Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has taken the leverage of Digital India Programme to utilise ‘UMANG App’. It has onboarded 7 services hosted by IMD’s website to the UMANG application.
Which services are onboarded?
- Current Weather – Current temperature, humidity, wind speed, direction for 150 cities updated 8 times a day. Information on Sunrise/ sunset and moonrise/ moonset are also given.
- Nowcast– Three hourly warnings of localised weather phenomena and their intensity issued for about 800 stations, and districts of India by State Meteorological Centres of IMD. In case of severe weather, its impact also is included in the warning.
- City Forecast – Past 24 hours and 7 day forecast of weather conditions around 450 cities in India are given.
- Rainfall Information – All India district Rainfall information daily, weekly, monthly and cumulative series are available.
- Tourism Forecast – Past 24 hours and 7 day forecast of weather conditions of around 100 Tourist cities in India are provided.
- Warnings – The alert issued to warn citizens of approaching dangerous weather. It is colour coded in Red, Orange and yellow are the alert levels with Red as the most severe category. Issued twice a day for all districts for the coming five days.
- Cyclone – Cyclone warnings and alerts provides the track of cyclonic storms along with likely time and point of crossing of coast. Impact based warnings, area/district wise, are issued so that appropriate preparation including evacuation of vulnerable areas can be done.
About UMANG App –
- UMANG is a Government of India all-in-one single, unified, secure, multi-channel, multi-platform, multi-lingual, multi-service mobile app, powered by a robust back-end platform providing access to high impact services of various organisation (Central and State).
- The Prime Minister launched the UMANG App in 2017 to bring all government services on a single mobile app, with a larger goal to make the government accessible on the mobile phone of our citizens.
- About 660 services from 127 department & 25 states, including utility payments are live and more are in pipeline.
Overseas Citizens of India
Union Home Ministry has relaxed visa and travel restrictions imposed in response to COVID-19, permitting certain categories of Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) cardholders, who are stranded abroad, to come to India.
Who are allowed?
Following categories of OCI Cardholders stranded abroad, have been permitted to come to India –
- Minor children born to Indian nationals abroad and holding OCI cards.
- OCI cardholders who wish to come to India on account of family emergencies like death in family.
- Couples where one spouse is an OCI cardholder and the other is an Indian national and they have a permanent residence in India.
- University students who are OCI cardholders (not legally minors) but whose parents are Indian citizens living in India.
About Overseas Citizens of India –
- An Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) is a person who is technically a citizen of another country having an Indian origin. They were citizens of India on 26th January 1950 or thereafter except who is or had been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh or such other country.
- Multi-purpose and life-long visa are provided to the registered Overseas Citizen of India for visiting India and are also exempted from registration with Foreign Regional Registration Officer or Foreign Registration Officer for any length of stay in India.
- Government of India launched the ‘Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Scheme’ by making amendments to Citizenship Act, 1955 in 2005. On 09 January 2015, the Government of India discontinued the PIO (Persons of Indian Origin) card and merged it with OCI card.
- Launched in 2005, under the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, the OCI card was introduced for fulfilling the demands for dual citizenship among the Indians living in different developed countries. The OCI card provides Overseas Citizenship of India to live and work in India for an indefinite period of time but does not provide the right to vote, hold constitutional offices or buy agricultural properties.
- Any person having citizenship of Bangladesh or Pakistan is not eligible to apply for the OCI card. Even a person having a background of serving any foreign military are also not eligible for the scheme.
Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST), Guwahati, has developed an electrochemical sensing platform for detecting carcinogenic or mutagenic compound N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and N-nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA) sometimes found in food items like cured meat, bacon, some cheese, and low-fat milk.
- The scientists pointed out that with changing food habits of urban Indians, they are exposed to harmful chemicals belonging to Nitrosamine family in cured meats, bacon, some cheese, low-fat dry milk, and fish. Such chemicals include carcinogenic ones like NDMA and NDEA, which may also alter the chemical composition of our DNA. Hence it is important to develop detection techniques to detect them.
