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September 9, 2016 @ 1:15 am




Export of terror a common threat to region, says Modi at ASEAN summit

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the 14th ASEAN-India summit at Vientiane, Laos, expressed deep concern over the rising “export of terror”, in an apparent reference to Pakistan, saying it is a common security threat to the region and there was need for a coordinated response from the ASEAN member-nations to combat the menace.
  • Mr. Modi had also made a sharp attack on Pakistan at the G20 summit, saying “one single nation” in South Asia is spreading “agents of terror”. He asserted that those who sponsor the menace must be sanctioned and isolated, not rewarded.
  • He said enhancing connectivity was central to India’s partnership with ASEAN. “Seamless digital connectivity between India and Southeast Asia is a shared objective. India committed to Master Plan on ASEAN Connectivity,” he said.
  • Securing the seas was a shared responsibility. Sea lanes are “life lines of global trade.” India supports freedom of navigation based on United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), he said.
  • All three pillars of our partnership — security, economic and socio-cultural have registered good progress,” he said.



GSLV puts satellite in precise orbit

  • A last-minute delay due to an anomaly in the indigenous cryogenic upper stage of the GSLV-F05 gave some anxious moments to ISRO officials, but this did not deter them from putting the INSAT-3DR, an advanced weather satellite with four payloads, into a precise Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO).
  • It also marked a hat-trick of successful launches for the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV).
  • Exactly 17 minutes after take-off, the satellite was injected into orbit.
  • Scientists found one of the valves on the ground circuit opening while filling propellants in the indigenous cryogenic upper stage and isolated it through remote command.
  • The INSAT-3DR carries a multi-spectral Imager, one of the four payloadsIt will generate images of the Earth from ageostationary altitude of 36,000 km every 26 minutes and provide information on parameters such as sea surface temperature, snow cover, cloud motion winds, among others.
  • The second payload, a 19 channel sounder, will provide information on the vertical profiles of temperature, humidity and integrated ozone while the Data Relay Transponder will provide service continuity to ISRO’s previous meteorological missions.
  • The Search and Rescue payload can pick up and relay alert signals originating from the distress beacons of maritime, aviation and land-based users to the Indian Mission Control Centre (INMCC).
  • The major users of the service will be the Indian Coast Guards, Airports Authority of India (AAI), Directorate General of Shipping, Defence Services and fishermen.
  • The Indian service region will cover a large part of the Indian Ocean and will also include Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Seychelles, Sri Lanka and Tanzania for providing distress alert services.


Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit  (GTO):

  • It is a Hohmann transfer orbit used to reach geosynchronous or geostationary orbit using high thrust chemical engines.
  • It is a highly elliptical Earth orbit with an apogee of 42,164 km (26,199 mi), or 35,786 km (22,236 mi) above sea level, which corresponds to the geostationary (GEO) altitude.
  • The period of a standard geosynchronous transfer orbit is about 10.5 hours.
  • The argument of perigee is such that apogee occurs on or near the equator.
  • Perigee can be anywhere above the atmosphere, but is usually restricted to a few hundred kilometers above the Earth’s surface to reduce launcher delta-V requirements and to limit the orbital lifetime of the spent booster so as to curtail space junk.



ISRO eyes Venus mission

  • The ISRO is mulling over missions to Venus or an asteroid and is under discussions for these, apart from a second mission to Mars, ISRO Chairman A.S. Kiran Kumar said.
  • ISRO also has a number of launches in the coming years including the Chandrayaan-2 and a joint mission with NASA, Mr. Kumar told.
  • Following the successful launch of GSLV-F05, Mr. Kiran Kumar said ISRO plans to launch at least two GSLV Mark II missions every year.


A.P. has got much more than special status: Venkaiah

  • The Centre uploaded the Andhra Pradesh ‘Special Package’ documents on the Finance Ministry website, while Union Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu asserted what New Delhi had granted the State was much more than ‘Special Status.’
  • Separately, the Information Ministry put out a press release detailing the ‘Central Assistance to Andhra Pradesh.’
  1. The Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act provided for a development package to be given to the ‘backward areas of the State of Andhra Pradesh with adequate incentives for Rayalaseema and north coastal regions;
  2. Polavaram Irrigation Project would be a national project making the Centre responsible for its funding;
  3. the details of the institutions and infrastructure to be developed in the State were outlined in the Thirteenth Schedule to the Act;
  4. appropriate fiscal measures, including offer of tax incentives to promote industrialisation and economic growth, would be adopted; and
  5. special financial support given for the creation of essential facilities in the new capital of the successor State of Andhra Pradesh, including Raj Bhavan, High Court, a Government Secretariat, the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council.
  • The note said the then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had said in the Rajya Sabha that the Special Category Status would be extended for a period of five years to put the State’s finances on a firmer footing.
  • It said the 14th Finance Commission did not make a distinction between Special and General Category States. Andhra Pradesh was determined to be among the revenue deficit States and the Commission recommended that the Centre provide a revenue deficit grant of Rs. 22,113 crore for the five-year period.
  • Also, Rs. 2,500 crore had already been paid for the creation of the new capital and the remaining Rs.1,000 crore would be paid in due course. Rs. 1,050 crore had already been disbursed.

