25 & 26, December 2016

1.Ministry of Textiles celebrates Good Governance Day with Launch of New Initiatives

Source: PIB

On the ocassion of Good Governance Day, 2016 Union Minister of Textiles launched following initiatives of the Ministry of Textiles in New Delhi.

  • ‘JUTE-SMART’ an online portal to facilitate purchase of Jute bags from the Jute Industry by the State Procurement Agencies;
  • Dashboard for Integrated Skill Development Scheme hosted on the NIC Cloud with access to public; and
  • Bunkar Mitra – a Helpline for handholding of Handloom weavers
  1. JUTE-SMART seeks to provide an integrated platform for use by all the stakeholders to allow easy access to information, more transparency and ease of doing business for the jute sector.

B-Twill Supply Management & Requisition Tool, in short, JUTE-SMART is a web based application developed to facilitate end to end transactions relating to procurement of B-Twill sacking.

  1. ISDS(Integrated Skill Development Scheme) Initiative- In pursuance to the efforts in bringing more transparency into the system, as part of “Good Governance Day”, the information relating to the progress of ISDS along with State wise details of all live training programmes under the scheme will be opened for public view through Ministry’s website.

The live information being sourced from MIS will be displayed in a separate page of Ministry’s website in a user friendly dashboard format giving State-wise, sector-wise, category-wise progress of training programmes under the scheme across the country.

  1. 3. BUNKAR MITRA — HANDLOOM HELPLINE CENTRE- Weavers’ Service Centres (WSCs) are functioning across the country to provide technical assistance to handloom weavers in improving their skills.

  1. DRDO successfully flight tests Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon

Source: PIB

DRDO successfully tests Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon, can target enemy airfields within 100 km range

The Defence and Research Development Organization (DRDO) successfully flight tested the Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW), from an Indian Air Force (IAF) aircraft.

  • The captive and release trials were tracked by Radar and Telemetry ground stations at ITR during the entire duration of the flight.
  • The performance of all systems were satisfactory with all the mission objectives achieved.

Smart Anti-Airfield Weapon (SAAW)

  • SAAW, an indigenously designed and developed 120 kg. class smart weapon, developed by DRDO, is capable of engaging ground targets with high precision up to a range of 100 kms.
  • The light weight high precision guided bomb is one of the world class weapons systems.
  • It is one of the world class weapons systems that can be used to destroy runways, aircraft hangers, bunkers and other reinforced structures.

Background:

  • Secretary, Department of Defence (R&D) & Chairman, DRDO, Dr S. Christopher, congratulated DRDO and the IAF teams for the successful mission.
  • In May, the DRDO conducted the first test on the weapon system from the IAF Jaguar DARIN-II aircraft in Bengaluru in Karnataka.
  • The test was carried out by IAF’s Aircraft and Systems Testing Establishment (ASTE).
  • The trial mode mounting of the SAAW on Jaguar DARIN-II aircraft is manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

  1. India successfully test-fires nuclear capable Agni-V

Source: Indian Express

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Agni-V has a range of over 5,000 km and can carry about a 1,000-kg warhead.
  • Once the Agni-V is inducted, India will join the super exclusive club of the US, Russia, China, France and the UK.
  • The 17-meter long Agni-5 Missile weighs about 50 tonnes and is a very agile and modern weapon system.

India tested its Agni-V intercontinental ballistic missile+ (ICBM) in its final operational configuration from Wheeler Island off Odisha, paving the way for its eventual induction into the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) after user-trials.

Agni V

The nuclear-capable Agni-V, which can even reach the northernmost parts of China with its strike range of over 5,000-km, was test-fired from its canister on a launcher truck. All the test parameters of the missile, which was tested for its full range, were successfully achieved. The missile splashed down near Australian waters.

  1. The three-stage Agni-V — if it is fully successful— comes after a gap of two years due to minor technical tweaking required in the ballistic missile as well as the need for India to exercise some strategic restraint when it was seeking entry into the 48-country Nuclear Suppliers Group (which was thwarted by China) and the 34-nation Missile Technology Control Regime (which India joined earlier this year)
  • This was the first test of the Agni-5 missile after India became a member of the Missile Technology Control Regime, a 35-nation group to check the spread of unmanned delivery systems for nuclear weapons.

2.Agni-5 has a range of over 5,000 km and can carry about a 1,000-kg warhead. It can target almost all of Asia including Pakistan and China and Europe. The solid propellant driven missile will be tested from a canister which gives it all-weather and any terrain mobile launch capability.

3.The 17-metre long Agni-5 Missile weighs about 50 tonnes and is a very agile and modern weapon system.

4.The surface-to-surface missile is a fire-and-forget system that cannot be easily detected as it follows a ballistic trajectory.

5.It carries Multiple Independently Targetable Re-entry Vehicles (MIRV) payloads.

  1. A single MIRV equipped missile that can deliver multiple warheads at different targets. It is also incorporates advanced technologies involving ring laser gyroscope and accelerometer for navigation and guidance.

