Ojaank IAS Academy




31 August 2022 – Current Affairs

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“One Herb, One Standard”

Paper 2 – Health
Why Should You Know?
Recently A MoU signed between PCIM & H and IPC for Inter-Ministerial cooperation for promotion and facilitation of “One Herb, One Standard”.
In details –
  • The Ministry of Ayush and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare have joined hands to step closer to achieving “One Herb, One Standard”.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Pharmacopoeia Commission for Indian Medicine and Homoeopathy (Ministry of Ayush) and Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (Ministry of Health & Family Welfare) on August 30,2022 in New Delhi for Inter-Ministerial cooperation for promotion and facilitation of “One Herb, One Standard”.
What would the MoU do?
  • Presently there are different standards as well as different analytical methods published in Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy (ASU&H) Pharmacopoeias when compared with Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP).
  • The Ministry of Ayush wishes to remove this ambiguity through “One Herb – One Standard” initiative.
  • Through this MoU each monograph will have Indian Standards along with the international quality requirements, so that all Indian quality standards become contemporary with the global standards for the same botanicals.
  • The primary objective of the MoU signed is the development of cooperative efforts between PCIM&H and IPC to promote public health by facilitating the development of harmonized herbal drug standards.
  • Further, the MoU aims to facilitate collaboration for promoting exchange of information in the area of standardization of traditional medicine by sharing of scientific information and drug raw materials/extracts, seminars, workshops, training and brainstorming programs.
  • As per the MoU, the sole authority of publication of monographs categorized under the “one herb one standard” will lie with PCIM&H only.
  • The monographs developed by PCIM&H and IPC will be identified accordingly; IPC’s contribution in the respective monographs shall be recognized at appropriate place.
  • The technical content of the monographs will be jointly developed by PCIM&H and IPC. Hence, these monographs will have same legal sanctity as published in ASU&H pharmacopoeia and IP.
Benefits of the MoU?
  • The MoU will provide an opportunity to all stakeholders like manufacturers, researchers and regulators in herbal medicine to get world class monographs to be used in their respective areas.
  • Better opportunity for IPC to conduct deeper research in the area of herbal medicine especially in quality domain and contribute towards public health.
  • In addition to this, the harmonization of standards will fulfill the objective of “One Herb, One Standard and One Nation”. It will improve ease of doing business in India and the overall trade of Indian botanicals. It is also a significant step towards Atmanirbhar Bharat.
  •  The MoU will enable publication of monographs, which will be beneficial to everyone. A joint committee will be constituted for the selection of medicinal plants and their constituent marker/s for carrying out other related technical work.”

Beekeeping in India

Paper 3 – Agriculture
Why Should You Know?
Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare inaugurated the workshop on “Strengthening the Export Potential of Honey” at Vaikunth Mehta National Institute of Cooperative Management (VAMNICOM)
In details –
  • Dr. Abhilaksh Likhi, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Department of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare chaired the Workshop on “Strengthening of Export Potential of Honey” today at Vaikunth Mehta National Institute of Cooperative Management (VAMNICOM), Pune, Maharashtra organised by the National Bee Board (NBB).
  • Dr. Likhi launched bee wax products manufactured by FPOs during the workshop. It was also decided to establish a cooperative honey project at VAMNICOM, Pune.  Experiences were also shared by honey processors/ exporters and FPOs / agri start-ups about future strategies for export promotion of honey.
Background –
  • At present, about 12,699 Beekeepers and 19.34 lakhs honey bees colonies are registered with National Bee Board and India is producing about 1,33,200 Metric tonnes of Honey (2021-22  2nd advance estimate).
  • India is one of the major honey exporting countries in the World and has exported 74,413 MT of Honey worth Rs. 1221.17 Crores during 2021-22. More than 50% of the honey production in India is being exported to other countries.
  • India export honey to about 83 countries. The major markets for Indian honey are USA, Saudi Arab, United Arab Emirates, Bangladesh, Canada, etc. 
  • Mustard honey, eucalyptus honey, lychee honey, sunflower honey, pongamia honey, multi-flora Himalayan honey, acacia honey and wild flora honey are some of the major varieties of honey exported from India.
  • Total 102 projects for assistance of Rs. 133.31 crores sanctioned under the National Beekeeping and Honey Mission (NBHM) NBHM till date.
  • The quality of products exported from India is monitored by the government through the Department of Commerce and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry under the Export Inspection Council of India (EIC) Act. Department of Commerce under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry formulated the trade policy for food trade, import, and export. APEDA offers various incentives and financial assistance to the exporters of agricultural food products, including honey.
  • Under the scheme of “Formation of 10,000 Farmer Producer Organizations, 100 FPOs of Beekeepers/ Honey Producers are allotted to TRIFED (14 nos.), NAFED (60 nos.) and NDDB (26 nos.) for implementation of activities under NBHM.
  • Thus, out of total 105 FPOs allotted to NBB, 77 FPOs of Beekeepers/ Honey Producers have been registered/ formed till date. The Ministry of Agriculture & FW has also developed an online portal i.e.“Madhukranti Portal” to maintain traceability records of honey & other beehive products.

