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Science Monitor- 13 March, 2021

Science Monitor- 13 March 2021




To improve incomes in the farm sector an initiative has been launched to promote floriculture. Union Minister of Science and Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan launched the CSIR-Floriculture mission in New Delhi and urged the scientists of all the CSIR laboratories to develop models under this mission. The mission has been approved for implementation in 21 states and union territories of the country and aims to utilize the knowledge base of CSIR for the benefit of the farmers and the entrepreneurs.

About the Mission:

  • Flowers and Floriculture constitute an entire field of business. In addition to the production of flower-based fragrances, there is a huge market for flowers and flower-based products in India and around the world.

  • However, despite all the possibilities that the field presents India's share in the global floriculture sector is just 0.6. Every year, India imports at least 1200 million USD worth of floriculture products from different countries.

  • To make India self-reliant in floriculture and to benefit farmers that grow flowers, now a nationwide floriculture campaign has been launched. Recently, the Union Minister of Science and Technology Dr Harsh Vardhan launched the CSIR-Floriculture mission.

  • The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research has been working towards increasing flower production in the country. Laboratories like CSIR's Institute of Himalayan Bio Resource are constantly developing new varieties of flowers and updating agricultural technologies to grow them so that varieties of valuable flowers can be grown in different climatic zones of the country.

  • This may benefit small farmers who can earn up to five times their return as compared to traditional farming. The CSIR-Floriculture mission is expected to create an opportunity for entrepreneurship in the areas of floriculture and floral aromas.

  • The focus of the mission will be commercial floral crops, seasonal or annual crops, wild ornaments and the cultivation of flower crops for honeybee rearing. The Indian floriculture market was worth Rs 15,700 crore in 2018 and is projected to grow to Rs 47,200 crore by 2024.

  • The Floriculture mission will be implemented in collaboration with various Ministries and Departments including the Indian Council of Agricultural Research. Under this mission, the land available at each CSIR laboratory will be set up as a model and technology will be provided to the farmers.

  • CSIR's Societal Portal along with the android app was also launched on the occasion. This portal will help common people find solutions to societal problems through science and technology.



In addition to diseases associated with the heart and brain chronic, kidney disease is another leading cause of premature deaths. Several studies in the last few decades show that the incidences of kidney failure have increased rapidly in India. Given the severity of chronic kidney disease and its growing incidences worldwide World Kidney Day was started in the year 2006 at the global level. This year world kidney day was observed on the 11th March under the theme “Living well with kidney disease”.

World Kidney Day is coming up on March 11th | Kidney Kids

About the kidney disease:

  • Kidneys are an important part of the body primarily acting as the body's filter. About the size of our fists, they filter our blood and excrete toxic substances out of the body through urination. This maintains the delicate balance of salt and water which in turn helps in controlling the blood pressure.

  • This vital organ also helps the body in producing Red Blood Cells and keeping bones healthy. A disease-ridden kidney can even cause early death. According to studies conducted over the past few decades, 1 in every 10 people in the world is affected by kidney disease.

  • Talking about India, 10 to 15 percent of the total population in the country suffers from chronic kidney disease. According to the Indian Council of Medical Research and the Public Health Foundation of India, chronic kidney disease has become the 16th leading cause of diseases in India and kidney failure may be one of the top five serious diseases by 2040.

  • In order to reduce the impact and occurrence of kidney disease and related health problems, the International Society of Nephrology and the International Federation of Kidney Foundations jointly started marking World Kidney Day in the 2006.

  • This day is observed on the second Thursday of March every year to make people aware of the importance of the kidneys. This year, the day was celebrated on March 11th with the theme “Living Well with Kidney Disease”.

  • Kidney disease is a silent killer that is usually difficult to detect in its early stages so it is important to know its causes and symptoms.

  • Generally excessive alcohol consumption, smoking, eating too much salt and overdose of analgesics, less water intake or diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure can cause kidney damage.

  • Symptoms include:

    • Swelling under the feet and eyes

    • Tiredness and shortness of breath while walking

    • Frequent urination

    • Loss of appetite and indigestion and

    • Paleness due to Anemia

  • Once the diagnosis is done, the treatment for kidney disease is quite difficult and expensive with patients usually having to resort to dialysis.

  • The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India launched the National Dialysis Program in 2016 under the National Health Mission to reduce the cost incurred by patients.

