April 21st Current Affairs – Vignan IAS
- April 21, 2021
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- Urea produced through coal gasification by Talcher Fertilizers Limited (TFL).
IN NEWS: (April 21st Current Affairs – Vignan IAS)
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approvalfor the proposal of the Department of Fertilizers for the formulation of exclusive subsidy policy for Urea produced through coal gasification route by Talcher Fertilizers Limited (TFL).
About the Plant – (April 21st Current Affairs – Vignan IAS)
- The TFL is to commission a new fertilizer plant in Odisha. This plant will produce urea through coal gasification. The Government of India is to provide subsidy to establish the plant. It will be the only plant in India to produce nitrogenous soil nutrient through coal gasification process.
- Talcher Fertilizers is a joint venture of Fertilizer Corporation of India, Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilizers, GAIL and Coal India.
- Talcher Fertilizer will establish a urea plant base on coal gasification technology at an estimated investment of Rs 13,277 crores.
- The annual capacity of the plant is 1.27 million tonnes per year.
- The plant is expected to be completed by 2023. It is currently facing delays due to COVID-19 pandemic.
- The tender to construct the TFL project has been provided to China-based Wuhan Engineering. This has been done to promote the innovative coal gasification technology.
Current Scenario of Fertilizer consumption in India
- India consumed 61 million tonnes of fertilizers in 2020-21. Out of this, 55% was urea.
- The import of fertilizers in India has been increasing since 2010 due to lack of investment.
- India has set a target of investing Rs 20,000 crores in coal gasification projects by 2030. This will help India reduce its dependence on imports.
- It is the process of producing syngas. Syngas is a mixture of hydrogen, carbon monoxide, natural gas, carbon dioxide and water vapour. It is produced from coal and water.
- The Coal Gasification adopted by Talcher Unit will release negligible nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide.
Benefits of TFL plant
- Currently, India produces urea using natural gas. Import of Natural Gas is highly expensive. Therefore, India is adopting alternative routes such as coal gasification to produce urea with indigenous raw materials. The project will help India become self-sufficient in urea, reduce its dependence on imports and also use coal in an environment-friendly manner.
SOURCE:PIB (April 21st Current Affairs – Vignan IAS)
- Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in the US have for the first time grown human cells in monkey embryos.
- The results of their work were published in the journal Cell on April 15.
- While the results might imply progress for this particular field of research called “chimera research”, they have also ignited a debate about how ethical studies of this kind are.
By integrating human cells into the embryos of macaque monkeys, researchers have created what is called a chimeric tool.
Chimeras are organisms that are made up of the cells of two distinct species, in this case humans and monkeys.
What’s the purpose of chimeric research?
- Researchers believe that this ability to grow cells of two different species together offers scientists a powerful tool for research and medicine, advancing current understanding about early human development, disease onset and progression and ageing.
- Further, research of this kind could also help in drug evaluation and address the critical need for organ transplantation.
What are the ethical concerns about this?
- Generally, different species don’t cross-breed and if they do, their offspring don’t survive for long and are prone to infertility. But, Some rare hybrid animals exist naturally and were probably the result of unintentional cross breeding between animals of different species.
- While further research into chimeras might lead to progress, which could mean that they could be used as a source of organs for humans, these chimeras would still be a mix of human and non-human cells, a thought that makes many uncomfortable.
- The research raises “the philosophical and ethical issue of moral status: how should we treat other life forms?”.
- Opponents argue that chimera research has the potential to worsen injustice against animals and also point out the fairness in using part-human animals to meet human needs.
Similar cases in the past:
- In 2018, Dr He Jiankui made headlines when he claimed to have produced genetically modified babies using the gene editing technique Jiankui claimed that he had altered the genes of a human embryo that eventually resulted in the birth of twin girls with specific desired attributes — supposedly the first instance of human offspring so produced.
- In developing countries like India, genetically modified crops are also a contentious topic.
3. MoU between the India and Bangladesh
MoU between the India and Bangladesh on the establishment of a framework of cooperation in the area of trade remedial measures.
- The primary objective of the MOU is to promote cooperation between the two countries in the area of Trade Remedies.
- MOU Covering the broad activities related to exchange of information, undertaking capacity building activities and activities in accordance with various provisions of World Trade Organization in the area of anti-dumping, countervailing and safeguard measures in bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh.
- The MOU seeks to foster better cooperation between the relevant authorities of both the countries so as to discourage unfair trade practices and promote rule based bilateral trading between the two countries.
SOURCE:PIB (April 21st Current Affairs – Vignan IAS)
4. Russia says it will launch its own space station in 2025.
Russia’s space agency said on Tuesday it hoped to launch its own orbital station in 2025 as Moscow considers withdrawing from the International Space Station programme to go it alone.
- Russia was considering pulling out of the ISS, one of the few successful examples of cooperation with the West. The announcement came with tensions soaring with the West.
- Russia’s was aiming to have the module “ready for launch” in 2025. Launched in 1998 and involving Russia, the United States, Canada, Japan, and the European Space Agency, the ISS is one of the most ambitious international collaborations in human history.
- Russia lost its monopoly for manned flights to the ISS last year after the first successful mission of U.S. company Space X.
SOURCE:THE Hindu (April 21st Current Affairs – Vignan IAS)