PIB Analysis : 1st and 2nd July

PIB Analysis for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Indigenous Airborne Locust Control System
  2. AI enabled MyGov Corona Helpdesk
  3. Amedment to the Stamp Act
  4. Bio Safety Level (BSL)
  5. Dhamma Chakra
  6. Drug Discovery Hackathon

1 . Indigenous Airborne Locust Control System


Background

  • Anticipating Locust attack, Ministry of Agriculture signed a contract with M/s Micron, UK to modify two Mi-17 Helicopters for spraying atomized pesticide to arrest Locust breeding in May 2020.
  • Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the UK based firm would be able to manufacture and supply the modification kit to IAF only from Sep 2020 onward for system integration and testing.  In the meanwhile, an unprecedented Locust attack started manifesting from last week of May and was fast spreading practically across many States. 
  • In view of envisaged delay in provisioning of modification kits by M/s Micron, the Indian Air Force tasked No. 3 Base Repair Depot located at Chandigarh to undertake the challenging task of indigenously designing and developing an Airborne Locust Control System (ALCS) for Mi-17 helicopters. 

About Airborne Locust Control System (ALCS)

  • Using all indigenous components, the atomized airborne spraying of pesticide has been successfully achieved in air through a configuration of nozzles mounted both sides on external trusses of a Mi-17 helicopter.
  • The nozzles used for the purpose are a mix of commercially available nozzles as well as the nozzles developed by CSIO, Chandigarh. 
  • The pesticide Malathion in appropriate concentration would be filled in the internal Auxiliary tank of 800 liters capacity fitted inside the helicopter and pumped into the nozzles by using an electrical pump as well as compressed air, achieving nearly 40 minutes of spaying duration in the infected zone covering an area of approximately 750 hectares in each mission.
  • A team of Test Pilots and Test Engineers of Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment, Bangalore have successfully carried out ground and airborne trials of ALCS on a modified Mi-17 helicopter.  The system is being offered for use with Malathion for employment in the locust control operation.

Benefits

  • Being an indigenously developed system, the ALCS would offer inherent advantages of in-house maintenance, future upgradeability, saving of foreign exchange and help in making the country Self Reliant in aviation related technology.  

2 . Cog X


Context : AI enabled MyGov Corona Helpdesk bagged two awards under categories (1) “Best Innovation for Covid-19 – Society” and (2) “People’s Choice Covid-19 Overall Winner”, at the recently held CogX 2020, which is a prestigious Global Leadership Summit and Festival of AI & Emerging Technology held annually in London.The awards were won by Technical Partner of Mygov, JioHaptik Technologies Limited.

About AI enabled MY Gov Corona Helpdesk

  • MyGov is the world’s largest citizen engagement platform, which facilitates two-ways communication between the Government and Citizen and facilitates participatory governance in India, the world’s largest democracy.
  • In the fight against Covid-19, MyGov, JioHaptik Technologies Limited and WhatsApp team collaborated to develop AI enabled MyGov Corona Helpdesk in the record time of 5 days including weekend.
  • MyGov Corona Helpdesk demonstrated the true Public, Private and Public Partnership (PPPP), wherein, Citizen centric services were provided by MyGov, the state-of-the-art technological solution including infrastructure were designed, developed, and deployed by JioHaptik Technologies Limited, and ideas given by public were factored-in on daily basis to improve the services and solution
  • In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the ‘MyGov Corona Helpdesk’ has received more than 76 million messages and processed over 41 million conversations. With the active involvement of Government, JioHaptik and WhatsApp, this chatbot has helped / continues to help over 28 million Indians stay informed while providing a platform to get latest information on Covid-19, curb rumors and misinformation.
  • After a rigorous evaluation, Indian chatbot ‘MyGov Corona Helpdesk’ was chosen among hundreds of entries that made a difference to society during the pandemic.
  • Following a live digital pitch in front of a worldwide audience and esteemed judges, the JioHaptik was awarded the honor for providing AI enabled technologicalsolution for ‘MyGov Corona Helpdesk’ that has helped safeguard lives amid a pandemic.

Cog X

  • CogX is one of the world’s largest events on AI, held annually in London with over 15,000 participants in attendance from the highest levels of business, government, industry, and research.
  • The Cogx Awards are given out to the best-of-the-best in AI and emerging technologies across the world.

3 . Amedment to the Stamp Act


Context : The Amendments in the Indian Stamp Act, 1899 brought through Finance Act 2019 and Rules made thereunder will come into effect from 1st July, 2020 vide notifications dated 30th March, 2020.

