Topic 1: Project Deepak
Why in news: The Tripura government recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Assam Rifles for ‘Project Deepak’ targeting underprivileged students in the state.
About the project:
- Project Deepak was formulated along the lines of the Super 30 project.
- This project involves providing special coaching to economically backward, underprivileged and meritorious students, especially from the rural areas, before the 12th board exams so that they can get admission in suitable colleges, including technical colleges, medical colleges etc.
- Assam Rifles implemented similar projects in Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh before bringing the scheme to Tripura.
- The Assam Rifles headquarters currently has a facility housing 30 students where they can undergo special coaching for one year.
- A shortlisting process would be conducted through an examination among economically backward communities, and those selected will be able to join the coaching regimen.
- Aim of the project:
- The aim is to:
- increase Gross Enrollment Ratio by 30 per cent by 2030,
- introduction of new technologies in higher education,
- skill development in educational institutions,
- multi-disciplinary system in higher education institutions.
- The aim is to:
About the Super 30 scheme:
- The ‘Super 30’ scheme was launched by the state government in 2020-21 at the Madhyamik level to prepare students for national-level engineering and medical entrance examinations.
- In this scheme 30 students are given opportunities as per reservation criteria to prepare for NEET, JEE Mains and Advanced as per preference of candidate.
- The state government’s scheme involves an expenditure of Rs 1 lakh for coaching and Rs 1.40 lakh for accommodation for each student in every batch annually, with a cumulative cost of Rs 72 lakh every year for coaching and lodging.
- The government has also granted 5 per cent over and above the estimated cost for the next two years to ensure project continuity.
|About Assam Rifles:The Assam Rifles are a central armed police force.The AR is one of the six central armed police forces (CAPFs) under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).The other five forces are:Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF),Border Security Force (BSF),Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP),Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) andSashastra Seema Bal (SSB).Role:The AR is tasked with maintaining law and order in the Northeast along with the Indian Army.It also guards the Indo-Myanmar border.It is the only paramilitary force with a dual control structure.While the administrative control of the force is with the MHA, its operational control is with the Indian Army, which is under the Ministry of Defence (MoD).This means that salaries and infrastructure for the force is provided by the MHA, but the deployment, posting, transfers, and deputation of AR personnel is decided by the Army.|
Topic 2: Glacial lake outburst flood
Why in news: Ten people have been killed and 80 are missing in Sikkim after the South Lhonak Lake burst due to incessant rains, leading to the release of water in downstream areas.
What is GLOF?
- Glacial lakes are large bodies of water that sit in front of, on top of, or beneath a melting glacier.
- As they grow larger, they become more dangerous because glacial lakes are mostly dammed by unstable ice or sediment composed of loose rock and debris.
- In case the boundary around them breaks, huge amounts of water rush down the side of the mountains, which could cause flooding in the downstream areas.
- This is called glacial lake outburst floods or GLOF.
Why GLOFs are triggered:
- GLOF can be triggered by several reasons, including:
- extremely heavy rains and
- ice avalanches.
- landslides or ice avalanches can sometimes fall directly into the lakes and displace the water, causing it to over-top the natural dam and flood downstream.
Topic 3: Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2023
Why in news: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry for 2023 has gone to Moungi Bawendi, Louis Brus and Alexei Ekimov for the discovery and synthesis of quantum dots.
What are quantum dots?
- The properties of any element depends on how many electrons it has.
- However, when matter is really tiny, of nano-dimensions, its properties depend on its size.
- The smaller a particle, the more its electrons are squeezed together, and that affects its properties.
- Such particles, whose size determines their behaviour, are called quantum dots.
Applications of quantum dots:
- Computer and Televisions:
- The luminous properties of quantum dots are utilised in computer and television screens based on QLED technology, where the Q stands for quantum dot.
- Led lamps:
- Similarly, quantum dots are used in some LED lamps to adjust the cold light of the diodes.
- The light can then become as energising as daylight or as calming as the warm glow from a dimmed bulb.
- Biochemistry and medicine
- The light from quantum dots can also be used in biochemistry and medicine.
- Biochemists attach quantum dots to biomolecules to map cells and organs.
