Current Affairs: 11 June 2021

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  • Jun 11, 2021
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Current Affairs: 11 June 2021

India to add 20 GW of Wind Energy Capacity by 2025: GWEC

The Global Wind Energy Council published a report on India’s wind energy business. According to the research, India has a 10.3 GW pipeline in the Central and State markets. Installations will be powered by these pipelines until 2023. According to the report, India will add 20 GW of wind energy capacity between 2021 and 2025. 

The India wind energy industry outlook provided that by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), India will install 20 GW of wind energy capacity between 2021 and 2025. 

Highlights

  • Almost 90% of this capacity will come from Central tenders, followed by business procurement, and finally State markets.
  • In the Central and State markets, India now has a pipeline of 10.3 GW, which is expected to boost installations in the industry until 2023. 
  • After 2023, the industry is expected to be fueled by 10 GW of new wind capacity awards, mostly in hybrid formats.
  • It goes on to say that combining utility-scale wind and solar technology will be a critical lever for volume. 
  • Wind capacity given by the Centre has decreased over the last two years, from a high of 6.4 GW in 2018 to 1 GW in 2020. 
  • However, the volume of hybrid bids awarded has increased from 0.8 GW in 2018 to 2.8 GW in 2020.
  • As of February 2021, India’s total installed wind power capacity was 38 GW. It boasts the world’s fourth-largest installed wind power capacity. 
  • The capacity of wind power is distributed among the Southern, Western, and Northern areas. In India, the cost of wind power is quickly declining. 
  • Wind power’s levelized tariff in India was Rs 2.43 per kWh in 2017, but it jumped to Rs 2.77 per kWh in March 2021.

Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC)

  • GWEC was founded in 2005. 
  • It provides a reputable and representative international forum for the whole wind energy sector. 
  • Its objective is to ensure that wind energy becomes the world’s dominant energy source, with several environmental and economic benefits. 
  • International wind markets are increasing strongly, according to GWEC, despite temporary supply chain problems. 
  • With roughly 48 GW of installed capacity, the European Union is the main market for wind energy.

 ISRO to assist Development Projects in Northeast

The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) would aid development initiatives in the Northeast, according to Union Minister Jitendra Singh, who announced this on June 9, 2021. The assistance will be provided by maximising the use of satellite images and other space technology to achieve improved infrastructure goals.

Highlights

  • While chairing a high-level conference with top executives from the Ministry of Development of the North Eastern Region and ISRO scientists, Jitendra Singh claimed that six of the eight Northeastern states have already submitted suggestions for ISRO’s execution.
  •  Assam and Sikkim, the two remaining states, will submit proposals soon. 
  • One of the key achievements of the Central Government, according to the Union Minister, is that the ISRO is no longer limited to satellite launches, but is continually expanding its involvement in development operations.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation has already been monitoring and geo-tagging 67 projects at 221 locations across the eight states of the Northeast. The NEC and DoNER are both funding it. 
  • This is also the first time in the country that the ISRO has been institutionalised in mapping and exchanging data for development projects.
  •  It also has the ability to serve as a model for other states.
  • In the Northeast region, space technology is now being used in a variety of industries, including railways, agriculture, medical management, roads and bridges, procurement of timely utilisation certificates, telemedicine, weather, disaster forecasting and management, flood forecasting, and rain forecasting.
  • The mapping of forest gap regions, the identification and rejuvenation of wetlands and floodwater diversion, the extension of land area for horticulture development, and the assessment of bamboo resources for livelihood needs are some of the key projects on which work is now being done.
  • ISRO officials also revealed that seven projects in Arunachal Pradesh, including dam construction and flood mitigation, have been approved.

North Eastern Council (NEC)

  • The North Eastern Council Act of 1971 established the NEC as a statutory advisory body. 
  • It was founded in Shillong on November 7, 1972. 
  • Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya, Tripura, Nagaland, and Sikkim are among the council’s eight members. 
  • All of these states’ Chief Ministers and Governors are represented on the Council. In 2002, Sikkim joined the NEC. 
  • The Ministry of Development of the North Eastern Region oversees the NEC (DoNER).

