Inland Waterways

[pib] IWAI Makes India’s First Standardized Modern Ship Design for Ganga a Reality

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, and Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: NWAI

Mains level: The newscard talks about development of shipbuilding industry and waterways thereby reducing load of logistics and transportation from Roadways.


News

Boosting Domestic Shipbuilding and Navigation

  1. Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) made public 13 standardized state-of-the-art ship designs suitable for large barge haulage on river Ganga.
  2. It will help overcome the unique navigation challenges river Ganga throws due to its complex river morphology, hydraulics, acute bends, shifting channels, meanders and current.
  3. It will serve as an enabler for domestic shipbuilding industry working on inland vessels and open huge possibilities for cargo and passenger movement on National Waterway-1.

Improving Carrying Capacity

  1. The Government is implementing Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) for capacity augmentation of navigation on NW-1 (Varanasi-Haldia stretch) with the technical assistance and investment support of the World Bank.
  2. The specially designed vessels will navigate on low drafts with high carrying capacity and at the same time, environment friendly.
  3. It is specialised in low draft and high carrying capacity vessels.
  4. The new designs will translate into a savings of Rs 30-50 lakhs in the building of a vessel.
  5. The new designs will obviate the dependence of Indian Ship builders on foreign ship designs for IWT and prove to be a boost to ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Government.

Freely Available Design for all

  1. Available free on the IWAI website, the designs will remove ambiguity on the class and type of vessels that can sail on river Ganga with efficient maneuverability.
  2. They will help shipyards build vessels of standardized dimensions and capacity and make them available off the shelf besides developing the ‘sale and purchase’ market for inland vessels.
  3. The designs will lead to reduced fuel costs and in turn lesser logistics costs.

Details of the Design

  1. The new designs for various categories of dry and liquid bulk carrier, Ro-Ro vessels, car carrier, container carrier, LNG carrier, Tug Barge flotilla (Table below) have been made by M/s DST, Germany.
  2. These vessels will sail even in depths of about two metres carrying about 350 cars on a five deck car carrier.
  3. Some of the designs would enable movement of bulk cargo carriers with capacity of 2500 tonnes at three metres depth.
  4. Thus it will help removing almost 150 truckloads of pressure from the road or one full rail rake with the plying of just one such vessel.

Women empowerment issues – Jobs,Reservation and education

[pib] Krishna Kutir, a home for 1000 widows inaugurated

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Role of women & women’s organization

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Krishna Kutir

Mains level: Welfare measures for helpless, shelterless Women in India.


News

Context

The Minister for Women & Child Development, along with CM of Uttar Pradesh, inaugurated the widows’ home ‘Krishna Kutir’ at a function at Vrindavan, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh.

Krishna Kutir

  1. Krishna Kutir is a special home for 1000 widows set up by the Ministry of WCD under Swadhar Greh scheme of the Ministry and is the largest ever facility of its kind created by a government organization.
  2. The Ministry took cognizance of this shocking condition of widows living in Vrindavan who refused to go back to their native place or their home.
  3. In order to provide dignified and humane living conditions to them, the Ministry, as a special case, constructed this Krishna Kutir at the temple town of Vrindavan with all the required facilities
  4. Widows will be a part of various committees which will be formed to manage the widows’ home.

Particulars of the Krishna Kutir

  1. Krishna Kutir has been constructed on 1.4 hectare of land through National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC) with a capacity of 1000 inmates.
  2. It has beautifully made 100 rooms/dormitories.
  3. The design of the Home has been prepared in consultation with Helpage India and is old age friendly.
  4. The facility is also equipped with a large modern kitchen and a skill cum training centre.

Why shelter for Widows?

The widows’ home has been constructed by the WCD Ministry to mitigate the plight of widows living in pathetic condition in Vrindavan.

Other Initiatives

  1.  UP Government has become the first State to link the women’s helpline 181 to the One Stop Centres.
  2. UP has also provided rescue vans for women in distress in every district.

Back2Basics

Swadhar Greh Scheme

To read more about Scheme, navigate to this Page-

https://www.india.gov.in/spotlight/swadhar-greh-scheme

Indian Navy Updates

[pib] Indian Naval ship Sahyadri reaches Darwin, Australia for exercise KAKADU 2018

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional & global groupings & agreements involving India &/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Exercise Kakadu

Mains level: Participation of India in various bilateral and multilateral military exercises


Exercise KAKADU

  1. After having been deployed to the South China Sea and the Pacific Ocean for over four months, which included representing Indian Navy in multinational exercises MALABAR 18 at Guam and RIMPAC 18 at Hawaii, INS Sahyadri entered the Port of Darwin, Australia to participate in Exercise KAKADU 2018
  2. Indian Navy’s participation in KAKADU 18 provides an excellent opportunity to engage with regional partners and undertake multinational maritime activities ranging from constabulary operations to high-end maritime warfare in a combined environment
  3. It is aimed at enhancing interoperability and development of common understanding of procedures for maritime operations

About the exercise

  1. Exercise KAKADU, which started in 1993, is the premier multilateral regional maritime engagement exercise hosted by the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) and supported by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF)
  2. The exercise is held biennially in Darwin and the Northern Australian Exercise Areas (NAXA)
  3. Exercise KAKADU derives its name from Kakadu National Park, which is a protected area in the northern territory of Australia, 171 km south-east of Darwin
  4. KAKADU 2018 is the 14th edition of the exercise
  5. During the exercise, professional exchanges in harbour and diverse range of activities at sea, including complex surface, sub-surface and air operations would enable sharing of best practices and honing of operational skills

Foreign Policy Watch: India-China

Heavy discharge of Waters from China threatens Arunachal

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Brahmaputra Water Dispute, Course of Brahmaputra in India.