- Doctors have begun investigating the potential use of quantum dots to track tumour tissue in the body.
- Chemists instead use the catalytic properties of quantum dots to drive chemical reactions.
Topic 4: Dynamic injunction
Why in news: The Delhi High Court restrained nine websites from illegally broadcasting the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 matches. The court passed a “dynamic injunction” in favour of the cup’s broadcaster.
What is a dynamic injunction?
- An injunction is an official order given by a law court, usually to stop someone from doing something.
- However, in most cases, such injunctions are granted by the court only after the court identifies the work and determines the plaintiff’s copyright in that work.
- To avoid this cumbersome process and grant protection to copyrighted works in a timely manner, courts sometimes rely on the concept of dynamic injunctions.
- A dynamic injunction is passed to protect copyrighted works even before they are publicly released, distributed, or created.
- It ensures that no irreparable loss is caused to its authors and owner, owing to the imminent possibility of such works being uploaded on rogue websites or their newer versions immediately after their creation or release, given the challenges posed by online piracy.
- The present plea filed by Star India stated that given the exclusive rights they had acquired from ICC, they enjoyed broadcast reproduction rights which are contemplated under Section 37 of the 1957 Copyright Act.
What is Section 37 of the Copyright Act?
- Section 37 deals with a special right extended to every broadcasting organisation.
- Section 37 (2) proceeds to enlist what constitutes an infringement of this right.
- It states that during the continuance of a broadcast reproduction right any person who, without the licence of the right’s owner engages in re-broadcasting the broadcast without licence or was licensed, for any purpose not envisaged by the licence will be deemed to have infringed this right subject to section 39.
- Section 39 provides exceptions when the reproduction of such content can be considered as fair dealing and not copyright infringement.
Topic 5: The impact of the Bihar caste survey
Why in news: Recently, the Bihar government published the ‘Bihar Caste-based Survey 2022’.
- It shows that extremely backward classes (EBCs) and other backward classes (OBCs) together add up to nearly 63% of the 13-crore population, making it the largest caste group in the State.
- The two-phase counting exercise was completed in August this year involving around 2.64 lakh enumerators documenting details of 29 million registered households.
- All 214 castes mentioned in the survey form were allotted different individual codes and the survey was segmented into 17 points, to find out the socio-economic profile of the population.
What are the outcomes of the survey?
- The survey shows that the EBCs with 112 castes comprise the largest chunk of the population in the State with a 36.01% share.
- With 29 castes and a 27.12% share, the OBCs are the second largest contingent of the population.
- The Yadavs, with a 14.26% share, is the dominant caste in the OBC group.
- The Scheduled Castes population is pegged at 19.65% while the number of the general unreserved population is 15.52%.
Possible implications of the report:
- Increase in quota:
- The reservation quota will be increased in the State as per the population proportion which has come out in the survey report.
- Removing the ceiling cap:
- The census report is likely to pave the way for the political demand for doing away with the 50% ceiling on reservation imposed by the Supreme Court.
- Impact on a particular ideology:
- Political experts believe that the caste survey report would weaken hindutva forces in the upcoming elections in the country and the State as well.
Will this lead to more welfare schemes?
- The survey report would definitely force political parties to announce and initiate more welfare schemes for the poor and marginalised sections of society.
- The OBCs, EBCs, SCs and STs make up 85% of the total population in the State
- Significantly, the government is yet to release the socio-economic profile of the people surveyed.
Topic 6: PUSA-44 paddy variety
Why in news: Punjab Chief Minister announced that the state will ban the cultivation of the PUSA-44 paddy variety from next year onwards.
- At one point, this variety covered 70 to 80 per cent of the state’s total area under paddy cultivation
- PUSA-44 was developed in 1993 by the Delhi-based Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
- After getting a high yield from the crops, they started increasing the area under PUSA-44 by multiplying the seed.
- By the end of 2010s, it had gained widespread popularity among farmers across the Punjab, covering approximately 70 to 80% of the area under paddy cultivation.
- However, the Agriculture Department and Punjab Agricultural University, which have never promoted it from the beginning, began discouraging farmers due to declining groundwater levels.
