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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

05 Aug, 2020

68 Min Read

Time Capsule-Kaal Patra

GS-I : Art and Culture Temples

Time Capsule-Kaal Patra

The Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust has denied reports about placing of a time capsule under the ground at Ram Temple construction site in Ayodhya. The Time Capsule, also known as Kaal Patra, was supposed to contain the history of Ayodhya and Rama Janma Bhoomi Movement.

  • Time Capsule is a container of any size or shape, which accommodates documents, photos and artefacts typical of the current era and is buried underground, for future generations to unearth.
  • To ensure that the capsules do not decay they are built using special engineering techniques like steel or aluminium encasing, vacuuming, use of acid-free paper, etc.
  • The time capsules mostly have a scheduled time for reopening, and are supposed to be buried again after opening, with people of the future adding their own contributions to the time capsule.
  • The International Time Capsule Society (ITCS), based in the USA and formed in 1990, is now defunct but continues estimating the number of time capsules in the world. As per its database, there are 10,000-15,000 times capsules worldwide.

Famous Time Capsules in the World

  • Samuel Adams and Paul Revere Time Capsule: It is the oldest known time capsule from 1795 (USA).
  • The “Century Safe": The world’s first planned time capsule was established at Philadelphia Centennial Exposition (USA) in 1876. It was opened and resealed in 1976.
  • The Crypt of Civilization in Georgia: It was built around 1940 at Oglethorpe University in Brookhaven, Georgia and is scheduled for opening in the year 8113 AD. It is a project to preserve all human knowledge and was the brainchild of Thornwell Jacobs, also known as father of time capsules.
  • The Voyager and Voyager II Spacecraft: They are currently circling on the edge of our solar system. These capsules were created by NASA to be seen by future generations.

Time Capsules in India

  • Outside the Red Fort: This was placed underground in 1972 by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was dug out by the subsequent government in 1977. It raised a controversy as it was said to glorify Gandhi Nehru family in Indian History.
  • At IIT Kanpur Campus: This time capsule was buried on 6th March, 2010 containing details on IIT Kanpur in the form of documents, photographs, and films.
  • At The Alexandra Girls’ English Institution, Mumbai: It was set up in the 19th century and is scheduled to be opened in 2062. It contains information on the school.
  • At Jalandhar’s Lovely Public University: It was buried in January 2019 and contains 100 items that represent modern-day technology in India.

Significance

  • Time Capsules are intended as a method of communication with future people.
  • They are also supposed to help future archaeologists, anthropologists, or historians in knowing about the past human civilisation.

Criticism

  • Most intentional time capsules are filled with a lopsided view of history. They are often politically motivated and glorify the people who planted them.
  • They can not be regarded as facts and are not very reliable. The information in time capsules has to be verified with other sources of information.
  • Many time capsules which have been unearthed were filled with junk telling little about the people of the time.

Source: TH

Contempt of Court

GS-II : Governance Judiciary

Contempt of Court

GS-PAPER-2 Governance (Mains-I.V)

Recently, the Supreme Court of India initiated the proceedings for criminal contempt of court against lawyer-activist Prashant Bhushan. The contempt charges were lodged in the context of the comment made on social media, targeting the current Chief Justice of India.

The contempt power is needed to punish wilful disobedience to court orders (civil contempt), as well as interference in the administration of justice and overt threats to judges.

The reason why the concept of contempt exists is to insulate the institution from unfair criticism and prevent a fall in the judiciary’s reputation in the public eye.

However, this raises the dilemma between the part of contempt law that criminalises anything that “scandalises or tends to scandalise” the judiciary and freedom of speech and expression (under the article 19), especially in the era of social media.

Thus, the current issue has once again brought under focus on the need for reviewing the law on Contempt of Courts.

Note:

  • Contempt of Court refers to the offence of showing disrespect to the dignity or authority of a court.
  • The objective for contempt is stated to be to safeguard the interests of the public if the authority of the Court is denigrated and public confidence in the administration of justice is weakened or eroded.
  • The Supreme Court and High Courts derive their contempt powers from the Constitution.
  • The Contempt of Court Act, 1971, outlines the procedure in relation to investigation and punishment for contempt.
  • The Act divides contempt into civil and criminal contempt. Civil contempt refers to the willful disobedience of an order of any court. Criminal contempt includes any act or publication which:
      • Scandalises the court,
      • Prejudices any judicial proceeding
      • Interferes with the administration of justice in any other manner.
  • ‘Scandalising the Court’ broadly refers to statements or publications which have the effect of undermining public confidence in the judiciary.

