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Current Affairs: 7th May 2015

Category : All, Current Affairs · by May 8th, 2015

1- Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar launched Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme in state

khichdi, blog,current affairs, general,knowledge, ias, ips, civil, services, CSAT,pre, ies, general studies, GS, mains, competitive, entrance, bank, PO, IBPS, current, affairs, may, 2015, blog, study, material, CSAT, Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar launched Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme in state

Beti Bachao Beti Padhao scheme

Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on 6 May 2015 launched the state level ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao Scheme’ in Panaji.

After launching the campaign, the Chief Minister also urged the society to invest more on girl child basically in the field of education as the girls gives more fruits to the society and family also.

North Goa is among 100 districts selected from across the country to implement the central government scheme on pilot basis. The objective of the scheme is to empower the girl child and enable her education.

2- Parliament passes Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013

khichdi, blog,current affairs, general,knowledge, ias, ips, civil, services, CSAT,pre, ies, general studies, GS, mains, competitive, entrance, bank, PO, IBPS, current, affairs, may, 2015, blog, study, material, CSAT, Parliament passes Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill, 2013On 7th May 2015, the parliament of India has passed the 119th constitutional amendment bill 2013, which now after the assent of the President will enter in to the statue book [as Constitution 100th Amendment Act 2015.

Background

India and Bangladesh share a 4,096 km land boundary covering West Bengal, Assam, Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram. This is largest among the international boundaries that India shares with its neighbours. On this boundary, some 50,000-100,000 people reside in so called Chitmahals or Indo-Bangladeshi enclaves.  There are 102 Indian enclaves inside Bangladesh and 71 Bangladeshi ones inside India. Inside those enclaves are also 28 counter-enclaves and one counter-counter-enclave, called Dahala Khagrabari. This ambiguity has led the life of the residents of these enclaves to misery. They are unable to get the basic government services because they are isolated from their own country by strips of foreign land. This issue was pending ever since Bangladesh got birth. For the first time, a vision to solve this issue had been enshrined in the Indira-Mujib pact of 1972. Accordingly, the India Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement was signed between the two countries in 1974. However, this agreement need ratification from the parliaments of the both countries as it involved exchange of the territories. While Bangladesh had ratified it as back as 1974 only, it was not ratified by Indian parliament till now.  

The 119th Amendment Bill 2013

The 119th constitutional amendment bill 2013 sought to ratify the land boundary agreement between the two countries. This amendment needed special majority in the parliament to get passed.  The bill proposed to amend the 1st schedule of the constitution to exchange the disputed territories occupied by both the nations in accordance with the 1974 bilateral LBA.

Key features of Land Boundary Agreement

The LBA envisages a notional transfer of 111 Indian enclaves to Bangladesh in return of 51 enclaves to India. The area transferred to India is less than that transferred by India to Bangladesh. In totality India incurs a net loss in terms of area occupancy. This remained a major concern of opposition from the north-eastern affected states and west Bengal. Also, most of the area concerned is occupied by the tribals of the NE states and hence the swapping takes away their land rights leaving them more vulnerable.

Current Status

The Constitution (119th Amendment) Bill has been passed by the Parliament of India on 7th May 2015.While India will gain 510 acres of land, ten thousand acres of land will notionally go to Bangladesh. However, these are remote enclaves which India cannot access. This legislation will redraw India’s boundary with Bangladesh by exchanging enclaves in Assam, West Bengal, Tripura and Meghalaya.

Implications

It will secure the long stranded boundary and enable to curb the illegal migration, smuggling and criminal acts cross the border. It would help those stateless citizens by granting the citizenship from their respective countries. It would help settle the boundary dispute at several points in Meghalaya, Tripura, Assam, and west Bengal. It would improve the access to the underdeveloped north-eastern state and would further enhance the developmental works in the region. It would help to increase the connectivity with the south-east Asia as part of India’s North-eastern policy. All these could be achieved with the active support from Bangladesh. LBA and the Teesta water agreement are the two major setbacks for future cooperation, development and trade in the region and would damage India’s short and long-term national and security interest.

