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      Question and Answer

       Q. 474. Ayushman Bharat programme
      Ans.
       
      The Government has announced two major initiatives in health sector , as part of Ayushman Bharat programme. It is aimed at making path breaking interventions to address health holistically, in primary, secondary and tertiary care systems, covering both prevention and health promotion.
      The initiatives are as follows:- 
      (i) Health and Wellness Centre:- The National Health Policy, 2017 has envisioned Health and Wellness Centres as the foundation of India’s health system. Under this 1.5 lakh centres will bring health care system closer to the homes of people. These centres will provide comprehensive health care, including for non-communicable diseases and maternal and child health services.  These centres will also provide free essential drugs and diagnostic services. The Budget has allocated Rs.1200 crore for this flagship programme. Contribution of private sector through CSR and philanthropic institutions in adopting these centres is also envisaged.
      (ii) National Health Protection Scheme:- The second flagship programme under Ayushman Bharat is National Health Protection Scheme, which will cover over 10 crore poor and vulnerable families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries) providing coverage upto 5 lakh rupees per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization.  This will be the world’s largest government funded health care programme. Adequate funds will be provided for smooth implementation of this programme.
       
       Q. 473. SpaceX Falcon Heavy
      Ans.
      Falcon Heavy is a reusable super heavy-lift launch vehicle designed and manufactured by SpaceX. The Falcon Heavy (which was earlier described as the Falcon 9 Heavy) is a variant of the Falcon 9 vehicle and consists of a strengthened Falcon 9 rocket core with two additional Falcon 9 first stages as strap-on boosters. This increases the low Earth orbit (LEO) maximum payload to 63,800 kilograms (140,700 lb), compared to 22,800 kg (50,300 lb) for a Falcon 9 Full Thrust, 27,500 kg (60,600 lb) for the now-retired NASA Space Shuttle and 140,000 kg (310,000 lb) for the Saturn V. The Falcon Heavy is the world's 4th highest capacity rocket ever to be built, after Saturn V, Energia and N1, and the highest capacity rocket in current operation as of February 6, 2018, superseding the Delta IV Heavy payload by more than double. Falcon Heavy was designed from the outset to carry humans into space, including the Moon and Mars, although as of February 5, 2018, there are no plans to use Falcon Heavy for crewed missions; it will instead be devoted to payloads such as large satellites.
      SpaceX successfully launched the Falcon Heavy on February 6, 2018. The dummy payload on its maiden flight was SpaceX founder Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster
       
