Judicial Reforms

[pib] Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL)

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Indian Polity | Statutory, regulatory and various quasi-judicial bodies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: APTEL

Mains level:  Read the attached story


News

Context

Justice Manjula Chellur took Oath as Chairperson, Appellate Tribunal for Electricity, Ministry of Power.

Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (APTEL)

  1. On 10th June, 2003, the Electricity Act was notified by the Govt. of India.
  2. A/c to this act, Appellate Tribunal for Electricity has been established by Central Government for those who are not satisfied with the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission order or with a state.
  3. The Tribunal has the authority to overrule or amend that order, just like the Income-Tax tribunal or the Central Administrative Tribunal.
  4. The tribunal has to be approached within 45 days of the aggrieved person from getting the order.
  5. The Act extends to the whole of India except the state of Jammu & Kashmir.

ISRO Missions and Discoveries

Explained: How to send an Indian into space?

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

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

Gaganyaan 2022

  1. With PM’s announcement that an Indian astronaut would go into space by 2022, ISRO has finally got a definitive timeline for a project it has been working on for the last 15 years.
  2. In 2004 the manned space mission was first endorsed by the ISRO Policy Planning Committee.
  3. There was lack of clarity on when exactly the mission would be launched, although the target initially in discussion was 2015.

Defining a manned-Mission

  1. A manned space mission is very different from all other missions that ISRO has so far completed.
  2. In terms of complexity and ambition, even the missions to the Moon (Chandrayaan) and Mars (Mangalyaan) are nowhere in comparison.
  3. For a manned mission, the key distinguishing capabilities that ISRO has had to develop include the ability to bring the spacecraft back to Earth after flight, and to build a spacecraft in which astronauts can live in Earth-like conditions in space.
  4. Over the years, ISRO has successfully tested many of the technologies that are required, but many others are still to be developed and tested.

The rocket: GSLV Mk-III

  1. One of the most important requirements is the development of a launch vehicle that can carry heavy payloads into space.
  2. The spacecraft carrying human beings, called crew module, is likely to weigh in excess of 5 to 6 tonnes.
  3. ISRO successfully tested GSLV Mk-III, now called LVM-3 (Launch Vehicle Mark-3).
  4. It successfully launched the first developmental flight of LVM-3, which carried the GSAT-19 satellite into space.
  5. The LVM-3 is the declared launch vehicle for taking the manned crew module into space as it will help for sending up heavier and heavier payloads.

Reentry & recovery tech

  1. The satellites normally launched by ISRO, like those for communication or remote sensing, are meant to remain in space, even when their life is over.
  2. Any manned spacecraft, however, needs to come back. This involves mastering of the highly complicated and dangerous reentry and recovery ability.
  3. While reentering Earth’s atmosphere, the spacecraft needs to withstand very high temperatures, in excess of several thousand degrees, which is created due to friction.
  4. Also, the spacecraft needs to reenter the atmosphere at a very precise speed and angle, and even the slightest deviation could end in disaster.
  5. The first successful experimental flight of GSLV Mk-III also involved the successful testing of an experimental crew module that came back to Earth after being taken to an altitude of 126 km into space.
  6. Called the Crew module Atmospheric Reentry Experiment (CARE), the spacecraft reentered the atmosphere at about 80 km altitude and landed in the sea near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Crew Escape System

  1. This is a crucial safety technology, involving an emergency escape mechanism for the astronauts in case of a faulty launch.
  2. The mechanism ensures the crew module gets an advance warning of anything going wrong with the rocket, and pulls it away to a safe distance, after which it can be landed either on sea or on land with the help of attached parachutes.
  3. ISRO has completed the first successful flight of the crew escape system (the recent Pad Abort Test).

Life support

  1. The Environmental Control & Life Support System (ECLSS) is meant to ensure that conditions inside the crew module are suitable for humans to live comfortably.
  2. The inside of the crew module is a twin-walled sealed structure that will recreate Earth-like conditions for the astronauts.
  3. It would be designed to carry two or three astronauts.
  4. The ECLSS maintains a steady cabin pressure and air composition, removes carbon dioxide and other harmful gases, controls temperature and humidity, and manages parameters like fire detection and suppression, food and water management, and emergency support.
  5. While the layout and design of the ECLSS has been finalised, its many individual components and systems are in the process of being tested.
  6. The design and configuration of the inside of the crew module have also been finalised. Ground testing will have to be followed by tests in the space orbit while simulating zero gravity and deep vacuum.

Astronaut training

  1. While ISRO still plans to set up a permanent facility, the selected candidates for the first manned mission will most likely train at a foreign facility.
  2. Candidates will need to train for at least two years in living in zero gravity and dealing with a variety of unexpected experiences of living in space.
  3. Some training would also be imparted at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine of the Indian Air Force at Bengaluru.

