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PIB 20th January 2021

Contents
  1. Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji
  2. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF)
  3. Consumer Price Index (CPI)
  4. Gold microstructure substrate
  5. Alternative anti-cancer therapy using transgenic zebrafish
  6. Second Edition of India Innovation Index

SRI GURU GOBIND SINGH JI   

Focus: GS 1;Modern Indian history from about the middle of the eighteenth century until the present significant events, personalities, issues.

Why in News?

PM bows to Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji on his Parkash Purab

About Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji

  • Guru Gobind Singh, born Gobind Rai, was the tenth Sikh Guru, a spiritual master, warrior, poet and philosopher.
  • When his father, Guru Tegh Bahadur, was executed by Aurangzeb, Guru Gobind Singh was formally installed as the leader of the Sikhs at the age of nine, becoming the tenth and final human Sikh Guru.
  • His notable contribution to Sikhism is the establishment of the Khalsa in 1699.
  • The only son of Guru Tegh Bahadur, Guru Gobind Singh was born in Patna in December 1666.
  • He was educated in reading, writing, and also martial arts, archery and horse riding.
  • Not only was he a brave warrior, but he was also a great poet and philosopher.
  • His literary contributions include the Jaap Sahib, Benti Chaupai, Amrit Savaiye, etc.
  • He took part in many battles, particularly against the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb.
  • Guru Gobind Singh also wrote the Zafarnama which was a letter to the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb is believed to have agreed to a meeting with the Guru but died before that.
  • The Guru along with his troops was stationed in the Deccan when two Afghan assassins commissioned by Wazir Khan gained access to the camp.
  • One of the assassins stabbed the Guru at Nanded.
  • The assassin was killed by the Guru while his accomplice was killed by Sikh guards.
  • Guru Gobind Singh died of wounds a few days later on 7 October 1708 aged 42.
  • After the Guru’s death, there ensued a long and bitter war between the Sikhs and the Mughals.

About Guru Gobind Singh Ji Contributions

  • Guru Gobind Singh’s most significant contribution was the institutionalizing of the Khalsa, which was a warrior community. An initiation ceremony called Amrit Pehul was created and rules were formulated for the Khalsa.
  • A male Khalsa was given the title ‘Singh’ and a female was given the title ‘Kaur’.
  • This code solidified the martial spirit of the Sikh community.
  • Guru Gobind Singh started the tradition of the Five K’s for the Khalsa.
  • The Five K’s are kesh (uncut hair), kanga (wooden comb), kara (iron or steel bracelet), kirpan (dagger) and kacchera (short breeches).
  • These were the five articles of faith that a Khalsa must always adorn.
  • The tradition is still followed.
  • The Guru also laid down many other rules for the Khalsa warriors to follow like abstaining from tobacco, alcohol, halal meat, etc. The Khalsa warrior was also duty-bound to protect innocent people from persecution.
  • Everyone was treated equally and caste was abolished.
  • The Khalsa tradition was responsible for converting the Sikhs into a strong and disciplined fighting group.
  • This also paved the way for the establishment of the Sikh Empire under Maharaja Ranjit Singh in 1799.
  • Another significant contribution of Guru Gobind Singh was the enshrining the Sikh scripture Granth Sahib as the eternal Guru of Sikhism. Thus, after his death, there were no more Gurus in human form.
PIB 2nd November 2020 - Legacy IAS Academy - PIB Summary for UPSC

NATIONAL DISASSTER RESPONSE FORCE (NDRF)    

Focus: GS 3;Disaster and disaster management.

Why in News?

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) celebrated its 16th Foundation Day today. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Shri Nityanand Rai congratulated personnel and officers of the Force. This day is an occasion to remember the high level of professionalism, strong determination and achievements earned through hard work

