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Current Affairs – 18 January 2021

5G tech

In NEWS:

  1. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has sought inputs from telcos and other industry experts on the sale and use of radio frequency spectrum over the next 10 years, including the 5G bands.

ABOUT:

  1. 5G or fifth generation is the latest upgrade in the long-term evolution (LTE) mobile broadband networks.
  2. 5G mainly works in 3 bands: ( all of which have their own uses as well as limitations)
    1. Low band spectrum has shown great coverage and speed of internet and data exchange, the maximum speed is limited to 100 Mbps (Megabits per second). This means that while telcos can use and install it for commercial cellphone users who may not have specific demands for very high speed internet, the low band spectrum may not be optimal for specialised needs of the industry.
    2. The mid-band spectrum offers higher speeds compared to the low band, but has limitations in terms of coverage area and penetration of signals. This band may be used by industries and specialised factory units for building captive networks that can be moulded into the needs of that particular industry.
    3. The high-band spectrum offers the highest speed of all the three bands, but has extremely limited coverage and signal penetration strength. Internet speeds in the high-band spectrum of 5G has been tested to be as high as 20 Gbps (giga bits per second), while, in most cases, the maximum internet data speed in 4G has been recorded at 1 Gbps.

INDIA STAND IN THE 5G TECHNOLOGY

  1. India had, in 2018, planned to start 5G services as soon as possible, with an aim to capitalise on the better network speeds and strength that the technology promised.
  2. All the three private telecom players, Reliance Jio Infocomm, Bharti Airtel and Vi, have been urging the DoT to lay out a clear road map of spectrum allocation and 5G frequency bands, so that they would be able to plan the roll out of their services accordingly.
  3. Lack of flow of cash and adequate capital with at least two of the three players, namely Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea are big challenges.
  4. Reliance Jio plans to launch an indigenously built 5G network for the country as early as the second half of this year. It has a complete end-to-end 5G solution prepared by the company itself that is ready for deployment once the networks are in place. This solution can also be deployed by other telecom operators as a complete managed service.

GLOBAL PROGRESS ON 5G

  1. More than governments, global telecom companies have started building 5G networks and rolling it out to their customers on a trial basis.
  2. In like the US, companies like AT&T, T-mobile, and Verizon have taken the lead when it comes to rolling out commercial 5G for their users.
  3. Some of the telcos such as China Unicom had started 5G trials as early as 2018, and have since rolled out the commercial services for users.
  4. South Korean company Samsung, which had started researching on 5G technology way back in 2011, has, on the other hand, taken the lead when it comes to building the hardware for 5G networks for several companies.

 

G7

IN NEWS:

  1. British Prime Minister invited the Indian Prime Minister to the UK for the G7 summit in June 2021.

ABOUT:

  1. The proposed summit will be the first in-person G-7 summit in almost two years, as it will be held in the English region of Cornwall from June 11 to 13.
  2. Besides India, Australia and South Korea have also been invited as guest countries as a testament to UK’s commitment to ensuring multilateral institutions better reflect today’s world.
  3. G7 PLUS India, Australia and South Korea is seen as a gathering of D-10 —10 leaders who represent over 60% of people living in democracies around the world. This is also seen as a signal to China.

INDIA-G7

  • India had attended the G-7 summit in Biarritz in France in August 2019 and was also invited for the 2020 summit hosted by the US — which could not take place due to the pandemic.
  • This is expected to be second G-7 summit in the tenure of present PM; his predecessor had attended the G-8 summit (it became G-7 from G-8 with the expulsion of Russia in 2014) five times between 2005 and 2009.

ABOUT G 7

  • The G7, which includes UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA and the EU, is the only forum where the world’s most influential and open societies and advanced economies gather for discussions.
  • It is an intergovernmental organisation that was formed by the top economies of the time as an informal forum to discuss pressing world issues. Canada joined the group in 1976, and the European Union began attending in 1977.

EFFECTIVENESS OF G7

  • G7 is the most prominent grouping of democratic countries, and it has long been the catalyst for decisive international action to tackle the greatest challenges.
  • From cancelling developing world debt to our universal condemnation of Russia’s annexation of Crimea, the world has looked to the G7 to apply our shared values and diplomatic might to create a more open and prosperous planet.
  • Though criticised as “an artefact of a bygone era”, the G7 points to a number of successes, including helping to launch a global fund to fight Aids, TB and malaria, which it says has saved 27 million lives since 2002.
  • It also claims to have been a driving force behind the implementation of the 2016 Paris climate agreement, though the United States has given notice that it will withdraw from that.

 

10% of CSIR staff exposed to virus, says survey

IN NEWS:

  1. A first such pan-India survey tracking nearly 10,000 employees of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on the prevalence of COVID-19 found that nearly 10% of the staff were infected.

ABOUT:

  1. Key neutralising antibodies that protect against the virus waned after infection, but were at “detectable levels” even after six months — a proxy for the period of effectiveness of future vaccination and general immunity.
  2. About three-fourths of the respondents could not recall having experienced a single one of the symptoms commonly associated with the disease, and a vegetarian diet and smoking appeared to be “protective” against the infection.

‘LONGITUDINAL STUDY’

  1. This is a first-of-its-kind longitudinal study anywhere in the world. An association between smoking and protection against SARS-CoV-2, or lower odds of infection by the virus, has also been reported in studies in China and France.
  2. A serology survey by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has estimated 7% exposure to SARS-CoV-2 until mid-August, and a modelling exercise by the National Supermodel Committee estimated that 30% may have been exposed by September.

CLASS BIAS:

  1. The study also revealed a distinct class bias in those affected. Those able to work from home and able to access private transport were nearly twice less likely to be exposed to the virus than the “outsourced staff” involved with sanitation and security, and using public transport.
  2. Higher sero-prevalence among outsourced staff and public transport users in our cohort is more likely to be representative of general population of cities and towns that are part of the cohort.
  3. Outsourced workers, with highest seropositivity, reflect the high infection rate of this subgroup and it can be reasonably assumed that the pandemic had already reached rural India by September 2020.
  4. There was even a distinction in blood groups. “Sero-prevalence was highest for blood group type AB, followed by group B, group O and the lowest for group A. Blood group O was observed to be protective”.
  5. The overarching aim is to be able to build a medical cohort to give long-term perspective on the malaises that affect Indians, and determine if such a data bank can be used to help with predicting, say, the onset of diabetes or cardiovascular disease.