12th Sep, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
‘Missile tracking ship’ (GS3: Indigenization of Technology)
Issue: Built by Hindustan Shipyard Ltd. (HSL), the hi-tech vessel will enter elite global club and also a force multiplier
About the ship
This will be the first of its kind ocean surveillance ship being built as part of the efforts under the NDA government to strengthen the country’s strategic weapons programme. This would put India in the elite of club of a few countries that have such a sophisticated ocean surveillance ship. It has the capacity to carry 300-strong crew with hi-tech gadgets and communication equipment, powered by two diesel engines, and a large deck capable of helicopter landing.
HSL, set up in 1941, achieved a total income of ₹651.67 crore and a value of production of ₹644.78 crore during 2017-18, the highest since inception. It is poised to get orders for construction of five fleet support ships costing ₹9,000 crore and finalise request for proposal for design collaborator for construction of two Special Operation Vessels called mini submarines. It is also banking on the order for medium refit of Russia-made third Sindhughosh class submarine INS Sindhuratna for which it has submitted technical bids.
‘Revenue expenditure in Armed forces’ (GS3: Military reforms)
Issue: The Army is considering a proposal to increase the retirement and pensionable age of jawans in service from the current 15 years to 20 years in a phased manner
Need for such a move
The idea is to increase the pensionable service limit in phases to 20 years as the life expectancy has gone up in general since independence and soldiers retire relatively young, a defence official said. This will serve the dual benefit of giving longer tenure in service for soldiers while reducing the pension burden for the Army.
The Army is facing an increasing burden of revenue expenditure and pensions, leaving very little funds for new purchases and modernization. In this year’s Defence Budget, the Army’s share was Rs. 1,28,076 crore for revenue stream, while Rs. 26,688 crore was the capital allocation.
‘Illicit drug producing and Transit countries’ (GS3: Challenges to Internal security)
Issue: U.S. President Donald Trump has identified India along with 21 other countries as among the major illicit drug producing or transit nations.
The Bahamas, Belize, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Laos, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, and Venezuela, are other countries listed in the group
Factors in identifying these countries as such
The reasons countries are placed on the list is the combination of geographic, commercial, and economic factor that allow drugs to transit or be produced, even if a government has engaged in robust and diligent narcotics control measures
About World drug problem
In 2015 about a quarter of a billion people used drugs. Of these, around 29.5 million people – or 0.6 per cent of the global adult population – were engaged in problematic use and suffered from drug use disorders, including dependence. Opioids were the most harmful drug type and accounted for 70 per cent of the negative health impact associated with drug use disorders worldwide, according to the latest World Drug Report, released today by UN.
The Report finds that hepatitis C is causing the greatest harm among the estimated 12 million people who inject drugs worldwide. Out of this number, one in eight (1.6 million) is living with HIV and more than half (6.1 million) are living with hepatitis C, while around 1.3 million are suffering from both hepatitis C and HIV.
‘Aravallis mountains’ (GS3: Environmental pollution)
Issue: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered the demolition of structures built illegally by a prominent builder in the protected forests of the Aravallis, noting that ecological damage done by colonisers to the ancient hills was irreversible and “quite frightening.”
Aravallis mountain range
The Aravalli Range is a range of mountains running approximately 692 km (430 mi) in a southwest direction, starting in North India from Delhi and passing through southern Haryana, through to Western India across the states of Rajasthan and ending in Gujarat.
The Aravalli Range, an eroded stub of ancient mountains, is the oldest range of fold mountains in India. The natural history of the Aravalli Range dates back to times when the Indian Plate was separated from the Eurasian Plate by an ocean.
Mining of copper and other metals in the Aravalli range dates back to at least the 5th century BCE, based on carbon dating
The Delhi Ridge is the northernmost end of the Aravalli range, which begins in Central Delhi at Raisina hill. The ridge diagonally traverses to the South Delhi (hills of Asola Bhatti Wildlife Sanctuary), where at the hills of Bandhwari, it meets the Haryana Aravalli range consisting of various isolated hills and rocky ridges passing along the southern border of Haryana.
