16 June Current Affairs
June 16, 2020
18 June Current Affairs
June 18, 2020
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17 June Current Affairs

IIT Kharagpur: AI Based Social-Distancing Monitor

In News:

The Researchers of IIT Kharagpur have developed an Artificial Intelligence based cyber-physical system to monitor social distancing in public places.


The device developed by the researchers will play a proximity alert whenever there is a violation of social distancing norms. The device captures field view and computes distances according to the criteria set by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The researchers of the institute have designed the device using inexpensive and easily accessible hardware materials.

Social Distancing:

The social distancing is non-pharmaceutical prevention of an infection. This is done by decreasing contact between the persons that are infected by the disease-causing pathogen. According to WHO, when someone has COVID-19, the minimum physical distance to stay away from him is 1 metre. The same norms are followed in India as well.

Some countries follow 2 metres of social distancing and some others follow 1.5 metres. UK follows 2 metre distancing and Australia follows 1.5 metres.

‘GermiKlean’: Developed by DRDO to sanitise uniforms of police and security personnel

In News:

The Defence Research and Development Organization has developed ‘GermiKlean’. GermiKlean is a sanitising chamber that can be used to sanitise uniforms of security and police personnel.


The DRDO developed the sanitizing chamber after the Delhi Police raised their requirement of sanitizing their helmets, uniforms, cane shields, etc.

About GermiKlean:

GermiKlean is capable of sanitizing 25 pairs of uniforms within 15 minutes using dry heat treatment. Dry heating of an article is accomplished by conduction. Heat is absorbed by the exterior surface of the article and passed inward. Dry heat kills micro organisms by causing denaturation of proteins. Denaturation is a process in which the nucleic acids lose the quaternary structure. This kills the micro organisms.

Other measures:

The DRDO has also designed sanitisation tunnel. It has come up with an idea of a mat that can be used to sanitise foot.

Deforestation of Amazon Forest: Highest in 5 years

In News:

The National Institute of Space Research (INPE) announced that the increase in deforestation of Amazon forests has been the highest in 2019 as compared to last 5 years.


The research institute has found that the deforestation has increased by 91 square kilo metre in 2019 as compared to 2018. In 2019, around 829 square kilo metres of forest has been deforested.

Key Findings:

The research institute also noted the witness of Brazilian Government on deforestation. According to Brazilian Government, amazon rainforest faced deforestation record of 829 square kilometre in May, 2020. This is the highest monthly level deforestation since 2015.

Also, the Real Time Deforestation Detection System has alerted the authorities about the increase in rate of destruction of tropical rainforest in the region.

If the deforestation pace continues, in 2020, the deforestation could reach 11,900 square kilometres.

Why the increase?

Deforestation in the region has increased after President Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019 according to conservation groups and environmental activists. According to Bolsonaro, mining and farming in the protected areas of Amazon forest were the only ways to lift the region out of poverty. His environmental policies have been widely condemned all over the world.

Also, the destruction of the forest by illegal ranchers and loggers increased by 55% between January 2020 and April 2020.

Rs 14,690 Crore disbursed under Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme

In News:

The Ministry of Finance announced that the public sector banks have so far disbursed Rs 14,690 crores for the MSMEs under the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS).


The credit line of ECLGS is the biggest component of the economic package announced by the Finance Minister under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. The Finance Minister announced that Rs 29,490 crores of loans has been sanctioned to MSMEs. Out of this, Rs 14,690 crores has been disbursed.


The Cabinet in May 2020, had approved additional funding of Rs 3 lakh crores through ECLGS at a concessional rate of 9.25% for the MSME sector. This will help to cover MUDRA borrowers broadly.

The main aim of GoI to focus on ECLGS is to provide incentive to the lending institutions, enable availability of funding to the MSME borrowers and to increase the access of funding facilities to the MSMEs.

