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Prelims Booster

6th October – Prelims Booster

National Startup Awards 2020

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has announced the first ever National Startup Awards to recognise the outstanding startups in India.

About the ‘National Startup Awards 2020’ –

  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has conceived the first ever National Startup Awards to recognise and reward outstanding Startups and ecosystem enablers that are building innovative products or solutions and scalable enterprises, with high potential of employment generation or wealth creation, demonstrating measurable social impact.
  • The measure of success is not only the financial gains for the investors but also the contribution to the social good.
  • The first edition of the Awards invited applications across 12 sectors which were further sub-classified into a total of 35 categories.
  • These 12 sectors are Agriculture, Education, Enterprise Technology, Energy, Finance, Food, Health, Industry 4.0, Space, Security, Tourism and Urban Services.
  • Apart from these, startups are to be selected from those which create impact in rural areas, are women-led and founded in academic campuses.
  • The winning Startups will get cash prizes of Rs 5 lakh each, along with opportunities to present their solutions to relevant public authorities and corporates, for potential pilot projects and work orders.
  • As key building blocks of a robust Startup ecosystem, one exceptional Incubator and one Accelerator each will get a cash prize of Rs 15 lakh.

SMART launch

Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART) has been successfully flight tested from Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha.

What is a ‘torpedo’?

Torpedoes are self propelled weapons with a warhead and can be used under or on the water surface. They are one of the mainstay of sea-warfare attack systems.

About SMART –

  • SMART is a missile assisted release of lightweight Anti-Submarine Torpedo System for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations far beyond Torpedo range.This launch and demonstration is significant in establishing Anti-Submarine warfare capabilities.
  • A number of DRDO laboratories including DRDL, RCI Hyderabad, ADRDE Agra, NSTL Visakhapatnam have developed the technologies required for SMART.

Significance –

  • The test encompasses hybrid technology which helps to upgrade the present system and also increase the striking range.
  • SMART, when launched from warship or a truck-based coastal battery, takes off like a regular supersonic missile.
  • It covers most of its flight in the air at lower altitudes with two-way data link from the warship or an airborne submarine target detection system and provides the exact location of the hostile submarine to correct its flight path midway.
  • Just when it approaches close enough to the submerged submarine, the missile will eject the torpedo system into the water and the autonomous torpedo will start moving towards its target to take out the submarine.

Ind-CEPI Mission

Translational Health Science And Technology Institute (THSTI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Biotechnology, has now been recognised by CEPI as one of the Global network of Laboratories for centralised assessment of COVID 19 Vaccines.

Details –

  • The CEPI network will initially involve six labs, one each in Canada, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Bangladesh and India.
  • Under the CEPI Global network the Laboratory will use the same reagents and follow a common set of protocols to measure the immune response of multiple vaccine candidates under development and trial.
  • This will greatly harmonise the Vaccine trial process and allow different vaccine candidates to be compared and speed up the selection of the most effective candidate.

About ‘Ind-CEPI Mission’ –

  • The Ind-CEPI mission for establishment of BSL-3 facility, is a translational laboratory for platform technologies and a Bioassay laboratory for development of assays to measure clinical immunogenicity. The mandate of the bioassay laboratory at THSTI is to provide validated assays for vaccine development on par with global standards.
  • The Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science & Technology, and Government of India has been implementing the IndCEPI mission ‘India Centric Epidemic Preparedness through Rapid Vaccine Development: Supporting Indian Vaccine Development’.
  • The objectives of this mission are aligned with the Global Initiative of Coalition of Epidemic Preparedness for Innovation (CEPI) and aims to strengthen the development of vaccines and associated competencies/technologies for the diseases of epidemic potential in India.

About CEPI –

  • The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is a foundation that takes donations from public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organisations, to finance independent research projects to develop vaccines against emerging infectious diseases (EID).
  • CEPI investment also requires “equitable access” to the vaccines during outbreaks.
  • CEPI was conceived in 2015 and formally launched in 2017 at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.
  • It was co-founded and co-funded with US$460 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Wellcome Trust, and a consortium of nations, being Norway, Japan, Germany; to which the European Union (2019) and Britain (2020) subsequently joined.
  • CEPI is headquartered in Oslo, Norway.
  • In 2020, CEPI was identified by several media outlets as a “key player in the race to develop a vaccine” for coronavirus disease 2019.

Postal Ballots

Seeking to make the procedure to opt for postal ballot more convenient for those above 80 years of age and people with disabilities, the Election Commission has come out with a set of new instructions.

