National Strategic Plan For Malaria Elimination | PIB

Shri J P Nadda, the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare launched the National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination 2017-22.

National Strategic Plan For Malaria Elimination | Details

  • The Strategic Plan gives details about year wise elimination targets in various parts of the country depending upon the endemicity of malaria in the next 5 years.
  • Recalling the launch of the National Framework for Malaria Elimination (NFME) last year, Shri Nadda had stated that NFME outlined India’s commitment for eliminating malaria by 2030.
  • National Strategic Plan for Malaria Elimination (2017-22) gives strategies for working towards the ultimate goal of elimination of malaria by 2030.
  • Encouraging results have been achieved in the North East India and the efforts are now focussed in other states such as Jharkhand, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

National Strategic Plan For Malaria Elimination | Features of the plan

The strategies involve strengthening malaria surveillance, establishing a mechanism for early detection and prevention of outbreaks of malaria, promoting the prevention of malaria by the use of Long Lasting Impregnated Nets (LLINs), effective indoor residual spray and augmenting the manpower and capacities for effective implementation for the next five years.

About Malaria

  • Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease affecting humans and other animals caused by parasitic protozoans (a group of single-celled microorganisms) belonging to the Plasmodium type.
  • Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, feeling tired, vomiting, and headaches. In severe cases it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma, and / or death.
  • The methods used to prevent malaria include medications, mosquito elimination and the prevention of bites. There is no vaccine for malaria. The presence of malaria in an area requires a combination of high human population density, high anopheles’ mosquito population density and high rates of transmission from humans to mosquitoes and from mosquitoes to humans. 

PSLV-C38 Successfully Launches 31 Satellites

ISRO’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV-C38 successfully launched the 712 kg Cartosat-2 Series Satellite along with 30 co-passenger satellites today from Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota. This is the thirty ninth consecutively successful mission of PSLV
Details of the satellites

  • One of the 30 co-passenger satellites carried by PSLV-C38 was the 15 kg NIUSAT, a University/Academic Institute satellite from Nurul Islam University, Tamil Nadu, India.
  • The remaining 29 co-passenger satellites carried were international customer satellites from
    • USA (10),
    • United Kingdom (3),
    • Belgium (3),
    • Italy (3),
    • Austria (1),
    • Chile (1),
    • Czech Republic (1),
    • Finland (1),
    • France (1),
    • Germany (1),
    • Japan (1),
    • Latvia (1),
    • Lithuania (1) and
    • Slovakia (1). 

Conclusion

With today’s successful launch, the total number of customer satellites from abroad placed in orbit by India’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV has reached 209.

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Deep Ocean Mission

Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India is all set to launch ‘Deep Ocean Mission’ by January 2018. This will improve India’s position in ocean research field.

Background | Deep Ocean Mission 

  • The program on Polymetallic nodules was initiated at CSIR-NIO with the collection of the first nodule sample from Arabian Sea on board the first Research Vessel Gaveshani on 26 January 1981.
  • India was the first country in the world to have been given the Pioneer Area for exploration of deep-sea mineral viz. Polymetallic nodules in the Central Indian Ocean Basin in 1987.
  • This was based on the extensive surveys carried out by the scientists of CSIR-NIO, on several research ships leading to the allocation of an area of 150,000 sq km to the country with exclusive rights under the UN Law of the sea.

Details | Deep Ocean Mission 

  • Based on the resource evaluation, India has now retained an area of 75,000 sq km with an estimated resource of about 100 million tons of strategic metals such Copper, Nickel, Cobalt besides Manganese and Iron.
  • A First Generation Mine-site (FGM) with an area of 18,000 sq km has been identified. Latest technologies for extraction of metals from the minerals have also been developed under the programme.
  • Detailed environmental data has been collected for compliance with International Seabed Authorities requirements.
  • Besides identifying the mineral resource and developing technologies for mining and extraction, the programme has also resulted in high impact research as well as manpower development.

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Fuel Supply Agreement

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has approved the signing of Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA) with the Letter of Assurance (LoA) holders.