Greening Initiatives of India’s Coal Sector

Paper 3- Environment
Why Should You Know?
Ministry of Coal is continuously promoting green cover through its coal companies.
In details –
  • The Ministry of Coal has set an ambitious goal for coal companies to bring more than 2400 hectare of area in and around coalfields under green cover with plantation of more than 50 lakh saplings for the year 2022-23.
  • The identified areas include reclaimed mined out areas of coal companies and areas outside of leasehold – amenable for plantation and made available by State Government agencies.
  • As of now, greening drive is in full swing in coal mining areas and about 1000 Ha of land has already been covered through block plantation, avenue plantation, grassland creation, bamboo plantation and high-tech cultivation by 15th August, 2022. With the achievements made so far, coal companies are confident of surpassing this year’s greening targets.
  • The above stated  greening initiatives of the coal sector support India’s NDC commitment to create additional carbon sink of 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalent through additional forest and tree cover by 2030.
  • The coal industry strives to promote a sustainable model of development in which coal production concurs with steps to protect the environment, conserve natural resources, care for society and measures to protect our forests & wildlife.
  • Coal companies have not only effectively met the rising energy demand of the country at the current time of global energy crisis,  but also shown their sensitivity and carefulness towards environment by adopting various mitigation measures including extensive plantation in and around coal bearing areas and reclamation of mined out lands.
Significance –
  • Afforestation is a proven way of restoration of lands damaged by anthropogenic activities and must for achieving satisfactory rehabilitation of a mined landscape.
  • It helps in minimizing the footprints of coal mining, prevents soil erosion, stabilises the climate, preserves wild life and enhances quality of air & watersheds.
  • On a global scale, it mitigates climate change through carbon sequestration and also results in economic growth of the region.
  • The goal of Indian coal industry is to secure availability of coal to meet the demand of various sectors of the economy while minimising the impact of mining on the environment and to improve the quality of life for local residents.

Integrated Public Alert System-“Sachet”