Super-insulating gel could help build Mars habitats

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: Aerogel and its properties

Mains level: Utility of Aerogel can revolutionize insulation from heat, which is a major concern for space missions.


News

Aerogel

  1. Scientists at University of Colorado at Boulder have developed a transparent heat-resistant gel using beer waste that may one day be used to build greenhouse-like habitats for human colonised on Mars.
  2. It is made up of common plant sugar cellulose and is a thin, flexible film that is roughly 100 times lighter than glass.
  3. The gel is transparent and so resistant to heat that you could put a strip of it on your hand and a fire on top without feeling a thing.

90% made up of air

  1. Aerogels are at least 90 per cent gas by weight, but their defining feature is air.
  2. Their thin films are made up of crisscrossing patterns of solid material that trap air inside billions of tiny pores, similar to the bubbles in bubble wrap.
  3. This trapping capacity makes them such good insulators.

Utility of Aerogel

  1. Transparency is an enabling feature hence it can be used in windows for extraterrestrial habitats. A peel-and-stick film could simply be attached to home windows.
  2. Its thermally-insulating nature helps protecting from big oscillations in temperature in Space.
  3. The group’s gel is also cheaper to produce because it comes from beer waste.
  4. It can be developed for many other applications, including smart clothes, for insulating cars and protecting firefighters.

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

Odisha launches health scheme for 70 lakh families

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: Particulars of the Scheme

Mains level:  Non-compliance of states to AB-NHPM


News

Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana

  1. Odisha CM launched Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, a health for all scheme, on the occasion of the 72nd Independence Day.
  2. The scheme provides health assurance coverage to 70 lakh families, covering more than 70% of the State’s population
  3. It may be recalled that the Odisha government had rejected the National Health Protection Scheme as it covered much lesser number of people in Odisha by adopting the 2011 census.
  4. The State government went ahead with its own scheme with coverage of up to ₹5 lakh per year per family. The amount is ₹7 lakh per family with women members.

Interstate River Water Dispute

Verdict of Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal Comes

Note4students

Mains Paper 2: Polity | Functions & responsibilities of the Union & the States, issues & challenges pertaining to the federal structure

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Verdict on Water Sharing

Mains level: River water disputes in India


News

Award of the Tribunal

  1. The Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal which has been hearing the tussle over sharing of the Mahadayi or Mandovi river between Goa, Karnataka and Maharashtra, delivered its final verdict.
  2. Ending a 50-year-old dispute, the tribunal allowed Karnataka access to 13.4 tmc of water for its consumptive use (5.4 tmc) and power generation (8.02 tmc).
  3. The share of Goa was pegged at 24 tmc with the Tribunal allowing it for the state’s municipal water needs, irrigation water requirements and industrial water demands.
  4. Maharashtra got the lowest share of 1.33 tmc for meeting its in-basin needs with respect to five projects.
  5. The tribunal also directed the Centre to set up the Mahadayi Water Management Authority to implement its report and final decision.

Quick recap of the issue

  1. The Mahadayi river basin drains an area of 2032 square kilometres of which 375 square km lies in Karnataka, 77 sq km in Maharashtra and the remaining in Goa.
  2. It originates in the Belagavi district of Karnataka, briefly passes through Maharashtra and flows through Goa (where its known as Mandovi), and drains to the Arabian Sea
  3. Since the eighties, Karnataka has been was contemplating linking of Mahadayi with Malaprabha river, a tributary of Krishna
  4. In 2002, Karnataka gave the idea a shape in the form of the Kalasa-Bhanduri project
  5. Goa strongly opposed it as Mahadayi is one of the two rivers the State is dependent on and thus Mahadayi Water Disputes Tribunal was set up in 2010

Back2Basics

Interstate River Water Disputes Act

  1. The Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956 (IRWD Act) is an Act of the Parliament of India enacted under Article 262 of Constitution of India.
  2. It sets basis to resolve the water disputes that would arise in the use, control and distribution of an interstate river or river valley.
  3. Article 262 of the Indian Constitution provides a role for the Central government in adjudicating conflicts surrounding inter-state rivers that arise among the state/regional governments.
  4. River waters use / harnessing is included in states jurisdiction (entry 17 of state list, Schedule 7 of Indian Constitution).
  5. However, union government can make laws on regulation and development of inter-State rivers and river valleys when expedient in the public interest (entry 56 of union list, Schedule 7 of Indian Constitution).
  6. When public interest is served, President may also establish an interstate council as per Article 263 to inquire and recommend on the dispute that has arisen between the states of India.
  7. This act is confined to states of India and not applicable to union territories.
  8. Any river water sharing treaty made with other countries has to be ratified by the Parliament per Article 253 and all the riparian states of India per Article 252 to make the treaty constitutionally valid.