Details of the Fuel Supply Agreement

  • Allocation of linkages for power sector shall be based on the auction of linkages or through Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) based on the competitive bidding of tariffs except for the State and the Central Power Generating companies and the exceptions provided in Tariff Policy, 2016. Coal drawal will be permitted against valid Long Term PPAs and to be concluded Medium Term PPAs.
  • The approved framework ensures that all projects with linkages are supplied coal as per their entitlement. This will ensure the rights of coal supplies for FSA holders and signing of FSA with LoA holders.
  • Allocation of linkages in future will be transparent and bidding based, barring some exceptions as per Tariff Policy. Future allocation/grant of linkages will be based on auction and/or tariff based bidding.  It attempts to make the optimal allocation of the vital natural resource across the power units.

Fuel Supply Agreement | Background 

  • The coal supply to the TPPs has been made as per the provisions of the New Coal Distribution Policy (NCDP), 2007. Till 2010, CIL had issued LoA for approximately 1,08,000 MW capacity and no new LoAs were issued thereafter due to the prevailing scarcity scenario.
  • The CCEA decision of 21.06.13 directed CIL to sign FSA with TPPs of about 78,000 MW capacity. The coal availability scenario has, now, emerged from scarcity to adequacy.
  • In this adequate coal availability scenario, the present policy proposes a fading away of the old linkage allocation policy and the emergence of a new linkage allocation policy based on transparent and objective criteria for the optimal utilization of the natural resources.
  • Coal linkage to the power sector is governed by provisions of the NCDP, 2007. Under the NCDP, a system of issuance of LoA was introduced wherein requests for Linkage/LoA are forwarded to MoP for its recommendations. These recommendations are placed before the Standing Linkage Committee (SLCLT) which authorizes the issue of LoA.

Fuel Supply Agreement | Benefits of the Policy

  • Coal available to all Power Plants in transparent and objective manner.
  • Auction to be made the basis of linkage allocations to IPPs; cheaper and affordable POWER FOR ALL.
  • The Stress on account of non-availability of linkages to Power Sector Projects shall be overcome. Good for the Infrastructure and banking Sector.
  • PPA holders to reduce tariff for linkage; the Direct benefit of the reduced tariff to Discom/consumers.

Innovate In India (I3)

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for Industry-Academia Collaborative Mission for accelerating discovery research to early development for biopharmaceuticals – ” Innovate India (13) empowering biotech entrepreneurs & accelerating inclusive innovation” to be funded by the Government of India.

Focus | Innovate India

Academia collaboration for accelerating discovery research to early development for biopharmaceuticals.

Innovate India | About the Mission 

  • The Mission will be implemented by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) – a Public Sector Undertaking of Department of Biotechnology (DBT).
  • The Mission Program would be a Pan-India program.
  • The key focus areas of the program would aid in preparing India’s technological and product development capabilities in the biopharmaceutical sector to a level that it is globally competitive over the next 10-15 years and will transform the health standards of India’s population through affordable product development.
  • Total project cost to be funded by Government of India is Rs. 1500 crore for five years. 50% cost for the Mission Programme will be arranged through the World Bank loan.
  • For the implementation, a Programme Management Unit will be set up at BIRAC which will work as an operational and functional arm that oversees and monitors program implementation and progress.
  • The Mission will focus on Development of specific products vaccines, biotherapeutics, medical devices, and diagnostics; establishment of shared infrastructure and facilities; building and strengthening domain specific knowledge and management skills; creating and enhancing technology transfer capabilities in public and private sector.
  • The Mission will provide a holistic and integrated approach to strengthen and support the entire product development value chain for accelerating the research leads to product development. This will help not only in immediate product development addressing public health needs, but will also help to create an ecosystem which will facilitate the development of a continuous pipeline of products.

Background | Innovate India

  • The National Biotechnology Development Strategy 2015-2020 announced by the DBT lays emphasis on making India ready to meet the challenge of achieving the US $100 billion biotech industry by 2025.
  • The focus is on the generation of biotech products, processes, and technologies for affordable and accessible health care, promoting innovation R&D, establishing India as world class bio-manufacturing hub, and building the required skilled workforce.
  • To achieve this, it is important to promote industry -academia interface and enable the start-ups and small and medium enterprises to build translational innovation research capacities for affordable healthcare product development.

