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India successfully fires heaviest launch vehicle

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched its heaviest launch vehicle, GSLV MkIII-D1, and placed the country’s heaviest satellite till date, GSAT-19, into a precise orbit.

  • This was the first orbital mission of GSLV MkIII which was mainly intended to evaluate the vehicle performance including that of its fully indigenous cryogenic upper stage during the flight.
  • Weighing 3136 kg at lift-off, GSAT-19 is the heaviest satellite launched.

ISRO’s GSLV-Mk III

  • GSKV-Mk III  is capable of launching four-tonne satellites in the Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
  • The rocket is also capable of placing up to eight tonnes in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO), enough to carry a manned module.
  • GSLV-Mk III is a three-stage vehicle with two solid motor strap-ons (S200), a liquid propellant core stage (L110) and a cryogenic stage (C-25).
  • It is the first fully functional rocket to be tested with a cryogenic engine.

GSAT-19

  • GSAT-19 satellite developed to help improve telecommunication and broadcasting areas.gsat 19
  • GSAT-19 satellite with a lift-off mass of 3136 kg.
  • It carries Ka/Ku-band high throughput communication transponders and Geostationary Radiation Spectrometer (GRASP) payload to monitor and study the nature of charged particles and the influence of space radiation on satellites and their electronic components.
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India, Pakistan to become full SCO members at Astana summit

India and Pakistan’s admission as full members to the China backed Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will be formalised at the political and security grouping’s summit in Kazakhstan.

India and Pakistan as the full members at the Astana summit on June 8-9 and expect the Astana summit will complete the admission procedures for the two countries.

Background

During the 2015 summit in Ufa, Russia, the SCO formally adopted a resolution starting the process to admit India and Pakistan into the organisation as full members. Both the countries signed a Memorandum of Obligations to join the organisation at last year’s summit in Tashkent.

Importance of Cooperation

  • The presence of China and India, the world’s most populous countries, would make SCO the organisation with the largest population coverage.
  • Improve their relations and inject new impetus to the development of the SCO.
  • The admission of India and Pakistan as full members would help improve their bilateral relations.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

  • The political and security grouping headquartered in Beijing was founded in 2001.
  • It comprises China Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan as full members.17908469_401
  • It mainly aimed at military cooperation between the members and involves intelligence-sharing, counter-terrorism operations in Central Asia.
  • Currently Afghanistan, Belarus, India, Iran, Mongolia and Pakistan have observer status.
  • SCO has six dialogue partners, namely the Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, the Kingdom of Cambodia, the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, the Republic of Turkey, and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

 

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India, Spain sign 7 agreements

PM Modi on a six-day, four-nation tour of Germany, Spain, Russia and France to boost India’s economic engagement with these nations and invite more investment.

India and Spain signed seven agreements

Signed seven agreements, including

  1. Transfer of sentenced persons
  2. Visa waiver for holders of diplomatic passports
  3. Cooperation in organ transplantation
  4. Cyber security
  5. Renewable energy
  6. Civil aviation and
  7. India’s Foreign Service Institute and Diplomatic Academy of Spain

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

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Darwaza Band for open defecation

New campaign titled ‘Darwaza Band’ to promote toilet use and freedom from open defecation across the country’s villages. The campaign produced by the MDWS under Swachh Bharat Mission was launched.

Key Facts

  • Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MDWS) launches a fresh national campaign led by Amitabh Bachchan.
  • Darwaza Band’ campaign has been supported by the World Bank and is being rolled out countrywide immediately after the launch.
  • It is designed to encourage behaviour change in men who have toilets but are not using them.
  • Communication campaigns have been taken up both, at the central and State levels, for promoting sustained use of toilets and for sustaining the Open Defecation Free status.

Source : PIB

GS II : Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

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Cabinet approves new coal allocation policy for power sector

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), approved a new transparent coal allocation policy for the power sector called Shakti or Scheme for Harnessing and Allocating ‘Koyala’ (Coal) Transparently in India-2017. This will ensure the rights of coal supplies for Fuel Supply Agreement (FSA) holders and signing of FSA with Letter of Assurance (LoA) holders.

