UPSC, 12 Feb 2017, News Analysis, by Dr Ashok Dhamija

UPSC, 12 Feb 2017, News Analysis, by Dr Ashok Dhamija


News analysis and explanation of the main news reports appearing in newspapers of 12 February 2017 (also freely subscribe to our YouTube Education channel with about 100 free videos on UPSC IAS and other competitive examinations):

Interceptor missile successfully test-fired

  • An indigenously developed interceptor missile on 11 Feb 2017 successfully destroyed an incoming ballistic missile in a direct hit, demonstrating the capability of India’s Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) Shield, which is under development.
  • India successfully conducted a test wherein an incoming ballistic missile target was intercepted by an exo-atmospheric interceptor missile off the Bay of Bengal.
  • As a part of the test, a target missile mimicking an enemy ballistic missile with a range of 2,000 km was launched from an Indian Navy ship stationed in the Bay of Bengal and the missile travelled towards the coast, reaching a very high altitude.
  • The weapon systems radars located far off detected and tracked the target. The mission computer predicting the trajectory of the target launched the interceptor missile from Dr. Abdul Kalam Island at appropriate time based on the trajectory of the target missile.
  • The whole operation was without man in the loop.
  • It was engaged and destroyed at a height of over 50 km.
  • The BMD is being developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) as a two layered system to tackle incoming targets at endo and exo atmospheres.
  • The mission proved the efficacy of many indigenous technologies developed for the weapon system and it was a perfect mission where a direct hit was scored.
  • With this test, India has crossed an important milestone and has entered an exclusive club of four nations (US, Russia, China and Israel) with developing capabilities to secure its skies and cities against hostile threats.

Two layered ballistic missile defence (BMD) system

  • The two-tiered BMD System consists of the Prithvi Air Defence (PAD), which will intercept missiles at exo-atmospheric altitudes (i.e., high altitude) of 50–80 km and the Advanced Air Defence (AAD) missile for interception at endo-atmospheric altitudes (i.e., lower altitudes) of up to 30 km.
  • The deployed system would consist of many launch vehicles, radars, Launch Control Centres (LCC) and the Mission Control Centre (MCC).
  • All these are geographically distributed and connected by a secure communication network.

Centre clears five names for SC judges

The Union Law Ministry has cleared the names of four High Court Chief Justices and a High Court judge for appointment as Supreme Court judges on recommendations of the Supreme Court Collegium headed by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar.

Among those recommended are:

  • the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, S.K. Kaul,
  • the Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court, M. Santhanagouder,
  • the Chief Justice of the Rajasthan High Court, Naveen Sinha,
  • the Chief Justice of the Chhattisgarh High Court, Dipak Gupta, and
  • Justice S. Abdul Nazeer of the Karnataka High Court.

The Supreme Court, which has the sanctioned strength of 31 judges, now has eight vacancies.


Solar power lights up naval vessel

  • In a first, a warship of the Navy has turned to the sun to generate a share of its on-board power.
  • Naval survey vessel INS Sarvekshak, based at the Southern Naval Command in Kochi, has innovatively deployed the zero-maintenance solar power system, capable of generating 5.4 KW electricity, by customising and installing ‘razor-thin, flexible’ solar panels on the canopy of its telescopic (retractable) helicopter deck.
  • This replaces the ship’s traditional 4.4KW emergency diesel alternator, thereby slashing a yearly carbon emission of 60,225 kg and saving 22,995 litres of diesel for the Navy.


PTI’s new Editor-in-Chief – Vijay Joshi

  • The Press Trust of India has named journalist Vijay Joshi, who has spent three decades covering Asia and the Middle East, as the news agency’s new Editor-in-Chief.
  • He replaces M.K. Razdan, who retired in September.
  • Joshi was until recently with The Associated Press, as the AP’s director of news for Southeast Asia, overseeing text, video and photo operations.