Arguments Against

  • Against Civil Liberties: A law for criminal contempt gets in conflict with India’s democratic system which recognises freedom of speech and expression as a fundamental right.
  • In this manner, the judiciary draws resemblance with the executive, in using laws for a chilling effect on freedom of speech. Former Justice of Supreme Court, V.R. Krishna Iyer, famously termed the law of contempt as “having a vague and wandering jurisdiction, with uncertain boundaries; contempt law, regardless of the public good, may unwittingly trample upon civil liberties”.
  • Wide Scope of Contempt: The definition of criminal contempt in India is extremely wide, and can be easily invoked. Also, suo motu powers of the Court to initiate such proceedings only serve to complicate matters. Further, the Contempt of Courts Act was amended in 2006, to add truth and good faith as valid defences for contempt, but they are seldom entertained by the judiciary.
  • International Disuse of Contempt Doctrine: Already, contempt has practically become obsolete in foreign democracies, with jurisdictions recognising that it is an archaic law. For example: England abolished the offence of “scandalising the court” in 2013. Canada ties its test for contempt to real, substantial and immediate dangers to the administration. American courts also no longer use the law of contempt in response to comments on judges or legal matters.

Arguments in Favour

  • High Number of Contempt Cases: There still exists a high number of civil and criminal contempt cases pending in various High Courts and the Supreme Court. The high number of cases justify the continuing relevance of the contempt of court law.
  • Affecting Judiciary’s Reputation: Amendment in the definition of contempt may reduce the overall impact of the law and lessen the respect that people have for courts and their authority and functioning. Also by abolishing the offence in India would leave a legislative gap.
  • Constitutional Source of Contempt Power: Supreme Court and High Courts derive their contempt powers from the Constitution. The Contempt of Court Act, 1971, Act only outlines the procedure in relation to investigation and punishment for contempt.
  • Therefore, deletion of the offence from the Act will not impact the inherent constitutional powers of the superior courts to punish anyone for its contempt. These powers will continue to remain, independent of the 1971 Act.
  • Impact on Subordinate Courts: The Constitution allows superior courts to punish for their contempt. The Contempt of Court Act additionally allows the High Court to punish for contempt of subordinate courts. Thus, if the definition of contempt is removed, subordinate courts will suffer as there will be no remedy to address cases of their contempt.
  • Adequate Safeguards: The Commission noted that there are several safeguards built into the Act to protect against its misuse. For instance, the Act contains provisions which lay down cases that do not amount to contempt and cases where contempt is not punishable. These provisions suggest that the courts will not prosecute all cases of contempt.

Conclusion

The Law Commission of India held that there is a need to retain the provision regarding the contempt of courts. However, it also recommended the definition of contempt in the Contempt of Court Act should be restricted to civil contempt, i.e., willful disobedience of judgments of the court.

Further, in the era of social media, besides the need to revisit the law on criminal contempt, even the test for contempt needs to be evaluated.

Source: IE

Jammu & Kashmir & Habeas Corpus

GS-II : Governance

Jammu & Kashmir & Habeas Corpus

GS-Paper-2 Governance (Mains)

After the abrogation of the special status (under Article 370 of the Constitution) of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir in August 2019, the Jammu & Kashmir High Court was confronted with an unprecedented number (250 plus) of habeas corpus petitions. The habeas corpus petitions were filed to challenge the detentions under the J&K Public Safety Act (PSA), 1978.

Background: After the abrogation of the special status, thousands of people were detained from across the Kashmir valley under the preventive detention law. Of these, several hundred were detained under the PSA. The other preventive detention laws under which people were booked are National Security Act (NSA) 1980 and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967.

Status of Habeas Corpus Petitions Against PSA:

The records of cases dealt by the High Court show that 61% of the cases under the habeas corpus were dragged on over 3-4 hearings, which were later either dismissed or settled. However, in 17 cases, the court quashed the detention orders, due to lack of procedure followed by the government while invoking the PSA.

