COMPENSATORY AFFORESTATION FUND (CAF)
Context: Union Minister of Environment, handed over Rs. 47,000 crore from Compensatory Afforestation Fund to 27 states.
Odisha, the top recipient of funds, got nearly Rs 6,000 crore followed by Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh with Rs. 5,791 crore and Rs. 5,196 crore respectively.
What is this fund? How it will be used?
These funds have been collected as compensation from the industries for razing forest lands for business. Industrialists pay this money and this is eventually transferred to the States concerned to carry out afforestation.
The CAF Act, 2006 established an independent authority – COMPENSATORY AFFORESTATION FUND MANAGEMENT AND PLANNING AUTHORITY – to execute the fund.
These funds will be utilized as per the provisions of the Compensatory Afforestation Fund (CAF) Act and rules. These will be used for compensatory afforestation, catchment area treatment, wildlife management, natural regeneration, forest fire prevention, soil and moisture conservation, improvement of wildlife habitat.
Filter-based kits developed for TB diagnosis, drug-resistance testing
Context: To address the TB diagnostic challenges, a multi-institutional team has developed three cost-effective kits that improve the sensitivity of smear microscopy and transport of sputum samples.
The 3 kits – TB Detect, TB Concentration & Transport, and TB DNA Extraction – will enable transport of sputum samples at ambient temperature without using bio-safe containers, and extract DNA for diagnosing drug-resistant TB.
The TB Detect kit is for diagnosis using LED fluorescence microscopy. It helps increase the positivity of LED fluorescence microscopy by about 5%. The TB Detect kit currently costs Rs.100 per sample. In case of this kit, the researchers used a simple filter-based system to separate TB bacteria from the sputum to improve the sensitivity of LED fluorescence microscopy.
TB Concentration & Transport, and the TB DNA Extraction kits together are for detection of drug-resistance. The TB DNA Extraction kit allows the detection of drug-resistant TB bacteria with a high level of sensitivity. It generally costs Rs.100 for the TB transport kit and Rs.85 for the DNA extraction kit.
Compared with culture, the sensitivity of the kit for drug-resistance was found to be high — 90% for rifampicin, 84% for isoniazid, and 83% for fluoroquinolones along with a test specificity of 88-93%.
Context: Lifeline Express was inaugurated at the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (CSMT) by the Central Railway for its latest project which involves providing medical treatment to poor patients.
It is also known as ‘Hospital on Wheels’.
The Indian Railways, in partnership with Impact India Foundation, had launched the Lifeline Express in 1991 from CSMT to provide free of cost medical care to the poor living in the remote corners of India.
The 7 coaches of the Lifeline Express have advanced operation theatres, a pathology lab, a mammography unit, a pharmacy, a gynaecology examination room, a dental unit, X-ray unit and consultation cubicles.
Till now, The Lifeline Express has travelled across 19 states, covering 201 rural locations in 138 districts providing medical treatments to the 12.32 lakh patients.
How Antibiotic Resistance developed in E. coli ?
Context: A group of researchers from IISER Pune have studied how resistance to the antibiotic rifampicin evolves in E. coli. They studied the process in two conditions:
- When the antibiotic is present in low or high concentrations
- When there is steady or pulsed supply of antibiotics
- Drug resistance in bacteria is developed in both cases i.e., when they are within the body and outside. Unevenly distributed antibiotics within the body or intake of drugs could be stopped midway can lead to evolution of drug resistance. Also, low doses of such drugs available intermittently in the environment can also cause drug resistance to evolve in the bacteria.
- A key characteristic of some drug-resistant strains of bacteria is that they do not live in isolation and get connected to each other, forming biofilms.
- Unlike during the exposure to high concentration of antibiotic, it was found that when under exposure to low concentrations of rifampicin, the E. coli tend to form biofilms.
- During the study, many genetic changes in the E.coli descendents were observed when the bacteria were exposed to low concentration of the antibiotic rifampicin.
- While understanding the relevant genetic mutations that helped the bacteria form biofilms, they found that biolfilm formation was mediated by the activation of particular gene called the fim operon promoter whose activation allowed the expression of a type of fimbriae — thread-like structures that help a bacterium attach itself to another bacterium.
- Although the researchers have specifically studied how E. coli evolve resistance against rifampicin, the results may be extrapolated to Gram-negative bacteria such as Klebsiella and Salmonella which cause hazardous infections.
