Facts in News

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    Facts in News

    5 MHz Spectrum For Railways

    Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for allotment of 5 MHz Spectrum in 700 MHz frequency band to Indian Railways and Train Collision Avoidance System (TCAS).

    • With this spectrum, Indian Railways has envisaged to provide Long Term Evolution (LTE) based Mobile Train Radio Communication on its route.
    • Applications
      • Provide secure and reliable voice, video and data communication services for operational, safety and security applications.
      • Use in modern signalling and train protection systems and ensuring seamless communication between loco pilots and guards. 
      • Enable Internet of Things (IoT) based remote asset monitoring to ensure efficient, safer and faster train operations.
    • The estimated investment in the project is more than Rs. 25,000 crore and it will be completed in the next 5 years.
    • The spectrum charges may be levied based on formula basis as prescribed by Department of Telecommunications for royalty charges and license fee for captive use as recommended by Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI).
      • TRAI is a statutory body set up by the Government of India under Section 3 of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India Act, 1997.
      • It is the regulator of the telecommunications sector in India.
    • TCAS is an indigenously developed Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system, which will help in avoiding train collisions thereby reducing accidents and ensuring passenger safety.
    • Significance
      • It brings a strategic shift in Railways’ operations and maintenance regime. 
      • It will help in improving the safety and increasing the line capacity to accommodate more trains using the existing infrastructure. 
      • The modern rail network will result in reduced transportation cost and higher efficiency.
      • It will attract multinational industries to set up manufacturing units to fulfill the ‘Make in India’ mission and generate employment.
    • Both the steps will give boost to Aatmanirbhar Bharat mission.

    Kanopus­-V Satellite

    Russia is preparing to give Iran a Kanopus-V satellite.

    • It is an advanced satellite system and will be given with a high-resolution camera.
    • It would be launched in Russia and contain Russian-made hardware.
    • Russian trainers have helped ground crews who would operate the satellite from a new site near the northern Iranian city of Karaj.
    • It would allow Iran greater monitoring of the Persian Gulf, Israeli bases and America’s troop presence in Iraq.
    • Details of the sale come at a delicate time when there are efforts to bring the US and Iran together on a common ground with respect to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

    Operation Olivia

    Recently, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has finished the execution of Operation Olivia.

    • The operation was initiated in the early 1980s and has been carried out every year by the ICG ever since.
    • It helps protect Olive Ridley turtles as they congregate along the Odisha coast for breeding and nesting from November to December.
    • Under it, round-the-clock surveillance is conducted from November till May utilising Coast Guard assets such as fast patrol vessels, air cushion vessels, interceptor craft and Dornier aircraft.
    • Olive Ridley Turtles
      • Scientific Name: Lepidochelys olivacea
      • It has one of the most extraordinary nesting habits in the natural world, including mass nesting called arribadas.
        • The 480-km-long Odisha coast has three arribada beaches at Gahirmatha, the mouth of the Devi river, and in Rushikulya, where about 1 lakh nests are found annually.
        • A new mass nesting site has been discovered in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands as well.
      • Threats
        • For Adults: Dense fishing, especially ocean-going trawlers, mechanised fishing boats and gill-netters.
        • For Eggs: Heavy predation of eggs, indiscriminate fishing with trawlers and gill nets, and beach soil erosion.
      • Protection Status
        • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
        • Wildlife Protection Act, 1972: Schedule I
        • CITES: Appendix I 

    Coffee Tree: Pyrostria Laljii 

    • A 15-meter-tall tree that belongs to the genus of the coffee family has recently been discovered from the Andaman Islands by a team of researchers from India and the Philippines. 
    • The new species, Pyrostria laljii, is also the first record of the genus Pyrostria in India.
      • The species has been named Pyrostria laljii after Lal Ji Singh, Joint Director and Head of Office, Andaman and Nicobar Regional Centre, Botanical Survey of India. 
    • Plants belonging to genus Pyrostria are usually found in Madagascar but the recently discovered species is new to science.
    • It was first reported from South Andaman’s Wandoor forest.
      • The other places in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands where the tree could be located are the Tirur forest near the Jarawa Reserve Forest and the Chidia Tapu (Munda Pahar) forest.
    • Physical features:
      • The tree is distinguished by a long stem with a whitish coating on the trunk, and oblong-ovate leaves with a cuneate base.
      • Other physical features that distinguish the tree from other species of the genus is its umbellate inflorescence with 8-12 flowers.
      • The colour of the flowers varies from white to cream, and turns brown after pollination.
      • The fruit drupes of the tree are obovoid or subglobose, green to yellow or white, when mature turning pale yellow to brown.

