Prelims Booster

27th April – Prelims Booster

UV disinfection trolley

International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous R&D Centre of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India and University of Hyderabad (UoH) together with the help of Mekins Industries Ltd. (MIL), have developed a UVC based disinfection trolley to fight against COVID-19 by rapid cleaning of hospital environment.

Need –

  • UV light in the range of wavelengths between 200 and 300 nm is capable of inactivating microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses, thus disinfecting both air and solid surfaces.
  • Often, chemical disinfectants are not enough to remove the bacteria and viruses found in hospitals and other contamination prone environment.
  • Rapid decontamination of the used patient-care beds and hospital rooms before admission of subsequent occupants is a major requirement in hospitals in view of the limited availability of beds.
  • Coronavirus is sensitive to UVC light, as in the case of other viruses and bacteria. The germicidal effects of UVC irradiation with a peak intensity at 254 nm results in cellular damage of the virus, thereby inhibiting cellular replication.
  • Unlike chemical approaches to disinfection, UV light provides rapid, effective inactivation of microorganisms through a physical process.

About Ultraviolet light –

UV light (ultraviolet light) is having a wavelength between 10 to 400nm that are shorter than the visible light but longer than the X-rays and is a type of an electromagnetic radiation. These are present in sunlight and contributes 10% of the total light from the sun.

UV light or UV ray is classified into three components ultraviolet A (UVA), ultraviolet B (UVB) and ultraviolet C (UVC).

Ultraviolet A (UVA) –

  • Most of the UV (98.7%) that reaches us on the earth’s surface is of type UVA and is affected by the ozone.
  • It can be the cause of ageing of the skin, fading of paints and dyes.
  • It is the cause of skin cancer called melanoma.

Ultraviolet B (UVB) –

  • 1.3% of the UV reaches the earth’s surface and is highly affected by ozone. These rays are responsible for sunburn and tan.
  • It is important for the production of Vitamin D.

Ultraviolet C (UVC) –

  • 0% of the rays reach the earth’s surface as most of them are scattered and absorbed by the atmospheric oxygen, nitrogen and ozone.
  • It causes lesions on the skin.

Swamitva Yojana

On Panchayati Raj Diwas (April 24th), the Prime Minister of India launched ‘Swamitva Yojana’ or Ownership Scheme to map residential land ownership in the rural sector using modern technology like the use of drones.

Details –

  • The scheme aims to revolutionise property record maintenance in India.
  • The scheme is piloted by the Panchayati Raj ministry.
  • The residential land in villages will be measured using drones to create a non-disputable record.
  • Property card for every property in the village will be prepared by states using accurate measurements delivered by drone-mapping. These cards will be given to property owners and will be recognised by the land revenue records department.

Fuel Cell Technology

NTPC Ltd, India’s largest power producer and a central PSU under Ministry of Power, has invited Global Expression of Interest (EoI) to provide 10 Hydrogen Fuel Cell (FC) based electric buses and an equal number of Hydrogen Fuel Cell based electric cars in Leh and Delhi.

About Fuel Cells –

  • A fuel cell is a device that converts chemical potential energy (energy stored in molecular bonds) into electrical energy.
  • A PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) cell uses hydrogen gas (H2) and oxygen gas (O2) as fuel.
  • The products of the reaction in the cell are water, electricity, and heat.
  • This is a big improvement over internal combustion engines, coal burning power plants, and nuclear power plants, all of which produce harmful by-products.

How does it work?

  • The anode, the negative post of the fuel cell, has several jobs. It conducts the electrons that are freed from the hydrogen molecules so that they can be used in an external circuit. It has channels etched into it that disperse the hydrogen gas equally over the surface of the catalyst.
  • The cathode, the positive post of the fuel cell, has channels etched into it that distribute the oxygen to the surface of the catalyst. It also conducts the electrons back from the external circuit to the catalyst, where they can recombine with the hydrogen ions and oxygen to form water.
  • Pressurised hydrogen gas (H2) entering the fuel cell on the anode side. This gas i­s forced through the catalyst by the pressure. When an H2 molecule comes in contact with the platinum on the catalyst, it splits into two H+ ions and two electrons (e-). The electrons are conducted through the anode, where they make their way through the external circuit (doing useful work such as turning a motor) and return to the cathode side of the fuel cell.
  • Meanwhile, on the cathode side of the fuel cell, oxygen gas (O2) is being forced through the catalyst, where it forms two oxygen atoms. Each of these atoms has a strong negative charge. This negative charge attracts the two H+ ions through the membrane, where they combine with an oxygen atom and two of the electrons from the external circuit to form a water molecule (H2O).
  • Due to the high energetic content of hydrogen and high efficiency of fuel cells (55%), this great technology can be used in many applications like transport (cars, buses, forklifts, etc)  and backup power to produce electricity during a failure of the electricity grid.

