PIB – January 21 , 2020


General Studies- II

Topic- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)

Context

Atal Innovation Mission & UNDP hosts Youth Co:Lab National Innovation Challenge

About

  • Youth Co: Lab launched in collaboration by AIM and UNDP earlier.
  • It aims at fostering technology, promoting youth leadership and social entrepreneurship in India.
  • Four winning teams made it the list to represent India at the Youth Co:Lab Regional Innovation Challenge in Malaysia slated to be held in April this year.

About Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)

  • AIM is the Government of India’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.
  • AIM including Self-Employment and Talent Utilization (SETU) is Government of India’s endeavour to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Objective

Its objective is to serve as a platform for promotion of world-class Innovation Hubs, Grand Challenges, Start-up businesses and other self-employment activities, particularly in technology driven areas.

Key function of AIM

  • Entrepreneurship promotion through Self-Employment and Talent Utilization, wherein innovators would be supported and mentored to become successful entrepreneurs.
  • Innovation promotion: to provide a platform where innovative ideas are generated.

Highlights

  • As a part of AIM, Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) are being established in more than 5,000 schools in India.
  • Students of class 6th to class 12th acquire problem solving and innovation skills, developing innovative solutions leveraging Tinkering technologies like 3D printers, robotics, miniaturised electronics, IOT and programming, do it yourself kits with support from teachers.
  • The Atal Tinkering Lab is based on the philosophy to identify and nurture innovation in young students across the country.

What are Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATL)?

  • Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) are the laboratories establishing in the schools across the India under the Atal Innovation Mission.
  • It aims to ‘Cultivate one Million children in India as Neoteric Innovators’.

Objective of this scheme

To foster curiosity, creativity and imagination in young minds; and inculcate skills such as design mindset, computational thinking, adaptive learning, physical computing etc.

 Key Features of ATL

  • ATL is a work space where young minds can give shape to their ideas through hands on do-it-yourself mode; and learn innovation skills.
  • Young children will get a chance to work with tools and equipment to understand the concepts of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
  • ATL would contain educational and learning ‘do it yourself’ kits and equipment on – science, electronics, robotics, open source microcontroller boards, sensors and 3D printers and computers.
  • AIM will provide grant-in-aid that includes a one-time establishment cost of Rs. 10 lakh and operational expenses of Rs. 10 lakh for a maximum period of 5 years to each ATL.

General Studies-III

Topic- Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Centre of Excellence in Blockchain Technology

Context

National Informatics Centre (NIC) set up the Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Blockchain Technology.

About

  • National Informatics Centre (NIC) has set up the Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Blockchain Technology in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
  • It aims to provide Blockchain as a service and allowing all stakeholders to benefit from shared learning, experiences and resources.
  • Blockchain-as-a-Service (BaaS) is a third-party cloud-based infrastructure and management for companies building and operating blockchain apps.

Blockchain technology

  • Blockchain technology is upcoming & niche technology and adoption of the same in sectors such as health, finance, agriculture and various other sectors.
  • It would aid the government in implementing various programmes and provide trust and immutability to the assets.

Significance of Centre of Excellence (CoE)

  • The Centre of Excellence (CoE) will facilitate the Government Departments in building proof of concepts for use of Blockchain technology in different dimensions of governance.
  • Applications of Blockchain in the Government are expected to enhance transparency, traceability and trust in e-governance systems.
  • Centre of Excellence in Blockchain Technology is the third such centre, following the Centre of Excellence for Data Analytics (CEDA), New Delhi and Centre of Excellence in Artificial Intelligence (CoE in AI).

National Informatics Centre (NIC)

  • National Informatics Centre (NIC) as a premier technology advisor and ICT solution provider to Government at all levels.
  • National Informatics Centre (NIC) was established in 1976.
  • It has emerged as a promoter of digital opportunities for sustainable development.
  • NIC spearheaded “Informatics-Led-Development” by implementing ICT applications in social and public administration and facilitates electronic delivery of services to the government (G2G), business (G2B), citizen (G2C) and government employee (G2E).
  • NIC, through its ICT Network, “NICNET”, has institutional linkages with all the Ministries /Departments of the Central Government, 37 State Governments/ Union Territories, and about 720+ District Administrations of India.

