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Insights Daily Current Events, 11 July 2015
India, Pakistan become full SCO members
India and Pakistan were recently accepted as full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). With this Prime Minister Narendra Modi has offered to work in combating terror and boosting trade by easing barriers.
- India has had an observer status for the past 10 years.
- The organization currently has 6 members.
About the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO):
- It is a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation which was founded in 2001 in Shanghai by the leaders of China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
- Its six full members account for 60% of the land mass of Eurasia and its population is a quarter of the world’s. With observer states included, its affiliates account for about half of the world’s population.
- It now has Afghanistan, Iran and Mongolia as observers, and Belarus, Sri Lanka and Turkey as dialogue partners.
The Hindu, Wiki.
5 Satellites put in orbit
India recently launched its heaviest commercial space mission with its polar rocket putting five British satellites in the orbit after a flawless takeoff.
About the mission:
- This mission saw the launch of three identical DMC3 optical earth observation satellites, built by Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL), United Kingdom, and two auxiliary satellites.
- The three DMC3 satellites, each weighing 447 kg, were launched into a Sun-Synchronous Orbit (SSO) using the high-end version of PSLV-XL.
- With the overall mass of five satellites being about 1,440 kg, this launch becomes the “heaviest commercial mission” ever undertaken by ISRO and its commercial arm Antrix Corporation.
- The mission is the heaviest commercial mission for Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rockets till date and is ISRO’s first commercial mission in 2015.
- Since 1999 till date, India has launched 40 satellites of other countries with its PSLV rocket and the successful launch of the five British satellites would take the tally to 45.
About PSLV C-28 XL:
- PSLV C-28 XL is a high-end ‘XL’ version of PSLV.
- It is comprised of new designs consisting of circular launcher adaptor and a triangular deck called Multiple Satellite Adapter-Version 2 (MSA-V2).
- It was specially designed by ISRO to overcome the tough task of mounting the three DMC3 satellites in launch vehicle as each was having height of about 3m.
- The PSLV-XL variant costing around Rs. 140 crores is a four-stage/engine rocket with six strap-on motors for additional thrust during the initial phase of the flight.
- The first and third stages are powered by solid fuel and are cast ready while the second and fourth stages are powered by liquid fuel which will be filled during the countdown.
- Mars Orbiter Mission and Chandrayaan-1 were also launched with PSLV-XL variants.
Sources: The Hindu, NDTV, ET, ISRO.
The Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) has written to the Goa government asking it to invoke the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) in light of the recent strike called by the garbage workers.
- Workers of the Corporation of the City of Panaji (CCP) employees’ union are refusing to collect garbage in the city. The union has been demanding a hike in daily wages and had served a strike notice 51 days ago.
- The corporation has also asked its officers to outsource the collection of garbage if the workers do not do so.
The Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) is an act of Parliament of India. It is a central law.
- It was established to ensure the delivery of certain services, which if obstructed would affect the normal life of the people. These include services like public transport (bus services), health services (doctors and hospitals).
- Although it is a very powerful law, its execution rests entirely on the discretion of the State government. Each state in the union of India, hence has a separate state Essential Services Maintenance Act with slight variations from the central law in its provisions. This freedom is accorded by the central law itself.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.
SC rejects plea for U.P. Governor’s removal
The Supreme Court recently rejected a plea seeking removal of Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik for his alleged statement favouring construction of a Ram temple at the disputed site in Ayodhya.
- The Supreme Court said that continuance in office of Governor cannot be scrutinised in writ jurisdiction by a High Court.
How a Governor can be removed?
The term of governor’s office is normally 5 years but it can be terminated earlier by:
- Dismissal by the president on the advice of the prime minister, at whose pleasure the governor holds office.
- Resignation by the governor.
There is no provision of impeachment, as it happens for the president.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.
‘Super typhoon’ pushes towards China
Typhoon Chan-hom has crossed China’s heavily populated eastern coast, forcing the evacuation of almost 1 million people, shutting transport links and devastating swathes of farmland.
- According to China’s National Meteorological Centre (NMC), it is the strongest typhoon to strike Zhejiang province, just south of Shanghai, since 1949.
- This is the second storm to hit China in two days after severe tropical storm Linfa made landfall on the coast of southern Guangdong province.
A typhoon is a mature tropical cyclone that develops in the western part of the North Pacific Ocean between 180° and 100°E. This region is referred to as the Northwestern Pacific Basin, and is the most active tropical cyclone basin on Earth, accounting for almost one-third of the world’s annual tropical cyclones.
Like any tropical cyclone, there are six main requirements for typhoon formation and development and they are:
- Sufficiently warm sea surface temperatures
- Atmospheric instability
- High humidity in the lower to middle levels of the troposphere
- Enough Coriolis force to develop a low pressure center
- A pre-existing low level focus or disturbance
- Low vertical wind shear.
Sources: The Hindu, Wiki.
Indian Air Force Formally Inducts the Akash Missile
The indigenously-developed supersonic surface-to-air missile “Akash” that can target aircraft upto a distance of 30 km, was recently formally inducted in the Indian Air Force.
