IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 10th May 2019
Chandrayaan-2 will carry 14 payloads from India
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Science and Technology; Space Missions
According to ISRO –
- Chandrayaan-2, the lunar lander mission planned to be launched during July 9-16, will have 14 Indian payloads or study devices.
- The 3,800-kg spacecraft includes an orbiter which will circle the moon at 100 km; a five-legged lander called Vikram that will descend on the moon on or around September 6; and a robotic rover, Pragyan, that will probe the lunar terrain around it.
- ISRO has chosen a landing area at the hitherto unexplored lunar south pole, making it the first agency to touch down at the south pole if it succeeds in its first landing attempt.
Do you know?
- Chandrayaan-2 will be India’s second outing to the moon.
- ISRO will send the mission on its heavy lift booster, the MkIII, from Sriharikota.
Fani’s fury creates four new mouths in Odisha’s Chilika Lake
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains III – Environment and Ecology
- The extremely severe cyclone Fani has created four new mouths in Chilika Lake connecting to the Bay of Bengal.
- Chilika Lake is considered to be Asia’s largest brackish water lake.
- Chilika Development Authority (CDA) officials have started studying the impact of saline ingression into the lake.
Do you know?
- Rise in salinity would alter Chilika’s ecosystem, as it will lead to increase in productivity.
Trump raises tariffs on Chinese goods
Part of: GS Prelims and Mains II and III – International affairs; Economy and related issues
- The trade war between the U.S. and China took a turn for the worse as the Trump administration increased tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.
- Trade war has been haunting the global economy since 2018, hurting investors’ confidence worldwide.
Do you know?
- One of the big immediate risks of the U.S.-China trade war for India and a number of other countries may be “trade diversion”.
- That means products and merchandise, hit with retaliatory or counter-retaliatory tariffs by the U.S. and China respectively, will get diverted or even dumped on markets like India.
Amazon unveils space vision, moon lander
- Jeff Bezos, who heads both Amazon and space company Blue Origin, unveiled a lunar lander that he said would be used to transport equipment, and possibly human beings, to the south pole of the moon by 2024.
- Space agencies prepare to return humans to the moon and top engineers are racing to design a tunnel boring machine capable of digging underground colonies for the first lunar inhabitants.
- Harsh conditions on the surface of the moon mean that, once up there, humans need to be shielded from radiation and freezing temperatures in structures which maintain atmospheric pressure in a vacuum.
TOPIC: General studies 2 and 3
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
- Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment
- Science and Technology- developments and their applications and effects in everyday life
- Achievements of Indians in science & technology; indigenization of technology and developing new technology
EVs are an idea whose time is yet to come
- Electric vehicles (EVs) are hailed as the future of mobility, considering its important role in containing carbon emissions and hold off global warming.
- India has an EV conversion policy in place. Last month, the Indian government announced the second phase of its Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid and) Electric Vehicles (FAME-2) scheme, aimed at weaning various modes of public transport off fossil fuels.
About FAME India Scheme and 1st phase of FAME
- FAME India Scheme [Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles in India] was implemented with the objective to support hybrid/electric vehicles market development and Manufacturing eco-system.
- The phase-I of the scheme was designed for a period of 2 years i.e. FY 2015-16 and FY 2016-17 commencing from 1st April 2015.
- However, the scheme, which was initially upto 31st April 2017, was extended upto 31st March, 2019 or till Notification of FAME-II, whichever is earlier.
- Department of Heavy Industry implemented FAME-1.
- The Phase-II of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of (Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME-India) Scheme proposes to give a push to electric vehicles (EVs) in public transport and seeks to encourage adoption of EVs by way of market creation and demand aggregation.
- Total outlay of Phase-I of the FAME-India Scheme was enhanced from Rs. 795 Crore to Rs. 895 Crore. However, Fund allocated was 580 crores.
- Under FAME-2, incentives are offered to manufacturers of three-wheelers, four-wheelers and buses that run on electric power.
