1. 11th World Hindi Conference
Context: The 11th World Hindi Conference (WHC) is being organized in August 2018 in Mauritius by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India in association with the Government of Mauritius.
About the conference:
The event, held once in three years, is dedicated to Hindi language. It sees participation from Hindi scholars, writers and laureates from different parts of the world who contribute to the language.
- The decision to organize the 11th edition of the Conference in Mauritius was taken at the 10th World Hindi Conference held in Bhopal, India in September 2015.
- The first World Hindi Conference was held in 1975 in Nagpur, India. Since then, ten such Conferences have been held in different parts of the world.
- The main theme of the Conference is “Vaishvik Hindi Aur Bharatiy Sanskriti”.
- The MEA has also set up the World Hindi Secretariat in Mauritius. The main objective of the WHS is to promote Hindi as an international language and further its cause for recognition at the United Nations as an Official Language.
2. Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP)
Context: In line with the Government initiative of ease of doing business, the Union Cabinet has given its approval for delegating the powers to Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Finance Minister to award the Blocks/Contract Areas to successful bidders under Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) after International Competitive Bidding (ICB) based on the recommendations of Empowered Committee of Secretaries (ECS).
Significance of this move:
Under HELP, Blocks are to be awarded twice in a year. Therefore, this delegation of powers will expedite the decision making process on awarding blocks and give a boost to the initiative of ease of doing business.
About Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP):
- Government of India launched a new policy regime for Exploration & Production (E&P) sector namely Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP) in 2016 which is paradigm shift from earlier policy regime.
- The main features of new Policy regime are Revenue Sharing Contract, single Licence for exploration and production of conventional as well as unconventional Hydrocarbon resources, marketing & pricing freedom, etc.
- Open Acreage Licensing Policy (OALP) under HELP, is main innovative feature wherein investor can carve out Blocks of their own interest and submit an Expression of Interest (Eol) throughout the year. Based on the areas for which expression of interest has been expressed bidding will be conducted every 6 months.
What was the need for the new Hydrocarbon Exploration and Licensing Policy (HELP)?
India is the 3rd largest consumer of crude oil and petroleum products with oil and gas contributing 34.4% to primary energy consumption. In 2015-2016, India’s crude oil import dependence rose to 81% from 78.5%. In last five years, India has seen overall decline in exploration and production of conventional resources. New Exploration Licensing Policy (NELP) created in 1997 ended the state dominance and created a competitive environment leading to liberalization of oil and gas exploration and production industry. However, it failed to keep the momentum of production growth and attracting the foreign investment.
Bureaucratic hurdles like multiple approvals and sanctions, cost overruns, and disputes led to some oil majors leaving their awarded blocks and exit from the space.
3. Headquarters Agreement between India and the International Solar Alliance
Context: The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval for entering into Headquarters (Host country) Agreement between India and the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and authorizing the Ministry of External Affairs for signing the Headquarter Agreement.
Significance of the agreement:
The Headquarters Agreement will institutionalize the functional arrangements between India and ISA. It will help in smooth transition of ISA as international inter-governmental organization. Creation of ISA will lead to accelerated solar technology development and deployment in ISA member countries including India.
The Paris Declaration establishes ISA as an alliance dedicated to the promotion of solar energy among its member countries. The ISA is the first international body that will have a secretariat in India.
Objectives: The ISA’s major objectives include global deployment of over 1,000GW of solar generation capacity and mobilisation of investment of over US$ 1000 billion into solar energy by 2030.
What it does? As an action-oriented organisation, the ISA brings together countries with rich solar potential to aggregate global demand, thereby reducing prices through bulk purchase, facilitating the deployment of existing solar technologies at scale, and promoting collaborative solar R&D and capacity building.
When it entered into force? When the ISA Framework Agreement entered into force on December 6th, 2017, ISA formally became a de-jure treaty based International Intergovernmental Organization, headquartered at Gurugram, India.
