11th February – Prelims Booster

Government raps US agency for Nipah work

The Indian government has sharply censured the US government’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for funding an ‘unapproved’ Indian laboratory in Manipal, and not securing the necessary permissions for undertaking training in India for work on Nipah virus, considered a potential bio-weapon.

About Nipah virus –

  • Nipah is an infectious disease that broke out in Malaysia and Singapore in 1998 and 1999.
  • It first appeared in domestic pigs and has been found among several species of domestic animals including dogs, cats, goats, horses and sheep.
  • The infection is also known to affect human beings.
  • The organism which causes Nipah Virus encephalitis is an RNA or Ribonucleic acid virus of the family Paramyxoviridae, genus Henipavirus, and is closely related to Hendra virus.
  • The virus has been listed in the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Terrestrial Animal Health Code and must be reported to the OIE (OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code).

Symptoms –

  • The human infection presents as an encephalitic syndrome marked by fever, headache, drowsiness, disorientation, mental confusion, coma, and potentially death.
  • During the outbreak in Malaysia, up to 50 per cent of clinically apparent human cases died.
  • There is no specific treatment for Nipah Virus. The primary treatment for human cases is intensive supportive care.

Four fold jump in Li-ion battery imports since 2016

India has quadrupled its imports of lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries and more than tripled its import bills on the product, vital for powering a range of devices from cellphones to electric vehicles, from 2016-18.

Details –

  • Indian manufacturers source Li-ion batteries from China, Japan and South Korea and the country among the largest importers in the world.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) manufactures such batteries but volumes are limited and they are restricted for use in space applications.

Electric Vehicles in India –

  • Electric vehicles are expected to account for a significant share in the growth of the Li-ion battery demand in India though reports say this is unlikely at least until 2025, because electric cars are still significantly costlier than their combustion-engine counterparts.
  • The government has announced investments worth $1.4 billion to make India one of the largest manufacturing hubs for electric vehicles by 2040.

Lithium-ion batteries –

  • A lithium-ion battery or Li-ion battery (abbreviated as LIB) is a type of rechargeable battery.
  • Li-ion batteries use an intercalated lithium compound as one electrode material, compared to the metallic lithium used in a non-rechargeable lithium battery. 
  • They have high energy density, tiny memory effect and low self-discharge. 

Hunar Haat

The Union Minister for Minority Affairs has said that “Hunar Haat”, being organised across the country by the Ministry of Minority Affairs, have proved to be a “Mega Mission” of economic empowerment of needy master artisans and craftsmen.

About Hunar Haat –

  • Hunar Haat is an exhibition of handicrafts and traditional products made by artisans from the minority communities.
  • These are organised by the Ministry of Minority Affairs under USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills & Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development) scheme.
  • The USTTAD scheme aims to promote and preserve the rich heritage of the traditional arts & crafts of the minority communities.
  • These Haat aim to provide market exposure and employment opportunities to artisans, craftsmen and traditional culinary experts.
  • It envisages boosting the skills of craftsmen, weavers and artisans who are already engaged in the traditional ancestral work.

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