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Prelims Booster

30th September – Prelims Booster

Defence India Startup-Challenge 4

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh has launched the Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC 4) during the iDEX event, featuring the initiatives aimed at expanding the horizons of Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) ecosystem.

iDEX4Fauji initiative and Product Management Approach (PMA) guidelines were also launched by the Raksha Mantri during the event.  Each of these initiatives is expected to facilitate iDEX-DIO to scale up the program qualitatively and quantitatively.

What is iDEX initiative?

The iDEX initiative of the Department of Defence Production was launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in April 2018 with the objective to encourage and nurture innovations in the Indian Defence sector and create an ecosystem where Startups, MSMEs and individual innovators could interact easily with the Indian defence establishment and provide the latest technological innovations for specific challenges experienced in operational environments through co-development and co-production of innovative solutions. The iDEX initiatives are executed by Defence Innovation Organisation (DIO), a Section 8 company of DPSUs BEL and HAL.

What is ‘iDEX4Fauji’?

  • iDEX4Fauji is a first of its kind initiative, launched to support innovations identified by members of the Indian Armed Forces and will bolster frugal innovation ideas from soldiers/ field formations.
  • There are more than 13 Lakh service personnel working in the field and on borders, handling extreme conditions and equipment and would be having many ideas and innovations to improve such equipment. There was no mechanism to support such innovations.
  • iDEX4Fauji would open this window and allow our Faujis to become part of the innovation process and get recognised and rewarded.
  • Services Headquarters will provide support to the soldiers & field formations all over the country to ensure maximum participation.

What is Defence India Startup-Challenge 4?

Under Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) 4, eleven challenges from Armed forces, OFB & DPSUs were thrown open to prospective startups, innovators, MSMEs alike to provide their innovative ideas on technologies which find their application in the defence sector. The challenges are as follows –

  • Autonomous Underwater Swarm Drones
  • Predictive, Preventive & Prescriptive Machine Monitoring
  • Super Resolution for Improving Spatial Resolution
  • AI based Satellite Image Analysis
  • Prediction and forecasting of atmospheric visibility
  • Computer Generated Targets for Virtual Training
  • Remote Real Time In-Flight Health Monitoring of Aircrew
  • MF-TDMA based Wideband SATCOM Modem
  • Foliage Penetration Radar
  • Reduction of RCS of Naval Warships
  • Target Detection in Chaff Environment

Background –

iDEX-DIO has launched three rounds of Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC) with 18 problem statements from Armed Forces, DPSUs&OFB and identified 55+ start-ups/ individuals to receive innovation grants in technological areas through the Prototype funding guidelines called “Support for Prototype and Research Kickstart” (SPARK), which entail provisioning of grants upto Rs 1.5 crore to the Startups on the basis of milestones through multiple tranches, for prototype development.

Time-Use Survey

National Statistical Organisation has released the second edition of the ‘Time Use Survey’ recently.

Background –

National Statistical Office (NSO) conducted the first Time Use Survey in India during January – December 2019. The survey measures the participation rate and time spent on paid activities, care activities, unpaid activities, etc.

What is ‘Time Use Survey (TUS)’?

  • Time Use Survey (TUS) provides a framework for measuring time dispositions by the population on different activities.
  • It is an important source of information about the activities that are performed by the population and the time duration for which such activities are performed.
  • One distinguishing feature of Time Use Survey from other household surveys is that it can capture time disposition on different aspects of human activities, be it paid, unpaid or other activities with such details which is not possible in other surveys.

Objective –

  • The primary objective of Time Use Survey (TUS) is to measure participation of men and women in paid and unpaid activities.
  • TUS is an important source of information on the time spent in unpaid caregiving activities, volunteer work, unpaid domestic service producing activities of the household members.
  • It also provides information on time spent on learning, socialising, leisure activities, self-care activities, etc., by the household members.