The Aravalli supergroup passes through Rajasthan state, dividing it into two halves, with three-fifths of Rajasthan on the western side towards Thar Desert and two third on the eastern side consisting of the catchment area of Banas and Chambal rivers bordering the state of Madhya Pradesh. Guru Shikhar, the highest peak in the Aravalli Range at 5650 feet (1722 meters) in Mount Abu of Rajasthan, lies near the south-western extremity of the Central Aravalli range, close to the border with Gujarat state. The southern Aravalli Supergroup enters the northeast of Gujarat near Modasa where it lends its name to the Aravalli district, and ends at the center of the state at Palanpur near Ahmedabad.
The Northern Aravalli range in Delhi and Haryana has humid subtropical climate and hot semi-arid climate continental climate with very hot summers and relatively cool winters
‘Special Courts’ (GS2: Electoral reforms)
Issue: The Centre informed the Supreme Court that 12 special courts have been set up across 11 States exclusively to try sitting MPs and MLAs.
The special court in each State would have jurisdiction over the entire State while the two in Delhi would cover cases within the precincts of Delhi or “partly Delhi”.
The affidavit comes in response to a Supreme Court order to the Centre to collect and file the data on the number of special courts set up across the country to exclusively try MPs/MLAs, the cases transferred to these special courts, how many pending or disposed of, etc.
‘Ethiopia-Eritrea ties’ (GS2: International issues)
Issue: Two border crossings between Ethiopia and Eritrea reopened Tuesday, strengthening a promise of reconciliation between the countries’ leaders after a border war and 20 years of bitter relations.
Some analysts have compared the events to fall of the Berlin Wall. The path toward peace began shortly after Abiy took office. In July, he stepped off a plane in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea, and hugged its president. Together they rewrote the future of their countries by signing a peace deal.
The reopening of the border is the latest sign that icy relations have thawed. The summer saw telephone connections restored, the first commercial flight in 20 years from Ethiopia to Eritrea and embassies reopening in the capitals.
Eritrea was once a province of Ethiopia. It gained independence in 1993. Border clashes began in 1998, and tens of thousands of people died in the two-year war.
‘Earthquake in Assam’ (GS1: Geophysical phenomenon)
Issue: An earthquake with magnitude 5.5 on the Richter Scale hit Kokrajar, Assam at 10.20 AM Wednesday. Strong tremors were felt across the Northeast as well as in West Bengal and Bangladesh. Locals in Guwahati said the tremors lasted for about 10 seconds. Tremors were also felt in parts of Bangladesh and in Bihar. There were no immediate reports of any damages
An earthquake is the shaking or trembling of the earth’s surface, caused by the sudden movement of a part of the earth’s crust. They result from the sudden release of energy in the Earth’s crust that creates seismic waves or earthquake waves.
- Point on the earth’s surface vertically above the focus.
- Maximum damage is caused at the epicentre.
Causes of Earthquakes
- Most earthquakes are causally related to compressional or tensional stresses built up at the margins of the huge moving lithospheric plates.
- The immediate cause of most shallow earthquakes is the sudden release of stress along a fault, or fracture in the earth’s crust.
- Sudden slipping of rock formations along faults and fractures in the earth’s crust happen due to constant change in volume and density of rocks due to intense temperature and pressure in the earth’s interior.
- Volcanic activity also can cause an earthquake but the earthquakes of volcanic origin are generally less severe and more limited in extent than those caused by fracturing of the earth’s crust.
- Earthquakes occur most often along geologic faults, narrow zones where rock masses move in relation to one another. The major fault lines of the world are located at the fringes of the huge tectonic plates that make up Earth’s crust.
- Plate tectonics: Slipping of land along the fault line along, convergent, divergent and transform boundaries cause earthquakes. Example: San Andreas Fault is a transform fault where Pacific plate and North American plate move horizontally relative to each other causing earthquakes along the fault lines.
Seismic Waves or Earthquake Waves
- The slipping of land generates seismic waves and these waves travel in all directions.