3- Myntra.com acquired startup firm Native5 Software Solutions Pvt Ltd

khichdi, blog,current affairs, general,knowledge, ias, ips, civil, services, CSAT,pre, ies, general studies, GS, mains, competitive, entrance, bank, PO, IBPS, current, affairs, may, 2015, blog, study, material, CSAT, Myntra.com acquired startup firm Native5 Software Solutions Pvt LtdOnline fashion retailer Myntra.com on 6 May 2015 acquired Bengaluru-based startup firm Native5 Software Solutions Pvt Ltd for an undisclosed sum. With this acquisition, founders of Native 5 will join Flipkart, parent company of Myntra. From now onwards, Native5 team will work on Myntra’s mobile only strategy and will help its mobile apps to grow.

About Native5 Software Solutions Pvt Ltd

Founded in 2011 by technology professionals Manish Priyadarshi, Barada Sahu and Shamik Datta, Native5 has developed a cloud platform to create and distribute mobile apps across smart phones, tablets and desktops.

Native5 was incubated at Microsoft Accelerator in 2013. In the same year, it was also the part of Nasscom 10000 Startups.

4- Lok Sabha passes Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014

khichdi, blog,current affairs, general,knowledge, ias, ips, civil, services, CSAT,pre, ies, general studies, GS, mains, competitive, entrance, bank, PO, IBPS, current, affairs, may, 2015, blog, study, material, CSAT Lok Sabha passes Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014Lok Sabha passes Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014 for trying juveniles as adults. The bill has provision that allows trying of juveniles between the ages of 16 and 18 years as adults for heinous offences. However, the bill empowers Juvenile Justice Boards (JJB) to examine the nature of crime and decide whether it was committed as a child mind or as an adult mind. Based upon the preliminary inquiry of JJB, juvenile offender will be either sent for rehabilitation or will be tried as an adult. The Bill also seeks to consolidate and amend the law related to children alleged and found to be in conflict with law and children needing care and protection. It also has provision for the establishment of Child Welfare Committees (CWC) in each district. The CWC will determine institutional care for juvenile in need of care and protection.

5- India, Iran sign MoU for development of Chabahar Port

khichdi, blog,current affairs, general,knowledge, ias, ips, civil, services, CSAT,pre, ies, general studies, GS, mains, competitive, entrance, bank, PO, IBPS, current, affairs, may, 2015, blog, study, material, CSAT, India, Iran sign MoU for development of Chabahar Port

Chabahar Port

India and Iran have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the development of the strategically important Chabahar Port in Iran. The MoU was signed by Minister for Shipping and Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari and his Iranian counterpart Minister for Transport and Urban Development Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi in Tehran, Iran.

Key facts of MoU

By signing of MoU Indian and Iranian commercial entities will be able to commence negotiations for finalization of a commercial contract. Under the contract, Indian firms will lease two existing berths at the Chabahar Port and operationalize them as container and multi-purpose cargo terminals.

Importance of Chabahar Port

The port is strategically located in Sistan-Balochistan Province on Iran’s southeastern coast. It will act as strategic utility for India. It will also help India to save transportation costs as it will be used to ship crude oil and urea. India will get sea-land access route to Afghanistan bypassing Pakistan. Thus it will open opportunities for Indian companies to explore Afghanistan’s mineral wealth, believed to be worth $1-3 trillion, for mutual benefit. The availability of functional container and cargo terminal at the port will provide Afghanistan’s garland road network system alternate access to a sea port. It will also enhance Afghanistan’s overall connectivity to regional and global markets significantly. Thus provide a fillip to the ongoing reconstruction and humanitarian efforts in the country.

6- Union Cabinet approves amendment in Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011

Union Cabinet approves amendment in Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011The Union Cabinet has approved amendments in the Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011 to keep issues of national security out of its purview. Decision in this regard was taken at Union Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The amendments accepted by the Union Cabinet to the parent Act are done with a view to incorporate necessary provisions that aim at strengthening safeguards against disclosures. The amendment in the parent Act will strengthen the safeguards against disclosures which may prejudicially affect the sovereignty and integrity of the country and security of the state. It also safeguards against disclosures which may affect strategic, scientific or economic interest of the state, relations with a foreign state or that leads to incitement of an offence.

About Whistle Blowers Protection Act, 2011

It establishes a mechanism to investigate alleged cases and register complaints on any allegations of corruption or wilful misuse of power against a public servant. The Act also provides safeguards against victimisation of the person who makes the complaint and gives statutory protection to whistle blowers in the country.

