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Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV)

Mains Paper 3 : Awareness In The Fields Of It, Space, Computers, Robotics, Nano-Technology, Bio-Technology |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : HSDTV, Ramjet and Scramjet Engines

Mains level : Utility of HSDTV



News

  • The DRDO has conducted the maiden test of an indigenously developed Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) along with several technologies.

HSDTV

  • The HSTDV is an unmanned scramjet demonstration aircraft for hypersonic speed flight.
  • India is pushing ahead with the development of ground and flight test hardware as part of an ambitious plan for a hypersonic cruise missile.
  • The HSTDV is intended to attain autonomous scramjet flight for 20 seconds, using a solid rocket launch booster.
  • The research will also inform India’s interest in reusable launch vehicles. The eventual target is to reach Mach 6.5 at an altitude of 32.5 km.
  • Under this project, DRDO is developing a hypersonic vehicle that will be powered by a scram-jet engine.

Uses

  • This is dual-use technology, which when developed, will have multiple civilian applications.
  • It can be used for launching satellites at low cost.
  • It will also be available for long-range cruise missiles of the future.

Back2Basics

Scram-jet technology

  • In scram-jet technology, combustion of fuel takes place in a chamber in the missile at supersonic speeds.
  • This is different from a ram jet system where the system collects the air it needs from the atmosphere during the flight at subsonic speeds and the propellants burn in the combustion chamber.
Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

Abujh Maria PVTGs

Mains Paper 2 : Laws, Institutions & Bodies Constituted For The Vulnerable Sections |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Abujh Maria PVTGS

Mains level : PVTGS in India



News

  • The Chhattisgarh government is processing habitat rights for Abujh Marias, a Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG).

Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs)

  • Tribal communities are often identified by some specific signs such as primitive traits, distinctive culture, geographical isolation, shyness to contact with the community at large and backwardness.
  • Along with these, some tribal groups have some specific features such as dependency on hunting, gathering for food, having pre-agriculture level of technology, zero or negative growth of population and extremely low level of literacy.
  • These groups are called Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups.

Characteristics of PVTGs

  • In 1973, the Dhebar Commission created Primitive Tribal Groups (PTGs) as a separate category, who are less developed among the tribal groups.
  • In 2006, the GoI renamed the PTGs as Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs).
  • PVTGs have some basic characteristics -they are mostly homogenous, with a small population, relatively physically isolated, social institutes cast in a simple mould, absence of written language, relatively simple technology and a slower rate of change etc.

PVTGs in India

  • In this context, in 1975, the GoI initiated to identify the most vulnerable tribal groups as a separate category called PVTGs and declared 52 such groups.
  • In 1993 an additional 23 groups were added to the category, making it a total of 75 PVTGs out of 705 STs, spread over 17 states and 1 UT in the country (2011 census).

Identifying PVTGs

  • PVTGs are more vulnerable among the tribal groups.
  • Due to this factor, more developed and assertive tribal groups take a major chunk of the tribal development funds, because of which PVTGs need more funds directed for their development.
  • Government of India designed a procedure to identify PVTGs.
  • According to the procedure, the state governments or UT governments submit proposals to the Central Ministry of Tribal Welfare for identification of PVTGs.
  • After ensuring the criteria is fulfilled, the Central Ministry selects those groups as PVTGs.

For additional information, navigate to the page:

PVTGs

http://vikaspedia.in/social-welfare/scheduled-tribes-welfare/primitive-vulnerable-tribal-groups

Tribal Development

[pib] New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2019

Mains Paper 2 : International Institutions |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Arbitration

Mains level : NDIAC


News

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the Bill New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) Bill, 2019 for introduction in the ensuing session of Parliament.

About the Bill

  • In view of the provisions of the Article 107 (5) and 123 (2) of the Constitution, the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill, 2019 is proposed to be introduced in the Parliament.
  • The Bill provides for setting up of an independent an autonomous body for institutional arbitration.
  • It aims to acquire and transfer the undertakings of International Centre For Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR) to New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC).

