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Current Affair Analysis

30th June & 1st July 2019 Current Affairs Analysis -IASToppers

Maratha Quota; One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme; Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IMPDS); National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013; Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana; Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobiswas; National Statistics Day; Indian Statistical Institute; Indo-pacific region; Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD); UN resolution on torture-free trade; Capital Punishment; WHO’s guideline on self-care interventions for health; NASA’s PUNCH mission; Aditya-L1 mission; Dematerialized zone (DMZ); 'Strum Ataka' anti-tank missile; Dragonfly mission; Titan planet; Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO); 27 June: International MSME Day; TRI-NETRA (Terrain Imaging for Drivers Infrared, Enhanced, Optical & Radar Assisted) technology; etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
July 01, 2019

Contents

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Maharashtra government gives more opportunities to Maratha students under quota
  • Senior Citizens and Divyangjan get Physical Aids under Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana
  • One nation one ration card scheme from July 1, 2020

Issues related to Health & Education

  • WHO launches its first guidelines on self-care interventions for health

Bilateral & International Relations

  • India, Russia abstain UN resolution on torture
  • US president steps into North Korea
  • The geopolitics of Indo-Pacific

Defence & Security Issues

  • India signs ₹200 crore anti-tank missile deal with Russia

Science & Technology

  • Railways conducting trials of Tri-Netra technology
  • NASA’s Dragonfly Will Fly Around Titan Looking for Life
  • Indian Physicist to Co-Investigate NASA’s Sun Studying Mission PUNCH
  • Founder of ISI Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis remembered on his 125th birth anniversary

Key Facts for Prelims

  • Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO)
  • 27 June: International MSME Day

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Government Schemes & Policies

Maharashtra government gives more opportunities to Maratha students under quota

The Bombay High Court upheld the constitutional validity of reservation for the Maratha community in education and government jobs in Maharashtra, but directed that it be slashed from the present 16 per cent to 12 per cent and 13 per cent respectively.

 

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Who are the Marathas?

  • Marathas are a Marathi-speaking, politically dominant community in Maharashtra which make up about one-third of the population of the state.
  • Historically, they have been identified as a ‘warrior’ caste with large land-holdings.
  • While division of land and agrarian problems over the years have led to a decline of prosperity among middle class and lower middle class Marathas, the community still plays an important role in the rural economy.

History of Maratha Quota

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  • In 1992, the Marathas had made a representation to the state government to provide reservation to the community.
  • In July 2014, the central government’s effort was to give quota was denied by the court.
  • After protests by the Marathas in 2018, the state legislature passed ‘Maharashtra State Reservations for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes’ (SEBC) Act 2018 proposing 16 per cent reservation in education and government jobs for the socially and educationally backward class.
  • The act was challenged in the Bombay High Court, terming it as violative of the Supreme Court order that reservations in any state cannot exceed 50 per cent.

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What is the existing quantum of reservation in Maharashtra?

  • The Supreme Court had ruled that total reservation for backward classes could not go beyond the 50 per cent mark. Maharashtra is one of the few states which is an exception to the rule.
  • Following the 2001 State Reservation Act, the total reservation in the state is 52 per cent.

What is Court’s judgement?

  • The Maharashtra State Backward Class Commission (MSBCC), headed by G M Gaikwad, cite that the Maratha community is socially, economically and educationally backward and found that 37 per cent of Marathas lives below the poverty line.
  • The court welcomes the recommendations of MSBCC and said that in exceptional circumstances, the 50% ceiling of quota can be exceeded.
  • However, the court said that 16 per cent reservation is not justifiable and reservation should not exceed 13 per cent in employment and 12 per cent in education.

Reservation as a remedy:

  • Reservation is increasingly seen as a remedy for the adverse effects of development policies.
  • In both Gujarat and Maharashtra, in spite of their economies being relatively better, acute agrarian distress, stagnation in employment growth and distortions in the development trajectory have been worrying the people.
  • For the Opposition, too, the reservation path is convenient as it allows them to keep debating over the economic policies, avoiding a critical approach to the root causes of the problem.
  • For the agitators who initiate the demand for reservations, reservation appears as a more immediate remedy compared to long-term structural repair and reform.

