Ojaank IAS Academy




02 July 2022 – Current Affairs

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An unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicle

Paper 3 science and technology
Why Should You Know?
  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) yesterday successfully carried out the Maiden flight of Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator from Aeronautical Test Range at Chitradurga in Karnataka. 
  • With this success, India’s secretive unmanned combat aerial vehicle UCAV programme under which a technology demonstrator called stealth wing flying test bed (SWift) is being developed reached a milestone. 
  • The programme is linked to the development of India’s fifth-generation stealth fighter advanced medium combat aircraft or AMCA. 
  • The flight operated in a fully autonomous mode. The aircraft exhibited a perfect flight, including take-off, way point navigation and a smooth touchdown. This aircraft is powered by a small turbofan engine.   
An unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV),
  • An unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV), also known as a combat drone, colloquially shortened as drone or battlefield UAV, is an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that is used for intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition, and reconnaissance and carries aircraft ordnance such as missiles, ATGMs, and/or bombs in hardpoints for drone strikes.
  • These drones are usually under real-time human control, with varying levels of autonomy.
  • Unlike unmanned surveillance and reconnaissance aerial vehicles, UCAVs are used for both drone strikes and battlefield intelligence.
  • Aircraft of this type have no onboard human pilot. As the operator runs the vehicle from a remote terminal, equipment necessary for a human pilot is not needed, resulting in a lower weight and a smaller size than a manned aircraft.
  • Many countries have operational domestic UCAVs, and many more have imported armed drones or are in the process of developing them.

India’s GST Collections Jump 56%

Why Should You Know?
  • India’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections in June this year surged 56 percent year-on-year to around 1.45 lakh crore rupees.
  • The GST collections in June last year stood at 92,800 crore rupees. Economic recovery and anti-evasion activities, especially action against fake billers, have contributed to the enhanced GST collections.
  • This is the fifth time the monthly GST collection crossed 1.40 lakh crore rupees mark since the inception of GST and fourth month at a stretch since March 2022, Finance Ministry said.
  • The average monthly gross GST collection for the first quarter of the current fiscal has been 1.51 lakh crore rupees against the average monthly collection of 1.10 lakh crore rupees in the first quarter of the last financial year showing an increase of 37 percent.
Goods and Services Tax
  • GST, or Goods and Services Tax, is an indirect tax imposed on the supply of goods and services.
  • It is a multi-stage, destination-oriented tax imposed on every value addition, replacing multiple indirect taxes, including VAT, excise duty, service taxes, etc.

Financial Action Task Force

Why Should You Know? 
  • Indian origin T Raja Kumar has taken over as President of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the world’s anti-terrorism financing agency.
  • FATF tweeted that Raja Kumar will focus on enhancing the effectiveness of global anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing measures, improving asset recovery and other initiatives.
  • He has more than 35 years of leadership and operational experience in Singapore’s home ministry and police force.
  • Raja Kumar succeeds Dr Marcus Pleyer as the chief of the FATF and will serve a two-year-term.
  • FATF is a global watchdog tasked with combatting money laundering and terrorist financing.
  • Raja Kumar forged a stronger collaborative relationship with key counterparts in the safety and security arena, including with strategic partners such as INTERPOL and the UN.
The Financial Action Task Force
  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is the global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog.
  • The inter-governmental body sets international standards that aim to prevent these illegal activities and the harm they cause to society.
  • As a policy-making body, the FATF works to generate the necessary political will to bring about national legislative and regulatory reforms in these areas.
  • With more than 200 countries and jurisdictions committed to implementing them.  The FATF has developed the FATFRecommendationsor FATF Standards, which ensure a co-ordinated global response to prevent organised crime, corruption and terrorism.
  • They help authorities go after the money of criminals dealing in illegal drugs, human trafficking and other crimes.  The FATF also works to stop funding for weapons of mass destruction.
  • The FATF reviews money laundering and terrorist financing techniques and continuously strengthens its standards to address new risks, such as the regulation of virtual assets, which have spread as cryptocurrencies gain popularity.  
  • The FATF monitors countries to ensure they implement the FATF Standards fully and effectively, and holds countries to account that do not comply.

