these eruptions cease to show accelerations and propagate with a nearly constant speed. However, this algorithm could not be applied to the inner corona observations due to the vast acceleration experienced by these eruptions.

News Crux Science & Technology

Atal Innovation Mission Launches 'AIM-PRIME'

  • On 31 March 2021, Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog launched AIM-PRIME (Program for Researchers on Innovations, Market-Readiness & Entrepreneurship), an initiative to promote and support science-based deep-tech startups & ventures across India.
  • In this regard, AIM has joined hands with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to launch this nationwide program which will be implemented by Venture Center - a non-profit technology business incubator.

News Crux Awards

Dadasaheb Phalke Award

  • Superstar Rajinikanth will be conferred with the prestigious Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2019.
  • Shivaji Rao Gaekwad, known professionally as Rajinikanth, is primarily works in Tamil cinema. In addition to acting, he has also worked as a producer and screenwriter.
  • K. Balachander's 1975 Tamil drama Apoorva Raagangal was his debut film.
  • Among other notable awards, he is honored with the Padma Bhushan (2000) and the Padma Vibhushan (2016) by the Government of India.
  • Prior to Rajinikanth, in 2018, Amitabh Bachchan was conferred this award.
  • The first recipient of this award was Devika Rani in 1969.
  • The Dadasaheb Phalke Award is India's highest award in cinema presented annually at the National Film Awards ceremony by the Directorate of Film Festivals, an organisation set up by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting for "outstanding contribution to the growth and development of Indian cinema".
  • The award was introduced by the Government of India to commemorate the contribution of Dadasaheb Phalke - regarded as "the father of Indian cinema" - who directed India's first full-length feature film, Raja Harishchandra in 1913.