GS PAPER I NEWS

Earthquake

Why in News

Earthquake of magnitude 6.4 on the Richter scale hit Assam on 28th April.

Key Points

  • According to the National Centre for Seismology (NCS), the primary earthquake had its epicenter at latitude 26.690 N and longitude 92.360 E, about 80 km northeast of Guwahati, and a focal depth of 17 km.
  • The location is near to Himalayan Frontal Thrust (HFT) which is seismically very active falling in the highest Seismic Hazard zone V associated with collisional tectonics where Indian plate sub-ducts beneath the Eurasian Plate.
  • HFT, also known as the Main Frontal Thrust (MFT), is a geological fault along the boundary of the Indian and Eurasian tectonic plates.

Earthquake


  • An Earthquake is the sudden tremor or quake or shake of the Earth which can led small to biggest devastation on the Earth based on its nature.
  • The point where an earthquake starts is known as its focus (or hypocenters) and the point on the surface of the Earth, directly above the focus is called the epicenter.
  • Power of an Earthquake is measured on the Richter scale using an instrument called a ‘seismometer’.

Causes of Earthquake

  • It caused by the sudden release of energy in the Earth’s lithosphere that creates seismic waves.
  • Major earthquakes on Earth occur mainly in belts coinciding with the margins of tectonic plates.
  • Major Cause of Earthquake is ‘Movement of Tectonic Plates’:
  • Earthquakes occur where the earth’s plates meet along plate boundaries.
  • As two plates move towards each other, one can be pushed down under the other one into the mantle.
  • If this plate gets stuck it causes a lot of pressure on surrounding rocks.
  • When this pressure is released, it produces shock waves and these waves are called seismic waves.
  • And these seismic waves are called an earthquake.
  • The waves spread out from the point where the earthquake started – the focus.
  • The Earthquake can also be occurred by the Volcanic Eruption:
  • A separate type of earthquake is associated with volcanic activity and is called a volcanic earthquake.
  • In such cases the disturbance produces by the Volcanic Eruption can be the result of sudden slip of rock masses adjacent to the volcano and the consequent release of elastic strain energy.
  • There is a clear correspondence between the geographic distribution of volcanoes and major earthquakes, particularly in the Circum-Pacific Belt and along oceanic ridges.
  • Volcanic vents, however, are generally several hundred kilometers from the epicenters of most major shallow earthquakes, and many earthquake sources occur nowhere near active volcanoes.
  • Even in cases where an earthquake’s focus occurs directly below structures marked by volcanic vents, there is probably no immediate causal connection between the two activities; most likely both are the result of the same tectonic processes.
  • The Earthquake can be artificial or Man-made:
  • Earthquakes are sometimes caused by human activities, including the injection of fluids into deep wells, the detonation of large underground nuclear explosions, the excavation of mines, and the filling of large reservoirs.
  • In case of deep mining, the removal of rock produces changes in the strain around the tunnels.

Plate Tectonics

  • The concept of plate tectonics was formulated in the 1960s.
  • According to the theory, Earth has a rigid outer layer, known as the lithosphere, which is typically about 100 km (60 miles) thick and overlies a plastic (moldable, partially molten) layer called the asthenosphere.
  • The lithosphere is broken up into seven very large continental- and ocean-sized plates, six or seven medium-sized regional plates, and several small ones.
  • These plates move relative to each other, typically at rates of 5 to 10 cm (2 to 4 inches) per year, and interact along their boundaries, where they converge, diverge, or slip past one another.
  • Such interactions are thought to be responsible for most of Earth’s seismic and volcanic activity, although earthquakes and volcanoes can occur in plate interiors.
  • Plate motions cause mountains to rise where plates push together, or converge, and continents to fracture and oceans to form where plates pull apart, or diverge.
  • Plates divided into two categories:
  • Major Plates:
  • The Antarctic (and the surrounding oceanic) plate
  • The North American plate (with western Atlantic floor separated from the South American plate along the Caribbean islands)
  • The South American plate (with western Atlantic floor separated from the North American plate along the Caribbean islands)
  • The Pacific plate
  • The India-Australia-New Zealand plate

GS PAPER II

Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI)

Why in News

Recently, India, Japan and Australia formally launched the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) in a virtual Trilateral Ministerial Meeting.

Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI)

  • Under the SCRI, the countries will share best practices on supply chain resilience and will hold investment promotion and buyer-seller matching events to provide opportunities for stakeholders to diversify their supply chains.
  • It aims to create a virtuous cycle of enhancing supply chain resilience with a view to eventually attaining strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth in the region.
  • The Covid-19 was having an unprecedented impact in terms of lives lost, livelihoods and economies affected, and that the pandemic had revealed supply chain vulnerabilities globally and in the region.
  • Some supply chains have been left vulnerable due to a range of factors.
  • It was launched after high-level consultations since September 2020, among the three countries.
  • The three countries will look at adopting policy measures to support enhanced utilization of digital technology and supporting trade and investment diversification.
  • The three nations have decided to convene at least once a year for consultation on the implementation of the SCRI.
  • They also noted the important role of business and academia for the initiative.

Relation among India-Japan-Australia

  • The three nations also share their bond in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad).
  • QUAD is a forum of four maritime democracies—India, US, Japan and Australia—has resurged, after stalling in 2008.
  • The Quad countries have begun convening high-level dialogues, holding a foreign ministerial-level and several biannual senior official-level meetings since November 2017.
  • The aim of the Quad is to support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region that China seeks to threaten.
  • They also tied on a supply chain pact to counter China.

GS PAPER III

NavIC — Opportunities for the Telecom Industry

Why in News

National Telecommunications Institute for Policy Research, Innovation and Training (NTIPRIT) conducted a webinar on April 28, 2021 on the topic “NavlC — Opportunities for the Telecom Industry” in collaboration with ISRO and Telecom Industry.

Key points

  • The webinar was inaugurated by the Union Telecom Secretary and Chairman of Digital Communications Commission (DCC).
  • The session was also addressed by the Member (Technology) Digital Communications Commission (DCC), Scientific Secretary of ISRO, and Sr DDG of NTIPRIT.
  • The Webinar highlighted the importance and relevance of NavIC technology.
  • ISRO briefed about the NaviC system and informed that it has higher accuracy than the peer systems.
  • ISRO also informed that there are plans to make NavIC available on L-1 band in addition to the presently used L-5 band.
  • The Union Telecom Secretary and Chairman DCC underscored the importance of integration of technology with applications so as to reap the benefits of technology to the fullest.
  • They also suggested to mandate the NaviC Technology for mobile phones released in Indian markets to adopt.

About NaviC:

  • NaviC (Navigation with Indian Constellation) is an autonomous regional satellite navigation system established and maintained by ISRO.
  • It covers India and a region extending up to 1 ,500 km beyond Indian mainland (primary coverage area).
  • It provides position accuracy better than 20 m (20) and timing accuracy better than 50 ns (20). The actual measurements demonstrate accuracy better than 5 m and 20 ns respectively.
  • NavlC is an indigenous positioning system that is under Indian control.

Application of NaviC:

  • It is used in various civilian sectors, including, transport, map applications, and timekeeping.
  • Major mobile chipset manufacturers like Qualcomm, MediaTek and Broadcom already support NavIC across various chipset platforms.
  • A few mobile phone OEMs have also released handsets which can be enabled to receive NavlC through Over the Air firmware update.
  • Some examples for NavlC enabled mobile phones include the Redmi Note 9 series from Xiaomi, the Realme 6 series, the OnePlus Nord, etc.

National Telecommunications Institute for Policy Research Innovation and Training (NTIPRIT)

  • NTIPRIT is the apex training institute of Department of Telecommunications involved in conduction of induction Training for probationary officers of Indian Telecommunication Service Group-A recruited through All India based Engineering Services Examination conducted by UPSC.
  • It also conducts various In-Service Trainings, Management Development Programmes, Regional and International Trainings, Capacity Building workshops for Officers of Government of India in various aspects of Information and Communication Technology Administration in India.

GS PAPER III

Python-5 Air to Air Missile

Why in News

Tejas, India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft, added the 5th generation Python-5 Air-to-Air Missile (AAM) in its air-to-air weapons capability on April 27, 2021.

