Daily PIB News: September 28-30, 2020

NITI Aayog Holds Two-Day Consultation on Natural Farming

  • To leverage the many socioeconomic and environmental benefits of natural farming for boosting farmers’ welfare, consumer health, food security and nutrition, NITI Aayog organized a two-day (29–30 September) national-level consultation with relevant stakeholders.
  • Addressing the conference, Union Minster of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar stressed that natural farming has been practised in India over the centuries, and lauded NITI Aayog’s efforts to spearhead the implementation of natural farming across the country.
  • He mentioned that the Union Agriculture Ministry has allocated a budget to promote the practice.
  • Proposals on natural farming by Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Chhattisgarh have also been considered and approvals accorded for their implementation.

PM Inaugurates Six Major Projects in Uttarakhand To Make River Ganga Nirmal And Aviral

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 29 inaugurated 6 mega development projects in Uttarakhand under the Namami Gange Mission through video conference.
  • The Prime Minister also inaugurated the Ganga Avalokan Museum, the first of its kind on the River Ganga at Haridwar.
  • The Prime Minister also unveiled the ‘Margadarshika for Gram Panchayats and Paani Samitis under Jal Jeevan Mission’ (Guidelines for the Village Panchayats and Water Committees) on the occasion.
  • He termed the Namami Gange Mission as the largest integrated river conservation mission which not only aims at the cleanliness of River Ganga but also focuses on comprehensive upkeep of the River.

The Prime Minister said the government moved forward with a four-pronged strategy to achieve its objective.

  • First– started laying a network of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) to prevent the waste water from flowing into the Ganges.
  • Second— The STPs were built by keeping in mind the demands for the next 10 – 15 years.
  • Third – By making around hundred big towns/cities and five thousand villages along the River Ganga Open Defecation Free (ODF).
  • And Fourth – By making an all-out effort to stop the pollution in the tributaries of River Ganga September 28

Five Years Of Astronomical Photography In Visible, Near-Ultraviolet, And Far-Ultraviolet Spectrum

  • The satellite that detected the first extreme-UV rays in the Universe from the cosmic noon celebrated its 5th birthday today, September 28, 2020.
  • The Ultra-Violet Imaging Telescope, or the UVIT, is a remarkable 3-in-1 imaging telescope simultaneously observing in the visible, the near-ultraviolet (NUV), and the far-ultraviolet (FUV) spectrum.
  • Weighing all of 230 kg, the UVIT comprises of two separate telescopes. One of them works in the visible (320-550 nm) and the NUV (200-300 nm).
  • The second works only in the FUV (130-180 nm). It is one of the five payloads onboard India’s first multi-wavelength astronomical observatory AstroSat and completed five years of operation in the sky by imaging astronomical objects on 28 September 2020.
  • However, in the five years of its operation, the birthday baby has achieved quite a feat. It has carried out 1166 observations of 800 unique celestial sources proposed by scientists both from India and abroad.
  • It has explored stars, star clusters, mapping of the large and small satellite galaxies nearby to our own Milky Way galaxy called the Magellanic Clouds, an energetic phenomenon in the Universe such as the ultra-violet counterparts to gamma-ray bursts, supernovae, active galactic nuclei, and so on.
  • Its superior spatial resolution capability has enabled astronomers to probe star formation in galaxies as well as resolve the cores of star clusters (3 times better than the last NASA mission, GALEX).
  • Observations from UVIT has recently led to the discovery of a galaxy located at a distance of about 10 billion light-years from Earth and emitting extreme ultraviolet radiation that can ionize the intergalactic medium.
  • AstroSat was launched by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) on 28 September 2015 and has proved to be an important satellite capable of carrying out simultaneous observations over a range of wavelengths from the far ultraviolet to the hard X-ray band.

The UVIT project was led by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, in collaboration with the Inter University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pune, the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai, several centers of ISRO and the Canadian Space Agency.

20 years Of Himalayan Chandra Telescope

  • In the cold, dry desert of Ladakh, 4500 meters above the mean sea level, for two decades, the 2-m diameter optical-infrared Himalayan Chandra Telescope (HCT) at the Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) has been scanning the night sky in search of stellar explosions, comets, asteroids, and exo-planets.
  • The telescope remotely operated using a dedicated satellite communication link from the Centre for Research & Education in Science & Technology (CREST), Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Hosakote, about 35 km northeast of Bangalore, celebrates its 20th birthday crediting itself with 260 research papers using data obtained from it.
  • On this occasion, to mark the 20 years of the first light event of the 2m HCT, IIA, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), has organized a two-day online science workshop during September 29-30, 2020.
  • The telescope, which is at par with some of the older, well established, international 2m class telescopes telescope equipped with 3 science instruments, has provided data that has been used in the Ph.D. theses of 40 students (18 from IIA and 22 non-IIA), and currently, 36 students (16 from IIA and 20 non-IIA) pursuing Ph.D. degree, are collecting data with the HCT.

H-CNG

  • In a major step toward adopting alternative clean fuel for transportation, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has allowed use of H-CNG (18% mix of hydrogen) in CNG engines.
  • The Ministry has been notifying various alternate fuels under Clean Fuels for transportation. The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has also developed specifications (IS 17314:2019) of Hydrogen enriched Compressed Natural Gas (H-CNG) for automotive purposes, as a fuel.
  • Certain CNG-engine were tested to understand the emission reduction using H-CNG as compared to ‘neat’ CNG.
  • A notification for amendments to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules 1989, for inclusion of H-CNG as an automotive fuel has been published vide GSR 585 (E) dated 25th Sept 2020 by the Ministry.

JIMEX 20

  • The 4th edition of India – Japan Maritime bilateral exercise JIMEX, which is conducted biennially between the Indian Navy and Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force (JMSDF) was held in North Arabian Sea from 26 to 28 September 2020.
  • JIMEX series of exercises commenced in January 2012 with special focus on maritime security cooperation. The last edition of JIMEX was conducted in October 2018 off Visakhapatnam, India.
  • Naval cooperation between India and Japan has increased in scope and complexity over the years. Advanced level of operations and exercises planned during JIMEX-20 are indicative of the continued upswing in Indo-Japanese defence relations and continued efforts by both Governments to work closely for a more secure, open and inclusive global commons, in accordance with international regulations.
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