M.I.C.S. CURRENT AFFAIRS 4th JUNE 2018

1 . Agni-V

Reasons for being in news

The long range ballistic missile Agni V was recently successfully flight tested from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island).

About  Agni-V

Agni-V is an intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 5,500–5,800 km developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) .

Agni V is part of the Agni series of missiles, one of the missile systems under the original Integrated Guided Missile Development Program.

Stages

The Agni-V is a three-stage solid fuelled missile with composite motor casing in the second and third stage. The first stage propels the missile up to 40 km height. The second and third stages take it into 150 km and 300 km of height respectively. The missile finally reaches 800 km and re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere to fly towards the target.

Guidance system

The guidance system consist of an improved inertial navigation system than the other Agni missiles. It uses a ring laser gyroscope. It can also use GPS navigation system with terminal guidance using possible radar scene correlation. All these guidance systems combined, make the missile extremely accurate. The Agni 5 has a claimed CEP of less than 10 meters. That makes it more accurate than most of the current intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Payload

Agni V is nuclear capable, with a payload capacity of 1,500 kg of high-explosive warhead.

Speed

It has a top speed is Mach 24, which make it nearly impossible to intercept or destroy the missile once it reaches maximum speed. And there are no known air defense systems that can intercept such a fast missile.

Ability to survive the first strike

Being fired from a road-mobile launcher, the Agni-V could be fired from any place in India. Typically road mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles are harder to detect and destroy. And that gives the Agni 5 the ability to survive the first strike.

Greater operational flexibility

With a canister-launch system to impart higher road mobility, the missile will give the armed forces much greater operational flexibility than the earlier-generation of Agni missiles.

An improved version of Agni III

In many aspects, the Agni-V carries forward the Agni-III pedigree. With composites used extensively to reduce weight, and a third stage added on (the Agni-3 was a two-stage missile), the Agni-5 can fly significantly more to inter-continental range.

Advantage of using solid fuel

This missile uses solid fuel. This feature allowed to mount the missile on a road-mobile launcher. Also it takes less time to prepare missile for launch. It makes it more effective and easy to use, and that’s why, almost all recent intercontinental ballistic missile uses solid fuel.

Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRVs)

In future, Agni-V is expected to feature Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRVs) with each missile being capable of carrying 2–10 separate nuclear warheads. Each warhead can be assigned to a different target, separated by hundreds of kilometres; alternatively, two or more warheads can be assigned to one target. MIRVs ensure a credible second strike capability even with few missiles. An MIRV payload would be significantly heavier, since it would consist of several nuclear warheads, each of them weighing about 400 kilogrammes.

Purpose of the Missile

Agni V is primarily for enhancing India’s nuclear deterrence against China. The Agni-V could hit any target in China, including Beijing. The missile will allow India to strike targets across Asia and into Europe.

Not many countries have the privilege of having such missile

Once the Agni-V is inducted, India will join the super exclusive club of countries with ICBMs (missiles with a range of over 5,000-5,500km) alongside the US, Russia, China, France and the UK.

About Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island (Wheeler Island)

Dr. Abdul Kalam Island, formerly known as Wheeler Island, is an island off the coast of Odisha, approximately 150 kilometres  north-east of   Bhubaneshwar. The Integrated Test Range missile testing facility is located on the island.

The island was originally named after English commandant Lieutenant Wheeler. On 4 September 2015, the island was renamed to honour the late Indian president, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

 

2 . Operation  ‘NISTAR’

Reasons for being in news

Indian Navy has launched an operation( ‘NISTAR’) to rescue around 38 Indians that are stranded in and around Socotra Island in Yemen after a cyclone hit the area.

Background

A very Severe Cyclonic Storm Mekenu crossed the Yemeni Island of Socotra on 24 May 18, leaving the 38 Indians stranded on the island with limited food and water.

The Navy has deployed its ship INS Sunayna as part of the ‘Operation Nistar’ to evacuate the Indians.

 

3 . Tamil Nadu losing its hotspot status  on investments

Reason for being in news

The latest agitation against Vedanta’s Sterlite Copper plant in Thoothukudi, which has led to police firing and death of 13 people in May, and similar agitations taking place occasionally in various parts of the State, would dampen the State’s image as an industry-friendly investment destination for companies.

Downtrend in the value of proposals in the state

Tamil Nadu is gradually losing out to other states in  terms of attracting investments. Data shows that there has been a downtrend in the value of proposals in the state the past few years. The exception was the year 2015, when the State held a Global Investors’ Meet (GIM).

Bottom among four major industrial states in 2017

Tamil Nadu was at the bottom in terms of value of investment intentions, among the four major industrial states in the south during 2017, according to the data available from Union Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Investment intentions in past few years

For the year ended 2017, investment intentions in Tamil Nadu stood at Rs 31.3 billion from 62 proposals, accounting for around 0.79 per cent of the total investment intentions of Rs 3,953 billion in the country. This is a decline from Rs 61.72 billion contained in 106 proposals (around 1.46 per cent of the Rs 4,149.9 billion investment intentions recorded in the nation in 2016).