About NDRF

  • The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is an Indian specialized force constituted “for the purpose of special response to a threatening disaster situation or disaster” under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.
  • The “Apex Body for Disaster Management” in India is the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA).
  • The Chairman of the NDMA is the Prime Minister.
  • The responsibility of managing disasters in India is that of the State Government.
  • The ‘Nodal Ministry’ in the central government for management of natural disasters is the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
  • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is under the National Disaster Management Authority.
  • Headquarter of NDRF located in Delhi.
  • The head of the NDRF is designated as Director General.
  • The Director Generals of NDRF are IPS officers on deputation from Indian police organisations.
  • The NDRF is a top-heavy organisation which in addition to the Director General has several Inspector Generals (IG) and Deputy IGs, who fly flags and wear army-style badges of rank.
  • National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is a force of 12 battalions, organised on para-military lines, and manned by persons on deputation from the para-military forces of India.
  • These NDRF battalions are located at twelve different locations in the country based on the vulnerability profile to cut down the response time for their deployment.
About NDRF Functions
  • The aim of the National Disaster Management Authority is to build a safer and disaster resilient India by developing a holistic, proactive, multi-disaster and technology driven strategy for disaster management.
  • This has to be achieved through a culture of prevention, mitigation and preparedness to generate a prompt and efficient response at the time of disasters.
  • This national vision inter alia, aims at inculcating a culture of preparedness among all stakeholders.
  • NDRF has proved its importance in achieving this vision by highly skilled rescue and relief operations, regular and intensive training and re-training, familiarization exercises within the area of responsibility of respective NDRF Battalions, carrying out mock drills and joint exercises with the various stakeholders.
  • In addition to this, there are four battalions capable of handling as follows;-
    1. Biological, 
    2. Radiological, 
    3. Nuclear and 
    4. Chemical disasters (Recent Vizag Gas Leak). 

CONSUMER PRICE INDEX (CPI)

Focus: GS 3;Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization, of resources, growth, development and employment.

Why in News?

All-India Consumer Price Index Numbers for Agricultural and Rural Labourers – December, 2020

Please click on this link for detailed explanation about Consumer Price Index (CPI)


GOLD MICROSTRUCTURE SUBSTRATE

Focus: GS 3;Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

Why in News?

Scientists develop gold microstructure substrate with tunable wettability useful in water transportation & self-cleaning

About Gold microstructure substrate

  • Scientists have developed a gold microstructure substrate with the ability to repel water as well as bubbles with tunable wettability, which can be used in designing microfluidic devices, biosensors and useful in water transportation and self-cleaning.
  • Wettability, or the ability of a liquid to maintain contact with a solid surface, is an important property in surface and interface science. Its influence is seen in many biochemical processes, sensing, microfluidics, water transportation, self-cleaning, industrial processes. The tunable wettability results from tunability in surface energy of the substrate, which can be utilized to regulate the direction of flow in water transportation and self-cleaning applications.
  • According to the recent work published in ‘Journal of Applied Physics’, Dr. P. Viswanath and his group from the Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), have developed a substrate exhibiting morphological gradient that helps one to tune the wettability because of surface energy change.
  • Water and oil wetting studies at each position on the substrate revealed that wetting is tunable with morphology.
  • The substrate showed hydrophobic nature, which gets magnified when coated with a self-assembled monolayer of octadecane thiol – a water-soluble sulfur compound with a carbon alkyl chain.
  • The coating results in a reduction in surface energy, which in turn facilitates an enhancement in hydrophobic behaviour.
  • Underwater wettability investigations on the substrate showed that it mainly repelled bubbles and when functionalized with coating of octadecanethiol, it repels mainly oil.
  • Ms. Brindhu Malani S, a research scholar working on this, pointed out that these studies would be useful in designing microfluidic devices, biosensors, and water transportation.

ALTERNATIVE ANTI-CANCER THERAPY USING TRANSGENIC ZEBRAFISH

Focus: GS 3;Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

Why in News?

DST INSPIRE faculty from Chennai working on alternative anti-cancer therapy using transgenic zebrafish

