- Govt establishes Electropreneur Park to bolster electronics manufacturing
Environment & Ecology
- World Risk Report 2016: India ranks 77 in world disaster risk index
Bilateral & International Relations
- Silk Road’ train to reach Afghanistan
Defence & Security Issues
- India plans anti-terror drive at NAM
- MHA oversight for all NGOs?
Science & Technology
- ISRO successfully test-fires scramjet engine
- NASA’s Juno spacecraft completes first and closest orbit around Jupiter
Key Facts for Prelims
- What is 4-D printing?
- ADIP Scheme
- DiGiSense technology
Govt establishes Electropreneur Park to bolster electronics manufacturing
Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has set up an Electropreneur Park at University of Delhi to incubate 50 early stage start-ups and create at least 5 global companies over a period of 5 years.
What is Electropreneur Park?
The Electropreneur Park is an Incubation Centre under PPP mode in the Electronic Systems Design & Manufacturing (ESDM) sector.
- The Electropreneur Park will develop, promote, recruit, incubate, mentor, and create breakthrough innovations in the ESDM sector.
- The Electropreneur Park is funded by Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY), Government of India.
- The park will be managed by Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) and implemented by India Electronics and Semiconductor Association (IESA).
- The park will focus on IP creation and Product Development to result in increased domestic value addition.
- The platform will also encourage R&D, innovation, Entrepreneurship in the ESDM sector in India.
Environment & Ecology
World Risk Report 2016: India ranks 77 in world disaster risk index
India has been ranked 77th on the recently released World Risk Index.
- The World Risk Report 2015 had positioned India at 78th position and 2014 report had placed India on 73rd rank.
About the index:
- The index is part of the World Risk Report 2016 released by the United Nations University Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNU-EHS) and Bundnis Entwicklung Hilft in cooperation with the University of Stuttgart in Germany.
- The index assessed the risk of disaster in 171 countries through the combined analysis of natural hazards and societal vulnerabilities.
- According to the report, inadequate infrastructure and weak logistic chains substantially increase the risk that an extreme natural event will become a disaster.
Components of the index:
- The list is topped by the Island state of Vanuatu, which displayed the greatest risk in 2016.
- Pakistan has been ranked at 72nd position while Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are at 63rd and 5th position, respectively.
- China and Nepal are in a better position than India and have been ranked at 85th and 108th position, respectively.
Bilateral & International Relations
Silk Road’ train to reach Afghanistan
The first cargo train from China is set to reach Afghanistan on September 9.
- The move is a part of China’s effort to consolidate ties with Afghanistan, as part of the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative along the ancient Silk Road.
- The train would enter Afghanistan after the crossing the Friendship Bridge.
- Subsequently, the railway has been extended by 75 km from Hairatan to Mazar-e-Sharif, the third largest city of Afghanistan, and capital of its Balkh province.
About the Friendship Bridge:
- Friendship Bridge was built by the Soviets, on the Amu Darya, marking the boundary between Uzbekistan and Afghanistan.
What are the objectives behind running this train?
The decision to run a cargo train follows concerted effort by China to play a leading role in imparting political stability to Afghanistan, in tune with the scaling down of NATO forces from the country.
China has decided to do so for three major reasons:
- Securing the OBOR,
- Safeguarding the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and
- Plugging support for separatists operating in the Xinjiang province.
About the One Belt One Road (OBOR) initiative:
- The “Belt and Road” initiative was raised by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013.
- The “Belt and Road” initiative refers to the New Silk Road Economic Belt, linking China with Europe through Central and Western Asia, and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, connecting China with Southeast Asian countries, Africa and Europe.
Defence & Security Issues
India plans anti-terror drive at NAM
Ahead of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly, India is planning a major diplomatic outreach in order to push through the ‘Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism’ (CCIT).
- In this regard, India is expected to launch a campaign during the September 13-18 Non Aligned Movement summit in Venezuela.
What is India’s CCIT proposal?
- The Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) was originally proposed by India in 1996.
- The proposed CCIT is a legal framework which would make it binding for all countries to deny funds and safe haven to terror groups.
- India has been able to complete a draft of the CCIT. Its key objectives include:
- To have a universal definition of terrorism that all 193-members of the UNGA will adopt into their own criminal law,
- To ban all terror groups and shut down terror camps regardless of their stated objectives,
- To prosecute all terrorists under special laws, and
- To make cross-border terrorism an extraditable offence worldwide.
Why has the CCIT been opposed?
- Currently, the negotiations of the Comprehensive Terrorism Convention are deadlocked because of differences over the definition of terrorism.
- India’s proposed CCIT counters the opposition from the three main blocs that have raised objections: the U.S., the Organisation of Islamic Countries and the Latin American countries.
- The most powerful objector, the U.S. has been worried about the application of the CCIT to its own military forces especially with regard to interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
- Latin American countries that had concerns about human rights laws have also been accommodated by the changes to the draft.
- The Organisation of Islamic Countries have been worried about the impact of the CCIT on countries like Pakistan and Palestine.
However, against the differences over the definition of terrorism, India agreed to insert the word “peoples” when speaking of rights, in order to “acknowledge the right of self-determination”.[Ref: The Hindu]
MHA oversight for all NGOs?
The Home Ministry has asked the Finance Ministry to surrender its powers to monitor non-governmental organisations (NGOs) under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA).
Aim of the move:
- The move is aimed to bring all NGOs which receive foreign contributions under one umbrella for better monitoring and regulation.