- The electrochemical biosensor platform was developed using the ability of NDMA and NDEA, to alter the DNA. Carbon dots (CDs), a carbon-based nanomaterial, was used, which is already established as a biocompatible and environmentally friendly material.
What is Nitrosamine?
- Nitrosamines, or more correctly N-nitrosoamines, refer to any molecule containing the nitroso functional group.
- These molecules are of concern because nitrosamine impurities are probable human carcinogens.
- Although they are also present in some foods and drinking water supplies, their presence in medicines is nonetheless considered unacceptable.
- NDMA and NDEA belong to the so-called “cohort of concern”, which is a group of highly potent mutagenic carcinogens that have been classified by the WHO’s International Agency for Research on Cancer as probably human carcinogens.
- Nitrosamines are formed in cured meats because nitrite, and sometimes nitrate, are added to these products during processing. Nitrate is reduced to nitrite by the enzyme nitrate reductase, which occurs in a number of bacteria.
- Nitrite and nitrate have been added to cured meats for many years to prevent outgrowth and toxin formation by Clostridium botulinum. Nitrite, in combination with other curing ingredients such as sodium chloride, is particularly effective in inhibiting formation of the deadly botulism toxin. In addition, nitrite reacts with pigments in meat to impart the desirable pink color of cured meats and it prevents the development of off-flavors.
Treaty of Sugauli
Nepal has said that its new official map is based on historic documents dating back to the early 19th century and cannot be termed artificial. Nepal has said that its position is based on the historical documents dating back to the Treaty of Sugauli of 1816, which demarcated the shape of present-day Nepal.
- The British used the Lipu Lekh pass for trade with Tibet and China. The Survey of India maps since the 1870s showed the area of Lipu Lekh down to Kalapani as part of British India. Both the Rana rulers of Nepal and the Nepalese Kings accepted the boundary and did not raise any objection with the government of India after India’s Independence.
- As a reward for the military help rendered by Jung Bahadur Rana in quelling the 1857 uprising, the areas of Nepalgunj and Kapilvastu were restituted to Nepal soon thereafter. The British did not return any part of Garhwal or Kumaon, including the Kalapani area, to Nepal.
- India did not exist in 1816 when the Treaty of Sugauli was concluded. And India’s present borders, not just with Nepal, but with many of its other neighbours, were drawn by the erstwhile British regime. India inherited the boundaries of British India. It cannot now unravel the historic past.
About ‘Treaty of Sugauli’ –
- Before the 1816 Treaty of Sugauli, the Nepalese kingdom stretched from the Sutlej river in the west to the Teesta river in the East. Nepal lost the Anglo-Nepalese War and the resulting Treaty limited Nepal to its present territories.
- The Sugauli Treaty stated that “[t]he Rajah of Nipal [Nepal] hereby cedes to the Honourable [the] East India Company in perpetuity all the under-mentioned territories”, including “the whole of the lowlands between the Rivers Kali and Rapti.”
- It elaborated further that “[t]he Rajah of Nipal [Nepal] renounces for himself, his heirs, and successors, all claim to or connection with the countries lying to the west of the River Kali and engages never to have any concern with those countries or the inhabitants there of.”
- The present controversy has arisen since the Nepalese contest that the tributary that joins the Mahakali river at Kalapani is not the Kali river. Nepal now contends that the Kali river lies further west to the Lipu Lekh pass.
As a lockdown exit plan, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy announced a mega boost for MSMEs with a Rs 1,110 crore restart package.
What is ReStart?
- The government will be immediately releasing Rs 450 crore as the first instalment which would benefit nearly 98,000 units. These units employ more than 10 lakh people who were facing hardships due to the lockdown.
- In addition, a special fund of ₹200 crore would be created to provide input capital loan to the firms at low interest rates.
- The government has also identified around 360 products to be purchased from the MSMEs, and payments towards it would be cleared in 45 days.
- Of the total purchases, almost 25% would be done from the micro and small enterprises, 4% from the SC/ST community enterprises, and 3% from women entrepreneurs.
