Polity & Governance
- Now, e-Postal Ballot System for armed forces voters
- PM launches ‘Urja Ganga’ gas pipeline project
Environment & Ecology
- CO2 level reaches record high in 2016: WMO
Defence & Security Issues
- Forensic auditor probing data breach, only few debit cards misused, says RBI
Science & Technology
- ISRO starts landing tests for Chandrayaan-2 mission
Key Facts for Prelims
- First National Tribal Carnival
- ‘Mobile Air Dispensary’
- 24th To 30th October: Disarmament Week
- China’s micro-satellite- ‘Banxing-2’
Polity & Governance
Now, e-Postal Ballot System for armed forces voters
The government has issued a notification, amending Rule 23 of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961.
- The amendment enables service voters, including armed forces personnel, to cast their vote in elections through e-postal ballot.
How the e-transfer of postal ballot will work?
- Under the e-transfer of postal ballot, the returning officer can send ballot through a web portal with a ‘One Time Password (OTP)’ to voters.
- The voter needs to download the ballot for voting. The voter after voting will physically return the ballot through post.
- It should be noted that two-way e-voting has not been recommended by the Election Commission, citing security and secrecy concerns.
Significance of the move:
- This would cut short the delay experienced in the present system of two-way transmission of ballot paper by the postal services.
- The armed forces personnel serving in remote and border areas would be greatly benefited since the present system of two-way transmission of ballot paper by the postal services has not been able to meet the expectations of the service voters.
- The government had approached the Election Commission to help mitigate the difficulties faced by service voters while exercising their franchise.
- The issue had also come up before the Supreme Court where it was pleaded that an effective mechanism be created for armed forces personnel and their families to exercise their right to vote easily and effectively.
However, e-postal ballot system is introduced on a pilot basis for service voters consisting of armed police forces of Union Government, other forces subject to the provisions of the Army Act, armed forces of a state and those employed under the Union Government in a post outside India.[Ref: TOI]
PM launches ‘Urja Ganga’ gas pipeline project
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone of Urja Ganga, the highly ambitious gas pipeline project in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
Aim of the project:
- The gas pipeline project aims to provide piped cooking (PNG) gas to residents of the eastern region of the country and CNG gas for the vehicles.
- The project is being implemented by state-run gas utility GAIL.
- It envisages laying a 2,050-km pipeline connecting Jagdishpur (UP) to Haldia (West Bengal) by 2018.
- The Urja Ganga project also augments existing GAIL’s network of trunk pipelines covering the length of around 11,000 km by 2540 km.
- Besides, under this project work on 2540-km long Jagdishpur-Haldia and Bokaro-Dhamra Natural Gas pipeline project will begin and will be completed between 2018 and 2020.
- Seven East India cities Varanasi, Jamshedpur, Patna, Ranchi, Kolkata, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack – will be the major beneficiary of this network development.
- Besides, LNG terminal at Dhamra will provide clean fuel to the Industrial Development of the Eastern states of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Odisha.
- 25 industrial clusters in these 5 states will be developed using gas from this pipeline. Besides, 40 districts and 2600 villages will benefit from this project.
Significance of the project:
- The project is considered as a major step towards collective growth and development of the Eastern region of India. Under it, overall 20 lakh households will get PNG connections.
- From Varanasi’s perspective, 50,000 households and 20,000 vehicles will get cleaner and cheaper fuel PNG and CNG gas respectively.
- It will also help in revival of defunct fertilizer plants in Barauni in Bihar, Gorakhpur in UP, Sindri in Jharkhand and Durgapur in West Bengal by supplying gas.
[Ref: Indian Express]
Environment & Ecology
CO2 level reaches record high in 2016: WMO
According to the World Meteorological Organization’s (WMO) annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin, level of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the atmosphere has reached a record high.
- This is for the first time CO2 levels have reached the 400 ppm barrier on a global average basis for the entire year.
- It is expected to surge again to new records in 2016 on the back of the very powerful El Niño event.
- Besides, longest-established GHGs monitoring station at Mauna Loa, Hawaii predicts that CO2 concentrations will stay above 400 ppm for whole of 2016 and not dip below that level for many generations.
- There was a 37% increase in radiative forcing (the warming effect on our climate) because of long-lived GHGs such as CO2, methane and nitrous oxide (N2O) released from industrial, agricultural and domestic activities between 1990 and 2015.
Defence & Security Issues
Forensic auditor probing data breach, only few debit cards misused, says RBI
In the wake of the biggest-ever debit card data breach affecting the Indian banking system, the Reserve Bank of India has clarified that the number of debit cards misused in the recent revelation of fraud was ‘few’.
What’s the recent debit card data breach issue?
