TABLE OF CONTENTS
- NATIONAL AFFAIRS ………………….………………………….
- INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS……………………………………..
- ECONOMIC AFFAIRS………………………………………….…..
- Awards and honors……………………………………….…
- Important dates………………………………….……….…..
- Science & tech……………………………………………..…….
SC ASKS FOR DATA ON HUMANE METHOD OF EXECUTION
- The Supreme Court of India has asked the Centre to provide data that may lead to a more dignified, less painful, and socially acceptable method of executing prisoners other than death by hanging.
- The court even suggested the formation of an expert committee to relook at India's current method of putting criminals to death.
- What are the Arguments around Execution of Prisoners?
- The court clarified that it was not questioning the constitutionality of the death penalty but rather the method of execution. The government had said the mode of execution is a "matter of legislative policy," and the death penalty is awarded only in the rarest of rare cases.
- The court was hearing a petition challenging the constitutionality of death by hanging as a mode of execution.
- Section 354 (5) of the Code of Criminal Procedure mandates that a person sentenced to death shall “be hanged by the neck till he is dead”. It is argued that there is a need to evolve a "humane, quick, and decent alternative" and termed hanging as "cruel and barbarous" compared to lethal injection.
- What is the Current Provision of Death Penalty in India?
Certain offenses under Indian Penal Code, for which the offenders can be sentenced to punishment of death are:
- Murder (Section 302)
- Dacoity with murder (Section 396)
- Criminal Conspiracy (Section 120B)
- Waging war against the Government of India or attempting to do so (Section 121)
- Abatement of mutiny (Section 132) and others.
HINDU ST WOMEN EXCLUDED FROM ST LIST
- A Member of Parliament has urged the government to issue a notification that would include women from the Scheduled Tribe community in the inheritance rights provisions of the Hindu Succession Amendment Act, 2005.
- Section 2(2) of the Act excludes these women, which results in the denial of their equal rights to inherit their father's or Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) properties.
- What are the Issues Highlighted Around Inheritance Rights?
- The Hindu Succession Act, 1956, was amended in 2005 to grant daughters equal rights to inherit their father's or HUF properties.
- The Member of Parliament (MoP) stated that exclusion of women from the Scheduled Tribe in this act is discriminatory based on gender and is against Article 14 of the Constitution of India, which advocates for equality before the law.
- Additionally, MoP argues that women from Scheduled Tribes are a more disadvantaged group due to historic oppression and lack of access to education, employment, and property.
- The MoP has urged the Government to issue a notification that would include Scheduled Tribe women in the ambit of the Hindu Succession Act, except in cases where the customs of a particular Scheduled Tribe give women an advantageous position.
GUILLOTINE IN INDIAN LEGISLATIVE
- The ongoing stalemate in Parliament has led to speculation that the government may guillotine the demands for grants and pass the Finance Bill without any discussion. This has led to confusion and questions about what exactly guillotine means in legislative parlance.
- What is Guillotine?
- The term guillotine originally referred to an apparatus designed for executions by beheading. It was introduced in France during the French Revolution to make capital punishment more reliable and less painful.
- In legislative parlance, guillotine means to bunch together and fast-track the passage of financial business. It is a fairly common procedural exercise in Lok Sabha during the Budget Session.
- Once the guillotine is applied, any remaining demands for grants are put to vote without further discussion. This ensures that the budget is passed within the allocated time, and the government can continue its work without any delay.
PRADHAN MANTRI UJJWALA YOJANA
- Recently, the Central government extended the grant of a subsidy of Rs. 200 per gas cylinder under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) for another year, benefiting 9.59 crore beneficiaries. The subsidy is credited directly to the bank accounts of eligible beneficiaries.
- In the wake of sharp increases in international Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) prices due to various geopolitical factors, the government has decided to shield PMUY beneficiaries from high LPG prices.
- PMUY is a government flagship scheme launched in 2016 by the Government of India with the aim to make LPG available to economically weaker households in India. The scheme aims to safeguard the health of women and children by providing them with clean cooking fuel (LPG).
INDIAN AIR FORCE PARTICIPATING IN EXERCISE COBRA WARRIOR
- Indian Air Force (IAF) Mirage-2000 aircraft have been participating in Exercise Cobra Warrior in the United Kingdom over the past three weeks.
- This joint training exercise has been taking place alongside six other Air Forces, including those from the United Kingdom, Finland, Sweden, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, the United States, and Singapore.
