Which country/countries have successfully tested the hypersonic missile technology?
WHY IN NEWS?
The United States has successfully tested the hypersonic missile technology on October 20, 2021.
- Hypersonic Missile Technology is a new weapons system which is already being deployed by Russia and China.
- The test was conducted at a NASA facility in Wallops, Virginia.
- It is a significant step in development of a Navy-designed common hypersonic missile.
- This test by US demonstrated advanced hypersonic technologies, prototype systems and capabilities in a realistic operating environment.
- Hypersonic missiles such as traditional ballistic missiles can fly at five times the speed of sound that is, Mach 5.
- These missiles are more manoeuvrable as compared to their ballistic counterparts.
Purpose of the Missile
Missile will be used to trace a low trajectory in atmosphere by making them harder to defend.
China’s Hypersonic Missile
China had conducted a test of Hypersonic Missile with nuclear capacity in August 2021. China’s hypersonic missile completed a circuit of Earth before landing. However, it missed its target. According to China, it was a routine test for a spacecraft rather than a missile. China launched hypersonic medium-range missile called “DF-17” in the year 2019. This hypersonic missile can travel about 2000 kilometres and can carry nuclear warheads.
Russia’s Hypersonic Missile
Russia also launched a hypersonic missile called the Zircon, recently. It was launched from a submarine. It also has Avangard Missiles in service since late 2019. The Avangard can travel at a speed up to Mach 27.
A report called “National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on climate” has been launched by-
WHY IN NEWS?
The United States categorised India as a ‘country of concern’ on climate in the assessment of the American Intelligence Community in its report called “National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on climate”.
- India was put in this category along with 10 other countries namely, Afghanistan, Haiti, Colombia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Iraq, North Korea, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
- These countries will bear the brunt of global warming such as intensifying & more frequent heat waves & droughts and water & power scarcity.
- As per report, intelligence community has assessed that these countries will face “warming temperatures, extreme weather, as well as disruption to ocean patterns which will also threaten their food, water energy, and health security”.
- Frequent heat waves and droughts will create water supply volatility and might strain their electric utility operations, while growing population & economies will increase the electricity demands to handle rising temperatures.
- As per report, frequent and intense cyclones will contaminate water sources and increase vector populations & diseases they transmit in some of the 11 countries.
- Report suggests that, instances of dengue will probably increase in countries like India, Haiti, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Iraq, Honduras, and Pakistan.
National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) report
This was the first ever “National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on climate”. It was put together by US Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The IC (Intelligence Community) had identified 11 countries as well as two regions of concern with respect to threat from climate change.
“Nuri” an indigenous space rocket has been developed by which country?
WHY IN NEWS?
South Korea has launched its first ever space rocket on October 21, 2021. This is the first rocket completely developed and built in South Korea. However, it failed to successfully deploy a test satellite into orbit.
The rocket is called as “Nuri”.
- It is a 47-meter rocket that was lifted off, with bright yellow fire shooting from the engines.
- The rocket was launched from Naro Space Center, South Korea. This space centre is located on a small island on the southern coast of South Korea.
About Nuri Spacecraft
Nuri is the South Korea’s first space launch vehicle that was developed and built completely using the South Korean technology. It is a three-stage rocket and is powered by five rocket engines for completing its first and second stages. Another engine is used in the final stage of the rocket. Rocket is designed to carry a payload of around 1.5 tons to an orbit between 600 to 800 kilometres above Earth.
Why this mission failed?
This mission failed because the third-stage engine stopped burning some 50 seconds earlier than it was expected. This in turn prevented the payload from reaching its right speed for reaching into the orbit. Second attempt of the Nuri spacecraft have been planned for May.
Significance of the launch
South Korea was earlier dependent on other countries for launching its satellites since early 1990s. Now it is trying to become the 10th country to send satellite into space using its own technology.
A new digi-book-called “Innovations for You” showcasing the success stories of start-ups has been launched by-
WHY IN NEWS?
NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) launched a new digi-book-called “Innovations for You” in a bid to showcase the success stories of start-ups set up under the Atal Innovation Mission in different domains.
First Edition of the Book
- First edition of the book is focused on innovations in Health Care.
