Insights Daily Current Events, 29 September 2015
Paper 2 Topic: Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life Achievements of Indians in science & technology.
SC dismisses PIL on digital locker
The Supreme Court has rejected a petition against the Centre’s decision to link digital locker facility with the Aadhaar card of citizens.
The court has said that it cannot entertain a writ petition if the guidelines issued by it are not followed. The court says, if guidelines are not followed, a contempt petition should be filed and not a writ petition.
- A petition was filed shortly after the Centre launched the digital locker facility. The petition urged the court to quash the order making Aadhaar mandatory for availing the dedicated personal storage service.
- The petitioner had contended that the government’s insistence on Aadhaar cards was in violation of the Supreme Court’s previous order as well as fundamental right to equality guaranteed under the Constitution.
- The petition argued that the government’s order would go against the direction issued by the apex court on September 23, 2013.
The supreme court, in september 2013, had ordered: “No person should suffer for not getting the Aadhaar card in spite of the fact that some authority had issued a circular making it mandatory and when any person applies to get the Aadhaar card voluntarily, it may be checked whether that person is entitled for it under the law and it should not be given to any illegal immigrant.”
- As part of an initiative under the Digital India programme, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on July 1 launched the digital locker facility.
- The initiative was launched by the Department of Electronics and Information Technology, under the Ministry of Communications and IT.
- It is aimed to help people by eliminating the use of physical documents and in sharing verified electronic documents across government agencies.
DigiLocker can be used to securely store e-documents as well as store Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) link of e-documents issued by various issuer departments. The e-Sign facility provided as part of DigiLocker system can be used to digitally sign e-documents.
Sources: The Hindu, pib.
Paper 2 Topic: Important International institutions, agencies and fora, their structure, mandate.
India Signs Loan Agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB)
The Government of India has signed a loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB) for US $ 123.51 million for the Infrastructure Development Investment Program for Tourism to continue upgrading tourism infrastructure and services in Punjab, Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
- The loan will be used for development and conservation of places of tourist attractions. It will also be used to improve basic tourism facilities, and to build the capacity of sector agencies and local communities in the States of Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Punjab.
- This is the third tranche loan, which is part of the $250 million multi-tranche financing facility that ADB approved in 2010.
It is a regional development bank established on 22 August 1966 and is headquartered in Philippines.
Aim: to facilitate economic development of countries in Asia. It also aims for an Asia and Pacific free from poverty.
- The bank admits the members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP, formerly known as the United Nations Economic Commission for Asia and the Far East) and non-regional developed countries.
- Currently, it has 67 members – of which 48 are from within Asia and the Pacific and 19 outside.
- ADB was modeled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with member’s capital subscriptions.
- ADB raises funds through bond issues on the world’s capital markets.
- ADB also rely on its members’ contributions, retained earnings from its lending operations, and the repayment of loans.
- Japan holds the largest proportions of shares at 15.67%. The United States holds 15.56%, China holds 6.47%, India holds 6.36%, and Australia holds 5.81%.
Board of Governors:
- It is the highest policy-making body of the bank.
- It is composed of one representative from each member state.
- The Board of Governors also elect the bank’s President who is the chairperson of the Board of Directors and manages ADB.
- The Alternate Board of Governors are nominated by Board of Governors of ADB’s 67 to represent them at the Annual Meeting that meets formally once year to be held in a member country.
- It offers both Hard Loans and Soft loans.
- The ADB offers “hard” loans from ordinary capital resources (OCR) on commercial terms, and the Asian Development Fund (ADF) affiliated with the ADB extends “soft” loans from special fund resources with concessional conditions.
ADB focuses on five core areas of operations: infrastructure; the environment, including climate change; regional cooperation and integration; finance sector development; and education.
Sources: The Hindu, ADB.
Paper 3 Topic: Space.
With Astrosat launch, ISRO scales new heights
The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched its first dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory Astrosat into space, besides six satellites for Canada, Indonesia and the United States.
- This is the first time ISRO is launching satellites for the United States.
- With this launch, ISRO has successfully crossed the half century-mark as for foreign satellites. ISRO has launched 51 satellites for foreign satellites so far.
- The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) C-30 carried ASTROSAT and six other satellites.
- ASTROSAT is India’s first dedicated multi wavelength space observatory. This scientific satellite mission endeavours for a more detailed understanding of our universe.
- ASTROSAT is designed to observe the universe in the Visible, Ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum simultaneously with the help of its five payloads.
- Astrosat aims at understanding the high energy processes in binary star systems containing neutron stars and black holes, to estimate magnetic fields of neutron stars, to study star birth regions and high energy processes in star systems lying beyond the Milky Way galaxy.
- Astrosat is being described as India’s version of the Hubble telescope that NASA had put in space in 1990.
- It has a mission life of five years.
This mission has put ISRO in a very exclusive club of nations that have space-based observatories. Only the United States, European Space Agency, Japan and Russia have such observatories in space.
Merits in having sky observatory:
The study of the celestial process can be done from the earth as well. Several observatories across the globe have powerful telescopes that can see what is happening deep inside the universe.
- But, the atmosphere around the earth interferes with the signals from space and changes their characteristics. What the instruments at earth receive are modified signals. These have to be adjusted to bring in accuracy.
- A space observatory on the other hand, receives pure signals because of which the readings by instruments are more accurate.
It is a fund launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his recent visit to the US. It is a fund for Better Health, Agriculture, Renewable and Technologies (BHARAT). It is a major initiative to encourage start – ups.
It is a Indo – srilankan joint military exercise. The aim of the joint training is to share the best military practices and promoting healthy military to military relations between the two Armies and developing joint strategies by sharing expertise of conducting operations.