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    Current Affairs – 14th December 2021


    • News: A supersonic missile-assisted torpedo system developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) was successfully launched from Wheeler Island in Odisha on Monday.
    • Detail:
      • “The system is a next-generation missile-based stand-off torpedo delivery system. During the mission, full-range capability of the missile was successfully demonstrated. The system has been designed to enhance anti-submarine warfare capability far beyond the conventional range of the torpedo.”
      • It was a textbook launch, where the entire trajectory was monitored by the electro-optic telemetry system, various range radars, including the down-range instrumentation and down-range ships.
      • The missile carried a torpedo, parachute delivery system and release mechanisms.
      • This canister-based missile system consists of advanced technologies — two-stage solid propulsion, electro-mechanical actuators and precision inertial navigation.
      • The missile is launched from a ground mobile launcher and it can cover a range of distances.
      • While a number of DRDO laboratories developed various technologies for this system, industry participated in the development and production of various sub-systems.
    • About Supersonic missiles:
      • A supersonic missile exceeds the speed of sound (Mach 1) but is not faster than Mach-3. Most supersonic missiles travel at a speed between Mach-2 and Mach-3, which is up to 2,300 mph.


    • News: India is awaiting responses from leaders of five Central Asian nations to an invitation to attend as chief guests of Republic Day, with the details expected to be finalised during a ministerial-level meeting of the India-Central Asia Foreign Ministers’ dialogue, which External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will host this weekend in Delhi.
    • Map of Central Asia:
    • Significance of Republic Day in India:
      • The Constitution of India, which was adopted by the Constituent Assembly on November 26, 1949, came into effect on January 26, 1950.
      • This completed India’s movement towards becoming an independent republic with a democratic government system.
      • January 26 was also selected as the day to mark Republic Day because it had been on this day that the Indian National Congress (INC) proclaimed the Declaration of Indian Independence in 1929. This was opposite to the ‘dominion’ status offered by the British.
      • The independence came through the Indian Independence Act 1947, an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom that partitioned British India into the two new independent Dominions of the British Commonwealth, India obtained its independence on 15 August 1947 as a constitutional monarchy as head of state and Earl Mountbatten as governor-general.
      • The country, though, did not yet have a permanent constitution; instead, its laws were based on the modified colonial Government of India Act 1935.
      • On 29 August 1947, a resolution was moved for the appointment of Drafting Committee, which was appointed to draft a permanent constitution, with Dr B R Ambedkar as chairman.
      • While India’s Independence Day celebrates its freedom from British Rule, the Republic Day celebrates the coming into force of its constitution.
      • A draft constitution was prepared by the committee and submitted to the Constituent Assembly on 4 November 1947.
      • The Assembly met, in sessions open to the public, for 166 days, spread over a period of two years, 11 months and 18 days before adopting the Constitution.
      • After many contemplations and some moderation, the 308 members of the Assembly signed two hand-written copies of the document (one each in Hindi and English) on 24 January 1950.
      • Two days later which was on 26 January 1950, it came into effect throughout the whole nation. On that day, Dr Rajendra Prasad’s became the first president of India.
      • The Constituent Assembly became the Parliament of India under the transitional provisions of the new law.
      • Republic Day is a national holiday in India. However, schools celebrate the day with patriotic zeal and enthusiasm, with students and teachers organising cultural programmes and performances to make the day memorable.