       Q. 472. LI-FI
      Ans.
      Li-Fi
      Light Fidelity or Li-Fi technology is a ground-breaking light-based communication technology, which makes use of light waves instead of radio technology to deliver data.
      Li-Fi can compensate as the radio spectrum becomes overloaded
      • Using the visible light spectrum, Li-Fi technology can transmit data and unlock capacity which is 10,000 times greater than that available within the radio spectrum.
      • The visible light spectrum is plentiful, free and unlicensed, mitigating the radio frequency spectrum crunch effect.
      How it works?
      • Li-Fi and Wi-Fi are quite similar as both transmit data electromagnetically. However, Wi-Fi uses radio waves while Li-Fi runs on visible light.
      • As we now know, Li-Fi is a Visible Light Communications (VLC) system. This means that it accommodates a photo-detector to receive light signals and a signal processing element to convert the data into 'stream-able' content.
      • An LED lightbulb is a semi-conductor light source meaning that the constant current of electricity supplied to an LED lightbulb can be dipped and dimmed, up and down at extremely high speeds, without being visible to the human eye.
      • For example, data is fed into an LED light bulb (with signal processing technology), it then sends data (embedded in its beam) at rapid speeds to the photo-detector (photodiode).
      • The tiny changes in the rapid dimming of LED bulbs is then converted by the 'receiver' into electrical signal.
      • The signal is then converted back into a binary data stream that we would recognise as web, video and audio applications that run on internet enables devices. 
      Li-Fi vs Wi-Fi
      • While some may think that Li-Fi with its 224 gigabits per second leaves Wi-Fi in the dust, Li-Fi's exclusive use of visible light could halt a mass uptake. 
      • Li-Fi signals cannot pass through walls, so in order to enjoy full connectivity, capable LED bulbs will need to be placed throughout the home. Not to mention, Li-Fi requires the lightbulb is on at all times to provide connectivity, meaning that the lights will need to be on during the day.
      • What's more, where there is a lack of lightbulbs, there is a lack of Li-Fi internet so Li-Fi does take a hit when it comes to public Wi-Fi networks.
      • But it's not all doom and gloom! Due to its impressive speeds, Li-Fi could make a huge impact on the internet of things too, with data transferred at much higher levels with even more devices able to connect to one another.
      • What's more, due to its shorter range, Li-Fi is more secure than Wi-Fi and it's reported that embedded light beams reflected off a surface could still achieve 70 megabits per second.
      The future internet
      • Li-Fi technology will in future enable faster, more reliable internet connections, even when the demand for data usage has outgrown the available supply from existing technologies such as 4G, LTE and Wi-Fi. It will not replace these technologies, but will work seamlessly alongside them.
      • Using light to deliver wireless internet will also allow connectivity in environments that do not currently readily support Wi-Fi, such as aircraft cabins, hospitals and hazardous environments.
      • Light is already used for data transmission in fibre-optic cables and for point to point links, but Li-Fi is a special and novel combination of technologies that allow it to be universally adopted for mobile ultra-high speed internet communications.
      A dual use for LED lighting
      • The wide use of solid state lighting offers an opportunity for efficient dual use lighting and communication systems.
      • Innovation in LED and photon receiver technology has ensured the availability of suitable light transmitters and detectors, while advances in the modulation of communication signals for these types of components has been advanced through signal processing techniques, such as multiple-input-multiple-output (MIMO), to become as sophisticated as those used in mobile telecommunications.
       
       Q. 471. Inclusive Development Index
      Ans.
      The Inclusive Development Index (IDI) is an annual assessment of 103 countries’ economic performance that measures how countries perform on eleven dimensions of economic progress in addition to GDP. It has 3 pillars; growth and development; inclusion and; intergenerational equity – sustainable stewardship of natural and financial resources.
      The IDI is a project of the World Economic Forum’s System Initiative on the Future of Economic Progress, which aims to inform and enable sustained and inclusive economic progress through deepened public-private cooperation through thought leadership and analysis, strategic dialogue and concrete cooperation, including by accelerating social impact through corporate action.
      Norway tops the chart followed by Iceland and Luxemburg in advanced economies. Lithuania, Hungary, and Azerbaijan are the toppers among the emerging economies. India has been ranked 62 out of 74 emerging economies. Pakistan has been ranked 47, Sri Lanka is at 40, and Nepal at 22; Uganda (59) and Mali (60) are also higher on the index than India. This Inclusive Development Index has been developed as a new metric of national economic performance as an alternative to GDP.
       