Tribunals under IRWD Act

  1. Whenever the riparian states are not able to reach amicable agreements on their own in sharing of an interstate river waters, Section 4 of IRWD Act provides dispute resolution process in the form of Tribunal.
  2. As per Section 5.2 of the Act, the tribunal shall not only adjudicate but also investigate the matters referred to it by the central government and forward a report setting out the facts with its decisions.
  3. Under Section 6A of this Act, central government may frame a scheme or schemes to give effect to the decision of a tribunal. Each scheme has provision to establish an authority for implementation of a tribunal verdict.
  4. When a tribunal verdict, after formally gazetted by the union government shall be complied by the union government as the tribunal verdict is equal to Supreme Court verdict.

Urban Transformation – Smart Cities, AMRUT, etc.

India fares poor on Global Liveability

Note4students

Mains Paper 1: Social issues | Urbanization, their problems & remedies

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level:  Economist Intelligence Unit, Global Liveability Ranking

Mains level: Measures undertaken to improve living conditions in Indian cities


News

Global Liveability Index

  1. The rankings of 140 global cities, based on their living conditions were released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
  2. The EIU is part of UK magazine The Economist and provides forecasting and advisory services through research and analysis.
  3. The index assigns cities scores on five broad parameters — stability, healthcare, culture/environment, education, and infrastructure using 30 indicators.

India fares poor in Liveability

  1. India has fared poorly on the Global Liveability Index, 2018, with Delhi ranking 112 and Mumbai five places behind at 117.
  2. Delhi has outperformed Mumbai on education, healthcare and infrastructure, while faring marginally better on culture/environment. The only parameter in which Mumbai fares better than Delhi is stability.
  3. The weakest area for Delhi is its instability due to the high prevalence of petty and violent crimes, and a high risk of terrorism and civil unrest.
  4. It also achieves the lowest possible ranking for public transport, an indicator within infrastructure.
  5. Mumbai fares low in the infrastructure category as it is let down by poor roads and public transport and lack of water provision and quality housing.

Why makes India fare poor?

  1. Even newly-developed areas (in Indian cities) are poorly served by public transport, suffer from congestion and pollution, and have inadequate water.
  2. While private health and education are acceptable in both Mumbai and Delhi, the level and quality of public provision is well below the global average.
  3. High levels of corruption and social and religious restrictions also reduce liveability markedly in both cities.

Contrasting with Indian Study

  1. The EIU report is in contrast with the MoHUA’s recent Ease of Living Index for 111 Indian cities that was released wherein Mumbai ranked at number 3, far ahead of New Delhi at a low 65th rank.
  2. While much of the parameters and data sources are different for the two reports, New Delhi is far behind Mumbai on parameters such as health, education and physical infrastructure.
  3. EIU, which was involved in developing the methodology to measure city GDP for the Indian government’s Ease of Living report, had nothing to do with the ranking process itself.

Other Highlights of the ranking

  1. As per their ranking, the liveability factor of these two Indian cities is the same as Mexico City, Jeddah, Ho Chi Minh City and Jakarta.
  2. Austria’s capital Vienna has been ranked as the best city to live in, displacing Australian city of Melbourne, which had held the record for seven consecutive years.
  3. Syrian capital of Damascus continues to be ranked at the bottom of 140 cities despite the report noting that it has witnessed.
  4. Dhaka in Bangladesh is the second worst with Pakistan’s capital Karachi ranked as the fourth worst.

AYUSH – Indian Medicine System

[pib] New Central Sector scheme for promoting Pharmacovigilance of AYUSH Drugs

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Scheme

Mains level: Read the attached story.


News

Scheme for Pharmacovigilance of ASU&H drugs

  1. Ministry of AYUSH has introduced new Central Sector scheme for promoting pharmacovigilance of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy (ASU&H) Drugs.
  2. Prime objective of the scheme is to develop the culture of documenting adverse effects and undertake safety monitoring of ASUH drugs and surveillance of misleading advertisements appearing in the print and electronic media.
  3. The scheme intends to facilitate the establishment of three-tier network of National Pharmacovigilance Centre (NPvCC), Intermediary Pharmacovigilance Centres (IPvCCs) and Peripheral Pharmacovigilance Centres (PPvCC).
  4. All India Institute of Ayurveda, New Delhi, an autonomous body under the Ministry of AYUSH, has been designated as National Pharmacovigilance Centre for coordinating various activities of the initiative.

Implementation of Scheme

  1. In the initial phase of implementation, five National Institutes of AYUSH are designated as the Intermediary Pharmacovigilance Centres.
  2. Another forty two institutions of AYUSH having clinical facilities are designated as Peripheral Pharmacovigilance Centres
  3. These will take up the work of reporting, documentation, analysis, causality assessment of the adverse reactions and events associated with the consumption of ASUH drugs.
  4. It is intended to have more such centres across the country and achieve the target of 100 peripheral Pharmacovigilance centres by 2020.
  5. Representatives of Central Drug Standards Control Organisation as the national drug regulatory authority and the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission being the WHO Collaborating Centre for Pharmacovigilance in the country are associated in the initiative as mentor and guide.

