Current Affairs 2017 – May

Scientists at IIT Kharagpur Develop New Technology to Manufacture Biofuel

Scientists at IIT Kharagpur has come up with a new technology known as ‘soil-to-soil’ manufacturing technology  for manufacturing cheaper, quicker and pollution-free. The technology is in the process of being patented.

Biofuels are fuels which are in some way derived from biomass. The term covers solid biomass, liquid fuels and various biogases and also denotes Biodiesel, Bio alcohol and bio-gasoline.

Salient Highlights

The new technology makes use of natural resources to extract gaseous and liquid biofuel and then converts the wastes into bio fertilizer. At present 2gm of bioethanol can be manufactured from various naturally available ligno-cellulosic components. However, this process requires chemical treatment that results in polluting the environment. Lignocellulose refers to biomass.

The new technology has replaced this chemical treatment with enzymes which degrade the lignin thereby making the manufacturing process totally pollution free. Lignins are complex organic polymer deposited in the cell walls of  plants. In this process, the residual biomass can be used as organic fertilizer.

The Project is funded  by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Human Resource Development.  

The scientists used corn, sugarcane plants, the waste part of paddy straw, bamboo, banana plant, pineapple and cotton plants, kans grass (kassh phool), castor plant etc to produce biofuel.


The National Policy on Biofuels had set the target at 20% blending of biofuel with petrol by 2017. It is estimated that the biofuel business in India will touch Rs50,000 crore by 2022. At this backdrop, the new green technology can become a game changer.


Amul Signs MoU with ISRO

Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) which markets its product under the brand name ‘Amul’ has signed an MoU with ISRO for fodder acreage assessment using satellite observation and space technology.  

Salient Highlights

As per the MoU signed, ISRO would help in identification between food and fodder crops at the village level. ISRO will also help in establishing suitable areas at village level for green fodder cultivation. The Space Applications Centre (SAC) of ISRO has already carried out assessment that concluded that green fodder availability for dairy livestock at district and village level through remote sensing is feasible.

The significance of the agreement lies in the fact that the fodder acreage estimation can help in monitoring and planning of fodder development activities by the stakeholders in the dairy sector. This will help the milk producing farmers of Gujarat to reap benefits of fodder cultivation. Amul is procuring around 150 lakh litres of milk every day from around 35 lakh milk producers living in 18,500 villages.


Space Applications Centre (SAC) is one of the major centres of ISRO. It was established in the year 1972. It primarily focuses on the design of space-borne instruments for ISRO missions. It also develops applications of space technology covering the fields of communication, broadcasting, navigation, disaster monitoring, meteorology, oceanography, environment monitoring and natural resources survey for societal benefits. It is headquartered in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.


The GCMMF is one of the largest milk cooperatives in the world and the largest food products marketing organisation of India that exclusively markets products under the brand name of Amul and Sagar. It was formed by late Dr. Verghese Kurien in 1973, which today is jointly owned by 3.6 million milk producers in Gujarat. Kurien chaired GCMMF for more than 30 years (1973–2006). More than 70% of the members of the milk cooperative are small or marginal farmers and landless labourers including a sizeable population of tribal folk and people belonging to the scheduled castes.