Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan

The Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan is being organized from 14th April to 5th May 2018.

As a special attempt during the Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, eligible households/persons would be made under 7  flagship pro-poor programmes i.e. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana, Saubhagya, Ujala scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana and Mission Indradhanush.in more than twenty thousands identified villages.

It will strengthen the Panchayati Raj system across the country and address critical gaps that constrain its success

Increase capacities and effectiveness of Panchayats and the Gram Sabhas;

Enable democratic decision-making and accountability in Panchayats and promote people’s participation;;

Form and strengthen democratic local self-government in areas where Panchayats do not exist;

Reinforce the constitutionally mandated framework on which Panchayats are founded.


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Who is Abdul Qavi Desnavi?


Abdul Qavi Desnavi  was an Indian Urdu language writer, critic, bibliographer, and linguist.

  • He was Born on November 1, 1930 in Desna village of Bihar
  • From fiction to biography and poetry, Desnavi has written a vast number of Urdu texts over a span of five decades
  • His important work was about Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Mirza Ghalib and Allama Muhammad Iqbal.
  • Among his major works were Hayat-e-Abul Kalam Azad, a book on freedom fighter Maulana Abul Kalam Azad published in 2000.
  • Some of his other famous works include Sat Tahriren, Motala-E-Khotoot Ghalib and Talash-E-Azad
  • His other major works include ‘Urdu Shairi Ki Gyarah Aawazein’, ‘Bachchon Ka Iqbal’, ‘Allama Iqbal Bhopal Mein’, ‘Ek Shahar Panch Mashahirs’, and ‘Bhopal Aur Ghalib’.
  • He was awarded with several awards for his literary work.
  • 1st November 2017,Abdul Qavi Desnavi’s 87th birth anniversary celebrated with a Google Doodle
  • He was also a mentor to other renowned Urdu writers such as Javed Akhtar and Iqbal Masood. 
  • Desnavi passed away on July 7, 2011, in Bhopal at the age of 80. 


Source: Photo/Wikimedia Commons

Indian Culture

Indian Culture (Hindi)

Governance Reforms suggested by The Uday Kotak Committee

Swachh Corporate Abhiyaan- Moving towards better corporate governance (Uday kotak Committee Recommendations)

  • The Uday Kotak-led Sebi panel’s recommendations on corporate governance will enhance transparency and effectiveness in the way boards of listed companies function
  • The 21-member corporate governance comittee was formed by the Sebi in June 2017, under the chairmanship of Uday Kotak, MD, Kotak Mahindra Bank, with a view to enhance the standards of this regime of listed entities in India. The committee recently submitted its report. to recommend a number of changes for companies with regard to listing obligations and disclosure requirements (LODR).
  • In an attempt to support and enable sustainable growth of enterprise, while safeguarding interests of various stakeholders, The Uday kotak Committee has come out with various recommendations.
  • The committee has recommended splitting of roles of Chairman and MD-CEO for listed companies.

Important recommendations made by the committee:

  • The Uday kotak Committee has proposed that now board of directors shall comprise not less than six directors.
  • At present, of 1,670 firms considered by Prime Database for the survey, 154 companies have five directors, 82 have four, 19 have only three and one company just has two, says the data shared with Mint. These 1,670 firms account for 99% of market cap of NSE listed companies.
  • Board of directors shall have an optimum combination of executive and non-executive directors with at least one woman as an independent director and increasing the number of independent directors from 33 per cent to 50 per cent of a company’s board
  • The committee not only intends to give more voice to independent directors, but also put the onus on them in case of any lapse in corporate governance
  • Strict eligibility criteria for independent directors will be prescribed to ensure that the company promoter does not name a kin to the board.
  • These board shall meet at least 4-5 times a year, with a maximum time gap of one hundred and twenty days between any two meetings and at least once a year.
  • The reason for asking companies to hold five board meetings is to ensure that at least one is held to discuss corporate governance issues and not quarterly financial results
  • Under this meeting, the board shall specifically discuss strategy, budgets, board evaluation, risk management, ESG (environment, sustainability and governance) and succession planning. Listed entity shall, at least once every year, undertake a formal interaction between the non-executive directors and the senior management.
  • Changes have been specified to the ‘matrix reporting structure’ of a company board to diversify power and responsibility.
  • A minimum level of attendance at meetings is likely to be prescribed for each board member. Currently, many board members are known to skip all four board meetings during the year.
  • The panel also suggested a minimum remuneration of Rs 5 lakh for independent directors per annum and a sitting fee of Rs 20,000-50,000 for each board meet.
  • Currently, there is no Sebi rule on remuneration of independent directors in listed firms and companies adhere to norms laid down in Companies Act.
  • The Uday kotak Committee suggested that independent directors should be paid at least Rs 5 lakh a year for top 500 firms and the minimum sitting fees per board meeting for these directors should be Rs 50,000 for the top 100 firms.
  • It also sought to make it mandatory to seek public shareholders’ approval for annual remuneration of executive directors from promoter family if the amount exceeds Rs 5 crore or 2.5 per cent of the company’s net profit.