- It showcases 45 start-ups which have worked to create new, innovative & disruptive products, services & solutions.
- These services and solutions will pave a path for sustainable future in health care sector.
- The Digi-book series would soon include other sectors as well.
NITI Aayog’s Digi Book
- NITI aayog has launched the DIGI book, as India is celebrating the Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.
- Digi-book is a compilation of 45 health tech start-ups. These start-ups have been incubated at the Atal Incubation Centres across the country.
- These start-ups have been leveraging technologies such as AI, IoT, ICT and others for providing socially relevant solutions to health issues like neonatal & child care, mental health, dental care, anaemia and monitoring human vitals.
Aim of the book
The Digi-book was launched with the aim of serving as an encouragement for upcoming entrepreneurs in order to work on the path of creativity and imagination for addressing some of the pressing challenges in India. It also aims to showcase best innovations and entrepreneurs to bring them the forefront.
This book will showcase how young India is slowly and steadily progressing towards becoming a world-class leader.
Atal Innovation Mission
It is a flagship initiative by NITI Aayog launched with the aim of promoting innovation and entrepreneurship culture in India. This mission was launched with the objective of creating an umbrella structure for revolutionising innovation ecosystem of India.
Consider the following statements: 1. Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) is under Ministry of Rural Devlopment. 2. Recently 152 Saksham Centres have been launched by the ministry to assist SHGs and rural poor. Which of the above statements are correct?
WHY IN NEWS?
Ministry of Rural Development launched 152 SAKSHAM centres under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM). These centres were launched as a part of Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.
- About 152 Centre for Financial Literacy & Service Delivery (or SAKSHAM Centres) were launched across 77 districts in 13 states, during October 4 to 8, 2021.
- These centres would act as one stop solution or single window system for the basic financial needs of Self-Help Group (SHG) households across the rural areas.
Objectives of the centre
These centres were launched with the objective of providing financial literacy and facilitating the delivery of financial services like credit, savings, pensions, insurance, etc. These facilities will be provided to SHG members and rural poor.
Who will manage these centres?
These centres will be managed by SHG network, at the level of “Cluster Level Federations (CLFs)”. Trained Community Resource Persons (CRPs) will also help in maintaining the centres.
Trained Community Resource Persons (CRPs)
Trained CRPs are given six days residential training at the Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETIs), which are established by the Lead Bank of the district.
This mobile & web-based application has been launched by Ministry of Rural Development. The community resource person of the Centre will use this application for knowing the penetration of several financial services for each SHG & village, identifying major gaps as well as for providing training & delivering the required financial services. Application will also measure the impact of the programme for mid-course correction in the strategy on regular interval.
Which of the following are gene editing tools?
WHY IN NEWS?
The proposal for Indian regulators to consider a new gene editing technique has been pending with the Genetic Engineering Appraisal Committee for almost two years.
- The Indian Agricultural Research Institute (IARI) has now moved to newer technologies such as SiteDirected Nuclease (SDN) 1 and 2.
- New technique aims to bring precision and efficiency into the breeding process using gene editing tools such as CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), whose developers won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2020.
- SDN genome editing involves the use of different DNA-cutting enzymes (nucleases) that are directed to cut the DNA at a predetermined location by a range of different DNA binding systems.
- After the cut is made, the cell’s own DNA repair mechanism recognizes the break and repairs the damage, using one of two pathways that are naturally present in cells.
- It involves the use of gene editing tools to directly tweak (improve\change) the plant’s own genes instead.
- It would allow plants to be genetically modified without the need for conventional transgenic technology.
- A research coalition under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), which includes the IARI, is using these techniques to develop rice varieties which are drought-tolerant, salinity-tolerant and high-yielding. They could potentially be ready for commercial cultivation within three years.
- The IARI has previously worked on golden rice, a traditional GM variety which inserted genes from other organisms into the rice plant, but ended trials over five years ago due to agronomic issues.
Significance of New Techniques:
- In this case, you are just tweaking a gene that is already there in the plant, without bringing in any gene from outside.
- When a protein comes from an outside organism, then you need to test for safety. But in this case, this protein is right there in the plant, and is being changed a little bit, just as nature does through mutation.
