Daily Current Affairs : 16th July

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE

Topics Covered

  1. Blue Flag Certification
  2. Decriminalising Abortion
  3. GSLV MK III
  4. Radio Frequency Identification

1 . Blue Flag Certification


Context : The Union Environment Ministry has selected 12 beaches in India to vie for a ‘Blue Flag’ certification, an international recognition conferred on beaches that meet certain criteria of cleanliness and environmental propriety.

About Blue Flag Challenge

  • Blue Flag is one of the world’s most recognised voluntary eco-labels awarded to beaches, marinas, and sustainable boating tourism operators.
  • Central to the ideals of the Blue Flag programme is the aim of connecting the public with their surroundings and encouraging them to learn more about their environment.
  • It was started in France in 1985 and has been implemented in Europe since 1987, and in areas outside Europe since 2001, when South Africa joined..
  • Blue Flag programme is operated by Non Profit Organisation Foundation for Environmental Education and is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark
  • Japan and South Korea are the only countries in South and southeastern Asia to have Blue Flag beaches. Spain tops the list with 566 such beaches; Greece and France follow with 515 and 395, respectively
  • In order to qualify for the Blue Flag, a series of stringent environmental, educational, safety, and accessibility criteria must be met and maintained.

Criteria

  • There are nearly 33 criteria that must be met to qualify for a Blue Flag certification, such as the water meeting certain quality standards, having waste disposal facilities, being disabled- friendly, have first aid equipment, and no access to pets in the main areas of the beach. Some criteria are voluntary and some compulsory.

Beaches

  • These beaches are at Shivrajpur (Gujarat), Bhogave (Maharashtra), Ghoghla (Diu), Miramar (Goa), Kasarkod and Padubidri (Karnataka), Kappad (Kerala), Eden (Puducherry), Mahabalipuram (Tamil Nadu), Rushikonda (Andhra Pradesh), Golden (Odisha), and Radhanagar (Andaman & Nicobar Islands).
  • If approved, beaches are given the qualification for a year and must apply annually to continue meriting the right to fly the flag at their locations. To help Indian beaches meet these criteria, the Ministry has allowed structures such container toilet blocks, change rooms, shower panels, mini grey water treatment plants in an enclosed structure, mini solid waste recycling plants and off-grid solar photovoltaic panels, provided they are a minimum 10 metres from the high tide line.

2 . Decriminalising Abortion


Context : The Supreme Court on Monday admitted a writ petition seeking to decriminalise abortion and allowing women the right to exercise their reproductive choice.

About the Current Provisions regarding Abortion

  • Abortion is allowed if pregnancy is under 20 weeks. However, it is subject to several conditions and ability to get an abortion will depend on the opinion of the doctor.
  • The law requires the doctor to assess if these conditions are fulfilled – only then are they legally allowed to perform an abortion. Conducting an abortion without fulfilling the conditions is considered a crime.
  • Under the law (section 3 of The medical termination of pregnancy Act 1971), the doctor can perform an abortion in the following situations:
    • if the pregnancy would be harmful to your life or physical or mental health. The doctor will need to consider your circumstances to figure out if the pregnancy will harm your mental health. They also need to look at your future (as a reasonable person would) to figure out the effects of the pregnancy.
    • if there is good chance that the child would suffer from physical or mental abnormalities which would leave him or her seriously handicapped.
  • If the pregnancy has not exceeded 12 weeks (first trimester), only one doctor needs to be satisfied that the conditions have been fulfilled.
  • If the pregnancy has exceeded 12 weeks and is below 20 weeks (first trimester), two doctors need to be satisfied that the conditions have been fulfilled.
  • The gestation period does not matter if doctor feels that an immediate abortion must be conducted to save your life.
  • The doctor who determines if it is necessary to perform an abortion and performs it needs to be a ‘registered medical practitioner’ under the law.
  • For a married person, abortion is allowed if contraceptives did not work or the person did not want to have more children. The doctor has a legal duty to assume in such cases that the pregnancy affects your mental health gravely. The same legal duty does not unfortunately apply to unmarried women. Unmarried women can only abort if the doctor forms an opinion that your mental health will suffer if the pregnancy continues

Details of the writ petition

  • The petition said abortion, as per the 1971 Act, is not permissible after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This is excessive and harsh.
  • The right to exercise reproductive choice is the right to choose whether to conceive and carry pregnancy to its full term or to terminate is it at the core of one’s privacy, dignity, personal autonomy, bodily integrity, self determination and right to health recognised by Article 21 of the Constitution
  • The petition points out that the law adversely affects the sexual autonomy of single women. While it protects married woman by allowing them to terminate an “unplanned and unwanted pregnancy, the same is not extended to single women”. “There is no rationale for not affording the same protection to an unmarried woman. On the contrary an unwanted and unplanned pregnancy will invariably in the case of an unmarried woman ensue more grave consequences. The provision treats equals unequally
  • The petition pointed out how the Act does not allow abortion of pregnancy in the case of minors or mentally ill persons without the consent of the guardian.

3 . GSLV MK III


About GSLV MK III

  • GSLV Mk III is a three-stage heavy lift launch vehicle developed by ISRO. The vehicle has two solid strap-ons, a core liquid booster and a cryogenic upper stage.
  • GSLV Mk III is designed to carry 4 ton class of satellites into Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) or about 10 tons to Low Earth Orbit (LEO), which is about twice the capability of GSLV Mk II.
  • The two strap-on motors of GSLV Mk III are located on either side of its core liquid booster. Designated as ‘S200’, each carries 205 tons of composite solid propellant and their ignition results in vehicle lift -off . S200s function for 140 seconds. During strap-ons functioning phase, the two clustered Vikas liquid Engines of L110 liquid core booster will ignite 114 sec after lift -off to further augment the thrust of the vehicle. These two engines continue to function after the separation of the strap-ons at about 140 seconds after lift -off.

What is a cryogenic engine?

  • Cryogenics is the science relating to behaviour of materials at very low temperatures. Cryogenic technology is challenging to master, but essential for a rocket like GSLV Mk-III.
  • Among all rocket fuels, hydrogen is known to provide the greatest thrust. But hydrogen in its natural gaseous form is difficult to handle, and therefore, not used in normal engines in rockets like PSLV.
  • Hydrogen can be used in liquid form, but it turns liquid at a very low temperature — nearly 250°C below zero.
  • To burn this fuel, oxygen too, needs to be in liquid form, and that happens at about 90°C below zero. Creating an atmosphere of such low temperatures in the rocket is difficult — it creates problems for other materials.

4 . Facts for Prelims


Radio Frequency Identification

  • Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) is the use of radio waves to read and capture information stored on a tag attached to an object for example car or a truck. 
  • A tag can be read from up to several feet away and does not need to be within direct line-of-sight of the reader to be tracked.
  • In India it is implemented as a part of Fastags an automatic toll collection method and in E-way bills in GST 
  • In case of automatic toll collection the tag is linked to a prepaid account from which the toll amount is deducted
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