- Department of Heavy Industry to implemented FAME-2.
Do you know?
- The latest guidelines issued by the department of heavy industries insist that to avail of the benefits under the scheme – Half of all EV components (especially, lithium batteries and charging units) must be manufactured within the country. (to boost domestic production)
- However, for local companies, it remains risky to invest a lot of money in plants to make such products without clarity on the specifications that are likely to become industry standards across the world.
- This is an emerging industry even for western countries or China. The Chinese government has provided generous tax incentives and subsidies to car makers and consumers alike to make things happen. It also restricted the sale of fossil-fuel cars. Its EV industry is set to boom.
- India has no major firm making controllers, batteries or magnet motors; nor has sufficient lithium reserves. Therefore, EV success is hard and calls for an entirely new strategy.
- EVs are still too costly to replace fossil fuel vehicles in the broad consumer market.
- Local EV makers would be better off waiting for component standardization and then forging tie-ups with successful foreign players to achieve volumes and the viability granted by economies of scale.
- Instead of an incentive scheme that tries to electrify public transport systems and prod the local manufacturing of parts, Indian policy would achieve more by assessing the global state of play, working out which battery and motor designs will come to dominate, and then setting up a grid to support a market switchover bit by bit as EV costs fall.
- Also interchangeable batteries would ease the process, as would a reliable network of charging stations where drained batteries could be swapped with fully-charged ones in a jiffy, as a plug-in-and-wait model would demand too much patience.
Indian policy should finely calibrate interplay of regulatory and market forces. Premature electrification is best avoided. As of now, India’s goal of clearing its city streets of fumes looks a distant dream.
Connecting the dots:
- Discuss in brief how vehicular pollution can be controlled by adopting a strategic roadmap. Also suggest measures to boost hybrid/electric vehicles in India.
- India’s automotive industry is headed for an inflection point. To make India an EV hub setting up the required infrastructure is most crucial. Discuss.
TOPIC: General studies 2
- Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation
- Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources
- Issues and policies related to health
- Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate
What a new Lancet study reveals about HIV and ART?
According to a new Lancet study –
- Extending anti-retroviral therapy (ART) outreach with early testing and support for HIV treatment could help eradicate the disease.
- Condomless sex between serodifferent couples in which the HIV-positive partner was receiving virally suppressive ART didn’t result in HIV transmission from seropositive partner to the seronegative one.
- Serodifferent couple means one person is living with HIV and the other person is HIV-negative.
In simple words, if the person living with HIV is on effective ART treatment, his viral load will drop and he will be HIV-undetectable. This means he cannot pass on HIV. Therefore, a HIV negative person will not be at risk if they have sex with someone who is HIV-undetectable.
Significance of Lancet study to India
- Approximately 2.1 million people are living with HIV/AIDS in India, and only 79% are aware of their HIV status—and just 56% receive ART.
- Build awareness that ART intervention at an early stage could help stop transmission, and thus, preventing new infections altogether could become easier.
- The finding by Lancet helps to remove stigma and discrimination surrounding the disease.
Measures taken by India
- In 2017, India moved to the ‘test and treat’ protocol prescribed by the WHO, which meant every HIV-positive individual within the country was to be put on ART treatment.
- India had adopted the UNAIDS 90-90-90 goal, under which, by 2020, 90% of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90% of all people with HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 90% of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression.
- NACO’s Link Workers Scheme under which volunteers from at-risk groups were trained to link their communities with HIV information, commodities and services.
Despite a marked rise in ART coverage, many people living with HIV/AIDS (PLHA) are unable to access the clinics. India needs to make the most of ART by ensuring a 100% outreach, and adherence.
Connecting the dots:
- What is HIV and how is it a life threatening disease? How has India battled against HIV? Critically examine.
- Discuss some of the provisions of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (Prevention and Control) Act of 2017.
- Elaborate on the Policy actions initiated by the government w.r.t. HIV AIDS and the necessary concerns associated. Highlight the provisions of the recent legislation.
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