J&K Public Safety Act (PSA), 1978

Definition: It is a kind of preventive detention law, under which a person is taken into custody to prevent him or her from acting in any manner that is prejudicial to the security of the state or the maintenance of public order.

Period of Detention: Up to 2 years.

Enforcement: Detention order is passed either by Divisional Commissioner or the District Magistrate.

Challenging the Detention: The only way the administrative preventive detention order can be challenged is through a habeas corpus petition filed by relatives of the detained person.

he High Court and the Supreme Court have jurisdiction to hear such petitions and pass a final order seeking quashing of the PSA. However, if the order is quashed, there is no bar on the government passing another detention order under the PSA and detaining the person again.

There can be no prosecution or any legal proceeding against the official who has passed the order.

Habeas Corpus

It is a Latin term which literally means ‘to have the body of’. Under this the court issues an order to a person who has detained another person, to produce the body of the latter before it. The court then examines the cause and legality of detention.

This writ is a bulwark of individual liberty against arbitrary detention. The writ of habeas corpus can be issued against both public authorities as well as private individuals.

The writ, on the other hand, is not issued where the:

      • detention is lawful,
      • the proceeding is for contempt of a legislature or a court,
      • detention is by a competent court, and
      • detention is outside the jurisdiction of the court.

Source: TH

Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy (2020)

GS-II : Governance Policies and Programmes

Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy (2020)

GS-PAPER-2 Defence procurement policy (Mains)

Recently, the Ministry of Defence has formulated a draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 (DPEPP 2020). The DPEPP 2020 is envisaged as an overarching guiding document to provide a focused, structured and significant thrust to defence production capabilities of the country for self-reliance and exports.

Goals and Objectives:

  • To achieve a turnover of Rs. 1,75,000 crore including export of Rs. 35,000 crore in Aerospace and Defence goods and services by 2025.
  • To develop a dynamic, robust and competitive Defence industry, including Aerospace and Naval Shipbuilding industry to cater to the needs of Armed forces with quality products.
  • To reduce dependence on imports and take forward "Make in India" initiatives through domestic design and development.
  • To promote the export of defence products and become part of the global defence value chains.
  • To create an environment that encourages research and development (R&D), rewards innovation, create Indian Intellectual Property (IP) ownership and promotes a robust and self-reliant defence industry.

Outlined Strategies

Procurement Reforms: A Project Management Unit (PMU) will be set up for the development and production of technologies involved, life cycle costs and maintenance requirements of platforms, equipment and weapon systems.

It also aims to move away from licensed production to design, develop and produce indigenously. It also aims to own the design rights and IP of the systems projected in the Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP) and a Technology Assessment Cell (TAC) would be created.

The TAC would also assess the industrial capability for design, development and production, including re-engineering for production of major systems such as armoured vehicles, submarines, fighter aircraft, helicopters and radars with the major industries in the country.

Indigenisation And Support to MSMEs/Startups: The indigenisation policy aims to create an industry ecosystem to indigenise the imported components (including alloys and special materials) and sub-assemblies for defence equipment and platforms manufactured in India. 5,000 such items are proposed to be indigenised by 2025. More than 50 startups are currently developing new ‘fit-for-military-use’ technologies/products.

Optimise Resource Allocation: The share of domestic procurement in overall Defence procurement is about 60%. To enhance procurement from domestic industry, the procurement needs to be doubled from the current Rs. 70,000 crore to Rs. 1,40,000 crore by 2025.

Investment Promotion and Ease of Doing Business: India is already a large aerospace market with rising passenger traffic and increasing military expenditure, as a result of which the demand for aircraft (fixed and rotary wings) is rising.

The opportunities in the aerospace industry have been identified in the following segments - aircraft build work, aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO), helicopters, engine manufacturing and MRO work, line replaceable units, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and upgrades and retrofits.

The improvement in market size, demographic dividend and availability of diverse skill sets are evident from India's ranking in the World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ (EoDB) report. The investments in the defence sector need to regularly sustain the steady supply of orders.

Innovation and R&D: Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) has been operationalised to provide necessary incubation and infrastructure support to the startups in the defence area. iDEX would be further scaled up to engage with 300 more startups and develop 60 new technologies/products during the next five years.

