ASTRA Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile
Why in news?
- Tejas, Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) LSP-7 successfully fired the ASTRA indigenous Beyond Visual Range (BVR) air-to-air missile off the coast of Goa on August 23, 2023.
Abou the test launch
- The missile release was successfully carried out from the aircraft at an altitude of about 20,000 ft.
- All the objectives of the test were met and it was a perfect text book launch.
- The test launch was monitored by the Test Director and scientists of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) along with officials from Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DG-AQA).
- The aircraft was also monitored by a Chase Tejas twin seater aircraft.
- The launch would significantly enhance the combat prowess of Tejas and reduce the dependency on imported weapons.
- ASTRA, a state-of-the-art BVR air-to-air missile to engage and destroy highly maneuvering supersonic aerial targets, is designed and developed by Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL), Research Centre Imarat (RCI) and other laboratories of DRDO.
- The indigenous Astra BVR firing from home grown Tejas fighter is a major step towards ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
About LCA Tejas
- The Indigenous LCATejas Mk2 is a fighter aircraft developed in India that can carry eight Beyond-Visual-Range (BVR) missiles simultaneously, along with integrating all native weapons and advanced weapons from other countries.
- The LCA Mk2 is an upgraded version of the LCA Tejas Mk1, which has improved range and mission endurance.
- The mission endurance for fighting a war was 57 minutes for LCA Tejas Mk1, but it is 120 minutes for LCA Tejas Mk2.
- The LCA Mk2 will be pitched as a replacement for the Jaguars, MiG-29s, and Mirage 2000s when they start retiring in a decade.
Why in news?
- The Ministry of Coal has taken an initiative to promote Rail-Sea-Rail which aims to integrate Rail-Sea-Rail (RSR) transportation for the efficient movement of domestic coal.
About the RSR Initiative
- RSR-an Alternative Mode of Coal Evacuation aims to Ensure a Seamless and Uninterrupted Power Supply. RSR Reduces Costs for End Users and is Eco-Friendly.
- This multimodal transportation system allows for the seamless transportation of coal from mines to ports and then to end-users, reducing transportation costs and improving logistic efficiency.
Need for the Initiative
- In the financial year FY’23, the major coal-producing states such as Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, along with parts of Madhya Pradesh, accounted for approximately 75% of the total domestic raw coal despatch.
- Recognizing the need to increased coal production, the Ministry of Coal has projected nearly doubling of coal production in India with a CAGR of ~7.7% by FY’ 30.
- To meet the growing demand, well-planned and efficient coal evacuation system is required. Therefore, Ministry of Coal has constituted an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) headed by AS, with the aim of preparing a long-term plan for coal movement in the country.
- Currently, railways account for about 55% of coal evacuation, with a target to increase this share to 75% by FY’30.
- The Ministry of Coal is emphasizing the need to augment coal evacuation and enhancing alternative routes of evacuation to avoid congestion such as RS/RSR mode by FY’30.
- The committee has recommended several measures to promote RSR evacuation of coal to reach 112 MT by 2030, from the existing 40MT.
Expected benefits of the scheme
- It is likely to reduce congestion on the All-Rail Route by providing an additional alternative mode of coal evacuation.
- It creates export opportunities by building infrastructure that can be utilized for exports in the future.
- RSR has significantly lower carbon footprint compared to ARR.
- Opting for Rail-Sea-Rail could potentially save around Rs. 760-1300 per ton in logistics costs for end users located in Southern India.
Significance of the Initiative
- The coastal shipping mode of transportation, which is an economical and eco-friendly system for moving goods, has the potential to revolutionize India’s logistics industry.
- The ongoing efforts to augment coal evacuation such as RS/RSR, strives to achieve full capacity utilization of the ports along the Southern and Western coasts.
- This will enable efficient transportation of more coal to power houses in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Andhra Pradesh.
- The Ministry of Coal’s efforts to promote Rail-Sea-Rail are yielding significant results as Rail-Sea-Rail transportation of coal has significant growth of around 125% over the past four years.
- With coal production in India expected to nearly double in the next seven years, the Rail Sea Rail as an alternative mode of transportation, becomes crucial for efficient Coal evacuation to consumption centres in India, ensuring a seamless and uninterrupted power supply.
- The Ministry of Coal is taking all necessary steps to further enhance the Rail-Sea-Rail Coal Evacuation strategy to consistently meet the nation’s growing energy demands ensuring a resilient and efficient energy supply system.
GS PAPER – II & III
Why in news?
- The National Health Authority (NHA) had announced 100 Microsites project for accelerated adoption of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission (ABDM) across the country.
About the 100 Microsites project
- First ABDM Microsite under the 100 Microsites Project by National Health Authority launched in Aizawl, Mizoram.
- Mizoram appoints Youth for Action as the Interfacing Agency for implementing the ABDM Microsite in Aizawl.
- Mizoram becomes the first state in India to operationalize an ABDM Microsite in its capital city Aizawl.
- Under this, all healthcare facilities including the private clinics, small hospitals and labs in the region shall be made ABDM-enabled and will offer digital health services to the patients.
Significance of the project
- The 100 Microsite project under ABDM is a very important initiative for reaching out to the bulk of small and medium scale healthcare providers from the private sector.
- The concept of Microsites was envisaged to provide a strong impetus to healthcare digitization efforts across the country.
- The efforts by Mizoram team have resulted in Aizawl becoming the first ABDM Microsite in India.
