Prelims Booster

4th April – Prelims Booster


DRDO develops bio suit, sealant for safety gear

In a major breakthrough, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a special sealant as an alternative to seam sealing tape which is critical in personal protective equipment (PPE).

Details –

  • The DRDO has prepared a special sealant as an alternative to seam sealing tape based on the sealant used in submarine applications.
  • The bio suit production in the country by DRDO industry partners and other industries was being hampered due to non-availability of seam sealing tapes. The DRDO can mass produce this glue through the industry to support the seam sealing activity by suit manufacturers.

What is a ‘bio-suit’?

The Bio-Suit is a novel approach to spacesuit design that uses biomedical breakthroughs in skin replacement and materials to replace the bulky conventional “balloon” spacesuit with a ‘second skin’ approach to provide light weight, flexibility, and comfort in all extraterrestrial environments. It provided life support through use of mechanical counterpressure applied to the entire body through a tight-fitting suit, excepting a helmet for the head. The Biosuit is being currently used by paramedics and health professionals who are treating or dealing with COVID19 patients.

About DRDO –

  • DRDO works under the administrative control of Ministry of Defence, Government of India.
  • It was established in 1958 after combining Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development & Production (DTDP) with the Defence Science Organisation (DSO).
  • It is working to establish world class science and technology base for India and provides our Defence Services decisive edge by equipping them with internationally competitive systems and solutions.

Financial Action Task Force

India is planning to challenge the decision of a Pakistani court to acquit Ahmed Omar Sheikh Said of murdering Daniel Pearl (journalist), at the next meeting of the Financial Action Task Force. The accused was released in 1999 in exchange for 155 hostages (IC-814 Hijack case).

Financial Action Task Force –

  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is an inter-governmental body established in 1989 during the G7 Summit in Paris.
  • The objectives of the FATF are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.
  • Its Secretariat is located at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) headquarters in Paris.
  • As of 2020, FATF membership consists of thirty-seven member jurisdictions. India is one of the members.
  • The FATF Plenary is the decision making body of the FATF. It meets three times per year.

Other information –

FATF has two lists –

  • Grey List: Countries that are considered safe haven for supporting terror funding and money laundering are put in the FATF grey list. This inclusion serves as a warning to the country that it may enter the blacklist.
  • Black List: Countries known as Non-Cooperative Countries or Territories (NCCTs) are put in the blacklist. These countries support terror funding and money laundering activities. The FATF revises the blacklist regularly, adding or deleting entries.

Geofencing app will be used to locate quarantine violators

The Centre is using powers under the Indian Telegraph Act to “fetch information” from telecom companies every 15 minutes to track COVID-19 cases across the country.

Details –

The government has tested an application that triggers e-mails and SMS alerts to an authorised government agency if a person has jumped quarantine or escaped from isolation, based on the person’s mobile phone’s cell tower location. The “geo-fencing” is accurate by up to 300 m, a government communication said.

How will it work?

The system will collate phone data, including the device’s location, on a common secured platform and alert the local agencies in case of a violation by COVID-19 patients under watch or in isolation.

What is ‘Geo-fencing’?

  • Geo-fencing is a feature in a software program that uses the global positioning system (GPS) or radio frequency identification (RFID) to define geographical boundaries.
  • Geo-fencing allow an administrator to set up triggers so when a mobile device enters (or exits) the boundaries defined by the administrator, an alert is issued.
  • Many geo-fencing applications incorporate Google Earth, allowing administrators to define boundaries on top of a satellite view of a specific geographical area. 
  • Other applications define boundaries by longitude and latitude or through user-created and Web-based maps.

Union Agriculture Minister launches new features of e-NAM platform

The Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare has launched new features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform to strengthen agriculture marketing by farmers which will reduce their need to physically come to  wholesale mandis  for selling  their harvested produce, at a time when there is critical need to decongest mandis to effectively fight against COVID-19.

What are the new features?

  • Launch of “Negotiable Warehouse Receipt (e-NWRs) module in National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) software. It will enable small & marginal famers to directly trade their stored produce from selected WDRA registered warehouses which are declared deemed market by the State.
  • FPO (Farmer’s Produce Organisation) trading module is launched to enable FPOs to upload their produce from their premise/collection centres for bidding. This will not only decongest the mandis but also reduce the logistics cost for the FPOs.
  • Launch of Logistic Module – As a quantum response to logistic need by traders, provision has been made for linking large logistic aggregator platforms, which will provide choices to users. Traders would be able to use the link to navigate to the logistics provider’s website and select appropriate services.

What is e-NAM?

  • The National Agriculture Market (NAM) is a pan-India electronic trading portal, which links the existing Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) mandis across the country to form a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
  • The NAM portal is a single window service for any information and services related to APMC that includes –
  1. Commodity arrivals and prices
  2. Buy and sell trade offers
  3. Provision to respond to trade offers, among other services
  • The NAM reduces the transaction costs and information irregularity even when the agriculture produce continues to flow through the mandis.
  • The states can administer agriculture marketing as per their agri-marketing regulations, under which, the State is divided into various market areas and each market area is administered by a separate APMC which will impose its own marketing regulation that include fees.

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