Government Schemes & Policies
- One confrontational incident reported with Sentinelese tribe in 10 years: Government
- Safe City project
- 325 Districts selected for implementation of Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana
- Kisan Credit Card: IBA issues guidelines to waive off processing fees, all other service charges
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- Bullet train gets green light via flamingo haven, national park
Bilateral & International Relations
- India to host 2nd Edition of Asia LPG Summit
- UNSC adopts resolution to extend sanctions against Central African Republic
Art & Culture
- Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) for the Year 2017
- Magnetic north pole drifting fast towards Russia
Science & Technology
- Indian communication satellite GSAT-31 successfully launched from French Guiana
Key Facts for Prelims
- Thailand makes Siamese fighting fish national aquatic animal
- Surajkund International Crafts Mela
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Government Schemes & Policies
One confrontational incident reported with Sentinelese tribe in 10 years: Government
In the past 10 years, only one confrontational incident has occurred with the Sentinelese tribe residing on the North Sentinel Island, part of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, in the Bay of Bengal.
- The tribe is in news after they allegedly killed an American tourist, identified as John Allen Chau.
Laws/Regulations made by the Government to safeguard the rights and well-being of Sentinelese Tribe:
Various laws promulgated from time to time to ensure the safety of the rights and welfare of the Sentinelese are strictly implemented and enforced by the UT Administration.
These laws/regulations include:
- A &N Islands (PAT) Regulation 1956
- Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989
- Restrictions under Foreigner (Restricted Area) Orders, 1963
- Visa Manual Conditions/Passport Act 1920
- Indian Forest Act, 1927 and Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972
Steps taken to ensure the protection of Sentinelese Tribe are –
- The Sentinelese are still in isolation practicing primordial hunting and gathering way of life. The Government respects their way of life style, therefore, has adopted an ‘eyes-on and hands-off’ practice to protect and safeguard the Sentinelese tribe.
- The entire North Sentinel Island along with 5 km coastal sea from high water mark is notified as tribal reserve.
- Buffer zone notified in 2013, around the Jarawa Tribal Reserve (5km landward side and 1km seaward side), prohibits all commercial or tourism activity in the Buffer Zone.
- Joint patrolling by representatives of Police, Forest and Andaman Adim Janjati Vikas Samiti (AAJVS) is carried out around Jarawa area to prevent contact of poachers and unscrupulous non-tribal elements with Jarawa tribe.
- A Special Police Team (01 SI and 10 PCs) for patrolling at Tirrur, adjacent to the Jarawa Tribal Reserve, has also been deployed.
- Apart from the land territory, the coastal sea up to fixed extent of 1 Km to 5 Km abutting the tribal territory has also been notified as tribal reserve so that marine resources like fish, turtle etc. are available exclusively for the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
- A protocol of circumnavigation of the North Sentinel Island has been notified. The ships and aircrafts of Coast Guard and boats of Marine Police make sorties around North Sentinel to keep surveillance.
About Sentinelese Tribe:
- The Sentinelese are the most isolated tribe in the world.
- They have captured the imagination of millions.
- They live on their own small forested island called North Sentinel, which is approximately the size of Manhattan.
- They continue to resist all contact with outsiders, attacking anyone who comes near.
- The Sentinelese hunt and gather in the forest, and fish in the coastal waters.
- They make boats – these are very narrow outrigger canoes, described as ‘too narrow to fit two feet in’. These can only be used in shallow waters as they are steered and propelled with a pole like a punt.
- They have two different types of houses; large communal huts with several hearths for a number of families, and more temporary shelters, with no sides, which can sometimes be seen on the beach, with space for one nuclear family.
- The Sentinelese have dark skin and may be shorter in stature than average humans. The women wear fibre strings tied around their waists, necks and heads. The men also wear necklaces and headbands, but with a thicker waist belt. The men carry spears, bows and arrows.
About Jarawa Tribe:
- The Jarawas are an indigenous people of the Andaman Islands in India.
- They live in parts of South Andaman and Middle Andaman Islands.
- They are restricted to Andaman island numbering less than 400.
- The Jarawas are recognised as an Adivasi group in India. They are a designated Scheduled Tribe in India.
- They are Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
- They are hunters and food gatherers and have kept themselves aloof of the outsiders.