- Participating Countries
- Finland, India, and Saudi Arabia joined Exercise Cobra Warrior for the first time. The initial plan was to bring in indigenous Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, but they were busy with another exercise, so the Mirage-2000s were deployed.
- Exercise Cobra Warrior
- Exercise Cobra Warrior is held twice a year and is the largest air exercise hosted by the Royal Air Force. This edition saw around 70 aircraft take part and was directed by staff at RAF Waddington air base.
SETI RIVER-6 HYDROPOWER PROJECT
- The Investment Board Nepal has granted permission to NHPC Limited, an Indian company, to conduct a feasibility study of the proposed 450 MW Seti River-6 Hydropower Project. The project will be built in the Doti and Achham districts of Nepal and aims to provide the country with much-needed electricity.
- Benefits of the Seti River-6 Hydropower Project
- The Seti River-6 Hydropower Project is a crucial development in Nepal’s efforts to increase its power generation capacity and provide electricity to its people.
- The project will create jobs and spur economic growth in the region, as well as reduce Nepal’s reliance on imported electricity. Additionally, Nepal will receive 21.9% of the West Seti Hydropower Project’s energy for free as per the agreement.
INDIA'S 6G VISION DOCUMENT
- On March 23, 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the Bharat 6G Vision Document, which outlines India’s plan to launch 6G communication services by 2030.
- The document was developed by the Technology Innovation Group on 6G, a group of experts from various ministries, research institutions, standardization bodies, telecom service providers, and industry.
- The 6G test bed was also launched, providing a platform for industry, academic institutions, and others to test and validate emerging technologies.
- The government said that the Bharat 6G vision document and 6G test bed would create an enabling environment for innovation, capacity building, and faster technology adoption in the country.
- India’s Progress in Telecommunication 6G Technology
- India’s Progress in Telecommunication
- In August 2022, while addressing the Smart India Hackathon, PM Modi announced that the government would launch 6G by the end of this decade, demonstrating India’s confidence in its progress in the telecommunication industry.
- He also urged youths and innovators to take advantage of the opportunity and come up with innovative solutions.
CELEBRATING 30 YEARS OF PROJECT ELEPHANT
- The Indian Government is set to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Project Elephant with the Gaj Utsav 2023. This two-day event aims to promote elephant conservation, protect their habitat and corridors, and prevent human-elephant conflicts. It will also ensure the welfare of captive elephants in India.
- The Gaj Utsav 2023 will be inaugurated by President Droupadi Murmu on April 9 at Kaziranga National Park in Assam. This event is significant as Kaziranga is a UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the highest density of tigers in the world.
- Project Elephant: Its Significance
- Project Elephant is a centrally-sponsored scheme launched in 1991-92 to protect elephants and their habitats in India.
- With an estimated population of 30,000-40,000 elephants, India accounts for more than 60 per cent of the global wild elephant population. Elephants are considered a national heritage animal protected under Schedule I of the Wild Life Protection Act, 1972.
AMIT SHAH INAUGURATED VEDIC HERITAGE PORTAL
- Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated the Vedic Heritage portal in New Delhi. The primary aim of the portal is to communicate the messages enshrined in the Vedas and make it more accessible to the common people.
- According to Union Culture Minister G Kishan Reddy, the Vedic Heritage portal now has audio-visual recordings of the four Vedas. These recordings contain over 18,000 mantras of the four Vedas, with a total duration of over 550 hours.
- The portal will act as a one-stop solution for anyone who wants to search for information about the Vedic heritage, making it easier for them to understand the messages and teachings of the Vedas.
- The portal is expected to be a valuable resource for researchers, scholars, and anyone interested in Vedic heritage, providing them with access to a wealth of information on this important aspect of Indian culture.
- Its launch is a significant step towards preserving and promoting India’s rich cultural heritage.
- Project Vrihattar Bharat
- Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) Member Secretary Dr. Sachchidanand Joshi informed that IGNCA is currently working on a project titled “Vrihattar Bharat,” which aims to document the cultural linkages of India with 40 other countries, including Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and Mongolia.
WHAT IS ARAVALLI GREEN WALL PROJECT?
- On March 25th, 2023, the Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Bhupender Yadav, inaugurated the Aravalli Green Wall Project.
- The project aims to green the 5 km buffer area around the Aravalli Hill Range in four states – Haryana, Rajasthan, Gujarat, and Delhi.
