India, Philippines ink four agreements in various fields
November 14, 2017
Four agreements were signed by India and Philippines in areas including Defence Cooperation and Logistics, agriculture, Micro, Medium and Small Enterprises-MSME and forging closer relations between the Indian Council of World Affairs and the Philippines Foreign Service Institute.
The bilateral meeting was held between PM Narendra Modi and the Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte.
The bilateral component of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to the Philippines comes after 36 years.
It may be noted that in the Indo-Philippine bilateral meet, President Duterte was accompanied by five of his senior cabinet colleagues.
Researchers at Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) in Kochi have turned a substance commonly found in bones into a potent weapon that can seek and kill tumour cells.
Tiny particles of calcium phosphate, a biomineral that is a natural constituent of the bone, when doped with similarly small iron particles, can become what medical scientists call a theranostic agent, a substance that serves both diagnostic and therapeutic functions, the AIMS scientists found.
The team led by Manzoor Koyakutty and Shantikumar Nair of the Centre for Nanosciences and Molecular Medicine at AIMS demonstrated that these iron-doped calcium phosphate nanoparticles, at least 10-fold smaller than the smallest dust particle, can be guided to the liver where tumour-afflicted tissues can be scarred using radio waves.
" We have been working on calcium phosphate nanoparticles that can be used for tissue engineering applications, for a while. But our interest was in finding whether this material could be used for imaging (diagnostic) applications," said Koyakutty.
So they synthetically prepared these nanocrystals and doped them with impurities that have magnetic properties so that they can be used for MRI scans or similarly with X-ray-absorbing particles to make them suitable for X-ray imaging.
One such nanocomposite they prepared was iron-doped calcium phosphate nanoparticles, which they found could be a good imaging substance. While working with this nanocomposite, the AIMS researchers quite accidentally discovered that they have an ability to heat up when exposed to certain types of radio waves.
" It is then that we decided to explore whether this material could be used to burn tumour tissues," said Koyakutty, the lead author of a recently paper published in the journal Scientific Reports.
This technique of using radio waves for killing cancer cells is called radiofrequency (RF) ablation, and scientists elsewhere have been developing it as a plausible treatment for cancers of different organs such as lungs, liver and oesophagus.
" Most of the materials currently being explored as heat-generating materials for RF ablation - such as gold nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes or graphene - suffer from an inherent problem: they are non-biodegradable. Calcium phosphate, on the other side, being part and parcel of the bone mineral, is easily biodegradable."
The current challenge with RF ablation is that as the thermal conductance of tissues is low, heat will not spread well enough to a large area in order to kill all cancer cells. It is useful if the cancer area is restricted to an area of 3-5 cm.
Koyakutty admitted that this may remain a challenge. But they are hoping they can evenly spread these nanoparticles through the cancer cells, if they can be tagged with certain tumour-specific molecules which bind to the malignant cells.
" We have been able to prove this material?s ability to treat liver cancer in tumour-induced rats. We found that it was efficient in destroying cancer tissues of 1cm diameter," said Anusha Ashokan, the first author of the study, who is currently with Cochin University of Science and Technology.
As the next step, the scientists plan to try this out on rabbits where they hope to target tumour tissues of 3 cm diameter.
How to manipulate the way molecules behave, with a fluorine fix
Nov 13, 2017 (Mumbai)
Ways to control interactions of a molecule by varying amounts of fluorine atoms, a manipulation that holds out promise in biochemistry
Naresh Patwari & team, Department of Chemistry, IIT Bombay
Scientists have always been interested in understanding the mechanisms of interactions between different molecules when brought in contact with each other. Over the years, they have gained good insight into how molecules behave and react with one another, and how they attach themselves to form bonds.
An understanding of these molecular interactions at the most basic level has helped nearly all branches of the physical sciences. But a lot is still not very well understood, especially in biology and biochemistry, where very complex and chaotic structures and systems are observed. But incremental advancements are being made almost on a routine basis.
The work of Naresh Patwari and his team at the department of chemistry at IIT Bombay promises to throw some new light on molecular interactions that have important implications for protein structure and function in biology.
