02 May 2017, Current Affairs – The Hindu

GS III: Science & Technology – developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

3D-printed cartilage may help treat osteoarthritis

  • Researchers have successfully generated cartilage tissue based on patient’s own stem cells using a 3D bioprinter, an advance that could lead to new treatments for osteoarthritis.
  • The research team was able to influence the cells to multiply and differentiate to form chondrocytes (cartilage cells) in the printed structure.
  • Cartilage cells harvested from knee-surgery patients were manipulated in the laboratory and were rejuvenated to become pluripotent stem cells – cells that have the potential to develop into other different type of stem cells.
  • The stem cells were then expanded and encapsulated in a composition of nanofibrillated cellulose and printed into a structure using a 3D bioprinter.

Source: The Hindu


GS II: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes.

Background:

About PMEGP Scheme

  • Its a credit linked scheme launched on 15th August 2008.
  • Merged REGP (Rural Employment Guarantee Programme) and PMRY (Prime Minister’s Rozgar Yojana).
  • Nodal Agency: Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC)
  • Objectives:
    • generate continuous and sustainable employment  in Rural and Urban areas.
    • aimed at helping artisans, rural and urban unemployed youth get employed through setting up of micro enterprises.
    • facilitate participation of financial institutions for higher credit flow to micro sector.
  • Eligibility:
    • Individuals above 18 years of age.
    • Must have passed Class 8 to set up projects:
      • Worth Rs. 10 Lakhs and above in manufacturing.
      • Worth Rs. 5 Lakhs and above in service sector.
    • Self Help Groups and Charitable Trusts.
    • Institutions Registered under Societies Registration Act- 1860.
    • Production based Co-operative Societies.
  • Salient Features:
    • Implementation Agencies:
      • Rural Areas: KVIC & KVI Boards
      • Urban: District Industrial Centre (DIC)
    • No income ceiling for setting up of projects.
    • Assistance available only to new units to be established.
    • Existing units or units already availed any Govt. Subsidy either under State/Central Govt. Schemes are not eligible.
    • Per capita investment should not exceed Rs. 1.00 lakhs in plain areas and Rs. 1.50 lakhs in Hilly areas.
    • Maximum project cost of Rs. 25.00 lakhs in manufacturing sector and Rs. 10.00 lakhs in Service Sector.

     

    Categories of beneficiaries under PMEGP

    Beneficiary’s own contribution (of project cost)

    Rate of Subsidy

    Urban

    Rural

    General Category

    10%

    15%

    25%

    Special (including SC/ST/OBC /Minorities/ Women, Ex-Servicemen, Physically handicapped, NER, Hill and Border areas etc)

    05%

    25%

    35%

Performance of the Scheme:

The Associated Chambers Of Commerce And Industry Of India (ASSOCHAM) released the following analysis of the PMEGP scheme based on govt. data:

Job Opportunities falls by 9.5%

Sr. No. Parameters 2015 2016
1 Job Opportunities 3.5 Lakh 3.2 Lakh
2 Projects 48,100 44,300
3 Proposals under Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) 19,900 21,200
4 Trainees under Entrepreneur Development Programmes Scheme 1.4 Lakh 66,000
5 MSME’s benefitting from Marketing Assistance & Technology Upgradation Programme 359 303
6 New ideas approved as part of Entrepreneurial Development of SMEs 143 145

Analysis:

A fear of assets turning into Non Performing Assets, inefficiency in implementation, disregard of rules among the stakeholders have lead to fall in funding of projects and training of entrepreneurs:

Reasons attributable to the District Industries Centres/Govt. agencies
1.Improper scrutiny of the applications
2.Ineligible borrower’s applications being sponsored
3.Late receipt of targets, sending applications to banks in bulk
4.Unrealistic targets
5.Applications sponsored for saturated businesses
6.Unscientific way of calculation of requirements of the borrowers
7.Faulty working of Task Force Committees.
8. Unsympathetic DIC officials
9. Staff shortage
10. No assistance for recovery by DIC/Govt. agencies.
Reasons attributable to the Bankers
1. Bankers taking too much time for disbursement
2. Not serious about the implementing Govt. Schemes
3. No post sanction inspections
4. Unrealistic calculation of cost of project
5. Not filing criminal cases in case of willful default
6. Bankers not giving advantage of waiver schemes to borrowers
7. No lodgement of claims with insurance companies and OTS (One Time Settlement) schemes
8. Insufficient finance for working capital and term loans
9. Unscientific calculation of installment
10. Unscientific moratorium
Reasons attributable to borrowers
1. No skill to do the business
2. Diversion of funds
3. Willful default
4. Borrowers waiting for loan waiver of schemes
5. Marriage of lady borrowers
6. Borrowers selling assets financed without bank consent.
7. No market for the product produced
8. Borrowers joining some other employment
9. Borrowers insisting for a specific business
10. Private purposes for which loan amount used by borrowers.
Source: The Hindu,
https://apps.aima.in/ejournal_new/articlesPD /DrVishwasWadekar_Article.pdf

 

GS II: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

The 30th ASEAN Summit was held in Manila, Philippines.

Chaired by Rodrigo Duterte, President of Philippines

  • Apart from increasing trade pacts between its member countries :
    1. Brunei
    2. Cambodia
    3. Indonesia
    4. Laos
    5. Malaysia
    6. Myanmar
    7. Philippines
    8. Singapore
    9. Thailand
    10. Vietnam

the body took note on improving cooperation with China and at the same time set to complete a code of conduct urging self restraint on the South China Sea and dispute resolution by direct negotiation by mid 2017.