Why such scheme needed?

  1. The quality issues and safety concerns of Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani and Homoeopathy Drugs have been raised from various sources.
  2. The Ministry felt it necessary in the interest of Public Health to oversee the impact of ASU&H Drugs consumed by the people from the perspective of their safety profile.
  3. Similarly, publicizing improper drug information in the form advertisements is a matter of concern that needs to be addressed to safeguard the interest of AYUSH drug consumers.
  4. Pharmacovigilance initiative will facilitate detection of potentially unsafe ASU&H medicines and misleading advertisements for taking regulatory action against them.

NITI Aayog’s Assessment

[pib] NITI Aayog launches “Pitch to MOVE”

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: Pitch to MOVE

Mains level:  The newscard highlights the importance of clean energy options in manufacture of electric vehicles that gives various benefits.


News

Pitch to MOVE Contest

  1. It is organised by NITI Aayog in collaboration with Invest India and Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) as a part of a series of engaging featured events in the run up to the main event.
  2. The competition aims to identify and reward the start-ups offering innovative solutions for shared, connected, and environment friendly mobility.
  3. The Startups can be from the domain of Public Mobility, Electric Vehicles, Shared Transport, Last Mile Connectivity, Passenger Transportation, Battery Technology, Automotive IoT, Freight & Logistics, Powertrain/Drivetrain, Experiential, Travel, Mobility Infrastructure and Automotive Electronics etc.
  4. The Mobility Pitch Competition is open to primarily startups from various parts of India who are interested in showcasing their business ideas to jury members.

Aim of the initiative

  1. Startups working in the various fields of mobility can pitch their ideas to industry leaders and Venture Capitalists for raising investments.
  2. With rapidly evolving technologies and business models for delivering mobility services, our goal of cleaner and more efficient mobility systems will be achieved with the help of the dynamic entrepreneurial class of India.
  3. The objective is to harness the latest disruption for generating employment and growth in our country.
  4. Winners of the event will be felicitated by PM during the Global Mobility Summit.

Back2Basics

Global Mobility Summit

  1. Steeply falling technology costs and business – model innovation are driving the world’s transition to renewable energy and electric vehicles.
  2. Against this background, NITI Aayog, in collaboration with various ministries and industry partners, is organising ‘MOVE: Global Mobility Summit’.
  3. This Summit will help drive Government’s goals for vehicle electrification, renewable energy integration and job growth and also speed up India’s transition to a clean energy economy.
  4. MOVE Summit aims to bring together and engage with key stakeholders within the rapidly transforming global mobility landscape and to evolve a public interest framework for a shared, connected, zero emission and inclusive mobility agenda for the future.
  5. The Summit, hence, aims to encourage synergies between indigenous industries such as Automobile Manufacturing, Information Technology, Electronics, Telecommunications and others, to integrate with global supply chains and cement India’s position as a progressive, forwarding looking nation.

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

[pib] Australia recommences its adoption programme with India

Note4students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: CARA, Hague Adoption Convention

Mains level: Problem of Child Trafficking


News

Recommencing Adoptions from India

  1. The Government of Australia has decided to recommence the Adoption Programme with India, as per Hague Convention on Inter-Country Adoption.
  2. The adoptions from India had earlier been put on hold by the Government of Australia eight years ago, on the reported charges of trafficking of children for Inter-country adoption by some of the recognized Indian placement agencies (the Adoption agencies mandated to place children in Inter-country adoption at that point of time).

Strict regulations by India pushed the move

  1. The regulation of Inter-country adoptions has been made strict by the Government of India with the enactment of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and notification of Adoption Regulations, 2017.
  2. The Ministry of Women & Child Development along with Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) have been constantly engaging with Australian Government for recommencement of the Adoption Programme.
  3. The recommencement of the adoption programmes will now enable large number of prospective adoptive parents including those of Indian origin settled in Australia in fulfilling their desire of adopting a child from India.

Back2Basics

Hague Adoption Convention

  1. The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption is an international convention dealing with international adoption, child laundering, and child trafficking.
  2. The Convention was developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the preeminent organization in the area of private international law. It was concluded on 29 May 1993 and entered into force on 1 May 1995.
  3. It is an effort to protect those involved from the corruption, abuses, and exploitation which sometimes accompanies international adoption.
  4. The Convention has been considered crucial because it provides a formal international and intergovernmental recognition of intercountry adoption to ensure that adoptions under the Convention will generally be recognized and given effect in other party countries.
  5. 96 countries including India has signed and ratified this convention. Whereas Nepal, South Korea and Russia are yet to ratify it.

Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)

  1. Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory autonomous body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
  2. It functions as the nodal body for the adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
  3. CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.
  4. CARA primarily deals with the adoption of the orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.