- The project was launched on the International Day of Forests and is a part of the National Action Plan to Combat Desertification and Land Degradation Through Forestry Interventions.
- The Objective of the Aravalli Green Wall Project
- The Aravalli Green Wall Project aims to improve the ecological health of the Aravalli range, prevent land degradation, combat desertification, improve biodiversity, mitigate climate change, and promote sustainable development.
- The initial phase of the project focuses on the rejuvenation of 75 water bodies in the Aravalli landscape, starting with five water bodies in each district of the Aravalli landscape.
- The project aims to develop a synergy between restoration, socio-economic factors, and development activities to ensure that both conservation and development can be achieved.
NEW INDIA LITERACY PROGRAMME
- Recently, the Minister of State for Education provided information about the New India Literacy Programme (NILP) in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
- What is the New India Literacy Programme?
- The Government has launched the Centrally Sponsored Scheme “New India Literacy Programme” (NILP) for implementation during five years from the FYs 2022-23 to 2026-27 with financial outlay of Rs.1037.90 crore.
- Aim: The scheme aims to cover a target of 5.00 crore non-literates in the age group of 15 years and above.
- The scheme has five components:
- Foundational Literacy and Numeracy
- Critical Life Skills
- Vocational Skills Development
- Basic Education
- Continuing Education
JAPAN'S PLAN FOR FREE & OPEN INDO-PACIFIC
- Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida recently introduced a new plan to promote a free and open Indo-Pacific region during his visit to India.
- The plan is aimed at forging stronger ties with countries in South and Southeast Asia to counter China’s growing assertiveness in the region, particularly over the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea. This article will delve deeper into Japan’s new Indo-Pacific plan.
- The Four Pillars of Japan’s Plan
- Kishida outlined four “pillars” to Japan’s new Indo-Pacific plan, which includes maintaining peace, dealing with new global issues in cooperation with Indo-Pacific countries, achieving global connectivity through various platforms, and ensuring the safety of the open seas and skies.
- The plan also includes a pledge of $75 billion to the region by 2030 through private investment and yen loans and by ramping up aid through official governmental assistance and grants.
WHAT IS VIENNA CONVENTION ON DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS?
- After pro-Khalistan people took down the Indian flag at the High Commission in London, the Indian government summoned the “senior-most” UK diplomat, Deputy High Commissioner and reminded her of the basic obligations of the UK Government under the Vienna Convention.
- What is the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations?
- The Convention was adopted on 14th April 1961 by the United Nations Conference on Diplomatic Intercourse and Immunities held in Vienna, Austria. India has ratified the convention.
- It entered into force on April 24, 1964, and is nearly universally ratified, with Palau and South Sudan being the exceptions.
- It sets out the special rules – privileges and immunities – which enable diplomatic missions to act without fear of coercion or harassment through enforcement of local laws and to communicate securely with their sending Governments.
- It makes provision for withdrawal of a mission – which may take place on grounds of economic or physical security – and for breach of diplomatic relations which may occur in response to abuse of immunity or severe deterioration in relations between sending and receiving States.
ANNUAL BILATERAL MARITIME EXERCISE KONKAN 2023
- The Annual Bilateral Maritime Exercise Konkan 2023 was a joint maritime exercise conducted between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of Britain. The annual military drill was held from 20 to 22 March-2023 off the Konkan coast in the Arabian Sea.
- The Konkan exercise series began in 2004. The exercise exhibited op-readiness, enhanced interoperability, and conducted joint operations. Participating ships included INS Trishul (Indian Navy), HMS Lancaster (Royal Navy) and Type 23 guided missile frigate.
- The exercises covered all domains of maritime operations, air, surface and subsurface, and included gunnery shoots on surface inflatable target ‘Killer Tomato', helicopter operations, anti-air and anti-submarine warfare drills, Visit Board Search and Seizure (VBSS), ship maneuvers and exchange of personnel.
- Other military exercises of India and the UK include - Konkan Shakti 2021 (first-ever tri-services joint exercise), Exercise Indradhanush (joint air force exercise), Exercise Ajeya Warrior (joint military exercise between India’s & UK’s soldiers).
UN 2023 WATER CONFERENCE HELD IN NEW YORK
- The UN 2023 Water Conference is being held from March 22 to 24 in New York, marking the first summit on water in 50 years. The conference will be a watershed moment to mobilize member states, the UN system, and stakeholders alike to take action and bring successful solutions to a global scale.
