• The Kolkata Municipal Corporation, with the support of the Asian Development Bank, recently launched the country’s first flood forecasting and early-warning system, which will provide real-time data on inundation, rainfall intensity, temperature, air quality and other climate-related data.
  • India successfully conducted an interceptor missile test for the Prithvi Defence Vehicle mission from Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha thus achieving a major milestone in developing a two-layer Ballistic Missile Defence system. The Prithvi Defence Vehicle mission is for engaging targets at an altitude of above 50 km of the earth’s atmosphere.
  • India is seeking to procure Spike anti-tank guided missiles from Israel. Spike is a third-generation, fire-and-forget, man-portable missile manufactured by Israel’s Rafael.
  • September 2018 marked the cenetary of the Battle of Haifa where Indian soldiers fought Ottoman forces to liberate Haifa in present-day Israel.
  • Many of the critical technologies required for human spaceflight have already been validated by ISRO through various tests. These technologies include Space Capsule Recovery Experiment, Crew Module Atmospheric Re-Entry Experiment and Pad Abort Test. ISRO will use its GSLV Mk-III launch vehicle, which can carry the heavier payload of the Gaganyaan.
  • Pests and the crops they affect –
  • Fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda) – Maize; a native of Americas; has reached West Bengal, Karnataka and Gujarat; Most recently seen in Shivamogga district of Karnataka. Karnataka is one of the largest maize producers in India, and maize is the third most widely produced cereal in the country.
  • Mealybug – A central American native; Mealybugs are insects in the family Pseudococcidae, unarmored scale insects found in moist, warm climates. Many species are considered pests as they feed on plant juices of greenhouse plants, house plants and subtropical trees and also act as a vector for several plant diseases. Recently ‘Papaya’ crops were infested with Mealybugs.
  • Tuta absoluta – Also called the tomato pinworm; a South American moth, was spotted in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi and other regions, where it caused widespread damage to ‘tomato’ crop.
  • Rafugars – are Kashmir’s master Darners; The Jammu & Kashmir government is making efforts to revive this dwindling breed of craftsmen whose rare ability to repair expensive antique shawls is in great demand across the country and abroad. They were famous with Mughal emperors for their finesse.
  • Surya Kiran – Regular military exercise between India and Nepal.
  • ‘Akash’ is an indigenously developed short-range surface-to-air missile (SRSAM) system. The Akash is set for an upgrade. The upgraded version will include the seeker technology and possess a 360-degree coverage, and will be of compact configuration. Akash has a range of 25 km and can engage multiple targets at a time in all-weather conditions. It has a large operational envelope, from 30 metre to a maximum of 20 km. 
  • India and Bangladesh began construction of the first bilateral energy pipeline project that will take refined diesel from Assam’s Numaligarh refinery to Parbatipur in Bangladesh across the border.

Categories: POINT IAS

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