    • News: The Ministry of Civil Aviation in October proposed an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) in all States to deal with helicopter accidents or emergencies, including making contingency documents available to all districts. It was reiterated that the focus of the ERP should be on managing a crisis by covering aspects of who to contact, how to act and what resources to use.
    • Details:
      • While it would not be practicable to train personnel to respond to a full-fledged aircraft fire, “the response of the local fire department should be geared to contain fires within their capability of training and be able to rescue survivors”.
    • Breath-analyser checks
      • The civil-registered helicopter fleet in India numbers nearly 250, of which Government and public sector undertakings operate 26.
      • Reiterating the primary safety aspects, the advisory said prior to any flight, every aircraft movement should obtain a flight plan clearance, receive meteorological and Air Traffic Control briefing by the pilots and pre-flight breath-analyser check for the crew at the first departure point of the day.
      • The advisory noted that during hovering prior to landing and at take-off, a helicopter could generate a rotor downwash wind that could easily exceed 100 kmph for a medium-sized aircraft.
      • “The wind force is sufficient to cause the topsoil to be whipped into a heavy dust cloud and debris to be blown away with force, uprooting even loosely secured objects in vicinity”.
      • “This has caused accidents due to loss of visual cues to the pilot, entanglement of objects in rotors, loss of engine power due to dust/debris ingestion and even injuries to bystanders who otherwise were well clear of the helipad”.
    • DGCA advisory
      • The safety guidelines also had a check-list for the district administration and police, revenue and health departments for helicopter operations. Following up closely, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation issued a separate circular for State governments to follow in VIP flight operations.
      • The DGCA, India’s aviation watchdog, issued a circular on November 22, elaborating detailed guidelines for aircraft carrying State, Central and foreign dignitaries. The advisory was based on the outcome of investigation of accidents and incidents involving such aircraft operations in the past.
      • It said there was a need for harmonisation of requirements and guidelines.
      • The safety guidelines noted that twin-engine aircraft with good operational capability, reliability and easy maintainability characteristics should be used and its operations be in accordance with the aircraft rules and instructions issued from time to time.
    • Pre-flight requirements
      • The advisory said that pilot-in-command, before commencement of such flights, should familiarise himself with necessary meteorological information required for the intended flight.
      • “For every flight under Instrument Flight Rules, the pilot should study the current weather reports and forecast and plan alternative courses of action to provide for the eventuality that the flight may not be completed as planned because of weather conditions,” it said. On the possession of ‘Certificate of Airworthiness’, the DGCA said the aircraft should be inspected and certified prior to flights by the Aircraft Maintenance Engineer.

    4.   UNCLOS

    • News: India remained committed to promoting a free, open and rules-based order rooted in international law and undaunted by coercion, the Centre informed Parliament on Monday while reiterating support for the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
    • About UNCLOS:
      • The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea Treaty, is an international agreement that establishes a legal framework for all marine and maritime activities. As of June 2016, 167 countries and the European Union are parties.
      • The Convention resulted from the third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III), which took place between 1973 and 1982. UNCLOS replaced the four treaties of the 1958 Convention on the High Seas. UNCLOS came into force in 1994, a year after Guyana became the 60th nation to ratify the treaty.
      • It is uncertain as to what extent the Convention codifies customary international law.
      • While the Secretary-General of the United Nations receives instruments of ratification and accession and the UN provides support for meetings of states party to the Convention, the United Nations Secretariat has no direct operational role in the implementation of the Convention. A UN specialized agency, the International Maritime Organization, does play a role, however, as well as other bodies such as the International Whaling Commission and the International Seabed Authority (ISA), which was established by the Convention itself.
      • In the early 20th century, some nations expressed their desire to extend national claims: to include mineral resources, to protect fish stocks, and to provide the means to enforce pollution controls. (The League of Nations called a 1930 conference at The Hague, but no agreements resulted.

    5.   INFLATION 

    • News: India’s retail inflation hardened for the second month in a row in November, touching 4.91% from 4.48% recorded in October, with urban parts experiencing a sharper rise in prices at a pace of 5.54% and vegetable prices jumping 7.45% from the previous month.
    • About inflation:
      • Inflation is the decline of purchasing power of a given currency over time. A quantitative estimate of the rate at which the decline in purchasing power occurs can be reflected in the increase of an average price level of a basket of selected goods and services in an economy over some period of time. The rise in the general level of prices, often expressed as a percentage, means that a unit of currency effectively buys less than it did in prior periods.
      • Inflation can be contrasted with deflation, which occurs when the purchasing power of money increases and prices decline.
      • Inflation is the rate at which the value of a currency is falling and, consequently, the general level of prices for goods and services is rising.
      • Inflation is sometimes classified into three types: Demand-Pull inflation, Cost-Push inflation, and Built-In inflation.
      • The most commonly used inflation indexes are the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the Wholesale Price Index (WPI).
      • Inflation can be viewed positively or negatively depending on the individual viewpoint and rate of change.
      • Those with tangible assets, like property or stocked commodities, may like to see some inflation as that raises the value of their assets.
    • Causes of Inflation
      • An increase in the supply of money is the root of inflation, though this can play out through different mechanisms in the economy. Money supply can be increased by the monetary authorities either by printing and giving away more money to the individuals, by legally devaluing (reducing the value of) the legal tender currency, more (most commonly) by loaning new money into existence as reserve account credits through the banking system by purchasing government bonds from banks on the secondary market.
      • In all such cases of money supply increase, the money loses its purchasing power. The mechanisms of how this drives inflation can be classified into three types: demand-pull inflation, cost-push inflation, and built-in inflation.