IDEAthon launched by Jal Shakti ministry
On May 2, 2020, the National Mission for Clean Ganga operating under Ministry of Jal Shakti launched “IDEAthon”. It focuses on “The Future of River Management” to explore how the COVID-19 crisis will change the river management strategies.
The IDEAthon event examined how social angle of rivers can be leveraged to address the crisis. It also discussed about the lessons taught by COVID-19 crisis.
The event finalized that more attention is required towards river management. Also, it highlighted the interconnectivity of cities with the river. The river cities require special focus in creating awareness about the ecological importance and economic potential of the rivers to help the cities.
The IDEAthon had created a framework called River Management in a city’s Urban river management plan.
The Namai Gange Programme is to bring out a policy based on the suggestions provided by IDEAthon.
The Namami Gange, also called the National Mission for Clean Ganga was launched in 2011. The initiative focuses on controlling the pollution of River Ganga. The main pillars of the mission include sewerage treatment, industrial effluent monitoring, bio-diversity, development of river surface cleaning, afforestation, and public awareness.
In order to implement the scheme India has joined hands with Germany.
UV Blaster: Disinfection Tower developed by DRDO
The Defence Research and Development Organization has developed Ultra Violet Disinfection Tower for chemical free and rapid disinfection. The tower is to be highly helpful in high infection prone areas.
The equipment named UV Blaster is a UV based sanitizer that was designed and developed by DRDO. It is highly helpful for disinfecting high tech surfaces such as computers, electronic equipment and other gadgets. UV Blaster is helpful in offices where chemical methods may not be suitable.
The product is also very much suitable in areas where chemical methods cannot be implemented.
The UV Disinfection tower can be operated through mobile phone or laptop remotely. There are six lamps each of 43 watts. The lamps emit Ultra Violet light of wavelength 254 nm in 360 degrees of illumination. The tower will switch off during human intervention or accidental opening of the room. The device also provides arm operation.
DRDO and COVID:
The DRDO has been developing several new technologies and products to help in disinfection, sample collection, cost effective personal protective equipment. Several of these technologies were transferred to private sector companies. Recently DRDO developed ATULYA, a microwave sterilizer to help disinfecting COVID-19. DRDO had also developed a kiosk for COVID-19 sample collection.
Saras Collection launched on the Government E-Marketplace portal, GeM
On May 4, 2020, the Union Ministry of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj launched the “The Saras Collection” on the GeM (Government E Marketplace) platform. The Saras Collection aims to promote daily utilities made by self-help groups.
The initiative is a joint effort of the Ministry of rural development, GeM and Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihood Mission (DAY-NRLM). Under the initiative, the SHGs (Self Help Groups) will list their products in 5 different categories namely office accessories, handicrafts, handloom and textiles, grocery and pantry and personal care and hygiene.
During the first phase, around 913 SHGs were registered and 442 products were added. The SHGs were from 11 different states. The 11 states include Maharashtra, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh. Kerala, Rajasthan, Odisha, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh.
The GeM under the initiative has provided a dashboard at national, state, district and block level in order to provide real time information about the products that are being uploaded by the SHGs.
The GeM is a government owned portal that was set up as National Public Procurement Portal in order to procure goods and services that are required by the central and state governments. The platform helps to reduce human intervention.
Draft Guidelines issued for Satellite TV channels
The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has issued draft guidelines for satellite TV channels.
The Ministry has listed 11 violation under the guidelines. It includes delay in intimating the ministry about the change in shareholding pattern of the company, appointing a director without the permission of the ministry, not removing a director who has been denied with security clearance, showing logo that is not permitted by the ministry, etc.
If any of the 11 clauses are violated the ministry would warn, impose penalty or even prohibit broadcast up to 10 days.
According to the guidelines, the channels need not get clearance ever year. Also, the permits will be provided to the Indian teleports for up linking foreign channels to increase their business. For now, the channels registered under ‘news’ category are allowed to make live telecasts. The rest of the channels have to get permission from the ministry to telecast live events. However, under the guidelines, these non-news channels are allowed to live telecast after registering themselves under “Broadcast seva”.
Since 1997, the giving preference to Indian satellite was always an integral part of the policies of GoI. However, this time the guidelines say that the only criteria to use a satellite channel is that it should be uplinked on C band or Ku band.
C band and Ku band:
The Ku band uses frequencies between 12 GHz and 19 GHz. The C band uses radio frequency between 4 GHz and 8 GHz.
Arogya Setu Mitr launched
Under the public-private partnership, the initiative called Arogya Setu Mitr was launched. The feature is to be available in the Arogya Setu application. It is offer free COVID-19 related consultation.
In partnership with the Tech Mahindra, Tata Group and Swasth the Arogya Setu Mitr was launched. It will offer free online consultation to COVID-19 with the data provided by the three private sector firms and government entities.
The Arogya Setu Mitr is to perform as an individual site. It cannot access data from the application Arogya Setu. It was initiated with the advice of Niti Aayog and principal and scientific advisor of the Prime Minister.
The Tata Bridigital Health has been included in the network as it offers video, audio and chat consultations to more than 100 doctors. The Tech Mahindra platform offers audio and video consultations through doctors from Nightingale and other hospitals.
The initiative includes free tele-consultation to those who have COVID-19 like symptoms. It will also provide ancillary services at market rates. This includes home collection of samples, medicine delivery, etc.
The Arogya Setu application was launched to achieve contact tracing of COVID-19. The application helps to track people infected by the virus. It uses GPS and Bluetooth features in smart phones in order to achieve this. It was developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC).
Bamboo Conclave held through video Conference
The Minister of State for North East Development held Bamboo Conclave through video conference to boost the economy of the country with the help of Bamboo resources.
The Ministers of Agriculture and minister of development of North East participated in the conference. The making of Agarbatti and increasing its production was one of the key discussions of the conclave. The total requirement of Agarbatti in India is 2,30,000 per year. The market value of total consumption is Rs 5,000 crore. However, still India is importing Agarbatti from countries like Vietnam and China. The North Eastern Region can help India in becoming self sufficient in the area in the post-COVID era.
In order to boost bamboo production and help the tribal and farmers utilize bamboo to make a living, the Indian Forest Act was amended in 2017.
North East region of India consists of 60% of bamboo reserves of the country. In the past six years, the GoI has given equal importance to the bamboo sector as that of the north east development. Also, The National Bamboo Mission was launched.
National Bamboo Mission:
The restructures Bamboo mission was approved in 2018 and implemented in 2019-20. The mission is being implemented in non-forest Government lands. It aims to provide supplement farm incomes to farmers. Apart from the North Eastern States, the mission was launched in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Odisha, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and Tamil Nadu.