Wildlife Conservation Efforts

National Wildlife Genetic Resource Bank dedicated to nation

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Gene Resource Bank, LaCONES

Mains level: Conservation of threatened species


Genetic resource bank 

  1. Union Science and Technology Ministry dedicated to the nation, the National Wildlife Genetic Resource Bank
  2. Genetic resources from 23 species of Indian wild animals have been collected and preserved.

Genetic Resource Bank

  1. This facility would increase the collection of genetic resources from wildlife through collaboration with zoos in India
  2. This would facilitate the exchange of genetic material between Indian zoos for maintaining genetic diversity and conservation management made accessible to scientists and wildlife managers for implementing conservation programmes.

LaCONES

  1. The Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species (LaCONES) is a dedicated laboratory of the CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad
  2. CCMB-LaCONES is the only laboratory in India that has developed methods for collection and cryopreservation of semen and oocytes from wildlife and successfully reproducing endangered blackbuck, spotted deer and Nicobar pigeons
  3. Wildlife Genetic Resource Banking (GRB) is the systematic collection and preservation of tissues, sperm, eggs and embryos, genetic material (DNA/RNA)
  4. It helps prevent the loss of valuable individuals to the gene pool.

Reintroducing Indian Mouse Deer

  1. The Telangana Forest Department, Central Zoo Authority, Nehru Zoological Park and CCMB have joined hands to conduct the first-ever planned reintroduction of the Indian spotted chevrotain (Moschiola indica), also known as Indian mouse deer
  2. This follows more than seven years of conservation breeding of the elusive species at a dedicated facility in the premises of Nehru Zoological Park
  3. This helped increase the captive mouse deer population to around 230 individuals till March this year.

International Space Agencies – Missions and Discoveries

Parker, world’s first mission to Sun lifts off

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: Parker Solar Probe

Mains level: The newscard gives complete information about NASAs solar mission


News

Parker Solar Probe

  1. NASA launched the Parker Solar Probe – the space agency’s first mission to the sun – that will explore the sun’s atmosphere and its outermost atmosphere, the corona.
  2. The spacecraft is named after 91-year old solar physicist Eugene Parker, 91, who was the first scientist to describe solar wind in 1958.
  3. The probe, about the size of a car, will fly through the Sun’s atmosphere and will come as close as 3.8 million miles to the star’s surface, well within the orbit of Mercury.
  4. It will be more than seven times closer than any spacecraft has come before. The Parker probe is expected to make 24 loops of the Sun over seven years.

What makes its special?

  1. During the journey, the spacecraft will fly by Venus at speeds of 4, 30, 000 mph, the equivalent of flying from New York to Tokyo in one minute.
  2. In order to reach an orbit around the sun, the Parker Solar Probe will take seven flybys of Venus that will essentially give a gravity assist, shrinking its orbit over the course of nearly seven years.
  3. It will have to endure temperatures up to 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,370 degrees Celsius) and solar radiation intensities 475 times higher than we’re used to here on Earth.

Main objectives of Parker Solar Probe

  1. The mission will attempt to uncover the Sun’s mysteries about its structure and magnetic and electric fields, as well as the energetic particles cruising near and away from Earth’s star.
  2. These events can affect satellites and astronauts as well as the Earth including power grids and radiation exposure on airline flights.
  3. The information will help researchers and scientists solve longstanding mysteries:
  • How the solar wind is accelerated
  • Why the sun’s outer atmosphere, or corona, is so much hotter than the solar surface
  • Explore mechanisms that accelerate and transport energy particles

What part of this mission will ‘touch’ the Sun?

  1. The Solar Probe Cup, dubbed ‘the bravest little instrument’, is a sensor will extend beyond the heat shield to take samples of the Sun’s atmosphere.
  2. The cup will glow red when the probe makes its closest approach to the sun, sampling the solar wind and effectively touching the sun.

Mission to end in 2025

  1. The mission is scheduled to end in June 2025 till it runs out of propellent.
  2. The first data download from the Parker Solar Probe is expected in early December after the probe reaches its first close approach of the sun in November.
  3. In 10 to 20 years, a carbon disk will be floating around the sun in orbit, and it will be around until the end of the solar system.

Europe’s Solar Probe in works

  1. The European Space Agency is also building a similar solar probe.
  2. Solar Orbiter, or SolO is undergoing final assembly and testing in the UK.
  3. It is expected to launch in 2020, arriving at its closest position to the Sun towards the end of Parker’s planned seven years of operations.
  4. SolO will go to within 42 million km of the Sun’s surface. That’s further away than Parker but it will still need an impressive shield.

Aditya-L1’s launch is also near

  1. Aditya-L1 is a spacecraft whose mission is to study the Sun.
  2. It was conceptualised by the Advisory Committee for Space Research in January 2008.
  3. It has been designed and will be built in collaboration between Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and various Indian research organizations.
  4. It will be launched by ISRO around 2019 or 2020.

