BEE Launches SAATHEE Portal to Track State Energy Efficiency Targets
News: Bureau of Energy Efficiency(BEE) has launched SATHEE Portal and Standards and Labelling Programme for Air Compressors and Ultra High Definition(UHD) TV during the 30th National Energy Conservation Awards(NECA).
- SAATHEE stands for State-wise Actions on Annual Targets and Headways on Energy Efficiency.
- Purpose: It is a Management Information System (MIS) portal which will facilitate real-time monitoring of the progress of implementation of various Energy Conservation endeavours at State level.
Standards and Labelling Programme for Air Compressors and Ultra High Definition(UHD) TV
- It has been launched on a voluntary basis and the energy consumption standards will be effective from 01st January 2021.
- This initiative is expected to save around 8.41 Billion Units of electricity for Air Compressors and 9.75 Billion Units for UHD TV till 2030.
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- Standards and Labelling Programme: It was launched in 2006 by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency(BEE).
- Objective: To provide the consumer an informed choice about the energy-saving and thereby the cost-saving potential of the relevant marketed product.
- Targets: The scheme targets display of energy performance labels on high energy end-use equipment & appliances and lays down minimum energy performance standards.
- Appliances covered: Presently, the programme covers around 27 equipment/appliances including 10 for which it is mandatory.
Science policy to boost journal access
News: The Government of India has released the Draft Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2020.
- Prepared by: The policy is initiated jointly by the Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor (Office of PSA) and the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
- Aim: The policy aims to reorient Science Technology & Innovation (STI) in terms of priorities, sectoral focus and strategies.
Why India needs a new STI Policy now?
- Since 2013 when the last policy was formulated, India made some unprecedented progress in STI.
- STI in India is undergoing rapid transformation in recent years in terms of relevance, scope and scale
- COVID-19 is likely to have short and medium term impact on STI Resources, Strategies and Priorities
- Prime Minister gave a clarion call for achieving a “Atmanirbhar Bharat” that might need greater focus on development of indigenous technologies and encouragement to grass root level innovation
- Rise of disruptive and impactful technologies and challenges, opportunities
- Strongly connecting S&T to Innovation, Industry and Society
India’s Progress in STI in Recent Years:
- India’s Gross Expenditure on R&D(GERD) has increased by more than 3 times during last 10 years
- India’s per capita R&D expenditure at PPP got doubled in last 10 years
- India is ranked at 3rd Position in terms of no of publications in SCI journals (5th in 2014)
- Women participation in R&D got doubled in last 6 years
- India is the 3rd Largest Higher Education System of the world. It is positioned 3rd in terms of No of Startups (~32,000) and ranked 9th rank in terms of Resident Patent filing.
- India is ranked 48th in terms of Global Innovation Index (from 81st position in 2015).
- India has moved up by 79 places in the last 6 years in its World Bank Global Ranking in Ease of Doing Business (from 142nd to 63rd).
Key Features of the STIP Policy:
- A National STI Observatory as a central repository for all kinds of data related to and generated from the STI ecosystem
- INDSTA (Indian Science and Technology Archive of Research) – a dedicated portal to provide access to the outputs of all publicly-funded research (including manuscripts, research data, supplementary information, research protocols, review articles, conference proceedings, monographs, book chapters, etc.).
- Open Data Policy for Publicly Funded Research – All data used in and generated from public-funded research will be available to everyone under FAIR (findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable) terms.
- One Nation, One Subscription: The Government will negotiate with journal publishers for a “one nation, one subscription” policy whereby, in return for one centrally-negotiated payment, all individuals in India will have access to journal articles.
- Research Excellence Framework for HEIs in India(REFI) will be evolved for research assessment to secure the continuation of a holistic, dynamic and responsive research base across the full academic spectrum within India’s higher education ecosystem.
- Creation of ‘Engaged Universities’ to the needs of the community by conducting interdisciplinary projects involving scientific and technological and social science-based interventions.
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship centres will be established at regional levels in a collaborative approach with the participation of local Academic and R&D institutions, industries, MSMEs, Startups, etc.
- Expansion of the STI Funding Landscape: Each department/ministry in the central, the state and the local governments, public sector enterprises, private sector companies and startups to set up an STI unit with a minimum earmarked budget to pursue STI activities.