Mission Raksha Gyan Shakti was launched to promote a greater culture of innovation and technology development and file a higher number of patents in Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). It would be scaled up for promoting the creation of Intellectual Property in the sector and its commercial utilisation.

Conclusion

Self-reliance in defence manufacturing is a crucial component of effective defence capability and to maintain national sovereignty and achieve military superiority. The attainment of this will ensure strategic independence, cost-effective defence equipment and may lead to saving on defence import bill, which can subsequently finance the physical and social infrastructure.

Source: TH

Militarising Andaman and Nicobar Islands

GS-III :

Militarising Andaman and Nicobar Islands

GS-PAPER-2 IR (Mains)

The Galwan valley face-off with China has rendered many Indian security experts mooted the idea of balancing China in the maritime domain. In this context, strengthening military presence at the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANI) remains very critical for India.

The idea of militarizing the Andaman and Nicobar Islands is not new. Since the 1980s, Indian defense experts have advocated building strong strategic infrastructure at the ANI.

However, the strategic development of the ANI is not a straightforward choice for India’s defence and foreign policy establishments. Therefore, India must conduct a cost-benefit analysis before going for militarization of ANI.

Significance of Andaman and Nicobar Islands

  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands are located at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea.
  • It is a group of 572 islands, which straddles some of the busiest trade routes in the world.
  • ANI spans 450 nautical miles in a roughly north-south configuration adjacent to the western entrance to the Malacca Strait, which is itself a major Indian Ocean chokepoint.
  • Geopolitically, the ANI connects South Asia with South-East Asia. While the northernmost point of the archipelago is only 22 nautical miles from Myanmar, the southernmost point, Indira Point, is a mere 90 nautical miles from Indonesia.
  • The islands dominate the Bay of Bengal, the Six Degree and the Ten Degree Channels that more than sixty thousand commercial vessels traverse each year.
  • The Andaman and Nicobar Islands constitute just 0.2% of India’s landmass but provide near 30% of its Exclusive Economic Zone.

Opportunities in Militarising ANI

  • Crucial for a Robust Indo-Pacific Strategy: As the geopolitical importance of the Indo-Pacific has been increasing, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, located in the Bay of Bengal, have attained increased strategic significance. ANI could also become an important element of India’s “Act East Policy” of engaging with countries in the region east of India.
  • Further, the Andaman and Nicobar chain of islands could be used as a basis for Indian maritime power projection into the Indo-Pacific and even beyond into the south-west Pacific.
  • Strategic and Commercial Advantages: The ANI could be used for India’s Third Fleet and the trans-shipment hub at Car Nicobar, could potentially be a strategic game-changer, rivalling the ports of Singapore or Colombo.
  • Strengthening Tri-Service Command: Changing nature of warfare in the 21st century has led to the expansion of scope of a Tri-Command Service. As Andaman and Nicobar is the only Tri-Command structure in India, development of military infrastructure at ANI is a key requirement in India’s security strategy.

Challenges in Militarising ANI

  • May Portray the Image of Big Brother: When India first began developing the ANI in the mid-1980s, countries like Malaysia and Indonesia feared that India would use its military facilities in the ANI to dominate its region, and project power east of Malacca.
  • Hence, it is not uncommon for India to be vilified as the ‘Big Brother’ by many of its neighbours in South Asia and South-East Asia
  • Therefore, a section of India’s diplomatic community has opposed militarising the ANI, arguing that turning ANI into a strategic-military garrison would militarise the littoral states and disrupt Indian ocean as a zone of peace.
  • Ecological And Anthropogenic Aspect: Military infrastructure projects could devastate the fragile ecology of the ANI. Already many islands are facing significant damage from the climate crisis. Also, to establish a credible Aerial and Naval presence in an ethnographically extremely sensitive region presents complex challenges.
  • Antagonising China: While China’s presence in the Indian Ocean is growing, it hasn’t so far militarised key Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) outposts in the Bay of Bengal (Hambantota, Chittagong and Kyaukpyu). If India pushes for greater military presence in the ANI, China could well seek military access in its friendly countries in Indian ocean .

