Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 01 September 2023

First indigenous electric tractor

GS Paper - 3 (Energy)

India has launched the country's first indigenous fully-electric tractor, named CSIR-PRIMA ET11. The tractor was developed by India's state-owned Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and Central Mechanical Research Engineering Institute (CSIR-CMERI). The CSIR-PRIMA E11 is designed to cater to small and marginal farmers with around two hectares or less of farmland.

Salient features of the CSIR PRIMA ET11

  • The first very important point is that entire tractor has been designed and manufactured with indigenous components and technologies.
  • The main purpose of the tractor is to cater the demand of agriculture field application, it has been designed in such a way that its dynamicsweight distributiontransmission engagements, then lever and pedal position everything has been well designed and considered.
  • Another USP of the developed technology is that it Women friendly. For this we have given special attention in the ergonomics, for eg: All the levers, switches etc have been placed for easy approach to the women.
  • The farmers can charge the tractor using conventional home charging sockets in 7 to 8 hours and operate the tractor for more than 4 hours at the field. Otherwise, a tractor can run more than 6 hours in case of normal Haulage operation.
  • Coming to Transmission: The tractor is being designed with a robust and efficient transmission system by using the semi Synchronized type gearing system. The design helps to achieve the desired efficiency in min cost.
  • The tractor is equipped with best in class hydraulic with lifting capacity of 500 kg or more. It implies that the tractor can lift implements required not only for field operation but also hauling operation. It is also to be mentioned that the tractor can tow 1.8-ton capacity trolley with a max speed of 25 kmph.
  • Coming to electric aspects the battery we have chosen as the state of art Lithium ion battery with Prismatic cell confirmation. It has deep discharge capability for farming application and has a life of more than 3000 cycles.
  • Another distinct feature, we have provided that there is a port called V2L i.e. vehicle to load, this means when the tractor is not in operation, it battery power can be utilized for other secondary applications like pump and irrigation etc.


Validity of ‘self-respect’ marriages

GS Paper - 2 (Polity)

The Supreme Court observed that there is no blanket ban on advocates solemnising “self-respect” marriages under Section 7(A) of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. In doing so, a Bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and Aravind Kumar set aside a 2014 ruling of the Madras High Court holding that marriages performed by the advocates are not valid and that “suyamariyathai” or “self-respect” marriages cannot be solemnised in secrecy.

What are ‘self-respect’ marriages?

  • On 17 January 1968, the Hindu Marriage (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 1967, received the President’s approval and became the law.
  • This amendment modified the Hindu Marriage Act of 1955, by inserting Section 7-A into it. However, it extended only to the state of Tamil Nadu.
  • Section 7-A deals with the special provision on “self-respect and secular marriages”.
  • It legally recognised “any marriage between any two Hindus”, which can be referred to as “suyamariyathai” or “seerthiruththa marriage” or by any other name.
  • Such marriages are solemnised in the presence of relativesfriends, or other persons, with parties declaring each other to be husband or wife, in a language understood by them.
  • Further, each party to the marriage garlands the other or puts a ring on the other’s finger or ties a “thali” or mangal sutra. However, such marriages are also required to be registered as per the law.
  • The rationale behind the Tamil Nadu government amending the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, to include “suyamariyathai” or “self-respect” marriages, was to radically simplify weddings by shunning the need for mandatory Brahmin priestsholy fire and saptapadi (seven steps).
  • This allowed marriages to be declared in the presence of the couple’s friends or family or any other persons. In a nutshell, the amendment was made to do away with the need for priests and rituals, which were otherwise required to complete wedding ceremonies.
  • In its recent order, the Supreme Court allowed a petition challenging a Madras High Court order dated 5 May where the court had ordered the initiation of disciplinary action against the advocates who solemnised such marriages in their offices and issued marriage certificates to consenting adults.

What has the top court ruled on ‘self-respect’ marriages in the past?

  • In “S. Nagalingam vs Sivagami” (2001), a bench of Justices DP Mohapatra and KG Balakrishnan recognised the petitioner’s marriage with his wife to be a valid one despite the ceremony of “saptapadi” or seven steps around the sacred fire, not taking place.
  • Clarifying that the parties in the present case did not consider the “saptapadi” ceremony to be as essential as per their personal law, the court said that Section 7-A of the Hindu Marriage Act (Tamil Nadu State Amendment) would apply instead.
  • The main thrust of this provision is that the presence of a priest is not necessary for the performance of a valid marriage. Parties can enter into a marriage in the presence of relatives or friends or other persons and each party to the marriage should declare in the language understood by the parties that each takes the other to be his wife or, as the case may be, her husband and the marriage would be completed by a simple ceremony requiring the parties to the marriage to garland each other or put a ring upon any finger of the other or tie a thali,” the court had observed in its ruling.


Super Blue Moon of Raksha Bandhan

GS Paper - 3 (Science and Technology)

The Raksha Bandhan full moon on 30-31 August was unusual: it was both a “blue moon” and a “super moon” and therefore, a “Super Blue Moon”, a rare trifecta of astronomical events.

What is a supermoon?

  • The orbit of the moon around the earth is not circular; it is elliptical, that is, an elongated or stretched-out circle. It takes the moon 27.3 days to orbit the earth.
  • It is 29.5 days from new moon to new moon, though. This is because while the moon is orbiting the earth, both the earth and the moon are also moving around the sun — and it takes additional time for the sun to light up the moon in the same way as it does at the beginning of every revolution around the earth.
  • The new moon is the opposite of the full moon — it is the darkest part of the moon’s invisible phase, when its illuminated side is facing away from the earth.
  • The point closest to earth in the moon’s elliptical orbit is called perigee, and the point that is farthest is called apogee.
  • A super moon happens when the moon is passing through or is close to its perigee, and is also a full moon. (This happens with a new moon as well, just that it is not visible.
  • A full moon occurs when the moon is directly opposite the sun (as seen from earth), and therefore, has its entire day side lit up. The full moon appears as a brilliant circle in the sky that rises around sunset and sets around sunrise. The moon appears ‘full’ not just on Purnima, but also on the night before and after the full moon night.

What is a blue moon?

  • Though the expression “once in a blue moon” implies a rare or unusual occurrence, a blue moon is not that rare an astronomical phenomenon.
  • There are a couple of definitions of a blue moon, but the one that is most commonly understood — and is endorsed by NASA — describes the situation when a full moon is seen twice in a single month.
  • Because the new moon to new moon cycle lasts 29.5 days, a time comes when the full moon occurs at the beginning of a month, and there are days left still for another full cycle to be completed.
  • Such a month, in which the full moon is seen on the 1st or 2nd, will have a second full moon on the 30th or 31st. According to NASA, this happens every two or three years.
  • The first full moon of August 2023 occurred on 1 August. That was also a super moon, but the super moon of 30-31 August will be bigger because the moon is now closer to the perigee.

Will the moon actually appear blue?

  • No. Sometimes, smoke or dust in the air can scatter red wavelengths of light, as a result of which the moon may, in certain places, appear more blue than usual. But this has nothing to do with the name “blue” moon.
  • Speaking of colours, you may have noticed that the moon appears more yellow/ orange when it is lower in the sky (closer to the horizon).
  • This is because moonlight travels for longer through the atmosphere at this stage, and along the way, more of the shorter, bluer wavelengths of light are scattered, leaving more of the longer, redder wavelengths.
  • NASA points out that dust or pollution can end up deepening the reddish colour of the moon.

Book A Free Counseling Session