17 November Current Affairs
November 17, 2020
19th November Current Affairs
November 19, 2020
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18th November Current Affairs

IT Ministry working to comply with CIC orders on Aarogya Setu

In News:

RTI (Right to Information) query related to the Aarogya Setu application.

What is Aarogya Setu?

This is an android and IOS app which is a coronavirus tracking app that uses data provided by users.

The App was launched by the Government of India in public-private partnership mode.

What’s the issue?

The IT Ministry and National Informatics Centre (NIC) were slammed by the CIC over their reply to an RTI stating that they do not have any information about the “creation” of the Aarogya Setu application.

The CIC termed the response as “preposterous” and issued a show cause notice to the NIC to explain why a penalty under the RTI Act should not be slapped on it for “prima facie obstruction of information and providing an evasive reply”.

About CIC:

CIC was established in 2005 by the Central Government under the provisions of Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.

The Chief Information Commissioner heads the Central Information Commission.

It hears appeals from information-seekers who have not been satisfied by the public authority and also addresses major issues concerning the RTI Act.

CIC submits an annual report to the Union government on the implementation of the provisions of RTI Act.

Govt. green-lights ‘green’ firecrackers this year

In News:

The Delhi government scheduled to launch an anti-firecracker campaign on November 3.

Now, only ‘green’ firecrackers can be manufactured, sold and used in the national capital.

Background:

A ban on fireworks was imposed in 2018 and in 2019 only ‘green’ crackers were allowed, but the permission had come too late for manufacturers to ensure their availability on time.

What are Green Crackers?

They are known as ‘green’ firecrackers because they have a chemical formulation that produces water molecules, which substantially reduces emission levels and absorbs dust.

They are the crackers with reduced emission and decibel level.

Benefits of Green Crackers:

They promise a reduction in particulate matters and harmful gases, like nitrous oxide and sulfur oxide, by 30- 35 per cent.

They will be 25-30 per cent cheaper to manufacture and manufacturers would not have to make any changes in their facilities.

What gives colour to the firecrackers?

Red: Strontium salts (Nitrates, carbonates and sulphates of strontium).

Orange: Calcium salts (Carbonates, chlorides and sulphates of calcium).

Yellow: Sodium salts (Nitrates and oxalates of sodium).

Green: Barium salts (Nitrates, carbonates, chlorides and chlorates of barium).

Blue: Copper salts (Carbonates and oxides of copper).

Purple: A combination of copper and strontium compounds.

White: The burning of metals like magnesium, aluminium and titanium).

Water on the Moon

In News:

Water molecules, discovered in Clavius Crater in the Moon’s southern hemisphere.

And it is the first time water has been detected on the sunlit side, showing it is not restricted to the shadowy regions.

This was confirmed by NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).

Significance of the discovery:

Apart from being a marker of potential life, water is a precious resource in deep space.

For astronauts landing on the Moon, water is necessary not only to sustain life but also for purposes such as generating rocket fuel.

If space explorers can use the Moon’s resources, it means they need to carry less water from Earth.

How could the water have formed?

Space rocks carrying small amounts of water could have bombarded the Moon.

Alternatively, the Sun’s solar wind could have carried hydrogen, which then reacted with minerals in the lunar soil to create hydroxyl, which later transformed into water.

About SOFIA:

SOFIA is a modified Boeing 747SP jetliner that flies at altitudes up to 45,000 feet.

It is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center.

It has an infrared camera that picks up the wavelength unique to water molecules.

SOFIA’s mission is to look at dark and distant objects. The Moon, on the other hand, is so close and bright that it fills the SOFIA guide camera’s entire field of view.

Chandrayaan-1 and water discovery:

ISRO’s Chandrayaan-1 mission has already provided evidence for the existence of water.

In 2009, the Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument aboard Chandrayaan-1 found water molecules in the polar regions.

What next?

SOFIA will look for water in additional sunlit locations to learn more about how the water is produced, stored, and moved across the Moon.

Meanwhile, NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) will carry out a mission to create the first water resource maps of the Moon.

Permanent Commission for Women in Indian Navy

In News:

The Supreme Court has allowed the Union government time till December 31 to implement its March 17 judgment, which upheld the right of women naval officers to be considered for permanent commission.

Supreme Court March 17 judgement:

The Court had upheld the right of serving Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers of the Navy to be granted permanent commission (PC) on a par with their male counterparts.

The judgment was based on a case filed by 17 women SSC officers who were denied PC and discharged despite completing 14 years of service as SSC officers.

Observations made by the Supreme Court:

Women officers have worked shoulder to shoulder with their men counterparts in every walk of service.

Therefore, the “101 excuses” devised by the government, including motherhood and physiological limitations, reeked of a stereotypical mindset.

And women naval officers cannot be denied the right to equal opportunity and dignity entitled to under the Constitution on specious grounds such as physiology, motherhood and physical attributes.

Implications of the judgment:

Women naval officers will now be eligible to apply for permanent commission.

All serving women short service commission (SSC) officers in at least seven wings, including the executive, engineering, electrical, education, law and logistics, will be eligible to apply.

The grant of PCs will be subject to: (i) availability of vacancies in the stabilised cadre; (ii) Suitability of the candidate; and (iii) recommendation by the chief of Naval Staff.