Way Forward

  • Bandwagoning with QUAD: In order to counter China’s expanding footprint in India’s sphere of maritime interest, India must permit friendly foreign navies (QUAD members, France etc.) access to the ANI’s military bases. The plan to integrate India’s undersea sensor chain with the existing US-Japan “Fish Hook” SOSUS network which seeks to monitor submarine activity in the South China Sea and the Indian Ocean Rim, is a step in the right direction.
  • Balanced Development: Militarising ANI will aid India’s strategic capabilities, but such development should not come at the cost the ruthless exploitation of Biodiversity hotspot i.e ANI.

Conclusion

Militarising ANI is not a bad idea, but India must also take into account the downsides of such a move and the final decision should be based on a dispassionate weighing of costs and benefits.

Source: TH

National Education Policy (NEP) 2020

GS-III : Economic Issues Education

National Education Policy (NEP) 2020

GS-PAPER-3 Education reforms (Mains)

Recently, the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 was announced by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (soon to be called the Ministry of Education). The policy is aimed at transforming the Indian education system to meet the needs of the 21st Century.

The new policy seeks rectification of poor literacy and numeracy outcomes associated with primary schools, reduction in dropout levels in middle and secondary schools and adoption of the multi-disciplinary approach in the higher education system.

Apart from this, the policy also focuses on early childhood care, restructuring curriculum and pedagogy; reforming assessments and exams, and investing in teacher training and broad-basing their appraisal.

Though the NEP 2020 seeks to bring a holistic change in the education system of India, its success depends on the will and way in which it will be implemented.

Significance of National Education Policy 2020

  • Recognising Importance of Formative years: In adopting a 5+3+3+4 model for school education starting at age 3, the policy recognises the primacy of the formative years from ages 3 to 8 in shaping the child’s future.
  • Departure from Silos Mentality: Another key aspect of school education in the new policy is the breaking of the strict division of arts, commerce and science streams in high school. This can lay the foundation for a multi-disciplinary approach in high education.
  • The Confluence of Education and Skills: Another laudable aspect of the scheme is the introduction of vocational courses with an internship. This may nudge the vulnerable sections of society to send their children to school. Also, it would help in realisation of the goal of Skill India Mission.
  • Making Education More Inclusive: The NEP proposes the extension of the Right to Education (RTE) to all children up to the age of 18. Further, the policy seeks to leverage the huge potential of online pedagogy and learning methodologies for increasing gross enrolment in higher education.
  • Light But Tight Oversight: According to the policy, in spite of periodic inspection, transparency, maintaining quality standards and a favourable public perception will become a 24X7 pursuit for the institutions, leading to all-round improvement in their standard. The policy also seeks to establish a super-regulator for education which will be responsible for standards-setting, funding, accreditation and regulation of higher education India.
  • Allowing Foreign Universities: The document states universities from among the top 100 in the world will be able to set up campuses in India. This will lead to an infusion of international perspective and innovation, which will make the Indian education system more efficient and competitive.
  • Ending Hindi vs English Debate: Most crucially, NEP, once and for all, buries the strident Hindi versus English language debate; instead, it emphasises on making mother tongue, local language or the regional language the medium of instruction at least till Grade 5, which is considered the best medium of teaching.

Issues Related to NEP 2020

  • Knowledge-Jobs Mismatch: There is a persistent mismatch between the knowledge & skills imparted and the jobs available. This has been one of the main challenges that have affected the Indian education system since Independence. NEP 2020 failed to check this, as it is silent on education related to emerging technological fields like artificial intelligence, cyberspace, nanotech, etc.
  • The Requirement of Enormous Resources. An ambitious target of public spending at 6% of GDP has been set. Mobilising financial resources will be a big challenge, given the low tax-to-GDP ratio and competing claims on the national exchequer of healthcare, national security and other key sectors.

Way Forward

  • Need For Cooperative Federalism: Since education is a concurrent subject (both the Centre and the state governments can make laws on it), the reforms proposed can only be implemented collaboratively by the Centre and the states. Thus, the Centre has the giant task of building a consensus on the many ambitious plans.
  • Strive Towards Universalisation of Education: There is a need for the creation of ‘inclusion funds’ to help socially and educationally disadvantaged children pursue education. Also, there is a need to set up a regulatory process that can check profiteering from education in the form of unaccounted donations.
  • Bridging Digital Divide: If technology is a force-multiplier, with unequal access it can also expand the gap between the haves and have not. Thus, the state needs to address the striking disparities in access to digital tools for universalization of education.
  • Interministerial Coordination: There is an emphasis on vocational training, but to make it effective, there has to be close coordination between the education, skills and labour ministry.