Changed meaning of reservation:

  • The Mandal Commission (1980) clear the meaning of backwardness by arranging different dimensions of backwardness in a hierarchy. Social backwardness was the prime indicator, educational backwardness was the secondary indicator and economic disadvantage was the third.
  • The claims for OBC reservation’s intention have changed to economic backwardness from traditional social injustice.
  • Moreover, both in the Patidar reservation agitation as well as Maratha agitation, the central issue was about current economic backwardness.
  • Additionally, political strength of the dominant castes in state assembly affects the decision whether to give quota for specific community or not. For Instance, In Karnataka, the Lingayat community’s demand for reservation was declined by the commission appointed to determine backwardness due to less political strength.
  • Hence, currently, the reservations are revolved around competitive claims on education and state employment. Instead, it is seen as a mechanism falling outside the purview of the constitution.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Senior Citizens and Divyangjan get Physical Aids under Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana

A Distribution camp for free of cost distribution of Physical Aid and Assistive Living devices to Senior Citizens under Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY) and Assistive Aid among Divyangjan under the CSR initiative of Power Trading Corporation of India Ltd. (PTC) was held.

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About Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana:

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  • Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana is a scheme of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for providing Physical Aids and Assisted-living Devices for Senior citizens belonging to BPL category.
  • This is a Central Sector Scheme, fully funded by the Central Government.
  • The expenditure for implementation of the scheme will be met from the “Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund”.
  • The Scheme will be implemented through the sole implementing agency – Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO), a PSU under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
  • Under the scheme, the physical aids will be provided only to the senior citizens of the nation.
  • This implies those who are aged above 60 years will get free assisted living aids and physical devices which are required for their sustainability.
  • The main criteria for the senior citizens to get full benefits of Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana (RVY) scheme is that they must belong to BPL family and should hold valid BPL card issued by the concerned authority.

Salient features of the scheme:

  • Free of cost distribution of the devices, commensurate with the extent of disability/infirmity that is manifested among the eligible senior citizens.
  • In case of multiple disabilities/infirmities manifested in the same person, the assistive devices will be given in respect of each disability/impairment.
  • Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO) will undertake one-year free maintenance of the aids & assisted living devices.
  • Beneficiaries in each district will be identified by the State Governments/UT Administrations through a Committee chaired by the Deputy Commissioner/District Collector.
  • As far as possible, 30% of the beneficiaries in each district shall be women.
  • The State Government/UT Administration/District Level Committee can also utilize the data of BPL beneficiaries receiving Old Age Pension under the NSAP or any other Scheme of the State/UT for identification of senior citizens belonging to BPL category.
  • The devices will be distributed in Camp mode.
[Ref: PIB]

 

One nation one ration card scheme from July 1, 2020

One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme, which will allow portability of food security benefits, will be available across the country from July 1, 2020.

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About the One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme:

  • It is the scheme of Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
  • Under this scheme, beneficiaries can buy subsidised food grains from any ration shop ration shops in any part of the country.
  • The scheme will ensure all beneficiaries especially migrants can access PDS across the nation from any PDS shop of their own choice.
  • Only ration card will suffice if beneficiaries want to get their PDS entitlement only from a particular registered ration shop.
  • Migrants would only be eligible for the subsidies supported by the Centre. Even if a beneficiary moved to a State where grains were given for free, that person would not be able to access those benefits, as they were funded by the State exchequer.

Significance:

  • It will ensure that no poor person is deprived of Public Distribution System (PDS) if the person shifts from one place to another.
  • It will reduce their dependence on shop owners and curtail instances of corruption.
  • It will also help to remove fake ration card holders.

Background:

  • Since November 2016, the government is implementing the National Food Security Act, under which food grains are supplied every month at highly subsidised rates of Rs 1–3 per kg to over 80 crore people in India.

What is Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IMPDS)?

  • Integrated Management of PDS (IMPDS) is a system in which a beneficiary can avail his share of food grain from any district in the State.
  • The key objectives of IMPDS are: integrate PDS system/portals of States/UTs with Central System/portals, introduction of National Portability, and de-duplication of ration cards/beneficiary, etc.

National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013

  • Government notified the National Food Security Act with the objective to provide for food and nutritional security in human life cycle approach by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices to people.

