Current Affairs Current Affairs - 13 April 2018 - Vikalp Education

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Current Affairs - 13 April 2018

General Affairs 

For 'Make In India' Super Hornet Jets, Boeing Ties Up With Mahindra, HAL
  • Boeing today announced a partnership with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS) for manufacturing the F/A-18 Super Hornet in India for its air force.

    The US aerospace major said the partnership will also work for joint development of future technologies in India, saying it will transform India's aerospace and defence ecosystem.

    The announcement was made on the second day of the Defence Expo in Thiruvedanthai.

    Boeing said the partnership will be for production of an affordable, combat-proven fighter platform for India.

    "Boeing is excited to team up with India's only company that manufactures combat fighters, HAL, and India's only company that manufactures small commercial airplanes, Mahindra," said Pratyush Kumar, president, Boeing India.

    "This partnership brings the best of Indian public and private enterprises together in partnership with the world's largest aerospace company, Boeing, to accelerate a contemporary 21stcentury ecosystem for aerospace & defence manufacturing in India, said Pratyush Kumar, president, Boeing India," he said.

    Last week, India had issued an initial tender or Request For Information for the procurement of 110 single and twin seater fighter jets for Indian Air Force in the biggest such initiative in recent years globally.

"Opposition Does Not Have An Alternative To PM," Says Devendra Fadnavis
  • Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today observed fast in Mumbai along with other BJP MPs and MLAs, and hit out at the opposition saying it does not have any alternative to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    The BJP leaders across the country observed a day-long fast today to corner the opposition over the recent washout of the Budget session of parliament.

    Mr Fadnavis, along with Lok Sabha members Poonam Mahajan (North Central Mumbai) and Paresh Rawal (Gujarat), local MLAs Parag Alavani, Amit Satam and Mumbai BJP chief Ashish Shelar sat on the day-long fast at the party office in suburban Vile Parle.

    The chief minister said, "People know contradictions of the opposition parties. They can't stay together. What is the alternative to Modi in terms of policies, programmes and leadership? The opposition only wants power...(but) they don't have an alternative to Modi."

    He said the Congress has no moral strength to face parliament because when the prime minister counters it. "They have no face to show."

    He also alleged that most of the atrocities on Dalits took place during the Congress rule.

    "The Dalit and tribal entrepreneurship is being encouraged by the Modi government," he pointed out.

    Mr Fadnavis said PM Modi is dedicated to the welfare of the people and the country.

    "Public hai, public sab jaanti hai (this is the public, it knows everything," Mr Fadnavis said.

    Lashing out at the Congress, he said, "People have seen you and tolerated you.

    "Until the Congress learns to respect and preserve democracy, don't send their members to Parliament," he appealed to people.

    Mr Fadnavis, while leaving the venue, said he was going to Nanded on official work.

    "Don't worry, I will not have 'chole bhature'," he said in a dig at the Congress over its leaders "seen having food" before their fast on Monday.

    "Our struggle to preserve the democratic values will continue," Mr Fadnavis said.

    A street play was performed in front of him, highlighting the government's achievements, like demonetisation, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the Jalyukt Shivar campaign (aimed at improving irrigation facilities in Maharashtra) and other welfare programmes for farmers.

    The BJP has accused the opposition Congress of disrupting Parliament during the recent Budget session to prevent debates on various issues.

    On the occasion, Mr Rawal said the Congress did not allow Parliament to function as it does not have any issue to raise.

    "We decided to forgo our salaries as the Congress did not allow Parliament to function. But, the Congress members have taken their salaries," he claimed.

    Mr Rawal mocked the Congress' fast on Monday as "farce" over some of its leaders "seen having food" before the protest.

    Mr Shelar accused the Congress of "wasting Rs. 430 crore of the taxpayers" by disrupting Parliament session.

    Kirit Somaiya, the BJP MP from North East Mumbai, sat on the protest near the Bhandup railway station.

    He said, "Today around 350 Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha members of the BJP are observing the fast against the Congress' unruly behaviour in parliament because of which the proceedings of Parliament were washed out."