Mains level:  India-China differences over Brahmaputra


News

Highest discharge of water in decades

  1. The Yarlung Zangbo (Tsangpo) was swelling with observed discharge of 9,020 cumec due to heavy rainfall in Tibet.
  2. This discharge from China, the highest in 50 years, is threatening to submerge at least 12 villages along the river Siang in Arunachal Pradesh.
  3. Hydrological experts said the unusually high discharge indicates sudden release of water from man-made barriers or a natural dam.
  4. Natural barriers are formed due to landslips caused by major earthquakes in the Tibetan region of China.
  5. Local authority has issued an advisory, warning the people of the 12 villages to be on alert because of the sudden surge in the water level in Pasighat Dist.
  6. The Siang has already eroded 12 acres in Borguli village while at least 10 families of Seram village nearby have dismantled their houses and shifted to a safer location.

Learning from the Past

  1. The risen level has indications of water being suddenly released from a natural or man-made dam.
  2. Earthquakes triggered landslides and dammed Tsangpo last year resulting in Siang’s water turning muddy.
  3. Many in India talked about sudden collapse of the earthen dam in the future leading to moderate to big flood downstream in Arunachal Pradesh and Assam.
  4. But there was no serious follow-up action.
  5. The turbidity of Siang’s water last year was China’s plan to divert Tsangpo to the parched Xinjiang province via a 1,000 km tunnel.

Way Forward

  1. The situation is grim, and the government needs to come up with effective anti-erosion measures.
  2. The Central Water Commission needs to closely monitor the level and quality of Siang’s water.
  3. There is a lot of concern at the international, national and local levels about the geologically and strategically important Siang that impacts Bangladesh too.

Wildlife Conservation Efforts

The Nilgiri tahr climbs population charts

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Read B2B

Mains level: The rise in numbers of the species is assign of successful conservation effort.


News

Nilgiri Tahr Population climbs ups

  1. A recent census has revealed that the population of the Nilgiri tahr (an endangered mountain goat) at the Mukurthi National Park has grown by an impressive 18% in the last two years, from 480 to 568.
  2. A count conducted in 2016 had put the population in the national park at around 480, but a revised count in 2017 pegged it at 438.
  3. Apart from the increase in numbers, the sex ratio, too, was encouraging. There are two adult females for every male.
  4. This indicates a viable breeding population, and hints at further population growth.
  5. The population estimation exercise, completed in May, was conducted jointly by the Forest Department and the Department of Zoology and Wildlife Biology, Government Arts College, Udhagamandalam.

Several threats

  1. The continuing spread of invasive species of flora, such as wattle and pine, and exotic weeds like scotch broom (Cystisus scoparius) and gorse diminishes grazing land.
  2. The impact of consumption of exotic weeds by the animals is still unknown.
  3. The rise in the animals’ population has led to a few herds migrating out of the national park.
  4. Incidences of hunting and poaching are also often.
  5. However the Forest Department was stepping up efforts to remove exotics, with wattle eliminated in over 125 hectares of Shola grasslands.

Back2Basics

Nilgiri tahr

  1. IUCN Conservation Status: Endangered
  2. The Nilgiri tahr (Nilgiritragus hylocrius) aka the Nilgiri ibex or simply ibex.
  3. It is endemic to the Nilgiri Hills and the southern portion of the Western Ghats in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in Southern India.
  4. It is the state animal of Tamil Nadu.
  5. The Nilgiri tahr inhabits the open montane grassland habitat of the South Western Ghats montane rain forests eco-region.
  6. At elevations from 1,200 to 2,600 metres (3,900 to 8,500 ft), the forests open into grasslands interspersed with pockets of stunted forests, locally known as sholas.
  7. Eravikulam National Park is home to the largest population of this Tahr.

[pib] Ocean Services, Technology, Observations, Resources Modelling and Science (O-SMART) Scheme

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: O-SMART scheme

Mains level: Importance of the Coastal Mapping


News

Context

  1. The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has given its approval for the umbrella scheme O-SMART at an overall cost of Rs.1623 crore.
  2. The scheme encompasses a total of 16 sub-projects addressing ocean development activities such as Services, Technology, Resources, Observations and Science.

