- Pune based biotechnology firm Mylab Discovery Solutions Pvt. Ltd. is the first Indian entity to get government approval for commercial manufacturing of their COVID-19 testing kit.
- The product is named Mylab PathoDetect COVID-19 Qualitative PCR kit.
- The COVID-19 test is based on reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) which allows for detection even in the early stages of infection.
- With the government’s emphasis on ‘Make in India’, Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) supported the company.
- The kit was developed and evaluated in a record time of six weeks and costs nearly one-fourth of the currently procured kits. It can detect infection in 2.5 hours.
- The Department of Science and Technology (DST) has set up a COVID 19 Task Force for mapping of technologies from R&D labs, academic institutions, startups, and MSMEs to scout for and fund nearly market-ready solutions in the area of diagnostics, testing, health care delivery, and equipment sup-plies.
- These solutions include personal protective equipment (PPE), affordable kits for screening, ventilators and oxygenators, data analytics for tracking, monitoring, and controlling the spread of outbreak through AI and IoT based solutions.
- The Task Force is to identify the most promising startups and help them rapidly scale up.
- To this end, DST has invited two separate sets of proposals, one each under Science & Engineering Research Board (SERB) and Technology Development Board (TDB), to support scientific solutions and commercial manufacturing of both new and existing solutions.
- A team of scientists from CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR-IHBT) based in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, has developed a new hand sanitizer.
- The sanitizer has been made using natural flavours, active tea constituents and alcohol as per the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Chemicals like parabens, triclosan, synthetic fragrance and phthalates have not been used in the product.
- The technology has been transferred to a Palampur based company for commercial production and marketing in all major cities across the country.
- Under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS), the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has sanctioned Rs 7.25 crore to the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi to establish a Technology Innovation Hub (TIH).
- The TIH will focus primarily on human-computer interaction (HCI) research with emphasis on design and development of technology interfaces and the study of interaction between humans and computers.
- The hub will work towards developing a technology interface for challenges in the areas of cybersecurity, defence, healthcare, forensics, landslides, environment, air pollution, and agriculture.
- TIH will also work on the development and evaluation of interfaces of IoT-based Cyber-Physical Sys-tems (CPS).
- It will collaborate with other leading institutions and work in the areas of skill development and entrepreneurship.
- The Ministry of AYUSH has initiated steps to set up a nationwide digital platform called “AYUSH GRID” which aims to bring onboard all AYUSH facilities including hospitals and laboratories and to promote traditional systems of healthcare.
- Ministry of AYUSH has conceptualized AYUSH GRID Project for digitalization of the entire AYUSH Sector.
- Currently, Ministry has launched Pilot Projects like AYUSH Hospital Information Management System (A-HMIS), Tele-Medicine, Yogaloctaor Application, Bhuvan Application, Yoga Portal, Case Registry Portal, etc. and these projects will be co-opted in AYUSH GRID Project in future.
- Ministry of AYUSH has also proposed to establish 12,500 AYUSH centres across the country for traditional system of healthcare and medicines by up gradation of existing State Government AYUSH dispensaries and Sub Health Centres by the year 2023-24. Total financial allocation proposed for the scheme is Rs. 3399.35 crores over the time period of five years.
- “PRAGYAN CONCLAVE 2020”, a two-day Indian Army International Seminar being organised by Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS), commenced on 04 Mar 2020 in New Delhi. The event brings together a cross-domain national and international experts to deliberate on the complex subject of ‘Changing Characteristics of Land Warfare and its Impact on the Military’.
- The seminar provided a platform for deliberations on emerging ideas, perspectives and narratives that define the ‘New Age Warfare’ which is increasingly witnessing a change in its character as well as battlespace with the usage of new ‘means’ to pursue the ‘ends’.
- Recently, Union Minister for Minority Affairs inaugurated the ‘Hunar Haat’ at Harmu Ground, Harmu Chowk in Ranchi (Jharkhand). This “Hunar Haat” was organised by Union Minority Affairs Ministry from 29th February to 08th March, 2020. This is for the first time that “Hunar Haat” was organised in Jharkhand. It was the 21st “Hunar Haat” of the Union Minority Affairs Ministry.
- “Hunar Haat” is an effective mission which has been ensuring that the common people become a part of mainstream economic development. It has been providing market and opportunity to India’s indigenous legacy of handmade art/crafts. It has proved to be magnificent platform to understand India’s rich cultural heritage under one roof.
- The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has launched the Incredible India Tourist Facilitators (IITF) Certification Programme, a Pan-India online learning program that is open to all, subject to fulfilment of eligibility criteria, and can be undertaken from anywhere in the country. The Programme aims at creating a pool of trained professionals for facilitating the visit of tourists at destinations across the country.
Integrated Project For Source Sustainability And Climate Resilient Rain-Fed Agriculture In Himachal Pradesh
- The Government of India, Government of Himachal Pradesh and the World Bank signed a US$80 million loan agreement to improve water management practices and increase agricultural productivity in selected Gram Panchayats (Village Councils) in Himachal Pradesh, a mountain state richly endowed with natural resources.
- The Integrated Project for Source Sustainability and Climate Resilient Rain-Fed Agriculture in Himachal Pradesh will be implemented in 428 Gram Panchayats in 10 districts benefiting over 400,000 smallholder farmers, women and pastoral communities.
- The project will improve upstream water sources in forests, pastures and grasslands and ensure sufficient water is available for sustainable agriculture both in Himachal Pradesh and in downstream states.
- The investment in downstream areas will augment the use of irrigation and help farmers shift from low-value cereal production to climate-resilient crop varieties and to higher-value fruit and vegetable production.
- The US$80 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a final maturity of 14.5 years including a grace period of five years.
- India and Myanmar signed 10 agreements, including four aimed at boosting development of Rakhine state to facilitate the return of Rohingya refugees, during President U Win Myint’s visit to the country.
- The two sides also announced the launch of a bus service between Imphal in Manipur and Mandalay in Myanmar from April 7 as part of efforts to improve connectivity and people-to-people contacts. Private operators on both sides have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to launch the service.
- Among the agreements, four MoUs are specific to Rakhine state and cover the construction of facilities such as an incinerator, seed storage houses and water supply systems, solar power systems for five townships, and construction of two roads and preschools.
- Other MoUs cover cooperation in petroleum products, communications, and conservation of tigers and other wildlife.