       
       Q. 470. Microwaves
      Ans.
      Microwaves are a form of electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths ranging from one meter to one millimeter; with frequencies between 300 MHz (100 cm) and 300 GHz (0.1 cm). The prefix micro- in microwave is not meant to suggest a wavelength in the micrometer range. It indicates that microwaves are "small", compared to the radio waves used prior to microwave technology, in that they have shorter wavelengths. The boundaries between far infrared, terahertz radiation, microwaves, and ultra-high-frequency radio waves are fairly arbitrary and are used variously between different fields of study.
      Microwaves travel by line-of-sight; unlike lower frequency radio waves they do not diffract around hills, follow the earth's surface as ground waves, or reflect from the ionosphere, so terrestrial microwave communication links are limited by the visual horizon to about 40 miles (64 km). At the high end of the band they are absorbed by gases in the atmosphere, limiting practical communication distances to around a kilometer.
      Microwaves are extremely widely used in modern technology. They are used for point-to-point communication links, wireless networks, microwave radio relay networks, radar, satellite and spacecraft communication, medical diathermy and cancer treatment, remote sensing, radio astronomy, particle accelerators, spectroscopy, industrial heating, collision avoidance systems, garage door openers and keyless entry systems, and for cooking food in microwave ovens.
      According to a recent study, Microwave use across the European Union (EU) emits as much carbon dioxide as nearly 7 million cars.
      The factors under investigation were: climate change, depletion of natural resources and ecological toxicity. As per the study, the main environmental “hotspots” are materials used to manufacture microwaves, the manufacturing process and end-of-life waste management.
      It found that, on average, one microwave uses 573 kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity over its lifetime of eight years which is equivalent to the electricity consumed by a 7-watt LED light bulb, switched on continuously for almost nine years.
      Efforts to reduce consumption should focus on improving consumer awareness and behaviour to use appliances more efficiently. Electricity consumption by microwaves can be reduced by adjusting the time of cooking to the type of food.
      Waste is another major problem because due to their relative low cost and ease of manufacture, consumers are throwing more electrical and electronic (EE) equipment away than ever before, including microwaves.
       
       
       Q. 469. Cyber Surakshit Bharat
      Ans.
      Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), announced the Cyber Surakshit Bharat initiative in association with National e-Governance Division (NeGD) and industry partners.
      • It has been conceptualized with the mission to spread awareness about cybercrime and building capacity for safety measures for Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) and frontline IT staff across all government departments. Cyber Surakshit Bharat will be operated on the three principles of Awareness, Education and Enablement.
      • It will include an awareness program on the importance of cybersecurity; a series of workshops on best practices and enablement of the officials with cybersecurity health tool kits to manage and mitigate cyber threats.
      • Cyber Surakshit Bharat is the first public-private partnership of its kind and will leverage the expertise of the IT industry in cybersecurity. The founding partners of the consortium are leading IT companies Microsoft, Intel, WIPRO, Redhat and Dimension Data. Additionally, knowledge partners include Cert-In, NIC, NASSCOM and the FIDO Alliance and premier consultancy firms Deloitte and EY.
      With a billion plus mobile phone linked with a billion plus Aadhaar connections and a billion plus bank accounts Cyber Surakshit Bharat has the primary objective to keep data safe and protected.
       
       
       Q. 468. What is Sovereign Gold Bonds Scheme?
      Ans.
      The Government of India has launched the Sovereign Gold Bonds Scheme. Investors will get returns that are linked to gold price, the scheme offers the same benefits as physical gold. They can be used as collateral for loans and can be sold or traded on stock exchanges.
       
      BENEFITS
      • The Sovereign Gold Bonds will be available both in demat and paper form.
      • The tenor of the bond is for a minimum of 8 years with option to exit in 5th, 6th and 7th years.
      • They will carry sovereign guarantee both on the capital invested and the interest.
      • Bonds can be used as collateral for loans.
      • Bonds would be allowed to be traded on exchanges to allow early exits for investors who may so desire.
      • Further, bonds would be allowed to be traded on exchanges to allow early exits for investors who may so desire.
      • Capital gain tax arising on redemption of SGB to an individual has been exempted. The indexation benefit will be provided to LTCG arising to any person on transfer of bonds. The department of revenue has said that they will consider indexation benefit if bond is transferred before maturity and complete capital gains tax exemption at the time of redemption
      HOW TO IT?
      Sovereign Gold Bonds will be issued on payment of rupees and denominated in grams of gold. Minimum investment in the bond shall be 1 gram. The bonds can be bought by Indian residents or entities and is capped at 500 grams.
      WHERE TO BUY?
      Investors can apply for the bonds through scheduled commercial banks and designated post offices. NBFCs, National Saving Certificate (NSC) agents and others, can act as agents. They would be authorised to collect the application form and submit in banks and post offices.
      BSE and NSE are included as receiving offices, apart from the commercial banks, SHCIL, designated post offices
      WHO IS ISSUING THE BONDS?
      The Bonds are issued by the Reserve Bank of India on behalf of the Government of India. The bonds are distributed through banks and designated post offices. This should make subscribing to the bonds an easy affair. During redemption, "the price of gold may be taken from the reference rate, as decided, and the Rupee equivalent amount may be converted at the RBI Reference rate on issue and redemption".
       
