Print Friendly, Pdf &Amp; Email

Daily Current Affairs

17-April -2024- Top News of the Day

1. SC Bench opposes returning to paper ballots saying that EVMs are accurate

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity – Judiciary.

The Supreme Court’s stance on EVMs’ accuracy impacts electoral transparency and governance, relevant for UPSC aspirants studying polity.

Context
●   The Supreme Court rejects reverting to paper ballots, emphasising EVM accuracy but considers testing their performance, amid concerns over voter confidence.

 Additional information on this news:

  • The Supreme Court disagreed with returning to paper ballots for restoring confidence in the electoral process, stating that machines provide accurate results unless human bias interferes.
  • Justice Sanjiv Khanna emphasised that machines without human intervention ensure accurate results, acknowledging human weaknesses and bias as potential problems.
  • The court expressed openness to testing the actual performance of electronic voting machines (EVMs), relying solely on data from the Election Commission for review.
  • Rejecting the idea of reverting to paper ballots, the court cited drawbacks of past systems and scheduled a hearing on Thursday.
  • Petitions by the Association for Democratic Reforms and Arun Kumar Agarwal highlighted voters’ right to information about their votes, particularly regarding EVMs’ lack of confirmation or confidence.
  • Advocates argued for measures like extending VVPAT display time, providing paper slips, or using transparent VVPAT screens to address voter concerns about accuracy and confidence.
 Controversies around EVM:

●  Allegations of Tampering: Controversies surrounding Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) include allegations of tampering or manipulation to manipulate election outcomes, raised by opposition parties and civil society groups.

● Lack of Transparency: Critics argue that the lack of transparency in the functioning of EVMs, including the absence of a voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) in earlier models, raises doubts about the integrity and reliability of electoral processes.

● Security Concerns: Security experts have raised concerns about the vulnerability of EVMs to hacking, malware, or external interference, highlighting potential risks to the electoral process and democratic integrity.

●  Technical Glitches: Instances of technical glitches or malfunctions in EVMs during elections have fueled controversies, leading to questions about the effectiveness of electronic voting systems and the need for robust safeguards.

● Calls for Reforms: Controversies surrounding EVMs have prompted calls for electoral reforms, including the introduction of paper ballot backups, enhanced security protocols, and greater transparency measures to address concerns and restore public trust in the electoral process.

●  Legal Challenges: Legal challenges and petitions have been filed challenging the use of EVMs in elections, citing concerns about their accuracy, reliability, and susceptibility to manipulation, leading to debates in courts and legislative bodies.

PYQ: In the light of recent controversy regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), what are the challenges before the Election Commission of India to ensure the trustworthiness of elections in India? (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2018)
Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of the Supreme Court’s recent observations on Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and their implications for electoral transparency and citizen confidence in democratic processes. (250 Words /15 marks)

 

2. ‘Escalation of tension between Iran, Israel may affect oil prices’

Topic: GS2 – International Relations.

The topic is crucial for UPSC aspirants as it relates to India’s foreign policy, energy security, and global geopolitical dynamics.

Context
●   The news discusses External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s apprehensions regarding potential ramifications for India due to escalating tensions between Iran and Israel.

 Additional information on this news:

  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar expressed concerns over potential escalation in tensions between Iran and Israel impacting India.
  • He highlighted that any escalation could lead to increased import, shipping, insurance, and energy costs, including higher oil prices.
  • Pressure from the U.S. and within Israel exists to prevent further escalation.
  • Jaishankar indicated that the situation’s outcome would be observed in the coming days.
  • He dismissed immediate concerns about oil price hikes affecting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, suggesting any impact would be in months rather than weeks.
Escalating tensions between Iran and Israel: Possible impact on India

Geopolitical Instability: Escalating tensions between Iran and Israel can lead to increased instability in the Middle East region, affecting India’s energy security and economic interests.

●  Oil Prices: Any conflict or heightened tensions in the region can cause oil prices to spike globally, impacting India’s oil import bill and overall economy.