- The conference could be a ‘Paris moment’ for water, as described by the special envoys for water from the co-hosting countries, Tajikistan and the Netherlands.
- The conference seeks to bring greater focus on water, which is a critical foundation for many of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, including health, food, gender equity, education, livelihoods, industry, climate, and the environment.
- The Global Water Crisis
- According to the World Meteorological Organization, around 3.6 billion people struggle to get enough water to meet their needs for at least one month every year. Despite safe water and sanitation being a human right, billions of people lack access to these essentials for life, as stated by the United Nations.
IMF'S $3 BILLION BAILOUT PROGRAMME FOR SRI LANKA
- On March 20, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) cleared a $3 billion-Extended Fund Facility (EFF) for Sri Lanka, aimed at restoring macroeconomic stability, safeguarding financial stability, and unlocking the nation’s growth potential.
- Sri Lanka defaulted on its foreign debt in 2020, and this nearly-$3 billion facility comes after six months of the government’s staff-level agreement.
- President Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that the IMF program would “serve as an assurance to the international community that Sri Lanka has the capacity to service its debt.”
- India, Japan, and China, Sri Lanka’s top three bilateral creditors, played a crucial role in unlocking the IMF assistance to the island by providing financing assurances to the Fund.
- In an open letter to bilateral creditors, Mr. Wickremesinghe promised that Sri Lanka would be transparent in the debt restructuring process and ensure comparable treatment of all external creditors.
- Identifying corruption as a key issue, the IMF has started assessing Sri Lanka’s governance and anti-corruption framework in its first such exercise in Asia. The IMF “governance diagnostic mission” aims to help the country achieve debt sustainability, increase transparency, and promote inclusive growth.
- The assessment will also evaluate the effectiveness of Sri Lanka’s legal and institutional framework, as well as its anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism (AML/CFT) regime.
AWARDS & HONOURS
MATHEMATICIAN LUIS CAFFARELLI WINS ABEL PRIZE
- The Abel Prize, named after Norwegian mathematician Niels Henrik Abel, is considered one of the highest honors in mathematics. The prize is conferred every year by the King of Norway and is awarded to one or more outstanding mathematicians.
- This year, the Abel Prize was awarded to Argentine-American mathematician Luis Caffarelli for his groundbreaking contributions to several areas of mathematics.
- Who is Luis Caffarelli?
- Luis Caffarelli is a distinguished mathematician who was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1948. He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Buenos Aires in 1971 and his PhD from the University of Chicago in 1974.
- After completing his PhD, Caffarelli went on to hold academic positions at several universities, including the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Chicago, and the University of Minnesota. Since 2010, he has been a professor of mathematics at the University of Texas at Austin.
- Caffarelli’s Contributions to Mathematics
- Caffarelli’s work has had a significant impact on several areas of mathematics, including partial differential equations, calculus of variations, and free boundary problems. He is best known for his work on the regularity of solutions to partial differential equations. His research has helped to establish fundamental results on the regularity of solutions to nonlinear elliptic and parabolic equations.
WORLD ATHLETICS BANS TRANSGENDER WOMEN
- World Athletics, the governing body for athletics, has announced a ban on transgender women from competing in elite female competitions if they have gone through male puberty.
- The council has also imposed stricter regulations on athletes with Differences in Sex Development (DSD) by reducing the maximum amount of plasma testosterone for athletes in half, from 5 to 2.5 nanomoles per liter.
- What are the Major Points Related to the Ban?
- According to World Athletics, the ban on transgender women competing in elite female competitions is based on the need to protect the female category. The tighter rules will impact DSD athletes such as Caster Semenya, Christine Mboma, and Francine Niyonsaba.
- At the 2020 Olympics, Semenya and Niyonsaba were both barred from the 800m race and turned their attention to the 5,000m, while Mboma won silver in the 200m. Swimming's world governing body, World Aquatics, has also banned transgender women from elite competition if they have experienced any part of male puberty.
WOMEN'S WORLD BOXING CHAMPIONSHIP
- Recently, Nikhat Zareen (2nd world title) and Lovlina Borgohain (1st world title) won two gold medals for India in the Women’s World Boxing Championship.
- The Women's World Boxing Championship was organized by the International Boxing Association (IBA).