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Fingerprint of Earth’s Atmosphere
Context: A “fingerprint” for the Earth has been developed by the astronomers at Canada’s McGill University, which could be used to identify a potentially life sustaining planet beyond the solar system.
How it is developed?
It is developed using over a decade of observations of the Earth’s atmosphere taken by the SCISAT satellite (developed by the Canadian Space Agency to help scientists understand the depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer by looking at particles in the atmosphere as sunlight passes through them), have constructed a transit spectrum of Earth — a detail on the fingerprint-like unique composition of our planet’s atmosphere.
How it will be helpful?
With the help of findings of the work scientists would be able to determine the kind of signals called ‘biosignatures’ that astronomers need to look out for in order to find Earth-like planets outside our solar system.
According to the study, the fingerprint includes the simultaneous occurrence of both ozone and methane, which happens only when there is an organic source of these compounds on the planet and hence, will help the scientists to find such a planet that possess these organic source.
How it will detect the habitable planet?
With the help of SCISAT satellite, astronomers will be able to find the type of molecules that are found in a planet’s atmosphere by observing the changes in starlight as it shines through the atmosphere.
In order to make this observation, the satellite’s instruments must wait for a planet to pass over the star. If the telescopes are sensitive enough, astronomers can potentially identify chemicals in such planets like carbon dioxide, oxygen, or water vapour which are molecules that improve the chances that a planet is habitable, or even inhabited.
Whom will it target?
A very promising solar system that might hold Earth-like planets is the TRAPPIST-1, which is a target for the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) – scheduled for launch in 2021. Canadian Space Agency, along with NASA and the European Space Agency, built a simulated signal of what an Earth-like planet’s atmosphere might look like through the eyes of JWST.
The TRAPPIST-1 solar system, which is 40 light years away, is home to 7 planets, 3-4 of which are in the Goldilocks zone – the place around a star where the temperature is just right, and is not too hot and not too cold, allowing liquid water to exist on the planet.
‘Rashtriya Poshan Maah’
Context: The entire month of September will be celebrated as the ‘Rashtriya Poshan Maah.’
THEME 2019 – This year the theme is ‘Complementary Feeding‘.
Overreaching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment – POSHAN Abhiyaan is a multi- ministerial convergence mission with the vision to address malnutrition with a targeted approach by 2022.
About POSHAN Abhiyaan
POSHAN Abhiyaan is a multi-ministerial convergence mission with the vision to ensure attainment of malnutrition free India by 2022.
The objective of POSHAN Abhiyaan to reduce stunting in identified Districts of India with the highest malnutrition burden by improving utilization of key Anganwadi Services and improving the quality of Anganwadi Services delivery.
Its aim to ensure holistic development and adequate nutrition for pregnant women, mothers and children.
It is being implemented by The Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) in 315 Districts in first year, 235 Districts in second year and remaining districts will be covered in the third year.
- The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has notified the creation of a 5-member special cell to address grievances of startups with relation to angel tax and other tax-related issues.
- The cell known as the ‘start-up cell’ will be headed by the member (Income Tax and Computerization) of the CBDT.
- It work towards the redressal of grievances and mitigate tax-related issues in case of start-up entities with respect to administration of Income-Tax Act, 1961.
- AMRITHA PRITAM’s 100th Birthday was celebrated by the ‘Google’ with a doodle.
- She was a Punjabi Poet and an author who is most remembered for her poem “Ajj Aakhaan Waris Shah Nu,” addressed to Punjabi Sufi poet Waris Shah in which she laments the tragedy of the India-Pakistan partition.
- “Pinjar” another famous novel written by her in 1950, talks about the torture inflicted on women by their abductors in the wake of the Partition. It was adopted into a Hindi film which won the National Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration in 2004.
- She has written 3 autobiographies: Rasidi Ticket, Kala Gulab and Shadows of Words.
- She was nominated to Rajya Sabha in 1986.
- Stricter penalties after the passage of Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Act 2019 will be imposed from 1st September 2019.
- ‘BUILD FOR DIGITAL INDIA’ program to be rolled out after a Statement of Intent signed between Ministry of Electronics and IT and Google.
- The program will offer a platform to the engineering students to develop technology-based solutions that tackle key social issues.