9 PM Current Affairs Brief – December 21st, 2019

JIGYASA program

News:Council of Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR) has been collaborating with several scientists and research scholars in implementing the JIGYASA program.

Facts:

About JIGYASA program:

  • Jigyasa is a student-scientist connect programme launched by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR) in collaboration with Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan(KVS).
  • The programme aims to connect school students and scientists as well as to extend the student’s classroom learning to a very well-planned research laboratory based learning.
  • The programme has been inspired by Prime Minister’s vision of a new India and “Scientific Social Responsibility(SSR)” of the scientific community and institutions.
  • The Programme is expected to connect 1151 Kendriya Vidyalayas with 38 National Laboratories of CSIR targeting 100,000 students and nearly 1000 teachers annually.
  • The programme is also expected to inculcate the culture of inquisitiveness and scientific temper on the minds of children and school teachers.

Additional information:

About CSIR:

  • Council of Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR) is an autonomous research and development body established by the Government of India in 1942.
  • It covers a wide spectrum of science and technology –from radio, oceanography, geophysics, chemicals, drugs, genomics, biotechnology and nanotechnology among others.
  • It provides significant technological intervention in many areas with regard to societal efforts which include environment, health, drinking water, food, housing, energy, farm and non-farm sectors.

Hydroponics may provide better agriculture solutions

News:Council of Scientific and Industrial Research- Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR-IHBT) is developing low cost hydroponics system.

Facts:

About Hydroponics:

  • Hydroponics is the technique of growing plants without soil by using water solvent which consists of mineral nutrients.
  • Hydroponic systems are engineered as a highly space and resource efficient form of farming and represent a considerable source of industrially grown produce.
  • The method is suitable for growing greens and herbs as they don’t have deep roots.

Benefits of Hydroponics:

  • Hydroponics provides higher yield and economic returns compared to traditional agricultural practices because of an increase in harvest cycles and balanced nutrient supply.
  • Hydroponics system is not affected by weather, wild animals and any of the other external biotic or abiotic factors.
  • In addition to these benefits hydroponic system also makes less and efficient utilization of water.
  • No nutrition pollution is released into the environment because of the controlled system.

Disadvantages:

  • It requires high technical knowledge and training before starting the process.
  • Without soil as a buffer,any failure to the hydroponic system leads to rapid plant death.

Afghanistan first country to recognize Indian Pharmacopoeia

News:Afghanistan has become the first country to recognise the Indian Pharmacopoeia standards for drugs & medicines.

Facts:

About Indian Pharmacopoeia(IP):

  • Indian Pharmacopoeia(IP) is an officially recognized book of standards as per the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, 1940, and Rules 1945 thereunder.
  • The IP specifies the standards of drugs manufactured and marketed in India in terms of their identity, purity and strength.
  • In order to ensure the quality of medicinal products, the legal and scientific standards are provided by Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) in the form of Indian Pharmacopoeia(IP).

Additional information:

About Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission(IPC):

  • Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) is an Autonomous Institution of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Govt. of India.IPC is created to set standards of drugs in the country.
  • Its basic function is to update regularly the standards of drugs commonly required for treatment of diseases prevailing in this region.
  • It publishes official documents for improving Quality of Medicines by way of adding new and updating existing monographs in the form of Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP).
  • It further promotes rational use of generic medicines by publishing National Formulary of India.
  • It also prescribes standards for identity, purity and strength of drugs essentially required from health care perspective of human beings and animals.

US gives ‘narrow exemption’ to India from sanctions on Chabahar for aid: Official

News:According to US officials,the US has provided a rare exemption to India from sanctions on the Chabahar port in Iran.

Facts:

About Chabahar port:

  • Chabahar port is a seaport in Chabahar in South-Eastern Iran.Its location lies in the Gulf of Oman.It is the only Iranian port with direct access to the ocean.
  • The Chabahar Agreement was signed in June 2015 and approved by Iran’s Guardian Council in November 2016.
  • The port is seen as a gateway for trade by India, Iran and Afghanistan with Central Asian countries.

Importance of Chabahar Port:

  • The most important significance of Chabahar port is the fact that India can bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan.
  • The port is also beneficial to India in countering Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea which China is trying to ensure by helping Pakistan develop the Gwadar port.
  • The Chabahar port is also seen as a feeder port to the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) that has sea, rail and road routes between India, Russia, Iran, Europe, and Central Asia.
  • Chabahar port also fosters closer ties between India and Iran and allows India to secure cheaper energy imports from Iran.

Reasons for exempting India from sanctions:

  • Afghanistan is a landlocked country which depends on Pakistan for trade.All its trade goes largely through the Pakistani ports.However, Pakistan denies transit to India for trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia.
  • Hence,the Chabahar project is a lifeline for war-torn Afghanistan to get humanitarian supplies from India.
  • The project also fits in line with the U.S.A’s overall policy to give India an important role in Afghanistan.
  • Further,the US also does not want to close all options with Iran.The US is looking forward to negotiating new terms and conditions with Iran.
  • But there is a concern that commercial viability of the project can get impacted if there will be no movement of energy supplies through it.

Additional information:

About Gwadar port:

  • Gwadar is part of Pakistan’s mineral rich southwestern Baluchistan province.
  • It is being developed as part of the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC)
  • It is a part of China’s ambitious plan Belt and Road initiative (BRI) to build energy and transport links, connecting the western Chinese region of Xinjiang with the Arabian Sea via Pakistan.

Centre urged to treat KLIP as a national project

News:Recently,Telangana State government has requested the Central Government to treat Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project(KLIP) as a National Project.

Facts:

About Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project:

  • Kaleshwaram Multipurpose Lift Irrigation Project of Telanagna was initiated in 2016 on the Godavari River.
  • It is touted as the world’s largest multi-stage, multi-purpose lift irrigation project.
  • The project will support crop cultivation on 45 lakh acres of land.It will also meet the drinking water requirement of 70% of the state and also cater to the needs of the industry.
  • The total length of Kaleshwaram project is approximately 1,832 kms. It has 20 reservoirs spread across 13 districts with a total capacity to store 145 TMC.

Why is Telangana asking for KLIP as a National Project?

  • The Centre under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 is mandated to support programmes for the development of backward areas in the successor States including expansion of physical and social infrastructure.
  • The designation of National Project will also lead to a Central grant of 90% of the estimated cost for their completion in a time bound manner.
  • Further,the Telangana government is also running the Mission Bhagiratha and Mission Kakatiya to meet the aspirations of people.

Additional information:

About Mission Kakatiya:

  • It is a flagship programme launched by the Government of Telangana which aims at rejuvenation of water tanks and other water storage structures to provide assistance and help to the small and marginal farmers of the state.

About Mission Bhagiratha:

  • It is a project for safe drinking water for every village and city household in Telangana State.
  • It aims is to provide piped water to 2.32 crore people in 20 lakh households in urban and 60 lakhs in rural areas of Telangana.
  • The ambitious project will supply clean drinking water to all households in the state through water sourced from River Godavari and River Krishna.

Explained:The Silver Line Project

News:The Ministry of Railways has granted in-principle approval for the ‘Silver Line’ project,a proposal of the Kerala government.

Facts:

About Silver line project:

  • The Silver line project aims to connect major districts and towns with semi high-speed trains that will run on their own tracks.
  • It involves laying of semi high-speed trains between the two corners of the state of Kerala.
  • The corridor will be 532-km long.It will be built away from the existing line between Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur.
  • The Kerala Rail Development Corporation (K-Rail), a joint venture between the Ministry of Railways and the Kerala government to execute projects on a cost-sharing basis, will be the nodal agency.
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