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Current Affairs 03 April 2023

CONTENTS

  1. Bharat 6G vision document
  2. ISRO’s Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission
  3. Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership
  4. Solar Flare
  5. Gamma Ray Burst (GRB)

Bharat 6G Vision Document


Context:

Recently, Prime Minister unveiled the Bharat 6G Vision Document, a starting point for policymakers and the industry to gear up for the next generation of telecommunication. This is happening even as over 45,000 villages lack 4G connectivity, and 5G networks are still being built out.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Why did the government put out a 6G vision document?
  2. The 6G Vision Document’s main characteristics
  3. Potential advantages of the 6G rollout
  4. Consumer advantages
  5. Conclusion

Why did the government put out a 6G vision document?

  • Accelerate wireless data consumption: The government wants to encourage local manufacturing of telecom gear and support Indian companies and engineers in international standardisation discussions to assume leadership in 6G.
  • Avoid delay in 6G rollout: The delay in previous generations of telecommunication technology rolling out in India is a key motivation. The government wants to make sure it grabs 6G “from the oven” to avoid a repeat of this delay.
  • Address physics: As newer generations of networks have higher frequencies, the lower frequencies in 4G networks may not physically keep up with the demand for traffic. To address this, the government aims to leverage higher frequencies for greater data usage.
  • Financially support research: The government will financially support “research pathways” to advance connectivity goals, leveraging talent in academia and companies. An “apex body” will be set up to guide these groups through roadblocks.
  • Achieve connectivity goals: The government aims to guarantee every citizen a minimum bandwidth of 100Mbps, ensure every gram panchayat has half a terabit per second of connectivity, and blanket the country with over 50 million internet hotspots, with thirteen per square kilometre.

The 6G Vision Document’s main characteristics

  • The “Bharat 6G Vision” document, which the Prime Minister recently released, aims to create a national mission for 6G with a nine-year term from 2022 to 2031.
  • The project will be funded in three stages: Phase I will cover the first four years, Phase II the next four years, and Phase III the final three years.
  • The mission’s objective is to promote coordination and collaboration among various central and state government stakeholders, as well as those from business and academia, in order to advance basic and applied research for 6G technologies, leading to the creation of new intellectual property (IP), knowledge, and skill sets.
  • Pilot scale demonstrations, validation of these technologies in real-world use cases, participation in and contribution to national and international standards are anticipated starting in 2025.
  • Leadership Development in 6G:
  • India has more than 127 patents on the 6G technology it is using to get ready for the next generation of telecommunications.
  • India is involving all stakeholders, including business, academia, and service providers, to identify priority areas for research despite the fact that 5G is still only being deployed in a few locations.
  • With a global focus on its telecom and digital industries, the nation is also arguing for a stronger role in current legislation at the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

Potential advantages of the 6G rollout

  • Hyperconnectivity is anticipated to accompany the rollout of 6G and offer cutting-edge user experiences in all industries.
  • It will make it possible to access necessary data, resources (both physical and digital), and social services without regard to time or place.
  • The incorporation of AI/ML will play a significant role in industries like education, allowing students to engage in virtual visits and industry interactions to learn through immersive experiences.
  • AI/ML will also be crucial in the fields of agriculture and medicine.
  • Researchers are investigating quantum technologies to learn how they might offer previously unheard-of performance in quantum sensing, communication, security, and computing.
  • These technologies will probably be used in the 6G rollout to provide advanced services.
  • Non-terrestrial wireless networks are likely to be integrated with the terrestrial network to provide ubiquity coverage, not only on ships and aircraft but also in rural areas that the terrestrial network in India underserves, as a result of the decreasing cost-effectiveness of Low Earth Orbit satellites and new technologies like HAPS.
The Apex Council’s role in the implementation of 6G:
  • The implementation of 6G will heavily rely on the Apex Council.
  • Its goal is to bring together the government, business, telecom service providers (TSPs), academia, and research organisations to work together on innovation, standardization, pilot projects, global manufacturing, testing, and supply.
  • The Apex Council will assess and approve 6G action plans and roadmaps to make sure that all parties collaborate to meet the mission’s goals.

Consumer advantages:

  • 6G mobile communication technology’s hyper-connectivity and improved experience will enhance and make it possible to access necessary data, resources (both physical and digital), and social services without time restrictions.
  • The widespread adoption of 6G technology will eliminate disparities in social and economic infrastructure between regions and provide alternatives to rural exodus and metro-driven urbanisation.
  • The introduction of 6G will be crucial in bridging the digital divide between urban and rural communities and enhancing people’s lives.

Conclusion:

  • After 5G, the deployment of 6G technology is anticipated to be the next significant advancement in telecom network technology.
  • The government’s plans for a national mission to facilitate the coordination and interaction between various stakeholders in the Center and State governments, industry, and academia are outlined in the “Bharat 6G Vision” document, which was released by the Prime Minister.
  • The introduction of 6G technology is anticipated to revolutionise how people interact with one another and technology, having an effect on economies around the world.
  • Innovation and cooperation from all stakeholders, including the government, business, telecom providers, academia, and research institutions, are necessary for the successful implementation of 6G technology.

