Current Affairs 2nd April, 2019

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1. PSLV-C45 successfully launches EMISAT

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India’s Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV-C45) successfully launched EMISAT and 28 international customer satellites from Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR in Sriharikota.

EMISAT

  • EMISAT is meant for electromagnetic spectrum measurements.

  • It is released into an orbit at 749 km.

  • EMISAT is primarily based on the famous Israeli spy satellite called SARAL or (Satellite with ARgos and ALtika)

  • It inherits its SSB-2 bus protocol for conducting sharp electronic surveillance across the length and breadth of India.

  • The satellite would serve as the country’s roving device for detecting and gathering electronic intelligence from enemy radars across the borders as it circles the globe roughly pole to pole every 90 minutes or so.

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PSLV - C45

  • In the PSLV-C45 mission, the last stage of the rocket (PS4) will be used as orbital platform for satellite.

  • It hosts three payloads viz.

  • Automatic Identification System (AIS) from ISRO

  • Automatic Packet Repeating System (APRS) from AMSAT (Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation) and

  • Advanced Retarding Potential Analyzer for Ionospheric Studies (ARIS) from Indian Institute of Space Science and technology (IIST).

  • AIS is intended for Maritime satellite applications which would capture messages transmitted from ships.

  • AMSAT is intended to assist amateur radio operators in tracking and monitoring position data.

  • ARIS would study the structural and composition studies of ionosphere.

  • Significance of the mission

    • The PSLV- C45 mission has marked several “firsts” for ISRO. For the first time, ISRO has placed the satellites and payloads in three different orbits.

    • ISRO used a multiple-burn technology where the engine shut down and restarted multiple times within a short period of time allowing the rocket to course to the next orbit with the payloads

    • Further, a new variant of the rocket PSLV-QL with four strap-on boosters has been used for the launch. Till now, PSLV has been in either two or six strap-on configuration or without any strap-ons.

    • It is also the first time that ISRO invited common people to view the launch.


    2. Bolivia joins ISA

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    Bolivia has joined the International Solar Alliance by signing the framework agreement on International Solar Alliance.

    The International Solar Alliance (ISA)

    • ISA is an alliance of more than 122 countries initiated by India, most of them being sunshine countries, which lie either completely or partly between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn, now extended to all members of UN.

    • The Paris Declaration establishes ISA as an alliance dedicated to the promotion of solar energy among its member countries.

    In details

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    • 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.

    • 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 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.

    • The agreement of the International Solar Alliance was open for signature during the COP22 at Marrakech on November 15, 2016. The signatories of the agreement include India, France, Australia, UAE, UK and Japan amongst others.


    3. Coronary stents to cost more

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    The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has approved a hike in the price of coronary stents

    Coronary stents

    • Stents are usually metal mesh tubes inserted during PCI, a procedure that widens the blocked artery by temporarily inserting and inflating a tiny balloon.

    • Coronary stents are used to open narrowed arteries, reduce symptoms like chest pain and treat a heart attack.

    • Even with stents, arteries can sometimes become blocked again. Drug-eluting stents can make this less likely to happen.

    • Drug-eluting stents have a polymer coating over mesh that emits a drug over time to help keep the blockage from coming back.

    National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA)

  • NPPA is an independent body under Department of Pharmaceuticals under the Union Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.

  • Its functions are to:

    • fix/revise the controlled bulk drugs prices and formulations,

    • enforce prices and availability of the medicines under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995/2013,

    • recover amounts overcharged by manufacturers for the controlled drugs from the consumers

    • Monitor the prices of decontrolled drugs in order to keep them at reasonable levels.

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  • NPPA fixes ceiling price of essential medicines that are listed in Schedule I of DPCO, 2013.

  • The calculation of prices cap for essential drugs is based on simple average of all medicines in particular therapeutic segment with sales of more than 1%.


  • 4. GST revenue hits a record high in March

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    The Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections clocked Rs.1.06 lakh crore in March 2019.

    In details

    • This is the highest in the history of the tax in India, and the fourth time monthly collections have crossed Rs.1 lakh crore this year

    • Average monthly collections for the year stand at Rs.98,114 crore, 9.2% higher than the average for 2017-18.

    • The GST collections had previously crossed the Rs.1 lakh crore mark in April and October 2018 and in January this financial year.


    5. Two new species spotted in Aralam sanctuary

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    In details

  • The 19th bird survey conducted jointly by the forest and wildlife department and Malabar Natural History Society (MNHS) spotted two new species of birds at the Aralam wildlife sanctuary.

  • The new species spotted were Woolly-necked Stork and White-bellied Drongo, both dry-land species.