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05 August Current Affairs

NASA Astronauts returns back safely

In News:

Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley two US astronauts who were sent to the International Space Station two months ago return to the planet Earth safely following a 21-hour overnight journey. The astronaut were sent by NASA in collaboration with Elon Musk’s company Space-X.  The Crew Dragon designed and operated by Space-X which is also being used for this flight test can stay in orbit about 110 days,


On 30th May 2020 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft was launched from Launch Complex 39A at 3:22 PM. This is leap and bound moment in the history of aeronautical science when for the first time in the history, NASA sent their astronauts in a commercially built and operated American crew spacecraft.

The objective of the mission:

This Demo-2 mission in partnership with Elon Musk’s Space-X is the final major test before NASA’s Commercial Crew Program approves and certifies Crew Dragon for operational, long-duration missions to the space station. As SpaceX’s final flight test, it will validate and re-confirm all aspects of its crew transportation system, including the spacesuits, Falcon 9 launch vehicle, Crew Dragon spacecraft, launch pad 39A and operations capabilities. While the vehicle is en route to the station, two US astronauts Mr Behnken and Mr Hurley will take control of the Crew Dragon for two-manual flight tests, also while demonstrating their ability to control the spacecraft the astronauts on board will check whether the Crew Dragon will work perfectly fine when the need for spacecraft’s automated flight will arise.


After the successful mission the Crew Dragon Spacecraft along with both the astronauts splashed safely in the waves of Florida’s Pensacola coast on schedule time at 2:48 PM. With this successful landing, the Elon Musk’s Space-X has become the first-ever private company to achieve this success.

Vidyarthi Vigyaan Manthan 2020-21: Key highlights

In News:

The Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan recently launched an innovative initiative Vidyarthi Vigyaan Manthan 2020-21 (VVM). This initiative under the national programme is created to make science an interesting study among students from class 6 to 11.


While It was designed to identify the young bright minds with a scientific aptitude among the student group. VVM conducts a timely aptitude test to identify a child who has a knack for science. A highly ambitious student is provided with a mentor to carry forward their education in the field of science. Through this new programme, the student will help in constructing the new India.


VVM (Vidyarthi Vigyan Manthan) In collaboration with Vigyan Prasar, which is an autonomous organization under the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India and NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training), is an initiative of Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA) also popularly known as Vigyan Bharti. Students are made to participate through comprehensive writing, objective type question and answers, role play, practical examination and by showing presentation and getting involved in a group discussion with peers. A trip to National Science Laboratories and interactions with country’s renowned scientists is organised for the winners of Vidyarthi Vihyaan Manthan.

Vijnana Bharti:

Largest scientific movement in India, founded in the year 1991 by the eminent scientists of Indian Institute of Science Prof. K.I. Vasu. It is a Non-profit organisation previously known as Swadeshi Science Movement. The organisation is dedicated to making pure science popular by implementing modern science and ancient science techniques in India.

Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020

In News:

During the global pandemic when the country is drifting towards self-reliant India “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” The Ministry of Defence (MOD) published a draft on ‘Defence Production & Export Promotion Policy (DPEPP) 2020’ for public feedback which the ministry awaits till 17th August 2020.


In the DPEPP 2020, the ministry aims at achieving a manufacturing turnover of $25 bn or ₹1,75,000 crore, which includes exports of $5 bn in aerospace and defence goods and services by the end of the year 2025. The draft aims at providing a structured and significant push to the country’s defence production capabilities for self-reliance and exports. Currently, in overall India’s defence procurement the share of domestic procurement is just about 60%. The ministry aims at doubling the current domestic procurement from ₹70,000 crore to ₹1,40,000 crore by the year 2025.

How it will be done?

DPEPP 2020 lays a framework for Defence Attachés on increasing defence exports, stating further the policy mentions that Defense officials have been mandated and are supported to promote export of indigenously manufactured defence equipment abroad. Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU) which would work as export promotion agencies will help in promoting export of defence products abroad. The DPSU for certain selected countries would help these countries with earnings linked to success fee however, subject to strategic considerations. The policy also lay guidelines for promoting these domestically manufactured defence products through Government to Government agreements and Lines of Credit/Funding.