- Currently, there are nearly 100 international NGOs and associations which receive foreign funds through their liaison offices and disburse them to NGOs across India.
- Few international donors are registered under FEMA but not the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA), 2010.
- The Home Ministry monitors foreign funds donated to NGOs and organisations through the FCRA.
- The number of NGOs registered under the FCRA is 33,000 and last year alone the FCRA registration of nearly 10,000 NGOs was cancelled for not following norms.
Why a common head is needed?
- There are certain NGOs which are registered under FEMA and continue to disburse foreign funds to various associations here.
- Since FEMA is regulated by the Finance Ministry, there are many occasions when the Home Ministry is not able to monitor the flow of funds effectively.
- Since there is a separate law — the FCRA — to deal with such transactions, it will be better if they are brought under a common head.
- The FCRA was brought into force to regulate flow of foreign funds to voluntary organisations with the objective of preventing any possible diversion of such funds to anti-national activities.
- Many NGOs and foreign donors do not want to register under the FCRA due to its stringent provisions.
- The Home Ministry is expected to take a final view on bringing all NGO monitoring under one roof as it involves another Ministry. In the past, several representations were made to transfer the power to the Home Ministry but nothing changed.
Science & Technology
ISRO successfully test-fires scramjet engine
The Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), a sounding rocket (research rocket) with a solid booster carrying advanced scramjet engines, was successfully flight-tested from the launch pad of the Sathish Dhawan Space Centre, also known as Sriharikota Range (SHAR), at Sriharikota.
- With this, India became the fourth country to demonstrate the flight testing of a scramjet engine.
- ISRO’s Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), which is an advanced sounding rocket, was the solid rocket booster used for testing the air breathing engine.
What is a scramjet?
Scramjet is a supersonic combustion engine that uses oxygen from the atmosphere for fuel, making it lighter and faster than fuel-carrying rockets.
- This is helpful for flying at hypersonic speed – Mach 5 and above.
- These engines have no moving parts. Instead of the rotating compressor and turbine in a jet engine, air is compressed and expanded by complex systems of shockwaves under the front of the aircraft, inside the inlet and under the fuselage at the rear.
- The scramjet engine can also liquefy the oxygen and store it on board.
Significance of the scramjet:
- Space research organisations across the world are involved in the development of scramjet technology because it contributes to smaller launch vehicles with more payload capacity and promises cheaper access to outer space.
- While conventional rocket engines need to carry both fuel and oxidiser on board for combustion to produce thrust, scramjets obtain oxygen from the atmosphere by compressing the incoming air before combustion at supersonic speed.
NASA’s Juno spacecraft completes first and closest orbit around Jupiter
NASA’s Jupiter probe has completed its first orbit around the biggest planet in our Solar System, Jupiter.
- This was the closest ever flyby of Jupiter throughout the entire mission of Juno.
- This is the first of the 36 total flybys scheduled in the mission.
About Juno spacecraft:
Juno is the unmanned spacecraft, which has been named after the Roman goddess Juno, the wife of Jupiter who is considered as the god of the sky in ancient Greco-Roman mythology.
- Juno is the first mission designed by NASA to see beneath Jupiter’s clouds.
- It has travelled 2.7 billion kilometres since its launch to reach Jupiter.
- It will orbit Jupiter from pole to pole, 5,000 kilometres above planet’s cloud tops.
- It will sample Jupiter’s charged particles and magnetic fields for the first time to study its composition beneath the sky.
- Juno has nine instruments on board to study atmosphere, gravity, magnetic field and possible existence of solid core in Jupiter.
- Juno will map Jupiter’s gravity and magnetic fields and also track how much water is present in the atmosphere.
- In its mission life, the spacecraft will circle the Jupiter 36 times before finally making a death plunge in 2018 in order to avoid accidentally crashing onto one of the planet’s moons.
- It is important to note that Juno is not the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter. It is second spacecraft to orbit Jupiter, after Galileo probe which had orbited the planet from 1995–2003. Galileo probe in its mission had found evidence of subsurface saltwater on Jupiter’s moons Europa, Ganymede and Callisto.
Key Facts for Prelims
What is 4-D printing?
A team of researchers have made exciting new advances in “4D printing,” a method of 3D printing that allows objects to change over the fourth dimension, time.
Objects created through the 3D printing process are limited to one form. While through 4D printing, objects can change shape once subject to electricity, light, or heat.
The new process called 4D printing would greatly help in a number of scientific fields which include aerospace and solar energy.
Changes in the shape of the objects printed through 4D printing are made possible through “shape-memory polymers.” These polymers have the ability to “remember their original shape even after the shape has been radically distorted.”
The technique involves origami-like folding being applied to 3-D printing techniques.
ADIP Scheme is one of the major initiative of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt. of India.
This scheme is implemented to assist the needy disabled person in procuring durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances.
Assistive devices are given to PwDs with an aim to improve their independent functioning, and to arrest the extent of disability and occurrence of secondary disability. The aids and appliances supplied under the Scheme must have due certification.
The country’s largest utility vehicle manufacturer, Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M) launched its digital platform, DiGI SENSE, to enable fleet owners track their Mahindra vehicles to optimise utilisation.
DiGiSense is a technology solution aimed at empowering owners, fleet operators, drivers, dealers and service teams to access information about their vehicles on a real-time basis.
The technology will provide data like locating the vehicles real-time, history of the vehicle travel, reduce idling time in traffic zones with better route plan and save fuel cost and improve productivity.