Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (10th to 17th June, 2019)

Chaukhandi Stupa - National Important Monument

Weekly Current Affairs Prelims (10th to 17th June, 2019)

(Info graphic Summary at the end)

 

Topic: DRDO test fires Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle

Topic in Syllabus: Security Issues

 

Context:

DRDO test fires Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle

India on 12 June conducted a successful first test flight of the indigenously developed Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) from a base off the Odisha coast.

 

Uses:

It has a range of uses, including missiles of the future, and energy-efficient, low cost and reusable satellite-launch vehicle.

 

What is HSTDV?

  • Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle in short it is known as HSTDV. It is an unmanned scramjet demonstration aircraft.
  • It is designed to cruise at Mach 6 speed with scramjet engine up to an altitude of 32.5 kilometres in 20 seconds.
    • HSTDV is dual-use technology thus with a scramjet engine, HSTDV can cruise at Mach 6 speed and can have multiple civilian applications.
    • It can be used for launching satellites at low cost and can also be available for long-range cruise missiles of future.
    • The design for airframe attachment with the engine was completed in the year 2004.

 

About Scram-Jet technology

In scram-jet technology, fuel combustion takes place in a chamber in missile at supersonic speeds while in a ram jet system, the system collects air it needs from atmosphere during flight at subsonic speeds and propellants burn in combustion chamber.

 

Significance:

The only other countries that possess this technology are the US, Russia and China.

 

Sample Question:

Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle is

  1. an unmanned scramjet demonstration aircraft
  2. allows supersonic combustion
  3. can cruise up to six times the speed of the sound

Which of the above statement is/are Correct?

a). 1 and 2 only

b). 1 and 3 only

c). All of the above

d). None

 

Answer: c

 


Topic : Cyclonic storm Vayu

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Geography

 

About Cyclone Vayu:

Cyclonic storm Vayu

‘Vayu’ was the second most intense cyclonic storm to have formed near the Indian coast after Cyclone Fani, which left a trail of destruction in Odisha on the eastern coast in early May. Fani was the longest-lasting cyclone over the Bay of Bengal, hovering for over 11 days.

 

Cyclone:

  • Cyclones are sustained by very strong low-pressure areas at their core. Winds in surrounding areas are forced to rush towards these low-pressure areas.
  • Similar low-pressure areas, when they develop near or over land, are instrumental in pulling the monsoon winds over the country as well.
  • But right now, the low-pressure area at the center of the cyclone is far more powerful than any local system that can pull the monsoon winds moving northeast.
  • Arabian Sea cyclones are also relatively weak compared to those emerging in the Bay of Bengal.
  • Gujarat coastline, where most of the cyclones emerging in the Arabian Sea are headed, is not very densely populated, ensures that the damage potential of the cyclones on the western coast is comparatively low.

 

Bay of Bengal More Prone to Cyclones?

  • Temperature difference: The low-pressure system of cyclone need a continuous supply of heat energy and as the Bay of Bengal is warmer than the Arabian sea, it is able to provide the heat energy needed to sustain the low-pressure system.
  • Sea surface temperatures and humidity: both directly correlate with chances of cyclone formation.
  • The Bay of Bengal receives higher rainfall and constant inflow of fresh waterfrom the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers.
  • This means that the Bay’s surface water keeps getting refreshed, making it impossible for the warm water to mix with the cooler water below, making it ideal for depression.
  • Absence of large landmass between the Pacific and the Bay, allows cyclonic winds to easily move into the Bay of Bengal.
  • Cyclones from Pacific ocean: low-pressure system originating from the Pacific ocean also travel towards the left to the Bay of Bengal.

 

Sample Question:

Match the colours with different Cyclonic Alerts

  1. Yellow: Be Updated
  2. Orange: Be prepared
  3. Red: Take action
  4. Green: No warning

Choose the Correct Answer Below

a). 1 and 3

b). 2 and 3

c). 1 and 4

d). All

Answer: d

 


Topic : Women headed Chandrayaan-2 Mission

Topic in Syllabus: Science & Technology

 

Women headed Chandrayaan-2 Mission

Chandrayaan-2 is India’s second lunar exploration mission after Chandrayaan-1, developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation.

Ritu Kridhal and M Vanitha are leading as project and mission directors respectively for Chandrayaan-2 mission.

 

Objectives

  • Quantify the water available on the moon’s surface.
  • Map its topography, to explore chemicals and minerals such as magnesium, iron, and Helium.
  • Study topmost part of the lunar atmosphere.