●  Security Concerns: India has significant diaspora and economic interests in the Gulf region. Any conflict or security threat in the region can jeopardise the safety and well-being of Indian citizens and assets.

● Diplomatic Balancing Act: India deeks to maintain friendly relations with both Iran and Israel. Escalating tensions between these two countries may pose challenges for India in maintaining a balanced diplomatic stance.

● Regional Stability: Instability in the Middle East can have spillover effects on neighbouring countries and regions, potentially affecting India’s security environment and stability.

● Trade Routes: Any disruption in maritime trade routes passing through the Persian Gulf could impact India’s trade with countries in the Middle East and beyond.

● Strategic Partnerships: India’s defence and strategic partnerships with countries in the region, including Israel and Gulf states, may come under strain, affecting defence cooperation and security arrangements.

●  Global Implications: Escalating tensions between Iran and Israel can have broader implications for global security and stability, indirectly impacting India’s geopolitical interests and foreign policy objectives.

Practice Question:  Examine the implications of escalating tensions between Iran and Israel on India’s energy security and foreign policy dynamics. (250 Words /15 marks)

 

3. Three new fish species spotted using tools in the Laccadive Sea

Topic: GS3 – Environment and Ecology

The topic highlights biodiversity, animal behaviour, and ecological interactions, crucial for understanding environmental dynamics in UPSC exams.

Context
●   The news discusses the discovery of tool use among three fish species in the Laccadive Sea, challenging perceptions of fish intelligence.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Three fish species in the Laccadive Sea were found using tools, breaking sea urchin shells to access edible parts.
  • This behaviour was observed in the Jansen’s wrasse, checkerboard wrasse, and moon wrasse, marking the first documented instance for the latter.
  • The study, published in Coral Reefs journal, contributes to the growing understanding of tool-use in animals.
  • It challenges the perception that fish are less intelligent and incapable of complex tasks.
  • The fish used live or dead coral structures as anvils to break sea urchin shells, recorded through underwater cameras.
  • Despite lacking specialised mouthparts like archer fish, the wrasses demonstrated skillful tool use.
  • Wrasses would approach the urchin, turn it over, then strike it against coral to break its shell and access the soft parts inside.
  • Tool use in fish, particularly anvil use, is relatively common in the Labridae family, raising questions about its prevalence and significance.
  • The study underscores the importance of rigorous observations in understanding animal behaviour and ecosystem dynamics.
Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of the recent discovery of tool use among fish species in the Laccadive Sea for understanding animal behaviour and ecosystem dynamics. (150 Words /10 marks)

4. Eclipses: from fleeting to frequent

Topic: GS1 – Geography – Important Phenomena

Understanding solar and lunar eclipse frequencies is crucial for celestial events’ scientific study and cultural significance in UPSC exams.

 

Context
●   The news provides insights into the frequencies and characteristics of solar and lunar eclipses, highlighting their occurrence patterns and differences in visibility.

 Additional information on this news:

  • Solar eclipses, especially total ones, are visible only from limited parts of the Earth, while lunar eclipses are visible wherever the moon is above the horizon.
  • Most calendar years feature two lunar eclipses, occasionally one, three, or none. Solar eclipses occur two to five times a year, with five being exceptional.
  • For example, there were five solar eclipses in 1935 and will be again in 2206.
  • On average, there are about 66 total solar eclipses worldwide in a century.
  • Any point on Earth may experience no more than one total solar eclipse in three to four centuries.
  • In contrast, an observer staying in the same location can witness 19 or 20 lunar eclipses in 18 years.
  • Total lunar eclipses can last up to an hour and three-quarters, while the maximum duration of totality for a solar eclipse is only seven and a half minutes.
  • This difference arises because the moon is much smaller in cross-section than the Earth’s shadow but can appear only slightly larger than the Sun.
Solar and lunar eclipses:

Solar Eclipse Formation:

●  Solar eclipses occur when the Moon passes between the Earth and the Sun, obscuring the Sun partially or full

●  The alignment during a solar eclipse is crucial: the Moon must be in its new moon phase and positioned directly between the Earth and the Sun.

