PIB – September 13 , 2019


GS-3rd Paper

Topics coveredScience and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life. Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

Global Antimicrobial Resistance Research and Development Hub

Context

India has joined the Global Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) Research and Development (R&D) Hub as a new member.

 About AMR Research and Development Hub

  • The Global AMR R&D Hub was launched in May 2018 in the margins of the 71st session of the World Health Assembly, following a call from G20 Leaders in 2017.
  • The Global AMR R&D Hub supports global priority setting and evidence-based decision-making on the allocation of resources for AMR R&D through the identification of gaps, overlaps and potential for cross-sectoral collaboration and leveraging in AMR R&D.

Secretariat

  • The operation of the Global AMR R&D Hub is supported through a Secretariat, established in Berlin.

Funds

  • The Global AMR R&D Hub currently financed through grants from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Federal Ministry of Health (BMG).

Members

16 countries, the European Commission, two philanthropic foundations and four international organisations (as observers).

Objectives

  • It aims to further improve the coordination of international efforts and initiatives to tackle Antimicrobial Resistance while further increasing investments into R&D for AMR.
  • It enforces the One Health Approach by including environmental aspects and veterinary medicine against antimicrobial resistance.
  • It integrates human and animal health, worldwide food safety and environmental factors.

What is Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR)?

  • AMR is the ability of a microbe to resist the effects of medication that once could successfully treat the microbe.
  • Today, the emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance continues unabated around the world.

Concerns

  • Antibiotic-resistance is passed relatively easily from one bacteria to the next, since it is transmitted by way of loose genetic material that most bacteria have in common.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is afraid of a post-antibiotic world, where loads of bacteria are superbugs.
  • Infections like tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and pneumonia are becoming harder to treat with typical antibiotics.

Benefits for India

  • By partnering with the Global AMR R&D Hub, India looks forward to working with all partners to leverage their existing capabilities, resources and collectively focus on new R&D intervention to address drug resistant infections.
  • Given the important and interdependent human, animal, and environmental dimensions of antimicrobial resistance, India considers it reasonable to explore issues of antimicrobial resistance through the lens of One Health approach.
  • which should be supported by long-term commitments from all stakeholders.

Concerns

  • Antibiotic-resistance is passed relatively easily from one bacteria to the next, since it is transmitted by way of loose genetic material that most bacteria have in common.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) is afraid of a post-antibiotic world, where loads of bacteria are superbugs.
  • Infections like tuberculosis, gonorrhea, and pneumonia are becoming harder to treat with typical antibiotics.

GS-3rd Paper

Topics covered- Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

Maritime Communication Services

Context

Union Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice launched the maritime communication services at Mumbai.

Inflight and Maritime Telecom Connectivity

  • Department of Telecommunications, Ministry of Communications had notified the Flight and Maritime Connectivity (FMC) Rules, 2018 on 14th December, 2018.
  • It permits voice and data service provisioning in flights and ships.
  • The policy intent of the Government is to open the airspace and territorial waters for telecommunication services for general public which was not possible earlier due to lack of enabling rules.

Key FMC Rules

  • Indian satellite bandwidth has to be utilised. If a foreign satellite is used, it has to be approved by ISRO.
  • Only the authorized IFMC service provider, can provide wireless voice or data or both type of services on ships within Indian territorial waters and on aircraft within or above India or Indian territorial waters.
  • Territorial waters are 12 nautical miles from baseline of the coast and beyond that is the Exclusive Economic Zone upto 200 nautical miles (1 nautical mile is 1.852 Kms.).
  • 7 Companies have taken the authorisation to provide Inflight and Maritime Connectivity (IFMC) services till date.

 About Maritime Communication Services

  • Maritime Connectivity will enable high-end support to those in sea by providing access to Voice, Data and Video services while traveling on sailing vessels, cruise liners, ships in India.
  • It uses satellite technology for this.
  • Nelco, India’s leading VSAT solutions provider is the first Indian company that will now provide quality broadband services to the maritime sector.
  • Nelco will help Energy, Cargo and Cruise vessels by enhancing operational efficiency, improving crew welfare and enabling customer services.
  • Nelco has global partnerships, infrastructure including transponder capacity on satellite of ISRO Indian Space Research Organization) and a comprehensive service portfolio.

What is In-flight and Maritime Communications (IFMC)?

  • In December 2018, the Government of India announced the licenses for In-flight and Maritime Communications (IFMC) that allows voice and internet services while flying over the Indian skies and sailing in Indian waters, both for international and Indian aircrafts and vessels.
  • The IFMC license is a key initiative of the Telecom Ministry, a move to liberalise satellite communication services in India.
  • The IFMC licence has not only enabled connectivity for on-board users on ships but also brings operational efficiencies for shipping companies which were less evolved until now.