New guidelines –

  • The form required to opt for the postal ballot would be delivered at the residence of all those aged above 80 and people with disabilities by the booth level officer under his polling station. It would be up to these two categories of voters to opt for postal ballot.
  • If he/she opts for postal ballot, then the BLO will collect the filled-in form 12-D from the house of the elector within five days of the notification and deposit it with the returning officer forthwith.

What is ‘postal voting’?

A restricted set of voters can exercise postal voting. Through this facility, a voter can cast her vote remotely by recording her preference on the ballot paper and sending it back to the election officer before counting.

Who can vote through postal ballots?

  • Members of the armed forces like the Army, Navy and Air Force, members of the armed police force of a state (serving outside the state), government employees posted outside India and their spouses are entitled to vote only by post. In other words, they can’t vote in person.
  • Voters under preventive detention can also vote only by post.
  • Special voters such as the President of India, Vice President, Governors, Union Cabinet ministers, Speaker of the House and government officers on poll duty have the option to vote by post. But they have to apply through a prescribed form to avail this facility.
  • Absentee voters – Recently, the Law Ministry, at the Election Commission’s behest, introduced a new category of ‘absentee voters’, who can now also opt for postal voting. These are voters employed in essential services and unable to cast their vote due to their service conditions. Currently, officials of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Northern Railway (Passenger and Freight) Services and media persons are notified as absentee voters.

How postal ballot voting is done?

After receiving the postal ballot from the Election Commission, the voter can mark her preference with a tick mark or cross mark against the candidate’s name. They also have to fill up a duly attested declaration to the effect that they have marked the ballot paper. The ballot paper and the declaration are then placed in a sealed cover and sent back to the Returning Officer before the time fixed for the commencement of counting of votes.

Chardham Project

The chairman of a Supreme Court-appointed expert committee has alleged violations of the court orders in the execution of the Chardham road project — a 900 km, ₹12,000 crore enterprise to connect pilgrimage spots in Uttarakhand.

Guidelines –

  • A controversial aspect was the proposed width of the two-lane highways envisaged. The SC committee was divided over the width, with one set of members saying that it can only be 5.5 metre wide and another insisting on a higher width.
  • The top court ruled recently that a width of 5.5 metre be enforced as it was in conformity with a 2018 recommendation of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) for mountain roads.
  • Prior to this, the government had sanctioned a road width of 10-12 metre.

What is the issue?

  • The 900 km stretch has been broken up into 53 contracted road projects. About 700 km had already been tendered out this way and work had commenced.
  • It is being alleged that MoRTH has allowed the 700 km road projects to continue with the old 10 metre width and only in the remaining 200 km roads would the new narrow width apply. This is a clear contravention of the Supreme Court orders which said that the road width must apply to the entire stretch.
  • The petition in the court argues that where hills had already been cut (in the 700 km stretch), space beyond 5.5 metre should be adjusted to make walkways for pilgrims, plantations and safety barriers.

About the ‘Chardham Project’ –

  • The project proposes the widening of single lane roads into double lanes by up to 10 metres (880-km all-weather roads) developing highways in Uttarakhand and thereby improving access to the Char Dham (four shrines) — Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedar Nath and part of the route leading to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra.
  • The total cost of the project is estimated at Rs 11,700 crore.
  • The project was earlier scheduled to be completed by March 2020.
  • Seven stretches have been identified for development under the Char Dham highway project. 
  • All of these four sites are devoted to a specific deity. Gangotri is dedicated to the Goddess Ganga, Yamunotri is dedicated to the Goddess Yamuna, Kedarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva and one of the 12 jyotirlingas is Badrinath, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

MCQs

1. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the ‘National Startup Awards 2020’?

  1. They were originally conceived by the NITI Aayog in consultation with the Ministry of Finance to recognise and support outstanding Startups and ecosystem enablers.
  2. They were started in the year 2016 with the launch of ‘Startup India’ programme.

Select the correct codes from below –

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

Answer – D

ExplanationThe Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has conceived the first ever National Startup Awards to recognise and reward outstanding Startups and ecosystem enablers that are building innovative products or solutions and scalable enterprises, with high potential of employment generation or wealth creation, demonstrating measurable social impact. The measure of success is not only the financial gains for the investors but also the contribution to the social good. The first edition of the Awards invited applications across 12 sectors which were further sub-classified into a total of 35 categories. These 12 sectors are Agriculture, Education, Enterprise Technology, Energy, Finance, Food, Health, Industry 4.0, Space, Security, Tourism and Urban Services. Apart from these, startups are to be selected from those which create impact in rural areas, are women-led and founded in academic campuses. The winning Startups will get cash prizes of Rs 5 lakh each, along with opportunities to present their solutions to relevant public authorities and corporates, for potential pilot projects and work orders. As key building blocks of a robust Startup ecosystem, one exceptional Incubator and one Accelerator each will get a cash prize of Rs 15 lakh.

