IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


4th September, 2019


Explained: How to deflect an asteroid

Asteroid hit is widely acknowledged as eventually it caused extinction of life on Earth.

Methods to deal with:

-        Blowing up the asteroid before it reaches Earth.

-        Deflecting it off its Earth-bound course by hitting it with a spacecraft.

NASA mission:

-        It is an ambitious double-spacecraft mission to deflect an asteroid in space.

-        It is known as the Asteroid Impact Deflection Assessment (AIDA).

-        NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) will be jointly undertaking it.

-        The target is the smaller of two bodies in the “Double Didymos Asteroids” that are in orbit between Earth and Mars.

-        The project aims to deflect the orbit of the smaller body through an impact by one spacecraft.

-        Then a second spacecraft will survey the crash site and gather the maximum possible data on the effect of this collision.

-        NASA is building the Double Asteroid Impact Test (DART) spacecraft for launch in summer 2021.

-        ESA’s contribution is a mission called Hera, which will perform a close-up survey of the post-impact asteroid, acquiring measurements such as the asteroid’s mass and detailed crater shape.

-        All this would allow researchers to model the efficiency of the collision.




Explained: Air pollution in Indian homes key heart risk factor, The Lancet finds

Household air pollution has emerged as one of the key causes of cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), and 12% of all CVDs in low-income countries are attributable to it, a new report has said.



Tip : These causes can be cited to most of the non-communicable diseases.

Household Pollution:

-        Use biomass fuel for cooking and heating in rural area.

-        The use of mosquito coils, dhoop sticks and agarbattis contribute in urban air pollution.

-        Household cleaning chemicals, paints and solvents contain volatile organic compounds, which can trigger headache, skin and throat irritation.

-        Household air is mix of outside air. Outside air pollution also affects household air pollution.

-        Poor ventilation, faulty design of dwellings also contributes to indoor pollution.

-        Humidifiers with stagnant water, poorly maintained AC systems also contributes to indoor pollution.

-        Strong smell-producing substances like air fresheners, aromatic oils, candles and insecticides can produce volatile organic compounds like nitrogen dioxide.

-        Dusting and brooming will dislodge all the dust from the floor into the air, which is then inhaled by unsuspecting individuals.


-        Promotion of clean fuel, Government has launched Ujjawala scheme to promote clean fuel and tackle indoor pollution.

-        Use exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens 

-        Clean home appliances properly.

-        Keep carpets clean and dry. Wash pillows, blankets and bedding regularly at 60 degrees C.

-        Adopt proper ventilated houses and avoid indoor smoking.

-        Regular dusting of bed linen, curtains, soft toys and avoiding dampening of the walls will control growth of fungal moulds.

-        Enhancement of the public awareness about indoor pollution.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/air-pollution-in-indian-homes-key-heart-risk-factor-the-lancet-5963256/


Explained: Now with first woman president, what is Asiatic Society, Mumbai

Asiatic Society of Mumbai, which was started by and for white European men in the early 19th century, elected the first woman president in the 215 years of its existence.

Prof Vispi Balaporia will head the institution that is a treasure house of remarkable historical artefacts.

Asiatic Society, Mumbai:

-        It is housed in the iconic Town Hall building.

-        It’s activities include conducting historical research, awarding historians, and running an institute of post-graduate studies.

-        The Society has big library with many original manuscripts.

-        The Asiatic Society began its journey in 1804 as the Literary Society of Bombay.

-        Sir James Mackintosh founded it.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/explained/explained-now-with-first-woman-president-vispi-balaporia-what-is-asiatic-society-mumbai-5962907/


Is ethanol the right answer for India’s energy security needs?

The government approved an increase in the price of ethanol to be procured by public sector oil marketing companies (OMCs) from sugar mills for blending with petrol for the 2019-20 supply year from December 1.

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) also allowed conversion of old sugar into ethanol, which again is expected to help mills deal with the current overproduction in the sweetener and make timely payments to farmers for the cane delivered by them.


-        Ethanol is alcohol of 99%-plus purity, which can be used for blending with petrol.

-        The normal rectified spirit used for potable purposes has only 95% alcohol content.

-        Both ethanol (also called anhydrous alcohol) and rectified spirit are produced mainly from molasses, a by-product of sugar manufacture.

Benefits out of it:

-        It will provide energy security to India.

-        It will help Sugar mills to clear the arrears of sugarcane farmers thus mitigating the impending farming crisis.

-        It will save forex.

-        It will mitigate the oil price fluctuation which causes inflation in India and hurts economic growth.

-        India is third largest crude oil importer and imports 80% of its requirement.

-        It also helps in fighting the pollution.


-        India is already facing the water crisis and encouragement to sugarcane cultivation further aggravates it.

-        It may increase the sugar prices in the market if many mills resort to conversion of sugarcane into Ethanol.

-        It may put additional burden on public oil refineries as they will have to purchase at administered prices.

-        It is a populism and government must allow market forces to determine the ethanol prices.

Blending so far:

-        The blending of ethanol with petrol had increased four times since 2014 and the aim was to increase it to 10%.

-        Ethanol blending in petrol increased from 38 crore litres in 2013-14 to around 141 crore litres in 2017-18.

Reference: https://www.livemint.com/news/india/is-ethanol-the-right-answer-for-india-s-energy-security-needs-1567564825490.html


Narendra Modi in Russia: PM meets President Vladimir Putin, visits Zvezda shipbuilding complex

On agenda to Russia visit is bilateral talks with President Vladimir Putin as well as the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).

Bilateral talks:

-        Russia is India’s biggest defence supplier and a priority Strategic Partner.

-        Two leaders are expected to sign deals on defence, trade, energy as well as industrial cooperation.

-        India has gone ahead with the purchase of S-400 missile defence system from Russia, against US wishes, underlines the strength of the ties.

-        Modi’s pre-visit statement desire to promote a multipolar world shows the importance of Russia.

-        India is a strong power in the Indian Ocean with a serious interest in the Pacific Ocean, Russia is a strong Pacific power with an interest in the Indian Ocean. Thus, there is an evolution of Asia-pacific strategy.

The Far East:

-        Despite the old ties, the visit is the first by an Indian Prime Minister to the Russian far-east.

-        The focus of Russian economic and political development was the nation’s European side, home to cities Moscow and St Petersburg.

-        But amidst the stagnation of the European economy and the rise of East, Putin has increased his focus on the far-east.

-        It is also vastly underdeveloped. Thus Russia needs the help of Asian countries.

-        Russia-China relationship has grown From a major oil pipeline that runs through Siberia to China to a rail link that connects to China.

-        Russia wants to avoid over-dependence on Beijing and the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) is crucial to that.

-        Russia is showcasing the resource-rich region to nations such as Japan and South Korea. But investments have been underwhelming.

-        India can provide Russia with much-needed labour for projects in the sparsely populated region.

-        Indian companies also get access to a market where it doesn’t compete with Western firms.

What is EEF:

-        Eastern Economic Forum is an international forum held each year since 2015.

-        It is for the purpose of encouraging foreign investment in the Russian Far East.

Reference: https://indianexpress.com/article/india/narendra-modi-in-russia-vladimir-putin-5964010/