India and Dominican Republic

Why Should You Know? 
  • The second round of Foreign Office Consultations between India and Dominican Republic was held in Santo Domingo yesterday.
  • The consultations reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations including political, trade and investment, capacity building and cooperation in science and technology.
  • Multilateral and regional issues including cooperation in UN, International Solar Alliance and Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure were also discussed.
  • The Indian side was led by Secretary (East) Saurabh Kumar and the Dominican Republic by Ambassador José Julio Gómez, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
  • The Secretary (East) called on Foreign Minister Roberto Álvarez and exchanged views on strengthening bilateral relations.
  •  Both sides acknowledged the potential to further deepen relations including expanding trade which grew over 100 per cent to reach one billion-dollar mark.
  • India is the fourth largest trade partner of Dominican Republic.
The Dominican Republic
  • The Dominican Republic is a Caribbean nation that shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti to the west.
  • It’s known for its beaches, resorts and golfing.
  • Its terrain comprises rainforest, savannah and highlands, including Pico Duarte, the Caribbean’s tallest mountain.
  • Capital city Santo Domingo has Spanish landmarks like the Gothic Catedral Primada de America dating back 5 centuries in its Zona Colonial district.

Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

Paper 2 international relation
Why Should You Know? 
  • Ambassador Pradeep Kumar Rawat reaffirms India’s support for SCO on the 20th Anniversary of adoption of SCO Charter Tweeted by @AIR
  • India’s Ambassador to China Pradeep Kumar Rawat has said that India since its accession to Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) has actively participated and has provided substantial support to various mechanisms across diverse domains in the forum.
  • Presenting his views at the roundtable organised by the SCO Secretariat in Beijing on Wednesday to commemorate the 20th Anniversary of adoption of SCO Charter and the 15th Anniversary of signing of the Treaty of Longterm Good Neighbourliness, Friendship and Cooperation Ambassador Rawat said, that core principles of SCO Charter – ‘equal partnership based on mutual trust and respect, dialogue and consensus-based decisions’ are more relevant today than ever.
Major Points
  • As for the first time, India is ready to take over the SCO presidency from Uzbekistan in September 2022, Ambassador Rawat said, India will continue to work with other members to develop very meaningful agenda.
  • He said India’s initiatives related to ‘Traditional Medicines’ and ‘Start-up’ at SCO are of great relevance in the current challenges faced by the mankind especially in the fields of health security, food security, energy security and climate security.
  • A photo exhibition on 20 years of SCO was also held on the occasion. A book on the UNESCO world heritage sites in SCO counties was also unveiled which contains pictures of 32 sites from India.
  • The event was attended by the SCO Secretary General Zhang Ming, the Ambassadors of SCO countries in China and other senior officials.
  • Foreign Ministers from SCO countries delivered their video remarks while thinktanks from SCO countries deliberated on issues pertaining to SCO in the changing world order both in online and offline format.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), also known as the Shanghai Pact, is a transcontinental political, economic, security, and military alliance.
  • In terms of geographic scope and population, it is the world’s largest regional organization, covering approximately 60% of the area of Eurasia, 40% of the world population, and more than 30% of global GDP.
  • The SCO is the successor to the Shanghai Five, a mutual security agreement formed in 1996 between China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Tajikistan.
  • On 15 June 2001, the leaders of these nations and Uzbekistan met in Shanghai to announce a new organisation with deeper political and economic cooperation; the SCO Charter was signed on 7 July 2002 and entered into force on 19 September 2003.
  • Its membership has since expanded to eight states, with India and Pakistan joining on 9 June 2017.
  • Iran started accession as a full member in September 2021 at the Dushanbe Summit in Tajikistan.
  • Several countries are engaged as observers or partners. The SCO is governed by the Heads of State Council (HSC), its supreme decision-making body, which meets once a year.
  • Military exercises are also regularly conducted among members to promote cooperation and coordination against terrorism and other external threats, and to maintain regional peace and stability.