- Each State to earmark a percentage of the state allocation for STI-related activities under a separate budget head.
- Foreign Multinational Companies (MNCs) – Partnerships and collaborations with domestic private (SMEs and start-ups) and public sectors entities (HEIs and research organizations) to work on projects aligned to national needs and priorities.
- Incentivisation for STI investments: Boosting fiscal incentives for industries investing in STI through incremental R&D based tax incentives, tax credit for investing in facilities for commercialization, tax holidays, tax waivers, target-based tax incentive for specific domains, tax deduction, expatriate tax regimes, remodeling of patent box regime etc.
- Joint appointments across government, academia and industry at both the national and the international levels will be facilitated to attract the best talent into the research ecosystem.
- Research solutions should address solutions for different regions/ socio-economic strata including a focus on rural problems in the country.
- Innovation and Entrepreneurship: An institutional architecture for integrating traditional knowledge systems (TKS) and grassroots innovation into the overall education, research and innovation system.
Technology Development and Indigenization
- Indigenous Development of Technology: Indigenous technologies will be promoted even if better technologies exist internationally. Key products or components imported by Indian companies for their manufacturing plants will be identified and a provision will be made to fund such product-based R&D with industry-academia collaborations
- Technology indigenization: To strengthen India’s local R&D capabilities in the production of technologies that are largely being imported, infrastructure will be set up and existing mechanisms will be strengthened to adapt existing technologies to suit the local needs.
- Sustainable Technology Push: Policy push for development and deployment of sustainable technologies to address major socio-economic challenges and changing aspirations of the people.
- Set up a Strategic Technology Board(STB) to act as a connecting bridge between different strategic departments and to monitor and recommend technologies to be bought or indigenously made in the strategic departments or in private sector or in academic institutions in line with self- reliant India.
- Set up a Strategic Technology Development Fund(STDF) to encourage the private sector and HEIs to develop strategic technologies. STDF to be managed by the independent body STB to avoid conflict of interest.
Equity and Inclusion
- Institutionalising Equity and Inclusion: An Indian Centric E&I Charter will be developed for tackling discriminations in STI, based on gender, caste, geography, language, disability and other exclusions and inequalities.
- Ageism-related issues and minimisation of career breaks are to be addressed for effective retention of trained women into the STI workforce. In this case, all professional career milestones, such as recruitment, awards and funding schemes, age cut-offs will be implemented considering academic age rather than biological/physical age.
Science Communication and Public Engagement
- Capacity Building and Research: Creative and cross-disciplinary platforms of Science Communication will be promoted to enable dialogue and knowledge transfer between researchers, science communicators and the public.
- Community-centric programmes and regional science centres will be encouraged to promote science communication in regional languages with local and hyper-local contexts for last-mile connectivity.
- Mainstreaming Science Communication: Every public-funded institution and department will have a dedicated wing set-up for science communication and public engagement in STI-related activities.
International STI Engagement
- Engagement with Diaspora: Fellowships and internships schemes and research opportunities in India will be expanded and widely promoted across different ministries to attract diaspora.An engagement portal exclusively for Indian scientific diaspora will be created (e.g, Pravasi Bharatiya Academic and Scientific Sampark- PRABHAS).
- Proactive STI Diplomacy Strategy: International Knowledge Centres, preferably Virtual, will be established to promote global knowledge and talent exchange by creating avenues such as visiting fellowships, joint research schemes, training programmes, invited lectures etc.
- An inter-sectoral, inter-ministerial national level STI Governance mechanism will be set up at the highest level, for building synergy and improving coordination among various ministries/ departments/ organizations to strengthen the national STI ecosystem.
- Standardized Research and Innovation Excellence Frameworks (RIEF) based on international benchmarks, will be formulated to ensure cohesive and transparent evaluation of all kinds of research and innovation.
- A suitable metric will be developed to evaluate and recognize the outcome and impact of research activities with respect to its direct relevance to Indian needs, while continuing to maintain international comparability.
- An STI Policy Institute with a strong national and international connect, will be established with a mandate to serve all aspects of STI policy governance.
World’s largest floating solar energy project in Omkareshwar Dam
News: The Government of India has announced the construction of the World’s largest floating solar energy project.
