Current Affairs in Short: 20 April 2020
Uttar Pradesh has become the first state to geo-tag community kitchens. The state geo-tagged around 7,368 community kitchens and community shelters located across 75 districts.
Government constitutes 6 Inter-Ministerial teams to assess COVID-19 situation
• The union government has formed 6 Inter-Ministerial Central Teams (IMCTs) to assess Covid-19 situation in Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal.
• While two teams each have been formed for West Bengal and Maharashtra, one team has been formed to make an on-spot assessment of the COVID-19 situation in Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan separately and issue necessary directions to state authorities for its redressal and submit their report to the Central Government.
• The teams will focus on complaints of implementation of lockdown measures, the supply of essential commodities, the preparedness of health infrastructure, social distancing, the safety of health professionals and conditions of the relief camps for labour and poor people.
Assam pays Rs 2,000 to 86,000 people stranded outside
• The Assam state government on April 20, 2020 deposited Rs 2000 in the bank accounts of 86,000 Assamese stranded outside the state due to the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown as a part of its ‘special scheme’.
• Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the decision to provide financial support to those stuck at different places was taken by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal during a review meeting on April 19.
• The special scheme was launched through an IT-enabled system. The state Finance Minister said that this is the first installment of financial support to the vulnerable people from Assam who are stranded outside.
• The second installment will be released before the lockdown is lifted. The amount for the second installment has not been decided yet. Around 4,29,851 people had contacted the state government officials through the central server in Guwahati.
New model to predict ionospheric electron density can help communication, navigation
• Researchers from the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, Navi Mumbai have developed a new model to predict the ionospheric electron density with larger data coverage. This is a crucial development for communication and navigation.
• The new Artificial Neural Networks based global Ionospheric Model has been developed using long-term ionospheric observations to predict the ionospheric electron density and the peak parameters.
• Artificial Neural Networks replicate the processes in the human brain to solve problems such as pattern recognition, classification, clustering, generalization, linear and nonlinear data fitting and time series prediction.
UP becomes first state to geo-tag community kitchens
• Uttar Pradesh became the first state on April 19, 2020 to geo-tag community kitchens. The state geo-tagged around 7,368 community kitchens and community shelters located across 75 districts. The kitchens produce 12 lakh food packets per day.
• The state has also tied up with Google to 'Geo-map' the locations of all these community kitchens on the Google Maps app for ease of the beneficiaries. The state government mobilised state resources to set up the kitchens through the medium of religious organisations and non-government organisations.
• The main aim to make the community kitchens easy to access for the daily wage labourers who are bearing the heavy brunt of the nation-wide lockdown imposed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Fish gills used to develop efficient low-cost electro-catalysts
• Researchers at Mohali’s Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST)have recently come up with an efficient, low-cost electro-catalyst from fish gills, which can help develop environmental-friendly energy conversion devices.
• These electro-catalysts can help resolve several issues in realization of many 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 bio-inspired 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.
Daily COVID-19 testing expected to reach to 1 lakh by May end: ICMR
• The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) announced recently that the daily COVID-19 testing capacity at various laboratories across India will be expanded and it is expected to reach one lakh test per day by the end of May.
The ICMR announced that the current model of inventory stocking and distribution will be increased to meet the increased requirement of testing material with an increasing number of tests.
• To enable the same, 16 regional depots are being set up by strengthening manpower, resources and infrastructure. The depots at the National Institute of Malaria Research, NIMR, New Delhi and National Institute of Virology, Pune would also function as central depots.
• The role and responsibilities of the regional depots will be to receive stock from central depots and repackage it for lab-level and state-level consignments as per ICMR’s guidelines.