Animal Husbandry, Dairy & Fisheries Sector – Pashudhan Sanjivani, E- Pashudhan Haat, etc

[pib] Central Silk Board Notifies Recently Developed Races of Silk Worm Seed

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Agriculture | Major crops cropping patterns in various parts of the country

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Names of breeds mentioned in the newscard and their agro-climatic conditions

Mains level: Promoting Sericulture in India


News

Context

  1. Central Silk Board (CSB) has notified recently developed races of silkworm seed of mulberry and Vanya silk for increasing the productivity of cocoons and to increase the income of the farmers engaged in sericulture.
  2. Silk worm breeds for specific agro-climatic condition are essential for increasing the productivity of cocoons.

Tropical Tasar Silkworm (BDR-10)

  1. It is a race developed by the CSB has 21% more productivity than the traditional Daba
  2. Farmers can get upto 52 kg cocoons per 100 disease free layings (dfls).
  3. This silkworm breed will help the tribal farmers of Jharkhand, Chattishgarh, Odisha, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

Multivoltine x Bivoltine Mulberry hybrid(PM x FC2)

  1. This race of silkworm can produce 60 kg per 100 Dfls and the race is better than earlier race PM x CSR.
  2. Due to high quality silk and significant egg recovery, this race is suitable for the farmers of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Maharastra.

Eri Silkworm (C2)

  1. This race has been found better than local breed and it can produce 247 numbers of Eri cocoons per 100 Dfls.
  2. This race is suitable for the farmers in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Maharastra, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Sikkim, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and West Bengal.

Back2Basics

Central Silk Board

  1. Central Silk Board (CSB) is a Statutory body established in 1948 by an Act of Parliament.
  2. Nodal Agency: Ministry of Textiles, Government of India.
  3. It is engaged in applied research developing new breeds of races of silkworm seed and conducts extensive field trial before commercial use in the field.

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

[pib] CSIR’s new patented Clot buster, PEGylated Streptokinase set to revolutionize the treatment of Strokes

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: PEGylated Streptokinase

Mains level: Read the attached story.


News

What is Clot Buster?

A clot buster is used to break-up the clot that causes a blockage or disruption in the flow of blood to the brain and helps restore the blood flow to the area of the brain.

PEGylated Streptokinase

  1. It is a new clot buster developed by at CSIR-Institute of Microbial Technology (CSIR-IMTECH), Chandigarh.
  2. It is all set to revolutionize the treatment of ischemic strokes.
  3. Ischemic stroke is a condition caused by a dysfunction in the supply of blood to the brain due to emboli, thrombus or atherosclerosis occurring in cerebral arteries.
  4. PEGylated Streptokinase, the novel recombinant protein Thrombolytic molecule has been precisely engineered through decades of research for enhanced proteolytic stability.
  5. Its advantages are reduced probability of hemorrhage over current treatment regimens of thrombolytic drugs for acute stroke.

Developed under PPP

  1. CSIR-IMTECH and Epygen Biotech Pvt. Ltd., Mumbai, have entered into an agreement for the latter to develop PEGylated Streptokinase for treatment of Ischemic Stroke.
  2. Epygen is the first company in India with exclusive license of this Novel Biological Entity (NBE) thrombolytic protein for ischemic stroke.

Brain Stroke- the second biggest killer

  1. According to the American Stroke Association (ASA), brain strokes are the second leading cause of death in the world with a staggering 15 million people effected.
  2. It is causing 11 million people either die or become permanently disabled.
  3. Surprisingly, the prevalence of stroke is much higher in India than the West and about 87% of all strokes are ischemic strokes.

Back2Basics

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research

  1. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research was established by the Government of India in 1942 is an autonomous body that has emerged as the largest research and development organisation in India
  2. It runs thirty-eight laboratories and thirty-nine field stations or extension centres throughout the nation, with a collective staff of over 12,000 scientists and scientific and technical personnel
  3. Although it is mainly funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology, it operates as an autonomous body through the Societies Registration Act, 1860
  4. The research and development activities of CSIR include aerospace engineering, structural engineering, ocean sciences, life sciences, metallurgy, chemicals, mining, food, petroleum, leather, and environmental science.

 

ISRO Missions and Discoveries

Indian telescope spots distant radio galaxy

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: Radio galaxy, Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope

Mains level: India’s increasing role in space probes


Most distant radio galaxy found

  1. Astronomers have used an Indian telescope to discover the most distant radio galaxy ever known, located at a distance of 12 billion light-years
  2. The galaxy is from a time when the universe was only 7% of its current age
  3. The galaxy is perceived as it looked when the universe was only a billion years old
  4. It was found using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) in Pune

About GMRT

  1. GMRT is an array of thirty fully steerable parabolic radio telescopes of 45-metre diameter
  2. It is operated by the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics

Radio galaxies

  1. Radio galaxies are very rare objects in the universe
  2. They are colossal galaxies with a supermassive black hole in their centre that actively accretes gas and dust from its surroundings
  3. This activity initiates the launch of high-energy jet streams, which are capable of accelerating charged particles around the supermassive black hole to almost the speed of light
  4. The discovery of such galaxies at extremely large distances is important for our understanding of the formation and evolution of galaxies

International Space Agencies – Missions and Discoveries

NASA poised to blast off first spacecraft to explore Sun

Image result for parker solar probe

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: Parker Solar Probe

Mains level: NASA missions and their unique features


Parker solar probe launch

  1. Parker Solar Probe, the first-ever spacecraft to fly directly toward the Sun is poised to blast off
  2. It is on a mission to plunge into our star’s sizzling atmosphere and unlock the mysteries of the centre of the solar system

Aim of the mission

  1. The goal for the Parker Solar Probe is to make 24 passes through the corona during its seven-year mission
  2. By coming closer to the Sun than any spacecraft in history, the unmanned probe’s main goal is to unveil the secrets of the corona, the unusual atmosphere around the Sun
  3. This will help scientists in predicting when a disturbance in the solar wind could hit Earth
  4. Knowing more about the solar wind and space storms will also help protect future deep space explorers as they journey toward the Moon or Mars

Heat shield to survive Sun’s high temperature

  1. The probe is protected by an ultra-powerful heat shield that is just 4.5 inches (11.43 centimetres) thick
  2. The heat shield is built to withstand radiation equivalent to up to about 500 times the Sun’s radiation on Earth

New Species of Plants and Animals Discovered

Indian bull frog: the Andamans’ new colonisers

The Indian bullfrog

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Indian bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus), Indian Wildlife Act 1972, Convention on Biological Diversity, IUCN

Mains level: Invasive species and threat posed by them on native species and biodiversity


New frog species

  1. A recent migrant to the Andaman island is the Indian bullfrog (Hoplobatrachus tigerinus)
  2. The bullfrog is found widely in mainland India and protected under Schedule IV of the Indian Wildlife Act 1972
  3. It is steadily occupying the islands’ ecosystem and threatening the local economy

Man-Frog conflict

  1. The voracious animal gulps down anything that would fit in its jaws: centipedes, leeches, native frogs, lizards, small snakes, and even chicks and ducklings, which are an important source of food for the islanders
  2. An unusual man-frog conflict is brewing due to this

Why are bullfrogs a threat on islands?

  1. Bullfrogs are found all over mainland India, but it is in the unique ecosystem of the islands that it becomes a major threat
  2. Unlike the mainland, resources on the islands are scarce for big animals, while natural calamities are more frequent
  3. The wildlife here has evolved in a miniature setting: there are no large herbivores (the largest is the Andaman wild pig) or large carnivores

Focus on invasive species

  1. Globally, invasive species, particularly in islands, are becoming the focus of numerous organisations
  2. The Convention on Biological Diversity has said that invasives have contributed to 40% of all animal extinctions since the 17th century
  3. The IUCN has formulated guidelines for managing invasives specifically in islands, largely involving data collection, community engagement, policy measures and management plans

Digital India Initiatives

[pib] “PARIVESH” – an environmental single window hub for Environment, Forest, Wildlife and CRZ clearances launched

Note4students

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

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of PARIVESH

Mains level: Read the attached story


News

Context

The PM has launched PARIVESH on the occasion of World Biofuel Day.

PARIVESH Portal

  1. It is a Single-Window Integrated Environmental Management System which stands for Pro-Active and Responsive facilitation by Interactive, Virtuous and Environmental Single-window H
  2. It is a workflow based application and portal, based on the concept of web architecture.
  3. The system has been designed, developed and hosted by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, with technical support from National Informatics Centre, (NIC).
  4. It automates the entire process of submitting the application and tracking the status of such proposals at each stage of processing.

Utility of the portal

  1. It facilitates for online submission, monitoring and management of proposals submitted by Project Proponents to the MOEFCC, as well as to the State Level Environmental Impact Assessment Authorities (SEIAA).
  2. It will also he;p seek various types of clearances (e.g. Environment, Forest, Wildlife and Coastal Regulation Zone Clearances) from Central, State and district-level authorities.
  3. The main highlights of PARIVESH include –
  • single registration and single sign-in for all types of clearances (i.e. Environment, Forest, Wildlife and CRZ),
  • unique-ID for all types of clearances required for a particular project and
  • single Window interface for the proponent to submit applications for getting all types of clearances (i.e. Environment, Forests, Wildlife and CRZ clearances)

More efficiency to be achieved

The facility of Geographic Information System (GIS) interface will help them in analyzing the proposal efficiently, automatic alerts (via SMS and emails) at important stages to the concerned officers, committee members and higher authorities to check the delays if any.

Innovation Ecosystem in India

Centre launches portal for scientific research, funding

Note4students

Mains Paper 3: Science & Technology | Developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievement of Indians in science & technology

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important:

Prelims level: Particulars of the Portal.