Paper 3 – Science & Technology
Why Should You Know?
C-DOT and (NDMA) National Disaster Management Authority, Government of India are jointly conducting an All India Workshop centered on Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) based Integrated Alert System – Sachet (सचेत) on 31st August 2022.
In details –
  • C-DOT (Centre for Development of Telematics), the premier R&D centre of the Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Ministry of Communications, Government of India and (NDMA) National Disaster Management Authority, Government of India are jointly conducting an All India Workshop centered on Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) based Integrated Alert System -सचेत here tomorrow I.e. on 31st August 2022.
  • The workshop aims to provide a platform to the concerned departments and various disaster management agencies across India to discuss their underlying issues and challenges and evolve the technology-based solutions to address these in an effective manner amid insightful discussions by a galaxy of experts and technologists.
About the Integrated Public Alert System-“Sachet”
  • Integrated Public Alert System-Sachet, an early warning platform based on ITU’s Common Alerting Protocol (CAP), has been developed by C-DOT for effective disaster management.
  • The platform has been widely used by National and State Disaster Management authorities for dissemination of alerts, advisories and other useful information to the massses on all available media during emergencies like floods, cyclones and Covid pandemic.
  • It provides a converged platform for dissemination of targeted alerts to people in vernacular languages through SMS.
  • As a one-stop solution and a concrete step towards realizing Hon’ble Prime Minister’s 10 point Agenda for Disaster Risk Reduction, soon messages will be disseminated over all available communication media including, Cell Broadcast, Radio, TV, Siren, Social Media, Web Portal and Mobile Application.
  • The system is already operational in 34 States and UTs. More than 75 Crores SMSes have already been sent by the system during various disasters like Cyclones (Asani,Yass, Nivar, Amphan), Floods (Assam, Gujarat), Lightning (Bihar), etc. The system has also been used to facilitate the pilgrims during Amarnath Ji Yatra.

Rang Swadheenta Festival

Paper 1 – Art & Culture
Why Should You Know?
Recently Sangeet Natak Akademi organizes Rang Swadheenta, to cherish the memories of freedom fighters who laid down their lives to free the country.
In details –
  • To mark the celebration of 75 years of India’s Independence, Sangeet Natak Akademi celebrated Rang Swadheenta – a festival to cherish the memories of freedom fighters who laid down their lives to free India from the shackles of imperialism. The festival was held at Meghdoot Auditorium from 27th  to 29th  August , 2022.
  • This year’s festival was unique in that it focused on folk singing styles. A total of twelve teams and around hundred artists from nine States of India participated in the festival.
  • Rang Swadheenta showcases folk musical traditions from across the country. The first day of Rang Swadheenta began with Subhash Nagada & Group presenting variations on Keherwa taal and a medley of popular patriotic tunes like Dil diya hai, Jaan bhi denge.
Alha Gayan –
  • Alha Gayan, performed usually at the end of monsoon, is sung in the Alha chhand. Popular Alha artist Shri Ramrath Pandey began with an invocation to Goddess Durga, and went on to narrate the deeds of bravery by Chandrasekhar Azad.
Dhimaryai dancer –
  • A Dhimaryai dancer usually plays a handheld Sarangi, who is also accompanied by other musicians. Dhimaryai songs touch upon religious, mythical, social and patriotic themes.
  • The audience was moved by Dhimaryayi performer Chunnilal Raikwar’s lively singing of Leher Leher Lehrawe Tiranga.
Panduan ka Kada –
  • The origins of Panduan ka Kada can be traced to 17th century Mewat, which usually centers around episodes from the Mahabharata. Gafruddin Mewati presented a doha on Keechak vadh, followed by a narration of Maharana Pratap’s valour in the battlefield.
Day 2-
  • On the second day of Rang Swadheenta, Chetan Dewangan narrated the trials and tribulations of Adivasi life, the courage of Birsa Munda and the festivities surrounding the local deities of Jharkhand, accompanied by artists on harmonium, banjo, dholak, tabla, etc.
Oggukatha –
  • Oggukatha comes from the compound ‘oggu’ meaning a damarukam (pellet drum) and ‘katha’ meaning tales. Although oggukatha usually centers around Myths and Gods, Gajarla Komuraiah and his fellow artists also narrated the tale of an unsung hero of the Freedom Movement, Shri Ramji Gond.
Dhadi singing –
  • The Dhadi singing tradition of Punjab was begun by Guru Hargobind to inspire bravery among armed men in the battlefield.
  • Desh Raj Shashli and his fellow artists brought the audience to tears with the narration of the atrocities braved by the martyr, Udham Singh.
Dastangoi –
  • Dastangoi is a compound of Persian words ‘dastaan’ meaning a long tale and ‘goi’ meaning to narrate.
  • Pragya Sharma and Himanshu Bajpai are masters of the art of this form of storytelling and the story of Rani Laxmibai did come alive in their sonorous voices.
Ragini style of singing –
  • Artists presented ballads on heroes of the Independence Movement. The presentations of the final day began with Dharmendra Singh’s tribute to freedom fighters in the Ragini style of singing.
  • Ragini is a Kauravi folk song form which is very popular throughout northern India—particularly western Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
  • Dharmendra Singh is well versed in many styles of Ragini singing like Aalha, Bahare Tabeel, Chamola, Jhulna, Sohni, Alibaksh and Savaiya etc.
Folk songs of Bihar –
  • Chandan Tiwari and her fellow artists instilled pride in the audience for the nation with folk songs of Bihar.
  • She began with the Batohiya of Raghuveer Narayan and went on to sing about the sacrifices of Kunwar Singh, ending with a Kajri and Charkhageet based on Gandhi.
  • On the audience’s request, she also sang a Purbi. Chandan Tiwari is a recipient of the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar, and is known for singing folk songs in various languages ​​like Bhojpuri, Magadhi, Maithili, Nagpuri, Awadhi and Hindi.
Powada –
  • Powada is a rich traditional style of singing ballads popular in Maharashtra.
  • Powada singing has also played an important role in the socio-cultural and political development of the region.
  • Its origin is considered to be from the time of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. Devanand Mali and his fellow artists began with a Powada quite aptly in praise of Shivaji Maharaj, followed by their tribute to heroes like Rana Pratap, Bhagat Singh and Lala Lajpat Rai.
Other folk songs –
  • Smt. Shailesh Srivastava has gained immense fame through singing folk songs in various languages ​like Sanskrit, Hindi, Urdu, Bhojpuri, Awadhi, Punjabi, Sindhi, Haryanvi, Himachali, Dogri and Marathi.
  • The programme drew to a close with Shailesh Shrivastava and her fellow artists presenting folk songs of Uttar Pradesh, saluting the martyrs of the freedom struggle.

