‘’Paper 4-GS-III, Topic: Development of Science & Technology – South Asia Satellite (SAS)

As a gift for the benefit of members of the regional grouping in various fields, including in telecommunication and telemedicine


   What you need to know:

  • The SAS weighs 2230-kg, It took three years to build and the SAS cost Rs 235 crore.
  • India’s gift to South Asia will be used purely as a communications satellite, It has 12 Ku band transponders which India’s neighbours can utilise to increase communications.
  • Each country will get access to at least one transponder through which they could beam their own programming and there could be common ‘South Asian Programming’ as well.
  • The satellite will “enable a full range of applications and services to our neighbours in the areas of telecommunication and broadcasting applications viz. television, direct-to-home, very small aperture terminals, tele-education, telemedicine and disaster management support”.
  • Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have agreed to be part of this mission. Afghanistan is on board and will soon ink the deal. That means all SAARC nations, except for Pakistan – which opted out – will benefit from the SAS satellite.
  • The satellite is meant for providing communication and disaster support, connectivity among the countries of the South Asian region. It will provide a significant capability to each of the participating countries in terms of DTH (direct-to-home), certain VSAT (very small aperture terminal) capacity plus linking among the countries for both disaster information transfer and also in terms of library type of things.

   Source: Times of India


‘’Paper 4-GS-III, Topic: Development of Science & Technology – Doctors without borders describe their patient war

They are doctors without borders,flying into war zones,taking healthcare where it has not gone before



  • International humanitarian organisation Medecins Sans Frontieres launched an event here on Friday to show how it creates access to healthcare in even inaccessible areas.
  • The six-day event, ‘Without Borders’, will feature film screenings, a photograph exhibition, and panel discussions. Saturday’s documentary, ‘Access to Danger Zone’, was about war zones and war victims, about the MSF’s strategies to aid these sufferers and save lives.
  • The doctors go into Afghanistan, Somalia, and even the east African Democratic Republic of Congo. Made by Eddie Gregor and Peter Caesar, and narrated by Daniel Day Lewis, the film also portrays the challenges before the volunteer aid organisations working for war victims and refugees.
  • Since 2000, wars have killed 230 aid workers and wounded another 150. Afghanistan has earned the reputation of most dangerous place for humanitarian workers, yet the MSF and the Red Cross work there in collaboration with the government’s armed forces.
  • During an exhibition of photographs on Friday, MSF director general (India) Peter Paul de Groote said: “Without Borders depicts the challenges of seeking and providing healthcare.
  • While the event is rooted in the specific experiences of our patients and staff, the struggle for access to healthcare has a universal resonance. If human suffering is without borders, the desire to alleviate it should also be without borders.” He also talked about how the MSF projects in India took medical care to where it was needed the most. He said: “We give assistance irrespective of caste, creed, colour, or gender.
  • Our work in India involves visiting remote villages and setting up mobile clinics where medical services, otherwise, will never reach.

   Source: Times of India


‘’Paper 4-GS-III, Topic: Indian Economy & Planning – Government keen to push ahead with more PSB consolidation

Fresh from the successful merger of five associates with SBI, the government is looking to consolidate more public banks going forward



  • Planning is done with an aim to create only a few lenders of global size and scale.

   Determining the Consolidation:

  • It will soon undertake a broad study on further consolidation and look at various options for merger among the remaining 21 public sector banks”.
  • There are factors like regional balance, geographical reach, financial burden and smooth human resource transition that have to be looked into while taking a merger decision, the official said, adding that there should not be merger of a very weak bank with a strong bank as it could pull the latter down.
  • There are some low-hanging fruits. For example, Punjab and Sind Bank can be merged into Punjab National Bank. Big lenders like Bank of Baroda can take over some turnaround banks in the southern region such as Indian Overseas Bank. Dena Bank could be merged with some large South Indian bank.
  • The merger process will get a boost with the likely improvement in the NPA (non-Performing Asset) situation over the next two quarters, the official said, adding that “some movement on this front would begin soon”.
  • Toxic loans of public sector banks rose by over Rs 1 lakh crore to Rs 6.06 lakh crore during April-December of 2016-17, the bulk of which came from power, steel, road infrastructure and textile sectors.
  • Last week, RBI Governor Urjit Patel said Indian banking system could be better off if some public sector banks are consolidated to have a fewer but healthier entity as it would help in dealing with the problem of stressed assets.
  • The merger proposals in the banking sector would require clearance from the Competition Commission of India (CCI). In the last consolidation drive that saw the light of day earlier this month, CCI nod was needed only in the case of merger of the Bharatiya Mahila Bank (BMB) with the State Bank of India (SBI). There was no such requirement for merger of associate banks with SBI as they were part of the parent.
  • Five associates and BMB became part of SBI on April 1, 2017, catapulting the country’s largest lender to among the top 50 banks in the world. State Bank of Bikaner and Jaipur (SBBJ), State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH), State Bank of Mysore (SBM), State Bank of Patiala (SBP) and State Bank of Travancore (SBT), besides BMB, were merged with SBI.

   Source: Times of India