GENERAL STUDIES PAPER 2
Topic: Skill development
Cabinet approves Revamped Khelo India Programme
- The revamped Khelo India programme at a cost of Rs.1,756 crore for the period 2017-18 to 2019-20.
- This Program aims at mainstreaming sport as a tool for individual development, community development, economic development and national development.
- The revamped Khelo India Programme would impact the entire sports ecosystem, including infrastructure, community sports, talent identification, coaching for excellence, competition structure and sports economy.
- An unprecedented Pan Indian Sports Scholarship scheme, which would cover 1,000 most talented young athletes each year across select sports disciplines.
- Each athlete selected under the scheme shall receive an annual scholarship worth Rs. 5.00 lakh for 8 consecutive years.
- This is the first time ever that a long-term athlete development pathway would be made available to gifted and talented youngsters to excel in competitive sports and will create a pool of highly competitive athletes who can compete to win at the world stage.
- The Program aims to promote 20 universities across the country as hubs of sporting excellence, which would enable talented sports persons to pursue the dual pathway of education and competitive sports.
- The Program also aims at creating an active population with healthy life-style.
- The Program would cover about 200 million children in the age group of 10-18 under a massive national physical fitness drive, which will not only measure the physical fitness of all children in the age group, but also support their fitness related activities.
- The power of sport in promoting gender equity and social inclusiveness is also fully recognized and special measures are provided for to achieve these objectives.
- The programme also aims at engaging youth living in disturbed and deprived areas, in sporting activities, to wean them away from unproductive and disruptive activities and mainstream them in the nation-building process.
- The programme strives to raise the standards of competition, both at school and college level, to have maximum access to organized sports competitions.
- It also includes the use of latest user-friendly technology in all aspects of sports promotion such as, use of mobile apps for dissemination of sports training; National Sports Talent Search portal for talent identification; interactive website for indigenous sports; GIS based information system for locating and using sports infrastructure, etc.
- This programme strives to promote “Sports for All” as well as “Sports for Excellence.”
GENERAL STUDIES PAPER 3
Topic: Science and Technology
Attaining New Heights in Biotechnology
- Dept of BioTechnology announces three High-investment, High Outcome Thrusts for the North East Region
- The Department of Biotechnology (DBT) under the Ministry of Science & Technology, has taken many steps to brings about a paradigm shift in biotechnology in the country’s North-East Region (NER).
- DBT has announced a series of new programs and missions.
- DBT has established a dedicated ‘North Eastern Region Biotechnology Programme Management Cell (NER-BPMC)’, with an annual investment of Rs. 180 crores, to evolve, implement and foster biotechnology research in the north east states.
- On the occasion of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Birth Centenary, the Minister of S&T, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forests & Climate Change, announced three major new initiatives for the North East which are in congruence to the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya’s philosophy of “Integral Humanism” which is a synthesis of the material and the spiritual, the individual and the collective, which the world is now calling as “One Health” embodying the health of human, animal and environment as one.
- Phyto-Pharma Plant Mission:
- This Mission aimed at conservation and cultivation of endangered and threatened endemic medicinal plants, and discovery of new botanical drugs for unmet medical needs using the rich traditional ethno-botanical knowledge and biodiversity of these states and at the same time also improve availability of authentic and quality botanical raw material on sustainable basis for a boom in the phyto-pharmaceutical industry.
- Through this Mission, it is expected to enable farmers from NE states and phyto-pharmaceutical industry to become global leaders in production and export of some quality botanical drugs for unmet medical needs.
- For this Mission, DBT will be the nodal coordinating and implementing department and work closely with Ministry of DONER and other identified institutions.
DBT has announced launch of the Phyto-pharmaceutical Mission in NER with three major objectives:
- Captive cultivation of selected medicinal plants of NER, which have great demand to ensure supply of authentic and quality botanical raw material to the user industries in the country.
- Development of technology packages for production of GMP grade medicinal plant extracts for export markets.
- Production of safe and efficacious phytopharmaceuticals from medicinal plants of NER for unmet medical needs using modern scientific tools and following global standards.
- Brahmaputra Biodiversity and Biology Boat (B4)
- Brahmaputra Biodiversity and Biology Boat (B4) on the Brahmaputra River, a major ecology hotspot, in NER, in collaboration with DONER, will establish a large barge on the river with a well-equipped laboratory for analysis of all components of the entire ecosystem of the river and surroundings.
- The B4 will link to all the local research institutions along the river, as well as national and international laboratories.
- B4 will have capability to analyse soil, water, environment, plant and animal life, human health and agriculture and an equal component that involves local citizens in the experimental process of science in data generation and management.
- B4 will also have a teaching laboratory for school/college children. It is also proposed to have mobile satellite boat labs, which will run along the tributaries of Brahmaputra to feed in data to the main B4.
- Frugal microscopy through the Foldscope:
- A frugal microscope assembled from simple components, including a sheet of paper and a lens, is acting as a tool connecting students and science from the region, with the rest of the country.