Integrated Pensioners’ Portal

Paper 2 – Governance
Why Should You Know?
Integrated Pensioners Portal is being prepared by the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare for the convenience of the pensioners.
In details –
  • A two-day Bankers’ Awareness Program has been inaugurated On august 30, 2022 by Shri V Srinivas, Secretary, Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare (DoPPW) at Government of India at Amritsar.
  • In this program More than 50 officers from northern zone from CPPCs and pension dealing branches are participating in this 2-day program.
  • Shri V Srinivas, in his inauguration address, stressed on providing seamless experience to pensioners for which the Department is working on an AI/ML enabled Integrated Pensioners Portal, linking the Department of Pension & Pensioners Welfare portal Bhavishya and Pension Portals of various Banks, creation of Chat bot to ensure seamless interaction between pensioners, Government and banker.
  • The Department is setting up a technology team for creating the above digital systems as the first deliverables in collaboration with PNB as well as with other banks. Utmost attention is to be given on process and people related grievances by PNB. 
  • Digital life Certificate was launched in 2014 which is available through Aadhar based bio-metric devices, Indian Post Payments bank’s 1,90,000 Gramin Dak Sevaks and Doorstep banking by banks.
  • Face authentication technology was launched in November, 2021 which will transform the way pensioners submit their life certificate. Use of fintech in much larger way will enable quality of life for pensioners.
  • To enhance “Ease of Living” of pensioners and family pensioners, Department of Pension & Pensioners Welfare, Government of India has taken a number of welfare measures inpension policy as well as in digitization of pension related processes.
  • There have been a number of amendments in the pension rules and several clarificatory orders/ instructions have been issued during the last 50 years. These have been compiled and brought out as Central Civil Service (Pension) Rules, 2021 in December, 2021.
Awareness Programs –
  • Since the major Pension Disbursing Authorities are banks, the Department of Pension and Pensioners’ Welfare (DoPPW) has started a series of Awareness Programs for Central Pension Processing Centres and field functionaries handling pension related work in the bank.
  • The objective of these programs is to spread awareness of the various rules and procedures regarding disbursement of pension to Central Government pensioners as well as to update the field functionaries about the changes that take place from time to time through various amendments in the policy and procedures.
  • The purpose of the program is also to understand issues faced by Bank officials in handling these processes and pensioners’ grievances. Digital life certificate and face authentication technology would be a game changer for pensioners and banks in submission of life certificates.
  • These awareness programs would serve as a huge capacity building exercise for bank officials.
Significance –
  • It is expected that such awareness programs would be highly useful for bank officials and pensioners/ family pensioners.
  • The first such program for officers of Punjab National Bank is being held on 30th and 31st August, 2022 at Amritsar, covering the Northern region of country.
  • Four such awareness programs will be conducted in collaboration with Punjab National Bankto cover the whole country. On similar lines, awareness programs will be conducted in collaboration with other Pension Disbursing Banks in 2022-23.