Findings of the survey –

  • As per the study, 57.3 per cent males were engaged in employment and related activities while the proportion was 18.4 per cent for females in the country.
  • In the rural areas, the proportion of women engaged in employment and related activities was higher at 19.2 per cent compared to 16.7 per cent in cities. The proportion of males above the age of six years engaged in gainful employment or related activities was higher in cities at 59.8 per cent in cities compared 56.1 per cent in rural areas. The study showed that all persons above the age of six years who participated in the survey, were engaged in self-care and maintenance.
  • Overall 53.2 per cent of participants in the survey were engaged in unpaid domestic services for household members. The proportion of females in the category was higher at 81.2 per cent compared to 26.1 per cent for males. The proportion of females engaged in unpaid domestic services for household members in rural areas was higher at 82.1 per cent compared to 79.2 per cent in cities. The proportion of males engaged in unpaid domestic services for household members in villages too was higher at 27.7 per cent compared to 22.6 per cent in cities. Overall, the percentage of persons engaged in unpaid domestic services for household members in villages was also higher at 54.6 per cent compared to 50.1 per cent.
  • The TUS also showed that the proportion of people who were engaged in production of goods for own final use was 17.1 per cent in the country. The proportion of such males was 14.3 per cent while it was 20 per cent for women in the country.
  • As much as 20.7 per cent people were engaged in unpaid caregiving services for household members in the country. The proportion of such men was 14 per cent while it was 27.6 per cent in case of women.
  • The study also showed that just 2.4 per cent of people opted for unpaid volunteer, trainee and other unpaid work.
  • As much as 91.3 per cent people went for socialising and communication, community participation and religious practice. The proportion of people who opted for culture, leisure, mass-media and sports practices was 86.9 per cent in the country
  • It also showed that people utilise 50.4 per cent of total time of 1440 minutes in a day on self-care and maintenance followed by 11.4 per cent on employment and related activities.

Cat-Que Virus

In a study published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research, scientists from the Pune-based Maximum Containment Laboratory and ICMR-National Institute of Virology have noted the presence of antibodies against the Cat Que virus (CQV) in two human serum samples.

What is the Cat Que virus?

  • For CQV, domestic pigs are considered to be the primary mammalian hosts. Antibodies against the virus have been reported in swine reared locally in China, which indicates that the virus has formed a “natural cycle” in the local area and has the ability to spread in pigs and other animal populations through mosquitoes.
  • A paper published in the journal Vector Borne and Zoonotic Diseases in 2015 says that CQV belongs to the Simbu serogroup and infects both humans and economically important livestock species.
  • It was first isolated in 2004 from mosquitoes during the surveillance of arbovirus activity in northern Vietnam. In this study, researchers reported a CQV strain (SC0806), which was isolated from mosquito samples collected in China in 2006 and 2008.

How can humans get infected and is there a cause for concern?

  • Humans can get infected through mosquitoes as well. In the study, scientists note that because of positivity in human serum samples and the replication capability of CQV in mosquitoes, there is only a “possible disease-causing potential” of CQV in the Indian scenario.
  • Further, “Availability of vector, primary mammalian host (swine) and confirmation of CQV from jungle myna signifies the potential of this Orthobunyavirus as a public health pathogen in India,” the study says” (CQV belongs to the genus Orthobunyavirus).

So, is this virus dangerous?

It is not clear. Other viruses that belong to the same genus as CQV and are similarly transmitted through mosquitoes include the Cache valley virus that can cause meningitis, the La Crosse virus that can cause paediatric encephalitis, the Jamestown Canyon virus that causes Jamestown Canyon encephalitis and the Guaroa virus that causes febrile illness.

Offset Clause

The Defence Ministry has removed the offset clause requirement in Inter-Governmental Agreements (IGA) in the new Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP), 2020. It also introduces a new category for leasing of military equipment.

What is an ‘offset clause’?

Under offset clause, foreign companies are required to invest part of their deal value in the country and meant to improve the domestic defence manufacturing.

Why it has been removed?

The government has removed some of the offset requirements as they are not found to be working. From now on there will be no offset clause in government-to-government, single vendor and IGAs. No offset has led to a transfer of technology and many of them had to do with product purchase.

What has been changed now?

  • The offset guidelines have been revised, wherein preference will be given to manufacture of complete defence products over components and various multipliers have been added to give incentivisation in discharge of offsets.
  • Other proposed measures include making after sales support part of capital acquisition contract, higher indigenous content in acquisitions and incentives for local material and software and emphasis on product export under offsets.

What is the ‘lease option’?