- A total population of 50 of the Sentinelese community lives in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Safe City project
Empowered Committee of Officers for Nirbhaya funds scheme has approved pilot Safe City projects in eight selected metropolitan cities, with a view to provide safety to women in public places.
- The eight metropolitan cities are Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Lucknow.
Safe City project
- The Safe City Project is fully funded by the Central Government with Centre and State sharing the funding in 60:40 ratios.
The major components of the Safe City project:
- Setting up an Integrated Smart Control Room
- Setting up Pink Out-posts (exclusively administered by Women police) for facilitating ease of filing complaint by women
- Pink Patrols of Women police
- Setting up Women Help Desks in all Police Stations with Counsellors
- Augmentation of existing ‘Asha Jyoti Kendra’
- Implementing Safety measures in buses, including Cameras
- Improving Street Lighting in identified Hot Spot areas
- Setting up Pink Toilets
325 Districts selected for implementation of Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana
At present, a total of 325 Districts have been selected for the implementation of Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana.
Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana:
- The Union Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has launched Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana in Nellore District of Andhra Pradesh.
- The Scheme aims at providing physical aids and assisted-living devices for senior citizens belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) category.
Key Provisions of the Scheme:
- The scheme will distribute free of cost physical aids and assisted-living devices for senior citizens belonging to BPL category in Camp mode.
- It is the first-of-its-kind Central Sector Scheme (CCS) in India, to be fully funded by the Union Government.
- It is expected to benefit 5,20,000 Senior Citizens and its expenditure implementation will be met from the “Senior Citizens’ Welfare Fund”.
- Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation (ALIMCO), a PSU under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. It will also undertake one year free maintenance of the devices.
Aids and Assisted-Living Devices to be provided under it:
- The eligible elderly beneficiary will get walking sticks, elbow crutches, walkers/crutches, tripods/qadpods, hearing aids, wheelchair, artificial Dentures and Spectacles depending upon their physical impairment.
- The assisted-living devices will help the Senior Citizens to overcome their age related physical impairment and to lead a dignified and productive life with minimal dependence on care givers or other members of the family.
Identification of beneficiaries:
- It will be done by the State Governments/UTs through a Committee chaired by the Deputy Commissioner/District Collector. 30% of the beneficiaries in each district shall be women.
- The Committee can utilize the data of BPL beneficiaries receiving Old Age Pension under the NSAP or any other Scheme of the State/UTs for identification of senior citizens belonging to BPL category.
- In the Union Budget 2015-16, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had proposed formulation of a scheme for providing Physical Aids and Assisted-Living Devices to senior citizens belonging to BPL Category. Pursuant to this, “Rashtriya Vayoshri Yojana” has been formulated.
- As per the Census figures of 2011, population of senior citizens in India is 10.38 crore. More than 70% of the population of senior citizens live in rural areas of the country. A sizeable percentage (5.2%) of the senior citizens suffers from some sort of disabilities related to old age.
Beneficiaries of this scheme:
- Beneficiaries in each district will be identified by the State Governments/UT Administrations through a Committee chaired by the Deputy Commissioner/District Collector.
- The beneficiaries are identified through Assessment Camps and the devices are distributed in Distribution Camps organised in the selected districts.
- For the senior citizens aged 80 years or more, the devices are provided at their doorsteps.
- As far as possible, 30% of the beneficiaries in each district shall be women.
- The State Government can also utilize the data of BPL beneficiaries receiving Old Age Pension under the ‘National Social Assistance Scheme’ (NSAP) or any other Scheme of the State for identification of senior citizens belonging to BPL category.
- The poverty threshold poverty line is the minimum level of income deemed adequate in a particular country.
Evolution of Poverty Line definition:
- In India, defining a poverty line has been a controversial issue, especially since mid-1970s when the first poverty line was created by the erstwhile Planning Commission.
- It was based on minimum daily requirement of 2,400 and 2,100 calories for an adult in rural and urban areas, respectively.
- Some modifications were made considering other basic requirements of the poor by Suresh Tendulkar (2009) and C Rangarajan (2014).
- The Rangarajan committee decided the limits as Rs.32 and Rs.47 in rural and urban areas respectively, and worked out poverty line at close to 30%.
- While on the basis of calorie requirement calculations, for the year 2000, the poverty line for a person was fixed at Rs 328 per month for the rural areas and Rs 454 for the urban areas.