 

Significance

  • If successful, India will be the fourth country (After Russia, China, and the USA) to land a rover on the moon.
  • India will be the first country to land on the southern pole of the moon.
  • This would give ISRO opportunity to name that site on the moon.
  • Indigenous mission: 13 instruments from India, one instrument from US space agency, NASA.
  • Future Space Exploration: mission will also expand the country’s footprint in space as moon is the perfect test-bed for proving technologies required for future space exploration.

 

Significant Components of Chandrayaan-2

Chandrayaan-2 is ISRO’s upcoming Lander and Rover mission to Moon.-consists of an Orbiter, Lander and Rover.

 

Orbiter

  • The Orbiter will 100 km away from the moon, which will observe lunar surface and relay communication between Earth and the Lander.
  • The orbiter is equipped with different kinds of camera to take create high-resolution three-dimensional maps of the surface, would remain in orbit for a year.

 

Vikram Lander– .

  • It is the first time that ISRO is attempting to soft-land a module in extra-terrestrial space.
  • The main challenge is in controlling its speed as it approaches the surface.
  • Once the Lander and the Rover, enter the Moon’s gravity, they would be in a state of free fall.
  • To enable a smooth landing, the speed of the Lander just ahead of touchdown should be 1 m/s (3.6 km/h) or less.
  • The Lander will mainly study the moon’s atmosphere and look out for seismic activity.

 

Pragyaan Rover

  • The 6-wheeled, AI Solar powered rover was designed, developed and build indigenously by ISRO.
  • The rover will be landed in be landed closer to the Moon’s equator to receive more sun light.
  • Its primary objective will be to study the composition of the surface near the lunar landing site, and determine its abundance of various elements.
  • Both the Lander and Rover are designed to work for only 14 days (1 lunar day).

 

Complexities involved in a moon landing

  • Trajectory accuracy: Ensuring trajectory accuracy while navigating 3.844 lakh km has its own challenges.
  • Communication hurdle: Owing to the large distance from Earth, radio signals, which need to be picked up, would be weak.
  • Lunar dust: Firing engines close to the lunar surface results in the backward flow of gases and dust, causing hindrance to deployment mechanism and damaging sensors.
  • Extreme temperatures: A lunar day or night lasts 14 earth days, resulting in extreme surface temperature.
  • Trans-lunar injection, capture:Series of engine burns to get close to the moon, intersection of probe and moon must be predicted in advance with accuracy.
  • Orbiting: The lumpy lunar gravity influences the orbit of the spacecraft.

 

Sample Question:

Which of the following statements is/are correct about Chandrayaan-2?

  1. It will includes a lunar orbiter, a lander and a lunar rover.
  2. The lander is developed with help of NASA.

Choose the Correct Answer

a). Only 1

b). Only 2

c). Both

d). None

 

Answer : a

 


Topic: Global Peace Index; Iceland retains top spot

Topic in Syllabus: International Affairs

 

Context:

Global Peace Index; Iceland retains top spot

India’s is ranked 141 among 163 countries on the Global Peace Index 2019.(136 in 2018)

The GPI is a report produced by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) and developed in consultation with an international panel of peace experts from peace institutes and think tanks with data collected and collated by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

The GPI measures ongoing domestic and international conflict, safety and security in society, and the degree of militarisation in 163 countries and territories by taking into account 23 indicators.

 

Findings:

  • The index ranked Iceland as the most peaceful country in the world,a position it has held since 2008.Other countries at the top of the Global Peace Index(GPI) are New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, and Denmark.
  • Afghanistan has been ranked as the least peaceful country in the world replacing Syria which is now the second least peaceful.
  • The report has also said that India along with the Philippines, Japan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Indonesia, Vietnam and Pakistan are the nine countries with the highest risk of multiple climate hazards.
  • The report also says that the US, China, Saudi Arabia, Russia and India are the top five countries with the largest total military expenditure.

 

Global Peace Index(GPI):

  • The GPI was founded by Steve Killelea, an Australian technology entrepreneur and philanthropist.
  • It is released by Australian think tank Institute for Economics & Peace.
  • It ranks countries according to their level of peacefulness based on three thematic domains:
  • The level of societal safety and security.
  • The extent of ongoing domestic and international conflict.
  • The degree of militarisation.
  • Possible effects of climate change on peace is newly included in this research.

 

Sample Question:

According to Global Peace Index 2019, Which country managed to retain its position as the most peaceful country in the world?

