August 2019

Daily Current Affairs (04-08-19)

National Population Register (NPR)

Related Topic : National Register of Citizens (NRC), Aadhaar, Curbing illegal migration

Why in News

A notification issued by government said that that the next round of recording biometric and family-tree details of Indian citizens under the National Population Register (NPR) will be conducted in September 2020.

News in Detail

The exercise is different from the decennial Census and is not linked to the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

The exercise was conducted earlier in two phases in 2010 and 2015.

“In pursuance of sub-rule (4) of rule 3 of the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003, the Central government hereby decides to prepare and update the Population Register…… And the field work for house-to-house enumeration throughout the country except Assam for collection of information relating to all persons who are usually residing within the jurisdiction of local registrar shall be undertaken between the 1st day of April 2020 to 30th September 2020,” said a notification issued by Registrar General of Citizen Registration and Census Commissioner.

NPR vs Aadhaar

In 2009, the process of NPR updation clashed with the Aadhaar project under the UPA-2 government.

A controversy had erupted over which scheme (NPR or UID) would be more effective and appropriate for different purposes.

The home ministry had argued that the NPR would be more suited for transfer of subsidies than the UID, as the population register has data linking each individual to a household.

In 2016, the National Democratic Alliance government classified the UIDAI as a statutory authority through the provisions of the Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016, and placed it under the ambit of the ministry of electronics and information technology.

Unlike Aadhaar, the NPR seeks to capture and correlate several other demographic details rather than restricting itself to biometrics.

NPR will include 15 categories of demographic information while biometric details will be sourced from the UIDAI, since the citizenship rules do not provide for collection of biometrics.


The development comes amid the exercise to finalise the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam, for which the Supreme Court has extended the deadline to August 31.

With several cases reported from many parts of the country of foreign nationals staying back illegally, the government is actively considering implementing a nationwide NRC and deporting illegal immigrants.

Once the NPR is completed and published, it is expected to be the basis for preparing the National Register of Indian Citizens (NRIC), a pan-India version of Assam’s National Register of Citizens (NRC).

About NPR

The National Population Register (NPR) is a Register of usual residents of the country.

It is being prepared at the local (Village/sub-Town), sub-District, District, State and National level under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.

It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.

A usual resident is defined for the purposes of NPR as a person who has resided in a local area for the past 6 months or more or a person who intends to reside in that area for the next 6 months or more.

The objective of the NPR is to create a comprehensive identity database of every usual resident in the country.

The database would contain demographic as well as biometric particulars.




‘Autovault’, the Robotic Locker by Godrej


Related Topic : Science and Technology, Innovation


Godrej Security Solutions (GSS) has introduced a robotic locker ‘Autovault.’


The robotic locker is modern and sophisticated. It is easy to install and requires less space.

It does away with the need for an aisle as lockers are stacked one above the other like the storage system.

In a span of 800 sq. ft., at least 1,000 lockers can be stacked.

One can access the locker from the comfort of a cabin.

Instead of a user going in search of the locker, the latter will surface in front of him, after the user swipes the card once at the entrance and upon punching the PIN at the desk.

Autovault offers ‘easy accessibility and high security’ as its installation mandates six walls of strong room.

It can also have built-in sensors to activate the alarm in case of tremors or attacks.



GJ 357 d – The Super Earth Planet


Related Topic: Space Technology, NASA’s TESS Mission, Goldilocks zone

Why in News

NASA’s exoplanet-hunting telescope, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), has discovered a new solar system with at least three new planets including one that has shown potential for being habitable

News in Detail

The distant solar system — with a diminutive M-type dwarf sun, about one-third the size of our own sun — harbours three planets, with one of those in that system’s habitable zone: GJ 357 d.

The super-Earth planet — named GJ 357 d — was discovered in early 2019 owing to NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), a mission designed to comb the heavens for exoplanets, according to the research published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

The super-Earth has a thick atmosphere and may possess water.

Last February, the TESS satellite observed that the dwarf sun GJ 357 dimmed very slightly every 3.9 days, evidence of a transiting planet moving across the star’s face.

That planet was GJ 357 b, a so-called “hot Earth” about 22 per cent larger than Earth, according to the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, which guides TESS.

Follow-up observations from the ground led to the discovery of two more exoplanetary siblings: GJ 357 c and GJ 357 d.

The international team of scientists collected Earth-based telescopic data going back two decades — to reveal the newly found exoplanets’ tiny gravitational tugs on its host star, according to NASA.

Exoplanet GJ 357 c sizzles at 127 degrees Celsius and has at least 3.4 times Earth’s mass.

However, the system’s outermost known sibling planet — GJ 357 d, a super-Earth — could provide Earth-like conditions and orbits the dwarf star every 55.7 days at a distance about one-fifth of Earth’s distance from the sun.

Goldilocks zone

It refers to a habitable zone in the planetary system where the temperature is neither too high nor too low.

Such conditions could allow for the presence on the planet’s surface of liquid water – a key ingredient for life.

Earth is in the habitable zone of the sun – one of the reasons our planet has liquid water like oceans and lakes.





Canine Distemper Virus (CDV)

Related Topic: Environment & Biodiversity, Wildlife Protection, Diseases


A potential virus — Canine Distemper Virus (CDV) — that can be transmitted from CDV-infected dogs living in and around wildlife sanctuaries has started to raise concern among wildlife biologists.

