Current Affairs Analysis

27th September 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

'Thackeray's cat snake'; Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban); National Population Register (NPR); Quad or Quadrilateral grouping; World Tourism Day 2019; World Tourism Organization (UNWTO); ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)’; High Temperature Fuel Cell System; Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cell OR Proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells; High Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (HTPEM) Technology; New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI); Project Network for space object Tracking and Analysis (NETRA); Space Debris; Forest-PLUS 2.0; Forest-PLUS 1.0; New IPCC report; Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere; “Voluntary Code of Ethics”; Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (SSB) prize;Cat Snack; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
September 27, 2019

Contents

Polity & Governance

  • IAMAI has agreed to observe the Voluntary Code of Ethics

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Cumulative no of Houses Sanctioned Under PMAY(U) now more than 90 Lakhs
  • The National Population Register, and the controversy around it
  • Farmers can now register themselves for PM-Kisan

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Centre, US agency launch Forest-PLUS 2.0
  • New IPCC report warns of dire threat to oceans
  • ‘Thackeray’s cat snake’

Bilateral & International Relations

  • India’s fine balancing act with Quad and BRICS meet in New York

Science & Technology

  • First Indigenous Fuel Cell System launched on CSIR Foundation Day
  • ISRO initiates ‘Project NETRA’ to safeguard Indian space assets from debris and other harm

Key Facts for Prelims

  • World Tourism Day 2019
  • President Announces Names of Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award Recipients

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Polity & Governance

IAMAI has agreed to observe the Voluntary Code of Ethics

Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has agreed to observe the “Voluntary Code of Ethics” during all future elections including the ongoing General Elections to the Haryana & Maharashtra legislative assemblies.

Voluntary-Code-of-Ethics”-by-Social-Media-Platforms-IASToppers

Key features of “Voluntary Code of Ethics”:

  • Social Media platforms will voluntarily undertake information, education and communication campaigns to build awareness including electoral laws and other related instructions
  • Social Media platforms have created a high priority dedicated grievance redressal channel for taking expeditions action on the cases reported by the ECI.
  • ECI can notify the relevant social media platforms of potential violations of Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and other electoral laws.
  • Platforms will ensure that all political advertisements on their platforms are pre-certified from the Media Certification and Monitoring Committees as per the directions of Hon’ble Supreme Court.
  • Participating platforms are committed to facilitate transparency in paid political advertisements, including utilising their pre-existing labels/disclosure technology for such advertisements.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Government Schemes & Policies

Cumulative no of Houses Sanctioned Under PMAY(U) now more than 90 Lakhs

Under PMAY (U), the 47th Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) has approved 630 proposals from 10 States for construction of 1.23 lakh houses.

  • With the approval of these proposals, cumulative sanctions of houses under PMAY(U)- mission has achieved milestone of more than 90 Lakh houses against the demand of 1.12 crore.

About Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban)

Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban)

  • Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana is an initiative by Government of India under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in which affordable housing will be provided to the urban poor.
  • The PMAY (U) mission was launched in June 2015 with the aim to provide houses to every eligible urban household in India by the year 2022.
  • It will be implemented as Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) except for the component of credit linked subsidy which will be implemented as a Central Sector Scheme.

Components of the PMAY (U)

Components of the PMAY (U

  1. Beneficiary led Construction (BLC)
  2. Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS)
  3. Affordable Housing in Partnership (AHP)
  4. In-Situ Slum Redevelopment (ISSR)

Features of PMAY(U)

Project-Proposals-for-47th-CSMC-Under-PMAY-IASToppers

  • Subsidy of 6.5% on home loan interest rate for a term of 20 years.
  • The credit linked subsidy up to Rs 6 lakhs. Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) and National Housing Bank (NHB) are the Central Nodal Agencies (CNAs) to channelize this subsidy.
  • Compulsory ground floor housing accommodation for senior citizens and the differently-abled.
  • Mandatory use of eco-friendly materials for building construction.
  • Extending scheme coverage to include all urban areas in India.
  • Encouraging women to become home owners by making it mandatory to register a property with both the male and female heads of family unless there is no female family member.