National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 6 IASToppers.com Current Affairs Analysis

Salient features of the National Food Security Act, 2013

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  • Coverage and entitlement under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS):Upto 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population will be covered under TPDS, with uniform entitlement of 5 kg per person per month.
  • However, since Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households constitute poorest of the poor, and are presently entitled to 35 kg per household per month, entitlement of existing AAY households will be protected at 35 kg per household per month.
  • State-wise coverage:Corresponding to the all India coverage of 75% and 50% in the rural and urban areas, State-wise coverage will be determined by the Central Government.
  • Subsidised prices under TPDS and their revision:Foodgrains under TPDS will be made available at subsidised prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per kg for rice, wheat and coarse grains for a period of three years from the date of commencement of the Act. Thereafter prices will be suitably linked to Minimum Support Price (MSP).
  • In case, any State’s allocation under the Act is lower than their current allocation, it will be protected upto the level of average offtake during last three years, at prices to be determined by the Central Government.
  • Identification of Households:Within the coverage under TPDS determined for each State, the work of identification of eligible households is to be done by States/UTs.
  • Nutritional Support to women and children:Pregnant women and lactating mothers and children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years will be entitled to meals as per prescribed nutritional norms under Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) schemes. Higher nutritional norms have been prescribed for malnourished children upto 6 years of age.
  • Maternity Benefit:Pregnant women and lactating mothers will also be entitled to receive maternity benefit of not less than Rs. 6,000.
  • Women Empowerment: Eldest woman of the household of age 18 years or above to be the head of the household for the purpose of issuing of ration cards.
  • Grievance Redressal Mechanism: Grievance redressal mechanism at the District and State levels. States will have the flexibility to use the existing machinery or set up separate mechanism.
  • Cost of intra-State transportation & handling of foodgrains and FPS Dealers’ margin:Central Government will provide assistance to States in meeting the expenditure incurred by them on transportation of foodgrains within the State, its handling and FPS dealers’ margin as per norms to be devised for this purpose.
  • Transparency and Accountability:Provisions have been made for disclosure of records relating to PDS, social audits and setting up of Vigilance Committees in order to ensure transparency and accountability.
  • Food Security Allowance:Provision for food security allowance to entitled beneficiaries in case of non-supply of entitled foodgrains or meals.
  • Penalty: Provision for penalty on public servant or authority, to be imposed by the State Food Commission, in case of failure to comply with the relief recommended by the District Grievance Redressal Officer.
[Ref: PIB, The Hindu, Business Standard]

 

Issues related to Health & Education

WHO launches its first guidelines on self-care interventions for health

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched its first guidelines on self-care interventions for health.

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About WHO’s guideline on self-care interventions for health:

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  • In its first volume, the guidelines focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
  • Some of the interventions include self-sampling for human papillomavirus (HPV) and sexually transmitted infections, self-injectable contraceptives, home-based ovulation predictor kits, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) self-testing and self-management of medical abortion.
  • These guidelines look at the scientific evidence for health benefits of certain interventions.
  • They do not replace high-quality health services nor are they a shortcut to achieving universal health coverage.

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Need:

  • By 2035 the world will face a shortage of nearly 13 million healthcare workers.
  • Currently at least 400 million people worldwide lack access to the most essential health services.

Way Ahead:

  • The guidelines will be expanded to include other self-care interventions, including for prevention and treatment of non-communicable diseases.
  • WHO will be promoting research and dialogue in this area during self-care month (24 June to 24 July).

What is self-care?

  • Self-care is the ability of individuals, families and communities to promote health, prevent disease, maintain health, and cope with illness and disability with or without the support of a health-care provider.
  • Self-care interventions are a complementary approach to health care that forms an important part of the health system.
  • Self-care is also a means for people who are negatively affected by gender, political, cultural and power dynamics including those who are forcibly displaced, to have access to sexual and reproductive health services, as many people are unable to make decisions around sexuality and reproduction.

Significance of Self-care interventions:

  • Self-care interventions represent a significant push towards new and greater self-efficacy, autonomy and engagement in health for self-careers and caregivers.
  • Self-care is also a means for people who are negatively affected by gender, political, cultural and power dynamics, including those who are forcibly displaced, to have access to sexual and reproductive health services, as many people are unable to make decisions around sexuality and reproduction.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

India, Russia abstain UN resolution on torture

India abstain from voting on a General Assembly resolution aimed at examining options to end trade in goods used for capital punishment and torture.

About-UN-resolution-on-torture-free-trade-IASToppers

  • India abstained from voting on this resolution saying that incorporating death penalty into the scope of this resolution raises concerns that it may be an attempt to place it on par with torture.