- With this initiative, over 72,531 micro, 24,252 small and 645 medium industries would benefit.
SpaceX Demo-2 Mission
On May 27, NASA’s SpaceX Demo-2 test flight will lift off for International Space Station (ISS), becoming the first crewed flight to launch from American soil since the conclusion of the space shuttle era in 2011.
What is the mission?
- The Demo-2 mission is part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program, and will see astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley fly on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft. The craft will lift off from a Falcon 9 rocket, from Florida.
- NASA’s Commercial Crew Program has worked with several American aerospace industry companies to facilitate the development of US human spaceflight systems since 2010, with the aim of developing reliable and cost-effective access to and from the ISS.
- Essentially, the lift-off on May 27 is a flight test to certify if SpaceX’s crew transportation system can be used to ferry crew to and from the space station regularly.
Objective of the mission –
- The main objective of this program is to make access to space easier in terms of its cost, so that cargo and crew can be easily transported to and from the ISS, enabling greater scientific research.
- Secondly, by encouraging private companies such as Boeing and SpaceX to provide crew transportation services to and from low-Earth orbit, NASA can focus on building spacecraft and rockets meant for deep space exploration missions.
Open Skies Treaty
The United States has given notice that it will exit the Open Skies Treaty (OST) that allows countries to monitor signatories’ arms development by conducting surveillance flights over each others’ territories.
What is Open Skies Treaty (OST)?
- The OST came into effect in 2002 under the George W. Bush administration and it allows its 34 signatories to conduct unarmed reconnaissance flights over the territory of treaty countries.
- The Treaty on Open Skies establishes a regime of unarmed aerial observation flights over the territories of its signatories.
- The Treaty is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence by giving all participants, a direct role in gathering information through aerial imaging on military forces and activities of concern to them.
- Currently, it has 34 member states. Russia and U.S. are signatories to the treaty. Kazakhstan has signed the treaty but not ratified it. India is neither a signatory nor a ratifier of the treaty.
Performance of the treaty –
The U.S. has used the treaty more intensively than Russia. Between 2002 and 2016, the U.S. flew 196 flights over Russia (in addition to having imagery from other countries) compared to the 71 flights flown by Russia.
The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) is likely to replace hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) with anti-HIV drugs to improve immunity and possibly reduce viral replication, in the revised protocol. However, the chemicals in Kangra tea could also be effective in boosting immunity as they can block coronavirus activity better than anti-HIV drugs, as per the Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology.
Using computer-based models, the scientists screened 65 bioactive chemicals or polyphenols (found in Kangra tea) that could bind to a specific viral protein more efficiently than commercially available anti-HIV drugs approved for treating COVID-19 patients. These chemicals might block the activity of the viral protein that helps the virus to thrive inside human cells.
About Kangra Tea –
- The history of Kangra tea dates back to 1849 when Dr. Jameson, then superintendent of the Botanical Tea Gardens, pronounced the region ideal for tea cultivation.
- Being one of India’s smallest tea regions makes Kangra green and black tea all the more exclusive.
- While the black tea has a sweet lingering after taste, the green tea has a delicate woody aroma.
- The demand for Kangra tea has been increasing steadily and much of it is bought by natives and exported to Kabul and Central Asia via Peshawar.
- Kangra tea is a registered Geographical Indication (GI).
- Tea Attributes: The first flush of Kangra tea is known for quality, unique aroma and tinge of fruity flavour. A little milder than Darjeeling tea in terms of flavour, Kangra tea has more body and liquor.
- Elevation – Teas are grown at elevations ranging from 900 to 1400 metres above sea level.
- Annual Rainfall – 270 to 350cm.
The United Nations Secretary-General Envoy on Youth has listed Manipur’s ‘khudol’ (gift) among the top 10 global initiatives for an inclusive fight against the COVID19 pandemic.
What is Khudol?
- It is a crowdfunded initiative of Ya_All, an Imphal-based NGO.
- The initiative entails ensuring food supplies and health services for the LGBTQI+ community, people living with HIV, daily-wage earners, children and adolescents.