O-SMART Scheme

  1. The services rendered under the O-SMART will provide economic benefits to a number of user communities in the coastal and ocean sectors, namely, fisheries, offshore industry, coastal states, Defence, Shipping, Ports etc.
  2. Currently, five lakhs fishermen community are receiving this information daily through mobile which includes allocation of fish potential and local weather conditions in the coastal waters.
  3. This will help in reducing the search time for fishermen resulting savings in the fuel cost.
  4. It seeks to address issues relating to SDG-14, which aims to conserve use of oceans, marine resources for sustainable development.
  5. It also provides necessary scientific and technological background required for implementation of various aspects of Blue Economy.
  6. The State of Art Early Warning Systems established Scheme will help in effectively dealing with ocean disasters like Tsunami, storm surges.
  7. The technologies being developed will help in harnessing the vast ocean resources of both living and non-living resources from the seas around India.
  8. A fleet of research vessels viz., Technology Demonstration vessel SagarNidhi, Oceanographic Research Vessel SagarKanya, Fisheries and Oceanographic Research Vessel SagarSampada and Coastal Research Vessel SagarPurvihave been acquired to provide required research support.

Objectives of the Scheme

The important deliverables during the next 2 years envisage include-

  • Strengthening of Ocean Observations and Modelling
  • Strengthening of Ocean Services for Fishermen
  • Setting up Marine Coastal Observatories for monitoring marine pollution in 2018
  • Setting up Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion Plant (OTEC) in Kavaratti
  • Acquisition of 2 Coastal Research Vessels for Coastal research
  • Continuation of Ocean Survey and Exploration of Minerals and Living Resources
  • Technology Development for Deep Ocean Mining- Deep Mining System and Manned Submersibles and
  • Setting up Six Desalination Plants in Lakshadweep

Other ocean related activities at a glance

  1. India has been accorded pioneer status on deep-sea mining of Poly-Metallic Nodules [PMN] in an area of in the Central Indian Ocean [CIO] allotted by International Sea Bed Authority [ISBA]
  2. India’s ocean related activities are now extended from the Arctic to the Antarctic region covering large ocean spaces which have been monitored through a wide spectrum of in situ and satellite-based observations.
  3. India has also established a state-of-the art early warning systems for ocean disasters, viz, tsunami, cyclones, storm surges etc.
  4. India had also signed the Antarctic Treaty System and joined Commission of Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) for harnessing the resources.
  5. Besides, the ministry has been monitoring the health of coastal waters of India including shoreline changes and marine ecosystem.
  6. The others like Remotely Operated Submersible and soil tester, both capable of operation upto 6000 m. water depth, shallow bed mining systems are some of the cutting edge technologies developed.

Banking Sector Reforms

[pib] Cabinet approves Revised Cost Estimate for setting up of India Post Payments Bank

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the IPPB, payments banks, etc.

Mains level: Extending banking services through all possible mechanisms is the need of hour and IPPB serves best example for this.


News

Context

The Union Cabinet has given its approval for revision of the project outlay for setting up of India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) from Rs. 800 crore to Rs. 1,435 crore.

India Post Payment Bank Project

  1. The IPPB is aimed to provide modes of payments/financial services through its technology enabled solutions which will be distributed by the post employees/last mile agents transforming them from mail deliverer to harbinger of financial services.
  2. The IPPB shall pay incentive/commission to the last mile agents ( Postal Staff and Gramin Dak Sewaks) directly in their accounts for providing IPPB services so as to motivate them to promote IPP8 digital services to the customers.
  3. A part of commission to be paid by IPPB to Department of Posts will be used for increasing the wherewithal of Post office

Details of the Project

  1. IPPB services shall be available at 650 IPPB branches and 3250 Access Points from 1st September 2018 and in all 1.55 lakh post offices (Access Points) by December 2018.
  2. The project will generate new employment opportunity for about 3500 skilled banking professionals and other entities engaged in propagating financial literacy across the country.
  3. The objective of the project is to build the most accessible, affordable and trusted bank for the common man; spearhead the financial inclusion agenda by removing the barriers for the unbanked and reduce the opportunity cost for the under banked populace through assisted doorstep banking.
  4. The project will supplement Government’s vision of “less cash” economy and at the same time promote both economic growth and financial inclusion.
  5. The robust IT architecture of IPPB has been built taking into consideration bank grade performance, fraud and risk mitigation standards and in line with the best practices from payments & banking domain.

Foreign Policy Watch: India-United States

2+2 talks to focus on China

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: IR | Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: 2+2 Dialogue

Mains level:  India-US defence relations and its impact on India’s traditional partners.


News

First 2+2 Dialogue

  1. The first U.S.-India 2+2 dialogues next week in New Delhi will discuss regional and strategic issues of Asia.
  2. S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense James Mattis will be travelling to India for the dialogue, which has been postponed twice.

Ties with Russia at stake

  1. US is mindful of India’s legacy ties with Russia, but does not appreciate its continuing defence cooperation with it.
  2. It is not sure of granting a waiver to India from sanctions if it went ahead with the planned purchase of S-400 missile defence system from Russia.
  3. However the dialogue is meant to enhance defence requirements and alternatives for India

Focussed at countering China

  1. S. administration is expecting concrete outcomes such as concluding an enabling agreement on communication and expanding the scope of military exercises.
  2. It aims at operationalising India-U.S. partnership in Asia under the agenda.
  3. S. reiterated that its Asia Pacific policy is an inclusive strategy.
  4. Considering the OBOR and militarisation of the South China Sea, US emphasizes to have an alternative for economic and strategic partnership with agenda under the agenda.