-Source: The Hindu


ISRO’s Reusable Launch Vehicle Autonomous Landing Mission


Context:

Recently, the Indian Space Research Organisation and its partners successfully demonstrated a precise landing experiment for a Reusable Launch Vehicle at the Aeronautical Test Range (ATR), Chitradurga, Karnataka.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. ISRO’s RLV TD Project
  2. How old is the RLV project?
  3. How advanced are RLV technologies globally?

ISRO’s RLV TD Project

  • ISRO is developing a fully reusable launch vehicle to enable low-cost access to space.
  • The winged RLV-TD will be used to develop technologies like hypersonic flight, autonomous landing, return flight experiment, powered cruise flight, and Scramjet Propulsion Experiment.
  • The RLV-TD will be scaled up to become the first stage of India’s reusable two-stage orbital (TSTO) launch vehicle in the future.
  • ISRO’s RLV-TD looks like an aircraft with a fuselage, nose cap, double delta wings, and twin vertical tails.
  • In 2016, the RLV-TD was sent into space using a rocket powered by a conventional solid booster engine and traveled at a speed of Mach 5 before splashdown in the Bay of Bengal.
  • The crafting of parts and selection of materials for the RLV-TD is very complex and demands highly skilled manpower with the use of many high technology machinery and test equipment.

How old is the RLV project?

  • One of the first trials of an RLV was announced by ISRO as far back as 2010, but was put off due to technical reasons. Another was hinted at in 2015 but was again grounded over technical issues.
  • ISRO’s RLV development program took a backseat at the agency as much of the attention in recent years was focussed on the development of the heavy lift Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and its high-end version, the GSLV-Mk III, to enable ISRO to break into the lucrative market for launching large communication satellites weighing over 2,000 kg.
  • Finally, the first trial of the RLV-TD was conducted on May 23, 2016.

How advanced are RLV technologies globally?

  • Reusable space vehicles have been in existence for a long time with NASA space shuttles carrying out dozens of human space flight missions.
  • The use case for reusable space launch vehicles has revived with the private space launch services provider Space X demonstrating partially reusable launch systems with its Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets since 2017.
  • SpaceX is also working on a fully reusable launch vehicle system called Starship.
  • Several private launch service providers and government space agencies are working on developing reusable launch systems in the world alongside ISRO.

-Source: Indian Express


Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership


Context:

Recently, Britain  agreed to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), a trade pact based around the Pacific rim, as it seeks to build ties around the world after leaving the European Union.

Relevance:

GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. What is CPTPP?
  2. How much does Britain trade with CPTPP?
  3. Benefits of Rules of Origin under CPTPP for Exporters
  4. Sectoral Impact and Geopolitical Factors of UK Joining CPTPP

What is CPTPP?

  • CPTPP is a free trade agreement (FTA) that was agreed in 2018 between 11 countries – Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
  • Britain will become the 12th member, and the first to join since the partnership since its inception.
  • Prime Minister  office said that CPTPP countries will have a combined GDP of 11 trillion pounds ($13.6 trillion) once Britain joins, or 15% of global GDP.
  • It does not have a single market for goods or services, and so regulatory harmonisation is not required, unlike the European Union, whose trading orbit Britain left at the end of 2020.

How much does Britain trade with CPTPP?

  • Britain says that exports to CPTPP countries were worth 60.5 billion pounds in the twelve months to end-Sept. 2022.
  • Membership of the grouping will add another 1.8 billion pounds each year in the long run, and possibly more if other countries join.
  • But in an impact assessment of the deal when negotiations started in 2021, Britain said the agreement is estimated to deliver an increase of just 0.08% to GDP over the long term.

Benefits of Rules of Origin under CPTPP for Exporters

The Rules of Origin (RoO) under the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) can provide benefits for exporters. Here are the key points:

  • Preferential Tariffs: Exporters can benefit from preferential tariffs by demonstrating that their product is made up of a sufficient proportion of “locally” sourced parts.
  • RoO under FTAs: Even when trading with countries where there is a bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA), exporters can benefit from CPTPP membership.
  • EU Inputs Count as “Local”: RoO under post-Brexit FTAs with Japan, Mexico, and Canada allow exporters to count inputs from the European Union (EU) as “local.”
  • Inputs from CPTPP Members: Under CPTPP, inputs from other CPTPP members can be considered local, giving exporters more options.
  • Practical Benefit: The practical benefit for UK exporters is optionality. They can choose between counting EU inputs or CPTPP inputs as “local,” depending on which option is more beneficial.