Conclusion

The new National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, is a good policy as it aims at making the education system holistic, flexible, multidisciplinary, aligned to the needs of the 21st century and the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The intent of policy seems to be ideal in many ways but it is the implementation where lies the key to success.

Source: PIB

Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)

GS-III : Economic Issues Economic Data

Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI)

GS-Paper-3 Data (PT-Facts)

According to the recent IHS Markit India Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), India’s manufacturing sector activity contracted at a faster pace in July 2020 than in June 2020.

Manufacturing PMI:

  • It stood at 46 in July 2020, down from 47.2 in June 2020. In PMI parlance, a score above 50 means growth, while a score below that denotes contraction.
  • This is the fourth straight month of contraction for the Indian manufacturing sector. In April, the PMI had slipped into contraction mode, after remaining in growth territory for 32 consecutive months.
  • The manufacturing PMI showed some recovery in May, and further in June 2020, but it once again slipped in July 2020.

Reason for Contraction: The demand conditions remained subdued with some businesses still closed amid lockdown extensions due to emergence of new epicentres of Covid-19 pandemic. Export orders have also witnessed a decline.

Effect: The re-acceleration of declines in the manufacturing sector is undermining the trend towards economic stabilisation seen over the past two months. The firms have reduced both staff numbers as well as purchasing activity.

Purchasing Managers' Index

  • PMI is an index of the prevailing direction of economic trends in the manufacturing and service sectors.
  • It consists of a diffusion index that summarizes whether market conditions, as viewed by purchasing managers, are expanding, staying the same, or contracting.
  • The purpose of the PMI is to provide information about current and future business conditions to company decision makers, analysts, and investors.
  • It is different from the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), which also gauges the level of activity in the economy. IIP covers the broader industrial sector compared to PMI.
  • However, PMI is more dynamic compared to a standard industrial production index.

Conclusion

In India the positive impact from unlock is not as strong as the negative impact of the lockdown. Therefore the government needs to contain the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic on a priority to make economic recovery sustainable.

Source: IE

Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN)

GS-III :

Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN)

  • The Health Ministry has announced the use of the Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN).
  • eVIN is an innovative technological solution aimed at strengthening immunisation supply chain systems across the country.
  • This is being implemented under the National Health Mission (NHM), to get real-time information on vaccine stocks and flows, and storage temperatures across all cold chain points in the country.
  • This system has been used with the requisite customization during the COVID pandemic for ensuring the continuation of the essential immunisation services and protecting children and pregnant mothers against vaccine-preventable diseases.

Source: TH

Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP) 2020

GS-III : Economic Issues Defense industry

Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP) 2020

Context:

  • Ministry of Defence (MoD) has put out a draft ‘Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP) 2020’ for public feedback.
  • DPEPP has been drafted with the vision to make India amongst the leading countries of the world in the defence sector, including aerospace and naval shipbuilding sectors, from design to production, with the active participation of public and private sector and thus fulfilling the twin objectives of self-reliance and exports.

Objectives:

  • To achieve a turnover of Rs 1,75,000 Crores (US$ 25Bn) including export of Rs 35,000 Crore (US$ 5 Billion) in Aerospace and Defence goods and services by 2025.
  • To develop a dynamic, robust and competitive Defence industry, including Aerospace and Naval Shipbuilding industry to cater to the needs of Armed forces with quality products.
  • To reduce dependence on imports and take forward “Make in India” initiatives through domestic design and development.
  • To promote the export of defence products and become part of the global defence value chains.
  • To create an environment that encourages R&D, rewards innovation, creates Indian IP ownership and promotes a robust and self-reliant defence industry.

