Flash-Cards-for-IAS-Prelims-2018-CA-Day-31
70 Days WAR Plan

Day#31 Current Affairs Flash Cards [70 Days WAR Plan]

GSAT-11; Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994; Tele Robotic Coronary Intervention; VISIONS-2 mission; Rat Hole Mining; Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES); Child Care Leave; International Space Station (ISS); National Super Computer Mission; Conservation Action Plan for the Gangetic Dolphin 2010-2020;
By IT's Core Team
April 21, 2019

 

 

 

What do you know about Conservation Action Plan for the Gangetic Dolphin 2010-2020?

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Solution:

Enrich Your Learning:

Conservation Action Plan for the Gangetic Dolphin 2010-2020

  • Former Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, declared the Gangetic Dolphin as the National Aquatic Animal in the First Meeting of the National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA) in 2009 and constituted a Working Group under the Patna University to prepare a Conservation Action Plan for the Gangetic Dolphin in 2009.
  • Conservation Action Plan for the Gangetic Dolphin 2010-2020 was prepared under the auspices of the National Ganga River Basin Authority.
  • This action plan proposes a set of detailed surveys to assess the population of the dolphin and the threats it faces.
  • Immediate actions for dolphin conservation, such as the creation of protected areas and the restoration of degraded ecosystems are detailed.
  • Moreover, community involvement and the mitigation of human-dolphin conflict are proposed as methods to ensure the long-term survival of the dolphin in the rivers of India.

About Gangetic Dolphins:

  • River dolphins are found in Ganga and Brahmaputra and its tributaries.
  • Also known as susu, it inhabits the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.
  • It is the National Aquatic Animal of India.
  • It has been declared endangered species and is protected under Schedule I of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
  • This dolphin is among the four “obligate” freshwater dolphins – the other three are the baiji now likely extinct from the Yangtze river in China, the bhulan of the Indus in Pakistan and the boto of the Amazon River in Latin America.
  • Although there are several species of marine dolphins whose ranges include some freshwater habitats, these four species live only in rivers and lakes.
  • Being a mammal, the Ganges River dolphin cannot breathe in the water and must surface every 30-120 seconds.
  • Because of the sound it produces when breathing, the animal is popularly referred to as the ‘Susu’.
  • This fresh water dolphin species is practically blind. They rely on bio-sonar method to move around and catch their prey.
  • Since the Gangetic Dolphin is a Schedule I animal under Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972, use of its body parts, such as tissue and oil, is illegal.

 

 

 

Recently, a three-year contract to install supercomputer in India under National Super Computer Mission has been signed between which two entities?

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Solution:

  • The Centre for Development of Advance Computing (C-DAC) and Atos, a global leader in digital transformation based in France, signed a three-year industrial contract for designing, building and installing the BullSequana, its high-performance supercomputer in India under National Super Computer Mission.

Enrich Your Learning:

National Super Computer Mission:

  • The National Super Computer Mission envisages empowering academic and R&D institutions spread over India by installing a vast supercomputing grid comprising of more than 70 high-performance computing facilities.
  • These supercomputers will also be networked on the National Supercomputing grid over the National Knowledge Network (NKN). The NKN is another programme of the government which connects academic institutions and R&D labs over a high speed network.
  • The Mission would be implemented and steered jointly by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY) at an estimated cost of Rs.4500 crore over a period of seven years.
  • NSM developed a coupled regional atmosphere–ocean modeling system using the existing regional models WRF (Weather Research and Forecasting) and ROMS (Regional Ocean Modeling System) to study the influence of air–sea interactions on the simulation of the Indian summer monsoon (ISM).

Objective:

  • To make India one of the world leaders in Supercomputing and to enhance India’s capability in solving grand challenge problems of national and global relevance
  • To empower our scientists and researchers with state-of-the-art supercomputing facilities
  • To minimize redundancies and duplication of efforts, and optimize investments in supercomputing

Why it was in NEWS?