Patwari has been studying molecular interactions for over 15 years now. For the last few years, he has been concentrating on a phenomenon called fluorine substitution in hydrogen-containing compounds.
Fluorine has some special properties, and its size and structure are such that it can be used to replace hydrogen in certain organic compounds, with very interesting end results. Patwari describes teflon-coated cooking ware as an illustration. Teflon is an organic polymer with lots of fluorine atoms thrown in. The non-sticking property of teflon comes from the fact that the fluorine atoms become so hard that they are in no position to react with the food items being heated or cooked.
The " hardness " of fluorine atoms in certain conditions is a property that can be exploited for some interesting and useful manipulations. Patwari and his team have studied these in detail. They have altered the quantity of fluorine atoms in different compounds and noticed a change in their ability to interact with other molecules.
This capability to control the interactions of a molecule by varying the amounts of one of its constituent atoms gives scientists a powerful handle to make modifications to a material to obtain desired objectives. Patwari and his team used the compound phenylacetylene for their experiments. With a combination of laboratory experiments and computer simulations, the researchers have shown that fluorine offers much better control and flexibility to scientists as compared to other atoms.
Patwari says this opens up some exciting possibilities for manipulations in biochemistry. The susceptibility of human beings to certain kinds of diseases involves chemical interactions. If these interactions can somehow be stopped - just like fluorine in teflon-coated cookware prevents interaction with food items - some resistance to diseases can be induced. Specifically, Patwari is looking at fluorine substitution in some amino acids which make up the proteins.
Already, there is quite a lot of interest regarding fluorine in biology, but the results he has obtained with other chemicals puts Patwari in a unique position to exploit this situation.
To be sure, fluorine substitution is not random. Nor is it a simple substitution of one atom with another. It is a very targeted exercise. Random substitution can change the compound altogether, altering its properties. Patwari says finding the right places in the molecule to introduce the substitution is critical to it success. It is for this reason that the substitutions are made at places that are more important for the structure of the molecule, not so much for its functions. This way the original character of the molecule is maintained while imparting it fresh properties due to the presence of fluorine.
There are about 20 amino acids that make up all the proteins in the human body. Patwari says fluorine substitution does not work in most of them. But there are two or three amino acids where this process can introduce exciting properties. Patwari is still to begin experimenting with bio-molecules but says his work so far gives him hope that there could be important lessons for drug delivery and drug targeting as well.
For his work on molecular interactions, Patwari was named one of the winners of this year's Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar prize, the highest scientific honour in the country for scientists below the age of 45 years..
Only then more inventions can be made, he says at VIT meet
Research in science, engineering and technology has to grow for more number of inventions, according to Vidyadhar Y. Mudukavi, head and outstanding scientist, CSIR 4PI, Bengaluru.
Inaugurating a two-day international conference at VIT University on Monday, he said the number of scientific inventions made in the world was just enough, and the world needed much more. For this to happen, research in the field had to increase.
He said that science could solve problems being faced in agriculture. Pollution, healthcare, traffic and corruption were the other issues which science could tackle.
Speaking on the occasion, VIT's chancellor G. Viswanathan said that only 25% of India's youth had access to higher education, while the world's average is between 30 to 35%, according to a press release.
To take science, engineering and technology to rural areas, and to help the youth from such places to have access to higher education, the Central and State governments have to increase their investments for higher education.
He stated that India was one of the fastest developing economies. Yet, it lagged behind in science and technology. The reason for this was that only a few research programmes were being carried out in India.
Mr. Viswanathan said in the United States, 4,600 persons were engaged in research, while in India, the figure was a meagre 140, the release said.
A total of 930 papers will be presented during the conference.
Among others, Gang Li, associate professor, Deakin University, Australia; Anand A. Samuel, vice chancellor of VIT; S. Narayanan, pro-vice chancellor; Durai Raj, conference organising secretary and Aswani Kumar Cherukuri, dean, School of Information Technology and Engineering, VIT, were present.
Two Indo-British teams win Rs 1.7-crore Newton Award
November 1, 2017 (New Delhi)
Two Indo-British teams of scientists - one which developed a portable device to monitor maternal health and another that worked on producing solar energy more efficiently won the first ever Newton Award on Wednesday.