IIT-Kharagpur develops Early Cyclone Detection Technique

Indian scientists have developed a potential strategy for detecting tropical cyclones over the Indian Ocean before satellites can detect them.

Tropical cyclone early detection has far-reaching socioeconomic repercussions. Remote sensing techniques have been the first to detect them so far. However, only until the system formed as a well-marked low-pressure system over the warm ocean surface was this identification conceivable. A longer time between the cyclone’s detection and its impact could aid preparatory efforts.

Highlights

  • The first atmospheric instability mechanism, as well as the vortex growth, are triggered at higher air altitudes prior to the creation of a cyclonic system over a warm marine environment. 
  • These cyclonic eddies are conspicuous characteristics in the vertical air column enveloping the disturbance environment, capable of inducing and developing into a well-marked cyclonic depression over the warm ocean surface. 
  • They could be utilised for cyclone detection and prediction.
  • Jiya Albert, Bishnupriya Sahoo, and Prasad K. Bhaskaran from IIT Kharagpur devised a novel method using eddy detection technique to investigate the formative stages and advance detection time of tropical cyclogenesis in the North Indian Ocean region.
  • It was done with support from the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India under the Climate Change Programme (CCP). 
  • The study was just published in the journal ‘Atmospheric Research.’ 
  • The scientists’ research tries to find the first evidence of pre-cyclonic eddy vortices in the atmosphere and study their Spatio-temporal evolution.
  • They identified eddy vortices with a coarser grid resolution of 27 km and evaluated their features with a finer grid resolution of 9 km.
  •  Four post-monsoon severe cyclones, Phailin (2013), Vardah (2013), Gaja (2018), Madi (2013), and two pre-monsoon cyclones, Mora (2017) and Aila (2009), and two pre-monsoon cyclones, Mora (2017) and Aila (2009), were studied.
  • The researchers discovered that the technique could generate predictions with a four-day (90-hour) lead time for cyclones that formed during the pre and post monsoon seasons.
  • In the case of pre-monsoon events, initiation mechanisms of tropical cyclone genesis occur at higher atmospheric altitudes and are also recognised at a longer lead time than in post-monsoon cases. 
  • The research looked into the behaviour of eddies in an atmospheric column for non-developing situations and compared the results to those of developing instances.

Antibody Cocktail treatment for Covid

Monoclonal antibody treatment, which has been administered to high-risk patients in private institutions in Delhi, has gotten favourable feedback from those who have received it.

The cost of a dose of this medication, which combines Casirivimab and Imdevimab and is known as an “antibody cocktail,” is Rs 59,750. It’s designed to treat mild to moderate instances of Covid in high-risk patients at an early stage. Because of its expensive cost, it is only available at a few private hospitals and not at any government facilities.

Highlights

  • The medication was initiated last week at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, and two patients who got it reported improvements in their parameters within 12 hours. 
  • The first patient was a 36-year-old healthcare worker who was diagnosed with a high-grade fever, cough, myalgia, extreme weakness, and leukopenia on the sixth day of her illness. 
  • The second patient was an 80-year-old diabetic and hypertensive woman who had a high-grade fever and cough on Day 5 and was given the medicine. 
  • Both demonstrated an improvement in their values within 12 hours, according to the hospital.
  • When given within 7 days of the onset of symptoms, this cocktail reduces hospitalisation in approximately 70% of eligible candidates (12 years and older, weighing at least 40 kg, who are not hospitalised and do not require oxygen supplementation).
  • It has no major negative effects in people with chronic kidney illness, chronic liver illness, or immunosuppressed persons. It’s an excellent choice because of its low risk of side effects and lack of immunomodulatory properties.
  • Casirivimab and imdevimab should be given simultaneously within 10 days of symptom onset after infection has been confirmed. 
  • Data suggests that it is most effective within 3 days of symptom onset, with efficacy lasting up to 7 days.
  • The approval time for an EUA (emergency usage authorisation) is up to ten days. The efficacy is linked to a high viral load, which usually appears within the first five days of symptom start. 
  • In India, dosage of 600 mg Casirivimab and 600 mg imdevimab are advised based on current trials.
  • After the infection has been confirmed, casirivimab and imdevimab should be given together within 10 days after symptoms start. It appears to be most helpful within 3 days after symptom onset, with efficacy continuing up to 7 days, according to research.
  • A EUA (emergency usage authorization) can take up to 10 days to be approved. A high viral load, which usually develops within the first five days after symptom onset, is connected to efficacy. 
  • If utilized at the right time, monoclonal antibodies could be a game-changer in the future. It has the potential to prevent hospitalisation and the progression of severe disease in high-risk groups. 
  • It can assist in avoiding or reducing the use of steroids and immunomodulation, lowering the risk of deadly infections such as Mucormycosis, secondary bacterial infections, and viral infections such as CMV.