In 2013, investment intentions filed for the State stood at Rs 273.8 billion in 168 proposals (5.17 per cent), which declined to Rs 145.98 billion in 96 proposals (3.60 per cent) in 2014. In 2015, the investment proposals went up to Rs 198.11 billion in 107 proposals (6.37 per cent), owing possibly to the Global Investors’ Meet.

Comparison with other states

Going by these figures, the State has fallen behind Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and even Telangana in the South, apart from Gujarat and Maharashtra in the West. Karnataka has had investment intentions worth Rs 1521.18 billion (38.48 per cent), Andhra Pradesh to the tune of around Rs 295.37 billion (7.47 per cent), Telengana to the tune of Rs 162.09 billion (4.14 per cent), Gujarat at Rs 790.68 billion (20 per cent) and Maharashtra at Rs 485.81 billion (12.29 per cent) during the period.

In the past

In the past, Tamil Nadu was among the top industry friendly States, along with Gujarat and Maharashtra. As a matter of fact, RBI’s Handbook of Statistics on Indian States 2016-17, shows that it topped the list of states, with 16 per cent of the total number of factories in India in fiscal 2015.

View of the state government

However Tamil Nadu government says it has introduced a single-window portal and facilitation norms for ease of doing business.However the state seems to be losing potential investors, with even industries that had invested in it earlier giving it a wide berth now.

 

4 . India to import 1st cargo of LNG from Russia 

India will on Monday import its first ever cargo of LNG from Russia under a long-term deal as the world’s fourth-largest buyer of liquefied natural gas (LNG) diversifies its import basket to meet its vast energy needs.

State-owned gas utility GAIL India Ltd will bring the shipload of LNG from Gazprom at Petronet LNG Ltd’s import terminal here. Beginning of supplies from Russia comes within weeks of India importing its first ever LNG cargo from US under a long-term import deal.

 

5 . INCERFA

Reasons for being in news

A VIP Embraer aircraft carrying External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to South Africa had gone incommunicado for 14 minutes, triggering a mid-air scare after the Mauritius Air Traffic Control pressed the panic button.

Contact could not be established with the Indian Air Force flight IFC 31 after it left Male ATC for Mauritius airspace. But instead of the waiting for the mandatory 30 minutes, the uncertainty phase was activated, known as INCERFA in aviation parlance.

Chicago Convention

The Search and Rescue (SAR) function is a state obligation imposed by the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago, 7 December 1944) which is generally referred to as the Chicago Convention. Annex 12 to the ICAO Chicago Convention defines three emergency phases which are referred to as the Uncertainty Phase, the Alert Phase and the Distress Phase. These phases are defined as follows:

1 . Uncertainty phase (INCERFA): a situation wherein uncertainty exists as to the safety of an aircraft and its occupants.

2 . Alert phase (ALERFA): a situation wherein apprehension exists as to the safety of an aircraft and its occupants.

3 . Distress phase (DETRESFA): a situation wherein there is a reasonable certainty that an aircraft and its occupants are threatened by grave and imminent danger and require immediate assistance.

 

6 . Blue Flag Beach

Reasons for being in news

The Chandrabhaga beach on the Konark coast of Odisha will be the first in Asia to get the Blue Flag certification which will be awarded on World Environment Day on June 5.

Twelve more beaches in the country are being developed by the Society for Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM). Among them are the Chiwla and Bhogave beaches in Maharashtra and one beach each from Puducherry, Goa, Daman and Diu, Lakshadweep and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

About Blue Flag beach

The Blue Flag is a certification by the Foundation for Environmental Education (FEE) that a beach, marina or sustainable boating tourism operator meets its stringent standards. FEE is based in Copenhagen.

The Blue Flag is a trademark owned by FEE which is a not-for-profit, non-governmental organisation consisting of 65 organisations in 60 member countries in Europe, Africa, Oceania, Asia, North America and South America.

The Blue Flag is sought for beaches, marinas and sustainable boating tourism operators as an indication of their high environmental and quality standards.

Criteria for awarding a Blue Flag

To achieve the Blue Flag standards, a beach had to strictly comply with 33 environment and tourism-related conditions.

FEE’s Blue Flag criteria include standards for water quality, safety, environmental education and information, the provision of services and general environmental management criteria.

To achieve the Blue Flag standards, a beach must be plastic-free and equipped with a waste management system. Clean water should be available for tourists, apart from international amenities. The beach should have facilities for studying the environmental impact around the area.

 

7 . ‘Taj Mahal Declaration’

Reasons for being in news

A ‘Taj Declaration to Beat Plastic Pollution’ was adopted here on 3rd June 2018, as part of which efforts would be made to make the 500-metre area around the 17th century monument litter-free.Steps would also be taken to phase out single-use plastic there.

The declaration is in confirmity to the government plan to –  reduce plastic use, re-use, recycle, re-collect, re-design and re-manufacture it.