Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - September 25, 2018

Defence

India looks to buy Israeli missiles Defence Acquisition Council to take up deal through the government-to-government route

What

  • A deal to procure the Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Israel through the government-to-government route has been brought before the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) for approval.
  • Validation trials of the infrared seeker (IR) are to be held.
  • Once the DAC accords approval, the trials will be performed dur
  • ing the summer
  • The deal is for 170 launchers, 4,500 missiles and 15 simulators.

Need more trials

  • The missile did not perform as desired in the previous trials during peak summer temperatures in the desert, and hence the need to validate its performance.
  • The earlier deal was cancelled in January after protracted negotiations, just ahead of the visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to India.
  • It was decided that the requirement could be met through the indigenous man-portable missile being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation.

Shortage of anti-tank missile

  • There is huge shortage of anti-tank guided missiles and the indigenous system missed development deadlines, it was decided that a smaller number will be procured off the shelf through the government-to-government route.
  • The earlier $500-million deal for Spike missiles was accorded Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) by the DAC in 2009 and was approved in October 2014, but contract negotiations dragged on over cost and technology transfer.
  • The deal was for 8,000-plus missiles and 300-plus launchers, along with technology transfer to build them in India.

Connect to spike

  • Spike is a third-generation, fire-and-forget, man-portable missile manufactured by Israel’s Rafael.
  • In all, nearly 40,000 missiles are required to equip the Army’s 382 infantry battalions and 44 mechanised regiments.
  • The indigenous low-weight missile was successfully flight-tested twice by the DRDO from the Ahmednagar test range last week.

Housing & Urban Affairs

AP, Odisha & Madhya Pradesh Bag Award of Three Best Performing States in Ease of Living Index

What

  • Andhra Pradesh has topped the charts among States in terms of “Ease of Living Index” rankings launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA).
  • It was followed by Odisha and Madhya Pradesh.
  • The three States were awarded best performing States at the National Dissemination Workshop on Ease of Living Index, 2018

Connect to the Ease of Living Index

  • It is a transformative initiative of the Ministry to help the cities assess their liveability vis-à-vis national and global benchmarks.
  • The Ease of Living Index will encourage all cities to move towards an ‘outcome-based’ approach to urban planning and management and promote healthy competition among cities.

Connect to the genesis of the index

  • “The ‘Ease of Living’ Index seeks to assist cities in undertaking a 360-degree assessment of their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats
  • It was decided in June 2017 to rank 116 cities (all smart cities and million plus cities) based on the liveability parameters.
  • The implementation of the assessment commenced formally on 19 January 2018.
  • The MoHUA released the first ever ‘Ease of Living Index’ covering 111 Indian cities on 13 August, 2018, which serves as a litmus test to help assess the progress made in cities through various initiatives.
  • All cities were evaluated out of 100. The 'physical' pillar (infrastructure) was given the highest weightage of 45, while institutional (governance) and social were weighted 25 each. Economy was weighted 5.
  • Ease of Living framework comprised four pillars namely Institutional, Social, Economic and Physical which are further broken down into 78 indicators across 15 categories
  • Another highlight of the Ease of Living assessment standards is its close linkage with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Of the 17 SDG goals, 8 goals are directly linked to India’s ease of living assessment framework with SDG 11
  • SDG 11 is aimed at making our cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable and is measured through a set of 30 indicators.

Exceptions

  • Four cities of West Bengal – Howrah, New Town Kolkata, Kolkata and Durgapur did not participate and Naya Raipur of Chhattisgarh and Amravati of Andhra Pradesh did not fulfil the parameters as they are green-field cities.

Science & Technology

4th India International Science Festival to be inaugurated by President of India.

What

  • The fourth edition of India International Science Festival will be inaugurated by President of India in Lucknow on October 6, 2018.
  • IISF-2018 is expected to be represented by approximately 10000 delegates including 5000 students, 550 teachers, 200 students from North-East Region, 20 international delegates and approximately 200 startups.

Connect to IISF

  • IISF is the biggest platform in the country to bring together students, researchers, innovators, artists and general public to celebrate India’s achievements in science and technology.
  • The Minister said that IISF is a medium to encourage the young minds towards the field of science and to promote the networking of stakeholders working towards the propagation of science.
  • The current edition of the festival in Lucknow is a tribute to former Prime Minister Late Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who had brought Science to the centre stage of national agenda.
  • It was Shri Vajpayee who had added Jai Vigyan to Lal Bahadur Shastri’s slogan of “Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan”
  • IISF-2018 with its focal theme “Science for Transformation” will have 23 special events.

