Current Affair Analysis

1st August 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019; Sub-categorisation of the Other Backward Classes (OBC); PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation); Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC); Atal Innovation Mission (AIM); Atal Tinkering Labs; Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR); United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements (UNISA); Procedure of an appointment of Supreme Court judges; Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019; Mission Shakti; Space Debris; US Federal Reserve cut; What is Quantitative Easing (QE)? ISRO’s Technical Liaison Unit (ITLU); Samarth Initiative; Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB); etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
August 01, 2019


Polity & Governance

  • PM reiterates commitment for “Housing for All” by 2022 in PRAGATI meeting
  • Cabinet approves increasing strength of Supreme Court judges from 31 to 34
  • What changes with J&K Reservation Bill
  • Goa planning to reserve 80% jobs in factories for locals

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Rajya Sabha passes amendments to Motor Vehicles Bill

Issues related to Health & Education

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) launches Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC) Program

Social Issues

  • OBC categories commission receives 2-month extension

Bilateral & International Relations

  • US Fed cuts rate for the first time in more than a decade
  • Cabinet approves signing of the UNISA

Science & Technology

  • Cabinet approves setting up of ISRO’s technical liaison unit in Moscow
  • Four Months After ASAT Test, 40% of Debris Still in Orbit

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Samarth Initiative
  • Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)

For IASToppers Current Affairs Analysis Archive, Click Here

Polity & Governance

PM reiterates commitment for “Housing for All” by 2022 in PRAGATI meeting

The Prime Minister chaired his thirtieth interaction through PRAGATI – the ICT-based, multi-modal platform for Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation.




  • PRAGATI (Pro-Active Governance And Timely Implementation) is a unique integrating and interactive platform.
  • The platform is aimed at addressing common man’s grievances, and simultaneously monitoring and reviewing important programmes and projects of the Government of India as well as projects flagged by State Governments.
  • With this, the Prime Minister is able to discuss the issues with the concerned Central and State officials with full information and latest visuals of the ground level situation.
  • The PRAGATI platform uniquely bundles three latest technologies: Digital data management, video-conferencing and geo-spatial technology.
  • It also offers a unique combination in the direction of cooperative federalism since it brings the Secretaries of Government of India and the Chief Secretaries of the States on one stage.

Key features of PRAGATI:

  • It is a three-tier system (PMO, Union Government Secretaries, and Chief Secretaries of the States).
  • Issues to be flagged before the PM are picked up from the available database regarding Public Grievances, on-going Programmes and pending Projects.
  • The system will ride on, strengthen and re-engineer the data bases of the Centralized Public Grievance Redress and Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) for grievances, Project Monitoring Group (PMG) and the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation. PRAGATI provides an interface and platform for all these three aspects.
  • It is also a robust system for bringing e-transparency and e-accountability with real-time presence and exchange among the key stakeholders.
  • The system has been designed in-house by the PMO team with the help of National Informatics Center (NIC).
[Ref: PIB]


Cabinet approves increasing strength of Supreme Court judges from 31 to 34

Against the backdrop of rising cases in the Supreme Court, the Union Cabinet approved increasing the number of judges in the top court from the present 31 to 34, including the Chief Justice of India.

Cabinet approves increasing strength of Supreme Court judges IASToppers


  • Due to the scarcity of judges, the required number of Constitution Benches to decide important cases involving questions of law were not being formed.
  • The move also comes against the backdrop of rising cases in the supreme court which stand at nearly 60,000.


  • The Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Act, 1956 originally provided for a maximum of 10 judges (excluding the CJI). This number was increased to 13 by the Supreme Court (Number of Judges) Amendment Act, 1960 to 17 in 1977.
  • The working strength of the Supreme court was, however, restricted to 15 judges by the Cabinet (excluding the chief Justice of India) till the end of 1979. But the restriction was withdrawn at the request of the Chief Justice of India.
  • In 1986, the strength of the top court was increased to 25, excluding the CJI.
  • It was last amended in 2009 to increase the judges’ strength from 25 to 30 (excluding the CJI).

The procedure of an appointment:

  • The Chief Justice of India (CJI) and the other judges of the highest judiciary are appointed by the President of India under the Article 124 (2) of the Constitution.