    "The Congress and other opposition parties did not allow Parliament to function for 23 days, and 17 important Bills were passed without debate. We wanted to discuss about the alleged bank scams of Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, the non-performing assets (NPAs) of Rs. 52 lakh crore, among other important issues," he said.

    Railway Minister Piyush Goyal observed the fast in neighbouring Thane city. He alleged that the Congress had "disgraced the Constitution" framed by Dr B R Ambedkar. "Ambedkar's hard and noble work has been disgraced by the Congress by not allowing Parliament to function," he further said.

    "Not only the BJP leaders and workers, but I think people across the country are appalled by the opposition parties, specially the Congress," Mr Goyal said.

    The social media cell of the BJP also ran a campaign called #FastWithPMModi.

    "When the Nation wants us to talk, Congress takes our Democracy for a walk. We stand together with our Hon'ble PM Shri @narendramodi ji to remind them of the duties of the opposition! Join us today at District BJP Office in Vile Parle," Mr Mahajan tweeted.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi today led his party leaders in observing the day-long fast.

    Addressing party MPs yesterday through an audio conference call, Modi had said the BJP leaders and its workers will observe the fast to "expose" those handful of people who "throttled" democracy by stalling Parliament proceedings during the budget session.

ISRO's PSLV Successfully Launches IRNSS-1I Navigation Satellite From Sriharikota Days After Big Jolt
  • While most of India slept, ISRO's Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle or PSLV blasted off into space from Sriharikota off the coast of Andhra Pradesh at 4:04 am today, carrying IRNSS-1I, the eighth satellite for India's homegrown global positioning system. The successful launch came just 14 days after the much larger Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle or GSLV rocket launch on March 29 spelled a setback for the space agency as the Rs. 270 crore GSAT 6A that it was carrying was lost to a systems failure. Thursday's launch created history for ISRO, becoming the fastest back-to-back launch in the agency's history.

    Here are 10 facts on the PSLV's IRNSS-1I launch:

    ISRO, the Indian Space Research Organisation, declared the 43rd mission of the PSLV a success after it placed the IRNSS 1I satellite into a precise orbit. The last satellite launch for the satellite-aided navigation NAVIC programme by the PSLV had failed in August 2017.

    After the launch, ISRO Chairman Dr K Sivan said, "I am extremely happy to announce that the 8th navigation satellite of India was launched successfully into the NAVIC constellation. We are moving towards a major goal. This NAVIC constellation will create history."

    India needs seven operational satellites for providing failsafe satellite based navigation. The 1,425-kg satellite was made by the Bengaluru-based Alpha Design Technologies, in collaboration with ISRO.

    The first satellite in the network, IRNSS 1A, ran into trouble when the atomic clocks onboard the satellite failed one after another. Last year, on August 31, ISRO launched a replacement satellite - IRNSS 1H. This time, the rocket failed and the satellite was never placed into orbit. This forced the space agency to launch the IRNSS 1I as a replacement.

    The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) has the operational name of NAVIC, an acronym for "Navigation with Indian Constellation". The system is designed to be equivalent to the Global Positioning System or GPS which is owned by the US.

    The NAVIC system is expected to provide location tracking within 20 meters of actual positions, especially in the 1,500 km area around the country's borders - a zone where the maximum threat perception lies. The satellite will have both civilian and military uses.

    The need for an indigenous GPS was felt soon after the Kargil conflict, when India desperately needed the services of a satellite-based navigation system, but did not have one of its own. The American system was not available at the time.

    Only the US and Russia currently have fully operational GPS systems. China and Europe are still in the process of deploying their full systems. A satellite-based navigation system under one's control and command is considered a deep strategic asset.

    The launch of the satellite came two weeks after its GSAST 6A failure. Sources in ISRO have hinted that a "power systems failure" led to the satellite going AWOL.

    A top satellite expert from ISRO confirmed to NDTV that the GSAT 6A was a heavyweight communications satellite and the relatively lightweight IRNSS 1 used a "very different power system", which gave the space agency confidence to march ahead with the launch.