Issues regarding Inflight telecom services

  • For inflight services, Indian airline companies do not have on-board equipment for delivering the services.
  • The equipment has to be retrofitted to the aircraft.Retrofitting is costly and will entail grounding of aircraft.
  • Presently, other than Spice Jet none of the airlines are ready. Inmarsat equipment are available on few of the Spice Jet aircraft (13 numbers).
  • Services will be available on these aircraft once BSNL gateway is ready and ISRO permission is available for Inmarsat satellite bandwidth.
  • Airlines have been requested to start the services in coordination with the IFMC service providers at the earliest.

GS-3rd Paper

Topics covered- Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life.

International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI)

Context

Shri Prasad also launched a web portal for reporting of stolen mobiles.

About

  • International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is supposed to be a unique identity of a mobile phone device.
  • Generally, a phone with one/two slots of SIM card is programmed with one/two IMEI number as the case may be.
  • IMEI number being programmable, some miscreants do reprogram the IMEI number, which results in cloning of IMEI causing multiple phone devices with same IMEI number.

Need

  • As on date, there are many cases of cloned/duplicated IMEI handsets in the network.
  • If such IMEI is blocked, a large number of mobile phones will get blocked being handsets with same IMEI causing inconvenience to many genuine customers.
  • Thus, there is a need to eliminate duplicate/fake IMEI mobile phones from the network.

Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR)

A project called Central Equipment Identity Register (CEIR) system has been undertaken by the DoT for addressing security, theft and other concerns including reprogramming of mobile handsets.

The major objectives of the project-

  • Blocking of lost/stolen mobile phones across mobile networks thus discouraging theft of mobile phones
  • Facilitate in tracing of such reported lost/stolen mobile phones
  • Prevention of mobile devices with duplicate and fake IMEIs in the network
  • Curtail the use of counterfeit mobile devices
  • Reduced health risks to the users with the control of use of counterfeit mobile phones
  • Improved QoS and reduced call drops with reduction in use of counterfeit mobile devices

GS-3rd Paper

Topics Covered- Security challenges and their management in border areas – linkages of organized crime with terrorism.

Biological warfare

Context

Raksha Mantri said the threat of nuclear, chemical and biological warfare adds to the complexity of the existing challenges.

 What is biological warfare?

  • Biological warfare is a form of war techniques where there is the intentional release of biological agents (bacteria, viruses, or other germs).
  • This is also referred to as germ warfare.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define bioterrorism as “the intentional release of viruses, bacteria, or other germs that can sicken or kill people, livestock, or crops.”
  • Bioterrorism incident can be achieved in a number of ways, such as: via aerosol sprays; in explosive devices; via food or water; or absorbed or injected into skin.
  • Because some pathogens are less robust than others, the type of pathogen used will define how it can be deployed

Biological warfare as a means of terrorism

  • Biological weapons are difficult to detect, economical and easy to use, making them appeal to terrorists.
  • The cost of a biological weapon is estimated to be about 0.05 percent the cost of a conventional weapon in order to produce similar numbers of mass casualties per kilometer square.
  • Moreover, their production is very easy as common technology can be used to produce biological warfare, like that used in production of vaccines, foods, spray devices, beverages and antibiotics.
  • A major factor about biological warfare that attracts terrorists is that they can easily escape, before the government agencies or secret agencies have even started their investigation.
  • This is because the potential organism has incubation period of 3 to 7 days, after which the results begin to appear, thereby giving terrorists a lead.

Concerns

  • Biological warfare is using non-human life to disrupt or end human life.
  • The living organisms can be unpredictable and incredibly resilient.
  • The biological weapons are difficult to control, potentially devastating on a global scale, and prohibited globally under numerous treaties.
  • The threat of bioterrorism is increasing as a result of-
  1. Rise of technical capabilities,
  2. Rapid expansion of the global biotechnology industry,
  3. Growth of loosely sophisticated networks of transnational terrorist groups that have expressed interest in bioterrorism.

 Consequences

  • The use of biological weapons against livestock populations or agricultural crops could have potentially disastrous spillover effects on wild species of plants and animals.

For Prelims-

‘Rudrashila’

Context

White Water Rafting Expedition – ‘Rudrashila’ Flagged off at Jaisalmer.

Highlights

  • It is the white water Rafting Expedition being undertaken by Kalidhar Battalion under the aegis of Battle Axe Division.
  • It has been organised to commemorate the 75th Raising day of the Kalidhar Battalion.
  • ‘Rudrashila’ takes its name from the famed Rudraprayag tributary of the Ganges River in the Mountains of Uttarakhand.

28TH Indo-Thai Corpat

Context

Closing ceremony of the 28th cycle of the Indo-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (INDO-THAI CORPAT) in Port Blair.

Highlights

  • 28th cycle of the Indo-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (INDO-THAI CORPAT) was held in Port Blair.
  • During the sea phase of the CORPAT from 06 to 12 September 2019, units of both the navies undertook coordinated maritime patrolling in their respective sectors of the International Maritime Boundary Line.
  • Indian Navy has also been involved in assisting countries in the Indian Ocean Region with EEZ Surveillance, Search and Rescue and other capacity-building and capability-enhancement activities.