Eligibility to become a Supreme Court judge

  • Should be an Indian citizen.
  • Should not exceed 65 years of age
  • Should serve as a judge of one high court or more (continuously), for at least five years or the person should be an advocate in the High court or the Supreme court for at least 10 years or a distinguished jurist.

Selection procedure of Chief Justice of India

  • The senior-most judge of the Supreme court is generally considered for holding the office of the Chief Justice of India.
  • When the incumbent CJI is about to retire, the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company affairs use to seek the recommendation of the CJI to appoint the next CJI.
  • After receiving the recommendation of the CJI, the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company affairs forward the issue to the Prime Minister who will further move the proposal to the President of India for the final approval.

Selection procedure of other judges in SC

  • The selection of the other judges in the top court comes when there is any vacancy.
  • If a judge is about to retire or retires, then the CJI initiates the proposal and sends the recommendation to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company affairs to fill up the seat.
  • The recommendation of the CJI for the appointment of a Judge of the Apex Court should be formed in consultation with a collegium of the four senior most Judges of the Supreme Court.
  • After acknowledging the views of the four judges, the CJI sends the proposal for appointment to the Ministry of Law, Justice and Company affairs, which forwards it to the Prime Minister who further moves the proposal to the President of India for the final approval.
  • After the assent of the President, the Secretary to the Department of Justice is set to announce the appointment and issue the circular in the Gazette of India.

Role and composition of the collegium:

  • The collegium system was commissioned by two judgments of the Supreme Court in the 1990s. It has no mention in the original Constitution of India or its successive amendments.
  • The Supreme Court collegium consists of the four senior-most judges and the Chief Justice.
  • The collegium of the five judges is responsible for a major role in the Indian judiciary which includes the appointment and transfer of the judges of the High Court and the appointment of the Supreme Court judges.
  • The collegium sends its final recommendation to the President of India for approval.
  • The President can either accept it or reject it. In the case it is rejected, the recommendation comes back to the collegium. If the collegium reiterates its recommendation to the President, then he/she is bound by that recommendation.
[Ref: The Hindu, Scroll, Economic Times]


What changes with J&K Reservation Bill

Rajya Sabha passed the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Bill. Passed by Lok Sabha last week, that amends a Presidential Order of 1954 in order to amend the state’s Reservation Act.



About the Ordinance (Temporary Law) of March 2019

  • An ordinance is a temporary law formed when one of the House of Parliament is not in the session.


  • So, in order to provide the benefit of reservation to the people living in areas adjoining International Border and Actual Line of Control, the President on March 1, 2019 promulgated the “Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019”.

About the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019

  • The Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill, 2019, amends the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Act, 2004 and replaces an Ordinance promulgated on March 1, 2019.

Extension of reservation

  • The 2004 Act provides for reservation in appointment and promotions in certain state government posts to persons belonging to socially and educationally backward classes.
  • It defines socially and educationally backward classes to include persons living in areas adjoining the Actual Line of Control.
  • The Bill amends this to include those persons living in areas adjoining the International Border (IB) within the ambit of this reservation.
  • Further, the Act states that any person who has been appointed on the basis of residence in an area adjoining the Line of Control, must serve in such areas for at least seven years.
  • The Bill extends this condition to persons living in areas adjoining the International Border as well.

Exclusion from reservation:

  • The Act states that any person whose annual income exceeds 3 lakh rupees or other amount as notified by the state government, would not be included within socially and educationally backward classes.
  • However, this exclusion does not apply to persons living in areas adjoining the Actual Line of Control.
  • The Bill states that in addition, this exclusion will not apply to persons living in areas adjoining the International Border also.

Significance of the bill:

  • The bill will benefit 3.5 Lakh residents of Jammu, Samba and Kathua districts.
  • The people will get three per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions in line with those living along the Line of Control (LoC).

Need for the amendments:

  • Due to continuous cross border tensions, people living along the international border suffer from socio-economic and educational backwardness.
  • This situation often compels the departure of these residents to other safer places and prevent from having an adverse impact on their economic condition and educational status.
  • Therefore, there was a persistent demand from citizens residing in the areas adjoining the international border to bring them at par with the citizens living in areas adjoining the Actual Line of Control.

What is the controversy?

