Prelims Booster

25th September – Prelims Booster

National Biopharma Mission

The National Biopharma Mission was approved by the Cabinet in 2017 with an aim to transform the health standards of the country through affordable product development and bring 5-7 biopharmaceutical products closer to market.

Objectives of the Mission –

Objectives and goals of the Mission are –

  • Specific Product development under vaccines, bio-similars and medical devices
  • Building shared infrastructure for product testing, characterisation and manufacturing
  • Promoting scientific research through establishment of translational research consortia and development of novel biopharmaceuticals and devices
  • Skill development though trainings
  • Creating and enhancing technology transfer and intellectual property management.

Features –

  • The Mission is supporting small and medium enterprises for biopharmaceutical product development, enhancing industry academia interlinkages and providing opportunities to translate knowledge into products/technologies for vaccines, biotherapeutics, devices and diagnostics.
  • The indigenous manufacturing is promoted through the supported shared facilities for process optimisation, clinical grade manufacturing of Biologics, Analytical testing labs, cell line repository, prototyping facilities, large animal testing facilities and medTech zone for manufacturing devices and diagnostics at large scale.
  • These high capital facilities provide easy access to equipment and infrastructure thus encouraging indigenous manufacturing. Technology transfer offices have been established to support technology transfer and support entrepreneurship.
  • Financial and mentorship support has been provided to industry and academia for indigenous product development. This includes projects on development of components of upstream and downstream biologics manufacturing, such as engineered cell lines, media, resins and bioreactors which are currently in-licensed, requiring huge capital.
  • To boost innovation, Mission is also supporting development of novel biologics, novel vaccines and medical devices like MRI,  ventilators,  diagnostic probes and Medical grade camera.

Projects –

Five projects are being supported in Haryana, 3 projects in Faridabad district (for Medical Device and Translational Research Consortia) and 2 in Gurgaon district (for Medical device and Clinical Trial network).

Centralised Farm Machinery Performance Testing Portal

Union Agriculture Ministry has launched the ‘Centralised Farm Machinery Performance Testing Portal’, developed by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare as a step to improve series of farm machinery testing institutions and bringing out transparency in the entire process of testing and evaluation of machines.

Features –

  • This portal will facilitate manufacturers in applying, communicating and monitoring the progress of testing of their machines in a seamless manner as it is easily accessible from any location and from any device connected to the Internet.
  • It offers the possibility of integrated management in a unified manner within the organisation and thus will help in improving the efficiency of the testing institutes thereby reducing testing time for various agricultural machines and equipments.

Benefits –

This portal offers following benefits to the users –

  • In line with Government Policy of “Ease of Doing Business”, this would facilitate applying for testing of machinery online.
  • Ensure Transparency in the entire processes of testing.
  • Faster Feedback
  • Help in Reducing testing Time
  • Reduced Business Expenses of Agricultural Manufacturers
  • Testing Efficiency Improvement
  • Thoroughness in Testing
  • Flexible Access – Officers concerned at Ministry and manufacturers can monitor testing activities from anywhere with internet access.

National Service Scheme Awards

The President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind has virtually conferred the National Service Scheme (NSS) Awards for the year 2018-19.

Details –

The National Service Scheme (NSS) Award for the year 2018-19 was given to 42 awardees in 3 different categories like University/ +2 Council, NSS Units and their Programme Officers and NSS Volunteers.

About National Service Scheme –

  • Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Department of Youth Affairs confers every year the National Service Scheme Award to recognise and reward outstanding contributions towards voluntary community service made by the Universities/Colleges, (+2) Councils, Senior Secondary, NSS Units/ Programme Officers and NSS Volunteers, with a view to further promote NSS in the country. At Present, NSS has about 40 lakh volunteers on its rolls spread over the country.
  • NSS is a Central Sector Scheme which was launched in the year 1969 with the primary objective of developing the personality and character of the student youth through voluntary community service.
  • The ideological orientation of the NSS is inspired by the ideals of Mahatma Gandhi. Very appropriately, the motto of NSS is “NOT ME, BUT YOU” in Hindi(‘स्वयंसेपहलेआप’).
  • The NSS volunteers work on issues of social relevance, which keep evolving in response to the needs of the community, through regular and special camping activities. Such issues include (i) literacy and education, (ii) health, family welfare and nutrition, (iii) environment conservation, (iv) social service programmes, (v) programmes for empowerment of women, (vi) programmes connected with economic development activities, (vii) rescue and relief during calamities, etc.

