GS III Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology.

DRDO Signs MoU With IIT Delhi to Establish JATC

Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi to establish a ‘Joint Advanced Technology Centre’ (JATC).

  • It will enable Directed, Basic & Applied Research and will engage with premier research institutes through multi-institutional collaboration.
  • The researchers will get the opportunity to work in advanced areas of research namely Advanced Materials for Ballistic Protection, Advanced Mathematical Modelling and Simulation, Advanced Electromagnetic Devices and Terahertz Technologies, Smart & Intelligent Textile Technologies, Brain Computer Interface & Brain Machine Intelligence besides Photonic Technologies, Plasmonics and Quantum Photonics, etc.
  • The focused research efforts at the centre will lead to realization of indigenous technologies in these critical areas, which will be used for speedy self-reliance.
  • JATC will be located in the campus of IIT Delhi at the upcoming Science and Technology Park (Mini-Science Park ‘MSP’).
  • As per the MoU, DRDO will support JATC in equipping it with advanced and unique research facilities that will enable the faculty and scholars to conduct advanced research and transform the JATC as Centre of Excellence.

Paper 2 Topic: Structure, organization and functioning of the Executive and the Judiciary Ministries and Departments of the Government; pressure groups and formal/informal associations and their role in the Polity.

Retired judges to serve again

 The Union government has agreed to a resolution passed by the judiciary in the Chief Justices and Chief Ministers Annual Conference 2016 to use the services of retired High Court judges with proven integrity and track record to tackle pendency of cases.

Constitutional provisions:

The provision to use the services of retired judges is open to the Chief Justices of High Courts under Article 224A of the Constitution with the previous consent of the President as an extraordinary measure to tide over case pile-ups.

Why this is necessary?

The pendency of cases in the High Court has been stagnant for over three years; 43% of the pendency is of cases of over five years; concentration of ‘five years plus’ cases in a few High Courts; and stagnant pendency figures of five years plus cases (33.5% in 2015) in district courts. The 24 High Courts face a shortage of nearly 450 judges. Nearly three crore cases are pending in courts across India.

Facts for Prelims

Scientists found palaeo-channel of lost Chandrabhaga River in Odisha

Scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kharagpur have claimed to discover evidence of lost river Chandrabhaga in Odisha. Chandrabhaga River It is an ancient mythical river believed to have existed at a distance of about two km from the 13th century Sun Temple at Konark (built by King Narasimhadeva I of Eastern Ganga Dynasty in 1255 CE.), a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Odisha. It has been mentioned prominently in ancient literature.

IIT study

The IIT study was conducted through an integrated geological and geophysical exploration in conjunction with historical evidence and analysis of satellite data. Imagery from US’s Landsat and Terra satellites and those obtained by NASA Space Shuttle Endeavour’s Radar Topographic Mission in 2000 were also used.


  • The satellite imagery and Google Earth images showed a sinusoidal trace, characteristic of a typical palaeo-channel (remnants of an inactive river) passing north of the Sun Temple extending approximately parallel to the coast. It was further corroborated through profiling the surface using ground penetrating radar that showed the existence of a V-shaped subsurface river valley.
  • Besides, field studies also revealed that palaeo-channel is characterised by swampy lands and geologically the area is covered with alluvium, a deposit characteristic of rivers.
  • Data also showed a low gravity anomaly zone along suspected palaeo-channel which is an indication of presence of low density sedimentary deposits along the depressed zone.

 Significance of discovery

  • Identification of such a palaeo-channel of Chandrabhaga River may lead to the delineation of pockets of freshwater zones within a dominantly saline water environment in coastal Odisha.
  • It may even partially help to alleviate the chronic drinking water problem along the Odisha coast.


CII launches Startup Mentorship Circle platform

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has launched ‘Startup Mentorship Circle’, a unique platform to help in connecting start-ups with the global marketplace. The platform was launched in view of Union Government’s vision of nurturing entrepreneurship under the Startup India Initiative.

Key Facts

  • Under this Platform Large corporate houses are planning to mentor about 100 start-ups over the next two years.
  • Initially it will focus on start-ups in the Western part of the country and will be soon scaled to other parts.
  • It seeks to provide platform to create strong eco-system to nurture innovation and startups to drive sustainable economic growth and generate large scale employment opportunities.

About Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)

 CII is an association of Indian businesses which works to create an environment conducive to the growth of industry in India. The headquarters of CII is located at New Delhi.


India ranks second in global business optimism index: Report

As per recently released report, India was ranked second in the global business optimism index during the third quarter (July-September 2016). It was revealed by the Grant Thornton International Business Report. Earlier in second quarter (April-June 2016) India was ranked third after being on top for two consecutive quarters.

  • In the report Indonesia took the top spot and Philippines was placed third after India.
  • India was able to improve its rank because of policy reforms and adaptation of Goods and Services tax (GST).
  • The improvement clearly reflects that the reform agenda of the government and its efforts on improving the climate for doing business are having an impact.

International Agrobiodiversity Congress:

  • The 1st International Agrobiodiversity Congress – IAC 2016 – has begun at New Delhi.
  • This international Congress will initiate and encourage a dialogue among relevant stakeholders – including farmers – to better understand everyone’s role in agrobiodiversity management and the conservation of genetic resources.
  • Agrobiodiversity is defined as the variety and variability of plant, animals and micro-organism that are used directly or indirectly for food and agriculture. It includes all species that are closely inter-woven in an agricultural ecosystem.
  • It is co-organized by the Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources and Bioversity International, a CGIAR Research Center headquartered in Rome, Italy. It received support from many Indian and international organisations engaged in the conservation and use of genetic resources.

Bioversity International

  • Bioversity International is a global research-for-development organization, focused on safeguarding and using agricultural biodiversity to help meet four global challenges – improved nutrition; adaptation to climate change; increased sustainable production; an increase of agricultural biodiversity in global food systems.
  • It delivers its research through three Initiatives:
    • Healthy diets from sustainable food systems
    • Productive and resilient farms, forests and landscapes
    • Effective genetic resources conservation and Use.
  • Mission- Bioversity International delivers scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security.


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