iastoppers-Andhra-Pradesh-Hyperloop
Current Affairs Analysis

8th September 2017 Current Affairs Analysis – IASToppers

What is hyperloop transportation system? Uninhabited Lakshadweep island Parali I vanishes; What is FAME India scheme? National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020; 8th September: International Literacy Day; Literacy rate in India; Bali Declaration over Rohingya issue; Who are Rohingyas? etc.
By IT's Current Affairs Analysis Team
September 08, 2017

Contents

Government Schemes & Policies

  • Considering to extend FAME-India scheme

Issues related to Health & Education

  • 8th September: International Literacy Day

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

  • Uninhabited Lakshadweep island Parali I vanishes, 4 others shrinking fast: study

Bilateral & International Relations

  • India refuses to sign Bali Declaration over Rohingya issue

Science & Technology

  • Andhra Pradesh to get India’s first Hyperloop

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Government Schemes & Policies

Considering to extend FAME-India scheme

The Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises is considering the extension of FAME- India scheme to promote electric and hybrid vehicles by another six months.

Background:

  • The scheme’s phase-I was introduced from April 1, 2015, to March 31, 2017. The phase was subsequently extended by six months till September end. Now it has been extended by another six months up to March 31, 2018.

What is FAME India scheme?

ias toppers FAME

  • With an aim to promote eco-friendly vehicles, the government had launched the FAME India scheme in 2015 offering incentives on electric and hybrid vehicles of up to Rs 29,000 for bikes and Rs 1.38 lakh for cars.
  • FAME India – Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India – is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan.
  • The scheme envisages Rs 795 crore support in the first two fiscals starting with the current year.
  • It is being administered by the Heavy Industries Ministry.

About National Electric Mobility Mission Plan (NEMMP) 2020

  • NEMMP aims to achieve national fuel security by promoting hybrid and electric vehicles in country.
  • It has set ambitious target of 6-7 million sales of hybrid and electric vehicles year on year from 2020 onwards.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Issues related to Health & Education

8th September: International Literacy Day

The 51st International Literacy Day was celebrated across the world on 8 September 2017 with the theme ‘Literacy in a Digital World’.

International-Literacy-Day-2017-iastioppers

Key facts:

  • On this day, in 1965, the World Congress of Ministers of Education met in Tehran, capital of Iran, for the first time to discuss the programme of education at the international level.
  • The day was given its status by UNESCO in its 14th session in November 1966. Ever since then, the day is celebrated annually on 8 September by most of the member countries.
  • The main objective behind the day’s observance was to mobilize public opinion in favour of struggle against illiteracy.
  • The day is a forum to disseminate information on literacy and raise public awareness and the significance of literacy for individual and national development.

In India:

  • The eradication of illiteracy has been one of the major national concerns of the government of India. Hence, the day is used as a medium to raise public awareness to eradicate illiteracy and create an environment in favour of adult education programmes.

Literacy rate in India:

  • As per Educational Statistics for 2015-16, the literacy rate in India increased to 69.3% in 2011. In comparison to 2001, when the literacy rate was 61.0%, the improvement is decent.
  • A dramatic improvement is seen in the literacy rate of female population which improved from 47.8% in 2001 to 59.3% in 2011. Among males, the literacy rate has improved from 73.4% in 2001 to 78.8% in 2011.
  • Though the literacy rate has been on an upward trajectory in the past decade, the overall literacy rate in India is still lower than the global rate. Compared to the global youth literacy rate of 91%, India lags far behind with 69.3%.
[Ref: PIB]

 

Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management

Uninhabited Lakshadweep island Parali I vanishes, 4 others shrinking fast: study

According to a study, Parali I island, one of biodiversity-rich uninhabited islands part of Lakshadweep has disappeared due to coastal erosion and another four such islands in Lakshadweep sea are shrinking fast.

ias-toppers-lakshdweep-Bangaram-Island

  • The researcher had conducted studies on assessment of biodiversity confining to five uninhabited islands– Parali I, II and III, Bangaram, Thinnakara in Lakshadweep, an archipelago of 36 islands in Lakshadweep sea.
  • The island called Parali I, a part of Bangaram chain of islands, was about 0.032 km in size in 1968.

iastoppers lakshadweep-travel-map

Highlights of the study

  • An overall assessment of the changes in the aerial extent of islands using the Remote Sensing and Geospatial Information System revealed the incidence of coastal erosion in the five islands.
  • The magnitude of net erosion was higher in Parali I island (100 per cent), which resulted in its inundation.
  • The net erosion has been reported to be high in Parali II (80 per cent) as well, which is one among the four swiftly shrinking islands.
  • This is followed by Thinnakara (14.38 per cent), Parali III (11.42 per cent) and Bangaram (9.968 per cent).

Concerns:

  • According to the study, the complete erosion of Parali I highlights the gravity of issues associated with coastal erosion within the island chain.
  • It calls for urgent measures to be implemented on each islet of the atoll in Lakshadweep sea to check further erosion.
  • Further, due to increasing global temperature because of climate change, islands and coastal areas are facing erosion and inundation due to rising sea levels.
  • India’s coasts and islands, are densely populated, are highly vulnerable. There is urgent need to start preparing for building defenses to protect coastlines and islands as sea levels are predicted to rise further.

