March 11,2018

March 9,2018
March 9, 2018
March 9th 2018
March 11, 2018

Topics list:

  1. National and International Issues on
    1. Economic Development
    2. Social Development
    3. Industrial Development
  2. Energy and Environment
    1. Energy
    2. Environment
  3. Information and Communication Technology
    1. Technology
    2. Application

Topic 1:Social development

Rajasthan passes Bill to give death penalty for child rape

Rajasthan has passed a Bill providing for death penalty to those convicted of raping girls of 12 years and below. The State Assembly passed the Criminal Laws (Rajasthan Amendment) Bill, 2018 seeking to amend the Indian Penal Code with the insertion of new provision by voice vote.

Highlights of the bill:

  • The Bill is aimed at protecting the girl child by laying down a deterrent punishment, including death sentence, to the offenders.
  • The Bill provides for capital punishment or rigorous imprisonment ranging between 14 years and lifelong incarceration.
  • It also makes a similar provision for gang-rape of a girl child, while laying down death penalty or imprisonment from 20 years to lifelong incarceration for those convicted of the offence. Each of the persons constituting the gang will be deemed to be guilty of the offence.
  • The Bill will become a law after it gets the Presidential assent.

Read more at: The Hindu

Topic 1:Industrial development

Isro set to transfer tech on low-cost e-vehicle batteries to industry:

Giving thrust to the Centre’s ambitious e-vehicle project with the objective of reducing air pollution and crude oil import, Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) is in the process of transferring the technology of the cheaper version of space batteries developed by it to the automobile industry for commercial use in e-vehicles

Highlights:

  • Promoting outsourcing of space components, Isro has given Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL), a PSU, the contract to manufacture 10,000 space cells per year for space applications.
  • Isro has developed four types of cells for space applications—1.5Ah, 5Ah, 50Ah and 100Ah.
  • Isro had earlier allowed Automotive Research Association of India (an industrial automobile research association) to use 50Ah and 100Ah cells for developing prototypes of an e-scooter and an e-car, respectively.
  • Isro’s move comes as a huge relief for the industry as Li-ion batteries are currently not manufactured commercially in the country but are imported from Japan or China.
  • Isro may consider transferring” its lithium-ion battery technology used in electric vehicles to interested parties on a “non-discriminatory basis for commercialisation with Make in India condition”, after obtaining approval of the Space Commission and other authorities.

Read more at: ET

E-waybill to be rolled out on April 1

The GST Council has recommended the introduction of e-way bill for inter-State movement of goods across the country from 01st April 2018

Features of e-way Bill:

  • E-way bill is required to be generated only where the value of the consignment exceeds Rs. 50000/-. For smaller value consignments, no e-way bill is required.
  • Value of exempted goods has been excluded from value of the consignment, for the purpose of e-way bill generation.
  • Public conveyance has also been included as a mode of transport and the responsibility of generating e-way bill in case of movement of goods by public transport would be that of the consignor or consignee.
  • Railways has been exempted from generation and carrying of e-way bill with the condition that without the production of e-way bill, railways will not deliver the goods to the recipient. But railways are required to carry invoice or delivery challan etc.
  • Time period for the recipient to communicate his acceptance or rejection of the consignment would be the validity period of the concerned e-way bill or 72 hours,whichever is earlier.
  • In case of movement of goods on account of job-work, the registered job worker can also generate e-way bill.

Read more at: PIB

Topic 2 : Environment

WHO steps up fight against tobacco

The World Health Organization has launched new guidelines on the role that tobacco product regulations can play in reducing tobacco demand, saving lives and raising revenues for health services to treat tobacco-related diseases.

Highlights:

  • The new guide, titled ‘Tobacco product regulation: Building laboratory testing capacity’, and a collection of country approaches to regulation of menthol in tobacco products, presented in the publication
  • The  new tools provide useful resource to countries to either introduce or improve existing tobacco product regulation provisions and end the tobacco industry’s ‘reign.
  • Failure to regulate represents a missed opportunity as tobacco product regulation, in the context of comprehensive control, is a valuable tool that complements other tried and tested tobacco control interventions, such as raising taxes, and ensuring smoke-free environments
  • The new guidelines provide practical, stepwise approaches to implementing tobacco testing.
  • The guidance is relevant to a wide range of countries in various settings, including those with inadequate resources to establish a testing facility.
  • The laboratory guide has comprehensible information on how to test tobacco products, what products to test, and how to use testing data in a meaningful way to support regulation.

Read more at: The Hindu

Low viscosity fuel oil from plastic waste

Researchers from IIT Guwahati have successfully converted packaging plastic waste to plastic-derived oil (PDO), which has characteristics similar to diesel.

Highlights:

  • The researchers collected the waste (biscuit wrappers, shopping bags, food containers, shampoo bottles) from houses, cleaned and segregated them according to the resin identification code.
  • These codes on plastics indicate the type of plastic resin it is made of.
  • Using a semi-batch reactor, the different wastes were heated for six to seven hours at 300-400 degree Celsius.
  • Heating at very high temperatures in inert conditions caused the plastic to convert into wax, so we chose this particular temperature range in which the plastic turned to plastic-derived oil and stayed in its oil state
  • The new oil had calorific value greater than 45 MJ per kilogram. Calorific value of petrol and diesel is 46-48 and 44-46 MJ per kilogram, respectively.

