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Space Physics Laboratory

Why in news?

The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre to celebrate 50th anniversary of Space Physics Laboratory (SPL).

About the news

  • The Indian space programme housed the new Space Physics Division (SPD) in 1968.
  • SPD evolved into SPL in 1984.
  • It has been a critical player in all major Indian Space Research Organisation endeavours, including Chandrayaan I and Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM).

About SPL

  • Space Physics Laboratory (SPL) is a premier science laboratory of VSSC.
  • It carries out basic and applied research on the lower and upper atmospheres, ionospheres and magnetospheres of the Earth and other solar system bodies.
  • It uses a suite of state-of-the-art experiments; ground-based, aboard ships and aircrafts, balloon and rocket -borne, and satellite payloads.
  • SPL offers motivated students and scientist, excellent opportunities for performing research in the above frontline disciplines under different schemes.

SPL Contributions

  • Chandrayaan mission
    • The Indo-Swedish SARA (Sub-keV Atom Reflecting Analyser) instrument, the first of its kind to study the moon through the Energetic Neutral Atom imaging technique.
    • ChACE (Chandra’s Altitudinal Composition Explorer) for the Moon Impact Probe (MIP).
  • Mars mission
  • MENCA (Mars Exospheric Neutral Composition Analyser) for studying the composition and distribution of the Martian exosphere.
  • With its involvement in space-borne instruments increasing, the SPL has established state-of-the-art facilities for characterisation, testing and calibration of scientific payloads.

About VSSC

  • Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) is the lead centre of ISRO responsible for the design and development of launch vehicle technology.
  • It is located in Thiruvananthapuram, State of Kerala.
  • The Centre pursues active research and development in the fields of aeronautics, avionics, materials, mechanisms, vehicle integration, chemicals, propulsion, space ordnance, structures, space physics and systems reliability.
  • The major  programmes  at  VSSC  include 
  • Polar Satellite  Launch  Vehicle  (PSLV)
  • Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV)
  • Rohini Sounding Rockets
  • Development of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) Mk Ill
  • Reusable Launch Vehicles
  • Advanced technology vehicles, air-breathing propulsion
  • Critical technologies towards human spaceflight.

Government Interventions

Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana

Why in news?

About 85% of Ujjwala beneficiaries in four States still use earthen stoves.

About the news

  • Ujjwala beneficiaries are poorer, on average, than households who got LPG on their own.
  • Refilling the cylinder is a greater fraction of their monthly consumption, and is likely to get a refill immediately after a cylinder becomes empty.
  • Gender inequalities also play a role as women are not typically economic decision-makers in the household, hindering a shift to LPG usage.

About PMUY

  • It aims at providing Free LPG connections to Women from BPL Households across the country.
  • It was launched on 1st May, 2016 through which deposit free LPG connections are released with the cash assistance by Government of India.
  • It also provides interest free loan to purchase stove and refill by Oil Marketing Companies.
  • It was implemented by Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas(the first welfare programme implemented by the ministry.)
  • Recently, it has revised its target from 5 Crore to 8 Crore LPG connections.
  • The release of LPG connection under this Scheme shall be in the name of the women belonging to the BPL family.
  • 48% of the beneficiaries are SC/STs.

Important objectives

  • Protecting the health of women and empowering them
  • Curbing health issues that result from using fossil fuels and other fuels for cooking
  • Reducing casualties that occur as a result of unclean fuels used for cooking
  • Controlling respiratory issues that occur due to indoor pollution as a result of using fossil fuel that does not burn cleanly.
  • Preventing the degradation of purity of environment that is compromised by widespread usage of unclean cooking fuel

World Affairs

World Health Day

Why in news?

WHO celebrates 70th Anniversary on World Health Day with themes as ‘Universal Health Coverage’.

About the day

  • World Health Day is an initiative by the World Health Organisation to make people more aware of certain health issues.
  • It is celebrated each year on April 7.
  • The World Health Assembly took place for the first time in 1948 and was held in Geneva.
  • World Health Day is commemorated every year on this date because this was when WHO was founded, which came into being to address vital health care issues.


