Images sent by Chandrayaan-1 show rusting of moon’s poles

ISRO’s maiden mission to the Moon, Chandrayaan-1, has sent images which show that Moon may be rusting along the poles. The Moon is known to have iron-rich rocks but for rusting, the presence of oxygen and moisture is crucial. Scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) suspect that the Earth’s atmosphere might be influencing this change, engulfing the Moon’s surface. However, the data from Chandrayaan-1 indicates that there is the presence of water in the poles, leaving scientist to decipher.


Railways announce an increase in the frequency of Devlali-Muzaffarpur Kisan Rail

Due to the overwhelming response, the Railways have come to a decision of increasing the frequency of Devlali-Muzaffarpur Bi-weekly Kisan Rail as Tri-weekly, coming on effect from 08.09.2020 onwards. The Public Relations Department of Central Railway, while announcing the extended frequency, said that CR will also increase the frequency of Link Kisan Rail from Bi-weekly to Tri-weekly between Sangola and Manmad which will be attached/detached to Devlali-Muzaffarpur Kisan Rail at Manmad. From the day of its inauguration, the loading of Kisan Rail has shown an increased trend. The increase in frequency is expected to lead the loading further.


Novel discovery of the interaction between light and molecules

Scientists from the Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology, Govt. of India, have come up with a  discovery, that high levels of light in the blue wavelengths or actinic light lead to switching between two photo isomers — Chiral Nematic (Ch) and Twist Grain Boundary Smectic C* (TGBC*) which are liquid crystal phases possessing photonic structures in one and three dimensions, respectively. The occurrence of the change is due to interactions between light and molecules leading to photoisomerization in which light of a specific wavelength (actinic light) can bend molecules with certain linking groups. The novel discovery of such properties, of UV and blue light combination reversibly switches the system between 3D and 1D photonic structure, an interaction that can potentially make tunable and effective optical devices.



Rashtriya Poshan Maah’s 3rd celebration in September 2020

Poshan Maah is celebrated under POSHAN Abhiyaan (PM’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nourishment), launched back in 2018. Ministry of Women and Child Development, being the nodal Ministry for POSHAN Abhiyaan, is celebrating the 3rd Poshan Maah in convergence with partner Ministries and departments, at National, States/UTs, Districts, and grass-root level. The motto of the Poshan Maah is to promote Jan Bhagidaari, in order to create a Jan Andolan, for addressing malnutrition amongst young children, and women and to ensure health and nutrition for everyone.

The importance of nutrition was addressed in PM Modi’s Mann ki Baat, on August 30, 2020. The motto, as the PM had said, is to promote the motto and gradually put an end to malnutrition in India. Identification of Severely Acute Malnourished (SAM) Children and their management and plantation of Poshan Vaatikas- Nutri gardens, will be undertaken as focus activities during Poshan Maah, along with extensive awareness generation regarding the importance of early breastfeeding, necessity of good nutrition during first 1000 days of life, measures for reducing anaemia in young women and children etc.


JNCASR develop diagnostic therapy for Lung Cancer

Lung cancer remains one of the top causes of fatality worldwide, due to the prolonged incapability to detect the oncogene in initial stages. Prof. T. Govindaraju, along with his team from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India, have developed a theranostics drug candidate for lung cancer, recently published in the journal Theranostics. The team has developed a small molecule for selective recognition of BCL-2 GQ, oncogene specific non-canonical DNA secondary structures, through unique hybrid loop stacking and groove binding mode with turn on far-red fluorescence response and anticancer activity posing the potential as GQ-targeted lung cancer theranostics. The team reports recognition of BCL-2 GQ through unique hybrid binding mode as well as its anti-lung cancer activity and tissue imaging potential.


MSME expands the reach and support to artisans

Ministry of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) issues new guidelines for the expansion of the reach and support to Artisans, involved in Agarbatti making, and to the Agarbatti Industry. The Ministry has looked into vast aspects of the industry, apart from just the supply of machines for making Agarbatti, including ensured supply of inputs and raw materials, the demand for which has increased hugely in last one year. Under the expanded programme, 500 more Pedal operated Machines will be given to ‘Self Help Groups (SHGs) will be added to 200 existing ones. Moreover, to make the sector fall under the Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme, increasing the total size of the programme to more than Rs 55 Cr, including immediate support to about 1500 artisans of about Rs 3.45 Cr.



UP creates online COVID portal to digitize the movements by state

Besides the guidelines from the Center, many states have been implementing customized innovative measures to fight the pandemic. The UP government, similarly has undertaken the initiative of establishing the Integrated COVID Control & Command Centres (ICCCC) in all districts as well as the State headquarter, ensuring effective coordination among relevant departments for Non Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs), facilitating prompt referral of COVID-19 patients to the appropriate level of dedicated COVID facilities. The Command Centre also coordinate with zonal units to ensure prompt testing of symptomatic patients and contacts, intimation of laboratory status, facilitation of transport and facility allocation in case of admission, and regular follow up of cases under home isolation. Moreover, the UP government has established a COVID portal which records all information related to surveillance, testing and treatment of COVID patients; availability of which has enabled prompt decision making and response.


G20 member countries unite to reaffirm education continuity

In a virtual meeting to address the three identified areas of Education Continuity in Times of Crises, Early Childhood Education and Internationalization in Education, G20 member Education Ministers took part, in the light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Parallel to the G20 themes, Union Minister of Education Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank tells that the Government of India’s new National Education Policy 2020 is built in accordance to prioritize the themes and to bring in transformational changes in the education landscape of the country.

The ministers adopted a communique at the end of the meeting, recognizing the value of distance and blended teaching and learning. The communique emphasizes on the importance of quality Early Childhood Education (ECE) for all children, especially those in vulnerable groups, while stressing on the need to raise awareness of the crucial role of quality ECE.


Research paper calls for amendments in forest policy

Sanjay Kumar, Director General of forests says a research paper titled “Impact of forest policies on timber production in India: a case study” from the Indian Institute of Forest Management, Bhopal, advocates sustainable forest management based on certification and a policy characterized by restoration, conservation and production. The Director General has reportedly written to the higher officials including Inspector Generals of Forests, Forest Conservation and Survey and Utilization to look into the paper, that makes legitimate points to bring amendments in the Forest Policy. The paper illustrates the potential of timber production from trees outside forests, indicating the lack of data related to growing stocks, consumption and production of timber, hence constraining forecast of supply and demand projections.

Keshavananda Bharati and the most famous case of the Constitutional history of India

The demise of the spiritual leader, Swami Keshavananda Bharati, has ushered tributes from PM Narendra Modi, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu, among several others. However, the name is associated with the most famous case in the Constitutional history of the nation – the one that saved democracy and changed the course of the history of the Constitution of India. He had challenged the Kerala government laws under section 29, and the case was upheld in the Supreme Court in 1973. Senior Advocate Nani Palkivala, representing Swamiji, seized the opportunity to challenge a series of constitutional amendments, introduced by the Indira Gandhi government which allowed unlimited power to the Parliament.