Other Agni missiles:

  • India already has in its arsenal the Agni 1, 2, 3 and 4 missile systems and supersonic cruise missiles like Brahmos.
  • India describes the Agni – 5 missile system as a ‘weapon of peace’.
  • The first missile of the series, Agni-I was developed under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Program and tested in 1989.
  • In the series, Agni-1 has a 700-km range, Agni-2 has a 2,000 km range, and Agni-3 and Agni-4 have a 2,500 km to more than 3,500 km range.
  • The Agni-6 is reported to be in early stages of development and the latest and most advanced version, capable of being launched from submarines as well as from land, with a strike-range of 8,000-10,000 km.

Once this missile is inducted in Services, India will join the super exclusive club of countries having ICBMs (missiles with a range of over 5,000-5,500km) alongside the US, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom.

  1. Ebola vaccine may be ‘up to 100% effective’, says WHO

Source: Indian Express

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed confidence that a prototype vaccine for Ebola may be 100% effective in protecting against the deadly virus.
  • The vaccine was initially developed in Canada by public health authorities before being taken over by pharmaceutical giant Merck.

Keyfacts:

  • Earlier in a major experimental human clinical trial of this vaccine conducted on nearly 6,000 people in Guinea in 2015 was found to successfully.
  • It was observed that no one from the 6,000 people contracted again to the lethal disease. The test results of the trial were released in The Lancet magazine.
  • Known as rVSV-EBOV, the vaccine prevented the development of Ebola in everyone it was given to during its field test, and its makers are now seeking regulatory approval for the drug so it can be more widely used.
  • This new vaccine has not yet been approved by any regulatory authority. But it is said that the vaccine could become available in 2018 under a fast-track approval process. However, this new vaccine has some flaws as it appears to work against only one of the two most common strains of the Ebola virus.
  • Thus, it may not give long-lasting protection and some of patients who were given this vaccine have reported side effects like joint pain and headaches.
  • although rVSV-EBOV works against Zaire ebolavirus, the subtype of Ebola responsible for most human infections, it doesn’t work against the other four subtypes.
  • The vaccine is made up of the vesicular stomatitis virus (which harms cattle but doesn’t make humans sick) and an Ebola virus surface protein that prompts the human body to produce antibodies.

Ebola virus:

Ebola virus disease (EVD) is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.

  • It was first identified in 1976 in the Democratic Republic of Congo in a village near the Ebola River, from which it takes its name.
  • It is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission. Fruit bats are natural host of this virus.
  • It spreads through contact with body fluids of inflected persons such as blood, urine and saliva. Symptoms faced by people who have contracted the Ebola virus include high fever, bleeding and central nervous system damage.
  • In 2014, Ebola virus had erupted periodically mainly across west and east Africa mainly in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It was the deadly outbreak of the virus in the history that had killed 11,000 people.

  1. Digi Dhan Fair in Gurgaon on Monday to promote cashless economy

Source: Indian Express

With an aim to promote cashless transactions, the first ‘Digi Dhan’ mela (fair) will be organised in Gurugram, Haryana, where customers will be able to purchase items only through digital modes of payment.

  • This is the first such fair in the country since demonetisation for educating masses on how to use mobile phones for making purchases. The Niti Ayog and state’s Department of IT and Gurugram district administration are the organisers of the mela.
  • This will be a unique fair where all transactions will be cashless and people will be educated how to use plastic money, instead of using hard cash.

  1. Russian automated control systems to arrive in Kudankulam from 2018

Source: Indian Express

The agreement said that the equipment supply for Kudankulam units 3 and 4 would begin in 2018 and 2019, respectively. After that the installation and setup would begin.

  • The automated control systems for two nuclear power plants in Tamil Nadu’s Kudankulam will start arriving to India from Russia 2018 onwards, the Russian State Nuclear Corporation (Rosatom).
  • Automated control systems are key components needed to ensure the safe operation of the nuclear power plant.
  • They include a range of special tools for safety and regular operation mode maintenance.

Keyfacts:

These systems for the 1,000 MW units – 3 and 4 would be manufactured by a Rosatom affiliate — Automated Control Systems.

According to a statement by the Russian company an agreement to supply automated control systems was signed between Rosatom-Automated Control Systems and Atom story export — the latter responsible for nuclear power plant construction.

India’s nuclear power plant operator

  • India’s nuclear power plant operator, Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is setting up 1,000 MW units at Kudankulam in Tirunelvelli district, around 650 km from here.
  • The company has completed two units and construction activities for the third and fourth units have started.
  • The general agreement for the construction of Units 3 and 4 was signed with Rosatom, in 2014.
  • At present, the implementation of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) involves the construction of six power units equipped with VVER-1000 reactors(The Water-Water Energetic Reactor (VVER)).
  • The road map for cooperation between Russia and India in the sphere of nuclear power provides for the construction of a total of 12 power units in different locations in India, including the site of the KNPP.


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