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RSTV: SCIENCE MONITOR 20.02.2021

RSTV

 

 

New Geospatial Guidelines:

  • Geospatial data is data about objects, events, or phenomena that have a location on the surface of the earth.
  • The location may be static in the short-term, like the location of a road, an earthquake event or dynamic like a moving vehicle or pedestrian, the spread of an infectious disease.
  • Geospatial data combines location information, attribute information (the characteristics of the object, event, or phenomena concerned), and often also temporal information or the time at which the location and attributes exist.
  • The Ministry of Science and Technology has released new guidelines for the Geo-spatial sector in India, which deregulates existing protocol and liberalises the sector to a more competitive field.
  • The sector will be deregulated and aspects such as prior approvals for surveying, mapping and building applications based on that have been done away with.
  • For Indian entities, there will be complete deregulation with no prior approvals, security clearances and licences for the acquisition and production of geospatial data and geospatial data services, including maps.
  • It will help boost innovation in the sector and create a level playing field for public and private entities.
  • The easing of norms will greatly help in several sectors that were suffering because of non-availability of high-quality maps.
  • The move will unlock tremendous opportunities for the country’s start-ups, private sector, public sector, and research institutions, to drive innovations and build scalable solutions.
  • It will also generate employment and accelerate economic growth.
  • India’s farmers will also be benefited by leveraging the potential of geospatial and remote sensing data.
  • The deregulation eliminates the requirement of permissions as well as scrutiny, even for security concerns.
  • Geo-spatial data usually involves information of public interest such as roads, localities, rail lines, water bodies, and public amenities.
  • The past decade has seen an increase in the use of geo-spatial data in daily life with various apps such as food delivery apps like Swiggy or Zomato, e-commerce like Amazon or even weather apps.
  • There are strict restrictions on the collection, storage, use, sale, dissemination of geo-spatial data and mapping under the current regime.
  • The policy had not been renewed in decades and has been driven by internal as well as external security concerns.
  • The sector so far is dominated by the Indian government as well as government-run agencies such as the Survey of India and private companies need to navigate a system of permissions from different departments of the government (depending on the kind of data to be created) as well as the defence and Home Ministries, to be able to collect, create or disseminate geo-spatial data.

Women Excellence Award 2021:

  • Four young women fellows of National Science Academies have been awarded for excelling in science and engineering on the International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2021.
  • The SERB Women Excellence Award that has been conferred on them provides a grant of Rs. 15 lakhs for a period of three years to the awardees to pursue their research ideas.
  • The award given by the Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB), a Statutory body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST) supporting basic research in the frontier areas of science and engineering, was launched in the year 2013. It is a one-time award given to women scientists below 40 years of age who have received recognition from any one or more of the National Academies such as Young Scientist Medal, Young Associateship, etc.
  • The for women scientists selected for the awards include Shobhna Kapoor, Assistant Professor at Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, working in the area of Chemical Biology with expertise in ‘Host-Pathogen Interactions and Membrane Biology, Chemical Biology and Biophysics’, Dr. Antara Banerjee, Scientist B National Institute For Research In Reproductive Health, Mumbai, Maharashtra from the Health Sciences area with expertise in Signal Transduction, Biology of Reproduction and Endocrinology, Dr. Sonu Gandhi Scientist D from National Institute Of Animal Biotechnology, Hyderabad from Bionanotechnology area focusing on Nanosensors, Design and Fabrication of Label-free Biosensors and Dr. Ritu Gupta, Assistant Professor at Indian Institute Of Technology Jodhpur, Rajasthan working on Nanotechnology with expertise in Materials Science, Nanodevices and Sensors, Health & Energy.

1st Geological evidences of Sadiya earthquake:

  • Scientists have found the first geological evidence of an earthquake at Himebasti Village on the border of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, documented by historians as Sadiya earthquake in history, which is recorded to have caused massive destruction in the region and almost destroyed the town in 1697 CE.
  • This finding could contribute to a seismic hazard map of the eastern Himalaya, which can facilitate construction and planning in the region.Historical archives refer to often recurring earthquakes along the Eastern Himalaya for which geological evidence is lacking, raising the question of whether these events ruptured the surface or remained blind and how they contribute to the seismic budget of the region, which is home to millions of inhabitants.
  • Scientists from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), a research institute under the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India, carried out a mega trench excavation at Himebasti village, Arunachal Pradesh, India, where the most recent event records the imprints of the 1697 Sadiya earthquake and analysed it with modern geological techniques.
  • They found the first geological surface rupture signatures in the form of exposed deposits associated with rivers and streams deformed by a thrust fault along a Northeast dipping fault zone. In order to constrain the causative faulting event at this site, the team dated twenty-one radiocarbon samples from the trench exposure.
  • They also found large tree trunks embedded in the youngest flood deposits at the exit of the Subansiri River (Sadiya town is located roughly 145 km southeast of Subansiri river), suggesting the post-seismic aggradation of the river following an array of aftershocks till six months in an abortive fashion.  This work has been recently published in the journal ‘Scientific Report’.
  • The study of the earthquake at Sadiya standing on a grassy plain, almost surrounded by forested Eastern Himalayas on the right bank of Lohit River, adds an important site to the seismic hazard assessment of the eastern Himalaya, which will benefit the inhabitants and help in providing better infrastructure across the Eastern Himalayan foothills which is one of the most densely populated regions in the world.