  • Regional parties said that the government has breached Article 370 while issuing the amendment to the 1954 Presidential Order. The 1954 order is an executive order issued by the President under Article 370 to extend provisions of an Act of Parliament to J&K State, which can be done only with the concurrence of the state government.
  • At the centre of the controversy is the question whether the Governor, in the absence of an elected government, has the authority to give consent to extend a law of Parliament and change the constitutional arrangement between J&K and the Union.
  • The issue of the Governor’s powers was defined by the Supreme Court in Mohammad Maqbool Damnoo versus State of J&K (1972). While dealing with the replacement of an elected Sadr-i-Riyasat (or the Maharaja) with the Centre-appointed Governor, the court observed that a Governor is head of government aided by a council of ministers.


  • Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have termed the amendments “unconstitutional”.
  • The regional parties contend that ‘concurrence’ means the concurrence of an elected government and not that of a nominated government. Hence, it is in contravention of Article 370.
  • They contend that the government means an elected government and that the President cannot seek concurrence of the Governor because the Governor is a representative of the President.
[Ref: Indian Express]


Goa planning to reserve 80% jobs in factories for locals

Taking a leaf from the Andhra Pradesh Assembly, Goa is now planning to reserve 80% jobs in industrial units receiving State government subsidies for people of Goan origin.

  • 80% jobs for Goans will be reserved in the private sector, especially in the industrial units that get various subsidies from the State government, out of which 60% jobs will be on a permanent basis.

For more information on ‘Locals First Policy’ refer to IASToppers’ Rajya Sabha TV Video summary Click Here:

[Ref: The Hindu, India Today]


Government Schemes & Policies

Rajya Sabha passes amendments to Motor Vehicles Bill

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2019 was passed by Rajya Sabha aiming at improving road safety, facilitate citizens in their dealings with transport departments, strengthen rural transport, public transport and last mile connectivity.


Key Amendments of the bill:

Rajya Sabha passes amendments to Motor Vehicles Bill IASToppers

Vehicle Fitness

  • The Bill mandates automated fitness testing for vehicles. This would reduce corruption in the transport department while improving the road worthiness of the vehicle.
  • The testing agencies issuing automobile approvals have been brought under the ambit of the Act and standards will be set for motor vehicle testing institutes.

Compensation for road accident victims:

  • The central government will develop a scheme for cashless treatment of road accident victims during golden hour. The Bill defines ‘golden hour’ as the time period of up to one hour following a traumatic injury, during which the likelihood of preventing death through prompt medical care is the highest.
  • The central government may also make a scheme for providing interim relief to claimants seeking compensation under third party insurance.
  • The Bill increases the minimum compensation for hit and run cases as follows: (i) in case of death, from Rs 25,000 to two lakh rupees, and (ii) in case of grievous injury, from Rs 12,500 to Rs 50,000.

Motor Vehicle Accident Fund

  • The Bill requires the central government to constitute a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India.
  • The fund will be utilized for treatment of persons injured in road accidents as per the golden hour scheme, compensation to representatives of a person who died in a hit and run accident etc.
  • This Fund will be credited through payment of a nature notified by the central government, (ii) a loan made by the central government, (iii) balance of the Solatium Fund (existing fund under the Act to provide compensation for hit and run accidents), or any other source.

Good samaritans:

  • The Bill defines a good samaritan as a person who renders emergency medical or non-medical assistance to a victim at the scene of an accident.
  • Such a person will not be liable for any civil or criminal action for any injury to or death of an accident victim caused due to their negligence in providing assistance to the victim.

Recall of vehicles:

  • The Bill allows the central government to order for recall of motor vehicles if a defect in the vehicle may cause damage to the environment, or the driver or other road users.
  • The manufacturer of the recalled vehicle will be required to reimburse the buyers for the full cost of the vehicle or replace the defective vehicle with another vehicle.

National Transportation Policy:

  • The central government may develop a National Transportation Policy to establish a planning framework for road transport, develop a framework for grant of permits, and specify priorities for the transport system among other things.

Road Safety Board:

  • The Bill provides for the creation of National Road Safety Board to advise the central and state governments on all aspects of road safety and traffic management.

Offences and penalties:

  • The Bill increases penalties for several offences under the Act. For example, the maximum penalty for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has been increased from Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000.
  • If a vehicle manufacturer fails to comply with motor vehicle standards, the penalty will be a fine of up to Rs 100 crore, or imprisonment of up to one year, or both.
  • If a contractor fails to comply with road design standards, the penalty will be a fine of up to one lakh rupees.

