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Prelims Booster

9th May – Prelims Booster

Vande Bharat Mission

The ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ to bring stranded Indians has been started by the Government of India.

What is ‘Vande Bharat Mission’?

  • ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ is about launching 64 flights being operating between May 7 to May 13 to bring back around 15,000 Indian nationals stranded abroad. Approximately, 2,000 people from abroad will fly back to India daily.
  • India will operate 10 flights to the UAE, seven flights each to the US and the UK, five flights to Saudi Arabia, five flights to Singapore and two flights to Qatar to repatriate Indian nationals between May 7 and May 13.
  • During this period, India also operated seven flights each to Malaysia and Bangladesh, five flights each to Kuwait and Philippines, two flights each to Oman and Bahrain.
  • The maximum number of flights will be sent from Kerala which is 15, 11 flights each will be sent from Delhi-NCR and Tamil Nadu, seven from Maharashtra and Telangana, five from Gujarat, three each from Jammu and Kashmir and Karnataka and one each from Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

Environment Impact Assessment

The Central Government has extended the notice period for representations of Environment Impact Assessment in the way of COVID pandemic lockdown.

What is Environment Impact Assessment?

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process of evaluating the likely environmental impacts of a proposed project or development, taking into account inter-related socio-economic, cultural and human-health impacts, both beneficial and adverse. EIA is basically a tool used to assess the positive and negative environmental, economic and social impacts of a project. This is used to predict the environmental impacts of a project in the pre-planning stage itself so that decisions can be taken to reduce the adverse impacts.

Background –

  • EIA started in India in 1976-77 when the Planning Commission directed the Department of Science & Technology to assess the river valley projects from the point of view of the environment. This was extended for all those projects that required approval from the Public Investment Board.
  • Then, in 1986, the government enacted the Environment (Protec­tion) Act which made EIA statutory. The other main laws in this regard are the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act (1972), the Water Act (1974), the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act (1981), and the Biological Diversity Act (2002).
  • In 1982, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change set up the Environmental Information System (ENVIS) with the purpose of collecting, collating, storing, retrieving and disseminating information related to the environment sector. This serves as a web-based distributed network of subject-specific databases. The chief purpose of the ENVIS is to integrate all countrywide efforts to collect, store, disseminate and use environment-information for better managing environmental assessment activities.

Sanjivani App

Union Health and Family Welfare Minister has launched the ‘AYUSH Sanjivani App’ to harness the technology for COVID-19 response.

About AYUSH Sanjivani App –

  • It has been developed by Ministry of AYUSH and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to reach out to a target of 50 lakh people.
  • It has been launched to help generate data on acceptance and usage of AYUSH advocacies and measures among the population and its impact on prevention of COVID19.
  • It will help in promoting AYUSH knowledge for the larger good of the global community.

Styrene Gas

A gas leak tragedy that has claimed at least 11 lives and affected thousands of residents in five villages of Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. The source of gas leak was a styrene plant owned by South Korean electronics giant LG.

What is styrene?

  • It is a flammable liquid that is used in the manufacturing of polystyrene plastics, fiberglass, rubber and latex.
  • Styrene is also found in vehicle exhaust, cigarette smoke, and in natural foods like fruits and vegetables.
  • As per the US-based Environment Protection Agency (EPA), short-term exposure to the substance can result in respiratory problems, irritation in the eyes, irritation in the mucous membrane, and gastrointestinal issues. Long-term exposure could drastically affect the central nervous system and lead to other related problems like peripheral neuropathy. It could also lead to cancer and depression in some cases.
  • Symptoms include headache, hearing loss, fatigue, weakness, difficulty in concentrating etc.

Prime Minister’s Research Fellows Scheme

Union HRD Minister has announced that, to boost research in the country various amendments have been carried out in Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship Scheme.

Details –

  • After the amendments, now for the students from any recognised institute/ university (other than IISc/ IITs/NITs/IISERs/IIEST/CF IIITs), the requirement of GATE Score is reduced to 650 from 750 apart from minimum CGPA of 8 or equivalent.
  • There will be two channels of entries, one direct entry and lateral entry. In lateral entry, the students, who are pursuing PhD in PMRF granting institutions can also apply to become fellow under the scheme as per new guidelines.
  • To boost research a dedicated Division is being created in the ministry with the name of “Research and Innovation Division”. This division will be headed by a director who will be coordinating research work of various institutions coming under MHRD.

About Prime Minister Research Fellows Scheme –

  • The scheme was announced in the Budget 2018-19.
  • The institutes which can offer PMRF include all the IITs, all the IISERs, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru and some of the top Central Universities/NITs that offer science and/or technology degrees.
  • It aims to attract the talent pool of the country to doctoral (Ph.D.) programs of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc) for carrying out research in cutting edge science and technology domains, with focus on national priorities.
  • The candidates are selected for the fellowship through a rigorous selection process. For direct entry, applicants are judged on metrics including research exposure, publications, performance in international academic competitions, grades and recommendation letters. For lateral entry, the metrics are a strong research proposal, publications record and grades. Due weightage will also be given to publication in reputed journals/conferences.

Toman

Iran’s parliament has passed a bill allowing the government to slash four zeros from the rial after a sharp fall in the value of the currency as a result of crippling U.S. sanctions. Iran’s money will soon likely be called the Toman.

Why?

  • Iran has seen the value of its national currency decline steadily since the Islamic Revolution brought the religious government to power in 1979. That drop has accelerated in recent years as harsh US sanctions battered the country’s economy.
  • The currency has been devalued 3,500 times since 1971. It declined steadily since the Iranian Revolution, 1979 brought the religious government to power.
  • Iran has faced a litany of financial disasters since 1979, including international sanctions that have severely limited its ability to sell oil, which in turn have all but dried up its primary source of revenue.
  • The government has also implemented strict rules on access to foreign currency, leading to a flourishing black market for non-Iranian cash inside the country and further eroding the value of the national currency.
  • The global COVID19 pandemic has piled even more stress onto the lives of people ramping up maximum pressure on Iran.

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