●  The Moon casts a shadow on the Earth, causing the phenomenon known as the eclipse.

●  There are three types of solar eclipses: total, partial, and annular, depending on the alignment and distance between the Earth, Moon, and Sun.

●  A total solar eclipse happens when the Moon completely covers the Sun, while a partial eclipse occurs when only a portion of the Sun is obscured.

● An annular eclipse occurs when the Moon is farthest from the Earth, resulting in the Sun appearing as a bright ring or annulus around the dark disk of the Moon.

Lunar Eclipse Formation:

●  Lunar eclipses occur when the Earth passes between the Sun and the Moon, causing the Earth’s shadow to fall on the Moon.

●   The alignment during a lunar eclipse is crucial: the Moon must be in its full moon phase.

●   There are three types of lunar eclipses: total, partial, and penumbral.

●  A total lunar eclipse occurs when the Earth’s umbra (central and darkest part of its shadow) completely covers the Moon.

●   A partial lunar eclipse happens when only a portion of the Moon enters the Earth’s umbra.

●  A penumbral lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes through the Earth’s penumbral shadow, resulting in a subtle darkening of the lunar surface.

 

Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of solar and lunar eclipse frequencies in understanding celestial phenomena and their cultural impact. (150 Words /10 marks)

5. Reforms needed in the voting process

Topic: GS2 – Indian Polity

Understanding the integrity of electoral processes, especially the use of EVMs and VVPATs, is crucial for ensuring free and fair elections.

Context
●  The news discusses the Supreme Court’s decision to consider petitions for 100% cross-verification of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).

 History of Voting Process:

  • Initial elections in India utilised separate boxes for each candidate with their election symbol.
  • Introduction of ballot papers with candidate names and symbols began from the third election.
  • EVMs were first trialed in 1982 in Kerala and fully deployed in various states from 2001 onwards.
  • Supreme Court rulings, including the Subramanian Swamy case, upheld the validity of EVMs.
  • 2019 elections saw the implementation of EVMs with 100% VVPAT coverage in all constituencies.

International Practices:

  • Several western democracies like England, France, and the U.S. have reverted to paper ballots after EVM trials.
  • Germany’s Supreme Court deemed EVMs unconstitutional in 2009.
  • Brazil continues to use EVMs for elections, while Pakistan and Bangladesh have varied experiences with their usage.

Features of EVMs:

  • EVMs have reduced booth capturing and eliminated invalid votes.
  • They are eco-friendly, reducing paper consumption in large-scale elections.
  • Administrative convenience is enhanced for polling officers, and counting processes are faster and error-free.
  • Mechanisms like random allocation, mock polls, and transparency in counting ensure the integrity of the electoral process.

Challenges and Doubts:

  • Doubts about EVM functioning include susceptibility to hacking, despite ECI assertions of its standalone nature.
  • Current sample size for matching EVM count with VVPAT slips lacks scientific basis and may miss defective EVMs.
  • Booth-wise polling behaviour profiling and intimidation are possible under the present process.

Way Forward:

  • To enhance transparency, the sample size for matching EVM count with VVPAT slips should be decided scientifically.
  • In case of errors, full counting of VVPAT slips for the concerned region can be implemented.
  • Introduction of ‘totaliser’ machines aggregating votes before revealing candidate-wise counts can offer booth-level voter cover.
PYQ: In the light of recent controversy regarding the use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM), what are the challenges before the Election Commission of India to ensure the trustworthiness of elections in India? (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-2 2018)
Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips in ensuring transparency and integrity in the electoral process. What measures can be taken to enhance the reliability of EVM-VVPAT systems? (250 Words /15 marks)

 

6. Why has India allowed FIIs to invest in its green bonds?

Topic: GS3 –  Indian Economy – Effects of liberalisation on the economy.

Understanding RBI’s approval for FIIs to invest in Sovereign Green Bonds is crucial for India’s green transition goals in UPSC.

