We have launched our mobile app, get it now. Call : 9354229384, 9354252518, 9999830584.  

Current Affairs

Filter By Article

Filter By Article

The Hindu Analysis Free PDF Download

Date: 12 July 2021

Isro after Branson, Bezos | ToI

  • As British billionaire Richard Branson and his fellow travellers return from their 90-minute suborbital flight onboard the Virgin Galactic VSS.
  • Jeff Bezos will go into an even higher altitude on July 20 with three other passengers, including his brother.
  • This billionaire space race makes for an entertaining spectacle but it is simply one manifestation of a broader phenomenon: the increasing privatisation of space activity.
  • Today humans are more dependent on space than they have ever been before.
  • Militaries are even more dependent on space, relying on satellites for intelligence, communication and navigation.
  • As commercial enterprises bring innovation and lower costs to an industry previously dominated by governments, the consequences for India’s prosperity and security are likely to be profound.
  • Most estimates value the global space industry at about $350 billion.
  • Morgan Stanley projects this number could rocket to more than a trillion dollars over the next 20 years.
  • The democratisation of space is already evident.
  • Smaller and lighter craft
  • Launch costs have also dramatically fallen.
  • Private launch capabilities have allowed both small states and non-governmental entities to place satellites of their own in orbit.
  • The growing market for small satellites.
  • In 2017, India’s Isro launched a record-breaking 104 satellites in a single mission, most of which were privately-owned nano-satellites.
  • While spacefaring becomes profitable, it also runs the risk of turning our orbits into overcrowded junkyards.
  • In 2010, the Union of Concerned Scientists Satellite Database listed less than a thousand active satellites in orbit.
  • By 2020, that number was up to 3,372.
  • Most of the new additions are small satellites in low earth orbit.
  • Without clear, internationally accepted rules for de-orbiting satellites at the end of their working life, the near-earth environment of space could become a dangerous debris field.
  • In the more distant future, this problem could extend deeper into space, to the lunar surface and the asteroid belt.
  • It’s already becoming a cliche to predict the world’s first trillionaire will be a space miner.

  • Unfortunately, at present, international space law is ill-equipped to deal with the rise of commercial enterprise.
  • The 1967 Outer Space Treaty (to which India is a signatory), laid out basic principles of spacefaring but had nothing to say about private entities.
  • India must ensure it has a seat at the table when major powers put in place new norms.
  • And the only way it will wield influence is by becoming a major player in the commercial space industry.
  • Commercial competition will likely reduce costs for some military satellites.
  • However, by increasing India’s commercial and military dependence on space, the industry may unintentionally turn India’s satellites into attractive targets for adversaries.
  • This means India will have to invest more in deterring attacks on its space-based assets.
  • It will also have to rely on the commercial space industry to build redundancies through rapid space launch capabilities.
  • These will be needed to quickly replace satellites that have been disabled or damaged during a conflict.
  • Rivals like Pakistan and terrorist groups could soon have access to detailed and timely satellite images of Indian sites.
  • India is late to the task of creating an environment in which the commercial space industry can thrive.
  • Last year, the government announced the creation of a regulatory body, Indian National Space Promotion and Authorisation Centre or IN-SPACe.
  • The next step is to create conditions that ease the path to technological innovations and business viability.
  • Here, instead of offering subsidies or creating special economic zones, which can create perverse incentives, the government should consider options best suited to this nascent industry.
  • For instance, they could shape regulations that encourage venture capital and foreign direct investment into India’s commercial space sector.
  • They could also create ‘regulatory sandboxes’ that allow India’s budding rocketeers to experiment – and blow things up – in specially designated facilities.
  • Isro must turn its focus to high-end missions like human spaceflight and planetary exploration, leaving the field open for private players to launch satellites into low earth orbit.
  • In the near future, the health of this industry will help determine India’s overall space power – its ability to leverage its commercial, military and scientific activities in space to  wield influence in international politics.
  • The choice is clear: India can catch up and thrive or be stranded behind as others soar.

