India’s first private rocket launched

GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

History was made in India’s space programme on 18 November 2022 with the successful launch of the country’s first-ever private rocketVikram-S—suborbital Flight (Prarambh mission) from Sounding Rocket Complex in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

What

  1. In a text book launch, the Hyderabad-based space start-up Skyroot Aerospace’s rocket Vikram-S with three small satellites blasted off the small launcher at the Satish Dhawan Space Research Centre, Sriharikota.
  2. Weighing 545-kg and 6-metre tall, the rocket left the launcher to reach the apogee of 89.5 km (and 115.8 km from the shore) at 139.93 seconds. It took a turn and had a splashdown in the Bay of Bengal.
  3. The flight was launched to prove avionics systems in Vikram series like telemetry, tracking, inertial measurement, GPS, on-board camera, data acquisition and power systems.
  4. The ‘Prarambh’ mission carried three customer payloads of two Indian and one foreign customer equipped with sensors for the measurement of acceleration and pressure.
  5. The mission’s aim was to launch Vikram–S (VKS), a single-stage solid fuelled sub-orbital rocket into space. The launch vehicle has been named ‘Vikram-S’ as a tribute to the father of the Indian space programme, the late Vikram Sarabhai.
  6. It took nearly two years for Skyroot to build the rocket using carbon composite structures and 3D-printed components.
  7. Founded by Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharath Daka in 2018, and is the largest private space start-up in India.

 


Draft of new data protection bill released

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

India released the draft of a new comprehensive data protection bill on 18 November 2022, three months after withdrawing a previous bill that had alarmed big technology companies. The measure, aimed at protecting digital personal data, seeks to allow transfer of data outside India, and provides for penalties regarding data breaches.

More about the bill

Ø  The government plans to set up a panel to ensure compliance with the law.

Ø  Titled ‘The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022’, the bill says, "The purpose of this Act is to provide for the processing of digital personal data in a manner that recognises both the right of individuals to protect their personal data and the need to process personal data for lawful purposes, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto."

Ø  According to the bill, the provisions of the Act will apply to processing of digital personal data within the territory of India where:

  1. Such personal data is collected from Data Principals online; and
  2. Such personal data collected offline, is digitised.

Ø  The provisions of the Act will also apply to "processing of digital personal data outside the territory of India, if such processing is in connection with any profiling of, or activity of offering goods or services to Data Principals within the territory of India."

Ø  On transfer of personal data outside India, the bill says, "The Central government may, after an assessment of such factors as it may consider necessary, notify such countries or territories outside India to which a Data Fiduciary may transfer personal data, in accordance with such terms and conditions as may be specified."

Flashpoint of the bill

  1. The privacy law to be renamed as The Digital Personal Data Protection Bill, 2022
  2. The bill may allow government to appoint Data Protection Board of India to decide on non-compliance and penalty
  3. Provisions over consent and purpose limitation for data collection tightened
  4. Section 43A of the IT Act to be omitted
  5. The revised draft released for public consultations

 


India oppose "carbon border tax"

GS Paper - 3 (Environment)

 A group of nations, including India, stated jointly that carbon border taxes, which could cause market distortion and worsen the trust gap among parties, must be avoided as the 27th Conference of Parties (COP) in Sharm El-Sheikh approaches its conclusion and efforts to reach a binding agreement are stepped up.

  1. With effect from 2026, the European Union has proposed a policy known as the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism to tax goods like cement and steel that have high carbon content.
  2. Large coal-dependent countries Brazil, India, South Africa, and China, collectively known as BASIC, have long expressed their concerns and reaffirmed their right to use fossil fuels while converting to sustainable energy.
  3. Their statement voiced "grave worry" over the industrialised countries' lack of leadership and equal effort in response.
  4. "Unilateral actions and discriminatory practices, like carbon border taxes, must be avoided as they may cause market distortion and worsen the lack of trust between Parties [signatory nations to the United Nations climate agreements].
  5. When unfair responsibilities are unfairly transferred from developed to developing countries, BASIC countries demand that developing countries respond in unison and solidarity.
  6. In their statement, developed countries also noted that they had "backtracked on finance and mitigation commitments and pledges" and that their consumption and production of fossil fuels had "significantly increased" in the previous year, despite their ongoing pressure on developing nations to abandon the use of these resources. "Climate equity and justice are irreconcilable with such contradictory standards."
  7. Despite the opportunities and connections with "loss and damage," they claimed that adaptation was still not given the fair and thorough attention it deserved in the UN climate framework process.

Flashback

  1. Carbon Border Tax: An import duty based on the quantity of carbon emissions produced during the production of the product in question is known as a carbon border adjustment tax.
  2. As a carbon tax, it reduces emissions. It has an impact on exports and production as a trade-related measure.