Factly articles for 13th July 2020

12 min read

1.NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission launches ATL App

News: NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission(AIM) has launched the ‘ATL App Development Module’ for school children all across the country.

Facts:

  • ATL App Development Module: It is a free online course on app development that aims to hone the skills of school students and transform them from App users to App makers under the Atal Tinkering Labs initiative.
  • Bodies Involved: It has been launched by Atal Innovation Mission(AIM) in collaboration with Indian homegrown startup Plezmo.

Additional Facts:

  • Atal innovation mission(AIM): It was set up by NITI Aayog in 2016 to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship by creating institutions and programs that enhance innovation in schools, colleges, and entrepreneurs in general.
  • Atal Tinkering Labs(ATL): They have been established under the Atal Innovation Mission(AIM) with an aim to foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds and inculcate skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing among others.
    • Funding: AIM will provide grant-in-aid of Rs. 20 Lakh to each school that includes a one-time establishment cost of Rs. 10 lakh and operational expenses of Rs. 10 lakh for a maximum period of 5 years to each ATL.
    • Eligibility: Schools (minimum Grade VI – X) managed by Government, local body or private trusts/society can set up ATL.

2.NATGRID to have access to database that links around 14,000 police stations

News: The National Intelligence Grid(NATGRID) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the National Crime Records Bureau(NCRB) to access the centralised online database on FIRs and stolen vehicles.

Facts:

  • NATGRID: It is an integrated intelligence grid that connects databases of core security agencies with an aim to collect comprehensive patterns of intelligence that can be readily accessed by intelligence agencies.
  • Need of NATGRID: The necessity for the NATGRID came after India’s terror attack in Mumbai in 2009 which exposed the deficiency of the security agencies who have no mechanism to look for vital information in real-time.
  • Concerns: NATGRID has faced opposition on charges of possible violations of privacy and leakage of confidential personal information.

Additional Facts:

  • NCRB: It is an attached office of the Ministry of Home Affairs that is responsible for collecting and analysing crime data as defined by the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Special and Local Laws(SLL).

3.Avg global temperature can rise by 1.5°C in next 5 years: WMO report

News: World Meteorological Organization(WMO) has released a report titled “The Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update”.

Facts:

  • The Global Annual to Decadal Climate Update report is led by the United Kingdom’s Met Office.
  • Aim: To provide a climate outlook for the next five years by harnessing the expertise of internationally acclaimed climate scientists and the best computer models from leading climate centres around the world.

Key Takeaways:

  • Global Temperature: Annual global temperature is likely to be at least 1°C warmer than pre industrial levels (defined as the 1850-1900 average) in each of the coming 5 years.
    • However, the possibility of average global temperature rising by 1.5°C in the next 5 years is increasing with time.

Additional Facts:

  • Paris agreement: It was adopted at the UNFCCC COP21 held in Paris in 2015.It aims to keep global temperature rise in the 21st century well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
  • World Meteorological Organization(WMO): It is an intergovernmental organization established by the ratification of the WMO Convention in 1950.
    • Members: 193 Member States and Territories.
    • Significance: It is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN).
    • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.

4.Biocon Gets Regulatory Nod To Use Drug Itolizumab On COVID-19 Patients

News: Biocon drug Itolizumab has been approved by the Drugs Controller General of India(DCGI) for treating moderate to severe Covid-19 patients.

Facts:

  • Itolizumab: It is a monoclonal antibody drug manufactured by Biocon for the treatment of severe chronic plaque psoriasis.
    • Monoclonal antibodies are lab-made proteins that act like human antibodies in the immune system and fight against foreign molecules.
  • How will it work? Itolizumab will be used for the treatment of cytokine release syndrome(CRS) in moderate to severe COVID-19 patients.

Additional Facts:

  • Cytokine release syndrome(CRS): It is a systemic inflammatory response that can be triggered by a variety of factors such as infections and other diseases.
  • DCGI: It is a department of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization(CDSCO) responsible for approval of licences of specified categories of drugs such as blood and blood products, IV fluids and vaccines in India.It comes under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

5.US remains India’s top trading partner in 2019-20

News: Ministry of Commerce and Industry has released the data on Bilateral trade between India-US for 2019-20.

Facts:

Key Takeaways:

  • Largest Trading Partner: United States(US) has remained India’s top trading partner for the second consecutive fiscal in 2019-20.
    • The bilateral trade between the US and India stood at $ 88.75 billion in 2019-02 as against $87.96 billion in 2018-19.
  • Trade Surplus: US is one of the few countries with which India has a trade surplus.The trade gap between the countries has increased to $17.42 billion in 2019-20 from $16.86 billion in 2018-19.
  • China: In 2018-19, US first surpassed China to become India’s top trading partner.
    • The bilateral trade between India and China has dipped to $81.87 billion in 2019-20 from $87.08 billion in 2018-19.
  • Trade deficit: The trade deficit between India and China has also declined to $48.66 billion in 2019-20 from $53.57 billion in 2018-19.

Additional Facts:

  • Trade Surplus: It is an economic measure of a positive balance of trade, where a country’s exports exceed its imports.
  • Trade Deficit: It occurs when a country’s imports exceed its exports during a given time period.It is also referred to as a negative balance of trade(BOT).

6.Explained: What is the Hagia Sophia?

News: Turkey’s highest court has allowed for the conversion of the nearly 1,500 year-old Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque.

Facts:

  • Hagia Sophia: It is the former Greek Orthodox Christian patriarchal cathedral, later an Ottoman imperial mosque and now a museum located in Istanbul,Turkey.
  • It was built in 537 AD(Byzantine architecture) during the reign of Justinian 1, the Eastern Roman emperor.
  • Significance: It has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.

7.Punjab farmers find a better way to grow paddy

News: Punjab Farmers are using direct seeding of rice(DSR) technique to grow paddy instead of traditional ‘transplanting’ practice due to labour shortage following an exodus of migrant labourers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Facts:

  • Direct Seeding of Rice(DSR): It refers to the process of establishing a rice crop from seeds sown in the field rather than by transplanting seedlings from nursery.
  • How is it different from a conventional method? In transplanting, farmers prepare nurseries where paddy seeds are first sown and raised into young plants.These seedlings are then uprooted and replanted 25-35 days later in the main field with standing water.
  • Benefits of DSR: a) Water savings b) Low Labour Cost and energy (power) c) Reduced methane emissions d) Early crop maturity and e) could be a solution to the issue of stubble burning.
  • Disadvantages: a) Seeds are exposed to rat and bird attacks b) Sowing needs to be done timely so that the plants comes out properly before the monsoon rains arrives and c) Seed requirement is also high.