Daily Current Affairs

Prelims Prominence - September 6, 2018

DEFENCE

What

  • In a major boost to the ‘Make in India’ initiative, American security and aerospace giant Lockheed Martin announced that the wings of its F-16 fighter jets will be produced in India.
  • U.S. defense contractor Lockheed Martin announced that all future F-16 wings will be built in India by its local partner, Tata Advanced Systems Limited.
  • The wings for Lockheed Martin’s F-16 Block 70 fighter jet are currently being produced at a facility in Israel.

Enlighten about the decision

  • Production is slated to move the Indian city of Hyderabad in 2020. “All F-16 wings globally are to be built in the Hyderabad facility
  • The announcement by the company occurred two days ahead of the first ever so-called 2 PLUS 2 meeting between U.S. Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj, and Indian Minister of Defense Nirmala Sitharaman in New Delhi on September 6.
  • Maryland-based Lockheed Martin has entered into an agreement with Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) for the project.
  • The planned F-16 wing production to India was not contingent on India selecting the F-16 for the Indian Air Force.
  • Lockheed has offered to move its entire F-16 manufacturing base to India.
  • India is yet to make a decision on it. Producing F-16 wings in India will support the Centre’s ‘Make in India’ initiative

Science and Technology

Japan to test mini space elevator It’s the world’s first experiment to test travel between two mini satellites in space

What

  • A Japanese team has developed a “space elevator” and will conduct a first trial this month, blasting off a miniature version on satellites to test the technology.

Enlighten about the test

  • The test equipment, produced by researchers at Shizuoka University, will hitch a ride on an H-2B rocket being launched by Japan’s space agency from southern island of Tanegashima next week.
  • The test involves a miniature elevator stand-in — a box just 6 cm long, 3 cm wide, and 3 cm high.
  • If all goes well, it will provide proof of concept by moving along a 10-metre cable suspended in space between two mini satellites that will keep it taut.
  • The mini-elevator will travel along the cable from a container in one of the satellites.
  • It’s going to be the world’s first experiment to test elevator movement in space
  • The movement of the motorised “elevator” box will be monitored with cameras in the satellites.
  • The idea was first proposed in 1895 by Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky after he saw the Eiffel Tower in Paris but technical barriers have always kept plans stuck at the conceptual stage

Bilateral Relations

2+2 to take full view of ties

U.S Statement prior to the dialogue

  • India’s defence ties with Russia and energy links with Iran will not be the primary focus of the inaugural India-U.S. “2 plus 2” dialogue
  • The dialogue is the highest-level discussion of the year between the two countries.
  • The discussion is expected to take a comprehensive look at strategic ties between India and the U.S.
  • On top of the discussion is the likely US plans to have a landmark agreement on communication and coordination on security issues – COMCASA and sale of high tech military items.
  • The COMCASA agreement will allow exchange of secure communication between the two militaries and facilitate the sale of high tech encryption systems to India.
  • The “2 plus 2” dialogue was planned during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Washington DC last year and issues related to Iran and Russia that are important to the administration of President Donald Trump are expected to be discussed.
  • The U.S. has been demanding that India “zero out” energy supply from Iran, even as Delhi has avoided spelling out how exactly it would comply with the American demand.
  • The other major U.S. concern is the S400 missile defence shield worth $6 billion that India plans to acquire from Russia. U.S.

Defence

In a first, LCA undergoes mid-air refuelling

What

  • The indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas has successfully carried out mid-air refuelling for the first time with an IL-78 tanker
  • The mid-air refuelling carried out , is one of the critical requirements for the Tejas to achieve Final Operational Clearance.
  • The Tejas fighter perfectly replicated computer simulations of mid-air refuelling which have been carried out on the ground by engineers associated with the Tejas programme.

Enlighten about Tejas

  • The Indian Air Force (IAF) currently operates nine Tejas fighters built to an Initial Operating Clearance (IOC) standard.
  • The IAF has 40 Tejas Mk1 fighters on order and will acquire another 83 Tejas Mk-1A fighters which will be more capable than the handful of fighters which have been developed.
  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), has been manufacturing the jets
  • A more sophisticated variant of the jet, the Tejas Mk-2 is also under development but is unlikely to fly before 2022.
  • Simultaneously, 2 Navy prototypes of the Tejas are also being tested.
  • These will conduct trials off the deck of the Indian Navy's aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya, by the end of the year.