Advantages of the technology –

  • By converting chemical potential energy directly into electrical energy, fuel cells avoid the “thermal bottleneck” (a consequence of the 2nd law of thermodynamics) and are thus inherently more efficient than combustion engines, which must first convert chemical potential energy into heat, and then mechanical work.
  • Direct emissions from a fuel cell vehicle are just water and a little heat. This is a huge improvement over the internal combustion engine’s litany of greenhouse gases.
  • Fuel cells have no moving parts. They are thus much more reliable than traditional engines.
  • Hydrogen can be produced in an environmentally friendly manner, while oil extraction and refining is very damaging.

Gulf Cooperation Council

Kerala Chief Minister has sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the return of the remains of Keralites who died in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries for reasons other than COVID19.

About Gulf Cooperation Council –

  • The GCC is a political and economic alliance of countries in the Arabian Peninsula.
  • The Kuwait government formulated a proposal for an organisation to link the six Arabian Gulf States which have special cultural and historical ties. Accordingly the Riyadh Agreement was issued which proposed cooperative efforts in cultural, social, economic and financial affairs.
  • It was established in 1981 to foster socio-economic, security, and cultural cooperation.
  • Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are its members.
  • The GCC consists of the Supreme Council, the Ministerial Council, the Cooperation Council, the General-Secretariat and various Committees on economic, social, industrial and trade and political affairs.

Serum Institute of India

Pune based Serum Institute of India has said that it expects the vaccine for COVID-19 developed by the University of Oxford in the market by October or November provided the safety and efficacy of the product is established during trials.

Details –

The institute has partnered with the Oxford vaccine project as one of the seven global institutions that will manufacture the vaccine.

About Serum Institute of India –

  • Serum Institute of India was founded in 1966 by Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla with the aim of manufacturing life-saving immuno-biologicals, which were in shortage in the country and imported at high prices.
  • Serum Institute of India Pvt. Ltd. is now the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer by number of doses produced and sold globally (more than 1.5 billion doses) which includes Polio vaccine as well as Diphtheria, Tetanus, Pertussis, Hib, BCG, r-Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccines.
  • It is estimated that about 65% of the children in the world receive at least one vaccine manufactured by Serum Institute.

Puri Rath Yatra

The managing committee of the Shree Jagannath Temple, Puri, will decide on holding the Rath Yatra after the end of lockdown in India.

About Puri Rath Yatra –

  • The festival is celebrated on the second day of Shukla Paksha of Ashadh, the third month, according to the traditional Oriya calendar.
  • The Rath Yatra (Chariot Festival) is 9 day-long event during which the three holy chariots carrying idols of Lord Jagannath, his brother Balaram (Balabhadra) and sister Subhadra are pulled by thousands of devotees from India and abroad.
  • The festival honours the Lord Jagannath’s visit along with his siblings to the temple of Queen Gundicha, the place of their aunt’s house where they revel in a nine day stay.

About Jagannath Puri Temple –

  • The Jagannath Temple in Puri was called the “White Pagoda”.
  • The temple is believed to be constructed in the 12th century by King Anatavarman Chodaganga Deva of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty.
  • Jagannath Puri temple is called ‘Yamanika Tirtha’ where, according to the Hindu beliefs, the power of ‘Yama’, the god of death has been nullified in Puri due to the presence of Lord Jagannath.
  • There are four gates to the temple- Eastern ‘Singhdwara’ which is the main gate with two crouching lions, Southern ‘Ashwadwara’, Western ‘Vyaghradwara and Northern ‘Hastidwara’. There is a carving of each form at each gate.
  • In front of the entrance stands the Aruna stambha or sun pillar, which was originally at the Sun Temple in Konark.

Spanish Flu

Universities and research institutes across the country have been asked by the HRD Ministry to delve into their archives and other means to study how India handled the 1918 H1N1 (commonly referred to as Spanish Flu) epidemic and what measures were taken to boost the economy after the pandemic had run its course, leaving more than 12-17 million people dead in the country.

About the Spanish Flu-

  • Spanish flu was caused by an H1N1 influenza virus (swine flu) in the year 1918.
  • There is no universal consensus regarding where the virus originated. It is believed that World War I was partly responsible for its spread.
  • Spain was one of the earliest countries where the epidemic was identified, but historians believe this was likely a result of wartime censorship.
  • Spain was a neutral nation during the war and did not enforce strict censorship of its press, which freely published early accounts of the illness. As a result, people falsely believed the illness was specific to Spain, and the name “Spanish flu” stuck.

Flogging

Saudi Arabia has abolished flogging as a punishment, the state human rights commission has confirmed.

Details –

Court ordered floggings in Saudi Arabia – sometimes extending to hundreds of lashes – have long drawn condemnation from human rights groups.