7- Huge Lava Lake Spotted on Jupiter’s Moon Io

Huge Lava Lake Spotted on Jupiter’s Moon IoHuge Lava Lake was spotted on Jupiter’s Moon Io by an extremely powerful telescope on Earth named Large Binocular telescope Interferometer (LBTI). LBTI located on Mount Graham in Arizona, United States had taken highest resolution ground-based images of Io. This finding was published in the Astronomical Journal. Images have revealed that the lava lake has thick lava crust which has solidified onto it. This thick lave crust periodically sinks into the lake as it fills up with lava, and then it cools off again. The discovery provides clues to the interior structure and plumbing of the moon Io. It will also help to pave the way for future NASA missions such as the Io Volcano Observer.

About Jupiter’s Moon Io

Io is one of the innermost of the four moons of Jupiter which was discovered by Italian scientist and scholar Galileo (Galilei) in 1610. It is named Loki after the Norse god who is often associated with fire and chaos. Its volcanic feature is called a patera. Loki is 200km in diameter and located at least 373 million miles from Earth. It is one of the most geologically active body in our solar system and has hundreds of volcanic areas dot on its surface, which is mostly covered with Sulphur and Sulphur dioxide.

8- Charlie Hebdo awarded 2015 PEN Freedom of Expression Courage award

khichdi, blog,current affairs, general,knowledge, ias, ips, civil, services, CSAT,pre, ies, general studies, GS, mains, competitive, entrance, bank, PO, IBPS, current, affairs, may, 2015, blog, study, material, CSAT, Charlie Hebdo awarded 2015 PEN Freedom of Expression Courage awardThe French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo was presented a Freedom of Expression Courage award from the PEN American Center. Editor-in-chief Gerard Biard and critic-essayist of Charlie Hebdo, Jean-Baptiste Thoret accepted the award at a function held at the American Museum of Natural History. The satirical magazine was recognized for this award by PEN American Centre as 12 of its staff members had died during January 2015 terrorist attack on its Paris based office.

About Charlie Hebdo

Charlie Hebdo is a weekly French satirical news magazine. It is being published since 1970 and had break between 1981 and 1992. The magazine is mainly known for its controversial provocative cartoons and caricatures that had targeted extreme right, Catholicism, Islam, Judaism, politics, culture and others. Stephane Charbonnier, editor of the magazine had described the magazine as left-wing, secular and atheist. It should be noted that PEN American Centre (Founded in 1922) is an association of around 4000 United States writers. These writers are working to break down barriers for free expression worldwide. These distinguished writers are having high achievements in literature and in the advancement of human rights.

9- Philippines and Japan coast guards held anti-piracy drills in Manila Bay

Philippines and Japan coast guards held anti-piracy drills in Manila BayPhilippine and Japanese coast guard teams on 6 May 2015 held an anti-piracy drills in Manila Bay. This is the first drill held by Japan and the Philippines after signing a strategic partnership pact in 2012. The drills in Manila Bay were watched by the coast guard chiefs of 17 Asian nations.

The drill features the storming of a cargo vessel after a mock hijack. The drill was held in a show of maritime cooperation between the two nations amid rising tension in Asian waters. Both nations face a challenge from China’s growing assertiveness over territorial claims in the South China Sea and the East China Sea, where it uses coast guard and fishing vessels to press into disputed areas.

Philippines and Japan shared mutual interest, such as pirates and illegal trafficking, drug trafficking, firearms trafficking. Japan has been helping the Philippines improve its skills in maritime law enforcement, safety and environment protection. China claims most of the potentially energy-rich South China Sea, through which 5 trillion US dollar in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also have overlapping claims.

10- I&B Minister Arun Jaitley launched DD News Mobile App

khichdi, blog,current affairs, general,knowledge, ias, ips, civil, services, CSAT,pre, ies, general studies, GS, mains, competitive, entrance, bank, PO, IBPS, current, affairs, may, 2015, blog, study, material, CSAT, I&B Minister Arun Jaitley launched DD News Mobile AppUnion Minister for Information & Broadcasting Arun Jaitley on 7 May 2015 launched the Mobile Application of DD News, E-version of India 2015 & Bharat 2015 and E-book of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on its initiatives and achievements.