Technology Day Celebrations | PIB Summary

Points to Ponder

  • Technology day commemorates India’s success in taking science and technology to the service of the country.
  • India is now one of the world’s fastest growing centres for S&T entrepreneurship.
  • India needs technology for Inclusive and Sustainable Development through micro-industry models using local material.

Introduction | Technology Day

India is now one of the world’s fastest growing centres for S&T entrepreneurship, said the Union Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr.Harshvardhan.  

Background | Technology Day

Technology Day commemorates India’s success in using science and technology to address the challenges facing the country. On 11 May 1998, the Pokhran test was conducted. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee declared India a full-fledged nuclear state after operation ‘Shakti’ and it made India the 6th country to join the Nuclear Club

Analysis | Technology Day

  • India is now one of the world’s fastest growing centres for S&T entrepreneurship. Start-ups and entrepreneurship are the key to a nation’s economic growth and employment.
  • The Ministry of Science & Technology through its various programmes have funded and supported thousands of start-ups, incubators and developed new technologies that have reached the market.
  • In keeping with the theme of the day on Technology for Inclusive and Sustainable Development, the DST has catalysed the development relevant rural micro-industry models.

Technology under Government Schemes

  • Make in India – High-tech manufacturing in S&T is extraordinarily demanding. One collaborative effort is the successful operationalizing of India’s largest steerable optical telescope in Devastahl, Uttarakhand.
  • In Health Technology, the CSIR has developed Saheli the world’s first non-steroidal contraceptive pill which is affordable at 1/10 the cost of conventional pills. The indigenous clot-dissolving drug, Streptokinase saves millions of lives through an affordable alternative to cost drugs in the market. A 1-day Dengue diagnostic test developed by the Department of Biotechnology is fast and effective and has reached millions.
  • In Vaccines, in partnership with the health ministry DBT has recommended several new vaccines for the Universal Immunization Programme. Notable is the affordable indigenous Rotavirus vaccine now a part of the universal immunisation programme. Vaccine development for Malaria, Dengue is undergoing trials.
  • Agriculture and Farm Technology is another mission where major success has been achieved.  The programme Biotech-KISAN (Krishi Innovation Science Application Network) has been launched in collaboration with ICAR. In each Agro-climatic zone, farmers will benefit of quality technical solutions to problems of Seed, Water, Soil and Market.  Indian Farmers now get 21 million agro-advisories that have resulted in over Rs. 50,000 crores contribution to the GDP as per the NCAER report 2015. Arsenic resistance rice has been developed by the CSIR and is now being cultivated in West Bengal, thereby addressing a major problem.
  • Under the National Monsoon Mission, Climate and Weather forecasting have been improved. The dynamical forecast is a major advance, which allows massive data to be analysed speedily and more reliable predictions made. Errors in cyclone forecast have been greatly reduced and deaths from cyclone have been greatly reduced.
  • Wealth from Waste and Waste to Energy has been successfully done. A commercial plant to produce 3000 litres of ethanol from 10 tonnes of agricultural waste has been set up.  It is now being scaled- up by major Oil Manufacturing Companies. Applying the latest technology for treating flowing sewage, a pilot project has been installed at Barapullah drain in Delhi under the international collaboration with The Netherlands.

GSLV launches South Asia Satellite | PIB Summary

India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09) successfully launched the 2230 kg South Asia Satellite (GSAT-9) into its planned Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). The launch of GSLV was its eleventh and took place from the Second Launch Pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota, the spaceport of India. This is the fourth consecutive success achieved by GSLV carrying indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage.

 About South Asia Satellite 

  • South Asia Satellite is a communication satellite built by ISRO to provide a variety of communication services over the South Asian region. For this, it is equipped with Ku-band transponders.
  • In the coming days, the satellite orbit will be raised from its present GTO to the final circular Geostationary Orbit (GSO) by firing the satellite’s Liquid Apogee Motor (LAM) in stages.
  • The South Asia Satellite will be commissioned into service after the completion of orbit raising operations and the satellite’s positioning in its designated slot in the GSO following in-orbit testing of its payloads.