- The mission of IBA is to promote, support and govern the sport of boxing worldwide in accordance with the requirements and spirit of the Olympic Charter.
- The Olympic Charter is the codification of the fundamental principles of Olympism, and the rules and bye-laws (a set of rules or laws established by an organization or community so as to regulate itself) adopted by the International Olympic Committee.
IMPORTANT DAYS AND DATES
WORLD WATER DAY OBSERVED ON 22ND MARCH
- World Water Day (WWD) is celebrated on 22nd March Every Year. The United Nations General Assembly issued a resolution in 1993 declaring every year March 22 as World Day for Water.
- The theme for WWD 2023 is 'Accelerating the change to solve the water and sanitation crisis', emphasizing the necessity of taking stern action to address the global water crisis.
- The main objective of the day is to raise awareness and inspire people to sustainably manage freshwater resources and learn more about water-related issues like water pollution, water scarcity, inadequate water, and lack of sanitation, and take appropriate steps to make a difference.
- According to the United Nations, the idea behind celebrating the day is to "support the achievement of sustainable development goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030."
WORLD METEOROLOGICAL DAY OBSERVED ON MARCH 23RD
- World Meteorological Day is a significant day for meteorologists, weather enthusiasts, and anyone interested in climate and weather patterns.
- The day aims to raise awareness about the importance of meteorology and weather forecasting and the role of the World Meteorological Organisation in promoting international cooperation in these fields. Here is a brief overview of the history, theme, and significance of World Meteorological Day.
- World Meteorological Day commemorates the establishment of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) on March 23, 1950. The WMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for promoting international cooperation in the fields of meteorology, climatology, hydrology, and related geophysical sciences.
- Theme of World Meteorological Day 2023
- Each year, the WMO chooses a theme for World Meteorological Day that reflects current weather and climate issues. The theme for World Meteorological Day 2023 is “The future of weather, climate, and water across generations.”
- This theme aims to highlight the impact of changing weather patterns on the environment and future generations.
INTERNATIONAL DAY OF ZERO WASTE: MARCH 30TH
- Every year on March 30, people around the world celebrate the International Day of Zero Waste, a day designated by the United Nations General Assembly to promote reducing waste and sustainable consumption and production patterns.
- This day promotes the creation of a more sustainable and waste-free world.
- History of the International Day of Zero Waste
- The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution on December 14, 2022, designating March 30 as the International Day of Zero Waste.
- The proposal was co-sponsored by Turkey and 105 other countries and is part of a series of resolutions dealing with waste. It aims to achieve all the objectives and targets in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by promoting zero-waste initiatives.
- Theme of the International Day of Zero Waste 2023
- The theme of the International Day of Zero Waste in 2023 is “Achieving sustainable and environmentally sound practices of minimizing and managing waste.” This theme emphasizes the importance of promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns to reduce the negative impact of waste on the environment.
REPORTS & INDEXES
TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION REPORT 2023
- In its Technology and Innovation Report 2023, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) has stated that developed countries are benefiting more from green technologies than developing countries, and this could deepen global economic inequality.
- What are the Key Findings and Recommendations of the Report?
- Green technologies can create a market worth USD 9.5 trillion by 2030, up from USD 1.5 trillion in 2020. The total exports of green technologies from developed countries jumped to more than USD 156 billion in 2021 from about USD 60 billion in 2018.
- While exports from developing countries rose to only about USD 75 billion from USD 57 billion. According to the ‘frontier technology readiness index’ included in the report, only a few developing countries have the capacity to take advantage of frontier technologies such as blockchain, drones, and solar power.
- Green frontier technologies such as electric vehicles, solar and wind energy, and green hydrogen are expected to reach a market value of USD 2.1 trillion in 2030.
ANNUAL WORLD HAPPINESS REPORT
- The annual World Happiness Report, published by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network, has just been released, and it reveals that Finland remains the happiest country in the world for the sixth consecutive year.
- The report is based on data from the main life evaluation question in the Gallup World Poll, which measures how happy citizens perceive themselves to be.
- About the World Happiness Report
- Top 10 Countries in the World Happiness Report:
- The report ranked the top 10 happiest countries, with Finland in the lead followed by Denmark, Iceland, Israel, and the Netherlands.
- Other European countries such as Sweden, Norway, Switzerland, and Luxembourg also made the top 10. New Zealand was the only non-European country to make it to the top 10. The rankings are based on a range of factors such as social support, life expectancy, freedom to make life choices, generosity, and perceptions of corruption.
