24th December 2020

Aero India-21

Recently, the Union Ministry of Defence has reviewed the planning of the ‘Aero India-21’.

  • Aero India exhibition is organized every alternate year.
  • It is one of the major exhibition for aerospace and defence industries with a public air show.
  • It enables industry professional to gain market insights, announce new developments and gain media coverage.
  • Aero India 2021 is the 13th edition of Aero India which will be organised at Bengaluru, Karnataka.
  • Aero India 2021 provides opportunity to demonstrate products to the potential customer and investors.
  • The logo for Aero India is inspired by the Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA).

Significance of Aero India-21

  • It promises to showcase India’s Aerospace and Defence manufacturing capabilities.
  • It aims to seek investments in India owing to a series of policy initiatives in Defence such as:
    • Increase in FDI to 74% through automatic route,
    • Defence Acquisition Procedure-2020,
    • Revised Offset guidelines to promote Investment in India for co-development and co-production, and
    • Draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 (DPEPP 2020)
  • It is a symbolic of India’s will to be a leader amongst leaders.
  • It will reaffirm India’s resolve to be among the top five countries of the world in Aerospace and Defence manufacturing.

Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)

  • The Tejas LCA together with its variants is the smallest and lightest Multi-Role Supersonic Fighter Aircraft of its class.
  • The single engine, Compound-Delta-Wing, Tailless Aircraft is designed and developed to meet diverse needs of the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Indian Navy (IN).
  • It has quadruplex digital fly-by-wire Flight Control System (FCS) with associated advanced flight control laws.
  • The aircraft with delta wing is designed for ‘air combat’ and ‘offensive air support’ with ‘reconnaissance’ and ‘anti-ship’ as its secondary roles.
  • The Aeronautical Development Agency is the designated project manager for the development of LCA.

 

CoWIN Grand Challenge

Recently, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has announced the launching of a ‘Grand Challenge’ for strengthening CoWIN System.

  • The CoWIN Grand challenge is aimed at strengthening the COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (CoWIN) system.
  • It is a joint initiative of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) along with Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
  • The Grand Challenge is to be launched on MSH (MeitY Startup Hub) portal.
  • The challenge invites participation from talented and innovative startups and emerging technology specialists to augment and scale the CoWIN platform.

COVID Vaccine Intelligence Network (CoWIN)

  • It is a digitalised platform to be used to effectively roll out and scale up the mechanism for COVID Vaccine Distribution System nationally.
  • The CoWIN system will be a subset of COVID India Portal which provides end to end management of COVID19.
  • The Electronic Vaccine Intelligence Network (eVIN) system, which provides real-time information on vaccine stocks and storage temperatures across all cold chain points in the country, is being enhanced to address the needs for distribution and tracking of COVID-19 vaccine.

MSH Portal

  • It is a collaborative platform developed under the aegis of MeitY towards building meaningful synergies in the Indian tech startup space.
  • MSH will act as a national coordination, facilitation and monitoring centre that will integrate all the incubation centres, start-ups and innovation related activities of MeitY.

 

Vigyanika-International Science Literature Festival

Recently, the Ministry of Science & Technology has organized the inaugural session of ‘Vigyanika’.

Vigyanika

  • It is an International Science Literature Festival.
  • It is jointly organized by CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (CSIR-NISCAIR), Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) and Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA).
  • The event is aimed to take science and literature to the masses and showcase strategies to employ various aspects of science communication to promote self-reliance and global welfare.
  • It is centred on the theme “Science Communication & Science Literature – Networking Science & Society”.
  • It will deliberate on the challenges of science communication and also critically evaluate scientific literature and many other issues through Keynote Lectures, Panel Discussions, Scientific Sessions, and Vigyan Kavi Sammelan.

CSIR-NISCAIR

  • It was established in 1951 as a premier institute engaged in scholarly communication to the scientific fraternity and public outreach of science for over six decades.
  • It is the only organisation in the country that disseminates R&D information through 18 peer-reviewed journals.
  • It organises training workshops in science communication and science writing and offers platforms and forums for academic discourse on science promotion, governance and policy.

