[CA 18-08-2016] Managing Western Border | Chromium Pollutant | Blood Banking App

Challenges in managing our western Border [Indian – Pakistan Border]

India Paistan Border - Radcliffe Line

Credits: http://www.nytimes.com/

Better managed western border can reduce ceasefire violations and infiltration attempts by terror groups.

No Legal Basis for Border Management
  • Absence of firm ground rules (bilateral treaty with legal basis) accepted by both the countries on border management. [India Pakistan Border Ground Rules, 1960-61, has not been signed by the two governments.]
Karachi vs. Shimla Agreements
  • Karachi Agreement of 1949 è refers to the Ceasefire Line.
  • Karachi Agreement stipulates that there should be no new defence construction, such as bunkers, within 500 yards of the LoC. Both sides have violated this agreement.
  • Shimla Agreement of 1972 è brought the current LoC into existence.
  • India has generally argued that the Shimla Agreement of 1972 made the Karachi Agreement of 1949 irrelevant, something Pakistan disagrees with.
Border Disputes
  • Disagreements between the India & Pak over the International Border & the Line of Control. International Border in J&K is itself ad hoc due to unsettled border disputes.
Non-uniform border
  • Western border is a non-uniform one in terms of terrain, threat perception, illegal activities, legal basis, and the forces that manage the border.
  • Personnel Committees set up to review and strengthen border management are often not represented by the most important stakeholders – BSF and the Indian Army.
The 2003 ceasefire agreement not formalized yet
  • Scores of soldiers and civilians have been killed by ceasefire violations. But India & Pak have so far taken no serious steps to formalize the agreement.
  • The ceasefire agreement is not a written document with properly laid-down rules, norms or principles.
Maintenance of Fence
  • The fence has a number of gaps across the States it runs through.
  • In Kashmir snowfall plays havoc with the fence.
  • In Jammu and Punjab torrential rains and overflowing rivers create gaps in the fence.
  • The fence in Thar desert gets seriously impacted by the shifting sand dunes.
Personnel
  • Inadequate personnel, long working hours (16-18 hour duty according to The Hindu http://goo.gl/qtRx6M) and lack of modern equipment like light weight bulletproof jackets, night vision, infrared vision etc.
  • Hardships faced by troops on the ground due to treacherous terrain and extremes of climate.
  • Stepmotherly treatment meted out to BSF. [they are not treated on a par with the Army when it comes to pay and facilities even though they do the same work]
  • Usually IPS officers occupy the highest positions of BSF (demoralizing BSF officers). [BSF is a part of Central Armed Police Forces. BSF officers are recruited through CAPF exam. Officers recruited through CAPF occupy low and midlevel management posts.]

Source: The Hindu: http://goo.gl/qtRx6M

Portable Chromium Contamination Detector

  • BARC develops portable kit for detection of Chromium contamination of water.
  • BARC – Bhabha Atomic Research Centre [Department of Atomic Energy].

Chromium Pollutant

  • Chromium is widely used in leather, steel, chrome plating, paint manufacturing, wood preservation
  • Chromium in the environment primarily exists as Trivalent Chromium Cr(III) and Hexavalent Chromium Cr(VI).
  • The Hexavalent Chromium Cr(VI) is highly toxic.
  • It is carcinogenic & can cause stomach ulcers, severe damage to kidneys & liver.
  • The maximum permissible concentration of Cr(VI) in drinking water is 50 mg/l.
  • Detection of Cr(VI) at such low levels is technically challenging & expensive.
  • BARC has developed quick and cost effective kit for onsite determination of Cr(VI).
  • It can measure the level of Chromium contamination in tap water, ground water etc..
  • The procedure involves adding a specific reagents to the water sample and identifying the developed color. Cr(VI) levels can be estimated using the intensity of color.

Portable Chromium Contamination Detector

Recent initiatives in Power Sector

TARANG

  • ‘TARANG’ (Transmission App for Real Time Monitoring & Growth) Mobile App & Web Portal.
  • Launched by Ministry of Power, Coal, New and Renewable Energy and Mines
Purpose
  • Enhance accountability & transparency and boost confidence of investors in power transmission sector.
How it works?
  • TARANG tracks upcoming transmission projects and monitor the progress of Inter-State & Intra-State transmission systems in the country.
  • TARANG includes status of stalled/delayed transmission systems in country which would enable the stakeholders (Ministry, state governments, private sector transmission and PSUs) for expeditious completion of such projects.
  • Green Energy Corridors, an important component of our renewable energy mission, would also be monitored through TARANG.

e-Trans

  • ‘e-Trans’ web platform for e-bidding and e-reverse auction for Tariff Based Competitive Bidding (TBCB) in transmission projects.

DEEP

  • DEEP (Discovery of Efficient Electricity Price) e-Bidding’ portal for medium term (1-5 years) purchase of power, on the occasion.
  • E-Bidding & e-reverse auction process for medium term (1-5 years), the time span of the bidding process and the cost of procurement is expected to be reduced substantially.

Osteoporosis drug trial in US shows initial success.

  • Clinical trials found that the drug stimulates bone growth and prevents fractures.
What is Osteoporosis?
  • Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones.
  • It often leads to years of pain, disability and early death.
  • Bone is naturally lost with age. But osteoporosis is an extreme, abnormal bone loss.

Osteoporosis

Picture Credits: Wikipedia

Blood banking app

  • “Blood Banking app” is Indian Red Cross Society’s mobile application.
  • It facilitates creating and managing a personal blood banking account for donors.
  • The blood can be withdrawn whenever required. [Bank: Deposit Rs. X today and you can withdraw Rs. X whenever need arises. Blood Bank: Donate blood today and get blood easily when in need.]
  • The ‘blood balance’ can also be transferred to friends in need.
  • So, the app creates a human network of blood bankers.
  • It enables users to make appointments round the clock.
Why such an app?
  • There is an annual shortage of 3 million units of blood across India. The app can encourage more donations.
  • Blood banks depend heavily on replacement donors. Finding a replacement donor is not easy during emergency situations. [The app can be of great help here. Just call a friend that has a positive balance in his blood banking account.]
Lessons to be learnt
  • Government blood banks can emulate the above model and save precious lives.
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