- Floating Solar Energy Project: The world’s largest floating 600 MW solar energy project is to be constructed at Omkareshwar dam on Narmada river in Madhya Pradesh.
- Funding: The International Finance Corporation, World Bank and Power Grid have granted in-principle consent for providing aid for the project development.
- Completion of Project: The project is likely to begin power generation by year 2022-23.
- Key Features of the Project:
- The project is to have floating solar panels of 600 megawatts of power generation capacity.
- The solar panels are to be installed over the backwaters of the Omkareshwar Dam.
- Solar panels will float on the surface of the water in the reservoir. It will automatically adjust upward and downward based on the water level of the Dam. The floods and strong waves will not have any effect on the solar panels.
- Floating solar: It refers to a solar power production installation mounted on a structure that floats on a body of water, typically an artificial basin or a lake.
- Types: Two types of Floating Solar can be distinguished:
- FPV or Floating photovoltaic, that uses photovoltaic panels mounted on the platform
- Floating Concentrated solar power that uses mirrors that redirect the solar power to a tower.
- Advantages: a) No land Occupancy b) Higher efficiency than ground mounted solar systems c) Helps in reducing water evaporation among others.
Government launched virtual toy hackathon ‘Toycathon 2021’
News: Union Education Minister and Union Minister for Textiles and Women & Child Development jointly launched the Toycathon 2021.
- Toycathon 2021: It’s a kind of hackathon for the toy industry. It has been organized by the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), Ministry of Textile, Ministry of Commerce and Industries, Ministry of MSME, Ministry of I&B and All India Council for Technical Education(AICTE).
- Aim: To conceptualize innovative toys based on the Indian value system which will inculcate the positive behavior and good value among the children.
- Themes: It is based on nine themes viz. Indian Culture, History, Knowledge of India and Ethos; Learning, Education and Schooling; Social and human values; Occupations & specific fields; Environment; Divyang ; Fitness and sport; Out of the box, creative and logical thinking and Rediscovering/redesigning traditional Indian toys.
Why is Toycathon being organized?
- Toycathon is being organized to develop India as the global Toy manufacturing hub.
- India is home to 25% of global children belongs to the age group of 0 to 12 years.
- India is home to several toy clusters and thousands of artisans produce indigenous toys which not only have cultural connect but also helps in building life-skills and psychomotor skills among children especially at an early age.
- India’s share in the global toy market is estimated to be at $90 billion, which is just 0.5 per cent of the global share. Apart from that 80 per cent of the toys sold in India are imported from China.
Government kicking off Seaplane Services on selected Routes
News: Union Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways has announced that it has kickstarted the process of commencing operations of the Seaplane services on select routes.
- What is Seaplane? Seaplanes are typically fixed-wing aircraft with a much fewer number of seats and can take off from and land on water.
- How will it work? Sea Planes will utilize the nearby water bodies for take-off and landing and thus connect those places in a much economical way as conventional airport infrastructure like a runway and terminal buildings are not required for seaplane operations.
- Implementation: The services will be under a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) framework through potential airline operators and will be executed and implemented through Sagarmala Development Company Ltd (SDCL), which is under the administrative control of the Ministry.
- Proposed Locations for Seaplane Services: The proposed Seaplane Services under Hub and Spoke model include islands of Andaman & Nicobar and Lakshadweep, Guwahati Riverfront & Umranso Reservoir in Assam, Yamuna Riverfront / Delhi (as Hub) to Ayodhaya, Srinagar (Uttrakhand), Chandigarh and many other tourist places of Punjab & HP; Mumbai (as Hub) to Shirdi among others.
- Is there any operation Seaplane Service? One Seaplane Service which is already in operation between Kevadia and Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad which was inaugurated by the Prime Minister in October 2020.
- Seaplane Service will provide air connectivity to various remote religious/tourist places.
- It will save travel time and stimulate localized short distance travelling especially in the hilly regions or across the rivers/lakes as well as boost tourism and business activities.
- It will generate employment opportunities and stimulate tourism in these new locations, which will consequently contribute to the country’s GDP in the long run.
