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24th August Current Affairs

Atal Rankings of Institutions on Innovative Achievements, 2020 (ARIIA 2020)

Why in News:

Atal Rankings of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA), 2020 was released. The rankings were announced by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu.

Details:

The Vice President announced the top ten institutes in public funded and five institutes in private and self-reliance categories. IIT Madras emerged as the best institute under the institute of national importance category.

Rankings:

The institutions were ranked as follows:

Among the self finance category, SR Engineering College, Telangana topped the ARIIA Ranking 2020. In the category of private institutions, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT), Odisha was the top performer.

Under Women (only higher educational institutions), Avinashilingam Institue for Home Science and Higher Education for Women emerged as the top performer. Under the category of State Funded Autonomous Institutions, College of Engineering Pune, Maharashtra was the top performer.

The Institute of Chemical Technology, Maharashtra was the top performer in State Funded Universities category.

Categories:

The ARIIA, this year, has introduced special prize for women higher educational institutions. The other categories of the ranking include.

Therefore, in all the ranking is released under six categories including the public funded category.

Indicators of the rankings:

The major indicators of the rankings are innovations in governance of institution, innovative learning methods and courses, technology transfer and commercialisation, intellectual property generation, promotion and supporting entrepreneurship development, awareness activities that aim in promoting idea generation and innovation, support innovations and start ups, expenses spent  and revenue generated.

Background:

ARIIA, 2020 was launched by Ministry of Education. It is to be noted that the Ministry of Human Resources and Development was renamed to Ministry Education. This step was taken when the GoI unveiled National Education Policy, 2020.

The ARIIA is implemented by All India council for Technical Education (AICTE).

In 2019, IIT Madras emerged as the top Innovative Institution and also was one of the top 10 institutes in Public funded categories.

ADB approves 1 billion USD for Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System

Why in News:

The Asian Development Bank approved 1 billion USD loan to support construction of modern high-speed Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System in India. The system is first of its kind.

Details:

The system aims to help improve regional connectivity by establishing transit options connecting Delhi and Meerut in Uttar Pradesh. The system is the first of the three priority rail corridors in the integrated transport network of NCR Regional Plan 2020-21.

The project is to finance construction of station buildings, railway tracks, maintenance facilities, power supply and traction. Also, it will use advanced and high technology signaling systems that will have multimodal hubs that will ensure smooth interchange with transport modes.

Other funds to the project:

Apart from the ADB, the Indian Government will also 1.89 billion USD. The ADB’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction will also support various activities. This includes provisions for mobility aids such as wheel chairs for the differently abled, visual and hearing aids, etc.

The project will also train women and the differently abled on safe mobility. It will also deliver better urban environment through systematic land use planning, reduced air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions.

Background:

Delhi accounts to 37% of population of the National Capital Region. Thus, the project will help to decongest the city. It will also provide safe and reliable seamless travel.

Ashok Lavasa:

On August 18, 2020, Ashok Lavasa resigned as Election Commissioner. He is to serve as the Vice President of Asian Development Bank from September 2020. He is a 1980 batch IAS officer.

Asian Development Bank:

The bank was established in 1966. The headquarters of the bank is located in Manila, Philippines. The bank was closely modelled to the World Bank. As of December 2019, India has received a total of 47.96 billion loan from the bank. This is mainly for projects such as transport, education, energy, finance, public sector management, agriculture, rural development, health and ICT.

NASA confirms dent in the Earth’s Magnetic field

Why in News:

The NASA Scientists have discovered a small but an evolving dent in the earth’s magnetic field. The dent has been found over South America and South Atlantic Ocean. It is an unusually weak spot and is called South Atlantic Anomaly.

Details:

The Earth’s magnetic field acts as a protective shield to the planet as it repels and traps charged particles from the sun.

What is the issue?

The South Atlantic Anomaly allows the charged particles to dip closer to the earth’s surface than normal. This knocks out onboard computers and is capable of interfering with data collection from satellites. Thus, it is important to learn about the magnetic dent and find solutions.

South Atlantic Anomaly:

The South Atlantic Anomaly arises due to two features of the Earth’s core. They are tilt of magnetic axis and the flow of molten metals within the outer core.

Earth is a magnet. The north and south poles are its polarities. Invisible magnetic field lines are encircling the planet between the poles. However, unlike bar magnet, the core magnetic field, that is the magnetic lines inside the earth (magnet) is not aligned with that of the outer lines. This because, the field originates from the outer core of the earth. The churning metals act as massive generator called Geo Dynamo. The dynamo creates electric currents that produces magnetic field. This magnetic field interacts with the earth’s magnetic field causing the anomaly.

Now the core motion is also changing due to geodynamic conditions within the core and also at the boundary. This is fluctuating the magnetic field in space and time as well.

Van Allen Belts:

The Sun expels constant particles known as solar wind. When this solar material is streamed across space and strikes the Earth’s magnetosphere, the space occupied by the magnetic field of the earth can become trapped. This is held in two donut shaped belts around the planet called Van Allen Belts.

European Space Agency:

In May 2020, the Swarm Constellation Mission of the European Space Agency updated the development of South Atlantic Anomaly. According to the mission, the earth’s magnetic field has lost around 9% of its strength in 200 years. Between 1970 and 2020 the strength has dropped from 24,000 nanotesla to 22,000 nanotesla.

Swarm Constellation Mission:

It was the first constellation of satellites of European Space Agency for Earth Observation. The constellation consists of three satellites to measure magnetic fields of the earth.

Drone based Surveillance System introduced in Indian Railways

Why in News:

The Ministry of Railways announced that the drone-based surveillance system is to be introduced for the purpose of railway security.

Details:

The Railway Protection Force has so far procured drones at a cost of Rs 32 lakhs. The drones are to be implemented in Central Railway, South Eastern Railway, Central Railway and South Western Railway.

About the Drones:

In order to implement the surveillance, the Ministry has procured Ninja UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle). The drones are capable of video streaming and real time tracking.

Drone Categories in India:

The registration of drones of all categories are essential except for the nano category. The categories of drones in India are as follows.

Required Drone Equipment in India:

India has specific requirement in regard to the type of feature a drone should have to fly in Indian skies. This excludes Nano category. The features are GPS, anti-collision light, return to home, ID plate, RFID, a flight controller with flight data logging capability.

National Drone Policy:

The National Drone Policy of India came into effect on December 1, 2018. It is called the Drone Regulations 1.0. The policy clarifies when, where and how drones can be operated within India.

Digital Sky Portal:

It is an online platform for the drones to register. It is a part of an enforcement system designated as No Permission No Takeoff. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation is the authority responsible for providing permission to fly drones in Indian skies. The permission is provided through a Unique Identification Number.

The user has to pay fees of Rs 1000 to obtain the UNI or the Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit.

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