Pharma Sector – Drug Pricing, NPPA, FDC, Generics, etc.

EU, India to collaborate on developing next generation influenza vaccine

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Developments and their applications and effects in everyday life

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Horizon 2020

Mains level: Read the attached story.


News

Horizon 2020

  1. The EU and Department of Biotechnology will collaborate in research and innovation for developing a next generation influenza vaccine to protect people worldwide.
  2. The joint effort aims to develop cost-effective and affordable influenza vaccine rapidly without compromising quality.
  3. In total, 30 million Euros (shared by both members) has been earmarked for research and innovation actions which aim at advancing the efficacy, safety, duration of immunity, and reactivity against an increased breadth of influenza strains.
  4. The projects require minimum three applicants from Europe (three different EU member states) or countries associated to the EU programme Horizon 20202) and minimum three applicants from India.
  5. The projects are also ‘Open to the World’ and thus applicants from other countries can join the EU-India consortia.

Importance of the Mission

  1. This joint call is another demonstration of the increased cooperation between the EU and India as committed by the leaders during the Summit in October 2017.
  2. In engaging jointly on this topic, India and the EU are contributing to an important global public health challenge.
  3. Improved influenza vaccines would help the international community to better prepare in the event of an influenza pandemic.
  4. The outcome of the project is expected to contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 3 to ensure health and well-being for all and boost the Indian National Health Mission.
  5. Seasonal flu vaccination is also high on the EU health agenda with the European Commission urging EU member states to commit to vaccinating 75 per cent of risk groups against seasonal flu each year.

NASA’s Spitzer telescope completes 15 years in space

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Spitzer Space Telescope

Mains level: Space missions and their objectives


News

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope

  1. It was initially scheduled for 2.5-year primary mission has now completed 15 years of space exploration.
  2. With its infrared vision and high sensitivity, Spitzer has contributed to the study of some of the most distant galaxies in the known universe.
  3. Launched into a solar orbit in 2003, Spitzer has explored some of the oldest galaxies in the universe, revealed a new ring around Saturn, and peered through shrouds of dust to study newborn stars and black holes.

Important Discoveries

  1. It assisted in the discovery of planets beyond our solar system, including the detection of seven Earth-size exo-planets orbiting the star TRAPPIST-1.
  2. Three of its seven planets were located in the “habitable zone,” where the temperature might be right for liquid water to exist on the planets’ surfaces.

Other landmarks

  1. Spitzer has logged over 106,000 hours of observation time.
  2. Thousands of scientists around the world have utilized Spitzer data in their studies, and Spitzer data is cited in more than 8,000 published papers.
  3. Spitzer’s primary mission ended up lasting 5.5 years, during which time the spacecraft operated in a “cold phase,” with a supply of liquid helium cooling three onboard instruments to just above absolute zero.
  4. The cooling system reduced excess heat from the instruments themselves that could contaminate their observations.
  5. This gave Spitzer very high sensitivity for “cold” objects.
  6. In July 2009, after Spitzer’s helium supply ran out, the spacecraft entered a so-called “warm phase.”
  7. Spitzer’s main instrument, called the Infrared Array Camera (IRAC), has four cameras, two of which continue to operate in the warm phase with the same sensitivity they maintained during the cold phase.

ISRO Missions and Discoveries

ISRO in quest of three astronauts for manned mission

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Gaganyaan

Mains level: India’s aspiration for a manned mission in Space


News

Quest for astronauts for 2022 mission

  1. The process for selecting three astronauts for India’s first manned space flight will begin at the earliest
  2. The astronauts would require at least three years for training.
  3. They could be from the air force or ISRO (Indian Space Research Organisation), or even a common man.
  4. But ISRO is preferring a pilots for the mission.
  5. The initial training will be done at the Institute for Aerospace Medicine in Bangalore.

Details of the Mission

  1. A seven-tonne orbital module consisting of a crew module with three astronauts and a service module would be sent into space in launch vehicle Mark-3.
  2. Within 16 minutes of its launch from Sriharikota, the module would reach the low-earth orbit at 400km, where it would remain for five to seven days.
  3. The astronauts would conduct micro-gravity experiments, which is the main purpose of the mission.
  4. On seventh day, the crew module would re-orient and separate itself from the service module. It would land on earth within 36 minutes, in the Arabian Sea, close to Ahmedabad.
  5. Both the crew escape system and the environment control of life support system are critical to ensure the safety of our astronauts.
  6. The mission would generate jobs for 15,000 people, of whom 13,000 would be from industries and a thousand from academic institutes.

Other Highlights

  1. Gaganyaan is set to be the cheapest human space mission ever The entire cost of the mission is estimated to be less than ₹10,000 crore.
  2. ISRO has also lined up 19 other missions till March 2019, including a small satellite launch vehicle, to be assembled in three days instead of the usual 60 days and by six people instead of 600.

Civil Aviation Sector – CA Policy 2016, UDAN, Open Skies, etc.

