15th Nov, 2018-IAS Current Affairs
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‘GSAT 29’ (GS3: Science)
Issue: The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has congratulated ISRO scientists on the successful launch of GSLV MK III-D2 carrying GSAT-29 satellite.
The satellite will provide communication and internet services to the remotest corners of our country
About launch vehicles of ISRO
Launchers or Launch Vehicles are used to carry spacecraft to space. India has two operational launchers: Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) and Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). GSLV with indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage has enabled the launching up to 2 tonne class of communication satellites. The next variant of GSLV is GSLV Mk III, with indigenous high thrust cryogenic engine and stage, having the capability of launching 4 tonne class of communication satellites.
In order to achieve high accuracy in placing satellites into their orbits, a combination of accuracy, efficiency, power and immaculate planning are required. ISRO’s Launch Vehicle Programme spans numerous centres and employs over 5,000 people. Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, located in Thiruvananthapuram, is responsible for the design and development of launch vehicles. Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre and ISRO Propulsion Complex, located at Valiamala and Mahendragiri respectively, develop the liquid and cryogenic stages for these launch vehicles. Satish Dhawan Space Centre, SHAR, is the space port of India and is responsible for integration of launchers. It houses two operational launch pads from where all GSLV and PSLV flights take place.
- Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle
Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle was developed to launch Low Earth Orbit satellites into Polar and Sun Synchronous Orbits. It has since proved its versatility by launching Geosynchronous, Lunar and Interplanetary spacecraft successfully.
- Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle
Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle was developed to launch the heavier INSAT class of geosynchronous satellites into orbit. In its third and final stage, GSLV uses the indigenously developed Cryogenic Upper Stage.
- Sounding rockets
ISRO launches smaller rockets from the Rohini series on suborbital and atmospheric flights for aeronomy and meteorological studies. ATV, ISRO’s heaviest sounding rocket, can be used for microgravity experiments and for precursor experiments to characterize new technologies.
‘Yuva Sahakar-Cooperative Enterprise Support and Innovation Scheme’ (GS2: Government policies for development in various sectors)
Issue: To cater to the needs and aspirations of the youth, the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC) has come up with a youth-friendly scheme ‘Yuva Sahakar-Cooperative Enterprise Support and Innovation Scheme” for attracting them to cooperative business ventures.
About the scheme
The scheme will be linked to Rs 1000 crore ‘Cooperative Start-up and Innovation Fund (CSIF)’ created by the NCDC. It would have more incentives for cooperatives of North Eastern region, Aspirational Districts and cooperatives with women or SC or ST or PwD members. The funding for the project will be up to 80% of the project cost for these special categories as against 70% for others. The scheme envisages 2% less than the applicable rate of interest on term loan for the project cost up to Rs 3 crore including 2 years moratorium on payment of principal. All types of cooperatives in operation for at least one year are eligible.
“Sail Together” (Facts that can be asked in Prelims)
Issue: The navy chiefs of India and Iran flagged off a Tall Ship Sail-together from naval base, Kochi on 14 Nov 18. The event which was organized by the Indian Navy as part of the 10th Anniversary celebrations of IONS, was attended by chiefs from navies and delegates from 26 countries participating in the 10th anniversary commemorative activities besides a large gathering of Indian naval personnel
Objective of this sail
It seeks to retrace the maritime trade route of yesteryears between the Malabar Coast and the Persian Gulf. The ships were accompanied by smaller Indian sailing vessels Mhadei which would be heading towards Seychelles while the others would continue towards Muscat.
‘POSHYAN ABHIYAN’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: The third meeting of National Council on India’s Nutrition Challenges as part of Poshan Abhiyan, was held at New Delhi.
About the programme
POSHAN Abhiyaan (National Nutrition Mission) is a flagship programme of the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD), Government of India, which ensures convergence with various programmes i.e., Anganwadi Services, Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY), Scheme for Adolescent Girls (SAG) of MWCD Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), National Health Mission (NHM), Swachh-Bharat Mission, Public Distribution System (PDS), Department Food & Public Distribution, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) and Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation.
The goals of NNM are to achieve improvement in nutritional status of Children from 0-6 years, Adolescent Girls, Pregnant Women and Lactating Mothers in a time bound manner during the next three years beginning 2017-18.
