Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - August 20, 2018

Disaster Management

5 ISRO satellites come to rescue of flood-hit Kerala

What

  • Five satellites of the Indian Space Research Organisation are playing a key role in saving lives in rain-battered Kerala , monitoring the grave flood situation and assisting in relief work.
  • Earth observation satellites Oceansat-2, Resourcesat-2, Cartosat 2 and 2A and INSAT 3DR send real-time images to the ground station which helps in assessing the extent of flooding and planning rescue operations.

Enlighten about the relief work done by ISRO

  • ISRO has been using data from these satellites to provide alerts on flooding, areas of inundation during and after rain, and weather forecasts
  • Data is processed at the Decision Support Centre (DSC) at the National Remote Sensing Centre (NRSC) in Hyderabad and disseminated periodically to the Centre and the state under the disaster management support programme of Isro.
  • INSAT-3DR, an advanced meterological satellite configured with an imaging system and an atmospheric sounder, provides data on various parameters like temperature and humidity for weather forecasts.
  • Other remote sensing satellites like Cartosat and Resourcesat send high resolution images captured by onboard cameras that help send out early flood warnings and map the affected areas.
  • Cartosat 2 and 2A can be steered along and across the track to 45 degrees for frequent imaging of a specific area.
  • As soon as information on a flood event is received the earliest available satellite is programmed to collect the required data for demarcating inundated areas.
  • At the DSC, the data is processed and inundation maps are prepared with flooded and non-flooded areas marked in different colours.
  • The maps are disseminated to the state and central agencies concerned, along with providing information on affected villages and transport network, for planning relief operations.
  • As the satellites help in relief operations instruments deployed in the sea are simultaneously tracking changes in the weather along the west coast.
  • Data from 13 buoys deployed in the Arabian Sea is helping scientists at the Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) in Hyderabad forecast high waves and provide wind warnings for up to three days.
  • Six of the buoys have been sending data from locations close to the coast at a depth of 25m-35m including two buoys off the coast of Kozhikode and Kollam. The rest are deployed in the deep sea up to a maximum depth of 3,500m.
  • Various parameters like wave direction, wave period and wave height measured through the sensors in the buoys along with data collected from satellites are used to run a forecast model.

Government Schemes

Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana

What

  • By investing just Rs 1.5 lakh per year for 15 years, you can gift your daughter Rs 70 lakh when she turns 21 and also saves tax on the investment while filing the Income Tax Return (ITR).

Enlighten about the scheme

  • The flagship Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana, which was launched by PM Narendra Modi-led Union government in January 2015, aims at securing the future of the girl child.
  • It provides triple tax benefits - no tax is levied on the amount invested, amount earned as interest and the amount withdrawn.
  • One can invest as low as Rs 250/year up to maximum Rs 1.5 lakh per annum for a period of 15 years. The account matures after the completion of 21 years.
  • The Sukanya Samriddhi account may be opened by the legal guardian or parents in the name of a beneficiary who has not attained the age of 10 years as on the date of opening of the account.
  • Only one account can be opened in the name of one beneficiary. In one family, Sukanya Samriddhi Account can be opened for a maximum of two girl children.
  • Deposits can be made in the account till the completion of a period of 15 years from the date of opening.

Defence

India building new fighter jet First flight of Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft expected in 2032

What

  • The Advanced Medium Combat Aircraft (AMCA), India’s next indigenous fighter, is expected to make its first flight by 2032. Development work on the jet is under way.

Enlighten about AMCA

  • The AMCA will feature geometric stealth and will initially fly with two GE-414 engines.
  • After the development of develop indigenous engine, it can be replaced with that and the first flight is expected in 2032

Military platform stealthier

  • There are two major ways of making a military platform stealthier.
  • One is geometric stealth and other is material stealth.
  • In geometric stealth, the shape of the aircraft is designed at such angles so as to deflect away maximum radar waves thereby minimising its radar cross section.
  • In material stealth, radar-absorbing materials are used in making the aircraft which will absorb the radio waves thus reducing the radar footprint.
  • The AMCA will initially be based on geometric stealth
  • The Indian Air Force has given land to the Defence Research and Development Organisation to set up facilities for the project.
  • The plan is to build on the capabilities and expertise developed during the development of the light combat aircraft (LCA) and produce a medium fifth generation fighter aircraft.
  • Apart from the technologies developed from the LCA project, the new fighter programme is important as technologies coming in through that will flow into the AMCA project
  • The aircraft will be powered by the same GE-414 engine on the LCA Mk-2 variant which is in the design phase.
  • This is India’s only fifth generation aircraft programme following the decision not to go ahead with the fifth generation project with Russia.

