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Monthly DNA

18 Jul, 2022

42 Min Read


GS-II : Governance Policies and Programmes


The Consultative Committee meeting of the Ministry of Civil Aviation was held in New Delhi. The topic for discussion was ‘DIGI YATRA’ to make certain valuable suggestions about the project.


  • Digi Yatra is the initiative by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Air travellers can use facial recognition technology to enter any airport in the country.
  • This initiative is taken to promote paperless and hassle-free air travel There will be one-time verification at the departure airport when travelling for the first time using the ID.
  • After successful verification, facial recognition biometrics will be captured and stored in Digi Travel ID.
  • The Ministry of Civil Aviation intends to digitalize ticket booking, airport entry and boarding pass security check-in.
  • According to the ministry, the Airports Authority of India (AAI) has plans to launch the initiative in Kolkata, Varanasi, Pune and Vijayawada airports.

Other initiatives for robust Civil Aviation:


  • The full form of UDAN is 'Ude Desh ka Aam Nagarik'. Its main objective is to make air travel affordable and accessible. The scheme is a part of the National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP), launched in June 2016. It is funded jointly by the Government of India and the state governments.
  • The Centre plans to operationalise the 100 unserved and underserved airports and start at least 1,000 air routes under a regional connectivity scheme.
  • This scheme is aimed at enhancing the connectivity to remote and regional areas of the country and making air travel affordable to middle-class people.
  • Under the scheme, nearly half of the seats in Udan flights are offered at subsidised fares, and the participating carriers are provided with a certain amount of viability gap funding (VGF) – an amount shared between the Centre and the concerned states.
  • The scheme will run for 10 years and can be extended thereafter. The airlines participating are selected via a competitive bidding process.

Feature of the UDAN scheme

  • Improving the air transport infrastructure in all parts of the country with a special focus on remote areas.
  • Making 425 unserved and underserved airports operational in the country.
  • Improving the economy of the country by facilitating faster connectivity.
  • Creating job opportunities in the aviation sector.
  • Making air services available at lower prices to the citizen.

UDAN 1.0

  • Under this phase, five airline companies were awarded 128 flight routes to the 70 airports.

UDAN 2.0

  • This came in 2018 when the Ministry of Civil Aviation announced 73 underserved and unserved airports.
  • For the first time in phase 2, the helipad was also connected.

UDAN 3.0

  • Bringing several routes in the Northeast region under the ambit of UDAN.
  • Inclusion of seaplanes for connecting water aerodromes.
  • Inclusion of tourism route under UDAN 3 in coordination with the Ministry of Tourism.

UDAN 4.0

  • The 4th round of UDAN was launched in December 2019 with a special emphasis on North-Eastern Regions, Hilly States, and Islands.
  • The airports that had already been developed by the Airports Authority of India (AAI) are given higher priority for the award of Viability Gap Funding (VGF) under the Scheme.
  • Under UDAN 4, the operation of helicopters and seaplanes is also been incorporated.

NABH Nirman Initiative

  • Currently, the Airport Authority of India (AAI) has 124 airports. The new scheme proposes to expand it and increase the traffic handling capacity of airports by more than five times the airport capacity to handle a billion trips a year.
  • The project aims to construct 100 new airports in the next 10 years, by investing about Rs 2 trillion.
  • The key initiative aims at improving passenger amenities, promoting cargo handling facilities and early operationalization of 56 new airports under the UDAN key initiative, improving regional connectivity and improving passenger services in a big way.
  • The three key aspects of NABH Nirman are fair and equitable land acquisition, a long-term master plan for airport and regional development, and balanced economics for all stakeholders.

Source: PIB


GS-III : S&T Defense system


The Navy Kilo Class Submarine INS Sindhudhvaj was decommissioned from service at Visakhapatnam after 35 years in service, the navy now has 15 conventional submarines in service.

About Sindhudhvaj

  • Commissioned into the navy in June 1987, Sindhudhvaj was one of the 10-kilo Class Submarines that India acquired from Russia between 1986 and 2000.
  • The Sindhughosh submarines, designated as 877EKM, were designed as part of Project 877 and built under a contract between Rosvooruzhenie and the Ministry of Defence (India).
  • The submarines have a displacement of 3,000 tonnes, a maximum diving depth of 300 meters and a top speed of 18 knots, and can operate solo for 45 days with a crew of 53.
  • Sindhudhvaj had many first credits, including operationalization of the indigenized sonar USHUS, indigenized satellite communication system Rukmani and MSS, inertial navigation system and indigenized Torpedo fire control system.
  • Sindhudhvaj also successfully undertook matting and personnel transfer with a deep submergence rescue vessel and was the only submarine to be awarded the Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Rolling Trophy for innovation by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation underwater. India's submarine fleet is based at two locations one is at Visakhapatnam on the east coast and another in Mumbai on the west coast.

