India and the Satellite Launch Market (IDSA , GS paper 3 , Defence ,Prelims )
|Satellite Category||Number of Satellites||Remarks|
|1 to 10k g (nano)||20||Multiple utility, University students to Military|
|11 to 100 kg (micro)||13||Scientific inquiry|
|101 to 500 kg (mini)||10||Remote sensing purposes|
|501 to 1000 kg (medium)||02||Remote sensing/Weather|
Most of these satellites carried by ISRO to space were launched as an appendage to various Indian missions. The total of weight of the first 35 satellites launched by India is 2355.2 kg; taking all 45 satellites into account, this figure reaches 4560.2 kg. India’s latest two missions carried more than 2000 kg of weight, making them commercially viable. To earn decent revenue, India needs to increase dedicated commercial missions. It need not remain content with carrying nano and micro satellites. There is a need to device a business model to place various categories of satellites in LEO. However, it needs to be emphasised here that nano and micro satellites are becoming increasingly popular.
|Year||Nano/micro 1 to 50 kg|
Mind Maps For General Studies Paper 1 , 2 ,3 and 4
Adequate Empowerment of the Services and Financial Oversight Yet to be Achieved( IDSA ,Defence organisation , GS paper 3 )
instituted a set of enhanced delegated financial powers to the three
Services, Integrated Defence Staff and its attached establishments,
Coast Guard and the Armed Forces` Medical Services. In addition, the
MoD has issued guidelines for the exercise of these powers, inter alia
specifying an internal audit structure, to apparently enable the
judicious exercise of the delegated powers and in a quicker time-frame.
The internal finance mechanism is also proposed to be made more
involved with planning and resource management, i.e. budgeting. An
internal financial advisory system [though the nomenclature used in the Indian defenceset-up is of Integrated Financial Advisers (IFAs)],
starting from principal integrated financial advisers with the
Services` Headquarters and similar advisers at lower echelons of the
Services, is supposed to be a key element to assist the executive
authorities, i.e., the competent financial authorities, in resource
deployment and expenditure management related to the national defence
Since 2006, there has been a substantial enhancement of delegated
powers to the Services. Broadly, the enhanced power varies from two to
two-and-a-half times for stores/equipment procurement for the Army along
with escalation for similar transactions of the Navy and Air Force.
There are, however, a few variations. For the victualling stores of the
Navy, the present powers delegated at the highest threshold to the
Chief of Logistics (COL) is Rs. 100 crore and up to Rs. 3 crore per
transaction to the Vice Chief of Naval Staff, respectively, to procure
such stores with IFA concurrence. A change effected is that in case of
some transactions, the functionaries responsible for provisioning have
been empowered as against the earlier pattern wherein officers
performing staff functions or in the policy formulation domain were
primarily the higher expenditure sanctioning authorities. This change is
welcome to the extent that those involved with programme execution and
service or maintenance functions would also be responsible for the
budgets and expenditure sanctions, albeit in consultation with their
IFAs. (One exception is the power of sanctioning works, i.e., for
accepting necessity and according administrative approval, which is
vested with Service Chiefs for Rs. 50 crore per project/work.)
The framework of the delegation now formalised through the relevant
government letters issued on 20 April 2015 is a shade different from
those which obtained in previous years. The emphasis on internal audit
through an Audit Advisory Committee (AAC) under the financial adviser
of MoD, as part of an oversight mechanism for risk management, etc.,
conveyed through the government letters of delegation, may appear to be
a new phenomenon. This is, however, not so. Internal audit always had
an inherent sanctified role in defence transactions. For various
reasons and circumstances, this role could not be effectively exercised
by the designated internal audit authority, i.e., controller general
of defence accounts. There has been inhibition on the part of the
Services towards allowing the entire gamut of their transactions being
made susceptible to internal audit. The reasons cited were: sensitivity
of the transactions, wherewithal not being available with the
Services` executives to facilitate the audit as for instance in border
areas, etc. A glaring instance of defence transactions put beyond the
pale of audit is the prevailing “war system of accounting”, wherein
audit cannot verify the correctness of consumption of stores of a large
number of units and formations in THE northern and eastern sectors.
The new delegation of financial powers does not address this
shortcoming. In fact, the Comptroller & Auditor General of India
(C&AG) has refused to statutorily certify from the audit angle the
accounts related to Defence Services Estimates on the premise that
internal audit by the controller general of defence accounts has not
been exercised vis-à-vis such Service units and formations.