Context
●   The news highlights the Reserve Bank of India’s approval for Foreign Institutional Investors to invest in Sovereign Green Bonds, supporting India’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

 Reserve Bank of India’s Approval for Foreign Investments in Sovereign Green Bonds (SGrBs)

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) authorised Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) to invest in India’s Sovereign Green Bonds (SGrBs) to support the country’s transition to a low carbon economy.
  • SGrBs are government debt instruments specifically aimed at funding projects that contribute to India’s green goals, including achieving 50% non-fossil fuel energy and reducing carbon intensity by 45% by 2070.
  • The move expands the capital pool available for India’s green projects, aligning with government’s commitment made at COP26 in Glasgow in 2021.

Impact of RBI’s Decision

  • Previously, SGrBs were primarily subscribed by domestic financial institutions and banks, limiting avenues for government borrowing.
  • The bonds were categorized under the Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR), which financial institutions must maintain, further restricting investment options.
  • Despite offering lower interest rates compared to conventional G-Secs, SGrBs attracted interest due to their green credentials, resulting in oversubscription.

Encouraging Green Investments

  • Central banks and governments worldwide advocate for green investments, promoting the transition to a sustainable future.
  • Climate finance experts believe India will benefit from FII investments in green G-Secs, as FIIs seek to diversify their portfolios amidst regulatory support in developed countries.
  • India’s Sovereign Green Bonds Framework, established in late 2022, addresses concerns regarding greenwashing, enhancing the credibility of green investments.

Addressing the Green Taxonomy Gap

  • The absence of a green taxonomy to assess environmental credentials raised concerns about potential greenwashing.
  • To bridge this gap, the Finance Ministry introduced India’s first SGrB Framework, detailing eligible projects for funding.
  • Projects include renewable energy initiatives, energy-efficient infrastructure, public transport promotion, EV adoption subsidies, and charging infrastructure development.
  • Validation by Norway-based Cicero rated India’s framework as “green medium” with “good governance,” ensuring credibility and transparency.

Importance of Identifying New Green Projects

  • Ashim Roy from World Resources Institute emphasised the need for credible green projects with high impact and traceable audit trails.
  • New initiatives, such as Distributed Renewable Energy and clean energy financing for MSMEs, require optimal deployment of proceeds, especially where private capital is limited.

Conclusion

  • RBI’s approval for FII investments in SGrBs signifies a crucial step towards financing India’s green transition.
  • The move not only expands the capital pool but also enhances credibility and transparency in green investments, addressing concerns about greenwashing.
  • Proper identification and deployment of funds into impactful green projects are imperative for achieving India’s sustainable development goals.
 More about Green Bonds:

Definition: Green bonds are debt instruments issued by governments, municipalities, corporations, or financial institutions to raise funds for projects with environmental benefits.

●  Purpose: The primary purpose of green bonds is to finance projects that promote environmental sustainability, such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, green buildings, sustainable transportation, and climate adaptation.

● Certification: Green bonds are typically certified by independent third-party organisations, such as the Climate Bonds Initiative (CBI), to ensure compliance with predefined environmental criteria and transparency in use of proceeds.

● Investor Demand: Green bonds appeal to socially responsible investors, institutional investors, and funds seeking to align their investment portfolios with environmental objectives and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) criteria.

●  Market Growth: The green bond market has experienced significant growth in recent years, with issuances expanding globally and reaching record levels. This growth reflects increasing investor interest in sustainable finance and green investments.

Regulatory Support: Governments and regulatory bodies are providing incentives and frameworks to support the development of the green bond market, including tax incentives, subsidies, and regulatory guidelines for green bond issuers.

● Impact Measurement: Issuers of green bonds are expected to track and report the environmental impact of funded projects, providing transparency and accountability to investors and stakeholders.

●  Challenges: Challenges facing the green bond market include standardisation of green bond criteria, verification of environmental impact, scalability of projects, and liquidity in secondary markets. Addressing these challenges is essential for the continued growth and effectiveness of green bonds in mobilising finance for environmental sustainability.

What is Greenwashing?

●    Greenwashing refers to the deceptive practice of conveying a false or misleading impression of environmental friendliness or sustainability to promote products, services, or policies.