Aadhaar Can't Be Duplicated, Will Help In Generating Revenue: Centre To Supreme Court
  • The central government and the Unique Identification Authority of India on Wednesday defended Aadhaar, saying that there were no instances of its duplication and cited the fiscal benefits of linking it with various subsidies, benefits and services.

    Asserting that duplicate Aadhaar cards are "non-existent", Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, arguing for the government and the UIDAI, told the five judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra while there were a large number of duplicate PAN cards, there was none in Aadhaar.

    Telling the constitution bench that linking Aadhaar with various services and benefits was in larger public interest, he said that compared to other methods of identifications, Aadhaar was least invasive of people's privacy.

    Mr Mehta said that linking Aadhaar with various services and benefits would help in additional revenue collection to the tune of Rs. 30,000 crore and sought to brush aside the petitioners' contention that it was based on assumption that by and large, people were evading taxes and involved in money laundering.

    Telling the bench also comprising Justice A K Sikri, Justice A M Khanwilkar, Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Ashok Bhushan that linking of Aadhaar with PAN card and for other purposes does not stigmatise the people as tax evaders or money launderers, he cited the example of the frisking of travellers at the airport.

    "Everyone is frisked although only one might be a threat. Aadhar does not intend to stigmatise the whole populace as tax evaders and money launderers," he told the bench which took exception saying that the extent of invasion of privacy in two cases - concern for national security on account of terrorism and economic offices - have to be different with different proportionality.

    On Tuesday, Chief Justice Misra, in the course of the hearing, had said that the provision of Aadhaar Act that seeks to validate the data collected from 2009 to 2016 when the statute was enacted was "badly drafted" and it could not be read to mean waiving of fundamental rights of the people.

    Earlier, the constitution bench had said that Aadhaar was not a panacea for all ills in the system like corruption, tax evasion, money laundering, leakage of subsidies and terrorism, and wondered how far it can cast the net of Aadhaar.

    The constitution bench is hearing a batch of petitions by former Karnataka High Court Judge KS Puttuswamy, Magsaysay awardee Shanta Sinha, feminist researcher Kalyani Sen Menon, social activist Aruna Roy, Nikhil De, Nachiket Udupa and others challenging the constitutional validity of the Aadhaar scheme on the touchstone of the fundamental right to privacy.

"CBSE Class 10 Paper Leak Case Solved," Claims Top Delhi Police Officer
  • Less than three weeks after the CBSE paper leak reports surfaced, a top officer of the Delhi Police, investigating the case claimed the case has been solved. "The class 10 paper leak case has been solved," said Ram Gopal Naik, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch. 

    Speaking to the media, Alok Kumar, Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch, said "Rakesh Kumar, who was arrested for leaking CBSE Class 12th Economics paper is also the main person behind Class 10 Maths paper leak." 

    The Delhi Police on Monday, took the three accused arrested in class 12 Economics paper leak case, to Una in Himachal Pradesh, to reconstruct the sequence of events and question some more people there, sources said.

    cbse accused bawana
    Police took accused to Una to reconstruct events

    The special investigation team of the Crime Branch last Saturday arrested three staff members of the DAV School in Una, in connection with the case.

    "The investigation so far has revealed that the paper was leaked from there, although it went viral through around 40 WhatsApp groups in Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and maybe other states," said a senior Delhi Police officer.

    The paper was allegedly leaked by DAV School's economics teacher Rakesh Kumar, with the help of his colleague Amit Sharma, a clerk and Ashok Kumar, a peon of the school, three days before the Economics paper was scheduled on March 26.

    The education ministry has constituted a high powered panel to examine the system of conducting Class 10 and 12 board examinations. A former senior secretary of the education ministry, Vinay Sheel Oberoi, will be the chairperson of the seven-member committee, said news agency ANI.

    The main objective of this committee would be to revisit security checks built into the system, for ensuring that the question papers reach the examinees without any tampering. The committee would also examine the potential weaknesses in the present system of transporting question papers from the printers to the examinees.