  • The Centre for Development of Advance Computing (C-DAC) and Atos, a global leader in digital transformation based in France, has signed a three-year industrial contract for designing, building and installing the BullSequana, its high-performance supercomputer in India.
  • This contract has been awarded to Atos under the National Supercomputing Mission (NSM).

Key facts:

  • Param Shavak machine PARAM Shavak – solution, aims to provide computational resource with advanced technologies to perform high-end computations for scientific programs to address and catalyze the research using modelling, simulation and data analysis in India.
  • SAGA-220 (Supercomputer for Aerospace with GPU Architecture-220 teraflops), fastest supercomputer in India, is a supercomputer built by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in 2011.

 

 

 

Which is the heaviest communication satellite of ISRO? What is the objective behind launch of this satellite?

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Solution:

  • GSAT-11 is India’s advanced and heaviest communication satellite.
  • GSAT-11 will boost the broadband connectivity to rural and inaccessible Gram Panchayats in the country coming under the Bharat Net Project, which is part of Digital India Programme.

 

Enrich Your Learning:

GSAT-11

  • GSAT-11 is India’s advanced and heaviest communication satelliteto date at 5,700 kg.
  • In 2009, Government of India had approved the development of GSAT-11.
  • It is designed, assembled and integrated by ISRO.
  • GSAT-11 has multi-spot beam coverage over the Indian mainland and nearby Islands, with a capacity of more than 12Gbps for users from a single platform.
  • The satellite has 40 transponders in the Ku-band and Ka-band frequencies, which are three to six times more powerful than that used in existing Indian communications satellites.
  • GSAT-11 has a mission life of about 15 years.
  • The satellite is launched on 5th December 2018 onboard launch vehicle Ariane-5 from French Guiana.
  • The GSAT-11 satellite will provide a host of communications and broadcasting services, including direct-to-home (DTH) television.
  • GSAT-11 will boost the broadband connectivity to rural and inaccessible Gram Panchayats in the country coming under the Bharat Net Project, which is part of Digital India Programme.
  • GSAT-11 will be positioned at 74-degree east longitude in the geostationary orbit.

 

 

 

The International Space Station (ISS) programme is a joint project of NASA (U.S.A) and Roscosmos (Russia). True OR False?

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Solution:

  • False

Right Statement:

  • The ISS programme is a joint project among five participating space agencies: NASA (U.S.A), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).

Enrich Your Learning:

About International Space Station (ISS):

  • The International Space Station (ISS) is a space station, or a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit.

International Space Station

  • The ISS is the largest artificial body in orbit.
  • The ISS consists of pressurised modules, external trusses, solar arrays and other components.
  • ISS components have been launched by Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets as well as American Space Shuttles.
  • The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory in which crew members conduct experiments in biology, human biology, physics, astronomy, meteorology and other fields.
  • The ISS is suited for the testing of spacecraft systems and equipment required for missions to the Moon and Mars.
  • ISS is the ninth space station to be inhabited by crews, following the Soviet and later Russian Salyut, Almaz, and Mir stations as well as Skylab from the US.

Orbit:

  • The ISS maintains an orbit with an altitude of between 330 and 435 km by means of reboost manoeuvres using the engines of the Zvezda module or visiting spacecraft. It completes 15.54 orbits per day.

Use and ownership rights:

  • The ISS programme is a joint project among five participating space agencies: NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, ESA, and CSA.
  • The ownership and use of the space station is established by intergovernmental treaties and agreements.
  • The station is divided into two sections, the Russian Orbital Segment (ROS) and the United States Orbital Segment (USOS), which is shared by many nations.

Why it was in NEWS?

  • On December 3 – 2018, A Soyuz rocket carrying Russian, American and Canadian astronauts reached ISS in the first manned mission since a failed launch in October.
  • It was the first manned launch for the Soyuz since October 11, when a rocket carrying Russia’s astronaut failed just minutes after blast-off, forcing the them to make an emergency landing which raised concerns about the state of the Soyuz programme.

 

 

 

Recently, what changes have been made in Child Care Leave (CCL) declared by Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT)?

