Government Schemes & Policies
- India introduces no-fly list for unruly passengers
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
- New species of edible fish found in Pampa river
Defence & Security Issues
- Army to induct women into military police soon to probe gender crimes
Science & Technology
- CGWB enters into MoA with IIS for development of ground water flow models
- Pluto mountains named after Tenzing Norgay, Edmund Hillary
- Scientists make fuel from oxygen in air
- Sun and sea water powers vegetable farms in Jordan
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Government Schemes & Policies
India introduces no-fly list for unruly passengers
The Ministry of Civil Aviation has issued rules to tackle on-board disruptive and unruly behaviour by passengers. It allows for formation of national, No Fly List of such unruly passengers.
- In this regard, DGCA has revised relevant sections of Civil Aviation Requirement.
- It has been done in accordance with provisions of Tokyo Convention 1963.
- The promulgation of No-Fly List in India is unique and first-of-its-kind in world.
- Its concept is based on concern for safety of passengers, crew and aircraft and not just on security threat.
Highlights of the new rule:
- Revised CAR will be applicable for all Indian operators engaged in scheduled and non-scheduled air transport services, both domestic and international.
- It will also be applicable to foreign carriers subject to compliance of Tokyo Convention 1963.
Categories of unruly behavior
It defines three categories of unruly behavior
- Level 1: Behaviour that is verbally unruly, and calls for debarment upto 3 months if found guilty;
- Level 2: Physical unruliness and can lead to passenger being debarred from flying for upto 6 months and
- Level 3: Life-threatening behaviour where debarment would be for a minimum of 2 years.
- The cases of unruly behaviour will be probed by an internal committee set up by every domestic airline under chairmanship of retired District and Sessions judge.
- Its members will be from different scheduled airlines and consumer associations, passenger associations and retired officials of Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum.
- The internal committee will have to decide matter of offence committed by passenger within 30 days along with duration of ban.
- In case Internal Committee fails to come to a decision in 30 days then passenger will be free to fly.
- Revised CAR also has appeal mechanism which provides an aggrieved person provision to appeal within 60 days of order to an appellate committee constituted by Ministry of Civil Aviation.
No- Fly list:
- Interestingly, under new CAR one airline is not be bound by no-fly list of another domestic airline. It also does not allow passenger to circumvent domestic fly ban by flying to nearby foreign country and then fly back to original destination in India.
- Moreover, unruly behaviour of passengers in airport premises will be dealt with by relevant security agencies.
Environment, Ecology & Disaster Management
New species of edible fish found in Pampa river
A group of researchers discovered a new species of edible freshwater fish, named as Labeo filiferus while exploring the waters of the Pampa river in Pathanamthitta in Kerala.
- As per the researchers, the newly found fish could possibly be farmed on a commercial scale.
- The new species belongs to the Labeo genus.
- The name filiferus was taken from Latin and refers to the very long dorsal fin of the species.
- Labeo filiferus had been registered by the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature and the holotype deposited at the museum of the Zoological Survey of India at Shillong.
- The fishes in the Labeo genus are widely distributed in the inland waterbodies of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Burma, Malaysia, tropical Africa and Syria.
- As many as 31 species of Labeo are reported to be present in India, with L.rohita, commonly known as Rohu, extensively used in aquaculture.
- The only other Labeo species reported from Kerala is L.dussumieri.
About Pampa river:
The Pamba River (also called Pampa river) is the third longest river in the South Indian state of Kerala after Periyar and Bharathappuzha.
- It is the longest river in the erstwhile princely state of Travancore.
- Sabarimala temple dedicated to Lord Ayyappa is located on the banks of the river Pamba.
- The river is also known as ‘Dakshina Bhageerathi’ and ‘River Baris’.
- The river originates at Pulachimalai hill in the Peerumedu plateau in the Western Ghats and meets into the Vembanad Lake before finally joins the Arabian Sea.
- A noted Anjana temple is situated near this bank.
