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.

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

 

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.

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.

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.

 

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

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

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.

 

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

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.

China evokes Panchsheel

China proposed five principles of peaceful co-existence or Panchsheel for advancing the Belt and Road Initiative (B&RI), and as a vehicle for achieving sustainable globalisation.

Key Facts

  • Friendship and cooperation with all countries in the world on the Belt and Road Initiative on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence.
  • 29 world leaders and representatives from countries across the continents took part the meet.
  • Belt and Road initiative should be an open one that will achieve both economic growth and balanced development.

India’s Stand

India boycott China’s Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in view of sovereignty concerns related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of the initiative that is expected to figure prominently in the two-day meet. Objections related only to the CPEC traversing through Gilgit and Baltistan of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK). India treats the entire state of Jammu and Kashmir as its integral part.

China–Pakistan Economic Corridor

  • CPEC is intended to rapidly modernize Pakistani infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of: modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones.
  • It became partly operational when Chinese cargo was transported overland to Gwadar Port.
  • CPEC will not only benefit China and Pakistan but will have positive impact on Iran, Afghanistan, India, Central Asian Republic, and the region.

The : Hindu

GS III : Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora

Arctic nations to meet amid drilling concerns

World’s eight Arctic nations are meeting in Alaska amid concerns about the future of the sensitive region. Recently United States President Donald Trump called for more oil drilling and development.

About Artic Council

  • Arctic Council is an advisory body that promotes cooperation among member nations and indigenous groups.
  • The main focus is on sustainable development and environmental protection of the Arctic.
  • It does not make policy or allocate resources, and its decisions must be unanimous.

Members of the Council

  • Eight member countries : Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.300px-ArcticCouncil.svg
  • Only states with territory in the Arctic can be members of the Council.
  • The Council also has permanent and ad hoc observer countries and permanent participants.
  • India has an observer status, Observers have no voting rights in the Council.

 

Government to curb online Child Sexual Abuse Material

Ministry of Women and Child Development to deal with the problem of online Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM). A stakeholder Consultation was held last year on this issue. It was decided that the Ministry will establish a National Alliance against   Online Child Sexual Abuse and Exploitation.  It will mainly focusing on the online content.

Immediate Interim Measures

  • Consultations of the Inter-Ministerial Committee, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology(MEITY) in collaboration with Ministry of Women and Child Development has issued immediate interim measures to curb the menace of Online Child Sexual Abuse Material.
  • The Internet Service Providers(ISPs) shall be required to adopt and implement the Internet Watch Foundation(IWF) Resources by 31st July 2017.
  • This foundation maintains a dynamic global list of websites and URLs which contain CSAM.
  • Implementation of IWF Resources will result in the relevant content being blocked/removed on an ongoing basis.
  • This is an interim measure till the IMC puts in place a centralized mechanism to monitor online CSAM.
  • ISPs will continue to observe due diligence requirements described under the IT Act for removing and disabling any content which is in violation.

Source : Pib

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

India and UK to cooperate in urban transport sector

India & UK agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on bilateral cooperation in urban transport policy planning, technology transfer and institutional organization of transport.

Key Fact

  • MoU agreed to cover a wide range of transport mobility solutions and associated activities in urban environments.
  • Transport For London  (TFL) will share its expertise on the mobility and efficiency of transport system and methodologies to facilitate the planning and delivery of mobility solutions including ticketing , passenger information, major project financing, infrastructure maintenance strategies and behavioural change and public transport promotion.
  • Ministry to strengthen cooperation on electric bus, bus innovation and capacity augmentation and water transport.

Transport for London (TFL)

  • TFL is a local government body responsible for the transport system in Greater London, England.
  • TfL has responsibility for London’s network of principal road routes, for various rail networks including the London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway and TfL Rail, for London’s trams, buses and taxis, for cycling provision, and for river services.

Source : Pib

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

Tejas Successfully Test Fires Beyond Visual Range Missile

Tejas, the Light Combat Aircraft successfully demonstrated an Air-to-Air Beyond Visual Range (BVR) missile firing capability by releasing Derby Air-to-Air BVR missile in RADAR guided mode.

Key Fact

  • The objective of the test was to assess the Derby integration with aircraft systems on-board Tejas including the aircraft avionics, fire-control radar, launchers and Missile Weapon Delivery System and to verify its performance.
  • test was conducted on a Manoeuvrable Aerial Target at the Interim Test Range (ITR), Chandipur.
  • The Derby firing is a major step towards clearing BVR capabilities on LCA aircraft for Final Operational Configuration.

