1) GM mustard: GEAC recently approved commercial cultivation of genetically modified mustard variety DMH (Dhara Mustard Hybrid)-11 which is the only the second approved transgenic crop in India after Bt cotton, and the first such food crop that can be commercially cultivated by farmers. The GEAC approval is valid for the next four years.
- Hybridisation involves crossing two genetically dissimilar plant varieties that can even be from the same species. The first-generation (F1) offspring from such crosses tend to have higher yields than what either parent can individually give.
- DMH-11 contains two alien genes isolated from a soil bacterium called Bacillus amyloliquefaciens.
- The barnase-barstar GM technology has been used- crossing a popular Indian mustard variety ‘Varuna’ (the barnase line) with an East European ‘Early Heera-2’ mutant (barstar).
2) The Navigation with Indian Constellation (NaVIC): Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) uses seven satellites to provide real-time positioning and timing services in India and an area extending up to 1,500 km from the country’s borders.
- Of the seven satellites used by NaVIC at present, three are in the geostationary orbit and four in the geosynchronous orbit.
- NavIC is only compatible with the L5 and S bands and hasn’t easily penetrated into the civilian sector. A major forthcoming change is to add the L1 band into NavIC. This bandwidth is part of the GPS and is the most used for civilian navigational use.
3) Rupee notes: Section 22 of The Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934, gives RBI the “sole right” to issue banknotes in India.
- Section 25 states that “the design, form, and material of bank notes shall be such as may be approved by the Central Government after consideration of the RBI’S
- The RBI’s Department of Currency Management has the responsibility of administering the core function of currency management. If the design of a currency note has to change, the Department works on the design and submits it to RBI, which recommends it to the central government. The government gives the final approval.
- In the case of coins, the role of the RBI is limited to the distribution of coins that are supplied by the central government.
- The government decides on the quantity of coins to be minted on the basis of indents received from the RBI on a yearly basis.
4) First inhalable vaccine: Authorities in Shanghai have started administering an inhalable vaccine against Covid-19, apparently a world first.
- Bharat Biotech’s iNCOVACC is India’s first intranasal Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use in unimmunised adults. It uses a modified chimpanzee adenovirus, will be delivered through the nasal route, which would potentially trigger an immune response in the mucosal membrane. It has been designed to not only protect against infection but also reduce transmission of the virus. The vaccine is not yet part of India’s national immunisation programme.
5) Passkeys: Passkeys could bring a safer alternative to passwords as they cannot be reused, do not leak in server breaches, and protect users from phishing attacks.
- A passkey is a digital credential, linked with the user account and a website or application (app).
- It allows users to authenticate without entering a username, password, or providing any additional authentication factor.