GS Paper I- History and Geography of the World and Society.

India Is World’s Sixth Largest Economy At $2.6 Trillion, Says IMF.

Background

  • India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the worth of the economy, clocked in at $2.6 trillion for 2017, according to the database of the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook (WEO) for April 2018.
  • That is well over the $2.5 trillion milestone that supposedly separates big economies from pretenders.
  • India is now the world’s sixth largest economy, displacing France. The five economies ahead are the United States, China, Japan, Germany and United Kingdom.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • The ongoing spring meetings of the World Bank-IMF group have brought a steady stream of good news for India, with, it must be acknowledged, the necessary and repetitive caveats, admonitions and prescriptions, such as the dire need for reforms in labour laws and land acquisition.
  • Both the World Bank and IMF have said in their respective reports and projections that India has finally overcome the adverse impact of the predictably but needed measures to demonetise the economy and introduce a unified system of taxation for goods and services, no matter how disruptive they were.
  • The Fund acknowledged the Indian turnaround but kept its growth forecast unchanged to 7.4% for 2018 — and 7.8% in 2019, up from 6.7% in 2017.
  • The World Bank was more bullish — forecasting growth from 6.7% in 2017 to 7.3% in 2018 and to subsequently stabilise at 7.5% in 2019 and 2020.
  • It went on to conclude that the Indian economy had not only recovered but had made up enough ground to catapult South Asia to the top of the chart as the world’s fastest growing region, again.
  • In the GDP horse race, France is projected to make up the loss to India, by a very narrow margin, and recover the sixth slot in 2018 relegating India to the seventh position it has held for a few years now, with $2.9 trillion to India’s $2.8 trillion — separated narrowly as it would be economies of this size by billions.

Sources- HT.

GS Paper II- Governance.

NITI Aayog Announces The Launch Of Atal New India Challenges.

Background

  • The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) of the NITI Aayog on 26th April, 2018 announced to launch the Atal New India Challenges, which came into being following Prime Minister’s clarion call to bring innovations and technologies relevant to the people.
  • The launch event saw the presence of Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog, Shri Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Shri SS Ahluwalia, Minister of State, Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation, Shri Amitabh Kant, CEO, NITI Aayog and Shri Ramanathan Ramanan, Mission Director, AIM.
  • Applicants showing capability, intent, and potential to productize technologies will be awarded grants up to Rs. One crore. This grant support will be supplemented by mentoring, hand-holding, incubating and other support as needed at various stages of commercialisation while generating wider deployment.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • Vice-Chairman of NITI Aayog, Dr Rajiv Kumar highlighted the need to ensure inclusive and innovative solutions. He said, India has accelerated its growth potential by leveraging technology in various spheres. This initiative will focus our efforts towards solving problems in core areas, which would have a direct impact on improving lives of our citizens and will also generate employment.
  • Partnering with the Ministries of Road Transport and Highways, Housing and Urban Affairs, Agriculture and Family Welfare, Drinking Water & Sanitation and the Railway Board, AIM will attempt to harness the potential of India’s innovators.
  • Union Minister, Shri Nitin Gadkari spoke of the need approach policy and economic activity with a scientific outlook. He added that innovative policies will help fulfil the Prime Minister’s dream of a New India.
  • Union Minister of State, Shri SS Ahluwalia, stressed on the need to identify affordable solutions to problems of groundwater recharge and ensuring every citizen has access to safe drinking water.
  • CEO, NITI Aayog, Shri Amitabh Kant emphasised the need to identify unique technological solutions to problems unique to India. He said, Bringing more innovations to the service of Indian citizens will require more individuals and entities to innovate for Indian needs, and take innovative products to market through several mechanisms, such as startups, government schemes, or other deployment mechanisms.
  • Mission Director, Atal Innovation Mission, Shri Ramanathan Ramanan, said, these innovations will be deployed to make lives of all Indian citizens better. This programme will bring a technological revolution in the lives of the common man, solving India’s technological challenges locally.
  • It should be noted that these grants will not be mutually exclusive – multiple grants may be given in a focus area, based on the Selection Committee’s perception of potential. The winning grantees will be supported with mentoring, go-to-market strategies by leading incubators, accelerators and experts.

Sources- Business-Standard.

 

GS Paper III- Security.

Bhabha Kavach: BARC Develops Cheaper, Lightweight Bulletproof Jackets.

Background

  • The Bhabha Atomic Reseach Centre (BARC) has developed a next-generation bulletproof jacket for the Indian armed forces, which is not only cheaper but also much lighter.
  • Bhabha Kavach, named after nuclear physicist Dr. Homi J. Bhabha, the jacket was developed at BARC’s Trombay centre in response to a request from the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and the Ministry of Home Affairs.
  • Dr. Kinshuk Dasgupta, scientific officer at BARC’s materials group, told that the jacket weighs just 6.6 kg in comparison to the 17-kg jackets in use, and has passed over 30 tests carried out by certified agencies. Bhabha Kavach is available in three variants as per the requirement of the armed forces.

Highlights Of The Development-

  • A five-member BARC team worked for a year in 2015-16 to develop the jacket, which is being tested by a joint team of the CRPF, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, and the Central Industrial Security Force. The northern command of the Indian Army is also testing a variant of the jacket in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The jacket is made using extremely hard boron carbide ceramics that is hot-pressed with carbon nano-tubes and composite polymer. BARC has been using boron carbide in the control rods of its nuclear reactors.
  • While the cost of a Bhabha Kavach is Rs. 70,000, jackets of similar strength are available in the range of Rs. 1.5 lakh and have to be imported. The superior performance of the light weight jacket derives from advanced ceramics and advanced nano-composite tubes indigenously developed at BARC, Dr. Dasgupta said.
  • Dr. Madangopal Krishnan, associate director, materials group, BARC, said presently, the forces use bulletproof jackets weighing over 10 kg and are made of jackal armour steel, alumina and silica. Jackets made using boron carbide are first in India, he said.
  • Bhabha Kavach has been designed to protect our soldiers against AK-47 (hard steel bullets), SLR and INSUS weaponry, Dr. Dasgupta said.
  • BARC has transferred the technology of Bhabha Kavach to Mishra Dhatu Nigam, Hyderabad, for its large-scale production. It is estimated that about one lakh jackets will be required, per annum, for the next 10 years. The light jacket will surely save the government exchequer foreign exchange, he said.
  • BARC is now trying to improvise Bhabha Kavach based on feedback from the forces. On our part, we at BARC are looking at bringing down the cost to under Rs. 35,000 and make it even more lighter, Dr. Krishnan said.

Sources- The Hindu.