Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – 13 August 2020

In Today’s News:

  1. CSIR to develop “Mega Labs” to boost COVID-19 testing.
  2. Forest Ministry released a guide to tackle human-elephant conflicts.

1.CSIR to develop “Mega Labs” to boost COVID-19 testing

News Summary

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research is working on developing “Mega Labs” to boost COVID-19 testing and also to increase the speed and accuracy of the testing. The labs will be using “Next Generation Sequencing”(NGS) devices to test 1,500 to 3,000 viral genomes at a stretch to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Prelims GS – Governance/Science and Technology

  • The Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) is a contemporary Research & Development organization.
  • It is known for its cutting edge R&D knowledgebase in diverse Science & Technology areas.
  • CSIR covers a wide spectrum of science and technology – from radio and space physics, oceanography, geophysics, chemicals, drugs, genomics, biotechnology, and nanotechnology to mining, aeronautics, instrumentation, environmental engineering, and information technology.
  • It provides significant technological intervention in many areas with regard to societal efforts which include the environment, health, drinking water, food, housing, energy, farm, and non-farm sectors.
  • CSIR is an autonomous body under the administrative supervision of the Ministry of Science and Technology
  • Hon’ble Prime Minister of India is the President of CSIR and the Minister of Science and Technology is the Vice President of CSIR.

Click here to visit the CSIR official website.

Next-Generation Sequencing(NGS):
  • NGS is used for human genome sequencing.
  • NGS can sequence the entire human genome within a day.
  • In virus testing, NGS involves scanning the entire virus genome.
  • This can help identify the variants of the SARS-CoV2 virus and it will help develop new diagnostic tests.
  • The accuracy will also be good because NGS can read the entire bigger chunk of the virus genome.

2. Forest Ministry released a guide to tackle human-elephant conflicts

News Summary

The Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change have released a guide to tackle human-elephant conflicts. This was released on the occasion of World Elephant Day which is celebrated on 12th August.

Mini Insights

Mains GS3 – Environment

Human-Elephant conflict management:
  • Elephants need to be retained in their natural habitats by creating water sources and forest fires need to be managed so that elephants won’t travel from its habitat to human areas.
  • Elephant-proof trenches, hanging fences and rubble walls, use of chili smoke, and playing the sound of bees or carnivores are some of the ways to ensure that elephants are retained in their natural habitat without moving to human habitations.
  • An elephant corridor initiative is also a method of the conservation effort preventing elephants from intruding into human areas and vice versa.
  • Over 500 humans are killed in encounters with elephants annually, and crops and property worth millions are also damaged. Many elephants are also killed in retaliation due to conflict.
  • To eradicate this, the above said measures can be implemented and in some states, these are already being implemented.


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