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PIB 18th November


  1. Global Prevention Coalition (GPC) for HIV Prevention
  2. ‘World Toilet Day’ and Swachh Bharat Mission: Grameen
  3. Acoustic signal library for tracking Crickets
  4. Param Siddhi and National Supercomputing Mission (NSM)


Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Why in news?

Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare digitally addressed the Ministerial meeting of the Global Prevention Coalition (GPC) for HIV Prevention.

Highlights of the GPC meeting

  • Hosted by UNAIDS and UNFPA on behalf of the Global HIV Prevention Coalition (GPC), the conference this year holds significance in achieving the 2016 UNGA commitment to end AIDS by 2030.
  • Member States of GPC had agreed to reduce new adult HIV infections by 75% at the end of 2020 from 2010 levels.
  • Global AIDS response has shown remarkable success in reducing new infections, improving access to prevention services for key population and treatment services for People living with HIV (PLHIV), reducing AIDS related mortality, enabling reduction in mother to child transmission of HIV and creating an enabling environment.

India’s Fight against AIDs

  • India’s unique HIV prevention model is centred around the concept of ‘Social Contracting’ through which the Targeted Interventions (TI) programme is implemented.
  • With support from Non-Government Organizations, the programme is aimed at providing outreach, service delivery, counselling & testing and ensuring linkages to HIV care.
  • The provision of generic Anti-Retroviral drugs (ARV) from India to the world has had a critical impact in controlling the HIV epidemic.
  • The Test and Treat Policy, approximately 50,000 PLHIV who were lost to follow-up were linked back to Anti-Retroviral Treatment services through ‘Mission SAMPARK’, while Viral Load Testing facilities have been scaled up from the existing ten public sector labs to 64 labs across the country.
  • The enactment of The Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act, 2017 which has provided a legal and enabling framework for safeguarding the human rights of the infected and affected populations.


Focus: GS-II Social Justice

Why in news?

Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation (DDWS), Ministry of Jal Shakti will be celebrating ‘World Toilet Day’ on November 19, 2020 under ‘Swachh Bharat Mission – Grameen (SBMG)’ for promoting awareness on access to Safe Sanitation and felicitating districts/states for making significant contribution towards Swachhata.

World Toilet Day (WTD)

  • World Toilet Day (WTD) is an official United Nations international observance day on 19 November to inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis.
  • The Theme for World Toilet Day 2020 is “Sustainable sanitation and climate change”.
  • Sustainable Development Goal 6 aims to “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. World Toilet Day exists to inform, engage and inspire people to take action toward achieving this goal.
  • UN-Water is the official convener of World Toilet Day.

Swachh Bharat Mission

Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) or Clean India Mission is a country-wide sanitation campaign launched on the day of Gandhi Jayanti, 2014.

The Main objectives of SBM are:

  1. Elimination of open defecation,
  2. Eradication of Manual Scavenging,
  3. Implementing Modern and scientific municipal solid waste management and
  4. Bringing behavioural change regarding healthy sanitation practices.

The 2 missions of SBM

  1. Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban): Implemented by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (M/o HUA) for urban areas. Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban (SBM-U) recently achieved its target of creating Urban India Open Defecation Free (ODF)
  2. Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen): Implemented by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (M/o DWS) for rural areas. Swachh Bharat Mission (G) Phase-I: The rural sanitation coverage in the country has increased from 38.7% to 100%. More than 10 crore individual toilets have been constructed since the launch of the mission. All rural areas in all the States have declared themselves ODF as on 2nd October, 2019.


Focus: GS-III Environment and Ecology

Why in news?

Scientists are establishing an acoustic signal library that can help track the diversity of crickets.