Other Submarines of India

  • Number of Submarines in India:

Currently, India has now 15 conventional diesel-electric submarines, classified as SSKs, and two nuclear ballistic submarines which are classified as SSBNs. Most of India’s submarines are over 25 years old, and many are getting refitted.

15 SSKs submarine can be classified as:

  • Four are Shishumar Class, which were bought and then built in India in collaboration with the Germans starting 1980s,
  • Eight are Kilo Class or Sindhughosh Class bought from Russia (including erstwhile USSR) between 1984 and 2000, and
  • Three are Kalvari Class Scorpene submarines built at India’s Mazagon Dock in partnership with France’s Naval Group, earlier called DCNS.

Facts about India’s submarine acquisition

  • India got its first submarine, INS Kalvari of the Foxtrot Class, from the USSR in December 1967.
  • Russia offered India its Kilo Class submarines. Subsequently, India added to its submarine fleet with the help of Russia and Germany.
  • Last year India gifted INS Sindhuvir to Myanmar.
  • In 2012, India got another Russian SSN on a ten-year lease, called INS Chakra 2, which has since been returned to Russia.

About Kalvari Class Scorpene Submarine

  • Kalvari-class Diesel Electric attack submarine was built at Mazgaon Dock in Mumbai on Thursday. They are a stealthy class of submarines having been built under Project 75 and whose design is based on the Scorpene class of submarines.
  • This class inclides INS Kalveri, INS Khanderi, INS Karanj, INS Vela, INS Vagir and INS Vagsheer. Of these Kalvari and Khanderi have been commissioned in 2017 and 2019, Vela and Karanj and undergoing sea trials, Vagir has been launched and Vagsheer is under construction.
  • This class of submarines have Diesel Electric transmission systems and these are primarily attack submarines or ‘hunter-killer’ type which means they are designed to target and sink adversary naval vessels.
  • The Kalvari class of submarines are capable of carrying anti-warships and anti-submarine operations and launching various types of torpedoes and missiles and are equipped with a range of surveillance and intelligence gathering mechanisms.
  • These submarines are around 220 feet long and have a height of 40 feet. It can reach the highest speeds of 11 knots when surfaced and 20 knots when submerged.
  • The modern variants of the Scorpene class of submarines have what is called the Air Independent Propulsion (AIP) which enables non-nuclear submarines to operate for a long time without access to surface oxygen.
  • It also needs to be noted that the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has an ongoing programme to build a fuel cell-based AIP system for Indian Naval Submarines.

About Nuclear Submarine (SSN)

  • SSNs have an infinite capacity to stay underwater. As they are not propelled by batteries, they need not emerge for charging by a diesel engine. Propelled by a nuclear-powered engine, these submarines only need to come to the surface for replenishing supplies for the crew.
  • SSNs are also able to move faster underwater than conventional submarines. All this allows a navy to deploy them at farther distances, and quicker. They are like the fighter jets of the underwater world.
  • India is taking two SSNs on lease from Russia, but the first of them is expected to be delivered only by 2025.
  • But, during this time India has developed its own SSBNs, INS Arihant and INS Arighat.
  • The SSBNs are strategic programmes and fall under the Strategic Forces Command, the tri-services command responsible for India’s nuclear weapon and act as a deterrent.

India’s Modernisation Plan:

  • 30 - Year Plan: The 30-year plan (2000-30) for the indigenous submarine construction, approved by the Cabinet Committee on Security in 1999, envisaged two production lines of six submarines each, built in India in partnership with a foreign Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM). The projects were called P-75 and P-75I.
  • P-75: Of the six being built, P-75 has delivered three Kalvari Class Scorpene Submarines so far.
  • P-75I: It is yet to take off, the Request for Proposal was issued in July 2021. It will be India’s first under the Strategic Partnership Model, which came up in 2015.
  • India is building at least two larger SSBNs that will have bigger missiles, called S4 and S4* projects. The four SSBNs are expected to be commissioned before 2030.

Capabilities at a Glance

The total Submarines in the Fleet is 15. It includes:

  • Ballistic Missile Submarine (SSBNs)
  • Nuclear-Powered attack submarines (SSNs)
  • Diesel-electric attack submarines (SSKs)
  • Air-independent propulsion (AIP) enable.

In service

Under construction




Source: The Indian Express


GS-III : Biodiversity & Environment Conservation


Only four Female Great Indian Bustards (GIB) are left in Gujarat. According to a 2018 count, India has fewer than 150 GIBs, of which 122 are mainly in Rajasthan.

About Great Indian Bustard

  • The Great Indian Bustard is a bustard native to the Indian subcontinent. Bustards are large terrestrial birds found in dry grasslands and steppe regions.
  • Also known as the Indian Bustard, it is among the heaviest flying birds in existence, standing at about 3.3 ft tall.
  • Weighing about 15 kgs, the Great Indian Bustard is easily recognizable by its black cap over a pale head and neck.
  • The male is deep sandy buff coloured and its breast band turns black during the mating season. The female is smaller compared to the male.
  • It is the State bird of Rajasthan and is considered India’s most critically endangered bird.
  • The Great Indian Bustard is considered the flagship grassland species, representing the health of the grassland ecology.
  • Its population is confined mostly to Rajasthan and Gujarat. A small population is also found in Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh.
  • Three of the four bustard species are found in India, namely the Great Indian Bustard, the Lesser Florican, and the Bengal Florican. The fourth one Houbara is a migratory species.