At a function in New Delhi, both teams were awarded £200,000 or Rs 1.7 crore to fund further research. It was the first ever award under the Newton Fund.
The Newton Fund was launched in 2014 to promote research collaboration between UK and 18 partner countries. Every year till 2021, a minimum of five Newton-funded projects will receive the award.
Research on the CRADLE Vital Signs Alert (VSA), a portable hand-held device capable of measuring blood pressure and pulse, detecting hypertension and circulatory shock, was led by Andrew Shennan, a scientist based in London. He collaborated with Shivaprasad Goudar, professor at Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College in Belgaum, Karnataka, to promote its use in India.
The solar project was a joint project between Hari Upadhyaya, from Brunel University and Viresh Dutta of the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. The aim is for more efficient solar power generation by improving perovskite solar cells.
Ahead of the award ceremony, India?s science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan met Britain's minister of state for science, research and innovation, Jo Johnson to review progress under the Newton-Bhabha programme, a partnership in the areas of science, technology and innovation.
"Harnessing science and technology for a better future of our people is the new spirit which drives the present Indo-UK cooperation," Harsh Vardhan said about the Newton Bhabha programme.
The award function also saw the release of the antibacterial resistance (ABR) report to mark the launch of a virtual research centre that will promote collaborative work between Indian and UK scientists on antimicrobial resistance (AMR).
India test fires subsonic cruise missile 'Nirbhay'
November 8,2017 (Balasore (Odisha))
India today conducted a flight test of its indigenously designed and developed long range sub-sonic cruise missile 'Nirbhay', which can carry warheads of up to 300 kg, from a test range at Chandipur along the Odisha coast.
This was the fifth experimental test of the homegrown missile system.
Defence scientists are hopeful of a flawless trial this time. Out of four earlier trials since its maiden launch in 2013, only one was successful.
The state-of-the-art sleek cruise missile took off from a specially designed launcher from the launch complex-3 of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, near here, at about 11.20 AM, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) sources said.
All initial critical operations of the trial such as blast of the sophisticated missile are successful as it moved up in its trajectory, a DRDO scientist said soon after the launch of the missile.
The data is being retrieved from tracking systems for a detailed assessment, he said
Powered by a solid rocket motor booster developed by the Advanced Systems Laboratory (ASL), the missile has an operational range of 1000 km.
'Nirbhay' missile can travel with a turbofan or turbojet engine and is guided by a highly advanced inertial navigation system indigenously developed by the Research Centre Imarat (RCI), the DRDO sources said.
After the missile achieves designated altitude and velocity, the booster motor is separated and the engine automatically switches on taking further propulsion, said a DRDO scientist associated with the project.
He said "mid-way in its flight, the missile's wing opens up by the commands generated by the sophisticated on-board computer for stabilising the flight path."
All along its trajectories from lift off to splash down, the missile is to be tracked with the help of ground based radars and IAF aircraft.
The health parameters of the vehicle are being monitored by indigenous telemetry stations by a team of professionals from DRDO's ITR and LRDE (Electronics and Radar Development Establishment).
The two-stage missile is 6 metre long, 0.52 metre wide with a wing span of 2.7 metre. It can carry a warhead of 200 kg to 300 kg at a speed of 0.6 to 0.7 Mach. Its launch weight is about 1500 kg, the sources said.
A senior scientist hoped the missile would deliver the desired result this time.
"After a thorough review some changes have been incorporated in the missile system and we hope it will deliver the desired result," said the senior scientist.
The maiden test flight of 'Nirbhay' held on March 12, 2013 had to be terminated midway for safety reasons due to malfunction of a component. However, the second launch on October 17, 2014 was successful, he said.
In the next trial conducted on October 16, 2015, the missile deviated from its path after covering 128 km.
The last test flight held on December 21, 2016 had to be aborted after 700 seconds of its test flight as it deviated from its designated path. All these trials were conducted from the same base at Chandipur ITR.