Taxi aggregators:

  • The Bill defines aggregators as digital intermediaries or market places which can be used by passengers to connect with a driver for transportation purposes (taxi services).
  • These aggregators will be issued licenses by state. Further, they must comply with the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Analysis of the bill:

  • With a Fund already existing to provide compensation for hit and run accidents, the purpose of the new Accident Fund is unclear.
  • State governments will issue licenses to taxi aggregators as per central government guidelines. Currently, state governments determine guidelines for plying of taxis. There could be cases where state taxi guidelines are at variance with the central guidelines on aggregators.
  • While the penalties for contravening provisions of the proposed scheme on interim relief to accident victims are specified in the Bill, the offences that would warrant such penalties have not been specified. It may be argued that imposing penalties without knowing the nature of the offences is unreasonable.
  • States also have concerns about their powers being curtailed in the Motor Vehicle (Amendment) Bill.
[Ref: PIB, Live Mint]


Issues related to Health & Education

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) launches Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC) Program

the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), flagship initiative of NITI Aayog, launched the Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC) program.


About the Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC):

  • The purpose of ACIC is to enable establishment of socially inclusive innovation ecosystem as well as to encourage equitable distribution of necessary infrastructure for stimulating innovation across the country.


  • The program would focus in over 484 districts, located in unserved/underserved regions of India.
  • ACIC program will be connected to every Panchayati Raj Institutions to help innovators become part of the policy framework and leverage their creativity to translate their products/ services into innovation led commercial utilization for society.
  • It will encourage innovation in domestic power sector by using non-fossil and sustainable sources of energy.
  • ACIC will be established either in PPP mode or with support of PSUs and other agencies.
  • The maximum grant-in-aid support form AIM will be up to 2.5 crores subject following compliance to ACIC guidelines and contributing matching form the host institutions and their funding partner(s).

About Atal Innovation Mission (AIM):

Atal Community Innovation Centre (ACIC) Program1 IASToppers

  • AIM is flagship initiative to promote culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in country.
  • Its sub-schemes include establishing Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) and Atal Incubation Centers (AICs), for providing scaling up support to Established Incubation Centres.
  • It also includes finding ultra-low cost solution to India’s most intractable problems through Atal Grand Challenges and Atal Vikas Challenges.


  • Develop new programmes and policies for fostering innovation in different sectors of economy.
  • Provide platform and collaboration opportunities for different stakeholders, create awareness.
  • Create umbrella structure to oversee innovation ecosystem of the country.

Functions of AIM:

  • Entrepreneurship promotion through Self-Employment and Talent Utilization, wherein innovators would be supported and mentored to become successful entrepreneurs.
  • Innovation promotion to provide a platform where innovative ideas are generated.


  • The Mission has undertaken many bold and forward-looking initiatives such as Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) and Atal Incubation Centres (AIC), which have received great traction;
  • Many Ministries/Departments of Government of India have initiated innovation related activities with the help and technical support of AIM.
  • Under the ATL program, more than 10,000 schools are expected to establish these labs by 2020.
  • More than 100 Atal Incubation Centres (AICs) are likely to established around the country, supporting at least 50-60 startups each over the first five years.
  • More than 100 innovators/startups are expected to receive some support for productizing their innovations.
  • Each incubator is expected to foster 50-60 technology driven innovative Startups every four years.
  • The potential for employment generation from these innovations driven Startups is quite high.

What are Atal Tinkering Labs?

Tinkering Labs IASToppers

  • With a vision to ‘Cultivate one Million children in India as Neoteric Innovators’, Atal Innovation Mission established Atal Tinkering Laboratories (ATLs) in schools across India.

Key Features of ATL:

  • ATL is a work space where young minds can give shape to their ideas through hands on do-it-yourself mode; and learn innovation skills.
  • Young children will get a chance to work with tools and equipment to understand the concepts of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).
  • ATL would contain educational and learning ‘do it yourself’ kits and equipment on – science, electronics, robotics, open source microcontroller boards, sensors and 3D printers and computers.

Financial Support:

  • AIM will provide grant-in-aid that includes a one-time establishment cost of Rs. 10 lakh and operational expenses of 10 lakhs for a maximum period of 5 years to each ATL.


