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MoEFCC -World Elephant Day:

  • It is observed on 12 August annually to make people understand to preserve and protect the giant animal elephant. This is the way to bring the world together to help elephants. Therefore, it is necessary to raise awareness about the urgency to protect such an intelligent and huge animal from extinction.
  • On August 12, 2012, the inaugural World Elephant Day was launched to bring attention to the urgent plight of Asian and African elephants. The elephant is loved, revered and respected by people and cultures around the world, yet we balance on the brink of seeing the last of this magnificent creature.
  • The escalation of poaching, habitat loss, human-elephant conflict and mistreatment in captivity are just some of the threats to both African and Asian elephants. Working towards better protection for wild elephants, improving enforcement policies to prevent the illegal poaching and trade of ivory, conserving elephant habitats, better treatment for captive elephants and, when appropriate, reintroducing captive elephants into natural, protected sanctuaries are the goals that numerous elephant conservation organizations are focusing on around the world
  • The best way to celebrate the day is to educate yourself and others about this magnificent animal that is an elephant. It is necessary to raise issues that these animals’ faces and social media is the best platform for this. People watch documentary on elephants as this makes us realise about wildlife and about problems that animals face which can be an eye-opener. People donate on this day to a foundation dedicated to protecting elephants from poachers or relocating them to locations better suited their needs.
  • Union Environment Minister released a document on Best Practices and launched a beta version of the portal on Human-Elephant Conflict on the eve of World Elephant Day. The National Portal on human-elephant conflict called “Surakhsya”.
  • It is for the collection of real-time information and also for managing the conflicts on a real-time basis. It will also help to set the data collection protocols, data transmission pipelines, and data visualization tools to enable policy-makers to leverage HEC data for policy formulation and preparation of Action Plans for mitigation of conflicts.
  • To stop killing elephants MIKE (Monitoring the Illegal Killing of Elephants) programme was established by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) by Resolution 10.10 adopted at the tenth Conference of the Parties in 1997. Around 28 sites participating in the MIKE programme in Asia which are distributed around 13 countries.

IIA Founder’s Day Lecture by Prof. VijayRaghavn:

  • The Founder’s Day in the 50th year of the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) was celebrated with dignitaries emphasizing the need to maintain the energy and enthusiasm created by its founder Dr. VainuBappu by fusing the new ideas of young people with the wisdom and experience gained over five decades.
  • Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) an autonomous institute of the Department of Science & Technology (DST), Govt. of India celebrated its Founder’s Day on 10th August 2020 through an online program in which the Founder’s Day lecture was delivered by Principal Scientific Advisor Government of India, Professor K. VijayRaghavan.
  • The institute celebrates the birthday of Dr. Manali KallatVainuBappu, who contributed to the establishment of the modern Indian Institute of Astrophysics, as Founders Day. IIA has stepped into 50 years of existence with this year’s Founder’s Day.
  • IIA has done extremely well in producing quality human resources, infrastructure, and providing observational astronomy and deep science and will continue to flourish and scale greater heights with right resources and vision,” he added.
  • Astrophysics is the science of physical processes in the cosmos. It uses data gathered by astronomers using telescopes on Earth and in space – combined with the laws and theories of physics – in order to interpret the universe around us. If astronomy asks what and where, astrophysics asks how and why. A sister science – planetary science – studies the planets in our solar system and distant solar systems in our Milky Way galaxy. Another sister science – cosmology – studies external galaxies and voids, and the large-scale structure and history of the universe.

ARCI nano-coating for solar panels:

  • Scientists at the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous organization of the Department of Science and Technology, have developed nanoparticle-based coating for solar panels that can minimize dust deposition and enables easy cleaning by the action of water. It can prevent a reduction in efficiency of the panels due to soiling.
  • Solar panels are exposed to sunlight in open areas to achieve high conversion efficiencies, resulting in continuous contact of solar panels with severe weather conditions, dust and so on. Accordingly, solar panels are designed to withstand humid, corrosive, and dust-laden atmosphere for many years to provide a stable and reliable operation.
  • Moreover, their conversion efficiencies, typically in the 20% range, are reduced due to soiling by dust, dirt, pollen, and other particles that accumulate on the solar panels over a period of time. The power production capabilities of an unclean solar module in high dust area can drop by 30-40% within 1-2 months. The surface of a solar panel having super-hydrophobic coating replicates lotus leaf features.
  • The sprinkling of water effectively washes off the dust and other contaminants from the panel surface, similar to that of a lotus leaf. But most such products developed in the US and Europe are suitable for mild weather conditions and cannot tolerate harsh environmental conditions prevalent in India.
  • India also has the highest average soiling rate of 0.6 % per day as compared to 0.1 % in the US, 0.05 % in Japan and 0.02 % in Germany. This could be the most disconcerting phenomenon for solar power generation, specially when the country is aiming for a leap in solar power production.
  • So, there is an enormous requirement for self-cleaning (Easy-to-Clean) coatings on solar panels to encounter severe environmental conditions (high dust/dirt, high humidity, and corrosion).
  • Scientists at ARCI developed a high performance transparent easy-to-clean coating using functional nanoparticles, which stand out by its suitability for extreme Indian conditions of high temperature, humidity, varied natures of high pollutant level. This coating technology is suitable for easy application in an existing PV power generation field by simple spray and wipes techniques. This novel coating reduces the amount of dust deposited on the solar panels and cleans itself by the action of water on the modules.
  • The key features of this novel coating are its low cost highly transparent nature (no loss in transmittance or power conversion efficiency), super-hydrophobic property (water contact angle more than 110o), high weather stability and high mechanical stability. It has a simple coating technique, easy scalability, curability at ambient temperature and can withstand long duration accelerated test.
  • This coating has been validated in the laboratory conditions as per the international standards and successfully validated on ground-mounted and rooftop solar power plants located at various places in the country.

IIT M remote monitoring solutions for COVID-19 patients:

  • IT Madras’ Healthcare Technology Innovation Centre (HTIC) and Helyxon, a healthcare startup in IIT Madras Research Park, announced the successful deployment of remote patient monitoring solutions for Covid-19 that they have jointly developed.
  • The device is a first-of-its-kind in the market that does clinically accurate continuous monitoring of four critical parameters Temperature, Oxygen Saturation, Respiratory Rate and Heart Rate.
  • The device has already reached over 2,000 patients in public and private hospitals, and at homes, with another 5,000 devices in the pipeline. Production is being scaled up to meet the growing demand. The cost of the device ranges from Rs. 2,500 to 10,000 depending on the configuration and parameters.
  • The device is completely self-contained, portable, wireless, and can be clipped on to the patient’s finger and data is streamed to a mobile phone or central monitoring system. The temperature is measured at the armpit and blood oxygen level and other parameters at the finger itself. The device is reusable and has a lifetime of over a year. The devices can be used by the hospitals and doctors for patient management beyond Covid-19.
  • The core technology was validated by a year-long multi-centric study at various Chennai-based medical institutions for the accuracy and performance with reference to current standards. Specific to Covid, the reduction of close contact with patients by doctors and nurses, savings in PPE, and monitoring equipment was found to be a significant advantage by hospitals.


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