Business Affairs

Industrial output slows to 7.1%, retail inflation eases for third straight month
  • India's industrial production grew 7.1 per cent in February, registering a slowdown as compared to 7.4 per cent growth in January. While the slowdown can be attributed to decline in the mining sector growth, the manufacturing sector has again shown a positive growth of 8.7 per cent. The factory output has sustained a positive momentum since October 2017 when it was 2.2 per cent. Experts suggest the growth trend till sustain in future. The fresh supplies of vegetables helped the retail inflation ease down a bit at 4.28 per cent in March, registering a decline on the third straight month.

    Factory output measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) had grown by 1.2 per cent in February 2017, as per data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) today. The IIP recorded a growth of 8.54 per cent in November, 7.1 per cent in December and 7.4 per cent in January, as per the revised data.

    During April-February, IIP growth has slowed to 4.3 per cent from 4.7 per cent in the same period last fiscal. Manufacturing sector, which constitutes over 77 per cent of the index, grew at 8.7 per cent in February as compared to almost flat growth of 0.7 per cent in the same month a year ago.

    Similarly, capital goods output rose by a robust 20 per cent in the month under review as against a contraction of 2.4 per cent earlier. Consumer durables too grew at 7.9 per cent as against a contraction of 4.6 per cent in February 2017. Electricity generation also grew by 4.5 per cent compared to 1.2 per cent.

    However, mining output declined by 0.3 per cent against a growth 4.6 per cent earlier. As per use-based classification, the growth rates in February 2018 over February 2017 are 3.7 per cent in primary goods, 3.3 per cent in intermediate goods and 12.6 per cent in infrastructure/construction goods. The consumer non-durables sector recorded a growth of 7.4 per cent. In terms of industries, 15 out of the 23 industry groups in the manufacturing sector have shown positive growth during February 2018.

    Retail inflation slows to 4.28% in March 

    Retail inflation slowed to 4.28 per cent in March, the third consecutive month of decline, mainly on account of easing food prices including vegetables, government data showed today. The inflation based on Consumer Price Index (CPI), a key data factored in by the RBI to arrive at interest rate, was 4.44 per cent in February.

    However, the March 2018 inflation is higher than 3.89 per cent recorded in the same month last year. As per data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO), inflation in the vegetables segment cooled to 11.7 per cent in March from 17.57 per cent in the previous month. The rate of price rise in the protein rich items like eggs, milk and other products too moderated in March as against the previous month.

    However, inflation in fruits basket was higher. Overall, inflation in the food basket was 2.81 per cent, lower than 3.26 per cent in February. The CSO data further revealed that inflation in the fuel and light segment also came in lower at 5.73 per cent month-on-month basis.

Merger of Axis Bank is not the way forward for banking industry
  • "Perfect time for Kotak Bank to bid for Axis Bank," says the Japanese brokerage firm Nomura in its report post the sudden exit announcement of Shikha Sharma this week. But does such a merger make sense for the Axis Bank, the Reserve Bank of India, the banking regulator and the government, which is facing a totally different challenge to turnaround the public sector banks (PSBs).

    The Axis Bank board is well aware of the strengths of the bank. Axis Bank is actually amongst the top five large banks in India in terms of overall performance. In a recent Business Today - KPMG Best Banks Study 2016-17, Axis Bank scored high on many of the key parameters. Take for example, the private bank was at number 2 position in terms of the 3 year CAGR of growth in loans and advances. Similarly, the bank's position was at number 3 in terms of growth in deposits. The net NPAs were at 2.31 per cent, better than ICICI Bank and SBI. The cost to income ratio was at 0.41, which is very low. The bank was ranked at number 3 amongst the large banks. Similarly, return on assets (ROA) at 0.64 per cent is way ahead of Bank of Baroda and SBI. The capital adequacy ratio at 14.95 per cent is quite comfortable and amongst the top two large banks. So where is the urgency or the case to merger the bank with another private bank. " It's like suggesting a surgery for a minor illness. There was an issue with the leader ( not of board but of regulator ) and the leader is gone. A new leader would take the bank forward," says a banker. In fact, the bank has a very good retail and digital platform to grow in future.