About UN resolution on torture-free trade:

UN General Assembly adopted the resolution ‘Towards torture-free trade: examining the feasibility, scope and parameters for possible common international standards’.

UN General Assembly adopted the resolution ‘Towards torture-free trade

  • The resolution focuses on the feasibility, scope and parameters for possible common international standards for the import, export and transfer of goods used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
  • The resolution requests the secretary-general to seek the views of member states on the feasibility and possible scope of a range of options to establish common international standards for the import, export and transfer of goods used for capital punishment and for torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
  • It asks the secretary-general to submit a report on the subject to the General Assembly at its 2019-20 session.
  • It also requests the secretary-general to establish a group of governmental experts to examine, beginning in 2020, the feasibility and scope of the goods to be included, and draft parameters for a range of options to establish common international standards on the matter.
  • It asks for the transmission of the report of the group of experts to the General Assembly for consideration at its 2020-21 session.

Capital Punishment:

  • A death sentence is a legal process where a person is put to death by the state as a punishment for a crime committed by him.
  • In India, section 368 of the Criminal Procedure Code gives the power of confirmation of death sentence to the High Courts.

Arguments in favour of Capital punishment

  • A guilty must be punished proportionate to the severity of the crime.
  • Giving a killer the death sentence will stop others doing such serious crime.
  • The very small chance of executing the wrong person is balanced by the benefits to society of putting off other murderers.
  • Death sentence in India should be there in the statute books to contain terrorism.
  • Capital punishment is an act of justice and not an act of vengeance.
  • As per Japanese, the death penalty reinforces the belief that bad things happen to those who deserve it. This reinforces the contrary belief that good things will happen to those who are good.

Arguments against death penalty:

  • Everyone has a right to live, even those who commit murder, sentencing a person to death and executing them violates that right.
  • Innocent people might get killed because of mistakes or flaws in the justice system.
  • Every State has the sovereign right to determine its own legal system and appropriate legal penalties.
  • Some capital crimes are committed in such an emotional state that the perpetrator did not think about the possible consequences.
  • Capital punishment is vengeance rather than retribution and is a morally dubious concept.
  • Death sentence has not served as a deterrent to control crime.
  • Death sentence violates international human rights laws.
  • Many executions are botched and thus produce excessive and unjustified pain and torture.
  • Most nations have banned capital punishment, and those nations that still employ it are often very authoritarian and brutal nations.
[Ref: Economic Times]

 

US president steps into North Korea

US President Donald Trump became the first sitting US president to set foot in North Korea after meeting with North Korean leader at the demilitarized zone that divides North and South Korea.

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What is Dematerialized zone (DMZ) between North and South Korea?

  • The DMZ runs across the Korean Peninsula. It is 248 kilometres long and the 4 kilometres wide.
  • It was created as a buffer at the close of the 1950-53 Korean War.
  • It is jointly overseen by the American-led UN Command and North Korea.
  • The US president and South Korean president met North Korean leader at Panmunjom village in DMZ.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

The geopolitics of Indo-Pacific

The term ‘Indo-Pacific’ has featured during the recently held G20 summit as well as during US Secretary of State recent visit to India.

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What is Indo-pacific region?

  • The Indo-Pacific refers to the Indian and the Pacific Oceans between the east coast of Africa and the American west coast and their several littoral countries.
  • However, US consider Indo-Pacific from west coast of India to the west coast of the United States while India looks at it as a wider region, which extends to West Asia and the east coast of Africa (eastern coast of Africa to Oceania).

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Evolution of Indo-Pacific:

  • The term ‘Indo-Pacific’ has been in use among scholars of international relations and geopolitics since the first decade of 21st
  • In 2011-12, Australia began at relooking of its security and trade policies. Subsequently, it used Indo-Pacific as a medium to play a larger role in Asia.
  • The Free and Open Indo-Pacific concept was unveiled by Japan in 2016, and Australia released its Foreign Policy White Paper in 2017, which details Australia’s Indo-Pacific vision.
  • Though, Indo-Pacific’s widespread use in international diplomacy came in October 2017 when US Secretary visited India.
  • In 2018, Indo-Pacific was being used more frequently by US replacing the earlier Asia-Pacific to redefine the region away from China’s economic and strategic dominance.
  • However, the adoption of the new term also appeared to challenge India to play a larger role in the region, such as in Quadrilateral Security Dialogue.