Going forward

  • If these proposals are implemented, at least 256 companies on NSE will need to increase their board size and 637 will have to appoint a woman director. a survey by Prime Database showed.
  • Overall, the recommendations of the The Uday kotak Committee will enhance transparency and effectiveness in the way boards of listed companies function.
  • Since some of the proposed changes are structural in nature, it has provided timelines for implementation. However, effective implementation and regulation remains an issue.
  • The securities market regulator will need to develop capabilities to be able to regulate listed companies more effectively and protect the interests of small shareholders.


  • Corporate governance reforms: SEBI may find it tough to act on Kotak panel recommendations
  • The corporate affairs ministry has opposed half of the corporate and said the changes are not feasible and in many instances will cause a regulatory overlap and unnecessarily make the functioning of boards tougher.
  • The panel recommended raising the minimum number of directors in listed firms from three to six. The corporate affairs ministry opposed this proposal, saying this will increase costs for companies.
  • The ministry said this proposal will unduly impinge upon the freedom of the management of the company to decide its non-executive directors.
  • The corporate affairs ministry also disagreed with the panel’s view on women board members.
  • The ministry opposed these norms entirely, stating there is no need to fix the lower limit of compensation.
  • Even on the changes on composition of nomination and remuneration committee in listed companies, The ministry said the proposals, if implemented, will have the effect of making the provision in the Companies Act, completely non-effective, which is not desirable.

♦Pradeep Gautam


The Hindu




Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI)

The government launches Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) for a greater vaccine coverage across India. The initiative was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Vadnagar in Gujarat.

  • Through this programme, Government of India aims to reach each and every child under two years of age and all those pregnant women who have been left uncovered under the routine immunisation programme against seven vaccine preventable diseases
  • The diseases being targeted are diphtheria, whooping cough, tetanus, poliomyelitis, tuberculosis, measles and Hepatitis B. In addition to these, vaccines for Japanese Encephalitis and Haemophilus influenzae type B are also being provided in selected states. Four new additions have been made namely Rubella, Japanese Encephalitis, Injectable Polio Vaccine Bivalent and Rotavirus.
  • The special drive will focus on improving immunization coverage in select districts and cities to ensure full immunization to more than 90% by December 2018.
  • The target of at least 90% coverage was to have been achieved by 2020. With the launch of IMI, the date has now been advanced.

Important facts:

  • The four phases of Mission Indradhanush will reach to more than 2.53 crore children and 68 lakh pregnant women with life-saving vaccines across India.
  • High priority districts and urban areas have been identified under the IMI and four consecutive immunisation rounds between October 2017 and January 2018 will take place across 7 days in 173 districts. These districts include 52 in eight northeastern states and 121 in 16 other states
  • The programme will cover low performing areas in the selected districts and cities.These areas have been selected through triangulation of data available under national surveys, Health Management Information System data and World Health Organization concurrent monitoring data.
  • Special attention will be given to unserved/low coverage pockets in sub-centre and urban slums with migratory population.
  • The focus is also on the urban settlements and cities identified under National Urban Health Mission (NUHM).
  • The prime minister also inaugurated the GMERS Medical College, Vadnagar, and launched the Innovative Mobile Phone Technology for Community Health Operation (ImTeCHO) for improving coverage of community-based maternal, neonatal and infant health services.
  • PM expressed satisfaction at the success of the Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan under which private doctors volunteer to provide free ANC services to pregnant women on the 9th day of every month, alongside government doctors.
  • IMI will have inter-ministerial and inter-departmental coordination, action-based review mechanism and intensified monitoring and accountability framework for effective implementation of targeted rapid interventions to improve the routine immunization coverage.
  • IMI is based on information received from gap assessment, supervision through government, concurrent monitoring by partners, and end-line surveys
  • IMI is supported by 11 other ministries and departments, such as Ministry of Women and Child Development, Panchayati Raj, Ministry of Urban Development, Ministry of Youth Affairs among others.
  • The convergence of ground level workers of various departments like ASHA, ANMs, Anganwadi workers, Zila preraks under National Urban Livelihood Mission (NULM), self-help groups will be ensured for better coordination