New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC)

  • The NDIAC will be headed by a Chairperson, who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or a Judge of a High Court or an eminent person, having special knowledge and experience in the conduct or administration of arbitration, law or management,
  • He is to be appointed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.
  • Besides, it will also have two Full-time or Part-time Members from amongst eminent persons having substantial knowledge and experience in institutional arbitration in both domestic and international.
  • In addition, one representative of a recognized body of commerce and industry shall be nominated on rotational basis as a Part-time Member.
  • The Secretary, Department of Legal Affairs, Ministry of Law & Justice, Financial Adviser nominated by Department of Expenditure, Ministry of Finance and Chief Executive Officer, NDIAC will be ex-officio Members.

Aims and objectives of NDIAC

  • bring targeted reforms to develop itself as a flagship institution for conducting international and domestic arbitration
  • provide facilities and administrative assistance for conciliation, mediation and arbitral proceedings;
  • maintain panels of accredited arbitrators, conciliators and mediators both at national and international level or specialists such as surveyors and investigators;
  • facilitate conducting of international and domestic arbitrations and conciliation in the most professional manner;
  • provide cost effective and timely services for the conduct of arbitrations and conciliations at Domestic and International level;
  • promote studies in the field of alternative dispute resolution and related matters, and to promote reforms in the system of settlement of disputes; and
  • co-operate with other societies, institutions and organisations, national or international for promoting alternative dispute resolution.

Impact

  • The benefits of institutionalized arbitration will be manifold for the Government and its agency and to the parties to a dispute.
  • This will result in quality experts being available in India and also an advantage in terms of cost incurred.
  • It will facilitate India becoming a hub for institutional arbitration.

Back2Basics

International Arbitration in India

  • It has been the endeavor of the Government of India to establish an independent and autonomous institution for resolving International and domestic commercial disputes expeditiously by Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism.
  • In this regard, a HL Committee headed by Mr. Justice B.N. Srikrishna, former Judge of the Supreme Court of India, was constituted in the year 2017.
  • The HLC recommended that the Government may take over the International Centre For Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR), an existing institution which has been established in the year 1995 using the public funds and develop it as an Institution of National Importance.
  • Taking into consideration the HLC’s recommendations, a Bill, namely the New Delhi International Arbitration Centre (NDIAC) Bill 2018 was approved.
Alternative Dispute Resolution Mechanism – NCA, Lok Adalats, etc.

[pib] President’s (not Governor’s) Rule in J&K

Mains Paper 2 : Federalism |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : President's rule in J&K

Mains level : Read the attached story


News

  • Based on the prevailing situation in the state as stated in the report of Governor of J&K, the Union Cabinet has approved the extension of President’s Rule in J&K for a further period of six months under article 356(4) of the Constitution of India.

Why not Governor’s Rule?

  • Under Section 92 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir, there is no provision for further continuation of Gov. Rule after six months.
  • Hence, on the recommendation of Governor, the President issues a proclamation promulgating President’s Rule in J&K under article 356 of the Constitution of India.

What is Governor’s rule in J&K?

  • In all states of India, the state government’s failure results in President’s rule.
  • The process is slightly more nuanced in Jammu and Kashmir where not the President’s but Governor’s rule is imposed.
  • The Constitution of India grants special status to J&K among Indian states, and it is the only state in India to have a separate Constitution and regulations specific to it.
  • Under the provision of Section 92 of the J&K Constitution, Governor’s rule is imposed for six months, but only after the consent of the President of India.
  • The President’s rule in other states of India is imposed under Article 356 of the Constitution of India.
  • Under the Governor’s rule, the State Assembly is either kept in suspended animation or dissolved.

History of Governor’s Rule

  • The Governor’s rule was imposed on the state for the first time in March 1977, when the Congress withdrew support to a government led by the late Sheikh Abdullah.
  • Among notable differences with other states, till 1965, the head of state in J&K was called Sadr-e-Riyasat, whereas in other state, the title was Governor, and head of government was called Prime Minister in place of Chief Minister in other states.