- Earthquake is any sudden shaking of the ground caused by the passage of seismic waves through Earth’s rocks. (Earthquake is caused by vibrations in rocks. And the vibrations in rocks are produced by seismic waves)
- Seismic waves are produced when some form of energy stored in Earth’s crust is suddenly released, usually when masses of rock straining against one another suddenly fracture and “slip.”
Types of Seismic Waves
- Earthquake waves are basically of two types — body waves and surface waves.
- Body waves are generated due to the release of energy at the focus and move in all directions travelling through the body of the earth. Hence, the name body waves.
- The body waves interact with the surface rocks and generate new set of waves called surface waves. These waves move along the surface.
- The velocity of waves changes as they travel through materials with different elasticity (stiffness) (Generally density with few exceptions). The more elastic the material is, the higher is the velocity. Their direction also changes as they reflect or refract when coming across materials with different densities.
- There are two types of body waves. They are called P and S-waves.
- Primary waves or P waves (longitudinal)(fastest)
- Secondary waves or S waves (transverse)(least destructive)
- Surface waves or L waves (transverse)(slowest)(most destructive)
Primary Waves (P waves)
- Also called as the longitudinal or compressional waves.
- Analogous to sound waves.
- Particles of the medium vibrate along the direction of propagation of the wave.
- P-waves move faster and are the first to arrive at the surface.
- These waves are of high frequency.
- They can travel in all mediums.
- Velocity of P waves in Solids > Liquids > Gases.
- Their velocity depends on shear strength or elasticity of the material.
Secondary Waves (S waves)
- Also called as transverse or distortional waves.
- Analogous to water ripples or light waves.
- S-waves arrive at the surface with some time lag.
- A secondary wave cannot pass through liquids or gases.
- These waves are of high frequency waves.
- Travel at varying velocities (proportional to shear strength) through the solid part of the Earth’s crust, mantle.
Surface Waves (L waves)
- Also called as long period waves.
- They are low frequency, long wavelength, and transverse vibration.
- Generally affect the surface of the Earth only and die out at smaller depth.
- Develop in the immediate neighborhood of the epicenter.
- They cause displacement of rocks, and hence, the collapse of structures occurs.
- These waves are the most destructive.
- Recoded last on the seismograph.
Distribution of Earthquakes
- Earth’s major earthquakes occur mainly in belts coinciding with the margins of tectonic plates.
- The most important earthquake belt is the Circum-Pacific Belt, which affects many populated coastal regions around the Pacific Ocean—for example, those of New Zealand, New Guinea, Japan, the Aleutian Islands, Alaska, and the western coasts of North and South America.
- The seismic activity is by no means uniform throughout the belt, and there are a number of branches at various points. Because at many places the Circum-Pacific Belt is associated with volcanic activity, it has been popularly dubbed the “Pacific Ring of Fire.” The Pacific Ring of Fire accounts for about 68 per cent of all earthquakes.
The Earthquake Risk in India
India’s increasing population and extensive unscientific constructions mushrooming all over, including multi-storied luxury apartments, huge factory buildings, gigantic malls, supermarkets as well as warehouses and masonry buildings keep – India at high risk. During the last 15 years, the country has experienced 10 major earthquakes that have resulted in over 20,000 deaths. As per the current seismic zone map of the country (IS 1893: 2002), over 59 per cent of India’s land area is under threat of moderate to severe seismic hazard-; that means it is prone to shaking of MSK Intensity VII and above (BMTPC, 2006). In fact, the entire Himalayan belt is considered prone to great earthquakes of magnitude exceeding 8.0-; and in a relatively short span of about 50 years, four such earthquakes have occurred: 1897 Shillong (M8.7); 1905 Kangra (M8.0); 1934 Bihar-Nepal (M8.3); and 1950 Assam-Tibet (M8.6). Scientific publications have warned of the likelihood of the occurrence of very severe earthquakes in the Himalayan region, which could adversely affect the lives of several million people in India.