Leasing has been introduced as a new category for acquisition in addition to the existing ‘Buy’ and ‘Make’ categories to substitute huge initial capital outlays with periodical rental payments. This will be useful for military equipment not used in actual warfare like transport fleets, trainers, simulators, among others.

H-CNG

In a major step toward adopting alternative clean fuel for transportation, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has allowed use of H-CNG (18% mix of hydrogen) in CNG engines. A notification for amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989, for inclusion of H-CNG as an automotive fuel has been published.

What is Hydrogen-CNG?

  • HCNG is a vehicle fuel which is a blend of compressed natural gas and hydrogen, typically 8-50% hydrogen by volume.
  • Existing natural gas engines can be used with HCNG, although higher hydrogen blends require re-tuning of the engines for optimal performance. Studies indicate that HCNG mixtures with 20- 30% hydrogen by volume are optimal for vehicle performance and emissions reduction.
  • Delhi has become India’s first city to launch hydrogen-enriched CNG (HCNG) buses in 2019

Advantages –

  • No retrofitting required – It does not need any modification of the engine or retrofitting. Only some calibration is required thus allowing governments and agencies to promote the use of hydrogen to greater number of people at less cost. It is usable with the existing CNG infrastructure. It requires only small hydrogen storage and a column for the mixing of hydrogen with natural gas. Safety properties are similar to CNG.
  • Lower pollutant emissions – Global HCNG testing to date has demonstrated the fuel’s potential to reduce nitrous oxide (NOx), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (approximately 70%) and hydrocarbon emissions (approximately 15%) vehicle emissions compared to traditional CNG. Hydrogen addition to natural gas can decrease engine’s unburned hydrocarbons and speed up the combustion process.
  • Improves fuel economy – It improves the engine efficiency, lowers fuel consumption upto 5 per cent as compared to a CNG bus.
  • The thermal efficiency of both Natural gas and HCNG increases with increase in load which makes it an ideal fuel for high load applications and heavy-duty vehicles. 

Issues involved –

  • Determining the most optimised hydrogen/compressed natural gas ratio- If the hydrogen faction increases above a certain limit, it will result in abnormal combustion such as pre-ignition, knock and backfire occur.
  • Ensure safe infrastructure– Probably most evident challenge for wide-spread use of the new fuel is the current lack of infrastructure. Similar to other gaseous fuels, natural gas and hydrogen are both lighter than air, therefore if there is a leak it will quickly disperse into air with adequate ventilation.
  • Cost and continuous availability- The cost of Hydrogen is higher than cost of Natural gas resulting in HCNG being costlier than CNG. Further, continuous availability of HCNG needs to be assured before embarking on its major use in IC engines.
  • Continued engine performance, emissions and durability testing in variety of engine types and sizes need to be developed to increase consumer and manufacturer confidence.

MCQs

1. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the ‘H-CNG’?

  1. It is a blend of compressed natural gas and hydrogen which can be used as a vehicle fuel with 60-80% of hydrogen by volume.
  2. Hydrogen blending with compressed natural gas does not require retrofitting of existing engines.
  3. H-CNG has demonstrated reduced nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen emissions as compared to the traditional CNG.
  4. India is yet to start production of H-CNG fuel vehicles as the Ministry of Road and Transport has given its approval for H-CNG in CNG engines.

Select the correct codes from below –

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. 1 and 4 only

Answer – B

Explanation – In a major step toward adopting alternative clean fuel for transportation, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has allowed use of H-CNG (18% mix of hydrogen) in CNG engines. A notification for amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989, for inclusion of H-CNG as an automotive fuel has been published. HCNG is a vehicle fuel which is a blend of compressed natural gas and hydrogen, typically 8-50% hydrogen by volume. Existing natural gas engines can be used with HCNG, although higher hydrogen blends require re-tuning of the engines for optimal performance. Studies indicate that HCNG mixtures with 20- 30% hydrogen by volume are optimal for vehicle performance and emissions reduction. Delhi has become India’s first city to launch hydrogen-enriched CNG (HCNG) buses in 2019. No retrofitting required – It does not need any modification of the engine or retrofitting. Only some calibration is required thus allowing governments and agencies to promote the use of hydrogen to greater number of people at less cost. It is usable with the existing CNG infrastructure. It requires only small hydrogen storage and a column for the mixing of hydrogen with natural gas. Safety properties are similar to CNG. Lower pollutant emissions – Global HCNG testing to date has demonstrated the fuel’s potential to reduce nitrous oxide (NOx), carbon dioxide (CO2), carbon monoxide (approximately 70%) and hydrocarbon emissions (approximately 15%) vehicle emissions compared to traditional CNG. Hydrogen addition to natural gas can decrease engine’s unburned hydrocarbons and speed up the combustion process.

2. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

  1. Defence Acquisition Procedure-2020 has done away with the offset requirements in government-to-government contracts and single vendor contracts.
  2. As against the removal of offset guidelines, the DAP-2020 has decided to give preference to manufacturers of complete defence products over components.
  3. DAP-2020 also has leasing provisions as a new category of acquisition to substitute huge capital outlays.

Select the correct codes from below –

  1. 1 and 2 only
  2. 2 and 3 only
  3. 1 and 3 only
  4. All of the above

Answer – D

Explanation – Under offset clause, foreign companies are required to invest part of their deal value in the country and meant to improve the domestic defence manufacturing. The government has removed some of the offset requirements as they are not found to be working. From now on there will be no offset clause in government-to-government, single vendor and IGAs. No offset has led to a transfer of technology and many of them had to do with product purchase. The offset guidelines have been revised, wherein preference will be given to manufacture of complete defence products over components and various multipliers have been added to give incentivisation in discharge of offsets. Other proposed measures include making after sales support part of capital acquisition contract, higher indigenous content in acquisitions and incentives for local material and software and emphasis on product export under offsets. Leasing has been introduced as a new category for acquisition in addition to the existing ‘Buy’ and ‘Make’ categories to substitute huge initial capital outlays with periodical rental payments. This will be useful for military equipment not used in actual warfare like transport fleets, trainers, simulators, among others.

3. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

  1. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has allowed the use of H-CNG in CNG engines with a provision of 30% blending of hydrogen in CNG.
  2. There will be no requirement of re-tuning of the existing natural gas engines as the amount of hydrogen enrichment has been kept below the point of retuning requirement.

Select the correct codes from below –

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer – B

Explanation – In a major step toward adopting alternative clean fuel for transportation, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has allowed use of H-CNG (18% mix of hydrogen) in CNG engines. A notification for amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989, for inclusion of H-CNG as an automotive fuel has been published. Existing natural gas engines can be used with HCNG, although higher hydrogen blends require re-tuning of the engines for optimal performance. Studies indicate that HCNG mixtures with 20- 30% hydrogen by volume are optimal for vehicle performance and emissions reduction.

4. ‘Cat-Que Virus’ can be transmitted to human beings via –

  1. Swine
  2. Mosquito
  3. Cat Mammalian
  4. Both A and B

Answer – D

Explanation – For CQV, domestic pigs are considered to be the primary mammalian hosts. Antibodies against the virus have been reported in swine reared locally in China, which indicates that the virus has formed a “natural cycle” in the local area and has the ability to spread in pigs and other animal populations through mosquitoes. It was first isolated in 2004 from mosquitoes during the surveillance of arbovirus activity in northern Vietnam. In this study, researchers reported a CQV strain (SC0806), which was isolated from mosquito samples collected in China in 2006 and 2008. Humans can get infected through mosquitoes as well. In the study, scientists note that because of positivity in human serum samples and the replication capability of CQV in mosquitoes, there is only a “possible disease-causing potential” of CQV in the Indian scenario.

5. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct?

  1. A time-use survey provides a framework for measuring time dispositions by the population on different activities.
  2. India’s National Statistical Office has been conducting a time-use survey since the year 1969 to measure the participation rate and time spent on paid activities, care activities, unpaid activities etc.

Select the correct codes from below –

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Answer – A

Explanation – Time Use Survey (TUS) provides a framework for measuring time dispositions by the population on different activities. It is an important source of information about the activities that are performed by the population and the time duration for which such activities are performed. One distinguishing feature of Time Use Survey from other household surveys is that it can capture time disposition on different aspects of human activities, be it paid, unpaid or other activities with such details which is not possible in other surveys. National Statistical Office (NSO) conducted the first Time Use Survey in India during January – December 2019. The survey measures the participation rate and time spent on paid activities, care activities, unpaid activities, etc.

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