    It also doesn't make sense for government to push for a merger in the private banking space. The private banks actually controls around 15 per cent of the deposits as well as advances of the sector. The entire private pack is known for better performance, better banking services, digitization, meritocracy and they are probably lagging in governance. But the entire PSB space has nothing to show except the SBI. They all are neck deep in trouble with distressed assets, lagging behind in digitization, a highly de-motivated workforce, absence of visionary leaders etc. The government has bigger problem at hand because of lower capital levels at the PSBs than to effect a merger amongst the private bank. Axis Bank any day is a much better bank than any PSB. And if at all government wants to encourage consolidation, they should suggest Kotak Bank to buy one of the PSBs. There are already close to a dozen banks that are under RBI's intensive care i.e. under the RBI's prompt correct action (PCA) where they have restricted lending because of higher NPAs, falling profitability, capital and net worth. "The regulator should encourage M&As in the PSB space in consultation with the government," say experts.

    Even for Koatk's perspective, the merger is not all about size. In a fast changing digital world, banking is more about software robotics, AI, machine learning etc. The entire systems and processes are getting digitized to give customer a seamless journey. Banks today are not talking in terms of branches, ATMs, geography and people. There are already talks of Google or facebook distributing financial services products in future with banks at the bank end. There are also aggregators of loans like bankbazaar, which are already selling cards and personal loans of hundreds of banks and financial institutions. WhatsAPP is also emerging as a payments interface for banks in future.

    In fact, Kotak Bank has already did a big merger with South based ING Vysya which was almost equal to its balance sheet size. They have got a very good portfolio of SME, Agri and MNC clients and also new geography South of India from the merger. Many say Kotak has a large platform to extract the most of it as it has a bouquet of products like loans, insurance, mutual fund etc.

Economists optimistic about future, manufacturers and consumers less so
  • Professional economists are fairly optimistic about the future but manufacturers expected the first quarter of 2018-19 to be worse on most counts compared to the last quarter of 2017-18. Meanwhile, consumers are also less optimistic about the future than they were even a quarter ago. At least that is what the Reserve Bank of India's (RBI) forward looking surveys, released earlier this month, seem to suggest.

    The survey of 25 professional forecasters of macro-economic indicators shows that they expect growth to firm up in 2018-19 on the back of higher private consumption and improvement in investment. Growth will be driven by manufacturing and to a lesser extent by services. Consumer inflation is expected to remain in control and under 5 per cent, according to this survey.

    The industrial outlook survey, which captured the business sentiments of the manufacturing sector by talking to 1,250 companies, showed that most respondents were pretty positive about the last quarter of 2017-18. They were optimistic about demand conditions and all major parameters like production, order book, capacity utilisation, imports and exports. Even the availability of finance was better in the last quarter, according to the respondents.

    On the other hand, they were less optimistic about the next quarter. The upbeat demand sentiment indicated in the previous two quarters dipped in this one, on almost all parameters barring export and import. Expectations of better finances were also low.

    The consumer confidence survey showed that expectations were not particularly great for the future. The consumer confidence survey covered six metropolitan cities - Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and New Delhi, and had 5,297 respondents.

    Consumer confidence waned in March 2018, after showing some improvement in December 2017. The current situation index (CSI) has remained in the pessimistic zone since March 2017. It showed some signs of improvement in the last quarter, but went downhill again in the latest survey. The future expectations index (FEI) also showed a dip in sentiments. While the last quarter survey had largely showed neutral expectations, this round showed that sentiments about the coming year were gloomier. Respondents continued to show concern for the current employment situation and the outlook for the next year was also less positive than the previous survey.

    However, on the inflation and cost front, the households' assessment of the current price situation and the outlook for the coming year remained largely unchanged.

    Meanwhile, the Order Book, Inventories and Capacity Utilisation Survey (OBICUS), surveying 940 manufacturing companies, showed that the capacity utilisation remained at 74.1 per cent. Capacity utilisation, in fact, has remained stuck at this level since the last quarter of 2014-15, which could explain why fresh investment in Greenfield capacities remains tardy.