  • The objective of the World Health Day is to spread awareness about equal health care facilities all over the world and to dispel all the myths that are there regarding health related matters.

Theme for 2019

  • WHO’s theme for World Health Day 2019 is ‘Universal Coverage: Everyone, Everywhere’ to ensure that no human being will ever have to make a choice between the two.

What is Universal Health Coverage?

  • Universal Health means that all people across the globe have access, without any kind of discrimination, to comprehensive quality services, wherever they need them, without facing financial difficulties.
  • There are three key goals of the WHO’s Universal Coverage plan
  1. Ensuring everyone who needs healthcare service gets it, irrespective of their financial status.
  2. The quality of healthcare services should be good enough to improve health.
  3. People who seek healthcare services should be protected from financial risk.
  • The UHC is based on the 1948 WHO constitution that declared health a fundamental human right, and the Health for All agenda of the 1978 Alma Ata declaration.
World Health Statistics 2019

Why in news?

Women outlive men everywhere in World Health Statistics Overview 2019 released by the World Health Organization (WHO) recently.

About the news

  • Based on recent mortality risks the boys will live, on average, 69.8 years and the girls 74.2 years, a difference of 4.4 years.
  • Life expectancy at age 60 years is also greater for women than men: 21.9 versus 19.0 years.

About World Health Statistics 2019

  • The World Health Statistics series is the World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) annual compilation of health statistics for its 194 Member States.
  • The series is produced by WHO’s Division for Data, Analytics and Delivery, in collaboration with WHO technical departments and regional offices.
  • It summarizes recent trends and levels in life expectancy and causes of death, and reports on the health and health-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and associated targets.
  • The 2019 report disaggregates data by WHO region, World Bank income group, and sex.
  • It discusses differences in health status and access to preventive and curative services, particularly in relation to differences between men and women.
  • It indicates the roles of sex as a biological determinant, and of gender as a social construct, in accounting for the observed differences.


Modified Credit Ratio (MCR)

Why in news?

Credit qualities of entities rated by CARE ratings have seen a moderation in 2018-19 with the MCR for FY19 recorded at 0.95 against 1.08 in FY18.

About MCR

  • Modified Credit Ratio (MCR) helps measure mobility in ratings.
  • It is given by CARE (Credit Analysis & Research Limited)

What is it?

  • It is defined as the ratio of (upgrades and reaffirmations) to (downgrades and reaffirmations).
  • An increase in MCR denotes an increase in upgrades vis-à-vis downgrades while a decrease in MCR shows the reverse.
  • In other words, an increase in the MCR implies an improving credit quality of the rated entities.
  • An MCR closer to one indicates higher stability in ratings, with larger proportion of reaffirmations.

Cause of rating downgrades

  • Delays in Debt Servicing
  • Liquidity Constraints
  • Weakened Credit Profile
  • Decline in scale of operation and profit margins
  • Deterioration in Capital Structure and debt coverage indicators

Cause of rating upgrades

  • Improvements in scale of operations
  • Growth in sales
  • Rise in profit margins
  • Favourable liquidity position
  • Improved debt coverage indicators
  • Comfortable capital Structure

About CARE (Credit Analysis & Research Limited)

  • It was formed in the year 1993.
  • It is India’s third Credit Rating Agency.
  • It was mainly promoted by IDBI along with Canara Bank, UTI and other financial and lending institutions.
  • Its Headquarter is in Mumbai, India.

Map Aided Programme

Bass Strait, Bering Strait

Miyako Strait

  • The Miyako Strait is a waterway which lies between Miyako Island and Okinawa Island.
  • It is the widest strait in the Ryukyu Islands.
  • Also known as the Kerama Gap.
  • Geopolitical significance
  • It is one of the few international waterways for China's People's Liberation Army Navy to access the Pacific Ocean from the East China Sea.

Previous Year Questions Revision Series (Pqrs)-(2013)

  1. In India, deficit financing is used for raising resources for

(a) economic development

(b) redemption of public debt

(c) adjusting the balance of payments

(d) reducing the foreign debt