Essential Facts (Prelims): 17 March, 2019

Air Pollution

Category : Environment

  • The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed six States to submit by April 30 action plans for bringing air quality standards within the prescribed norms, failing which they would be liable to pay environment compensation of ₹1 crore each.
  • The States, where action plans are found to be deficient and deficiencies are not removed till April 30, will be liable to pay ₹25 lakh each and the timeline for execution of the action plans is six months from the date of their finalisation.
  • Concerned over the threat posed to limited natural resources due to their overuse, the tribunal has directed assessment of carrying capacity of 102 cities where the air quality does not meet the national ambient air quality standards.
  • The concept of “carrying capacity” addresses the question as to how many people can be permitted into any area without the risk of degrading the environment there.

Scorpene Submarines

Category: Defence  & security

  • The Navy is set to induct the second Scorpene submarine Khanderi.
  • The remaining submarines in the series are in advanced stages of manufacturing and trials.
  • Khanderi was launched into water in 2017.
  • The fourth submarine Vela is ready to be launched into water for trials.
  • Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), Mumbai, is manufacturing six Scorpene submarines under technology transfer from Naval Group of France.
  • The first submarine of the class Kalvari joined service in December 2017.
  • The third in the Scorpene series Karanj which was launched in January last year is in advanced stage of trials.
  • The last two submarines Vagir and Vagsheer are in advanced stages of manufacturing .
  • The ‘Boot Together’ is where the five separate sections are welded together to form the submarine.
  • Kalvari is the first modern conventional submarine inducted by the Navy in almost two decades.

New Hydro Policy

Category: Energy

  • Earlier this month, the Union Cabinet approved a new hydroelectricity policy that, among other things, included large hydro projects within the ambit of renewable energy.
  • Prior to the policy, only small hydro projects of a capacity of less than 25 MW were treated as renewable energy. Large hydro projects were treated as a separate source of energy.
  • India’s renewable energy sector has an installed capacity of 75,000 MW. This made up about 21 % of the overall energy mix, with the rest coming from thermal, nuclear and large hydro sources.
  • With the inclusion of large hydro in renewable energy, the energy mix changes drastically. Renewable energy capacity would now be 1,20,000MW or 34 % of the overall energy mix.
  • It must be noted that this is a purely cosmetic change. No additional resources have been created through this policy. It is a reclassification of existing capacity.
  • The policy has meant a drastic change in the renewable energy mix as well. Whereas earlier, wind energy contributed nearly 50% of all renewable energy capacity, it will now make up only 29 %. Similarly, solar energy’s share will fall from 34% to 21%. The hydro sector, however, will see its share grow from just over 6% to over 41%.


Category: Defence & Security

  • TROPEX stands for Theatre Level Operational Readiness Exercise.
  • It is the largest war game of the Navy.
  • It is an inter-service military exercise involving the participation of the Indian Army, Air Force, Navy and the Coast Guard.

Sea Vigil

Category: Defence & Security

It is  the largest coastal defence exercise conducted this  January with the participation of all 13 coastal States and UTs along with all maritime stakeholders.

Herpes Virus

Category: Science & technology

  • Space travel caused herpes viruses to reactivate in more than half of crew aboard Space Shuttle and International Space Station.
  • It could present a significant health risk to astronauts on future missions to Mars and beyond.