Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - December 27, 2017

Defence

Indian Air Force Conquers 'Seven Summits'

  • After scaling of Mt Everest in 2005, IAF launched a unique and unprecedented series of mountaineering expedition 'Mission Seven Summits' with an aim to fly the tricolour and the IAF flag on the highest peaks in every continent.
  • A team comprising five IAF mountaineers, led by Gp Capt RC Tripathi, in the early hours of 26 Dec 17, has successfully scaled Mt Vinson in Antarctica, thus completing the assigned Mission.
  • With the successful ascent of Mt Vinson, the IAF added another feather to its cap, by becoming the first organisation in India to achieve this unique feat.
  • IAF has promoted adventure activities among its personnel.
  • In 2011, a women's expedition scaled Mt Everest successfully and in 2017 a joint IAF-BSF women camel expedition covered 1386 Km distance along western border in 47 days.
  • IAF is also committed to the cause of environment and in Sep this year, IAF expedition to Mt Stok Kangri, restored the environment at base camp.

Government Schemes

Atal Innovation Mission selects additional 1500 schools for setting up of Atal Tinkering Labs across India

  • NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), Government of India’s flagship program to promote innovation and entrepreneurship nationwide in schools, universities and industry, has selected additional 1500 Schools for establishment of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs).
  • The addition of these schools will give a major boost to realize the vision of the mission to ‘Cultivate One Million children in India as the Innovators of tomorrow’.
  • With this announcement of the new Atal Tinkering Labs, AIM, has selected 2441 Schools across India to establish ATLs to date since it began its operations over a year ago.

Enlighten about ATLs

  • ATLs are innovation play workspaces for students between Grade VI to Grade XII, stimulating innovations combining science & technology.
  • These open-ended innovation workspaces equipped with state of the art technologies like 3D printers, Robotics, Sensor Technology Kits, Internet of Things, miniaturized Electronics etc enable the students to learn and solve local community problems using emerging Technologies.
  • Students are encouraged to explore and experience Design Thinking and Innovation, using a do-it-yourself approach, and develop innovative solutions to India’s social, community or economic problems
  • The young students who have already got exposure to creative technology platforms to nurture their curiosity, creativity and imagination from ATLs in their schools, have already started designing prototype solutions and started creative projects such as better irrigation management, waste management, and sensor based solutions using IOT devices and Robotics in their Labs.
  • ATLs will help our country to transform Young students to Young Innovators. This will be big opportunity for students to build the ‘New India’ of their dreams by 2022.
  • The active participation by Schools and their students in ATL will power the transformations of ‘New India’ through their creativity and innovation.
  • The labs are designed to spur the spark of creativity, and go beyond regular curriculum and text book learning. The labs will also enable students explore skills of future such as design and computational thinking, adaptive learning and artificial intelligence.
  • The ATLs will touch upon the all sections of our society to make the vision of the Prime Minister to build a ‘Creative India, an Innovative India’.

Agreements

New $318 million loan Agreement Signed with World Bank to Support Climate Resilient Agriculture – over 500,000 Farmers to Benefit in Tamil Nadu

