Today's Headlines

Today's Headlines - 27 November 2022

Longest mission of ISRO launched

GS Paper - 3 (Space Technology)

Indian Space Research Organisation’s (ISRO) PSLV-C54 carrying an earth observation satellite and eight nano-satellites successfully lifted off from the first launch pad of the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota. The PSLV rocket, which blasted off from the launch pad, placed all the nine satellites into their intended orbits in two hours, making it the longest mission of the ISRO.

More about this mission

  1. This is the 56thflight of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle, known as ISRO’s warhorse and “most reliable” rocket, and 24th flight of the extended PSLV-XL version.
  2. The primary satellite (EOS-06) was separated in Orbit-1, two Orbit Change Thrusters (OCTs) introduced in the propulsion bay ring of the rocket subsequently changed the orbit after which the remaining eight were placed in different orbits in Orbit-2.
  3. The PSLV-C54 mission is declared successful with all nine satellites being placed precisely into their intended orbits.
  4. Of the eight satellites, ISRO Nano Satellite-2 for Bhutan (INS-2B) is a joint collaboration of India and Bhutan
  5. Other customer payloads are Anandfour satellites of Astrocast, and two satellites of Thybolt.

Objectives of the satellites

  1. EOS-06, which is the third generation satellite in the Oceansat series, is aimed at providing continuity in services of Oceansat-2 spacecraft with enhanced payload specifications as well as application areas.
  2. The other objectives of the primary satellite is to ensure the data continuity of ocean colour and wind vector data to sustain the operational applications, and to develop and improve related algorithms and data products to serve in well- established application areas and to enhance the mission utility.
  3. The satellite will also improve applications, some additional datasets such as sea surface temperature and more bands in the optical region for fluorescence and in the infrared region for atmospheric corrections are accommodated.
  4. The Anand Nano satellite will demonstrate the capabilities and commercial applications of miniaturized earth-observation cameras for earth observation using a microsatellite in Low Earth Orbit.
  5. Astrocast, a 3U spacecraft, is a technology demonstrator satellite for the Internet of Things (IoT) as the payload. There are 4 nos. of Astrocast Satellites in this mission.


The Assam-Meghalaya border dispute

GS Paper - 3 (Internal Security)

Both Meghalaya and Assam said they would seek a probe from a central agency into the Assam Police firing that killed six people on 22 November 2022 along the states’ border. The incident comes ahead of the second phase of talks scheduled for this month-end between the two states to resolve their boundary dispute, and there are concerns its shadow will loom large over the negotiations.

What is the border dispute?

  1. Assam and Meghalaya have a longstanding dispute in 12 stretches of their 884-km shared border.
  2. The two states had signed a pact in March resolving the dispute in six out of 12 areas.
  3. In August, they decided to form regional committees. The second round of discussions for the remaining six phases was to commence by the end of this month.
  4. The Assam-Meghalaya pact was seen as a major achievement, as Assam’s border disputes with other states in the Northeast have remained unresolved despite multiple rounds of talks. Now, the firing threatens to derail the upcoming talks.
  5. During British rule, undivided Assam included present-day Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya and Mizoram.
  6. Meghalaya was carved out in 1972; its boundaries demarcated as per the Assam Reorganisation (Meghalaya) Act of 1969, but have held a different interpretation of the border since.
  7. In 2011, the Meghalaya government had identified 12 areas of difference with Assam, spread over approximately 2,700 sq km.
  8. Some of these disputes stem from recommendations made by a 1951 committee headed by then Assam chief minister Gopinath Bordoloi.


Constitution Day observed

GS Paper - 2 (Constitution)

The Constituent Assembly took two years, 11 months and 17 days to draft the Constitution for Independent India. During this period, it held 11 sessions covering 165 days, and its members submitted around 7,600 amendments to the draft Constitution. On this day 73 years ago, the Constitution of India was adopted on 26 November 1949, coming into effect on January 26, 1950. Since 2015, the day has been observed as Constitution Day, or ‘Samvidhan Diwas’.

