Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - December 10, 2018

State Specific

Kannur International Airport

Connect to the facts

  • The Kannur International Airport Limited or KIAL can handle around 2,000 passengers at a time and will serve more than 1.5 million international passengers yearly
  • Kannur airport inaugurated, Kerala now only Indian state to have four international airports

Connect to the airport

  • Union Minister Suresh Prabhu and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the Kannur international airport,aking the total number of international airports in Kerala to four.
  • Spread across 2,000 acres and costing close to Rs. 1,800 crore, the new airport in Kannur can reportedly handle around 2,000 passengers at a time and will serve more than 1.5 million international passengers yearly.
  • International flights operating from Kannur will include those to the UAE, Oman and Qatar. The airport will also be connected to Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Mumbai.
  • The three other international airports in Kerala are in Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode.

State of Maharashtra’s Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (SMART) Project


  • Launched by the Maharashtra Government and has been assisted by World Bank assisted


  • State of Maharashtra’s Agribusiness and Rural Transformation (SMART) Project to transform rural Maharashtra.

Connect to the project

  • This project aims to revamp agricultural value chains, with special focus on marginal farmers across 1,000 villages.
  • The objective of project is to create and support value chains in post-harvest segments of agriculture, facilitate agribusiness investment, stimulate SMEs within the value chain.
  • It will also support resilient agriculture production systems, expand access to new and organised markets for producers and enhance private sector participation in the agribusiness.
  • The project will be implemented in 10,000 villages of total 40,913 villages in states with objective to achieve Agriculture Loan A Farmer Farming sustainable farming within the next three years.
  • This scheme will cover almost one-fourth of Maharashtra and its focus is on villages which are reeling under worst agriculture crisis compounded by lack of infrastructure and assured value chains to channelise farm produce.
  • The project will be implemented in 10,000 villages comprising 10,000 gram panchayats which were shortlisted by state government based on multiple parameters of socio-economic backwardness in terms of development and growth.
  • This project is a step towards transformation of rural economy and empowerment of farmers and also sustainable agriculture through public-private partnership (PPP) model.

Science and Technology

ISRO to launch dedicated satellite for IAF – GSAT – 7A

Connect to the highlights

  • Once ISRO places GSAT-7A in the geo stationary orbit, the communication satellite will enable the IAF to interlink different ground radar stations, airbases and AWACS aircraft.
  • It will boost the air force’s network-centric warfare capabilities and enhance its global operations.

Connect to the report

  • After the heaviest satellite GSAT-11 mission ISRO is gearing up to launch a dedicated communication satellite for the Indian Air Force.
  • ISRO will launch a communication satellite GSAT-7A dedicated for the IAF in the third week of this month.
  • In January, there will be a PSLV launch and then communication satellite Gsat-31 will be launched from French Guiana that will replace INSAT 4CR, whose end of life is expected soon.
  • And then we have the Chandrayaan-2 mission in January, whose launch window is from January 3 to February 13.”

Connect to GSAT – 7A

  • Once ISRO places Gsat-7A in the geo stationary orbit, the communication satellite will enable the IAF to interlink different ground radar stations, airbases and AWACS aircraft.
  • It will boost the air force’s network-centric warfare capabilities and enhance its global operations.
  • Costing around Rs 500-800 crore, GSAT-7A will have a lifetime of nine years.
  • It will have Ku-band transponders and two deployable solar arrays. The satellite weighing 2.2 tonnes will be launched by GSLV Mk II.
  • Gsat-7A will be the second satellite dedicated to the military.
  • Earlier, ISRO had launched Gsat-7 or Rukmini on September 29, 2013 exclusively for the Navy.
  • Rukmini has helped the Navy monitor the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) as the satellite has a nearly 2,000 nautical mile ‘footprint’ and provides real-time inputs to Indian warships, submarines and maritime aircraft.

Benefits of GSAT 7A

  • GSAT-7A will also boost drone operations as it will help the navy upgrade from existing ground control stations to satellite-control of military unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
  • The transition will boost the range, endurance and flexibility of UAVs.
  • This comes at a time when India is in process of acquiring US armed Predator-B or Sea Guardian drones, which are high-altitude and long endurance satellite-controlled UAVs that can fire at enemy targets from long distances.
  • The IAF is also likely to get another satellite Gsat-7C, within a few years that will boost its network-centric operations.

Status of military satellite

  • Currently, there are 320 military satellites currently orbiting the earth, with the US owning half of them, followed by Russia and China. Of late, China, considered to be India’s biggest rival, has taken huge strides in developing military assets in space, testing even ASAT (anti-satellite) weapons against “low-earth satellites” in January 17.
  • India, on the other hand, currently possesses around 13 military satellites.
  • Most of these remote-sensing satellites like Cartosat-series and Risat satellites are placed in the near-earth orbit which help in better scanning of the earth.
  • However, some of these military satellites have also been put in the geo orbit. The forces use these satellites for surveillance, navigation and communication purpose.
  • The remote sensing satellites had also helped the military in the surgical strike against Pakistan to destroy terror launchpads.