Impacts of the Scheme:

The scheme is expected to mitigate stress caused by COVID-19 that has severely impacted manufacturing sector and other activities of MSME. It is expected to provide credit facilities at low cost and thereby help the MSMEs restart their business and meet their operational liabilities. The scheme is expected to have positive impact on the economy and also support its revival.

RBI sets up P K Mohanty Panel to Review Ownership of Private Banks

In News:

The Reserve Bank of India has constituted an internal working group. The working group is to review guidelines of ownership of private sector banks.


The panel constituted by the apex bank is to examine regulations to hold financial subsidiaries through non-operative financial holding company. The group is to be headed by the Executive Director of RBI, P K Mohanty.


The Group is to examine the existing regulation and guidelines on ownership of private sector banks. Also, the panel will suggest appropriate norms to address the issue of concentration of control and ownership of banks. The group will also review the eligibility criteria of the individuals to apply for banking license.

The Group will also study the current regulations to hold financial subsidiaries through NOFHC (Non-Operative Financial Holding Company). It will also make recommendations to migrate all the banks towards a uniform regulation.


The NOHFC was formed in 2015 to separate financial activities carried out by the same company. This will help the company carry out other commercial and industrial activities.

The entities in public sector and private sector and in Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) shall set up bank that will be owned by NOFHC. The company formed is to be registered as NBFC.

Uttar Pradesh: TrueNat machines to test COVID-19 in 75 districts

In News:

The Uttar Pradesh Government is to make the TrueNat Machines available in all 75 districts to test COVID-19. The ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) had approved the machines to conduct COVID-19 tests earlier.


The UP Government is to make the machines available in all of its districts for speedy testing of COVID-19 cases. The state has set a target of 15,000 tests per day. The target is to be achieved by the middle of June, 2020. The aim is to increase the target to 20,000 by June end.

The TrueNat machines will provide results in an hour or two. Hence, the machines will help in faster diagnosis.

Other measures:

Along with increasing COVID-19 testing, the Uttar Pradesh Government will also ensure 10 lakh jobs in six months. During this phase of employment generation, the migrant workers are to be provided greater importance.

The State Government is also finding ways to strengthen emergency services in the hospitals.

The Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh has directed the marketing committee to develop mandis to export hubs. This will help the perishable goods to be exported without time delays.

TrueNat Machines:

The TrueNat machines can run up to 32 to 48 samples. Also, they are capable of running samples for multiple diseases such as HIV, TB, COVID-19, etc.

India has around 800 TrueNat machines. A four-way machine can run up to 32 to 48 samples of multiple diseases. A two-way machine can run up to 16-24 samples. The cost of a TrueNat machine is between Rs 1000 and Rs 1500.


In News:

iFLOWS is a flood warning system that alerts flood prone areas. The warning is provided 6 to 72 hours in advance. It was launched in Mumbai.


iFLOWS was launched by the Chief Minister of Maharashtra Uddav Thackeray and Dr Harsh Vardhan, the Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare. iFLOWS is Integrated Flood Warning System. The system provides all information related to flood prone areas. The details include height the flood water could attain, vulnerability and risk elements exposed to floods and location-wise problematic areas across the wards.


The amount of rainfall is the primary source of the system. However, Mumbai being a coastal city, the system also includes details of tidal waves, storm tides for its flood assessments. The iFLOWS system also has provisions to capture urban drainage of the Mumbai city.

Modules of iFLOWS:

The iFLOWS comprises of seven modules namely Flood, Inundation, Data Assimilation, Vulnerability, risks module, decision support system and Dissemination module.

Why in Mumbai?

Mumbai being the financial capital of India is experiencing floods frequently these days. The 2017 floods had almost made the city standstill. The 2005 floods paralyzed Mumbai. In 2005, the city received rainfall of 94 cm, that was a 100 year high in a time span of just 24 hours.


The system based on location, the rain recorded, topography and forecast generates flood warnings for a specific geographical area of the city. The details are then sent to the authorities. The alert includes tide levels, rainfall information, storm surges and low-lying areas that are expected to be affected. This will help in minimizing the damages greatly evacuating people to safe areas.