A. Newzealand
B. Austria
C. Iceland
D. Denmark

 

Answer: C

 


Topic : Muslim Women (Protection Of  Rights On Marriage), Bill 2019

Topic in Syllabus: Indian Polity


Context:

Muslim Women (ProtectionOf Rights On Marriage), Bill 2019

The Union Cabinet has approved the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill 2019.

 

Background:

Talaq-e-biddat refers to the practice under Muslim personal laws where pronouncement of the word ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting by a Muslim man to his wife results in an instant and irrevocable divorce.

 

Benefits:

  • To protect the rights of married Muslim women and prevent divorce by the practice of instantaneous and irrevocable ‘talaq-e-biddat’ by their husbands.
  • It provides the rights of subsistence allowance, custody of minor children to victims of triple talaq i.e. talaq-e-biddat.

 

Key provisions of the Bill:

  • The Bill makes all declaration of talaq, including in written or electronic form, to be void (i.e. not enforceable in law) and illegal.
  • The Bill makes declaration of talaq a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years’ imprisonment with a fine.
  • The offence will be cognizable only if information relating to the offence is given by: (i) the married woman (against whom talaq has been declared), or (ii) any person related to her by blood or marriage.
  • The Bill provides that the Magistrate may grant bail to the accused.
  • The offence may be compounded by the Magistrate upon the request of the woman(against whom talaq has been declared).
  • A Muslim woman against whom talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children.
  • A Muslim woman against whom such talaq has been declared, is entitled to seek custody of her minor children

 

Significance:

  • The Bill will help in ensuring gender justice and gender equality of married Muslim women and will help them in practising their fundamental rights of non-discrimination and empowerment.
  • Bill is significant to end the suffering of Muslim women who have been at the receiving end of instant talaq for several years. More than 20 Islamic countries have already banned the practice.

 

Sample Question:

Talaq – e- biddat refers to

a). the practice under Muslim personal laws where pronouncement of the word ‘talaq’ thrice in one sitting by a Muslim man to his wife results in an instant and irrevocable divorce.

b). the practice under Muslim personal laws where ‘talaq’ got wife cannot remarry her husband until she marries and gets divorced by another Muslim man.

c). Both a and b

d). None

 

Answer: a

 


Topic : Balsams of Eastern Himalayas

Topic in Syllabus: Ecology & Environment

 

Context:

Balsams of Eastern Himalayas

Between 2010 and 2019, botanists and taxonomists working on Impatiens, the scientists discovered 23 new species from the eastern Himalayas.

 

Background:

  • Prior to 2010, specimens of Impatiens that had potential of being identified as new species would be collected but the dried-up specimens looked identical to the species discovered earlier and their effort yielded no results.

 

Highlights

  • Botanists and taxonomists discovered 23 new species of Impatiens from the eastern Himalayas — a group of plantscommonly known as Balsams or jewel-weeds.
  • It consisting of both annual and perennial herbs, balsams are succulent plants with high endemism. Because of theirbright beautiful flowers, these group of plants is of prized horticultural significance.
  • Of the 83 species described, 45 are from Arunachal Pradesh, 24 from Sikkim and 16 species common to both states.
  • Belonging to Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, these plants are highly sensitive to climatic conditions such as extremedrought and extended exposure to sunlight.

 

About Impatiens

  • Impatiens is a genus of more than 1,000 species of flowering plants, widely distributed throughout the NorthernHemisphere and the tropics.
  • Together with the genus Hydrocera (1 species), Impatiens make up the family Balsaminaceae.
  • Common names in North America include impatiens, jewelweed, touch-me-not, snapweed, and patience.
  • As a rule-of-thumb, “jewelweed” is used exclusively for Nearctic species, and balsam is usually applied to tropicalSpecies

 

Botanical Survey of India (BSI):

  • BSI is the apex research organization under Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEFCC) for carrying out taxonomic and floristic studies on wild plant resources of country.
  • It was established in 1890 with objective to explore plant resources of country and to identify plants species with economic virtues.
  • It has nine regional circles situated at different regions of the country.

 

Sample Question:

Consider the following statements.

  1. Balsam species are commonly known as Jewel Weeds.
  2. The genus name ‘Impatiens’ signifies the impatient nature of the fruits which explode when touched.
  3. They are distributed only in Eastern Himalayas.

