Daily Current Affairs for UPSC CSE
- Small Satellite Launch Vehicle
- Section 69 A of IT Act
- Facts for Prelims
1 . Small Satellite Launch Vehicle
Context: The Small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV-D2) was launched successfully from the first launch pad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Srihari Kota, Andhra Pradesh. It will place the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) earth observation satellite EOS-07 and two co-passenger satellites — Janus-1 and AzaadiSat2 — developed by start-ups, in a 450-km circular orbit around the Earth.
What is Small Satellite Launch Vehicle?
- A small Satellite Launch Vehicle (SSLV) is a 3-stage Launch Vehicle configured with three Solid Propulsion Stages and liquid propulsion-based Velocity Trimming Module (VTM) as a terminal stage.
- SSLV caters to the launch of up to 500 kg satellites to Low Earth Orbits on ‘launch-on-demand’ basis.
- It is a 34 m tall, 2 m diameter vehicle having a lift-off mass of 120 tonnes.
- The key Features are
- SSLV provides low-cost access to space on-demand basis.
- It offers
- Low turn-around time,
- Flexibility in accommodating multiple satellites,
- Launch-on-demand feasibility,
- Minimal launch infrastructure requirements
What is the aim of the launch vehicle?
- The new vehicle was developed to capture the emerging small and micro satellite commercial market, with launches offered on demand.
- The rocket can be assembled by a small team in only a few days, compared to the six months and around 600 people it takes for ISRO’s workhorse PSLV.
What is Janus-1?
- Janus-1 is a technology demonstrator satellite built by United States-based Antaris and its Indian partners XDLinks and Ananth Technologies.
- Janus-1, which weighs only 10.2 kg, is a six-unit cube satellite with five payloads on board — two from Singapore, and one each from Kenya, Australia, and Indonesia. The entire satellite was built in 10 months, less than half the time it usually takes to manufacture satellites of this size.
What is AzaadiSat2?
- The payloads have been built by 750 girl students from across India. A similar satellite by SpaceKidzIndia was launched aboard SSLV-D1 in August last year.
- The payloads remain the same — LoRa amateur radio, a sensor to measure radiation levels in space, and sensors to measure the health of the satellite such as temperature, reset count, and inertial data — but this second satellite has an additional feature.
- SpaceKidzIndia — which aims to promote space awareness among children — has made the satellite expandable: the 8-unit satellite will have a spring mechanism-based external frame, which will open up once the satellite is in orbit. After the frame opens up, the satellite will become four times its size. This external frame will host a new cheaper type of solar panels to provide energy to the satellite. Energy for sustaining longer durations in space is one of the challenges of the small satellites, which is why we have made the structure expandable.
- Space Kidz India is a 7-year-old aerospace start-up working in the design, fabrication, and launch of small satellites, spacecraft, and ground systems. It has launched 18+ BalloonSats, 3 sub-orbital payloads, and 3 orbitals
What is EOS-07?
- EOS-07 is a 156.3 kg satellite designed, developed and realized by ISRO.
- The mission objective of EOS-07 is to design and develop payload instruments compatible with microsatellite bus and new technologies, which are required for future operational satellites.
- Moreover, it will also design and develop a microsatellite accommodating new technology payloads in a quick turn-around time.
2 . National Disaster Response Force
Context: National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel on Thursday rescued a six-year-old girl in the earthquake-ravaged Turkey’s Gaziantep
About the News
- As part of its humanitarian and disaster relief efforts, India has dispatched Indian Air Force C-17 Globemaster transport aircraft with relief material, a 30-bed field hospital, and rescue and a 99-member specialist medical personnel to Turkey. Medical supplies in an IAF C-130 transport aircraft have also been dispatched to Damascus
- In the rescue operations in Türkiye, Team IND-11 saved the life of a six-year-old girl, Beren, in Gaziantep city.
- The mid-nineties and the subsequent decade saw much international debate & discussion around Disaster Response & Preparedness. Some of the notable and more impactful ones were the Yokohama Strategy Plan (1994) & the Hyogo Framework for Action (2005), adopted by the UN.
- During the same period, India faced some of its most severe natural calamities like the Orissa Super Cyclone (1999), the Gujarat Earthquake (2001), and Indian Ocean Tsunami (2004).
- This succession of events and the international environment brought to fore, the need for the comprehensive disaster management plan.
- This led to the enactment of the Disaster Management Act on December 26th, 2005.
- The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) was constituted to lay down the policies, plans and guidelines for disaster management.
- The NDRF was constituted under Section 44 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 for a specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.