● It involves exaggerating or misrepresenting the environmental benefits of a product, often to capitalise on consumer demand for eco-friendly alternatives.

●   Companies engage in greenwashing to enhance their brand image, attract environmentally conscious consumers, or deflect criticism of unsustainable practices.

● Common tactics used in greenwashing include vague or ambiguous environmental claims, irrelevant endorsements or certifications, and misleading advertising.

●  Greenwashing undermines consumer trust, distorts market competition, and hinders genuine efforts to address environmental challenges.

●  Regulatory bodies and consumer advocacy groups work to expose instances of greenwashing and hold companies accountable for misleading environmental marketing claims.

Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of RBI’s decision to allow Foreign Institutional Investors to invest in Sovereign Green Bonds for India’s transition to a low-carbon economy. (150 Words /10 marks)

7. Imported inflation: how import costs can increase the prices of goods and services

Topic: GS3 –  Indian Economy – Effects of liberalisation on the economy.

Understanding imported inflation is vital for economic policy formulation and managing inflationary pressures, relevant for UPSC aspirants studying economics.

 

●  The news discusses the concept of imported inflation, attributing it to factors like currency depreciation and rising import costs, and examines differing perspectives on its causes.

 Rise in Import Costs and Currency Depreciation:

  • Imported inflation refers to the increase in prices of goods and services in a country caused by a rise in the price or cost of imports.
  • The most significant factor contributing to imported inflation is a depreciation in the value of a country’s currency, which makes imports more expensive.
  • A depreciating currency leads to higher import costs as individuals need to exchange more local currency to purchase foreign currency required for imports.
  • The Asian Development Bank warned of potential imported inflation in India due to a possible depreciation of the rupee amidst rising interest rates in the West.
  • Interest rate hikes in developed countries often lead to currency depreciation in developing nations, exacerbating import costs and inflationary pressures.

Impact of Import Cost Increase:

  • Import costs can rise even without currency depreciation, such as due to increased international crude oil prices, affecting economies reliant on imported goods.
  • This concept aligns with cost-push inflation theory, suggesting that higher input costs lead to inflation in final goods and services prices.
  • The rise in import costs poses challenges to policymakers in managing inflationary pressures and maintaining price stability within the economy.

Critics’ Perspective:

  • Some economists challenge the notion that rising import costs directly translate to higher inflation, arguing that it oversimplifies economic dynamics.
  • Critics contend that prices are determined by consumer demand rather than input costs, suggesting that businesses adjust prices based on market demand, not solely on cost changes.
  • They argue that businesses are willing to pay for inputs based on expected consumer demand for final goods and services, shaping input prices.

Value Imputation and Economic Dynamics:

  • The imputation of value from final consumer goods and services to production inputs is a fundamental concept elucidated by Austrian economist Carl Menger.
  • This concept suggests that input prices are influenced by consumer demand for final goods, rather than vice versa.
  • Even when import costs rise due to currency depreciation, it reflects changes in nominal demand for imported goods, rather than causing inflation directly.
  • Currency depreciation is viewed as a reflection of increased demand for foreign goods, driving up import costs and prices.

Conclusion:

  • Import-induced inflation is a complex phenomenon influenced by currency fluctuations, input costs, and consumer demand dynamics.
  • Understanding the interplay between these factors is crucial for policymakers to effectively manage inflationary pressures and ensure economic stability.

PYQ:

Q.1 Consider the following statements:

1.     The weightage of food in Consumer Price Index (CPI) is higher than that in Wholesale Price Index (WPI).

2.     The WPI does not capture changes in the prices of services, which CPI does.

3.     Reserve Bank of India has now adopted WPI as its key measure of inflation and to decide on changing the key policy rates.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 and 2 only
(b) 2 only
(c) 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: Option A

(UPSC civil services prelims 2020)

 

Q 2. If the RBI decides to adopt an expansionist monetary policy, which of the following would it not do? (2020)

1.     Cut and optimise the Statutory Liquidity Ratio

2.     Increase the Marginal Standing Facility Rate

3.     Cut the Bank Rate and Repo Rate

Select the correct answer using the code given below:

(A) 1 and 2 only
(B) 2 only
(C) 1 and 3 only
(D) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: Option B

(UPSC civil services prelims 2020)

Practice Question:  Discuss the causes and implications of imported inflation for the economy, considering factors such as currency depreciation and rising import costs. (250 Words /15 marks)

8. 29 Maoists Killed in Encounter Ahead of Lok Sabha Elections: Major Blow to Insurgency in Chhattisgarh

Topic: GS3 – Internal Security

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of understanding the dynamics of LWE, including the strategies employed by security forces and the implications of such encounters on the overall security situation in affected regions.

 

Context:
  • The recent gun battle in the forest of Kanker district, Chhattisgarh, resulting in the death of at least 29 Maoists and injuries to three security personnel, marks a significant development.
  • Bastar Inspector General Sundarraj P. confirmed this as the highest number of Maoist casualties in a single operation in the Bastar region.
  • The encounter occurred in an area known for its strategic importance, acting as a junction between Abujhmad, Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra, and north Bastar.
More about the news:

Operation Details and Recovery:

  • The joint operation conducted by the District Reserve Guards (DRG) and Border Security Force (BSF) was launched based on specific intelligence.
  • Despite coming under fire from CPI (Maoist) cadres, the security forces effectively retaliated.
  • The ensuing search operation led to the recovery of bodies of Maoists along with a significant cache of arms and ammunition.
  • Notably, the injured personnel, including two BSF and one DRG member, are reported to be out of danger.

Significance of Targets and Recovered Arms:

  • The targets of the operation were senior Maoist cadres, including Lalita, Shankar, and Raju.
  • The recovery of weapons, such as SLR rifles, AK rifles, pistols, INSAS rifles, and 303 rifles, indicates the scale of Maoist presence and their armaments.
  • Sources suggest that Shankar and Lalita, divisional committee members of the CPI (Maoist)’s North Bastar Division, may have been among those killed.

Government Responses and Future Outlook:

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah hailed the success of the operation and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to combat Naxalism.
  • Deputy Chief Minister Vijay Sharma emphasized the readiness for dialogue while underscoring the priority of development in Bastar.
  • With over 60,000 security personnel deployed for overseeing the electoral process, the operation signifies a concerted effort to address Maoist violence and secure the region’s stability.
What is Left Wing Extremism?

About:

  • Left-wing extremism, also known as left-wing terrorism or radical left-wing movements, refers to political ideologies and groups that advocate for significant societal and political change through revolutionary means.
  • LWE groups may target government institutions, law enforcement agencies, or private property to further their agenda.
  • The LWE movement in India originated in a 1967 uprising in Naxalbari, West Bengal.
  • Presence of LWE in India:
  • According to the Ministry of Home Affairs, 90 districts in 10 states are affected by LWE, although in varying degrees.
  • The states are Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Telangana and West Bengal.
  • The most affected states are Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and Bihar, where the LWE groups have a strong presence and carry out frequent attacks on security forces and civilians.

 

PYQ: Left Wing Extremism (LWE) is showing a downward trend, but still affects many parts of the country. Briefly explain the Government of India’s approach to counter the challenges posed by LWE. (150 words/10m) (UPSC CSE (M) GS-3 2018)
Practice Question:  Discuss the recent encounter between security forces and Maoists in Chhattisgarh, highlighting its implications for India’s internal security. Evaluate the role of government policies and development initiatives in addressing left-wing extremism in conflict-affected regions. (250 words/15 m)

9. Israel's Multi-Layered Air Defence System Successfully Intercepts Iranian Missile Barrage

Topic: GS3 – Science & Technology –

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains as the article on various air defence systems used by Israel, such as Arrow, David’s Sling, Iron Dome, and Patriot PAC, provides valuable information about military technology and innovations.