  • The Government of India, the Government of Tamil Nadu and the World Bank today signed a $318 million loan agreement for the Tamil Nadu Irrigated Agriculture Modernization Project to promote climate resilient agriculture technologies, improve water management practices, and increase market opportunities for small and marginal farmers.
  • About 500,000 farmers, of which a majority are small and marginal, are expected to benefit from improved and modernized tank irrigation systems.
  • The project will rehabilitate and modernize about 4,800 irrigation tanks and 477 check dams, spread across 66 sub-basins, in delivering bulk water to irrigation systems.
  • Tamil Nadu, being a water-stressed state, continues to experience water shortages which are expected to further exacerbate in the future.
  • Rehabilitating and modernizing irrigation tanks will improve the reliability and availability of irrigation water for farming communities, making them less prone to climatic hazards.
  • This project will help Tamil Nadu scale up its efforts to unlock the full potential of its agriculture sector.
  • It will support farmers improve the efficiency of water used in farming, diversify into high value crops, and produce crops that are resilient to the increasing threats of climate change.
  • Such efforts will be a win-win for all, leading to better use of scarce water resources and raising household incomes of farmers
  • Paddy is the dominant crop occupying 34 percent of total cropped areas, whereas fruits and vegetables are grown on 11 percent and pulses and oilseeds on 14 percent of total cropped areas.
  • By helping farmers’ access modern technologies, linking them to markets, and providing postharvest management support, the project will enable farmers to shift from a mono crop paddy system to mixed cropping including high-value crops (fruits, vegetables, and spices), pulses, oilseeds, and millets.
  • To enhance the ability of crops to withstand expected adverse impacts of climate change, the project will support smallholder producers adopt new conservation technologies such as the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) and Sustainable Sugar Initiative (SSI).
  • They reduce average water usage by 35 percent and increase yields by 22 percent per ha.
  • The project is expected to increase the yield of rice, maize, and pulses by 18–20 percent.

Space

Ahmedabad Space Application Centre developing new 'Remote' Sensor camera

  • The Space Application Centre (SAC) Ahmedabad, one of the India's premier Space Centres established by the founding father of India's Space programme, Dr Vikram Sarabhai, is all set to develop a new advanced hi-tech "Remote Sensor" camera with a capacity to capture images/pictures from a height of over 300 kms.
  • The new "Remote Sensor Camera" will be fully indigenous, living up to "Make in India" concept and may be available by early next year.
  • The new gadget will be an improvement on the existing application used for infrastructure development works, soil management and even security related tasks.

International

AG6000
World’s Largest amphibious aircraft

  • ‘Kunlong’, the world’s largest amphibious aircraft took off took off from the southern city of Zhuhai and landed after roughly an hour-long flight.
  • Its successful maiden flight makes China among the world’s few countries capable of developing a large amphibious aircraft.
  • It also further strengthens China’s rapidly modernising military.

Enlighten about AG600

  • The AG600 amphibious aircraft can land and take off from water. It has wingspan of 38.8 metres. It is powered by four turboprop engines.
  • It has been designed and built by China’s state-owned manufacturer Aviation Industry Corp of China.
  • It is capable of carrying 50 people and can stay airborne for 12 hours. It has operational range of 4,500-km.
  • The aircraft has military applications but will be also used for firefighting and marine rescue.
  • Its flight capabilities put all of China’s artificial island-building projects in disputed South China Sea (SCS) well within its range.

2ND Land Surveying Satellite
LKW -2
Launched by China

  • China has successfully launched its second Land Surveying Satellite LKW-2 (also known as Yaogan Weixing-32) into a preset orbit from Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi desert.
  • The satellite will be used for remote sensing exploration of land resources.
  • It was launched on board of Long March-2D rocket. It was 259th mission of the Long March rocket series.

Enlighten about LKW-2

  • The LKW-2 has been developed by China Academy of Space Technology (CAST).
  • It is probably an electro-optical observation satellite based on the military Jianbing-6 series.
  • Western experts believe that the satellite will be utilized for military purposes apart from remote sensing exploration of land resources.
  • The first Yaogan satellite was launched in 2006, whereas the second generation of the series was inaugurated in 2008.

Long March 2D

  • Long March 2D is a two-stage rocket developed by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology.
  • It is mainly used to launch variety of satellites into low-Earth orbit (LEO) at an altitude of approximately 500 kilometers.
  • The 41.15-meter long rocket can launch payloads of up to 3.9 tons to LEO and has Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO) capability of up to 1.4 tons.
  • The rocket was launched for the first time in August 1992.

Miscellaneous

BND – 4201
High Purity gold reference standard

  • India Government Mint (IGM), a unit of Security Printing and Minting Corp of India Ltd has launched India’s first home-grown high purity gold reference standard –Bharatiya Nirdeshak Dravya (BND-4201).
  • The BND-4201 is reference material for gold of ‘9999’ fineness (gold that is 99.99% pure with impurities of only 100 parts-per-million).
  • It will be beneficial to the consumers and public at large to ensure purity of gold.

