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Daily Current Affairs – 2020

Topic: For Prelims and Mains

SATHI

Why in news?    

The Department of Science & Technology (Ministry of Earth Sciences) has launched a unique scheme called Sophisticated Analytical & Technical Help Institutes (SATHI).

  • The DST has already set up 3 such centres in the country, one each at IIT Kharagpur, IIT Delhi and BHU. It is planned to set up5 SATHI Centres every year for the next four years.
  • These Centres have major analytical instruments and advanced manufacturing facilitiesto provide common services of high-end analytical testing, thus avoiding duplication and reduced dependency on foreign sources.

Key Points

  • Science and Technology infrastructure:
  • Address the need forshared, professionally managed and strong Science and Technology infrastructure in the country which is easily accessible to academia, start-ups, manufacturing, industry and R&D labs.
  • Efficient Use of Equipments:
  • Address the problems of accessibility, maintenance, redundancy and duplication of expensive equipment in Institutions.
  • Intellectual Property Rights :

Address the issue of Intellectual property (IP) creation and protection, a digital platform will be created which will facilitate seamless application and capture IPRs (Intellectual Property Rights).

  • Knowledge Translation Clusters:
  • These clusters will be set up across different technology sectors including in new and emerging sectorsfor designing, fabrication and proof of concept and further scaling up technology clusters.
  • Besides the SATHI initiative, extra funds to 100 top-performing departments in universitiesand IITs etc will be provided in 2020 for augmentation of their research facilities to global benchmarks.
  • The research efforts of these supported departments will be in sync with the national priorities of excellencein manufacturing, waste processing, clean energy and water, and Start-up India, etc.

Note

  • SAATHI (Sustainable and Accelerated Adoption of efficient Textile technologies to Help Small Industries) Initiative.
    • It is an initiative of theMinistry of Textiles.
    • Objective:To sustain and accelerate the adoption of energy efficient textile technologies in the powerloom sector and cost savings due to use of such technology.
  • SATH (Sustainable Action for Transforming Human capital) Program
    • It is a program of NITI Aayog.
    • Objective:To initiate transformation in the education and health sectors and build 3 future ‘role model’ states.
  • The program addresses the need expressed by many states for technical support.

Coral Restoration through Biorock

Why in News?

The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), with help from Gujarat’s forest department, is attempting for the first time a process to restore coral reefs using biorock or mineral accretion technology.

Mineral Accretion Technology:

  • Also called ‘Biorock Technology’,it is a method that applies safe, low voltage electrical currents through seawater, causing dissolved minerals to crystallize on structures, growing into a white limestone (CaCo3) similar to that which naturally makes up coral reefs and tropical white sand beaches.
  • Biorock,also known as Seacrete or Seament, refers to the substance formed by electro-accumulation of minerals dissolved in seawater.
  • The formed material has a strength similar to concrete. It can be used to make robust artificial reefson which corals grow at very rapid rates.
    • Fragments of broken corals are tied to the biorock structure, where they are able to grow at least four to six times faster than their actual growth as they need not spend their energy in building their own calcium carbonate skeletons.
    • The technology also helps corals, including the highly sensitive branching corals, to counter the threats posed by global warming.

Working

  • The technology works by passing a small amount of electrical current through electrodes in the water.
  • When a positively charged anode and negatively charged cathode are placed on the seafloor, with an electric current flowing between them, calcium ions combine with carbonate ions and adhere to the structure (cathode). This results in calcium carbonate formation (CaCo3).
  • Coral larvae adhere to the CaCO3 and grow quickly.
  • Biorock projects can be powered by a wide range of electrical sourcesincluding renewable energy like windmills, photovoltaic solar panels and tidal current generators. This enables their construction in areas where conventional electric power is unavailable.
  • The mineral accretion process was first developed by architect Wolf Hilbertz in 1976in order to provide alternative construction materials. He and Tom Goreau of the Global Coral Reef Alliance later developed its use for reef restoration and shore protection.

Use of Technology in India:

  • A biorock structure was installed one nautical mile off the Mithapur coast in the Gulf of Kachchhon 19th January, 2020. The scientists have used solar panels for power in this case.
  • The calcification (conversion into calcium carbonate) has started but real success will come when attached and new organisms (corals) start grow faster.

Coral Reefs

  • Corals are made up of genetically identical organisms called These polyps have microscopic algae called zooxanthellae living within their tissues.
  • Thecorals and algae have a mutualistic relationship.
    • The coral provides the zooxanthellae with the compounds necessary for photosynthesis.
    • In return, the zooxanthellae supply the coral with organic products of photosynthesis, like carbohydrates, which are utilized by the coral polyps for the synthesis of theircalcium carbonate skeletons.
    • Zooxanthellae are also responsible for theunique and beautiful colors of corals.
  • It is the above relationshipthat allows shallow water corals to grow fast enough to build the enormous structures called
    • Often called the “rainforests of the sea,”coral reefs are home to a spectacular variety of organisms.
  • India has four major coral reefs areas:Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Gulf of Mannar and the Gulf of Kachchh.
  • The coral reefs are threatened byclimate change induced acidification as well as by anthropogenic factors such as overfishing, pollution.

Zoological Survey of India

  • The Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) is a subordinate organization of the Ministry of Environment and Forestswhich was established in
  • It is a national centre for faunistic survey and exploration of the resources leading to the advancement of knowledge on the exceptionally rich faunal diversity of the country.
  • It has its headquarters at Kolkataand 16 regional stations located in different geographic locations of the country.

 

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