       Q. 467. Rocket Lab
      Ans. A U.S. space startup has become the first ever private company to successfully send satellites into orbit without the help of a government agency. The launch has paved the way for a “new era” of commercial access to space.
      Rocket Lab is headquartered in Los Angeles. It deployed three satellites on only the second test launch of its Electron orbital launch vehicle, Still Testing.
      As more private companies enter the space industry, the cost of rocket launches and sending satellites into orbit will be drastically reduced. Other private space firms include Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic, and Blue Origin, headed by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos.
       
       
       Q. 466. Schemes for Minorities
      Ans. Schemes for Minorities
       
      •             Nai Manzil Scheme is an integrated Education and Livelihood Initiative for the Minority Communities. The scheme aims to benefit the minority youths who are school-dropouts or educated in the community education institutions like Madrasas, by providing them an integral input of formal education (up till Class VIII or X) and skill training along with certification. This will enable them to seek better employment in the organised sector and equipping them with better lives. The scheme covers the entire country.
      •             The Ministry of Minority Affairs has started implementation of a scheme “Nai Roshni” for Leadership Development of Minority Women from 2012-13. The scheme aims to empower and instil confidence among minority women by providing knowledge, tools and techniques for interacting with Government systems, Banks and other institutions at all levels. The scheme is implemented through Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
      •             Jiyo Parsi is a new scheme for containing population decline of Parsis in India. Its objective is to reverse the declining trend of Parsi population by adopting a scientific protocol and structured interventions to stabilize their population and increase the population of Parsis in India.
      •             USTTAD (Upgrading the Skills and Training in Traditional Arts/Crafts for Development): The scheme has been launched to preserve rich heritage of traditional arts/crafts of minorities and build capacity of traditional artisans/craftsmen. The scheme will also establish linkages of traditional arts/crafts with the national and international market and ensure dignity of labour. The scheme, which will be funded by the Central Government, will prepare skilled and unskilled artisans and craftsmen to compete with big companies.
      •             Preservation of Rich Heritage:  --Ministry launched a new scheme “Hamari Dharohar” in 2014-15 to preserve the rich heritage of minority communities of India. The scheme aims at curating iconic exhibitions, supporting calligraphy, preservation of old documents, research and development, etc.
      •             Maulana Azad National Fellowship For Minority Students: -The objective of the Fellowship is to provide integrated five year fellowships in the form of financial assistance to minority students to pursue higher studies such as M.Phil and Ph.D. The Fellowship covers all Universities/Institutions recognized by the University Grants Commission (UGC). 30% of the scholarships are earmarked for girl students.
      •             Padho Pardesh-scheme of interest subsidy on educational loans for overseas studies for the students belonging to the Minority communities. This is a Central Sector Scheme to provide Interest Subsidy to Meritorious Students belonging to economically weaker sections of notified Minority Communities so as to provide them better opportunities for higher education abroad and enhance their employability to pursue study in courses approved in the Scheme.
      •             Maulana Azad National academy for Skills (MANAS) was established under the aegis of Ministry of Minority Affairs (MOMA) by National Minorities Development and Finance Corporation (NMDFC) on 11th November, 2014, in order to fulfil the vision of “Skill India” and also achieve the over-riding goal of the Government of India “SabkaSaath – SabkaVikas”. MANAS provides an institutional arrangement to meet all Skill Development/Up-gradation needs of the Minority communities in the country. A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), MANAS comprises of an extensive All India Level, Training Framework based on Collaboration (PPP mode) with leading and reputed Training Providers at National/ International level, in the country.
      •             Nai Udaan Scheme: under which free coaching is given to the minority students through empanelled coaching institutions/ organisations for preparation of various entrance examinations including prelims examinations for recruitment to Group ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ services and other equivalent  posts  under  the  Central  and  State  Governments  including  public  sector undertakings, banks, insurance companies etc. Under the said scheme stipend of Rs. 1500 per month and Rs. 3000/- per month is provided to the local and outstation students respectively.
       