Connect to the events

  • The Global Indian Science & Technology Stakeholders Meet (GIST), Industry Academia Meet and Science & Technology for Harnessing Innovations (SATHI) - A National startup entrepreneurship summit and Student Science Village are some of the important events, being organized.
  • The Science Village program is linked with the Pradhan Mantri Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana to reach out to the rural masses and propagate science and for seeking scientific solutions to the diverse challenges facing our society, particularly rural India.

World record attempt

  • As World record attempts have been a key part of IISF since 2015, in IISF 2018, a World Record attempt will be made to “isolate DNA” by 500 students from class 8th to 10th standard.

Some more facts

  • The first and second IISF were held in New Delhi and the third in Chennai.
  • Ministry of Science & Technology; Earth Sciences in association with Vijnana Bharti or VIBHA is organising the four-day event from 5-8 October, 2018.
  • As a prelude to the main event, Department of Biotechnology and Vijana Bharti (VIBHA) have been organising outreach programmes at 80 centres across the country.

Health issues

Guidelines for nutritional management of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM).

What

  • India’s top nutrition panel has recommended that severely malnourished children must be fed freshly cooked food prepared from locally available cereals, pulses and vegetables, and distributed by anganwadi centres, as part of the country’s first-ever guidelines for nutritional management of children suffering from severe acute malnutrition (SAM).
  • “The National Technical Board on Nutrition (NTBN) has approved guidelines proposed by our Ministry for severe acute malnutrition
  • The measures are part of the community-based health management of children suffering from SAM.
  • The government had, till now, only put in place guidelines for the hospitalisation of severely wasted children who develop medical complications. Those norms were made public in 2011.

Connect to the guidelines

  • The guidelines outline the role of anganwadi workers and auxillary nurse midwives (ANMs) in identifying severely wasted children, segregating those with oedema or medical complications and sending them to the nearest health facility or nutrition rehabilitation centres.
  • The remaining children are enrolled into “community based management”, which includes provision of nutrition, continuous monitoring of growth, administration of antibiotics and micro-nutrients as well as counselling sessions and imparting of nutrition and health education.
  • According to the recommendations, anganwadi workers have to provide modified morning snacks, hot cooked meals and take home ration for SAM children.

Infrastructure Development

India’s 100th airport opens in Sikkim

What

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday inaugurated the first airport in Sikkim. With this, the number of functional airports in the country went up to 100.
  • With this inauguration, the country has hit a century (in the number of airports)
  • The airport at Pakyong, about 30 km from Gangtok and surrounded by mountains, is a major boost to connectivity in the mountainous State.
  • The airport would be linked to the Union government’s UDAN (Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik) regional connectivity scheme and the airfare for about an hour would come to ₹2,500.

Connect to India’s 100th Airport

  • The airport is spread over 201 acres and is located on top of a hill about two km from Pakyong village, at 4,500 feet above sea level.
  • The airport was constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 605 crore and is an “engineering marvel” for its soil reinforcement and slope stabilisation techniques keeping in view the altitude it was built at.
  • The 11th Finance Commission sanctioned Rs. 50 crore to build an airstrip in Sikkim in 2000. The State government chose Pakyong and kickstarted the process of acquiring land.
  • In 2006, under the UPA-1 government, the Union Cabinet’s Committee on Economic Affairs approved the construction of a greenfield airport at Pakyong with a 1,700-metre-long runway, two parking bays, and a terminal building to handle 100 passengers at a time.
  • The Pakyong airport is located around 60 km from the India-China border.

Defence

India successfully conducts interceptor missile test at night

What

  • India achieved a major milestone in developing a two-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system.
  • India successfully conducted an interceptor missile test off the Odisha coast, achieving a major milestone in developing a two-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system
  • The interceptor was launched from Abdul Kalam Island, earlier known as Wheeler Island of the Integrated Test Range (ITR)

Connect to the working of an interceptor missile

  • This Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) mission is for engaging the targets in the exo-atmosphere region at an altitude above 50 km of the earth's atmosphere
  • Both the PDV interceptor and the target missile were successfully engaged In an automated operation, radar-based detection and tracking system detected and tracked the enemy's ballistic missile.
  • The computer network with the help of data received from radars predicted the trajectory of the incoming ballistic missile.
  • The PDV that was kept fully ready took off once the computer system gave the command for lift-off.
  • The interceptor guided by high-accuracy Inertial Navigation System (INS) supported by a Redundant Micro Navigation System moved towards the estimated point of the interception
  • Once the missile crossed the atmosphere, the Heat Shield ejected and the IR Seeker dome opened to look at the target location as designated by the mission computer.
  • With the help of Inertial Guidance and IR Seeker the missile moved for interception.
  • All events were monitored in real-time by the Telemetry/Range Stations, at various other locations. Interceptor was successfully test fired last from the same base on February 11, 2018

Sources – PIB , Indian express , The Hindu