- It is much faster and far more precise than natural mutation or conventional breeding methods which involve trial and error and multiple breeding cycles. It is potentially a new Green Revolution.
- Status of New Techniques Globally:
- The U.S, Canada, Australia and Japan are among the countries which have already approved the SDN 1 and 2 technologies as not akin to GM, so such varieties of rice can be exported without any problem.
- The European Food Safety Authority has also submitted its opinion that these technologies do not need the same level of safety assessment as conventional gene mutation, though the European Union is yet to accept the recommendation.
Related Laws in India:
- In India, several rules, guidelines, and policies backed by the “Rules for the Manufacture, Use, Import, Export and Storage of Hazardous Microorganisms/Genetically Engineered Organisms or Cells, 1989” notified under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, regulate genetically modified organisms.
- Apart from it, the National Ethical Guidelines for Biomedical and Health Research involving human participants, 2017, by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), and the Biomedical and Health Research Regulation Bill implies regulation of the gene-editing process.
- This is especially so in the usage of its language “modification, deletion or removal of parts of heritable material”.
- However, there is no explicit mention of the term gene editing.
Indian Railways (IR) has announced that it is likely to become world’s first ‘net-zero’ carbon emitter by-
WHY IN NEWS?
Recently, Indian Railways (IR) has announced that it is likely to become world’s first ‘net-zero’ carbon emitter by 2030.
- IR is taking a multi-pronged approach to go green and decarbonise – from increasing its sourcing of Renewable Energy (RE) to electrifying its traction network and reducing its energy consumption.
- Indian Railways: IR is the world’s fourth largest railway network in terms of size. It is one of the largest electricity consumers in the country.
- Passenger Services: Transports 24 million passengers every day across the subcontinent on 13,000 trains covering approximately 67,956 km.
- Freight Services: 3.3 million tonnes of freight per day, and thus the fuel requirements are massive.
- Contribution in Total Emissions: India’s transport sector contributes to 12% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions with the railways accounting for about 4% of these emissions.
- Potential of Emissions Reduction: The Indian Railways can raise the official target of 50% freight share by 2030, up from its current share of 33%.
- By shifting freight to rail and optimising truck use, India can reduce logistics costs from 14-10% of Gross Domestic Product and carbon dioxide emissions by 70% by 2050 compared to a business-as-usual scenario.
Initiatives taken by Indian Railways:
- Increased the Amount of Freight: Indian Railways to increase the amount of freight moved by it from about 35% in 2015 to 45% by 2030 to reduce overall emissions from transportation.
- Complete Electrification: Complete electrification of Indian Railways is targeted by financial year 2024. It will be the world’s largest 100% electrified rail transportation system by then.
- Use of Solar Power: Plans to install 20 GigaWatts (GW) of solar for both traction loads and non-traction loads.
- Built a 1.7-MW solar power plant in Bina, Madhya Pradesh, in July 2020. It is the first solar energy plant in the world to directly power railway overhead lines, from which locomotives draw traction power.
- A 2.5-MW solar project in Diwana, Haryana.
- Work on a third pilot with a capacity of 50 MW has begun in Bhilai (Chhattisgarh).
- A 16-kW solar power plant has been installed as platform shelter at the Sahibabad Railway Station.
- The railways ministry has installed solar panels at over 960 stations and is using solar power to meet railway station energy needs.
- Participation of Private Sector: The ministry has included provisions for a Letter of Credit (LC) in the event of railway payment default, as well as a penalty for late payment in the model bidding document for solar power developers.
- This is to encourage the private sector to participate in the project.
- No-objection certificate for open access: The No objection Certificate (NoC) for open access to electricity flow for railways in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Telangana has not been operationalised due to regulatory challenges that the railways are vigorously pursuing.
- If approval for procuring power through open access is granted in these states, solar deployment may increase.
- Wheeling and banking provision: Full deployment of solar potential will become more feasible if states provide wheeling and banking arrangements.
- Merger of solar purchase obligation and non-solar purchase obligation: The consolidation of solar and non-solar obligations will allow the railways to meet their Renewable Purchase Obligations.
- Unrestricted net metering regulations: Unrestricted net metering for rooftop solar projects would hasten the deployment of railway solar plants.