Key Points

  • Trial of Python-5 Air-to-Air Missile (AAM) aimed to validate enhanced capability of already integrated Derby Beyond Visual Range (BVR) AAM on Tejas.
  • The test firing at Goa completed a series of missile trials to validate its performance under extremely challenging scenarios.
  • Derby missile achieved direct hit on a high-speed maneuvering aerial target and the Python missiles also achieved 100% hits, thereby validating their complete capability.
  • The trials met all their planned objectives.
  • Python-5 missile live firing was conducted to validate target engagement from all aspects as well as beyond visual ranges.
  • The missiles were fired from Tejas aircraft of Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) flown by Indian Air Force (IAF) Test pilots belonging to National Flight Test Centre (NFTC).

Python-5 Air-to-Air Missile (AAM)

  • Python-5 is the newest member in the range of Python AAMs and a fifth-generation air-to-air missile (AAM) manufactured by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
  • It is the most accurate and reliable AAM of the Israeli Air Force and one of the most sophisticated guided missiles in the world.
  • Originally the series began with the Shafrir, the Shafrir-1 missile was developed in 1959, followed by the Shafrir-2 in early 1970s.
  • The name replaced with “Python” by the parent company for export purposes, began with the Python-3 in 1978.
  • Since then, it developed and evolved into the Python-4, Python-5, Derby and also, the SPYDER, an advanced ground-based air-defense system.
  • The Python-5 missile was unveiled for the first time during the Paris Air Show in June 2003.

Tejas

  • The Tejas single-seat, single-engine, lightweight, high-agility supersonic fighter aircraft was inducted in the Indian Air Force (IAF) on July 2016.
  • It is the India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft.

India’s indigenous Light Combat Aircraft

  • The Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) is the programme initiated by the Government of India in 1984 when Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) was established to manage the LCA programme.
  • It replaced the ageing Mig 21 fighter planes.
  • It was designed by the Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA) in collaboration with Aircraft Research and Design Centre (ARDC) of Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for the Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.

Air-to-Air Missile (AAM)

  • It is a missile fired from an aircraft for the purpose of destroying another aircraft.
  • They are typically powered by one or more rocket motors, usually solid fueled but sometimes liquid fueled.
  • Ramjet engines, as used on the Meteor (missile), are emerging as propulsion that will enable future medium-range missiles to maintain higher average speed across their engagement envelope.

GS PAPER III

Second Wave of Pandemic

Why in News

According to the S&P Global Ratings, a drawn-out COVID-19 outbreak will impede India’s economic recovery.

Key Points


  • This may prompt to revise India’s base-case assumption of 11% growth over fiscal 2021/2022, particularly if the government is forced to reimpose broad containment measures.
  • The country already faces a permanent loss of output versus its pre-pandemic path.
  • It is suggested by the Global Rating Agency that a long-term production deficit equivalent to about 10% of GDP (gross domestic product).
  • According to the S&P, the pace and scale of the post-crisis recovery would have important implications for India’s sovereign credit rating, strong economic growth would be critical to sustain the government’s aggressive fiscal stance and stabilize its high debt stock relative to GDP.
  • According to the ICRA report titled ‘Indian economy – Vaccinated against COVID-19’, the continuing resurgence in COVID-19 cases and proliferation of localized restrictions could dampen the pace of recovery for the Indian corporate sector.
  • The Indian rating agency also underlined that the actual pace of the vaccine roll-out to the wider adult population would impact sentiment and growth.
  • An earlier availability of vaccine imports, enabling a faster coverage of the vaccination drive, may offer a back-ended upside to the GDP growth in FY2022, after the disruption that may emerge in the near term.

Vaccine Vs. Mutant

  • The longer the second wave lasts, the more severe would be the adverse impact on the economy.
  • There would be a race between the pace of COVID vaccination vis-à-vis the speed at which COVID-19 including its new mutants spread.

S&P Global Ratings

  • It is an American credit rating agency (CRA) and a division of S&P Global that publishes financial research and analysis on stocks, bonds, and commodities.
  • S&P is considered the largest of the Big Three credit-rating agencies, which also include Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings.
  • Its head office is located on 55 Water Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City.