Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - September 23, 2017

Bilateral Trade

2nd India-Indonesia Biennial Trade Ministers’ Forum Meeting agrees to early meeting of Working Groups on Trade & Investment and Trade Facilitation & Remedies

  • The 2nd Biennial Trade Ministers Forum (BTMF) meeting was held at New Delhi between delegations led by the Minister of Commerce and Industry of India, Shri Suresh Prabhu and the Minister of Trade of the Republic of Indonesia, Mr. Enggartiasto Lukita.
  • Both Ministers agreed for convening early meeting of the Working Group on Trade & Investment and the Working Group on Trade Facilitation & Remedies, to address the issues impeding trade and identifying means of facilitating trade and investment between India and Indonesia.
  • The Commerce Minister of India raised the issue of market access and regulatory barriers concerning Pharma, Health, Dairy Products and Bovine Meat.
  • The Indonesian side agreed to conduct inspection visits for registering Dairy Products, Fresh Food of Plant Origin and Meat Processing facilities.

Textiles

The 6th edition of VASTRA– An International Textile and Apparel Fair 2017 (VASTRA 2017) was recently held in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

  • It was jointly organised by Rajasthan State Industrial Development and Investment Corporation Ltd. (RIICO) and Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
  • More than 50 countries and 13 Indian States participated in VASTRA 2017.

VASTRA Fair

  • VASTRA since its inception in 2012 has created space for itself in calendar of international exhibitions on textiles and apparel.
  • The expo was all-encompassing trade fair and conference on Textiles and Apparel that presented fusion of finest and latest in textile products – from fiber to fashion, services and technology.
  • It aimed at revitalizing existing business ties and forging of new business relations for business opportunities.
  • It served as an ideal platform to enter JVs, strategic alliances and partnerships worldwide, launch new products, as well as, harness new locations for setting up businesses in India. It also served as a platform for disseminating technology and interacting with R&D Labs and experts for solution in technology and latest trends.

Enlighten about India’s textiles sector

  • India’s textiles sector is one of the oldest industries in Indian economy dating back several centuries. Even today, it is one of the largest contributors to India’s exports with approximately 11% of total exports (exports during FY 2015-16 stood at US$ 40 billion).
  • It contributes approximately 5% to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and 14% to overall Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
  • It is also labour intensive and is the second largest employer after agriculture. Government has allowed 100% FDI in the Indian textiles sector under the automatic route.

Space News

2006 VW139/288P

  • International team of astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have spotted an unusual object
  • called 2006 VW139/288P
  • having two asteroids orbiting each other with comet-like features.
  • These include bright halo of material, called a coma, and long tail of dust.
  • The odd object is first known binary asteroid that is also classified as a main-belt comet.
  • Asteroids and comets Asteroids and comets are believed to be ancient remnants of earliest years of formation of our solar system more than four billion years ago.
  • Asteroids are known as inactive, rocky body orbiting the Sun.
  • Comets are bodies of ice, rock and organic compounds that can be several miles in diameter and they can be at times active.
  • Ice of comets can vaporise in sunlight forming an atmosphere (coma) of dust and gas and, sometimes, a tail of dust and/or gas.
  • 2006 VW139/288P Hubble was used to image asteroid in September 2016 just before it made its closest approach to Sun.
  • The images revealed that it was actually not one, but two asteroids of almost the same mass and size, orbiting each other at a distance of 96 km
  • It was discovered by Spacewatch in November 2006 and its possible cometary activity was seen in November 2011 by Pan-STARRS after that it was given comet designation of 288P.
  • The more recent Hubble observations revealed ongoing activity in binary system.
  • The combined features of binary asteroid are wide separation, near-equal component size, high eccentricity orbit, and comet-like activity.
  • These make it unique among few known binary asteroids that have a wide separation.

Significance of this -

  • Understanding of 2006 VW139/288P’s origin and evolution may provide new insights into early days of solar system.
  • The main-belt comets may help to answer how water came to a bone-dry Earth billions of years ago.
  • As it is different from all other known binary asteroids, it will also help to answer some questions about how common such systems are in the asteroid belt.

Environment

India’s first Electric Bus

  • India’s first electric bus service was launched at Rohtang Pass area in Himachal Pradesh.
  • It is first of its kind electric bus service for tourist spot in India and first in world at an altitude of 13,000 feet.
  • The electric bus service will plying between Manali and Rohtang and there will be 10 electric buses in fleet.
  • It launched amid concern over environment degradation in Rohtang Pass area due to plying of diesel taxis.
  • The initiative aims to curb carbon emission which is resulting in melting of glaciers in Himalayas.

Enlighten about it –

  • Himachal Pradesh Government was forced to introduce zero-emission transportation facility in ecologically fragile areas after National Green Tribunal (NGT) had taken stringent step of imposing restriction on entry of vehicles to Rohtang Pass.
  • The NGT had shown concern over melting of glaciers in Rohtang Pass area as they were receding at an alarming rate of 19-20 meters per year.
  • The entry of vehicles were restricted to 1,000 vehicles per day, including both diesel and petrol vehicles, however, electric and CNG vehicles are exempted.