Burden of disease shifts to non-communicable ailments
November 14, 2017(New Delhi)
Shift from infectious diseases spurred by unhealthy diets, pollution, high blood pressure
The 'India State Level Disease Burden' report, prepared as part of the Global Burden of Disease (GBD) Study 2016, and published in Lancet, has found that every State in India has a higher burden from non-communicable diseases and injuries than from infectious diseases. The study used multiple data sources to map State-level disease burden from 333 disease conditions and injuries, and 83 risk factors for each State from 1990 to 2016. It was released by Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu here on Tuesday.
" The contribution of non-communicable diseases to health loss - fuelled by unhealthy diets, high blood pressure, and blood sugar - has doubled in India over the past two decades. Air pollution and tobacco smoking continue to be major contributors to health loss. However, the extent of these risk factors varies considerably across the States of India," said Dr. K. Srinath Reddy, president of the Public Health Foundation of India, one of the partners of the India State-level Disease Burden Initiative (ISDBI).
The estimates are based on analysis of all identifiable epidemiological data from India over 25 years. The report, which provides the first comprehensive set of state-level disease burden data, risk factors estimates, and trends for each state in India, is expected to inform health planning with a view toward reducing health inequalities among States.
Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, director-general ICMR and Secretary, Health Research, Government of India, who closely guided the work of the ISDBI, said: " The effort was to produce an open-access, public good knowledge base, which has the potential of making fundamental and long-term contributions to improving health in every state of the country, through provision of the best possible composite trends of disease burden and risk factors for policy makers to utilise in their decision making."
Simple water test could reduce bone disease in India
November 14, 2017
A simple colour-changing test to detect fluoride in drinking water could help prevent skeletal fluorosis, the crippling bone disease, in developing countries like India, says a study.
While low amounts of fluoride are beneficial for healthy teeth, high levels of fluoride can weaken bones, leading to skeletal fluorosis. This disease causes crippling deformities of the spine and joints, especially in children whose skeletons are still forming.
"Whilst a small amount of fluoride is good for your teeth and prevents tooth decay, high levels are toxic and can cause crippling deformities that are irreversible," said lead researcher Simon Lewis from University of Bath in Britain.
When water passes over certain minerals, it can dissolve fluoride, which results in elevated levels of fluoride in drinking water sources in parts of India, China, East Africa, and North America.
<>Levels of fluoride in drinking water are routinely monitored and controlled at treatment works in developed countries.
However in areas of the world where there is no piped water system or treatment works, people rely on drawing untreated water from wells, which can often be contaminated with higher than recommended levels of fluoride.
The amounts of fluoride in the groundwater can vary due to weather events, with levels fluctuating hugely when there is a lot of rain.
The new research published in the journal Chemical Communications details a simple colour-changing test that detects high levels of fluoride quickly and selectively.
"Most water quality monitoring systems need a lab and power supply and a trained operator to work them. What we've developed is a molecule that simply changes colour in a few minutes which can tell you whether the level of fluoride is too high," Lewis said.
"This technology is in the very early stages, but we'd like to develop this technology into test strips, similar to litmus paper, that allow people without any scientific training to perform a test that is low cost, rapid and robust," Lewis added.
Science outreach programme concludes in Pithoragarh
November 12, 2017(Almora)
A two-day science and technology outreach programme concluded in Gangolihaat in Pithoragarh district on Sunday. Over 100 students from 20 inter-colleges of Bageshwar and Pithoragarh districts participated in the programme attended by eminent scientists and professors of Uttarakhand. The programme also included college dropouts with a keen interest in science and technology.
The outreach programme was held in association with Uttarakhand Science Education & Research Centre (USERC) at the campus of Himalayan Gram Vikas Samiti in Gangolihaat.
The programme included in-depth lectures on biotechnology, artificial intelligence, water supply problem and solutions, cloud technology among others.
While a lecture by B D Lakhchaura, retired professor from G B Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, delved on genetics and the importance of cell in structures of human and plant biology, Ashutosh Bhatt of Birla Institute of Applied Sciences, Bhimtal, delivered a lecture on cloud technology and its role in globalization.