Beneficiaries

  • Economically Weaker Section (EWS):Annual household income less than Rs.3 lakh.
  • Light Income Group (LIG):Annual household income ranging between Rs.3 lakh to 6 lakh.
  • Medium Income Group (MIG1):Annual household income below Rs.12 lakh fall
  • Medium Income Group (MIG2):Annual household income between Rs.12 to Rs.18.
  • Minorities:People hailing from minority groups like SC/ST/OBC will fall under minorities.
  • Women: Women belonging to EWS/LIG categories will be considered under PMAY scheme.
  • EWS category of beneficiaries is eligible for assistance in all four components of the Missions whereas LIG and MIG categories are eligible under only Credit linked subsidy scheme (CLSS) component of the Mission.

Coverage:

  • The scheme focuses to cover the entire urban area consisting of all statutory towns and areas including Notified Planning/ Development Area/ Industrial Development Authority/Special Area Development Authority/ Urban Development Authority or any such Authority under the State legislation which is entrusted with the functions of urban planning and regulations.

Implementation:

  • Phase I (April 2015 – March 2017) to cover 100 Cities selected from States/UTs as per their willingness.
  • Phase II (April 2017 – March 2019) to cover additional 200 Cities
  • Phase III (April 2019 – March 2022) to cover all other remaining Cities

Ownership of houses:

  • House is to be allotted in the name of adult female member or in joint name and all houses to have toilet facility, drinking water and power supply. Preference is given to persons with disabilities, ST/ SC/ OBCs, minorities and transgender.
[Ref: PIB]

 

The National Population Register, and the controversy around it

The-National-Population-Register,-and-the-controversy-around-it1-IASToppers

In the backdrop of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam excluding 19 lakhs among the 3.3 crore who had applied, the resurrection of the National Population Register (NPR) project has added to the uncertainty around the idea of citizenship in the country.

What is National Register of Citizens (NRC)?

  • The NRC was introduced to identify illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and recognise the Indian citizens in Assam.
  • It was first prepared in 1951 and Assam is the only state having this arrangement.
  • Under NRC, immigrants who have documents proving that they entered Assam before 1971 will be considered Indian citizens and others have to show that they their ascendants have lived in Assam even before 1971.
  • The Final NRC was published on 31 August 2019. Out of more than 3 crores persons who applied, more than 19 lakhs were excluded from the NRC list.

What is the National Population Register (NPR)?

NPR-IASToppers

  • The NPR is a list of ‘usual residents of the country’. A usual resident of the country is one who has been residing in a local area for at least the last six months, or intends to stay in a particular location for the next six months.
  • The idea of NPR was mooted by then Home Minister in 2009. The data for the NPR were first collected in 2010 in Census 2011. In 2015, this data was further updated by conducting a door-to-door survey.
  • The NPR is being prepared under provisions of the Citizenship Act 1955 and the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and issue of National Identity Cards) Rules, 2003.
  • It is mandatory for every usual resident of India to register in the NPR.
  • Unlike the NRC, the NPR would record even a foreigner staying in a locality for more than six months.
  • It will be conducted by the Office of the Registrar General of India (RGI) under the Home Ministry in conjunction with the first phase (house listing phase) of the 2021 Census.
  • Only Assam will not be included, given the recently completed NRC.
  • The NPR exercise is conducted at the local, sub-district, district, state and national levels. The final NPR will begin in April 2020 and end in September 2020.

Components of NPR:

  • The NPR database would contain demographic as well as biometric details.
  • As per the provisions of the NPR, a resident identity card (RIC)will be issued to individuals over the age of 18.
  • This will be a chip-embedded smart card containing the demographic and biometric attributes of each individual.
  • The UID number will also be printed on the card.

Significance of NRP

Every country must have a comprehensive identity database of its residents with relevant demographic details.

