Current Affairs 8th October 2018
Gaganyaan 2022Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Russia’s Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities (ROSCOSMOS) have signed an MoU to work together for Gaganyaan.
As per the MoU, ROSCOSMOS has offered ride to Indian astronaut short visit to International Space Station (ISS) on board Soyuz spacecraft for short training mission in 2022.
It is India’s first manned space mission. Under it, India is planning to send three humans (Gaganyatris) into space i.e. in low earth orbit (LEO) by 2022 i.e. by 75th Independence Day for period of five to seven days.
India plans to build a crew vehicle that can accommodate 2 or 3 astronauts and human rate its GLSV Mk-III launcher.
Recent technological advancements:
In what appears to be a preparation for the Gaganyaan mission, ISRO recently conduced its first ‘pad abort’ test that was successful.
The ‘pad abort’ test or Crew Escape System is an emergency escape measure that helps pull the crew away from the launch vehicle when a mission has to be aborted. The test was conducted at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota.
The Pad Abort Test demonstrated the safe recovery of the crew module in case of any exigency at the launch pad.
A manned space mission is very different from all other missions that ISRO has so far completed. In terms of complexity and ambition, even the missions to the Moon (Chandrayaan) and Mars (Mangalyaan) are nowhere in comparison.
For a manned mission, the key distinguishing capabilities that ISRO has had to develop include the ability to bring the spacecraft back to Earth after flight, and to build a spacecraft in which astronauts can live in Earth-like conditions in space.
If India does launch the Gaganyaan mission, it will be the the fourth nation to do so after the United States, Russia and China.
What to study?
For Prelims: Particulars of the programme.
For Mains: Challenges involved.
National Dolphin Research Centre (NDRC)India’s and Asia’s first Dolphin Research Centre will be set up on the banks of the Ganga river in Patna University campus in Patna, Bihar. It will be named- National Dolphin Research Centre (NDRC).
The announcement for the centre was made on the occasion of Dolphin day (October 5), observed in Bihar for protection and conservation of Gangetic river dolphin to create awareness to save endangered species.
NDRC will play important role in strengthening conservation efforts and research to save endangered mammal whose population is decreasing. Bihar is home to around half of the country’s estimated 3,000 dolphin population.
About Gangetic Dolphins:
The Ganges River dolphin, or susu, inhabits the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.
It is classified as endangered by the IUCN.
This dolphin is among the four “obligate” freshwater dolphins – the other three are the baiji now likely extinct from the Yangtze river in China, the bhulan of the Indus in Pakistan and the boto of the Amazon River in Latin America. Although there are several species of marine dolphins whose ranges include some freshwater habitats, these four species live only in rivers and lakes.
Being a mammal, the Ganges River dolphin cannot breathe in the water and must surface every 30-120 seconds. Because of the sound it produces when breathing, the animal is popularly referred to as the ‘Susu’.
The survival of the Ganges River dolphin is threatened by unintentional killing through entanglement in fishing gear; directed harvest for dolphin oil, which is used as a fish attractant and for medicinal purposes; water development projects (e.g. water extraction and the construction of barrages, high dams, and embankments); industrial waste and pesticides; municipal sewage discharge and noise from vessel traffic; and overexploitation of prey, mainly due to the widespread use of non-selective fishing gear.
What to study?
For Prelims: About Gangetic Dolphins and NDRC.
For Mains: Conservation efforts both at National and International levels.
“Future of Work in India” survey by WEF“Future of Work in India” survey report has been released by the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The “Future of Work in India” survey of of 770 companies conducted by the WEF (World Economic Forum) included various sectors such as textiles, banking & financial services, transport & logistics, and retail.
Highlights and findings of the report:
Major gender gap in Indian corporates: Four out of five retail firms hire less than 10% women. Companies in India experiencing the highest growth prefer hiring men and technology-led job growth benefits men more than women. Notably, while one in three companies preferred hiring men, only one in 10 companies said they wanted to hire more women, accentuating the gender gap rampant in the country.
Statistics: The report found that just 2.4% of these have half or more female employees, and as many as 71% have fewer than 10%. Out of this 71%, 30% companies have no female employees, and another 32% have less than 5%. The sector-wise breakup showed that 79% companies in retail, and 77% in transport & logistics, have less than 10% female employees, while banking & finance companies have 61% female participation and textiles 64%.
Global comparison: India’s female workforce participation is mere 27% and stands 23% points lower than global average. Jobs in India are experiencing highest growth and companies are hiring women at only 26%. Women in India are entering workforce at a slower rate than current female workforce participation.
More than 33% of the total companies said that they prefer to hire men, as compared to just over one-tenth that said that they are looking to hire more women going forward. In the last five years, the surveyed companies stated that they hired just 26% female workers in the job roles that saw the most growth, which is less than India’s already low female labour force participation of 27%.
The World Economic Forum is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.
The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.
It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests. The Forum strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. Moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does.
What to study?
For Prelims: About WEF and highlights of its report.
For Mains: Significance of the report, concerns raised and challenges ahead.