Current Affairs

Current Affairs

Odisha government and Facebook launches ‘SheMeansBusiness’ programme

Odisha government and Facebook launches ‘SheMeansBusiness’ programme


Odisha government and social networking giant Facebook has launched ‘SheMeansBusiness’ programme to train women entrepreneurs in the state.

It was launched in partnership between Odisha’s MSME (micro, small and medium enterprises) department and Project Mission Shakti.

Key Facts

Under this initiative, 25, 000 women entrepreneurs and self-help group (SHG) members from the state will be given training on digital marketing skills within by the end of 2018. Facebook will monitor the growth of the MSMEs in Odisha after imparting training to them in next one year.

It will also prepare a data base of the MSMEs through registrations in which they will take the email ids and mobile numbers of entrepreneurs in all the workshops.

SheMeansBusiness programme

The programme has been launched in 16 countries around the world including India. It is designed to reach out to aspiring and established women entrepreneurs to help them build and grow their business online.


Robots to cleanup manholes

The Kerala government will soon be utilising the services of robots to clean the sewer holes in the state.The robots have been developed by a startup company called Genrobotics.

The project is supported by Kerala Water Authority (KWA), which has joined hands with Kerala start-up mission to transform new ideas into practical technologies for addressing issues relating to pipe leakage and sanitation.

An agreement has already been signed between the Kerala Water Innovation Zone under the KWA and Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) for the transfer of technology.

Key Features

• Named 'Bandicoot', the robots are equipped with Wi-Fi, blue tooth and control panels.

• They have four limbs and a bucket system attached to a spider web looking extension to scoop out the waste from sewers.

• The services of the robot will be initially utilised in Kerala’s capital city Thiruvananthapuram, which has over 5,000 manholes.

• The robotic system is aimed at the complete elimination of manual scavenging.

• The trial runs of the robots were conducted successfully in the state capital. They will be launched next week.

About the Project

• The robots have been developed by a nine-member group comprising youngsters from varying engineering streams.

• The youngsters gave up their steady jobs to find a solution to end manual scavenging in an effort to bring in some resemblance of dignity to the lives of those, who put in endless effort to clean the sewers for a meager amount ranging between Rs 300- 500.

• The team took 7-8 months to design the semi-automatic robot.

• During the trials, nearly 30 kg of garbage was pulled out by the robot.

• Within an hour, the robot could clean four manholes on the first day itself with ease.

• The makers did not face any problem to manoeuvre its way to different types of manholes.


• The invention would bring about a significant change in maintaining proper hygiene and ensuring a well-working drainage system.

• It would especially be a great help in areas that face major water logging during incessant rains.

• It would also help reduce manhole-related accidents.

• It could, however, lead to the loss of the source of livelihood for those who make a living out of cleaning the drains.

However, according to the Chief Operating Officer of the start-up company, their plan is to train the existing workers to operate the robot, which is as easy to operate as a remote-controlled toy car. Though all the commands in the user interface are English, they can be converted to any local language for easy understanding.

The robots will start their operations by cleaning the sewer holes in the city on March 2, 2018, during a state festival ‘Attukal Pongala’

About GenRobotics

• The company was founded in 2015 by a team of passionate engineers in Robotics and Defence engineering.

• It is specialised in powered robotic exoskeletons with RC Controlled Humanoid Robotic Systems and Artificial Intelligence.

• Exoskeletons are robotic suits that can help humans to reduce physical effort required during heavy jobs.

• The company designs and develops robots in order to find the best solution for social impotent issues.


Project to promote micro-irrigation

The state government of Haryana is implementing a special project to encourage micro irrigation and recharge ground water in the state.

The project is being implemented in 36 over-exploited and critical blocks that fall under 13 districts. The total cost estimated for the project is around Rs 435.23 crore.

Key Highlights

Various activities by different departments such as agriculture, horticulture, rural development, irrigation and water resources and forest and the Canal Area Development Authority are being implemented under the project.

The subsidies under micro irrigation in these blocks have also been enhanced to 85 per cent and the cap of five hectares of land has been removed.

Besides, a special campaign would be organised to reach out to the small and marginal farmers in the uncovered villages of these 36 blocks.

Areas to be benefited

The identified blocks include Badhra, Behal, Kairu, Loharu and Tosham in Bhiwani district; Tohana in Fatehabad; Farukhnagar, Pataudi, Sohana and Gurgaon in Gurugram, Guhla and Rajaund in Kaithal; Ladwa, Pehwa and Shahabad in Kurukshetra and Karnal.

It also includes Bapoli and Samalkha in Panipat; Rania and Ellenabad in Sirsa and Municipal Corporation of Faridabad and Ballabhgarh in Faridabad, Nangal Chaudhary, Narnaul, Kanina, Ateli and Mahendergarh in Mahendergarh; Khol in Rewari, Palwal, Hassanpur, Hathin and Hodal in Palwal and Jagadhri, Mustafabad, Radour and Sadhura in Yamunanagar.

What is micro irrigation?

It is an irrigation method that involves lower pressure and flow than a traditional sprinkler system.

The low volume irrigation is used in agriculture for row crops, orchards, and vineyards.

It is also used in horticulture in wholesale nurseries, in landscaping for civic, commercial, and private landscapes and gardens, and in the science and practice of restoration ecology and environmental remediation.

Types of Micro-irrigation

• There are several types of micro-irrigation systems. The components, however, remain the same for most of these types.

• Most systems typically include filters, pipes, valves, and tubing.

• The main difference in the systems lay in the type of emission device that is used to deliver the water to the plants.

• While drip irrigation uses drip emitters that deliver water at very low rates, other systems use integral dripperline or drip tape with the emitters already installed at a predetermined spacing.

• The goal is to distribute water slowly in small volumes and target it to plants' root zones with less runoff or overspray than landscape and garden conventional spray and rotary sprinklers.

• The low volume allows the water to penetrate and be absorbed into slow-percolation soils, such as clay, minimising water runoff.


The low-flow irrigation system is the most viable and in some cases the only choice for remote locations with wells or small storage tank water sources.

The irrigation system especially holds profound significance in today’s time when municipal and agricultural water supplies have become more limited, as a result of increased population demands, droughts and climate change.


Deendayal Rasoi Yojna launched in Madhya Pradesh

          Madhya Pradesh government kick-started its ambitious ‘Deendayal Rasoi Yojana’ under which subsidised meals will be available at Rs 5 per plate to people, especially the economically disadvantaged sections of society.

          The initiative is on the lines of state run Amma Canteens, started by the former chief minister J Jayalalithaa, which served subsidised food at low prices. Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan inaugurated the scheme at Gwalior. In the first phase, the scheme would be inaugurated in 49 districts.


India's first transgender police officer appointed in Tamil Nadu

            K Prithika Yashini, aged around 25 years, is the first transgender person to become a police official in India, appointed in Tamil Nadu. After struggling with the social dogma and gender bias, she recently applied to become a police sub-inspector in Dharampuri, Tamil Nadu. A court in Chennai, Madras has now ruled in her favour.