Earthquake Strikes

Why Should You Know? 
  • Recently, 6.1 magnitude earthquake in southern Iran early this morning.
  • Iranian media put the strength of the quake at 6.1 while the European Mediterranean Seismological Centre said it was 6.0 magnitude.
  • Major geological fault lines crisscross Iran, which has suffered several devastating earthquakes in recent years.
  • Residents from various parts of the UAE felt tremors as well.
  • An earthquake (also known as a quake, tremor or temblor) is the shaking of the surface of the Earth resulting from a sudden release of energy in the Earth’s lithosphere that creates seismic waves.
  • Earthquakes can range in intensity, from those that are so weak that they cannot be felt, to those violent enough to propel objects and people into the air and wreak destruction across entire cities.
  • The seismicity, or seismic activity, of an area is the frequency, type, and size of earthquakes experienced over a particular time period.
  • The word tremor is also used for non-earthquake seismic rumbling. At the Earth’s surface, earthquakes manifest themselves by shaking and displacing or disrupting the ground.
  • When the epicenter of a large earthquake is located offshore, the seabed may be displaced sufficiently to cause a tsunami.
  • Earthquakes can also trigger landslides and, occasionally, volcanic activity. In its most general sense, the word earthquake is used to describe any seismic event—whether natural or caused by humans—that generates seismic waves.
  • Earthquakes are caused mostly by rupture of geological faults but also by other events such as volcanic activity, landslides, mine blasts, and nuclear tests.
  • An earthquake’s point of initial rupture is called its hypocenter or focus. The epicenter is the point at ground level directly above the hypocenter.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre
  • The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) is an international, non-governmental and not-for-profit organisation.
  • The European-Mediterranean region is prone to destructive earthquakes.
  • When an earthquake occurs, a scientific organisation is needed to determine, as quickly as possible, the characteristics of the seismic event.
  • The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) receives seismological data from more than 65 national seismological agencies, mostly in the Euro-Mediterranean region.
  • The most relevant earthquake parameters, such as the earthquake location and the earthquake magnitude, and the shaking felt by the population are available within one hour from the earthquake onset.

India – Mexico

Why Should You Know? 
  • The sixth round of the Foreign Office Consultations between India and Mexico were held yesterday in Mexico City.
  • The discussions were led on the Indian side by Secretary (East) in Ministry of External Affairs Saurabh Kumar and on the Mexican side by Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico Ms. Carmen Moreno Toscano.
Major Points
  • The consultations reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations including Political, Trade and Investment, Health and Pharmaceuticals, Science and Technology including Space, Culture and Tourism, Education, Consular, and other areas of mutual interest.
  • A Specific Agreement on cooperation in outer space focusing on Crop Monitoring, Drought Assessment and Capacity Building between ISRO and Mexican Space Agency was also signed during the visit.
  • Ministry of External Affairs said, the talks were held in a friendly and warm atmosphere. Both sides agreed to hold the next round of consultations in New Delhi.
  • Mexico, officially the United Mexican States, is a country in the southern portion of North America.
  • It is bordered to the north by the United States; to the south and west by the Pacific Ocean; to the southeast by Guatemala, Belize, and the Caribbean Sea; and to the east by the Gulf of Mexico.

ISRO successfully launches PSLV C-53 rocket carrying three Singaporean satellites

Why Should You Know? 
  • The commercial launch was performed using the workhorse rocket PSLV-C53 that lifted off carrying the three main payloads.
  • With this, the recently formed commercial arm of the Department of Space known as the New Space India Limited has successfully completed two launches, the first being the launch of the GSAT-24 communication satellite onboard the Arinave-V rocket from French Guiana.
Major Points
  • The ISRO Chairman S. Somanath remarked that today’s mission has reached its objectives with textbook precision.
  • Today’s mission has validated the viability of ISRO’s proposal to use the fourth and last stage of the rocket engine further in space.
  • It is also a good beginning for the Department of Space’s regulatory body called the IN-SPACe that gave its maiden approval for the two private space start-ups to carry their payloads to space.
  • Mission has served its commercial objectives and also led to take forward ISRO’s innovative approaches in exploring space technology.