Agriculture

The NABARD All India Rural Financial Inclusion Survey 2016-17 Half of farm households indebted Telangana, A.P., Karnataka top the list with over 70% indebted families

Survey highlights by NABARD

  • More than half the agricultural households in the country have outstanding debt, and their average outstanding debt is almost as high as the average annual income of all agricultural households, according to a recent survey by the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).

Enlighten about the Survey

  • The NABARD All India Rural Financial Inclusion Survey 2016-17 covered a sample of 1.88 lakh people from 40,327 rural households.
  • Only 48% of these are defined as agricultural households, which have at least one member self-employed in agriculture and which received more than ₹5,000 as value of produce from agricultural activities over the past year, whether they possessed any land or not.
  • NABARD found that 52.5% of the agricultural households had an outstanding loan on the date of the survey, and thus were considered indebted.
  • For non-agricultural households in rural India, that figure was 10 percentage points lower, at only 42.8%.
  • Agricultural households reporting any outstanding debt also had a higher debt liability compared with non-agricultural ones.
  • The average debt of an indebted agricultural household stood at ₹1,04,602 in comparison to ₹76,731 for indebted non-agricultural households.
  • According to the survey, the average annual income of an agricultural household is 1.07 lakh. That is barely ₹2,500 more than the average outstanding debt of indebted farm households.

Kisan Credit Card

  • Only 10.5% of agricultural households were found to have a valid Kisan Credit Card at the time of the survey.
  • The scheme aims to give farmers credit from the banks with a simplified and flexible single-window procedure.
  • Households who had the card utilised 66% of the sanctioned credit limit

Sectors for which loans haven been taken

  • The biggest reason for taking loans among agricultural households was capital expenditure for agricultural purposes, with a quarter of all loans taken for this purpose.
  • While 19% of loans were taken for meeting running expenses for agricultural purposes, another 19% were taken for sundry domestic needs. Loans for housing and medical expenses stood at 11% and 12%, respectively.
  • While all classes of farmers had debt, the highest incidence of indebtedness came from those owning more than two hectares of land. In that category, 60% of households are in debt.
  • Among small and marginal farmers owning less than 0.4 hectares, slightly less than 50% of the households were in debt. Those with more land were more likely to have multiple loans.

Enlighten about the State figures

  • The southern States of Telangana (79%), Andhra Pradesh (77%), and Karnataka (74%) showed the highest levels of indebtedness among agricultural households, followed by Arunachal Pradesh (69%), Manipur (61%), Tamil Nadu (60%), Kerala (56%), and Odisha (54%).

Still dominant role of non – institutional sources

  • 46% of the loans were taken from commercial banks, and another 10% from self-help groups, almost 40% were taken from non-institutional sources such as relatives, friends, moneylenders and landlords.

Science and Technology

Drones to space Internet, IISc incubates start-ups

What

  • General Aeronautics, an Indian Institute of Science (IISc) incubated start-up.
  • The start-up designs and makes unmanned aerial vehicles or drones focused on security and civilian applications.
  • One application is to use these drones to transport organs faster than ambulances for organ transplant procedures to save lives.
  • General Aeronautics is among a growing number of start-ups incubated by the Society for Innovation and Development (SID) housed on the IISc campus in Bengaluru, which aim to commercialise innovations that can have a direct impact on society.

Moonshots

  • Most of the start-ups are based on moonshot ideas.
  • These include drones to transport organs, satellites that provide Internet connectivity in rural areas and devices that help doctors to detect and diagnose diseases like cancer.
  • The incubator, tucked away in a discreet corner of IISc’s verdant campus, connects these deep science start-ups with customers and investors and even helps in writing the business plans.
  • The company is also working with IISc to develop ‘Life Box’ a device which can keep the heart harvested from the donor in good condition and increase its preservation time by maintaining various parameters such as temperature. The box would be transported to the recipient for transplant using a drone.

SpaceX challenger/ Astrome

  • Astrome, a space technology company which could potentially compete globally with tech entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
  • Astrome’s goal too is to solve the problem of connectivity by beaming high bandwidth Internet from space.
  • Astrome is developing a technology that it says would cut the cost of Internet access through satellites by 12 times.
  • It plans to launch 200 satellites in the next few years to low-earth-orbit to beam reliable Internet to people living in small towns and villages.
  • The firm says its Internet would be available in all developing countries and along major sea and air routes.

Sources – The Hindu , PIB, Indian Express