About the Amendment

  • Amendments to the Act and Rules will enable states to collect stamp duty on securities market instruments at one place by one agency (through Stock Exchange or Clearing Corporation authorized by it or by the Depository) on one Instrument.
  • This was done in order to facilitate ease of doing business and to bring in uniformity of the stamp duty on securities across States and thereby build a pan-India securities market.
  • A mechanism for appropriately sharing the stamp duty with relevant State Governments has also been developed which is based on the state of domicile of the buyer.

Need for New System

  • The present system of collection of stamp duty on securities market transactions led to multiple rates for the same instrument, resulting in jurisdictional disputes and multiple incidences of duty, thereby raising the transaction costs in the securities market and hurting capital formation.

4 . Bio Safety Level (BSL)


Context : The National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI), Lucknow, has established an “Advanced Virology Lab” for testing COVID-19. The facility has been developed based on the guidelines of the Indian Council Medical Research (ICMR), the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.It is a Bio Safety Level (BSL) 3 level facility.

Biosafety Levels

  • Biosafety levels are assigned to a facility depending on the pathogen it deals with. 
  • According to ICMR guidelines, BSL2 level facility is recommended for COVID-19 but this is an advanced version
  • This advanced version has a “Negative Pressure”, which means it has a suction facility that can suck any aerosol and pass it through filters.
  • It can filter virus or bacteria to make it a safe COVID-19 testing facility.
  • It reduces the possibilities of infections at culturing facilities. 

5 . Dhamma Chakra


Context : President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind to inaugurate the Dhamma Chakra Day celebrations on Asadha Purnima on July 4 , 2020

About Dhamma Chakra day / Asadha Purnima

  • Dhamma Chakra Day is celebrated on Asadha Poornima
  • Asadha Poornima falls on the first full moon day of the month of Asadha as per Indian sun calendar is also known as Esala Poya in Sri Lanka and Asanha Bucha in Thailand.
  • It is the second most sacred day for Buddhists after the Buddha Poornima or Vesak.
  • The day marks Buddha’s first teaching after attaining Enlightenment to the first five ascetic disciples (pañcavargika) on the full-moon day of Asadha at ‘Deer Park’, Ṛiṣipatana in the current day Sarnath, near Varanasi, India.
  • This teaching of Dhamma Cakka- PavattanaSutta (Pali) or Dharma chakra Pravartana Sutra (Sanskrit) is also known as the First Turning of Wheels of Dharma and comprised of the Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path.
  • The Rainy Season retreat (Varsha Vassa) for the Monks and Nuns also starts with this day lasting for three lunar months from July to October, during which they remain in a single place, generally in their temples dedicated to intensive meditation. They are served during this period by lay community who also observe Uposatha i.e. to observe eight precepts and meditate under the guidance of their teachers.
  • The day is also observed as Guru Poornima by both Buddhists and Hindus as a day to mark reverence to their Gurus.

6 . Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020


Context : Union HRD Minister and Union Health Minister jointly launch the Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020 (DDH2020)

About Drug Discovery Hackathon

  • Hackathon will primarily focus on computational aspects of drug discovery and will have three Tracks.
    • Track-1 will deal with computational modelling for drug design or identifying ‘lead’ compounds from existing databases that may have the potential to inhibit SARS-CoV-2
    • Track-2 will encourage participants to develop new tools and algorithms using data analytics and AI/ML approach for predicting drug-like compounds with minimal toxicity and maximal specificity and selectivity.
    • A third track, named Track 3 is a Moon-shot approach which will only deal with novel and out-of-the-box ideas in this field.
  • The first phase of the three-phase competition is being launched now.
  • The hackathon consists of challenges that are posted as problem statements and, are based on specific drug discovery topics which, are open to the participants to solve.
  • The competition is open to all Indian students and researchers from India and abroad.
  • It is an online competition and anybody anywhere in the country or world can participate for which  My Gov portal is being used
  • The winners will be given prizes and the best entries will be taken into stage 2 of the competition. The best of stage 2 will go to stage 3.
  • The plan is that at the end of the stage 3 competition the best solutions such as drug molecules or drug targets will be taken to the experimental level and validated for their predictions by either CSIR labs or start-ups.

7 . Facts for Prelims


Doctor’s day

  • National Doctors’ Day is observed on 1st July every year.
  • It is observed in honour of internationally renowned medical practitioner, Dr. Bidhan Chandra Roy who served as a physician, freedom fighter, educationist and politician.
  • He was a member of the Royal College of Physicians (MRCP) and a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) in the UK.
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