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Important Current Affairs for CLAT-28th October 2023

China Is Building World’s Largest Ghost Particle Detector,’Trident’

China is embarking on a groundbreaking endeavor by constructing an immense telescope in the western Pacific Ocean. The primary mission of this massive facility is to detect elusive particles known as “ghost particles” or neutrinos. This ambitious undertaking will result in the world’s largest neutrino-detecting telescope.

Unveiling the Elusive Neutrino

Neutrinos are a type of electron but, like neutrons, they do not have any charge. They are among the most abundant particles in our universe. With trillions of neutrinos passing through at any given second, they are also among the tiniest. Neutrinos were long believed to be massless, until scientists found evidence that they do have a very small mass.

The Race for Neutrino Detection

At present, the most extensive neutrino-detecting telescope is the “IceCube” at the University of Madison-Wisconsin, nestled deep in the Antarctic. It consists of sensors dispersed throughout a cubic kilometer of ice. However, China is taking this pursuit to an entirely new level with its forthcoming telescope, aptly named “Trident.”

A Game-Changer in Neutrino Research

Situated in the South China Sea, this monumental apparatus, Trident, is projected to span a staggering 7.5 cubic kilometers. Scientists assert that the sheer size of this telescope will enable it to detect a greater number of neutrinos, making it “10,000 times more sensitive” than any existing underwater telescopes. Construction of the Trident telescope is already underway and is slated for completion within this decade, representing an extraordinary leap in neutrino research capabilities.

The Deep-Sea Marvel ‘Ocean Bell’ in the Western Pacific

Set to be finished by 2030, TRIDENT, affectionately known as ‘Ocean Bell‘ or ‘Hai ling‘ in Chinese, will be situated at a depth of 11,500 feet (3,500 meters) beneath the Western Pacific Ocean’s surface.

Revolutionizing Neutrino Detection with 24,000 Sensors and 1,211 String Arrays

Featuring over 24,000 optical sensors distributed across 1,211 strings, each extending 2,300 feet (700 meters) from the ocean floor. The arrangement of detectors adheres to a Penrose tiling pattern, spanning a substantial 4 km diameter.

The Significance of Neutrinos

Understanding neutrinos carries immense significance because they hold the potential to unravel one of the cosmos’s most perplexing mysteries: the origins of cosmic rays. These high-energy particles that zip through space at nearly the speed of light have confounded scientists for decades. Neutrinos, thanks to their unique properties and their interactions with water, offer a promising avenue for gaining insights into the enigmatic sources and mechanisms behind cosmic rays.

SBI Report: PM SVANidhi Scheme Is A Gender Equaliser

The PM Street Vendor’s AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) Scheme, launched on June 1, 2020, has been a game-changer for India’s urban street vendors. This micro-credit scheme aims to provide collateral-free working capital loans to street vendors, with a focus on empowering this marginalized community. A recent report by the State Bank of India’s economic research department (ERD) sheds light on the remarkable impact of the scheme, particularly in terms of gender equality and socio-economic transformation.

Gender Equality: A Key Outcome

The report highlights that 43 percent of the beneficiaries of the PM SVANidhi Scheme are female street vendors. This statistic reflects the empowerment of entrepreneurial capabilities among urban women. In a society where women often face economic challenges and limited opportunities, the scheme has emerged as a gender equalizer, providing urban females with the means to become financially independent and contribute to their families’ well-being.

Inclusivity and Transformation

One of the most striking aspects of the scheme is its inclusivity. Approximately 75 percent of loan beneficiaries come from the “non-general category.” This statistic demonstrates the power of well-intended policy schemes to drive transformative changes. The PM SVANidhi Scheme has reached out to those who belong to disadvantaged sections of society, offering them a chance to improve their economic status and quality of life.

Enabling Urban Entrepreneurs

The PM SVANidhi Scheme has witnessed tremendous success since its launch, with around 70 lakh loans disbursed in all three tranches – the 1st tranche offers loans up to ₹10,000, the 2nd tranche up to ₹20,000, and the 3rd tranche up to ₹50,000. This initiative has benefited over 53 lakh street vendors, with a total value exceeding ₹9,100 crore. The scheme has enabled street vendors to access the working capital they need to grow and sustain their businesses.

