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PIB News Synopsis 27th February, 2020

1. ‘Capacity Building Programme for Scheduled Tribe Pri Representatives’ and ‘1000 Springs Initiatives’ launched in Bhubneshwar

  • Also an online portal on GIS-based Spring Atlas with hydrological and chemical properties of the Springs was launched on the occasion
  • ‘1000 Springs Initiative’ aims at improving access to safe and adequate water for the tribal communities living in difficult and inaccessible part of rural areas in the country.
    • It is an integrated solution around natural springs.
    • It includes provision of infrastructure for piped water supply for drinking; provision of water for irrigation; community-led total sanitation initiatives; and provision for water for backyard nutrition gardens, generating sustainable livelihood opportunities for the tribal people.
  • Online portal on GIS-based Spring Atlas has been developed to make these data easily accessible from an online platform.
  • Capacity Building initiative is aimed at empowering tribal PRI representatives by enhancing their decision making capabilities at local government level.
    • Among other issues concerning tribal development, it also focusses on constitutional and legal provisions that protect and promote the rights and welfare of the tribal population.

2. Biofuel from microorganisms

  • The biofuel sector could get a boost, with researchers at the International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB) developing a method to improve the growth rate and sugar content of a marine microorganism called Synechococcus sp. PCC 7002.
  • Most biotechnological processes, including biofuel production, are dependent on the availability of low-cost and sustainable supply of sugars and a nitrogen source.
  • The sugars typically come from plants. Plants utilize light energy through the process of photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide in the atmosphere into biological components such as sugars, proteins and lipids.
  • However, some bacteria, such as the cyanobacteria (also known as blue-green algae), too can perform photosynthesis and produce sugar by fixing the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
  • The yield of sugars from cyanobacteria could potentially be much higher than that of land-based crops. Further, unlike plant-based sugars, cyanobacterial biomass provides a nitrogen source in the form of proteins.

3. Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), Hyderabad launch New Trio of Products for marine-based users

  • The institute is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • One of these new products is the Small Vessel Advisory and Forecast Services System (SVAS), to improve operations on the numerous small marine vessels, particularly fishing vessels that ply the coastal waters of India.
    • The warning system is based on the ‘Boat Safety Index’ (BSI) derived from wave model forecast outputs such as significant wave height, wave steepness, directional spread and the rapid development of wind at sea which is boat-specific.
  • The Swell Surge Forecast System was also launched, which will provide forewarnings for the coastal population of India’s vast shoreline, which experiences a slew of damages caused by the swell waves that actually originate from the distant southern Indian Ocean.
    • Kallakadal/Swell surge(that occurs along the Indian coast, particularly the west coast) are flash-flood events that take place without any noticeable advance change in local winds or any other apparent signature in the coastal environment. Hence the local population remains totally unaware of these flooding events until they actually occur.
  • Kallakkadal is a colloquial term used by Kerala fishermen to refer to the freaky flooding episodes and in 2012 UNESCO formally accepted this term for scientific use.
  • The final new product in this trio is the Algal Bloom Information Service (ABIS), providing timely information on harmful algal blooms, which are detrimental to coastal fisheries and also tend to induce respiratory problems within the coastal population from time to time.
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