Focus areas:

  1. Procurement Reforms
  2. Indigenization & Support to MSMEs/Startups
  3. Optimize Resource Allocation
  4. Investment Promotion, FDI & Ease of Doing Business
  5. Innovation and R&D
  6. Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) and Ordnance Factory Board (OFB)
  7. Quality Assurance & Testing Infrastructure
  8. Export Promotion

Source: TH

COVAX program

GS-III :

COVAX program

  • COVAX is the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator
  • The ACT Accelerator is a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
  • COVAX is co-led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO.
  • Its aim is to accelerate the development and manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.

Why we need COVAX

  • Developing a vaccine against COVID-19 is the most pressing challenge of our time - and nobody wins the race until everyone wins.
  • The global pandemic has already caused the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and disrupted the lives of billions more. As well as reducing the tragic loss of life and helping to get the pandemic under control, introduction of a vaccine will prevent the loss of US$ 375 billion to the global economy every month.
  • Global equitable access to a vaccine, particularly protecting health care workers and those most-at-risk is the only way to mitigate the public health and economic impact of the pandemic.

Objectives of COVAX:

  • Doses for at least 20% of countries' populations
  • Diverse and actively managed portfolio of vaccines
  • Vaccines delivered as soon as they are available
  • End the acute phase of the pandemic
  • Rebuild economies

Source: TH

Covishield: 2nd – 3rd Phase trails

GS-III :

Covishield: 2nd – 3rd Phase trails

Recently, the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) has given approval to the Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune to conduct Phase II/III clinical trials of Covishield in India. SII is the world’s largest maker of vaccines and it has a tie-up with AstraZeneca, the Swedish-British pharma giant, to manufacture the Covid-19 vaccine for low- and middle-income countries.

  • Covishield:
    It is the name given to an Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine candidate which is technically referred to as AZD1222 or ChAdOx 1 nCoV-19.
  • It is already being tested in the UK, South Africa and Brazil, where participants are being administered two doses nearly a month apart.
  • It had triggered an immune response in humans against the novel coronavirus in early trials and is considered to be one of the global frontrunners for the Covid-19 vaccine.

Background: The Subject Expert Committee (SEC) for Covid-19 related therapies of the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) felt that the SII needed to take a ‘pan India’ approach while considering trial sites.

  • It recommended that authorisation to market Covishield should be granted after considering clinical data generated from both the India and international trials.
  • Trials: SII can now start its larger phase II/III trials, ahead of other vaccine candidates like Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin and Zydus Cadila’s ZyCov-D which are still in phase I/II trials.
  • However, the exact timings of trial beginning are not clear yet. It would take at least a week to get the ethics committee’s approval before starting the trials. If everything goes well, the vaccine could be out by the end of 2020.
  • The trials for Covishield will have around 1,600 participants at 18-odd sites across the country including those identified by the National Biopharma Mission and Grand Challenges India Programme.

Current Trend in India: India continues to improve the Case Fatality Rate (CFR-number of deaths per positive case) and maintain its global position of having one of the lowest Covid-19 fatalities rates. The current CFR is 2.11%.

Grand Challenges India Programm

  • It is a partnership framework for the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) in India, its Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. BIRAC is a Public Sector Enterprise, set up by the DBT.
  • Aim: To launch joint initiatives aimed at catalyzing innovative health and development research within India.

National Biopharma Mission

  • It is an industry-academia collaborative mission for accelerating biopharmaceutical development in the country.
  • It was launched in 2017 at a total cost of Rs. 1500 crore and is 50% co-funded by World Bank loan.
  • It is being implemented by the BIRAC.

Source: TH

Space X Capsule Returns

GS-III :

Space X Capsule Returns

GS-Paper-3 Space (PT-MAINS)

Recently, two National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have returned to earth in their SpaceX Dragon capsule named Endeavour, in less than a day after departing the International Space Station (ISS). Their capsule parachuted into the Gulf of Mexico about 40 miles off the coast of Pensacola, Florida Panhandle (USA), which was one of the approximate locations.

  • It was the first splashdown by the USA astronauts in 45 years, with the first commercially built and operated spacecraft to carry people to and from orbit.
    The last time NASA astronauts returned from space to water was on 24th July 1975, in the Pacific to end a joint USA-Soviet mission known as the Apollo-Soyuz.
    The Apollo-Soyuz Test Project was the first spaceflight to include two participating nations working together with their own national spacecraft.
  • The Americans sent up an Apollo command module, while the Soviet launched a Soyuz spacecraft.