A hard bargain —Andhra Pradesh’s demands and what the Centre agreed to.

State Centre
Revenue deficit Revenue deficit as per the A.P. Finance Department statistics at the time of bifurcation stood at Rs. 16,000 crore. It went up to Rs. 17,000 crore in 2015-16 and nearly Rs. 24,000 crore this fiscal year (2016-17). Central government pegged the amount of deficit for five years at Rs. 22,113 crore. It claimed to have paid for bridging a revenue resource gap of Rs. 3,979.5 crore for 2014-15. Centre said revenue deficit grants as per the recommendations of 14th Finance Commission have been paid for 2015-16 and 2016-17 and there are no issues pending on that score.
Special Category Status A.P. has been insisting on Special Category Status. Centre came up with “special assistance measure” promising to compensate through Externally Aided Projects an amount equivalent to what would be due under SCS.


Sikkim sparkles in NSSO sanitation survey 

  • Sikkim has been adjudged the cleanest State while Jharkhand comes last in the list on the condition of sanitation in rural areas of 26 states.
  • The results of the survey carried out last year by the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) were released.
  • Following Sikkim come Kerala, Mizoram, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Meghalaya among the top 10 States.
  • The States which fared poorly in the study include Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The ranking given on the basis of percentage of households having access to sanitary toilets and using them (either household or community toilets). 


Dutch assistance to clean the Yamuna

  • India is collaborating with the Netherlands to clean the Yamuna.
  • consortium of scientists from the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) and The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) are teaming up with their peers from the Delft University of Technology, Wageningten University and the Vrije Unversiteit in the Netherlands to set up a network of sewage treatment plants that will clean wastewater in Delhi’s Barapullah drain, which is reportedly responsible for 30 per cent of the pollution of the Yamuna.
  • The project, which is expected to reach full capacity within five years, can then clean up to a million litres of toxic drain water a day.
  • Funded by Dutch government and industry and India’s Department of Biotechnology, the Rs. 21 crore project is unique according to those involved as it will use filtration membranes developed by Indian scientists and employ a new anaerobic sewage treatment process.
  • “The Netherlands has proven experience in this field.” The demonstration plant would be designed and operated along the drain, and will produce biogas and generate water that can be used for agriculture.
  • “The pollution levels of the Barapullah drain are high and if the technology works well, it should bring the biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) of the water down to 5 mg per litre,” according to Mr. Babu. BOD, a measure of how much waste water has been cleaned up, reveals the efficiency of a waste water treatment plant.
  • Currently, the BOD of the Barapullah drain water is 70 mg per litre, he added.
Biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) (also called biological oxygen demand)

·         It is the amount of dissolved oxygen needed (i. e., demanded) by aerobic biological organisms to break down organic material present in a given water sample at certain temperature over a specific time period.

·         The BOD value is most commonly expressed in milligrams of oxygen consumed per litre of sample during 5 days of incubation at 20 °C and is often used as a surrogate of the degree of organic pollution of water.

·         BOD can be used as a gauge of the effectiveness of wastewater treatment plants. It is listed as a conventional pollutant in the U.S. Clean Water Act.



A date with asteroid Bennu

  • Bolted to the top of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is ready to lift off to study an asteroid and return to Earth seven years later with a sample for firsthand analysis.
  • The OSIRIS—REx spacecraft is scheduled to orbit, map and collect samples from near-Earth asteroid Bennu.
  • After arriving at Bennu in 2018, the 2,110-kg fully-fuelled spacecraft will spend over a year exploring the asteroid before approaching its surface to grab a sample.
  • This pristine material, formed at the dawn of the solar system, will be brought to the Earth in 2023, providing clues to Bennu’s origins and our own.
  • The mission will help improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth.
101955 Bennu


  • It is a carbonaceous asteroid in the Apollo group that was discovered by the LINEAR Project on September 11, 1999.
  • 101955 Bennu has a mean diameter of approximately 492 m (1,614 ft; 0.306 mi).
  • It is a potential Earth impactor that is listed on the Sentry Risk Table with the third highest rating on the Palermo Technical Impact Hazard Scale, due to a 1 in 2700 chance of impacting Earth in the 22nd century.
  • This minor planet is the planned target of the NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission which is intended to return samples to Earth in 2023 for further study.



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