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> Central Bank Digital Currency
- For social benefits and other targeted payments in a country
- CBDCs could be used for faster cross-border remittance payments.
- Inclusive development: universal access attributes of a CBDC could also include an offline payment functionality, thus helping bridge the digital divide.
- Instant lending to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs)in India can be possible with the help of CBDC.
- An official digital currency would reduce the cost of currency management while enabling real-time payments without any inter-bank settlement.
- Need to reduce cost: India has a high currency-to-GDP ratio. It adds to the cost of printing, transporting and storing paper currency.
A Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), or national digital currency, is simply the digital form of a country’s fiat currency.
Instead of printing paper currency or minting coins, the central bank issues electronic tokens. This token value is backed by the full faith and credit of the government.
CBDC is not comparable with private virtual currencies or cryptocurrencies. It will be a sovereign-backed digital currency.
- The introduction of CBDC was announced in the Union Budget 2022-23.
- Government amended section of the RBI Act, 1934 through the Finance Bill 2022.
- India’s official digital currency is likely to debut by early 2023
- Potential cybersecurity threat.
- Lack of digital literacy of the population.
- Issue with regulation, tracking investment and purchase, taxing individuals, etc.
- Threat to Privacy: The digital currency must collect certain basic information about an individual so that the person can prove that he’s the holder of that digital currency.
- Ban anybody who mines, holds, transacts or deals with cryptocurrencies in any form.
- It recommends a jail term of one to 10 years for exchange or trading in digital currency.
- It proposed a monetary penalty of up to three times the loss caused to the exchequer or gains made by the cryptocurrency user whichever is higher.
- However, the panel said that the government should keep an open mind on the potential issuance of cryptocurrencies by the Reserve Bank of India.
> Personal Data Protection bill
- In NEWS: Many Indian start-ups have complained that the provision of the personal data protection Bill is too “compliance intensive” and could hamper the ease of doing business.
- Issue: Data localisation is the practice of storing data on any device that is physically present within the borders of the country where the data is generated. As of now, most of these data are stored, in a cloud, outside India.
- Draft National E-Commerce Policy Framework: The framework recommended data localisation and also gave a two-year sunset period for the industry to adjust before localization rules become mandatory.
- The Srikrishna Committeewants to localise data for law enforcement to have easy access to data, prevent foreign surveillance, and build an artificial intelligence ecosystem in India.
- As per the committee– At least one copy of personal data will need to be stored within India, any transfer outside the country will need to comply with the rules, and critical personal data will only be stored and processed in India.
- International practices: China, United States, Brazil, Indonesia, EU (data protection regime) and Russia has such law
* Robotics, nanotechnology, biotechnology
> Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy
Chimeric antigen receptor T cells are T cells that have been genetically engineered to produce an artificial T cell receptor for use in immunotherapy.
Chimeric antigen receptors are receptor proteins that have been engineered to give T cells the new ability to target a specific protein
- It is used to treat certain blood cancers, and it is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer.
- T cells are part of the immune system and develop from stem cells in the bone marrow. They help protect the body from infection and may help fight cancer.
Under the government programme– An Innovation in Science Pursuit for Inspired Research (INSPIRE) faculty from the Department of Science & Technology (DST) is working on an Alternative Anti-Cancer Therapy (Anti-Angiogenic) using transgenic zebrafish.
> Gregor Mendel - Father of Genetics
200 years of the father of genetics, Gregor Mendel.
Genetics is the study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity in organisms.
It was first experimentally established by Gregor Mendel (a monk) (1822 to 1884)
- Principles of Inheritance: By experimenting with pea plant breeding, Mendel developed three principles of inheritance that described the transmission of genetic traits, before anyone knew genes existed.
- To this day, scientists use Mendel’s principles to explain the most basic phenomena of inheritance.
- Foundation of biology: Mendel’s theory, together with the evolutionary theory propounded by Charles Darwin, laid the foundations of biology.
- Cure for many human diseases: Assisted clinicians in human diseaseresearch
- Archibald Garrod applied Mendel’s principles to his study of alkaptonuria (discolouration of the skin)
- Science of genomics and gene editing has its root in the work of Mendel.
- First to apply maths to biology: He may have been the first botanist who seriously applied mathematics to biology
- He coined the terms dominant and recessive to describe these traits, which are used even today.
> Mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT) (UPSC 2021)
- It is a form of reproductive in-vitro fertilization (IVF) which works on the principle of replacing a women’s mitochondrial DNA (mt-DNA) with the donor’s healthy one.
- In the offspring, the mitochondrial genes are inherited from the mother.
- Thus, a father with a mitochondrial gene defect cannot transmit the disease to his offspring.
> Bollgard I Bt cotton(UPSC 2021)
- Bollgard I Bt cotton (single-gene technology) is India’s first biotech crop technology approved for commercialization in India in 2002, followed by Bollgard II – double-gene technology in mid-2006, by the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC), the Indian regulatory body for biotech crops.
> Low-Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) technology
Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) through its autonomous Institute National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) has developed Low-Temperature Thermal Desalination (LTTD) technology for conversion of seawater to potable water which has been successfully demonstrated in Lakshadweep islands.
LTTD technology was suitable for Lakshadweep islands, because there is a temperature difference of 15 degrees Celsius between sea surface water and deep-sea water, as required by the technology.