What is National Disaster Response Force?
- It is the world’s single largest force dedicated to disaster response.
- The Disaster Management Act has statutory provisions for constitution of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) for the purpose of specialized response to natural and man-made disasters.
- Accordingly, in 2006 NDRF was constituted with 8 Battalions. At present, NDRF has a strength of 12 Battalions with each Battalion consisting of 1149 personnel.
- In the beginning, the personnel of NDRF were deployed for routine law and order duties also.
- In a meeting of the NDMA with the Prime Minister on October 25, 2007, the need of NDRF being made a dedicated force was highlighted and accepted. This led to the notification of NDRF Rules on February 14th, 2008, making NDRF a dedicated force for disaster response related duties, under the unified command of DG NDRF.
- At present, National Disaster Response Force consist of 15 battalions from the BSF, CISF, CRPF, ITBP, SSB and Assam Rifles. Each battalion have 18 self-contained specialist search and rescue teams of 45 personnel each including engineers, technicians, electricians, dog squads and medical/paramedics. The total strength of each battalion is 1,149.
- All the 15 battalions have been equipped and trained to respond natural as well as man-made disasters. Battalions are also trained and equipped for response during chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) emergencies.
What is Disaster Management Act, 2005?
- This act was passed by the Parliament of India for the effective management of disasters and for matters connected there with or incidental thereto.
- The main aim of this act is to provide the people who are affected with disasters, their life back and helping them.
What is National Disaster Management Authority?
- National Disaster Management Authority- It is a statutory body established by the enactment of the disaster management act 2005
- It is an apex Body of Government of India, with a mandate to lay down policies for disaster management.
- It is headed by the Prime Minister of India
- NDMA is responsible for framing policies, laying down guidelines and best-practices for coordinating with the State Disaster Management Authorities (SDMAs) to ensure a holistic and distributed approach to disaster management
Responsibilities of NDMA:
- Lay down policies on disaster management;
- Approves the National Plan;
- Approve plans prepared by the Ministries or Departments of the Government of India in accordance with the National Plan;
- Lay down guidelines to be followed by the State Authorities in drawing up the State Plan;
- Lay down guidelines to be followed by the different Ministries or Departments of the Government of India for the purpose of integrating the measures for prevention of disaster or the mitigation of its effects in their development plans and projects;
- Coordinate the enforcement and implementation of the policy and plans for disaster management;
- Recommend provision of funds for the purpose of mitigation;
- Provide such support to other countries affected by major disasters as may be determined by the Central Government;
- Take such other measures for the prevention of disaster, or the mitigation, or preparedness and capacity building for dealing with threatening disaster situations or disasters as it may consider necessary;
- Lay down broad policies and guidelines for the functioning of the National Institute of Disaster Management.
What is State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA)
- All State Governments are mandated under Section 14 of the act to establish a State Disaster Management Authority (SDMA).
- The SDMA consists of the Chief Minister of the State, who is the Chairperson
- State Executive Committee is responsible (Section 22) for drawing up the state disaster management plan and implementing the National Plan.
- The SDMA is mandated under section 28 to ensure that all the departments of the State prepare disaster management plans as prescribed by the National and State Authorities.
3 . Section 69 A of IT Act 2000
Context: The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) recently issued orders to block 138 online betting platforms and 94 money lending appson an “urgent” and “emergency” basis under Section 69(A) of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
What is Section 69 of the IT Act?
- Section 69 of the IT Act allows the government to issue content-blocking orders to online intermediaries such as Internet Service Providers (ISPs), telecom service providers, web hosting services, search engines, online marketplaces, etc.
- However, the Section requires the information or content being blocked to be deemed a threat to India’s national security, sovereignty, or public order.
- The law says that If the Centre or state government are satisfied that blocking the content is “necessary” and “expedient” on grounds of “sovereignty or integrity of India, defence of India, security of the State, friendly relations with foreign States or public order or for preventing incitement to the commission of any cognizable offence relating to above or for investigation of any offence,” it may, for reasons to be recorded in writing, direct any agency “to intercept, monitor or decrypt or cause to be intercepted or monitored or decrypted any information generated, transmitted, received or stored in any computer resource”
What is the procedure to block such apps?
- Since 2009, the MeitY has possessed blocking powers similar to those of the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.
- Although MeitY derives these powers from the IT Act, it is the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking for Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009 or the IT Rules, 2009, which explain the process to issue such orders.
- The IT Rules include provisions such as review committees, the opportunity for a fair hearing, strict confidentiality, and maintenance of records by designated officer.