India’s active efforts to influence Indo-pacific region:

  • India’s Act East policy remains the bedrock of the national Indo-Pacific vision.
  • India has been an active participant in mechanisms like the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), East Asia Summit, the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting Plus, as well as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation and the Mekong-Ganga Economic Corridor.
  • India has boosted its engagements with Australia and New Zealand and has deepened its cooperation with the Republic of Korea.
  • Through the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation, India is stepping up its interactions with the Pacific Island countries.
  • India’s growing partnership with Africa can be seen through the convening of mechanisms like the India-Africa Forum Summits.
  • Moreover, India established Indo-Pacific wing in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in April 2019.

Challenges for India:

  • It is a challenge for India to find a way to integrate the Quadrilateral initiative which got revived in 2017 with its larger Indo-Pacific approach.
  • It will also be important for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA)’s Indo-Pacific division to move beyond security and political issues and articulate a more comprehensive policy towards the region.
  • Commerce and connectivity will have to be prioritised if India is to take advantage of a new opening for its regional engagement.
  • While India has been emphasising inclusiveness in the Indo-Pacific framework, it will be challenging to maintain a balance between the interests of all stakeholders.
  • As geopolitical tensions rise between China and the U.S., the MEA’s new division will have its task cut out if India’s long-term political and economic interests in the region are to be preserved.

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About Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD):

  • The Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) was conceptualised and conducted in 2018, as the apex level conference of the Indian Navy, organised by the National Maritime Foundation.
  • The permanent theme of this annual dialogue is a review of India’s opportunities and challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The aim of this dialogue is to provide a platform for insightful discussions pertaining to the geopolitical developments affecting the maritime domain of the Indo-Pacific, and provide policy-relevant inputs to the policy-makers.
[Ref: Indian Express]

 

Defence & Security Issues

India signs ₹200 crore anti-tank missile deal with Russia

India has signed a deal to acquire ‘Strum Ataka’ anti-tank missile from Russia for its fleet of Mi-35 attack choppers.

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About the deal:

  • This missile would give an added capability to the Mi-35 attack choppers to take out enemy tanks and other armoured elements.
  • The deal for acquiring ‘Strum Ataka’ anti-tank missiles was signed with Russia under the emergency clauses through which the missiles would be supplied within three months of contract signing.

Background:

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  • India signed deal with Russia under the emergency provisions after more than a decade.
  • The emergency powers were given to the Indian forces within few weeks after the February Pulwama attack in which 40 CRPF personnel were killed.
  • Under the powers given to the Indian army, they can buy the equipment of their choice within three months at a cost of up to ₹300 crores per case.
  • The Indian Army is in the process of acquiring the Spike anti-tank guided missile from France and Igla-S air defence missiles from Russia under the emergency provisions.
  • The Indian Air Force has acquired the Spice-2000 stand-off weapon system along with an air missile deals with multiple countries.
[Ref: Livemint]

 

Science & Technology

Railways conducting trials of Tri-Netra technology

Indian Railways is conducting TRI-NETRA (Terrain Imaging for Drivers Infrared, Enhanced, Optical & Radar Assisted) technology for detecting obstructions on tracks.

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About TRI-NETRA:

  • TRI-NETRA stands for – Terrain imaging for diesel dRivers INfra-red, Enhanced opTical &Radar Assisted system.
  • TRI-NETRA system shall be made up of
  1. High-resolution optical video camera,
  2. High sensitivity infra-red video camera and
  3. A radar-based terrain mapping system.
  • These three components of the system shall act as three eyes (Tri-Netra) of the Locomotive Pilot.
  • The concept of TRI-NETRA was developed by Development Cell under the guidance of Member Mechanical, Railway Board.
  • The idea is based on how to use the technology employed by fighter aircrafts to see through clouds and operate in pitch darkness and the technology used by naval ships in mapping the ocean floor and navigating in the night.
  • Such an “assisted vision” system is not available readily in any of the advanced railway systems but the manufacturers and technology partners who develop components of such systems for defence are very excited with the concept.

How it works?

  • TRI-NETRA is designed to “see” the terrain ahead of the running locomotive during inclement weather by combining the images captured by the three sub-systems and to create a composite video image which shall be displayed in front of the Loco Pilot on a computer monitor.