The App will make it possible for millions of people in India to keep in touch with the latest happenings around them. The mobile App will bring DD News and its authentic news coverage to each and every phone and reach each and every corner of the country.

Now, the user can watch news updates and top videos on his mobile phone. Besides main news, DD News has three sports & two business bulletins daily along many current affairs programmes. A touch on phone and one can watch many Special shows on health, youth issues, cinema, art & culture, flagships schemes.

It will bring DD News and its authentic news coverage to each and every phone and reach each and every corner of the country.

11- Union Cabinet gave nod for revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with South Korea

Union Cabinet gave nod for revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with South KoreaThe Union Cabinet on 6 May 2015 gave its approval for the revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA) with South Korea. The bilateral DTAA was signed in 1985 for the avoidance of double taxation and for the prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income for the citizens of both the countries.

Features of revised Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA)

  • Its primary purpose is to provide for tax stability to the residents of India and South Korea and facilitate mutual economic cooperation as well as stimulate the flow of investment, technology and services between the two countries.
  • It provides for source based taxation of capital gains, making adjustments to profits of associated enterprises on the basis of arm’s length principle and residence based taxation of shipping income.
  • It rationalizes tax rates in the Articles on Dividends, Interest and Royalties and Fees for Technical Services.
  • It enables effective exchange of information and assistance in collection of taxes between tax authorities
  • It incorporates limitation of benefits provisions under the agreement to ensure that the benefits are availed of only by genuine residents of both countries.

The revision in the agreement has become necessary in the backdrop of growing investment flows and increased movement of working professionals between the two countries in recent years.

12- Union Cabinet approved foreign investments into Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

The Union Cabinet on 6 May 2015 gave its nod for allowing foreign investments into Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) by recognizing it as an eligible financial instrument or structure under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) 1999. The decision allows entities registered and regulated under the SEBI (REITs) Regulations 2014 to access foreign investment inflows into the completed rent yielding real estate projects, which is, as of now, prohibited under the FEMA Regulations.

About Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)

  • It was proposed by the then Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley during his budget speech of 2014-15.
  • They are intended to attract long term finance from foreign and domestic sources including Non Resident Indians (NRIs).
  • They are listed entities that primarily invest in leased office and retail assets, allowing developers to raise funds by selling completed buildings to investors and list them as a trust.
  • To operationalise the instrument, the capital market regulator The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) issued the SEBI (REITs) Regulations 2014 in September 2014.
  • However, due to the limitation of its access only to domestic investments, it has not attracted desired investments from the market, which is remedied by the recent decision of the Cabinet.

13- CCEA approved hike in investment limit for cases requiring prior approval of FIPB

CCEA approved hike in investment limit for cases requiring prior approval of FIPBThe Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 6 May 2015 gave its nod for increase in the investment limit for cases requiring prior approval of Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB) to 3000 crore rupees from the present 2000 crore rupees. The decision is aimed at expediting foreign investment clearance process there by increased investment flows into the economy.

The FIPB is an inter-ministerial body under the Union Ministry of Finance which is responsible for processing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) proposals and making necessary recommendations to the Finance Ministry, which gives the final approval. Under the present practice, FDI is allowed into the country under two routes: Automatic and Approval Route.

Under the Automatic Route, the investors need not take any approvals from the government but only required to give prior intimation to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Majority of the sectors of the economy come under the Automatic Route.

Under the Approval Route, if the investment is up to 3000 crore rupees it is vetted by the FIPB and will be forwarded to the Finance Ministry for final approval. If the investment is above 3000 crore rupees the investment proposal must be cleared by the CCEA which functions under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister. At present, strategic sectors like telecommunication services, defense, civil aviation are kept under this route.

14- Union Government launched Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Scheduled Castes

Union Government launched Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Scheduled CastesThe Union Ministry for Social Justice & Empowerment on 6 May 2015 launched the Credit Enhancement Guarantee Scheme for Scheduled Castes. The scheme is being implemented by Industrial Finance Corporation of India (IFCI) Ltd.

A sum of 200 crore rupees was allocated towards Credit Enhancement Guarantee scheme for young and start-up entrepreneurs belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC) to avail financial assistance. This allocation was made under Social Sector Initiatives to promote entrepreneurship among SCs. The main objective of this scheme is to encourage entrepreneurship in the lower strata of the Society resulting in job creation besides creating confidence in Scheduled Castes. 