  • However, if just a few things are taken care of, we can avoid facing kidney disease:

    • Take care of your salt sodium and protein intake

    • Drink 8 to 10 glasses of water every day

    • Eat more fruits and green vegetables

    • Eat a diet rich in magnesium


Context:IISER Bhopal team develops a unique 'Crowd and Mask' Monitoring System to  prevent Covid-19 spread - The Hindu BusinessLine

Indian researchers who are constantly developing solutions against covid-19 have now developed a Noble Mask and Crowd Monitoring System to ensure physical distancing and wearing of masks. The AI power device developed by researchers of the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhopal is low cost and also portable and issues automatic alerts to remind people of the covet specific norms at crowded places.

About the System:

  • A solution has been developed by the researchers at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Bhopal. This solution based on machine learning and artificial intelligence can monitor social distance and identify and alert people not wearing masks.

  • The team of scientists from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and the Department of Chemical Engineering at IISER, Bhopal have together designed this system.

  • It uses high definition cameras, microchip computers and speakers along with machine learning and artificial intelligence. Image processing of the photos obtained from the cameras is carried out using artificial intelligence and machine learning.

  • If the distance between people is less than the standard of social distance or there is no mask covering the faces, then a signal is automatically passed on to the speaker and a general warning is issued. The best thing about this device is that it is small and can be installed anywhere easily and at a low cost.

  • This system is currently on trial on the campus of IISER, Bhopal and has shown positive results, if this device iBharat Biotech first Indian Covid vaccine maker to get peer-reviewed data |  Business Standard Newss manufactured on a large scale with the help of manufacturing units then social distancing and monitoring of face masks can be done easily at other campuses, railway stations, markets or any other crowded area.


1. Lancet publishes phase 2 trial data in boost for COVAXIN’s safety credentials:

  • The International Medical Research Journal, THE LANCET has recently published a study based on the phase one and two trials of COVAXIN. According to THE LANCET, BBV 152 or COVAXIN is a safe vaccine to enhance immunity without any serious side effects.

  • The report mentions that COVAXIN uses an ingredient called IMDG along with an aluminium based salt to boost the immune response and may prove superior to other inactivated virus-based vaccines that use only aluminium-based salt as an adjuvant. It should be noted that the vaccine's efficacy was found to be 81 percent, according to the outcomes of its Phase III trials.

  • COVAXIN has been developed by BHARAT BIOTECH in collaboration with ICMR and is the first indigenously developed vaccine against covid-19. The vaccine has now been approved for emergency use authorization in India without the use of clinical trial mode condition.


  • Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has completed the development of Synthetic Aperture Radar for its upcoming Joint Earth Observation Satellite Mission with NASA.The NASAISRO SAR NISAR Mission Paul A Rosen

  • The mission is called NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar and will be the first satellite mission to use two different radar frequencies called L-band and S-band to measure changes in the earth's surface. The mission is expected to launch in 2022-23 from ISRO's Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC). The S-band SAR payload was flagged off on March 4th, 2021 by the Department of Space and ISRO Chairman and it has been shipped to NASA for the integration with L-band SAR.

  • In another important development, ISRO's commercial unit New Space India Limited has signed 4 new contracts after the successful launch of Brazil's Amazonia-1 satellite. According to NSIL, the signed missions will be executed in the next two to three years.

3. India Science Research Fellowship 2021:

  • The Department of Science and Technology has announced the India Science Research Fellowship (ISRF) 2021. Under this program, researchers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand are given the opportunity to undertake research work in Indian Universities and Indian Research Institutes.

  • This time under ISRF 2021, 40 researchers from 6 countries have been awarded fellowships. These researchers have been selected based on their research proposal, experience, academic merit and publication of their research papers.

  • The program was launched in 2015 to establish research cooperation with the neighbouring countries under the mandate of DSD's International Science and Technology Cooperation. So far, 128 researchers from the concerned countries have been awarded fellowships under ISRF.

4. India International Science Festival 2020 (IISF 2020):

Ministry of Science & Technology The 'Sanklan' of IISF-2020 is a document  which reflects the efforts made and outcomes of this huge science festival:  Dr. Shekhar C. Mande, DG-CSIR and Secretary DSIR IISF has become a science  movement and it is ...

  • Recently, a scientific report on the efforts and outcomes of the India International Science Festival 2020 was released under the title Sankalan.

  • It was organized in a virtual format coordinated by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research. The virtual format increased the reach of the festival and attracted record participation adding another achievement to the festival's list.

  • The concerned officials of the Department of Science and Technology, CSIR and Vigyan Bharti remained present on the occasion which also saw the release of CSIR Compendium of Technologies-2021. The compendium features solutions developed by Science and Technology Institutes of India to overcome the covid crisis.


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