- Kuttanad, an important rice cultivating area in Kerala receives its irrigation water from the Pamba river.
- The Pamba basin is bounded on the east by the Western Ghats.
- The river shares its northern boundary with the Manimala River basin, while it shares the southern boundary with the Achankovil River basin.
- Due to drought and a lack of conservation and protection by the government, the Pampa River has shrunk to a stream and is totally dry in many places.
- Nearby wells have also dried up. Water for farming, such as paddy fields, is scarce.
- The Kerala High Court has initiated steps to control the pollution of the river from the practice of some visitors to Sabarimala who throw their clothes into it.
- As part of the Punyam Poonkavanam project, pilgrims have been exhorted to avoid the usage of soap and oil while bathing in River Pamba.
Defence & Security Issues
Army to induct women into military police soon to probe gender crimes
The government has decided to recruit women jawans into the Army’s Corps of Military Police (CMP) for investigating gender specific crimes.
Significance of this proposal:
- The plan is seen as major step towards breaking gender barriers in force.
- The proposal is very significant as women will be inducted in the military’s non-officer cadre for the first time, although they will be in a non-combat role.
- The decision to induct women in Corps of Military Police will help in investigating allegations of gender specific crimes.
About the proposal:
- Under this plan 800 women will be inducted initially with yearly intake of 52.
- Women were required in the Corps of Military Police (CMP) to investigate gender-specific allegations and crime.
- The women will be inducted as junior commissioned officers and jawans.
- Very few countries have allowed women in combat roles. The exceptions include Germany, Australia, Canada, the US, Britain, Denmark, Finland, France, Norway, Sweden and Israel.
Women in armed forces:
- The armed forces account for around 3,500 women officers, all of whom are in non-combat roles.
- Currently, women are allowed in select areas such as medical, educational, legal, signals and engineering wings of Indian Army.
- Women were allowed to join the military as officers outside the medical stream for the first time in 1992.
- In the navy, women are still not permitted to serve in submarines and warships, while the army bars them from front-line ground combat positions and tank units.
- Though this is good move, induction of women into the Army’s combat arms could still be a long way as the CMP is only a support arm.
- For women to progress on to roles of higher responsibility and hence equality, there need to be operational changes in the way the Army looks at its lady officers and at the same time bring out a mentality change.
About Corps of Military Police (CMP)
- Corps of Military Police (CMP) is the military police of the Indian Army.
- They can be identified by their red berets, white lanyards and belts, and they also wear a black brassard with the letters MP imprinted in red.
- The term ‘red berets’ is synonymous with the personnel of the elite corps of Military Police (CMP), since all ranks of this Corps adorn the exclusive red berets along with white belts to distinguish themselves from other Corps of Army.
Functions of CMP:
- The role of this Corps is primarily to assist Army formations in maintaining a high standard of discipline of its troops, prevent breaches of various rules and regulations and to assist in the preservation of high morale of all ranks of the formation.
- The CMP is trained to handle prisoners of war and to regulate traffic, as well as to handle basic telecommunication equipment such as telephone exchanges.
Science & Technology
CGWB enters into MoA with IIS for development of ground water flow models
The Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), under the Ministry of Water Resources entered into Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru for development of ground water flow models and preparation of aquifer management plans in 11 parched districts in Karnataka.
- This mathematical model is being developed as part of aquifer mapping and management programme.
- The model will help for better understanding of existing groundwater scenarios, predicting response of groundwater system to various stress conditions expected to arise in future and developing effective management plans incorporating different demand and supply side interventions.
About Central Ground Water Board (CGWB)
- CGWB is multidisciplinary scientific organization under Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation.
- Its mandate is to develop and disseminate technologies and monitor and implement national policies for scientific and sustainable development and management of India’s ground water resources.
- It is vested with responsibilities to carry out scientific studies, monitoring of ground water regime, exploration aided by drilling, management and regulation of country’s ground water resources.
- It also undertakes exploration, assessment, conservation, augmentation, protection of groundwater system from pollution.
