PRELIMS


GSAT-29 and GSLV-MkIII-D2 rocket

GS Prelims and Mains III – Science and Technology; Space mission; Achievements by ISRO

News:

  • ISRO successfully placed another communication satellite (GSAT-29) in a geostationary transfer orbit.
  • ISRO also achieved a crucial success of GSLV-MkIII rocket which is slated to launch two big missions –Chandrayaan-2 and the human space mission — in the next four years.
  • The satellite is equipped with powerful transponders intended to meet the communication requirements of users in remote areas in the Northeast and Jammu and Kashmir.

KNOW THIS-

  • GSLV-MkIII rocket is India’s most powerful rocket, and it lifted off with a 3,423 kg GSAT-29 satellite, heaviest satellite in Indian History that set in orbit.
  • It is an important milestone for the Indian Space Programme towards achieving self-reliance in launching heavier satellites.

Understanding the basics

Geostationary Orbit (GEO)

If we need a satellite for the purpose which needs this satellites to remain at a particular distance from earth at all the time, then we need circular orbits so all the points on circular orbit are at equal distance from earth’s surface. The circular equatorial orbit is exactly in the plane of equator on the earth. If the satellite is moving in the circular-equatorial orbit and its angular velocity is equal to earth’s angular velocity, the satellite is said to be moving along with the earth. This satellite would appear stationary from the earth and this orbit would be called Geostationary Orbit.

Features of geostationary satellite

  • The orbit is circular The orbit is in equatorial plane i.e. directly above the equator and thus inclination is zero.
  • The angular velocity of the satellite is equal to angular velocity of earth Period of revolution is equal to period of rotation of earth.
  • Finish one revolution around the earth in exactly one day i.e. 23 hours, 56 Minutes and 4.1 seconds
  • There is ONLY one geostationary orbit.

Geosynchronous Orbit

There is a difference between the geostationary and geosynchronous orbits. We should note that while other orbits may be many, there is ONLY ONE Equatorial orbit, i.e. the orbit which is directly above the earth’s equator. Sometimes we send a satellite in the space which though has a period of revolution is equal to period of rotation of earth, but its orbit is neither equatorial nor Circular. So, this satellite will finish one revolution around the earth in exactly one day i.e. 23 hours, 56 Minutes and 4.1 seconds, yet it does NOT appear stationary from the earth. It looks oscillating but NOT stationary and that is why it is called Geosynchronous.

Features of a geosynchronous satellite

  • The orbit is NOT circular
  • The orbit is NOT in equatorial plane i.e. directly above the equator, it’s in inclined orbit The angular velocity of the satellite is equal to angular velocity of earth Period of revolution is equal to period of rotation of earth.
  • Finish one revolution around the earth in exactly one day i.e. 23 hours, 56 Minutes and 4.1 seconds
  • There are many geosynchronous orbits.

Person in news: Basant Kumar Rath (J&K IPS officer)

GS Mains IV – Ethics and integrity

News:

  • J&K people rallied in support of IPS officer Basant Kumar Rath following his transfer.
  • He earned himself a following in Kashmir, a place where a significant section of youth is angry against security forces and engages in frequent street battles.

MAINS


NATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 2

  • Constitution; Basic structure
  • Center-state relations, good governance

A reality check on cooperative federalism

Introduction

  • Since at least 1974, when the Supreme Court commented on the Constitution envisaging a cooperative federal structure, federalism has come a long way in India.
  • Despite federalism being the basic feature of Indian Constitution, central government continues to wield superior legislative powers including residuary powers over states.
  • Among many other, the taxing provisions are also contentious terrain as the Centre is more empowered under the newly enacted Goods and Services Tax law.

An example: President’s Rule

  • In relation to the imposition of President’s rule under Article 356 of the Constitution, federalism is far more mature.
  • Between 1947 and 1977, there were 44 instances when the power to impose President’s rule was exercised.
  • Between 1977 and 1996, the power was exercised almost 59 times. 15 instances between 1980 and 1984 after the Supreme Court held federalism a basic feature of the Constitution is quite telling.
  • From 1991 till 2016, there have been 32 instances of the exercise of this power — compared to 92 instances in the preceding period.

Supreme Court rulings

  • In S.R. Bommai v. Union of India (1994), the limitation laid down by the Supreme Court might have placed gentle breaks on exercise of this power (Article 356), but the Centre continues to wield superior legislative powers, including residuary powers and legislative precedence.
  • Recently, in Govt. of NCT of Delhi v. Union of India , the Supreme Court gently tilted the balance of executive power in favour of the Government of the National Capital Territory vis-à-vis the Lieutenant Governor (and by extension, the Centre).
  • However, the court’s observations on cooperative federalism were stating the obvious considering members of both cabinets take an oath to uphold the Constitution.