Monitoring of the Mission:

  • Intensified Mission Indradhanush, IMI, would be closely monitored at the district, state and central level at regular intervals. Further, it would be reviewed by the cabinet secretary at the national level and will continue to be monitored at the highest level under a special initiative, ‘Proactive Governance and Timely Implementation (PRAGATI)’.
  • The IMI programme is supported by 12 ministries and departments
  • Under IMI, special strategies are devised for rigorous monitoring of the programme. States and districts have developed coverage improvement plans based on gap self-assessment
  • These plans are reviewed from state to central level
  • An appreciation and awards mechanism has also been set up to recognise the districts reaching a vaccination coverage of over 90 per cent.
  • The criteria includes best practices and media management during crisis. To acknowledge the contribution of the partners/Civil Society Organisation and others, Certificate of Appreciation will be given.

♦Pradeep Gautam


India Today
Economic times

Photo credit :
PublicDomainFiles.com  ,[Labeled for reuse]


The World Maritime Day

World Maritime Day

The World Maritime Day was formally celebrated by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) on 28 September 2017.

World Maritime Day is an official United Nations day. Every year, it provides an opportunity to focus attention on the importance of shipping and other maritime activities and to emphasize a particular aspect of IMO’s work.

  • “As a UN agency, IMO has a strong commitment to helping achieve the aims of the Sustainable Development Goals. Shipping and ports can play a significant role in helping to create conditions for increased employment, prosperity and stability through promoting maritime trade. The port and maritime sectors can be wealth creators, both on land and at sea,” said IMO Secretary-General Kitack Lim in his annual World Maritime Day Message.
  • This day also serves as a reminder to all and sundry that a vibrant and sustainable blue economy is a boon to all mankind.


  • “Connecting Ships, Ports and People” is the theme of World Maritime Day this year.
  • This theme was chosen by the IMO to provide an opportunity to focus on the many diverse sectors and people involved in the shipping and logistics areas.
  • Each World Maritime Day has its own theme
  • The maritime sector, which includes shipping, ports and the people that operate them, can and should play a significant role helping Member States to create conditions for increased employment, prosperity and stability ashore through promoting trade by sea; enhancing the port and maritime sector as wealth creators both on land; and through developing a sustainable blue economy at sea.

About IMO

  • The IMO is the United Nations specialised agencywith responsibility for the safety and security of shipping and the prevention of marine pollution by ships.
  • It has 171 Member States and three Associate Members.
  • The IMO’s primary purpose is to develop and maintain a comprehensive regulatory framework for shipping and its remit today includes safety, legal matters, technical co-operation,environmental concerns, maritime security and the efficiency of shipping.
  • The IMO’s structure comprises the Assembly, the Council, the Maritime Safety Committee, the Marine Environment Protection Committee, the Legal Committee, the Technical Cooperation Committee, and the secretariat, headed by a Secretary-General.
  • Individual governments are encouraged to mark the World Maritime Day, on a date of their choosing but usually in the last week of September.
  • Social Media
    Governments, organizations, companies and training institutes, as well as individuals, are encouraged to let IMO know how World Maritime Day is being celebrated, using the hashtag #WorldMaritimeDay@IMOHQ
  • World Maritime Day Parallel Event
    The World Maritime Day Parallel Event was held in Panama,on 1-3 October 2017

Sources: The Hindu, IMO website

VVPAT to be used in Gujarat polls


This is the first time an entire assembly poll will be conducted using EVMs equipped with VVPAT.

The Election Commission of India will use Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) gadgets with Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) in all 50,128 voting booths in Gujarat, which goes to the Assembly polls at the end of this year.

What is VVPAT?

  • VVPAT stands for Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail. This system maintains a physical trail of all votes cast.
  • Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail  or Verifiable Paper Record (VPR) is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballotless voting system.
  • Small slips of paper records the details of the vote.
  • The Election Commission (EC) first introduced VVPAT in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

How is it related to EVMs?

  • Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail machines, which will be attached to the EVMs, will allow voters to verify if their vote has gone to the intended candidate.
  • When a vote is cast on the electronic voting machine, a small paper slip bearing the name and symbol of the candidate is generated. This paper appears for about 10 seconds. The slip will then automatically fall in a sealed safe box, attached to the EVM

Important Points:

  • In 2013, conduct of Election Rules, 1961 was amended to facilitate the introduction of VVPAT units.
  • For the first time, Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail with EVMs was used for the Noksen Assembly seat in Tuensang district of Nagaland.
  • The machine is being put to use in Gujarat following a petition filed by Ms. Reshma Patel, one of the conveners of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti.
  • In the case of Subramanian Swamy vs Election Commission of India (ECI), the Supreme Court held that VVPAT is “indispensable for free and fair elections” and directed the ECI to equip EVMs with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail systems.
  • The apex court had directed the EC to introduce EVMs in a phased manner for the next General Elections in 2014, saying it would ensure free and fair polls.
  • SC also directed the Centre to provide financial assistance for introducing VVPAT system.

Sources: The Hindu

Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017

The Anti-Superstition Bill

  • The Karnataka State Cabinet approves the Karnataka Prevention and Eradication of Inhuman Evil Practices and Black Magic Bill, 2017 — also known as the anti-superstition Bill
  • The Bill, if cleared by the State legislature, is expected to put an end to various inhuman practices such as black magic, witchcraft, or any act in the name of religion that causes harm to humans and animals

Bill seeks to ban:

  • The Bill also encompasses ban on human sacrifice; coercing a person to perform fire-walk at religious festivals; piercing jaw with rods, baibeega practice; pelting stones in the name of banamathi, mata-mantra; creating panic in the minds of the people by invoking ghost or mantras; claiming to perform surgery with fingers, or claiming to change the sex of foetus in the womb.
  • The controversial ‘made snana’ritual (devotees rolling over plantain leaves having food leftovers) in public/religious places. ‘Made snana’ is practised at Kukke Subrahmanya temple in Dakshina Kannada district, in violation of human dignity
  • Bill proposes to ban evil practices such as killing an animal by biting its neck (gaavu).
  • Making claims of healing power
  • Propagating practices that involve self-mutilation
  • Creating impression of ‘possession’ and exorcism
  • It also seeks to ban practices against women: forcing them to stay in isolation; subjecting them to inhuman and humiliating practices such as parading them naked in the name of worship (betthale save); and sexual exploitation by invoking supernatural powers.

What is not banned:

  • Regulations for astrology and vaastu practice, piercing of ears and nose of children in accordance with certain rituals, and performance of religious rituals such as ‘Keshlochan’ by the Jains.
  • Acts such as Kesh Lochan (plucking of hair), vaastu and astrology have not been barred
  • The form of the worship such as Pradakshina, Yatra, Parikrama performed at religious places
  • Miracles of the deceased saints propagation, publicity and circulation of the same and the propagation, publicity and distribution of literature about miracles of the religious preachers which do not cause physical injury
  • Performance of prayers, upasana and religious rituals at home, temple, darghas, gurdwara, pagoda, church, and other religious places which do not cause physical injury


  • The Bill proposes the appointment of a vigilance officer to monitor violations of the provisions of the law and its rules.
  • Violators of the law will be penalised, with imprisonment of not less than one year and a fine of not less than 5,000.

Sources:  The Hindu

‘PENCiL’ Portal On Child Labour Elimination

The government has launched a web portal called ‘PENCiL’ for effective implementation of the National Child Labour Project, (NCLP).

There is a need to create a robust implementing and monitoring mechanism for both enforcement of the legislative provisions and effective implementation of various projects and programmes. In this context, it was felt that an online portal which connects central government to state government, district and to all project societies would prove useful. PENCiL is one such project. The online portal PENCiL (Platform for Effective National Child Labour) has been launched to help rehabilitate child labour.