Enlighten about BND- 4201

  • BND-4201, the high purity gold reference standard has been developed through collaboration between IGM, Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) — Council of Scientific & Industrial Research-National Physical Laboratory (New Delhi) and National Centre for Compositional Characterisation of Materials (Hyderabad).
  • The gold reference standard is indispensable in gold and jewellery hall marking.
  • This reference will also be useful for Collection and Purity Testing Centres to certify purity of gold deposits under gold monetization scheme.

What’s the significance –

  • India despites being second largest markets for gold after China, goldsmiths in the country were depended on imported reference gold bars (mostly imported was sourced from Canada and Switzerland) to check purity of their biscuits, coins and jewellery. BND-4201 standard reference material will help to minimise dependency on foreign countries and add to Make in India campaign, saving foreign exchange.
  • The BND-4201 standard gold bar are 25% cheaper than the imported version.
  • It will also help jewellers to move towards more instrumental methods rather than conventional fire assay methods for testing purity of gold, which time consuming and non-environment friendly as poisonous gases are released.

Report/Index

Global Innovation Index – 2017 India’s ranked – 60th

  • India currently ranks 60th out of 127 countries on the Global Innovation Index (GII) 2017 as compared to 66th rank on GII 2016.
  • In order to make India an innovation-driven economy, NITI Aayog, Department of Industrial Policy & Promotion (DIPP) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) together launched a mega initiative “India Innovation Index” that will rank states on Innovations through country’s first online innovation index portal that will capture data on innovation from all Indian states on innovation and regularly update it in real time.

Government initiatives regarding this -

  • The Smart India Hackathon and Smart India Hardware Hackathon have been launched to improve the innovative abilities of the students in the Higher Education Institutions
  • The Smart India Hackathon has received huge response when it was launched in 2017 and this would be continued as annual event
  • The Government is promoting research parks (RPs) and technology business incubators (TBIs) which would nurture and promote the innovative ideas till they become commercial ventures
  • The projects for promoting research and innovation like the IMPRINT and Uchhatar Avishkar Yojana (UAY) have brought focused attention of the scientific community on the need for promoting innovation
  • The Start-Up India initiative of the Government has also put in place a mechanism for identifying and incubating the innovative ideas

State Specific

Prakash hai to vikas hai Uttar Pradesh Government Scheme

  • The Uttar Pradesh Government launched ‘Prakash hai to vikas hai’ Scheme, a free household power connection scheme for the poor in the state.
  • It was launched to mark former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s birthday i.e. on the occasion of Good Governance Day (25 December).
  • Initially, two village Lohban and Gausana of Mathura district have been covered under this scheme for 100% electrication.
  • Under the scheme, state government has set ambition target of covering 16 million by the end of 2018.
  • Kisan Uday Yojana UP government has also launched Kisan Uday Yojana, a scheme for farmers in which existing 5 HP (Horse Power)/7.5 HP submersible and coupling sets of farmers will be replaced free of cost.
  • The scheme will cover 10 lakh farmers by 2022 and will lead to 35% saving on power consumption.

MoU signed between South Korea and Uttar Pradesh Government

  • The Uttar Pradesh government has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with South Korea on to enhance cooperation in the field of tourism, skill development, culture and farming.
  • It was signed after a delegation from South Korea’s Gimhae city met Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Lucknow and discussed ways to improve cooperation between the two countries.

Enlighten about the MoU

  • The MoU will go a long way in cementing the bond especially cultural and historical relations between Uttar Pradesh and South Korea.
  • Earlier, in 2000, an agreement was signed to develop Ayodhya and Gimhae as sister cities, following which memorial was constructed in Ayodhya which is visited by large number of tourists from South Korea every year.
  • The people in South Korea believe that 2,000 years ago, Ayodhya princess had married Korean King Kim Suro.
  • At present, members of the ‘Crock Clan’ are considered as their descendants