What is BVR?

Targeting an object beyond the visual range of the pilot. The pilot actually see the target, on radar or by other artificial means. Beyond-visual-range missile (BVR) is an air-to-air missile (BVRAAM) that is capable of engaging at ranges of 20 nmi (37 km) or beyond. This range has been achieved using dual pulse rocket motors or booster rocket motor and ramjet sustainer motor.

Derby BVRAAM

  • Derby (Alto) is a beyond visual range (BVR) air-to-air missile (AAM).
  • It is developed by Israeli defence company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems to meet the combat needs of the armed forces.
  • It is integrated onto a variety of fighter aircraft such as F-5, F-16 Fighting Falcon, Gripen E and Mirage
  • Capable of engaging aerial threats from short ranges and near-beyond visual range.
  • Powered by a rocket motor, the Derby missile has a speed of Mach 4 and can hit targets at a range of up to 50km.

Tejas Aircraft

An indigenous fighter aircraft jointly developed by Aeronautical Development Agency and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited. It is the smallest lightweight, multi-role, single-engine tactical fighter aircraft in the world and is being developed in single-seat fighter and twin seat trainer variants for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.


Source : Pib

GS III : Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

Nod for GM mustard

Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee (GEAC), India’s apex regulator for genetically modified seeds cleared GM mustard for environmental release and use in farmer fields. If it get final nod from Environment Ministery GM mustard would be the first transgenic food crop.

What is Gm Mustard? 

DMH (Dhara Mustard Hybrid)-11 is genetically modified variety of mustard developed by Centre for Genetic Manipulation of Crop Plants at Delhi University. It was Government sponsored project. Mustard is one of India’s most important winter crops sown between mid-October and late November.

Favourable Arguments

  • Yields about 30% more than a traditional.
  • Need to raise domestic crop yields and cut dependence on imports.

Arguments Against

  • Can affect honeybees directly and indirectly through effecting flowering and pollen production.
  • It will force farmers to use only select brands of agro-chemicals because it use external gene that makes the plant resistant to herbicide.
  • May adversely affect environment, human and animal health.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

Lunar palace on earth

Chinese students will live in a laboratory simulating a lunar-like environment for up to 200 days as China prepares for its long-term goal of putting humans on the moon.  The project seeks to help the country prepare lunar explorers for longer stays on the surface.

Key Facts

  • Research university Beihang entered the 160-square-metre (1,720-square-foot) cabin dubbed the “Yuegong-1”, or Lunar Palace.
  • The volunteers will live in the sealed lab to simulate a long-term, self-contained space mission with no input from the outside world.
  • Two men and two women entered the lab for an initial stay of 60 days.
  • They will then be relieved by another group of four, who will stay 200 days, before returning for an additional 105.
  • Experimental crops and vegetables grown with the help of food and waste byproducts.
  • Human waste will be treated with a bio-fermentation process.
  • The “Lunar Palace” has two plant cultivation modules and a living cabin: 42 square metres containing four bed cubicles, a common room, a bathroom, a waste-treatment room and a room for raising animals.
  • The Lunar Palace is the world’s third bioregenerative life-support base, and the first developed in China.

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights

Artificial bone marrow could make transplants safer

Scientists, led by an Indian-origin researcher, have developed artificial bone tissues that could provide new bone marrow for patients needing transplants and make the procedure much safer.

Bone marrow

  • Bone marrow is the flexible tissue in the interior of bones.
  • In humans, red blood cells are produced by cores of bone marrow in the heads of long bones in a process known as hematopoiesis.
  • Bone marrow transplants can be conducted to treat severe diseases of the bone marrow, including certain forms of cancer such as leukemia.

About Research

  • Bone marrow transplants are used to treat patients with bone marrow disease.
  • Developed bone tissues with functional bone marrow that can be filled with donor cells and implanted under the skin of mice.
  • The structures matured into bone tissues that have a working blood vessel network and a bone marrow inside that supplies new blood cells.
  • Donor cells survived for at least six months and supplied the mice with new blood cells.

Importance of Artificial Bone Marrow

Before a transplant, a patient is first given doses of radiation to kill off any existing stem cells in the patient’s bone marrow. Pre-treatment is meant to improve success of the transplant by clearing up space in the marrow. It will allow donor cells to survive and grow without competition from the patient’s own cells. This treatment often comes with harmful side effects, such as nausea, fatigue, loss of fertility and others. To address these issues, researchers developed a bone-like implant that gives donor cells their own space to live and grow without competition, eliminating the need to wipe out the host’s pre-existing cells.