- In terms of process, there are two options available to the government under Section 69A of the IT Act to issue ban orders — normal and emergency.
- Section 69A mandates that every ministry in central, state and Union Territory governments must have a nodal officer, to receive complaints about websites that host ‘offensive’ content. Once the nodal officer sees merit in the complaint, he/she then forwards it to a designated officer, who chairs a committee to examine the grievance.
- This committee includes representatives from the Ministries of Law and Justice, Home Affairs, Information and Broadcasting and the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), and give the intermediary a hearing.
- In the normal course, an order to block content requires: (a) a decision to be made by a government committee (b) relevant intermediaries to be given an opportunity to be heard by this committee. These processes are not required when emergency provisions are used.
- The emergency route allows content to be blocked on the directions of the Secretary, Department of IT, who must consider the impugned content and record his reasons for doing so.
- However, in the case of emergencies, the order of the Secretary, Department of IT, must be placed before the government committee within 48 hours. Based on the recommendations of this committee, the order can then be finalised or vacated.
What have the courts said?
- In a landmark 2015 ruling, the Supreme Court in “Shreya Singhal vs Union of India” struck down Section 66A of the Information Technology Act of 2000, which entailed punishment for sending offensive messages through communication services, etc
- The plea had also challenged Section 69A of the Information Technology Rules 2009, but the SC held this to be “constitutionally valid”.
- The court noticed that
- Section 69A unlike Section 66A is a narrowly drawn provision with several safeguards.
- First and foremost, blocking can only be resorted to where the Central Government is satisfied that it is necessary to do so.
- Secondly, such necessity is relatable only to some of the subjects set out in Article 19(2).
- Thirdly, reasons have to be recorded in writing in such blocking order so that they may be assailed in a writ petition under Article 226 of the Constitution
- Section 69A unlike Section 66A is a narrowly drawn provision with several safeguards.
Information Technology Act, 2000
- It was enacted by the government of India in the year 2000.
- It is the primary law in India dealing with cybercrime and electronic commerce.
- The laws apply to the whole of India.
- If a crime involves a computer or network located in India, persons of other nationalities can also be indicted under the law
- The Act provides a legal framework for electronic governance by giving recognition to electronic records and digital signatures.
- It also defines cybercrimes and prescribes penalties for them.
- The Act directed the formation of a Controller of Certifying Authorities to regulate the issuance of digital signatures.
- It also established a Cyber Appellate Tribunal to resolve disputes arising from this new law.
4 . Facts for Prelims
National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited
- National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) was incorporated on 12th February 2016 under the Companies Act, 2013 with an object to finance, construct, maintain and manage the High-Speed Rail Corridor in India.
- The Company has been modelled as ‘Special Purpose Vehicle’ in the joint sector with equity participation by Central Government through Ministry of Railways and two State Governments viz. Government of Gujarat and Government of Maharashtra.
- The NHSRCL is currently managing the planning and construction of high-speed rail corridors
- The Company would be ushering India into the category of few countries of the world (about 15) using High Speed Railway System.
- Vision Statement- To provide safe reliable and sustainable high speed rail services with technology excellence for improved quality of life and development of nation.
- Brus, also referred to as Reangs, are a tribal community indigenous to northeast India and have historically resided in parts of Mizoram, Tripura, and Assam.
- In the state of Tripura, the Brus are a designated Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Group (PVTG).
- They have suffered more than two decades of internal displacement, fleeing ethnic persecution primarily from the neighbouring state of Mizoram.
- It all started in 1995, when the Young Mizo Association and the Mizo Students’ Association demanded that Brus be eliminated from Mizoram’s electoral rolls as they were not indigenous inhabitants.
- They organized themselves into an armed group, the Bru National Liberation Front, and a political entity, the Bru National Union to fight against the Mizo’s attempts to disenfranchise them,
- The state governments, along with the union government have made multiple attempts to send Brus back to their homeland in Mizoram.
- Quadripartite pact -In July 2018, the governments of Tripura, Mizoram, and the central government concluded a quadripartite pact with Bru community representatives to resettle refugees in Mizoram.
- Sensing a failure of the 2018 pact, the four groups once again came together in January 2020 to sign another quadripartite pact to resettle the Brus, this time in the state of Tripura.
- The central government earmarked a Rs 600 crore package to aid the rehabilitation efforts, and the Bru families were promised a residential plot, a fixed deposit of Rs 4 lakh, Rs 1.5 lakh grant to construct their houses, as well as free ration and monthly stipend of Rs 5,000 for a period of two years.