Science and Technology Daily Current Affairs – January 2021

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Eco-friendly, non-toxic paint developed by KVIC

Government of India has launched an innovative new paint developed by Khadi and Village Industries Commission. The eco-friendly, non-toxic paint, called “Khadi Prakritik Paint” is a first-of-its-kind product, with anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties.

Key Points

  • Based on cow dung as its main ingredient, the paint is cost-effective and odorless, and has been certified by Bureau of Indian Standards.
  • Khadi Prakritik Paint is available in two forms – distemper paint and plastic emulsion paint. Production of Khadi Prakritik Paint is aligned with Prime Minister’s vision of increasing farmers’ income.

Ultra-high mobility electron gas

Scientists have produced electron gas with ultra-high mobility, which can speed up transfer of quantum information and signal from one part of a device to another and increase data storage and memory.

Key Points

  • The need for attaining new functionalities in modern electronic devices has led to the manipulation of property of an electron called spin degree of freedom along with its charge.
  • This has given rise to an altogether new field of spin-electronics or ‘spintronics’.
  • It has been realized that a phenomenon called the ‘Rashba effect’, which consists of splitting of spin-bands in an electronic system, might play a key role in spintronic devices.
  • Scientists at Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali (Punjab), an autonomous institution of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, have produced an ultra-high mobility 2d-electron gas (2DEG) at the interface of two insulating oxide layers.

Draft 5th National STI Policy

The 5th National Science Technology and Innovation Policy finalized and available for public consultation is guided by the broad vision of achieving technological self-reliance and positioning India among the top three scientific superpowers in the decade to come, to attract, nurture, strengthen and retain critical human capital through ‘people-centric’ science technology and Innovation Ecosystem.

Key Points

  • The objective of the draft policy is to identify and address the strengths and weaknesses of the Indian STI ecosystem to catalyse the socio-economic development of the country and also make the Indian STI ecosystem globally competitive.
  • It aims to foster, develop, and nurture a robust system for evidence and stakeholder-driven STI planning, information, evaluation, and policy research in India.

Swasth Vayu Non-invasive Ventilator developed by CSIR-NAL

CSIR-NAL scientists along with medical professionals from CSIR-IGIB came forward to address the shortages of ventilators in the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and indigenously designed and developed the non-invasive bi level positive airway pressure ventilator –Swasth Vayu, with additional features to treat Covid-19 patients and make the country self-reliant.

Key Points

  • CSIR-NAL has commercialized this technology with six private companies and one of these companies (which is in the MSME category) has set up the production facilities for almost 300 units per week.
  • CSIR-NAL recently bagged an order for supply of 1200 SwasthVayu machines to Delhi Government, and the execution & installation at various hospitals in Delhi is being implemented. 
  • With this, the country is now self-reliant in this technology, which is a major achievement under the Atmanirbhar vision of Government of India.

Webinar on Water Purification Technologies for MSMEs

CSIR-CMERI, Durgapur along with MSME-DI, Ahmedabad organises webinar on water purification technologies for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Key Points

  • The CSIR-CMERI developed Water Purification technologies have already been transferred to 56 business entities.
  • These technologies have received overwhelming feedback from the MSME partners and as per this feedback they have already influenced the lives of over a million Indians and are an effective and economic Water Purification option.
  • There are substantial Financial Resources available for Water Purification/Treatment and Flood Management in the form of assistance from World Bank, New Development Bank, Asian Development Bank etc. and it needs to be effectively banked upon by the MSMEs.

CEPI Centralized network lab at DBT-THSTI Faridabad

Government inaugurated one of the seven labs of the world called as the centralized network lab of Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) established at Translational Health Science & Technology Institute (THSTI), Faridabad.

Key Points

  • THSTI is an institute of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
  • This is the only laboratory of such kind in India and is also accredited by National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL).

CSIR-NPL celebrates its 75th Foundation Day

National Metrology Conclave 2021 organised by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR) -National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL) , New Delhi on its 75th year of inception.

Key Points

  • CSIR-NPL, New Delhi, is one of the few premier laboratories established under Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) before independence on January 04, 1947.
  • As a beginning of the Platinum Jubilee year and to commemorate this special day as its NPL Foundation Day Celebrations, CSIR-NPL organised a National Metrology Conclave under the theme ‘Metrology for the Inclusive Growth of the Nation’.
  • The theme of the conclave was ‘Metrology for the Inclusive Growth of the Nation’.