Read more:-Daily current affairs
India launches 40th Scientific expedition to Antarctica
News: India has launched the 40th scientific expedition to Antarctica. This Indian expedition marks four decades of the country’s scientific endeavour to the Antarctica.
- India’s Antarctic Expeditions: The Indian Antarctic expeditions began in 1981.The first trip consisted of a team of 21 scientists and support staff led by Dr SZ Qasim.
- Research Base Stations: Indian Antarctic programme has built three permanent research base stations in Antarctica—named Dakshin Gangotri, Maitri, and Bharati. Currently, India has two operational research stations in Antarctica named Maitri and Bharati.
- Nodal agency: The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) manages the entire Indian Antarctic program.
40th Antarctic Expedition:
- The 40th expedition journey will be flagged off from Goa.The chartered ice-class vessel MV Vasiliy Golovnin will make this journey and will reach Antarctica.
- Focus: The focus is to support the ongoing scientific projects on climate change, geology, ocean observations, electric and magnetic flux measurements, environmental monitoring; resupplying of food, fuel, provisions and spare; and accomplishing the return of the winter crew.
- The expedition will duly follow all protocols for the deployment of men and material as per Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP).
Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs(COMNAP):
- It is an international association formed in 1988, which brings together the National Antarctic Programs.
- National Antarctic Programs are those organizations that have responsibility for delivering and supporting scientific research in the Antarctic Treaty Area on behalf of their governments.
- Primary Function: To exchange practical, operational information to help all National Programs fulfill their various missions, together or independently.
- Secretariat: Christchurch, New Zealand.
Read more:-current affairs for UPSC
National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research(NCPOR):
- Former Name: It wasformerly known as the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research(NCAOR).
- Ministry: It is an autonomous Institution of the Department of Ocean Development (DOD), Ministry of Earth Sciences.
- Purpose: It is responsible for administering the Indian Antarctic Programme and maintains the Indian government’s Antarctic research stations, Bharati and Maitri.
- Situated in: Goa
PM Modi inaugurates National Metrology Conclave 2021
News: The Prime Minister has inaugurated the National Metrology Conclave through video conferencing.
- National Metrology Conclave: It is organized by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Physical Laboratory (CSIR-NPL) which is entering into its 75th year of inception.
- Theme: ‘Metrology for the Inclusive Growth of the Nation’.
Key Highlights of the PM’s Address:
- India has broken into the top 50 of the Global Innovation Ranking.
- India ranks 3rd in peer-reviewed science and engineering publications which shows an emphasis on basic research.
- Historically, any country has progressed in direct correlation to its effort to promote science. He termed this ‘value creation cycle’ of Science, Technology, and Industry.
- Value Creation Cycle: Under this, the scientific invention creates technology and technology leads to industry development. Industry, in turn, invests further in science for new research. This cycle keeps on taking us in the direction of new possibilities.
Read more:-Daily current affairs
Key Initiatives launched at Conclave:
- National Atomic Timescale: It will create the Indian Standard Time with 2.8 nanoseconds of accuracy. Hence, from now on Indian Standard Time is matching the International Standard Time with an accuracy range of less than 3 nanoseconds.
- Bhartiya Nirdeshak Dravya: It is a laboratory that would help the industry to make quality products in sectors like Heavy metals, Pesticides, Pharma, and Textiles by drafting a ‘Certified Reference Material System’.
- National Environmental Standards Laboratory: It will aid self-reliance in the certification of ambient air and industrial emission monitoring equipment.
FSSAI slashes limit for trans fat levels in foods
News: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has capped the amount of trans fatty acids(TFA) levels in Food.
- What are the new limits? It has capped the amount of trans fatty acids (TFA) in oils and fats to 3% for 2021 and 2% by 2022 from the current permissible limit of 5% through an amendment to the Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction on Sales) Regulations.
- Applies to: The revised regulation applies to edible refined oils, vanaspati (partially hydrogenated oils), margarine, bakery shortenings and other mediums of cooking such as vegetable fat spreads and mixed fat spreads.
- What was the need of these regulations? These regulations come at the time of a pandemic where the burden of non-communicable diseases has risen.Cardiovascular diseases along with diabetes, are proving fatal for COVID-19 patients.
- What are Trans fatty acids(TFAs) or Trans fats? These are unsaturated types of fats which have adverse effects on our body. These fats are largely produced artificially but a small amount also occurs naturally.