Back2Basics

President’s Rule

J&K – The issues around the state

[op-ed snap] Bureaucracy reboot

Mains Paper 2 : Civil Service |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : Need of laterl entry in civil services


CONTEXT

After selection of nine lateral entrants as joint secretaries in various ministries/departments on a contract basis, the Narendra Modi government plans to extend such induction of private sector domain experts to the lower-level deputy secretary and director posts as well.

Background

  • According to a report in this newspaper, the Department of Personnel & Training has been tasked with opening up as many as 400 posts — out of the 1,300-odd at these levels under the Central Staffing Scheme — for lateral hiring.
  • If implemented, this would constitute the single biggest reform of public administration in independent India.
  • The current administrative system, wherein top positions are manned by career bureaucrats having little specialised knowledge and recruited through a common civil services examination, has clearly outlived its utility.

Need for reforms 

  • A liberalised economy requires not generalists, but people who understand industrial processes and new technologies, taxation, finance, trade and investment in a dynamic, globalised setting.
  • Even the old “steel frame” model of governance needs revisiting in favour of more nimble, entrepreneurial public service organisations focusing on performance and delivery by incorporating private sector management practices.
  • The right approach today would be to fill top/senior government positions by selecting subject matter specialists and posting them in departments for which they are best-suited.
  • The nine joint secretary-level lateral hires short-listed by the Union Public Service Commission in April were for specific departments: Agriculture, civil aviation, commerce, economic affairs, environment, financial services, renewable energy, road transport and shipping.
  • Alternatively, the “generalists” can be forced to turn “specialists” through mid-career professional development programmes or extended tenures in particular departments/fields.
  • Either way, the jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none approach to public administration needs to be dispensed with and is, indeed, an unfinished task of reforms and liberalisation.
  • It also fits into the “minimum government, maximum governance” promise on which Prime Minister Modi first rode to power in 2014.
  • There can be no better means of achieving that goal than by deepening expertise and expanding the scope of lateral appointments in government.

Issues

  • A couple of cautionary notes are, however, in order.
  • The first is the process of selecting candidates for lateral entry, which has to be transparent, robust and credible.
  • Filling 400 posts without conducting formal competitive exams can invite legal challenges, more so if they are seen to be at the expense of the “natural” All-India or Central Civil Services claimants to these jobs.
  • Second, if lateral appointments become the order of the day — which they should — what will happen to reservations for communities that are already under-represented in the upper rungs of government?
  • Conclusion
  • Striking a balance between merit and ensuring adequate representation for disadvantaged communities is necessary even in a regime of lateral entry.

[pib] Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019

Mains Paper 2 : E-Governance |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : About the amendment

Mains level : Aadhaar and associated issues


News

  • In a major move aimed at making Aadhaar making people friendly, the Union Cabinet has approved “The Aadhaar and Other Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2019” to replace the earlier ordinance.
  • The Ordinance amongst other things envisaged strengthening of the Aadhaar Act as per the directions of the Supreme Court and recommendations of Justice B.N.Srikrishna Committee.

Details of the Amendment Bill

The salient features of the amendments are as follows—

  • Provides for voluntary use of Aadhaar number in physical or electronic form by authentication or offline verification with the consent of Aadhaar  number holder;
  • Provides for use of twelve-digit Aadhaar number or its alternative virtual identity.
  • Gives an option to children who are Aadhaar number holders to cancel their Aadhaar number on attaining the age of eighteen years;
  • Permits the entities to perform authentication only when they are compliant with the standards of privacy and security specified by the Authority
  • Allows the use of Aadhaar number for authentication on voluntary basis as acceptable KYC document under the Telegraph Act, 1885 and the Prevention of Money-laundering Act, 2002;
  • Proposes deletion of section 57 of the Aadhaar Act relating to use of Aadhaar by private entities;
  • Prevents denial of services for refusing to, or being unable to, undergo authentication;
  • Provides for establishment of Unique Identification Authority of India Fund;
  • Provides for civil penalties, its adjudication, and appeal thereof in regard to violations of Aadhaar Act.