Which of the above statements is/are correct?

a). 1 and 2 only

b). 2 and 3 only

c). 3 only

d). 1, 2 and 3

 

Answer:. a

Balsam species are distributed throughout Western Ghats, Eastern Himalayas, Sri Lanka, South East Asia, Africa and Madagascar.

 


Topic : Chaukhandi Stupa – National Important Monument

Topic in Syllabus: Art & Culture

 

Context:

Chaukhandi Stupa - National Important Monument

An ancient Buddhist site in UP’s Sarnath known as Chaukhandi Stupa has been declared to be “of national importance” by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

 

Chaukhandi Stupa

  • It is a lofty mound of brick whose square edifice is surrounded by an octagonal tower.
  • The stupa got its name Chaukhandi’ because of its four armed plan.

 

Significance:

  • Chaukhandi Stupa was built to mark the place where Buddha met his first disciples Panchavargiya Bhikshus (Buddha’s five companions) who had previously deserted him at Rajgir, as he traveled from Bodhgaya to Sarnath.
  • The stupa is an ancient Buddhist site which evolved from burial mounds and served as a shrine for a relic of Buddha.

 

Construction

  • It appears to be in ruins and was originally constructed in 5th Century AD.
  • It also finds mention in account of Hiuen Tsang, celebrated Chinese traveler of 7th century AD.
  • The Chaukhandi Stupa is said to be originally a terraced temple during the Gupta period (4th to 6th century).
  • Govardhan, the son of Todarmal altered and modified the Chaukhandi Stupa to its present shape.
  • He built an octagonal tower to commemorate the visit of Humayun, the great Mughal ruler.

 

Architecture

  • The current structure of the stupa is a high earthen mound covered with brickwork, to which stands atop a terraced rectangular plinth and it is capped by an octagonal Mughal tower.
  • Some images of Buddha, such as the image of Buddha in Dharmachakra Pravartana Mudra and other statues found during excavations at this Stupa are believed to be rare artifacts and classic examples of art from Gupta period.

 

About the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI):

  • ASI was formed on 1861 and is headquartered at New Delhi, India.
  • ASI is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage in India.
  • It functions under the Ministry of Culture.
  • ASI is responsible for the regulation of all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 and Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972

 

Sample Question

Which ancient Buddhist site located in Sarnath, Uttar Pradesh, has been declared as a Monument and Protected Area of National Importance by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)?
a. Shatkhandi Stupa
b. Chaukhandi Stupa
c. Trikhandi Stupa
d. Panchkhandi Stupa

 

Answer: b

 


Topic : Operation Sunshine-2

Topic in Syllabus: Security Issues

 

Context:

Operation Sunshine-2

  • In a coordinated operation named “Operation Sunshine-2”, the Indian army along with Myanmar troops conducted a 3-week long operation targeting several militant groups operating in the border regions of Manipur, Nagaland and Assam.

 

Background

  • This operation was a follow up of “Operation Sunshine-1” which took place in February where the Indian Army successfully destroyed Arakanese rebel camps that were working towards sabotaging the Kaladan Multimodal transit transport project.

 

Key highlights

  • The operation conducted between May 16 and June 8 targeted several militant outfits including the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO), the NSCN (Khaplang), the United Liberation Front of Assam (I) and the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB).
  • Reportedly, around 70-80 militants belonging to these groups were nabbed and several of their camps destroyed during the operation. A third phase of the operation may also be launched depending upon on the actionable intelligence and ground situation.
  • Majority of these camps were in Hokayat, and were predominantly of the Naga rebel group, NSCN-K, which had abrogated its ceasefire with the Indian government in 2015.
  • The operation included blocks by two battalions of the Indian Army — along with Special Forces, Assam Rifles and infantry Ghataks — on the Indian side of the border.

 

Significance:

  • . India has been pushing for better coordination between the two countries to handle the militants.
  • The Indian Army provide logistics support to the Myanmar Army during this deployment as their infrastructure is stretched heavily during the monsoons.
  • This support will include special rations and food supplies for the Myanmarese soldiers deployed in Sagaing Region.

 

Sample Question:

Consider the following statements:

  1. India-Myanmar Bilateral Army Exercise (IMBAX) is aimed at building and promoting closer relations with armies.
  2. Myanmar is a key partner in the fight to end insurgency in India’s northeast.

Which of the above statement is/are Correct?

a). 1 only

b). 2 only

c). Both

d). None

 

Answer: C

 


Info graphic Summary


 

Info graphic summary 10th to 17th June 2019