The National Nutrition Mission (NNM) has been set up with a three year budget of Rs.9046.17 crore commencing from 2017-18. The NNM is a comprehensive approach towards raising nutrition level in the country on a war footing. It will comprise mapping of various Schemes contributing towards addressing malnutrition, including a very robust convergence mechanism, ICT based Real Time Monitoring system, incentivizing States/UTs for meeting the targets, incentivizing Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) for using IT based tools, eliminating registers used by AWWs, introducing measurement of height of children at the Anganwadi Centres (AWCs), Social Audits, setting-up Nutrition Resource Centres, involving masses through Jan Andolan for their participation on nutrition through various activities, among others.
NNM targets to reduce stunting, under- nutrition, anemia (among young children, women and adolescent girls) and reduce low birth weight by 2%, 2%, 3% and 2% per annum respectively. Although the target to reduce Stunting is at least 2% p.a., Mission would strive to achieve reduction in Stunting from 38.4% (NFHS-4) to 25% by 2022 (Mission 25 by 2022).
Tata Steel Chess India Blitz Tournament (Facts that can be asked in Prelims)
Issue: Legendary Viswanathan Anand stepped it up in grand style to win the inaugural Tata Steel Chess India Blitz Tournament beating overnight leader Hikaru Nakamura in the play-off in Kolkata
Placed fourth after the first leg on Tuesday, the 48-year-old had a dream run on the final day to secure six wins and three draws in the nine rounds to draw level with the world No 3 American Nakamura to force a play-off.
‘Nuclear powered artificial Sun’ (GS3: Science and technology)
Issue: Chinese researchers pushing to find a major clean energy source have created an incredible artificial sun that can reach temperatures of 100 million degrees Celsius – a heat so intense it makes the real sun seem merely lukewarm.
EAST is a large, donut-shaped machine set inside a round box. Located on Science Island in Eastern China’s Anhui Province, the project is using nuclear fusion to create immense heat; it costs a massive $15,000 a day just to turn on the machine.
The goal of the EAST is to understand nuclear fusion and to one day use it as an alternative source of power on Earth. This could pave the way for using clean energy – currently, nuclear energy created through fission leaves a long-lasting toxic waste.
What is nuclear fusion?
- In physics, nuclear fusion is the process by which multiple nuclei join together to form a heavier nucleus.
- It is accompanied by the release or absorption of energy depending on the masses of the nuclei involved.
- Iron and nickel nuclei have the largest binding energies per nucleon of all nuclei and therefore are the most stable.
- The fusion of two nuclei lighter than iron or nickel generally releases energy while the fusion of nuclei heavier than iron or nickel absorbs energy; vice-versa for the reverse process, nuclear fission
- Nuclear fusion of light elements releases the energy that causes stars to shine and hydrogen bombs to explode.
- Nuclear fusion of heavy elements (absorbing energy) occurs in the extremely high-energy conditions of supernova explosions.
- Nuclear fusion in stars and supernovae is the primary process by which new natural elements are created.
- It is this reaction that is harnessed in fusion power.
- It takes considerable energy to force nuclei to fuse, even those of the lightest element, hydrogen.
World Diabetes Day 2018’ (GS2: Issues related to Health)
Issue: November 14 is marked as World Diabetes Day. This day seeks to raise awareness among families to discover, prevent and manage diabetes. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2018-2019 is ‘The Family and Diabetes’. It focuses on the fact that families need to work together in adopting a healthy lifestyle in order to prevent and manage diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when your blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose is your main source of energy and comes from the food you eat. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps glucose from food get into your cells to be used for energy. Sometimes your body doesn’t make enough—or any—insulin or doesn’t use insulin well. Glucose then stays in your blood and doesn’t reach your cells.
The most common types of diabetes are type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes
If you have type 1 diabetes, your body does not make insulin. Your immune system attacks and destroys the cells in your pancreas that make insulin. Type 1 diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can appear at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.
Type 2 diabetes
If you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make or use insulin well. You can develop type 2 diabetes at any age, even during childhood. However, this type of diabetes occurs most often in middle-aged and older people. Type 2 is the most common type of diabetes.