- Types of Trans fats:
- Naturally-occurring trans fats are produced in the gut of some animals and foods made from these animals (e.g., milk and meat products) may contain small quantities of these fats.
- Artificial trans fats are created in an industrial process that adds hydrogen to liquid vegetable oils to make them more solid. Since they are easy to use, inexpensive to produce and last a long time, and give foods a desirable taste and texture, they are still widely used despite their harmful effects being well-known.
- Harmful Effects of Trans Fats:
- Trans Fats are associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and death from coronary heart disease.
- Trans fats not only increases bad cholesterol but also decrease the good cholesterol level in our body.
- According to the World Health Organization, approximately 5.4 lakh deaths take place each year globally because of the intake of industrially-produced trans-fatty acids.
- The WHO has also called for the global elimination of trans fats by 2023.
DST releases Draft 5th National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy for public consultation
News: The draft of the 5th National Science, Technology and Innovation(STI) Policy has been finalized and is now available for public consultation.
Vision of the Policy: The Science, Technology and Innovation Policy will be guided by the following broad vision;
- To achieve technological self-reliance and position for India among the top three scientific superpowers in the decade to come.
- To attract, nurture, strengthen and retain critical human capital through a ‘people-centric’ science, technology and innovation (STI) ecosystem.
- To double the number of Full-Time Equivalents (FTE) researchers, Gross Domestic Expenditure on R&D (GERD) and private sector contribution to the GERD every 5 years.
- To build individual and institutional excellence in STI with the aspiration to achieve the highest level of global recognitions and awards in the coming decade.
Read Also:-CURRENT AFFAIRS 2020Key Features of the Policy:
- Open Science Framework: A future-looking, all-encompassing One Nation, One Subscription’ is proposed as part of a new Open Science Framework that will ensure free access to scientific data for all.
- National STI Laboratory: The policy suggests the establishment of a National STI Observatory that will act as a central repository for all kinds of data related to and generated from the STI ecosystem.
- From this Observatory, all data and information related to publicly-funded research would be made freely accessible to everyone under FAIR (Fair, Accessible, Interoperable and Reusable) terms.
- Improve STI Education: Strategies to improve STI education making it inclusive at all levels and more connected with the economy and society will be developed through processes of skill building, training and infrastructure development.
- STI Funding: With an aim to expand the financial landscape of the STI ecosystem, each department/ ministry in the central, the state and the local governments, public sector enterprises, private sector companies and startups will set up an STI unit with a minimum earmarked budget to pursue STI activities.
- Research in STI: Research and Innovation Excellence Frameworks (RIEF) will be developed to enhance the quality of research along with promotion of engagements with relevant stakeholders.
- Self Reliance in STI: A two-way approach of technology self-reliance and indigenization will be adopted and focused upon in alignment with national priorities like sustainability and social benefit and resources to achieve the larger goal of “Atmanirbhar Bharat”.
- Establishment of Strategy Technology Board: The policy proposes the establishment of a Strategic Technology Board that will bridge all strategic government departments and monitor and recommend technologies to be bought or indigenously made.
- Equity and Inclusion in STI: An India-centric Equity & Inclusion(E&I) charter will be developed for tackling all forms of discrimination, exclusions and inequalities in STI leading to the development of an institutional mechanism.
Niti Aayog launches made-in India cloud storage service — DigiBoxx
Source: Times Now
News: Niti Aayog has launched a cloud storage service called DigiBoxx as part of the Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative.
- Digiboxx: It is India’s first indigenous digital file storage and sharing platform that provides an easy and secure way to store all the files in one centralised location.
- Key Features:
- Like Google Drive and Apple’s iCloud service, DigiBoxx will enable both individuals and enterprises to store, manage, collaborate, organise and share all their data online.
- For Individuals the free Digiboxx offers 20GB of storage, a 2GB maximum file size, Gmail integration, and unlimited external collaborations, while the monthly plan comes with up to 5TB of storage and 10GB max file size.
- For SMEs there is an 999 plan that provides up to 50TB storage with 10GB max file size, unlimited external collaborations, advanced real-time collaboration, web preview, automated backups, user management and Gmail integration. Additionally, for enterprises, there is a customised solution.