 

Context:
  • Israel’s multi-layered air defence system successfully intercepted a barrage of 300 long-range missiles and armed drones launched by Iran in retaliation for an Israeli attack on its embassy premises in Damascus, Syria.
More about the news:

Effectiveness of the Air Defence System:

  • The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) reported that approximately “99 per cent” of the incoming projectiles were intercepted, with minimal damage inflicted on Israeli territory.

Range of Aerial Threats:

  • Israel’s air defence system is designed to counter various aerial threats, including aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
  • These systems are capable of targeting projectiles both at their source and during transit.

Integration of Air Defence Systems:

  • Israel employs an integrated approach, utilizing systems like Arrow 2 and Arrow 3, David’s Sling, Iron Dome, Patriot PAC-2, and PAC-3, alongside advanced fighter aircraft operated by the Israeli air force.

Specific Air Defence Systems:

  • Arrow System: Developed in collaboration with the United States, Arrow missiles intercept long-range ballistic missiles in the upper atmosphere.
  • David’s Sling: Capable of intercepting cruise missiles, ballistic missiles, and aircraft within a range of 300 km.
  • Iron Dome: An indigenous short-range air defence system effective against rockets launched by groups like Hamas, with a range of 70 km.
  • Patriot PAC-2 and PAC-3: American-built systems used for intercepting a range of missiles and targeting aircraft and drones.
  • Fighter Jets: F-16 and F-35 fighter jets equipped with air-to-air missiles also contribute significantly to Israel’s air defence capabilities.

Ongoing Developments:

  • Israel is developing the Iron Beam system, utilizing laser technology to intercept incoming threats, although it is not yet fully operational.

Conclusion:

  • Israel’s robust air defence system, comprising various sophisticated components, plays a crucial role in protecting its territory against aerial threats, as demonstrated in the recent encounter with Iran.
About Iron Dome System
  • It is a short-range, ground-to-air, air defence system that includes a radar and Tamir interceptor missiles that track and neutralise any rockets or missiles aimed at Israeli targets.
  • It is used for countering rockets, artillery & mortars as well as aircraft, helicopters and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV).
  • It is capable of being used in all weather conditions, including during the day and night.
  • It was developed by the state-run Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries and was deployed in 2011.
  • Rafael claims a success rate of over 90%, with more than 2,000 interceptions, however experts agree the success rate is over 80%.
  • It can protect deployed and manoeuvring forces, as well as the Forward Operating Base (FOB) and urban areas, against a wide range of indirect and aerial threats.
  • Components:
  • The Iron Dome has three main systems that work together to provide a shield over the area where it is deployed which are:
  • Radar: It has a detection and tracking radar to spot any incoming threats.
  • Weapon Control: It has a battle management and weapon control system (BMC),
  • Missile Fire: It also has a missile firing unit. The BMC basically liaises between the radar and the interceptor missile.

 

PYQ: What is “Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD)”, sometimes seen in the news? (2018)

(a) An Israeli radar system

(b) India’s indigenous anti-missile programme

(c) An American anti-missile system

(d) A defence collaboration between Japan and South Korea.

Practice Question:  Discuss the significance of the Iron Dome System in the context of securing Israel’s vital assets. (150 words/10 m)

10. Gopi Thotakura Set to Become First Person of Indian Origin in Space Tourism Mission with Blue Origin

Topic: GS3 – Science & Technology – Space

This topic is relevant for both Prelims and Mains in the context of understanding the technology behind space exploration, spacecraft design, and the challenges associated with space tourism.

 

Context:
  • Gopi Thotakura, an entrepreneur and pilot, has been selected to be part of the NS-25 mission of Blue Origin, a company founded by Jeff Bezos.
  • This selection marks a significant milestone as Thotakura is poised to become the first person of Indian origin to venture into space as a tourist.
  • While the launch date for the mission is yet to be announced, Thotakura’s inclusion among the six crew members highlights the growing interest in space tourism.
More about the news:

Overview of Space Tourism:

  • Space tourism involves recreational or business travel beyond Earth’s atmosphere.
  • It comprises two main types: sub-orbital and orbital.
  • Sub-orbital space tourism involves brief journeys just beyond the Kármán line, allowing passengers a few minutes in space before returning to Earth.
  • The NS-25 mission, in which Thotakura participates, falls under this category.
  • On the other hand, orbital space tourism offers longer durations in space, with passengers spending days to weeks at altitudes of up to 400 km.

