Daily GK Update: 20th April 2020
Fish gills used to develop efficient low-cost electro-catalysts for rechargeable metal-air battery
- Scientists at the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India, have recently come up with an efficient, low-cost electro-catalyst from fish gills that can help develop environmentally friendly energy conversion devices.
- This bio-inspired carbon nanostructure can help overcome the bottleneck in the realization of several renewable energy conversion and storage technologies such as fuel cell, biofuel cell, and metal−air battery.
- The present strategy enriches a route to synthesize low-cost, highly efficient bioinspired electrocatalyst that is better than commercial Platinum on carbon (Pt/C) catalyst and could be utilized as next-generation nonprecious carbon-based electrocatalyst for energy conversion and storage applications. The results have been recently published in the journal Inorganic Chemistry published by the American Chemical Society, 2020, (DOI: 10.1021/acs.inorgchem.0c00446). https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/acs.inorgchem.0c00446
Source: Ministry of Science & Technology
Centre permits conversion of surplus rice to ethanol for hand sanitisers
- The government on Monday allowed the conversion of surplus rice, available with the Food Corporation of India (FCI), to ethanol. The development comes at a time when loopholes in the Public Distribution System (PDS) are keeping people away from getting free or subsidised grains.
- This will lead to utilisation of part of a huge stockpile of 30.57 million tonnes (mt) of rice (as of March 10) —almost 128 per cent more than the buffer stock and strategic requirement norms. Ethanol produced from this will be used for utilisation in making alcohol-based hand sanitizers and blending in petrol.
Source: Business Standard
Inter-Ministerial Central teams to look into lockdown violations in West Bengal
- The Union government has decided to send two Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCT) to West Bengal which will focus on the implementation of lockdown in the State. The teams will “make an on the spot assessment of the situation, issue necessary directions to the State authorities for redressal of the situation, and submit their report to the Central government in larger interest of general public” the communication from Ministry to Home Affairs to the State’s Chief Secretary said.
- The communication, while pointing out that in some districts of the country a number of violations of lockdown measures have been reported, posing a serious health hazard and risk for the spread of COVID-19, stated that after analysing the prevalence of such violations in major hotspot districts, it is “clear to the Central government that the situation is especially serious in Kolkata, Howrah, Medinipur East, 24 Parganas North Darjeeling, Kalimpong and Jalpaiguri districts in the State of West Bengal”.
Source: The Hindu
Govt lays down quota allocation procedure for calcined pet coke import for 2020-21
- The government has laid out a detailed procedure for allocation of quota for import of calcined pet coke to be used in the aluminium industry for the financial year 2020-21.
- “Procedure for allocation of quota for import of calcined pet coke for use as calcined pet coke (CPC) in aluminium industry and raw pet coke for CPC manufacturing industry for the year 2020-21 is notified,” the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has said in a public notice.
- In October 2018, the government permitted imports of certain quantity of pet coke, used for fuel purpose, for anode making by the aluminium industry.
Source: The Economic Times
April 20: UN Chinese Language Day
- The Chinese language has existed for thousands of years. Chinese formed from the Sino-Tibetian language family. Due to its complexity, its origins remain unknown as to when it separated itself from that family. It is believed however that the origins of the Chinese language are credited to Cangjie.
- They were one of the first official historians to invent Chinese characters when the Yellow Emperor first began his reign. Despite this credit, different dialects formed throughout the provinces of China. Much of the influence of archaic Chinese, spoken during the early and middle 11th to 7th centuries B.C., isn’t seen much in modern Chinese.
Source: Days of The Year
Government launches online data pool of critical human resource for combating and containing Covid-19
- Union Government has created an online data pool on https://covidwarriors.gov.in of doctors including AYUSH doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, volunteers from NYKs, NCC NSS, PMGKVY, ex Servicemen etc for use by the ground level administration at state, district or municipal levels. The information has been uploaded on a dashboard which is regularly updated. Informing about this very critical human resource for combating and containing Covid-19.
- A joint letter was sent by Shri Arun Kumar Panda, Secretary MSME and Chairman Empowered Group-4 on human resourcre and Dr C Chandramouli, Secretary DoPT to all Chief Secretaries. The communication says, a Dashboard master database of details of Healthcare Professionals and Volunteers, has been made operational. It contains state wise and dustrict wise availability of the large pool of human resources from various groups alongwith contact details of the nodal officers.
