Indigenous High Temperature Fuel Cell System
The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind, unveiled the first Indigenous High Temperature Fuel Cell System on the occasion of CSIR Foundation Day at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
The system has been developed by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in partnership with Indian industries.
It has been developed under India’s flagship program named “New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI).”
The 5.0 kW fuel cell system generates power in a green manner using methanol / bio-methane, with heat and water as bi-products for further use; amounting to greater than 70% efficiency, which otherwise may not be possible by other energy sources.
The Fuel Cells developed are based on High Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (HTPEM) Technology.
This development would replace Diesel Generating (DG) sets and help reduce India’s dependence on crude oil.
In the field of clean energy, Fuel Cell distributed power generation systems are emerging as promising alternative to grid power. It carries immense national importance in terms of non-grid energy security.
Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Awards 2019
President of India announced the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Awards 2019, the highest multidisciplinary science awards in India, on the occasion of CSIR Foundation Day.
Given by: Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)
When given: it is an annual award. The names of the recipients are traditionally declared by the Director General on every 26 September, which is the CSIR Foundation Day.
Prizes: The prize is divided into seven disciplines, namely: (1) Physical Sciences, (2) Chemical Sciences, (3) Biological Sciences, (4) Medical Sciences, (5) Mathematical Sciences, (6) Engineering Sciences and (7) Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Science. Further, each discipline can have multiple winners (maximum 2 individuals).
Prize money: ₹5 lakh.
The award is named after Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (1894 – 1955), the first director-general of the CSIR and the first Chairman of the UGC. In 1954 he was awarded Padma Bhushan.
Kalam Centre for Science and Technology
DRDO and Central University of Jammu signed a MoU to set up Kalam Centre for Science and Technology.
Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO), Ministry of Defence and Central University of Jammu (CUJ) have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the establishment of Kalam Centre for Science and Technology (KCST) at the university.
The main objective of the MoU is to facilitate multidisciplinary directed basic and applied research and technology development in the field of Computational System Security and Sensors.
Right Livelihood Award
Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, 16, was among four people named as the winners of a Right Livelihood Award. She shares the award with Brazilian indigenous leader Davi Kopenawa of the Yanomami people, Chinese women’s rights lawyer Guo Jianmei and Western Sahara human rights defender Aminatou Haidar.
Background: The annual Right Livelihood Award was created in 1980 by Swedish-German philanthropist Jakob von Uexkull.
Objective: It honours courageous people and organisations offering solutions to the root causes of global problems, that the prize founder, felt were being ignored by the Nobel Prizes.
Categories: Unlike most other international prizes, the Right Livelihood Award has no categories.
Recipients: It is usually shared by four Recipients, but may vary from year-to-year.
This year, The four laureates will received a cash award of 1 million Swedish crowns ($103,000) each.
Not always all Laureates receive a cash award. Often an Honorary Award is given to a person or group whose work the Jury wishes to recognise but who is not primarily in need of monetary support.
Award ceremony: It is Presented annually in Stockholm, Sweden.
Although it is promoted as an “Alternative Nobel Prize”, it is not a Nobel prize and does not have any organizational ties to the awarding institutions of the Nobel Prize or the Nobel Foundation.
Prime Minister Modi met with the leaders of the CARICOM group of countries on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
Key highlights of meeting:
It was the first-ever meeting of PM Modi with CARICOM leaders in a regional format.
PM Modi announced a USD 14 million grant for community development projects in the CARICOM and another 150 million Line of Credit for solar, renewable energy and climate- change related projects.
He also announced the setting up of the Regional Center for Excellence in Information Technology in Georgetown, Guyana and the Regional Vocational Training Center in Belize.
It was decided to set up a Joint Task Force to expeditiously look into possible areas of cooperation and identify the way forward.
Task Force On Direct Tax Code (DTC)
The task force on direct tax code (DTC) has recommended abolishing dividend distribution tax (DDT) with a view to promote investment.
Dividends paid by a domestic company are subject to dividend distribution tax (DDT) at 15 per cent of the aggregate dividend declared, distributed or paid.
The effective rate is 20.35 per cent, including a 12 per cent surcharge and a 3 per cent education cess.
View of the task force on direct tax code (DTC):
It has recommended abolishing DDT with a view to promote investment.
According to it, DDT is a surrogate tax and it hinders foreign direct investment inflows. Also, there are hardly any revenue loss by removing DDT, since it will be offset by the taxes paid by shareholders.
The panel favours replacing DDT with a classical system of taxation under which dividend receipts be declared as normal income.