Repayment and Financial Discipline

The ERD’s assessment reveals that the scheme has fostered financial discipline among beneficiaries. The ratio of people repaying the first loan of ₹10,000 and taking the second loan of ₹20,000 is 68 percent. Furthermore, the ratio of people repaying the second loan of ₹20,000 and taking the third loan of ₹50,000 is 75 percent. This pattern of responsible borrowing and repayment reflects the scheme’s effectiveness and the commitment of its beneficiaries.

Poverty Knows No Boundaries

The report also emphasizes that the beneficiaries of the PM SVANidhi Scheme come from diverse religious backgrounds. About 80 percent of borrowers are Hindu, while the remaining 20 percent are non-Hindu. This statistic underscores the idea that poverty knows no religion, caste, creed, or gender. The scheme has been successful in reaching out to individuals in need, regardless of their religious affiliations.

Economic Upliftment: Debit Card Spending

Another noteworthy impact of the PM SVANidhi Scheme is the economic upliftment it has brought to beneficiaries. The average debit card spending of PM SVANidhi account holders increased by 50 percent to about ₹80,000 in FY23, compared to FY21. This means that in just two years, the average annual spending increased by about ₹28,000, all with a relatively small amount of seed capital infused into informal urban entrepreneurs.

Incentives for Responsible Borrowing

The scheme promotes regular repayments by offering a 7 percent interest subsidy, encouraging beneficiaries to maintain financial discipline. Additionally, digital transactions are rewarded with cashback of up to ₹1,200 per year, incentivizing the use of digital payment methods and financial inclusion.

Urban Impact

The PM SVANidhi Scheme is making a significant impact in urban areas. According to the PM SVANidhi dashboard, around 5.9 lakh borrowers are in six mega cities, and 7.8 lakh borrowers come from the top 10 million+ population cities. The scheme has transformed the lives of urban street vendors, enabling them to thrive in bustling metropolitan environments.

The Role of Public Sector Banks

The ERD report acknowledges the pivotal role of public sector banks in achieving this remarkable milestone. Approximately 31 percent of total loans have been disbursed by the State Bank of India alone. The top five banks, including Bank of Baroda, Union Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, and Canara Bank, accounted for two-thirds of the total disbursement. Their support has been instrumental in realizing the goals of the PM SVANidhi Scheme.

Kerala Govt To Set Up ₹237 Crore Graphene Production Facility

Kerala government has announced a pioneering project to establish a graphene production facility, marking a significant leap in material technology. Graphene, often referred to as a “wonder material” for its extraordinary electrical and electronic properties, is set to become a cornerstone of Kerala’s innovation landscape.

A Bold Decision in a Cabinet Meeting

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan took the decision to set up this innovative graphene production facility in a recent cabinet meeting. The facility is designed to operate on a public-private partnership model and will require an estimated investment of ₹237 crore. The Kerala Digital University will be the implementing agency, while the Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (KINFRA) has been assigned the role of a special purpose vehicle for infrastructure development.

Securing Funds and Private Partners

To kickstart this ambitious project, the Kerala Digital University has been given the green light to prepare a preliminary proposal. This proposal aims to secure loans from the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) and seek private partners through a global expression of interest. By tapping into both public and private resources, the state government aims to ensure the success of this groundbreaking initiative.

Graphene: A Marvel of Modern Science

Graphene, often hailed as the thinnest and strongest material in the world, offers a wealth of remarkable properties. It possesses exceptional chemical stability, high electrical conductivity, and an expansive surface area while remaining transparent and lightweight. These characteristics make it a material with vast potential for applications across various industries.

Building the Project Team

To ensure the smooth execution of this project, a managing committee will be formed. This committee will comprise representatives from the Industries and IT Departments and key individuals from the Kerala Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (KINFRA). This multi-stakeholder approach is expected to streamline decision-making and project oversight.

A Vision for the Future

In 2022-23 budget, the Left government in kerala had already announced its commitment to establish a graphene ecosystem in the state. This ecosystem is envisioned to encourage the development of future material technologies. The Graphene Innovation Centre, a research and development facility dedicated to graphene-based technology development, is in its nascent stages. It is expected to play a pivotal role in the realization of this visionary ecosystem.

Progress in the Pipeline

As a testament to their commitment, the Chief Minister’s Office has stated that a mid-sized graphene production unit is currently under development, aiming to produce graphene materials on an industrial scale. This step is set to lay the foundation for the larger and more ambitious graphene production facility.