Major activities of NIC

  • Setting up of ICT Infrastructure
  • Implementation of National and State Level e-Governance Projects/Products
  • Consultancy to the Government departments
  • Research & Development
  • Capacity Building

FUNDAMENTALS OF  ‘BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY’

What is Blockchain Technology?

Blockchain, sometimes referred to as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), makes the history of any digital asset unalterable and transparent through the use of decentralization and cryptographic hashing. 

  • A simple analogy for understanding blockchain technology is a Google Doc.
  • When we create a document and share it with a group of people, the document is distributed instead of copied or transferred. This creates a decentralized distribution chain that gives everyone access to the document at the same time.
  • No one is locked out awaiting changes from another party, while all modifications to the doc are being recorded in real-time, making changes completely transparent.
  • Of course, blockchain is more complicated than a Google Doc, but the analogy is apt because it illustrates three critical ideas of the technology.

BLOCKCHAIN EXPLAINED: A QUICK OVERVIEW

  • Digital assets are distributed instead of copied or transferred.
  • The asset is decentralized, allowing full real-time access.
  • A transparent ledger of changes preserves integrity of the document, which creates trust in the asset.
  • Blockchain is an especially promising and revolutionary technology because it helps reduce risk, stamps out fraud and brings transparency in a scaleable way for myriad uses.

How Does Blockchain Work?

Blockchain consists of three important concepts: blocks, nodes and miners.

Blocks

Every chain consists of multiple blocks and each block has three basic elements:

  • The data in the block.
  • A 32-bit whole number called a nonce. The nonce is randomly generated when a block is created, which then generates a block header hash.
  • The hash is a 256-bit number wedded to the nonce. It must start with a huge number of zeroes (i.e., be extremely small).
  • When the first block of a chain is created, a nonce generates the cryptographic hash. The data in the block is considered signed and forever tied to the nonce and hash unless it is mined.

Miners

  • In a blockchain every block has its own unique nonce and hash, but also references the hash of the previous block in the chain, so mining a block isn’t easy, especially on large chains.
  • Miners create new blocks on the chain through a process called mining.
  • Miners use special software to solve the incredibly complex math problem of finding a nonce that generates an accepted hash.
  • Because the nonce is only 32 bits and the hash is 256, there are roughly four billion possible nonce-hash combinations that must be mined before the right one is found. When that happens miners are said to have found the “golden nonce” and their block is added to the chain.
  • Making a change to any block earlier in the chain requires re-mining not just the block with the change, but all of the blocks that come after. This is why it’s extremely difficult to manipulate blockchain technology.
  • Think of it is as “safety in math” since finding golden nonces requires an enormous amount of time and computing power.
  • When a block is successfully mined, the change is accepted by all of the nodes on the network and the miner is rewarded financially.

Nodes

  • One of the most important concepts in blockchain technology is decentralization.
  • No one computer or organization can own the chain. Instead, it is a distributed ledger via the nodes connected to the chain.
  • Nodes can be any kind of electronic device that maintains copies of the blockchain and keeps the network functioning.
  • Every node has its own copy of the blockchain and the network must algorithmically approve any newly mined block for the chain to be updated, trusted and verified.
  • Since blockchains are transparent, every action in the ledger can be easily checked and viewed. Each participant is given a unique alphanumeric identification number that shows their transactions.
  • Combining public information with a system of checks-and-balances helps the blockchain maintain integrity and creates trust among users.
  • Essentially, blockchains can be thought of as the scaleability of trust via technology.

For Prelims

NIC Tech Conclave 2020

Highlights

  • 2nd edition of ‘NIC Tech Conclave 2020 was lunched in New Delhi by Union Communications and Electronics & Information Technology Minister.
  • The theme of National Informatics Centre (NIC) Tech Conclave 2020 is ‘Technologies for NextGen Governance’.
  • The NIC has been instrumental in steering application of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) at various levels in the Government.
  • Besides setting up National ICT Infrastructure for the Government, NIC has also designed and developed solutions/platforms for various sectors of the Government at the Centre and State.