GSLV Highlights

  • Space diplomacy has touched new heights with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s unique gift in the sky to South Asian neighbours.
  • The gift of a communications satellite for use by neighbours at no cost has perhaps no precedent worldwide.
  • The satellite, which weighs over 2 tonnes, has been fabricated in three years at a cost of over Rs 230 crores.
  • Its footprint that extends all over South Asia.
  • The South Asia Satellite has 12 Ku band transponders which India’s neighbours can utilise to increase communications.
  • Each country will get access to at least one transponder through which they could beam their own programming.
  • The satellite will facilitate DTH television, VSAT links, tele-education, telemedicine and disaster management support. It will provide critical communication links in times of disasters such as earthquakes, cyclones, floods, and tsunamis.
  • Heads of Government from all the seven South Asian nations who are benefiting from the satellite, connected via video conference, in a unique celebration of the successful launch.

Geotagging Of Assets | PIB Summary

What is Geotagging?

Geotagging is the process of adding geographical identification like latitude and longitude to various media such as a photo or video. Geotagging can help users find a wide variety of location-specific information from a device. It provides users the location of the content of a given picture.

What is Geo-mapping?

A visual representation of the geographical location of geotagged assets layered on top of map or satellite imagery

Importance of geotagging

  • Several assets are created in the states under various schemes of the Ministry of Agriculture.  Under RKVY also, states have been utilising substantial amount of funds for creation of infrastructure/assets in agriculture and allied sectors such as soil testing labs, pesticide testing labs, bio fertiliser setting units, custom hiring centres, vaccine production units, veterinary diagnosis labs, dispensaries, milk collection centres, fish production units, godowns, cold storage, shade nets, pandals for vegetable cultivation   etc.
  • Monitoring of such wide spread activities is of paramount importance to states and Government of India to understand flow of funds, inventorising the assets, bringing in transparency, planning of assets for future, and finally informing the farmers about the facilities available.
  • PM on several occasions emphasised on use of technology for reporting of assets created through geo-tagging. Finance Minister also highlighted monitoring of MGNREGA assets through Geotagging in his budget speech.
  • Geotagging for monitoring of assets is already started in Ministry of Rural Development for MGNREGA and Department of Land Resources for monitoring of watershed activities in the states. Postal department has also geotagged the post offices using NRSC Bhuvan Platform.

Geotagging | Who does it?

  • National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), ISRO at Hyderabad: This centre of ISRO has a software platform, Bhuvan that allows users to explore a 2D/3D representation of the surface of the Earth. It also acts as a platform for hosting government data. Bhuvan Application Services that are diversified and relevant for many ministries were released.
  • NRSC (National Remote Sensing Centre) is involved in mapping of resources (Postal, GAIL, Forest etc) as well as monitoring of assets created under various schemes of Ministry of water Resources, Ministry of rural development etc.
  • The assets created under RKVY could be monitored by Geotagging them using BHUVAN, a geo-platform of National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of ISRO, Hyderabad. In future, the location of the infrastructure created and distances from each other could also be utilised for arriving at distribution of assets and optimum number of that particular asset required in a district or state.  The process involves development of a mobile app for mapping the assets through photographs and Geo-tagging (providing geo co-ordinates) before hosting on to DAC –RKVY platform that would be specially created for RKVY monitoring.

Proposal for geotagging of infrastructure /assets created under RKVY

  • Therefore, it is proposed to prepare inventory of the assets created in the last one decade (2007-2017) under RKVY through Geotagging technique.  National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC), wing of Indian Space Research Organisation is providing technical support to RKVY division and has come up with a detailed procedure for the same. The institute is involved in preparation of the required app, imparting training to the states etc. The trained officers at the field level will take the photographs (with details of latitude, longitude, year of creation etc.) of the assets and upload on to the Bhuvan-RKVY platform of NRSC.
  • So far NRSC has developed RKVY app, training manual, imparted training to 17 states regarding use of the app. The organisation will provide technical backstopping till the Geotagging exercise is completed. Pilot work has been initiated in 4 states of Orissa, Maharashtra, Bihar and Karnataka.

Neem Coating Of Urea | PIB Summary

Department of Agriculture, Cooperation & Farmers Welfare (DAC&FW) conducted a study to determine the impact of Neem Coated Urea that clearly demonstrates the benefits of the of the scheme, as detailed ahead.

Neem Coated Urea | Details

The interim report prepared by Agricultural Development and Rural Transformation Centre (ADRTC), Bengaluru has been submitted by Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare (DACFW).