Gestational diabetes develops in some women when they are pregnant. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, if you’ve had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Sometimes diabetes diagnosed during pregnancy is actually type 2 diabetes
‘Coral reefs’ (GS3: Environment)
Issue: Eight international organisations have joined forces to advocate for decisive action to protect these natural wonders: UNEP, the International Coral Reef Initiative, the World Wildlife Fund, the Nature Conservancy, the Wildlife Conservation Society, Vulcan Inc., the Ocean Agency, and the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published in October 2018 warns that, even if we collectively manage to stabilize global surface temperatures to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, 70 to 90 per cent of coral reefs will be lost by the middle of this century. Continued failure to take action on climate change will result in even greater losses, the report warns.
What are Coral reefs?
Coral reefs are large underwater structures composed of the skeletons of colonial marine invertebrates called coral. The coral species that build reefs are known as hermatypic, or “hard,” corals because they extract calcium carbonate from seawater to create a hard, durable exoskeleton that protects their soft, sac-like bodies. Other species of corals that are not involved in reef building are known as “soft” corals. These types of corals are flexible organisms often resembling plants and trees and include species such as sea fans and sea whips
Each individual coral is referred to as a polyp. Coral polyps live on the calcium carbonate exoskeletons of their ancestors, adding their own exoskeleton to the existing coral structure. As the centuries pass, the coral reef gradually grows, one tiny exoskeleton at a time, until they become massive features of the marine environment.
Corals are found all over the world’s oceans, from the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska to the warm tropical waters of the Caribbean Sea. The biggest coral reefs are found in the clear, shallow waters of the tropics and subtropics. The largest of these coral reef systems, the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, is more than 1,500 miles long (2,400 kilometers).
Coral reefs are critical marine habitat on which many ocean species depend. Additionally, coral reefs provide an estimated $30 billion annually in direct economic benefit to people worldwide though food, fisheries and tourism, according to the Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University.
But coral reefs are imperiled by several threats.
The increasing acidification of the ocean — caused when oceans absorb immense amounts of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels — inhibits coral’s ability to produce the calcium carbonate exoskeletons they rely on for shelter.
Water pollution, too, is wreaking havoc on coral reefs. Agricultural pesticides and fertilizers, oil and gasoline, sewage discharge and sediment from eroded landscapes make it difficult for coral to thrive, and therefore damage the complex relationships that exist among the plants, coral and other animals that are part of the reef ecosystem.
As the temperatures of the world’s oceans increase due to global warming, coral polyps expel the zooxanthellae they depend on for food. Once the zooxanthellae are gone, the coral loses its brilliant color, and all that can be seen is the white exoskeleton; this is referred to as coral bleaching. Coral colonies subject to bleaching usually die off, according to CORAL.
Fishing practices such as cyanide fishing (spraying cyanide in the water stuns the fish to make them easier to catch), “blast fishing” with explosives and overfishing with trawlers can destroy a thousand-year-old coral reef in a matter of minutes.
‘Hima das’ (Facts that can be asked in Prelims)
Issue: The United Nations Children’s Fund — India (Unicef—India) has appointed Asian Games gold-medalist sprinter Hima Das as the country’s first ever youth ambassador.
About Hima Das
Hailing from Nagaon district, Das clinched a gold medal in Women’s 4×400 metre relay event at the 2018 Asian Games. She also won a silver in the Women’s 400m Race event.
The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund was created by the United Nations General Assembly on 11 December 1946, to provide emergency food and healthcare to children in countries that had been devastated by World War II. The Polish physician Ludwik Rajchman is widely regarded as the founder of UNICEF and served as its first chairman from 1946.
In 1950, UNICEF’s mandate was extended to address the long-term needs of children and women in developing countries everywhere. In 1953 it became a permanent part of the United Nations System, and the words “international” and “emergency” were dropped from the organization’s name, making it simply the United Nations Children’s Fund, retaining the original acronym, “UNICEF”.
UNICEF’s programs emphasize developing community-level services to promote the health and well-being of children. UNICEF was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1965 and the Prince of Asturias Award of Concord in 2006. A 36-member executive board establishes policies, approves programs and oversees administrative and financial plans. The executive board is made up of government representatives who are elected by the United Nations Economic and Social Council, usually for three-year terms.