- DigiBoxx is said to be hosted on an Indian server which means the data will be saved and encrypted in India itself.
- DigiBoxx is available on the web and Android as of now with iOS support arriving soon
CoWIN Grand challenge, CoWIN platform and CoWIN App
News: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare(MoHFW) and the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has announced its grand challenge for “CoWIN app”.
- Aim: To strengthen the COVID-19 Vaccine Intelligence Network (CoWIN) system.
- Eligibility: Indian tech startups, MSMEs, companies and Limited Liability Partnerships(LLPs) registered in India under Companies Act can apply. Further, teams not registered as companies or startups or MSMEs can also participate in the challenge.
- Areas of Focus: The MoHFW has identified seven areas to focus on- 1) High Adherence rate; 2) Portability across India; 3) Vaccine Transportation; 4) Queue management; 5) Report adverse event following immunisation and adverse event of special interest; 6) Learning Management System; and 7) Logistic Management Information System.
- What is CoWIN Platform?
CoWIN: It is a digitalised platform launched by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) to help agencies keep a track of Covid-19 vaccination programme and allow Indian citizens to apply for a Covid-19 vaccine shot.
- What is CoWIN-20 app?
- Government developed an app as part of CoWIN platform named CoWIN-20. for real-time monitoring of Covid-19 Vaccine.
- The main feature of the app is that it will send real-time data from the cold-storage facilities that store Covid-19 vaccines. This is an extension of eVIN (Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network)
- Modules: The app is divided into five modules.These are administrator module, registration module, vaccination module, beneficiary acknowledgement module and report module.
For example, a front line worker like Health care worker can register themselves in app using the “registration module”. After the registration is done the “beneficiary acknowledgement module” will send an acknowledgement to the person
- Beneficiary Acknowledgement module will provide QR based Certificate once the person is vaccinated.
Source: Click here
News: Indian Association of the Cultivation of Science(IACS), Kolkata has organised the Vigyan Yatra.
- Vigyan Yatra: It is a promotional activity undertaken as part of India International Science Festival(IISF) to promote scientific temper and inculcate the culture of science among the masses.
- IISF: It is a festival launched in 2015 to promote Science and Technology and demonstrate how science could lead India towards a developed nation within a short span of time.
- Organized by: Ministry of Science & Technology and Ministry of Earth Sciences in association with Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA) organizes IISF every year.
- Theme for 2020: Science for Self Reliant India and Global Welfare”.
PM-WANI: Revolutionise the way India accesses the internet
Context: PM-WANI has the potential to revolutionise the way India accesses the internet.
What are the key features of Pradhan Mantri Wireless Access Network Interface (PM-WANI)?
- Bring large scale deployment of Wi-Fi hotspots through the country to drive up connectivity options and improve digital access.
- The scheme envisages setting up of public Wi-Fi networks and access points by local Kirana and neighbourhood shops through public data offices (PDO will be set up on the lines of Public Call Offices (PCOs)) that will not involve any licence, fee or registration.
What are the needs of PM-WANI?
- To create value for the consumer.
- To quickly reach countrymen in the remotest areas.
- India’s tele-density of landlines never exceeded 7 per 100 people but due to mobile it exceeded to 90 per 100 people.
- India grew from 302 million internet subscribers to 750 million.
- India is one of the fastest growing internet markets in the world.
- To deliver a resilient and reliable connection to every Indian and reliable access everywhere.
- Despite excellent advances in 4G technology, wired connections still offer superior quality, reliability and throughput.
How PM-Wani can revolutionise access to internet?
- UPI created common payments infrastructure that unbundled whose app you use to pay from which bank your money was in.
- This resulted in 3 Cs — greater convenience, higher confidence and lower costs.
- PM-WANI unbundles whose wired connection you use from who you pay to use that connection.
- It allows them to interoperate and focus on connecting the last user. It is built on unbundling three as — access, authorisation and accounting.
What are the dimensions along which PM-WANI has broken away from the past?
- PM-WANI has liberalised the resale of bandwidth. Earlier only licensed players could become Internet Service Providers and resell bandwidth.
- This has led to the top 5 ISPs owning 75 per cent of the volume of all wired subscribers.
