Table of Contents:
A. GS1 Related:
B. GS2 Related:
C. GS3 Related:
D. GS4 Related
Useful News Articles
A. GS1 Related
- The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has erred on its forecast for monsoon rain in August, 2016. In June, it said that India would get more rain than it usually did but as of August 31, the country got significantly less – 8.5 % less rain than what’s normal for the month according to IMD. However, this wouldn’t affect water availability for agriculture and the storage in reservoirs. Unless September gets 150% more rain than normal, it is unlikely that India will meet its forecast target of 6% surplus rains for the monsoon season. So far the all-India monsoon deficit as of August 31 was 3%.
- This implies IMD’s weather models are still not robust enough to capture changes in global climate that could affect the Indian monsoon. The organization is planning to shift to a forecast system in 2017 that relies on a supercomputer-led dynamical weather-modelling.
- Most of the global forecast models expected a Stronger La Nina, the converse of an El Nino and usually associated with good rains over India, to set in around August. So far the La Nina has been extremely weak. According to weather experts, there were other factors such as a negative Indian Ocean Dipole and an unfavourable Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) that obstructed La Nina. Both of these refer to phenomena in the seas surrounding India and global atmospheric disturbances known to affect the monsoon during July and August.
- On the back of successive severe droughts in 2014 and 2015 because of one of the strongest El Ninos on record, WMO and other weather agencies had said 2016 would be a good year because El Nino had receded and was likely to give way to La Nina.
B. GS2 Related
Category: International Relations
- The Union ministry of External Affairs said Indian Embassy in Singapore has reported that 13 Indians tested positive for Zika virus as the city grapples with rising number of the mosquito-borne disease. It was further said there has been a surge in number of people affected by Zika virus in Singapore, particularly those working in construction sites.
Zika virus – It is spread by Aedes mosquitoes which are active during daytime. The virus gets the name comes from the Zika Forest of Uganda, where it was first isolated in 1947. It is closely related to dengue, yellow fever, Japanese encephalitis, and West Nile viruses.
The infection often causes no or only mild symptoms, similar to a very mild form of dengue fever. In February, 2016 WHO had declared Zika a public health emergency after women affected by it had given birth to children with microcephaly, a birth defect with small head size.
Category: International Relations
The chairperson and Managing Director of Biocon Limited, Kiran Mazumbar Shaw was appointed by the French government ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Légion d’Honneur’ (Knight of the National Order of the French Legion of Honour) for her contribution to biosciences and research.
It is the highest civilian award of the French Republic for outstanding contribution in diverse fields.
C. GS3 Related
Topic: Economic Growth
- The Chief Economic Advisor, Arvind Subramanian said despite registering the slowest growth rate in the last six quarters in April-June period, India has the potential to sustain 8 to 10 per cent growth rate during the next two to three years.
- He, however, projected the growth rate with a rider saying, “if we continue to do all the things the government is doing and if world economy picks up a little bit as it did in 2000, then the growth rate would even clock double-digit in next two to three years. Where would this growth come from? China has been growing at 10.5 per cent for last 25 years. India, since mid-1970 or 1980, has been growing at 6 per cent, which is not bad. Till 1980, we were growing at 3 per cent which is called Hindu rate of growth. After that we have grown at significantly higher rate. But, it is well below the growth rate of China”.
- According to Subramanian, in the long run, the country’s political stability becomes very important for its economic development. He suggested a few economic reforms – one price for one product in the market and expanding the scope of the direct benefit transfer model for achieving faster growth. Some of the reforms introduced in the recent times were recalled – Bankruptcy law which is important because in our economy, unviable enterprises were continuing to survive for long, rather than exiting.
Topic: Black Money
- The Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) to reply to the RTI applicant, Kanhaiya Lal from Jhalawar district of Rajasthan who wishes to know the status of black money that was supposed to be brought back in the country, as promised by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during 2014 Lok Sabha election.
Black money (unaccounted money – parallel economy) refers to funds earned on the black market, on which income tax and other taxes have not been paid.
SIT on black money – The Union government set up a high-level Special Investigation Team to help unearth black money stashed away abroad. The SIT was headed by former Supreme Court judge Justice M. B. Shah.
Category: Science and Technology
- S. Kiran Kumar, Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation, at the fifth World Space Biz conference and Bangalore Space Expo organised with the Confederation of Indian Industry said India’s space capacity of 34 working satellites is barely half of what the country needs and is severely limited to meet increasing demands from the Centre, States and businesses. Currently, over 60 Central departments compared to 15 departments until recently and all State governments were demanding satellite-based solutions for governance.
- ISRO is planning to put 12–18 satellites in space every year to meet this demand and also wants to be free to pursue higher technologies. Domestic industry should urgently step in to make satellites and launch vehicles, he told a gathering of Indian and overseas space supplies companies.
