Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - December 6, 2018

Science and Technology

India’s heaviest communication satellite GSAT-11 launched successfully from French Guiana


  • Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) heaviest and most-advanced high throughput communication satellite GSAT-11 was successfully launched from the Spaceport in French Guiana.
  • The GSAT-11 satellite, weighing 5,854 kg is the heaviest Indian-made equipment that the agency put into its orbit.
  • The launch vehicle Ariane 5 VA-246 lifted off from Kourou Launch Base, French Guiana carrying India’s GSAT-11 and South Korea’s GEO-KOMPSAT-2A satellites, as scheduled.
  • Ariane 5 is one of three launch vehicles operated by Arianespace along with Soyuz and Vega.
  • Indian Space Research Organisation or ISRO's GSAT-11 satellite also called the "Big Bird "

Connect to the benefits

  • The satellite will help provide satellite-based internet to remote places where cable-based internet cannot reach.
  • The satellite, weighing 5,854 kg, is the heaviest Indian-made equipment that the agency put into its orbit.

Connect to GSAT -11

  • This launch was the second attempt after ISRO's first bid failed in May earlier this year and was placed into space on its 102 nd flight, the Ariane 5 rocket.
  • GSAT-11 is the next generation high throughput communication satellite that will play a vital role in providing broadband services across the country.
  • The "Big Bird" has cost about Rs. 600 crore. The ariane-5 heavyweight rocket was hired from Arianespace by ISRO. The satellite is expected to have a life span of 15 years.
  • The satellite internet, which the GSAT-11 will help to provide, will aid in giving internet connectivity in flights in India.
  • The 5,854-kg GSAT-11 will provide high data rate connectivity to users of Indian mainland and islands through 32 user beams in Ku-band and 8 hub beams in Ka-band.
  • GSAT-11 will boost the broadband connectivity to rural and inaccessible Gram Panchayats in the country coming under the Bharat Net Project, which is part of Digital India Programme
  • The Bharat Net Project aims to enhance the public welfare schemes like e-banking, e-health, e-governance among others.


Qatar has announced its withdrawal from OPEC


  • Qatar has announced that it will withdraw from Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) from January 2019


  • To focus more on natural gas production This makes Qatar first Gulf country to leave OPEC bloc of oil-producing countries led by Saudi Arabia. Qatar has been member of OPEC since 1961

Connect to Qatar oil production

Qatar is the world’s largest exporter of liquified natural gas (LPG) and 17th largest producer of crude oil (around 600,000 barrels per day).
Qatar has taken this decision because it wants to focus its efforts on plans to develop and increase its natural gas production from 77 million tonnes per year to 110 million tonnes in the coming years.
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)
OPEC is an intergovernmental organization (or cartel) of 15 oil-exporting developing nations that coordinates and unites the petroleum policies of its member countries.
It was established in 1960 in Baghdad, Iraq by the first five members.
Its headquarters are in Vienna, Austria.
Its mission is to coordinate and unify petroleum policies of its member countries and ensure stabilization of oil markets, in order to secure an efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, steady income to producers and fair return on capital for those investing in petroleum industry.
OPEC member countries accounted for an estimated 43% of global oil production and 73% of the “proven” world’s oil reserves.
Two-thirds of OPEC’s oil production and reserves are in its six Middle Eastern (west Asian) countries that surround the oil-rich Persian Gulf.
OPEC Members Asia and Middle East: Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia (de facto leader of OPEC), Kuwait, United Arab Emirates and Qatar (to withdraw from January 2019) Africa: Algeria, Angola, Libya, Congo Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon

Government Schemes

Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASAD)


  • Union Government has included Gangotri and Yamunotri in Uttrarakhand, Amarkantak in Madhya Pradesh and Parasnath in Jharkhand under Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive (PRASAD)


To develop pilgrimage and heritage destinations in the country.
The number of sites under PRASAD has now reached to 41 in 25 states.
Connect to PRASAD Scheme

