TABLE OF CONTENTS
A. GS1 Related B. GS2 Related GOVERNANCE 1. Survey launched to rank States on rural cleanliness C. GS3 Related D. GS4 Related E. Editorials SOCIO ECONOMIC GROWTH ISSUES 1. Raising the quality of higher education across the board should be a priority SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY 1. Revolutionise 3D medical imaging F. Tidbits 1. ‘DNA profiles won’t be kept permanently’ 2. We’re not a surveillance state: SC 3. NGT to hear pleas via videoconference 4. U.S. steel tariff may impact India indirectly: Minister G. Prelims Fact H. UPSC Prelims Practice Questions I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
A. GS1 Related
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B. GS2 Related
Swachh Survekshan Grameen
- The Centre has launched the Swachh Survekshan Grameen, 2018, a nationwide survey of rural India to rank the cleanest and dirtiest States and districts on the basis of qualitative and quantitative evaluation.
- A random selection of 6, 980 villages across 698 districts will be surveyed during the month of August, following which the Swachh Survekshan Grameen awards are expected to be announced in time for Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary on October 2.
- This is the first comprehensive survey for rural India, which has been launched after three successful editions of a similar survey in urban India.
- The rankings will be based on three basic parameters: direct observation of public places by independent surveyors, service-level progress using data from the Swachh Bharat Mission’s information system and citizens’ feedback.
- The feedback will be solicited through village meetings, online feedback and direct interviews, as well as discussions with key influencers such as local officials, elected representatives and anganwadi workers.
- Swachh Survekshan is a ranking exercise taken up by the Government of India to assess rural and urban areas for their levels of cleanliness and active implementation of Swachhata mission initiatives in a timely and innovative manner.
- The objective of the survey is to encourage large-scale citizen participation and create awareness amongst all sections of society about the importance of working together towards making towns and cities a better place to live in.
- Additionally, the survey also intends to foster a spirit of healthy competition among towns and cities to improve their service delivery to citizens, towards creating cleaner cities and towns.
- The Ministry of Urban Development, Government of India takes up the Swachh Survekshan in urban areas and the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation in rural areas.
- The Quality Council of India (QCI) has been commissioned the responsibility of carrying out the assessment.
C. GS3 Related
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D. GS4 Related
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- The government had the theme of excellence in its 2016 annual budget, with a proposal to make 10 institutions each in the public and private sectors globally competitive.
- The challenge of excellence is to develop liberal institutions founded on academic rigour, high scholarship and equitable access for all classes of students.
- The Ministry of Human Resource Development has taken the decision to give Institution of Eminence (IoE) status to six institutes
Research output of India among other countries
- The growth of these and other national institutions will also depend on policies to raise the expenditure on R&D as a percentage of GDP.
- Among countries with a comparable research output, India with 0.8% R&D spending trails Russia, Brazil, South Korea and even Singapore, according to UNESCO data.
The three pillars for growth.
- Inclusion and
Institution of Eminence (IoE) status to six institutes.
- Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru,
- The Indian Institutes of Technology at Mumbai and Delhi,
- The proposed Jio Institute of the Reliance Foundation,
- The Jio Institute in Maharashtra — which has been chosen in the greenfield category
- The Manipal Academy of Higher Education
- BITS, Pilani.
- Three each from the public and private sectors.
- Potentially, this will help the select few rise above the many State, Central and private universities, national-level institutes of technology, science, management and humanities, and attract talent.
- While it is a creditable achievement, the recognition raises the bar for the chosen few: the IITs at Mumbai and Delhi and the IISc in the public category, and BITS Pilani and the Manipal Academy of Higher Education, which are private. Giving the tag to Jio Institute, which is yet to come up, generated understandable controversy.
Issues at hand
- It should be ensured that this conditional recognition is fulfilled transparently, and that it meets the requirements on governance structure, infrastructure and faculty within three years.
- That there is need for urgent reform became clear during the selection process: the empowered committee found that State universities had a low output because some of them had several faculty members recruited on contract basis, with no incentive to do research.
- Such ad hocism must end, and public universities should be insulated from political pressures. Vice-chancellors should be appointed on merit, free of ideological biases.
- With good governance structures and significant new financial grants, the selected public institutions will be able to innovate on courses and encourage research.
- The quality is uneven, and at the bottom levels, abysmal. At the same time, initiatives by charitable trusts — which have declined due to political support for commercialisation and aid cuts — must be welcomed, as this would help open more affordable colleges and universities.
- The idea of developing centres of higher learning advances the Nehruvian vision of building ‘temples of modern India’.
- Islands of eminence can inspire, but the long-term goal should be to raise the quality of higher education in all institutions through academic reform.
- The Institution of Eminence (IoEs) can become models of autonomy, academic innovation and equity of access, and lead to a transformation of higher education.
Why in news?
- Half a century after Sir Godfrey Hounsfield invented the CT scanner, the next wave in medical imaging.
- The technology that caught the God particle has spun off chips that will revolutionise 3D medical imaging.
- Now the Medipix3, which MARS Bioimaging intends to commercialise, promises a single solution superior to its predecessors.
- The hybrid pixel detector technology which the Large Hadron Collider used to track accelerated particles has been used by a father and son team of scientists, Phil and Anthony Butler, to produce the first three-dimensional colour images of the human body.
- A chip of the Medipix family developed by CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, has been used by MARS Bioimaging to take colour see-through images of body parts which are a generation ahead of currently available technology.