Impact:

  • The decision would enable UIDAI to have a more robust mechanism to serve the public interest and restrain the misuse of Aadhar.
  • No individual shall be compelled to provide proof of possession of Aadhaar number or undergo authentication for the purpose of establishing his identity unless it is so provided by a law made by Parliament.
Aadhaar Card Issues

[op-ed snap] Starting at three: On RTE progress

Mains Paper 2 : Health & Education |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Nothing Much

Mains level : Amendment in RTE


CONTEXT

Extending the right to education to younger children would be a welcome step.

New Proposal

  • India’s far-sighted Right to Education Act is making slow progress in mainstreaming equity, in the absence of a strong political commitment in several States.
  • The proposal to extend its scope to younger children through early childhood education is, however, wholly positive.
  • The move suggested in the draft National Education Policy to put children three years and older in a stimulating nursery environment is a welcome logical measure.
  • The pedagogical view is that the pre-school phase is crucial to stimulate a child’s curiosity and help her prepare for schooling at age six.
  • The NEP proposal to infuse the existing child development schemes, which are primarily nutrition-oriented, with a learning component is in line with this thinking on holistic development.
  • An extension of the RTE would be a big step forward, but in the absence of measures that will deepen equity, the law cannot be transformative.
  • The Centre has to guarantee that in its totality, the Right to Education will encompass all schools bar those catering to minorities.
  • This is necessary to achieve its moral goal of bringing quality schooling to all in the 6-14 age group; adding the early childhood section, now under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, will then be meaningful.

Challenge

Unfortunately, the evidence indicates that only 12.7% schools comply with the law’s requirements, and at the pace seen since RTE became law in 2010, it will take decades to achieve full coverage.

Ways to achieve it

More financial resources

  • Giving all children aged three and above the right to an education can become a reality only if the state is willing to live up to its promise of devoting more financial resources.
  • An expenditure of 6% of GDP on education could have transformed the sector, given the large wealth generated since economic liberalisation. But far less is spent — for instance, 2.7% in 2017-18.
  • The lost years have cost millions a brighter future, but the draft NEP provides an opportunity to make amends.
  • Bringing more children into the formal stream needs a well-thought-out road map.

Centre’s Role

  • The Centre has to play a leadership role to ensure that States, some of which have done a poor job of implementing the RTE Act, are persuaded to implement urgent reform.
  • The NEP’s proposal to have well-designed school complexes, where pre-primary to secondary classes will be available, is in itself an ambitious goal that will require mission-mode implementation.

State’s Government’ Role

Shortcomings in anganwadi centres must be addressed in the expansion plan. State governments will have to fill teacher vacancies and ensure that the training of recruits is aligned to scientific, child-oriented teaching methods. Education reform is vital to prepare for a future in which cutting-edge skills will be necessary for continued economic progress.

Conclusion

Changes to the RTE Act that will prepare all children for a more productive schooling phase can help make India’s educational system morally fair and more egalitarian.

Child Rights – POSCO, Child Labour Laws, NAPC, etc.

Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) outbreak in Bihar

Mains Paper 2 : Health & Education |

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : AES

Mains level : Preventing Child Mortality


News

  • An epidemic of Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) has broken out in five north Bihar districts, with more than 50 children having died in the last nine days.
  • Locally known as Chamki Bukhar, at least 400 children have died in the last one decade due to AES in these districts.

What is AES?

  • AES is a clinical condition most widely caused by infection with Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) or other infectious and non-infectious causes.

Symptoms of AES

  • The signs and symptoms of AES include – an acute onset of fever, headache and clinical neurological manifestation that includes mental confusion, disorientation, delirium, or coma.

Who is at risk?

  • People in rural areas where the virus is common are at greater risk.
  • But the incidence was highest among children 0-6 years of age.
  • People with weakened immune system – for instance, who have HIV/AIDS, take immune-suppressing drugs – are at an increased risk of encephalitis.

Treatment for AES

  • People suffering from encephalitis need to be treated urgently.
  • Treatment may include antiviral medication, steroid injections among others to support the body, relieve the symptoms.
  • Other treatment options are – bed rest, plenty of fluids, anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve the symptoms such as fever and headache.
  • There is no cure for the disease. However, safe and effective vaccines are available to prevent encephalitis.
Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.