Different Poverty Line Definitions in India:
- The poverty ratio at 29.8% of the population in 2009-10, came down from 37.2% in 2004-05.
- However, various committees led by economists have come up with different ways to measure the extent of poverty.
- A committee under Suresh Tendulkar estimated it at 37%, while another led by NC Saxena said 50%, and in 2007 the Arjun Sengupta commission identified 77% of Indians as “poor and vulnerable”.
- The World Bank’s PPP estimate of Indian poverty was higher than 40% in 2005, while the Asian Development Bank arrived at almost 50%.
Kisan Credit Card: IBA issues guidelines to waive off processing fees, all other service charges
The Indian Banking Association (IBA) has issued advisory guidelines requesting banks to waive off the processing, documentation, inspection, ledger folio charges and all other service charges for Kisan Credit Card/crop loans up to 3 lakh rupees.
- This move aims to provide direct benefit to farmers and ease the pressure on them.
Why IBA issued advisory guidelines?
Considering the below parameters, the IBA issued the advisory guidelines.
- Some of the scheduled commercial banks collect a nominal amount of service charges towards processing, documentation, and inspection for agriculture loans.
- Some other banks collect bit higher service charges, irrespective of whether the loan is sanctioned or not.
- This often acts as a deterrent for the farmers to approach the banks for loans.
Plight of Small & Marginal Farmers in India
- There are around 21.6 crore small and marginal farmers (or 4.3 crore families).
- They are the most affected during times of floods, droughts, and other natural calamities.
- The instability in their income due to various types of risks involved in production and low bargaining power add more distress to them.
Thus, the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare has announced the launch of campaign with immediate effect to saturate farmers for financial inclusion under Kisan Credit Cards (KCC).
- This campaign will be launched through the Financial Institutions
- The Department of Financial Services has already issued directives to these financial institutions under their purview.
About Kisan Credit Card Scheme:
- The Kisan Credit Card (KCC) scheme was announced in the year 1998-99 by Indian Banks.
- This model scheme was prepared by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) on the recommendation of R.V. Gupta committee.
- The KCC scheme is being implemented by all the Commercial Banks, Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks across the country in collaboration with the State Governments.
- Scheme covers risk of KCC holders against death or permanent disability resulting from accidents.
Objectives of KCC Scheme:
- To provide adequate and timely credit support from the banking system to the farmers at the cheap rate of interest.
- To provide credit at the time of requirement.
- To support post-harvest expenses.
- To provide Working capital for maintenance of farm assets and activities allied to agriculture.
- To fulfil Investment credit requirement for agriculture and allied activities like land development, pump sets, plantation, drip irrigation etc.
- To meet Consumption requirements of farmers.
Salient Features of the Scheme:
- Card valid for 5 years is subjected to annual review.
- As incentive for good performance, credit limits could be enhanced to take care of increase in costs, change in cropping pattern, etc.
- Revolving cash credit facility involving any number of drawls and repayments within the limit.
- Limit to be fixed on the basis of operational land holding, cropping pattern and scale of finance.
- Entire production credit needs for full year plus ancillary activities related to crop production to be considered while fixing limit.
- Operations may be through issuing branch (and also PACS in the case of Cooperative Banks) through other designated branches at the discretion of bank.
- Crop loans disbursed under KCC Scheme for notified crops are covered under Crop Insurance Scheme to protect the interest of the farmer against loss of crop yield caused by natural calamities, pest attacks etc.
- Conversion/re-scheduling of loans is also permissible in case of damage to crops due to natural calamities.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
Bullet train gets green light via flamingo haven, national park
A committee, chaired by Union Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan, has accorded wildlife clearance to the Mumbai-Ahmedabad high speed train corridor.
- The project for one of India’s first ‘bullet trains’ was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japanese president Shinzo Abe in Ahmedabad in September, 2017.
- It is expected to be ready by 2022. But A wildlife clearance is a critical part of the forest clearance process.
- The apex body tasked with according permissions to allow forest land to be diverted for industrial development– has laid pre-conditions for the bullet train project.
- Which encroaches upon a flamingo sanctuary and the Sanjay Gandhi National Park, the home to leopards, in Mumbai.
Creek Flamingo Sanctuary, Navi Mumbai:
- Thane Creek is an inlet in the shoreline of the Arabian Sea that isolates the city of Mumbai from the Indian mainland.