- India’s Position in the World Happiness Report
- India’s position in the World Happiness Report has improved from 136 to 126, although it is still behind its neighboring countries such as Nepal, China, and Bangladesh.
- Despite having the world’s fastest-growing economy, India’s ranking in the report has consistently been low, leading some to question how it can be ranked lower than countries in turmoil.
INDIA RANKS 5TH IN NATIONAL CONTRIBUTION TO WARMING
- Recently, the research published in the journal “Scientific Data’ ranked India fifth among the top 10 contributors to global warming.
- What are the Key Highlights of the Report?
- Top Contributor: The United States topped the list with its emissions causing 0.28°C (17.3%) of rise in temperature. China stood second and Russia took third place.
- India's Position: Since 2005, India climbed to the fifth spot from the 10th. India is responsible for 0.08 degrees Celsius of warming from the 1850s through 2021.
- India’s emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) from 1851-2021 have resulted in 04°C, 0.03°C and 0.006°C of global warming over pre-industrial levels, respectively.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
ISRO ANNOUNCED TO LAUNCH ITS LARGEST ROCKET: LVM3
- The Indian space agency, ISRO, has announced that it will launch its largest rocket, LVM3, on March 26th for its second commercial mission.
- This is the shortest duration in which ISRO has carried out two missions of the LVM3 rocket, as it aims to meet the timelines of the customer whose satellites are being launched. This is the 6th mission to be carried out with the rocket.
- OneWeb, a UK-based firm backed by India’s Bharti Group, aims to offer high-speed, low-latency internet connectivity from space via its constellation of satellites in Low Earth Orbit.
- OneWeb has already flown 17 times, utilizing launch services from SpaceX, Arianespace and ISRO to place all its 1st generation constellation satellites in orbit. ISRO will be carrying the 18th set of satellites for OneWeb.
- Dedicated Commercial Mission
- The upcoming mission will be carried out through ISRO’s commercial arm NSIL (NewSpace India Limited). It will carry 36 OneWeb Gen-1 satellites with a total mass of 5,805 kg, into a 450 km circular Low Earth Orbit with an inclination of 87.4°.
INTERNATIONAL LIQUID MIRROR TELESCOPE
- Recently, India inaugurated the largest International Liquid Mirror Telescope (ILMT) in Devasthal, Uttarakhand. This four-meter telescope is designed exclusively for astronomical observations and is the first optical survey telescope in India.
- The observatory will explore the deep celestial sky, classifying objects from asteroids to supernovae, and space debris.
- The ILMT has a 4-meter-diameter rotating mirror made up of a thin layer of liquid mercury, which is highly reflective and designed to survey the strip of the sky passing overhead each night.
- The telescope has three components: a bowl containing reflecting liquid mercury metal, an air bearing (or motor) on which the liquid mirror sits, and a drive system. The mercury is protected from the wind by a scientific-grade thin transparent film of mylar.
- The reflected light passes through a sophisticated multi-lens optical corrector that produces sharp images over a wide field of view. A 4k × 4k CCD camera, located above the mirror at the focus, records 22 arcminute wide strips of the sky.
LVM3 M3/ONE WEB INDIA - 2 MISSION
- On March 25, 2023, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and NewSpace India Limited (NSIL) successfully launched the OneWeb India-2 mission, a significant achievement in space connectivity.
- The mission’s primary objective was to deploy 36 satellites into a 450 km circular orbit with an inclination of 87.4 degrees, which was accomplished using the LVM3 rocket.
- The OneWeb India-2 mission utilized the LVM3 (Launch Vehicle Mark 3) rocket, which is India’s largest rocket to date. The total weight of the payload carried by LVM3 was 5,805 kg, which included the 36 OneWeb satellites.
- The satellites were designed to provide high-speed, low-latency broadband connectivity to governments, businesses, and communities worldwide.
- OneWeb’s Mission and Milestones
- OneWeb’s mission is to provide connectivity for everyone, everywhere, through a global communication network powered from space.
- The company aims to bridge the digital divide by providing affordable, reliable, and high-speed internet access to remote and underserved regions.
- The OneWeb India-2 mission was a crucial milestone in achieving this goal, as it brought the total number of satellites in OneWeb’s constellation to 618. This number enables global service, making it the first low Earth orbit (LEO) operator to reach this milestone.