DBT-BIRAC supported indigenously developed DNA Vaccine Candidate

The Nation’s first indigenously developed DNA vaccine candidate against COVID-19, ZyCoV-D, by M/s Zydus Cadila has been approved by Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI), for conduct of the Phase III clinical trials.

Key Points

  • The candidate has been supported by the National Biopharma Mission (NBM) under the aegis of BIRAC and the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India.
  • Zydus Cadila completed Phase-I/II clinical trials of this DNA Vaccine candidate, in India, in more than 1,000 participants and interim data indicated that the vaccine is safe and immunogenic when three doses were administered intradermally.
  • Based on the recommendations of the Subject Expert Committee, which reviewed the interim data, the DCGI has accorded permission for conducting Phase-III clinical trial in 26,000 Indian participants.

5th National Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy

The draft of the 5th National Science Technology and Innovation Policy has been finalized and is now available for public consultation.

Key Points

  • The policy drafted through a4 track process of consultations during last 6 months aims to bring about profound changes through short, medium and long-term mission mode projects by building a nurtured ecosystem that promotes research and innovation on the part of both individuals and organizations.
  • It aims to foster, develop, and nurture a robust system for evidence and stakeholder-driven STI planning, information, evaluation, and policy research in India.
  • The objective of the policy is to identify and address strengths and weaknesses of the Indian STI ecosystem to catalyse socio-economic development of the country and also make the Indian STI ecosystem globally competitive.

Sulfur Dioxide Emission Norms Delayed

The Ministry of Power has proposed to postpone the deadline for coal-fired power plants to adopt the new emission standards, stating that an “an unworkable time schedule” will burden utilities and cause a rise in power tariffs.

Key Points

  • Removal of sulphur dioxide is named as Flue-gas Desulphurization (FGD). Seek to remove gaseous pollutants viz. SO2 generated from exhaust flue gas generated in furnaces, boilers and other industrial processes due to thermal processing, treatment and combustion.
  • A “graded action plan” was proposed, during which the areas where plants are located are going to be graded consistently with the severity of the pollution, where Region 1 refers to the heavily polluted areas and Region 5 is the least polluted areas.

Science Technology and Innovation Policy Finalized

The 5th National STIP (Science Technology and Innovation Policy) has been finalized and is out there for public consultation.

Key Points

  • The STIP (Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy), 2020 formulation process are getting to be facilitated by the Principal Scientific Adviser to the GoI (Government of India) and thus the Department of Science and Technology (DST)
  • The policy was formulated, employing a decentralized, bottom-up, and inclusive design process, aimed toward re-setting priorities, sectoral focus, and methods for research and technology development methods to realize greater socio-economic benefits
  • Due to the COVID-19 and its impact on the economy and life, the planning of STIP 2020 is integrated with Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Inviting Applications for Auction of Spectrum

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) inviting Applications for auction of Spectrum.

Key Points

  • The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has issued a Notice Inviting Application (NIA) for auction of spectrum in the 700 MHz, 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz frequency bands.
  • The auction spectrum is valid for 20 years.
  • There is an option of payment in instalments for successful bidders.
  • The auction format is a Simultaneous Multi-Round Ascending (SMRA) e-auction.
  • The auction is planned to be held in March 2021 and will be conducted online.

IMD issues a statement on Climate of India

Indian Meterology Department (IMD) issues a statement on Climate of India during 2020. Since the begining of national records in 1901, 2020 is the eighth hottest year on record.

Key Points

  • The monsoon and post-monsoon seasons with abnormal average temperatures are the main cause of this warming.
  • According to data from 1961 to 2010, the national annual rainfall in 2020 is 109% of its long-term average (LPA). The country’s monsoon season rainfall is higher than normal, which is 109% of its LPA.
  • In 2020, five cyclones formed over the North Indian Ocean. These are the super cyclone storm AMPHAN, the very severe cyclone storms NIVAR and GATI, the severe cyclone storm NISARGA and the cyclone storm “BUREVI”.

DRDOs Advanced Biodigester Mk-II Technology

DRDO and Maharashtra Metro Corporation signed a memorandum of understanding to implement Advanced Biodigester Mk-II technology in the metro rail network.

Key Points

  • The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed by the joint venture company MAHA-METRO (Maharashtra Metro Corporation) between DRDO and GOI and Govt. Maharashtra.
  • According to the memorandum of understanding, DRDO will provide technical support for the implementation of its advanced bio-digester Mk-II technology to deal with human waste (night soil) in the subway network.
  • DRDO’s biodigester is a native, green and cost-effective technology, and its rare feature is that it has one of the largest number of DRDO licenses.
  • Indian Railways has installed about 2.4 million bio-digesters in its passenger car fleet.

