1. ISRO TO DEVELOP FULL FLEDGED EARTH OBSERVATION SATELLITE
SOURCE – HINDU
RELEVANCE – AWARENESS IN THE FIELD OF SPACE
- A new set of future satellites called hyperspectral imaging satellites is set to add teeth to the way India will be seen from about 600 km in space.
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) says it plans to launch a full-fledged niche earth observation (EO) satellite — called the Hyperspectral Imaging Satellite or HySIS — using a critical chip it has developed.
- The new chip is technically called an optical imaging detector array.
- The payloads development centre, Space Applications Centre, Ahmedabad, designed the architecture of the chip which was made at ISRO’s electronics arm, the Semi-Conductor Laboratory, Chandigarh. The result was a detector array that could read 1000 x 66 pixels.
- ISRO is endeavouring to enter the domain of operational hyperspectral imaging from earth orbit with a satellite that can see in 55 spectral or colour bands from 630 km above ground.
HYPERSPECTRAL OR HYSPEX IMAGING
- Hyperspectral or hyspex imaging is said to be an earth observation trend that is being experimented globally.
- Adding a new dimension to plain-vanilla optical imagers, it can be used for a range of activities from monitoring the environment, crops, looking for oil and minerals all the way up to military surveillance — all of which need images that show a high level of differentiation of the object or scene.
- Hyspex imaging is said to enable distinct identification of objects, materials or processes on earth by reading the spectrum for each pixel of a scene from space.
- ISRO first tried it out in an 83-kg IMS-1 experimental satellite in May 2008. The same year, a hyperspectral camera was put on Chandrayaan-1 and used to map lunar mineral resources.
- Very few space agencies have such a satellite; a German environmental satellite called EnMAP is due to be launched on an Indian booster in 2018.
2. NO BREACH OF FARM SUBSIDY LIMITS , INDIA TELLS WTO
SOURCE – TIMES OF INDIA
RELEVANCE – GS MAINS – III . ISSUES RELATED TO DIRECT AND INDIRECT FARM SUBSIDIES
- India has informed the World Trade Organization (WTO) that it did not breach the permissible farm subsidy limit between 2011-12 and 2013-14.
- India recently submitted its farm subsidy details for these three years to the multilateral body.
- Putting to rest doubts of developed countries that India’s farm subsidies have been on the rise, New Delhi told the WTO that input subsidies that include those for fertilisers, irrigation and electricity fell to $22.8 billion in FY2014 compared with $29.1billion in FY 2011.
- These are part of the ‘green box’ or non-trade distorting subsidies that are allowed without limits for countries such as India that has millions of poor farmers.
- According to the agricultural census for 2000-2001, 98.97% of farm holdings were of low-income or resource poor farmers. The percentage increased to 99.15, according to the 2005-2006 agricultural census.
- India provides domestic support to agricultural producers mainly through operations of the agriculture ministry.All support is covered by the domestic support categories that are exempt from reduction commitments under the WTO’s Agreement on Agriculture.
- The United States’ farm subsidies in 2009 were to the tune of $101 billion.
DOMESTIC AGRICULTURE SUBSIDIES
WTO classifies domestic agriculture subsides into three categories: green , blue and amber.
A. GREEN BOX SUBSIDIES
- Subsidies that don’t disrupt trade balance OR only cause minimum damage to trade balance.
- E.g. agriculture research-development, extension services, farmer training programs, pest-disease control program, flood/drought relief money paid to farmers etc.
- WTO Limit: nothing. Governments can give as much as they want.
B. AMBER BOX SUBSIDIES
- Subsidies that disturb trade balance like, subsidies on fertilizers, seeds, power and irrigation.
- They distort trade balance because they encourage excessive production,therefore given country’s product becomes cheaper than others, in the international market.
C. BLUE BOX SUBSIDIES
- Amber type Subsidies that aim to limit production.
- Subsidies that don’t increase with production. For example subsidies linked with acreage or number of animals.
- Very few countries use blue box- Iceland, Norway, Slovenia etc.
- Any support that would normally be in the amber box, is placed in the blue box if the support also requires farmers to limit their production.
3. THREE INDIAN FIRMS AMONG FORBES MOST INNOVATIVE COMPANIES
SOURCE – HINDU
RELEVANCE – GS PRELIMS
- Three Indian firms — Hindustan Unilever, Asian Paints and Bharti Airtel — are among Forbes’ list of the world’s 100 most innovative companies, where as Salesforce.com has replaced Tesla Motors on the top position.
- While HUL and Asian Paints have moved up in their ranks to seventh and eighth respectively (from 31st and 18th last year), Bharti Airtel has entered the ranking at 78th position.
- The annual ‘World’s Most Innovative Companies’ are the ones that investors expect to be innovative now and in the future. Besides, to be included in the list, firms need seven years of public financial data and $ 10 billion in market cap.
- According to Forbes, companies are ranked by their innovation premium — the difference between their market capitalisation and the net present value of cash flows from existing businesses.
- Among others in the top 10 are — Amazon.com (3rd position), Shanghai RAAS Blood Products (4th), Netflix (5th), Incyte (6th), Naver (9th) and Regeneron Pharmaceuticals (10th).