DS-EO Mission

Why Should You Know? 
  • ISRO undertakes PSLV-C53/DS-EO mission on June 30, 2022.
  • The launch is scheduled at 18:00 hours IST from the Second Launch Pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
  •  The countdown of 25 hours leading to the launch begins at 1700 hours IST on June 29, 2022.
NewSpace India Limited
  • PSLV-C53 is the second dedicated commercial mission of NewSpace India Limited (NSIL). It is designed to orbit DS-EO satellite along with two other co-passenger satellites from Singapore.
  • This is the 55th mission of PSLV and 15th mission using PSLV-Core Alone variant. It is the 16th PSLV launch from the second launch pad.
  • The mission proposes to demonstrate the utilization of the spent upper stage of the launch vehicle as a stabilized platform for scientific payloads subsequent to the separation of the satellites.
    A four stage, 44.4 m tall PSLV-C53 has a lift-off mass of 228.433 t. It would inject DS-EO satellite into an orbit with semi-major axis of 6948.137 + 20 km, at an altitude of 570 km measured from the equator, with a low inclination of 10 deg. + 0.20. 
  • PSLV-C53 carries three satellites. DS-EO, a 365 kg and NeuSAR, a 155 kg satellite both belonging to Singapore. Third satellite is a 2.8 kg Scoob-1 of Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore.
  • DS-EO carries an Electro-Optic, multi-spectral payload that will provide full color images for land classification, and serving Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief needs.
  • NeuSAR is Singapore’s first small commercial satellite carrying a SAR payload, which is capable of providing images in day and night and under all weather conditions.
  • SCOOB-I satellite is the first satellite in the Student Satellite Series (S3-I), a hands-on student training program from the Satellite Research Centre (SaRC) at Singapore’s NTU School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

The PSLV Orbital Experimental Module
  • The PSLV Orbital Experimental Module (POEM) activity is performs in-orbit scientific experiments using the spent PS4 stage as an orbital platform.
  • It is first time that PS4 stage would orbit the earth as a stabilized platform.
  • Attitude stabilization is achieved using a dedicated NGC system.
  • POEM derives the power from the solar panels mounted around the PS4 tank and a Li Ion battery. It navigates using four sun sensors, a magnetometer, gyros & NavIC.
  • It carries dedicated control thrusters using Helium gas storage. It is enabled with telecommand feature.
  • POEM carries six payloads including two from Indian Space Start-ups M/s Digantara and M/s Dhruva Space, enabled though IN-SPACe and NSIL. 

Journalist Welfare Scheme

Paper 2 indian polity and governance
Why Should You Know? 
  • Central Government has approved a proposal of the Journalist Welfare Scheme Committee headed by Sh. Apurva Chandra, Secretary, Ministry of information and Broadcasting, to provide financial relief to the families of 35 journalists who have lost their lives.
  • This includes 16 families of journalists who died due to Covid-19 under the Journalist Welfare Scheme (JWS). The families will be provided with assistance up to Rs. 5 lakhs.
  • The JWS Committee also recommended assistance to two journalists suffering from permanent disability and to five journalists for their medical treatment of major ailments as per the JWS guidelines.
Major Points 
  • The committee has approved a total assistance of Rs. 1.81 Cr during the meeting.
  • So far, assistance under the scheme has been provided to 123 families of the journalists who have lost their lives due to Covid-19.
  • With the current approvals, in the current meeting a total of 139 families have been provided assistance.
  • Under the scheme, the families of journalists are provided with financial assistance up to Rs 5 lakh in the event of the death of the journalist causing extreme hardship.
  • Assistance is also provided to journalists in case of permanent disability, serious accidents and major health ailments.
  • During the last financial year, 134 journalists and their families were provided assistance under various categories amounting to Rs. 6.47 Crore.

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