NRP will,

  • help the government formulate its policies better and also aid national security.
  • help target government beneficiaries in a better way and further cut down paperwork in a similar manner that Aadhaar has done.
  • streamline data of residents across various platforms.
  • help residents to not to show various proofs of age, address and other details in official work.
  • eliminate duplication in voter lists

What is the controversy around it?

  • NPR comes in the backdrop of the NRC excluding 19 lakh people in Assam.
  • Even as a debate continues on Aadhaar and privacy, the NPR intends to collect a much larger amount of personal data on residents of India.
  • The idea of conducting a nationwide NRC would only happen on the basis of the upcoming NPR. After a list of residents is created, a nationwide NRC could go about verifying the citizens from that list.
  • There is yet no clarity on the mechanism for protection of this vast amount of data.

What kind of data will NPR collect?

National-Register-of-Citizens-NRC-for-assam-IASToppers

  • The NPR will collect both demographic data and biometric data.
  • Demographic data: It 15 categories, ranging from name and place of birth to education and occupation.
  • Biometric data: It will depend on Aadhaar, for which it will seek Aadhaar details of the residents.
  • Apart from this, in a test run going on across the country, the RGI is seeking details of mobile number, Aadhaar, PAN card, Driving Licence, Voter ID card and passport.
  • While registering with the NPR is mandatory, giving additional data such as PAN, Aadhaar, driving licence and voter ID is
  • In the 2010 exercise, the RGI had collected only demographic details. In 2015, it updated the data further with the mobile, Aadhaar and ration card numbers of residents. In the 2020 exercise, it has dropped the ration card number but added other categories.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Farmers can now register themselves for PM-Kisan

Farmers from West Bengal will not benefit from the PM-Kisan portal for self-registration.

Farmers-can-now-register-themselves-for-PM-Kisan1-IASToppers

What is the issue?

  • Recently, the government opened the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) portal for self-registration by farmers.
  • Farmers who have not been enrolled can use the opportunity to register themselves. Besides, the enrolled farmers can access the portal to check about disbursements made to their accounts.
  • Hence, this drive is aimed at increasing the saturation as the government feels that a large number of farmers are missing out on benefits of PM-Kisan.
  • However, farmers from West Bengal, the State that has refused to implement the scheme, will still not benefit from the move as Farmers from West Bengal may be able to register on the portal, but their names need to be cleared by the State administration to make them eligible for the PM-Kisan scheme.

About the PM-KISAN

In the Interim budget of 2019-20, Government has announced the ‘Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)’ for providing an assured income support to the small and marginal farmers.

Highlights of Programme

Highlights of Programme iastopeprsUnder this programme, vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs. 6,000 per year.

  • This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal instalments of Rs. 2,000 each.
  • This programme will be funded by Government of India.
  • This programme will entail an annual expenditure of Rs. 75,000 crores.

Small and marginal landholder family comprises of

  • Husband, wife and minor children up to 18 years of age, who collectively own cultivable land up to two hectare as per the land records of the concerned states.

Significance of Programme

Significance of Programme

  • Around 12 crore small and marginal farmer families are expected to benefit.
  • PM-KISAN would not only provide assured supplemental income to the most vulnerable farmer families, but would also meet their emergent needs especially before the harvest season.
  • PM-KISAN would pave the way for the farmers to earn and live a respectable living.

Implementation

Implementation

  • So far, over 8 crore Indian farmers have been enrolled in PM-Kisan, even though there are around 14.5 crore landholding farmers in India.

  • Among the States where the enrolment is less than half are Madhya Pradesh (49 per cent), Tamil Nadu (47 per cent), Kerala (40 per cent) and Bihar (26 per cent).
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Centre, US agency launch Forest-PLUS 2.0

US Agency for International Development (USAID) and India’s Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) officially launched Forest-PLUS 2.0.

Centre,-US-agency-launch-Forest-PLUS-2-IASToppers

What is Forest-PLUS 2.0?

