200 Locust Circle Offices and temporary camps conducting survey & control operations
- A wave of locust swarms sweeping across western and northwestern India, the Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare (DAC&FW) has stepped up locust control operations in the affected States of Rajasthan, Punjab, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh.
- There are active swarms of immature locust in Barmer, Jodhpur, Nagaur, Bikaner, Ganganagar, Hanumangarh, Sikar, Jaipur Districts in Rajasthan and Satna, Gwalior, Seedhi, Rajgarh, Baitul, Devas, Agar Malwa district of Madhya Pradesh.
- Usually, the locust swarms enter the Scheduled Desert Area of India through Pakistan for summer breeding in the month of June/July with the advent of monsoon.
- This year, however, the incursions of locust hoppers and pink swarms have been reported much earlier because of presence of residual population of Locusts in Pakistan which they could not control last season.
- Pink immature adults fly high and cover long distances during day hours from one place to another along with the westerly winds coming from the Pakistan side. Most of these pink immature adults settle on the trees during night and mostly fly during day.
- Locust is an omnivorous and migratory pest and can fly hundreds of kilometers collectively. It is a trans-border pest and attacks the crop in large swarm.
- Found in Africa, the Middle East and Asia, they inhabit some 60 countries and can cover one-fifth of Earth’s land surface. Desert locust plagues may threaten the economic livelihood of one-tenth of the world’s human population.
- Swarms of locusts in the desert come to India from Africa/ Gulf/ South West Asia during the summer monsoon season and go back towards Iran, Gulf & African countries for spring breeding.
FM attends Special Board of Governors meeting of NDB through video-conference
- The agenda included the election of next President of NDB, appointment of Vice-President and Chief Risk Officer and membership expansion.
- FM commended the contribution of NDB in funding the infrastructure development, which has positively impacted the development agenda of the member countries, including India.
- Within a short span of time, NDB has approved 55 projects of member countries for an amount of $16.6 billion, which is quite a remarkable achievement.
- She also mentioned that the Bank has successfully created a niche for itself and proudly stands shoulder to shoulder with the peer MDBs.
DST-SERB supports study for identification of potential antivirals against COVID 19
- The Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) under DST has recently supported a proposed study by Prof. Pravindra Kumar from IIT- Roorkee for identification of structure-based potential antivirals against SARS-CoV2.
- In this study, a computer-based high throughput virtual screening approach will be used to identify antiviral molecules from different compound libraries that will be experimentally validated for antiviral potential.
CSIR-IIIM & Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) to develop RT-LAMP based test for Coronavirus
- CSIR-IIIM, Jammu a constituent laboratory of CSIR has partnered with Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) to develop and scale-up a new Reverse Transcriptase-Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification (RT-LAMP) based COVID-19 diagnostic kit.
- COVID-19 RT-LAMP test is a nucleic acid-based test carried out from nasal/throat swab sample from patients.
- The test recipe has been developed and successfully demonstrated using synthetic templates.
- It is rapid (45-60 min), cost effective and accurate test. It has been tested with a small number of patient samples and validating the kit on a greater number of patient samples is planned and will be done together with RIL.
- Advantage: RT-LAMP based COVID-19 kit components are easily available and these can be completely manufactured in India. While the, the current COVID-19 testing is done by real-time PCR their components are mostly imported. Further these tests are expensive; require highly trained manpower, costly instruments and a relatively high-end lab and cannot be deployed at remote locations in quarantine centers, airports, and railway stations, etc.
- On the other hand, the RT-LAMP test can be done in a single tube with minimal expertise in a basic lab setup like mobile units / kiosks for testing at Airports, Railway Stations, Bus Stands, and other public places.
- The end detection of the test is a simple colored reaction, which is easily visible in UV light, and now is being modified such that it can be detected in regular light.
- As a preliminary work, the investigators have already performed the in-silico work by high-throughput virtual screening approach to examine the binding affinity of FDA approved drugs targeting the viral protease Mpro.
- Using structure-based approach for drug repurposing, this study would pave the way to identify the molecules that bind to Mpro active site, and their potential can be used as antiviral molecules against COVID-19.
Researchers find a new possibility to improve rice productivity
- In order to meet the demand of the growing population of India and the world, production of rice needs to increase significantly, say by about 50% of current productivity.
- Traits like number of grains per plant and weight of the grain mainly determine the yield in rice.
- Thus, one of the main aims of the researchers and breeders has been to develop superior rice varieties with heavier grains, which can give higher yield and better nutrition.
- The scientists conducted their study by sequencing the genomes of four Indian genotypes (LGR, PB 1121, Sonasal & Bindli) that show contrasting phenotype in seed size/weight.
- After analyzing their genomic variations, they found that the Indian rice germplasms had much more genomic diversity than that estimated so far.
- They then studied the DNA from 3,000 rice accessions from across the world along with the four Indian genotypes sequenced in the study. They identified one long (~6 Mb) genomic region, which had an unusually suppressed nucleotide diversity region across the centromere of chromosome 5. They named it as `low diversity region’ or LDR in short.
- “We believe that in future efforts, this LDR region could be utilized for improving rice production by targeting various traits including the seed size QTL identified here”, team leader, Jitendra Kumar Thakur of DBT-NIPGR said.
Meeting Chaired by the PM regarding activities of the Ministry of Power and MNRE
- The PM reviewed the work of the Ministries, Policy initiatives including revised Tariff Policy and the Electricity (Amendment) Bill 2020 to redress the problems afflicting the power sector were discussed.
- PM emphasized the need to enhance consumer satisfaction while increasing operational efficiency, and improving financial sustainability of the power sector
- He advised the Ministry of Power to ensure that the DISCOMs publish their performance parameters periodically so that the people know how their DISCOMs fare in comparison to the peers.
- Regarding New and Renewable Energy, Prime Minister emphasized the need for wholistic approach for entire supply chain of the Agriculture Sector ranging from solar water pumps to decentralized solar cold storages.
- He also emphasized for innovative model for rooftop solar and desired that each State should have at least one city to have fully solar city through rooftop solar power generation.
- Emphasis was also made on ecosystem development for manufacturing of ingots, wafers, cells, and modules in India, which would also help generate employment in addition to various other advantages.
- Prime Minister also desired to expedite the plan for carbon neutral Ladakh and emphasized for drinking water supply in coastal areas by harnessing the solar and wind energy.
COVID19 current update in India
- Which among the following is a genotype of Indian Rice?
- PB 1121
- All the Above