Amol Muzumdar Takes Over as Head Coach of India Women

In a significant development in Indian women’s cricket, Amol Muzumdar, the former Mumbai batsman, has been named as the head coach of the India women’s national team. The decision came after a three-member cricket advisory committee of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) conducted interviews with shortlisted candidates for the position. Their unanimous recommendation for Muzumdar to take on the role has been welcomed by cricket enthusiasts and the sporting community alike.

Vacancy Since December 2022

The position of the head coach had been vacant since December 2022 when Ramesh Powar was abruptly removed from his post as part of the BCCI’s “restructuring module.” This move occurred just two months ahead of the T20 World Cup in South Africa. In the interim, Hrishikesh Kanitkar took over as the acting head coach, overseeing the team during various crucial events. These included the home T20I series against Australia in December, the tri-series in South Africa, the T20 World Cup earlier in the year, and the Asian Games, in which India secured the gold medal in September. Nooshin Al Khadeer, a former India bowler, also served as the interim head coach during the white-ball tour of Bangladesh in July.

Amol Muzumdar’s Cricketing Journey

Amol Muzumdar, who has now been entrusted with leading the India women’s national team, brings with him a wealth of cricketing experience. Following his retirement from a successful 21-year first-class career, during which he established himself as one of the highest run-scorers in the Ranji Trophy, Muzumdar transitioned to coaching. He spent 15 years representing Mumbai and later moved to Assam in 2009 before joining Andhra.

His illustrious career included amassing 11,167 runs from 171 first-class matches, which included an impressive tally of 30 centuries. Although he never had the opportunity to represent the Indian national team, Muzumdar’s association with Mumbai was instrumental in securing eight Ranji Trophy titles for the team.

Coaching Credentials

In the post-playing phase of his career, Muzumdar embraced coaching, making a significant impact. He worked with age-group teams at the BCCI’s National Cricket Academy and was at the helm for Mumbai. He also contributed to the coaching staff at Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League (IPL) and assisted South Africa during their tour of India in 2019.

With this appointment, Amol Muzumdar is set to bring his expertise and knowledge of the game to guide and mentor the India women’s national cricket team, marking a new chapter in Indian women’s cricket. His extensive experience as a player and coach positions him as a promising choice to lead the team to new heights and achievements in the future.

Airbus tie-up with IIT Kanpur to promote aerospace education and innovation in India

The Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur (IITK) and Airbus have formalized their partnership through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). This landmark agreement, signed, aims to significantly enhance the aerospace sector’s talent pool in India through research and education initiatives.

Empowering the Aerospace Industry

According to a press release by IITK, the collaboration between these two esteemed institutions will revolve around promoting research in advanced aerospace technologies. The partnership will also involve the development of programs and activities geared towards enhancing the technical capabilities of aerospace students in India. Additionally, both organizations are committed to exploring opportunities for collaboration with global institutes, thereby providing students with real-world, sector-relevant projects.

Cultivating a Culture of Cooperation

Providing Mentorship and Valuable Experience

The primary goal of this collaboration is to establish a culture of cooperation that goes beyond conventional academia. It will offer mentorship, exposure, and invaluable hands-on experience to IIT Kanpur students. This, in turn, will make a substantial contribution to the growth of India’s burgeoning aerospace industry.

Airbus’ Commitment to India

Investing in the Aerospace Ecosystem

Airbus has demonstrated a strong commitment to enhancing India’s aerospace ecosystem. With a comprehensive involvement in sourcing, engineering, innovation, maintenance, and training services, Airbus is at the forefront of empowering the nation’s aerospace capabilities. The construction of the C295 Final Assembly Line in Vadodara is a prime example of this commitment, representing the first ‘Make in India’ aerospace initiative in the private sector. This initiative fosters the development of a comprehensive industrial ecosystem in the country, further bolstering India’s aerospace industry.

This collaboration between IIT Kanpur and Airbus holds great promise for the future of aerospace education, research, and industry growth in India, further solidifying India’s position as a significant player in the global aerospace arena.