Source: Ministry of Micro,Small & Medium Enterprises
Deserted Thai beaches lure rare turtles to build most nests in 20 years
- Thailand has found the largest number of nests of rare leatherback sea turtles in two decades on beaches bereft of tourists because of the coronavirus pandemic, environmentalists say.
- From wild boars patrolling the Israeli city of Haifa to deer venturing into London suburbs, virus closures are drawing wildlife into the abandoned streets of many cities.
- In Thailand, with 2,765 infections and 47 deaths, travel curbs ranging from a ban on international flights to an appeal to citizens to stay home have brought a collapse in tourist numbers, but freed up the beaches for wildlife.
- The 11 turtle nests authorities have found since last November were the highest number in 20 years, said Kongkiat Kittiwatanawong, the director of the Phuket Marine Biological Center.
Source: India Today
Govt makes a U-turn, stops sale of non-essential items through e-commerce platforms
- The Centre on Sunday reversed an earlier order that allowed sale of non-essential goods on online marketplaces in a move seen as a major blow to the Indian ecommerce industry, which had begun preparing to dispatch orders following the new rules amid the nationwide lockdown.
- The April 15 order issued by the ministry of home affairs (MHA) had exempted “ecommerce companies” and “vehicles used by ecommerce operators”, leading to many online firms asking their sellers to prepare for a resumption of full-fledged operations. However, MHA’s latest clarification excludes the clause, which allowed ecommerce firms to sell all essential and non-essential products, starting April 20.
Source: The Economic Times
Army takes over Narela quarantine facility during daytime
- The army has taken over the daytime management of the Narela quarantine centre, which is one of the biggest such facilities in India for handling suspected coronavirus cases and has been housing close to 1,000 people linked to a religious congregation of the Tablighi Jamaat last month.
- This is the first time that the army has taken control of a civilian quarantine centre. From April 16, the army took the initiative of managing the facility from 8 am to 8 pm, relieving the Delhi government doctors and medical staff, who would run the facility during the night. The army team comprises 40 personnel, including six medical officers and 18 paramedical staff. They have volunteered to stay within the premises.
Source: The Economic Times
Home Ministry issues guidelines for movement of stranded migrant labourers for their work engagement within States and UTs
- The Home Ministry today issued Standard Operating Procedures for the movement of stranded migrant labourers for their engagement in industrial, manufacturing, construction, farming and MNREGA works within States and Union Territories where they are currently located. Under it, they have been allowed to go to places of work within a state with certain conditions.
- The SOP said, in the event that a group of migrants wish to return to their places of work within the state where they are presently located, they will be screened and those who are asymptomatic will be transported to their respective places of work.
- During the journey by bus, it will be ensured that safe social-distancing norms are followed and the buses are sanitized as per guidelines of the health authorities. The local authorities will also provide for food and water for the journey.
Source: All India Radio
India sets up high-level task force to develop vaccine for coronavirus; to co-ordinate with global researchers
- India has formed a high level task force to research on coronavirus and develop a vaccine. The task force will also coordinate with international community on vaccine development process for coronavirus.
- The task force will be co-chaired by Member, Niti Aayog, and Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, Professor K VijayRaghavan. AYUSH, ICMR, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Department of Biotechnology (DBT), CSIR, DRDO, DG-Health Services, and Drug Controller General of India are also members of the task force, said Lav Agarwal, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare at a press briefing today.
Source: Business Today
Uttar Pradesh Becomes First State To Geotag Over 7,000 Community Kitchens
- Uttar Pradesh has become the first state in the country to geotag its 7,368 community kitchens and community shelters across 75 districts which produce 12 lakh food packets a day, a senior official said on Sunday.
The state government has also tied up with Google to ”Geo-map” the locations of all these establishments on the Google Maps app for ease of beneficiaries, he said.
- “The sudden onset of the COVID-19 lockdown in the country threw normal life out of gear but it was the daily wagers and construction labourers who especially bore the brunt,” Relief Commissioner Sanjay Goyal said.
- The Yogi Adityanath government had anticipated the crisis early on and successfully started establishing community kitchens by mobilising state resources on a massive scale and also reaching out to civil society, religious establishments and non-governmental organisations, he said.