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10th November Current Affairs

Production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme

In News:

The government is considering an extension of the production-linked incentive (PLI) scheme to 7-8 more sectors to promote domestic manufacturing.

About the PLI scheme:

To make India a manufacturing hub, the government recently announced the PLI scheme for mobile phones, pharma products, and medical equipment sectors.

Notified on April 1 as a part of the National Policy on Electronics.

It proposes a financial incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in the electronics value chain.

Key features of the scheme:

The scheme shall extend an incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales (over base year) of goods manufactured in India and covered under target segments, to eligible companies, for a period of five (5) years with financial year (FY) 2019-20 considered as the base year for calculation of incentives.

The Scheme will be implemented through a Nodal Agency which shall act as a Project Management Agency (PMA) and be responsible for providing secretarial, managerial and implementation support and carrying out other responsibilities as assigned by MeitY from time to time.

Eligibility:

According to the scheme, companies that make mobile phones which sell for Rs 15,000 or more will get an incentive of up to 6 per cent on incremental sales of all such mobile phones made in India.

In the same category, companies which are owned by Indian nationals and make such mobile phones, the incentive has been kept at Rs 200 crore for the next four years.

PLI:

What kind of investments will be considered?

All electronic manufacturing companies which are either Indian or have a registered unit in India will be eligible to apply for the scheme.

These companies can either create a new unit or seek incentives for their existing units from one or more locations in India.

However, all investment done by companies on land and buildings for the project will not be considered for any incentives or determine eligibility of the scheme.

India’s first seaplane project

In News:

India’s first seaplane service in Gujarat is set to begin from 31 October, the anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Details:

It will connect Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad to the Statue of Unity in Kevadia.

The service will be operated by Spicejet Airlines.

Significance of seaplane projects and the potential:

Given the large and small waterbodies that dot the country, India provides an ideal opportunity for seaplane operations.

Unlike a conventional aircraft, a seaplane can land both on a waterbody and on land, thereby opening up more opportunities for business and tourism.

Such projects provide faster and hassle free travel option for the long, treacherous and hilly regions of the country.

Environmental concerns:

The water aerodrome is not a listed project/activity in the Schedule to the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification, 2006 and its amendments.

However, the Expert Appraisal Committee was of the opinion that the activities proposed under the water aerodrome project may have a similar type of impact as that of an airport.

May affect Shoolpaneshwar Wildlife Sanctuary:

The sanctuary is located at an approximate aerial distance of 2.1 km from the proposed project site.

Positive impact on the environment:

During seaplane operations, there will be turbulence created in the water while takeoff and landing of seaplanes.

This will lead to more operation process i.e. mixing of oxygen in the water.

This will have a positive impact on the aquatic ecosystem near seaplane operations increasing oxygen content and decreasing carbon content in this system.

How are these services regulated?

Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will manage the Project of Seaplane in Inland Waterways and Sagarmala Development Company Limited (SDCL) will manage the Projects of seaplane in Coastal Areas.

IWAI and SDCL will coordinate with the Ministry of Shipping, flight operators, Ministry of Tourism as well as DGCA.

OSIRIS-REx and asteroid Bennu

In News:

On October 20th, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft briefly touched asteroid Bennu, from where it is meant to collect samples of dust and pebbles and deliver them back to Earth in 2023.

What is the OSIRIS-REx mission?

OSIRIS-Rex stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer.

This is NASA’s first mission meant to return a sample from the ancient asteroid.

Launched in 2016, it reached its target in 2018.

The departure window for the mission will open up in 2021, after which it will take over two years to reach back to Earth.

Asteroid Bennu:

The asteroid was discovered by a team from the NASA-funded Lincoln Near-Earth Asteroid Research team in 1999.

Scientists believe that it was formed in the first 10 million years of the solar system’s formation, implying that it is roughly 4.5 billion years old.

Because of Bennu’s age, it is likely to contain material that contains molecules that were present when life first formed on Earth, where life forms are based on carbon atom chains.

Because of its high carbon content, the asteroid reflects about four per cent of the light that hits it, which is very low when compared with a planet like Venus, which reflects about 65 per cent of the light that hits it. Earth reflects about 30 per cent.

It classified as a Near Earth Object (NEO), might strike the Earth in the next century, between the years 2175 and 2199.

Site for sample collection:

NASA has selected a site located in a crater high in Bennu’s northern hemisphere designated “Nightingale”.

Why are scientists studying asteroids?

To look for information about the formation and history of planets and the sun since asteroids were formed at the same time as other objects in the solar system.

To look for asteroids that might be potentially hazardous.

National Supercomputing Mission (NSM)

What is National Supercomputing Mission (NSM)?

It is being implemented and steered jointly by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Department of Electronics and Information Technology (DeitY).

Implemented by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.

Focus of the mission:

The Mission envisages empowering national academic and R&D institutions spread over the country by installing a vast supercomputing grid comprising of more than 70 high-performance computing facilities.

These supercomputers will also be networked on the National Supercomputing grid over the National Knowledge Network (NKN). The NKN is another programme of the government which connects academic institutions and R&D labs over a high speed network.

The Mission includes development of highly professional High Performance Computing (HPC) aware human resource for meeting challenges of development of these applications.

Achievements:

The first supercomputer assembled indigenously, called Param Shivay, was installed in IIT (Banaras Hindu University).

Similar systems Param Shakti and Param Brahma were installed at IIT-Kharagpur and IISER, Pune. They are equipped with applications from domains like Weather and Climate, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Bioinformatics, and Material science.