20210105 Current Affairs and Editorial

Indian Railway completes successful speed trials of the new design Vistadome Tourist Coaches

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure

In news

  • In order to provide world class modern travelling experience for the passengers, Indian Railways successfully completed the speed trials of the newly designed Vistadome tourist coach manufactured by Internal Coach Factory.

Key takeaways

  • The coach has successfully completed 180 KMPH oscillation trial.

  • The Vistadom tourist coach is provided with larger viewing area including roof top glasses with 44 seats for passengers with rotation up to180 degree to face the direction of train movement.

  • The coach is also having Wi-Fi based Passenger information system.

  • Integral Coach Factory (ICF) is a manufacturer of rail coaches located in Perambur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

Progress of Work on Railways National Project in Jammu and Kashmir reviewed

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Infrastructure

In news

  • Progress of Work on Railways National Project in Jammu and Kashmir was recently reviewed.

  • Work on the Remaining Portion of the Udhampur Srinagar Baramulla Rail Link (USBRL) Project to be completed in Mission Mode.

  • Focus on Providing All-Weather Connectivity to Kashmir Region from rest of the Country.

Important value additions 

  • The USBRL is a National project undertaken by the Indian Railways for construction of broad-gauge railway line through the Himalayas.

  • Aim: Connecting the Kashmir region with rest of the country.

  • The all-weather, comfortable, convenient and cost effective mass transportation system will be the catalyst for the overall development of the region.

  • Currently, the line is in operational use for running trains between Baramulla-Banihal in Kashmir valley and Jammu-Udhampur-Katra

ADB, India sign $10 million loan to support horticulture in Himachal Pradesh

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – International relations & GS-III – Agriculture

In news

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Indian Government signed a $10 million project readiness financing (PRF).

  • Objective: To help finance piloting activities, and design and capacity building for an ensuing project that aims to expand horticulture production and farm household income in Himachal Pradesh.

Key takeaways

  • PRF project will support advance actions to achieve high level of project readiness through detailed design activities, capacity building of state level agencies, and creating an enabling environment for subtropical horticulture development in the state.

  • It aims to ensure implementation readiness with prior testing of new production technologies and marketing systems so that the project is cost-effective and gets completed in a timely manner.

  • The project will support development of subtropical horticulture, including cultivation of fruits and vegetables, in the state’s southern region which is currently lagging due to limited access to perennial water sources, crops losses due to wild animal encroachment and limited access to high value markets.

  • The PRF also supports establishment of water user association (WUAs) on completed irrigation schemes and enhancing women’s participation.

Important value additions 

Asian Development Bank (ADB)

  • It is a regional development bank.

  • Established on:19 December 1966,

  • Headquarter:Ortigas Center, Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines.

  • The bank promotes social and economic development in Asia.

  • It is modelled closely on the World Bank, and has a similar weighted voting system where votes are distributed in proportion with members’ capital subscriptions.

  • As of 31 December 2018, Japan and the United States each holds the largest proportion of shares at 15.571%.

  • China holds 6.429%, India holds 6.317%, and Australia holds 5.773%.

ADB, India sign $231 million loan to enhance power generation capacity in Assam

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-II – International relations & GS-III – Infrastructure; Energy

In news

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India signed a $231 million loan to augment electricity generation capacity in Assam through construction of a 120 megawatts (MW) hydroelectric power plant.

Key takeaways 

  • This is the third tranche loan for the ongoing Assam Power Sector Investment Programme that was approved by the ADB Board in July 2014.

  • The programme, including its two previous tranches, focuses on enhancing capacity and efficiency of the energy generation and distribution systems in Assam to improve electricity service to end users.

  • Increased supply of affordable and clean electricity facilitated through the project will help improve living conditions, promote business expansion, and increase employment opportunities in the state beside reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

  • The project is run-of-the-river project over Kopili river which will help increase electricity supplied from clean energy by 469 gigawatthour (GWh) by 2025 and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 360,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.

  • A $2 million grant from Japan fund for poverty reduction (JFPR) is also associated with the project to finance equipment and consulting services.

Related articles:

  • ADB signs $500 million loan for Delhi-Meerut RRTS Corridor

  • ADB and India sign $177 million loan for Maharashtra roads:

  • 15-billion ADB loan to India to fund COVID-19 emergency:

Foundation stone of TiHAN-IIT Hyderabad laid

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Innovation; Sci & Tech

In news

  • Union Minister of Education laid foundation stone of ‘TiHAN-IIT Hyderabad’.

  • It is India’s first Test bed for Autonomous Navigation Systems (Terrestrial and Aerial).

Key takeaways 

  • The Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India, has sanctioned Rs. 135 crores to IIT Hyderabad under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS) to set up a Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation and Data Acquisition Systems (UAVs, RoVs, etc.).

  • The Technology Innovation Hub on Autonomous Navigation Systems for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Remotely Operated Vehicles at IIT Hyderabad, known as ‘TiHAN Foundation’ has been incorporated as a Section-8 company by the institute in June 2020.

  • TiHAN Foundation is a multi-departmental initiative, including researchers from Electrical, Computer Science, Mechanical and Aerospace, Civil, Mathematics, and Design at IIT Hyderabad with collaboration and support from reputed institutions and industry.

  • Special Features of this Facility include Test Tracks, Emulation of Real-World Scenarios, State of the Art Simulation Technologies, Road Infrastructure, V2X Communication, Drone Runways and many more.

Meteorological (Met) Centre at Leh (Ladakh) inaugurated

Part of: GS Prelims and GS-III – Sci & Tech

In news

  • The Union Minister of Earth Sciences inaugurated Meteorological (Met) Centre at Leh (Ladakh).

Key takeaways 

  • Located at a height of 3500 m, Meteorological Centre Leh will be the highest meteorological centre in India.

  • The Centre will be a world class facility for high altitude meteorology.

  • It will cater to the various kinds of weather and climate needs of the people and the administration of Ladakh.

  • It will provide forecast for important tourist places like Nubra, Changthang, Pangong Lake, Zanskar, among others.

Need for a Met Centre at Leh

  • The Ladakh region has lofty mountains with high slopes and no vegetation and lots of loose soil and debris making the region vulnerable to various kinds of natural hazards like Cloud burst (of 2010), Flash Floods, Avalanches and Glacial Lake Outbursts, etc.

  • To avert losses due to such weather events in future, the Government felt the need to establish a State of the Art Meteorological (Met) Centre at Leh to strengthenweather related Early Warning System in Ladakh.

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