  • Set up Hotline communications across the foreign affairs ministries of its member countries.
  • Focused on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership which is a proposed FTA between ASEAN and 6 other states:
    1. Australia
    2. India
    3. China
    4. Japan
    5. South Korea
    6. New Zealand
  • About RCEP:
    • Launched by the Leaders of the Participating Countries in Phnom Penh in November 2012.
    • Envisages regional economic integration leading to the creation of the largest regional trading bloc in the world amounting for almost 45 per cent of the world population with a combined GDP of USD 21.4 trillion.

Source: The Hindu


GS III: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to IPR.

About GSAT – 9/South Asian Satellite

  • objective to provide various communication applications in *Ku-band with coverage over South Asian countries.
  • GSAT-9 is configured around the ISRO’s standard I-2K bus, with lift off mass of 2230 kg. The main structure of the satellite is cuboid in shape built around a central cylinder with a mission life of more than 12 years.
  • carries an electric propulsion or EP System that will eventually make advanced Indian spacecraft far lighter. It will even lower the cost of launches tangibly in the near future.
  • its immediate and potential benefits: the satellite will be flying with around 80 kg of chemical fuel – or just about 25% of what it would have otherwise carried.
  • In the long run, with the crucial weight factor coming down later even for sophisticated satellites, ISRO can launch them on its upcoming heavy rockets instead of sending them to space on costly foreign boosters.

*NOTE:

The Ku band (Kurtz-under band) is primarily used for satellite communications, particularly for editing and broadcasting satellite television. This band is split into multiple segments broken down into geographical regions, as the ITU (International Telecommunication Union) determines.

The Ku band is a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum in the microwave range of frequencies ranging from 11.7 to 12.7GHz. (downlink frequencies) and 14 to 14.5GHz (uplink frequencies).

Source: The Hinsu, isro.gov.in, http://www.tech-faq.com


GS I: Important Geophysical phenomena such as earthquakes, tsunami, volcanic activity, cyclone etc., geographical features and their location – changes in critical geographical features (including water bodies and ice caps) and in flora and fauna and the effects of such changes.

Curious case of dip, rise in Indian Seas.

Scientists say such a ‘decadal’ swing in North Indian Ocean is unique

The NIO (North Indian Ocean) comprises of the Arabian Sea, the Bay of Bengal and a part of the Indian Ocean up till the 5°S latitude.

  • From 1993 to 2003, the sea levels of the NIO fell.
  • After 2004, sea levels began an unprecedented, accelerated spike till 2014.
  • This rise and fall was even as global temperatures steadily climbed and registered
    their largest two decadal jump in more than a century.
  • The phenomena was termed as unique and was never observed in the Pacific or the Atlantic.
  • Sea levels primarily rise due to water expanding from atmospheric heat and, more water being added from, for instance, melting ice sheets and glaciers.
  • Unlike the Pacific and Atlantic, the NIO was hemmed in all sides, except for an outlet on the southern side. This influenced the rate at which heat was absorbed an flushed out from within the system.
  • According to their calculations, heat was moving out slower during after 2004 than during the 1990s.

Source: The Hindu


GS III: Food processing and related industries in India – scope and significance, location, upstream and downstream requirements, supply chain management.

Fortified foods to tackle malnutrition

What is Fortification?

Addition of key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc Vitamins A & D to staple foods such as rice, milk, salt to improve their nutritional content.

Rice_Status_March_2016

  • Malnutrition is not faced only by the people facing acute starvation but may also be present among healthy people as well due to deficiency of important nutrients in their diet.
  • To tackle the issue, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) released a set of standards and a logo last year for fortification of milk, rice, salt and oil.
  • The nutrients may or may not have been originally present in the food before processing.
  • It is a simple, proven, cost – effective and a complementary strategy in use across the globe.
  • Brands like Tata already have doubly fortified products in the market. Other players to follow suit.
  • The FSSAI (Food Safety & Standards Authority of India) is already working with local suppliers  such as flour grinding mills and get the flour premixed.
  • States which have already implemented:
    • Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh have been using fortified oil in their mid-day meal schemes.
    • West Bengal and Andaman & Nicobar Islands have been distributing fortified flour via PDS.

Image Source: Food Fortification Initiative

Source: The Hindu


Prelims Facts

Current events of national & international importance:

Operation Inherent Resolve: The NATO coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

General issues on Environmental ecology, bio diversity and climate change

getimage.dll

  • State Bird of Rajasthan: Great Indian Bustard
  • Country’s most critically endangered bird.
  • Population of about 90 which is 95% of its world population.
  • Rs. 33.85 Crores funded by the Union Govt with authorisation granted to Wildlife Institute of India to be its scientific arm.
  • Conservation facilities i.e. captive breeding centre setup at Kota and hatchery at Jaiselmer.
  • The reason for setting up the breeding centre at Kota is because the region has
    better rainfall, besides forest land, and it was home to the bustards until two decades ago.
  • What is captive breeding?

    Captive breeding is the process of breeding animals outside of their natural environment in restricted conditions in farms, zoos or other closed facilities. The choice of individual animals that are to be part of a captive breeding population, and the mating partners within that population, are controlled by humans.

    It is exceedingly difficult and must be part of a scientifically-based management plan for the species, working closely with the range country government authorities.

    It is also expensive, and should not be seen as a substitute for in-situ efforts, except in rare circumstances.

    Captive situations may interfere with the behavioural development of animals by removing them from natural predators and prey.

    Furthermore, having captive populations of animals does not solve  underlying problems of habitat destruction, which are often one of the key causes of the species’ decline.

  • a female bustard, which lays a single egg in a season, was prone to lay a second time as well. If the scientific methods succeed in enabling her to lay more eggs once the earlier ones are picked up to be transported to the hatchery, a target could be set for getting five to eight eggs per female for the next 10 years.

Image Source: Indiapost.com

Source: The Hindu,  WWF


 

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