Challenges Facing Space Tourism:

  • Despite its growing popularity, space tourism faces several challenges that may hinder its expansion.
  • One significant obstacle is the high cost associated with it. Passengers typically need to pay at least a million dollars for a trip to space, primarily due to the high manufacturing costs of spacecraft and the expenses related to fuel.
  • Additionally, studies have raised concerns about the environmental impact of space tourism, as rocket launches emit gases and solid chemicals directly into the upper atmosphere, potentially causing environmental damage.

Safety Concerns:

  • Safety is another critical concern in space tourism.
  • Statistics show that out of the 676 individuals who have flown into space, 19 have died as of November 2023.
  • This fatality rate of approximately 3% underscores the inherent risks associated with space travel.
  • Ensuring the safety of passengers will be paramount for the continued development and acceptance of space tourism as a viable industry.

Conclusion:

  • Gopi Thotakura’s upcoming mission with Blue Origin reflects the growing interest and advancements in space tourism.
  • While the industry holds immense potential for growth, challenges such as high costs, environmental impacts, and safety considerations must be addressed to realize its full potential.
  • As space tourism continues to evolve, efforts to mitigate these challenges will be crucial in shaping its future trajectory.
Potential of Space Tourism

 

  • Economic Growth: The global space tourism industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 37% from 2022-30 with the market expected to be worth at least $3 billion by 2030.
  • Accelerate R&D: Revenue generated from space tourism can be reinvested in space research, supporting scientific endeavors and furthering our understanding of the universe.
  • Expanding Earth’s resource base by mining and extracting resources from celestial bodies which could become a viable commercial endeavor, thereby reducing strain on terrestrial resources.
  • Technological advancements: E.g. advancements in space suit design can lead to improvements in hazardous environment apparel on Eart
  • Spiral effect: It can inspire the younger generation to pursue careers in STEM fields, spacecraft design, and propulsion systems leading to technological advancements in space exploration industries.

 

Practice Question:  What are the main challenges associated with space tourism, and how can they be addressed? (150 words/10 m)

For Enquiry

Search By Categories
Introduction to Economics UPSC Notes
Economics is the social science that focuses on the production, distribution and consumption of goods...
17 May 2024 : Daily Answer Writing
Mains Answer Writing 17-May-2024 Q1) How will you explain that the anthropogenic factors enhance the...
17 May 2024 : PIB Summary for UPSC
PIB Summary for UPSC 17-May-2024 1. New & Renewable Energy Secretary addresses World Hydrogen Summit...
17 May 2024 : Daily Current Affairs
Daily Current Affairs 17-May -2024- Top News of the Day 1. Kerala sounds warning on West Nile Virus;...
17 May 2024 : The Hindu Editorial Notes PDF
The Hindu EDITORIAL 17-May-2024 1. Health advice to take with no pinch of salt Topic: GS2 – Social...
17 May 2024 : Indian Express Editorial Analysis
Indian Express Editorial Analysis 17-May-2024 1. A right to fairness Topic: GS2 – Polity – Indian...
16 May 2024 : Daily Answer Writing
Mains Answer Writing 16-May-2024 Q1) Comment on the key initiatives outlined in the Kunming-Montreal...
16 May 2024 : PIB Summary for UPSC
PIB Summary for UPSC 16-May-2024 1. First set of citizenship certificates after notification of Citizenship...

© Copyright  99Notes.in  All Rights Reserved

Address

Head Office :- Office No-2 & 3 ,LGF,Apsara Arcade,Adjacent Karol bagh Metro,Old Rajinder Nagar ,New Delhi-110060

2nd Office:- Metro station, 2nd floor, 5B, Pusa Rd, opp. to Metro Pillar no. 110, near Karol Bagh, Block B, Karol Bagh, New Delhi, Delhi 110005

Call us : 9654638994