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Answer & Enrich Your Learning:

Child care leave:

  • Child Care Leave can be granted to women employees having minor children below the age of 18 years, for a maximum period of 2 years (i.e. 730 days) during their entire service, for taking care of up to two children whether for rearing or to look after any of their needs like examination, sickness etc.
  • It was introduced by Sixth Central Pay Commission.
  • Child Care Leave shall not be admissible if the child is eighteen years of age or older.
  • The Conditions regarding spell of CCL, imposed upon by the Government are that it may not be granted in more than 3 spells in a calendar year.
  • In the first two years of its implementation, the experience was that women employees tended to treat this as Casual Leave, and the resultant frequent absences caused disruptions at work. To address this, in September 2010, a clarification was issued stipulating that CCL may not be granted in more than three spells in a calendar year and also that it may not be granted for less than 15 days at a time.
  • However, the government has decided to remove the requirement of minimum period of 15 days CCL in 2014.

Why it was in NEWS?

  • In December, 2018, Government announced that the Male personnel in the central government who are single parents to dependent children can also now avail of child care leave (CCL) of a total 730 days during their entire period of service.
  • A ‘single’ male government employee has been defined as an unmarried or widower or divorcee government servant.
  • However, The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) order has introduced a cut in salary drawn for the latter half of the 730-day period. While the earlier rule required the beneficiary to be paid leave salary equal to the pay drawn immediately before proceeding on leave, the amended rule entitles such a beneficiary to 100% salary for the first 365 days and 80% for the next 365.
  • Apart from CCL, women can avail paid maternity leave of 180 days and male parents can claim 15 days.
  • The department of personnel and training (DoPT) also allowed a concession to women government employees who are single parents. As per the amended Rule 43(C) of the Central Civil Services (Leave) Rules, 1972, a single female parent can avail CCL over six instead of just three spells in a year.
  • The decision to extend benefit of child care leave to single male parents is in line with recommendations of the Seventh Pay Commission.

 

 

 

What is the aim of Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES)?

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Answer:

  • The aim of CITES is to ensure that international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of the species in the wild, and it accords varying degrees of protection to more than 35,000 species of animals and plants.

Enrich Your Learning:

Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES):

  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, in full Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, international agreement adopted in March 1973 to regulate worldwide commercial trade in wild animal and plant species.
  • The goal of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) is to ensure that international trade does not threaten the survival of any species.
  • By 2019 the number of state parties to the convention had grown to 183.
  • The convention resulted from a resolution adopted at a 1963 meeting of member countries of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
  • The formal text of CITES was adopted at a meeting of 80 members of the IUCN in Washington, D.C., on March 3, 1973, and entered into force on July 1, 1975.
  • CITES is legally binding on state parties to the convention, which are obliged to adopt their own domestic legislation to implement its goals.

CITES classifies plants and animals according to three categories, or appendices, based on how threatened they are.

  • Appendix I lists endangered species that are at risk of extinction. It also prohibits outright the commercial trade of these plants and animals; however, some may be transported internationally in extraordinary situations for scientific or educational reasons.
  • Appendix II species are those that are not threatened with extinction but that might suffer a serious decline in number if trade is not restricted; their trade is regulated by permit.
  • Appendix III species are protected in at least one country that is a CITES member and that has petitioned others for help in controlling international trade in that species.

In addition to plants and animals and their parts, the agreement also restricts trade in items made from such plants and animals, such as clothing, food, medicine, and souvenirs.

By 2019 more than 5,800 animal and 30,000 plant species had been classified.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Rat Hole Mining recently appeared in news?

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Answer:

  • Rat Hole Mining involves digging of very small tunnels, usually only 3-4 feet high, which workers (often children) enter and extract coal.

Enrich Your Learning:

Rat Hole Mining:

  • It involves digging of very small tunnels, usually only 3-4 feet high, which workers (often children) enter and extract coal.