Intelligence System and Health monitoring system for EVs

Paper 3 – Science & Technology
Why Should You Know?
An intelligence system is being developed for Electric Vehicles (EVs), their health monitoring solution which can ensure efficient performance of any electric vehicle
In details –
  • A new complete vehicle intelligence system and health monitoring solution for electric vehicles (EV) can ensure safe and high EV performance, which will occupy a major part of the next-generation transportation system.
  • The system can help in estimating the accurate state of health and state of charge of the battery pack, help fleet operators in their control and facilitate seamless communication.
  • The unavailability of such vehicle intelligent modules for the different components of EVs serves as a roadblock in their efficiency.
  • Delhi-based Vecmocon Technologies developed the vehicle intelligence system with critical battery data collection and monitoring, such as cell voltages, temperature, and the current health of the battery.
  • Vecmocon, incubated at FITT-IIT Delhi, with seed support from the Department of Science and Technology, also provides solutions for intelligent vehicles, including keyless entry, preventive and predictive maintenance, user-adaptive algorithms, remote diagnostics, fleet management, and so on.
  • It can cater to the entire ecosystem of EVs, such as motor power controllers, battery management systems, vehicle intelligence modules, cloud connectivity, etc., with specialized components for high-performance vehicles.
  • The patented technology at Technology Readiness Level 9 costs around 20- 22k for the entire kit (Battery Management System – 4-5 k, vehicle Intelligence Module – 6-8 k, fast chargers – 4-5 k, instrument cluster – 2-3 k, motor controller – 4-5 k) and is being used by more than 15 EV Manufacturers as well as Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs).
  • One of the founders of the company Peeyush Asati said that – We design and develop core components for electric vehicles like Battery Management System, Motor Controller, Vehicle Intelligence Module, Chargers, and the whole of the cloud architecture for Data Analysis, Machine Learning, and Artificial Intelligence,” said, one of the founders of the company.
  • Vecmocon provides battery packs with all thermal and structural considerations, battery management systems, and Machine Learning (ML) algorithms for battery management design of computationally in-expensive system-local ML algorithms, which run on Rs. 100 micro-controller. It has generated revenue of Rs 5 crore so far.

MoU between India and Nepal

Paper 2 – International Relations
Why Should You Know?
Cabinet approves signing of an MoU between India and Nepal in the field of biodiversity conservation
In details –
  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change for signing an MoU with the Government of Nepal on biodiversity conservation, with a view to strengthen and enhance the coordination and cooperation in the field of forests, wildlife, environment, biodiversity conservation and climate change, including restoration of corridors and interlinking areas and share knowledge and best practices, between the two countries.
  • The MoU would help in promoting cooperation between the Parties in the field of forests, wildlife, environment, biodiversity conservation and climate change, including restoration of corridors and interlinking areas and sharing knowledge and best practices.
About Nepal –
  • Nepal is a landlocked country in South Asia. It is mainly situated in the Himalayas, but also includes parts of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, bordering Tibet of China to the north, and India in the south, east, and west, while it is narrowly separated from Bangladesh by the Siliguri Corridor, and from Bhutan by the Indian state of Sikkim.
  • Nepal has a diverse geography, including fertile plains, subalpine forested hills, and eight of the world’s ten tallest mountains, including Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth.
  • Nepal is a multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-religious and multi-cultural state, with Nepali as the official language. Kathmandu is the nation’s capital and the largest city.
  • 81.3 percent of Nepal’s citizens are of Hindu religion. Nepal is the largest Hindu religious nation on the basis of percentage of the world.
  • The culture of Nepal is similar to that of Tibet and India. The dress, language and cuisine are the same here. The official language of Nepal is Nepali and the people of Nepal are also called Nepali.

