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GS Paper I- Indian Heritage and Culture.

3rd National Handloom Day Celebrated Across The Country On 7th August, 2017.

Background-

  • Union Minister of State, Textiles, Shri Ajay Tamta said that the Government of India is taking various initiatives for the welfare of handloom weavers. Presiding over the main event of the 3rd National Handloom Day celebrations in Guwahati, the Minister said that he not only appreciates but also salutes the handloom weavers for their commitment, dedication and skill.
  • He said that handloom weavers should be able to earn due value for their produce, and that Government is working in this direction. While enlisting various initiatives taken for welfare of weavers, the Minister spoke of Hathkargha Samvardhan Sahayata Scheme under which Government of India assists the weaver by bearing 90% of the cost of new looms.
  • As per the Third Handloom Census (2009-10), the number of handloom fell to 23.77 lakh, by 31.8% from the Second Handloom Census (1995-96). Number of handloom weavers and workers similarly declined to 43.31 lakh by 33.8% from the previous census. However, the share of fulltime weavers increased from 44% (in the second census) to 64% (in the third census).

 

What is Important –

  • The 7th August was declared as the National Handloom Day and the first national handloom day was observed in Chennai on the 7th August 2015.
  • India Handloom Brand was launched for assuring quality of product and purity of design, dye, fibre and other specifications to the customer/ buyer.
  • Development of handloom cluster with about one thousand weavers was taken up with provision of assistance up to Rupees two crores for infrastructure namely a training shed, godown, office room with internet connectivity and rest room; provision of loom and accessories, training and designing to individual weavers and marketing.
  • An MoU was signed on the occasion, between Ministry of Textiles and Common Service Centres, under which weavers will be able to avail a wide array of Government services under one roof – from Weavers’ Service Centres (WSCs).
  • Another MoU was signed on the occasion, between Ministry of Textiles and designers. Under the MoU, reputed textile designers will work closely with handloom weavers, passing on design assistance and knowledge. This is thereby expected to improve the market potential of the handloom products and improve the earnings of weavers.
  • The Minister also distributed some educational material to handloom weavers. Study material developed in collaboration with National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) was also distributed to children of handloom weavers.

Sources- PIB, State Times.

GS Paper II- Governance.

Centre Launches Scheme To Provide Legal Aid Easily In Bihar.

Background

  • The Centre in association with the National Legal Service Authority (NALSA) launched ‘Tele-Law’ scheme in Bihar on 6th August, 2017 with an aim to provide an opportunity for the common man to access legal aid easily. Under the scheme, villagers can have access to legal consultation with the help of para legal volunteers at Common Service Centre (CSC) which will be equipped with computers and Internet facility.
  • A person in need of legal aid can get consultation through video-conferencing at a CSC from empanelled lawyers of district and state legal service authority. Rs 30 will be charged for the legal consultation, but in case of BPL people, this amount would be returned to their account.

Key Points Of The Development-

  • The Tele-Law scheme was launched in the presence of Supreme Court Justice Dipak Misra, who is also executive chairman of NALSA, Union Law and Justice and IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Justice Misra said a big responsibility has been entrusted upon the Para Legal Volunteers (PLVs). He requested the government to increase the number of PLVs in the state from current 1,800 to 4,000.
  • The scheme would help poor people in getting legal aid easily, Kumar said, adding that survey/settlement of land is being carried out afresh as lion’s share of legal problems in the state are related to land.
  • The services of the Right of Public Service Act and Public Grievance Redressal Act will be available at CSCs.
  • Besides, various other services like making Aadhaar card, PAN, applying for passports, reservation of train berths and bill payments can be done from CSCs, Prasad said.
  • The scheme was already launched in Uttar Pradesh, Assam and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, Patna High Court Chief Justice Rajendra Menon, Bihar State Legal Service Authority executive chairman Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi and others were present at the programme.

Sources- The Indian Express.

GS Paper III- Technology, Security.

IIT Delhi Team Develops A New Antibacterial Drug-Delivery System.

Background

  • A new antibiotic drug-delivery system that improves the efficacy of drugs thereby reducing the dosage used for treating bacterial infections has been tested in a lab by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi.
  • A peptide, which has not been approved for clinical use, bound to gold nanoparticles was able to kill E. coli and Salmonella typhi more efficiently at lower dosages.
  • Drug delivery becomes better and the bioavailability improves when the drug is conjugated [bound] to gold nanoparticles. So reduced dosage is sufficient to kill the bacteria. Reducing the dosage of antibiotics used is one of the strategies to reduce the possibility of drug resistance setting in.

Bioavailability-

  • The peptide in a free form may not be bioavailable as it gets degraded relatively fast. In a free form, the peptide is also not able to effectively kill the bacteria by engaging with the bacterial membrane and disrupting it, while the nanoconjugate fares better on these counts.
  • The challenge was to arrive at an optimum number of peptides that are bound to nanoparticles to get the best results. When there are too few or too many peptides bound to the nanoparticles the antibacterial activity gets compromised.
  • The peptide called sushi-peptide bound to nanoparticles was able to kill 50% of bacteria at much lower concentration (400 nM) while the free peptide’s antibacterial activity was not significant at the same concentration.
  • Besides normal cells infected with bacteria, the peptide bound to nanoparticles will be particularly useful in the case of cancer patients suffering from bacterial infections.

Folate Receptors-

  • Specific receptors called folate receptors are present in large numbers on the surface of cancer cells. Folic acid added to the nanoconjugates is recognised by these receptors and help in the binding process.
  • Once the nanoconjugates enter the cancer cells they interact with the bacteria and kill them by disrupting the cell membrane.
  • The nanoconjugates have 40% better antibacterial activity compared with free peptides.
  • The nanoconjugate is not toxic to cancer cells and targets only the bacteria.
  • The IIT team would next like to study if their nanoconjugates can be used on antibiotic-resistant strains and also understand the fate of gold nanoparticles used for making the nanoconjugates.
  • A few more studies have to be carried out before the nanoconjugate can be tested on animals.

Sources- The Hindu.