[pib] Government announces Regulations for Drones

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Government policies & interventions for development in various sectors & issues arising out of their design & implementation.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Drone regulations, Digital Sky Platform

Mains level: Potential of and threats posed by drone technology


Drones registration rules

  1. The Directorate General of Civil Aviation has issued the Civil Aviation Requirements (CAR) for civil use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) commonly known as drones
  2. Drone Regulations 1.0 will enable the safe, commercial usage of drones starting December 1, 2018
  3. These are intended to enable visual line-of-sight daytime-only and a maximum of 400 ft altitude operations
  4. Airspace has been partitioned into Red Zone (flying not permitted), Yellow Zone (controlled airspace), and Green Zone (automatic permission)

Digital Sky Platform

  1. The Digital Sky Platform is the first-of-its-kind national unmanned traffic management (UTM) platform that implements “no permission, no takeoff” (NPNT)
  2. The UTM operates as a traffic regulator in the drone airspace and coordinates closely with the defence and civilian air traffic controllers (ATCs) to ensure that drones remain on the approved flight paths
  3. Users will be required to do a one-time registration of their drones, pilots and owners
  4. For every flight (exempted for the nano category), users will be required to ask for permission to fly on a mobile app and an automated process permits or denies the request instantly
  5. To prevent unauthorized flights and to ensure public safety, any drone without a digital permit to fly will simply not be able to take off

Key features of Drone Regulations 1.0

  1. As per the regulation, there are 5 categories of RPAS categorized by weight, namely nano, micro, small, medium and large
  2. All RPAS except nano and those owned by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies are to be registered and issued with Unique Identification Number (UIN)
  3. Unmanned Aircraft Operator Permit (UAOP) shall be required for RPA operators except for nano RPAS operating below 50 ft., micro RPAS operating below 200 ft., and those owned by NTRO, ARC and Central Intelligence Agencies
  4. The regulation defines “No Drone Zones” around airports; near the international border, Vijay Chowk in Delhi; State Secretariat Complex in State Capitals, strategic locations/vital and military installations; etc

Defence Sector – DPP, Missions, Schemes, Security Forces, etc.

New copters to enable tech transfer

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Indigenization of technology & developing new technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: New SP Model

Mains level: India’s strides in defense technology sector and need for further development.


News

New Strategic Partnership model for defence purchase

  1. The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), chaired by Defence Minister accorded approval for procurement for the Services amounting to approximately Rs. 46,000 crores.
  2. The Defence Ministry is expected to release project-specific implementation guidelines for the 111 naval utility helicopters to be procured under the Strategic Partnership (SP) model.
  3. However, foreign companies say there is still some clarity required on crucial legal, liability and technology transfer issues.

Particulars of the new SP Model

  1. This is the first project under the MoD’s prestigious Strategic Partnership (SP) Model that aims at providing significant fillip to the Government’s ‘Make in India’ programme.
  2. SP Model envisages indigenous manufacturing of major defence platforms by an Indian Strategic Partner, who will collaborate with foreign OEM, acquire niche technologies and set up production facilities in the Country.
  3. The model has a long-term vision of promoting India as a manufacturing hub for defence equipment thus enhancing self-sufficiency and establishing an industrial and R&D ecosystem, capable of meeting the future requirements of the Armed Forces.
  4. The contract when finalised, would result in a vibrant and wide-spread Defence industrial eco-system in the Indian Aviation Sector with the Private Industry and MSMEs as major stakeholders.

Why such Partnership?

  1. There are two important issues that need clarity. One is legal, as the companies can’t sell a submarine or fighter jet to a private company. Global regulations do not allow that.
  2. So, there has to be a government-to-government component in the end.
  3. The other issue was about the liability of the end product.
  4. This liability issue was one of the major reasons the earlier medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA) deal for 126 jets got derailed at the contract negotiation stage.
  5. Hence the Dassault Aviation refused to stand guarantee to the aircraft manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL).

Large Infrastructure still under-utilized

  1. For the first time, under the SP model, Indian private companies will get to tie up with global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and build major defence platforms in India under technology transfer.
  2. So far, it was defence public sector undertakings (DPSUs) which played the lead role.
  3. There is large infrastructure already present in the country with DPSUs and this must be utilized for the benefit of both the country as well as form a business sense.

Need for Clarity in terms for production

  1. All procurement under the SP model would be executed by specially constituted empowered project committees (EPC) to ensure timely execution.
  2. There is need for some clarity from the MoD on production transfer and technology transfer as well, the executive added.
  3. Earlier the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) cleared the general as well as project-specific implementation guidelines for the naval helicopters that would lay emphasis on transfer of technology and high absorption of indigenous content.
  4. The guidelines and the qualification guidelines are yet to be communicated to the industry.

Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Ayushman Bharat and concepts of insurance

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Governance | Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Trust Model, Insurance Mode, Law of Large Numbers, Pooling of Risk in economics

Mains level: Read the attached story.


News

Context

  1. Nearly 500 million people or 40% of India’s population will have health insurance as the government gears up to launch Ayushman Bharat, a health policy for the under-privileged.
  2. Modalities with respect to its pricing are still being worked out, but the scheme will be financed by the centre and the state governments.