Sectoral Impact and Geopolitical Factors of UK Joining CPTPP

The UK’s accession to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has sectoral impact and geopolitical factors. Here are the key points:

Sectoral Impact:
  • Beef Quota: The UK agreed to a quota on beef imports but did not agree to lower food standards, including the ban on hormone-treated beef.
  • Tariff Reductions: Tariffs on palm oil from Malaysia will be liberalized, and the UK also agreed to tariff reductions on bananas, rice, and crab sticks following requests from Peru, Vietnam, and Singapore respectively.
  • Zero Tariffs: 99% of UK exports to CPTPP would be eligible for zero tariffs, including cheese, cars, chocolate, machinery, gin, and whisky.
  • Whisky Tariff: The phased elimination of Malaysia’s 165% tariff on whisky was welcomed by the Chief Executive of the Scottish Whisky Association, who sees the UK’s accession to CPTPP as opening up new opportunities for Scotch Whisky and other UK products in key markets in the region.
Geopolitical Factors:
  • Small Economic Gain: While the long-term economic benefits for the UK are modest, the country has other reasons for joining the bloc.
  • Geopolitical Strategy Gain: According to Minako Morita-Jaeger, a policy research fellow at the UK Trade Policy Observatory, the UK’s accession to CPTPP is a “big geopolitical strategy gain with a small economic gain.”
  • China’s Application: China has applied to join CPTPP, and the UK’s pivot towards the Indo-Pacific, where it highlights China as an “epoch-defining challenge,” could enable the country to enhance strategic ties with like-minded countries to protect a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

-Source: Indian Express


Solar Flare


Context:

Recently, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory detected a powerful “X-class” solar flare that was classified as an X1.2 flare.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Details
  2. About  Solar flares
  3. Impacts

Details:

  • The X1.2 flare erupted from sunspot AR3256 near the southwestern limb of the star in our Solar System.
  • It led to a strong shortwave radio blackout in south-east Asia, Australia, and New Zealand

About Solar flares

  • Solar flares are magnetic plasma ejected from the Sun’s surface during the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots.
  • They can last for a few minutes or hours and are classified into 4 classes – B, C, M, and X – based on their strength.
Classification:
  • Solar flares are classified on a logarithmic scale similar to the Richter scale.
  • The class denotes the strength of the flare, and the number that comes after it signifies their strength at a finer scale. Each class is divided into 9 subdivisions.

Impacts:

 Solar flares can have significant impacts on various technological systems, including:

  • Radio Communications: They can disrupt or even completely black out radio communication systems, especially those that operate in the high-frequency bands.
  • Electric Power Grids: They can cause power outages and damage to transformers and other electrical equipment.
  • Navigation Signals: They can disrupt GPS signals, which are used for navigation by aircraft, ships, and other vehicles.
  • Spacecraft and Astronauts: They can pose risks to spacecraft and astronauts by exposing them to high levels of radiation, which can damage equipment and harm human health.

X-class flares, which are the strongest, can trigger planet-wide radio blackouts and long-lasting radiation storms. Therefore, it is important for scientists to monitor and predict solar flares to minimize their impacts on technological systems and human health.

-Source: The Hindu


Gamma Ray Burst (GRB)


Context:

A gamma-ray burst that recently hit our solar system was so bright, it temporarily blinded gamma-ray instruments in space, according to a NASA release.

Relevance:

GS III: Science and Technology

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Gamma Ray Burst (GRB)
  2. Gamma Rays

Gamma Ray Burst (GRB)

Gamma Ray Bursts (GRBs) are short-lived bursts of gamma-ray light, which is the most energetic form of light in the electromagnetic spectrum. Here are some key points to know about GRBs:

  • GRBs emit more energy in a few seconds than our Sun will emit in its entire lifetime.
  • There are two distinct phases of GRB emission: the short-lived prompt emission (which emits gamma-rays) and the long-lived multi-wavelength afterglow phase.
  • The shortest GRBs are likely the result of the collision of two compact stellar remnants known as neutron stars.
  • The longest bursts are thought to occur when a massive, rapidly spinning star collapses to form a black hole.
  • When a GRB occurs, it is briefly the brightest source of cosmic gamma-ray photons in the observable Universe.
  • GRBs can provide valuable information about the early Universe, as well as about the nature of black holes and neutron stars.
  • GRBs can also pose a potential threat to life on Earth if they occur too close to our planet, as they can cause significant damage to Earth’s atmosphere and biosphere. However, the probability of a lethal GRB occurring nearby is considered to be very low.

Gamma Rays

Gamma rays are a type of electromagnetic radiation that have the shortest wavelength and highest energy of any wave in the electromagnetic spectrum. Here are some key points about gamma rays:

  • Gamma rays are produced by the most energetic and hottest objects in the universe, such as pulsars, neutron stars, supernova explosions, and regions around black holes.
  • They are also created on Earth by human activities such as nuclear explosions and in natural phenomena such as lightning and radioactive decay.
  • Gamma rays can be highly destructive to living organisms as they can penetrate through most materials and cause damage to cells and DNA.
  • Gamma rays are often used in medical imaging and cancer treatment as they can be targeted to destroy cancerous cells while minimizing damage to surrounding healthy tissue.
  • Gamma rays are also used in scientific research to study the properties of matter and to learn more about the universe, such as the origins of cosmic rays and the behavior of black holes.

-Source: The Hindu


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