- ISRO starts Human Space Flight centre
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) send a manned mission to space by 2022 under the Gaganyaan project at the newly created Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC).
- Unnikrishnan Nair appointed as a director who led ISRO’s Advanced Space Transportation Programme at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC).
- ISRO planning to deploy 800 to 900 people over time on the project.
About Gaganyaan Project
- It is India’s first manned space mission which carried out with the collaboration of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Russia’s federal space agency Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities (ROSCOSMOS) .
- Under this programme India is planning to send three humans (Gaganyatris) into space i.e. in low earth orbit (LEO) by 2022 i.e. by 75th Independence Day for period of five to seven days.
- The mission was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his 72nd Independence Day speech.
- Under this mission, crew of three astronauts will conduct experiments on microgravity in space.
- The crew will be selected jointly by Indian Air Force (IAF) and ISRO after which they will undergo training for two-three years.
- This mission will make India fourth nation in the world after USA, Russia and China to launch human spaceflight mission.
Objectives of Gaganyaan Mission:
- It will enhance the science and technology levels in the country, serve as national project involving several institutes, academia and industry, improve of industrial growth, inspire youth, develop technology for social benefits and improve international collaboration.
- Oceans are heating up at a quickening pace : Report
- Researchers said the world’s oceans are heating up at an accelerating pace as global warming threatens a diverse range of marine life and a major food supply for the planet.
Role of Ocean in Climate Change
- Ocean heating is a very important indicator of climate change.
- About 93% of excess heats are trapped around the Earth by greenhouse gases that come from the burning of fossil fuels which accumulates in the world’s oceans.
Highlight of report
- The latest report relied on four studies, published between 2014 and 2017, that gave more precise estimates of past trends in ocean heat, allowing scientists to update past research and hone predictions for the future.
- A key factor in the more accurate numbers is an ocean monitoring fleet called Argo, which includes nearly 4,000 floating robots that “drift throughout the world’s oceans, every few days diving to a depth of 2,000 m and measuring the ocean’s temperature, pH, salinity and other bits of information as they rise back up.
- Argo “has provided consistent and widespread data on ocean heat content since the mid-2000s.
- The new analysis shows warming in the oceans is on pace with measurements of rising air temperature.
Note: The models predict that the temperature of the top 2,000 metres of the world’s oceans will rise 0.78 degrees Celsius by the end of the century.
- MoU signed for Renukaji Multipurpose Dam Project among Six States
- The Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Shipping and Road Transport & Highways signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh for the construction of Renukaji Multi-Purpose Dam project in the Upper Yamuna Basin.
About Renukaji Dam Project
- Renukaji Dam project is part of three storage projects which are proposed to be constructed on the river Yamuna and two of its tributaries – Tons and Giri in the hilly regions of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh of Upper Yamuna Basin.
- The other two include Lakhwar project on River Yamuna and Kishau project on River Tons.
- These three projects were identified as National Projects in 2008 under which 90% funding of the cost of irrigation & drinking water component will be provided by the Govt. of India as central assistance and the rest 10% cost of the irrigation and drinking water component will be borne by the beneficiary states.
- The project is proposed to be executed by Himachal Pradesh Power Corporation Ltd. (HPPCL).
- The project envisages construction of 148 M high rock filled dam for supply of 23 cumec water to Delhi and other basin states.
- The project will also generate 40 MW of power during peak flow.
Impact of Dam
- After the construction of the dam, the flow of river Giri will increase about 110% which will meet the drinking water needs of Delhi & other basin states up to some extent in lean period.
- Stored water of Renukaji Dam will be used by UP, Haryana & NCT of Delhi from Hathnikund Barrage, by NCT of Delhi from Wazirabad Barrage and by UP, Haryana and Rajasthan from Okhla Barrage.
- Women of India Organic Festival
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development is organising the three-day 6th ‘Women of India Organic Festival’ in Chandigarh.
- The festival aims to encourage Indian women entrepreneurs and farmers to connect with more buyers and thus, empower them through financial inclusion, while promoting organic culture in India.
- It also aims to educate people about its various initiatives and schemes relating to women and children.
Ministry of Women and Child Development
- The Ministry of Women and Child Development is the apex body for formulation and administration of the rules and regulations relating laws to women and child development in India.
The Ministry has 6 autonomous organisations working under its aegis.
- National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD)
- National Commission for women (NCW)
- National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
- Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA)
- Central Social Welfare Board (CSWB)
- Rashtriya Mahila Kosh (RMK)
- Democracy Index 2018
- Recently the Democracy Index 2018 is released annually by Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
- Index will provide a snapshots of the state of world democracy for 165 independent states and two territories.
- The Economist’s Democracy Index ranks nations on five parameters.
- Electoral process and pluralism
- Functioning of government
- Political participation
- Political culture
- Civil liberties.
India Position and Performance
- India is ranked at 41which is notched above last year. India achieved a score of 7.23 on the index to maintain its position which is the same it did last year.
- India ranks below the US (ranked 25th in the index) and other so called ‘flawed democracies’ like Italy, France, Botswana and South Africa.
- According to the index this is the lowest ever score attributed to India in the index ever since its publication.
- India has been always classified as a flawed democracy.
- The report defines a flawed democracy as nations that “have free and fair elections and, even if there are problems (such as infringements on media freedom), basic civil liberties are respected.
- However, there are significant weaknesses in other aspects of democracy, including problems in governance, an underdeveloped political culture and low levels of political participation.”