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Prelim Bits 30-07-2018

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July 30, 2018

Deep Ocean Mission

  • The Central government has drawn up a 5-year plan to explore the deep ocean.
  • Ministry of Earth Sciences has been tasked with coordinating the exercise.
  • The ministry has recently unveiled the blueprint of "Deep Ocean Mission".
  • The mission proposes to explore the deep ocean similar to the space exploration started by ISRO about 35 years ago.
  • The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) allotted to India (2.2 million sq.km) in the international waters will be covered under this mission.
  • The focus will be on technologies for deep-sea mining, underwater vehicles, underwater robotics and ocean climate change advisory services.
  • Under this mission, the key deliverables are
  1. Offshore desalination plant that will work with tidal energy, and
  2. Developing a submersible vehicle that can go to a depth of at least 6,000 metres with three people on board.

India and Central Indian Ocean Basin

  • India has exclusive right to explore deep sea mineral - polymetallic nodules from seabed in Central Indian Ocean Basin.
  • A long–term Polymetallic Nodules programme is being implemented by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • This right in the international water is allocated by International Seabed Authority (ISA).
  • ISA is a UN body set upto regulate the exploration and exploitation of marine non-living resources of oceans in international waters.
  • It is headquartered at Kingston, Jamaica.
  • In 2016, India was re-elected as a member of Council of ISA.

National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System

  • India is planning to procure National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System (NASAM - II) from U.S.
  • It is an advanced air defence system.
  • It is the state-of-the-art defense system that has ability to quickly identify and destroy enemy aircraft, UAV or emerging cruise missile threats.
  • NASAMS-II is an upgraded version of the NASAMS and features new 3D mobile surveillance radars and 12 missile launchers for quicker reaction.
  • It is proposed to be deployed to protect national capital region.
  • It will help in preventing 9/11-type attacks in Delhi.

Advanced Air Defence systems in India

  • India is deploying a multi-tiered air defence network to fully secure its airspace from incoming fighter aircraft, missiles and UAV.
  • An indigenous two tired defence shield known as "Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD)", to destroy enemy ballistic missiles is being developed.
  • The BMD consists of two interceptor missiles,
  1. The Prithvi Defence Vehicle (PDV) for exo-atmospheric (high) altitudes of 50–80 km and
  2. The Advanced Area Defence (AAD) missile for endo-atmosphere (low) altitudes of 15-30 kilometers.
  • India is also in an advanced stage of talks with Russia for the procurement of very long range S-400 air defence systems.

Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)

  • TESS is NASA's latest satellite to search for planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets.
  • The mission will spend the next two years monitoring the nearest and brightest stars for "Transits".
  • Transits are events which denote a periodic dips in light of the star when a planet pass in front of it.
  • It was launched in April this year and it has now started its search for planets around nearby stars.
  • It is expected to transmit its first series of science data back to Earth in August, and thereafter periodically every 13.5 days.
  • It is the next step in the search for planets outside of our solar system, including those that could support life.

National Skill Training Institute (NSTI) for Women

  • A permanent campus of National Skill Training Institute (NSTI) for Women is going to be built at Mohali, Punjab.
  • This is the first NSTI Institute for Punjab and only one of its kind in India which is exclusively for women.
  • It is launched under "Skill India" Mission.

Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendra (PMKK)

  • PMKK is established by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) across India.
  • It aims to provide skill training for unemployed youth through its short-term training (STT) module and contribute to the capacity building of municipal employees through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) program.
  • PMKK for differently abled person is going to be launched in Mohali.
  • It is also a first of its kind in India.


  • A FASTag is a reloadable tag that automatically deducts toll charges and allows a vehicle to pass through a toll gate without stopping for the payment.
  • It uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to make cashless payments through a prepaid account linked to it.
  • The tag is fixed to the windscreen of a vehicle and an RFID antenna in the canopy of the toll gate scans the QR code and lifts the barrier to allow a vehicle to pass through.
  • The tag is valid for five years.
  • It is coded in 7 different colors, each is assigned to a particular category of vehicles.
  • It is mandatory for cars and trucks sold after December 1, 2017 to be fitted with a FASTag.
  • Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has also proposed to make FASTag compulsory for all commercial vehicles seeking a national permit.
  • National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has a mobile application for FASTag that allows users to buy and recharge these tags as well as seek information on toll rates on different routes.
  • It also allows the cab operators to track the movement of their vehicles as they receive SMS alerts.
  • Users are refunded 5% of the total toll paid by them in a given month.


Source: The Hindu, PIB


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