Mains level: Read the attached story. 


News

India Science Technology and Innovation portal

  1. The Union science ministry’s communication wing, Vigyan Prasar, has launched the India Science Technology and Innovation portal that can help with such queries.
  2. The portal can be queried for information about the organisations carrying out research, those funding them, international collaborations, the scientists involved in the research, the states in which they are being carried out, their achievements and impact.
  3. There is also a compilation of technologies developed in India, the organisations that have developed these technologies, those that have funded them and the status of the technologies.

Prime focus

  1. A major thrust of the portal is to reach out to students, researchers, scholars, scientists both from India and abroad, so that they can choose from the mine of fellowships, scholarships and funding and startup opportunities that India puts on their plate.
  2. The portal follows a launch of India Science ( indiascience.in ), an Internet-based science channel, to showcase the developments in science and technology in India.
  3. Both the portal and the channel are part of a push by the Science Ministry to improve its public outreach.

Foreign Policy Watch- India-Central Asia

[pib] Exercise SCO Peace Mission 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: Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)

Mains level:  Defence cooperation under SCO


News

SCO Peace Mission Exercise

  1. Under the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) initiatives, SCO Peace Mission Exercise is conducted biennially for SCO member states.
  2. The joint exercise for the year 2018 will be conducted by Central Military Commission of Russia at Chebarkul, Chelyabinsk, Russia.
  3. This will be a historic occasion due to the maiden participation of India post becoming a full member of the SCO in June 2017.

Importance of this exercise

  1. This exercise marks a major milestone in the multilateral relations of SCO member nations.
  2. It will involve tactical level operations in an international counter insurgency or counter terrorism environment under SCO Charter.
  3. The joint exercise will strengthen mutual confidence, interoperability and enable sharing of best practices among armed forces of SCO Nations.
  4. It will be a landmark event in the history of SCO defence cooperation where Indian and Pakistani armed forces will participate together.

Promoting Science and Technology – Missions,Policies & Schemes

Explained: Thermal Battery

Image Source

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: Thermal Battery working

Mains level: Alternative source of clean energy and storage.


News

Context

  1. India became home to the world’s first-ever thermal battery plant that was inaugurated in Andhra Pradesh.
  2. This plant aims to create a new energy storage form that is expected to have commercial applications, while also maintaining a low carbon footprint, and being less dependent on external factors like weather.
  3. The thermal battery facility is to be owned by Bharat Energy Storage Technology Private Limited (BEST) could provide energy solutions for electrical grids, transport and telecom services.
  4. At the initial stage of commercial operations, set for May 2019, BEST plans to create a battery capacity of 1000MW. This is expected to be upgraded to a 10GW capacity by 2025.

Thermal battery technology

  1. Thermal battery technology was patented in India by Dr Patrick Glynn in 2016.
  2. Conventional battery technology is based on the system of charging/discharging cycles that are driven by electricity. Ex: Lithium-ion battery.
  3. Thermal batteries use thermal energy to operate, i.e., the energy created by temperature differences.
  4. The energy transfer in thermal batteries helps store heat when heat travels from one part of the battery setup to the other.
  5. For that to happen, a thermal battery consists of two parts: a cool zone known as sink, and a hot source called source.
  6. Both these sides consist of compounds known as phase-changing materials (PCMs), which can change their state of matter on the basis of a physical/chemical reaction.
  7. When the sink of a thermal battery receives heat, it transforms physically or chemically, thereby storing energy, while the source cools down.
  8. During operation, the sink is cooled down, so it releases the stored energy, while the source heats up.
  9. Depending on the nature of the battery, the system can derive heat from any source, which makes a thermal battery very versatile.

Integration with power grids

  1. Given the positives from thermal battery technology, its main application lies in the possible integration with power grids, that can help industrial demand, while also supporting public transport systems and telecom grids.
  2. In the field of power transmission, thermal batteries will be able to function as long as there is a heat source to drive their operation.
  3. This could help solve power issues in remote areas, and also address rising energy requirements from regional or national grids.
  4. Power-intensive industries will also be major beneficiaries, and the transformation will mean reduced dependence on fossil fuels for energy.
  5. Telecom infrastructure is also a target area, as thermal batteries will help maintain signal strength and network connectivity.
  6. This, in turn, could also improve internet penetration and ultra-fast mobile services.

Easing roadmap for E-vehicle manufacturing

  1. Another area that could receive impetus from thermal batteries is that of electric vehicles.
  2. Currently, Tata and Mahindra are the only domestic firms working on such transport systems.
  3. With thermal battery technology, car makers could consider going green, and deploy clean energy at minimal maintenance costs.
  4. At the same time, e-vehicles could also derive charging power from stations that run on thermal batteries.
  5. In AP plant, BEST aims to setup an electric truck that can run up to 800kms on a single charge.