  • It is a five-year programme initiated in 2018 that focuses on developing tools to bolster ecosystem management and harnessing ecosystem services in forests.
  • Tetra Tech ARD, a US company, was given the contract to implement the programme. IORA Ecological Solutions, an Indian environmental advisory group, is its implementation partner.
  • Forest-PLUS 2.0 comprises pilot project in Gaya (Bihar), Thiruvananthapuram (Kerala) and Medak (Telangana).

Objectives

  • Developing tools for multiple services in forests management which includes innovative apps for automating forest planning processes, model forest management plans etc.
  • Developing incentive-based instruments for leveraging finance. For example, a payment mechanism where a municipality/industry would pay upstream forest communities to use water flowing down because of improved forest management.
  • Modelling and setting up conservation enterprises and mobilising investment from the private sector.

About Forest-PLUS 1.0

  • Introduced in 2012, It was focused on capacity building to help India participate in Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+).
  • It included four pilot projects in Sikkim (Promotion of bio-briquettes) Rampur (introduction of solar heating systems), Shivamogga and Hoshangabad (development of an agro-forestry model).
[Ref: Down To Earth]

 

New IPCC report warns of dire threat to oceans

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere that underlined the dire changes taking place in oceans, glaciers and ice-deposits on land and sea.

New-IPCC-report-warns-of-dire-threat-to-oceans1-IASToppers

  • It is the first report that discusses the effects of climate change on oceans and parts of the Earth frozen in ice, collectively known as the cryosphere.

Highlights of Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere

Almost three-quarters of Earth’s surface is covered by ocean, and another 10% is covered by ice sheets and glaciers.

Absorption of heat and emissions by oceans

IPCC-SPECIAL-REPORT-ON-OCEANS-1-IASTopp[ers

  • The ocean has absorbed about 20-30% of humans’ carbon emissions since the 1980s, causing the ocean’s pH to decline and become more acidic. In addition, the rate of ocean warming has more than doubled since 1993.

Impacts of absorption of heat and emission

  • Marine heatwaves, prolonged periods of extreme ocean warmth, are becoming more extensive that reduces species diversity.
  • Large-scale coral bleaching events have increased in frequency over the past two decades due to warming.
  • Sea level rise has accelerated over the past few decades, given increased ice loss from Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and from thermal expansion of ocean water. The rate of sea level rise from 2006-2015 was 2.5 times that of 1901-1990.

Faster warming

Even with only 1 degrees C of global warming to date, the cryosphere has been adversely impacted.

For example:

  • The Arctic’s older, thicker sea ice, which acts as a bastion against melting of other sea ice, has almost completely disappeared.
  • All mountain regions have seen a decline in depth, extent and duration of snow cover.
  • The Arctic has warmed more than double the global average in the last two decades.
  • From 2007 to 2016, permafrost temperatures increased by about 0.3 degrees C, a record level of warming for permafrost. Arctic and boreal permafrost contains huge carbon. When it melts, that carbon is emitted into the atmosphere, fueling more warming.

Projections for the cryosphere

  • Even in a low emissions scenario, glacier mass is expected to decline by about 18%-36% by the end of the century.
  • Irrespective of future emissions trajectory, average winter snow depth in low-elevation mountain areas will decrease.
  • Species will decline at higher elevations as their ranges contract and glaciers and snow disappear.
  • Low-lying cities and small islands are expected to experience extreme sea level events such as storm surges.

Suggestions

  • Aggressive adaptation efforts will help in delay many disastrous events. For example, changing fishery management practices can help maintain fish and shellfish populations and Investments in early warning systems can assist coastal communities facing natural disasters.
  • The potential of ocean-based renewable energy (offshore wind farms and energy from wave and tidal systems)
  • Decarbonizing marine transport through energy efficiency and alternative fuels;
  • Restoring and protecting “blue carbon” ecosystems such as mangroves, salt marshes and seagrasses; Low-carbon ocean-based sources of food.