R S Rana, a scientist at USERC, informed the students about the various initiatives USERC is taking to help science reach remote corners of the hill state. Director of USERC Durgesh Pant took a class over Skype informing the students about various virtual courses of science including audio tutorial books, e-repository etc.
Padma Bhushan awardee and eminent geologist Professor Khadg Singh Waldia said that mathematics lies at the core of technology and that it was crucial for students to take up research in science and technology.
The science outreach programme happens twice a year and delivers science lectures to students.
Animal experiments show diet change could reverse diabetes
Nov 12, 2017 (Jaipur)
About 50 million people suffer from diabetes in India, sometimes referred to as 'diabetes capital of the world'. Now, research on animals has shown the condition could be treated with what is called 'very low calorie diet' (VLCD). In a study published online on November 9 in the journal 'Cell Metabolism', researchers led by scientists from Yale University found VLCD can rapidly reverse type 2 diabetes in animal models.
News website Science Daily reported that if these findings are confirmed in people, it could pave the way for a new method of treating this chronic condition.
It is estimated that one in three Americans will suffer from type 2 diabetes by 2050. "Reports indicate that the disease goes into remission in many patients who undergo bariatric weight-loss surgery, which significantly restricts caloric intake prior to clinically significant weight loss. The Yale-led team's study focused on understanding the mechanisms by which caloric restriction rapidly reverses type 2 diabetes," Science Daily reported.
The team studied VLCD, consisting of one-quarter the normal intake, on a rodent model with type 2 diabetes. Researchers tracked metabolic processes that contribute to the increased glucose production by the liver and performed a comprehensive set of analyses of key metabolic fluxes within the liver that could cause insulin resistance and increased rates of glucose production, the two processes that result in increased blood-sugar concentrations.
Researchers found three major mechanisms that explain VLCD's dramatic effect of rapidly lowering blood glucose concentrations in diabetic animals. "In the liver, VLCD lowers glucose production by: 1) decreasing the conversion of lactate and amino acids into glucose; 2) decreasing the rate of liver glycogen conversion to glucose; and 3) decreasing fat content, which in turn improves the liver's response to insulin. These positive effects of the VLCD were observed in just three days," Science Daily reported.
The next step will be for scientists to estimate whether the results can be replicated in type 2 diabetic patients undergoing either bariatric surgery or consuming very low calorie diets. Research in this direction has already begun.
Consuming fruits, vegetables, and dals cuts risk of death: study
Nov 9, 2017 (New Delhi)
People who consume around 375 to 500 gm of fruits, vegetables, and dal per day are at a reduced risk of death by nearly 23 per cent, a new study published in The Lancet has found.
While World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends 800 gm or 5-9 servings of fruit or vegetables per day, and the new study has shown that it takes just half - that is, 375 gm to get the desired health benefits. This is important for people living in countries who cannot afford a lot of fruits and vegetables.
Potatoes and other tubers were not included and fruit juices were not considered as fruits while calculating the intake. Legumes included beans, black beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, and black-eyed peas.
The researchers attribute beneficial effects of consuming fruits and vegetables to presence of antioxidants such as vitamin C, vitamin E and carotenoids, and fibre in them, which reduces bad cholesterol, improves insulin response, lowers the blood pressure, prevents fat deposition in blood vessels, and improves cellular function in the body.
"Although there is a popular belief that fruits and vegetables are healthy, there was no long-term study data to support this and hence our findings are new and significant," said Dr V Mohan of the Dr. Mohan's Diabetes Specialties Centre in Chennai, who contributed to the study.
The decade-long research was done in 18 countries with 135,335 participants aged 35 to 70 years. Healthy individuals with no reported diseases and complications were enrolled for the study. They were given questionnaires to record daily diet, lifestyle habits such as smoking, physical activity and alcohol intake, and their socioeconomic status inlcuding education, income, and employment.
At the end of the study, researchers recorded the number of deaths, cases of cardiovascular diseases, heart attack, and stroke. Then the data was analysed to see if consuming higher amounts of fruits, vegetables, and dal is related to the number of deaths and adverse outcomes on health. "We found that regular consumption of vegetables, fruits and legumes protected people from cardiovascular disease and death", Dr Mohan told India Science Wire.