    Image Courtesy:TH 

    • Conservation Status:
      • Pyrostria laljii has been assessed as ‘Critically Endangered’ based on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List criteria.

    New species Pokeweed Species

    • Researchers have also discovered a new species of pokeweed named Rivina andamanensis. 
    • It was found growing under large trees, shaded and rocky areas, along with herbs and shrubby plants. “
    • This discovery of new species, representing the first record of the pokeweed family Petiveriaceae in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, adds one more family to the islands’ flora.

    Project O2

    • Recently ,Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser, Government of India (O/o PSA, GoI) initiated ‘Project O2 for India’ to ensure supply of critical raw materials such as zeolites, setting up of small oxygen plants, and manufacturing of compressors.
    • It is in an effort to raise COVID-19 response funds from private sector, companies, donor organizations, and individuals to strengthen India’s fight against COVID-19.
    • These funds will be used for producing medical oxygen for various health facilities in India through ‘Project O2’. 
    • ‘Project O2’ caters to meeting the rising demand for medical oxygen by supporting government hospitals to procure oxygen and related high priority equipment from approved manufacturers and start-ups.

    Zeolites

    • They  are crystalline solid structures made of silicon, aluminium and oxygen.
    • They occur naturally and are also produced industrially on a large scale. 
    • They are often also referred to as molecular sieves.

    FAME II

    • TVS Motor Company Limited’s Joint Managing Director welcomed the revision of FAME II subsidies for electric two-wheelers.
    • The Department of Heavy Industries under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises has been administering the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India (FAME India) Scheme.
    • The Phase-I of this Scheme was initially launched for a period of 2 years, commencing from 1st April 2015, which was subsequently extended from time to time and the last extension was allowed up to 31st March 2019. 
    • Phase-II of FAME India Scheme is being implemented for a period of 3 years with effect from April 1, 2019, with total budgetary support of Rs 10,000 crore.
    • It reflects the Centre’s commitment to reduce dependence on fossil fuel and address the issues of vehicular emissions .

    Objectives:

    • To promote the manufacturing of electric and hybrid vehicle(xEVs) technology and to ensure sustainable growth of the same.
    • To encourage Faster adoption of Electric and hybrid vehicles by way of offering upfront Incentive on purchase of Electric vehicles.
    • To establish a necessary charging Infrastructure for electric vehicles.
    • The scheme helps in addressing the issue of environmental pollution and fuel security.

    Monoclonal Antibody

    • Monoclonal antibody treatment is now seen as a relatively effective and safer alternative in treating COVID-19 patients
    • The Monoclonal Antibodies are clones of an antibody that targets one specific antigen. 
    • They are artificially created in the laboratory and bind to the spike protein of the SARs-COV-2 virus, blocking the entry to the healthy cells and protecting the body from the same.
      • Monoclonal antibodies have previously been used to treat infections such as Ebola and HIV.
    • The therapy is now said to help avoid hospitalisation in high-risk groups, progression to severe disease, and to reduce the usage of steroids.
    •  It is to be given only to mild COVID-19 patients who are not requiring oxygen, and there is high risk of progression or hospitalisation due to existing comorbidities..
    • “It seems to be a useful molecule, effective against mutant strains as well, and prevents progression of COVID if given at the right time. 
    • During monoclonal antibodies treatment there is less requirement  of steroids and other immune-suppressive drugs.
    • Monoclonal antibody treatment could prove to be a game changer in times to come if used at the appropriate time.
    •  Monoclonal antibody therapy cost ?60,000-70,000 and significantly reduced hospital stay.
    • It may reduce the burden of cost on the healthcare sector.

                                   Image Courtesy :IAVI