Conclusion

  • The ocean and cryosphere play a vital role in supporting all life on Earth, and this role has been largely taken for granted until now.
  • If we are to protect our coastal communities and marine ecosystems, curb food insecurity, maintain tourism, recreation and trade, we need to act now and rapidly curb our emissions.
[Ref: The Hindu, First Post]

 

‘Thackeray’s cat snake’

A new species of snakes has been discovered in the Western Ghats in Maharashtra and named after Tejas Thackeray, the younger son of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray, for his contribution to the find.

About the newly discovered snack

newly discovered snack

  • The new species was named ‘Thackeray’s cat snake’ (Boiga thackerayi) on account of Tejas Thackeray’s contribution to the discovery.
  • The new species was found in the Koyna region of Satara district in western Maharashtra.
  • This species falls in the category commonly called as ‘cat snakes’ and belong to the genus Boiga.
  • Snakes belonging to this genus are distributed across India, but a few species are endemic to the Western Ghats.
  • This new snake is arboreal, mostly seen close to forest streams, and is active during the night.
  • It is non-venomous and is known to grow up to three feet in length. It feeds on eggs of Humayun’s night frog (Nyctibatrachushumayuni).

About Cat Snack

  • Cat snake are snakes in the family Colubridae with eyes having vertically elliptical pupils.
  • They are non-venomous. They can be seen on all continents except Antarctica.
  • By day their pupils are contracted to narrow vertical slits, but as night falls the pupils expand to a nearly circular shape to let in as much light as possible.

Major groups of cat snack

  • Eurasian cat snakes: can be seen in dry regions of southeastern Europe, southwestern Asia, and northern Africa.
  • Old World cat snake: it includes Boiga, which is mainly distributed through Southeast Asia and the East Indies.
  • Cat-eyed snakes of the New World tropics: Found in dry habitats from Mexico to Argentina.
[Ref: Economic Times]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

India’s fine balancing act with Quad and BRICS meet in New York

India has engaged in a fine balancing act engaging Quadrilateral or Quad states and BRICS members on the sidelines of UNGA in New York.

India's-fine-balancing-act-with-Quad-and-BRICS-meet-in-New-York1-IASToppers

Key takeaways of the meet:

  • The Ministers met to discuss cooperation on counter-terrorism, mentoring, assistance in disaster relief, airtime security, cooperation, development, finance and cybersecurity efforts etc.
  • The Quad countries were “resolute” in their view of the centrality of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in South East Asia.

What is Quad or Quadrilateral grouping?

  • The idea of Quad or Quadrilateral grouping was first proposed by Japanese prime minister in 2007.
  • Quad group has 4 countries: India, Australia, USA and Japan
  • The grouping aims to be a grouping of countries all looking to balance China, using an international rules-based order to counter China’s aggressive power play. It also aims to provide alternative debt financing for countries in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Quad was ceased following the withdrawal of Australia. However, during the 2017 ASEAN Summits all four former members rejoined in negotiations to revive the quadrilateral alliance.

 [Ref: Economic Times]

 

Science & Technology

First Indigenous Fuel Cell System launched on CSIR Foundation Day 

The President of India unveiled the first Indigenous High Temperature Fuel Cell System on the occasion of CSIR Foundation Day.

First-Indigenous-Fuel-Cell-System-launched-onCSIR-Foundation-Day-IASToppers

About High Temperature Fuel Cell System

  • It was developed, under Public-Private Partnership (PPP), by Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in partnership with Indian industries under India’s flagship program named New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI).
  • This Fuel Cells developed are based on High Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (HTPEM) Technology.
  • The fuel cell system (5.0 kW) generates power using methanol / bio-methane, with heat and water as by-products for further use.
  • It has greater than 70% efficiency which otherwise may not be possible by other energy sources.

Application and significance

  • This type of cell is most suitable for distributed stationary power applications like; for small offices, commercial units, data centers etc.; where highly reliable power is essential with simultaneous requirement for air-conditioning.
  • This system will also meet the requirement of efficient, clean and reliable backup power generator for telecom towers, remote locations and strategic applications as well.
  • It will replace Diesel Generating (DG) sets and help reduce India’s dependence on crude oil.