Benefits of Neem Coated Urea

The brief findings of the study are as follows:

  • Improvement in soil health;
  • Reduction in costs with respect to plant protection chemicals;
  • Reduction in pest and disease attack;
  • An increase in yield of paddy, sugarcane, maize, soybean and tur/red gram to an extent of 5.79%, 17.5%, 7.14%, 7.4%and 16.88% respectively;
  • Diversion of highly subsidized urea towards non-agricultural purposes negligible among farmers after the introduction of the mandatory policy of production and distribution of only Neem coated urea.

Neem Coated Urea | Background

  • On 2nd June 2008, the Government had notified the policy for encouraging production and availability of fortified and coated fertilizers in the country wherein the indigenous manufacturers/producers of the subsidized fertilizers were allowed to produce fortified/coated subsidized fertilizers up to a maximum of 20%of their total production of respective subsidized fertilizers.
  • This ceiling of production of Neem Coated Urea(NCU)was increased from the limit of 20% to a maximum of 35% of their total production vide notification dated 11th January, 2011.
  • Government, on 24th March, 2015 made mandatory for all the indigenous producers of urea to produce 75%of their total production of subsidized urea as Neem Coated Urea. Subsequently, on 25th May 2015, Department of Fertilizers made it mandatory for all the domestic producers of urea to produce 100% as Neem Coated Urea with an extra MRP of 5% (of Rs. 5360/- per MT) to be charged by the fertilizer manufacturing entities from farmers. Entire quantity of indigenously produced urea and imported urea is being neem coated w.e.f 1st September, 2015 and 1st December, 2015 respectively.

Forecast of Natural Disasters By ISRO | PIB Summary

ISRO is working on systems to forecast the natural disasters that could  be  used  as  input  by  States/ disaster  management  agencies.

Highlights

ISRO is carrying out studies to facilitate best use of the satellite derived information to develop methodologies for forecasting the natural disasters. Some of such methodologies developed include:

  1. Cyclone formation, track and Intensity: ISRO has developed methodologies for forecasting the cyclone formation, it’s track and intensity using satellite based observation. The methodology developed has been transferred to India meteorological Department (IMD) who is mandated for cyclone forecast.
  2. Flood Early Warning System: The North Eastern Space Applications Centre (NESAC) of ISRO has developed the Flood Early Warning System (FLEWS) as a Research & Development (R&D) project in Assam State in association with Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA). The FLEWS model is being used in all 25 flood prone districts of Assam. Another model for forecasting floods in Godavari floodplains in Andhra Pradesh is developed by National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) of ISRO. The methodology is being used by Central Water Commission (CWC). ISRO is developing similar systems for Krishna, Brahmani-Baitarani, Ghagra, Gandak, and Kosi rivers.
  3. Heavy Rainfall/ cloud burst alerts: Space Applications Centre (SAC) of ISRO has developed a model, for heavy rainfall / cloud burst alerts, which is being experimentally carried out for Indian region. The information is made available on ISRO’s MOSDAC (Meteorological & Oceanographic Satellite Data Archival Centre) website.
  4. Rainfall triggered landslide alerts for the Uttarakhand Region: An experimental early warning system for rainfall triggered landslides is developed for use along the pilgrimage route corridors leading to Gangotri, Badrinath and Kedarnath as well as along the Pithoragarh-Malpa route in Uttarakhand. The forewarning is generated based on the statistical relation between the terrain (geological, morphological) and temporal (primarily long term rainfall events) factors.
  5. Extreme weather events: ISRO has developed experimental methodologies for early warning extreme weather events such as heat wave using numerical weather predictions. The information derived is being made available on the MOSDAC website. 

Other technologies

  • ISRO has realised two satellite missions, Viz., MeghaTropiques (launched in Oct 2011) and SARAL (launched in Feb 2013), in collaboration with French National Space Agency (CNES).
  • Presently, it is working with National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), USA towards joint realisation of a satellite mission, namely, ‘NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISAR), to be launched by 2020-21 timeframe.  The fund allocation for MeghaTropiques is Rs. 81.6 Crores, SARAL is Rs. 73.75 Crores and for NISAR is Rs. 513 Crores.