PIB Analysis Date : 19/11/2018



  1. New international system of units
  2. Air Sewa 2.0
  3. Baba Kalyani Committee

1 . New International System of Units

26th General Conference on Weights & Measures in a historic decision unanimously redefine World’s standard definition of kilogram, Second&Metre
A landmark moment in scientific measurement, New International System of Units based on fundamental constants of nature to come into force from 20th May, 2019

About General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM)

  • The 26th meeting of the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) was held during November 13-16 2018 at Palais des Congrés, Versailles, France.
  • CGPM is the highest international body of the world for accurate and precise measurements.
  • The 26th CGPM meeting was very special and historic as the members have voted for the redefinition of 130 years old “Le grand K – the SI unit of kg” in terms of the fundamental Planck’s constant(h).
  • The new definitions will come into force on 20 May 2019.
  • The CGPM comprises 60 countries including India and 42 Associate Members.

Revision of SI Units

  • The International Bureau of Weights and Measures (BIPM), the main executive body of CGPM has the responsibility of defining the International System of Units (SI).
  • This revision of the SI is the culmination of many years of intensive scientific cooperation between the National Metrology Institutes (The national Physical Laboratory for India) and the BIPM.
  • The dissemination of SI units for the welfare of society and industries in the country is the responsibility of Legal Metrology, Department of Consumer Affairs, Government of India.
  • The definition of the seven base units namely, second, metre, kilogram, ampere, Kelvin, mole and candela has been changed from being linked to artefacts to being based on the fundamental constants on nature.
  • Notably the definition of kilogram has been changed from being the mass of prototype sanctioned by the 1st CGPM held in Paris in 1889 and deposited at the BIPM to the Planck constant which is a physical constant
  • Likewise, the definition of metre has been changed to link it to the speed of light.
  • There is a change in definition of time also.
  • The change in the definition will result in uniform and worldwide accessible SI system for international trade, high- technology manufacturing, human health and safety, protection of environment, global climate studies and the basic science under-pinning these.
  • The units are expected to be stable in the long term, internally self-consistent and practically realisable being based on the present theoretical description of nature at the highest level.


  • Currently Kilogram is defined by the weight of a platinum-based ingot called “Le Grand K” which is locked away in a safe in Paris.
  • Researchers meeting in Versailles voted to get rid of it in favour of defining a kilogram in terms of an electric current.

Why the Change

  • The official object that defines the mass of a kilogram is a tiny, 139-year-old cylinder of platinum and iridium that resides in a triple-locked vault near Paris.
  • Because it is so important, scientists almost never take it out; instead they use copies called working standards. But the last time they did inspect the real kilogram, they found it is roughly five parts in 100 million heavier than all the working standards, which have been leaving behind a few atoms of metal every time they are put on scales.
  • This is one of the reasons the kilogram may soon be redefined not by a physical object but through calculations based on fundamental constants.
  • In a world where accurate measurement is now critical in many areas, such as in drug development, nanotechnology and precision engineering – those responsible for maintaining the international system had no option but to move beyond Le Grand K to a more robust definition

What is the new system

  • Electromagnets generate a force. Scrap-yards use them on cranes to lift and move large metal objects, such as old cars.
  • The pull of the electromagnet, the force it exerts, is directly related to the amount of electrical current going through its coils.
  • There is, therefore, a direct relationship between electricity and weight.
  • So, in principle, scientists can define a kilogram, or any other weight, in terms of the amount of electricity needed to counteract the weight (gravitational force acting on a mass).

Plank’s Constant

  • There is a quantity that relates weight to electrical current, called Planck’s constant – named after the German physicist Max Planck and denoted by the symbol h.
  • But h is an incredibly small number and to measure it, the research scientist Dr Bryan Kibble built a super-accurate set of scales. The Kibble balance, as it has become known, has an electromagnet that pulls down on one side of the scales and a weight – say, a kilogram – on the other.
  • The electrical current going through the electromagnet is increased until the two sides are perfectly balanced.
  • By measuring the current running through the electromagnet to incredible precision, the researchers are able to calculate h to an accuracy of 0.000001%.
  • This breakthrough has paved the way for Le Grand K to be deposed by “die kleine h“.

Kibble Balance

  • Kibble balance is a self-calibrating electromechanical balance and provides the measurements of mass, traceable in terms of electrical parameters and provides linkage of macroscopic mass to the Planck constant(h).
  • The advantages of Kibble balance would be that the NPK need not to be sent to BIPM for calibrations and the accuracy and stability of Kibble balance is very high which is very important where low weights with high accuracies are essential, for example in pharmaceuticals and biotechnologies.

Changes in Real life

  • After the kilogram’s definition is changed officially- on 20th May, 2019, also known as World Metrology Day- most people will never notice the difference.
  • It would not change baking ingredients on a kitchen scale, or even have an effect on the tons of goods shipped globally every day.
  • For astronomers calculating the movements of stars and galaxies or for pharmacologists trying to define doses of medications sown to the molecule, the new standard of measurement could change the way they work.But for many metrologists, thatday to day work is not necessarily what inspired this change.


  • The metric system was intended to be rational, universal set of units “for all people, for all time”.The SI unit will finally be truly universal system, free of any human artefacts.

2 . Air Sewa 2.0

Suresh Prabhu launches AirSewa 2.0

What is Air Sewa portal and Mobile app

  • AirSewa is an initiative of the Ministry to offer people a convenient and hassle-free air travel experience.
  • It will be operated through an interactive web portal as well as through a mobile app for both android and iOS platforms.
  • The portal will include a mechanism for grievance redressal, backoffice operations for grievance handling, flight status/schedule information, airport Information and FAQs

Air Sewa  2.o

  • AirSewa 2.0, the upgraded version of the web portal and mobile app, provides chatbot support for faster resolution and personalised traveller experience.
  • Generally, chatbots are computer programmes that interact with people through audio or text messages. 

3 . Baba Kalyani Committee

SEZ Policy Report Submitted to Commerce Minister

About the Committee

  • The Baba Kalyani led committee constituted by the Ministry of Commerce& Industry to study the existing SEZ policy of India
  • The objectives of the committee were to evaluate the SEZ policy and make it WTO compatible.
  • Suggest measures for maximizing utilisation of vacant land in SEZs
  • Suggest changes in the SEZ policy based on international experience and merge the SEZ policy with other Government schemes like coastal economic zones Delhi-Mumbai industrial corridor, national industrial manufacturing zones and food and textiles parks.

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