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

  1. SMART is a missile assisted release of lightweight Anti-Submarine Torpedo System designed for anti-submarine warfare operations.
  2. It is built by India to be installed in the Scorpene class submarines with the help of French Aeronautical Institute.
  3. It covers most of its flight in the air at lower altitudes and gets the exact location of the hostile submarine to correct its flight path midway from the two-way data link from the warship.

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 – C

Explanation – SMART is a missile assisted release of lightweight Anti-Submarine Torpedo System for Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations far beyond Torpedo range.This launch and demonstration is significant in establishing Anti-Submarine warfare capabilities. A number of DRDO laboratories including DRDL, RCI Hyderabad, ADRDE Agra, NSTL Visakhapatnam have developed the technologies required for SMART. The test encompasses hybrid technology which helps to upgrade the present system and also increase the striking range. SMART, when launched from warship or a truck-based coastal battery, takes off like a regular supersonic missile. It covers most of its flight in the air at lower altitudes with two-way data link from the warship or an airborne submarine target detection system and provides the exact location of the hostile submarine to correct its flight path midway. Just when it approaches close enough to the submerged submarine, the missile will eject the torpedo system into the water and the autonomous torpedo will start moving towards its target to take out the submarine.

3. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about ‘Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations’?

  1. It is foundation aimed to develop vaccines against emerging infectious diseases.
  2. It was launched in the year 2017 at the World Economic Forum meet in Davos, Switzerland.
  3. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

Select the correct codes from below –

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

Answer – B

Explanation – The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is a foundation that takes donations from public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organisations, to finance independent research projects to develop vaccines against emerging infectious diseases (EID). CEPI investment also requires “equitable access” to the vaccines during outbreaks. CEPI was conceived in 2015 and formally launched in 2017 at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland. It was co-founded and co-funded with US$460 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Wellcome Trust, and a consortium of nations, being Norway, Japan, Germany; to which the European Union (2019) and Britain (2020) subsequently joined. CEPI is headquartered in Oslo, Norway. In 2020, CEPI was identified by several media outlets as a “key player in the race to develop a vaccine” for coronavirus disease 2019.

4. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the ‘postal ballots’?

  1. Any registered voter in any constituency who is not ordinarily residing in his/her constituency can opt for postal ballot mode of voting.
  2. Recently, in the wake of coronavirus pandemic, the Election Commission has allowed the home delivery of postal ballot forms to all eligible voters.

Select the correct codes from below –

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. None of the above

Answer – D

Explanation – A restricted set of voters can exercise postal voting. Through this facility, a voter can cast her vote remotely by recording her preference on the ballot paper and sending it back to the election officer before counting. Members of the armed forces like the Army, Navy and Air Force, members of the armed police force of a state (serving outside the state), government employees posted outside India and their spouses are entitled to vote only by post. In other words, they can’t vote in person. Voters under preventive detention can also vote only by post. Special voters such as the President of India, Vice President, Governors, Union Cabinet ministers, Speaker of the House and government officers on poll duty have the option to vote by post. But they have to apply through a prescribed form to avail this facility. Seeking to make the procedure to opt for postal ballot more convenient for those above 80 years of age and people with disabilities, the Election Commission has come out with a set of new instructions. The form required to opt for the postal ballot would be delivered at the residence of all those aged above 80 and people with disabilities by the booth level officer under his polling station. It would be up to these two categories of voters to opt for postal ballot.

5. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the ‘Chardham Project’?

  1. It is a web of four-lane highways across the states of Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Odisha to connect all the major pilgrimage places in the state.
  2. The project component also includes making an all weather road-connectivity to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra in cooperation with the Government of China.

Select the correct codes from below –

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

Answer – D

Explanation – The Chardham project proposes the widening of single lane roads into double lanes by up to 10 metres (880-km all-weather roads) developing highways in Uttarakhand and thereby improving access to the Char Dham (four shrines) — Yamunotri, Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedar Nath and part of the route leading to Kailash Mansarovar Yatra. The total cost of the project is estimated at Rs 11,700 crore. The project was earlier scheduled to be completed by March 2020. Seven stretches have been identified for development under the Char Dham highway project. All of these four sites are devoted to a specific deity. Gangotri is dedicated to the Goddess Ganga, Yamunotri is dedicated to the Goddess Yamuna, Kedarnath is dedicated to Lord Shiva and one of the 12 jyotirlingas is Badrinath, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu.

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