- PM-WANI allows anyone — a kirana shop owner, a tea-stall vendor, or a Common Service Centre to resell internet to its customers without a licence and without fees.
- By installing a wireless router, they can get on the PM-WANI network and start selling connectivity.
- These small vendors will be called Public Data Offices (PDOs), in a deliberate hark back to the Public Call Offices of yore.
- Due to this deregulation, the distribution of endpoints of PM-WANI will be selected by entrepreneurs rather than being decided top-down.
How PM-WANI is forward-looking in its design?
- Presence of robust identity infrastructure in the form of Aadhaar and DigiLocker. It will help to authenticate its users.
- This architecture also allows a central data balance and central KYC, that users can use inter-operably across all PDOs.
- The network operators then settle accounting between them, much like how telecom operators settle call termination charges.
- Indians can log in once and enjoy access on all available WiFi networks.
- It also allows international travellers to take advantage of India’s connectivity, without paying exorbitant roaming charges to their home networks.
India Post Payments Bank launches its digital payments services ‘DakPay’
Source: Click here
News: Department of Posts (DoP) and India Post Payments Bank(IPPB) has unveiled a new digital payment app ‘DakPay’.
- DakPay: To facilitate easy digital transactions and other banking services through the trusted Postal (‘Dak’) network across the nation to cater to the financial needs(‘Pay’) of various sections of the society.
- Significance: The App is launched as part of its ongoing efforts to provide Digital Financial inclusion at the last mile across India.
- India Post Payments Bank(IPPB): It has been established in 2018;under the Department of Posts, Ministry of Communication with 100% equity owned by Government of India.
- Mandate: To remove barriers for the unbanked & underbanked and reach the last mile leveraging the Postal network.
Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility(APVAX)
News: Asian Development Bank(ADB) has launched a $9 billion vaccine initiative—the Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX).
- Aim: To offer rapid and equitable support to its developing members as they procure and deliver effective and safe coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccines.
- Criteria: If a country has to obtain finances under APVAX, then it should fulfil one of the three criteria:
- It must be procured through COVAX.
- It should be prequalified by World Health Organization
- It should be authorised by a stringent regulatory authority.
- COVAX: It is an alliance co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations(CEPI) and WHO.It aims to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.
- Asian Development Bank(ADB): It is a regional development bank established in 1966 to promote social and economic development in Asia.
- Members: 68 members, of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.
- Headquarters: Manila, Philippines.
2nd Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) 2020 Conference
Source: Click here
News: Minister of Science and Technology has virtually inaugurated the 2nd TCGA (The Cancer Genome Atlas) 2020 Conference.
- About the conference: The Conference brings together scientists and clinicians from across the globe to build Indian Cancer Genome Atlas (ICGA).
- Indian Cancer Genome Atlas(ICGA): It has been initiated by a consortium of key stakeholders in India led by Council for Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR), Government of India.
- Aim: To create indigenous, open-source and comprehensive database of molecular profiles of all cancers prevalent in Indian population to better understand the underlying factors patient by patient.
- The Cancer Genome Atlas(TCGA): It is a landmark cancer genomics program that molecularly characterized over 20,000 primary cancers and matched normal samples spanning 33 cancer types.
- It is a joint effort between the US- National Cancer Institute and the National Human Genome Research Institute began in 2006 bringing together researchers from diverse disciplines and multiple institutions.
- IndiGen Genome Project: It is being implemented by the CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB),Delhi and CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB),Hyderabad.
- Aim: To undertake whole genome sequencing of thousands of individuals representing diverse ethnic groups from India.
- Pan-Cancer Analysis of Whole Genomes(PCAWG): It is an international collaboration of the International Cancer Genome Consortium and The Cancer Genome Atlas(TCGA).
- Purpose: The project revealed the most comprehensive gene map of the genes whose departures from normal behaviour — mutations — trigger a cascade of genetic misbehaviours that eventually lead to cancer.
Women in science
Context: The new Science, Technology and Innovation Policy is currently being drafted by the Department of Science and Technology (DST)
More on news:
- Its aim will be to increase the participation of women in science.
- The DST will incorporate a system of grading institutes depending on the enrolment of women and the advancement of the careers of women faculty and scientists.
What is Athena SWAN?
