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29 Dec, 2020

14 Min Read

India's first driverless train operations

GS-III : S&T Indigenisation of technology

India’s first driverless train operations

Context: UPSC GS Paper III S&T (Prelims - Mains)

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate India's first-ever driverless train operations on Delhi Metro's Magenta Line along with the fully operational National Common Mobility Card service on the Airport Express Line.
  • The driverless trains will be fully automated, which will eliminate the possibility of human error, it said, adding that after the start of driverless services on the Magenta Line

Other Train Technologies

Modern Train Control system

  • Indian Railways has decided to modernize its Signalling system on its entire network by implementing a Modern Train Control system.
  • RailTel Enterprises Ltd. (REL), a 100% subsidiary of RailTel Corporation of India Ltd. has been given the responsibility to implement these four pilot projects on behalf of the Indian Railway.
  • The MTCS includes provision of:
  1. Automatic Train Protection (ATP) System
  2. Electronic Interlocking System
  3. Remote Diagnostic & Predictive Maintenance System
  4. Long Term Evolution (LTE) based Mobile Train Radio Communication (MTRC) System
  5. Centralized Traffic Control System (CTC) /Train Management System (TMS)

Hyperloop Train

  • In a Hyperloop, the passenger pods or capsules travel through a tube, either above or below ground. To reduce friction, most but not all of the air is removed from the tubes by pumps.
  • Overcoming air resistance is one of the biggest uses of energy in high speed travel.
  • Airliners climb to high altitudes to travel through less dense air; in order to create a similar effect at ground level, Hyperloop encloses the capsules in a reduced-pressure tube, effectively allowing the trains to travel at aeroplane speeds but on the ground.
  • In the model, the pressure of air inside the Hyperloop tube is about one-sixth the pressure of the atmosphere on Mars. This means an operating pressure of 100 pascals, which reduces the drag force of the air by 1,000 times relative to sea level conditions and would be equivalent to flying above 150,000 feet altitude.
  • The pod would get its initial velocity from an external linear electric motor, which would accelerate it to ‘high subsonic velocity and then give it a boost every 70 miles or so; in between, the pod would coast along in near vacuum.

Vande Bharat Express:

  • It is India’s first indigenously built engineless semi-high speed train. Earlier, it was known by the name Train 18.
  • It runs between Delhi and Varanasi at a maximum speed of 160 kmph.
  • It has been built by the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai, in a record time of 20 months.
  • The train is a 100% ‘Make in India’ project and is claimed to be built at half the cost of a similar train set that is imported.
  • It is energy-efficient as its coaches will be fitted with LED lights. Coaches will have automatic doors and retractable footsteps.
  • It will be inter-connected with fully sealed gangways along with a GPS-based Passenger Information System. It is provided with Bio toilets.

Source: TH

Food Security and Food Commission in India - UPSC

GS-III : Economic Issues Food security

Food Security and Food Commissions in India - UPSC

Context: UPSC GS Paper III Food Security of India (Prelims Mains Interview)

What is in the news?

  • Activists of Rajasthan are upset about the new Food Commission.

What is National Food Security Act, 2013? (Except Antyodaya Anna Yojana)

  • In PUCL vs Union of India, SC said the Right to food is essential to the Right to Life (Art 21). Hence NFSA has a rights-based approach. The objective is to provide food and nutritional security in the human life cycle approach.
  • All the above schemes PDS, RPDS, and TPDS are merged except AAY which will continue to give 35 kg to the poorest of the poor.
  • It covers 67% population (75% Rural and 50% Urban). Beneficiaries under SECC.
  • People will get 5 kgs of foodgrains per person per month upto 5 family members at subsidised prices of Rs. 3/2/1 per Kg for rice/wheat/coarse grains. It uses TPDS mechanism.
  • Special nutritional support to women and children.
  • It includes meal to Pregnant women and lactating mothers during pregnancy and 6 months after child birth. They are entitled to a nutritious "take home ration" of 600 Calories and a maternity benefit of >= Rs 6,000 for 6 months. Hence, PMMVY is merged. 5000 + 1000 rs under Janani Suraksha Yojana.
  • Children upto 14 years will get nutritious meals.
  • If there is no supply in 15 days, then beneficiaries will get Food Security Allowance.
  • Grievance redressal mechanism at District and State levels. Transparency and Accountability to be ensured.
  • Food fortification = Rice with Protein; Wheat with Zinc and Coarse Cereals with Iron.
  • Utilisation of Dryland area agriculture which is 52% land.
  • Development of Wasteland to generate 250 million tonnes additional production.
  • In Chandigarh, Puducherry and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, act is impemented in cash transfer mode and they will have the choice to buy foodgrains from open market.
  • The eldest woman in a household, >= 18 years, shall be the head of the household for the purpose of issuance of a ration card.

What is the State Food Commission in NFSA, 2013?

  • The State Food Commission is constituted under NFSA, 2013 to monitor and implement the provisions of the NFSA. Each Commission shall consist of a chairperson, five other members and a member-secretary (including at least two women and one member each from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes).
  • State Commission’s main function is to monitor and evaluate the implementation of the act, give advice to the state governments and their agencies, and inquire into violations of entitlements. State Commissions also have to hear appeals against the orders of the District Grievance Redressal Officer.
  • The intention behind establishing the Commission was that if the government does not implement or inadequately implements NFSA, depriving the exploited and vulnerable groups of its benefits, then there should be an independent body with the powers to hold the government accountable for the deficiencies

What is the issue in Rajasthan?