Furthermore, it is not clear as to why it should be necessary to have
annual audit plans, review by an AAC, etc. Internal audit is inherently
built into the role of integrated finance of MoD and its connected
set-up, i.e., the set-up of financial adviser of defence services and
its attached arm – the office of controller general of Defence
Accounts, and the latter`s subordinate offices spread throughout the
country. The statutory rules of Government of India are clear on the
ambit of internal audit in all spheres of governance – civil or
military, and it should not have been necessary to put in place a
structured mechanism such as AAC, etc. Experience shows that, in the
Indian context, more structures only lead to more bureaucratisation and
delays in decisive action. MoD should have ensured that the internal
audit reports of the controller general of defence accounts, with
concomitant appraisal notes, on functional areas of high financial risk,
regulatory violation, transactions which failed to achieve desired
outcomes and also areas where internal audit was constricted or not
allowed by circumstances or deliberate design, are mandated to be
placed before Parliament and the Standing Committee on Defence along
with the detailed demand for grants of the Ministry, instead of being
considered only as an input to the finance division of MoD as appears
to be the case at present.
Another fundamental issue, the financial empowerment of the Services by
making them responsible for the policies and programmes they
formulate, working out the resources they need, and their
implementation in the most judicious and economic manner, does not seem
to have been addressed. The Services, therefore, are not de facto
responsible for the budget provisions allocated to them, object and
programme-wise. Apart from budget-related decisions, the major extent
of both Revenue and Capital expenditure powers continue to remain
vested in the MoD. While this legacy situation prevails, the Services
also are not enthusiastic about involving their internal finance, i.e.,
their IFAs, in the budget formulation process. It is only in budget
monitoring to an extent, and too limitedly without having any role in
re-adjustment and re-appropriation of funds at budgetary landmark stages
like `Revised Estimates` and `Final Estimates`, that these advisers
are associated by the Services. To compound the situation, MoD Finance,
i.e., the integrated finance division of this Ministry – which works
out the final budget requirement and obtains the Defence
Secretary`s/Raksha Mantri`s approval before referring to the Union
Finance Ministry for subsuming the Defence Ministry`s requirement in the
Union Budget – does not obtain any significant institutionalized input
from the Services` HQs` integrated financial advisers in the matter.
In the light of the above-indicated arrangements and institutional
framework, responsibility will continue to remain diffuse in finance
matters between the MoD and the Services` HQs. Comprehensive
Parliamentary oversight of the Services` resource management is also
likely to be affected. The institution of the C&AG and their audit
mechanism, the audit reports they generate, for Parliamentary scrutiny
in general and in detail through the Public Accounts Committee, remain
consequently the only effective means of financial oversight. The Union
Government may seriously consider comprehensive and effective
empowerment of the Services, with internal finance involved at all
stages, on par with the system prevailing in the Civil realm and within
the ambit of existing statutory rules, without any special
dispensation for the Services. Though the creation of Chief of Defence
Staff institution may facilitate single-point coordination of advice on
operational matters to the political executive, this by itself will not
be sufficient for optimization of the national defence effort.
Instead, a move towards converting the Services` HQs as departments of
the government within the scope of Allocation of Business Rules, and
with responsibility to Parliament for obtaining Defence
appropriations, etc., may be in the long-term interests of the
country. Within such a structure, the Services will be measurably
empowered, Parliamentary oversight will be more effective, and internal
audit by the controller general of defence accounts and statutory audit
of C&AG can function as part of a continuum.
Government report reveals weak spots in functioning of Indian pharma industry (Pharma Industry ,GS paper 3 ,DTE )
Staff crunch, transparency issues and outdated trial methods plague monitoring activity
bring about transparency, digitalisation of clinical trials has been
recommended by the government task force (Credit: Taki Steve/Flickr)
A latest government report shows that India suffers from poor
monitoring quality when it comes to drug inspection due to the lack of
The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO), which
regulates the import of medicines in the country and gives approval to
new drugs and clinical trials, has only 340 sanctioned posts.
This is compared to the 13,000 sanctioned posts comprising technical
as well as administrative staff of the US Food and Drug Administration
(USFDA). The CDSCO also conducts meetings of the Drugs Consultative
Committee (DCC) and the Drugs Technical Advisory Board (DTAB).
The irony is that of these 340 posts, only a few have been filled up
so far, reveals a task force report released on Monday. It was set up to
give suggestions on the future growth of the Indian pharmaceutical
industry. The task force was constituted by the Ministry of Chemicals
and Fertilizers, Government of India, in 2014.
More drug inspectors needed
The number of foot soldiers is very few, according to the report.