NEWS

  • World famous Rath Yatra of Lord Jagannath begins today at Puri in Odisha
  • More than 37.72 crore Covid-19 vaccine doses administered so far under Nationwide Vaccination Drive
  • Punjab lifts night and weekend curfew from today
  • Haryana govt extends lockdown till 19th July; 100 people allowed in wedding & funeral
  • FM hosts women members of Council of Ministers at high-tea in Delhi
  • PM Modi asks people to nominate inspiring persons for Peoples' Padma Awards
  • Vice President Venkaiah Naidu greets people on eve of Lord Jagannath Rath Yatra
  • Nitin Gadkari to inaugurate and lay foundation stone of 16 NH Projects in Manipur today
  • PM Modi to share his thoughts in 'Mann Ki Baat' programme on All India Radio on July 25
  • Pope Francis appears in public for 1st time since undergoing surgery for colon problem
  • US heatwave: Wildfires rage in western states as temperatures soar
  • Bangladesh reports highest COVID death, infection in a single day
  • Australia reports its first coronavirus-related death of the year
  • Ethiopia’s ruling party wins national parliamentary election
  • Novak Djokovic wins his sixth Wimbledon Tennis title
  • PM Modi to interact with Tokyo Olympics bound athletes tomorrow

Cooperative spirit | TH

  • Alongside the state and the market, cooperatives play a vital role in the country’s development but are seldom the focus of policy planning.
  • The creation of a new Union Ministry to oversee the cooperatives sector will redeem it from negligence, according to the Government.
  • Critics fear that this Ministry is purposed to concentrate even more powers in the hands of the Centre.
  • Cooperatives are dominant in agriculture, credit and marketing, but not limited to those.
  • Some are big — IFFCO has around a third of the market share in fertilizers.
  • In milk, cotton, handlooms, housing, edible oils, sugar and fisheries, they are formidable.
  • As market conditions are evolving, cooperatives in States such as Kerala have got into complex operations: running IT parks and medical colleges.
  • More avenues for expansion, such as insurance, remain untapped and the regulatory regime must evolve in step.
  • The legal architecture of the sector began evolving since 1904 under colonial rule, and in 2002, the Multi State Cooperative Societies Act was passed, taking into account the challenges arising out of liberalisation.
  • Considering the fact that cooperatives fall in the State list of the Constitution, the Centre will have to innovate to provide legal sanctity for the new Ministry.
  • A separate Ministry can marshal the diffused capacity of the sector, however.
  • That said, this move will turn disastrous if the attempt is to appropriate the political capital of the sector, which is significant.
  • Cooperatives are not meant to operate by the market logic of maximising profits but to share the benefits to all stakeholders equitably.
  • Though not uniform across India, cooperatives have made significant contributions in poverty alleviation, food security, management of natural resources and the environment.
  • Mismanagement and corruption destroyed the sector in some States.
  • The potency of cooperatives as an apparatus of political control is personally known to Minister-in-charge Amit Shah, once president of a district cooperative bank.
  • Besides serving localities and segments that markets might ignore, cooperatives are also effective in mediating politics at the local level, outside of the parliamentary system.
  • Despite regulatory oversight by the RBI and States, there is considerable autonomy for the sector which is often misused.
  • The remedy is not an overarching Ministry and diktats from Delhi.
  • The premise of a cooperative is that decisions are made by those affected by them.
  • The case for transparency and efficiency in the sector is strong; that goal must be pursued not by scaring the very soul of the sector but by advancing the cooperative spirit.
  • The new Ministry could indeed be a catalyst, but it must not fashion itself as a command authority.

Shaping a trilateral as Rome looks to the IndoPacific | TH

  • Harsh V. Pant is Director of Research at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi and Professor of International Relations at King’s College London. Mauro Bonavita is a PhD candidate at King’s College London
  • One of the signs of India’s growing centrality in the Indo-Pacific strategic architecture is its burgeoning engagement with key western nations.
  • Even countries which have been lackadaisical in their regional outreach so far have begun to approach the Indo-Pacific with a new seriousness and have been reaching out to New Delhi.