Significance of TRI-NETRA:

  • TRI-NETRA will give the locomotive pilot a clear view of the track ahead in bad visibility conditions so that he can apply brakes well in time.
  • Conversely, locomotive pilot can speed up the train even in poor visibility if the TRI-NETRA system shows that the track ahead is clear of obstruction.
  • The system shall also map the terrain ahead so that the driver knows when he is approaching a station or a signal.
[Ref: Economic Times]

 

NASA’s Dragonfly Will Fly Around Titan Looking for Life

US space agency NASA announced an ambitious Dragonfly mission which aims to send a drone to Titan (Saturn’s largest moon).

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About Dragonfly mission:

  • Dragonfly is a rotorcraft lander mission which aims to take advantage of Titan’s environment to sample materials and determine surface composition in different geologic settings.
  • Dragonfly will launch in 2026 and arrive in 2034.
  • It is a part of part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program. The New Frontiers programme also includes Pluto probe New Horizons, Jupiter probe Juno and OSIRIS-Rex asteroid mission.
  • It is the first time that NASA will fly a multi-rotor vehicle on another planet.
  • It will use Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG) instead of solar power to function.
  • The Dragonfly mission replaces a previously discontinued concept project called Titan Saturn System Mission (TSSM), which required a balloon probe to circumnavigate Titan.

Why study Titan?

  • The largest moon of Saturn, Titan is a high priority for planetary exploration.

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  • Titan is the only moon in solar system with a dense atmosphere, which supports an Earth-like hydrological cycle of methane clouds, rain, and liquid flowing across the surface to fill lakes and seas.
  • The abundant complex organic material accessible on Titan’s surface makes it an ideal destination for studying the conditions necessary for the habitability of an extraterrestrial environment and the kinds of chemical interactions that occurred before life developed on Earth.

About Titan planet:

  • It is Saturn’s largest moon.
  • It is the only place besides Earth known to have liquids in the form of rivers, lakes and seas on its surface.
  • It was discovered in 1655 by Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens. It is named for mythological Titans, the brothers and sisters of the Greek god Cronus.
  • It is the second largest moon in solar system.
  • Like other moons around their primary planets, Titan has a rotation period that is the same as its orbital period (16 days).
  • Three other spacecraft—Pioneer 11, and Voyagers 1 and 2—studied Titan while flying by Saturn. But Cassini spacecraft flew very close to Titan.
[Ref: The Hindu, India Today]

 

Indian Physicist to Co-Investigate NASA’s Sun Studying Mission PUNCH

Dipankar Banerjee, solar physicist from Indian Institute of Astrophysics is a Co-Investigator of the NASA’s PUNCH mission.

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About the NASA’s PUNCH mission:

  • PUNCH is an acronym for ‘Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere’.

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  • It is focused on understanding the transition of particles from the Sun’s outer corona to the solar wind that fills interplanetary space.
  • The mission is expected to be launched in 2022.
  • PUNCH will consist four micro satellites that will study how the corona, which is the atmosphere of the Sun, connects with the interplanetary medium.
  • The mission will track the solar wind and also the coronal mass ejections (huge masses of plasma that get thrown out of the Sun’s atmosphere). The coronal mass ejections can affect and drive space weather events near the Earth.
  • Since the Sun’s corona is much fainter than its surface layers, it cannot be viewed by the instruments directly. So PUNCH will block out the light from the Sun to view its corona.

About Aditya-L1 mission:

  • Aditya-I is India’s first dedicated scientific mission to study the sun.
  • It will be inserted in a halo orbit around the L1 (Lagrangian point 1) of the Sun-Earth system which has the major advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation/ eclipses.
  • It was conceptualised by the Advisory Committee for Space Research in January 2008.
  • It has been designed and will be built in collaboration between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and various Indian research organizations and will be launched in first half of 2020.