       Q. 465. What is nuclear fusion?
      Ans. What is 'fusion' exactly?
      • Fusion occurs when two light atoms bond together, or fuse, to make a heavier one.
      • The total mass of the new atom is less than that of the two that formed it; the "missing" mass is given off as energy, as described by Albert Einstein's famous E=mc2 equation.
      • There are several "recipes" for cooking up fusion, which rely on different atomic combinations.
      • The most promising combination for power on Earth today is the fusion of a deuterium atom with a tritium one. The process, which requires temperatures of approximately 72 million degrees Fahrenheit (39 million degrees Celsius), produces 17.6 million electron volts of energy.
      • Deuterium is a promising ingredient because it is an isotope of hydrogen. In turn, hydrogen is a key part of water. A gallon of seawater (3.8 litres) could produce as much energy as 300 gallons (1,136 litres) of petrol.
      Nuclear fusion is what happens in the Sun and other stars and involves joining two atomic nuclei to make one larger one. Both reactions release large amounts of energy, but with nuclear fusion there is very high energy yield and very low nuclear waste production.
      Fusion reactor in the UK
      • The world's newest nuclear fusion reactor was switched on in the UK last week and has already managed to achieve 'first plasma' - a scorching blob of electrically-charged gas.
      • Scientists hope the tokamak reactor will be able to make hotter and hotter plasma - eventually reaching 100 million degrees Celsius (180 million degrees Fahrenheit) by 2018. That's the 'fusion' threshold - seven times hotter than the centre of the Sun - at which hydrogen atoms can begin to fuse into helium, unleashing limitless, clean energy in the process.
      • It is the latest in a number of significant developments towards finally realising practical nuclear fusion.
      Putting theory into practice
      • While fusion power offers the prospect of an almost inexhaustible source of energy for future generations, it has also presented many so-far-insurmountable scientific and engineering challenges.
      • In the Sun, massive gravitational forces create the right conditions for fusion in the star’s core, but on Earth they are much harder to achieve.
      • Fusion fuels, different isotopes of hydrogen must be heated to extreme temperatures of the order of 50 million degrees Celsius, and must be kept stable under intense pressure, and dense enough and confined for long enough to allow the nuclei to fuse. And this is where progress has now been made.
      The era of practical fusion power, and an inexhaustible supply of energy, may finally be coming near.
       
