PIB NEWS-03/07/2020

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1)Dhamma Chakra Day celebrations to be inaugarated on Asadha Purnima on July 4 , 2020

  • After a very successful hosting of Virtual Vesak and Global Prayer Week from May 7- 16, 2020, the International Buddhist Confederation (IBC) in partnership with Ministry of Culture, Government of India, is now  celebrating the upcoming Asadha Poornima on July 4, 2020 as Dharma Chakra Day.
  • It will be the annual flagship event of IBC.
  • In keeping with the historical legacy of India being the land of Buddha’s enlightenment and awakening, his turning of the wheels of Dhamma, and Mahaparinirvana, the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind will inaugurate the Dhamma Chakra Day celebrations from Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.

Dhamma Chakra Day

  • The auspicious day of Asadha Poornima which falls on the first full moon day of the month of Asadha as per Indian sun calendar is also known as Esala Poya in Sri Lanka and Asanha Bucha in Thailand. It is the second most sacred day for Buddhists after the Buddha Poornima or Vesak.
  • The day marks Buddha’s first teaching after attaining Enlightenment to the first five ascetic disciples (pañcavargika) on the full-moon day of Asadha at ‘Deer Park’, Ṛiṣipatana in the current day Sarnath, near Varanasi, India. This teaching of Dhamma Cakka- PavattanaSutta (Pali) or Dharma chakra Pravartana Sutra (Sanskrit) is also known as the First Turning of Wheels of Dharma and comprised of the Four Noble Truths and Noble Eightfold Path.
  • The Rainy Season retreat (Varsha Vassa) for the Monks and Nuns also starts with this day lasting for three lunar months from July to October, during which they remain in a single place, generally in their temples dedicated to intensive meditation.
  • They are served during this period by lay community who also observe Uposatha i.e. to observe eight precepts and meditate under the guidance of their teachers.
  • The day is also observed as Guru Poornima by both Buddhists and Hindus as a day to mark reverence to their Gurus.

2) Unique Urban Forest inaugurated at the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India

  • The office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India which is located at Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg has taken steps to establish an Urban Forest in the Office Park.
  • Keeping in view the limited area, local material was adopted to enable intensive afforestation.
  • The forest is made up of trees which are native to the area and are three dimensional, multi-layered communities having 30 times the surface area of the greenery of single-layered lawns, and have more than 30 times the ability to protect against natural disasters and to conserve the environment.
  • This would be a dense urban forest with multiple tree layers including 12000 saplings of 59 indigenous species in another year or so.
  • With minimal maintenance, including watering and de-weeding, the urban forest will be self-sustainable by October 2021.
  • These are essential for pollination of crops and fruits and to help maintain a balanced ecosystem.
  • A dense forest ecosystem has been created in an area that is little over 1 acre in size. The multi-layered forest has shrubs, small to medium-size trees and tall trees carefully arranged as peripheral and core plant communities.

Nagar Van Scheme

It is noteworthy that recently on the occasion of World Environment Day, the government announced implementation of the Nagar van scheme to develop 200 Urban Forests across the country in next five years with a renewed focus on people’s participation and collaboration between Forest Department, Municipal bodies, NGOs, Corporates and local citizens.

3) Fit India Talks

The government of India’s flagship program Fit India is launching a series of interactive sessions with some of the top sportspersons of our country intended to inspire the school children. The sessions, titled Fit India Talks, premieres tomorrow July 3 in the presence of Union Minister of Human Resource Development Dr. RP Nishank, Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, ShriKiren Rijiju along with badminton star PV Sindhu and Indian football team skipper Sunil Chhetri.

About Sessions

  • The Fit India Talks sessions are being organized in association with the Sports Authority of India and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
  • A host of leading sports celebrities will be sharing their experiences of childhood, stories on how they got inspired, their failures, struggles and their success. This will give the audience a very inspirational yet interesting account of their journeys – from common school students to world-class champions.
  • There will be a total of six sessions which will go on till July 14. The likes of badminton star AshwiniPonnappa, Indian women’s hockey team skipper Rani Rampal, table tennis star ManikaBatra, shooter ApurviChandela and inspirational ParalympianDeepa Malik will join in at the sessions.

Fit India Movement

Recently the Prime Minister launched the Fit India Movement at a ceremony in New Delhi. he Prime Minister urged the people of the country to make fitness their lifestyle. 

Key Highlights

  • The Prime Minister launched the people’s movement on the birth anniversary of Major Dyanchand, India’s sports icon who enthralled the world with his game and techniques.
  • Envisioned by the Prime Minister, the nation-wide Fit India Movement aims to motivate every Indian to incorporate simple, easy ways of staying fit in their everyday life.
  • committee, headed by Sports Minister and comprising government officials, members of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), national sports federations, private bodies and fitness promoters, has been formed to take the movement forward.
  • The 28-member government committee also features secretaries of Sports, Secondary Education, Ayush, and Youth Affairs, among others.

4) The Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020 (DDH2020) Launched

This Drug Discovery Hackathon is a joint initiative of MHRD, AICTE and CSIR and supported by partners like CDAC, MyGov, Schrodinger and ChemAxon.

Objective- “the objective is to identify drug candidates against SARS-CoV-2 by in-silico drug discovery through the hackathon and follow up by chemical synthesis and biological testing”

More details

  • This hackathon is first of its kind national initiative for supporting drug discovery process.
  • The minister further disclosed that to attract international talent, the hackathon will be open to participation from across the globe from professionals, faculty, researchers and students from varied fields like computer science, chemistry, Pharmacy, medical sciences, basic sciences and biotechnology.
  • In this initiative, MHRD’s Innovation cell and AICTE will focus on identifying potential drug molecules through the Hackathon while CSIR will take these identified molecules forward for synthesis and laboratory testing for efficacy, toxicity, sensitivity and specificity.

Phases of Hackathon

Hackathon will primarily focus on computational aspects of drug discovery and will have three Tracks.

  • Track-1 will deal with computational modelling for drug design or identifying ‘lead’ compounds from existing databases that may have the potential to inhibit SARS-CoV-2.
  • Track-2 will encourage participants to develop new tools and algorithms using data analytics and AI/ML approach for predicting drug-like compounds with minimal toxicity and maximal specificity and selectivity.
  • A third track, named Track 3 is a Moon-shot approach which will only deal with novel and out-of-the-box ideas in this field.

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