About Alternative anti-cancer therapy using transgenic zebrafish

  • Scientists are exploring an alternative anti-cancer therapy that involves targeting tumor generated the formation of new blood vessels which allow the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the body’s tissues, technically called angiogenesis.
  • Angiogenesis is critical in the growth of cancer because tumors need blood supply to grow.
  • Tumors trigger the growth of blood cells by giving off chemical signals that stimulate angiogenesis.
  • Deregulation of angiogenesis is the main reason for tumor growth and progression.
  • Inhibition of tumor angiogenesis has become a popular anti-cancer strategy after chemotherapy.
  • However, the clinically approved anti-angiogenic drugs are ineffective due to parallel activation of various compensatory mechanisms involving a cascade of molecules, which aids tumor angiogenesis and investigation of these mechanisms are essential for developing anti-angiogenic therapies.
  • Dr. Vimalraj Selvaraj from Centre for Biotechnology, Anna University, Chennai, a recipient of the INSPIRE Faculty Fellowship instituted by the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, is exploring the role of compensatory angiogenesis signaling cues as key targets for cancer therapy.
  • He has already found that nitric oxide (NO) plays a key role in switching off angiogenesis under tumor microenvironment and that the melatonin hormone suppresses tumor angiogenesis.
  • The research published in the journals Microvascular Research, Life Sciences and Nitric Oxide, has shown that compensatory mechanisms could be a potential therapeutic target for developing effective anti-cancer treatment regimes.
  • Using the INSPIRE Faculty program Dr. Vimalraj and his research team is further working to develop transgenic zebrafish (which have exogenous genes added to their genome) model by use of the CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing tool to further study the compensatory angiogenesis mechanism in tumor microenvironment.
  • Differential expression of biomolecules between two types of angiogenesis (sprouting angiogenesis and intussusceptive angiogenesis ) and their molecular mechanism will be analysed using transgenic zebrafish models in tumor microenvironment.
  • The transgenic or  CRISPR/Cas9 edited Zebrafish platform (TZP) can be used for studying the efficacy of a  drug as anti or pro-angiogenesis in the next phase of the project.
  • The transgenic zebrafish model has been selected for the intussusceptive angiogenesis study because of its rapid development, optically transparent, high yield in offspring, and easy techniques for forward and reverse gene manipulation.
  • The CRISPR/Cas9 edited zebrafish platform will also be used for studying the efficacy of a drug as anti or pro-angiogenesis in the next phase of the project.

SECOND EDITION OF INDIA INNOVATION INDEX 2020

Focus: GS 2;Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

Why in News?

NITI Aayog Releases Second Edition of India Innovation Index. Overall Delhi Tops the List, Chandigarh Major Gainer, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh Lead in Their Respective Categories

About 2nd Edition of India Innovation Index 2020

  • NITI Aayog, along with the Institute for Competitiveness, released the second edition of the India Innovation Index in a virtual event.
  • The report examines the innovation capabilities and performance of the states and union territories.
  • The first edition of the index was launched in October 2019.
  • In the second edition too, the index found that the level of competitiveness among the states and union territories was high, which is essential for them to continually improve on their enabling factors as well as innovation performance, year by year.
  • In the ‘Major States’ category, Karnataka continued to occupy the top position, while Maharashtra moved past Tamil Nadu to reach the second place. Telangana, Kerala, Haryana, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab completed the top ten in that order. Karnataka’s rank is attributable to its substantive number of venture capital deals, registered geographical indicators and information and communications technology exports. Karnataka’s high Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflow has also enhanced the innovation capabilities of the state.
  • Four southern states Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Kerala occupied the top five spots under the ‘Major States’ category this year.
  • Overall, Delhi retained its first rank, while Chandigarh made a big leap since 2019 and landed in the second place this year.
  • Under the ‘North-Eastern/Hill States’ category, Himachal Pradesh moved up from the second position to emerge as the top ranker this year, while 2019’s top performer (in this category), Sikkim, slipped down to the fourth position.
  • The innovation inputs were measured through five enabler parameters, and the output through two performance parameters.
  • While ‘Human Capital’, ‘Investment’, ‘Knowledge Workers’, ‘Business Environment’, ‘Safety and Legal Environment ‘were identified as enabler parameters, ‘Knowledge Output’ and ‘Knowledge Diffusion ‘were chosen as the performance parameters.
  • The India Innovation Index aims to create an extensive framework for the continual evaluation of India’s innovation environment.
  • The index aims to rank states and UTs based on their scores, recognize opportunities and challenges, and assist in tailoring government policies to foster innovation.
  • NITI Aayog, with its mandate of promoting ‘competitive federalism’ among all states and union territories, is committed to utilize the India Innovation Index in catalyzing the innovation outcome of the nation.
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