More about the news:

  1. The drafting of India’s Constitution was a mammoth exercise — it was to determine how a newly independent, newly dismembered nation would define and govern itself.
  2. As the exercise went on, many questions were raised about the Constitution, including over its approach to federalism, to the protection of minorities’ rights, and over the fact that it had borrowed heavily from other Constitutions around the world.
  3. Dr BR Ambedkar, the Constitution’s chief architectaddressed the criticism in his speech on November 4, 1948, when introducing the Draft Constitution in the Constituent Assembly.

His responses on four issues:

  1. Draft Constitution being ‘unoriginal’.
  2. Treatment of minorities.
  3. Not representing the “ancient polity of India”.
  4. Approach to fundamental rights.


Borrowed from other documents

  1. He said, more than hundred years have rolled over when the first written Constitution was drafted. What the scope of a Constitution should be has long been settled.Given these facts, all Constitutions in their main provisions must look similar.
  2. The only new things, if there can be any, in a Constitution framed so late in the day are the variations made to remove the faults and to accommodate it to the needs of the country.

Safeguards for minorities

  1. In this country both the minorities and the majorities have followed a wrong path. It is wrong for the majority to deny the existence of minorities. It is equally wrong for the minorities to perpetuate themselves. A solution must be found which will serve a double purpose.
  2. The minorities in India have agreed to place their existence in the hands of the majority. It is for the majority to realize its duty not to discriminate against minorities.

On fundamental rights

  1. Fundamental rights could not mean absolute rights.He distinguishes between fundamental and non-fundamental rights.
  2. The real distinction between the two is that non-fundamental rights are created by agreement between parties while fundamental rights are the gift of the law. Because fundamental rights are the gift of the State it does not follow that the State cannot qualify them.
  3. Critics have claimed that fundamental rights in America are absolute, even in that country; they are limited by Supreme Court judgments, whereas in India, the limitations had been included in the Draft Constitution itself.
  4. Draft Constitution instead of formulating fundamental rights in absolute terms and depending upon our Supreme Court to come to the rescue of Parliament by inventing the doctrine of police power [as in the US], it permits the State directly to impose limitations upon the fundamental rights.


UN’s highest environmental award

GS Paper - 1 (Personality)

Indian wildlife biologist Dr Purnima Devi Barman was awarded with Champions of the Earth award in the Entrepreneurial vision category, UN’s highest environmental honour. She is the founder of the Hargila Army and senior project manager of the Avifauna Research and Conservation Division, Aaranyak.

Who is Purnima Devi Barman?

  1. Barman is an Indian wildlife biologist working in Assam to protect storks. Her love for birds was born when was sent to live with her grandparents on the banks of the Brahmaputra River in Assam at the age of five.
  2. Barman’s grandmother, a farmer, started taking her to nearby paddy fields and wetlands to teach her about the birds there, which cultivated her passion.
  3. After gaining a Master’s degree in Zoology, Barman started a PhD on the greater adjutant stork.
  4. She decided to delay her thesis after seeing that many of the birds in the region were nearing extinction and decided to focus on keeping the species alive.
  5. She began campaigning to protect the stork in 2007, focusing on the villages in Assam’s Kamrup district, where the birds were most concentrated.

How is Barman saving the storks?

  1. Barman had to change perceptions of the bird as a bad omen, bad luck or a disease carrier among people in Assam.
  2. She assembled a group of village women to help her and named the group as the ‘Hargila Army’ after the stork, known as ‘hargila‘ in Assamese (meaning ‘bone swallower’).
  3. In 2017, Barman began building tall bamboo nesting platforms for the endangered birds to hatch their eggs and a couple of years later the first greater adjutant stork chicks were born.
  4. The Hargila Army has helped communities plant 45,000 saplings near stork-nesting trees and wetland areas to support future stork populations and they are planning to plant 60,000 saplings next year.
  5. The Hargila Army also works to reduce pollution in rivers by organising cleaning drives on the banks of rivers and in wetlands.

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