       Q. 464. Sovereign Gold Bonds 2017-18-Series-III
      Ans.
      Sovereign Gold Bonds 2017-18 – Series-III
      Government of India will issue Sovereign Gold Bonds 2017-18 – Series-III. The Bonds will be sold through banks, Stock Holding Corporation of India Limited (SHCIL), designated post offices and recognised stock exchanges viz., National Stock Exchange of India Limited and Bombay Stock Exchange.
      • Issuance: To be issued by Reserve Bank India on behalf of the Government of India.
      • Eligibility: The Bonds will be restricted for sale to resident Indian entities including individuals, HUFs, Trusts, Universities and Charitable Institutions.
      • Denomination: The Bonds will be denominated in multiples of gram(s) of gold with a basic unit of 1 gram.
      • Tenor: The tenor of the Bond will be for a period of 8 years with exit option from 5th year to be exercised on the interest payment dates.
      • Minimum size: Minimum permissible investment will be 1 gram of gold.
      • Maximum limit: The maximum limit of subscribed shall be 4 KG for individual, 4 Kg for HUF and 20 Kg for trusts and similar entities per fiscal (April-March) notified by the Government from time to time.  A self-declaration to this effect will be obtained.  The annual ceiling will include bonds subscribed under different tranches during initial issuance by Government and those purchase from the Secondary Market.
      • Issue price: Price of Bond will be fixed in Indian Rupees on the basis of simple average of closing price of gold of 999 purity published by the India Bullion and Jewellers Association Limited for the last 3 business days of the week preceding the subscription period. The issue price of the Gold Bonds will be ` 50 per gram less for those who subscribe online and pay through digital mode.
      • Redemption price: The redemption price will be in Indian Rupees based on simple average of closing price of gold of 999 purity of previous 3 business days published by IBJA.
      • Tax treatment: The interest on Gold Bonds shall be taxable as per the provision of Income Tax Act, 1961 (43 of 1961). The capital gains tax arising on redemption of SGB to an individual has been exempted. The indexation benefits will be provided to long term capital gains arising to any person on transfer of bond
      • Tradability: Bonds will be tradable on stock exchanges within a fortnight of the issuance on a date as notified by the RBI.
      • SLR eligibility: The Bonds will be eligible for Statutory Liquidity Ratio purposes.
       
       Q. 463. Removing harmful drugs from wastewater
      Ans.
      Removing harmful drugs from wastewater
      Hospital wastewater includes drugs which are a major environmental problem. Wastewater may include cytostatic drugs such as cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide used for cancer treatment. The presence of such drugs in hospital waste not only pollutes environment but can also harm human health as these drugs often don’t break up easily. The cytostatic drugs are known to cause severe and irreversible damages to human body. The concentration of these drugs is high in the wastewaters of hospitals specializing in cancer treatment. A group of researchers from Belgium and India have developed a novel method of treating wastewater to get rid of such harmful substances from hospital waste.
      Components:
      • The method involves slurry photocatalytic membrane reactor which involves a filtration process similar to the one used to purify drinking water.
      • This device works with a light source like an LED.
      • Catalyst viz. titanium dioxide is used to breakdown drugs. Titanium is easily available, efficient, stable and not toxic. The membrane used as a barrier to stop the drugs is made up of a polymer or ceramic.
      Process:
      • As waste water with cytostatic drugs enters photoreactor, the light source activates or ‘fires up’ the catalyst (titanium dioxide) breaking it up into two parts—titanium and ‘free’ oxygen.
      • The ‘free’ oxygen then combines with the cytostatic drugs in waste water and breaks them into smaller parts thus making them ‘safer’.
      • If any drug particles are left unchanged, the membrane prevents them from passing through.
      • Thereafter, the mixture goes into another part of the reactor where the catalyst is removed and re-circulated to the photoreactor.
      • The amount of carbon contained in the pollutants before and after the filtration process decreases with time, this indicates that the degradation process is effective.
       
