• Recently Prime Minister announced the ‘Young, Upcoming and Versatile Authors’ (YUVA) scheme, a mentorship programme to train young authors.
• The scheme is aimed at training 75 aspiring writers below 30 years, who are ready to express themselves and project India and its culture and literature globally.
• A consolidated scholarship of Rs 50,000 per month for a period of six months per author will be paid under the mentorship scheme.
• The government aims to bring reading and authorship as a preferred profession at par with other job options.
• It is also expected to impart a positive psychological push to the young minds amidst the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the mental health of children.
• During the phase I training of three months, the National Book Trust (NBT) will organise a two weeks’ writers’ online programme for the selected candidates.
• The young authors will be trained by two eminent authors/mentors from NBT’s panel of accomplished authors and writers.
• After the completion of the online programme, the authors will be trained for two weeks at various online/on-site national camps organised by NBT.
• And in the next three months of phase II training, the selected candidates will get to expand their understanding and hone their skills through interaction at various international events such as literary festivals, book fairs, virtual book fairs, cultural exchange programmes, etc.
• Also, a book or a series of books written by these young authors will be published by NBT and a royalty of 10 per cent will be paid to the authors.
• Their published books will also be translated into other Indian languages to ensure the exchange of culture and literature between different states.
Source: Indian Express
• Recently the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings 2022 were published.
• It showed that only three Indian universities - the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay, the IIT Delhi, and the Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc) in Bengaluru have been able to position in the top 200.
• These three are the only universities that have remained in the QS world universities rankings for the past five years, while 22 Indian universities in total have found their place in the top 1,000 of the rankings this year.
• Incidentally, IISc Bengaluru continues to enjoy its distinction as the world's top research university, maintaining a perfect score of 100/100 in research metrics.
• IIT Bombay continues to be the highest-ranked Indian university in the QS world university rankings list, situated at the 177th position even though it fell five spots from last year's rankings.
• Next comes IIT Delhi in the 185th position, improving its rank from 193 from last year. In this process, IIT Delhi managed to overtake IISc Bengaluru, which now ranks 186th on the list.
• A total of 35 Indian institutes were ranked in 2022 by the QS among which there were 5 new entrants this year. Globally a total 1673 institutions were analysed and 1300 were ranked.
QS World University Rankings
• QS World University Rankings is an annual publication of university rankings by Quacquarelli Symonds (QS).
• Previously known as Times Higher Education–QS World University Rankings, the publisher had collaborated with Times Higher Education (THE) magazine to publish its international league tables from 2004 to 2009 before both started to announce their own versions.
• QS then chose to continue using the pre-existing methodology, while THE adopted a new methodology to create their rankings.
Methodology of QS World University Rankings
• Academic peer review 40%
• Faculty/Student ratio 20%
• Citations per faculty 20%
• Employer reputation 10%
• International student ratio 5%
• International staff ratio 5%
Source: The Hindu
• Recently NITI Aayog and Piramal Foundation launched Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaanin 112 Aspirational Districts to assist district administrations in providing home-care support to Covid-19 patients who are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms.
About Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan
• The Abhiyaan is being part of a special initiative, Aspirational Districts Collaborative,in which local leaders, civil societies and volunteers work with district administrations to address emerging problems across key focus areas of the Aspirational Districts Programme.
• Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan will be led by district magistrates in partnership with over 1000 local NGOs, which will enlist and train over 1 lakh volunteers to connect with patients through inbound/outboundcalls.
• Piramal Foundation will work withdistrict magistrates to support the training of NGOs and volunteers.
• Surakshit Hum Surakshit Tum Abhiyaan is a significant initiative that responds to immediate needs and will provide long-term support to India’s poorest communities in the Aspirational Districts by addressing the lasting impact of Covid-19.
• The campaign is expected to play a key role in district preparedness for managing nearly 70% of Covid cases at home, reducing pressure on the health system, and stemming the spread of fear amongst the people.
• The campaign will also undertake capacity building of citizens for correct usage of Oxygen concentrators that have been supplied to these districts.
• NGOs will mobilize local volunteers to provide home-care support to those affected, based on the guidelines of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Volunteers will be trained to support 20 affected families each by educating caretakers to follow Covid protocols, provide psycho-social support and timely updates about patients to the administration.
• Nearly two decades since the last supersonic passenger flight, of the British-French airliner Concorde, took off, the planes are set to return to the runways by 2029.
• Recently United Airlines announced it was ordering 15 planes with the ability to travel at Mach 1.7, faster than the speed of sound, from the Denver-based startup Boom.
• If the deal gets through, the new supersonic “Overture” aircraft will become the world’s fastest commercial airliner, reducing travel time by about half of today’s planes.
What is a supersonic plane?
• Supersonic aircraft are planes that can fly faster than the speed of sound.
• The technology for supersonic flights is actually over 70 years old, but only recently has been used for commercial flying.
• Before 1976, when the first commercial supersonic flight took off, the planes were used entirely for military purposes.
• Concorde, the British-French turbojet-powered commercial airliner, was the first aircraft to carry passengers at supersonic speed, but eventually had to discontinue, due to cost and other concerns.
• Usually, supersonic planes can travel at the speed of around 900 kmph, twice the speed of normal aircraft.
Boom’s Overture supersonic plane
• The Overture aircraft would travel at the speed of Mach 1.7 or 1,805 kmph with a range of 4,250 nautical miles.
• In a single flight, it could carry 65 to 88 passengers and reach an altitude of 60,000 ft.
• The company has expressed confidence in getting an “experimental” jet ready by 2022, start rolling out aircraft by 2025 and eventually open them for passengers by 2029. It claims to build on Concorde’s legacy through faster, more efficient and sustainable technology.
• Sustainability factor in Overture planes
• To be in sync with the global movement against climate change, Boom is aiming high, and is being extremely ambitious, according to experts.
• Overture planes would rely completely on sustainable aviation fuel, made from biodegradable material. In using this, it aims for maximum fuel efficiency during operations.
Challenges with supersonic planes
Manufacturing and Environmental cost
• Firstly, the costs of making “sustainable” supersonic planes are extremely high.
• The very nature of its flying using excessive amounts of fuel and energy is likely to have high environmental costs.
• Despite the use of sustainable fuels, the greenhouse gas emissions are not nullified.
• This has been seen in Concorde’s flights, which were terrible in terms of emissions.
• Not to mention the high amounts of fuel the planes will consume in order to take off, that too in a market where sustainable fuels aren’t readily available.
• The Concorde used eight times the amount of oil per passenger mile used in a modern day Boeing.
• Secondly, the very speed of the planes result in producing excessive amounts of noise pollution in the environment.
• The “Sonic Boom” created by these planes feels like an explosion to the human ear.
• This, thus, limits where and when the supersonic planes can fly.
• They can only reach their actual speed until they are far enough from people and completely over the ocean.
• To top these, regulatory approvals to fly such planes can be unsuccessful, especially for transatlantic flights.
• Getting clearance from regulators around the world would be a challenging task, since the supersonic planes in the past have already been flagged for these hurdles.
• Lastly, it would not be economically feasible for everyone.
• Only the very rich can afford supersonic planes, as a ticket is likely to be way more costlier than a first class ticket of a regular plane.
Source: Indian Express