Daily Current Affairs : 23-Mar-2020

Major Topics Covered :

  1. VSHORAD - VERY SHORT RANGE AIR DEFENCE SYSTEM

  2. CHEAPER COVID TEST

  3. NATIONAL MISSION ON QUANTUM TECHNOLOGIES AND APPLICATIONS

  4. CARISSA KOPILII

  5. OLIVE RIDLEY TURTLES

  6. DR. RAM MANOHAR LOHIA


VSHORAD - VERY SHORT RANGE AIR DEFENCE SYSTEM

Why in news?

  • India has been working on replacing the Russian Igla M very short range air defence system . VSHORADS is the last defence of the ground forces against enemy aircraft . After several rounds of technical evaluations in 2012 three were selected for this deal - Igla-S by Rosoboronexport of Russia , RBS 70 NG by Saab and Mistral by MBDA. Later in 2018 Igla-S emerged as the frontrunner . However the deal is yet to be finally approved and signed .


Highlights:

  • Two much-needed weapon systems, mired in controversy for months after a series of complaints, will be placed before the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) very shortly.

  • Specially appointed monitors have finally 'cleared' the two weapon systems-- the Very Short Range Air Defence System (VSHORAD) and the Self Propelled Air Defence Gun Missile System (SPADGMS)-- and they can be placed before the DAC headed by defence minister Rajnath Singh and including chief of defence staff General Bipin Rawat and the three service chiefs. 

  • VSHORAD will be for all the three services.

  • The VSHORAD competition will replace the aging Russian made Igla-M air defence systems with man- portable systems weighing less than 25 kilograms, with fire and forget capability.

  • The systems required by the Indian army should have capability to engage aerial targets by day and night with an effective range of six kilometers, and height of engagement of more than 3000 meters.

  • When inducted, VSHORAD man-portable systems will be employed in varied terrains including high altitude areas, plains, desert areas, coastal areas and maritime. 


Source : Rajya Sabha TV and Defense News


CHEAPER COVID TEST

Why in news?

  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology have developed a method to detect COVID-19 that can significantly reduce the test cost, making it affordable for large sections.


Highlights:

  • The National Institute of Virology, Pune, is in the process of validating this test on clinical samples. 

  • The “probe-free detection assay” has been optimised and tested for sensitivity at the research laboratories of IIT. 

  • The Centre on Saturday recommended that the maximum charge for a COVID-19 test by private laboratories should not exceed ₹4,500. However, the team at IIT claimed their test could be performed at a much cheaper cost.

  • The current testing methods available are “probe-based”, while the one developed by his team is “probe-free”, which reduces the testing cost without compromising on accuracy.


Source : Hindu



NATIONAL MISSION ON QUANTUM TECHNOLOGIES AND APPLICATIONS


Why in news?

  • In the Budget 2020 speech, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman allocated 8000 crore over the next five years on a National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications.


Highlights:

  • Quantum mechanics was developed in the early 20th century to describe nature in the small — at the scale of atoms and elementary particles.

  • It has provided the foundations of our understanding of the physical world, including the interaction of light and matter, and led to ubiquitous inventions such as lasers and semiconductor transistors.

Quantum Science :

  • All matter except dark matter is made of molecules, which are themselves made of atoms. Inside the atoms, there are electrons spinning around the nucleus. The nucleus itself is generally made of protons and neutrons but even these are composite objects. Inside the protons and neutrons, we find the quarks, but these appear to be indivisible, just like the electrons.

  • Neutrinos : Neutrinos are elusive, very lightweight particles that just barely interact with matter at all. While tiny, neutrinos are also ubiquitous; some 100 trillion neutrinos, created in the centre of the Sun (the closest major source), pass through your body each second. These have no charge in them.

  • Quarks : Never found alone and are always part of composite particles. Quarks are drawn to one another through the so-called strong nuclear force, to form protons and neutrons, which make up the nuclei of atoms.

  • Besides computing, exploring the quantum world promises other dramatic applications including the creation of novel materials, enhanced metrology, secure communication etc.


Source : Hindu



CARISSA KOPILII

Why in news?

  • Carissa Kopilii is a wild variety of the abundant Carissa carandas, better known as karonda in Hindi, kalakkai in Tamil, koromcha in Bengali and karja tenga in Assamese.


Highlights:

  • The Carissa kopilii is threatened by the very river it is named after — Kopili in central Assam. 

Threats :

  • A hydroelectric project on the river Kopili and

  • Water turned acidic because of coal mining in Meghalaya upstream.

  • It is a thorny plant whose berries are greenish and sour when raw and blackish and sweet when ripe.

  • The “sun-loving” plant was distributed sparsely, rooted in rocky crevices along the Kopili riverbed at altitudes ranging from 85-600 metres above sea level.

  • Carissa family has been used as a traditional herbal medicine for a number of ailments such as diarrhoea, anaemia, constipation, indigestion, skin infections and urinary disorders. The leaves have been used as fodder for silkworms while a paste of its pounded roots serves as a fly repellent.


Source : Hindu



OLIVE RIDLEY TURTLES

Why in news?

  • In a rare sight after a gap of seven years, mass nesting of olive ridley turtles was witnessed during the daytime along the Rushikulya rookery coast in Odisha’s Ganjam district.


Highlights:

  • Turtle Conservation in India –

  • Species found in India: Leatherback, Loggerhead, Hawksbill, Green and Olive Ridley. 

  • Statutory Steps for Conservation: Sea turtles are protected under the Indian Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, under the Schedule I Part II.

Major Threat:

Bycatch:

  • Ocean animals that are unintentionally caught by fishing gear.

  • Solution: Scientists are working on new fishing nets and gear that reduce the amount of bycatch while fishing.

Benefits of Turtles:

  • Maintain Healthy Fish stocks:

  • Sea turtles, especially the leatherback, keep jellyfish under control, thereby helping to maintain healthy fish stocks in the oceans.

Nursery for Species:

  • Green turtle feeds on sea grass beds and by cropping the grass provide a nursery for numerous species of fish, shellfish and crustaceans.

  • The Hawksbill feeds on sponges in the reef ecosystem and opens up crevices for other marine life to live in.

Transporter of nutrients and energy:

  • Turtles are also transporters of nutrients and energy to coastal areas. 

  • Fertiliser for Sandy Beaches:

  • Unhatched eggs, eggshells and fluids help foster decomposers and create much needed fertilizer in sandy beaches.


Source : Hindu and IUCN


DR. RAM MANOHAR LOHIA

Why in news?

  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi paid tributes to Dr Ram Manohar Lohia on his birth anniversary.


Highlights:

  • Education – Doctorate in Economics and Political Science.

  • Participated in the Civil Disobedience Movement.

  • Amongst the Founders of the youth wing of the Congress - called Congress socialist party. The founders of this Party were stalwarts such as Jayaprakash Narayan, Ram Manohar Lohiya, Yusuf Meherally, Achut Patwardhan, Ashok Mehta, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyaya and Acharya Narendra Deva.

  • Lohiya became the editor of a periodical the "Congress Socialist'. 

  • He started a secret Broadcasting station and, with Jayaprakash Narayan, he organized an underground movement. 

  •  Lohiya laid the foundation for the liberation of Goa from foreign domination. 

  • In the north at the foot of the Himalayas was the Kingdom of Nepal ruled by the Rana Dynasty. The youth of Nepal were educated at Benares. Lohiya became their Political 'guru' or mentor. The revolt against the Rana Dynasty in Nepal was inspired by none other than Lohiya himself. 


Source : PIB and NLU Lucknow



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