- Thane creek has been formed due to seismic fault lying below it which runs from Uran to Thane.
- The region of the Thane Creek has been recognized as an Important Bird Area by the Bombay Natural History Society, as it is home to various avian species.
- Especially it harbors populations of flamingos and several other migratory birds.
- Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary hosted more than 1.2 lakh flamingos last month, up from 45,000 in October last year.
- Thane Creek Flamingo Sanctuary is the second open space ecosystem of Mumbai after Malvan in 2016.
Mangrooves in Thane creek Flamingo Santuary:
- Mangrove forests are very vital ecosystems as they provide support to a complex community assemblage, reduce coastal erosion and serve as sinks for macronutrients, micronutrients and heavy metals.
Sanjay Gandhi National Park:
- Sanjay Gandhi National Park is situated on the northern part of the suburbs of Mumbai, Maharastra and spread over a total area of 104 sq. km.
- The park is home to a number of endangered species of flora and fauna.
- Sanjay Gandhi National Park was called Krishnagiri National Park before independence.
- In the year 1981 the park was renamed as Sanjay Gandhi National Park, in memory of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s son, who died in an air crash.
- The park also features a “toy train” that runs on a narrow gauge railway named “Van rani”.
- There is a famous Jain temple called Trimurti or Trimurti Digambar Jain Mandir.
- It has three huge idols of lord Adinath and his two sons, lord Bahubali and lord Bharata.
- Statue of Rishabhanatha is 31 feet in height and a 51 feet kirti stambh also present here.
- The 2,400 years old, Kanheri Caves are located inside the park.
- It includes 109 caves in the center of the park which were used as viharas (monasteries) and chaityas (temples) by the Buddhist monks of the 2nd and 9th centuries.
Bilateral & International Relations
India to host 2nd Edition of Asia LPG Summit
India hosted 2nd edition of the ‘Asia LPG Summit’ at Delhi in February 2019 which was attended by delegates from over 20 countries.
Who organized summit?
The summit is being organized by the ‘World LPG Association’ (WLPGA) in association with major Indian public-sector oil companies (OMCs):
- Indian Oil
- Hindustan Petroleum
- Bharat Petroleum
Objectives of the summit:
- The summit will offer a unique opportunity to the global LPG industry to interact with development agencies, NGOs and non-profit organizations who have facilitated last-mile access to LPG for the beneficiaries.
- The summit will also bring together academia and private sector to exchange their views on the use of LPG and how pathbreaking initiatives such as ‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’ can bring remarkable socio-economic transformation.
World LPG Association (WLPGA):
- The World LPG Association (WLPGA) is the worldwide industry association which represents the interests of the LPG industry globally.
- The Association was established in 1987 and granted Special Consultative Status with the ‘United Nations Economic and Social Council’ (ECOSOC) in 1989.
- The WLPGA was officially granted Consultative Status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.
- Publications such as its ‘Annual Statistical Review’ have become LPG industry references.
Objective of WLPGA:
The primary goal of the Association is to add value to the sector by driving premium demand for LPG promoting compliance to good business and safety practices.
Initiatives by WLPGA:
Autogas – Grow the use of ‘Autogas’ as a transportation fuel and Co-ordinate the leverage the experience of its members.
Cooking for Life – It aims to facilitate the transition of 1 Billion people from cooking with traditional fuels to cleaner-burning LPG by 2030.
Global Technology Conference (GTC) – Aim of GTC is to showcase the most innovative technological ideas from around the world and create new opportunities for the LPG industry.
Power Generation from LPG – Following the successful delivery of the report “Power Generation from LPG – The Global Status of LPG-based Power Generation in Commercial, Industrial, and Power Sectors” in 2016, WLPGA wanted to invest more in this sector.
Women in LPG Global Network (WINLPG) – WINLPG is a global network that will recommend actions to address the issue of Gender balance in the LPG industry.
Why is LPG considered an Innovative Energy Source?
- LPG enables de-centralised generation through small self-containing generators and micro combined heat and power.
- It is an energy-rich fuel source with a higher calorific value per unit than other commonly used fuels which means that an LPG flame burns hotter, an advantage that can translate into higher efficiency.
