30 , August 2017

After Kalpana Chawla, Jalseen Kaur Josan becomes 2nd Indian woman to fly for NASA’s Mars Mission

After Kalpana Chawla,Jaslin Kaur Josan becomes the 2nd Indian Women and first Sikh women to be selected by NASA for the Mars Expedition happening in 2030.The mission called the Orion Mission will be the first man mission to the red planet and candidates were selected from around the world.


Microsoft Launches ‘Project Brainwave’ for Real-Time AI

The ‘Project Brainwave’ uses the massive field-programmable gate array (FPGA) infrastructure that Microsoft has been deploying over the past few years.Real-time AI is becoming increasingly important as cloud infrastructures process live data streams, whether they be search queries, videos, sensor streams, or interactions with users.

IAEA opens world’s first low Enriched Uranium bank in Kazakhstan

The United Nations (UN) global nuclear watchdog, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has opened world’s first low Enriched Uranium (LEU) Bank in Oskemen in Kazakhstan.

The bank is owned and managed by IAEA. It will be the first of its kind LEU bank not to be under control of any individual country. It manages 123 tons of uranium in Angarsk, Russia but it is under the control of Russian Government.
FIFA U-17 World Cup Logo for Kochi Venue

Kerala Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan launched the host city logo for Kochi, one of the venues of FIFA U-17 World Cup India 2017.

The logo represents and reflects Kochi’s identity and will be a valuable tool in linking the local community in a global World Cup.The tournament will be hosted in the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium of the city.It is the first Indian city to be officially declared as one of the venues for hosting the 2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup.

Kenya Imposes World’s Toughest Law Against Plastic Bags
The country Kenya imposed a law that selling or even using plastic bags will risk imprisonment of up to four years or fines of $40,000.It is the world’s toughest law which is aimed at reducing plastic pollution came into effect.

The East African nation joins more than 40 other countries that have banned, partly banned or taxed single use plastic bags, including China, France, Rwanda, and Italy.
West Bengal’s Gobindobhog rice gets geographical indication status

The Geographical Indications Registry (GIR) has granted geographical indication (GI) status to Gobindobhog rice, a speciality from Burdwan district of Gobindobhog rice, a speciality from Burdwan district of West Bengal. The state government had applied for GI status for Gobindobhog rice in August 2015.

Gobindobhog rice

Gobindobhog variety of rice is a short grain, white, aromatic, sticky rice having a sweet buttery flavor. It derives its name from principal ingredient usage in preparation of offerings to Govindajiu, the family deity of Sets of Kolkata.

It is primarily cultivated in east Burdwan district – in southern basin of Damodar River in Raina 1, Raina 2 and Khandaghosh blocks. Burdwan region (now divided into districts of east and west Burdwan) is known as the rice bowl of Bengal. The south Damodar belt is traditional area of Gobindobhog rice cultivation.

Government to launch Deep Ocean Mission

The Union Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is going to launch Deep Ocean Mission by January 2018 to spur research activities in ocean science and develop technology to harness ocean resources. The proposed inter-ministerial and interdisciplinary project aims to explore and harness mineral resources beneath the ocean floor.

India has 7,500 km of coastline and 2.4 million square km of exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The oceans along Indian peninsula contain enormous opportunities in energy, food, medicine and a host of other natural resources. China has been working on a deep sea mission for mining mineral deposits in the Indian and Pacific oceans.

Deep Ocean Mission

The mission is intended to harness ocean resources in responsible way and play important transformative role in prosperity and security of the nation. It will also seek to create jobs and business opportunities in ocean science. It will not only involve the MoES, but also departments of other ministries like science and technology and the biotechnology etc.

1.Delhi Police has launched YUVA – a skill development programme
Source: PIB

YUVA is Delhi Police initiative under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana. Delhi Police has opened skill development training centres in the police stations.

  • The ‘YUVA’ initiative by Delhi Police aims to connect with youth by upgrading their skill as per their competencies.
  • It will help them to get a gainful employment under Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna under the Ministry of Skill Development.
  • Delhi Police has tied up with National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for providing mass job linked skill training for the selected youth.
  • National Skill Development Corporation shall be providing skill training to the youth under ‘Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojna’ (PMKVY)
  • CII will provide job linked training through its Sector Skill Councils who are connected to industry and thereby provide job guarantee.
  • A detailed exercise was conducted in all 13 districts of Delhi Police to select the youth in the age of 17-25 years for this training belonging to categories such as School dropouts, Juvenile offenders, Victims of crimes and families in dire state due to incarceration of the bread earner of the family, mostly from the underprivileged colonies.

2. Centre argues against making marital rape a crime in Delhi high court
Source: The Hindu

NGO, RTI Foundation filed a plea before Delhi High Court: Strike down the exception under Section 375 (rape) of the IPC, which does not penalize sexual intercourse between a man and his wife if she is over 15 years of age.

