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Current Events 23 May 2016

 

NEWS

23 MAY 2016


GS II: BILATERAL (INDIA-IRAN)

Immense opportunities after lifting of sanctions, says Narendra Modi

Lifting of international sanctions on Iran has opened up immense opportunities, and India is looking forward to expanding cooperation with the Persian Gulf nation in sectors such as trade, investment, infrastructure and energy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said .

Keen on investment

Stating that both public and private sector firms from India were keen on investing in Iran, he said the signing of the agreement on the development of Chabahar port will provide wider connectivity.

Besides signing a deal on the development of phase-1 of the port, India is looking at doubling oil imports from the Persian Gulf nation, which a few years back was its second-biggest oil supplier, as well as making progress on getting rights to develop the Farzad–B gas field. 

Combating terrorism

India has “shared interest” in peace and prosperity of the region, Mr Modi said, adding that combating the menace of international terrorism and radical ideologies is a common challenge.


GS III: SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

India’s first Reusable Launch Vehicle to take off today

There is an air of excitement mixed with expectation at the Sriharikota spaceport as things are getting set for the first launch of India’s reusable launch vehicle (RLV) . It is a technology demonstrator (TD) and hence the flight is called RLV-TD.

The RLV or the winged space plane is already integrated with booster rocket, HS-9, at the first launch pad.

Wind speed

After a few hours’ count-down, the entire contraption with the winged space plane sitting on top of the booster rocket, will take off like a rocket. The booster rocket will take the RLV to a height of about 50 km and release it there. The space plane will climb another 20 km. From the altitude of 70 km, the RLV will begin its descent and re-enter the earth’s atmosphere at a hypersonic speed of about 5.7 Mach.

The test is, therefore, called Hypersonic Flight Experiment (HEX-01). The RLV’s flight will not be a powered flight. It will be a dummy flight.

The winged space plane will be guided by navigation, guidance and control systems to land on “a virtual runway” on the sea anywhere between Chennai and the Andaman archipelago.



GS II: GOVERMENT POLICIES

‘Make in India’, Choppergate clip forces’ wings

A combination of the ‘Make in India’ initiative and AgustaWestland chopper scam have effectively stalled the services efforts to procure new helicopters to replace the ageing Cheetah and Chetaks in service.

The Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2016 which came into force promises a level playing field and boost domestic manufacturing but is still without crucial chapters on strategic partnerships and blacklisting norms in case of wrongdoing. There are also added dimension of capacity building and disaster relief support in the neighbourhood.



GS III: IT

Age of the digital dawns on Indian IT industry

The Indian Information Technology (IT) services industry, which has been through a roller coaster ride since the 2008 financial crisis hit it hard, is transitioning to the digital age for growth given the strategic position in which technology companies are placed in the IT spectrum.


Consulting

Gordon Coburn, President, Cognizant, recently toldthat the company’s combination of investment in consultants and the retraining of its employees in digital technologies is bearing fruit now. Consultants help clients understand what technology can do for them and as to how a technology vendor can help implement the same. Retrained employees from the technical teams help execute the project, typically. Clients find this attractive since their technology investments in the past and returns from them have reached a plateau. The only way for some of these large spenders to move forward is to devise dramatically new ways to engage their own end-users. In today’s economic environment, cutting costs is as critical as enabling new revenue. 


Niche capability

With new technologies, niche players get an opportunity to gain experience. Large outsourcing companies lacking in expertise may need to either partner or acquire specialised players. Funding start-ups, both external and internal, is gaining acceptance as giants value a nimble-footed culture. 


In-sourcing

With new technologies coming in faster than before, clients today realise that vendors are only a step ahead.This has given rise to the in-sourcing phenomenon. 


Deal size

The challenge for large vendors will be to find ways to retain margins in smaller deals. Moreover, the smaller deals are 2-3 years in duration rather than the older pattern of more than five years range, which poses a challenge of dealing with reduced recurring revenue streams and annuity revenues.


Reskilling

Companies are spending more on training its workforce to become digitally able to execute projects. TCS, which is the largest employer in Indian IT, has trained 1.20 lakh people in over 400 new digital technologies, Wipro, which trained 10,000 people in digital, will train 20,000 more while Infosys is also training 30,000 people on design thinking.



GS III: ENVIRONMENT-CLIMATE CHANGE

Why sea ice cover around Antarctica is rising

Why has the sea ice cover surrounding Antarctica been increasing slightly, in sharp contrast to the drastic loss of sea ice occurring in the Arctic Ocean? A new NASA-led study has found the geology of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean is responsible.

The researchers used satellite radar, sea surface temperature, land form and bathymetry (ocean depth) data to study the physical processes and properties affecting Antarctic sea ice.

They found that two persistent geological factors — the topography of Antarctica and the depth of the ocean surrounding it — are influencing winds and ocean currents, respectively, to drive the formation and evolution of Antarctica’s sea ice cover and help sustain it.

Analyses

Their analyses revealed that as sea ice forms and builds up early in the sea ice growth season, it gets pushed offshore and northward by winds, forming a protective shield of older, thicker ice that circulates around the continent.

The persistent winds, which flow down slope off the continent and are shaped by Antarctica’s topography, pile ice up against the massive ice shield, enhancing its thickness.

This band of ice, which varies in width from roughly 100 to 1,000 km, encapsulates and protects younger, thinner ice in the ice pack behind it from being reduced by winds and waves. The team also used QuikScat radar data to classify the different types of Antarctic sea ice.




 

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