International Astronomical Union (IAU)
According to the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the second interstellar object has been officially detected in our solar system.
Name: In 2I/Borisov, I stands for “interstellar”, and 2 for being the second interstellar object ever discovered, after ‘Oumuamua, which was detected in October 2017. The name Borisov honors its discoverer, Crimean amateur astronomer Gennady Borisov.
Significance: 2I/Borisov is the first observed interstellar comet and second observed interstellar Object, after ʻOumuamua.
Journey: The comet is currently inbound towards the Sun, and will reach its closest approach (perihelion) on December 8 at a distance of 300 million kilometres (190 million miles) – about twice the average distance of Earth from the Sun.
Features: It’s between 2 and 16 kilometres in diameter. its chemical composition is similar to the Solar System’s long-period comets that originate in the distant Oort Cloud, rather than the short-period comets that come from closer in.
Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence Test (DMIT)
Doctors in India have questioned the effectiveness of Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence Test (DMIT), by calling it “medical palmistry”.
Dermatoglyphics is an analysis of fingerprint patterns. Dermatoglyphics originates from two Greek words i.e. Derma (Skin) and Glyphe = Curve.
Multiple Intelligence is a scientific Method of understanding Brain Lobes and its usages.
So, Dermatoglyphics Multiple Intelligence Test (DMIT) is a combined study of Brain Lobes, 9 Multiple Intelligence and Human Psychology with the help of fingerprints. In the test, the unique fingerprints and dermal ridge patterns of individuals are studied.
DMIT is a popular test used on school children as a “scientific” study of fingerprints patterns and human brain lobes to determine the “intrinsic potential in a child”.
Voluntary Code Of Ethics
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp have agreed to follow the “voluntary code of ethics” in all future elections, including the upcoming Maharashtra and Haryana assembly polls.
Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) on behalf of its members has agreed to observe the “Voluntary Code of Ethics” during all future elections including the ongoing General Elections to the Haryana & Maharashtra legislative assemblies.
The code, which was derived to act against paid advertisements that violate norms set by the Election Commission, came into force on March 20 in the last Lok Sabha polls. During the last Lok Sabha polls, social media platforms took action on 909 violative cases reported by the EC.
This was the for the first time internet-based companies voluntarily adopted the norms for online poll campaign.
The key features of “Voluntary Code of Ethics” are as follows:
No political campaign will be allowed to be run on social media platforms in the last 48 hours before polling ends. This period is referred to as “silence period” to allow voters take a considered decision without the heat and dust of campaign on whom to vote.
Social Media platforms will voluntarily undertake information, education and communication campaigns to build awareness including electoral laws and other related instructions.
Social Media platforms have created a high priority dedicated grievance redressal channel for taking expeditions action on the cases reported by the ECI.
Social Media Platforms and ECI have developed a notification mechanism by this ECI can notify the relevant platforms of potential violations of Section 126 of the R.P. Act, 1951 and other electoral laws.
Platforms will ensure that all political advertisements on their platforms are pre-certified from the Media Certification and Monitoring Committees as per the directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court.
Participating platforms are committed to facilitate transparency in paid political advertisements, including utilising their pre-existing labels/disclosure technology for such advertisements.
India TB Report 2019
The Union Health Ministry released the India TB Report 2019.
Key highlights of report:
There was a 16% increase in the number of TB cases in 2018 as compared to the previous year. 21.5 lakh TB cases were notified to the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) in 2018.
India accounted for a quarter of the Global TB burden with an estimated 27 lakh new cases in 2018.
Of the total notifications, 25% (5.4 lakh) cases were from the private sector; a 40% increase over last year.
Among the notified, treatment was initiated for about 19.1 lakh cases (90%) across both public and private sectors.
The majority of the affected individuals (89%) were in the age group 15-69.
Uttar Pradesh accounted for 20% of all notifications (187 cases/lakh population).
Odisha witnessed a decline in the number of notified cases from over 67,000 in 2017 to 50,244 in 2018, or about 25%. Odisha was the only such state; the Union Territories of Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands too witnessed a drop.
The two UTs of Delhi and Chandigarh had the highest number of notified patients per lakh population, at 417 and 468, respectively. Their rates of notification are higher because people from many other parts of India get notified from these UTs.
TB is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality among people living with HIV, and HIV co-infection rates among incident TB patients is estimated to be 3% — 86,000 HIV-associated TB patients are emerging annually. 11,000 people with HIV die every year due to TB.