Taxation powers

  • Taxation powers are another contentious issue and the Central government has won most of the disputes purely due to express provisions in the Constitution.
  • In the Goods and Services Tax (GST) scenario, States have foregone some taxation powers (octroi, entry tax, luxury and entertainment taxes, etc.) but have powers to levy taxes through panchayats and municipalities.
  • Such powers can result in an anomalous situation of a transaction being taxed under GST laws and a local law, and this is yet to be tested in court.
  • After the GST amendments to the Constitution, States have power to levy tax on sale of petrol, diesel, etc. and these would be revenues of the respective States. However, the GST Council is yet to recommend inclusion of these items under GST.

The Anomaly created by GST Amendment

  • As per Article 269A(1) of the Constitution, the powers to make recommendations in relation to sharing of taxes from inter-State trade has been given to GST Council and not the Finance Commission.
  • However, Article 270(1A) and Article 270(2) provide that taxes levied under the GST laws will be shared in the manner ‘prescribed’ by Finance Commission.
  • Thus, there is an anomaly with respect to roles and powers of GST Council and Finance Commission regarding sharing of tax proceeds.

Finance Commission and role of states

  • Involvement of Finance Commission also means making of laws through the Parliament under Article 275 (statutory grant – grants in aid) where states have lesser role to play.
  • Recommendations of the Finance Commission are placed before Parliament and States have no role in the debate.
  • There is also no provision for an aggrieved State to challenge the report of Finance Commission on certain grounds or seek mandatory enforcement of its recommendations.

On GST Council

  • As per Article 279A (11) – The Goods and Services Tax Council may decide about the modalities to resolve disputes arising out of its recommendations.
  • If the Centre refuses to make allocations as per the GST Council, or if a State is aggrieved by the recommendations itself, then as of now moving to the Supreme Court for an aggrieved State is the only option.
  • This is because till now, no modality to resolve disputes under Article 279A (11) has yet been finalised.

Conclusion

  • States don’t merely seek parity with each other, historically States have also sought parity with the Centre (Sarkaria and Punchhi Commissions).
  • In an era of coalition politics, GST will be a true test of cooperative federalism.

INTERNATIONAL

TOPIC:General studies 2

  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
  • Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests

Four corners: Quad grouping

Introduction

  • The Quadrilateral Group, which includes India, U.S., Japan Australia, is going to meet in Singapore on the sidelines of the East Asia Summit.
  • Their challenge will be to accurately describe their common agenda.

The Quad

  • In 2007, when the grouping was first formed following cooperation after the 2004 tsunami, the idea was to better coordinate maritime capabilities for disaster situations.
  • When revived in 2017, the grouping seemed to have become a counter to China’s growing inroads into the region, despite denials that any particular country had been targeted.
  • The Quad democracies have a shared objective to ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.

Expectations from the meet

  • The four countries are expected to discuss infrastructure projects they are working on, and building humanitarian disaster response mechanisms.
  • India and Japan have announced they will combine efforts on a number of projects in South Asia, including bridges and roads in Bangladesh, an LNG facility in Sri Lanka and reconstruction projects in Myanmar’s Rakhine province.
  • Australia has unveiled an ambitious $2 billion project to fund infrastructure and build maritime and military infrastructure in the Pacific region, on which it is willing to cooperate with other Quad members.
  • The four countries are expected to talk about regional developments, including elections in the Maldives, the collapse of the government in Sri Lanka and the latest developments in North Korea.
  • With Quad talks being held on the sidelines of the East Asia summit, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership summit and the ASEAN-India informal summit, discussions will include some of the overlapping issues among these groupings.

The Quad is yet to define a common agenda

  • Despite the potential for cooperation, the Quad remains a mechanism without a defined strategic mission.
  • Even a common definition of the geographical area encompassed has yet to be found. While Washington sees the U.S. and India as “bookends” of the Indo-Pacific, India and Japan have included the oceans up to Africa in their definition.
  • The entire focus on the Indo-Pacific makes the Quad a maritime, rather than land-based, grouping, raising questions whether the cooperation extends to the Asia-Pacific and Eurasian regions.
  • Even on maritime exercises, there is a lack of concurrence. India has not admitted Australia in the Malabar exercises with the U.S. and Japan, despite requests from Canberra, and has also resisted raising the level of talks from an official to the political level.
  • The fact that India is the only member not in a treaty alliance with the other Quad countries will slow progress somewhat, although each member is committed to building a stronger Quadrilateral engagement.

Conclusion

  • The outcome of the third round in Singapore will be judged by the ability of the group to issue a joint declaration, which eluded it in the first and second rounds.

(Note: this news is in transition, we have to wait for further details after the meeting)


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