Source : The Hindu

GS III : Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

Tallest bridge across Chenab

Importance of the Bridge

  • World’s tallest railway arch bridge over the Chenab river in Jammu, providing rail connectivity to Kashmir.
  • It will be capable of handling high intensity blasts and resisting the worst possible natural disaster.
  • This is for the first time globally that a bridge is designed to handle high level trinitrotoluene (TNT) blast load.

About the Project

  • The bridge will be a crucial link in the 111-km stretch between Katra (Jammu) and Banihal (Kashmir) which is part of the Udhampur-Srinagar-Baramulla.
  • The railway project aimed at linking Kashmir through rail with the rest of the country.Rail chenab
  • The 1.3 km long bridge over the Chenab at a height of 359 metres will be 35m taller than the Eiffel Tower in Paris and five times the height of the Qutab Minar in Delhi.
  • The project site located at 60 km from the Pakistan border.
  • The construction work of the Chenab Bridge declared as a national project  in August 2004.

FSSAI to tax processed food items

Expert panel set up by food regulator FSSAI has recommended additional tax on highly processed food items and sugar-laced beverages. Panel also recommended ban on advertising of junk foods on children’s channels or during kids’ shows on TV.

About Report

  • 11-member panel on ‘Consumption of Fat, Sugar and Salt (FSS) and its health effects on Indian population’ suggests ways to cut consumption of unhealthy food products.
  • Imposing additional tax on the purchase of commodities can be a pragmatic approach to reduce their intake.
  • It aims to reduce rising burden of chronic diseases like cancer and diabetes.
  • The nutrition-related programmes of the government can be supported through profit from taxing unhealthy food products.
  • The report serve as a guideline document for all the stakeholders, including the industry, the FSSAI and consumers, in reducing consumption of fat, sugar and salt through processed food products.
  • Advertisement ban for foods high in Fat Sugar Salt (FSS) during children TV shows or kids TV channels is suggested by the panel.
  • Celebrity endorsements of such foods need to be discouraged and online social media websites should also comply with advertising ban for unhealthy foods.
  • Panel recommended reliable monitoring systems to examine FSS intake periodically at the national level.

Need for Regulation

The rising burden of mortality and morbidity due to chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, respiratory diseases, diabetes and cancers is alarming. The burden of chronic diseases will tend to increase in the next 25 years. In order to tackle this simple sugars and refined carbohydrates should be reduced. These come largely from sugar sweetened beverages and processed snacks with high added sugar content.

Food Safety And Standards Authority of India

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been established under Food Safety and Standards , 2006.
  • FSSAI has been created for laying down science based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption.
  • Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India is the Administrative Ministry for the implementation of FSSAI.
  • Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) appointed by Government of India.
  • Chairperson is in the rank of Secretary to Government of India.

Source : The Hindu

GS II : Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary star tortoises

Project of the Kerala Forest Department at the Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) to rehabilitate Indian star tortoises (Geochelone elegans) seized from smugglers has turned into a major success. This makes the CWS the only rehabilitation centre for star tortoises in the country.

Indian Star Tortoise

  • Indian star tortoise (Geochelone elegans) is a threatened species of tortoise found in dry areas and scrub forest in India and Sri Lanka.tortoise
  • The main reason for threaten is the exotic pet trade.
  • They range from India,  extending west to Sindh province (Pakistan), and Sri Lanka.
  • Indian star tortoises are considered auspicious for gaining wealth.
  • It is the reason why Indian star tortoises, which are protected under the Wildlife Act, are poached and smuggled.

Rehabilitation of tortoises

  • CWS is the only place in Kerala where star tortoises are known to occur in the wild.
  • Sanctuary is now a haven for at least 450 such tortoises seized from poachers in less than two years.

Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS)

  • Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS) is located in the Idukki district of Kerala state.
  • It is one of twelve wildlife sanctuaries among the protected areas of Kerala.
  • The Chinnar and Pambar rivers are the major perennial water resources in the sanctuary.

Source : The Hindu

General Information

 

Science exhibition train

A Science Express Climate Action Special (SECAS) train will hold exhibitions at four stations under East Coast Railway (ECoR). It’s aim is to create awareness about climate change and similar issues.