WHO Handbook on Food borne Diseases

The World Health Organization has created a guide to assist nations in assessing their foodborne disease burden and identifying food safety system needs and data gaps so that national infrastructure may be strengthened and people’s health may be better protected. 

The new WHO manual will assist countries in collecting and analyzing data in order to inform long-term investments in food safety. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the close ties that exist between human, animal, and environmental health. 

Highlights

  • To keep communities safe from food borne disease, WHO will continue to collaborate with partners using a One Health approach.
  • In 2020, the World Health Assembly passed a new resolution requiring WHO to monitor the global burden of foodborne and zoonotic diseases at national, regional, and international levels.
  • It would also report on the global burden of food borne diseases by 2025, including up-to-date estimates of global foodborne disease incidence, mortality, and disease burden. 
  • With the addition of 26 additional international experts, the WHO’s food borne disease burden epidemiology reference group (WHO FERG) will reconvene. 
  • The group’s key responsibilities include advising WHO on methodology for estimating the worldwide burden of foodborne illness, monitoring global food safety indicators, and assessing food safety progress.
  • According to a 2015 WHO estimate, 600 million people are impacted by foodborne illness each year. 
  • It infects one out of every ten persons on the planet. 
  • Approximately 120,000 children under the age of five die as a result of swallowing toxic food. 
  • This is responsible for 30% of all foodborne deaths each year.
  • Diarrhoeal illnesses account for half of all foodborne disease cases worldwide. It sickens 550 million people and kills 230,000 individuals each year.
  •  Foodborne diarrhoeal illnesses are particularly dangerous for children. It infects 220 million people and kills 96,000 of them.
  • Diarrhea is caused by consuming norovirus, Campylobacter, pathogenic E coli, and non-typhoidal Salmonella infected raw or undercooked meat, fresh produce, eggs, and dairy products. 
  • According to the World Health Organization, the African and South-East Asian regions have the highest burden of foodborne infections.

ILO- UNICEF Report on Child Labour

According to new research by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UNICEF, the number of children engaged in child labour has climbed to 16 crore worldwide, the highest level in two decades, with millions more at danger due to COVID-19. 

The research, titled ‘Child Labour: Global Estimates 2020, Trends, and the Road Forward,’ claims that progress to stop child labour has paused for the first time in 20 years, reversing a decreasing trend that saw child labour decline by 94 million (9.4 crores) between 2000 and 2016.

Highlights

  • According to the survey, the number of children aged 5 to 11 years who work as child labour has increased dramatically, accounting for more than half of the entire global figure. 
  • Since 2016, the number of children aged 5 to 17 working in hazardous conditions has increased by 6.5 million to 79 million, according to the report. 
  • Hazardous labour is defined as labour that is likely to affect a child’s health, safety, or morality. 
  • The number of children engaged in child labour has climbed to 160 million (16 crore) worldwide, up 8.4 million (84 lakh) in the last four years, with millions more at danger owing to COVID-19’s effects.
  • The coronavirus pandemic, according to UNICEF India Representative Dr Yasmin Ali Haque, has definitely emerged as a child rights catastrophe, exacerbating the risk of child labour as many more families are likely to have slipped into extreme poverty. 
  • Children in impoverished and disadvantaged families in India are now at a higher risk of negative coping mechanisms like dropping out of school and being coerced into labour, marriage, and even becoming victims of human trafficking.
  • The illness has taken the lives of children’s parents and caretakers, leaving them destitute and without parental care, she claimed. 
  • These kids are particularly vulnerable to abuse, neglect, and exploitation.
  • The worst-affected region is Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Boys are more susceptible to the disease. At the start of 2020, they will account for 97 million of the 160 million youngsters working as children.
  • The number of youngsters aged 5 to 17 engaged in hazardous jobs has risen. Approximately 79 million youngsters were estimated to be working in hazardous conditions