Government Launched a Virtual Hackathon Toycathon

The government of India has launched the virtual toy hackathon “Toycathon 2021”. This is an initiative of the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and the All India Technical Education Commission.

Key Points

  • Conceptualize innovative toys according to the Indian value system, which will instill positive behavior and good value in children and to promote India to become a global toy manufacturing center (Atmanirbhar Abhiyan).
  • It is based on Indian culture and ethos, local folklore and heroes, and Indian value system.
  • The Themes of this Hackathon including fitness and sports and rediscovering traditional Indian toys.
  • Toys can be an excellent medium to carry forward the spirit of “Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat”

Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica

The 40th Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica was launched. The 40th expedition will take off from Goa on January 5, 2021, with 43 members on board.

Key Points

  • The chartered ice-class vessel MV Vasiliy Golovnin will take this journey and will reach Antarctica within 30 days.
  • After leaving the team of 40 members, it will return to India in April 2021.
  • When returning, it will also bring back the winter team from the previous trip.
  • Due to existing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the scientific and logistical activities of the 40th Indian Antarctic Expedition are restricted.
  • The focus is on supporting ongoing scientific projects on climate change, geology, ocean observation, electric and magnetic flux measurement, and environmental monitoring; re-supply of food, fuel, supplies and spare parts; and completed the repatriation of winter workers.

FSSAI Slashes Limit for Trans-Fat Levels In Foods

The Food Safety & Standards Agency of India – FSSAI has passed amendments to foods to limit the amount of trans fatty acids – TFA in fats and oils from the current 5% to 3% in 2021 and 2% in 2022. Standard (Prohibition and Restriction of Sales) Regulations.

Key Points

  • The revised regulations apply to edible refined oils, vanaspati (partially hydrogenated oils), margarine, bakery shortenings and other cooking media, such as vegetable fat spreads and mixed fat spreads.
  • Transfat is associated with an increased risk of heart attack and death from coronary heart disease.♦
  • According to data from the WHO (World Health Organization), due to the intake of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids, there are approximately 540,000 deaths worldwide each year.
  • The WHO has also called for the global elimination of trans fats by 2023.

Covishield: Approved by Drug Controller General of India

Covishield is a vaccine candidate for the Serum Research Institute headquartered in Pune, India, and has been approved by the Subject-Medical Experts Committee (SEC) of the General Drug Administration of India.

Key Points

  • Director of Drugs of India-DCGI is the head of the Central Drug Standards Control Organization Department of the Government of India, responsible for approving specific types of drugs (such as blood and blood products, intravenous fluids, vaccines and serum) in India.
  • The Drugs Controller General of India is under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
  • DCGI also sets standards for the manufacturing, sales, import and distribution of drugs in India.

Maiden Flight Trial of SAHAYAK-NG – Air Droppable Container

DRDO and the Indian Navy conducted the successful maiden test trial of “SAHAYAK-NG” along the coast of Goa. This is India’s 1st indigenously designed and developed Air Dropped Container from IL 38SD aircraft (Indian Navy).

Key Points

  • The trial was conducted by the IN -Indian Navy to enhance its combat logistics capabilities and provide critical engineering warehouses for ships deployed more than 2,000 kilometers from the coast.
  • Reduced the requirement for ships to collect spare parts and warehouses near the coast.
  • SAHAYAK-NG is the advanced version of SAHAYAK Mk I.

Government launched the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia

The Government launched the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG), which includes 10 laboratories located in India.

Key Points

  • The overall goal of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia is to regularly monitor the genomic variation in SARS-CoV-2 through a multi-laboratory network.
  • The Government launched the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia (INSACOG), which includes 10 laboratories located in India.
  • The overall goal of the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomic Consortia is to regularly monitor the genomic variation in SARS-CoV-2 through a multi-laboratory network.
  • This vital research Consortia will also assist in the development of potential vaccines in the future.

Radio Waves Emission Detected from the Direction of Proxima Centauri

Astronomers on the $100 million “Breakthrough Listening” project recently picked up radio waves emission from Proxima Centauri’s direction (the closest star to our Sun). Physicist Stephen Hawking initiated the Breakthrough Listen project.

Key Points

  • The news sparked interest in Proxima Centauri. One of Proxima Centauri’s planets is believed to revolve in the star’s habitable zone, thereby increasing the possibility of or sustaining life.
  • Proxima Centauri is 4.2 light-years away from the Sun.
  • Its mass is about one-eighth that of the sun, and it is too dim to be seen with the naked eye from Earth.

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