Raising Concerns

A recent study published in Threatened Taxa notes that 86% of the tested dogs around Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan carried CDV antibodies in their bloodstream.

This means that the dogs are either currently infected or have been infected sometime in their life and have overcome the disease.

These dogs wander into the forest along with the humans, and there have been cases where leopard have hunted these dogs.

This finding points out that there is an increased risk of disease transfer from the dogs to tigers and leopards that live in the park.

Studies from Russia and Africa have shown that small, isolated wildlife populations are more susceptible and when the virus transmits from one species to another the disease manifestation is worse.

Last year, over 20 lions from the Gir forest succumbed to the viral infection and a guideline has been prepared by the National Tiger Conservation Authority to prevent the spillover of the disease to wild animals.

Preventive Measures

Managing any disease in a wildlife population is extremely difficult.

Most dogs are free ranging and not owned by any particular person in the village.

The government should take the initiative to vaccinate the dogs around wildlife sanctuaries in the country.

This would be a good time to vaccinate against rabies as well.

It is an investment that requires time and effort but increasing herd immunity will reduce chances of disease spillover to wildlife.

With the CDV confirmed deaths of lions in Gir, more attention has been drawn to the disease.

More studies needed to be conducted to get countywide data on the disease prevalence so that necessary prevention guidelines can be laid out.

About CDV

Canine distemper is a contagious and serious disease caused by a virus that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous systems of puppies and dogs.

The virus can also be found in wildlife such as foxes, wolves, coyotes, raccoons, skunks, mink and ferrets and has been reported in lions, tigers, leopards and other wild cats as well as seals.

Puppies and dogs most often become infected through airborne exposure (through sneezing or coughing) to the virus from an infected dog or wild animal.

The virus can also be transmitted by shared food and water bowls and equipment.

Infected dogs can shed the virus for months, and mother dogs can pass the virus through the placenta to their puppies.

Since canine distemper also impacts wildlife populations, contact between wild animals and domestic dogs can facilitate the spread of the virus.





Kala Azar  (Visceral Leishmaniasis)


Related Topic: Science & Technology, Public Health, Diseases


By encapsulating an antifungal drug in polymer nanofibers, researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad have been able to achieve controlled and sustained release of the drug Amphotericin B for up to 10 days.

About Kala Azar

Kala-azar is a slow progressing indigenous disease caused by a protozoan parasite of genus Leishmania.

Sandfly of genus Phlebotomus argentipes are the only known vectors of kala-azar in India.

It is also known as black fever and Dumdum fever.

In India Leishmania donovani is the only parasite causing this disease.

The parasite primarily infects reticuloendothelial system and may be found in abundance in bone marrow, spleen and liver.

Its signs and symptoms include fever, weight loss, fatigue, anaemia, and substantial swelling of liver and spleen.

It is treatable and requires a medical diagnosis.

Further, a little-known skin condition called Post Kala Azar Dermal Leishmaniasis (PKDL) — a red flag for transmission of Kala azar — has been growing steadily over the past few years.

Kala azar is the second largest parasitic killer in the world.

Along with Chagas disease and sleeping sickness, kala azar is one of the most dangerous neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).

The parasite is spread to humans by bites from infected female sand flies. It attacks the immune system, and is almost always fatal if not treated.

India itself accounts for half the global burden of the disease.






TechEx – Technology Exhibition

Related Topic : Research & Development, Innovation

Why in News

Union HRD Minister inaugurated TechEx – a technology exhibition organized to demonstrate products and prototypes developed under IMPRINT and UAY at IIT Delhi.

News in Detail

TechEx was organized to demonstrate products and prototypes developed under the two flagship schemes of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) namely Impacting Research, Innovation and Technology (IMPRINT) and Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY).

TechEx is a unique effort, which offers an excellent platform to the researchers to showcase their work and inspire them to do their best in their respective domains.

50 models/prototypes under IMPRINT and 26 under UAY were showcased during the exhibition in addition to 142 posters.

Some prominent among the exhibits were non-invasive and low-cost rapid TB diagnostics, artificial pancreas for closed loop blood glucose control of type-I diabetic patients, affordable cancer diagnosis/treatment, electric vehicle charger, remote healthcare delivery system for non-communicable diseases, low cost environment friendly fire detection and suppression system, air quality monitoring network system and detection of pesticides and insecticides in fruits and vegetables.

About IMPRINT Scheme

It was launched in November, 2015 with a view to providing solutions to the most relevant engineering challenges by translating knowledge into viable technology (products or processes) in 10 selected technology domains, namely health care, energy, sustainable habitat, nano-technology hardware, water resources and river systems, advanced materials, Information and Communication Technology, manufacturing, security and defence, and environmental science and climate change.

142 projects at a total cost of Rs.313.30 cr. were approved under the IMPRINT-I.

These projects are funded jointly by MHRD and the participating Ministry in the ratio of 50:50.

About Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY)

It was announced on October 6, 2015 with a view to promoting innovation of a higher order that directly impacts the needs of the Industry and thereby improves the competitive edge of Indian manufacturing.

A total of 142 projects, including 83 in Phase-I and 59 in Phase-II) have been approved under UAY at a total cost of Rs.388.86 cr.

UAY projects are funded jointly by MHRD, participating Ministries and the Industry in the ratio of 50:25:25.

The scheme focuses on a viable industry-academic collaboration where industry shares a part of the cost of research.




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