Pluto mountains named after Tenzing Norgay, Edmund Hillary
Two mountain ranges on Pluto have been named after Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary respectively by the International Astronomical Union (IAU).
- With this, IAU, for the first time, has officially approved the naming of 14 features on the icy dwarf planet.
- These are the first geological features on the planet to be named following the close flyby by the New Horizons spacecraft in July 2015.
Tenzing Montes and Hillary Montes:
- Tenzing Montes and Hillary Montes are mountain ranges honouring Tenzing Norgay (1914-1986) and Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008), the Indian/Nepali Sherpa and New Zealand mountaineer who were the first to reach the summit of Mount Everest and return safely.
- NASA’s New Horizons team proposed the names to the IAU following the first reconnaissance of Pluto and its moons by the New Horizons spacecraft.
- The names pay homage to the underworld mythology, pioneering space missions, historic pioneers who crossed new horizons in exploration, and scientists and engineers associated with Pluto and the Kuiper Belt.
- This is the first set of official names of surface features on Pluto to be approved by the Working Group for Planetary System Nomenclature of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), the internationally recognised authority for naming celestial bodies and their surface features.
About the International Astronomical Union (IAU):
- The International Astronomical Union (IAU) was founded in 1919.
- Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation.
- Its individual members — structured into Divisions, Commissions, and Working Groups — are professional astronomers from all over the world, at the Ph.D. level and beyond, who are active in professional research and education in astronomy.
- The key activity of the IAU is the organization of scientific meetings. Every year the IAU sponsors nine international IAU Symposia.
- The IAU is a member of the International Council for Science (ICSU), an international organization devoted to international cooperation in the advancement of science.
Scientists make fuel from oxygen in air
Scientists have found a way to produce methanol — an important chemical often used as fuel in vehicles — using oxygen in the air, an advance that may lead to cleaner, greener industrial processes worldwide.
About the discovery:
- The new technique uses freely available air, inexpensive chemicals and an energy efficient methanol production process.
- In the new method, Methanol was produced using nanoparticles of gold to initiate a chemical reaction between methane, oxygen and hydrogen peroxide. It can be done in one stage and at temperatures no higher than 50C (122F).
Significance of this discovery:
- It could become an alternative to petrol. It is also believed the new system of creating methanol could be used to create chemicals and plastics.
- The discovery promises to be not only cheaper, but much more environmentally friendly, as it both reduces energy consumption and conserves dwindling stocks of natural gas.
- It also opens up the prospect for the first time of easily converting natural gas into methanol at the site where it is extracted, so that it can be piped as a liquid in normal atmospheric conditions. At the moment methane has to be condensed into liquid natural gas and shipped in pressurised containers.
- Methanol is currently produced by in expensive and energy-intensive processes known as steam reforming and methanol syntheses.
- In these processes, methanol is produced by breaking down natural gas at high temperatures into hydrogen gas (H2) and carbon monoxide (CO) before reassembling them.
Sun and sea water powers vegetable farms in Jordan
A new project named “Sahara Forest Project” has been launched in Jordan.
- It aims to turn Jordan’s sand dunes into farming land to produce food using sun and sea water.
About the project:
- In the first stage, the project aims to produce up to 130 tonnes of organic vegetables per year from an area the size of four football pitches. It also produces fresh water.
- It will use solar panels to provide power and include outdoor planting space, two saltwater-cooled greenhouses, a water desalination unit and salt ponds for salt production.
- The project, whose funders include Norway and the European Union, is to be expanded from three hectares to around 200 hectares of desert.
- According to recent United Nations estimations, deserts are expanding 30 times faster than at any time in history.
- In Africa, where the worst effects of climate changes are already visible, millions are on the move in search of arable land.
- With the world’s population expected to top 9 billion in 2050, land for food growth is growing scarce.
The Sahara Forest Project demonstrates that innovative application of technology has the potential to revolutionize our land systems in a way that benefits the climate, people, and businesses.
Location of Jordan:
[Ref: The Hindu]