Sensex rises 160 pts to 34,101 level, Nifty above 10,450; TCS, Infy, Axis Bank top gainers
  • The Sensex rose for the sixth straight session to end above the key 34,000-level today, led by gains in IT, banking and capital goods stocks. Technology stocks rose after the rupee fell to a fresh five-month low. TCS, Infosys, Wipro, HCL Technology and Tech Mahindra ended in the positive zone.

    However, profit-booking was witnessed in realty, metal, healthcare, power and PSU counters.

    TCS, Infosys and Axis Bank were top gainers on the Sensex.

    VK Sharma, Head Private Client Group & Capital Market Strategy at HDFC Securities said, "The minutes from the Federal Reserve's latest policy meeting show that policy makers discussed the need to tap on the brakes on the economy. The somewhat hawkish tone of the minutes didn't move markets much today, but it is becoming clear that the interest rates in US are headed higher, and that has implications on liquidity around the globe.

    Institutional flows and technical cues for our markets are positive. Nifty has managed to surpass 50 and 100 day moving average resistances. Next resistance for the markets is near 10,560.  Infosys results due tomorrow will determine the short term direction for the IT stocks and Nifty in the short run."

    The 30-share Sensex resumed higher and advanced to 34,177, but soon slipped on profit-taking to touch a low of 33,924. It finally closed 160.69 points, or 0.47 per cent, higher at 34,101.

    The index marked its highest closing since February 28 today, when it had closed at 34,184.

    The gauge gained 921 points in the previous five sessions.

    The NSE 50-share index, after moving between 10,469 and 10,395, finally concluded at 10,458, up 41 points, or 0.40 per cent.

    Sameet Chavan, Chief Analyst, Technical and Derivatives at Angel Broking said, "For the coming session, 10478 would be the level to watch out for. Considering today's close, surpassing this level is clearly on cards. However, we would reiterate that the index is now about to enter a strong cluster of resistances and going by the higher time frames charts, we construe this recent move just as a relief rally.  Hence, now it's time for short term traders to start liquidating long positions in a gradual manner and should rather stay light with a stock specific approach. For the coming session, 10478 followed by 10535 has now become an immediate resistance zone; whereas on the downside, 10430 - 10395 would be seen as crucial supports. Clearly, the entire IT pack was the charioteer of today's move in the index. Hence, going ahead, a continuation of 'Nifty IT' towards its record highs of 13400 - 13534 would play a vital role in extending this relief rally in Nifty in the zone of 10500 - 10600."

    The  Dish TV stock was among the top BSE gainers rising 8% after promoters made an open offer at price of Rs 74 per share. The stock logged the maximum turnover of Rs 694 crore on BSE.

    Market breadth was negative with 1139 stocks closing higher against 1524 ending in the red on BSE. 154 stocks were unchanged.

    Foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) bought shares worth Rs 362.30 crore on net basis, while domestic institutional investors (DIIs) bought equities to the tune of Rs 111.82 crore yesterday, provisional data showed.

    Meanwhile, Moody's Investors Service today said the pick-up in economic growth in India is positive for asset-backed securities(ABS), as it supports the ability of borrowers to earn income and repay their loans.

    Moody's expects that the Indian economy to grow at 7.6 per cent in 2018 compared to 6.2 per cent in 2017.

Rosneft vs Saudi Aramco vs Reliance: Global oil war to play out in India this time
  • Saudi Arabia's oil giant Saudi Aramco signed on dotted lines on Wednesday to build a $44-billion giant refinery and petrochemicals complex at Ratnagiri in Maharashtra. It will be the one of the largest foreign investments in India, that too after decades-long effort to bring global oil giants to the country.

    Saudi Aramco said in its press statement that the refinery will be handling up to 1.2 million barrels of oil a day. It will hold 50 per cent stake in the refinery while the rest will be held by Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum Corporation, and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation.