Report

34% Indians not active enough: WHO

What

  • Thirty-four per cent of Indians — 24.7% male and 43.9% females — are not active enough to stay healthy, according to the latest study released by the World Health Organisation (WHO)
  • The report shows that globally more than 1.4 billion adults are at risk of diseases from not doing enough physical activity.

Enlighten about the report

  • Published in Lancet Global Health, the study notes that there is no improvement in global levels of physical activity since 2001.
  • The data shows that if current trends continue, the 2025 global activity target of a 10% relative reduction in insufficient physical activity will not be met.
  • Insufficient activity puts people at greater risk of cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes, dementia, and some cancers, according to the first study to estimate global physical activity trends over time.
  • Worldwide, around one in three women and one in four men do not do enough physical activity to stay healthy.
  • Levels of insufficient physical activity are more than twice as high in high income countries compared with low income countries, and increased by 5% in high income countries between 2001 and 2016
  • The highest rates of insufficient activity in 2016 were found in adults in Kuwait, American Samoa, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, where more than half of all adults were insufficiently active.
  • Comparatively, around 40% of adults in the U.S., 36% in the U.K. and 14% in China were insufficiently active.
  • In 2016, around one in three women (32%) and one in four men (23%) worldwide were not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity to stay healthy — that is, at least 150 minutes of physical activity of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of physical activity of vigorous intensity per week.

Environment

Action on climate change could add $26 trillion to world economy

What

  • Ambitious action on climate change could contribute an extra $26 trillion to the world economy by 2030, international experts expressed and urged nations and businesses to step up their engagement.

Global Commission on the Economy and Climate report

  • The economic benefits offered by a shift to a low-carbon economy have been “grossly” underestimated, according to the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate
  • Bold action could yield a direct economic gain of $26 trillion through to 2030 compared with business-as-usual. And this is likely to be a conservative estimate

Enlighten about the report

  • Dynamic action on climate could generate “over 65 million new low-carbon jobs” by 2030 and avoid over 7,00,000 premature deaths due to air pollution
  • But policymakers were “not taking sufficiently bold action to escape the legacy economic systems
  • The shift would involve change in five key areas: the development of clean energy systems, improved urban planning, a shift towards more sustainable agriculture, smart water management and decarbonising industry.
  • It called on governments to put a price on carbon of at least $40-80 by 2020, and to move towards mandatory climate risk disclosure for major investors and companies.

NATIONAL

Coffee Connect India & Coffee Krishi Tharanga APP launched by the government

Ministry concerned

  • Union Ministry of Commerce & Industry

What

  • The Ministry has launched Coffee Connect India coffee field force app and Coffee Krishi Tharanga – digital mobile extension services project for coffee stakeholders.

Developed by

  • It is developed by Coffee Board of India for the overall technological advancement of the coffee sector and value chain.

Coffee Connect mobile app

  • The application has been developed to ease the work of field functionaries and to improve the work efficiency.
  • It provides solution by harnessing power of mobility comprising latest technology in easing whole process of field activities like digitization of coffee growers and estates with geo tagging, collecting plantation details.
  • It will also help in enhancing transparency in activities of extension officers and officials, transparency in subsidy disbursement and real time report generation.
  • It has been developed by Coffee Board of India in association with National Institute for Smart Government (NISG).

Coffee Krishi Tharanga Project

  • It is IVR based digital mobile extension service jointly developed by Coffee Board and Precision Agriculture for Development India Foundation (PADIF).
  • It is aimed at providing customised information and services to increase productivity, profitability, and environmental sustainability.

Coffee production in India and its management

  • India is 6th largest coffee producer in the world with 4% share after Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia and Ethiopia.
  • In India, coffee is cultivated in India in about 4.54 lakh hectares by 3.66 lakh coffee farmers and 98% of them are small farmers.
  • Karnataka (54%), Kerala (19%) and Tamil Nadu (8%) are largest coffee producing states. India accounts for only 4-5% of world’s coffee output, but exports 70-80% of its produce.
  • Italy, Russia and Germany are the top three buyers of Indian coffee.
  • In India, two coffee varieties robusta (or Coffea canephora) and Coffea arabica are grown on large scale.
  • Coffee Board of India Coffee Board of India is an autonomous body, functioning under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India. It was set up under an Act of Parliament in 1942.
  • It focuses on research, development, extension, quality upgradation, market information, and the domestic and external promotion of Coffees of India.

Sources - PIB , The Hindu , Indian Express