- The chip family has been in production for 20 years, and CERN’s Knowledge Transfer Group had expected it to contribute to areas outside quantum physics, but sheer magic was not anticipated.
Issues that are addressed by Medipix3
- The traditional radiological practices are complementary.
- Techniques based on X-rays suffer from the deficit that they can sharply visualise only hard tissues.
- The shadows of soft tissues are less precise. Blood vessels and other conduits are imaged with invasive dyes. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provides a slightly different picture, based on the difference in water and fat content in tissues.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) finds widest use in oncology. All but MRIs use radiation and dyes and chemical markers.
Efficacy of care by Medipix3
- Now the Medipix3, which MARS Bioimaging intends to commercialise, promises a single solution superior to its predecessors. Using algorithms to model very accurate spectroscopic data in three dimensions, it shows all tissues with equal clarity, in colour.
- In the case of a fracture, for instance, not only would it show physical damage to a bone — which is what an X-ray depicts — but it would also reveal trauma to surrounding tissue and reveal if blood and nerve supply is compromised.
- Also, it would depict structures exactly as they are, and not all of us are built exactly the same.
- If a complete image of a human were taken by a future iteration of this technology, would it be possible to 3D print a lost limb or a malfunctioning organ later.
- Researchers have already used Medipix to image cancerous tissue, bones and joints and the blood supply to the heart.
- The technology is scaling up rapidly, and holds incredible promise.
- India’s proposed DNA databank, to be used during investigation into crimes or to find missing persons, will not permanently store details of people.
- The DNA details will be removed, subject to judicial orders.
- For instance, if there’s a criminal case, till the case is solved the DNA profile will remain in the bank. It will be removed after a judicial order.
- These things will be specified in the rules.
- The rules will come after Parliament approves the DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill, 2018, the latest version of the DNA ‘profiling’ Bill framed by the Department of Biotechnology in 2015.
- The aim of that draft legislation was to establish an institutional mechanism to collect and deploy DNA technologies to identify persons based on samples collected from crime scenes or to identify missing persons.
- The Bill envisages a DNA Profiling Board and a DNA Data Bank.
- To help investigations, there would be a central databank as well as regional ones, and these would store DNA profiles under various heads, such as a ‘crime scene index’ or ‘suspects index’ or ‘offenders index.’
- A moot point was whether the databanks were secure enough to protect the privacy of those from whom DNA details were collected.
- It also deliberated on how, and who were authorised, to collect such information.
- The 11-member Board, according to the proposed legislation, is supposed to be the regulatory authority that will grant accreditation to DNA laboratories.
- An important thing that the Bill achieves is to ensure that private laboratories don’t proliferate and work without scientific validation.
- It will be a full-time Board and chaired by the Secretary.
- The Board, in consultation with members of the judiciary, will frame rules on how long the DNA details of an entrant on a crime index would be maintained.
- Countries follow different rules.
- In France, the profiles of convicted persons are kept for 40 years after conviction.
- Upon their 80th birthday, suspects’ profiles are removed by a motion of the prosecutor or the individual on the grounds that their storage no longer serves its original purpose.
- If the government seeks to monitor every social media message, the country will become a surveillance state, the Supreme Court has said.
- The views came on the Central government’s proposal to create a hub to track social media trends.
- In a bid to tackle vacancies at the regional Benches of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the green panel is set to start hearing matters of the other Benches via videoconferencing.
- Due to non-availability of the members (at the regional benches), petitioners from across the country with environmental concerns, have been forced to approach the principal Bench in Delhi.
- Once hearing through videoconferencing begins, the disposal rates will hopefully improve.
- Travelling to Delhi for every hearing is not a feasible solution and leads to huge financial loss.
- Even though videoconferencing has its own limitations, through this we can probably get access to justice, even if for an interim period.
- It is only an interim arrangement till all the members are available and till the regional Benches become functional.
- The U.S. decision to impose 25% tariff on steel imports will have negligible direct impact on India’s export as India’s share of U.S. steel imports is very small as compared to other countries but there might be an indirect impact.
- Countries which are exporting to the U.S. will be forced to look at other major steel consuming markets like India to sell their surplus produce and can slightly distort Indian domestic market considerably due to dumping.
G. Prelims Fact
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H. Practice Questions for UPSC Prelims Exam
Question 1. Consider the following statements about the Battles of Panipat.
- The First Battle of Panipat (1526), was between the Mughal sultan Akbar and Hemu.
- The Second Battle of Panipat was between the Mughal sultan Babur and the Delhi Sultan Ibrahim Lodi.
- The Third Battle of Panipat resulted in a Durrani victory.
Which of the statement/s given above is/are correct?
- All of the above
- 3 only
- 2 and 3 only
Question 2. Anekantavada is related to which of the following?
- Hinayana Buddhism
- Mahayana Buddhism
Question 3. Consider the following statements regarding the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, 1931.
- Immediate release of non-violent political prisoners was agreed upon, but death sentences of Bhagat Singh and his two comrades were not commuted.
- INC agreed to discontinue Civil-Disobedience Movement.
- Government conceded the right to make salt for any use.
Which of the above statement/s is/are correct?
- I and II only
- I and III only
- II and III only
- All of the above
Question 4. The background for Non-Cooperation Movement was prepared by:
- Jallianwala Bagh incident
- Khilafat issue
- Hunter committee report
- I only
- II only
- I and II only
- All of the above
I. UPSC Mains Practice Questions
The revolt of 1857 was the first war of independence. Critically analyse.
- Discuss the reasons for the decline of Maratha power.
Also, check previous Daily News Analysis
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