How can the problem be addressed?

  • The study’s results call for the implementation of urgent measures on each island of the chain to check further erosion.
  • Bio-protection strategy using mangroves can be employed to check if it helps better the situation.
  • Convention physical protection measures can also be applied to save the islands from erosion.
[Ref: The Hindu]

 

Bilateral & International Relations

India refuses to sign Bali Declaration over Rohingya issue

India refused to sign Bali Declaration adopted at the World Parliamentary Forum on Sustainable Development in Indonesia.

ias-toppers-Bali-Declaration-over-Rohingya-issue

  • The Bali Declaration referred to the violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

What is Bali Declaration?

  • The Bali Declaration called on all parties to contribute to restoring stability and security in the region.
  • The Declaration urged everyone to “exercise maximum self-restraint from using violent means, respect the human rights of all people in Rakhine state regardless of their faith and ethnicity, as well as facilitate and guarantee safe access for humanitarian assistance”.

Why India refused to sign the Declaration?

  • India has maintained that the Bali Declaration was not in line with the agreed principles of sustainable development. India also maintained that it continues to support achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Forum’s mandate was to discuss global issues and the overarching principles relating to SDGs.
  • India argued that specifying a particular country is unjustified as this Forum is focused on SDGs and inclusive development for all countries based on cooperative and collaborative approach to achieve the 2030 Agenda for the world.

Background:

  • India has reiterated its stance that the purpose of convening the Parliamentary Forum is to arrive at mutual consensus for implementation of SDGs which requires inclusive and broad-based development processes. The proposed reference to the violence in Rakhine state in the Declaration was considered as not consensus-based and inappropriate.

Who are Rohingyas?

  • The Rohingya people are a stateless Indo-Aryan people from Rakhine State, Myanmar.
  • There were an estimated 1 million Rohingya living in Myanmar. As of September 2017, nearly half of them have fled to other countries.
  • Described by the United Nations in 2013 as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, the Rohingya population are denied citizenship under the 1982 Burmese citizenship law.
  • The Rohingyas have faced multiple military crackdowns in two to three decades.
[Ref: Economic Times]

 

Science & Technology

Andhra Pradesh to get India’s first Hyperloop

The Andhra Pradesh Government on 6 September 2017 joined hands with a US-based company to introduce the futuristic Hyperloop transportation system in the state capital region, Amravati.

iastoppers-Andhra-Pradesh-Hyperloop

  • The Hyperloop is expected to give rise to development of various state-of-the-art technology parks and software clusters in Amaravati, helping to fortify the city’s image as a world class leader in science and technology.

Key facts:

  • The project will be taken up in the public-private-partnership mode with the funding coming primarily from private investors.
  • Hyperloop is proposed to be introduced between the city centres of Vijayawada and Amaravati. It will supposedly cover the distance of over 35km only in five minutes.

iastoppers Hyperloop Andhra Pradesh

Background:

  • Amaravati is a state-of-the-art city being developed in Andhra Pradesh as its de facto capital. In order to boost its image and emerge as the frontier city in future technology, Amaravati is looking forward to collaborating with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. Hyperloop is a cutting-edge technological disruption in the transportation industry.

What is hyperloop transportation system?

  • It is a transportation system where a pod-like vehicle is propelled through a near-vacuum tube connecting cities at speeds matching that of an aircraft.
  • The hyperloop system is being designed to transport passengers and freight.
  • The Hyperloop is a concept proposed by billionaire inventor Elon Musk, CEO the aerospace firm SpaceX.
  • US-based Hyperloop Transport Technology (HTT) claimed it costs $40 million per kilometre to build a hyperloop system while building a high-speed train line would cost almost twice.

ias-toppers-hyperloop-transportation-system

How it operates?

  • In hyperloop transportation, custom-designed capsules or pods are expected to zip smoothly through continuous steel tubes which are held at partial vacuum.
  • The pod which sandwiches the passenger compartment between an air compressor upfront and a battery compartment in the rear is supported by air caster skis at the bottom.
  • The skis float on a thin layer of air provided under high pressure, eliminating rolling resistance and allowing for movement of the pods at high speeds. These capsules are expected to be driverless with estimated speeds of 1,000 km/h.
  • Linear induction motors that are placed along the tube control the speed of the pod. Electronically-assisted acceleration and braking determines the speed of the capsule.

Why is it important?

  • Developments in traditional high speed railway technology have not made much progress in recent years.
  • From steam to diesel to electric, locomotives have come up against the physical constraints of weight and drag.
  • Frictional losses too come into play when a vehicle relies on wheels. As speeds accelerate, mechanical wear and tear leads to high maintenance costs.
  • Maglev (magnetic levitation), which was expected to provide a solution has not gained traction. High-power consumption, accidents and technical challenges have hampered its progress.

In Hyperloop, during the pod’s journey, an inlet fan and compressor push high pressure air from the nose to tail. This action and the partial vacuum which eliminates most of the drag, boosts the speed. Low power consumption and reliance on existing infrastructure after re-engineering, are big positives.

Challenges

  • It requires heavy investments and therefore effective public and private sector coordination is prerequisite for implementing it.
  • It consumes high-power compared to railways.
  • Technical challenges and accidents may hamper its progress.
[Ref: Times of India]

 

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