SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Information and Communications Technology (ICT) [Paper-II]: Nature and Scope of ICT, ICT in day today life, ICT and industry, ICT and Governance – various Government schemes promoting use of ICT
Infrastructure [Paper-II]: Telecommunication
- Kerala State Cabinet accorded administrative sanction for the ₹1548 crore K-Fon project aimed at providing free high speed Internet connection to over 20 lakh BPL families in Kerala.
- The project aims to strengthen the internet backbone of the state and to provide free or subsidised internet connection to people.
What is K-Fone Project?
- Kerala Fiber optic Network (KFON) project is the Mega Infrastructure Project of the Government of Kerala.
- The scheme aims at creating an optic fibre network parallel to the distribution network of the KSEB.
- It will provide Internet connection to BPL families, government offices, hospitals and schools.
- About 20 lakh below poverty line (BPL) families will be given free Internet connection.
- WiFi hotspots will be set up across the state to help connected-users in schools, hospitals, offices and houses.
- Under the WiFi scheme, around 30 million people will have free access to all websites and mobile applications of the state data centre.
- The scheme is being implemented with financial assistance from the KIIFB as part of an ambitious programme to ensure all citizens have access to Internet.
- It envisages a State-wide optical fibre network to be set up by Kerala State Electricity Board Limited (KSEB) and Kerala State IT Infrastructure Limited to link houses and offices.
- A consortium led by Bharat Electronics Limited had bagged the bid for the ambitious project to be completed by December 2020.
- Licenced Internet service providers and cable TV operators can utilise the optic fibre network to provide services to citizens.
- The project would open the possibility for the State to take a giant leap in the IT sector, with major gains in the Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, Internet of Things and startup domains.
- Government offices and educational institutions would be linked through the high speed network.
- It will give a push to the digitalisation of government services like the e-health programme.
- IT parks, airports and seaports will also benefit from the linkage.
- Small scale enterprises using e-commerce platforms will benefit from K-Fon.
- The project will help in High quality video conferencing and transport management.
- The network will also link all mobile towers in the State for better mobile Internet services.
Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Geography [Paper-I]: Physical, Social, Economic Geography of World, India and Kerala, Geophysical phenomena like Earthquake, Tsunami, Volcanoes, Cyclone, Flood, Landslides.
- According to a new study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, Dallol geothermal springs in Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression do not support life.
Place on Earth Which Has Water, But Absolutely No Life
- Extremophile microbes can adapt to environmental conditions that are too extreme for everything else.
- However, the new research has pointed to a place on Earth (Danakil Depression) with bubbling pools of water and mounds of salt covering its landscape that is too difficult even for these microorganisms.
- The study identifies two barriers: magnesium-dominated brines that cause cells to break down; and an environment having simultaneously very low pH and high salt, a combination that makes adaptation highly difficult.
About Danakil Depression
- The Danakil Depression in northeastern Ethiopia is one of the world’s hottest places, as well as one of its lowest, at 100 metres below sea level.
- At the northern end of the Great Rift Valley, and separated by live volcanoes from the Red Sea, the plain was formed by the evaporation of an inland water body.
- All the water entering Danakil evaporates, and no streams flow out from its extreme environment. It is covered with more than 10 lakh tonnes of salt.
- The Depression is the northern part of the Afar Triangle, a geological depression caused by the Afar Triple Junction: a place where three tectonic plates join.
- The Depression overlaps the borders of Eritrea, Djibouti and the entire Afar Region of Ethiopia. It is part of the great East African Rift Valley.
[Source: Indian Express, nationalgeographic.org]
Related Topic in KAS Prelims Syllabus:
Economy [Paper-II]: Industrial Policy, foreign investment and competition policy, Foreign Trade
Science and Technology [Paper-II]: ICT and Governance – various Government schemes promoting use of ICT, e-Governance Programmes and Services
Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs unveiled two new IT initiatives named ‘ICEDASH’ and ‘ATITHI’ for improved monitoring and pace of Customs clearance of imported goods and facilitating arriving international passengers by electronic filing of Customs baggage and currency declarations.
- It is an Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) monitoring dashboard of the Indian Customs helping the public to see the daily Customs clearance times of import cargo at various ports and airports.
- With ICEDASH, Indian Customs has taken a lead globally to provide an effective tool that helps the businesses to compare clearance times across ports and plan their logistics accordingly.
- This dashboard has been developed by Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) in collaboration with NIC and it can be accessed through the CBIC website.
- ATITHI is an easy to use mobile app introduced by CBIC for international travellers to file the Customs declaration in advance.
- Passengers can use this app to file declaration of dutiable items and currency with the Indian Customs even before boarding the flight to India.
- It would create a tech savvy image of Indian Customs and would encourage tourism and business travel to India.
- The app will facilitate hassle free and faster clearance by Customs at the airports and enhance the experience of international tourists and other visitors at Indian airports.
FACTS OF THE DAY
- China announced that a new drug named Oligomannate (GV-971), meant to potentially treat Alzheimer’s disease, will be available to Chinese patients by the end of 2019.
- It is a seaweed-based drug, administered orally.
- Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica jointly developed the GV-971 with Green Valley Pharmaceutical Company Ltd and the Ocean University of China.
- The drug has received approval from China’s National Medical Products Administration (NMPA) making it the “new drug for the treatment of ‘mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and improving cognitive function’.”
- Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that typically affects people older than 65.
- The disease destroys brain cells and nerves, and disrupts the message-carrying neurotransmitters.
ETHANOL FROM B-HEAVY MOLASSES
- Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change has announced that no separate environmental clearance is required to produce additional ethanol from B-heavy molasses as it does not contribute to the pollution load.
- It has been clarified that all such proposals intended to undertake additional production of ethanol from B-heavy Molasses, sugar cane juice, sugar syrup or sugar, may be considered under the provisions of 7 (ii) (a) of EIA Notification, 2006 by the concerned Expert Appraisal Committee for grant of environmental clearance.
- With various incentives provided by the Government, sugar mills are expected to undertake production of ethanol from B-heavy Molasses and other by-products.
FIRST ‘PACHATHURUTHU’ PANCHAYAT IN KERALA
- Kodumon grama panchayat has become the first complete ‘Pachathuruthu’ panchayat in Kerala.
- ‘Pachathurutu’ project was launched by the Haritha Keralam Mission as a part of the Government’s greening mission.
- The project is meant to address the ill effects of the climate change by conserving the natural forests and by greening the fallow lands across the State.
- Haritha Keralam Mission had launched its Pachathuruthu programme as a pilot project in the catchment areas of the Mullottu dam in Kodumon grama panchayat in June, 2019.
- The project was implemented in association with the Kerala State Biodiversity Board, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, Agriculture Department, Social Forestry division of the Forest Department, various environmental organizations and educational institutions.