VIBHA

  • Vijnana Bharati or VIBHA is a science movement with swadeshi spirit working for the development of Swadeshi Sciences.
  • It is aimed at interlinking traditional and modern sciences on the one hand and natural and spiritual sciences on the other hand.

 

UNESCO ‘Intangible Heritage’

Recently, the Street Hawker Culture of Singapore has been designated as an Intangible Cultural Heritage by the UNESCO.

  • The list was established in 2008 when Convention for Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage came into effect.
  • The intangible cultural heritage is an important factor in maintaining cultural diversity in the face of growing globalization.
  • The importance of intangible cultural heritage is not the cultural manifestation itself but rather the wealth of knowledge and skills that is transmitted through it from one generation to the next.
  • The intangible cultural heritage is:
    • Traditional, contemporary and living at the same time: Intangible cultural heritage does not only represent inherited traditions from the past but also contemporary rural and urban practices in which diverse cultural groups take part.
    • Inclusive: Intangible cultural heritage does not give rise to questions of whether or not certain practices are specific to a culture.
      • It contributes to social cohesion, encouraging a sense of identity and responsibility which helps individuals to feel part of one or different communities and to feel part of society at large.
    • Representative: intangible cultural heritage is not merely valued as a cultural good, on a comparative basis, for its exclusivity or its exceptional value.
      • It thrives on its basis in communities and depends on those whose knowledge of traditions, skills and customs are passed on to the rest of the community.
    • Community-based: intangible cultural heritage can only be heritage when it is recognized as such by the communities, groups or individuals that create, maintain and transmit it.

Street Hawker Culture

  • The Singapore’s street hawkers are an indelible part of the city-state’s local life.
  • These hawker stalls are a huge tourist attraction, drawing millions of tourists for dishes like nasi lemak, chilli crab, kaya toast, laksa, and roti prata.
  • The hawker centres are representative of Singapore’s multiculturalism, with stalls selling cheap, delicious food of Chinese, Malay, Indian origins, among others.
  • The Singapore government, under its National Environment Agency, has implemented many steps to keep the hawker culture alive, including:
    • Setting up the Incubation Stall Programme for aspiring street hawkers.
    • The Hawkers’ Development Programme equips aspiring and existing street hawkers with relevant skills, such as social media marketing.
    • The Hawker’s Productivity Grant offers funding to individual stall owners to encourage them to be more productive by using automated equipment.
  • The Intangible Cultural Heritages from India added into the UNESCO ‘Intangible Heritage’ list include:
    • Tradition of Vedic chanting
    • Ramlila, the traditional performance of the Ramayana
    • Kutiyattam, Sanskrit theatre
    • Ramman, religious festival and ritual theatre of the Garhwal Himalayas.
    • Mudiyettu, ritual theatre and dance drama of Kerala
    • Kalbelia folk songs and dances of Rajasthan
    • Chhau dance
    • Buddhist chanting of Ladakh: recitation of sacred Buddhist texts in the trans-Himalayan Ladakh region, Jammu and Kashmir.
    • Sankirtana, ritual singing, drumming and dancing of Manipur
    • Traditional brass and copper craft of utensil making among the Thatheras of Jandiala Guru, Punjab
    • Yoga
    • Nawrouz
    • Kumbh Mela

 

Coronavirus in Antarctica

Recently, atleast 36 people at a Chilean research station in Antarctica have been found infected with the novel coronavirus.

  • The Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs had decided early in the pandemic to cut team sizes and limit the number of people at the stations.
  • All major research projects were halted, tourism was cancelled, and several facilities were shut.
  • The US sent only about a third of its usual staff strength while the British Antarctic Survey said it was scaling back its research.
  • Antarctica is uninhabited except for those manning the nearly 60 permanent stations established by several countries, including India, for carrying out scientific research.
  • The infected people were stationed at the General Bernardo O’Higgins Riquelme, located on the northernmost tip of Antarctica.
  • The infections were possibly passed on by people on board a ship that recently delivered supplies to the research station.