Trust Model for Premium Payment

  1. Many states have agreed to launch Ayushman Bharat through a trust model and not the insurance model.
  2. Under the trust model, the premium will not be paid to an insurance company, but will be pooled into a trust.
  3. It is this trust that will manage and administer the health scheme and also pay the claims.
  4. Under the insurance model, the state will pay premiums to an insurance company just like you do to your health insurer.
  5. The onus will be on the insurer to administer and pay the claims.
  6. Both insurance and trust models depend on two basic principles: pooling of risk and law of large number.

Pooling of risk

  1. What are the chances of a theft occurring in the entire neighborhoods at once?
  2. Close to zero, but chances that one house gets robbed are much higher.
  3. Now imagine the entire neighbourhood gets together and pools money to insure them against the common threat of theft. So if one house gets burgled, the pool can compensate for that burglary.
  4. This is called pooling of risk. Here, the risk of an event is spread out among all the people facing the risk who are prepared to pay a small sum or premium to get protection from that risk.

Law of large numbers

  1. But pooling of risk is just one part, it’s important for this pool to be large to avoid adverse selection and improve the predictability of a risky event actually taking place to be able to price the product right.
  2. This predictability increases as more people join the pool. This is called the law of large numbers.
  3. According to this law, the average of the results obtained from a large number of trials will be closer to the expected result. Insurers can predict risk more accurately through this law.
  4. So the larger the sample size, the greater is the predictability for insurance—this also leads to pricing the risk right.
  5. This is what Ayushman Bharat model depends on given that it’s meant for 500 million people.

Wildlife Conservation Efforts

MP seeks revival of cheetah reintroduction project

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Asiatic Cheetah

Mains level: Reintroduction of the already extinct Cheetah in India


News

MP seeks reintroduction of Cheetah

  1. The Madhya Pradesh forest department has written to the National Tiger Conservation Authority to revive the plan to reintroduce cheetahs in the State’s Nauradehi sanctuary.
  2. The ambitious project, conceived in 2009, had hit a roadblock for want of funds.
  3. The proposal was to put the felines in the enclosure with huge boundary walls before being released in the wild, he said.
  4. Nauradehi was found to be the most suitable area for the cheetahs as its forests are not very dense to restrict the fast movement of the spotted cat.
  5. The country’s last spotted cheetah died in Chhattisgarh in 1947.
  6. Later, the cheetah which is the fastest land animal was declared extinct in India in 1952.

Financial Crunch – the key hurdle

  1. According to the earlier action plan, around 20 cheetahs were to be translocated to Nauradehi from Namibia in Africa.
  2. The Namibia Cheetah Conservation Fund had then showed its willingness to donate the felines to India, Mr. Dubey said.
  3. However, the State was not ready to finance the plan contending that it was the Centre’s project.
  4. The M.P. forest department need finances from the Centre for the project adding.
  5. It was estimated that an amount of ₹25 crore to ₹30 crore would be needed to build an enclosure in an area of 150 sq km for the cheetahs in Nauradehi.

Legislative Council in States: Issues & Way Forward

Odisha to get Legislative Council

Note4Students

Mains Paper 2: Polity| Indian Constitution- historical underpinnings, evolution, features.

From UPSC perspectives, the following things are important

Prelims Level: Article 169 of the Constitution

Mains Level: Need for a Legislative Council


News

Odisha to get a Legislative Council

  1. Odisha is all set to get a Legislative Council like several other States in the country.
  2. The proposed Council will have 49 members, which is one-third of the 147-member State Assembly.
  3. The State will have to spend ₹35 crore annually for the Council, the members of which will get salary and allowance as given to the members of the Legislative Assembly.
  4. The Odisha government had set up a committee in 2015 to study the Legislative Councils in other States and recommend for establishment of one in the State.

Back2Basics

Legislative Council

  1. Article 169 of the Constitution of India provides for the establishment of a Vidhan Parishad.
  2. The Vidhan Parishad or Legislative Council is the upper house in those states of India that have a bicameral legislature.
  3. As of 2017, seven (7) (out of twenty-nine) states have a Legislative Council viz.
  • Andhra Pradesh
  • Bihar
  • Jammu and Kashmir
  • Karnataka
  • Maharashtra
  • Telangana
  • Uttar Pradesh

Term

  1. Each Member of the Legislative Council (MLC) serves for a six-year term, with terms staggered so that the terms of one third of a council’s membership expire every two years.
  2. This arrangement parallels that for the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India.

Qualification

  1. MLCs must be citizens of India, at least 30 years old, mentally sound, not an insolvent.
  2. He must be registered on the voters’ list of the state for which he or she is contesting an election.
  3. He or she may not be a Member of Parliament at the same time.

Size of the House

  1. The size of the Vidhan Parishad cannot be more than one third of the membership of the Vidhan Sabha.
  2. However, its size cannot be less than 40 members (except in Jammu and Kashmir, where there are 36 by an Act of Parliament.)

Elections of Members

They are elected by local bodies, legislative assembly, governor, graduates, teacher, etc. MLCs are chosen in the following manner:

  1. One third are elected by members of local bodies such as municipalities, gram sabhas/gram panchayats, panchayat samitis and Zila Parishad.
  2. One third are elected by members of Legislative Assemblies of the State from among the persons who are not members of the Assembly.
  3. One sixth are nominated by the governor from persons having knowledge or practical experience in fields such as literature, science, arts, the co-operative movement and social service.
  4. One twelfth are elected by persons who are graduates of three years’ standing residing in that state.
  5. One twelfth are elected by persons engaged for at least three years in teaching in educational institutions within the state not lower than secondary schools, including colleges and universities.