‘World’s heaviest’ woman in Mumbai for treatment

  • Eman Ahmed Abd El Aty, the heaviest woman in the world, landed at Mumbai airport on 11 Feb 2017.
  • She weighs 500 kg.
  • Her doctor, Mufazal Lakdawala, who will conduct her bariatric surgery, was there to receive her along with a group of people who were there to move Ms. Ahmed.
  • Ahmed travelled in a specially modified goods truck that was kept half open to Saifee Hospital on Charni Road in South Mumbai, where it took 24 minutes for a crane to lift her bed and place it on the parapet of a two-storey building, from where she was wheeled into the first floor ward created exclusively for her.


What is a bariatric surgery

Bariatric surgery (weight loss surgery) includes a variety of procedures performed on people who have obesity.

Weight loss is achieved by reducing the size of the stomach with a gastric band or through removal of a portion of the stomach or by resecting and re-routing the small intestine to a small stomach pouch (gastric bypass surgery).

Ex-judge of SC who banned Jallikattu moves SC

  • Former Supreme Court judge, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan, the author of a 2014 judgment banning jallikattu, moved the Supreme Court against a petition alleging bias against him for receiving the ‘Man of the Year’ award from People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).
  • Justice Radhakrishnan said there is no constitutional bar on him on receiving such an award after retirement as Supreme Court judge.
  • He said he is a private citizen like anyone else in society.
  • Invoking Section 3(1) of the Judges (Protection) Act of 1985, Justice Radhakrishnan contended that no court or any forum could initiate civil or criminal proceedings against him on acts done in the course of his judicial functions.
  • The petition is likely to come up for hearing on February 13 in the Supreme Court.
  • The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court had recently issued notice on Justice Radhakrishnan in a plea made by Salai Chakrapani, a jallikattu enthusiast. Mr. Chakrapani had contended that bestowing and receiving of the PETA award was indicative of bias as PETA was a party in the jallikattu litigation which culminated in the ban.

Section 3 of Judges (Protection) Act, 1985

  1. Additional protection to Judges.— (1) Notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force and subject to the provisions of sub-section (2), no court shall entertain or continue any civil or criminal proceeding against any person who is or was a Judge for any act, thing or word committed, done or spoken by him when, or in the course of, acting or purporting to act in the discharge of his official or judicial duty or function.

(2) Nothing in sub-section (1) shall debar or affect in any manner the power of the Central Government or the State Government or the Supreme Court of India or any High Court or any other authority under any law for the time being in force to take such action (whether by way of civil, criminal, or departmental proceedings or otherwise) against any person who is or was a Judge.


Justice Karnan says contempt notice a violation of his rights

  • The Calcutta High Court judge, Justice C.S. Karnan, has written to the Supreme Court’s Registrar-General, contending that the unprecedented suo motu contempt notice issued against him affects his fundamental rights of equality and dignity and amounted to a violation of the principles of natural justice.
  • Terming the order by a 7-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India J.S. Khehar, “unusual,” Justice Karnan said the matter should either be immediately referred to Parliament or taken up after the retirement of Chief Justice Khehar.
  • He said courts had no power to open contempt proceedings against a sitting High Court judge.
  • The judge said the order issuing contempt notice against a sitting High Court judge without even hearing him was “erroneous” and showed “distinct ill-will” towards him. He said he had only acted in the past as a “responsible judge” against “high irregularities and illegalities occurring at the judicial courts.”
  • On February 8, a 7-judge Bench of SC had issued contempt notice to Justice Karnan.
  • Attorney-General Mukul Rohatgi had given his opinion that Justice Karnana, a Calcutta High Court judge, should face contempt action for his defamatory letters against judges of the High Court and the Supreme Court.

Trump may issue new immigration order

  • US President Donald Trump is considering signing a “brand-new” executive order on immigration, following the court ruling blocking his travel ban on Thursday.
  • The U.S. President said he was confident he would win the court battle over the hugely controversial executive order suspending the country’s refugee programme and barring citizens from 7 Muslim-majority countries, and which is currently blocked.
  • He said the White House was also considering “a lot of other options, including just filing a brand new order.”