About ‘flogging’ –

  • Flogging, also called whipping or caning, a beating administered with a whip or rod, with blows commonly directed to the person’s back. It was imposed as a form of judicial punishment and as a means of maintaining discipline in schools, prisons, military forces, and private homes.
  • In England the Whipping Act of 1530 authorised the whipping of thieves, blasphemers, poachers, men and women guilty of minor offences, and even the insane. Victims were tied to the end of a cart until the 1590s, when the whipping post was introduced.
  • During the 19th century, imprisonment gradually replaced corporal penalties as a punishment for crime, but the courts retained the power to order whippings in cases involving violent crimes. This power was terminated in England, Scotland, and Wales by the Criminal Justice Act of 1948, although corporal punishment for mutiny, incitement to mutiny, and gross personal violence to an officer of a prison when committed by a male person was permitted in England and Wales until 1967.
  • The whip was used in 18th-century Denmark and Holland; German felons were flogged out of town, and warders in the French penal colonies in the 1920s employed riding whips. The Japanese used three lengths of bamboo bound together, which caused multiple lacerations, and although judicial torture in that country was abolished in 1873, captured Koreans and Formosans were still beaten in this fashion, as were Allied prisoners of war in World War II. Throughout history whips have been a terrible symbol of slavery.

Daily MCQs

1. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct of ‘Swamtiva Yojana’? 1. It was launched by the Prime Minister of India on the occasion of Panchayati Raj Diwas. 2. It is an ownership scheme to map residential land ownership in the rural sector. 3. It is being piloted by the Ministry of Rural Development.

Correct! Wrong!

On Panchayati Raj Diwas (April 24th), the Prime Minister of India launched ‘Swamitva Yojana’ or Ownership Scheme to map residential land ownership in the rural sector using modern technology like the use of drones. The scheme aims to revolutionise property record maintenance in India. The scheme is piloted by the Panchayati Raj ministry. The residential land in villages will be measured using drones to create a non-disputable record. Property card for every property in the village will be prepared by states using accurate measurements delivered by drone-mapping. These cards will be given to property owners and will be recognised by the land revenue records department.

2. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the ‘Fuel Cell Technology’? 1. The technology has the potential to revolutionise the functioning of nuclear power plants by removing the harmful by-products from the conventional operating techniques. 2. Hydrogen and oxygen serve as fuels in the fuel cell technology to convert chemical energy into electrical energy.

Correct! Wrong!

A fuel cell is a device that converts chemical potential energy (energy stored in molecular bonds) into electrical energy. A PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) cell uses hydrogen gas (H2) and oxygen gas (O2) as fuel. The products of the reaction in the cell are water, electricity, and heat. This is a big improvement over internal combustion engines, coal burning power plants, and nuclear power plants, all of which produce harmful by-products.

3. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the Gulf Cooperation Council? 1. It is the second largest intergovernmental organisation after the United Nations. 2. It was founded in the year 1981 in response to a proposal by the Kuwaiti Government.

Correct! Wrong!

Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is the second largest intergovernmental organisation (not the GCC). The Kuwait government formulated a proposal for an organisation to link the six Arabian Gulf States which have special cultural and historical ties. Accordingly the Riyadh Agreement was issued which proposed cooperative efforts in cultural, social, economic and financial affairs. It was established in 1981 to foster socio-economic, security, and cultural cooperation. Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE are its members.

4. Serum Institute of India falls under the operational aegis of -

Correct! Wrong!

Pune-based 'Serum Institute of India' is a private institute founded in 1966 by Dr Cyrus Poonawalla to manufacture life-saving immunobiologicals. The institute has partnered with the Oxford vaccine project as one of the seven global institutions that will manufacture the COVID19 vaccine.

5. Which of the following statement(s) is/are correct about the temple of ‘Jagannath Puri’? 1. It was build in the 12th century by a king of Eastern Ganga Dynasty. 2. Aruna Stambha, at the entrance of the temple, belongs originally to the Sun Temple of Konark. 3. It is also called as the ‘Yamanika Tirtha’.

Correct! Wrong!

The Jagannath Temple in Puri was called the “White Pagoda”. The temple is believed to be constructed in the 12th century by King Anatavarman Chodaganga Deva of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty. Jagannath Puri temple is called ‘Yamanika Tirtha’ where, according to the Hindu beliefs, the power of ‘Yama’, the god of death has been nullified in Puri due to the presence of Lord Jagannath. There are four gates to the temple- Eastern ‘Singhdwara’ which is the main gate with two crouching lions, Southern ‘Ashwadwara’, Western ‘Vyaghradwara and Northern ‘Hastidwara’. There is a carving of each form at each gate. In front of the entrance stands the Aruna stambha or sun pillar, which was originally at the Sun Temple in Konark.

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