Rohtang Pass

  • Rohtang Pass (elevation 3,978 m) is high mountain pass on eastern Pir Panjal Range of Himalayas around 51 km from Manali. It connects the Kullu Valley with Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh

Defence

INS Kalavari

  • India’s first ingenuously built INS Kalavari submarine was handed over to Indian Navy by state-owned Mazagon Dock Limited in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • This is Indian Navy’s first new conventional submarine in two decades.
  • Its induction will be landmark milestone in India’s bid to build its underwater warfare capabilities with an eye on China and Pakistan.

Enlighten about it

  • INS Kalavari is first of six Scorpion class submarines built in India under Project- 75 by Mazagon Docks Limited with technology transfer from France’s DCNS (Direction des Constructions Navales Services), a naval shipbuilder.
  • It is diesel electric attack submarine named after tiger shark.
  • It is stealth submarine difficult to be detected by the enemy and is designed to operate in all theatres including the tropics.
  • It weighs 1,550 tonnes and is equipped with six 533-millimeter torpedo tubes for launching anti-ship torpedoes, anti-ship missiles, and sea mines.
  • It can undertake various operations including multifarious warfare, Anti-submarine warfare, Intelligence gathering, mine laying, area surveillance etc.
  • It can launch attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons and attack can be launched from underwater or on surface.
  • It can launch attack on the enemy using precision guided weapons and attack can be launched from underwater or on surface.

Some more facts -

  • France’s DCNS was awarded $4.16 billion contract to build six next generation Scorpion class submarines in cooperation with Mazagon Docks Limited in 2005 under the strategic Project-75.
  • All six submarines will be fitted with indigenous Air Independent Propulsion System (AIP) technology developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) to extend their endurance.
  • AIP module enables conventional submarines to remain underwater for longer duration, greatly increasing their stealth characteristics.
  • The second Scorpene submarine in the series, INS Khanderi was launched in January 2017 after the ghost of data leak which threatened to derail project in August 2016.

Scorpene data leak

  • The Scorpene data leak saw 22,400 documents expose secret stealth capabilities of submarines, diving depths, and specifications of torpedo launch systems among other details.
  • A preliminary investigation later revealed the leak took place at the French office of DCNS and not in India

Science & Tech.

World’s first Molecular ROBOT

  • Scientists from University of Manchester have created world’s first ‘molecular robot’ — millionth of a millimetre in size.
  • It can be used to build molecules and may help discover novel drugs.

Enlighten about it –

  • The molecular robot is millionth of millimetre in size.
  • It is made up of just 150 carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen atoms which are basic building blocks required to form molecules.
  • It can be programmed to move and build molecular cargo using a tiny robotic arm.
  • The molecular robot operates by carrying out chemical reactions in special solutions which can then be controlled and programmed by scientists to perform the basic tasks.
  • It responds to series of simple commands that are programmed with chemical inputs.
  • Each individual robot is capable of manipulating single molecule.
  • In terms of size context, billion of these molecular robots piled on top of each other will be only same size as a single grain of salt.

Importance of this creation -

  • The molecular robot is so small, that it massively reduces demand for materials, dramatically reduce power requirements and can accelerate and improve drug discovery and rapidly increase the min

Applications -

  • Such molecular robots can be used for medical purposes, advanced manufacturing processes and even building molecular factories and assembly lines.

Oscar -2018

NEWTON – India’s official entry

  • The Film Federation of India (FFI) has selected Hindi lm Newton, a black comedy on foibles of democracy to represent India in Best Foreign Language category at 90th Academy Awards (Oscars) to be held in February 2018.
  • It was unanimously chosen by FFI’s selection committee, headed by Telugu producer C V Reddy from 26 entries received this year.
  • Newton The movie has been directed by Amit Masurkar.
  • It stars Rajkummar Rao, Pankaj Tripathi and Raghubir Yadav.

Agreements

Intelligent Transportation System (ITF)

Agreement between -

  • The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog & International Road Federation (IRF), Geneva
  • have signed Statement of Intent (SoI)

What -

  • to cooperate in field of Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).

Objective -

  • The objective of SoI is to create National Platform, involving all relevant Union Government stakeholders, Indian and foreign companies active in sector.
  • It will also create platform for relevant technical experts for developing National ITS Policy.
  • The national platform will provide coherent and consistent National ITS Policy.

National ITS Policy ITS Policy will be covering

  • Traffic Management, Parking Management, Electronic Enforcement of Traffic Rules and Regulations, Fleet Management and Monitoring, Innovation in the field of ITS and Education in field of ITS.
  • Its objective will be to contribute to reduce urban traffic congestion, improving situation around parking of vehicles in cities, improving road safety, and improving security of passenger and goods traffic.
  • It will be also covering domains such as traffic and parking management, enforcement, and security.

Enlighten about International Road federation (IRF)

  • The IRF is global non-governmental, not-for-profit organisation with mission to encourage and promote development and maintenance of better, safer and more sustainable roads and road networks.
  • It was founded in 1948. Its motto is Better Roads. Better World.
  • It is headquartered in Washington, DC, United States.
  • IRF seeks to promote social and economic benefits of sustainable and environmentally sound road transport infrastructure at all levels of society.
  • It helps to put in place technological solutions and management practices that provide maximum economic and social returns from national road investments.
  • It provides a wide base of expertise for planning road development strategy and policy for governments and financial institutions in all aspects of road policy and development