Insights Daily Current Events, 17 October 2015
Paper 3 Topic: Indigenization of technology and developing new technology.
India’s subsonic Nirbhay missile fails again
Nirbhay, the subsonic cruise missile developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has failed again.
- It was recently test fired in Odisha. Although the take off was successful amid repeated disruptions of countdown, the missile missed the target 11 minutes after it was test fired.
- The missile had a range of 750-1,000 km. But it nosedived after covering 128 km in the Bay of Bengal.
- The missile’s first test on March 12, 2013 had also failed as it too fell after 20 minutes of flight. The second test on October 17, 2014 was also not up to the mark as it could not maintain a low height.
- Nirbhay is an all-weather low-cost long-range cruise missile with stealth and high accuracy. The missile has a range of more than 1000 km. It weighs about one tonne and has a length of 6 metres.
- Its relatively slow flight speed allows it to navigate its way precisely to the target.
- The Nirbhay cruise missile is an Indian version of the American Tomahawk.
- The missile is capable of being launched from multiple platforms on land, sea and air.
- In particular, Nirbhay is being adapted for the Indo/Russian Su-30MKI. The missile is capable of carrying nuclear warheads.
- The missile is also capable of flying at different altitudes ranging from 500 m to 4 km above the ground and can also fly at low altitudes to avoid detection by enemy radar.
A key hurdle to developing a long-range cruise missile like the Nirbhay is the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), which forbids signatory countries from assisting or providing technology to any other country developing a cruise missile with a range of 300 km or more.
sources: the hindu, wiki.
Paper 2 Topic: Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
Pakistan, Russia sign gas pipeline pact
Pakistan and Russia have signed an agreement to build a gas pipeline stretching hundreds of kilometres from Karachi on the Arabian Sea to the eastern city of Lahore.
- The project would be built by Russian company RT Global Resources — a part of Russian state corporation Rostec.
- It will be a 1,100-kilometre (680-mile) pipeline, with a capacity of 12.4 billion cubic metres (438 billion cubic feet) per year.
- It will connect liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in Karachi with those in Lahore.
- Russia will invest about $2 billion in the pipeline and its first phase is expected to be completed by December 2017.
- The pipeline will be operated by the manufacturer for 25 years before being transferred to the Pakistani government.
sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
SC Bench strikes down NJAC Act as ‘unconstitutional and void’
The Supreme Court has rejected the National Judicial Appointments Commission (NJAC) Act and the 99th Constitutional Amendment which sought to give politicians and civil society a final say in the appointment of judges to the highest courts.
- It held that the collegium system, as it existed before the NJAC, would again become operative.
- The court declared that the judiciary cannot risk being caught in a web of indebtedness towards the government.
- It is after 35 years that a constitutional amendment has been quashed by the top court.
Observations made by the court:
- The amendment to constitute the NJAC sought to trample upon the primacy of the judiciary and the role of the CJI, who would be reduced to an individual figure from an institutional head in the panel that has the Law Minister and two eminent persons, as its other members.
- The sensitivity of selecting judges is so enormous, and the consequences of making inappropriate appointments so dangerous, that if those involved in the process of selection and appointment of judges to the higher judiciary, make wrongful selections, it may well lead the nation into a chaos of sorts.
- The appointment of judges, coupled with primacy of judiciary and the CJI, was part of the basic structure of the Constitution and that the parliament had no power to tinker with this structural distribution.
The Union government had previously argued that NJAC represented the will of the people. However, rejecting the Centre’s argument, court noted that “the will of the people is the Constitution while the Parliament represents the will of the majority at a given point of time which is subordinate to the Constitution”.
- NJAC was a proposed body responsible for the appointment and transfer of judges to the higher judiciary in India. It sought to replace the collegium system of appointing the judges of Supreme Court and 24 High Courts.
- The 99th Constitutional Amendment Act and the NJAC Act had proposed that appointments be done by a six-member body, headed by the Chief Justice of India, and including two seniormost SC judges, the Union Law Minister and two “eminent” persons. These two would be selected by a panel including the Prime Minister, the CJI and the leader of the largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha.
sources: the hindu.