 Important Points

  • PENCiL is an electronic platform developed by the labour ministry launched by Home Minister Rajnath Singh on September 26, 2017 at the National Conference on Child Labour. It will connect the centre to the state government, district and to all project societies and provide a mechanism for implementation
  •  PENCiL has been launched to foster the creation of an India free of child labour; it is expected to integrate implementing and monitoring mechanisms for both, enforcement of the legislative provisions and effective implementation of the National Child Labour Project (NCLP).
  • PENCiL Portal has following five  components:
    • Child Tracking System
    • Complaint Corner
    • State Government
    • National Child Labour Project
    • Convergence

The National Child Labour Project (NCLP) Scheme

  • The National Child Labour Project Scheme (NCLPS) started in 1988 to rehabilitate child labour.
  • Under this Scheme, a survey is conducted to identify target group (child worker and adolescent working in hazardous occupations and processes in a district or a specified area).
  • The children in the age group of 9-14 years are withdrawn from work and put into NCLP Special Training Centres where they are provided bridge education, vocational training, mid-day meal, stipend, health care and recreation etc. with the ultimate objective of preparing them to be mainstreamed into the formal system of education.
  • NCLP has been revised expanded and aligned to the new legislative provisions.
  • Adolescents are withdrawn from hazardous occupations / processes to have benefited from skills training wherever required and are linked to legally permissible occupations.
  • The legislative changes have been accompanied by creation of additional institutional mechanisms at the district, state and national level for identification and rescue, along with revamping the rehabilitation scheme and a centralized database for case to case monitoring and accountability.
  • Background
  • Children are valuable assets for any country who need to be nurtured for the better future of the country. The census 2011 showed a substantial decline in child labour as compared to the data of Census 2001, but a lot is required to be done to protect their childhood.
  • According to 2015 National Crime Records Bureau report, the number of cases filed for child trafficking was 3490, and the number of victims of the cases amounted to 3905. The total number of human trafficking cases amounted to 6877 and the victims for these cases totalled to 9127.
  • Realizing the multifaceted nature of this problem, Government has embarked on a holistic and multi-pronged approach to eliminate child labour from the country in a phased manner.
  • Government has taken several initiatives subsequent to the enactment of the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2016 to strengthen the governance of the legislative provisions.With this amendment, employment of a child below 14 years is completely prohibited in any occupation or processes.
  • For the first time the age of the child is linked with the age of the child in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009. Also, for the first time the definition of adolescent has been introduced and the ambit of the Act is enhanced to include adolescent in the age group of 14-18 years.
  • The amendment prohibits the employment of adolescent in hazardous occupations and processes.
  • SOPs for enforcement of legal framework against child labour
  • Government also launched Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs) for enforcement of legal framework against child labour.
  • The SOPs aims at creating a ready reckoner for trainers, practitioners and monitoring agencies to ensure complete prohibition of child labour and protection of adolescents from hazardous labour ultimately leading to Child Labour Free India.
  • They will be useful to the enforcement agencies



Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Labour & Employment
Financial express

Bharat ke Kaushalzaade & Kaushal Panjee

Rural Skills Division, Ministry of Rural Development has organized ‘Bharat ke Kaushalzaade’, on 24th September 2017,an event honouring beneficiaries of its key skilling programmes, on the eve of Antyodaya Diwas 2017.

The event‘Bharat ke Kaushalzaade’aims to celebrate and honour beneficiaries from both of MoRD’s flagship skill development programmes i.e. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY) and Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETI).

‘Kaushal Panjee’:

  • The event witnessed the mobilization platform launch, branded ‘Kaushal Panjee’ (Skill Register).
  • It aims to be citizen centric end-to-end solution to aid mobilization of candidates for RSETIs and DDU-GKY.
  • It facilitates mobilization of candidates through Self Help Group members, Gram Panchayat Functionaries, Block Officials, CSCs and directly by the candidate.
  • RSETIs and DDU-GKY Partners can access the Kaushal Panjee to connect with the mobilized rural youth.
  • The event also witnessed the re-branding exercise undertaken by MoRD for Rural Self Employment Training Institutes, wherein a new logo for RSETI was unveiled. The logo, depicting ‘reaching for the stars’ aims to portray the RSETI beneficiaries and their achievements.
  • Kaushal Panjee is connected to the Social Economic Caste Census (SECC 2011) which will help the States plan and target their mobilizations based on the socio-economic profile of households in their State.