What is a Polymer Electrolyte Membrane (PEM) fuel cell OR Proton-exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cells?

(PEM) fuel cells

  • It an electrochemical device that converts the chemical energy of hydrogen into electrical energy and heat.
  • The core part of a PEM fuel cell is the membrane electrode assembly (MEA) where the electrochemical reaction takes place. MEA is consisted of an electrolyte medium (polymer membrane) between two electrodes, the anode and the cathode.

How it works?

  • Hydrogen gas is fed to the anode compartment where it is oxidized to protons and electrons. Protons are moving through the electrolyte (polymer membrane) to the cathode, while electrons (electric current) reach cathode. At the cathode, protons, electrons and air are producing water and heat.

Advantage of High temperate

  • Conventional polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells operate at relatively low temperatures, around 80°C. Though Low-temperature operation is quick to start, it can have CO (carbon monoxide) poisoning.

The operation of PEM fuel cells at temperatures above 150°C offers significant advantages compared to the conventional PEM fuel cells such as:

  • High CO tolerance
  • No need for humidified gases
  • High power-to-volume ratio
  • Reduced complexity
  • Low cost

About High Temperature Proton Exchange Membrane (HTPEM) Technology

  • High Temperature Proton-Exchange-Membrane (HTPEM) fuel cells run above 150 °C.
  • These are simple and cost effective fuel cell systems that can operate on fuel sources such as natural gas, propane, and methanol.

About Direct-methanol fuel cells (DMFCs)

  • Direct-methanol fuel cells are a subcategory of PEM fuel cells in which methanol is used as the fuel.
  • Their main advantage is the ease of transport of methanol and reasonably stable liquid at all environmental conditions.
  • Efficiency is quite low for these cells, hence they are used for portable applications, where energy and power density are more important than efficiency.

About New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI)

  • The New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI) is the largest public-private-partnership effort within the R&D domain in India.
  • NMITLI has projects in Agriculture & Plant Biotechnology, General Biotechnology, Bioinformatics, Drugs & Pharmaceuticals, Chemicals, Materials etc.

Objective

  • To catalyse scientific developments as a vehicle to attain for Indian industry a global leadership position by synergising the best competencies of publicly funded R&D institutions, academia and private industry.

Features of the Programme

  • Instead of funding a project based applications, the programme identifies the areas for development based on consultation.
  • It has two types of programme: i) Nationally Evolved Projects (NEP) and (ii) Industry Originated Projects (IOP).
  • Almost all projects are built in a public-private partnership
  • A two-tier tight monitoring system (internal Steering Committee and external independent Monitoring Committee).
  • Provides grant-in-aid to the institutional partners and provide soft loan to the industrial partners.

Conclusion

  • The Fuel Cells fit well in India’s mission of replacing diesel with green and alternate fuels.
  • The development of fuel cell technology is indigenous and carries immense national importance in terms of non-grid energy security.
[Ref: PIB, Times of India]

 

ISRO initiates ‘Project NETRA’ to safeguard Indian space assets from debris and other harm

In the middle of its two-month Chandrayaan-2 campaign, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) initiated ‘Project NETRA’.

ISRO-initiates-Project-NETRA-to-safeguard-Indian-space2-IASToppers

About Project Network for space object Tracking and Analysis (NETRA)

  • NETRA (Network for space object Tracking and Analysis) is an early warning system in space to detect debris and other hazards to Indian satellites.
  • It will give India its own capability in Space Situational Awareness (SSA) which is used to predict threats from debris to Indian satellites.
  • It will also give warning against missile or space attack.
  • Through this project, SSA will done first for low-earth orbits (LEO) which have remote-sensing spacecraft. Then, it will aim for Geostationary orbit (GEO) at 36,000 km where communication satellites
  • The project includes high-precision telescope in Leh, the Multi-Object Tracking Radar (MOTR) and the telescopes at Ponmudi and Mount Abu will be used to get broader SSA picture.