National Small Industries Day

Paper 3 – Economics
Why Should You Know?
National Small Industry Day is observed every year in India on August 30.
In details –
  • National Small Industries Day is organized every year on 30 August to recognize the importance of small and small scale industries in Indian society.
  • This day recognizes the importance of small businesses in providing employment to the common people and is dedicated to encourage them.
  • In a developing country like India, small scale industries play an important role in economic development. Keeping in view the strategic relevance of such areas, special emphasis has been laid on the need for their development.
  • As a result, the trend of government policy assistance to small industries has been beneficial and conducive to the development of small enterprises.
What are Small Industries?
  • Small Scale Industries are those industries in which the manufacturing, production and rendering of the services are done on a small or micro scale.
  • Small Industries make a one-time investment in the machinery, plant, and equipment, however, it does not exceed Rs. 10 crores and the annual turnover does not exceed Rs. 50 crores.
History –
  • Small Industry Day in India can be traced back to August 2000 when the Government of India announced a comprehensive policy package for the small-scale industries in India.
  • It was decided by the Ministry of Small Scale Industries that the National Small Industry Day will be celebrated every year on August 30 in India.
  • The Central ministry for the very first time on August 30, 2001, organised a convention for the entrepreneurs in the small-scale industry in New Delhi, and along with that also held an event to present the National Awards.
  • The convention started with the inauguration ceremony which was followed by the award distribution and culminated with an open house discussion.

3D-printed Human Cornea

Paper 3 – Science & Technology
Why Should You Know?
Recently CCMB, IIT Hyderabad, and LVPEI developed India’s first 3D-printed Human Cornea.
In details –
  • In a significant medical breakthrough, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad have successfully 3D-printed Human Cornea and transplanted it into a rabbit’s eye.
  • For the first time in the country, a team of clinicians and scientists from the LV Prasad Eye Institute (LVPEI), IIT Hyderabad, and the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), collaborated to develop the 3D-printed cornea from the human donor corneal tissue.
  • The team of researchers said that their product is completely natural, contains no synthetic components, and is free of animal residues. It is developed indigenously through government and philanthropic funding.
Process of 3D Printing Human Cornea
  • Two lead researchers from the LVPEI behind this groundbreaking development said that the innovation could be extremely useful for treating diseases such as corneal scarring or keratoconus.
  • This made-in-India product by an Indian clinician-scientist team made use of decellularised corneal tissue matrix and stem cells extracted from the human eye to develop a unique biometric hydrogel that was used as the background material for 3D printing the cornea.
Providing a Solution –
  • Currently, Corneal transplantation is used as a standard of care for cases with severe disease and vision loss. Significantly, this made-in-India product could offer an alternative solution to corneal blindness wherein each donor cornea can aid in the preparation of three 3D-printed corneas.
  • The cornea can be printed in various diameters from 3 mm to 13 mm., and can also be customised based on the specifications of the patient.
  • The 3D-printed cornea innovated by the team is composed of materials deriving from the human corneal tissue which is biocompatible, natural, and free of animal residues.
  • In addition to this, since the tissue used for this technology is derived from donor corneas that do not meet the optical standards for clinical transplantation, this method also finds unique use for the donated corneas that would otherwise be discarded.

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