[Note: Only 350 Bengal Floricans are left in the country. It was once widely distributed in the Gangetic and Brahmaputra plains, now confined to a few pockets of Uttar Pradesh, Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh. IUCN STATUS: Critically Endangered]

[Lesser Florican smallest of the Bustard family was found throughout the country and now less than 2500 survive in the world, confined to Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Western Madhya Pradesh. IUCN STATUS: Endangered]

Threats and issues in Conservation:

  • The bird is under constant threat due to collision/electrocution with power transmission lines, hunting (still prevalent in Pakistan), habitat loss and alteration and widespread agricultural expansion, encroachment of wetlands and grasslands, widespread overgrazing of grasslands, etc.
  • Apathy of people and government, the Maharashtra Government decided to reduce the size of the Great Indian Bustard Sanctuary in the Sholapur district.
  • Similarly, encroachment by the local people in the Karera Bustard Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh led to the extinction of the species in the region.
  • Central government lack of financial, and technical support to the critically endangered bustards as is given under Project Tiger, Project Elephant that has helped save the species, their habitat, and associated species.

Protection Status:

  • International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List-Critically Endangered
  • Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) -Appendix I
  • Convention on Migratory Species (CMS)- Appendix I
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972- Schedule 1

Measures taken to protect the Bustards:

  • Species Recovery Programme: It is kept under the species recovery programme under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitats Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change to protect all the species of bustards found in India.
  • National Bustard Recovery Plans: It is currently being implemented by linking local livelihood with bustard conservation. The core breeding areas are identified by the state government and kept inviolate from human disturbance, restricting land use diversion for roads, intensive agriculture etc. Includes incentivizing the local farmers to start breeding birds on their land.
  • Conservation Breeding Facility: MoEF&CC, Rajasthan government and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) have also established a conservation breeding facility in Desert National Park at Jaisalmer in June 2019.

The programme aims to build up a captive population of Great Indian Bustards and to release the chicks into the wild for increasing the population.

  • Project Great Indian Bustard: It has been launched by the Rajasthan government to construct breeding enclosures for the species and develop infrastructure to reduce human pressure on its habitats.
  • Eco-Friendly Measures: Task Force has been created for suggesting eco-friendly measures to mitigate the impacts of power transmission lines and other power transmission infrastructures on wildlife including the Great Indian Bustard.

A proper Centrally Sponsored holistic approach with necessary policies and action to conserve grasslands, with the involvement of local communities is much needed for the conservation of the bustards.

Source: The Hindu


GS-II : Important reports Important reports


European Intelligence Unit has released the Global Liveability Index 2022.

About Index

  • It ranked 173 cities based on their liveability or living conditions.
  • The ranking is determined by five broad factors — stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.
  • While ranking the highest weightage is given to stability and culture and environment (25% each) followed by healthcare and infrastructure with 20% each and education with 10% weightage.
  • Each factor in a city is rated as acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable, or intolerable.
  • This time Ukraine's capital Kyiv was not included in the index this time due to Russia's full-scale war with Ukraine.
  • And Russian cities Moscow and St Petersburg fell in the rankings over "censorship" and the impact of Western sanctions.
  • The most livable city according to the index is Vienna. Western European cities along with a few Canadian cities dominate the top ten ranks. The Syrian capital, Damascus is the least livable city in the world

Indian cities

  • For the first time, the list included the five Indian cities; Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, and Bangalore.
  • All five cities scored poorly, ranked between 140 and 146.
  • The ranking of various Indian cities: Delhi at 140, Mumbai at 141, Chennai at 142, Ahmedabad at 143, and Bangalore ranked the least at 146th with a score of 54.4 out of 100.
  • This came as a shocker as Banglore of India topped the ‘Ease of Living Index 2020’ released by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Poor performance of Indian cities is due to:

  • Poor public transport, growing slums
  • Cities suffer from congestion and pollution,
  • have inadequate water and poor quality housing,
  • While private health and education are acceptable in these cities, the level and quality of public provision are well below the global average.
  • High levels of corruption and social and religious restrictions also reduce liveability markedly in Indian cities.

Comparison with other South Asian Countries

  • Pakistan’s largest city Karachi was one of the five least livable cities in the world in the index, but it has still scored well than Bangalore, the IT capital of India in terms of infrastructure.
  • Bangladesh's capital Dhaka stood at 166th position. Bangalore scored equal to Lagos in Nigeria, which is the third-least livable city in the world, in terms of infrastructure.

[The infrastructure score is based on the quality of roads, public transportation systems, international links, energy provision, telecommunications, and water availability.]

Source: The Indian Express

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