Importance of SHAKTI

  • Thermal Power Plant (TPP) having LoA shall be eligible to sign FSA after ensuring that the plants are commissioned, respective milestones met, all specified conditions of the LoA.
  • The new policy will lead to gradual phasing out of the old one.
  • The policy aimed to ensure coal availability at all power plants and reduce dependence on imports of the dry fuel.
  • It will also help revive the stressed assets in the power sector and expected to bring 30,000 MW of locked capacity into generation.
  • Policy covers coal-based plants that are under-construction or are going to be constructed, provided these units are commissioned by March 31, 2022.
  • Power generation companies belonging to the Centre and the states will not be part of the policy.

Need for the Scheme

The coal supply to the TPPs has been made as per the provisions of the New Coal Distribution Policy (NCDP), 2007. Till 2010, CIL had issued LoA for approximately 1,08,000 MW capacity and no new LoAs were issued thereafter due to the prevailing scarcity scenario. The coal availability scenario has, now, emerged from scarcity to adequacy. In this adequate coal availability scenario, the present policy proposes a fading away of the old linkage allocation policy and emergence of a new linkage allocation policy based on transparent and objective criteria for the optimal utilisation of the natural resources.

 

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Cabinet nod for 10 indigenous nuclear reactors

Union Cabinet cleared the proposal to construct 10 indigenous pressurised heavy water nuclear reactors (PHWR)with a total capacity of 7,000 MWe. The 10 PHWR project will result in a significant augmentation of nuclear power generation capacity.

Need for Indigenous Reactors

Troubles for India’s international collaborations in nuclear projects. U.S. deal, involving Toshiba Westinghouse for six reactors in Andhra Pradesh, is floundering after Westinghouse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The deal with French company Areva for reactors in Jaitapur remain in negotiations over costing.

Key Facts

  • First of its kind project for India’s nuclear power sector, the ten new units will come up in homegrown initiative.
  • 10 plants would create Rs. 70,000 crore worth of business for domestic manufacturers.
  • It would be one of the flagship Make in India projects in this sector.
  • It will be part of India’s latest design of 700 MW PHWR fleet with state-of-art technology with highest safety.

Benefits

  • The project will help transform Indian nuclear industry by linking our goal of a strong nuclear power sector with our indigenous industrial capacities in high-end technologies.
  • It is expected to generate more than 33,400 jobs in direct and indirect employment.
  • Aims to prioritise the use of clean power in India’s energy production.
  • The project supports India’s commitment to sustainable development, energy self-sufficiency and bolsters global efforts to combat climate change.

Current Capacity of India

India has current installed nuclear power capacity of 6780 MW from 22 operational plants. Another 6700 MWs of nuclear power is expected to come on stream by 2021-22 through projects presently under construction. India generated 37,674 million units of nuclear energy in 2016-17, according to the Nuclear Power Corporation of India.


Source : The Hindu

GS III : Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc

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Public Affairs Index 2017

In News

Public Affairs Index (PAI) for the year 2017 has been released which aims to rank the states of India objectively in the field of governance based on various focus subjects and indicators. iT is an initiative of the Public Affairs Committee (PAC).

Performance of various states

  • Kerala and Tamil Nadu – secured first and second rankings for the second year.
  • Gujarat gained two positions rising from five in 2016 to three in 2017 in public affairs index (PAI).
  • Karnataka slipped from third position in 2016 to fourth in 2017 while Maharashtra stood fifth (4th in 2016) in governance indicators.
  • Last four positions among large States. Like in the previous year, Bihar (18th), Jharkhand (17th), Odisha (16th) and Assam (15th)
  • Among 12 small States (population less than two crore), Himachal has wrested the first rank, followed by Goa and Mizoram.
  • Delhi from third position in 2016 to 9th position in 2017.
  • Meghalaya (12th), Arunachal Pradesh (11th) and Jammu Kashmir (10th) are at the bottom of the table.
  • Bihar (18th), Jharkhand (17th), Odisha (16th) and Assam (15th) are at the bottom of the table.
  • Infrastructure : Punjab is the best performer among all States, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat secured second, third and fourth positions, respectively.
  • Human Development : Kerala, Maharshtra, and Punjab are top of the table while Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Assam are the worst performers.
  • Implementation of social protection policies : Kerala, Assam and Madhya Pradesh secured top three ranks in , while Telangana, Haryana and Punjab are lagging in execution of various State and Central government schemes.
  • Women and children : Kerala topped the list followed by Odisha and Karnataka while Jharkhand, Haryana and Maharashtra are poor performers.
  • Tamil Nadu secured first rank in maintaining law and order, delivery of justice and environment categories and secured last rank in transparency and accountability in the administration.
  • Fiscal Management Telangana is the best performer while Andhra Pradesh secured last rank.
  • Economic freedom : Gujarat secured top rank while  Bihar secured the last rank.