  • Schools (Grade VI – XII) managed by Government, local body or private trusts/society to set up ATL
[Ref: PIB]


Social Issues

OBC categories commission receives 2-month extension

A commission appointed in 2017 to examine the sub-categorisation of the Other Backward Classes (OBC) has been given a two-month extension by President.

cindiafotosher-bahadur-deuba- IASToppers


  • Article 14 of the Constitution guarantees equality before the law. That means un-equals cannot be treated equally. Measures are required to be taken for the upliftment of un-equals to bring them on par with the advanced classes.

National-Commission-for-Backward-Classes-NCBC IASToppers

  • In view of this, the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) proposed the sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes (OBCs) back in 2015.
  • In October 2017, President Ram Nath Kovind, in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 340 of the Constitution, appointed a commission to examine the issue of sub-categorisation of OBCs, chaired by retired Justice G. Rohini, to ensure social justice in an efficient manner by prioritising the Extremely Backward Classes (EBCs).

About the commission:

  • A commission was constituted in 2017 under Article 340 of the constitution to examine the issue of Sub-categorization within other Backward Classes in the Central List.
  • The extension was given by six months beyond 31st July, 2019 and up to 31st January, 2020.

Objective of the commission:

  • To identify the respective castes or communities or sub-castes or synonyms in the Central List of OBCs and classifying them into their respective sub-categories.
  • Working out the mechanism, criteria, norms and parameters in a scientific approach for sub-categorization within OBCs.

To know more about Sub-categorization of Other Backward Classes (OBCs), refer IASToppers’ Mains Article Click here:

[Ref: PIB, The Hindu]


Bilateral & International Relations

US Fed cuts rate for the first time in more than a decade

As widely expected, the US Federal Reserve cut the interest rates by 0.25 per cent for the first time since 2008 to insulate the economy from a global slowdown and escalating trade tensions.


Reason for lowering interest rates:

  • Adverse implications of global developments for the economic outlook
  • Muted inflation pressures
  • Trade war with china

What is Quantitative Easing (QE)?

  • QE is a monetary policy where the central banks purchases government securities or other securities from the market in order to increase the money supply and encourage lending and investment.
  • Following the 2008 economic crisis, the US Fed had decided to follow a policy of quantitative easing (QE).

Impact on India:

  • A rate cut in the US is good for emerging market economies and is projected to catalyse a debt and equity market rally in countries such as India.
  • Typically, emerging economies such as India tend to have higher inflation and thereby higher interest rates than those in developed countries such as the US and Europe.
  • As a result, FIIs would want to borrow money in the US at low-interest rates in dollar terms and then invest that money in bonds of emerging countries such as India in Rupee terms to earn a higher rate of interest.
  • When the US Fed cuts its interest rates, the difference between interest rates of the two countries increases, thus making India more attractive for the currency carry trade.
[Ref: Business Standard]


Cabinet approves signing of the UNISA

The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements (UNISA) resulting from mediation by the Republic of India scheduled to be held at Singapore on 7th August, 2019, or at United Nations Headquarters.




  • Signing of the Convention will boost the confidence of the investors and shall provide a positive signal to foreign investors about India’s commitment to adhere to international practice on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR).

Initiatives to promote ADR Mechanisms:

  • In order to encourage international commercial arbitration in India, the Government is establishing the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) as a statutory body.
  • These initiatives are being taken with a view to encourage the settlement of commercial disputes, domestic and international, in India through ADR Mechanism of Arbitration, Conciliation and Mediation.


  • For this, the amendments in the Commercial Courts Act, 2015 (addition of mandatory pre-institution mediation and settlement in certain category of cases) and Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 is currently underway.

About United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements (UNISA)

  • The United Nations General Assembly adopted the United Nations Convention on International Settlement Agreements Resulting from Mediation in 2018.
  • The General Assembly authorized that the Convention will open for signature at a signing ceremony to be held in August 2019 in Singapore and will be known as the “Singapore Convention on Mediation” (the Convention).
  • The Convention provides a uniform framework for the enforcement of international settlement agreements resulting from mediation and for allowing parties to invoke such agreements, similar to the framework that the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention, 1958) provides for arbitral awards.
  • The Convention defines two additional grounds upon which a court may, on its own motion, refuse to grant relief. Those grounds relate to the fact that a dispute would not be capable of settlement by mediation or would be contrary to public policy.
[Ref: PIB]


Science & Technology

Cabinet approves setting up of ISRO’s technical liaison unit in Moscow

The Union Cabinet approved the setting up of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)’s Technical Liaison Unit (ITLU) in Moscow, Russia.



