25, January 2018

SARAS PT1N makes its maiden flight

  • SARAS PT1N (14 seater) designed and developed by CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIR-NAL), a frontline aerospace research laboratory, has successfully made its maiden flight today. Union Minister for Science & Technology, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, has congratulated the scientists of CSIR-NAL and other agencies involved in the successful maiden flight.
  • The primary objective is to evaluate the system performance in about 20 flights and the data collected from this shall be used to freeze the design of production version aircraft. The production version aircraft will be of 19 seat capacity and will undergo civil / military certification.


  • The ‘Bharat Parv’ event  is  being  organized  by the Government  of  India  at  the   Red Fort, Delhi  from  26th to 31st  January, 2018   as  part of  the  Republic  Day  2018
  • The prime objective   of organizing the event  is  to  generate  a  patriotic  mood,  promote  the  rich  cultural  diversity  of the country and  to  ensure  wider  participation  of the  general  public.

Waste Decomposer for the Development of Organic Farming

  • NCOF launched waste decomposer culture in 2015 which is proving as miracle all over the country.
  • It is used for quick composting from organic waste, soil health improvement and as plant protection agent.
  • It is a consortium of micro-organism extracted from desi cow dung.
  • The waste decomposer is also validated by ICAR.
  • Waste decomposer application 1000 liter per acre changes biological and physical properties of all type of soil (acidic, and alkaline) within 21 days of application and it helps to generate earthworm population in the soil upto 4 lakh in 1 acre land in just six months.
  • All biodegradable material like agro waste, animal waste, kitchen waste, city waste decompose in 40 days
  • Seed treatment with waste decomposer shows 98% early and uniform germination and provides protection before sidling emergence.
  • Foliar spray with waste decomposer controls all type of bacterial, fungal and viral diseases effectively in different crops.
  • Farmers can do farming with the use of waste decompose without using chemical fertilizer and pesticides. There is no need of urea, DAP or MOP when waste decomposer is applied.
  • Waste decomposer application eliminate upto 90% uses of all types of pesticides/fungicide/insecticide since it controls both root diseases and shoots diseases.
  • NPOF scheme provides financial assistance through Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme (CISS) for agro-waste compost production units, bio-fertilizers/bio-pesticides production units, development and implementation of quality control regime, human resource development, etc.


  1. Banks’ Recap & Reforms

Source: PIB

Click here:

Govt. unveils details of recapitalisation plan for public sector banks: http://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/govt-unveils-details-of-bank-recapitalisation-and-reform-plan/article22509373.ece

  1. Udyamimitra

A digital offering of SIDBI

  • With a view to enlarge its foot print in delivery of products and services in MSME eco-system, a series of digital delight initiatives involving various portals such as sidbi.in, smallb.in, sidbistartupmitra.in, standupmitra.in has been launched by SIDBI in the recent past.
  • SIDBI Udyamimitra [www.udaymimitra.in], happens to be a new addition as another interactive portal.
  • It is an enabling platform which leverages IT architecture of Stand-Up Mitra portal and aims at instilling ease of access to MSMEs financial and non-financial service needs.

Key Features

  • The Portal, as a virtual market place endeavors to provide ‘End to End’ solutions not only for credit delivery but also for the host of Credit-plus services by way of hand holding support, application tracking, multiple interface with stakeholders (i.e. banks, service providers, applicants). The important features include.

Inclusive Access to all – It provides access to both financial (1.25 lakh bank branches) and non-financial services (17000+ handholding agencies) with three distinct features viz.

  1. Seek Handholding support;
  2. Select and apply for loans to preferred banks;
  3. Enable faster loan processing

Subsidy Schemes

  • For All
  • Central level
  • State level
  • For SC/ST
  • For Women
  • Any type of enterprise loans – MUDRA ( upto 10 lakh) Stand-Up India Scheme for SC/ST and Women- 10 lakh to 100 lakh, SME loans ( presently upto 2 crore)

  1. Commemorative summit meet and Republic Day celebrations: Ten good reasons for optimism over ASEAN

Source: Indian Express

From the unsure engagement of 40 years ago to Prime Minister Modi’s decisive shift to ‘Act East’, India-ASEAN relations have come a long way.


  • In December 1995, leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) met in Bangkok to discuss, among other things, whether to admit India as a full dialogue partner.
  • Singapore had pushed for India at a meeting of senior officials earlier, but without success.
  • Out of a sense of Islamic solidarity, Indonesia and Malaysia had insisted that Pakistan, too, should be made a full dialogue partner — a suggestion that other ASEAN countries had baulked at for fear of India-Pakistan tensions spilling over into the grouping and disrupting its meetings.
  • As Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong of Singapore entered the small room for an exclusive leaders’ retreat, one of his top officials warned him that Indonesia’s President Suharto and Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad would be unlikely to agree to admitting India if Pakistan wasn’t admitted as well.
  • At the end of the meeting, however, as the leaders were streaming out, Prime Minister Goh caught the eye of Kishore Mahbubani, permanent secretary of the Singapore Foreign Ministry and the top negotiator from the Singaporean side, and gave him a thumbs-up — indicating that India had got in alone.
  • India became a full dialogue partner of the ASEAN in 1996. Four years earlier, in 1992, it had become a sectoral dialogue partner of the grouping.