Why need Legislative Council?

  1. VP has no powers in terms of passing bills; be it money bills or ordinary bills, unlike Rajya Sabha which has equal powers as that of Lok Sabha in terms of Ordinary bills and Amendment bills.
  2. This is the reason, it is generally optional to have Vidhan Parishad.
  3. The purpose of having a bicameral legislature is to re-check the decisions taken by the lower house.
  4. Even though the upper house has no power to totally reject the bill (even if it rejects, the state assembly can go ahead with the bill after governor’s approval), it can delay the bill for some time.
  5. The delay will be the time given to the assembly to revise its decision and make any changes to the proposed bill.
  6. It will cool down the rush of the hour feeling in the popularly elected house and paves way for much rational thoughts.
  7. As there are no powers for Vidhan Parishad to block any bills, there is not much harm in having such a house.
  8. The Council has no powers to advise a bill passed in the Assembly.
  9. It can only delay the passage of the bill for 3 months in the first instance and for one month in the second.
  10. There is no provision of joint sitting as in case of disagreement in Parliament over ordinary bills.
  11. In the ultimate analysis, the Legislative Council is a dilatory chamber so far as ordinary legislation is concerned.
  12. It can delay the passage of the bill maximum for a period of four months.

ESA satellite to improve weather forecast launched

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Aeolus Satellite

Mains level: Utility of the mission in meteorological observations.


News

Earth Explorer Aeolus

  1. The European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully launched a satellite that will measure winds around the globe and help improve weather forecasting.
  2. The Earth Explorer Aeolus satellite was launched into polar orbit on a Vega rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana.
  3. Using laser technology, it will play a key role in our quest to better understand the workings of our atmosphere.
  4. Named after Aeolus, who in Greek mythology was appointed ‘keeper of the winds’, the mission is the fifth in the family of ESA’s Earth Explorers, which address the most urgent Earth-science questions of our time.
  5. Aeolus carries the first instrument of its kind and uses a completely new approach to measuring the wind from space.

Global Wind Measurement

  1. As highlighted by the World Meteorological Organisation, the lack of direct global wind measurements is one of the major deficits in the Global Observing System.
  2. By filling this gap, Aeolus will give scientists the information they need to understand how wind, pressure, temperature and humidity are interlinked.
  3. This new mission will provide insight into how the wind influences the exchange of heat and moisture between Earth’s surface and the atmosphere, the important aspects for understanding climate change.
  4. The sophisticated instrument it carries is a revolutionary laser technology to generate pulses of ultraviolet light that are beamed down into the atmosphere to profile the world’s winds
  5. This is a first of its kind technology for measuring the wind from space.
  6. In addition, its data will be used in air-quality models to improve forecasts of dust and other airborne particles that affect public health.

History- Important places, persons in news

20 years since slave trade was abolished

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: World History | Events from 18th century such as industrial revolution, world wars, redrawal of national boundaries, colonization, decolonization.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Haitian Revolution

Mains level: Abolition of Slave Trade


News

United Nations’ International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

  1. This day is observed every year on August 23 to remind people of the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade, the largest deportation in history.
  2. The day is commemorated to pay tribute to all those who fought for freedom and worked hard to abolish the slave trade and slavery throughout the world.
  3. It was first celebrated in many countries, in particular in Haiti, on August 23, 1998, and in Senegal on August 23, 1999.
  4. Each year, the UN invites people all over the world, including educators, students, and artists and organize events that are the center of the theme on this day.

Additional steps taken by UNESCO

  1. To honour the history of the slave trade and its abolition in 2017 added to its World Heritage List the Mbanza Kongo, Vestiges of the Capital of the former Kingdom of Kongo (Angola) and the Valongo Wharf Archaeological Site (Brazil).
  2. UNESCO also started an initiative in 1994 known as the ‘Slave Route’ project to contribute to a better understanding of the causes, forms of operation, issues and consequences of slavery in the world;

Background of the Haitian Revolution

  1. The Haitian Revolution was a successful anti-slavery and anti-colonial insurrection by self-liberated slaves against French colonial rule in Saint-Domingue, now the sovereign nation of Haiti.
  2. The night of August 22-23, 1791saw the beginning of the uprising that would play a crucial role in the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.
  3. Men and women sold into slavery, revolted against the slave system to obtain freedom and independence for Haiti.
  4. The rebellion weakened the Caribbean colonial system, sparking an uprising that led to abolishing slavery and giving the island its independence.
  5. It marked the beginning of the destruction of the slavery system, the slave trade, and colonialism.
  6. The large and well-organized uprising, better known as the Haitian Revolution, lasted 13 years and ended with the independent nation of Haiti.