Indian Stations in Antarctica

  • The two Indian permanent stations, Maitri and Bharati, are at least 5,000 km away from the Chilean base and the Indian contingent in Antarctica is not worried about the virus spreading.
  • The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) is the nodal agency for India’s scientific expeditions in Antarctica and the Arctic.

Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP)

  • It is the international association, formed in 1988, which brings together its Members, who are the National Antarctic Programs.
  • National Antarctic Programs are those organizations that have responsibility for delivering and supporting scientific research in the Antarctic Treaty Area on behalf of their respective governments.
  • COMNAP’s purpose is to develop and promote best practice in managing the support of scientific research in Antarctica by:
    • Serving as a forum to develop practices that improve effectiveness of activities in an environmentally responsible manner;
    • Facilitating and promoting international partnerships;
    • Providing opportunities and systems for information exchange; and
    • Providing the Antarctic Treaty System with objective and practical, technical and non-political advice drawn from the National Antarctic Programs’ pool of expertise.
  • COMNAP consists of 30 National Antarctic Program Members.
  • The headquarters for COMNAP is the COMNAP Secretariat, hosted by the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Indian Antarctic Programme

  • The first Indian expedition to Antarctica i.e. the Indian Antarctic Programme, landed on the ice continent in 1982.
  • The programme was initiated in 1981 with a selected team of 21 members under the leadership of Dr S Z Qasim.
  • Under the environmental protocol of the Antarctic Treaty (1959), India has set up three research stations up till now:

Dakshin Gangotri

  • The first Indian scientific research base station was established in Antarctica as part of the third Antarctic programme.
  • It was the first time an Indian team spent a winter in Antarctica to carry out scientific work.
  • It was established in 1983-84.

Maitri

  • In 1988, an ice-free, rocky area on the Schirmacher Oasis was selected to build the second research station named Maitri.
  • The building was erected on steel stilts, and has stood the test of time in conducting experiments in geology, geography and medicine.

Bharati

  • Located beside Larsmann Hill, about 3000 km east of Maitri, Bharati was established in 2015.
  • It is located between Thala Fjord & Quilty bay, east of Stornes Peninsula in Antarctica.

 

Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling against India

Recently, the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague has ruled that the Indian government was wrong in applying retrospective tax on Cairn.

Dispute between Cairn and India

  • The dispute between the Indian government and Cairn also relates to retrospective taxation.
    • The Cairn ruling is the second arbitral setback to India over its position on retrospective taxation.
  • In 2006-07, as a part of internal rearrangement, Cairn UK transferred shares of Cairn India Holdings to Cairn India.
  • The Income Tax authorities then contented that Cairn UK had made capital gains and slapped it with a tax demand of Rs 24,500 crore.
  • The company refused to pay the tax, which prompted cases being filed at the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) and the High Court.

Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling on Retrospective Taxation

  • In its judgment, the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague said Cairn Tax Issue was not just a tax related issue but an investment related dispute.
  • The PCA at The Hague has once again ruled that the Indian government’s retrospective demand was in breach of the guarantee of fair and equitable treatment.
  • It has noted that Cairn UK’s argument that the demand on them was made after the Vodafone retrospective tax demand, which has since been set aside by Indian courts.

Retrospective Taxation

  • It is a combination of “retrospective” and “tax” where “retrospective” means taking effect from a date in the past and “tax” refers to a new or additional levy of tax on a specified transaction.
  • It effectively allows a country to pass a rule on taxing certain products, items or services, and deals, and charge companies from a time before the date on which the law is passed.
  • The retrospective tax is not so easily welcomed by taxpayers as it creates an additional levy on the transaction which is already concluded when the provisions of law were different.

Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA)

  • It was established in 1899 to facilitate arbitration and other forms of dispute resolution between states.
  • It is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to serving the international community in the field of dispute resolution.
  • The PCA has a three-part organizational structure consisting of:
    • Administrative Council that oversees its policies and budgets,
    • Panel of independent potential arbitrators known as the Members of the Court, and
    • Secretariat, known as the International Bureau, headed by the Secretary-General.
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