Need

  • Currently, India depends on data from North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and others available information in the public domain. However, this information is not accurate.
  • NORAD is an initiative of the S. and Canada that shares selective debris data with many countries.

What is Space Debris?

ISRO's-'Project-NETRA'-3-IASToppers

  • Space debris is defined as all non-functional, human-made objects, including fragments and elements, in Earth orbit or re-entering into Earth’s atmosphere.
  • It includes floating particles from non-functional satellites or rocket parts that stay in orbit for many years.

Threat

  • Space debris can disable the satellite worth several hundred crore rupees besides many services that run on it. Hence, Space Agencies constantly look for debris at the time of a launch and through the life of a satellite to avoid Collison with debris.

Key Fact

  • Currently there are 15 functional Indian communication satellites in the geostationary orbit of 36,000 km; 13 remote sensing satellites in LEO of up to 2,000 km; and eight navigation satellites in medium earth orbits.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

World Tourism Day 2019

World Tourism Day 2019: This day is commemorated each year on 27 September, with celebrations led by UNWTO.

world-tourism-day-2019-un-IASToppers

About World Tourism Day

  • World Tourism Day is observed every year on 27 September.
  • It is aimed to raise awareness about the role of tourism around the world and to promote social, cultural, political and economic values.
  • The day of September 27 was chosen for World Tourism Day because the Constitution of the World Tourism Organization was accepted on this day in 1970.
  • The theme of World Tourism Day 2019 is “Tourism and jobs: a better future for all”.
  • The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) keeps the theme of World Tourism Day different every year.
  • India is hosting the World Tourism Day 2019.

World-Tourism-Day-20192-IASToppers

About World Tourism Organization (UNWTO):

(UNWTOUNWTO is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.

Functions of UNWTO:

  • As the leading international organization in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.
  • UNWTO encourages the implementation of the Global Code of Ethics for Tourism, to maximize tourism’s socio-economic contribution while minimizing its possible negative impacts.
  • It is also committed to promoting tourism as an instrument in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), geared towards reducing poverty and fostering sustainable development worldwide.
  • UNWTO generates market knowledge, promotes competitive and sustainable tourism policies and instruments, fosters tourism education and training, and works to make tourism an effective tool for development through technical assistance projects in over 100 countries around the world.

Members of UNWTO:

  • UNWTO’s membership includes 158 countries, 6 Associate Members and over 500 Affiliate Members representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.
[Ref: PIB]

President Announces Names of Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Award Recipients

President of India presented Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar awards for outstanding contributions in science and technology on the occasion of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) Foundation Day.

shanti-swarup-bhatnagar-award1-IASToppers

About Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar (SSB) prize

  • The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar(SSB) Prize for Science and Technology was instituted in the year 1957, in the memory of Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, the founder director of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

Shanti-Swarup-Bhatnagar-Award2-IASToppers

  • Any citizen of India engaged in research in any field of science and technology up to the age of 45 years is eligible to be nominated.
  • The SSB prize is awarded each year on the basis of outstanding contributions to human knowledge made through work done primarily in India during the five years, preceding the year of the prize.
  • It is given to each person selected for the award in the following disciplines viz. Biological sciences, Chemical Sciences, Medical Sciences, Physical Sciences, Mathematical Sciences, Engineering Sciences and Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Science.

Eligibility:

  • Any citizen of India engaged in research in any field of science and technology up to the age of 45 years. Overseas citizen of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) working in India are also eligible.
  • The Prize is bestowed on a person who, in the opinion of CSIR, has made conspicuously important and outstanding contributions to human knowledge and progress – fundamental and applied – in the particular field of endeavour, which is his/her specialization.
  • The Prize is awarded on the basis of contributions made through work done primarily in India during the five years preceding the year of the Prize.
[Ref: PIB]

 

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