- LPG was also found to have higher efficiency than natural gas fuelled distributed power generation which makes it ideal for rural homes and businesses.
- As a cost-effective energy source, LPG can be up to five times more efficient than traditional fuels.
- India is world’s second largest LPG consumer after China.
- ‘Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana’ (PMUY) was launched in May 2016 with the objective of providing free LPG connections to 5 crore women belonging to poor households over a period of three years.
UNSC adopts resolution to extend sanctions against Central African Republic
The United Nations Security Council resolution 2454 has been adopted unanimously.
Key features of the resolution 2454 are:
- They extend the sanctions against the Central African Republic (CAR) for a year.
- The resolution renews an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze till January 31, 2020.
- The mandate of the panel of experts, which helps the Security Council with the implementation of the sanctions, until Feb 29, 2020, has been extended.
- The establishment of key benchmarks in various sectors that could help the Security Council to review the arms embargo by April 30, 2019.
About the Central African Republic:
- The Central African Republic is a landlocked country in Central Africa.
- It is bordered by Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south, the Republic of the Congo to the southwest and Cameroon to the west.
- Two thirds of the country is within the Ubangi River basin (which flows into the Congo), while the remaining third lies in the basin of the Chari, which flows into Lake Chad..
Art & Culture
Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards (Akademi Puraskar) for the Year 2017
The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind conferred the prestigious Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards 2017 at Rashtrapati Bhawan.
- There are forty-two (42) awards given including one joint award for the year 2017.
Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards:
- Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards is an award given by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s National Academy of Music, Dance & Drama.
- The honour of Akademi Award has been conferred since 1952.
- And given every year thereafter to the artists in the field of Music, Dance, Theatre, Traditional/Folk/Tribal Music/Dance/Theatre, Puppetry and Overall contribution/scholarship in the Performing Arts
- It is the highest Indian recognition given to practicing artists.
- The honour of Akademi Award carries with it Rs 1,00,000/- (Rupees one lakh), besides a Tamrapatra and Angavastram.
Sangeet Natak Akademi:
- Sangeet Natak Akademi is presently an autonomous body of the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
- It was created by a resolution of the (then) Ministry of Education, Government of India, dated 31 May 1952
- Sangeet Natak Akademi is India’s national academy for music, dance and drama.
- The academy functions as the apex body of the performing arts in the country to preserve and promote the vast cultural heritage of India expressed in music, dance and drama.
- It also works with governments and art academies in states and territories of the country.
- The academy Renders advice and assistance to the government of India in the task of formulating and implementing policies and programmes in the field.
- It carries a part of the responsibilities of the state for fostering cultural contacts between regions in the country, as well as between India and the world.
Aims and Objectives:
- To co-ordinate the activities of regional or State Academies of music, dance and drama.
- To promote research in these fields.
- To co-operate with such similar Academies.
- To encourage the exchange of ideas and enrichment of techniques between the different regions.
- To encourage and assist production of new plays.
- To foster cultural contacts between the different regions of the country.
Magnetic north pole drifting fast towards Russia
The magnetic north pole is drifting fast from the Canadian Arctic and towards Russia.
- Scientists have now realised the pace of this movement has suddenly increased, quite significantly, from about 14-15 km per year till the 1990s to about 55 km per year in the last few years.
- This led to scientists on updating the World Magnetic Model (WMM) that tracks this movement.
Why it is moving faster?
Scientists do not have any clarity on why the magnetic north pole is drifting faster.
- The movement of liquid iron and other metals in the outer core of the Earth is known to influence the magnetic field, but this movement is chaotic and turbulent.
- The study of the phenomena happening inside the earth can only be done indirectly or through computer modelling, because of the extremely hot temperatures prevailing there.
So, Scientists hope that this acceleration in the shifting of magnetic north pole would throw some new insights into the phenomena happening deep inside the Earth’s surface.
What will be the consequences of this drifting?
- The entire transportation sector, especially aviation and shipping, depends on correctly knowing the position of magnetic north to chart out their navigation paths.
- It is crucial for militaries, who need to know this for firing their missiles or for other purposes.
- Knowing the magnetic north is vital for a number of civilian applications as well.
- A standalone school compass would not be affected by this change in position of magnetic north. But, it won’t be of any help as it is not very precise and get affected by local magnetic fields that may be present.