Aerospace Industry:

The guidelines also talk about various opportunities in the aerospace industry which have been classified under the following segments – helicopters, aircraft Maintenance, aircraft build work, line replaceable units, engine manufacturing and MRO work, Repair and Overhaul (MRO), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and upgrades and retrofits. As there is a long timeline involved in the whole process of defence procurement therefore, a Project Management Unit (PMU) will be set up with representation from the Services. The main work for PMU will be to estimate the specifications of life cycle costs and maintenance requirements of platforms, equipment and weapon systems, development and production lead times and also the various technologies involved.

Major Shift:

Shifting from licensed production ministry will now own the design rights and Intellectual Property (IP) of the systems. All this will be done through a Technology Assessment Cell (TAC) which would be created to assess the industrial capability with the major industries in the country for design, development and production, including re-engineering for production of major systems such as fighter aircraft, helicopters armoured vehicles, submarines, and radars. As announced earlier by the government, the policy states that a negative list of weapons and platforms will be notified with year-wise timelines for placing an embargo on the import of such items from those dates.

OXY2 developed by IIT-M: Highlights

In News:

A health startup at IIT Madras in joint collaboration with HELYXON has developed a device called OXY2. This newly designed device can easily take vitals of an individual such as heart rate, temperature, oxygen saturation and respiration rate clinically accurate. The device is made commercially available now and has already been deployed to monitor 2000 patients a day in hospitals.


The core technology of OXY2 was validated after doing a year-long multi-centric study at various Chennai-based medical institutions for accuracy and performance with reference to current standards. After the successful trial medical institutions found the device to be of great help during the pandemic when the medical staff have to come in close with the patients to take their vitals.

About the Device:

The device which can be powered by the coin celled battery is designed in such a way that it can be reused and recycled. It can be clipped on to a patient’s finger and the data is sent to a mobile phone through radio waves. The captured data can be seen through a mobile app and can be shared with the hospitals and doctors if required.

Its Operation:

The device measures temperature at the armpit and blood oxygen level, and other parameters at the finger itself. The device has a lifetime of over a year. Other than being in use during the pandemic the devices can also be used by the hospitals and doctors for patient management. The cost of the device varies between 2500 to 10,000 Rs. depending upon the specification of the machine and functions it can perform.

EIA Notification 2020

In News:

Upon Delhi High court interventions, The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) has finally extended the timeline for the public to review 80-page long draft on Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) notification 2020. The recently released draft is created with the intention of replacing the existing EIA notification 2006. This is for the second time country will witness the change in the policy under the Environment Protection Act 1986.


In the year 1972 Stockholm Declaration on Environment was signed of which India was also the one among the various signatories. Then in the year 1974 and 1981 India enacted a law to control water and air pollution respectively. In the year 1984, the Bhopal Gas leak disaster forced the nation to ponder upon the law again following which the government launched the Environment Protection Act 1986. In the Environment Protection Act 1986 itself, it was mentioned that the country will frame EIA norms which finally came into effect in the year 1994 and later modified by a draft in 2006. The EIA framework made a legal framework for regulating any activities which pollute the environment.

Difference between the existing and the new EIA norms:

Many activists claim that the recently launched policy is less stringent than the previously launched environment policy in the year 2006. EIA 2020 draft if implemented is going to increase the pressure of legal paperwork while making a minimalistic change on the ground. A huge list of projects has been excluded from the view of public consultation in the new policy, some being, gas and shale exploration, offshore and onshore oil, irrigation projects, small and medium mineral beneficiation units, hydroelectric projects up to 25 MW, small foundries involving furnace units, small and medium cement plants, acids other than phosphoric or ammonia, small clinker grinding units, Sulphuric acid, micro, MSMEs in dye and dye intermediates, synthetic rubbers, bulk drugs, all inland waterway projects, medium-sized paint units, aerial ropeways in ecologically sensitive areas, specified building construction and area development projects and expansion or widening of highways between 25 km and 100 km with defined parameters. Since these activities will be carried out without oversight. There is apprehension that the exemption from EIA and public consultation for these activities will seriously affect the environment.