  • The much awaited formation of the Food Commission in Rajasthan, with the appointment of government officers as its ex-officio chairperson and members, has left the social activists disappointed.
  • Activists said this would result in the officers sitting in judgment on their own acts against which the complaints will be made to the Commission.
  • According to them, Food Commission had been constituted in “gross violation” of the principles of natural justice, which dictated that no one should be a judge in their own cause.

Source: TH

Modiji on Kisan Rail and Farm Protests

GS-III : Economic Issues Agriculture reforms

Modiji on Kisan Rail and Farm Protests

  • Amid continuing protests by farmers near the Delhi border over the new farm laws, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off the 100th “Kisan Rail” service from Sangola in the Solapur district of Maharashtra to Shalimar in West Bengal.
  • He said the Centre’s policies that aimed at providing access to newer and bigger markets for smaller farmers were “clear” and its “intentions are transparent”.
  • Mr. Modi said the service would transform the economics of Indian agriculture while strengthening the country’s cold supply chain.
  • In August, the first ‘Kisan Rail’ train dedicated to agriculture and farmers was begun to connect farmers and markets across the country. This experiment will prove especially beneficent for the country’s 80% small and marginal farmers, who constitute the backbone of the agrarian economy.
  • On Farm amendments, Mr. Modi said announcements regarding modernising agriculture had already been made in the Budget which had envisaged the “Kisan Rail” service and the “Krishi Udaan” scheme.
  • “We are transforming our claims into reality when we say that India’s farmers can now transport their produce to far-flung places within the country as well as gain access to international markets … Earlier, the ‘Kisan Rail’ was being run only once a week. But now, such is its demand that we are running it three times a week … It is also proof that farmers are open to new possibilities in agriculture. The farmers in the north are already benefiting from ‘Krishi Udaan’ scheme. It is only after this solid preparation that we had moved towards the new farm amendments,” he said.
  • Stating that the ‘Kisan Rail’ service and the amended farm laws would help protect farmers against the fluctuations in demand and supply, the Prime Minister underscored that farmers in India had an option today to send their produce to any part of the country where there was a demand for a particular crop.

Source: TH


GS-III : S&T Space


  • Puerto Rico’s Arecibo Telescope was built in 1963.
  • It is the second-largest single-dish radio telescope in the world. It was in news recently because of its collapse.
  • It is owned by the US National Science Foundation.
  • It is known for its finding that Mercury rotates in 59 days and not 88 days (original calculation).

About Arecibo Telescope

  • The Arecibo Telescope has one of the most powerful radar employed to observe asteroids, planets, ionosphere.
  • The telescope has discovered the first exoplanets, prebiotic molecules in distant galaxies and first millisecond Pulsar.
  • The Telescope had served as a hub in the search of extra-terrestrial life and has picked up several radio signals from alien civilisations.
  • It has played a major role in tracking killer asteroids heading towards the earth.
  • In 1993, the scientists Joseph Taylor and Russell Hulse were awarded the Nobel Prize in physics.
  • With the help of the observatory they monitored a binary Pulsar. It was the first evidence for the existence of gravitational waves.

Source: TH


GS-III : S&T Indigenization of Technology


  • C32 LH2 is the largest-ever cryogenic propellant tank developed by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
  • It is designed to increase the payload capability of ISRO’S GSLV Mk III from 4 tonnes to 6 tonnes.
  • The aim is to create self-reliance with regards to carrying heavier communication satellites into space.

About C32 LH2 Tank

  • It is a cryogenic propellant tank made of aluminium alloy.
  • Currently, India is dependent on French Guiana to launch heavier communication satellites.
  • C32 LH2 will put an end to India’s dependence on a foreign country and will boost its self-reliance.

What are Cryogenic fuels?

  • Cryogenic means low temperature.
  • They are fuels that requires extremely low storage temperature.
  • Thus, the space environment cannot support combustion. And therefore, highly low temperature fuels are needed.
  • Usually the cryogenic engines use liquid hydrogen as fuel and liquid oxygen as oxidiser.
  • This is because oxygen can be kept in liquid state that is below -183 degrees Celsius.
  • On the other hand, the liquid hydrogen is kept at -253 degree Celsius.

Source: PIB

Roll of COVID vaccine

GS-III : S&T Health

Rollout of COVID vaccine

Context: UPSC GS Paper III S&T Health COVID (Prelims cum Mains)

  • The dry run to test preparedness for the nationwide roll-out of a COVID-19 vaccine kicked off in four States — Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat and Punjab.
  • The two-day, end-to-end dry run was carried out in Krishna district of Andhra Pradesh; Rajkot and Gandhinagar in Gujarat; Ludhiana and Shaheed Bhagat Singh Nagar (Nawanshahr) in Punjab; and Sonitpur and Nalbari districts of Assam.
  • Intended beneficiaries of each State, who had registered on the Co-WIN app, the Union government’s digital platform for vaccine delivery, were on Monday sent text messages informing them about the time and place of their “COVID-19 vaccination” under a mock drill to administer the shots at designated centres.

Source: TH

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