Polity & Governance
- VVPAT to be used in Gujarat polls
- Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Directorate General of Quality Assurance
Bilateral & International Relations
- ADB plans to raise annual lending to India to $4 billion
- 28th September: World Maritime Day
Science & Technology
- 4th gravitational wave detected by LIGO, Virgo observatory
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Polity & Governance
VVPAT to be used in Gujarat polls
Gujarat will become the second state after Goa to use the new VVPAT system for the Assembly elections in the entire state making it the first big state to use Electronic Voting Machine (EVMs) equipped with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).
- The VVPATs will cover all 50,128 polling booths during 2017 Gujarat Assembly elections. About 70,182 VVPAT machines will be used during elections.
- In 2013, conduct of Election Rules, 1961 was amended to facilitate the introduction of VVPAT units. For the first time, VVPAT with EVMs was used for the Noksen Assembly seat in Tuensang district of Nagaland.
- In the case of Subramanian Swamy vs Election Commission of India (ECI), the Supreme Court held that VVPAT is “indispensable for free and fair elections” and directed the ECI to equip EVMs with VVPAT systems.
- The apex court had directed the EC to introduce EVMs in a phased manner for the next General Elections in 2014, saying it would ensure free and fair polls.
What is VVPAT?
- The VVPAT system is a new initiative of the Election Commission to ensure free and fair elections.
- In the VVPAT system, when a voter presses the button for a candidate of his choice in the electronic voting machines (EVM), a paper ballot containing the serial number, name of the candidate and poll symbol will be printed for the voter.
- It is intended as an independent verification system for EVM designed to allow voters to verify that their votes are casted correctly, detect possible election fraud or malfunction and provide a means to audit the stored electronic results.
- VVPAT is independent verification printer machine attached to EVMs. It allows voters to verify if their vote has gone to the intended candidate. Thus, ensure free and fair elections.
- SC also directed the Centre to provide financial assistance for introducing VVPAT system.
Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Directorate General of Quality Assurance
Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA) has completed 60 years of its existence.
About Directorate General of Quality Assurance (DGQA):
- DGQA functions under Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence.
- This organisation is more than hundred years old. Although it was established in 1957, its origin dates back to 1869.
- Its headquarters are located in New Delhi.
Functions of DGQA:
- DGQA’s mandate is to provide Quality Assurance (QA) cover for entire range of Arms, Ammunitions, Equipments and Stores supplied to Armed Forces.
- It is responsible for import substitution and associates with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in the development projects.
- It ensures documentation, codification and standardisation action for minimizing variety of components/ equipments.
- It also renders services such as promotion of small scale industries, post procurement services, defect investigations and technical consultancy to users, production agencies and Defence Ministry.
Bilateral & International Relations
ADB plans to raise annual lending to India to $4 billion
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has decided to raise its annual lending to India from an average $2.65 billion per year at present to $4 billion per year during 2018-22 to help propel Asia’s third largest economy towards upper middle-income status.
- The proposal was endorsed at new ADB Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for 2018-2022.
- ADB’s programme in India will focus on three main pillars of activity during the 5-year period — boosting economic competitiveness to create more and well-paid jobs, improved access to infrastructure and services, and addressing climate change and improving climate resilience.
- The planned lending level, which includes private sector operations, compares with an average of $2.65 billion a year in loans extended in the period 2012-2016.
- Financing will also go for public sector management, agriculture, natural resources and rural development as well as skills development and urban health.
- The new lending will be complemented by technical assistance to undertake strategic studies, build capacities and prepare projects.
- ADB said it will also explore co-financing opportunities, including climate funds for relevant projects.
28th September: World Maritime Day
The World Maritime Day (WMD) is observed every year on September 28 to highlight importance of shipping safety, maritime security and marine environment and to acknowledge maritime industry.
- The 2017 theme of the day is ‘Connecting Ships, Ports and People’.
- World Maritime Day is an official United Nations day.
- Every year, it provides an opportunity to focus attention on the importance of shipping and other maritime activities and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO’s work.
- This day also serves as a reminder to all and sundry that a vibrant and sustainable blue economy is a boon to all mankind.
About International Maritime Organization (IMO):
The International Maritime Organization (IMO), known as the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultative Organization (IMCO) until 1982, is a specialised agency of the United Nations responsible for regulating shipping.
- The IMO was established in Geneva in 1948 and came into force ten years later, meeting for the first time in 1959.
- Headquartered in London, United Kingdom, the IMO has 171 Member States and three Associate Members.
- The IMO’s primary purpose is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, environmental concerns, legal matters, technical co-operation, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.
- IMO is governed by an assembly of members and is financially administered by a council of members elected from the assembly.
- The IMO’s structure comprises the Assembly, the Council, the Maritime Safety Committee, the Marine Environment Protection Committee, the Legal Committee, the Technical Cooperation Committee, and the secretariat, headed by a Secretary-General.
- Member organizations of the UN organizational family may observe the proceedings of the IMO. Observer status is granted to qualified non-governmental organizations.
Science & Technology
4th gravitational wave detected by LIGO, Virgo observatory
A fourth gravitational wave has been detected — this time with help from Italy-based equipment — after two black holes collided, sending ripples through the fabric of space and time.
- It was for first time, these waves were simultaneously detected by US-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and Italy-based Virgo detectors.
- The first two detection were made in September and December 2015 in quick succession and for third time it was detected in January 2017.
What are Gravitational Waves?
Gravitational waves are ‘ripples’ or disturbances in the fabric of space-time.
- They are produced when whole black holes collide and stars explode. These waves are sound track of cosmos.
- They transport energy as gravitational radiation and pass through matter without interacting with it.
- Gravitational waves were first predicted in 1916 by Albert Einstein on the basis of his Theory of General Relativity which are now confirmed and detected by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Observatory (LIGO) — specialised laboratories in Louisiana and Washington in the US.
- Discovery of gravitational waves would represent a scientific landmark, opening the door to an entirely new way to observe the cosmos and unlock secrets about the early universe and mysterious objects like black holes and neutron stars.
- Gravitational waves could also help physicists understand the fundamental laws of the universe.
- Gravitational waves are important in telling about the early universe.
About Virgo detector:
VIRGO is a 3-km long interferometer built in the framework of a French-Italian collaboration.
- Today, this collaboration involves 19 laboratories with more than 250 scientists in France, Italy and also in the Netherlands, Poland and Hungary as well.
- The Virgo detector — an underground L-shaped instrument that tracks gravitational waves using the physics of laser light and space — recently underwent an upgrade, and while still less sensitive than its U.S. counterparts, it was able to confirm the same signal.
- Known as interferometers, these high-tech underground stations do not rely on light in the sky like a telescope does, but instead sense vibrations in space and can pick up the “chirp” created by a gravitational wave.
- Other interferometers similar to Virgo have the same goal of detecting gravitational waves, including the two LIGO interferometers in the United States (at the Hanford Site and in Livingston, Louisiana).
- Since 2007, Virgo and LIGO have agreed to share and jointly analyze the data recorded by their detectors and to jointly publish their results.