Rat-hole mining is broadly of two types:

  • In side-cutting procedure, narrow tunnels are dug on the hill slopes and workers go inside until they find the coal seam. The coal seam in hills of Meghalaya is very thin, less than 2 m in most cases.
  • In the other type of rat-hole mining, called box-cutting, a rectangular opening is made, varying from 10 to 100 sq m, and through that is dug a vertical pit, 100 to 400 feet deep.

Once the coal seam is found, rat-hole-sized tunnels are dug horizontally through which workers can extract the coal.

Why in news?

  • The collapse of a coal mine in Meghalaya’s East Jaintia Hills, trapping at least 15 workers has thrown the spotlight on a procedure known as “rat-hole mining”. Although banned, it remains the prevalent procedure for coal mining in Meghalaya.

Impact:

  • Assam’s All Dimasa Students’ Union and the Dima Hasao District Committee complained that rat-hole mining in Meghalaya had caused the water in the Kopili river (it flows through Meghalaya and Assam) to turn acidic.

Why was it banned?

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) banned it in 2014, and retained the ban in 2015, on grounds of it being unscientific and unsafe for workers. The state government has appealed the order in the Supreme Court.

 

 

 

A sounding rocket to get a closer look at the how the Earth’s atmosphere is slowly leaking into space is launched. It is launched by ISRO. Right or Wrong?

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Answer:

  • Wrong

Right Statement:

  • A sounding rocket to get a closer look at the how the Earth’s atmosphere is slowly leaking into space launched. It is launched by NASA.

Enrich Your Learning:

VISIONS-2 mission:

  • NASA is set to launch a sounding rocket to get a closer look at the how the Earth’s atmosphere is slowly leaking into space.
  • Understanding atmospheric escape on Earth has applications all over the Universe, from predicting which far-off planets might be habitable to piecing together how Mars became the desolate, exposed landscape it is today.
  • A sounding rocket makes brief, targeted flights into space before falling back to Earth just a few minutes later.
  • Sounding rockets are unique among scientific spacecraft for their superior dexterity. They can be carted to remote locations, where they are aimed and shot into short-lived events – like the sudden formation of the aurora borealis – at a moment’s notice.
  • The aurora borealis is of keen interest to the VISIONS-2 team, but not just for its otherworldly glow. The aurora play are fundamental drivers in the process of atmospheric escape, whereby planets, including Earth, gradually leak their atmosphere into space.
  • For the VISIONS-2 mission, the team will travel to Svalbard – a remote archipelago off the northern coast of Norway where dayside aurora can be found.
  • VISIONS-2 is the first of nine sounding rockets launching over the next 14 months as part of the Grand Challenge Initiative, an international collaboration to explore the unusual portal between Earth and space.
  • There have been enough observations to know that anywhere from a hundred to several hundred tonnes of the atmosphere are going into space every day. It is estimated that at that rate, the Earth will retain its atmosphere for a billion or so years.
  • Scientists had long thought that oxygen, weighing in at 16 times the mass of hydrogen, was too heavy to escape Earth’s gravity. However, near-Earth space is teeming with much more Earth-borne oxygen than anyone had expected.
  • The aurora are formed when energetic electrons, accelerated in the electric and magnetic fields in near-Earth space, crash into and excite atmospheric gases, which emit bright hues of red, green, and yellow as they relax back to a lower energy state.
  • These unruly electrons also create a cascade of havoc in the process, including driving electric currents that heat the upper atmosphere in splotchy patches.
  • In some cases, that heating is sufficient to give stray oxygen atoms enough energy to escape.
  • VISIONS-1, the current mission’s precursor, launched from the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska in 2013, where they studied oxygen outflow from aurora that forms on Earth’s night side, the part of the planet that is temporarily pointed away from the Sun.

 

 

 

What is a Tele Robotic Coronary Intervention?

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Answer:

  • Tele robotic Coronary intervention is a robotic method of performing surgery. With the help of the internet and a robotic tower, a surgeon is able to treat patients from a distance.

