Factly articles for 2nd September 2020

18 min read

1. Ministry of Tourism organises a webinar “Hampi- Inspired by the past; Going into the Future”

News: Ministry of Tourism has organised a webinar titled Hampi- Inspired by the past; Going into the future under Dekho Apna DeshWebinar series.

Facts:

  • Hampi: It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in east-central Karnataka.
  • Origin: Its name is derived from Pampa which is the old name of the Tungabhadra River on whose banks the city is built.
  • Significance: It was the capital of the Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century.
  • Trade: By 1500 CE, Hampi-Vijayanagara was the world’s second-largest medieval era city after Beijing and probably India’s richest at that time, attracting traders from Persia and Portugal.
  • Architecture: The buildings predominantly followed South Indian Hindu arts and architecture dating to the Aihole-Pattadakal styles.They also used elements of Indo-Islamic architecture in the Lotus Mahal, the public bath and the elephant stables.
  • Important Monuments:
    • Virupaksha temple( It is dedicated to Virupaksha, a form of Lord Shiva)
    • Hemkunta Hill, south of the Virupaksha temple contains early ruins, Jain temples and a monolithic sculpture of Lord Narasimha, a form of Lord Vishnu.
    • Vittal temple built in the 16th Century, is now a World Heritage monument.The columns of the temple are so balanced that they have a musical quality.
  • Defeat: The Vijayanagara Empire was defeated by a coalition of Muslim sultanates; its capital was conquered, pillaged and destroyed by sultanate armies in 1565, after which Hampi remained in ruins.

2.Explained: What is the importance of Ladakh’s Pangong Tso Lake

News: Indian Army thwarted an attempt by China to change the status quo near the Line of Actual Control(LAC) by deploying its troops to a previously un-deployed area on the southern bank of the Pangong Tso Lake.

Facts:

  • Pangong Tso Lake: It is an endorheic lake (landlocked) that is partly in India’s Ladakh region and partly in Tibet.The lake is formed from Tethys geosyncline.
  • The lake literally translates into a “conclave lake”. Pangong means conclave in Ladakhi and Tso means a lake in Tibetan language.
  • The Karakoram Mountain range which crosses Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and India ends at the north bank of Pangong Tso.
  • The lake’s water is crystal clear, brackish making it undrinkable.The lake freezes during the winter allowing some vehicular movement on it as well.
  • Who controls Pangong Tso? Nearly two-thirds of the lake is controlled by China with just about 45 km under Indian control.The Line of Actual Control(LAC) running north-south cuts the western part of the lake, aligned east-west.
  • Importance of the lake: The importance of the lake is due to the fact that it lies in the path of the Chushul approach, one of the main approaches that China can use for an offensive into Indian-held territory.

Additional Facts:

  • Endorheic Lake: Itis a collection of water within an endorheic basin or sink, with no evident outlet.The Endorheic lakes are generally saline as a result of being unable to get rid of solutes left in the lake by evaporation.

3.Explained: What is the Special Frontier Force or Vikas Battalion?

News: The Special Frontier Force(SFF) unit referred to as Vikas Battalion has been instrumental in occupying some key heights on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China in Ladakh to thwart any occupation by the Chinese troops.

Facts:

  • Special Frontier Force(SFF): It was raised in the immediate aftermath of the 1962 Sino-India war.It was a covert outfit which recruited Tibetans (now it has a mixture of Tibetans and Gorkhas) and initially went by the name of Establishment 22.
  • Nodal Ministry: STFfalls under the purview of the Cabinet Secretariat where it is headed by an Inspector General who is an Army officer of the rank of Major General.The units that comprise the SFF are known as Vikas battalions.
  • Are SFF units part of the Army? Strictly speaking, the SFF units are not part of the Army but they function under operational control of the Army. The units have their own rank structures which have equivalent status with Army ranks.
  • Major Operations by SFF: There are several operations in which SFF units have taken part over the years. They took part in operations in the 1971 war, Operation Blue Star in Golden Temple Amritsar, Kargil conflict and in counter-insurgency operations in the country.

4.Central Railways develop Health assistant Robot Rakshak

News: In the fight against the spread of Covid 19 pandemic, the Central Railways has designed a health assistant Robot Rakshak.

Facts:

  • Rakshak: It is a medical aid robot that aims to assist the hospital staff in the Covid-19 patient care.
  • Features:
    • It is able to measure health parameters such as temperature, pulse, oxygen percentage.
    • It can also provide medicines, food to the patients and make a two-way video communication between the doctor and the patient.
    • It can move in all directions at all levels with a range of remote operations up to 150 meters.

5.India aims to achieve 100 MT coal gasification target by 2030: Union Minister

News: Union Coal Ministry has organised a webinar on Coal Gasification and Liquefaction.During the webinar, Union Minister has said that India aims for 100 million tonnes (MT) coal gasification by 2030.

Facts:

  • Coal Gasification: It is the process of producing syngas—a mixture consisting primarily of carbon monoxide(CO), hydrogen(H2), carbon dioxide(CO2), natural gas(CH4) and water vapour(H2O)—from coal and water, air and/or oxygen.
  • Applications:
    • The syngas can be used in a variety of applications such as in the production of electricity and making chemical products such as fertilisers.
    • The hydrogen obtained from coal gasification can be used for various purposes such as making ammonia, powering a hydrogen economy or upgrading fossil fuels.
    • Methane or natural gas extracted from coal gasification can be converted into LNG for direct use as fuel in the transport sector.
  • Concerns: Coal gasification is one of the more water-intensive forms of energy production.There are concerns about water contamination, land subsidence and disposing of waste water safely.