India needs at least 3,200 drug inspectors, but has only 1,349
sanctioned posts at present. Of this, 500 posts are lying vacant.
The report says that drug inspectors should be recruited for
effective monitoring of various drug manufacturing units and
distribution outlets. There should be one drug inspector each to look
after 50 such units and monitor distribution outlets. There are
approximately 600,000 drug retail sales outlets and around 10,500 drug
manufacturing units across the country.
Transparency, drug pricing
As far as transparency in clinical trials is concerned, the task
force has recommended the digitalisation of clinical trials. The report
says trials, licensing and quality control need to be computerised and
made available online to expedite the process.
Besides, the ministry also favours the creation of a single window
medicine monitoring IT system to link the headquarters, respective state
offices and government hospitals for smooth communication.
The task force report also gives suggestions on effective price
control. It says that there is a need to review the implementation of
Drug Price Control Order (DPCO), 2013 to resolve the problems of
implementation. This is a notification-cum-order which empowers the
National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) to regulate the prices
of essential drugs. The DPCO suggests that the government should
implement price control mechanisms through a consultative approach.
The report has been prepared after consulting private players and the
issue of accessibility of drugs to the masses has been largely
overlooked, the ministry says. Industries have challenged all efforts to
minimise the prices of essential medicines.
The civil society has also raised the issue, claiming that the
existing mechanism does not make essential drugs accessible to the poor
and that drug manufacturing companies are still making huge profits on
While releasing the report, Union Minister of Chemicals and
Fertilizers Ananth Kumar said that the government wanted to encourage a
robust pharmaceutical industry in the country that is standardised,
innovative and competitive.
Setting up the task force was one of the major initiatives of the
Centre, he added. According to the minister, the government is keen on
the early implementation of the recommendations of the task force and it
would come out with an action-taken report based on these
recommendations in 100 days.
Secretary of the Department of Pharmaceuticals V K Subburaj said
exports by Indian pharmaceutical companies was a successful venture.
However, regulations in this sector, are weak and it is affecting
further growth, he added.
Exposure to toxic parts of PM2.5 during pregnancy harmful for newborn health (DTE ,Pollution,Health ,GS paper 3 )
Inhaling sulphur, sulphate, copper, iron, nickel and zinc through
PM2.5 can trigger maternal oxidative stress and affect the growth of
Photo: Sayantoni Palchoudhuri
A new study conducted in Europe has found that maternal exposure to
particulate matter (PM) constituents such as sulphur and secondary
combustion particles may adversely affect birth weight and head
circumference of newborns. LBW (birth weight less than 2.5 kg) is a
predictor of infant morbidity and mortality.
A mere 200 nanogramme per cubic metre-increase in sulphur in PM2.5 is
found to be associated with an increased risk of low birth weight
(LBW). Nickel and zinc in PM2.5 concentrations were also associated with
The study—Elemental Constituents of Particulate Matter and Newborn’s Size in Eight European Cohorts—published
in Environmental Health Perspective examined the associations of eight
elemental constituents in PM2.5 and PM10. It assessed data of 34,923
births during 1994 to 2008 in Europe and estimated the annual average
concentrations of eight constituents of PM2.5 and PM10 including copper,
iron, potassium, nickel, sulphur, silicon, vanadium and zinc at
maternal homes in different parts of Europe during pregnancy.
It was found that exposure to specific constituents of PM2.5,
especially traffic-related particles, sulphur constituents, and metals
was associated with decreased birth weight. Inhalation of PM can trigger
maternal oxidative stress, damage cells, cause inflammation and changes
in the blood system, decrease placental blood flow, disrupt
transplacental oxygenation, leading to poor growth of the foetus.
The study also found that all the elemental components, with the
exception of potassium, were significantly associated with smaller head
circumference in newborns. Head circumference is associated with
cognitive ability and child intellectual quotient.
The study was led by scientists from Centre for Research in
Environmental Epidemiology, Barcelona, Spain, and jointly carried out by
several research institutions.
In India, it is often stated that PM from crustal sources (such as
dust) is largely responsible for poor air quality in cities like Delhi.
But emerging evidence, such as the findings of this study, makes it
imperative for regulators to also look into the effects of tinier toxic
constituents of combustion sources in PM
All Government Schemes very important for exam by GK Today
Pak to participate in SAARC satellite project meeting: ISRO( GS Paper 3, Sci and Tech, Prelims,The Hindu)
The SAARC countries, including Pakistan, will participate in the ambitious SAARC satellite project conceived by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, top official said on Tuesday.