Significance of ISA:
There is no specific body in place to address the specific solar technology deployment needs of the solar resource rich countries located between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. Most of these countries are geographically located for optimal absorption of the sun’s rays. There is a great amount of sunlight year-round which can lead to cost effective solar power and other end useswith high insolation of almost 300 sunny days in a year. Most of the countries have large agrarian populations.
Many countries face gaps in the potential solar energy manufacturing eco-system. Absence of universal energy access, energy equity and affordability are issues common to most of the solar resource rich countries. International Solar Alliance (ISA) is conceived as a coalition of solar resource rich countries to address their special energy needs and will provide a platform to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps through a common, agreed approach.
Significance of ISA for India:
The ISA is not only expected to spur innovation in the RE space but also help make India a technological hub with independent manufacturing capabilities of RE equipment like solar panels, rather than being dependent on imports, through initiatives like ‘Make in India’. India’s Ministry of External Affairs is expected to play a role in “marrying Indian tech and finance capabilities with specific projects around the world”.
India announced a goal of obtaining 40% of its electricity from non-fossil fuels by 2030 at the Paris climate change summit. It is close to achieving 20 GW grid connected solar power generation capacity this fiscal year (2018), in pursuit of achieving its target of 100 GW by 2022.
4. Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (PMNCH)
Context: PMNCH Delegation recently called on the Prime Minister and presented the logo for the 2018 Partners’ Forum.
About PMNCH Delegation:
- The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child Health (The Partnership, PMNCH) is an alliance of more than 1000 organizations in 77 countries from the sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health communities, as well as health influencing sectors.
- The Partnership is governed by a Board, and administered by a Secretariat hosted at the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland.
- The Partnership provides a platform for organizations to align objectives, strategies and resources, and agree on interventions to improve maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health.
- The Partnership’s role complements the work and accountability processes of its individual members, enabling them to deliver more collectively than they would alone.
- This Partner-centric approach mobilizes, engages and empowers different implementing partners. It allows them to coordinate their actions and activities, and encourages and promotes mutual accountability.
5. IIT-Delhi launches first 5G radio lab
Context: In an effort to establish India as a key global player in the standardisation, research and development and manufacturing of 5G equipment, a Massive MIMO radio laboratory has been set up at IIT Delhi. This will be the first such lab in India.
What is MIMO Technology?
Multiple-input multiple-output, or MIMO, is a radio communications technology or RF technology that is being mentioned and used in many new technologies these days.
Wi-Fi, LTE; Long Term Evolution, and many other radio, wireless and RF technologies are using the new MIMO wireless technology to provide increased link capacity and spectral efficiency combined with improved link reliability using what were previously seen as interference paths.
How it works?
MIMO technology uses a natural radio-wave phenomenon called multipath. With multipath, transmitted information bounces off walls, ceilings, and other objects, reaching the receiving antenna multiple times at different angles and slightly different times. In the past, multipath caused interference and slowed down wireless signals. With multipath, MIMO technology uses multiple, smart transmitters and receivers with an added spatial dimension, increasing performance and range.
Significance of Massive Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) technology:
In Massive MIMO technology, several antennas are deployed at the base station as compared to only a few antennas in 3G/4G. This large antenna array at the base station allows the network to communicate reliably with a very large number of mobile terminals simultaneously at the same time and on the same frequency channel.
Benefits: It will help curb the emittance of radiation harmful to our health and also will allow less radio interference for better communication.
6. Sebi amends norms for REITs
Context: Sebi has amended REITs and InvITs regulations to facilitate the growth of such trusts. As per the amendments, REITs and InvITs will now have to provide a mechanism for resolution of disputes with their shareholders and partners in the holding firm.
What are REITs?
REITs are similar to mutual funds. While mutual funds provide for an opportunity to invest in equity stocks, REITs allow one to invest in income-generating real estate assets.
How does an REIT work?
REITs raise funds from a large number of investors and directly invest that sum in income-generating real estate properties (which could be offices, residential apartments, shopping centres, hotels and warehouses). The trusts are listed in stock exchanges so that investors can buy units in the trust. REITs are structured as trusts. Thus, the assets of an REIT are held by an independent trustee on behalf of unit holders.
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.
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.