Enrich Your Learning:

  • In a major feat in the coronary intervention technology, Ahmedabad-based interventional cardiologist, Dr Tejas Patel conducted the world’s first in-human (FIH) tele-robotic coronary intervention from Swaminarayan Aksharddham temple in Gandhinagar.
  • Sitting at a distance of roughly 32 kilometers from catheterization lab of the Apex Heart Institute (AHI) in Ahmedabad, Dr Patel performed the world’s first Percutareous Coronary Intervention (PCI) on a patient admitted at the AHI.
  • The success paves the way for large-scale, long-distance tele-robotic platforms across the globe.

Importance:

  • Cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, are the number one cause of death worldwide resulting in nearly 18 million deaths per year.
  • The application of tele-robotics in India has the potential to impact a significant number of lives by providing access to care that may not otherwise have been possible.
  • Tele-robotic coronary interventional platform has the potential to dramatically improve patient access for both elective and emergent percutaneous coronary interventions and stroke in rural and under-served populations.
  • It will reduce time to seek access for treatment and will also reduce variability in operator skills, improve clinical outcomes.

For the study, Dr Patel used CorPath technology of US-based Corindus Vascular Robotics, Inc.

Commercialising tele robotic operations:

  • To improve results in patients, Corindus Vascular Robotics has pioneered the world’s first remote tele robotic interventional platform to deliver highly specialized and timely cardiovascular care to underserved patient populations.
  • After studying the results of tele robotic interventional performed in India, the company is also planning on commercializing the system and expand its interventional platform to address stroke care.

 

 

 

What is the main purpose of Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994?

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Answer:

  • The main purpose of enacting the PCPNDT act is to ban the use of sex selection techniques before or after conception and prevent the misuse of prenatal diagnostic technique for sex selective abortion.

Enrich Your Learning:

About Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994:

  • Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act, 1994 is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted to stop female foeticides and arrest the declining sex ratio in India. The act banned prenatal sex determination.
  • The main purpose of enacting the act is to ban the use of sex selection techniques before or after conception and prevent the misuse of prenatal diagnostic technique for sex selective abortion.
  • Offences under this act include conducting or helping in the conduct of prenatal diagnostic technique in the unregistered units, sex selection on a man or woman, conducting PND test for any purpose other than the one mentioned in the act, sale, distribution, supply, renting etc. of any ultra sound machine or any other equipment capable of detecting sex of the foetus.

Main provisions in the act are:

  • The Act provides for the prohibition of sex selection, before or after conception.
  • It regulates the use of pre-natal diagnostic techniques, like ultrasound and amniocentesis by allowing them their use only to detect:
  • Genetic abnormalities
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Chromosomal abnormalities
  • Certain congenital malformations
  • Haemoglobinopathies
  • Sex linked disorders.
  • No laboratory or centre or clinic will conduct any test including ultrasonography for the purpose of determining the sex of the foetus.
  • No person, including the one who is conducting the procedure as per the law, will communicate the sex of the foetus to the pregnant woman or her relatives by words, signs or any other method.
  • Any person who puts an advertisement for pre-natal and pre-conception sex determination facilities in the form of a notice, circular, label, wrapper or any document, or advertises through interior or other media in electronic or print form or engages in any visible representation made by means of hoarding, wall painting, signal, light, sound, smoke or gas, can be imprisoned for up to three years and fined Rs. 10,000.
  • The Act mandates compulsory registration of all diagnostic laboratories, all genetic counselling centres, genetic laboratories, genetic clinics and ultrasound clinics.

Act amended in 2003:

  • Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulation and Prevention of Misuse) Act, 1994 (PNDT), was amended in 2003 to The Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act (PCPNDT Act) to improve the regulation of the technology used in sex selection.

Implications of the amendment are:

  • Amendment of the act mainly covered bringing the technique of pre conception sex selection within the ambit of the act
  • Bringing ultrasound within its ambit
  • Empowering the central supervisory board, constitution of state level supervisory board
  • Provision for more stringent punishments
  • Empowering appropriate authorities with the power of civil court for search, seizure and sealing the machines and equipments of the violators
  • Regulating the sale of the ultrasound machines only to registered bodies.
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