Need to replace Morphology based taxonomy

  • Morphology-based traditional taxonomy has gone a long way to recognise and establish species diversity.
  • But it is often not sufficient in delimiting cryptic species– a group of two or more morphologically indistinguishable species (hidden under one species) or individuals of the same species expressing diverse morphological features (which are often classified into multiple species).
  • Therefore, identification solely based on morphological features leads to underestimation or overestimation of species diversity.
  • In order to overcome this challenge – Scientists are working to establish a field crickets acoustic-signal library which can be used as a non-invasive tool in species diversity estimation and monitoring.
  • The library will be a digital one and can be used through mobile phone application for automated species recognition and discovery as well as documentation of new species of crickets from India.
  • Species-specific bioacoustics signals are a highly efficient and reliable tool in marking species boundaries and it can be used to get an accurate estimate of species richness and diversity estimate of any geographical area.
  • Field crickets are one of the most commonly used model organisms in the field of neuroethology, behavioural ecology, experimental biology, and acoustics because of their unique ability to produce loud acoustic signal by rubbing of highly specialised forewings against each other.


Focus: GS-III Science and Technology

Why in news?

Param Siddhi, the high-performance computing-artificial intelligence (HPC-AI) supercomputer established under National Supercomputing Mission (NSM) at C-DAC has achieved global ranking of 63 in TOP 500 most powerful non-distributed computer systems in the world.

Param Siddhi – Indian Supercomputer

  • Param Siddhi was commissioned by the C-DAC earlier and has been developed in association with chipmaker Nvidia and French IT consulting firm Atos.
  • It will help deep learning, visual computing, virtual reality, accelerated computing, as well as graphics virtualization.
  • The computer is expected to be used as a platform for academia, scientific research, start-ups and more.
  • The supercomputer with Rpeak of 5.267 Petaflops and 4.6 Petaflops Rmax (Sustained) was conceived by C-DAC and developed jointly withsupport of Department of Science and Technology (DST), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) under NSM.
  • Param-Siddhi is the second Indian supercomputer to be entered in the top 100 on the Top500 list.
  • Pratyush, a supercomputer used for weather forecasting at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology, ranked 78th in the list previously.
  • Another Indian supercomputer, Mihir (146th on the list), clubs with Pratyush to generate enough computing power to match Param-Siddhi.

About the rankings: Source:

  • The Top500 project tracks the most powerful supercomputers in the world and is published twice a year.
  • Japanese supercomputer Fugaku (442 petaflops) and IBM’s Summit (148.8 petaflops) are the two most powerful supercomputers in the world, according to the list.
  • Chinese Sunway TaihuLight is number four on the list (93 petaflops), developed by the National Research Center of Parallel Computer Engineering & Technology (NRCPC) in China.

What is National Supercomputing Mission (NSM)?

  • The mission was set up to provide the country with supercomputing infrastructure to meet the increasing computational demands of academia, researchers, MSMEs, and startups by creating the capability design, manufacturing, of supercomputers indigenously in India.
  • The mission will nationally coordinate collaborative programme involving developers and users of supercomputing systems as well as academic and research institutions.
  • It looks to facilitate effective governance and monitoring mechanisms to build culture of supercomputing for solving complex R&D problems and designing solutions addressing various country specific requirements for scientific, strategic and societal applications.
  • The Mission envisages empowering our national academic and R&D institutions spread over the country by installing a vast supercomputing grid comprising of more than 70 high-performance computing facilities.
  • These supercomputers will also be networked on the National Supercomputing grid over the National Knowledge Network (NKN).
  • The NKN is a central government initiative which connects academic institutions and R&D labs over a high-speed network.
  • Under NSM, the long-term plan is to build a strong base of 20,000 skilled persons. PARAM Shavak is one such machine that has been deployed to provide training.
  • The mission will be implemented by the Department of Science and Technology (Ministry of Science and Technology) and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), through the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) and Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.

Extras: What is a Petaflop?

  • A petaflop is a measure of a computer’s processing speed and can be expressed as a thousand trillion Floating-Point Operations Per Second (FLOPS).
  • 103 = kilo, 106 = mega, 109 = giga, 1012 = tera, 1015 = peta, 1018 = exa, 1021 = zetta and 1024 = yotta.
  • In computing, floating-point operations per second is a measure of computer performance, useful in fields of scientific computations that require floating-point calculations.
  • For such cases, it is a more accurate measure than measuring instructions per second.
  • There is no general direct translation between processor clock rate (expressed as Hertz – usually MHz or GHz) and number of floating point operations per second (FLOPS).
February 2024