About the Report

  • Public Affairs Centre (PAC) is a not-for-profit research think tank situated in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
  • It works at improving the quality of governance in India.PAC_LOGO
  • The institute conducts research activities in two major fields, public policy and participatory governance.
  • The survey was based on 10 themes, 26 focus subjects and 82 indicators.
  • Wide range of themes such as essential infrastructure, support to human development, social protection, women and children, crime, law and order, delivery of justice, environment, transparency and accountability, fiscal management and economic freedom.
  • Public Affairs Index (PAI) is an attempt to bring together the states of the country which are culturally, economically and socially diverse, into a common data-driven framework, to facilitate an interstate comparison.
  • A well-framed methodology backed by statistical data from government sources, have been included in the study to provide insights into the subject.

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e-governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures

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Divorce law for Muslims

In the news

Centre informed a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court (SC) that it considered all forms of Muslim divorce unilateral, extrajudicial, unequal. Centre enact a new divorce law for Muslim men, if the SC struck down existing practices.

All three forms of triple talaq

  1. talaq-e-biddat,
  2. talaq hasan
  3. talaq ahasan

Personal Law vs Constitution

All personal laws are also laws governed by Article 13 of the Constitution, which makes it clear that no law can be valid if it violates Fundamental Rights. Violating Fundamental Rights of gender equality, gender justice, gender discrimination, human rights, and dignity under Articles 14, 15, 21 and 51A of the Constitution.

Global Practice

  • Pakistan : Muslim Family Law Ordinance 1961 made triple talaq an illegal act.
  • Egypt : Through a 1929 law Egypt made the practice of divorce cumbersome.
  • Turkey : Banned the practice in 1926 and adopted a more progressive code of marriage.
  • Tunisia : Under 1956 law divorce is not valid out side a court of law.

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

 

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11,000 cr. to be spent on roads in Naxal-hit areas

Why in News ?

In Chhattisgarh, where 25 personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed by Naxals last month. Centre will begin work on a ₹11,000-crore project to provide road connectivity to 44 Naxal-affected districts, including Sukma in Chhattisgarh, which had recently witnessed one of the deadliest Maoist attacks.

Details of the aid

  • 11,000-crore project to 44 Naxal-affected districts.
  • To improve rural road connectivity in the Left Wing Extremism affected districts, under the centrally-sponsored “Road Connectivity Project for LWE Affected Areas” scheme.
  • Five per cent of the total project cost i.e. ₹550 crore will be kept aside for administrative expenses including for deployment of security forces at strategic locations.
  • The project will be implemented under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana in the districts that are critical from a security and communication point of view.
  • There will be construction or upgradation of 5,411 km of roads and 126 bridges.
  • Out of these 44 districts, the maximum are in Chhattisgarh
  • Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra are the other States that will be covered under the scheme.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Linkages between development and spread of extremism

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Govt issues critical alert over ransomware

Background

Hospitals, major companies and government offices have been hit by a massive wave of cyberattacks across the globe that seize control of computers until the victims pay a ransom.

About the attack

  • More than 75,000 ransomware attacks in 99 countries, making it one of the broadest and most damaging cyberattacks in history.
  • The ransomware called WannaCry locks down all the files on an infected computer and asks the computer’s administrator to pay in order to regain control of them.
  • Ransomware worm that stopped car factories, hospitals, shops and schools in more than 100 countries.
  • The country most affected by WannaCry is UK, where 48 of the 248 National Health Service trusts were impacted, causing widespread disruption to health services in the country.

ransome virus

Alert from GOI

The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), the central agency coordinating efforts on cyber security issues, has issued a critical alert and has advised the installation of relevant patches to protect against any data breaches. WannaCry malware, according to CERT-In, spreads by using a vulnerability in implementations of Server Message Block in systems running Microsoft’s Windows operating system.


Source : HT

GS III : Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security.