About DDU GKY:

  • The event was significant as it was on this day 3 years ago, that the Ministry of Rural Development announced DDU-GKY with a focus on building capacity of rural youth to address the needs of domestic and global skills requirements
  • DDU-GKY not only offers industry relevant skill training to candidates, it also works closely with industry and leading corporates to strengthen the post-training employment scenario for its trainees.
  • A result of this is sustained and fruitful corporate linkages pan-India, with leading names like Pizza Hut, KFC, OCIFIT, Safe Express, Matrix etc, whose employees i.e. DDU-GKY alumni participated at the event
  • DDU-GKY is a part of the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), tasked with the dual objectives of adding diversity to the incomes of rural poor families and cater to the career aspirations of rural youth.
  • DDU-GKY is uniquely focused on rural youth between the ages of 15 and 35 yearsfrom poor families.
  • As a part of the Skill India campaign, it plays an instrumental role in supporting the social and economic programs of the government like the Make In India, Digital India, Smart Cities and Start-Up India, Stand-Up India campaigns.



Press Information Bureau


A Brief History of Modern India (Hindi)

Indian Polity

Science and Technology


Centre introduces challenge method for awarding all projects to states

Now States will have to compete for central projects

The Centre has decided to adopt the  challenge method for awarding all projects to states so as to bring in speed, efficiency and transparency, besides putting an end to allocation of big projects on political consideration

  • As per existing practice, the formulation of schemes, land selection and acquisition, and others are done after the announcement. Such projects often face risks such as non-availability of suitable land, delay in land acquisition, delay in clearances, political opposition, lack of infrastructure and others

Important Points

  • Under this method, prospective states will be rated on more than six parameters prescribed in the guidelines issued and the project will go to the state with the highest score on a scale of zero to 100.
  • The challenge method for selecting the state as well as the site for the projects, which can be both brownfield and greenfield projects, will now be applicable various sectors such as aviation, health, education roads, railways, IT, power and textiles
  • The NITI Aayog has sent guidelines for selection of sites and locations for projects and institutions through the challenge method.
  • It will also be used for awarding all national events such as national games and youth festivals to states.
  • Union Ministries will call for proposals and states will be eligible to participate in the challenge after giving their commitment on providing land and supporting utilities

Significance of this method:

  • This is expected to incite competition among states and union territories both in terms of offering the best sites and committing resources in terms of land, utilities, infrastructure support and financial contribution, which in turn would boost optimum utilisation of scarce resources and help in timely completion of projects.
  • The Centre believes the challenge method of site selection, based on competition between states, will lead to the selection of the most suitable site.
  • Awarding projects based on the challenge method will ensure due diligence is being done by all departments and states. This will also mean that gestation period for all these projects will come down significantly and there will be no major delays and this will give enough push to efficiency.


The Economic Times, DECCAN CHRONICLE

4th gravitational wave has been detected by LIGO, Virgo observatory


The gravitational wave was detected by LIGO and Virgo scientists on 14 August 2017, the fourth detection of a merging binary black hole system

The announcement  , made at a meeting of the G7 science ministers in Turin, marks the fourth cataclysmic black-hole merger that astronomers have spotted using Ligo, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory.

  • Astronomers have made a detection of gravitational waves and for the first time have been able to trace the shape of ripples sent through space time when black holes collide.
  • A tiny wobble in the signal could be traced back to the final moments of the merger of two black holes about 1.8bn years ago.
  • Virgo has been collecting data since 2007, but the instrument was offline undergoing upgrades when Ligo made its first detections of gravitational waves in 2015.
  • The latest detection is the first to have also been picked up by the Virgo detector, located near Pisa, Italy
  • Gravitational waves are like ripples in a pond when a stone is hurled into it. Albert Einstein predicted the existence of gravitational waves when he put forth his theory of relativity. Scientists at the LIGO facility, in 2015, confirmed their existence
  • The discovery, hailed as biggest scientific breakthrough in past many decades, opened a new chapter in human understanding of space and time and offering better insights into the origin of the universe and how planets are created

Collision of black holes

  • The gravitational waves emerged from the collision of two black holes more than a billion years ago. The merger of the two black holes led to conversion of some of the mass into energy which was released into space as gravitational waves.

For the first time, astronomers have detail on the 3D pattern of warping that occurs when black holes with masses of 31 and 25 times that of the sun collide and , combined to produce a newly spinning black hole with about 53 times the mass of the sun

Indian connection

  • The LIGO scientific community has an Indian connection as some of the scientists are from India. India will soon have its own LIGO observatory.
  • The Indian contribution is expected to grow significantly in years ahead with the materialisation of the LIGO-India observatory, which is being built in the country.The Union cabinet approved the LIGO Observatory last year and the project is underway.

