1. Indian lab in vaccine test network

The issue in news

The Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI) has been chosen by an international non-profit, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), as one of the global network of laboratories for centralised assessment of COVID-19 vaccines.

  • THSTI is an autonomous institute of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).


CEPI network:

  • The network has been established to harmonise the vaccine trial process and allow different vaccine candidates to be compared and speed up the selection of the most effective candidate.
  • The CEPI network will initially involve six labs, one each in Canada, Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Bangladesh and India.
  • All the labs would use the same reagents and follow a common set of protocols to measure the immune response of multiple vaccine candidates under development and trial.

Translational lab:

  • The Ind-CEPI mission for the establishment of BSL-3 (Bio-safety level 3) facility is a translational laboratory for platform technologies and a bioassay laboratory for development of assays to measure clinical immunogenicity.
  • The mandate of the bioassay laboratory at the THSTI is to provide validated assays for vaccine development on a par with global standards.


  1. RAISE 2020

The issue in news

The Prime Minister has inaugurated RAISE 2020, a Mega Virtual Summit on Artificial Intelligence (AI).

  • RAISE 2020 is a global meeting of minds to exchange ideas and chart a course for using AI for social transformation, inclusion and empowerment in areas like Healthcare, Agriculture, Education and Smart Mobility, among other sectors.


  1. National Startup Awards 2020

The issue in news

The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has conceived the first ever National Startup Awards.

Main points

  • The award aims to recognize and reward outstanding Startups and ecosystem enablers that are building innovative products or solutions and scalable enterprises, with high potential of employment generation or wealth creation, demonstrating measurable social impact.
  • Not only financial gains for the investors but also the contribution to the social good will be considered.
  • The first edition invited applications across 12 sectors further sub-classified into 35 categories.
  • 12 sectors are Agriculture, Education, Enterprise Technology, Energy, Finance, Food, Health, Industry 4.0, Space, Security, Tourism and Urban Services.
  • Besides this, startups will be selected from those which create impact in rural areas, are women-led and founded in academic campuses.


  • The winning Startups will get cash prizes of Rs 5 lakh each, along with opportunities to present their solutions to relevant public authorities and corporates, for potential pilot projects and work orders.
  • As key building blocks of a robust Startup ecosystem, one exceptional Incubator and one Accelerator each will get a cash prize of Rs 15 lakh.


  1. Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo (SMART)

The issue in news

  • SMART has been successfully flight tested from Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha.
  • SMART is a missile assisted release of lightweight Anti-Submarine Torpedo System for Anti- Submarine Warfare (ASW) operations far beyond Torpedo range.
  • The launch and demonstration is significant in establishing Anti-Submarine warfare capabilities.
  • A number of DRDO laboratories have developed the technologies required for SMART.


  1. PM SVANIDHI Scheme

The issue in news

As a part of Prime Minister Street Vendor’s AtmaNibhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) Scheme, Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) has entered into an MoU with Swiggy to onboard street food vendors on its ecommerce platform.

  • This would give the street vendors, online access to thousands of consumers and help these vendors grow their businesses.


Prime Minister Street Vendor’s AtmaNibhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) Scheme

  • Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) is implementing the scheme.
  • It was launched for providing affordable working capital loan to street vendors to resume their livelihoods that have been adversely affected due to Covid-19 lockdown.
  • Under the Scheme, the vendors can avail a working capital loan of up to Rs. 10,000, which is repayable in monthly instalments in the tenure of one year.
  • On timely/ early repayment of the loan, an interest subsidy @ 7% per annum will be credited to the bank accounts of beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer on quarterly basis.
  • There will be no penalty on early repayment of loan.


  1. World Habitat Day 2020

The United Nations has designated the first Monday of October every year as World Habitat Day.

  • World Habitat Day was first celebrated in 1986 with the theme “Shelter is My Right”. Nairobi was the host city for the observance that year.
  • The purpose is to recognize the basic rights of all humanity to adequate shelter and to encourage grassroots action toward ending poverty housing.
  • The theme of World Habitat Day 2020 is “Housing For All: A better Urban Future”. The host city is Surabaya, Indonesia.

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