Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - July 31th 2017

Government Schemes

Jiyo Parasi- Phase-II

  • Launched by Union Ministry of Minority Affairs in Mumbai, Maharashtra under the Jiyo Parsi scheme. The Jiyo Parsi Publicity Phase-2 aims at containing the declining trend of population of the Parsi community and reverses it to bring their population above the threshold level
  • Delhi Metro has secured the platinum rating for adherence to green building norms for its 10 residential colonies from the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC).

Enlighten About Jio Parasi

  • It is a Central Sector Scheme for containing population decline of Parsis in India.
  • Objective is to reverse the declining trend of Parsi population by adopting a scientific protocol and structured interventions. It aims to stabilize and increase the population of Parsi in India.

Sovereign Gold Bond (SGB) Scheme

  • Government announces few changes in it.
  • Increase in the limit to 4 kg (from 0.5kg) for individuals, HUF and 20 kg for Trusts. This was probably done to encourage high net-worth individuals, rich farmers as well as trusts to invest in these bonds. The basic premise is that most Indians believe in gold as a time-tested and safe asset class and prefer it over other forms of investment.
  • The Government also introduced flexibility in the scheme to design and introduce variants to cater to a cross-section of investors.

Enlighten about SGB

  • The SGB was introduced by the Government in 2015 to help reduce India’s over dependence on gold imports.
  • The move was also aimed at changing the habits of Indians from saving in physical form of gold to a paper form with Sovereign backing.
  • In India annual consumption of gold is in the range of 700-800 tonnes, almost all of which is imported. Of this, approximately 500-600 tonnes is bought by consumers as jewellery for cultural reasons. The balance is in the form of gold bars and coins for savings or investment purposes, which is what the Government hopes to convert to paper form so that both are served — investors are happy as long as they earn some returns and capital appreciation at the time of redemption, as well as it helps reduce an equivalent amount of physical gold imports.

Science & Technology

Strong And Flexible Bio- Glue For Wound Healing

  • Scientists have developed a super strong, flexible adhesive material inspired by the glue secreted by slugs that sticks to biological tissues – even when wet – without causing toxicity. Slugs secrete a special kind of mucus when threatened that glue it in place, making it difficult for a predator to pry it off its surface.

Enlighten about Bio-Glue

  • The key feature of the new material is the combination of a very strong adhesive force and the ability to transfer and dissipate stress, which have historically not been integrated into a single adhesive
  • It is a double- layered hydrogel consisting of an alginate-polyacrylamide matrix supporting an adhesive layer that has positively- charged polymers protruding from its surface.
  • The polymers bond to biological tissues via three mechanisms – electrostatic attraction to negatively charged cell surfaces, covalent bonds between neighbouring atoms, and physical interpenetration – making the adhesive extremely strong.

Production of Gas from flammable ICE

  • By – CHINA
  • UNDER – South China Sea
  • China has successfully produced natural gas from methane hydrate, also known as “flammable ice”, in an experimental project in the South China Sea (SCS).
  • A drilling platform had produced a total of 309,000 cubic metres of natural gas from gas hydrate in 60 days.
  • Methane hydrate - new gas source for China, with the South China Sea thought to contain some of the world’s most promising flammable ice deposits.
  • India, Canada and US are also believed to be looking at hydrates as an alternative energy source.

Enlighten about flammable ice

  • Flammable ice (also known as methane hydrate or methane clathrates) consists of methane trapped within water crystals.
  • It is the world’s largest natural gas resource trapped beneath permafrost and ocean sediment where low temperature and moderate pressure combine to trap methane in this specific way.
  • The methane hydrate is highly flammable and energy-intensive fuel as one cubic metre of the compound can releases about 160 cubic metres of gas. It can break down into water and methane after temperature is raised or pressure is lowered. It is likely to be the world’s last great source of carbon-based fuel and has potential to be a revolutionary energy source that could cater future energy needs. Its vast deposits exist underneath all oceans around the globe, especially on the edge of continental shelves.

Environment

Oil Spills - Now An Eco-Friendly Way To Remove It

  • A simple, cheap and environment-friendly system that can effectively remove crude oil from sea that can pollute and even destroy marine ecosystems. The hydrophobic sorbent developed by scientists can suck up oil and congeal it.

Enlighten about it –

  • Scientists developed the hydrophobic sorbent by using a cheap raw material (mannitol) and cellulose pulp as a matrix. (A hydrophobic material automatically becomes oil-loving and takes up oil when it comes in contact with it). Mannitol was converted into a hydrophobic gelator through a one-step process and a solution was made using this compound. Cellulose balls the size of marbles were then dipped in the solution and dried.
  • Gelator gets adsorbed on the cellulose fibre through hydrogen bonding. This process of adsorption of gelator on the cellulose fibre matrix changes the cellulose matrix from being very hydrophilic (water-loving) to hydrophobic (water repelling). A hydrophobic material naturally becomes oleilophilic (oil-loving).
  • The sorbent can be easily applied over oil-water mixture, and no solvent is needed for spraying the gelator thus making it environmental benign. The gelator adsorbed on the surface of cellulose fibre is able to absorb oil when it comes in contact with it.
  • Once the sorbent sucks the oil, the gelator slowly gets released from the cellulose fibre and congealing of oil takes place. Only when the oil congeals can it be removed without the oil dripping due to gravity.
  • Congealing of oil becomes possible as the gelator used by scientists self-assembles to form micro fibres and the oil loses its fluidity and gets trapped within the entangled fibrous network to form a rigid gel. Gelation essentially turns the liquid oil phase into a semi-solid one and this allows the fibre balls with the congealed oil to be simply scooped out or removed using a scoop or a sieve.

Approval Of 7 Missions Under National Mission For Clean Ganga (NMCG)

  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) has approved seven projects in the sector of sewage infrastructure, ghat development and research in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
  • Central Government will provide operation and maintenance cost for 15 years to all these six projects along with 100% central assistance Besides, a research study to understand the non-putrefying properties of river Ganga in both water and sediment was also approved.
  • The study will be an extension of a research carried out by National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) to identify the special properties of river’s waters

Enlighten about NMCG

  • It was established in 2011 as a registered society under Societies Registration Act, 1860.
  • NMCG is the implementation wing of National Council for Rejuvenation, Protection and Management of River Ganga (referred as National Ganga Council). It has a two tier management structure and comprises of Governing Council and Executive Committee. Both of them are headed by Director General (DG), NMCG. Executive Committee is authorized to approve projects under mission up to Rs.1000 crore. Similar to structure at national level, State Programme Management Groups (SPMGs) acts as implementing arm of State Ganga Committees.
  • This structure attempts to bring all stakeholders on one platform to take a holistic approach towards the task of Ganga cleaning and rejuvenation.
  • In October 2016, National Ganga Council has replaced National Ganga River Basin Authority(NGRBA) which was constituted under the provisions of the Environment (Protection) Act (EPA), 1986.