22nd Oct, 2020

States show reduction in Soil-Transmitted Helminthiases (STH)

Recently, Soil-Transmitted Helminthiases (STH) was in news.

Several states have shown reduction in the infection.

Soil-Transmitted Helminthiases (STH)

It is also known as parasitic intestinal worm infection.

It is known to have detrimental effects on children’s physical growth and well-being and can cause anaemia and under-nutrition.

Regular deworming is advised by the WHO.

It eliminates worm infestation among children and adolescents living in areas with high STH burden.

In India, there were an estimated 64% children in the age group (1-14 years) at risk of STH as per WHO Report on STH published in 2012.

The National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) completed the baseline STH mapping across the country by the end of 2016. 

The data showed varied prevalence ranging from 12.5 % in Madhya Pradesh to 85% in Tamil Nadu.

The National Deworming Day (NDD) was launched in 2015.

Ministry: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Ministry of Education and technical assistance from WHO

It is implemented as a biannual single day programme implemented through the platforms of schools and anganwadis.


India International Science Festival (IISF) 2020

The 6th edition of the India International Science Festival (IISF) will be held virtually in 2020.

The 5th edition was held in Kolkata in 2019.

IISF 2020 will be spearheaded by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

India International Science Festival (IISF) 

It is a festival to celebrate the achievements of India’s scientific and technological advancements with students, innovators, technocrats, etc. from India and abroad.

It was launched in 2015.


(1) To promote Science and Technology;

(2) To demonstrate how science could lead India towards a developed nation within a short span of time.


(1) To engage the public with science and celebrate the joy of science;

(2) To show the ways how science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) provide solutions to improve people’s lives.

Organised by: Ministry of Science & Technology and Ministry of Earth Sciences in association with Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA)


Stand-Off Anti-Tank (SANT) Missile successfully test-fired

India successfully test-fired the Stand-off Anti-tank (SANT) Missile off the coast of Odisha.

Developed by: DRDO’s research centre, Imarat, in collaboration with the Indian Air Force.

It will have both Lock-on After Launch and Lock-on Before Launch capability.

It is, reportedly, an upgrade on India’s Helina missile believed to have a range of 7 to 8km.

The new missile is said to have a range of between 15 and 20km.

It also comes equipped with a nose-mounted active radar seeker, enabling the launch platform to be located at a safe distance from the target area.


Ministry for Shipping e-launches the development of Indigenous Software solution for VTS/ VTMS

Recently, the development of Indigenous Software solution for Vessel traffic services (VTS) and Vessels Traffic Monitoring Systems (VTMS) was launched. 

Launched by: Ministry for Shipping 

The Shipping has sanctioned an amount of Rs. 10 Crore to IIT, Chennai for development of indigenous VTS software.

VTS and VTMS are software which determine vessel positions, position of other traffic or meteorological hazard warnings and extensive management of traffic within a port or waterway.

Vessel Traffic Services (VTS) contribute to safety of life at sea, safety and efficiency of navigation and protection of the marine environment.

VTMS is mandatory under IMO Convention SOLAS (Safety of Life at Sea).

The VTMS traffic image is compiled and collected by means of advanced sensors such as radar,

AIS, direction finding, CCTV and VHF or other co-operative systems and services.

A modern VTMS integrates all of the information into a single operator working environment for ease of use and in order to allow for effective traffic organization and communication.

Implementation of National Maritime Domain Awareness programme of Indian Navy shall become feasible with Indian VTS software at low cost.


Place in news: Nazca Lines

Recently, Peru’s famous Nazca Lines was in news. 

A massive carving of a resting cat on the slope of a steep hill was discovered there.

Nazca Lines

The Nazca Lines are a group of very large geoglyphs made in the soil of the Nazca Desert in southern Peru.

They were created between 500 BCE and 500 CE by people making depressions or shallow incisions in the desert floor, removing pebbles and leaving differently coloured dirt exposed.

There are many figurative designs of animals and plants. 

The figures include pelicans (the largest ones sized around 935 feet long), Andean Condors (443 feet), monkeys (360 feet), hummingbirds (165 feet), and spiders (150 feet).

Geometric shapes, such as triangles, trapezoids and spirals, are also found.

Some designs have been associated with astronomical functions as well.

The Lines were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1994.


Trial run of Delhi’s buses on Hydrogen-blended CNG (HCNG) launched

The trial run of Delhi’s buses on Hydrogen-blended CNG (HCNG) was recently launched.

Ministry: Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas

HCNG is a hydrogen-enriched compressed natural gas (CNG).

In Delhi, instead of physically blending hydrogen with CNG, hydrogen spiked CNG will be produced using compact reforming process patented by Indian Oil Corporation.

H-CNG blends can be produced directly from CNG, bypassing the energy-intensive electrolysis process and high-pressure blending costs.

The flexible and robust process allows the production of H-CNG on-site, in less severe conditions, and under low pressure.

