Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - August 28, 2018

Science & Technology

India’s first biofuel powered flight undertakes maiden voyage Jatropha powers India’s first biofuel flight Dehradun-Delhi flight used biofuel blended with ATF


  • A blend of oil from jatropha seeds and aviation turbine fuel propelled the country’s first ever bio jet fuel-powered flight on Monday between Dehradun and Delhi.

Enlighten about the 25-75 mix

  • The 43-minute flight was operated by SpiceJet’s Bombardier Q-400 aircraft, with 20 officials and five crew members on board.
  • A blend of 25% of bio jet fuel and 75% of aviation turbine fuel (ATF) was carried in one of the two engines of the plane, while the other carried only ATF.
  • International standards permit a blend rate of up to 50% biofuel with ATF.
  • The indigenously developed fuel has been nearly eight years in the making by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research lab based in Dehradun along with the Indian Institute of Petroleum.
  • A historic flight powered by indigenously produced aviation biofuel based on patented technology of CSIR-IIP Dehradun
  • The institute started its experiment on biofuel soon after Virgin Atlantic carried out the first test flight globally in 2008.
  • With this maiden flight India joins the exclusive club of nations using biofuel in aviation.


  • The use of bio jet fuel, apart from reducing greenhouse gas emissions by about 15 percent and sulfur oxides (SOx) emissions by over 99 percent, is expected to provide indigenous jet fuel supply security, possible cost savings as feedstock availability at farm level scales up, superior engine performance and reduced maintenance cost for the airline operators.


The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS)


  • BNHS will start operating its first regional centre or avifauna observatory on the campus of Wetland Research and Training Centre near Chilika Lake (Asia’s largest brackish water lagoon), Odisha.

Enlighten about the observatory

  • The avifauna observatory will carry out research on avian disease by collecting samples and monitor Nalabana Bird Sanctuary.
  • It will be engaged in identifying air route of foreign birds flocking Chilika lake during winter, sample collection, training related to bird census, publishing bird migration atlas books, examining various diseases among the birds and review condition of Nalabana bird sanctuary along with counting birds.

Bombay Natural History Society (BHNS)

  • BNHS is one of the largest non-governmental organisations in India engaged in conservation and biodiversity research.
  • It was founded on 15 September 1883 and headquartered at Hornbill House, Mumbai.
  • It supports many research efforts through grants and publishes Journal of Bombay Natural History Society.
  • Department of Science and Technology has designated as ‘Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Chilika Lake

  • It is largest coastal lagoon or brackish water lake in India and Asia and second largest lagoon in the world (after The New Caledonian barrier reef in New Caledonia).
  • It is located at mouth of Daya River, owing into Bay of Bengal.
  • It is spread over Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha on east coast of India, covering an area of over 1,100 km sq.
  • It hosts nearly one million birds with 97 species being intercontinental migratory in nature during the winter season.
  • It is largest wintering ground for migratory waterfowl found anywhere on Indian subcontinent.
  • It was first waterbody in Indian to be designated as wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention in 1981.

Petroleum & Natural Gas

Common Carrier Capacity An online portal for booking on GAIL’s pipelines


  • An online portal for enabling easy, efficient and transparent booking of Common carrier capacity for natural gas transmission services under GAIL’s pipelines has been launched by the petroleum ministry
  • It would be a first step to facilitate gas trading on hub or exchange traded platform in India.

Enlighten about the portal

  • The portal is a transparent, market-friendly component in the gas trading system.

Government’s steps regarding this

  • The Government is focusing on the clean fuel, and for this purpose the gas import contracts have been renegotiated, bio-CNG is being promoted, and PNG supplies will soon reach new Geographical Areas.
  • Gas is a price sensitive commodity and its marketing in a transparent manner is essential.
  • The portal should enable the new entities to utilize the GAIL’s infrastructure in procuring the gas in a cost-effective manner.
  • The portal will act as a milestone in expansion of gas marketing, without human interface, through digital means.
  • The online portal www.gailonline,com is the first of its kind in the natural gas sector of the country, to provide gas consumers the facility to register pipeline capacity bookings online and endeavours to continue the practice of serving on first come-first served basis.


Marine Hydraulic system in INS Vikramaditya


  • India’s only aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya for the first time will be fitted with marine hydraulic system to boost the air operations of the ship.


  • Two marine hydraulic system technically termed as“GS-1MF” and “GS-3” will be fitted in the aircraft carrier

Marine hydraulic systems GS-1MF and GS-3

  • It will be used for refuelling, cleaning and pressurisation of hydraulic systems of aircraft and helicopters on board INS Vikramaditya.
  • GS-1MF hydraulic system is used in helicopters, while GS-3 is used in aircraft.
  • The upgrades and sea trials these systems will be done in India.
  • The system will be installed by Technodinamika, a subsidiary of Russia’s Rostec State Corporation by May 2019.

INS Vikramaditya

  • India had purchased it in 2004 from Russia at cost of $2.3 billion and was commissioned in Indian Navy in November 2013 at Severodvinsk in Russia.
  • INS Vikramaditya design is based on Kiev-class aircraft carriers.
  • It is 284 metres long and 60 metres high (high as20-storeyed building).
  • It weighs 40,000 tonnes and is biggest and heaviest ship in e Indian Navy. Its air wing consists of 30 MiG 29K fighter jets and six Kamov helicopters.

International Organisation

3rd Indian Ocean Conference – Hanoi (Vietnam)


  • The third edition of Indian Ocean Conference was held in Hanoi, capital city of Vietnam from 27-28 August 2018.
  • It was inaugurated by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Min, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Vietnam.

Organising agencies

  • The third edition of the Conference was organised by India Foundation in association with Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Sri Lanka and Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies.


  • Its theme was “Building Regional Architectures”.
  • It will see participation from around 35 countries and have speakers from 25 countries.

Indian Ocean Conference

  • It has been initiated by Delhi based think tank India Foundation along with its partners from Singapore, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
  • The conference aims to bring together Heads of States/Governments, Ministers, thought leaders, scholars, diplomats, bureaucrats and practitioners from across the region on a single platform.
  • So far, two successful editions of conference were hosted in 2016 and 2017 in Singapore and Sri Lanka respectively.
  • Both Conferences were supported by Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India and had seen participation from over 35 countries.

Sources – The Hindu , PIB , Indian express