The increase in earthquake risk is due to a spurt in developmental activities driven by urbanization, economic development and the globalization of India’s economy. The increase in use of high-technology equipment and tools in manufacturing and service industries has also made them susceptible to disruption due to relatively moderate ground shaking. As a result, loss of human life is not the only determinant of earthquake risk any more. Severe economic losses leading to the collapse of the local or regional economy after an earthquake may have long-term adverse consequences for the entire country. This effect would be further magnified if an earthquake affects a mega-city, such as Delhi or Mumbai.
‘Anganwadi workers’ (GS2: Government policies for development in various sectors)
Issue: In a joy for accredited social health activists (Ashas) and Anganwadi workers, the central government has hiked monthly honorarium of 24 lakh such workers, according to reports
Most of these workers are females and they primarily attend health and nutrition needs of mostly women and children.
With this announcement of hike, minimum money an ASHA worker makes every month from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000. Anganwadis so far drew an honorarium of Rs 3,000 and Rs 2,200. They will be getting Rs 4,500, and those who get Rs 2,200 will get Rs 3,500. The monthly honorarium of Anganwadi helpers will go up from Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,500.
Accredited social health activists (ASHAs) are community health workers instituted by the government of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) as a part of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM). The mission began in 2005; full implementation was targeted for 2012. Once fully implemented, there is to be “an ASHA in every village” in India, a target that translates into 250,000 ASHAs in 10 states
What are Anganwadis?
Anganwadi is a type of rural child care centre in India. They were started by the Indian government in 1975 as part of the Integrated Child Development Services program to combat child hunger and malnutrition. Anganwadi means “courtyard shelter” in Indian languages.
A typical Anganwadi centre provides basic health care in Indian villages. It is a part of the Indian public health care system. Basic health care activities include contraceptive counseling and supply, nutrition education and supplementation, as well as pre-school activities.
‘Chicago speech anniversary’ (Facts that could be asked in Prelims)
Issue: Swami Vivekananda delivered his world famous speech in Chicago 125 years ago. At the closing ceremony of the Parliament of World’s Religions, Swami Vivekananda stressed upon world harmony, and how religions, while co-existing with one another, must preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth.
About Swami Vivekananda
Swami Vivekananda (born January 12, 1863, Calcutta [now Kolkata]—died July 4, 1902, near Calcutta), Hindu spiritual leader and reformer in India who attempted to combine Indian spirituality with Western material progress, maintaining that the two supplemented and complemented one another. His Absolute was a person’s own higher self; to labour for the benefit of humanity was the noblest endeavor.
Born into an upper-middle-class family of the Kayastha (scribes) caste in Bengal, he was educated at a Western-style university where he was exposed to Western philosophy, Christianity, and science. Social reform became a prominent element of Vivekananda’s thought, and he joined the Brahmo Samaj (Society of Brahma), dedicated to eliminating child marriage and illiteracy and determined to spread education among women and the lower castes. He later became the most-notable disciple of Ramakrishna, who demonstrated the essential unity of all religions.
Always stressing the universal and humanistic side of the Vedas, the oldest sacred texts of Hinduism, as well as belief in service rather than dogma, Vivekananda attempted to infuse vigor into Hindu thought, placing less emphasis on the prevailing pacifism and presenting Hindu spirituality to the West. He was an activating force in the movement to promote Vedanta philosophy (one of the six schools of Indian philosophy) in the United States and England. In 1893 he appeared in Chicago as a spokesman for Hinduism at the World’s Parliament of Religions and so captivated the assembly that a newspaper account described him as “an orator by divine right and undoubtedly the greatest figure at the Parliament.” Thereafter he lectured throughout the United States and England, making converts to the Vedanta movement.
On his return to India with a small group of Western disciples in 1897, Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission at the monastery of Belur Math on the Ganges (Ganga) River near Calcutta (now Kolkata). Self-perfection and service were his ideals, and the order continued to stress them. He adapted and made relevant to the 20th century the very highest ideals of the Vedantic religion, and, although he lived only two years into that century, he left the mark of his personality on East and West alike.