Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 2nd January 2020

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  • January 2, 2020
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IAS UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 2nd January 2020



Satcom technology: Rajasthan to utilize it in big way

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II- Governance 

In News

  • Rajasthan Government has started using satellite communication technology to enhance the learning outcome in educational institutions – for getting the services of subject experts in the government schools and colleges 
  • The institutions with the shortage of teachers will especially benefit from the geostationary satellite uplinking facilities.
  • Government is also using the technology to generate awareness about social welfare schemes, while giving priority to the five aspirational districts selected by NITI Aayog in the State.

About Aspirational Districts.

  • The Aspirational District Programme was launched by the Prime Minister on January 5, 2018. It aims to quickly and effectively transform some of India’s most underdeveloped districts.
  • It will identify areas of immediate improvement, measure progress, and rank districts (done by NITI Aayog)
  • The broad ideas of the programme include –
    • convergence of central and state schemes
    • collaboration of central, state level ‘Prabhari’ (in-charge) officers and district collectors
    • competition among districts

Pharma City in Telangana

Part of: GS Prelims and GS Mains II- Competitive Federalism; GS-III- Economy

In News

  • Pharma City project planned by Telangana Government as world’s biggest pharma cluster near Hyderabad has obtained the National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) approval and the environmental clearance for it from the Centre
  • Basic infrastructure at the Pharma City like setting up sub-stations and laying roads has already commenced. The government would have to work on establishing an effluent treatment plant to make it a pollution-free project.

About NIMZ

  • NIMZs are one of the important instruments of National Manufacturing Policy, 2011.
  • Objective: To increase the share of manufacturing to 25 percent of the country’s GDP while also creating 100 million jobs over the next decade
  • NIMZs have been conceived as large integrated industrial townships with state of-the-art infrastructure; land use on the basis of zoning; clean and energy efficient technology; necessary social infrastructure; skill development facilities, etc. 
  • To enable the NIMZ to function as a self-government and autonomous body, it will be declared by the State Government as a Industrial Township under Article 243 Q (I) (c) of the Constitution
  • These NIMZs would be managed by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) which would ensure master planning of the zone; pre-clearances for setting up the industrial units to be located within the zone and undertake such other functions 

Invasive alien plants in Nilgiri Biosphere Region

Part of: GS Prelims and GS III- Environment

In News

  • Invasive alien species are plants, animals, pathogens and other organisms that are non-native to an ecosystem, and which may cause economic or environmental harm or adversely affect human health
  • The spread of invasive plants, especially Senna Spectabilis, is posing a major threat to the Nilgiri forest region, owing to its quick growth and coppicing character
    • The thick foliage arrests the growth of other indigenous species of trees and grass, and causes food shortage for the wildlife population, especially herbivores, during summer. 
    • Moreover, wildlife would not feed on the leaves of the tree as it was not palatable for them
  • The plant started to invade in adjacent tiger reserves, including Bandipur and Nagarhole in Karnataka and the Mudumalai tiger reserve in Tamil Nadu

Import duty on crude, refined palm oils Cut

Part of: GS Prelims and GS II- International Affairs

In News

  • Acting on the ASEAN and the India-Malaysia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreements, the Centre slashed import duty on refined palmolein from 50% to 45%, while that on crude palm oil (CPO) from 40% to 37.5%
  • The action is said to have a serious impact on the domestic palm oil refining industry and oilseeds farmers

Value Addition for Prelims

  • ASEAN stands for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. It was formed in 1967, by Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
  • Membership has been extended to include Vietnam, Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and Brunei.
  • Apart from economic and political growth it also focuses on social progress, social-cultural evolution among member countries, and provision of mechanisms and strategies to resolve differences peacefully.



