Current Affairs - January 2017

Indian Railways launches IRCTC Rail Connect app

The Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu launched new passenger mobile application named ‘IRCTC Rail Connect app’ to promote ease of ticketing through digital transactions.

The new mobile-based application will replace the old existing IRCTC connect app. It has been developed for reserved booking and to increase the ease to users.

Key Facts
  • The application has developed to bring the power of next generation e-ticketing system like high performance and enhanced security.
  • It has features like 24/7 service with no time-based checks, synchronisation of mobile app with NGET (Next Generation e-Ticketing) for ticket booking.
  • It also has simple and easy user interface and supports general, ladies, Tatkal and Premium-Tatkal quota.
  • The sports other features like advanced security of self-assigned PIN (Personal identification number) to login without entering the username and password on each login.
  • It will be integrated with IRCTC e-wallet for faster and hassle free transactions. It will also be inter-connected with IRCTC AIR, Food on Track mobile apps to facilitate booking of air tickets and food through e-catering.
  • It will provide payment gateway to over 40 banks to facilitate payments through net Banking, credit or debit cards and wallets like Paytm, PayU, Mobikwik.

4 Indian American scientists selected for presidential awards

Outgoing US President Barack Obama has selected four Indian-American scientists among 102 researchers for the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE).

They are Pankaj Lal from Montclair State University, Kaushik Chowdhury from Northeastern University, Manish Arora from Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Aradhna Tripati from University of California, Los Angeles.

About Awardees
  • Pankaj Lal: He is an associate professor in the department of earth and environmental studies at Montclair. He has been working on environmental economics and economic geography, natural resource conservation and policy and climate change, human dimensions of ecosystem management.
  • Kaushik Chowdhury: He directs the Next Generation Networks and Systems (GENESYS) Lab. He is the winner of the “NSF CAREER” award (2015) and the Office of Naval Research Director of Research Early Career Award (2016).
  • Manish Arora: He is an environmental epidemiologist and exposure biologist. His research focuses on effects of prenatal and early childhood chemical exposures on life-long health trajectories.
  • He is known for his work on biomarkers that utilise human deciduous and permanent teeth to reconstruct the timing of exposure to various harmful chemicals and essential nutrients.
  • Aradhna Tripati: Her lab at UCLA uses chemistry of natural compounds as well as models as tools to understand how the Earth works. Her models focus to understand climate change, oceans, and the transfer of carbon between the biosphere, atmosphere and oceans.

About Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE)

  • PECASE is the highest honour given by the US government to science and engineering professionals.vThe awards were established in 1996 by President Bill Clinton.
  • They are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the US president.
  • The awardees are selected for their pursuit of innovative research at frontiers of S&T and their commitment to community service demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach.

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