    At present, Reliance Industries' (RIL) facility in Jamnagar refines around 1.24 million barrels of oil a day. It includes two refineries, which commissioned in 1999 and 2009. The total cost for building two refineries at that time was $12 billion for RIL. Saudi Aramco also plans petrochemical facility in Maharashtra. Still, the experts say that the $44 billion cited in the document as so high. However, the entry of Saudi Aramco will surely change the refining market dynamics in the country.

    With the new investment, the country will get three oil biggies with substantial business interest in the country. British Oil giant BP Plc was the first one that entered the country in 2011 with a sizable $7-billion investment in the upstream business of Reliance. It picked up 30 per cent stake in the exploration and production (E&P) assets of RIL, including the ones in Krishna Godavari (KG) Basin. The fact is that BP had to write off its value of investment in KG D6 block by $790 million in 2014, besides another $830 million in impairment charges.

    Before the tie up with BP, RIL had a partner in its second refinery in Jamnagar --- Chevron. The American oil giant picked up 5 per cent stake in Reliance Petroleum in 2006 with a plan to increase its stake to 29 per cent. However, the collaboration failed to widen its scope and Chevron sold its stake back to RIL in 2009.

    It was Russian oil behemoth Rosneft's entry into India in 2017, when it bought out Essar Oil's refinery at Vadinar, Gujarat, and the related assets for $12 billion had rekindled India's oil hopes after a long break. Russia is the largest crude oil producer in the world, followed by Saudi Arabia. It is now quite clear that these two biggies --- through Rosneft and Saudi Aramco --- want to create markets for their crude oil in the world's fastest growing energy market, India. According to International Energy Agency (IEA), the largest contribution to global energy demand growth -- almost 30 per cent -- comes from India, and its share of energy use will rise to 11 per cent by 2040.

General Awareness

Awareness in space.
IRNSS-1I

  • Context: The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched the IRNSS-1I satellite through its PSLV-C41. It was the 20th flight of PSLV-XL version. This satellite will transmit signals for the accurate determination of position, navigation and time.

    Like all other IRNSS satellites, IRNSS-1I will also carry two payloads – navigation payload and ranging payload – the former to transmit signals for determining position, velocity and time and the latter for determining the frequency range of the satellite.

    Background:

    Navigation satellite IRNSS-1I has been launched to replace India’s first navigation satellite IRNSS-1A, whose three Rubidium atomic clocks had stopped working two years ago. The malfunctioning of the Europe-imported atomic clocks in IRNSS-1A made it difficult to measure precise locational data from the satellite. When the time signal is missing, getting true positional accuracy becomes a problem. Therefore, Isro felt a need to replace faulty satellite IRNSS-1A.

    What is IRNSS?

    IRNSS stands for Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System. It is a set of satellites which together can provide India a regional positioning system similar to the GPS. According to the ISRO website, the system is designed to give position accuracy better than 20 metres to users in its primary coverage area. It can also service regions extending up to 1500 km around India’s boundary. NavIC is the operational name for the IRNSS.

    How many IRNSS satellites are up there now?

    There are currently seven IRNSS satellites (1A to 1G) in orbit. A, B, F, G are placed in a geosynchronous orbit, which means they seem to be at a fixed location above the Earth and they orbit along with the Earth. The remaining three, C, D, E, are located in geostationary orbit-they seem to be at a fixed location above the Earth along the equator and orbit along with the Earth.

    The last IRNSS, 1H, which was launched on August 31, 2017 was unsuccessful as the satellite did not come out of its heat shield.

    What are the applications of IRNSS?

    These satellites help not just in land navigation but also in marine and aerial navigation. The data from these satellites can be used to give vehicle drivers visual and voice navigation assistance. They also help in disaster management and in proper time-keeping.

    Which Other Countries / Space Agencies Have Similar Navigational Systems?

    India’s (ISRO’s) NavIC joined the elite league of four countries / space agencies which have similar navigation capabilities. These include GPS (United States), GLONASS (Russia), Galileo (European Union), BeiDou (China). Japan is also planning a similar project with three of its own satellites. Japan’s system will be called the QZSS.

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