- Current applications of ISRO’s satellites: communication, earth observation and navigation can connect people, tell fisher folk where to find fish; forecast crop yields, locate people or places; and help governments govern and plan projects.
- ISRO’s commercial arm ANTRIX Corporation aims to get industry involved in turnkey satellite solutions and building of launch vehicles. Indian industry can reap the vast global opportunities worth $335 billion.
ISRO is the space agency of the India, headquartered in Bangalore. Its vision is to harness space technology for national development, while pursuing space science research and planetary exploration. Formed in 1969, ISRO superseded the erstwhile Indian National Committee for Space Research (INCOSPAR) established in 1962.
Rockets currently used by ISRO –
- PSLV – The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle is an expendable launch system developed by ISRO to launch its Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites into Sun synchronous orbits at a height of 1620 kms.
Indian Remote Sensing satellites (IRS) are a series of earth observation satellites, built, launched and maintained by ISRO. It provides remote sensing services to the country. The Indian Remote Sensing Satellite system is the largest constellation of remote sensing satellites for civilian use in operation today in the world.
Recent programs of PSLV:
NAVIC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) – It is an autonomous regional satellite navigation system set up by India. It will be used to provide accurate real-time positioning and timing services over India and the region extending to 1,500 kms around India. It is a constellation of 7 satellites launched by 7 different launches of PSLV in Geostationary orbit approximately at 36,000 kms altitude above earth surface and is expected to be operational from September 2016.
NAVIC will provide two levels of service, the standard positioning service will be open for civilian use, and a restricted service (an encrypted one) for authorized users (including the military). The Government of India dedicated it to India’s mariners and fishermen who have been navigating using the sun and stars as waypoints for hundreds of years.
At a stroke, PSLV successfully launches 20 satellites into orbit – In one go, PSLV C-34 launched 20 satellites. They include two student satellites from Indian universities and 17 of four foreign countries.
Cartosat-2(India) – It would be used for Earth observation, useful for cartographic applications, urban and rural applications, coastal land use and regulation and utility management like road networking.
LAPAN-A3 (Indonesia): The microsatellite will be used for Earth observation and is intended to be used to monitor land use, natural resource and environment.
M3MSat (Canada): Maritime Monitoring and Messaging Micro-Satellite is a technology demonstrator mission to collect and study Automatic Identification System signals from low-Earth orbit.
GHG Sat-D (Canada): The Earth observation satellite will be used to measure the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases (Carbon Dioxide and Methane).
BIROS (Germany): Berlin Infrared Optical System (BIROS) is a small scientific satellite for remote sensing of high temperature events.
SkySat Gen2-1 (U.S.): Designed and built by Terra Bella, a Google company based in Mountain View, California in the U.S., the small Earth imaging satellite is capable of capturing sub-meter resolution imagery and HD video.
Dove (U.S.): A total of 12 Earth imaging satellites
Sathyabamasat (Sathyabama University, Chennai): The satellite aims to collect data on green house gases.
Swayam (College of Engineering, Pune): The satellite aims to provide point to point messaging services to the HAM (amateur radio) community.
- GSLV – It is an expendable launch system operated by the ISRO to launch its INSAT-type satellites into geostationary orbit, at a height of approximately 36000 kms from Earth. So, far it has been launched 9 times.
INSAT (Indian National Satellite System) program – Started in 1983, it is a series of multipurpose geostationary satellites launched by ISRO to satisfy the telecommunications, broadcasting, meteorology and search-and-rescue needs of India. It is the largest domestic communication system in the Asia-Pacific Region. It is a joint venture of the Department of Space, Department of Telecommunications, India Meteorological Department, All India Radio and Doordarshan.
ISRO flight tests scramjet engine over Bay of Bengal – India became only the fourth nation to flight-test a scramjet engine, a technology that scientists claim could change the way space travel is undertaken. ISRO conducted its first trial of the engine, from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota. An Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV), a sounding rocket was used for the test.
A scramjet engine has an air-breathing propulsion system, which aims to capitalise on the oxygen in the atmosphere instead of liquefied oxygen while in flight.
D. GS4 Related
Topic: Appointments, Conflict of Interest
- The Justice Lodha Committee has told the BCCI not to proceed with the election of the secretary or reconstitute the selection committees. It implies Ajay Shirke will continue to be the nominated secretary, and the senior national selection committee chaired by Sandeep Patil will also remain undisturbed till the Apex Council is put in place by December 15.
- It can carry out only routine business of 2015-16 at its annual general meeting in September, 2016 and that it has to adopt the Memorandum of Association and Rules as per the Committee’s recommendations before engaging in matters related to 2016-17. The committee said BCCI can only adopt the reports of all the committees and audited statement of accounts of 2015-16.