- Recently, India’s largest bank, State Bank of India, said it had blocked close to 6 lakh debit cards following a malware-related security breach in a non-SBI ATM network.
- Several other banks, such as Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank, too have admitted being hit by similar cyber attacks — forcing Indian banks to either replace or request users to change the security codes of as many as 3.2 million debit cards over the last two months.
- The issue is currently being investigated by an approved forensic auditor, under PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry-Data Security Standard) framework.
What is PCI-DSS framework?
- The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to optimize the security of credit, debit and cash card transactions and protect cardholders against misuse of their personal information.
Who created it?
- The PCI DSS was created jointly in 2004 by four major credit-card companies: Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.
Requirements for best security practices under PCI DSS:
The PCI DSS standard includes the following 12 requirements for best security practices:
Build and Maintain a Secure Network:
- Install and maintain a firewall configuration to protect cardholder data
- Do not use vendor-supplied defaults for system passwords and other security parameters
Protect Cardholder Data:
- Protect stored cardholder data
- Encrypt transmission of cardholder data across open, public networks
Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program:
- Use and regularly update anti-virus software
- Develop and maintain secure systems and applications
Implement Strong Access Control Measures:
- Restrict access to cardholder data by business need-to-know
- Assign a unique ID to each person with computer access
- Restrict physical access to cardholder data
Regularly Monitor and Test Networks:
- Track and monitor all access to network resources and cardholder data
- Regularly test security systems and processes
Maintain an Information Security Policy:
- Maintain a policy that addresses information security
Science & Technology
ISRO starts landing tests for Chandrayaan-2 mission
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has started a series of ground and aerial tests linked to the critical Moon landing of Chandrayaan-2.
- These tests were started as ISRO’s new site at Challakere in Chitradurga district, 400 km from Bengaluru. This site has simulated craters.
- ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC) is the lead centre for the second Moon mission. It has artificially created close to ten craters to simulate the lunar terrain and test the Lander’s sensors.
- ISAC will conduct many tests including on avionics and electronics, testing the Lander’s legs, followed by a combined full test.
About Chandrayaan-2 mission:
Chandrayaan-2 mission is tentatively set for late 2017 or early 2018.
- It is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission.
- The mission includes an Orbiter, a Lander and a Rover.
- The Orbiter spacecraft will be launched from Sriharikota will travel to the Moon and release the Lander, which will in turn deploy a tiny Rover to roam the lunar surface.
- The mission includes soft-landing on Moon and moving a rover on its surface.
- All three project components will be sending data and pictures to Earth.
Key Facts for Prelims
First National Tribal Carnival
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first National Tribal Carnival in New Delhi.
- Main purpose of this carnival is to promote a sense of inclusiveness amongst the tribals.
- The carnival will showcase and promote various facets of tribal culture on a large scale.
- The underlying idea is to preserve and promote various facets of the tribal life relating to culture, tradition, customs and their skills and to expose it to the general public with a view to utilizing the potential for overall holistic development of the Scheduled Tribes.
‘Mobile Air Dispensary’
- Union Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) has proposed “Mobile Air Dispensary” service for remote and far-flung areas of Northeast.
- The initiative involves a mobile dispensary in a Helicopter with a doctor, necessary equipment and medicines that can fly to remote and far-flung on regular basis and also, as and when required.
- The idea takes its inspiration from “Royal Flying Service of Australia”, popularly known as “Flying Doctors”, which is meant to provide aid and primary health care service in rural and remote areas.
- This initiative is helpful particularly in areas from where patients find it difficult to reach a dispensary. With this, a doctor with dispensary can reach them.
24th To 30th October: Disarmament Week
- Disarmament Week is an annual event that is observed from 24 October to 30 October in various parts of the world.
- The annual observation of the Week starts on the anniversary of the founding of the United Nations, which is observed as the United Nations Day every year on October 24.
- On the occasion, the United Nations invites states to highlight the danger of the arms race, propagate the need for its cessation and increase public understanding of the urgent tasks of disarmament.
- The week was established by the General Assembly in 1978 through resolution S-10/2.
- In 1995, the General Assembly invited governments, as well as NGOs, to continue taking an active part in Disarmament Week.
China’s micro-satellite- ‘Banxing-2’
- Tiangong-2, the experimental space lab of China, has successfully launched a micro-satellite, Banxing-2.
- The micro-satellite is roughly the size of a desktop printer.
- Its mission is to take photographs of Tiangong-2 and the Shenzhou 11 spacecraft.
- The satellite, which the media has nicknamed “Selfie Stick”, also has an infrared camera that is temperature – sensitive.
- With three solar panels, the satellite can also generate enough power to adjust its orbit to shoot pictures of the lab and spacecraft.
- At present, Tiangong-2 is orbiting the Earth with two astronauts on board.