- The Athena SWAN Charter: It is an evaluation and accreditation programme in the UK enhancing gender equity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM).
- Function:Participating research organisations and academic institutions are required to analyse data on gender equity and develop action plans for improvement. The programme recognises such efforts with bronze, silver or gold accreditation.
- Institutions that sign up commit to:
- Addressing unequal gender representation.
- Tackling the gender pay gap.
- Removing the obstacles faced by women in career development and progression.
- Discriminatory treatment often experienced by trans people.
- Gender balance of committees and zero tolerance for bullying and sexual harassment.
How well has it worked?
- In 2019, a report by Ortus Economic Research:In partnership with Loughborough University found that 93% of participants believed the programme had a positive impact on gender issues.
- 78% said it had impacted equality and diversity issues positively, and 78% noted a positive impact on the career progression of women.
- A study in BMJ: It found that in the five-year period since the scheme was started, participating institutions had a higher number of female leaders than non-Athena institutions, and gender diversity in leadership positions also improved.
Why does India need such a programme?
- GATI: In India, it will be called GATI (Gender Advancement through Transforming Institutions). India is ranked 108 out of 149 countries in the 2018 Global Gender Gap report.
- According to DST figures: In 2015-16, the share of women involved in scientific research and development was 14.71%.
- The DST has also found that women are either not promoted, or very often drop out mid-career to attend to their families.
What are the challenges ahead?
- Institutions lack control:To get as many institutions as possible to sign up, the DST will need to manoeuvre around government red tape as most universities, barring the IITs and NITs, are run and funded by the government as well.
- This means that these institutions don’t have direct control over institutional policies, recruitment and promotions.
What are the steps of DST towards ensuring gender equity?
- Gender equity:The DST has tied up with National Assessment and Accreditation Council, under the UGC, aiming to push gender equity through them.
- Gender sensitisation: The DST plans to run intensive gender sensitisation programmes, especially for the top leadership of institutions, and work within existing rules such as pushing for women members on selection committees during recruitment processes.
- Policy changes: In the future, the DST is likely to consider policy changes such as those brought about in the UK providing financial incentives through grants to institutes.
- For the pilot, 25 institutes will be shortlisted to carry out self-assessment on gender equity in their departments. The British Council is assisting the DST and will facilitate collaboration between selected institutions under GATI with Athena SWAN-accredited institutions in the UK, with each institute here having a partner institute in the UK for guidance.
Digital nation: On delivery of citizen services
Context: The true measure of digitalisation would be smooth delivery of all citizen services.
Analyse the development of India as a digital nation.
- Measure of digital nation: The true measure of digital nation is the readiness of governments to use technology to create open, participatory public systems that citizens consider trustworthy.
- Result of internet access: Affordable smartphones and Internet access have made India a digital nation with an estimated 750 million connections and a thriving financial technology sector.
- Digital platforms in Covid-19: Digital platforms providing goods and services, including online education and telemedicine, have grown vigorously during the COVID-19 pandemic, while many professionals have maintained productivity by working from home.
- Schemes and services: Government-to-citizen services using Common Service Centres for:
- Advice to agriculturists.
- Digital payments of welfare benefits through bank accounts.
- Online legal advice to four lakh people under the Tele-Law scheme.
Discuss the sectors which has potential for developing India’s digital governance.
- Digital method in road safety: If digital methods were applied to other sectors, such as road safety, the results could be dramatic as it can potentially reduce the accident mortality rate of about 1,50,000 deaths a year.
- Technology in social sectors: Enhanced adoption of technology in health and education;
- The nucleus plan is Ayushman Bharat, with a digital health identity for all.
- It should be possible to achieve measurable progress early on at least on one UHC component such as access to free, essential prescription drugs.
- Issuing a digital health ID: A digital health ID would help prescribe and dispense essential medicines free.
- The Planning Commission estimated that the public procurement cost for this, in 2011, would be 0.1% to 0.5% of GDP
- Transformation of internal process: Efficient digital government depends on transforming internal processes, and fixing deadlines for service delivery.
- If digital has to become a way of life, redefining the complex functioning of citizen-centric services would be a good place to start, with deadlines for government departments.
- Governance must achieve is a reliable system of digital welfare.