Other Programmes

Moreover, the Ministry also inaugurated the Commercial Motor Driving Training Programme with Self Defense Skills for 250 women organized by National Safai Karamcharis Finance & Development Corporation (NSKFDC).  This training was launched with an objective to ensure women social & economic empowerment by creating job or self employment opportunities for these women, belonging to the families of Safai Karamcharis.

15- Forbes released Global 2000 Companies list

Forbes released Global 2000 Companies list

Forbes || Global 2000 Companies list

Forbes on 6 May 2015 released Global 2000 Companies list. The Forbes Global 2000 is a comprehensive list of the world’s largest, most powerful public companies, as measured by revenues, profits, assets and market value. Global 2000 companies hail from 61 countries and account for combined revenues of 39 trillion US dollar, profits of 3 trillion US dollar, with assets worth 162 trillion US dollar, and a market value of 48 trillion US dollar.

Highlights of the Report

  • Industrial and Commercial Bank of China tops the list for a third consecutive year, while Bank of China jumped 5 spots to the No.4 spot, knocking down JP Morgan Chase.
  • Berkshire Hathaway stays at the 5th place, making Warren Buffet’s conglomerate the largest U.S. Company. For the first time, China’s four biggest banks own the top four spots.
  • China and the USA split the top 10 spots for a second year in a row.
  • U.S. tops the list with 579 companies. China with 232 stands second, surpassed Japan for the first time. With 218 companies, Japan slid to the third spot.
  • The United Kingdom kept its fourth place with 95 companies, Europe overall lost 20 spots to finish with 486 companies this year, falling further behind Asia (691) and North America (645) in continental rankings.
  • Two countries debut on the list this year: Argentina and Cyprus.
  • India has added two companies to its last year’s tally.
  • Reliance Industries is ranked 142 on the list, down from last year’s 135th spot, with a market value of 42.9 billion dollars and 71.7 billion dollars in sales.
  • Reliance is followed by State Bank of India which is ranked 152 and has a 33 billion dollars market value.
  • The other Indian companies on the list are Oil and Natural Gas ranked 183, Tata Motors (263), ICICI Bank (283), Indian Oil (349), HDFC Bank (376), NTPC (431), Tata Consultancy Services (485), Bharti Airtel (506), Axis Bank (558), Infosys (672), Bharat Petroleum (757), Wipro (811), Tata Steel (903) and Adani Enterprises (944).

16- Paytm tied-up with CCD, Domino’s for offline payment

Paytm tied-up with CCD, Domino’s for offline paymentAlibaba-backed company Paytm on 3 May 2015 tied-up with Quick service restaurants (QSRs) Domino’s and Cafe Coffee Day for offline payment. With this acquisition, Paytm’s mobile wallet will soon be accepted at Domino’s and Cafe Coffee Day. This tie-up came when Paytm is foraying into the offline retail space. At present, Paytm offers and recharge services for DTH and mobile phone services as well as mobile wallet services for online transactions on Uber, Bookmyshow, eBay and IRCTC.

This offline service will be available by mid-June. By going offline, Paytm will offer customers the choice to pay through a secure and reliable platform. Paytm already partnered with various QSRs covering 7000-10000 outlets in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Recently, Paytm had forayed into the eCommerce space putting itself in direct competition with giants like Amazon, Flipkart and Snapdeal.

Paytm’s mobile wallet is a prepaid payment instrument, which allows customers to digitally store money in a secure virtual wallet and use it to pay bills and other services.

17- Canadian House of Commons approved Anti-Terror Act, 2015

Canadian House of Commons approved Anti-Terror Act, 2015

Canadian House of Commons

The Canadian House of Commons on 6 May 2015 approved the Bill C-51, Anti-Terror Act, 2015 that empowers the country’s spy agency. It was adopted in a 183 to 96 vote.  The act would give the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) the ability to operate overseas and make preventative arrests. It also makes it easier for police to arrest and detain individuals without charge.  Now, the bill will be sent to Senate for being approved before becoming a law.