TOPIC: General Studies 2:

  • Important aspects of governance, transparency and accountability, e governance- applications, models, successes, limitations, and potential; citizens charters, transparency & accountability and institutional and other measures

Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India :  NITI Aayog recently released the Baseline Report of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index


  • The NITI Aayog recently released the Baseline Report of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index, which comprehensively documents the progress made by India’s States and Union Territories towards implementing the 2030 SDG targets.
  • The SDG India Index was developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI), Global Green Growth Institute and United Nations in India.


  • The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in September 2015 as a part of the resolution, ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’. India is committed to achieve the 17 SDGs and the 169 associated targets, which comprehensively cover social, economic and environmental dimensions of development and focus on ending poverty in all its forms and dimensions. 
  • At the Central Government level, NITI Aayog has been assigned the role of overseeing the implementation of SDGs in the country.

Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas

  • NITI Aayog has the twin mandate to oversee the implementation of SDGs in the country, and also promote Competitive and Cooperative Federalism among States and UTs. 
  • The SDG India Index acts as a bridge between these mandates, aligning the SDGs with the Prime Minister’s clarion call of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, which embodies the five Ps of the global SDG movement – people, planet, prosperity, partnership and peace. 
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 2nd January 2020

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 2nd January 2020

Src: Quora


  • The SDGs are ambitious global development goals that address key aspects of universal wellbeing across different socio-economic, cultural, geographical divisions and integrate the economic, social and environmental dimensions of development.

SDG & India:

  • India’s National Development Agenda is mirrored in the SDGs. 
  • India’s progress in SDGs is crucial for the world as the country is home to about 17% of the world population.
  • The SDG India Index tracks progress of all States and UTs on 62 Priority Indicators selected by NITI Aayog, which in turn is guided by MoSPI’s National Indicator Framework comprising 306 indicators and based on multiple-round consultations with Union Ministries/Departments and States/UTs.


  • A composite score was computed between the range of 0-100 for each State and UT based on their aggregate performance across 13 SDGswhich indicates average performance of State/UT towards achieving 13 SDGs & their respective targets.
  • If a State/UT achieves a score of 100, it signifies that it has achieved the 2030 national targets. The higher the score of a State/UT, the greater the distance to target achieved.

Classification Criteria based on SDG India Index Score is as follows:

    • Aspirant: 0-49
    • Performer: 50-64
    • Front Runner: 65-99
    • Achiever: 100


OVERALL Aspirant Assam, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh
Performer Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur,
Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Delhi and Lakshadweep
Front Runner Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Chandigarh and Puducherry
Achiever NA



  • The SDG India Index will also help highlight crucial gaps related to tracking SDGs and the need for India to develop its statistical systems at National & State/UT levels. This shall lead to the index evolving and becoming more comprehensive over the coming years. 
  • The indicators shall be further refined and additional indicators will be added with improvement in data collection, reporting processes & methodology. 
  • NITI Aayog is also exploring potential for disaggregating data and developing capacity for real time monitoring and measuring incremental progress.

Overall Findings:

Particular State UT
SDG India Index Score Range 42-69 57-68
Top Performer/s Himachal Pradesh & Kerala Chandigarh
Aspirant Uttar Pradesh Dadra & Nagar Haveli
  • Himachal Pradesh ranks high on providing clean water & sanitation, in reducing inequalities & preserving mountain ecosystem
  • Kerala’s top rank is attributed to its superior performance in providing good health, reducing hunger, achieving gender equality & providing quality education
  • Chandigarh leads because of its exemplary performance in providing clean water & sanitation, affordable & clean energy, generating decent work & economic growth, & providing quality education

Connecting the dots:

  • Do you think SDG brings governance change in India?
  • How do you think it Impacts Indian Economy?


TOPIC: General Studies 3:

  • Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.