Data Sonification

While telescopes offer glimpses of outer space by translating digital data into stunning images, NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Centre (CXC) has gone a step further by unveiling a new ‘sonification’ project that transforms data from astronomical images into audio.

Details –

  • Users can now ‘listen’ to images of the Galactic Centre, the remains of a supernova called Cassiopeia A, as well as the Pillars of Creation Nebula, which are all located in a region around 26,000 light years away from Earth.
  • The data has been collected by NASA’s Chandra X-Ray Observatory, Hubble Space Telescope and Spitzer Space Telescope — each of which is represented by a different musical ‘instrument’.

What is ‘data sonification’?

  • Data sonification refers to the use of sound values to represent real data. Simply put, it is the auditory version of data visualisation.
  • In NASA’s recent Chandra project, for instance, data is represented using a number of musical notes.
  • With this data sonification project, users can now experience different phenomena captured in astronomical images as an aural experience.
  • The birth of a star, a cloud of dust or even a black hole can now be ‘heard’ as a high or low pitched sound.

How did NASA translate astronomical images into sound?

  • NASA’s distant telescopes in space collect inherently digital data, in the form of ones and zeroes, before converting them into images.
  • The images are essentially visual representations of light and radiation of different wavelengths in space, that can’t be seen by the human eye.
  • The Chandra project has created a celestial concert of sorts by translating the same data into sound.
  • Pitch and volume are used to denote the brightness and position of a celestial object or phenomenon. So far, the astronomers behind Project Chandra have released three examples made using data collected from some of the most distinct features in the sky — the Galactic Centre, Cassiopeia A, and Pillars of Creation Nebula.

G4 Members

Foreign Ministers from the Group of 4 — India, Brazil, Japan and Germany — a group that is seeking permanent membership of the UN Security Council (UNSC), met recently to further their objective. The four countries stressed delivering concrete outcomes, in writing and within a time frame.

Joint Statement –

  • The Ministers reaffirmed their common resolve to “finally take decisive steps towards the early and comprehensive reform of the Security Council that was envisaged by Heads of State and Government in the 2005 World Summit”.
  • The G4 will work with “other reform-minded countries and groups” to start text-based negotiations (TBN) without delay and seek “concrete outcomes” during the 75th session of the UN General Assembly.
  • G4 Ministers reiterated support for each other’s membership to the UNSC “given the capacity and willingness to take on major responsibilities with regard to the maintenance of international peace and security”.
  • Africa needs to be represented in both the permanent and non-permanent categories of membership of a reformed and expanded Security Council to correct the historical injustice against this continent with regard to its under-representation in the Security Council,” the G4 countries said.

About G-4 countries –

  • The G4 was formed in the year 2004. The members of the G4 countries include – India, Brazil, Germany and Japan. All members support each other’s bids for permanent seats on the United Nations Security Council.
  • Their economic and political influence has grown significantly in the last decades, reaching a scope comparable to the permanent members (P5)
  • G4 campaigns for UN Reforms, including more representation for developing countries, both in  the permanent and non-permanent categories in the UNSC.
  • France supports inclusion of G4 and an African representative as permanent member with no objection to the veto power being extended to new permanent members. UK supports G4 as new members but without veto power.
  • G4’s bids are often opposed by Uniting for Consensus movement or Coffee Club (ground 12 countries including Pakistan led by Italy) and particularly their economic competitors or political rivals.

Daily MCQs

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