Such an exception would be against the interest of married women as it is violative of Article 14 (equality under law) and 21 (right to life) of the Constitution. 

Center’s response:

  • If marital rape is recognized as a crime then it would-Destabilize the institution of marriage, apart from being an easy tool for harassing husbands.
  • The courts too would find it difficult to rely upon evidence in such circumstances as there could be “no lasting evidence in case of sexual acts between a man and his own wife”.


3.Minimum wage to vary across states
Source: The Hindu

The Code on Wages Bill proposed by the Union government. Proposed bill will not fix a single national level minimum wage for the whole country, but will vary across states and geographies.

Code on Wages Bill 2017:

  • “It provides for national minimum wage for different geographical areas so as to ensure that no State Government fixes the minimum wage below the national minimum wage, notified for that area by the Central Government,”
  • The Centre will fix different wages through a notification after consulting the Central Advisory Board.
  • As per the new provisions of the bill- if the minimum wages fixed by the states are already higher than the ‘national minimum wage’, the states will not be allowed to lower their wage levels.
  • The Code on Wages Bill combines four labour laws — Payment of Wages Act, 1936, Minimum Wages Act, 1948, Payment of Bonus Act, 1965 and Equal Remuneration Act, 1976.

4.North Korea fires missile over Japan
Source: The Hindu

Nuclear-armed North Korea said on Wednesday that it had fired a missile over Japan the previous day. It is the first time it has ever acknowledged doing so.

 Missile launch over Japan

  • The launch of the Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missile was supervised by leader Kim Jong-Un
  • It crossed the sky above Oshima peninsula of Hokkaido and Cape Erimo of Japan along the pre-set flight track and accurately hit the pre-set target waters in northern Pacific
  • North Korea has twice previously sent rockets over the main islands of Japan, in 1998 and 2009, but on both occasions claimed they were space launch vehicles.
  • The drill had no impact on the security of the neighbouring countries
  • The launch represented a major escalation by Pyongyang in the face of tensions over its weapons programmes.

North Korea about the launch

There would be “more ballistic rocket launching drills with the Pacific as a target in the future”.The launch, was timed to mark the 107th anniversary of the “disgraceful” Japan-Korea treaty of 1910, under which Tokyo colonised the Korean peninsula.

Further actions

Threatening and destabilising actions only increase the North Korean regime’s isolation in the region and among all nations of the world.At an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in New York — which has already imposed seven sets of sanctions on Pyongyang over its weapons programmes, warned that tough action had to be taken.

Japan’s reaction

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was nevertheless visibly unsettled, dubbing the launch an “unprecedented, serious and grave threat.”Abe called the overflight an “outrageous act” and he said the allies had agreed to “further strengthen pressure against North Korea.


5.ISRO opens up satellite making to industry
Source: The Hindu

The Indian Space Research Organisation has opened the door to domestic entities that can give it up to 18 spacecraft a year starting mid to late 2018.The Bengaluru-based ISRO Satellite Centre (ISAC), which has so far produced about 90 Indian spacecraft, invited single or combined industries to apply for this opportunity.

  • ISAC would sign a three-year contract with the finalists, train, handhold and supervise their teams in making its range of satellites at its facility.
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation Scurrently makes four categories of spacecraft — communication, remote sensing, navigation and scientific missions — and in three sizes of 1,000 kg to 4,000 kg.
  • The first lot of spacecraft from this exercise was expected in about six months from the signing of the contracts. This is also roughly the normal time taken to assemble a satellite.

Benefits for ISRO

How would the exercise benefit ISRO or ISAC which has around 900 engineers versed in different skills related to spacecraft?

“Right now, the manpower of ISAC/ISRO is not adequate for meeting both the increased load of making more satellites; and also for the R&D that we need for future satellites. The present bid to outsource our AIT will help us re-deploy our human resources effectively and focus on R&D,” he said.

It would also aid self-reliance by way of an independent Indian satellite industry.

Although the goal is to get vendors to realise satellites “end to end”, ISAC would retain important and scientific missions.In the $ 339-billion global space industry, satellite manufacturing accounts for 8% or $13.9 billion


6.Centre to unveil ‘future-ready’ industrial policy in October
Source: The Hindu

The government is all set to announce the new ‘future-ready’ Industrial Policy in October

Policy aim:

  • To facilitate the use of smart technologies such as the internet of things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics for advanced manufacturing.
  • To make India a manufacturing hub by promoting ‘Make in India’
  • To subsume the National Manufacturing Policy.

Six thematic focus groups: manufacturing and MSME; technology and innovation; ease of doing business; infrastructure, investment, trade and fiscal policy; and skills and employability for the future, would facilitate inputs.

Constraints to Industrial growth:

  • Inadequate infrastructure
  • Restrictive labour laws
  • Complicated business environment
  • Slow technology adoption
  • Low productivity
  • Challenges for trade including the Indian MSME sector facing tough competition from cheap imports from China and FTA countries,
  • Inadequate expenditure on R&D and Innovation


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