Gaganyaan : In mission mode, says ISRO

In news:

  • Four pilots from the Indian Air Force (IAF) will leave for Russia this month to receive training as astronauts of Gaganyaan, the first Indian crewed flight to space.
  • It is a ₹10,000-crore Indian human space flight scheduled for 2022. 
  • The chosen astronauts will be sent to space on-board Gaganyaan, a crew capsule, to be launched with the help of Geo-Synchronous Launch Vehicle (GSLV)
  • If Gaganyaan is successful, India would become the fourth nation to achieve the feat
  • India has signed agreements with Russia and France for cooperation on the Gaganyaan mission.
  • DRDO signed MoUs with ISRO to offer technologies for the mission, including space food, survival kits for crew, radiation protection equipment and parachutes.
  • India’s first man in space Rakesh Sharma, who flew aboard the Soyuz T-11, launched on 2 April 1984, was an Indian Air Force pilot.
Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 2nd January 2020

Daily Current Affairs IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 2nd January 2020

SRC: The Hindu

Background and Timeline: From an idea to a plan

  • Preparations have been going on since 2004, when the manned space mission was first endorsed by the ISRO Policy Planning Committee; there was lack of clarity on when exactly the mission would be launched, the target initially in was 2015.
  • 2004: ISRO Policy Planning Committee recommends manned space mission
  • 2006: National committee comprising 80 scientists and technocrats endorses proposal
  • 2007: First public announcement of the human space programme
  • 2009: Another experts’ committee, discusses the desirability and feasibility of the programme and expresses support
  • 2010: Failure of GSLV-D3 and Failure of GSLV-F06
  • 2014: Successful testing of experimental flight of GSLV Mk-III; this also successfully tests an experimental crew module, demonstrating re-entry capability
  • June 2017: First ‘developmental’ flight of GSLV Mk-III
  • July 2018: First successful flight of the crew escape system or “pad abort” test.
  • August 15, 2018: Prime Minister announces manned mission to take place before 2022


  • A manned space mission is very different from all other missions that ISRO has so far completed.
  • In terms of complexity and ambition, even the missions to the Moon (Chandrayaan) and Mars (Mangalyaan) are nowhere in comparison.
  • For a manned mission, the key distinguishing capabilities that ISRO has had to develop the ability to bring the spacecraft back to Earth after flight, and to build a spacecraft in which astronauts can live in Earth-like conditions in space.
  • Over the years, ISRO has successfully tested many of the technologies that are required, but many others are still to be developed and tested.

The rocket: GSLV Mk-III

  • The spacecraft carrying human beings, called crew module, is likely to weigh in excess of 5 to 6 tonnes.
  • ISRO’s main launch vehicle, the PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle), which carried the Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan missions too, can carry payloads that are barely up to 2 tonnes, and that too only to orbits at about 600 km altitude from the Earth’s surface.
  • That is why the development of GSLV Mk-III, a launch vehicle with capabilities to deliver much heavier payloads much deeper into space, was necessary.
  • After three decades of efforts, mainly concentrated at developing an indigenous cryogenic engine to power the rocket, ISRO successfully tested GSLV Mk-III, now called LVM-3 (Launch Vehicle Mark-3), in an experimental flight in December 2014.
  • June 2017, ISRO successfully launched the first “developmental” flight of LVM-3, which carried the GSAT-19 satellite into space.
  • The LVM-3 is the declared launch vehicle for taking the manned crew module into space. Over the next few years, many more flights of GSLV are scheduled.

Re-entry & recovery tech

  • The satellites launched by ISRO including Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan, normally meant to remain in space, even when their life is over.
  • Any manned spacecraft, however, needs to come back. This involves mastering of the highly complicated and dangerous re-entry and recovery ability.
  • While re-entering Earth’s atmosphere, the spacecraft needs to withstand very high temperatures, which is created due to friction.
  • Also, the spacecraft needs to renter the atmosphere at a very precise speed and angle, and even the slightest deviation could end in disaster.
  • The first successful experimental flight of GSLV Mk-III on December 18, 2014, also involved the successful testing of an experimental crew module that came back to Earth after being taken to an altitude of 126 km into space.
  • The Crew module Atmospheric Re-entry Experiment (CARE) spacecraft re-entered the atmosphere at about 80 km altitude and landed in the sea near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

