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News Analysis

  • 02 Apr 2019
  • 13 min read
Science & Technology

ISRO Launches EMISAT Satellite

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched the EMISAT satellite on onboard the PSLV-C45 from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

  • The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) was also carrying 28 international nanosatellites — 24 from the US, two from Lithuania and one each from Spain and Switzerland.
  • The flight of PSLV was also the longest mission of the PSLV, lasting around three hours.

EMISAT Satellite

  • The EMISAT satellite is aimed at electromagnetic spectrum measurement.
  • It is an electronic intelligence satellite for the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • About Satellite

Polar Orbit

  • A polar orbit travels north-south over the poles and takes approximately 90 minutes for a full revolution.
  • These orbits have an inclination near 90 degrees. This allows the satellite to see virtually every part of the Earth as the Earth rotates underneath it.
  • An orbit is called sun-synchronous when the angle between the line joining the center of the Earth and the satellite and the Sun is constant throughout the orbit.]

Purpose of Satellite

  • EMISAT is an all weather and all terrain condition satellite, which will allow it to work through clouds, rain, forest and coastal areas.
  • EMISAT is an ELINT (Electronic Intelligence) satellite, which means it will have a radar to measure the electromagnetic spectrum - so as to intercept and analyze radar signals, find their location, identify the hostile radars based on their radio frequency (RF) signature.
  • This will be a vital tool for India when EMISAT along with the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) can effectively locate, tackle and silence enemy radars, and secure Indian airspace.

Significance of Launch

  • This mission was significant as this was the first time a PSLV has placed objects in three different orbits.
  • The fourth stage was restarted and stopped twice to bring PSLV to the altitude of 507 km after EMISAT launch.
  • At the fourth stage three experimental payloads were deployed:
    • Automatic Identification System (AIS) for Maritime satellite applications capturing messages transmitted from ships
    • Automatic Packet Repeating System (APRS) from AMSAT (Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation), India - assists amateur radio operators in tracking and monitoring position data
    • Advanced Retarding Potential Analyzer for Ionospheric Studies (ARIS) from Indian Institute of Space Science and Technology (IIST) - for the structural and compositional studies of the ionosphere.
  • This is the first time it has been envisaged to provide a microgravity environment for research organizations and academic institutes to perform experiments.

Indian Economy

Transport and Marketing Assistance (TMA) Scheme

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has laid out a detailed procedure for claiming benefits under the Transport and Marketing Assistance (TMA) scheme, which aims at boosting agricultural exports.

  • Earlier in March, 2019 the Department of Commerce of the Ministry of Commerce & Industry had announced this scheme for providing financial assistance for transport and marketing of agriculture products to boost exports of such commodities to certain countries in Europe and North America.
  • The level of assistance would be different for different regions as notified from time to time for export of eligible products. The scheme covers freight and marketing assistance for export by air as well as by sea.
  • The scheme will help in increasing farm export from India.

Objective

  • The scheme aims to provide assistance for the international component of freight and marketing of agricultural produce.
  • To mitigate disadvantage of higher cost of transportation of export of specified agriculture products due to trans-shipment.
  • To promote brand recognition for Indian agricultural products in the specified overseas markets.

Coverage & Eligibility

  • All exporters, duly registered with relevant Export Promotion Council as per Foreign Trade Policy, of eligible agriculture products shall be covered under this scheme.
  • The Scheme would be applicable for a period as specified from time to time. Presently the Scheme would be available for exports from 1.3.2019 to 31.03.2020.

Background

  • In the year 2018, the government also approved an Agriculture Export Policy with an aim to double the shipments to USD 60 billion by 2022.
    • It is aimed at boosting exports of agriculture commodities such as tea, coffee and rice and increase the country’s share in global agri-trade.
  • The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) plays a significant role in tapping India’s agricultural strengths and works towards expanding the export potential of Indian agricultural and food products.

Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority 

  • The Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) is a non-trading, statutory body established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act passed by the Parliament in December, 1985.
  • APEDA has marked its presence in almost all agro potential states of India and has been providing services to agri-export community through its head office in New Delhi, five Regional offices and 13 Virtual offices.
  • In 2017, APEDA launched a mobile app- “Farmer Connect” to allow farmers to apply online to facilitate their farm registration, tracking the status of application & approvals by State Government and Lab sampling by authorized Laboratories.

Social Justice

World Autism Awareness Day

April 2 is celebrated all over the the world as World Autism Awareness Day and April, the month for Autism awareness.

  • The theme of this year's Autism Awareness Day is ‘Assistive Technologies, Active Participation’.

Autism

  • Autism can be defined as a complex neurobehavioural condition which causes problems with language and communication skills. It also causes a person to have repetitive and rigid behaviour.
  • It is a complex brain development disability which makes itself visible during the first 3 years of a person’s life.
  • It is not mental retardation as people with autism may show excellent skills in spheres like art,music, writing etc.
  • It is characterised by a range of symptoms and is thus also known as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
  • People with ASD show following symptoms
    • Failing to, or being slow to respond to someone calling their name,
    • Echolalia (repeating the same phrase over and over),
    • Repetitive movements, such as flapping hands, rocking back and forth, or flicking fingers,
    • limited interest in interacting with other people,
    • over- or under-sensitivity to sensory stimuli, such as sounds, smells, colours and lights,
    • Getting upset by slight changes in a routine etc.
  • The causes of ASD are not known. Researchers suggest that both genes and environment play important roles.
  • There is no cure for it but therapeutic and behavioural guidance can considerably improve quality of life.
  • In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly unanimously declared 2nd April as World Autism Awareness Day.
  • United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), Sustainable Development Goals and Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 of India deal with rights of people with disabilities including autism.

Important Facts For Prelims

Important Facts For Prelims (2nd April 2019)

Thakurani Jatra Festival

  • Recently, celebrations of the biennial Thakurani Jatra festival started in Berhampur, Odisha.
  • During the festival, Goddess Budhi Thakurani is taken from the main temple at Thakurani Temple Street to her temporary abode at Desi Behera Street, where she stays till the festival ends.
  • The first Thakurani Yatra was celebrated in April 1779. The festival goes on for 32 days.
  • The goddess is considered to be a family member of Desibehera, the leader of the Dera community, the weaver clan that has made Berhampur famous as the silk city.

Reiwa: Japan's New Era

  • The Japanese government has announced that the reign of the next Japanese emperor will be known as the "Reiwa" era.
  • The term for the new era is made up of the two characters Rei and Wa. Rei can mean "commands" or "order", as well as "auspicious" or "good". While, Wa often means "harmony", and is also used in the Japanese word for "peace" - "hei-wa".
    • The name draws from the 7th century poetry collection “Manyoshu.”
    • This is the first era name to have been inspired by a Japanese, rather than Chinese, work of classical literature.
  • The new era takes effect on May 1, 2019 with the coronation of Crown Prince Naruhito (126th emperor of the Chrysanthemum Throne).
    • Chrysanthemum Throne is a common name given to the Imperial throne of Japan.
    • It is the oldest continuing monarchy in the world.
    • Under the provisions of the current Constitution of Japan, the Emperor is a "symbol of the state and the unity of its people"; he has no real political power but is regarded as a ceremonial Head of State and constitutional monarch.
  • Current emperor Akihito is stepping down on April 30, 2019 in the first abdication in 200 years, bringing his era of “Heisei” to an end.
    • The era of “Heisei,” which means “achieving peace,” was the first without a war in Japan’s modern history, but is also remembered as lost years of economic deflation and natural disasters.
    • This era began in 1989, when Akihito succeeded his father Emperor Hirohito, who ruled during the Showa period and is now known as the Showa Emperor. It will come to a close on April 30, the day Akihito abdicates.
  • The announcement allows only a month ahead of the switch for government, businesses and other sectors to adjust to the change that still affects many parts of Japan’s society, even though the system is not compulsory.

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