PIB News: January 20, 2021

Geo-hazard Management

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has entered into a framework memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) to strengthen collaboration in the field of technical exchange and co-operation on sustainable geohazard management. As per the agreement, DRDO and MoRTH will co-operate in various mutually beneficial areas related to geohazard management.

  • The initiative will ensure safety against the adverse effects of landslides and other natural calamities on national highways in the country.
  • DRDO’s Defence Geo-Informatics Research Establishment (DGRE) is working for the development of critical technologies for enhancing combat effectiveness in various kinds of terrains and avalanches.
  • The expertise of DGRE in mapping, forecasting, control and mitigation of landslides and avalanches in Himalayan terrain will be utilized for designing national highways including tunnels.
  • Terrain and modelling simulation is an important asset with DGRE, which will play an important role in planning and building robust road infrastructure in difficult terrains. 
  • MoRTH is responsible for development & maintenance of National Highways across the country.
  • It has been agreed that the expertise of DRDO will be utilized in providing sustainable mitigation measures to damages caused by landslides, avalanche and other natural factors on various National Highways in the Country.         
  • Some of the areas identified for collaboration include detailed investigation of the critical avalanches/geo hazards, planning, designing and formulation of sustainable mitigation measures for geo-hazards on national highways including tunnels, monitoring and supervision of mitigation measures etc.

Asset Monetization

The first consultative meeting on asset monetization was held in New Delhi today, organized by Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) in partnership with World Bank.

Asset monetization is a stated objective of the Government and DIPAM is mandated to facilitate monetization of non-core public assets.

The monetization process is complex and requires close cooperation and collaboration with all stakeholders. The meeting provided a platform for such an engagement.

New findings on conjectures used in number theory with significance in cryptography on the cards

Interesting new findings on theoretical speculations in number theory may soon emerge from India. Scientists are working on new cases of Stark conjectures, hypothetical information about the leading terms of L-functions in number theory.

  • These conjectures have direct applications to Hilbert’s 12th problem, one of the central problems in algebraic number theory.  
  • This theory has significance in cryptography, for instance, for generating elliptic curves for use in cryptosystems.
  • Number theory concerns the study of integer solutions to polynomial equations with integer coefficients. Solving such equations, in general, is challenging.
  • They are studied by attaching various invariants– function, quantity, or property, which remains unchanged when a specific transformation is applied.
  • A very classical, fruitful, and much-studied invariant is the L-function (function on the complex plane, associated to one out of several categories of mathematical objects).
  • Some of the deepest problems in modern number theory are concerned with proving exact formulae for the values of L-functions at integer points in terms of purely arithmetic objects.
  • Professor Mahesh Kakde from the Department of Mathematics at the Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru, one of the recipients of this year’s Swarna Jayanti fellowship instituted by the Department of Science & Technology, Government of India, concentrates on proving such exact formulae using various methods, including algebra, K-theory and the theory of modular forms.
  • Prof. Kakde’s recent work concentrates on proving conjectures made in the 1970s by the American mathematician Harold Stark postulating the existence of special elements related to leading terms of L-functions.
  • With support from the Swarna Jayanti fellowship, Prof. Kakde proposes to use a completely novel method to prove deep relationships between different Stark elements.  

NITI Aayog Releases Report on Faecal Sludge and Septage Management in Urban Areas

NITI Aayog on Tuesday released a book on faecal sludge and septage management in urban areas. Jointly developed with National Faecal Sludge and Septage Management (NFSSM) Alliance, the book presents 27 case studies across 10 states and various service and business models adopted by Indian cities while implementing faecal sludge and septage management (FSSM) initiatives.

  • Universal access to toilets was achieved in urban India with the construction of 66 lakh household toilets and more than 6 lakh community and public toilets.
  • After achieving the target of ‘Open-Defecation-Free’ (ODF), India has now moved towards becoming ODF+ and ODF++.
  • These targets go beyond the concept of access to sanitation and aim for safely managed sanitation systems, with adequate treatment and safe disposal of toilet waste.
  • The report mentions that about 60% of urban households rely on onsite sanitation systems, which require dedicated planning for management of waste collected in these systems’ containment structures.
  • Accordingly, FSSM planning prioritizes human excreta management, a waste stream with a high potential for spreading diseases.
  • The planning strategies entail emptying, transportation, treatment, and safe disposal of waste and possible reuse of output products post-treatment. It is a low-cost and easily scalable sanitation solution.
  • Many Indian cities have come up with exemplary FSSM planning models, with optimal private-sector participation and greater mechanization of operations.
  • The book aims to provide a comprehensive resource to Indian cities as they plan sustainable and inclusive sanitation.