Impact of the Revolution

  1. Its effects on the institution of slavery were felt throughout the Americas.
  2. The end of French rule and the abolition of slavery in the former colony was followed by a successful defense of the freedoms they won, and, with the collaboration of free persons of color, their independence from white Europeans.
  3. It represents the largest slave uprising since Spartacus’s unsuccessful revolt against the Roman Republic nearly 1,900 years earlier.
  4. It challenged long-held European beliefs about alleged black inferiority and about enslaved persons’ capacity to achieve and maintain their own freedom.
  5. The rebels’ organizational capacity and tenacity under pressure inspired stories that shocked and frightened slave owners in the hemisphere.
  6. The success of the rebellion, led by the slaves is a deep source of inspiration today for the fight against all forms of servitude, racism, prejudice, racial discrimination and social injustice that are a legacy of slavery.

Air Pollution

Commute-related pollution: Kolkata shines among megacities

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Environment | Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: “The Urban Commute and How it Contributes to Pollution and Energy” Report

Mains level: Importance of curbing Vehicular Pollution


News

Report on Urban pollution and energy consumption from Commuting

  1. An analysis of 14 cities in India on how they fare when it comes to pollution and energy consumption from urban commuting was conducted by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
  2. Kolkata is the top-performing megacity. Bhopal leads the list on the lowest overall emissions.
  3. Delhi and Hyderabad are the two cities that fare at the bottom of the table in terms of pollution and energy use.

A National crisis

  1. The report titled ‘The Urban Commute and How it Contributes to Pollution and Energy’, compiled by the CSE, was released in Kolkata.
  2. Motorization in India is explosive. Initially, it took 60 years (1951-2008) for India to cross the mark of 105 million registered vehicles.
  3. Thereafter, the same number of vehicles was added in a mere six years (2009-15).
  4. According to the report, though metropolitan cities scored better than megacities due to lower population, lower travel volume and lower vehicle numbers, they were at risk due to a much higher share of personal vehicle trips.

Highlights of the Ranking

  1. In the study, with an aggregate of toxic emissions from urban commuting practices, such as particulate matter and nitrogen oxides, the cities were ranked based on calculations of heat trapping (CO2).
  2. The study took two approaches to rank the cities one based on overall emission and energy consumption and the other on per person trip emissions and energy consumption.
  3. Six megacities (Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad) and eight metropolitan cities (Bhopal, Lucknow, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kochi and Vijayawada) were evaluated.
  4. In terms of overall emissions and energy consumption, Bhopal was followed by Vijayawada, Chandigarh and Lucknow.
  5. Kolkata, which comes in at the sixth place on overall emissions, won among the six megacities.
  6. In fact, smaller cities such as Ahmedabad and Pune ranked below Kolkata for overall emissions.
  7. Delhi ranked at the bottom of the table for overall emission. Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai fared a little better than Delhi.

Resounding message

  1. Kolkata provides a resounding message that despite population growth and rising travel demand, it is possible to contain motorization.
  2. This is possible only with a well established public transport culture, compact city design, high street density and restricted availability of land for roads and parking.
  3. Mumbai, the report stated, had the highest GDP but a lower rate of motorization compared with other megacities, proving that income levels were not the only reason for deciding a population’s dependence on automobiles.
  4. Both Kolkata and Mumbai have grown with a unique advantage of a public transport spine well integrated with existing land use patterns.
  5. Meanwhile Chennai was the first city to adopt a non-motorized transport (NMT) policy in 2004 that aims to arrest the decline of walking or cycling by creating a network of footpaths, bicycle tracks and greenways.

Trade Sector Updates – Falling Exports, TIES, MEIS, Foreign Trade Policy, etc.

National Logistics Portal to boost trade competitiveness

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Economy | Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, and Railways etc.

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the portal

Mains level: Importance and Contribution of  Logistics sector in India’s GDP.


News

Context

  1. A National Logistics Portal is being developed to ensure ease of trading in the international and domestic markets.
  2. India eyes lowering logistics cost from 14 per cent of GDP to less than 10 per cent by 2022.

National Logistics Portal

  1. The portal will link all the stakeholders of export-import, domestic trade and all trade activities on a single platform.
  2. This will help in generating jobs, increasing trade competitiveness and helping the country transform into a logistics hub.
  3. It will connect business, create opportunities and bring together various ministries, departments and the private sector.
  4. Stakeholders like traders, manufacturers, logistics service providers, infrastructure providers, financial services, government departments and groups and associations will all be on one platform
  5. The Department of Commerce has earlier decided to create a portal which will be a single window online marketplace for trade.

Logistics Sector of India

  1. India’s logistics sector is highly defragmented and the department aims to reduce the logistics cost from the present 14 per cent of GDP to less than 10 per cent by 2022.
  2. The country’s logistics is very complex with more than 20 government agencies, 40 partnering government agencies (PGAs), 37 export promotion councils, 500 certifications, 10,000 commodities and USD 160 billion market size.
  3. It also involves12 million employment base, 200 shipping agencies, 36logisticsservices, 50 IT ecosystems and banks and insurance agencies.
  4. As per the Economic Survey 2017-18, the Indian logistics sector provides livelihood to more than 22 million people.
  5. Improving the sector will facilitate 10 per cent decrease in indirect logistics cost leading to the growth of 5 to 8 per cent in exports.
  6. Further, the Survey estimates that the worth of Indian logistics market would be around USD 215 billion in next two years compared to about USD 160 billion currently.