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Payloads and their science objectives:

  • Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC): To study the diagnostic parameters of solar corona and dynamics and origin of Coronal Mass Ejections (3 visible and 1 Infra-Red channels); magnetic field measurement of solar corona down to tens of Gauss.
  • Solar Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (SUIT): To image the spatially resolved Solar Photosphere and Chromosphere in near Ultraviolet (200-400 nm) and measure solar irradiance variations.
  • Aditya Solar Wind Particle Experiment (ASPEX): To study the variation of solar wind properties as well as its distribution and spectral characteristics.
  • Plasma Analyser Package for Aditya (PAPA): To understand the composition of solar wind and its energy distribution.
  • Solar Low Energy X-ray Spectrometer (SoLEXS): To monitor the X-ray flares for studying the heating mechanism of the solar corona.
  • High Energy L1 Orbiting X-ray Spectrometer (HEL1OS): To observe the dynamic events in the solar corona and provide an estimate of the energy used to accelerate the particles during the eruptive events.
  • Magnetometer: To measure the magnitude and nature of the Interplanetary Magnetic Field.

Other Missions related to Sun

  • Other missions such as NASA’s Parker Solar Probe and the ESA (European space agency)-NASA joint project, Solar Orbiter, which is due to be launched in 2020, will study the structures of the Sun’s atmosphere.

Key Facts:

  • Lagrangian point is a position in space where the combined gravitational forces of two large bodies (sun and earth) is equal to the centrifugal force that is felt by a third body (satellite in space) which is relatively smaller.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Founder of ISI Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis remembered on his 125th birth anniversary

Regarded as the Father of Statistical Science in India and founder of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis was remembered on his 125th birth anniversary.

Founder-of-ISI-Prasanta-Chandra-IASToppers

Achievements of Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobiswas:

  • He founded the Indian Statistical Institute and contributed to the design of large-scale sample surveys.
  • He was one of the members of the first Planning Commission of India. He built the statistical database of the Indian economy, inspired research in quantitative economics, and was the architect of the Second Five Year Plan.
  • He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan by the Central Government for his Statistical work and his contribution to India’s second five-year plan.
  • He conducted pioneering studies in anthropometry which is the scientific study of the measurements and proportions of the human body.
  • He took much interest in disciplines beyond his own field such as in demography, psychology, literature, and education.
  • He was India’s first agriculture statistician and instrumental in setting up and developing the ministry’s agriculture statistics wing.
  • Due to his creditable achievements in the field of large scale sampling surveys, he was elected as the Chairman of the United Nations Sub-Commission on Statistical Sampling in 1947.
  • He started publication of Sankhya, a statistical journal of the Institute, in 1933 along the lines of Karl Pearson’s Biometrika.
  • He received the Weldon Medal from Oxford University and elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Landon, President of the Indian Science Congress, Fellow of Econometric Society of America etc.
  • The Central Statistical Unit was established under his guidance and supervision. It later, in 1951, became the Central Statistical Organization (CSO).
  • He was a close friend to Rabindranath Tagore, and was at one time a secretary for Vishwa Bharati University.

About Statistics Day:

statistics day 2019 IASToppers

  • In recognition of Mahalanobis, Central Government in 2007, designated June 29 as the “Statistics Day” in the category of Special Days to be celebrated every year at the National level.
  • The theme selected for the Statistics Day 2019 is ‘‘Quality Assurance in Official Statistics’.
  • The objective of celebration of this Day is to create public awareness about the importance of statistics in socio-economic planning and policy formulation and to acknowledge the contribution of Prof. Mahalanobis.

About Indian Statistical Institute:

  • It was set up by Prof. Mahalanobis in 1931 at Kolkata.
  • It was declared an autonomous Institute of National Importance through an act of Parliament in 1959.
  • It has four centers located at Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Tezpur.
  • It celebrates June 29 as the “Worker Day”.
[Ref: The Hindu, UNI India]

 

Key Facts for Prelims

Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO)

Federation of Indian Export Organisations IASToppers

  • FIEO is an apex body of exports promotion council, commodity boards and export development authorities in India.
  • It was established in 1965 with headquarters in New Delhi.
  • It was formed by Union Ministry of Commerce and private trade and industry.
  • Its functions are to provide crucial interface between international trading community of India and Centre and state government, railways, ports, surface transport, financial institutions and all other engaged in trade facilitation.
  • Its direct members contribute more than 70% of India’s exports.

 

27 June: International MSME Day

MSMEDay-IASTopper

  • The Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day (MSME) Day was celebrated across the world on 27 June.
  • 2019 theme: ‘Big Money For Small Business: Financing the SDGs’.
  • In 2017, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared 27 June to be observed as Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day so as to recognizes importance of MSME in achieving sustainable development goals (SDG’s) and in promoting innovation, creativity and sustainable work for all.

 

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