Lodha Committee – The Supreme Court recently accepted the key recommendations of the Lodha Committee on BCCI reforms.
It recommended sweeping reforms in the structuring and governance of cricket in the country and an administrative shake-up at the troubled BCCI, suggesting that ministers be barred from occupying positions, a cap put on the age and tenure of the office-bearers and legalising betting. Some of the important recommendations are –
- Formation of a separate governing body for the Indian Premier League and the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
- Formation of a Players association in the BCCI to safeguard the interests of the cricketers and the funding of players association.
- One person should hold one post in cricket administration to avoid any conflict of interest.
E. Important Editorials: A Quick Glance
Category: Polity and Governance, Social Justice
Topic: Government Interventions
The Supreme Court’s verdict on the Singur land acquisition issue is a re-statement of first principles relating to the limitations of ‘eminent domain’. By quashing the entire land acquisition process done by the erstwhile Left Front government in West Bengal, the court has reiterated that the term ‘public purpose’ cannot be arbitrarily invoked to acquire land and hand it over to a private party. One of the two judges of the Apex court has categorically held that there was no ‘public purpose’ in the land acquisition as it was solely for the benefit of Tata Motors. The other judge has conceded that given the government’s policy of industrialisation and the potential for employment generation, the acquisition was indeed for a public purpose. But he also ruled that the failure to hold a proper inquiry into objections from the public, and the fact that the State Cabinet had decided to acquire land for the project even before the acquisition was notified as per law, rendered the entire process void. The ruling is undoubtedly a political victory for West Bengal’s present government which took up the cause of those whose lands were taken away in Singur, making it a key election issue of the pivotal Assembly election of 2011, when TMC wrested power from the long-serving Left Front. With the farmers set to get back their land, and the court allowing them to keep the compensation they had earlier received or claim it now if they are yet to get it, this allows her to score points afresh over the CPI(M).
The judgment does not lay down any new law. The dispute over whether the Singur land was acquired for a ‘public purpose’ or not is largely academic, now that the outdated Land Acquisition Act, 1894, has been repealed and replaced by legislation that aims at transparency in acquisition and makes fair compensation and resettlement a statutory right of those who lose their land.
The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act sets out the categories of projects that would fall under public purpose, and allows acquisition for private companies subject to provisions related to consent, compensation and rehabilitation. There may be some apprehension that the judgment will deter fresh investment by the private sector, inasmuch as it may preclude land acquisition for major projects. However, courts have by and large interpreted ‘public purpose’ liberally, often allowing the government’s view to prevail. The lesson from Singur is that thoughtless and fast-tracked acquisition, often to the detriment of due process and the interests of those deprived of land and livelihood, is the real issue and not promotion of industrialisation.
F. Concepts-in-News: Related Concepts to Revise/Learn:
- The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act
- Land Acquisition Act, 1894
- Lodha Committee
- ANTRIX Corporation
- Bankruptcy law
- Advanced Technology Vehicle (ATV)
G. BILLS/ACTS/SCHEMES/ORGS IN NEWS
|The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act||http://indiacode.nic.in/acts-in-pdf/302013.pdf|
H. Fun with Practice Questions 🙂
Question 1: Which of the following Schedules in the Indian Constitution contains provisions related to Land reforms?
a) Schedule 8
b) Schedule 12
c) Schedule 9
d) Schedule 10
Question 2: In which of the following activities are Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) satellites used?
- Assessment of crop productivity
- Locating ground water resources
- Mineral exploration
- Traffic studies
Select the correct answer using the code given below
a) 1, 2 and 3 only
b) 4 and 5 only
c) 1 and 2 only
d) 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
Question 3: Which of the following statements regarding Zika virus is not correct?
a) It was first isolated from a monkey in the Zika forest of Uganda.
b) It is transmitted by day time active Aedes mosquitoes
c) It does not cause mother to child infecion
d) Zika infection in pregnant women causes abnormal brain development in foetus.
Question 4: The Indian Meteorological department (IMD) works under
a) Union ministry of Earth sciences
b) Union ministry of Environment and forest
c) Union ministry of Energy
d) It is an autonomous body, not a part of any ministry.
Question 5: Consider the following schemes:
- Student scholarship scheme
- Cash for Food scheme
Which of the following are using Direct benefits transfer:
a) 1 & 2 only
b) 2 & 3 only
c) 1, 2 & 3
“Proper Current Affairs preparation is the key to success in the UPSC- Civil Services Examination. We have now launched a comprehensive ‘Online Current Affairs Crash Course’.
Limited seats available. Click here to Know More.”
You can check out some more recent News Analysis sections to build even more context
Practice More: Enroll for India’s Largest All-India Test Series