- World Magnetic Model (WMM) has released a set of software that will aid to update modern instrumentation used to the new positions of the magnetic north pole.
What is Magnetic North Pole?
The Earth has two north poles – Magnetic and Geographic.
- The Magnetic North Pole (also known as the North Dip Pole) is a point on Ellesmere Island in Northern Canada where the northern lines of attraction enter the Earth.
- Geographic north pole is northern axis around which the earth rotates and is fixed. The North Pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean.
A compass needle will point to the Magnetic North Pole – which is different from the geographic north.
About World Magnetic Model (WMM):
- The World Magnetic Model (WMM) is a standard model of the core and large-scale crustal magnetic field.
- It is a joint product of the United States’ National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) and the United Kingdom’s Defence Geographic Centre (DGC).
- The WMM was developed jointly by the National Geophysical Data Center (NGDC) (now the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)) and the British Geological Survey (BGS).
- It is used extensively for navigation and in attitude and heading referencing systems by the UK Ministry of Defence, the US Department of Defense, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the International Hydrographic Organization. It is also used widely in civilian navigation and heading systems.
- It tracks the positions of Earth’s magnetic poles.
- Funded by the US and UK military, a new and updated version of the WMM is released every five years.
- The last update was on 2015 and the next was scheduled for end-2019.
- However, by early 2018, scientists realised that the faster movement of the magnetic north pole had made it so inaccurate that it was “about to exceed the acceptable limit for navigational errors”.
Science & Technology
Indian communication satellite GSAT-31 successfully launched from French Guiana
European launch services company Arianespace launched India’s latest communication satellite GSAT-31 successfully.
- Satellite has been launched from French Guiana.
- Ariane-5 vehicle put the satellite into an elliptical Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.
- With a perigee – the nearest point to Earth and an apogee – the farthest point from Earth, inclined at an angle of 3 degrees to the equator.
- After the satellite went into orbit, its two solar arrays were automatically deployed in quick succession and ISRO’s Master Control Facility at Hassan in Karnataka took over the command and control of the satellite.
- Ariane 5 carried two communication satellites: (1) Saudi Geostationary Satellite 1/Hellas Sat 4 and Hellas Sat. (2) ISRO’s GSAT-31.
key features of GSAT- 31
- It is a telecommunications satellite designed and manufactured by the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).
- The satellite derives its heritage from ISROs earlier INSAT/GSAT satellite series.
- The GSAT-31 is a “high power” communication satellite with Ku-band.
- GSAT-31 is the country’s 40th communication satellite.
- With a mission life of around 15 years, GSAT-31 will provide DTH Television Services, connectivity to VSATs for ATM, Stock-exchange, Digital Satellite News Gathering (DSNG) and e-governance applications.
- It will facilitate communication over large oceanic region of Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean.
- It is going to serve and replace some of the satellites that are going to expire soon.
Objectives of the GSAT-31:
- Augment the Ku-band transponder capacity in Geostationary Orbit for at least 15 years.
- Provide continuity to operational services on some of the in-orbit satellites.
- Help bridge the digital divide in the Indian subcontinent as part of an ambitious Indian space program, whose objectives are to develop India while pursuing scientific research and planetary exploration.
Key Facts for Prelims
Thailand makes Siamese fighting fish national aquatic animal
- The Siamese fighting fish was named Thailand’s national aquatic animal.
- The Chao Phraya river flowing through Bankok in Thailand is said to be the betta’s native swimming grounds.
- The Siamese fighting fish is known in the West as a betta fish.
- The Siamese fighting fish is tiny, testy and eye-catching with a colourful fin plumage fish.
- Bettas are a member of the gourami family and are known to be highly territorial.
- It is a popular fish in the aquarium trade.
- It is listed as Vulnerable by the IUCN.
Surajkund International Crafts Mela
The Surajkund International Crafts Mela is organized every year by the Surajkund Mela Authority & Haryana Tourism in collaboration with Union Ministries of Tourism, Textiles, Culture and External Affairs.
- The state of Maharashtra is the Theme State and Thailand is the Partner Nation Country for the Surajkund International Crafts Mela-2019.
- Every year from February 1–15, a colourful traditional craft festival of India is held in the precincts of Surajkund. This fair was first started in 1987.
- This fair is showcasing the richness and diversity of handicrafts, handlooms and cultural heritage of the country.