  • The growth of India’s weight in Indo-Pacific affairs comes at a time when it is becoming clearer that complex regional geopolitical problems cannot be addressed adequately by rigid and structured traditional alliance frameworks.
  • This aspect is even more evident in the context of the Indo-Pacific, where the geographical vastness of the area and the criticality of the challenges posed by China’s assertive initiatives clash with a region lacking multilateral organisations capable of solving problems effectively.
  • But as a new pushback against China takes shape and as Indian foreign policy becomes strategically clearer, there is a new momentum to initiatives such as the Quad.
  • Countries that share similar values and face similar challenges are coming together to create purpose-oriented partnerships.
  • In doing so, they are making it possible for participating nations to address specific common challenges, from maritime security to a coordinated pandemic response, including consolidating and further developing strong reciprocal trade relationships, without compromising the political autonomy of each participant.
  • Recently, Italy has also begun to signal its intention to enter the Indo-Pacific geography.
  • It has done so by seeking to join India and Japan in a trilateral partnership.
  • This initiative comes after years of Rome’s relative absence from the geopolitical affairs of the region as it sought to concentrate more on the Atlantic and European dimensions while maintaining good, albeit well below potential, bilateral relations with India.
  • The Italian government headed by Prime Minister Mario Draghi has started to pay attention outside its immediate neighbourhood again.
  • At the same time, Italy has become more vocal on the risks emanating from China’s strategic competitive initiatives.
  • Recently, Mr. Draghi described Chinese competitive practices as “unfair” and invited the European Union (EU) to be franker and more courageous in confronting Beijing on its violations of human rights, reiterating that with respect to China “the reciprocal visions of the world are very different”.
  • On the Indian side, there is great interest in forging new partnerships with like-minded countries interested in preserving peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.
  • During a recent India-Italy-Japan trilateral, organised by the Italian embassies in India and Japan, Riva Ganguly Das, Secretary (East) of the Ministry of External Affairs, reiterated that the responsibility of keeping the Indo-Pacific free and open, and working for the welfare of its inhabitants falls on like-minded countries within and beyond the region.
  • With the expression of interest on the Italian side, the first step towards this trilateral has been taken, yet it needs to evolve into something more significant.
  • The Italian government must formulate a clear Indo-Pacific strategy that must indicate its objectives and, above all, the means and initiatives it is willing to implement on its own and in cooperation with its partners.
  • Italy’s tendency to privilege diplomatic action through the mechanisms of the EU can be a resource for consolidating the EU-India strategic relationship.
  • But Rome must go beyond that in defining and implementing, at the margins of the EU’s common initiatives, its own policy with respect to the Indo-Pacific.
  • The India, Italy and Japan trilateral initiative can, and should, be a forum to foster and consolidate a strategic relationship between these three countries, and specifically expand India-Italy bilateral relations.
  • As it stands, relations between Rome and Tokyo are historically strong, and those between New Delhi and Tokyo are a strategic pillar of the free and open Indo-Pacific.
  • A trilateral cooperation can be the right forum for India and Italy to learn more from each other’s practices and interests and consolidate a strategic dialogue that should include the economic, the security and the political dimensions.
  • The next G20 leaders’ summit in Rome, in October, before the presidency handover to India in 2023, should be the right opportunity for further trilateral coordination on economic and political issues at an institutional level.
  • To consolidate the trilateral cooperation in this field, the three countries need to define a common economic and strategic agenda.
  • A strategic trilateral between India, Italy and Japan has, in the medium to long term, a lot of potential.
  • Their compatible economic systems can create a virtuous and mutually beneficial contribution to the reorganisation of the global supply chains that is now being reviewed by many players as a natural result of the Chinese mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • At the security level, the well-defined India-Japan Indo-Pacific partnership can easily be complemented by Italy, already present in the western Indian Ocean where it is engaged in anti-piracy operations off the coast of Somalia.
  • At the multilateral level, the three countries share the same values and the same rules-based world view.
  • Despite these fundamental convergences, the risk inherent in missing this opportunity also exists.
  • For this reason, a clear political will is needed from all sides, and Italy, in particular, should recognise its interests in playing a larger role towards the maintenance of a free and open Indo-Pacific.
  • Robust India-Italy strategic ties can be the first step towards the realisation of this goal.

ANS

Q.) Which State has officially confirmed its first case of ZIKA virus, a mosquito-borne viral infection?

  1. Gujarat
  2. Karnataka
  3. Maharashtra
  4. Kerala

Q.) Sikkim, the smallest State with less than 1% of India’s landmass, is home to ______ of all flowering plants found in the country, reveals a recent publication by the Botanical Survey of India.

  1. 43%
  2. 27%
  3. 5%
  4. 18%