23, June 2017

  1. Cartosat-2 launch: India puts another smart eye in the sky

Source: PIB

India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle has launched the Cartosat-2 series satellite—a dedicated satellite for defence forces—along with 30 co-passenger satellites from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. This is the 40th flight of PSLV and 17th flight of PSLV in ‘XL’ configuration (with the use of solid strap-on motors).

Key facts:

  • PSLV-C38 launched the 712 kg Cartosat-2 series satellite for earth observation and 30 co-passenger satellites together, weighing about 243 kg at lift-off, into a 505-km polar sun synchronous orbit.
  • The co-passenger satellites include 29 Nano satellites from 14 countries—Austria, Belgium, Chile, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America—besides a nano satellite from India.
  • The international customer nano satellites are being launched as part of the commercial arrangements between Antrix Corporation Limited (Antrix), commercial arm of ISRO and International customers.

Cartosat-2:

  • Cartosat-2 is a remote sensing satellite and it is similar in configuration to earlier satellites in the series with the objective of providing high-resolution scene specific spot imagery.
  • It has a resolution of 0.6 metres, which means it can spot even smaller objects within a square of 0.6 m by 0.6 m.
  • Once this satellite becomes operational, it would be handed over to the defence forces, which have their own infrastructure, which includes ground stations, and trained manpower to access data.

  1. India’s biggest municipal bonds programme launched in Maharashtra:

Source: PIB

To finance its 24×7 water supply project, the Pune Municipal Corporation has launched India’s biggest municipal bonds programme. The project looks to raise Rs 2,264 crore in five years.

What are Municipal Bonds?

  • Municipal bonds are debt instruments through which a corporation or municipality raises money from individuals or institutions.
  • The civic body floating the bonds returns the principal amount on a maturity date with a specific amount of interest. There are usually two kinds of bonds – general bonds, where money is raised without mentioning the cause in particular, and revenue bonds, where funds are raised for income-generating projects and revenue from the projects is used to repay the buyers.

  1. Meet on preserving endangered Manipur deer held

Source: The Hindu

A workshop on how people and brow-antlered deer (Sangai), can co-exist, recently concluded in Manipur. Due to lack of funds and poaching, sangai may become extinct sooner than expected.

Key facts:

  • The sangai is an endemic, rare and endangered subspecies of brow-antlered deer. It is also state animal of Manipur.
  • The Sangai is now restricted to the Keibul Lamjao National Park (KLNP) in the Southeastern fringe of Loktak Lake in Manipur. Phumdis, floating vegetation occupy about two-third of the surface area of the lake. They feed, live and breed on this 9 km area of Phumdis.
  • It is classified as “Endangered” by the IUCN.

  1. Amendment of the Social Security Agreement between India and the Netherlands

Source: PIB

The Union Cabinet has approved Amendment of the bilateral Social Security Agreement (SSA) between India and the Netherlands by incorporating the “Country of Residence” Principle into the said SSA.

India- Netherlands

  • The circumstances where the “country of residence” principle will apply to a few instances of Indian nationals include the following:
  • An Indian worker who dies in the Netherlands and has his/her spouse and children living in India.
  • An Indian worker who gets disabled while working in the Netherlands and returns to India.

Background:

  • A bilateral Social Security Agreement, (SSA) was signed between India and the Netherlands on 22nd October 2009 and came into force on 15th June 2010.
  • The SSA allows exemption from double contribution to the social security system in both jurisdictions, exportability of accumulated social security benefits across jurisdictions (applicable even to the self-employed), and totalization of serving periods.
  • Beginning 1st January 2013, a new social security legislation came into force in the Netherlands, consequent to which the Netherlands began to apply the “country of residence” principle on certain social security benefits exported to other countries.
  • The principle sought, is to bring in equity in exportability of social benefits to the class of Dutch citizens who reside outside the Netherlands.

As on date, India has signed and operationalized SSAs with 18 countries – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and South Korea.

  1. A law, this time for Antarctica

Source: The Hindu

India is drafting a dedicated Antarctica policy and a law that will likely be tabled in the winter session of Parliament.

Ministry of Earth Sciences will draft the law.

Background:

  • India, being among the countries that have acceded to the Antarctica Treaty, is expected to have a clear policy on the consequences of its activities in the region. India is expanding its infrastructure development in Antarctica.
  • The government is rebuilding its station, Maitri, to make it bigger and last for at least 30 years. Dakshin Gangotri, the first Indian base established in 1984, has weakened and become just a supply base.

Antarctic Treaty:

  • The treaty is framed to ensure ‘in the interests of all mankind that Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord.’
  • To this end it prohibits military activity, except in support of science; prohibits nuclear explosions and the disposal of nuclear waste; promotes scientific research and the exchange of data; and holds all territorial claims in abeyance.
  • Several related conventions, such as the Conservation of Antarctic Seals (1972) and the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (1980), are appended to this treaty for protection.

 



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