       Q. 462. Geo Tagging
      Ans.
      Geo Tagging
      • It is the process of adding geographical identification like latitude and longitude to various media such as a photo or video. 
      • Geotagging can help users find a wide variety of location-specific information from a device.
      • It provides users the location of the content of a given picture.
      • Geomapping is a visual representation of the geographical location of geotagged assets layered on top of map or satellite imagery
      Why is Geotagging important?
      • Several assets are created in the states under various schemes of the Ministry of Agriculture.  Under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) also, states have been utilising substantial amount of funds for creation of infrastructure/assets in agriculture and allied sectors such as soil testing labs, pesticide testing labs, bio fertiliser setting units, custom hiring centres, vaccine production units, veterinary diagnosis labs., dispensaries, milk collection centres, fish production units, godowns, cold storage, shade nets, pandals for vegetable cultivation   etc. Monitoring of such wide spread activities is of paramount importance to states and Government of India to understand flow of funds, inventorising the assets, bringing in transparency, planning of assets for future, and finally informing the farmers about the facilities available.
      • Geotagging for monitoring of assets has already started in Ministry of Rural Development for MGNREGA and Department of Land Resources for monitoring of watershed activities in the states. Postal department has also geotagged the post offices using NRSC Bhuvan Platform.
      Which agency does it?
      National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), ISRO at Hyderabad. This centre of ISRO has a software platform, Bhuvan that allows users to explore a 2D/3D representation of the surface of the Earth. It also acts as a platform for hosting government data.
      Application
      • The assets created under RKVY could be monitored by Geotagging them using BHUVAN. In future, the location of the infrastructure created and distances from each other could also be utilised for arriving at distribution of assets and optimum number of that particular asset required in a district or state.  The process involves development of a mobile app for mapping the assets through photographs and Geo-tagging (providing geo co-ordinates) before hosting on to DAC –RKVY platform that would be specially created for RKVY monitoring.
      • Geo-tagging exercise is a national level initiative involving linking ISRO-Bhuvan with "NREGA-Soft" interface operated under DoRD by National Informatics Centre (NIC). This has to be established within a very limited time-line, which will enable access to all state implementing departments. Database of completed assets residing on "NREGA-Soft" will be pushed to Bhuvan, which in turn will be served to each data collector under Gram Panchayats. Collected data will be moderated for quality level through approved authorities at block level to ensure the precise information for online visualization. Bhuvan can facilitate a complete geographic information storage, retrieval, analysis and reporting for completed assets, with a high resolution backdrop of Indian Remote sensing Satellite (IRS) natural color images.
       
       Q. 461. National Rural Drinking Water Programme
      Ans.
      National Rural Drinking Water Programme
      Recently, the Union Cabinet has accorded its approval for continuation and restructuring of National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP). The revamping is aimed to make it outcome-based, competitive and better monitored with increased focus on sustainability (functionality) of schemes to ensure good quality service delivery to the rural population.

      Restructuring
      • A sum of Rs. 23,050 crore has been approved for the programme for the Fourteenth Finance Commission (FFC) period 2017-18 to 2019-20. 
      • The programme will cover all the Rural Population across the country.
      • The restructuring will make the programme flexible, result-oriented, competitive, and will enable the Ministry towards to reach the goal of increasing coverage of sustainable Piped Water Supply.
      • National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) is to be continued co-terminus with the 14th Finance Commission cycle till March 2020.
      • There will be 2% earmarking of funds for Japanese Encephalitis (JE) /Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) affected areas.
      • A new Sub-programme under NRDWP viz. National Water Quality Sub-Mission (NWQSM) which has been started by the Ministry  of Drinking Water and Sanitation will address the urgent need for providing clean drinking water in about 28000 Arsenic & Fluoride affected habitations.
      NRDWP
      • The NRDWP was started in 2009, with a major emphasis on ensuring sustainability (source) of water availability in terms of potability, adequacy, convenience, affordability and equity.
      • NRDWP is a Centrally Sponsored Scheme with 50:50 fund sharing between the Centre and the States.
       
       Q. 460. ASTROSAT
      Ans.
      ASTROSAT
      Recently AstroSat, India's multi-wavelength space telescope, had measured the X-ray polarisation of the Crab pulsar (star) in the Taurus constellation. The telescope measured the variations of polarisation as the magnetised object (pulsar) spins 30 times per second. Taurus is the second astrological sign in the present zodiac. It spans the 30-60th degree of the zodiac.