Read more at: The Hindu

Coral sediments in oceans could dissolve by next century

As oceans get more acidic, sediments that constitute coral reefs could begin dissolving by the end of this century, suggests a study published in the journal Science.

Highlights:

  • Scientists found that the link between sediment dissolution and acidification is stronger than that between acidification and coral formation.
  • Sediments will begin dissolving by 2050; by 2080, they will dissolve faster than they are formed
  • This could add to the problem of coral decline that we are already seeing because many of the reefs in the Indian Ocean are already net eroding
  • With repeated bleaching, frequent storms due to climate change and now, ocean acidification that causes sediment dissolution apart from slowing down coral-building

Coral reefs:

Coral reefs are formed by not just the calcium carbonate skeletons that tiny animals called coral ‘polyps’ create, but also carbonate sediments which accumulate on them over thousands of years.

Ocean acidification:

Lowering of sea water’s pH when it absorbs the excess, human-caused carbon dioxide from the atmosphere – prevents polyps from building their stony skeletons.

Indian reefs:

Coral reefs span 3,062 sq. km in India. Many coral species are afforded protection at par with tigers: they are included in Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act (1972). While coral systems support a diversity of fish species that local communities depend on for sustenance, many like those in Lakshadweep also provide protection from storms and prevent coastal erosion.

Read more at: The Hindu

Topic 2 : Energy

Diu becomes country’s first solar energy efficient Union territory

Diu, one of the major tourist destinations, has become the country’s first and only solar energy efficient Union territory, showing an effective way to people to harness this particular renewable energy source.

Highlights:

  • Diu has made rapid progress in solar power generation.
  • Limited to a geographical area of just 42 sq km, Diu has become the first Union territory where more than 100% of the electricity need is being met by solar power.
  • Diu generates a total of 13 megawatts of electricity from solar power-generating facilities.
  • Around 3MW is generated by rooftop solar plants and 10MW by its other solar power plants

Read more at: ET

ADB and ISA sign pact to promote solar energy

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the International Solar Alliance (ISA) signed a cooperation arrangement to promote solar energy deployment in Asia and the Pacific.

Highlights:

  • The cooperation envisages solar power generation, solar based mini-grids, and transmission systems for integrating solar energy into grids, among others.
  • The ISA and the ADB would also cooperate on knowledge sharing and developing technology roadmaps for the promotion of solar energy
  • They would also develop financing instruments to support solar energy deployment and conduct studies and consultations to explore mobilisation of concessional financing through trust funds or special funds administered by ADB.

About ADB:

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members 48 from the region.

Read more at: ET

Electricity from soil bacteria and reading lights from plants 

A group of researchers at the Wageningen University in the Netherlands, led by Dr. Marjolein Helder, has hit upon a method that generates electricity from living plants and the microbes that live beneath them in the soil, where the plants drop their roots

Highlights:

  • While the plant above the ground does photochemistry, the bacteria beneath do electrochemistry, generating positive and negative ions
  • To place positive and negative electrodes in appropriate positions and obtain an electric current, just as we do with batteries. This method of producing electricity is through what is termed as plant microbial fuel cells (PMFC).
  • The method is completely natural and environment-friendly, needs no externally added material and is part of a cyclic process in nature.
  • A firefly glows because it has an enzyme that converts a molecule called luciferin into oxyluciferin, and the energy released in this reaction comes out in the form of visible light.
  • The enzyme is called luciferase. (Incidentally, luciferin is named after the Latin word lucifer, meaning light-bringer or the morning star).
  • Now, plants do not have luciferin or luciferase. If we can somehow inject into a plant luciferin and luciferase, perhaps the plant too will emit light
  • Towards this, the scientists used the technology of nano particles. They now immersed the plant in water, added the three sets of nano particles, and applied high pressure so that these will enter and position themselves in appropriate places inside the plants
  • Now, the reaction proceeded and the plant emitted feeble glow, a Eureka moment, which lasted for about 3 hours!

Read more at: The Hindu

Topic 3 : ICT

MapmyIndia, IBM arm to offer hyper local weather information

The Weather Company (TWC), owned by IBM and the country’s largest mapping firm MapmyIndia said that they would jointly offer users across sectors such as agriculture, automotive and logistics with hyper-local weather information that would help them plan activities better and insure against weather related eventualities.

Highlights:

  • TWC provides weather forecasts, data and insights to its users, Mapmy India’s expertise will help the company give localised weather information, forecasts and trends with digital identification of hyper-local points or activity on “highly accurate maps”.
  • Both the firms are looking to help businesses and government bodies location-specific weather updates over a virtually-created boundary on digital maps of MapmyIndia.
  • Weather data available on the digital maps could also help government bodies deal with natural disasters better.

Read more at: ET

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