CORAL REEFS IN GULF OF MANNAR
- Recently, the dead coral reefs were observed near Kurusadai (Tamil Nadu), one of the 21 uninhabited islands forming the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park.
- The primary reason behind this loss is Kappaphycus alvarezii, a seaweed species deliberately introduced for commercial cultivation some two decades ago.
- What are Seaweeds?
- Seaweed is the name given to the many species of marine algae and plants that grow in water bodies such as rivers, seas and oceans. They vary in size, from microscopic to large underwater forests. Seaweed is found on the shores across the world, but is more commonly a staple in Asian countries.
- Gulf of Mannar:
- It is an inlet of the Indian Ocean, between southeastern India and western Sri Lanka. It is bounded to the northeast by Rameswaram (island), Adam’s (Rama’s) Bridge (a chain of shoals), and Mannar Island.
- It receives several rivers, including the Tambraparni (India) and the Aruvi (Sri Lanka). The gulf is noted for its pearl banks and sacred chank (a gastropod mollusk).
WHAT IS VERNAL EQUINOX?
- The vernal equinox is observed on March 21st 2023.
- What is Equinox?
- Equinox happens twice a year when the sun is directly above the equator and it occurs on approximately 21st March and 23rd September. During an equinox, both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres have equal day and night time.
- The vernal equinox (spring equinox) takes place in the Northern Hemisphere around 20th or 21st March, while in the Southern Hemisphere, it happens on 22nd or 23rd September.
- Conversely, during the autumn season in the Northern Hemisphere on 23rd September (autumn equinox), it is springtime in the Southern Hemisphere, and on 21st March, it is the opposite.
- As a result, the Sun is located directly above the equator, and both hemispheres receive an almost equal amount of sunlight. After the spring equinox, the northern hemisphere tilts closer to the sun in March, resulting in more hours of daylight, with earlier sunrises and later sunsets.
DNA PROFILING FOR ELEPHANTS
- While celebrating the 30 years of ‘Project Elephant’, the MoEF&CC has announced the completion of the DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) Profiling of 270 elephants, aiming at ensuring better protection.
- What is the Project?
- The DNA profiling was started in August 2022 for Gaj Soochna Mobile Application for forest officials. DNA profiling is the process where a specific DNA pattern, called a profile, is obtained from a sample of bodily tissue.
- The DNA profiling will act as the ‘Adhaar card of captive elephants’. The captive elephants had earlier been chipped electronically, but the method was not a success.
- With the mobile app, forest officers can identify each elephant and track it and therefore its transfer, which often happens in the case of captive elephants, can be recorded.
- After the elephant profiling, more focus can be put on elephant care – with unique information about elephants. Unlike Project Tiger, the Project Elephant looks at the welfare and health of captive elephants as well.
- What is Project Elephant?
- It was launched in 1992 as a Centrally-Sponsored Scheme with an aim to protect elephants and improve their habitat and corridors, reduce Human-elephant conflict and ensure their welfare. As many as 33 elephant reserves, spanning 80,777 sq km, have been notified.
- It provides financial and technical support to wildlife management efforts by states for their free-ranging populations of wild Asian Elephants. The project aims to ensure the long-term survival of the populations of elephants in their natural habitats by protecting the elephants, their habitats and migration corridors.
WHAT IS SPECIAL COURT?
- Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) has suggested a State-specific approach to setting up special courts for speedy trial of legislators.
- The SC said that a "one-size-fits-all" approach may not resolve the problem of long pendency of criminal cases involving MPs and MLAs because the burden of cases is different for each state.
- What is the Background?
- In 2017, the SC had ordered that special courts be set up across the country to fast-track the long-pending trials of lawmakers.
- Following this, 12 special courts were set up across 11 States exclusively to try sitting MPs and MLAs. In September 2020, an SC-appointed amicus curiae (friend of the court), in his two reports, highlighted that despite the best efforts by the court to constitute special courts for trying cases against legislators, close to 4,442 criminal cases involving 2,556 sitting members of Parliament (MP) and members of legislative assemblies (MLAs) are pending.
- These cases have now crossed the 5,000-mark, with 400 of them concerning heinous offenses.
- What is a Special Court?
- A Special Court is a court with constrained purview, that manages a specific field of law as opposed to a specific regional ward. In India, these courts are established under the Special Courts Act of 1979.