5th Nov, 2020

NMM and HPC facilities result in a 50-fold increase in its economic benefits: NCAER Report

National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) Report on “Estimating the economic benefits of Investment in Monsoon Mission and High Performance Computing (HPC) Facilities” was recently released. 

Released by: Ministry of Science and Technology 

With an initial investment of Rs. 1,000 Crores, NMM and HPC facilities result in a 50-fold increase in its economic benefits.

A total of Rs. 1000 crores has been invested in setting up National Monsoon Mission(NMM) and High performance Computing (HPC) facilities by Government of India.

76% of the livestock owners are using weather information for taking decisions on modification of shelter; vaccination against seasonal disease; and fodder management. 

82% of fishermen reported using Ocean State Forecast (OSF) advisories every time before venturing into sea.

National Monsoon Mission

Launched by: Ministry of Earth Sciences in 2012.

Aim: To improve the forecasting skills by setting up a state-of-the-art dynamic prediction system for monsoon rainfall different time scales.

NMM builds a working partnership between the academic and research and development (R&D) organizations, both national and international.

Its augmentation with High Performance Computing facilities has helped the country in achieving a paradigm shift in weather and climate modeling for operational weather forecasts.

Lakhs of people benefit through Tele-Law

Tele-Law was in the news recently. 

Almost 4 Lakh beneficiaries having received legal advice under this through CSCs (Common Service Centres).

Tele-Law programme 

It was launched by Department of Justice in 2017 to address cases at pre–litigation stage.

Under this programme, smart technology of video conferencing, telephone /instant calling facilities available at the vast network of Common Service Centres at the Panchayat level are used to connect the vulnerable communities with the Panel Lawyers for seeking timely and valuable legal advice.

It is proactively outreached to groups and communities through a cadre of frontline volunteers provided by NALSA and CSC- e Gov.

Statements recorded by officers under the NDPS Act cannot be treated as confessions: SC

The SC has given its ruling on whether statements recorded under Section 67 of the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act can be admissible as confessional statements during criminal trials.

The majority judgment ruled that statements recorded by officers under the NDPS Act cannot be treated as confessions.

The majority view held that if confessional statements made under the Act are held as the basis to convict a person, it would be a direct infringement of constitutional guarantees

The court also held that when a reference is made to “police officers”, it does not only mean a police officer belonging to a state police force but includes officers who may belong to other departments.

The ruling will impact evidence in several cases, including the alleged drugs case being investigated by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) where actor Rhea Chakraborty and 24 others have been named as accused.

Pandemics to emerge more often: New Report by IPBES

In a new report released by the IPBES, the authors have warned that future pandemics will emerge more often, they’ll spread more rapidly, do more damage to the world and kill more people than COVID-19, unless significant measures are taken.

The report notes that COVID-19 is at least the sixth pandemic to have taken place in the last century since the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918.

Three of the pandemics were caused by influenza viruses, one by HIV followed by SARS and COVID-19. 

While the current pandemic’s origins lie in microbes carried by animals, like all pandemics, its emergence has been entirely driven by human activities.

There are over 1.7 million currently ‘undiscovered’ viruses that exist in mammals and birds, out of which up to 827,000 could have the ability to infect people.

More than 70% of emerging diseases, such as Ebola, Zika and Nipah, are caused by microbes found in animals that spill over due to contact among wildlife, livestock and people.

About 30% of emerging infectious diseases are attributed to land use change, agricultural expansion and urbanization.

The report suggests that pandemic risk can be lowered by reducing the human activities that drive loss of biodiversity, by greater conservation of protected areas and through measures that reduce unsustainable      exploitation of high biodiversity regions.
Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem (IPBES)

It is an intergovernmental organization established to improve the interface between science and policy on issues of biodiversity and ecosystem services.

Established by: United Nations

It functions independently.

Formation: 2012.

Headquarters: Bonn, Germany.

Community in news: Miyas of Assam

Recently, a proposed Miya museum reflecting the culture and heritage of the people living in char-chaporis has stirred up a controversy in Assam.

