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19th November Current Affairs

Vikram-S Rocket launch: India’s first privately developed rocket under Mission Prarambh

(GS-III: Indigenization of Technology and Developing New Technology, Awareness in the fields of Space)

In News:

In a historic moment, Vikram-S, India’s first privately developed rocket, lifted off recently from the Indian Space Research Organization’s (ISRO) launchpad in Sriharikota.

Background:

The mission, codenamed Prarambh (the beginning), is the Indian private sector’s first entry into the lucrative space launch market.

It is a mission under which Vikram-S – India’s first privately developed launch vehicle by Hyderabad-based Skyroot Aerospace will carry 3 customer satellites (2 Indian and 1 foreign) in a sub-orbital flight.

About Vikram-S rocket:

It is a single-stage solid-fuel suborbital launch vehicle named after Vikram Sarabhai, the pioneer of India’s space program.

The spacecraft travels slower than the orbital velocity in a sub-orbital flight, which means it is fast enough to reach outer space but not fast enough to maintain an orbit around the Earth.

The launch vehicle’s engine, Kalam-80, is named after former President A P J Abdul Kalam.

The Vikram-S is a Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) that will carry payloads weighing between 290 and 560 kg (PSLV, India’s workhorse, can carry up to 1,750 kg) into sun-synchronous polar orbits.

Significance:

Technology-demonstration mission: The Vikram-S, Kalam-80 and 3D printed parts (thrusters) will be used to test and certify technology in the Vikram series space launch vehicles.

The company is developing three Vikram rockets that will use various solid and cryogenic fuels and have a carbon composite core structure.

More private sector missions on the way:

  • Agnikul Cosmos, for example, whose semi-cryogenic Agnilet engine was recently tested at ISRO’s vertical testing facility at Thumba (TERLS), Thiruvananthapuram.
  • ISRO’s SSLV is also expected to be manufactured and operated by private players in the near future.

Promoting startups: Around 100 start-ups have registered with the ISRO and are collaborating with it in various areas of the space program.

Baliyatra

In News:

In his address to the Indian diaspora at the G20 summit, in Bali, the Indian PM mentioned the annual Baliyatra, which celebrates the ancient trade relations between India and Indonesia.

Background:

This year’s Baliyatra, which concluded recently, also found a place in the Guinness World Records for achieving an impressive feat of origami, the creation of beautiful paper sculptures.

The historical significance of Baliyatra:

  • Baliyatra, literally ‘voyage to Bali’, is one of the country’s largest open-air fairs, which is organised every year on the banks of the Mahanadi in Cuttack, Odisha. It is similar to the ‘Masakapan Ke Tukad’ festival in Bali.
  • It commemorates the 2,000-year-old maritime and cultural links between ancient Kalinga (today’s Odisha) and Bali and other South and Southeast Asian regions like Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Burma (Myanmar) and Ceylon (Sri Lanka).

The connection between Kalinga and Bali: Roulette ware, temples as socio-culture centres, 14th CE inscription in Bali is in Odia language, presence of Brahmana-Bouddha-Kalinga in Bali.

CAG to audit urban bodies

In News:

The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has decided to audit the urban local bodies (ULBs) to bring out the performance of these authorities in the context of the 74th constitutional amendment carried out in the early 1990s and respective state Acts.

Details:

15th Finance Commission has said that State Finance Commissions (SFC) need to play a much more critical role in recommending taxes assigned to municipalities and other local governments. However, barring a few states, SFCs of most states have been rendered ineffective by state governments.

About CAG:

The Constitution of India provides for an independent office of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in Part V (Article 148 – 151). He is the head of the Indian Audit and Accounts Department.

CAG is appointed by the President of India by a warrant under his hand and seal. He holds office for a period of six years or up to the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.

CAG audits the accounts related to all expenditures from the Consolidated Fund of India, the Consolidated Fund of each state and UT having a legislative assembly. He acts as a guide, friend and philosopher of the Public Accounts Committee of the Parliament.

He submits 3 audit reports to the President: an audit report on appropriation accounts, an audit report on finance accounts and an audit report on public undertakings.

Aadhaar Norms for prisoners simplified

In News:

The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has consented to accept the Prisoner Induction Document (PID) as a valid document for Aadhaar enrolment or update as a special step to enrol prison inmates across the country.

Background:

The Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act, 2016 allows the use of the Aadhaar Number for establishing the identity of an individual.

Though the effort to extend Aadhaar to prisons began in 2017, the procedure did not proceed as planned since enrolment requires proper supporting documents.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, there were 1,319 prisons in the country as of 2021, with a total inmate population of approximately 5.5 lakh.

Aadhaar:

It is a 12-digit unique identity number that can be obtained voluntarily by the citizens of India and resident foreign nationals (spent over 182 days in 12 months), based on their biometric and demographic data.

The data is collected by the UIDAI, an authority established in 2009 by the Government of India, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, and which became a statutory body following the enactment of the Aadhaar Act, 2016.

Geospatial Technology

In News:

A conference was recently held on geospatial technology  “Geo smart India 2022”

Details:

Geospatial Technology is an emerging field of study that includes Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Remote Sensing (RS), and Global Positioning Systems (GPS).

Geospatial technology enables us to acquire data that is referenced to the earth and use it for analysis, modelling, simulations, and visualization.

The government had previously released guidelines on Geospatial Data 2021, Drone Rules 2021 and SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) scheme to provide an integrated property validation solution for rural India.

It is a scheme for mapping the land parcels in rural inhabited areas using drone technology and a Continuously Operating Reference Station (CORS).