"This study does not distinguish between cooked vegetables and raw ones, although it is common knowledge that cooking destroys some of the vitamins and minerals, hence as far as possible we should use raw vegetables like tomato, cucumber, carrot and green leafy vegetables which can be consumed raw", pointed out Dr Mohan.
According to Estefania Toledo, professor at the Department of Nutrition of the Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA, who is not connected to the study, "increased consumption of fruits and vegetables should be at the expense of reducing other foods and drinks, such as sugar sweetened beverages, red and processed meat, saturated and trans fat, refined cereals, and sugar rich desserts". She added that consuming more plant-based foods helps replace detrimental foods, which benefits the overall dietary pattern.
BITS students build near-space micro satellite to study space weather, radiation patterns
Sanket Deshpande - a final year engineering student at BITS Pilani, Goa - has not taken a single vacation in four years. Instead, Sanket and four other engineering students at the engineering institute spent their time in building a near space micro satellite named 'Apeiro' with the aim to study space weather and radiation patterns. The satellite is set to be launched in mid December.
The project began with an idea that Sanket had in mind while he was in his first year back in 2014. "A lot of my seniors had worked on space weather and had highlighted the need to study radiations in space in the past. After reading about the existing work, I came across the idea of studying radiations in space. With commercial flying booming fast, cosmic radiation can have a severe impact on the health of commercial pilots. In order to warn pilots about weather conditions and risks around a particular flying zone, one needs to have a detailed data about the same," Sanket said.
Four other students - Lucky Kapoor, Shivangi Kamat, Pankaj Tiple,Vibhav Joshi and Aishwarya Pravin - soon joined Sanket.
"We spoke to several senior scientists at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research and Bhaba Atomic Research Centre. The biggest challenge was to get a launching facility. But thankfully, TIFR offered to launch the satellite at their ballooning facility in Hyderabad at no cost," said Aishwarya Pravin, a Project Apeiro member.
The payload will be launched from TIFR's ballooning facility in Hyderabad in the last week of December.The satellite would float at the altitude of 22kms after which it can be tracked and the data on space radiation can be obtained.
Satyanarayana Bheesette,Scientific Officer TIFR said that he was impressed with the project which he said 'inspired a lot of people' at the institute. "It was almost two years ago that I was approached by these students. I guided them to convert the ideas into actual pieces of detectors, instrumentation and electronics and solve their integration problems. It was high commendable that they could work on this project, while giving their best to their highly demanding academic requirements. Now the payload is fully ready and passed all the stringent tests, and it will be flown soon aboard a balloon by the National Balloon Facility of TIFR? he added
'CSIR-India ranks 75th among research institutes worldwide'
November 10, 2017(Panaji)
Of the 5,200 reasearch institutes worldwide, the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) India, is the only one in India to find a place in the top 100 of this list, said Union minister for science and technology, Harsh Vardhan at the national institute of oceanography (NIO), Dona Paula on Thursday.
CSIR is among the world's largest publicly funded national research and development organizations. Vardhan said that CSIR is 75th this year compared to 91st last year, according to the international Scimago ranking.
"Additionally, there are 1,200 government-funded institutes in the world. We are 9th on the list. The international rate of growth for India in the science and technology sector is 13.5%. This shows that we are improving," he said.
The minster added that India will be a clean energy nation by 2022. Referring to the coal issue in Vasco he said, "Goa has to fulfill its responsibility in that direction. Things cannot be changed overnight but the Prime Minister is very clear in making India a clean energy nation. We have set up very powerful leadership example at the international level in terms of strengthening mission and innovation movement."
He added that scientists must start a module along the lines of corporate social responsibility (CSR).
The minister urged that Indian scientists working overseas be seen as brain-gain instead of brain-drain. "The scientists do not work outside India without the government's knowledge. If they do, it is usually because they are part of the official collaboration between that country and India. Similarly, scientists from other countries can also come work in India. We are talking about brain-gain here." he added.
"Coal India's New App "Grahak Sadak Koyla Vitaran App" for the benefit of customers lifting coal through road mode.
This app is a step towards transparency in the system of loading programme and despatch.