      Astrosat                 
      Astrosat is India's first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory. It was launched on a PSLV-XL in 2015. Astrosat is a proposal-driven general purpose observatory, with main scientific focus on:
      • Simultaneous multi-wavelength monitoring of intensity variations in a broad range of cosmic sources
      • Monitoring the X-ray sky for new transients
      • Sky surveys in the hard X-ray and UV bands
      • Broadband spectroscopic studies of X-ray binaries, AGN, SNRs, clusters of galaxies, and stellar coronae
      • Studies of periodic and non-periodic variability of X-ray sources
      Astrosat performs multi-wavelength observations covering spectral bands from radio, optical, IR, UV, and X-ray wavelengths.  The observatory will also carry out:
      • Low- to moderate-resolution spectroscopy over a wide energy band with the primary emphasis on studies of X-ray-emitting objects
      • Timing studies of periodic and aperiodic phenomena in X-ray binaries
      • Studies of pulsations in X-ray pulsars
      • Quasi-periodic oscillations, flickering, flaring, and other variations in X-ray binaries
      • Short- and long-term intensity variations in active galactic nuclei
      • Time-lag studies in low/hard X-rays and UV/optical radiation
      • Detection and study of X-ray transients.
      Pulsar
      A pulsar is a highly magnetized, rotating neutron star or white dwarf, that emits a beam of electromagnetic radiation. This radiation can be observed only when the beam of emission is pointing toward Earth and is responsible for the pulsed appearance of emission. Neutron stars are very dense, and have short, regular rotational periods. This produces a very precise interval between pulses that range from milliseconds to seconds for an individual pulsar. Pulsars are believed to be one of the candidates of the observed ultra-high-energy cosmic rays (see also Centrifugal mechanism of acceleration).

      Neutron Star
      A neutron star is the collapsed core of a large star which before collapse had a total of between 10 and 29 solar masses. Neutron stars are the smallest and densest stars known to exist. Though neutron stars typically have a radius on the order of 10 kilometres (6.2 mi), they can have masses of about twice that of the Sun. They result from the supernova explosion of a massive star, combined with gravitational collapse, that compresses the core past the white dwarf star density to that of atomic nuclei. Once formed, they no longer actively generate heat, and cool over time; however, they may still evolve further through collision or accretion. Most of the neutron stars are composed almost entirely of neutrons (subatomic particles with no net electrical charge and with slightly larger mass than protons); the electrons and protons present in normal matter combine to produce neutrons at the conditions in a neutron star.
       
       Q. 459. Ramayana and Krishna Circuits
      Ans.
      Ramayana and Krishna Circuits
      Ramayana Circuit and Krishna Circuit are among the thirteen thematic circuits identified for development under Swadesh Darshan Scheme. 
      Ministry of Tourism had initially identified fifteen destinations for development under the Ramayana Circuit theme namely Ayodhya, Nandigram, Shringverpur & Chitrakoot (Uttar Pradesh), Sitamarhi, Buxar & Darbhanga (Bihar), Chitrakoot (Madhya Pradesh), Mahendragiri (Odisha), Jagdalpur (Chattisgarh), Nashik & Nagpur (Maharashtra), Bhadrachalam (Telangana), Hampi (Karnataka) and Rameshwaram (Tamil Nadu).
      Similarly, twelve destinations have been identified for development under Krishna circuit namely Dwarka (Gujarat), Nathdwara, Jaipur & Sikar (Rajasthan), Kurukshetra (Haryana), Mathura, Vrindavan, Gokul, Barsana, Nandgaon & Govardhan (Uttar Pradesh) and Puri (Odisha).
      Ministry of Tourism, Government of India has launched ‘Swadesh Darshan’ scheme to fund development of theme based tourism circuits in India. These tourist circuits will be developed on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner. Under the Swadesh Darshan scheme, thirteen thematic circuits have been identified, for development namely: North-East India Circuit, Buddhist Circuit, Himalayan Circuit, Coastal Circuit, Krishna Circuit, Desert Circuit, Tribal Circuit, Eco Circuit, Wildlife Circuit, Rural Circuit, Spiritual Circuit, Ramayana Circuit and Heritage Circuit.
       








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