Miyas of Assam

The ‘Miya’ community comprises descendants of Muslim migrants from East Bengal (now Bangladesh) to Assam.

They came to be referred to as ‘Miyas’, often in a derogatory manner.

The community migrated in several waves — starting with the British annexation of Assam in 1826, and continuing into Partition and the 1971 Bangladesh Liberation War. 

Their Migration has resulted in changes in demographic composition of the region.

Years of discontent among the indigenous people led to the six-year-long (1979-85) anti-foreigner Assam Agitation to weed out the “illegal immigrant”, who was perceived as trying to take over jobs, language and culture of the indigenous population.


Char-chaporis are shifting riverine islands of the Brahmaputra. 

These are primarily inhabited by the Muslims of Bengali-origin.

A char is a floating island while chaporis are low-lying flood-prone riverbanks.

While Bengali-origin Muslims primarily occupy these islands, other communities such as Misings, Deoris, Kocharis, Nepalis also live here.

Computation of maintenance to estranged wife will include child care: SC

The Supreme Court recently ruled that Computation of maintenance to estranged wife will include child care.

The Supreme Court said if an estranged wife gave up her job to take care of children and the elderly in the family, then this will have to be taken into consideration by the family court while quantifying monthly interim maintenance payable to her by the husband.

The court also found that pleas for grant of interim maintenance were pending in courts for years even though the law stipulated a 60-day window, from the date of issuance of notice by the court to a husband on the estranged wife’s application, for grant of maintenance.

This is the first time that the highest court has considered the sacrifices made by career women in taking care of children.

The SC ruled that this would be an added component for enhancing the grant of interim compensation to her, so that she could lead a life almost akin to what she was used to when all was well in the matrimonial home.

Normally, the courts take into account the husband’s income and assets while quantifying interim maintenance to an estranged wife.

As of now, Neither the Hindu Marriage Act nor the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act specified the date from which interim maintenance was to be granted, leading to exercise of discretion by family courts.

ENHANCED PINAKA Rocket successfully flight tested

Enhanced PINAKA rocket has been successfully flight tested from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur off the coast of Odisha.

Developed by: Defense Research and Development Organisation, DRDO

The enhanced Pinaka along with guidance Pinaka will cover the range between 60 and 90 km. 

It will be deployed by the Indian Army.

Enhanced version of the Pinaka rocket would replace the existing Pinaka Mk-I rockets which are currently      under   production.


COVID-19 Shri Shakti Challenge

MyGov in collaboration with UN Women, launched the COVID-19 Shri Shakti Challenge in April 2020.

Objective: To encourage and involve women led startups to come up with innovative solutions that can help in the fight against COVID19 or solve problems that impact a large number of women.

This challenge was hosted on the Innovate platform of MyGov that called for applications from women led startups as well as startups who have solutions that address issues faced by a larger number of women.


This ancient Indian form of sports is drawing in a steady stream of players in the USA due to the efforts of a couple named Chinmay Patankar and Pradnya Patankar.

Mallakhamb is one of the few games that is played against gravity. 

It functions on a synergy of mind and body, employing every muscle in a way that enables a person to develop speed, stamina and better health.

The name derives from the pole used by wrestlers for practising their skills. 

Nevertheless, there are two other Mallakhamb styles such as ‘rope mallakhamb’ and ‘hanging mallakhamb’.

Its origin can be traced to earlier part of the 12th century. 

A mention of wrestlers exercising on wooden poles is found in the Manasholas, written by Chalukya, in 1153 AD.

It was revived late in the 19th century by Balambhatta Dada Deodhar, physical instructor to Bajirao Peshwa II.

Leishmania donovani

Dr Susanta Kar, Senior Scientist, Molecular Parasitology and Immunology, CSIR-CDRI, Lucknow is chosen for this year’s Prof.A N Bhaduri Memorial Lecture Award by Society of Biological Chemists (India) for his contributions towards defining the survival tactics of Leishmania Donovan. 

Leishmania Donovani is a protozoan parasite that infects macrophages. 

It is a causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis (Kala Azar), a lethal infectious disease affecting millions worldwide.