Main Features of the Anti-terror Act

  • It allows anyone suspected of being involved in a terror plot to be detained without charge for up to seven days from the present three days.
  • It empowers Canadian Security Intelligence Services (CSIS), the spy agency of Canada, to thwart attacks directly in a significant expansion of their powers.
  • Further, it allows CSIS to directly approach terror suspects in order to disrupt their plans as against the current practice of only collecting intelligence and passing the information on to police.
  • CSIS will also be able to cancel plane or other travel reservations made by Canadians suspected of being involved in terrorism. However, the new activities by CSIS will require approval by a judge.
  • It makes it a crime for a person to call for terror attacks on Canada generally or to promote or advocate others to carry out terrorism elsewhere. At present, it is a crime to make a specific threat.
  • The penalty for giving public threat will be a maximum of five years in prison.
  • Authorities will be able to remove terror-related material from any Canadian website.

The ant-terror bill was announced by Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper in January 2015 in response to attacks on Canadian territory on 22 October 2014, in which two people were killed.  In the incident, an armed assailant, identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, killed a soldier at the country’s National War Memorial in Ottawa and then stormed the parliament before being shot dead by police.

18- CCEA Permitted Central Government agencies to invest beyond 26 percent in Mega Food Parks

CCEA Permitted Central Government agencies to invest beyond 26 percent in Mega Food ParksThe Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on 6 May 2015 relaxed the provision related to investment limit by the Central Government agencies in Mega Food Parks by allowing them to invest up to 100 percent on their equity holding in the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) from the present 26 percent. The new regulation is expected to trigger further investment in the food processing sector and ensure smooth implementation of the Mega Food Parks Scheme (MFPS) particularly projects at initial phases of the implementation.

Apart from the above decision, the Cabinet also decided to give weightage to those proposals for new MFPs which are focused on the processing and preservation of perishable food products.

About Mega Food Parks Scheme (MFPS)

  • The Scheme was launched in 2008 by UPA Government. Its focus is to overcome the bottlenecks in the food supply chain due to which around 33 percent food is wasted in India making it the largest food waster in the world.
  • For execution of a MFP a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be set up with or without the involvement of government agencies.
  • A MFP entails an area of a minimum of 50 acres and works in a cluster based approach based on a hub and spokes model. Union government provides a financial assistance of up to 50 crore rupees to set up a MFP.

19- Union Cabinet Approved Building and Launching of GSAT-17 and GSAT-18 Communication Satellites

Union Cabinet Approved Building and Launching of GSAT-17 and GSAT-18 Communication SatellitesThe Union Cabinet on 6 May 2015 gave its nod for building and launching of GSAT-17 and GSAT-18 communication satellites.

These two satellites with the structure similar to the GSAT-10 are aimed at providing replacement capacity and in-orbit backup that is they will provide for continuance of the services of existing users and augmenting in-orbit spare capacity to meet emergencies. GSAT-17 and GSAT-18 satellites will weigh about 3425 Kg each and will be built and launched within 30 months at a cost of 1013.20 crore rupees and 1022 crore rupees respectively. The satellites will augment and support existing telecommunication, television and Very Small Aperture Terminal (VSAT) services in the entire mainland of the country.

About GSAT System

  • The GSAT or Geosynchronous satellite is a constellation of communication satellites developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) with an objective to make India self-reliant in broadcasting services.
  • Satellites are called GSAT because they function in a geosynchronous orbit around the Earth.
  • Till date, 12 satellites were launched under the system and among them only six are operational.
  • The first satellite in the series GSAT-1 was launched in April 2001 and the most recent GSAT-16 satellite was launched in December 2014.

20- Oscar Holderer, the US moon rocket expert, died

Oscar Holderer, the US moon rocket expert, died

Oscar Holderer

Oscar Holderer, the last known surviving member of the German engineering team that designed the rocket that took US astronauts to the Moon died in Alabama on 5 May 2015. He was 95.

Born in Preum, Germany, on 4 November 1919, Holderer was one of about 120 engineers who moved to the US after World War II and brought technology used in the German V2 rocket. The team played a key role in the Saturn V rocket which was used in 1969 Moon landing. The team, led by Wernher von Braun, was part of a project called Operation Paperclip that transferred technology used in Germany’s V2 and other rockets to the US.

Holderer who retired from Nasa in 1974, built training devices that are still in use at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. Post retirement from NASA, he made significant contributions to Alabama like multi-access trainer, low-gravity trainer and other equipment.

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