Key Facts

  • The exhibition is at Bhadrak, Puri, Chhatrapur and Kottavalasa between 9 and 23 May.
  • 16-coach train is an initiative of the Centre’s department of science & technology in collaboration with the ministry of environment, forest & climate change, department of bio-technology and ministry of railways.train
  • Exhibition will convey a message about climate change and provide an opportunity to generate dialogue and discussion.
  • It will create awareness among various sections of society as to how climate change can be combated through mitigation and adaptation.
  • 8 coaches developed by MoEFCC, is exclusively devoted to information, case studies and material related to various aspect of climate change.

Source : Livemint

GS III : Environment Awareness – Climate Change

 

Japan pitches for Chabahar port

Japan is keen on collaborating with India on projects in Asia and Africa as a counter to China’s Belt and Road initiative (B&RI). This indicating Japan’s nod for Australia’s bid to join a quadrilateral for military exercises with India and the U.S.

Key Facts

  • Japanese government was in talks with Tehran and New Delhi for a role in the Chabahar port project along with India.
  • It will be seen as a rival to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s Gwadar port.
  • China’s recent economic moves like the BRI as well as an aggressive maritime stance in the South China Sea have been a matter of concern.

About Chabahar port project

  • The port of Chabahar is located in southeastern Iran in the Gulf of Oman and it is the only Iranian port with direct access to the ocean.
  • Project cost $20-billion investment for India.
  • It will be seen as a rival to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor’s Gwadar port.
  • The port will make way for India to bypass Pakistan in transporting goods to Afghanistan using a sea-land route.
  • The project boost International North-South Transport Corridor of which both are initial signatories along with Russia.
  • International North-South Transport Corridor entails the ship, rail, and road routes for moving freight between India, Russia, Iran, Europe and Central Asia.
  • The route primarily involves moving freight from India, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia.
  • The objective of the corridor is to increase trade connectivity between major cities such as Mumbai, Moscow, Tehran, Baku, Astrakhan etc.

Source : The Hindu

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

GSLV Successfully Launches South Asia Satellite

India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09) successfully launched the 2230 kg South |Asia Satellite (GSAT-9) into its planned Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).

Key Fact

  • Data from GSAT-9 will be shared with Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
  • It was also offered to Pakistan, which turned it down and India is also working with Afghanistan but a deal has still not be ironed out.
  • At least one transponder of this satellite will be available to the participating countries, which will help them connect with each other.
  • The satellite also has the capability to provide secure hot lines among the participating nations in addition since the region is highly prone to earthquakes, cyclones, floods, tsunamis.
  • The South Asia Satellite is India’s plan to counter China’s growing influence on its neighbours.

About the satellite

  • South Asia Satellite is a geosynchronous communications and meteorology satellite
  • The 2230-kg satellite’s main structure is cuboid in shape, built around a central cylinder with a mission life of more than 12 years.
  • The South Asia Satellite is now orbiting the Earth with a perigee (nearest point to Earth) of 169 km and an apogee (farthest point to Earth) of 36,105 km with an orbital inclination of 20.65 deg with respect to the equator.

About GSLV-F09

  • This is the fourth consecutive success achieved by GSLV carrying indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage.
  • 49 metres tall and weighing around 450 ton, the GSLV is a three stage rocket.
  • The first stage is fired with solid fuel, the second with liquid fuel and the third is the cryogenic engine. 

Source : The Hindu

GS III : Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology

Swachh Survekshan Survey 2017

Centre released the list of cleanest cities of the country as a part of Swachh Survekshan Survey. Every year, cities and towns across India are awarded with the title of ‘Swachh Cities’ on the basis of their cleanliness and sanitation drive as a part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan.

Key Facts

  • Union Urban development minister Venkaiah Naidu released the list which was finalised by the Quality Council of India.
  • Indore and Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh have emerged as the cleanest cities in the country
  • The dirtiest city is Gonda in Uttar Pradesh.

swach report

  • Survey, Swachh Survekshan-2017, was carried out by the Quality Council of India across 434 cities and includes the feedback of 18 lakh respondents.
  • The top 10 cleanest cities : Indore, Bhopal, Visakhapatnam, Surat, Mysuru, Tiruchi, Delhi’s New Delhi Municipal Council area, Navi Mumbai, Tirupati and Vadodara.
  • Gujarat has 12 cities among the top 50, followed by Madhya Pradesh – 11, Andhra Pradesh with eight,  Tamil Nadu and Telangana four each..

Criteria for survey

Criteria of the rankings are as follows : 45 per cent marks for open defecation free, solid waste management, education and capacity building, another 25 per cent marks for field inspection and 30 per cent for citizen feedback. At least 18 lakh citizens across the cities gave their feedback about the sanitation in their respective cities and towns.


Source : The Hindu

GS III : Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.