The ‘Miraculous’ mosquito hack

Scientists claim that a “groundbreaking” study that manipulates the insects that spread dengue virus has reduced incidence by 77%. They utilised mosquitos infected with “miracle” bacteria that inhibit the insect’s capacity to transmit dengue fever. 

The study, which took place in the Indonesian city of Yogyakarta, is now being expanded in the hopes of eradicating the virus. According to the World Mosquito Programme, it could be a cure for a virus that has spread over the globe.

Highlights

  • Dengue fever was unknown 50 years ago, but it has now become a persistent, slow-burning pandemic with a huge increase in cases. 
  • Only nine nations had major dengue outbreaks in 1970; now, up to 400 million people are infected each year. 
  • Dengue fever is sometimes known as “break-bone fever” because it produces severe muscle and bone pain and can overwhelm hospitals in large outbreaks. 
  • Mosquitoes infected with Wolbachia bacteria were employed in the study. Dr. Katie Anders, one of the researchers, describes them as “naturally extraordinary.”
  • Wolbachia does not hurt the mosquito, but it does congregate in the exact areas of its body where the dengue virus needs to enter.
  • Five million Wolbachia-infected mosquito eggs were employed in the study. Every two weeks, eggs were dropped in buckets of water across the city, and the process of infecting a mosquito population took nine months. 
  • The city of Yogyakarta was divided into 24 zones, with mosquitoes released in only half of them. 
  • When the insects were released, there was a 77 percent reduction in cases and an 86 percent drop in those needing hospital care, according to the findings published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
  • The procedure has proven to be so effective that mosquitoes have been dispersed around the city, and the initiative is expanding to other parts of the region in the hopes of eradicating dengue fever. 
  • It means that once Wolbachia has been established, it should be able to guard against dengue infection for a long time. Other control strategies, such as insecticides or the release of huge numbers of sterile male mosquitoes, must be maintained in order to keep the blood-suckers at bay.

Costs of Climate Change in India report- GDP to reduce annually 

According to a report released on Tuesday by the London-based global think tank Overseas Development Institute, India might lose anywhere between 3 and 10% of its GDP yearly by 2100, and its poverty rate might grow by 3.5 percent by 2040 as a result of climate change.

The paper, titled “The Implications of Climate Change in India,” examines the economic costs of climate-related hazards in India and warns that rising inequality and poverty are possible outcomes.

Highlights

  • According to the report, India is already feeling the effects of 1°C of global warming. 
  • Extreme heat waves, heavy rainfall, severe flooding, catastrophic storms, and rising sea levels are wreaking havoc on people’s lives, livelihoods, and properties across the country. 
  • It claims that though India has made rapid progress in raising incomes and living standards over the last three decades, climate change may erase recent development achievements if global action is not taken quickly. 
  • According to the paper, even if global temperatures are kept at two degrees Celsius, India will lose 2.6 percent of its GDP each year, and if global temperatures rise to three degrees Celsius, the loss will be magnified to 13.4% annually.
  • These conclusions are based only on forecasts of temperature and precipitation changes, as well as their impact on labour productivity in various industries. 
  • Increased prevalence of endemic vector-borne diseases such as malaria, dengue, chikungunya, filariasis, Japanese encephalitis, and visceral leishmaniasis may impair labour productivity through multiple pathways as a result of climate change.
  • According to an analysis of the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Mahanadi deltas (where over 60% of farmland and pastureland is devoted to meeting demand from elsewhere), the absence of this activity due to climate change will result in an economic loss of 18–32 percent of GDP.
  • It also suggests that rising disparities are a possibility. “Income and wealth disparities, gender relations, and caste dynamics will almost certainly collide with climate change to sustain and intensify inequalities.”
  • For example, rising cereal prices, decreased agricultural earnings, and slower economic growth due to climate change “may increase India’s national poverty rate by 3.5 percent in 2040 compared to a zero-warming scenario,” according to the report.