Additional Facts:

  • Coal Liquefaction: It is a process in which coal is converted into liquid fuels or petrochemicals.There are several processes used to accomplish this task, the two most common being the “indirect route” and the “direct route”.
  • Indirect Route: Itis composed of 2 steps:
    • First, coal is gasified with steam and oxygen to produce a synthesis gas (syngas), which is then cleaned to rid of dust, tar, and acid gases.
    • The second step reacts the synthesis gas with a catalyst in the Fischer-Tropsch process which converts the syngas into a range of hydrocarbon fuels such as gasoline, diesel and methanol.
  • Direct Route: In this,coal is pulverized and reacted with a catalyst, then hydrogen is added under high pressures and temperatures in the presence of a solvent to produce a raw liquid fuel.This raw fuel requires refining in order to yield acceptable transportation fuels.

6.Govt. gives nod to 27 projects under PM Kisan SAMPADA Yojana

News: Government gave its nod to 27 projects today under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana for development of integrated cold chains and value addition infrastructure in the country.

Facts:

  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan SAMPADA Yojana: It is a Central Sector Scheme aimed at creating modern infrastructure with efficient supply chain management from farm gate to retail outlet.
  • Objectives:
    • Creation of modern infrastructure for food processing mega food parks/ clusters and individual units
    • To create effective backward and forward linkages – linking farmers, processors and markets
    • To create robust supply chain infrastructure for perishables
  • Implementation: The scheme will be implemented by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries(MoFPI).
  • Components: Seven component schemes under PMKSY:
    • Mega Food Parks.
    • Integrated Cold Chain and Value Addition Infrastructure.
    • Infrastructure for Agro-Processing Clusters.
    • Creation of Backward and Forward Linkages.
    • Creation/Expansion of Food Processing & Preservation Capacities.
    • Food Safety and Quality Assurance Infrastructure.
    • Human Resources and Institutions.

7.SC lets telecom firms stagger AGR payments over 10 years

News: The Supreme Court has said that telecom operators could pay their adjusted gross revenue(AGR) dues to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) over the next 10 years starting April 1,2021.

Facts:

  • What is AGR? Adjusted Gross Revenue(AGR) is the annual license fee (LF) and spectrum usage charges (SUC) that telecom operators are charged by the Department of Telecommunications(DoT).
  • How is it calculated and what’s the contention? As per DoT, the charges are calculated based on all revenues earned by a telco – including non-telecom related sources such as deposit interests and asset sales.On the other hand, telecoms insist that AGR should comprise only the revenues generated from telecom services.
  • What’s the issue now?
    • In 2005, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) challenged the government’s definition for AGR calculation.
    • In 2015, the TDSAT (Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal) stayed the case in favour of telecom companies and held that AGR includes all receipts except capital receipts and revenue from non-core sources such as rent, profit on the sale of fixed assets, dividend, interest and miscellaneous income.
    • However, setting aside TDSAT’s order, the Supreme Court in 2019 upheld the definition of AGR as stipulated by the DoT.

7.Centre Launches Green Term Ahead Market(GTAM) For Renewable Energy Sector

News: Union Power Minister has launched a pan-India Green Term Ahead Market(GTAM) in electricity as a first step towards greening the Indian short term power market.

Facts:

  • GTAM: It is the first Exclusive product for the Renewable energy(RE) sector in the world that aims to benefit buyers of RE through competitive prices and transparent and flexible procurement.Sellers will also be benefitted by getting access to Pan India Market.
  • Features:
    • Transactions through GTAM will be bilateral in nature with clear identification of corresponding buyers and sellers.
    • The GTAM contracts will be segregated into Solar RPO( Renewable purchase obligation) & Non-Solar RPO.
    • The market will offer trade in four types of green term-ahead contracts i.e. Green Intra-day contracts, Day-ahead Contingency contracts, Daily Contracts and Weekly contracts.
  • Significance:
    • The GTAM platform would lessen the burden on RE-rich States and incentivize them to develop RE capacity beyond their own RPO.
    • GTAM platform will lead to an increase in the number of participants in the renewable energy sector.
    • It would promote Renewable Energy(RE) merchant capacity addition and help in achieving RE capacity addition targets of the country.

Additional Facts:

  • Renewable Purchase Obligation(RPO): Itmandates all electricity distribution licensees should purchase or produce a minimum specified quantity of their requirements from Renewable Energy Sources.

8.Indian astronomers discover one of the farthest Star galaxies in universe

News: Indian astronomers have discovered one of the farthest Star galaxies in the universe.

Facts:

  • The galaxy is called AUDFs01. It is located 9.3 billion light-years away from Earth.
  • It was detected by ‘AstroSat’.

Additional Information:

AstroSat: It is the first dedicated Indian astronomy mission aimed at studying celestial sources in X-ray, optical and UV spectral bands simultaneously. It was launched on a PSLV-XL in 2015