- Digitization of health services can help us achieve our goal of universal health coverage. With digital services at our health facilities and secure access to digital health records, the patients shall benefit the most.
About ABDM Microsites
- The ABDM Microsites are defined geographical regions where focused outreach efforts would be made to onboard small and medium scale private healthcare providers.
- These Microsites would be majorly implemented by State Mission Directors of ABDM while the financial resources and overall guidance would be provided by NHA.
- An interfacing agency under this program will have an on-ground team to reach out to the healthcare providers in the area.
- This team will spread awareness about the benefits of ABDM and will help the service providers to join the core registries under ABDM besides promoting the use of ABDM enable digital solutions for regular clinical documentation.
- Patients will be able to link the health records generated at these facilities with their Ayushman Bharat Health Accounts (ABHAs) and will be able to view and share these records using any ABDM-enabled Personal Health Record (PHR) application on their phones.
- Besides Mizoram, other states including Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh have also made significant progress regarding implementation of ABDM Microsites.
GS PAPER – II
NCF 2023: Changes Made Following Feedback
Why in news?
The National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for school education in India has been released, with some significant changes from the draft proposals released in April 2023.
What are the key changes ?
- Mandate to teach three languages, including two Indian languages, in classes 9-10 and two languages, including one Indian language, in classes 11-12. This is a significant change from the draft proposal, which only mandated the teaching of two languages in classes 9-10. The new requirement is intended to promote multilingualism and cultural understanding among students.
- Annual system to semester system in class 12. The final framework now states that “in the long term”, all boards should change to semester or term-based systems. The decision to delay the transition is likely due to the challenges involved in changing the curriculum and assessment system.
- Holding the class 12 board exam twice a year. The final framework reiterates the draft document’s recommendation that the class 12 board exam should be held twice a year. This is intended to give students more flexibility and opportunities to perform well.
- Changes made following extensive feedback from organizations and individuals.
- The changes to the NCF were made following “extensive feedback” from as many as 4,000 organizations in the past three months.
- The feedback included concerns about the lack of emphasis on Indian languages in the draft proposal, as well as the challenges of transitioning to a semester system in the short term.
- The final NCF is a significant step forward in the implementation of the National Education Policy 2020. It provides much-needed clarity on the curriculum and assessment framework for school education in India.
GS PAPER – III
North Sea Drilling
Why in news?
In an effort to increase Britain’s energy independence, the UK Prime Minister recently supported plans for further fossil fuel drilling in the North Sea off its coast.
About NORTH SEA DRILLING PROJECT
- This decision prompted concerns about the UK’s commitment to its climate targets.
- The 33rd offshore oil and gas licencing cycle is being managed by the North Sea Transition Authority (NTSA), which is in charge of managing the industry for drilling.
About NORTH SEA:
The North Sea is located in Northwest Europe. Many nations border it, including Norway to the east and north, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium, as well as Belgium, France, and the United Kingdom.
Key Analysis and Concerns:
- Oil Spills: There is a chance of an oil spill during offshore drilling operations.
- Marine Ecosystem Disruption: Drilling platforms, pipelines, and other infrastructure can physically interfere with marine environments.
- Effect on Biodiversity: Drilling operations have the potential to harm undersea habitats, including coral reefs and seagrass beds, which are vital sites for marine species’ reproduction and grazing.
- Climate Change: Burning fossil fuels obtained from offshore drilling increases greenhouse gas emissions, which exacerbate climate change on a worldwide scale.
- Ocean acidification is brought on by the absorption of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels by the oceans.
- Any drilling in the North Sea will be done in a “climate-compatible” manner, according to the UK government. This implies that any future projects must adhere to severe environmental regulations.
- Continue oil and gas drilling but with more stringent environmental guidelines: By doing this, the UK would be able to meet its energy needs while reducing the negative effects of drilling on the environment.
- Make an investment in renewable energy: This would facilitate the UK’s transition away from fossil fuels.
GS PAPER – II
Why in news?
50 years have passed since the dramatic event that gave the world the term “Stockholm Syndrome” in 1973.
What is Stockholm Syndrome?
When hostages or abuse victims have favourable feelings towards their captors or abusers and negative feelings towards the authorities or anyone who tries to help them escape, this psychological phenomena known as Stockholm syndrome takes place.
How did it originate?
- During a bank heist in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1973, during which four hostages declined to testify against their captors and even donated money for their defence, the phrase “hostage refusal” was created.
- The Stockholm syndrome is a coping method that some people adopt to deal with a terrible event; it is not a recognised mental disease.
- It is hypothesised that it is caused by a confluence of elements, including power imbalance, emotional isolation, gratitude for tiny favours, and survival instinct.
GS PAPER – II
Dr. C. Radhakrishna Rao
Why in news?
Dr. C. Radhakrishna Rao, one of India’s greatest mathematicians and statisticians, recently passed away, at the age of 102.
- He was known for his seminal contributions to the field of statistics, particularly in the areas of design of experiments, estimation, and multivariate analysis.
- He returned to India and joined the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in Kolkata. He served as the director of ISI from 1954 to 1961.
- He developed the Cramer-Rao bound, which is a fundamental limit on the accuracy of estimators.
- He also proved the Rao-Blackwell theorem, which provides a method for constructing unbiased estimators that are also efficient.
Awards and Honors:
- He was a recipient of numerous awards and honours, including the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in India.
- He was also awarded the International Prize in Statistics, which is considered to be the equivalent of the Nobel Prize in statistics.