U.S. passes bill to address China Tech Threat

The United States Senate approved a wide package of laws aimed at improving the country’s ability to compete with Chinese technology by a vote of 68-32. China expressed its displeasure with being presented as an “imaginary” US adversary in response to the decision. 

One of the few bipartisan views in the extremely divided US Congress, which is narrowly controlled by President Joe Biden’s fellow Democrats, is a desire to take a strong stance in negotiations with China.

Highlights

  • The bill authorises about $190 billion for provisions to strengthen U.S. technology and research, as well as $54 billion for increasing semiconductor and telecommunications equipment production.
  • It also facilitates research in the United States, including $2 billion for chips used by automakers who have faced massive shortages and had to reduce production. 
  • The bill was met with “strong outrage and resolute resistance” in China’s parliament. In a statement, it claimed that the US bill displayed “paranoid delusions of wanting to be the only winner” and had corrupted the basic spirit of invention and competition.
  • Other China-related measures in the bill include preventing the social media app TikTok from being downloaded on government devices and barring the acquisition of drones manufactured and marketed by Chinese government-backed enterprises.
  •  It would also allow diplomats and Taiwanese military personnel to fly their flag and wear their uniforms when on official business in the United States. 
  • It also calls for a review of export limits on products that could be used to assist human rights violations and creates sweeping new obligatory sanctions on Chinese organisations involved in US cyberattacks or theft of US intellectual property from US enterprises.

India – Thailand CORPAT Exercise begins

The Indian and Thai warships began a three-day coordinated patrol in the Andaman Sea on Wednesday, amid mounting alarm about China’s growing maritime presence in the Indian Ocean region. 

Officials stated the 31st edition of the India-Thailand coordinated patrol (CORPAT) will feature the Indian Navy’s offshore patrol vessel INS Saryu and the Thai Navy’s ship Krabi, as well as Dornier maritime patrol aircraft from both militaries. 

Highlights

  • Since 2005, the two navies have conducted CORPAT bi-annually along their international maritime boundary line (IMBL), with the goal of keeping this critical section of the Indian Ocean safe and secure for global trade.
  • The CORPAT facilitates the establishment of measures to prevent and suppress criminal activities such as illegal unreported unregulated (IUU) fishing, drug trafficking, maritime terrorism, armed robbery, and piracy by increasing understanding and interoperability between fleets. 
  • It also contributes to operational synergy by facilitating the exchange of information for the prevention of smuggling, illegal immigration, and the conduct of maritime search and rescue operations. 
  • The Indian Navy has been proactively interacting with countries in the Indian Ocean Region to enhance regional maritime security, in line with the government’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region).
  • The goal of the Malabar exercise has piqued China’s interest, as it believes the yearly war game is an attempt to limit China’s power in the Indo-Pacific area. 
  • The Indian Navy has been proactively engaging with countries in the Indian Ocean Region to enhance regional maritime security through bilateral and multilateral exercises, joint exclusive economic zone surveillance, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief (HADR) operations, under the SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) vision.
  • In recent years, the Indian Navy has significantly increased its presence in the Indian Ocean region.
  • Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian Navy has participated in maritime drills with a number of countries in recent months. India held the Malabar exercise in November of last year. 
  • India urged Australia to participate in the exercise, essentially turning it into a drill involving all four Quad member countries. 
  • The Quad, which consists of India, the United States, Australia, and Japan, is tasked with preserving a free and open Indo-Pacific, an area where Chinese military aggression has grown in recent years.

Centre announces hike in MSP for Kharif Crops

The government increased Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for all mandatory kharif crops for marketing season 2021-22 as the monsoon announced its coming. The sesamum MSP has been increased by 6.59 percent, the most among all crops, while paddy, the main kharif crop, has seen a 3.8 percent increase in floor price. 

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the MSP rise ahead of the kharif season.