About Virgo and Ligo detectors:

  • The Virgo detector — an underground L-shaped instrument that tracks gravitational waves using the physics of laser light and space
  • Known as interferometers, these high-tech underground stations do not rely on light in the sky like a telescope does, but instead sense vibrations in space and can pick up the “chirp” created by a gravitational wave.
  • LIGO(Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) is a system of two identical detectors located in Livingstone, Lousiana, and Hanford, Washington, which were constructed to detect tiny vibrations from passing gravitational waves.
  • LIGO-Virgo collaboration includes more than a thousand scientists from many different countries, setting a great example in international scientific cooperation. While LIGO project includes 1200 scientists from across the world, the Virgo collaboration consists of more than 280 physicists and engineers belonging to 20 different European research groups.

What are gravitational waves?

  • Gravitational waves can be explained as ripples in the fabric of space-time which can only be caused by massive astronomical events such as neutron stars or black holes orbiting each other so that these waves would finally radiate from them.
  • These gravitational waves, if detected, will carry signatures of their origin, explaining much about the nature of gravity and the origin of the universe.

Sources: The Hindu, The Economics Times, The Guardian ,HT


Read detailed article in the book Spectrum’s “Developments in Science and Technology”

Science and Technology


saubhagya scheme सौभाग्य योजना

saubhagya scheme

saubhagya scheme सहज बिजली हर घर योजना

प्रधान मंत्री नरेंद्र मोदी ने 25 सितंबर को प्रधान मंत्री सहज बिजली हर घर योजना अथवा सौभाग्य योजना saubhagya scheme  शुरू की।

प्रधान मंत्री सहज बिजली हर घर योजना का उद्देश्य:

इस योजना  saubhagya scheme का लक्ष्य दिसंबर 2018 तक ग्रामीण और शहरी दोनों क्षेत्रों में 4 करोड़ से अधिक परिवारों के लिए बिजली कनेक्शन प्रदान करना है।

योजना का कुल परिव्यय

सौभाग्य योजना saubhagya scheme का कुल परिव्यय 16,320 करोड़ रुपये है जबकि सकल बजट सहायता (जीबीएस) 12,320 करोड़ रुपये है। ग्रामीण परिवारों के लिए कुल खर्च 14,025 करोड़ रुपये है और शहरी परिवारों के लिए यह 2,295 करोड़ रुपये है।

सौभाग्य योजना के प्रमुख बिंदु:

  • सौभाग्य योजना के तहत, 2011 के सामाजिक-आर्थिक और जाति की जनगणना द्वारा पहचाने गए लोगों को फ़्री बिजली कनेक्शन मुहैया कराएंगे, जबकि अन्य को 500 रुपये देना होगा, जो बिल में 10 किश्तों में देय होगा
  • लाभार्थियों के आसान और त्वरित पहचान के लिए एक मोबाइल ऐप का प्रयोग किया जाएगा और आवेदनों के मौके पर पंजीकरण के लिए उपयोग किया जाएगा, जिसमें एक पहचान प्रमाण शामिल होगा
  • इस योजना के तहत, केंद्र, दूरस्थ और दुर्गम क्षेत्रों में स्थित गैर विद्युतीकृत घरों के लिए, बैटरी बैंक के साथ 200 से 300 वाट-पीक (डब्ल्यूपी) के सौर ऊर्जा पैक भी उपलब्ध कराएगा। इस सौर पैक में पांच एलईडी लाइट, एक डीसी पंखा और एक डीसी पावर प्लग शामिल होंगे
  • इस योजना को निम्नलिखित अनुपात में वित्त पोषित किया जा रहा है: 60 प्रतिशत केंद्रीय अनुदान, 30 प्रतिशत बैंक ऋण और 10 प्रतिशत राज्यों द्वारा
  • जो राज्य इस योजना को समयसीमा तक पूरा करने में सक्षम होंगे, जो कि अगले वर्ष दिसंबर है, को प्रोत्साहन के रूप में केंद्र द्वारा अतिरिक्त 15 प्रतिशत अनुदान दिया जाएगा।


Indian Polity