Space X Crew Dragon:

  • It is a reusable spacecraft developed and manufactured by American aerospace manufacturer SpaceX
  • SpaceX is a private company founded in 2002 by Elon Musk. Its headquarters is located in Hawthorne, California (USA).
  • It is the fifth class of the USA spacecraft to take human beings into orbit, after the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle programs.
  • The rocket Falcon 9 was launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center on 31st May 2020 and carried the spaceship into the orbit.
  • The whole mission was carried out under the Demo-2 Mission of NASA and SpaceX.

Significance:

  • It clears the way for another SpaceX crew launch and possible tourist flights from 2021.
  • SpaceX has now become the first private company to send humans to orbit who have spent more than two months on the space station.
  • The landmark mission marked the first time the USA space agency launched humans from American soil since its shuttle program retired in 2011.
  • Since then, the USA has relied on Russia's space program to launch its astronauts to the space station.

Source: TH

Anniversary of Lokmanya Tilak: 100th

GS-I : Modern History Modern India

Anniversary of Lokmanya Tilak: 100th

GS-Paper-1 History personality (PT-MAINS)

Recently, the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) conducted the webinar to observe 100th death anniversary of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak on the 1st August , 2020.

Background: Born on 23rd July 1856 in Ratnagiri, Maharashtra. Lawyer by profession and also known as Lokmanya Tilak.

Gave the slogan of “Swaraj is my birthright and I shall have it!” during Indian struggle for independence. He died on 1st August 1920.

Contribution to Indian Struggle for Independence:

  • One of the earliest and the most vocal proponents of complete independence or swarajya (self-rule).
  • Along with Lala Lajpat Rai and Bipin Chandra Pal, he was part of the Lal-Bal-Pal trio of leaders with extremist outlooks.
  • A book ‘Indian Unrest’ written by Valentine Chirol, an English journalist, stated Tilak the ‘father of Indian unrest’.
  • Joined the Indian National Congress (INC) in 1890. Propagated swadeshi movements and encouraged people to boycott foreign goods.
  • Indian Home Rule Movement was started in 1916, it is believed to have set the stage for the independence movement under the leadership of Annie Besant and Bal Gangadhar Tilak for the educated English speaking upper class Indians.
  • The All India Home Rule League was founded by Tilak in April 1916 at Belgaum. It worked in Maharashtra (except Bombay), the Central Provinces, Karnataka and Berar.
  • Lucknow Pact (1916) was signed between the INC headed by Tilak and All-India Muslim League led by Muhammad Ali Jinnah for hindu-muslim unity in nationalist struggle.
  • Started newspapers namely, Kesari (Marathi) and Mahratta (English) and wrote books namely, Gita Rhasya and Arctic Home of the Vedas.

Social Contribution:

  • Founder of the Deccan Education Society (1884) along with his associate Gopal Ganesh Agarkar and others.
  • Popularised the Ganesh Chaturthi festival in the Maharashtra region.
  • Propounded the celebration of Shiv Jayanti on the birth anniversary of the monarch Chhatrapati Shivaji.
  • Devout Hindu and used Hindu scriptures to rouse people to fight oppression.

Relevance of the Tilak’s Ideas in Present Time

  • Tilak’s stand for Swadeshi products and Swadeshi movement may help today’s India to push Atmanirbhar Bharat. Thus, revival of economic nationalism can be embibe from Tilak’s ideology.
  • It was Tilak’s advocacy for local languages in the Congress that made members speak in their mother tongue during its meetings. Whereas, the government has given a push to bring Sanskrit and local languages through National Education Policy (2020).
  • Also, Tilak was a staunch opponent of untouchability and launched a huge movement to unite the society divided on the basis of caste and sects. Such behavioural push will help to unite Indian society further.

Indian Council for Cultural Relations

  • The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), is an autonomous organisation of the Government of India, involved in India's external cultural relations (cultural diplomacy), through cultural exchange with other countries and their peoples.
  • It was founded in 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, independent India’s first Education Minister.
  • ICCR has been assigned the responsibility of facilitating the celebration of the International Day of Yoga (21st June) by Indian Missions/Posts abroad since 2015.

Source: IE

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