It was launched in 2014-15 by Union Ministry of Tourism.
It aims at integrated development of pilgrimage destinations in planned, prioritised and sustainable manner to provide complete religious tourism experience.
It focuses on the development and beautification of the identified pilgrimage destinations with an objective to harness pilgrimage tourism for its direct and multiplier effect upon employment generation economic development and enhance tourist attractiveness in sustainable manner by developing world class infrastructure in the religious destinations.
This scheme also seeks to promote local art, culture, handicraft, cuisine, etc.
Infrastructure development under this scheme includes Development of entry points (road, rail and water transport), last mile connectivity, basic tourism facilities like Information/interpretation centers, ATM/ money exchange.
Development of eco-friendly modes of transport, lighting and illumination with renewable energy sources, drinking water, parking, toilets, waiting rooms, first aid centers, craft bazars/haats/souvenir shops/cafeteria, rain shelters, telecom facilities, internet connectivity etc.
Ministry of Tourism provides Central Financial Assistance (CFA) to State Governments for promoting tourism at identified destinations.

Intellectual Property rights

World Intellectual Property Indicators 2018 report Rise in number of patent granted by India


  • Report has been released by United Nation’s World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)

Connect to the report

  • The number of patents granted by India has been increased by 50% in 2017.
  • The patents granted by India increased from 8,248 in 2016 to 12,387 in 2017, thus keeping up trend of steep increases.
  • Patents granted in 2017 in India were more than double 6,022 patents granted in 2015. Of the patents granted in 2017, 1,712 went to entities and individuals based in India, and 10,675 to foreigners.
  • The steep increase in number was driven by patents granted to foreigners, which accounted for 85% of total increase.
  • The number of patents given to domestic entities also has shown increasing trend.
  • Globally, 1.4 million patents were granted in 2017. China led world with 4,20,144 granted patents and was followed by US with 3,18,829.

World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO)

  • It is the global body for promotion and protection of intellectual property rights (IPR).
  • It is one of the 15 specialized agencies of United Nations (UN).
  • India is a member of WIPO and party to several treaties administered by WIPO
  • It was established in 1967 and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • Its mandate is to encourage creative activity, to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world.
  • It encourages and provides assistance to all its 188 member countries in formulating national IPR policy however it does not dictate or prescribe any mandatory measures.

International Organisations

80th Session of the Policy Commission Meeting of the World Customs Organization (WCO)


  • The 80th Session of the Policy Commission Meeting of the World Customs Organization (WCO) which concluded in Mumbai


  • The issue of menace of illicit financial flows, including Trade Based Money Laundering and ways to control them were discussed
  • Other issues covered during the three-day Session included those related to Small Island Economies and how to bring them in the mainstream of the supply chain and Free Trade Zones.
  • The three day 80th Session of the Policy Commission Meeting of the WCO was organised by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs(CBIC), Government of India in Mumbai,

The Government of the Republic of India and the Republic of Peru sign Co-operation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters

80th Session of the Policy Commission Meeting of the World Customs Organisations (WCO)

  • The three day 80th Session of the Policy Commission Meeting of the WCO is being organised by the Central Board of Customs and Indirect Taxes (CBIC), Government of India in Mumbai, India, from 3rd to 5th December 2018.

Connect to the agreement

  • The Agreement provides a legal framework for sharing of information and intelligence between the Customs authorities of the two countries and will help in the proper application of Customs laws, prevention and investigation of Customs offences.
  • The Agreement will also help in the availability of relevant information for the prevention and investigation of Customs offences. The Agreement is expected to facilitate trade and ensure efficient clearance of goods traded between the two countries.

Connect to The World Customs Organization (WCO)

  • It is an intergovernmental organization headquartered in Brussels, Belgium.
  • The WCO is noted for its work in areas covering the development of international conventions, instruments, and tools on topics such as commodity classification, valuation, rules of origin, collection of customs revenue, supply chain security, international trade facilitation, customs enforcement activities, combating counterfeiting in support of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), drugs enforcement, illegal weapons trading, integrity promotion, and delivering sustainable capacity building to assist with customs reforms and modernization.
  • The WCO maintains the international Harmonized System (HS) goods nomenclature, and administers the technical aspects of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreements on Customs Valuation and Rules of Origin.

Sources – PIB and The Hindu