Highlights

  • For 2021-22, the MSP for paddy (common) has been enhanced by Rs 72 per quintal, from Rs 1,868 per quintal to Rs 1,940 per quintal. 
  • The MSP of paddy (common) increased by Rs 53 per quintal in the kharif marketing season (KMS) 2020-21. 
  • The increase in paddy (common) MSP for 2021-22 is also bigger in percentage terms than the previous year. 
  • The MSP was claimed by an estimated 1.20 crore paddy farmers last season.
  •  Maize has the lowest MSP rise of all crops, with a 1.08 percent increase from Rs 1,850 per quintal to Rs 1,870 per quintal for 2021-22. 
  • Maize MSP increased by 5.11 percent last year.
  • Moong, a significant pulse crop, had a 1.10 percent increase in MSP, from Rs 7,196 per quintal to Rs 7,275 per quintal. 
  • Moong MSP was hiked by 2.07% last year. The MSP for soybean (yellow) has been increased by 1.80%, from Rs 3,880 to Rs 3,950 per quintal. 
  • The MSP for soybeans was increased by 4.58 percent last year. 
  • Sunflower seed and ragi MSPs have been increased by 2.21 percent and 2.49 percent, respectively, for KMS 2021-22. 
  • The largest increase in MSP, 6.59 percent, was seen in sesamum, which went from Rs 6,855 per quintal to Rs 7,307 per quintal.
  • The MSP for groundnut has been raised by 5.21 percent, from Rs 5,575 to Rs 5,550 per quintal. The price of urad and tur has also increased by 5%.
  • The MSP for bajra has been enhanced by 4.65%, from Rs 2,150 to Rs 2,250 per quintal. However, the bajra MSP raise is smaller in percentage terms than last year, when it was increased by 7.5 percent. The MSP for cotton (medium staple) has been increased by 3.8 percent.

What is MSP?

  • The minimum support price (MSP) is the price at which the government buys grains from farmers. It is a price paid by government entities when purchasing a specific crop. 
  • The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) has suggested MSP for 22 mandated crops and a fair and remunerative price (FRP) for sugarcane.
  • Mandatory crops include 14 kharif crops, 6 rabi crops, and two other commercial crops.

Cabinet allocates 5 MHz spectrum for Indian Railways

The Indian Railways have been granted 5 MHz of spectrum in the premium 700 MHz band by the Union Cabinet in order to improve their communication and signalling systems. Prime Minister Narendra Modi presided over a Cabinet meeting that made the decisions.

The spectrum allocation, according to the railway ministry, will enable secure and dependable voice, video, and data communication services for operational, safety, and security applications.

Highlights

  • Signaling and railway protection systems will benefit from the technology, as well as seamless communication between loco pilots and guards. 
  • It will enable IoT-based remote asset monitoring, particularly of coaches, waggons, and locos, as well as give a live video feed from CCTV cameras in train coaches. 
  • The trains now utilise optical fibre for communication, but with the allocation of new spectrum, they will be able to employ high-speed radio in real time, according to Javadekar during the news conference.
  • Railways will spend 25,000 crore over the next five years to update signals and adopt 5G spectrum. 
  • Rail travel will be safer and faster thanks to collision avoidance technology created by four Indian firms as part of the Make in India project, as well as real-time communication. 
  • TCAS (Train Collision Avoidance System) and ATP (Automatic Train Protection) Systems received approval as well. Railways intends to replace optical fibre with LTE (Long Term Evolution) based Mobile Train Radio Communication on its routes. 
  • Railways can now establish radio communication thanks to the availability of spectrum.
  • According to the ministry, the new system will aid in the prevention of railway crashes, decreasing accidents and maintaining passenger safety.
  • On the recommendations of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, spectrum costs may be imposed using the formula provided by the Department of Telecommunications for Royalty Charges and License Fee for Captive Use.

Long Term Evaluation (LTE) in railways

  • LTE will be deployed in Indian Railways to deliver secure and dependable voice, video, and data communication services for operational, safety, and security purposes.
  •  It will be used for advanced railway protection and signalling systems. LTE enables Internet of Things (IoT)-based remote asset monitoring of coaches, waggons, and locos, as well as seamless communication between loco pilots and guards. 
  • It can also stream live footage from CCTV cameras installed in train coaches, making railway operations safer, more efficient, and faster.

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