DBT has many major ongoing projects in the North-East in the following areas:
- Skilling Human Resources:
Twinning R&D Programme:
- DBT has initiated 480 R&D twinning programs that link institutes in NER with those across the country.
- To create an environment of training and research in medial biotechnology, DBT has supported Medical Diagnostic facilities at 11 medical colleges in NER.
- This facility is providing quality diagnostic services as well as carrying out research on various health problems prevalent in the region using modern biotechnology tools and technologies.
- DBT’s ‘Overseas Associateship for North East Region’ has seen 208 scientists from NER being trained overseas.
- Through the DBT-NER Visiting Research Professorship (VRP) Scheme, 30 Scientists/Faculty are selected for bringing advancement in the field of biotechnology and life sciences in various institutions by sharing their vast experience and expertise with NER researchers and students.
- At school levels, DBT has launched the ‘Biotechnology Labs in Senior Secondary schools (BLiSS) programme’, a first of its kind in India, for schools where biotechnology labs have been set up at 88 Senior Secondary Schools from NER.
- For universities, DBT has set up 30 Bioinformatics Centre for conducting research on genomics, proteomics and data analysis.
- Under the ‘Biotech Industrial Training Programme’, deserving students have been provided stipends during their training at biotech/life science industries.
- DBT is also supporting 15 institutes in NER recognised as ‘Star colleges’ to provide them with enhanced lab infrastructure and mentoring by leading scientists and Fellows of various national academies.
- To provide these students with access to world-class journals and publications, the DBT e-Library consortium (DeLCON) has been launched in partnership with 18 institutions of NER, which provides access to more than 900 high impact e-journals.
- Infrastructure and Resource building
- DBT has established 126 ‘Biotech Hubs’ at various institutions, universities and colleges to promote education, training and research in biological sciences including biotechnology.
- About 1000 training programmes were conducted by these hubs, with more than 1000 students, researchers and school teachers as beneficiaries.
- DBT has also created biotech infrastructural facilities at North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS), Shillong.
- The DBT-AAU Centre of Excellence on Agriculture Biotechnology at Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Jorhat, promotes agriculture biotechnology research and is helping farmers by developing elite varieties for local crops and improving their yield.
- The Centre of Excellence on Fisheries & Aquaculture Biotechnology (FAB) in Tripura has adopted 2 villages to provide local fishermen with good quality fish seeds to produce high quality fish products, benefiting 200 farmers.
- DBT has also sanctioned for the establishment of a regional level Animal House facility at Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC), Dibrugarh in Assam, which will be accessible to entire biomedical research community of NER for carrying out critical animal experiments in disease biology, molecular medicine, vaccinology and pharmacology.
- To conserve the delicate ecology of the region, DBT has a major network programme on chemical ecology of NER in collaboration with leading institutions in India like IISc, NCBS, and UAS Bangalore.
- DBT is also pushing for the development of ‘NER-Scented Rice’ — a biotechnology inspired variant of the aromatic rice, and NER-Banana.
- The aromatic rice of NER, especially Joha and Black rice, are of premium value because of their aroma and high medicinal characteristics. But, these are also poor yielders and are susceptible to pest attacks.
- DBT is now seeking innovative approaches that use biotechnological intervention to ameliorate the agronomic characteristics of this aromatic rice and other scientific properties, besides yield enhancement.
Topic: Disaster Management
India to conduct the First ‘BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017’ from October 10-13
- The First ‘BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise- 2017’ (BIMSTEC DMEx-2017) will be conducted by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) as the lead agency in Delhi and the National Capital Region (NCR).
- The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people, constituting around 22% of the global population with a combined GDP of US $2.7 trillion economy.
- Majority of the BIMSTEC countries are situated in the South Asian Region (SAR), prone to natural disasters such as floods, cyclones, earthquakes, avalanches and drought.
- This Exercise will be a platform for sharing Best Practices on all aspects of Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), strengthening regional response and coordination for Disaster Management among the BIMSTEC member countries.
- At the 17th BIMSTEC Senior Officials Meeting held in Kathmandu, Nepal on February 7, 2017, it was decided that India would organize the first annual Disaster Management Exercise for the region.
- The main focus of the BIMSTEC DMEx-2017 will be on testing the region’s preparedness and resilience towards effective activation of inter-Governmental interaction/dialogue/agreements for immediate deployment of regional resources for disaster response.
- It will help create synergy and synchronize efforts to institutionalize regional cooperation among the member countries.
- The exercise will help strengthen the effective utilization of the Search & Rescue Teams for Disaster Relief & Emergency Response, including Emergency Rapid Assessment Teams and Management of mass casualties especially in situations involving breakdown of infrastructure and communication.
- India has also offered its expertise and capabilities in DRR such as the South Asia satellite, GSAT-9, and the Tsunami Early Warning Centre to other countries.