Prelims Revision

  1. The Election Commission said those not having their Electors Photo Identity Cards can now show any of the 11 alternative documents, including Aadhaar card, for exercising their franchise. Henceforth, photo voter slip will not be accepted as a standalone identification paper. The documents accepted are passport, driving licence, service identity cards of the Central and State governments, public sector undertakings and public limited companies, bank or post office passbooks carrying photographs of voters, PAN card, smart cards issued under the National Population Register, MNREGA job card and health insurance smart card. Pension documents with photograph, official identity cards issued to the legislators and Aadhaar card have also been included. Overseas electors shall have to produce their original passport only for identification
  2. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has formed a task force on the offshore rupee market. It will be headed by former Deputy Governor Usha Thorat and will recommend steps for ensuring the stability of the currency.
  3. The New Delhi Declaration adopted at the second meeting of the Asian rhino range countries that ended on Thursday underscored trans-boundary collaboration among India, Nepal, and Bhutan for the conservation and protection of the greater one-horned rhino. There are no rhinos in Bhutan, but some from the Manas National Park in adjoining Assam or Buxa Tiger Reserve in West Bengal are known to cross over occasionally.  Indonesia and Malaysia are the other Asian countries where the last of the rhinos live. The current global population of the Indian one-horned rhinoceros is 3,584. Assam’s Kaziranga National Park has the bulk of 2,938 rhinos in India while Nepal 646. Once ranging from China to Bangladesh, the Javan and Sumatran rhinos are nearing extinction. The Sumatran rhino, the smallest of all rhino species and the only Asian rhino with two horns, became extinct in the wild in Malaysia. The single population of rhinos in Sukla-Phanta (Nepal), Valmiki Tiger Reserve (India) and Chitwan National Park (Nepal) and Dudhwa (India) is separated by the political boundary between the two countries.
  1. Recently, three banks — Allahabad Bank and Corporation Bank, from the public sector, and Dhanlaxmi Bank from the private sector — are now out of the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) prompt and corrective action (PCA) framework. Earlier, such restrictions were taken off Bank of India, Oriental Bank of Commerce and Bank of Maharashtra. According to norms, PCA framework gets triggered when a bank breaches one of the three risk thresholds. Crossing 6% net NPA is one of them.
  2. The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Itanagar has decided not to act on the recommendations of a Joint High Power Committee granting permanent resident certificates (PRCs) to non-Arunachal Pradesh Scheduled Tribes of Namsai and Changlang districts. The non-APSTs include the Deoris, Sonowal Kacharis, Morans, Mishings, Adivasis and ex-servicemen belonging to the Gorkha community. Successive governments and members of these communities have said PRCs are needed to avail of job and educational opportunities elsewhere in the country, and currently the 26 tribes and numerous sub-tribes who claim to be native to Arunachal Pradesh enjoy this privilege.
  3. Angkor is the ancient capital of the Khmer empire.
  4. ISRO’s missions in 2019 – ISRO’s 2019 calendar is dotted with 32 new missions, an ambitious record-making goal for the most number of Indian missions in a year. In contrast, 2018 saw about 14 missions against a goal of 18, including the failed GSAT-6A satellite of April.
  • GISAT, the first Indian geo-imaging satellite to work in the geostationary 36,000 km orbit, is planned to take off during September-November.
  • Heavy-lift MkIII launcher is put to orbit the lunar landing mission Chandrayaan-2.
  • The set of PSLV missions will launch Earth observation satellites Microsat-R (already launched), EMISAT, a bigger Radar Imaging Satellite RISAT and Oceansat-3. The third-generation Cartosat-3 will have a very high resolution of 0.25 cm
  1. Stage 4/PS4 – Stage 4 or PS4 takes the satellite to the last lap of desired height (anywhere between 400 km and 700 km.) Job done, it floats there for several years as space junk. The trial with the expired fourth rocket stage would easily be the first of its kind by any space agency. It would show PS4 as a unique cost-saving test bed for new technologies. Stage 4 of the PSLV rocket usually goes into orbit as debris once the satellite is released. ISRO is trying to use it as a low-cost experimental platform for students working in space-related areas and for ISRO’s own technologies. The PSLV’s fourth and final stage weighs about 450 kg and equals two micro satellites (100-500 kg class). A full test satellite of that size can cost around Rs. 200 crore, an avoidable expense in the high-risk space business.
  2. The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) is one of the largest nuclear power station in India. It is scheduled to have six VVER-1000 reactors with an installed capacity of 1,000 MW each. Units 1 and 2 are up and running. The construction of Units 3 and 4 are underway (August, 2018). The plant is being built by significant assistance from Russia.
  • VVER Reactors – VVER reactors are considered to be among the safest in the world, this technology is the base of the Russia’s nuclear power development program and contributes to the export growth. This type of reactors uses water both as a neutron moderator and as a reactor coolant. On India’s request, additional safety measures are being put in place in Units 3 and 4 to withstand even higher seismic, climatic and technical impact.
  • Rosatom’s fuel company TVEL has announced that it has now the new fuel TVS-2M for VVER-1000 reactors, which will be installed at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. TVS-2M gives an opportunity to shift the nuclear power plant from operation in 12 months to 18 months fuel cycle. Secondly, TVS-2M fuel bundles have more advanced thermal-mechanical behavior during the whole fuel life. This fuel model is more robust, safe and reliable.
  • The Strategic Vision adopted in December 2014 for strengthening cooperation in the peaceful use of atomic energy between Russia and India stipulates that at least 12 units of Russian design are to be commissioned in India within the next 20 years.
  • Besides the KNPP, Rosatom is working together with India for the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Bangladesh at Rooppur.
  1. Three decades after its first mission to Antarctica, the government is refocusing priorities to the other pole — the Arctic — because of opportunities and challenges posed by climate change. The government has renamed the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Goa (NCAOR) — since 1998, charged with conducting expeditions to India’s base stations to the continent — as the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, Goa. India only has one Arctic observation station near Norway. The government has established a high-altitude research station in the Himalayas, called HIMANSH, at Spiti, Himachal Pradesh. India is already an observer at the Arctic Council — a forum of countries that decides on managing the region’s resources and popular livelihood and, in 2015, set up an underground observatory, called IndARC, at the Kongsfjorden fjord, half way between Norway and the North Pole.