Current Affairs (15th March 2021)
Tourist vehicle operators
- The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has announced a new scheme, under which any tourist vehicle operator may apply for an “All India Tourist Authorization/Permit” through online mode.
- It will be issued, after relevant documents are submitted and fees deposited, within 30 days of submission of such applications.
- The new set of rules,to be known as, “All India Tourist Vehicles Authorization and Permit Rules, 2021” has been published vide GSR 166 (E) dated 10 March 2021.
- The new rules will be applicable from 01 April 2021. All existing permits shall continue to be in force during their validity.
- The new rules for permits are expected to go a long way in promoting tourism across the States in our country, while simultaneously, growing the revenue of state Governments.
- The rules come even as the Ministry is in the pursuit of providing seamless movement to tourist passenger vehicles, after the success of goods carriage vehicles under National Permit Regime
- Moreover, the scheme allows flexibility in the form of authorization/permit being granted, for a period of three months or its multiples thereof, not exceeding three years at a time.
- This provision has been incorporated keeping in mind those areas of our country where there is a limited season of tourism and also for those operators who have limited financial capacity.
- It will also consolidate a central database and fees of all such authorization/permits, which might give a sense of tourist movements, scope for improvement, promotion of tourism.
- The step comes in the context of travel and tourism industry in our country increasing manifold in last fifteen years.
- The growth has been contributed by both domestic and international tourists, and there is a trend of high expectation and consumer experience.
WASTE TO WEALTH
- Minister of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare inaugurated the Centre for Advanced Radiation Shielding and Geopolymeric Materials and Analytical High-Resolution Transmission Electron Microscope Laboratory, during his visit to CSIR constituent lab AMPRI based in Bhopal.
- He also laid the foundation stone of CSIR-AMPRI Bamboo Composite Structure.
- According to the Ministry of Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Health & Family Welfare, CSIR-AMPRI has been successfully adopting ‘Waste to Wealth’ strategy as the institute has developed radiation shielding materials utilizing industrial wastes as raw materials.
- Significantly, a novel process for making lead free and highly effective shielding materials useful for the construction of X-ray diagnostic and CT scanner room has been developed utilizing industrial waste namely red mud and fly ash.
- Various geopolymeric materials were also developed by CSIR-AMPRI utilizing Coal based Thermal Power Plant waste. Fly-Ash and three US patents have been granted on geopolymeric materials.
- The advances in geopolymeric materials will accelerate strategic applications such as development of Thermal Resistant Geopolymeric Concrete for Missile /Rocket Launching Pad and development of Geopolymeric Bullet Proof Concrete for Bunkers; development of Graphene-Induced Geopolymeric Concrete and Geopolymeric Radiation Shielding Concrete.
- In addition, it will also have advanced conventional applications such as development and upscaling of ready mix Geopolymeric Concrete for road applications and structural applications; development of Roller-Compacted Geopolymeric Concrete and development of pre-stressed Geopolymeric Concrete components.
- Centre will enhance the knowledge for understanding the mechanism of Radiation Shielding and improvement in engineering properties of developed materials.
- It will facilitate the upscaling of technologies in this area and provide technological support to Indian industry.
Analytical High-Resolution Transmission Electron Microscope Laboratory:
- This laboratory houses Scanning Transmission Electron Microscope (STEM) with High-Angle Annular Dark Field Detector (HAADF) and Energy Dispersive Spectrometer (EDS) along with TEM sample preparation equipment such as, Ion milling system, Ultrasonic disc cutter, Dimple grinder, Disk punch, lapping disk and Diamond saw.
- This system is capable of performing microanalysis such as micro diffraction, rocking beam channelling patterns, qualitative and quantitative X-ray spectroscopy analysis, particle size analysis, dislocation density and movement, precipitation, nucleation and growth.
IMPORTANCE FOR CSIR-AMPRI
- These advanced instruments in CSIR-AMPRI could throw light on the morphological, structural and compositional analysis of advanced materials developed at CSIR-AMPRI.
- This facility will not only enhance the research quality of CSIR-AMPRI but also neighbouring institutes of Madhya Pradesh to carry out innovative research on advanced materials and develop know – how / technologies.
CSIR-AMPRI Bamboo Composite Structure
- CSIR-AMPRI has developed a knowhow of manufacturing environmentally friendly multifunctional bamboo composite material for modern housing and structures using abundantly available bamboo as a raw material.
- The newly developed bamboo composite material can serve as a competitive, sustainable and environment friendly alternative material, useful in the construction of smart green buildings as it has very attractive features like, aesthetic appearance, acoustic & thermal insulation.
- This will be advantageous to the bamboo cultivators located in various parts of India and also help in the generation of employment.
- India is the second largest cultivator of bamboo, it has only 4% share of world trade and the bamboo wood technology has potential of increasing this trade share.
More Routes proposed Under UDAN 4.1
- On the commencement of the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav (India@75)’ launched by Government of India, the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) has proposed about 392 routes under UDAN 4.1 bidding process.
- The Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS)-Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) is a flagship scheme of the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) envisaged to make air travel affordable and widespread in the country.
- The scheme intends to boost inclusive national economic growth, employment opportunities, and air transport infrastructure development across the nation.
- Till date, 325 routes and 56 airports including 5 heliports and 2 Water Aerodromes have been operationalised under the UDAN scheme.
- The UDAN 4.1 round is focused on connecting smaller airports, along with special helicopter and seaplane routes.
- In addition to these, some new routes have been proposed under the Sagaramala Seaplane Services in consultation with the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways.
- Some of the operational flexibilities are extended to Airlines under the UDAN 4.1 to ensure suitable operation models to connect smaller cities/ airstrips.
- Additionally, operations under NSOP will be allowed for seaplane, fixed-wing aircraft, Helicopters for RCS Routes awarded under UDAN 4.1.
- The Union Minister of Jal Shakti with all States/ UTs Ministers in-charge of rural water supply had reviewed the progress made under the JalJeevan Mission.
- The Union Minister released the ‘drinking water quality testing, monitoring & surveillance’ framework and also launched the Water Quality Management Information System (WQMIS) of JalJeevan Mission.
- It is a flagship program of the Union Government for providing tap water connection in every rural household by 2024.
- The Union Budget 2021-22 has witnessed a quantum increase in the budgetary provision for JalJeevan Mission, from Rs 11,500 crore in 2020-21 to Rs 50,011 crore in 2021-22.
- The Union Minister rolled out the roadmap for more efficacious utilization of the nearly five-fold increased JalJeevan Mission’s Budget by States/UTs.
- Being the 3rd year, 2021-22 is a crucial year for JalJeevan Mission. He said that this is the time to speed up implementation, strategically create systems and processes for proper operations and maintenance for assured water supply to every household on long-term basis.
- Sice its announcement, significant progress has been made across the country and so far, more than 77 Crore rural households have been provided with tap water connections.
- In total, more than 7 Crore rural families (36.5%) have now started getting clean water in their homes, i.e. more than 1/3rd of rural household are getting potable water through taps.
- Every family living in 52 districts, 670 Blocks, 42,100 Panchayats and 81,123 villages are getting assured tap water supply in their homes now.
- Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020-21, necessary groundwork for effective and efficient implementation of the mission has been laid.
- As the whole country is slowing trying to return to normalcy, JalJeevan Mission is putting in untiring efforts for ‘provision of safe drinking water in rural areas’ by providing tap connections in rural households.