The app also helps in logistics planning for lifting of coal in tune with the loading programmes.
The app provides date-wise, truck-wise quantity of coal delivered against the Sale Orders.
Shri Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Railways & Coal has launched 'Grahak Sadak Koyla Vitaran App' benefitting customers of Coal India Limited (CIL) lifting coal through road mode.
The customer friendly app, launched recently in Kolkata on CIL's Foundation Day, helps achieve transparency in despatch operations, as a tool to monitor, whether the despatches are made on the fair principle of 'First in First Out' and keeps track of all the activities from issuance of Sale Order to physical delivery of coal by road.
The main benefits of the App for the customers, against the Sale Orders issued, include easy accessibility of the information at the click of the button, apart from transparency in the system of loading programme and despatch. The app also helps in logistics planning for lifting of coal in tune with the loading programmes. It further helps in improved planning of procurement, production and stock management by the customers.
The main features of the app are that it provides date-wise, truck-wise quantity of coal delivered against the Sale Orders and information related to Scheme-wise, Colliery-wise, Grade-wise, customer-wise details of Sale Orders issued during a period.
In terms of loading it provides allotment verses lifting status in details from different sources truck by truck and summary of the despatch.
Coal India is addressing its customer needs in a big way and made 'ease of doing business' a major consumer commitment. The launching of the app is also one of the initiatives of CIL towards achieving the much cherished goal of 'Digital India' and transparency.
It may be recalled that CIL in a move to rush more coal to power stations, coal supplies to plants located in shorter distances have been offered through road mode from available pithead stock. As a result, power plants located within 50 Kms to 60 Kms from the mines may take as much coal from the nearest mines as they can.
During 2016-17 despatch of coal through road mode had been about 140 Million Tonnes (MTs) out of the total despatch of 542 MTs by CIL accounting for 26%. The impetus given in the current fiscal has improved movement of coal through road considerably. As of end of October 2017 the movement of coal through road mode at a little over 93 MTs accounted for 29% of the total coal despatch of 317 MTs.The road despatch during the current fiscal till October 2017 went up by 12 MTs compared to same period last fiscal.
Spices can help prevent and fight colorectal cancer
November 7, 2017(New Delhi)
Spices make our food tasty. Now we have another reason to enjoy them more often. A group of Indian scientists have found that cardamonin, a chemical found in cardamom and other edible plants such as ginger and peppercorn, is effective in preventing and controlling colorectal cancer in mice.
Researchers at the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology in Kerala and Manipal University in Karnataka conducted studies on a mouse induced with colorectal cancer using drugs as well as human cancer cell lines, and have found cardamonin to be effective.
The cardamom chemical was given as a protective agent before development of cancer as a dietary intervention and also after the animals developed colorectal cancer. In both the situations it was effective. Researchers then figured out the mechanism of action of this phytochemical and identified its role in altering the MicroRNAs or miRNAs in the cell. miRNAs are short stretches of genetic material (RNA) that do not code for a protein but have regulatory functions.
"Cardamonin modulates certain micro RNAs that collectively regulate the reactive oxygen production," explained Dr Kuzhuvelil B. Harikumar, who led the research. Reactive oxygen when produced leads to cell death. Cardamonin increases their production, which results in death of unwanted cancer cells.
"Along with further identifying the critical micro RNAs which regulate reactive oxygen-dependent genes, we are also interested in checking the synergy between the cardamonin and FDA approved chemotherapeutic drugs for a possible combination therapy. Exploring certain chemically synthesised analogs of cardamonin with increased cytotoxicity is one of our prime focuses," Dr. Harikumar told India Science Wire.
Colorectal cancer is cancer of the colon or the rectum, and is currently the third most common cause of cancer in men and second most in women. Dietary and lifestyle habits are to be blamed for it.
The research team included Shirley James, Jayasekharan S. Aparna, Aswathy Mary Paul, Manendra Babu Lankadasari, Sabira Mohammed, Valsalakumari S. Binu, Thankayyan R. Santhoshkumar, Girijadevi Reshmi and Kuzhuvelil B. Harikumar. The findings have been published in journal Scientific Reports.