ISB Prof Sarang Deo appointed by WHO on its TB Advisory Group

Professor Sarang Deo, a distinguished figure in the field of Operations Management and healthcare, has been appointed as a member of the Strategic and Technical Advisory Group (STAG) for Tuberculosis by the World Health Organization (WHO). This appointment reflects his exceptional expertise and contributions to the battle against tuberculosis, particularly in India.

It is not only a personal achievement but also a significant development for India’s fight against tuberculosis. His expertise in healthcare management, innovative solutions, and global perspective is poised to make a meaningful contribution to the mission of ending the tuberculosis epidemic and improving healthcare delivery systems in India and beyond. It represents a powerful collaboration between academia and global health organizations in the ongoing battle against one of the world’s deadliest diseases.

Prof. Sarang Deo’s Impressive Portfolio

Professor Sarang Deo, who currently serves as the Deputy Dean of Faculty and Research and as the Executive Director of the Max Institute of Healthcare Management at the Indian School of Business (ISB), is known for his pioneering research and innovative solutions in the healthcare sector. His primary focus lies in enhancing healthcare delivery systems for the betterment of population-level health outcomes, with a particular emphasis on low and middle-income countries.

A Key Player in Private Sector Engagement:

One of Professor Deo’s notable areas of research pertains to private sector engagement models for tuberculosis control and eradication. His work in this area has the potential to significantly impact India’s efforts to combat this deadly disease. His research extends to understanding and addressing critical gaps in tuberculosis care and management in India and finding solutions to bridge those gaps.

Global Collaboration for Tuberculosis Care:

Professor Sarang Deo is actively engaged with international organizations and partners to analyze and address challenges in tuberculosis care and management. His research isn’t confined to India alone but encompasses a global perspective. He has delved into the formal and informal pathways for TB diagnosis in India and explored innovative healthcare delivery models for essential healthcare commodities and services across multiple continents, including Africa, North America, and Europe.

A Trusted Advisor:

In addition to his new role in WHO’s STAG for Tuberculosis, Professor Deo also serves as a member of expert committees constituted by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization (NTAGI). These positions underscore his stature as a trusted advisor in healthcare policy and strategy in India.

The Mission of WHO’s STAG-TB:

The Strategic and Technical Advisory Group for Tuberculosis (STAG-TB) operates with the mission of contributing to the global effort to end the tuberculosis epidemic and eventually eliminate the disease. STAG-TB provides WHO with invaluable scientific and technical guidance. Its responsibilities include offering independent evaluations of WHO’s strategic, scientific, and technical aspects related to tuberculosis work, reviewing the progress and challenges associated with TB-related core functions, and advising on priority activities for prevention and care.

Govt gives nod to Jamrani Dam multipurpose Project in Uttarakhand

The Indian central government has given the green light to include the Jamrani Dam Multipurpose Project in Uttarakhand under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana-Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (PMKSY-AIBP). This decision was made during a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Financial Support

  • The Central government will provide Rs 1,557 crore to Uttarakhand for the completion of the Jamrani Dam project.

  • The entire project is estimated to cost Rs 2,584 crore and is expected to be finished by March 2028.

Jamrani Dam Project

  • The Jamrani Dam project involves the construction of a dam near Jamrani village, which is situated on the Gola River, a tributary of the Ram Ganga River in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand.

Irrigation and Canal System

  • The dam will supply water to the existing Gola barrage through a 40.5 km canal system.

  • This will provide irrigation water to a substantial area, covering 57,065 hectares of land.

  • This includes 9,458 hectares in Uttarakhand and 47,607 hectares in Uttar Pradesh.

  • The regions that will benefit from this irrigation cover Nainital, Udham Singh Nagar districts in Uttarakhand, and Rampur, and Bareilly districts in Uttar Pradesh.

Canal Improvements

  • In addition to constructing two new feeder canals, the project will also renovate 207 km of existing canals and establish 278 km of solid field channels.

Hydro Power Generation

  • The Jamrani Dam project aims to generate 14 MW of hydroelectric power, contributing to the region’s energy needs.

Drinking Water Supply

  • The project will also provide 42.70 million cubic meters (MCM) of drinking water to Haldwani and nearby areas.

  • This will greatly benefit more than 10.65 lakh (1.065 million) people in the Uttarakhand region.

Beneficiary States

  • While both Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh will enjoy the irrigation benefits of the project, the advantages of drinking water and power generation will exclusively benefit Uttarakhand.


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