  • The establishment of the unit will help ISRO develop some of the key technologies and specialised facilities, which will help to support life in space.


India’s Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile


  • It is important for India to avail technical cooperation from international space agencies, which have already demonstrated their technical capabilities.
  • Russia is one of the space-faring nations and hence it is envisaged to collaborate with Russia extensively in various fields of relevance.


  • The step comes amid the ISRO’s cooperation with Russia on the Gaganyaan project, India’s human space mission programme.
  • ISRO already has its ITLU units active in Washington, USA, and Paris, France.
  • The main agenda of these establishments is to liaise with various government and space agencies in the USA and Europe, respectively.
[Ref: India Today]


Four Months After ASAT Test, 40% of Debris Still in Orbit

Four months after India successfully tested its anti-satellite (ASAT) capabilities, experts tracking the debris created by the Mission Shakti have reported that 40% of it has still not decayed.


Debris generated due to Mission Shakti:

  • NASA claimed that debris from the ASAT test of Mission Shakti threatened the International Space Station (ISS).
  • The experts say that the, even after more than 120 days of Mission Shakti, around 40% of the debris is still in orbit.
  • Some argue that the test was conducted in a less responsible way than originally claimed. Some of the debris generated by test had much longer orbital lifetimes up to 10-times longer.
  • However, India said that the Mission Shakti was conducted to intercept a satellite at about 280 km to minimize the threat of space debris, adding that it would decay within 45 days.

To know more about Mission Shakti, refer to IASToppers’ Mains Article Click here:

What is Space Debris?

  • Space debris, also called space junk, are artificial material that is orbiting Earth but is no longer functional.
  • This material can be as large as a discarded rocket stage or as small as a microscopic chip.


  • There is almost 7,000 tons of active space debris, from old satellites and spacecraft to lost components and spent rocket parts, orbiting Earth at any given moment.
  • Much of the debris is in low Earth orbit, within 2,000 km of Earth’s surface; however, some debris can be found in geostationary orbit 35,786 km above the Equator.

About Remove debris Project:

  • Launched in April 2018, Remove DEBRIS is a satellite research project intending to demonstrate various space debris removal technologies.
  • The mission is led by the Surrey Space Centre from the University of Surrey, England.


  • Half of the project is funded by European Commission while the other half is coming from the 10 partners involved.
  • It carried two small satellite. The main satellite demonstrates the laser ranging (Lidar) and camera technology needed to monitor and characterize debris in orbit; the other satellite will try to capture the debris with a net.
  • The sharp projectile (harpoon) will be fired at debris to learn more about how such devices move and impact a surface in micro-gravity.

Other steps to tackle the issue of Space debris:

Space Debris Sensor:

  • Nasa’s Space Debris Sensor orbits the Earth on the International Space Station.
  • The sensor was attached to the outside of the space station’s European Columbus module in December 2017.
  • It will detect millimetre-sized pieces of debris for at least two years, providing information on whatever hits it such as size, density, velocity, orbit and will determine whether the impacting object is from space or a man-made piece of space debris.

Deorbit mission:

  • There are two emerging technologies being developed under what’s known as the e.Deorbit mission to grasp the wayward space junk, or to catch it.

Laser beam:

  • Other technologies include moving objects with a powerful laser beam.
  • It is important to start doing that soon, current scientific estimates predict that without active debris removal, certain orbits will become unusable over the coming decades.
[Ref: Live Mint, The Wire, BBC]


Key Facts for Prelims

Samarth Initiative

  • Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart launched Samarth, an initiative to bring Indian artisans, weavers, and makers of handicrafts to its platform.


  • It will support artisans, weavers and handicraft maker by on-boarding them and helping them in process of selling on internet.


Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)

  • NCB is a nodal intelligence and drug law enforcement agency of the country.
  • It was established in 1986.

narcotics-control-bureau IASToppers

  • It functions under the aegis of Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and is responsible for fighting drug trafficking and abuse of illegal substances.
  • It was founded to enable full implementation of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985 and fight its violation by Prevention of Illicit Trafficking in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1988.
  • It is headquartered in New Delhi.


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