- It is a medium range Surface to Air missile. It is India’s first indigenously designed, developed and produced air defence system missile.
- The missile system can target aircraft up to 30 km away, at altitudes up to 18,000 m. It has the capability to neutralise aerial targets like fighter jets, cruise missiles and air-to-surface missiles.
- A nuclear warhead could potentially give the missile the capability to destroy both aircraft and warheads from ballistic missiles.
- It can be used by both Army and Air Force.
- The Akash system is fully mobile and capable of protecting a moving convoy of vehicles.
- The system provides air defence missile coverage for an area of 2,000 km².
- Akash flies at supersonic speed, reaching around Mach 2.5.
- A self-destruct device is also integrated. It is propelled by an Integrated Ramjet Rocket Engine. The use of a ramjet propulsion system enables sustained speeds without deceleration throughout its flight.
- The Missile has command guidance in its entire flight.
- Akash missiles are designed to be launched from static or mobile platforms, including battle tanks and wheeled trucks, providing flexible deployment.
- It can handle multiple targets and destroy manoeuvring targets, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, fighter aircraft, cruise missiles and missiles launched from helicopters.
- The Akash system has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) is the production agency.
- The advanced ECCM (electronic counter-countermeasures) features provide secure communication links with other air defence command and control networks to handle the counter electronic warfare scenario.
Sources: The Hindu, PIB, ET.
India and the United States of America recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Cooperation to Establish the PACESetter Fund.
About the PACESetter Fund:
- The fund will be set up with a corpus of about Rs.500 Million on 50:50 sharing basis.
- This fund is the principal funding arm of the Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE), an initiative of the US and Indian governments to harness commercial enterprise and bring clean energy access to unserved and underserved individuals and communities.
- The PACEsetter Fund will provide grants to companies that sell small-scale clean energy systems to individuals and communities without access to grid-connected power or with limited or intermittent access to power.
- Energy cooperation between India and the US is a core element of the India-US strategic partnership.
- The US-India Energy Dialogue was established in 2005 to enhance mutual energy security, promote increased energy trade and investment and facilitate the deployment of clean energy technologies.
- In November 2009, the two governments signed an MoU to enhance cooperation on energy security, energy efficiency, clean energy and climate change, which established PACE. Under this the Government of India and the United States of America have announced the launch of a new initiative “Promoting Energy Access through Clean Energy (PEACE)”.
The Regional Integrated Multi-hazard Early Warning Systems (RIMES) nations recently agreed to share regionally relevant meteorological and oceanographic data between partner institutions, member-states and collaborating countries. This was declared in the 2nd RIMES ministerial conference.
- The RIMES countries have also decided to launch a capacity building programme for enhancing early warning systems for small island states, in collaboration with regional and national institutions.
- It is an international institution managed by 12 member-states and is presently chaired by India. It was established in April 2009.
- RIMES evolved from the efforts of countries in Africa and Asia in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami to establish a regional early warning system, and capacity building for preparedness and response to trans-boundary hazards.
- There are 19 collaborating countries in RIMES, including Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, and Russia among others.
- RIMES operates from its regional early warning centre located on the campus of Asian Institute of Technology in Pathumthani, Thailand.
Sources: BS, PIB.
Insights Secure Prelims 2015
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With reference to the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA), consider the following statements:
- It is a central law and can only be enacted by the central government.
- Essential services under the act include public transport and health services.
Which of the above statements is/are correct?Correct
Explanation: The execution of ESMA rests on the discretion of the State government. Each state in the union of India, hence has a separate state Essential Services Maintenance Act with slight variations from the central law in its provisions. This freedom is accorded by the central law itself.Incorrect
Explanation: The execution of ESMA rests on the discretion of the State government. Each state in the union of India, hence has a separate state Essential Services Maintenance Act with slight variations from the central law in its provisions. This freedom is accorded by the central law itself.
With reference to Governors of states in India, consider the following statements:
- The Constitution of India says that the same person cannot be the Governor of more than two states.
- The Governor does not have any diplomatic or military powers.
- Article 157 and Article 158 of the Constitution of India specify eligibility requirements for the post of governor.
Which of the above statements is/are true?Correct
Explanation: According to an amendment to the Constitution of India, brought about in 1956, the same person can be the Governor of two or more states.Incorrect
Explanation: According to an amendment to the Constitution of India, brought about in 1956, the same person can be the Governor of two or more states.
Which of the following are the necessary conditions for Typhoon formation?
- Sufficiently warm sea surface temperatures.
- Atmospheric instability.
- High humidity in the lower to middle levels of the troposphere.
- Enough Coriolis force to develop a low pressure center.
- A pre-existing low level focus or disturbance.
- Low vertical wind shear.
Choose the correct answer using the codes given below:
Consider the following statements regarding Akash missile:
- It is India’s first indigenously designed, developed and produced air defence system missile.
- The missile can be launched from both static and mobile platforms.
- The Akash system has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
Which of the above statements are correct?Correct