It provides a higher yield H-CNG mixture by up to 4% to 5% compared to CNG’s input quantity.

The cost of H-CNG production by the above process is about 22% cheaper than conventional physical blending.

The Supreme Court had suggested in 2019 to look at hydrogen-run vehicles as a solution for Delhi NCR’s poor air quality 

An SC directive in July 2018 had led to Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) and Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) collaborating to put up this first semi-commercial plant.

Mixing hydrogen with CNG physically is a difficult proposition and that is why IOCL came up with the compact reforming process, which reforms CNG and there is no need for mixing.


NASA’s OSIRIS-REx to collect samples from Asteroid Bennu

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx — Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer — spacecraft shall collect samples of dust and pebbles from asteroid Bennu and deliver them back to Earth in 2023

Asteroid Bennu

The asteroid was named after an Egyptian deity by a nine-year-old boy from North Carolina in 2013 who won NASA’s “Name that Asteroid” competition.

The asteroid was discovered by a team from the NASA-funded Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research team in 1999.

Bennu is an asteroid located at a distance of about 200 million miles away from the Earth.


Asteroids are rocky objects that orbit the Sun, much smaller than planets. 

They are also called minor planets. 

Asteroids are divided into three classes.

First, those found in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, which is estimated to contain somewhere between 1.1-1.9 million asteroids.

The second group is that of trojans that share an orbit with a larger planet. 

NASA reports the presence of Jupiter, Neptune and Mars trojans. 

In 2011, they reported an Earth trojan as well.

The third is Near-Earth Asteroids (NEA), which have orbits that pass close by the Earth

Over 1,400 NEA are classified as potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs).

OSIRIS-REx mission is NASA’s first mission meant to return a sample from the ancient asteroid. 

The mission was launched in 2016, it reached its target in 2018 and since then, the spacecraft has been trying to match the velocity of the asteroid.

Scientists study asteroids to look for information about the formation and history of planets and the sun since asteroids were formed at the same time as other objects in the solar system. 

Another reason for tracking them is to look for asteroids that might be potentially hazardous.

Aditi Urja Sanch inaugurated

The Union Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences recently inaugurated the Dimethyl ether (DME) fired “Aditi Urja Sanch” unit along with the DME-LPG blended fuel cylinders.

It is a newly designed Burner.

The new design is efficient for both DME and the blend of DME and LPG.

Novel design and flexible air access.

The new nozzle design allows optimum oxygen access for combustion.

The angles at which nozzles are placed maximize the heat transfer area across the utensils.

Optimum flame velocity can be obtained.

The length of the flame (high, low, and medium) can be adjusted by altering the oxygen ingress.

The experiment shows that it increases the heat transfer rate as well.

Dimethyl ether (DME) is an ultra-clean fuel.

CSIR-NCL has developed nation’s first kind of DME pilot plant with 20-24Kg/day capacity.

The conventional LPG burner is not suitable for DME combustion as DME density is different than LPG. 

To address this issue, CSIR- NCL’s “Aditi Urja Sanch” was developed.

The new Burner is fully designed and fabricated by NCL for DME, DME -LPG blended mixtures and LPG combustion.


Kavaratti to be commissioned into the Indian Navy

The last of four indigenously built Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) stealth corvettes (a small warship) “INS Kavaratti” under Project 28 (Kamorta class) is scheduled to be commissioned into the Indian Navy on 22 October 20.

It is referred to as a potent Stealth ASW Corvette.

It has anti-submarine warfare capability

Indigenously designed by: The Indian Navy’s in-house organisation, Directorate of Naval Design(DND)

Built by: Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata

Kavaratti has a state-of-the-art weapons and sensor suite capable of detecting and prosecuting submarines. 

The ship also has a credible self defence capability and good endurance for long-range deployments.


Environmental Clearance given to the Kaleshwaram project void

Recently, the National Green Tribunal has ruled that the Environmental Clearance given to the Kaleshwaram project in December 2017 was void.

This was so because the Telangana government subsequently changed the design of the project to increase its capacity.

The petition filed in 2018 stated that while the Kaleshwaram Project was a lift irrigation system, the state government had wrongly claimed, until the grant of environmental clearance (EC), that the project was not for lift irrigation, but only for drinking water supply.

The NGT has now directed that until the Telangana government obtains final forest clearance, it should stop all work except the drinking water component.

The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation System is considered to be one of the world’s largest multi-purpose projects.

It is designed to provide water for irrigation and drinking purposes to districts in Telangana, apart from Hyderabad and Secunderabad.

The project starts at the confluence point of Pranahita River and Godavari River.


CSIR Ushered Repurposed Drugs (CuRED)

Recently, Union Health and Science and Technology Minister launched CuRED.

It is a website that gives comprehensive info about the numerous COVID-19 clinical trials that the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) is engaged in partnership with industry, other government departments and ministries.

It provides information about the drugs, diagnostics and devices including the current stage of the trials, partnering institutions and their role in the trials and other details.