China expels South Korean missionaries

  • China has expelled 32 South Korean Christian missionaries amid diplomatic tension between the two countries over the planned deployment of a U.S. missile defence system in South Korea.
  • China is widely believed to be retaliating against Seoul’s plan to host the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) system of the U.S. military, against the threat of the missile attack from North Korea.
  • But there was no official confirmation of a direct link between the expulsions and tension over THAAD.
  • China’s Communist Party says it protects freedom of religion, but keeps a tight rein on religious activities and allows only officially recognised religious institutions.

Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD)

  • Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD), is a United States Army anti-ballistic missile defence system.
  • It is designed to shoot down short, medium, and intermediate range ballistic missiles in their terminal phase using a hit-to-kill approach.
  • THAAD was developed to counter Iraq’s Scud missile attacks during the Gulf War in 1991.
  • The missile carries no warhead, but relies on the kinetic energy of impact to destroy the incoming missile.
  • A kinetic energy hit minimizes the risk of exploding conventional warhead ballistic missiles, and nuclear tipped ballistic missiles will not detonate upon a kinetic energy hit.

Peugeot buys Indian car brand ‘Ambassador’

  • Hindustan Motors Limited, belonging to the C.K. Birla Group, has decided to sell the Ambassador brand (including trademark and certain related rights) to Peugeot SA for ₨ 80 crore raising hopes of a return of the iconic car on the roads.
  • The announcement came through a regulatory filing.
  • Hindustan Motors Limited was incorporated in Gujarat as a small assembly plant for passenger cars in 1942.
  • Six years later, it shifted its activities to West Bengal and set up facilities for the manufacture of cars and trucks.
  • For close to half a century, Ambassador ruled Indian roads transporting the ‘king and the commoner alike’ as consumers had hardly any choice.
  • Liberalisation and the end of the licence-raj changed all that.
  • The PSA group and the C.K. Birla Group had signed in January, joint venture agreements to produce and sell vehicles and components in India by 2020.

First Indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control System to be Handed over to IAF

  • The first indigenous Airborne Early Warning and Control System (AEW&C) in IOC configuration shall be handed over to the Indian Air Force (IAF), on 14th February during Aero India 2017 at Yelahanka Air base in Bengaluru.
  • This was announced by Chairman DRDO and Secretary Department of Defence (R&D), Dr. S. Christopher.
  • The Airborne Surveillance System is a game changer in air warfare. The AEW&C System is a system of systems populated with state-of-the art technology.
  • A Complex tactical software has been developed for fusion of information from the sensors, to provide the air situation picture along with intelligence to handle identification/classification threat assessment.
  • Battle management functions are built in house to work as a network centric system of Integrated Air Command & Control System (IACCS) node.
  • This system has been developed and evaluated through collaborative efforts between DRDO.
  • The AEW&C system has undergone all weather and environmental trials and has been accepted by the IAF for induction.

What is Airborne Warning and Control System

  • Airborne Warning and Control System is an airborne radar picket system designed to detect aircraft, ships and vehicles at long ranges and perform command and control of the battlespace in an air engagement by directing fighter and attack aircraft strikes.

Watch the YouTube video with full explanation:

This video discusses and explains the current affairs topics appearing the newspapers and media (such as The Hindu, Indian Express, Economic Times, Press Information Bureau, etc.) of 12 February 2017.

This video is useful for the aspirants of the UPSC Civil Services Examination (for IAS, IPS, IFS, and Group-A Central Services). This lecture is also useful for aspirants of other competitive examinations, such as SSC, Bank PO, LIC, RBI Assistant, RBI Grade B, State Public Service Commission examinations like RPSC, UPPSC, MPSC, MPPSC, HCS, RAS, CLAT, Hotel Management entrance, BBA and several other examinations.

This video has been prepared by Dr. Ashok Dhamija, a former IPS.


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