Insights Daily Current Affairs, 25 October 2016
Paper 2 Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.
‘Mobile Air Dispensary’ for remote areas of the North-East
Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Dr Jitendra Singh has proposed “Mobile Air Dispensary” service for remote and far-flung areas of Northeast.
- The initiative involves a mobile dispensary in a Helicopter with a doctor, necessary equipment and medicines that can fly to remote and far-flung on regular basis and also, as and when required.
- The idea takes its inspiration from “Royal Flying Service of Australia”, popularly known as “Flying Doctors”, which is meant to provide aid and primary health care service in rural and remote areas.
Significance of this project:
This initiative is helpful particularly in areas from where patients find it difficult to reach a dispensary. With this, a doctor with dispensary can reach them.
Paper 3 Topic: awareness in space.
ISRO starts landing tests for Chandrayaan-2 mission
The Indian Space Research Organsiation has started a series of ground and aerial tests linked to the critical Moon landing of Chandrayaan-2 in Karnataka.
- The tests are being conducted at ISRO’s science city located in Karnataka.
- ISRO Satellite Centre or ISAC, the lead centre for the second Moon mission, has artificially created close to ten craters to simulate the lunar terrain and test the Lander’s sensors.
- A small ISRO aircraft has been carrying equipment with sensors over these craters to plan the tasks ahead.
- In the coming months, ISAC would conduct many tests: on avionics and electronics; testing the Lander’s legs, followed by a combined full test.
Chandrayaan-2 is tentatively set for late 2017 or early 2018 and includes soft-landing on Moon and moving a rover on its surface.
- It is an advanced version of the previous Chandrayaan-1 mission. It consists of an orbiter, lander and rover configuration.
- The Orbiter spacecraft when launched from Sriharikota will travel to the Moon and release the Lander, which will in turn deploy a tiny Rover to roam the lunar surface — all three sending data and pictures to Earth.
- It is planned to be launched as a composite stack into the earth parking orbit (EPO) of 170 X 18,500 km by GSLV-Mk II.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Challenges to internal security through communication networks, role of media and social networking sites in internal security challenges, basics of cyber security; money-laundering and its prevention.
Only a few debit cards were misused, says RBI
The Reserve Bank of India has clarified that the number of debit cards misused in the recent revelation of fraud was ‘few’.
Recently, India’s largest bank, State Bank of India, said it had blocked close to 6 lakh debit cards following a malware-related security breach in a non-SBI ATM network. Several other banks, such as Axis Bank, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank, too have admitted being hit by similar cyber attacks — forcing Indian banks to either replace or request users to change the security codes of as many as 3.2 million debit cards over the last two months.
The issue is currently being investigated by an approved forensic auditor, under PCI-DSS (Payment Card Industry-Data Security Standard) framework.
What is PCI DSS?
The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) is a widely accepted set of policies and procedures intended to optimize the security of credit, debit and cash card transactions and protect cardholders against misuse of their personal information. The PCI DSS was created jointly in 2004 by four major credit-card companies: Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express.
The PCI DSS specifies and elaborates on six major objectives. These include:
- A secure network must be maintained in which transactions can be conducted. This requirement involves the use of firewalls that are robust enough to be effective without causing undue inconvenience to cardholders or vendors. In addition, authentication data such as personal identification numbers (PINs) and passwords must not involve defaults supplied by the vendors. Customers should be able to conveniently and frequently change such data.
- Cardholder information must be protected wherever it is stored. Repositories with vital data such as dates of birth, mothers’ maiden names, Social Security numbers, phone numbers and mailing addresses should be secure against hacking. When cardholder data is transmitted through public networks, that data must be encrypted in an effective way.
- Systems should be protected against the activities of malicious hackers by using frequently updated anti-virus software, anti-spyware programs, and other anti-malware solutions. All applications should be free of bugs and vulnerabilities that might open the door to exploits in which cardholder data could be stolen or altered. Patches offered by software and operating system (OS) vendors should be regularly installed to ensure the highest possible level of vulnerability management.
- Access to system information and operations should be restricted and controlled. Cardholders should not have to provide information to businesses unless those businesses must know that information to protect themselves and effectively carry out a transaction. Every person who uses a computer in the system must be assigned a unique and confidential identification name or number. Cardholder data should be protected physically as well as electronically.
- Networks must be constantly monitored and regularly tested to ensure that all security measures and processes are in place, are functioning properly, and are kept up-do-date.
- A formal information security policy must be defined, maintained, and followed at all times and by all participating entities. Enforcement measures such as audits and penalties for non-compliance may be necessary.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 3 Topic: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.
PM Modi recently launched Urja Ganga, the highly ambitious gas pipeline project in Varanasi.
- The gas pipeline project aims to provide piped cooking gas to residents of Varanasi within two years and, in another year after that, cater to millions of people in states like Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Odisha.
- From Varanasi’s perspective, an 800-km long MDPI pipeline will be laid and 50,000 households and 20,000 vehicles will get PNG and CNG gas respectively. The government estimates that around 5 lakh gas cylinders will be sent at rural areas annually.
- According to GAIL, with the Urja Ganga project, 20 lakh households will get PNG connections. The project is said to be a major step towards collective growth and development of the Eastern region of India.
- GAIL has built a network of trunk pipelines covering the length of around 11,000 km. With Urja Ganga project, this number will further increase by 2540 km. Work on the 2540-km long Jagdishpur-Haldia and Bokaro-Dhamra Natural Gas pipeline project will begin and will be completed between 2018 and 2020.
- The total cost of project is 12,940 crores of which the union government has sanctioned a grant of Rs 5,176 crores.
Sources: the hindu.
Paper 2 Topic: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation.
Era of e-postal ballots dawns, courtesy EC’s new initiative
The government has amended rule 23 of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961 enabling service voters, including armed forces personnel, to cast their vote in elections through e-postal ballot.
- Through this move, the government has accepted a long-pending demand which will save valuable time.
How it will work?
Under the new rules, service voters, including personnel from armed forces, can now download the blank post ballot sent to them electronically, mark their preference and post the filled-up ballot back to their respective returning officers.
On a pilot basis, e-postal ballot system has been introduced for service voters consisting of armed police forces of the central government, other forces subject to the provisions of the Army Act, armed forces of a state serving outside that state, and those employed under the government of India in a post outside India.
Implications of this move:
- This would cut short the delay experienced in the present system of two-way transmission of ballot paper by the postal services.
- The armed forces personnel serving in remote and border areas would be greatly benefited since the present system of two-way transmission of ballot paper by the postal services has not been able to meet the expectations of the service voters.
The government had approached the Election Commission to help mitigate the difficulties faced by service voters while exercising their franchise. The issue had also come up before the Supreme Court where it was pleaded that an effective mechanism be created for armed forces personnel and their families to exercise their right to vote easily and effectively.
Sources: the hindu.