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Prelim Bits 02-04-2022 | Daily UPSC Current Affairs

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April 02, 2022

M2e

  • The influenza A virus was isolated for the first time in 1931, and the first attempts to develop a vaccine against the virus began soon afterwards.
  • These viruses cause seasonal epidemics and also pandemics at random intervals.
  • Vaccination is the most effective way of preventing the spread of influenza infection.
  • But, the seasonal influenza strains mutate rapidly and new strains of the virus proliferate. This makes it very difficult to make a vaccine that can consistently generate a sufficient degree of immunity.
  • However, the M2e peptide of influenza A virus is a conserved region section, meaning it doesn’t undergo too many mutations across the several kinds of influenza A strains.
  • Therefore, to design a universal flu vaccine the M2e peptide can be targeted and then the immune system can be primed to generate antibodies.
  • But, it has a limited ability to trigger a strong and long-lasting immune response and this has represented a major roadblock in its clinical development.
  • Vaccine Platform - Recently researchers have reported a novel vaccine platform to deliver M2e to immune cells.
  • By deploying this platform, a single shot vaccine containing M2e was able to trigger long-lasting immune responses that could protect effectively against multiple strains of the flu.
  • This vaccine approach has the potential to
    1. Minimise the amount of M2e vaccine antigen and the need for strong adjuvants,
    2. Reducing potential side-effects, particularly in more vulnerable populations.

Antigen is a substance that triggers the body’s immune response against that itself.

Adjuvant is a substance which enhances the body’s immune response to an antigen.

Reference

  1. https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/science/science-for-all-what-is-m2e/article65274076.ece
  2. https://jbiomedsci.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12929-019-0572-3

Digitisation of J form

The Punjab government decided to provide digital J-Forms to the farmers across the state from April 1, 2022. This move will benefit the farmers who will be looking to sell their crop (wheat) at MSP in mandis.

  • ‘J form’ is the sale receipt of a farmer’s agricultural produce in mandis (grain market).
  • These forms were earlier issued manually by arthiyas (commission agents) because in Punjab, a majority of farmers sell their crops through such agents only.
  • Also, this form is an income proof for a farmer who sells his crop.
  • Before digitisation of the J form, several arhtiyas had the habit of keeping these forms with themselves, instead of providing it to the farmers, which was their right.
  • Hence, many farmers ended up having no record of their income after selling their crops.
  • But by getting digitised J form, farmers will now have a clear record of the crop sold and income received in lieu of that.
  • Punjab Mandi Board will send these forms directly to the farmer’s WhatsApp number immediately after a sale is confirmed on the system by the arthiyas and buyers.
  • JForms in DigiLocker are legally at par with original physical documents in line with Rule 9A of the Information Technology (Preservation & Retention of Information by Intermediaries providing Digital Locker facilities) Rules, 2016.
  • Benefits - The ‘J form’ can be used by the farmers for raising finance from financial institutions, IT waivers, subsidy claims, and farmer’s insurance.
  • It can also help farmers get admission for their wards in educational institutes abroad.
  • Apart from this, this move will stop the theft of grains by some arhtiyas.
  • The government too will benefit because some landowners (not involved in farming) show their income under farming to evade Income Tax payments.

Reference

  1. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-with-digitised-j-form-a-big-push-to-transparency-empowering-farmers-7848801/
  2. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/chandigarh/punjab-to-provide-digital-j-forms-to-9l-farmers-mann/articleshow/9057977cms
  3. https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/mann-government-takes-another-path-breaking-initiative-to-provide-digital-j-forms-to-farmers-across-state-from-april-1-382429

Animal Welfare Board of India

  • The Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) is a statutory advisory body on Animal Welfare Laws and promotes animal welfare in the country.
  • It was set up in 1962 under Section IV of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.
  • Late Smt. Rukmini Devi Arundale pioneered the setting up of the Board, with its Headquaters at Chennai.
  • The Board consists of 28 Members. The term of office of Members is for a period of 3 years.
  • The jurisdiction of AWBI is throughout the Country.
  • The AWBI recognizes the Animal Welfare Organizations (AWOs) including Gaushalas as per the request made by those organizations.
  • To know more about Animal Welfare Board of India, click here.

Reference

  1. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1812375
  2. http://awbi.org/final/about/1

National Agricultural Research System

  • India has one of the world’s largest Agricultural Research System viz., National Agricultural Research System (NARS) including ICAR institutes and State Agricultural Universities (SAUs).
  • NARS is a very robust system and continuously strengthening its Agricultural Research Activities for the benefit of Indian farming community for producing various crops.
  • It is led by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR).
  • nars aims at the assessment of location-specific technology modules in agriculture and allied enterprises, through technology assessment, refinement, and demonstrations.
  • NARS has a research network of 102 ICAR Research Institutes, 11 Agricultural Technology Application Research Institutes (ATARIs) and 73 Agricultural Universities spread across the country.
  • It has developed 1956 high yielding varieties/hybrids of 80 field crops since 2014 which include 173 less water requiring varieties/hybrids of cereals, oilseeds, pulses, fiber crops, forages and sugarcane.
  • It has contributed immensely to make India self-sufficient in food production and serves the agricultural technology and information needs of the country.
  • Krishi Vigyan Kendras are an integral part of the NARS.

Reference

  1. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1812429
  2. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1739601
  3. https://agritech.tnau.ac.in/pdf/2014/National%20Agricultural%20Research%20System%20An%20Evaluation.pdf

‘Battle of Pollilur’ - The Painting

Titled ‘The Battle of Pollilur’, this is another work from the treasury of Tipu Sultan that was recently.

  • Known to be a patron of art, Tipu Sultan commissioned numerous significant paintings.
  • Titled ‘The Battle of Pollilur’, the work is nearly 32-foot long monumental painting.
  • It depicts the victory of the Mysore army led by Haidar Ali, the ruler of Mysore, and his son Tipu, against the British East India Company forces in the Battle of Pollilur or the Battle of Perambakam (1780).
  • The work was commissioned by Tipu Sultan (the last ruler of Mysore), as part of a large mural for the newly built Daria Daulat Bagh in Seringapatam in 1784.
  • Another memorabilia of Tipu is the “Magic Box”.

Reference

  1. https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/tipu-sultan-the-battle-of-pollilur-sotheby-auction-7843986/
  2. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-india-60911182
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