Health and Family Welfare

Cabinet approves Memorandum of Cooperation between India and Japan in the field of Healthcare and Wellness

Connect to the MoU

  • Developing human resource in the field of acute medicine,surgery and trauma care including focus on new areas of competency in each field
  • Establishing an advanced joint testing laboratory for clinical examination
  • Establishing a Japanese language education centre for trainee candidates of care workers;
  • Establishing collaborations among tertiary care centres in both countries such as AIIMS
  • Establishing a centralised management healthcare distribution centre;
  • Improving sanitary environment by increasing access to hygienic and affordable toilets such as on-site processing one;
  • Promoting institutional collaboration on patient data analysis and Information and Communication Technology & Artificial Intelligence in medicine;
  • India-Japan Innovation Hub in India;
  • Establishing high end mobile BSL 3 Lab facilities in India; and Collaboration on getting high end medical devices including Point of Care Diagnostics with a special focus on establishing manufacturing units in India under "Make in India".


Cabinet approves strategic sale of the Rural Electrification Corporation to Power Finance Corporation along with transfer of management control


  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by the Prime Minister has given its ‘In Principle’approval for strategic sale of the Government of India’s existing 52.63% of total paid up equity shareholding in Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) to Power Finance Corporation (PFC) along with transfer of management control.

Connect to the acquisition

  • The acquisition intends to achieve integration across the Power Chain, obtain better synergies, create economies of scale and have enhanced capability to support energy access and energy efficiency by improved capability to finance power sector.
  • It may also allow for cheaper fund raising with increase in bargaining power for the combined entity.
  • Both REC and PFC are Central Public Sector Enterprises under the Ministry of Power.

NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog Launches Global Hackathon On Artificial Intelligence Partnering with Perlin, a Singapore-based AI start-up for the four- month hackathon


  • With the vision to further expand the idea of‘Artificial Intelligence, AI for All’ articulated in the National AI Strategy
  • NITI Aayog organises hackathons to source sustainable, innovative and technologically-enabled solutions to address various challenges in the development space.

AI 4 All Global Hackathon

  • Taking the initiative forward, NITI Aayog is now partnering with Perlin – a Singapore-based AI start up - to launch the ‘AI 4 All Global Hackathon’, and is inviting developers, students, start-ups and companies to develop AI applications to make significant positive social and economic impact for India.
  • The challenge question seeks to develop solutions in Distributed Computing and Privacy Preserving techniques, such as multi-party computation, in AI.
  • The objective of this hackathon is to promote awareness and subsequently develop solutions that deliver the twin benefit of efficient computing to address the infrastructure challenges, while also not compromising on privacy of data for training AI algorithms.
  • NITI Aayog organized its first hackathon, ‘MoveHack’ in August, on the sidelines of the Global Mobility Summit 2018, with the aim of garnering cutting-edge mobility applications.
  • Over 2,000 submissions were received out of which the Top 10 teams were awarded at the summit.

Connect to the process

  • The hackathon will be run two stages with Stage One ending 15 January 2019 and Stage Two, which will only include shortlisted participants from the previous stage, will conclude on 15 March 2019
  • The first stage will invite ideas for use cases of multi-party computation in areas such as Healthcare, Education, Agriculture, Urbanization, Financial Inclusion.
  • The second stage will call for these ideas to be matured and developed, with a focus on privacy preserving AI and distributed computing.

Science & Technology

National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems


  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today has approved the launching of National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) to be implemented by Department of Science &Technology at a total outlay of Rs. 3660 crore for a period of five years.

Connect to the mission

  • The Mission addresses the ever increasing technological requirements of the society, and takes into account the international trends and road maps of leading countries for the next generation technologies.

Connect to NM ICPS

  • The NM-ICPS is a comprehensive Mission which would address technology development, application development, human resource development & skill enhancement, entrepreneurship and start-up development in CPS and associated technologies.
  • The Mission aims at establishment of 15 numbers of Technology Innovation Hubs (TIH), six numbers of Application Innovation Hubs (AIH) and four numbers of Technology Translation Research Parks (TTRP).
  • These Hubs & TTRPs will connect to Academics, Industry, Central Ministries and State Government in developing solutions at reputed academic, R&D and other organizations across the country in a hub and spoke model.
  • A strategic approach involving a suitable mix of Academic, Industry and Government is proposed to be adopted.

Connect to CSP technology

  • CPS technologies provide a cutting edge to a Nation's scientific, engineering, and technological innovative capabilities; support other missions of the government, provide industrial and economic competitiveness and have truly became a Strategic Resource.
  • Volume, scale and complexity of emerging applications demand continued evolution of new technologies for the foreseeable future.
  • The proposed Mission would act as an engine of growth that would benefit national initiatives in health, education, energy, environment, agriculture, strategic cum security, and industrial sectors, Industry 4.0, SMART Cities, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) etc.
  • CPS is an integrated system of upcoming technology, which in turn is being taken up on priority basis by countries in the race for development.
  • The Mission will feed the Central Ministries/ Departments and State Govts and also the Industry to effectively use the CPS technologies in their projects and schemes for the benefit of the society.
  • NM-ICPS is a Pan India Mission and covers entire gamut of India that includes Central Ministries, State Governments, Industry and Academia.
  • CPS and its associated technologies, like Artificial Intelligence (Al), Internet of Things (loT), Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning (DP), Big Data Analytics, Robotics,Quantum Computing, Quantum Communication, Quantum encryption (Quantum Key Distribution), Data Science & Predictive analytics, Cyber Security for physical infrastructure and other infrastructure, have pervaded and is playing a transformative role in almost every field of human endeavour all most in all sectors.

Sources – PIB ,The Hindu , ISRO website , Vikaspedia