Current Affairs – April 2012 Science & Technology Affairs
- The Supreme Court of India on 10 May 2012 directed the union government to put off its decision to reintroduce the cheetah in India. The cheetahs faced extinction in the sub-continent nearly a decade ago. The government was planning to import Cheetah from Africa, while the plan was not discussed with the National Board for Wildlife, a statutory body for the enforcement of wildlife laws in India. The court, while pronouncing its order, took note of the scientific studies, which showed that the Asian cheetahs and African cheetahs are completely different, both genetically and also in their characteristics.
- The Indian navy inducted newly built INS Teg in its fleet at the Yantar shipyard in Russia’s Kaliningrad on 27 April 2012. The Southern Naval Command chief Vice Admiral K.N. Sushil at a ceremony in Kaliningrad commissioned the warship. INS Teg is a modern and contemporary warship with advanced technologies. INS Teg is the first of the second batch of Talwar-Class warships to have completed.
- India on 26 April 2012 launched its first indigenous all-weather Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT-1). The satellite, whose images will facilitate agriculture and disaster management, was launched successfully on board the PSLV-C19 from Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh. The newly launched satellite can capture images of the earth during day and night as well as in cloudy conditions. Besides use in the agriculture sector, RISAT-1 could also be used to keep round-the-clock vigil on the country’s borders, but this satellite would not be used for defence applications as RISAT-2, primarily a spy spacecraft, is already doing that job. The RISAT – 1 Launch is the 20th successive successful flight of PSLV. India in April 2009 had launched an imported Radar Imaging Satellite (RISAT-2) with all weather capability. The satellite was bought from Israel for 110 million dollar largely for surveillance purposes.
- Gujarat has emerged as India’s largest solar power destination. The Chief Minister, Mr Narendra Modi, dedicated 600 MW of solar power projects to the nation on 19 April. Currently, India’s total solar power production is nearly 900 MW, two-thirds of which will be produced by Gujarat alone. Mr Modi launched India’s first Solar Power Park with generation capacity of 500 MW in 3,000 acres Charanka village, Randhanpur taluka, in Patan district. Currently, it has an aggregated operational capacity of 214 MW of solar power projects commissioned at a single location.
- India on 19 April 2012 successfully test-fired its maiden nuclear inter-continental ballistic missile ( ICBM) Agni-V. The missile successfully struck its target ranging more than 5000 kms away from its launching point. It was test-fired from a mobile launcher at the Wheeler Island off the Orissa coast in the Bay of Bengal. With the successful launch of Agni-V, India has entered into an elite group of nations (USA, Russia, China, UK and France) which has such technology. India now has acquired the capability to hit targets in China, including Beijing, Eastern Europe, east Africa and the Australian coast. Indigenously built Agni-V is 17.5m tall, solid-fuelled, surface to surface, three-stage missile with a launch weight of 50 tons, which includes a 1.5 tonne warhead.The DRDO Scientists began to work on the project of Agni-V three years ago. This was the first testing of the missile. Agni-V has multiple independently targeted re-entry (MIRV) capability. Its range is over 5000 Kms. MIRV enables a missile to hit several targets in an area.
- The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on 16 April 2012 banned the use of live animals in dissection and other experiments in educational and research institutions. However, the ban won’t be applicable on scientists conducting new molecular research. The ban is based on the prevention of cruelty to Animals Act (1960). Ministry issued guidelines to ministry of health and family welfare, Pharmacy council of India and the Medical Council of India and the University Grants Commission. The guidelines asked colleges, hospitals, laboratories and research institutes to use alternative like computer simulation instead of animal dissection.