Crew Escape System

  • This is a crucial safety technology, involving an emergency escape mechanism for the astronauts in case of a faulty launch.
  • The mechanism ensures the crew module gets an advance warning of anything going wrong with the rocket, and pulls it away to a safe distance, after which it can be landed either on sea or on land with the help of attached parachutes.
  • Recently, ISRO completed the first successful flight of the crew escape system. A simulated crew module weighing about 3.5 tonnes was launched from Sriharikota.

Life support

  • The Environmental Control & Life Support System (ECLSS) is meant to ensure that conditions inside the crew module are suitable for humans to live comfortably.
  • The inside of the crew module is a twin-walled sealed structure that will recreate Earth-like conditions for the astronauts.
  • The ECLSS maintains a steady cabin pressure and air composition, removes carbon dioxide and other harmful gases, controls temperature and humidity, and manages parameters like fire detection and suppression, food and water management, and emergency support.
  • While the design and configuration of the ECLSS and the inside of the crew module has been finalised, other components and systems are in the process of being tested.
  • Ground testing will have to be followed by tests in the space orbit while simulating zero gravity and deep vacuum.

Astronaut training

  • In the early part of the planning, a proposal for setting up an astronaut training centre in Bangalore was floated. Initially targeted by 2012, it is yet to take off.
  • While ISRO still plans to set up a permanent facility, the selected candidates for the first manned mission will most likely train at a foreign facility.
  • Candidates will need to train for at least two years in living in zero gravity and dealing with a variety of unexpected experiences of living in space.
  • Some training would also be imparted at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine of the Indian Air Force at Bengaluru.


  • During the early years of planning, the cost of India’s first manned space mission was estimated at about Rs 12,400 crore. But that was for a mission to be launched in 2015.
  • The mission would now be completed for less than Rs 10,000 crore.
  • Recently, the government approved the funding for the next 10 flights of GSLV Mk-III at an estimated cost of Rs 4,338.2 crore. This was supposed to take care of GSLV Mk-III missions till 2024.


  • If India does launch the Gaganyaan mission, it will be the fourth nation to do so after the United States, Russia and China.
  • These developments will help ISRO in perfecting the cryogenic technology for sending up heavier and heavier payloads and will reduce India’s dependency on other countries to launch heavier satellites.

Connecting the dots:

  • What advantages would India’s proposed manned mission to space bring to the society?
  • Do you think this mission makes India the world leader in space mission?


Model questions: (You can now post your answers in comment section)


  • Correct answers of today’s questions will be provided in next day’s DNA section. Kindly refer to it and update your answers. 
  • Comments Up-voted by IASbaba are also the “correct answers”.

Q.1) Consider the following statements about Gaganyaan Mission

  1. Astronauts will be sent to space onboard Gaganyaan, a crew capsule, to be launched with the help of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV)
  2. India is cooperating with Russia and France for a successful Gaganyaan mission.

Which of the above statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.2) Consider the following statements about National Investment Manufacturing Zones

  1. The aim to increase the share of manufacturing to 25 percent of the country’s GDP while also creating 100 million jobs over the next decade
  2. It will be declared by the State Government as a Industrial Township under Article 243 Q (I) (c) of the Constitution

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2

Q.3) Mudumalai tiger reserve is located in which State of India?

  1. Karnataka
  2. Kerala
  3. Andhra Pradesh
  4. Tamil Nadu

Q.4) Consider the following statements about ASEAN

  1. The 10-member South East Asian grouping not only has objective on improving economic cooperation and growth but on social progress, social-cultural evolution among member countries
  2. India has a Free Trade Agreement with ASEAN

Which of the statement(s) given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. Both 1 and 2
  4. Neither 1 nor 2


1 C
2 B
3 A
4 C


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