- By 2018, the Punjab government reduced the area under PUSA-44 to 18 per cent of the total area under paddy, but it rebounded to 22 per cent last year.
Why the ban?
- PUSA-44 is a long-duration variety, taking around 160 days to mature.
- This is around 35 to 40 days more than other varieties, requiring 5-6 extra cycles of irrigation.
- With Punjab facing severe groundwater depletion and the availability of short-duration paddy varieties, the government aims to conserve one month of irrigation water by banning the variety.
- The area under paddy, a water-intensive crop to begin with, continues to grow in the state.
- As many as 102 of the state’s 141 agricultural development blocks were declared ‘dark zones’, in which the rate of groundwater depletion exceeded the rate of recharge, and the water was available at depths of 200 to 300 feet or more – extractable only by using deep tube wells.
- This variety is also known to exacerbate the long-running issue of stubble burning in the state.
- The straw stubble or residue of the rice crop planted in the Kharif season (from July to October) is left in the fields as the winter crops (for the rabi season from November to March) are set to be planted.
- To clear their fields in time for planting the next season’s crops, farmers burn the stubble.
- In combination with certain wind movements and a variety of factors, it contributes to the severe levels of air pollution in most parts of north India during the winter.
Topic 7: New defence indigenisation list
Why in news: Defence Minister of India released the fifth Positive Indigenisation List of 98 items to be procured by the three Services from domestic sources in a staggered manner on specified timelines.
- The list lays special focus on import substitution of components of major systems, besides important platforms, weapon systems, sensors and munitions which are being developed.
- At the plenary session of “Swavlamban 2.0”, the two-day seminar of the Naval Innovation and Indigenisation Organisation (NIIO):
- 76 challenges were launched for the industry under the 10th Defence India Start-up Challenges (DISC-10) and DISC 10 PRIME of Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) and
- five problem statements under iDEX for Fauji.
- In addition, two INDUS X challenges under INDUS-X Mutual Promotion of Advanced Collaborative Technologies (IMPACT) challenges were launched.
- The items on the indigenisation list include:
- futuristic infantry combat vehicle,
- articulated all-terrain vehicles,
- several types of unmanned aerial vehicles,
- medium-range precision kill system for artillery,
- test equipment for guided weapon system for T-90 S/SK tanks,
- armour plates for cabin nose section for Mi-17 helicopter,
- automated mobile test system for OSA-AK-M air defence system,
- gravity rollers for Mi-17V5 helicopter and
- flares of P-8I and MiG 29-K aircraft.
|About iDEX:The iDEX initiative was launched in 2018.Aim:iDEX aims to achieve self – reliance and foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes and academia.iDEX has launched challenges on frontier technologies/ domains to ensure that the Services enjoy a technological edge over their adversaries.|
Topic 8: Uterus transplant
Why in news: Recently, doctors in the U.K., conducted the country’s first uterus transplant.
What is a uterus transplant?
- Unlike heart or liver transplants, uterus transplants aren’t life-saving transplants.
- Instead, they are more akin to limb or skin transplants – which improve the quality of individuals’ lives.
- Uterus transplants can help women who lack a uterus to fulfil their reproductive needs.
- India is one of a few countries to have had a successful uterine transplant.
- Surgeons determine the transplant’s success in three stages:
- In the first step of pregnancy, doctors transfer embryos prepared by in vitro fertilisation and cryopreserved to the recipient’s uterus.
- Just as with pregnancies after the transplants of other organs among women, there is a higher risk that the body will reject the uterus, or of spontaneous abortion, intrauterine death, low birthweight, or premature birth.
- The final stage of success is of course successful childbirth.
- Side effects from drugs:
- To prevent the recipient’s body from rejecting the transplanted uterus, the recipient needs to take drugs that suppress the immune system.
- These drugs are selected such that they won’t harm foetal development at any stage.
- These immunosuppressants have side-effects, including toxicity of the kidneys and bone-marrow.
- They also carry a higher risk of developing diabetes and cancer.
- For these reasons, the uterus must be removed later.
- High cost involved:
- The recipient is recommended regular follow-ups with doctors for at least a decade after the uterus’s removal to lookout for potential long-term side effects of immunosuppressants.