India- ASEAN:

  • As Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosts the leaders of ASEAN countries for a summit on ‘Shared Values, Common Destiny’ to commemorate 25 years of dialogue partnership — to be followed by the unprecedented attendance of all 10 ASEAN Heads of State or Government at India’s 69th Republic Day celebrations (FIRST in India 10 Countries present Republic day)— it is worthwhile to recount the background and context in which this crucial relationship developed.


  • ASEAN was founded in 1967 by Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines with the aim of containing communism in their region.
  • India, a leader of the Non-Alignment Movement, which also leaned towards the Soviet Union, wasn’t enthusiastic about what it saw as a pro-US bloc in Asia.
  • The first time a dialogue was proposed between India and ASEAN was in 1976, when Y B Chavan was External Affairs Minister.

MORE DETAILS: http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/republic-day-celebrations-commemorative-summit-meet-ten-good-reasons-for-optimism-over-asean-5038012/

Connectivity: India offers ASEAN $1 billion

  • India has offered a $1 billion Line of Credit to enhance physical and digital connectivity with ASEAN nations.
  • There was need for an early conclusion of a balanced Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership pact to boost trade and investment ties with the ASEAN countries.


  1. First India-designed vaccine passes WHO test

Source: The Hindu

For the first time, a vaccine conceived and developed from scratch in India has been “pre-qualified” by the World Health Organisation.

Key facts:

  • The Rotavac vaccine, developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech Limited last year, was included in India’s national immunisation programme.
  • To be “pre-qualified” means that the vaccine can be sold internationally to several countries in Africa and South America.
  • While several vaccines from India have been pre-qualified, this is the first that was entirely developed locally and, according to experts, is a sign that there is a credible industrial, scientific and regulatory process in place to develop vaccines in India

Rotavac Vaccine:

  • The Rotavac vaccine protects against childhood diarrhoea caused by the rotavirus and was built on strain of the virus isolated at the the All India Institute of Medical Sciences here over 30 years ago.
  • India included the Rotavac in its national immunisation in 2016, with about 35 million doses delivered till date. A dose costs between ₹55-60, according to the company.
  • The Pune-based Serum International also has developed a rotavirus vaccine called Rabishield that has also been included in India’s immunisation programme.
  • Rotavirus is responsible for an estimated 36% of hospitalisations for childhood diarrhoea around the world and for an estimated 200,000 deaths in low- and middle-income countries.

  1. Vitamin C improves the efficacy of TB drugs

Source: The Hindu

Vitamin C imposes multiple stresses on TB bacteria that resemble the host environment

  • Adding vitamin C as a nutritional supplement while treating drug-sensitive tuberculosis patients with first-line TB drugs will boost the efficiency of treatment, a study by Indian researchers shows.
  • The increase in efficiency is not because vitamin C has antibacterial activity, as was suggested by a few researchers in 2013 from in vitro studies, but by doing the complete opposite — inducing dormancy in TB bacteria.

Key facts:

  • The team found that vitamin C imposes multiple stresses on TB bacteria such as hypoxia, acid stress (where the pH is reduced to around 5.5), oxidative stress (through the generation of H2O2 and reactive oxygen species), reductive stress (due to cessation of aerobic respiration) and metabolic stress.
  • “As a result of these stresses, there is slowing down of metabolism leading to dormancy and further progression to viable but non-culturable (VBNC) state.
  • The effect of vitamin C combined with TB drugs was reproduced in an intracellular model, which is akin to human infection

Screening novel drugs

  • Besides improving the efficacy of existing TB regimen, vitamin C can help in producing subclasses of bacteria to test new drugs. For instance, due to hypoxia, the metabolism gets slowed down leading to reductive stress.
  • Lipids are formed as a compensatory mechanism and the breakdown of lipids produces energy. The AIIMS team used novel inhibitors to prevent the breakdown of lipids for energy purpose and this led to the death of TB bacteria.
  • Used with first-line drugs, vitamin C can shorten the treatment time.

  1. India ranks 177 out of 180 in Environmental Performance Index

Source: The Hindu

India is among the bottom five countries on the Environmental Performance Index 2018, plummeting 36 points from 141 in 2016, according to a biennial report by Yale and Columbia Universities along with the World Economic Forum.

  • While India is at the bottom of the list in the environmental health category, it ranks 178 out of 180 as far as air quality is concerned.

Key facts:

Despite government action, pollution from solid fuels, coal and crop residue burning, and emissions from motor vehicles continue to severely degrade the air quality for millions of Indians

  • Its overall low ranking — 177 among 180 countries — was linked to poor performance in the environment health policy and deaths due to air pollution categories.
  • The report was released on the sidelines of the ongoing World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
  • It said deaths attributed to ultra-fine PM2.5 pollutants have risen over the past decade and are estimated at 1,640,113 annually in India.
  • Switzerland leads the world in sustainability, followed by France, Denmark, Malta and Sweden in the EPI, which found that air quality is the leading environmental threat to public health.


  • India’s low scores are influenced by poor performance in in the Environmental Health policy objective. Deaths attributed to PM2.5 have risen over the past decade and are estimated at 1,640,113, annually.
  • There was no immediate reaction available from India’s Environment Ministry.
  • The 10th EPI report ranks 180 countries on 24 performance indicators across 10 categories covering environmental health and ecosystem vitality.

Pollution is particularly severe in places such as India and China, where greater levels of economic development contribute to higher pollution levels [World Bank and Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, 2016].

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