Daily Current Affairs for Competitive Exams: January 10, 2017

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Pakistan test-fires first sub-launched cruise missile

Pakistan successfully test-fired submarine-launched cruise missile Babur-III, an official of the Pakistani Government said, and claimed the missile has been developed indigenously. The range of the missile is 450 km. The development came less than a month after Pakistan conducted a successful test of an enhanced version of Babur cruise missile.

Highlights:

  • The missile has a range of 450 km.
  • It has underwater controlled propulsion and advanced guidance and navigation features, duly augmented by Global Navigation, Terrain and Scene Matching Systems.
  • The missile features terrain hugging and sea skimming flight capabilities to evade hostile radars, in addition to certain stealth technologies, in an emerging regional Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) environment
  • The missile, in land-attack mode, can deliver various types of payloads and will provide Pakistan with a Credible Second Strike Capability, augmenting deterrence.

ISRO, CNES ink pact on satellite launch

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and French Space agency (CNES) have signed a partnership agreement in satellite launch technology.

Highlights:

  • Space cooperation is one of the cornerstones of the Indo-French strategic partnership and spans over 50 years. ISRO is the second partner of CNES, in terms of volume, after NASA.
  • This agreement will strengthen the CNES-ISRO partnership. It will enable France to benefit from the Indian model of streamlining the costs of space programmes.
  • Besides, agreement was also signed for equipping Axiom Research Lab’s lunar rover with two latest-generation CASPEX micro-cameras, developed by CNES in partnership with French firm 3DPlus.
  • Axiom Research Lab: It is leading Indian “NewSpace” start-up put forward TeamIndus, the only Indian team competing for the Google Lunar XPRIZE. CNES is providing cameras to Team Indus’ rover that will land on moon.
  • XPRIZE: It is a global competition organised by Google for engineers and entrepreneurs to develop low-cost methods of robotic space exploration. It will award $20 million to the first private company that successfully lands a module on the Moon, places a robot that explores at least 500 metres and transmits HD videos and images back to Earth.

Tamil Nadu becomes 21st state to join UDAY

Union Minister of State (IC) for Power, Coal, New & Renewable Energy and Mines, Shri Piyush Goyal presided over the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) under the Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) Scheme with the Government of Tamil Nadu and its Discom TANGEDCO, for operational and financial turnaround of the DISCOM, in New Delhi.

Tamil Nadu would derive an overall net benefit of approximately Rs. 11,000 crores through UDAY, by way of savings in interest cost, reduction in AT&C and transmission losses, interventions in energy efficiency, coal reforms etc. The state also signed 24X7 Power for all document on the occasion. With Tamil Nadu joining the cause, 92% of country’s Discom debt has been covered under UDAY

By signing the MOU under UDAY, the State Government is taking over 75% of debt of Rs. 30,420 crores of TANGEDCO. 
  • The scheme also provides for the balance debt to be re-priced or issued as State guaranteed Discom bonds, at coupon rates around 3-4% less than the average existing interest rate. 
  • The State would have savings of about Rs.950 cr. in annual interest cost through reduction of debt and through reduced interest rates on the balance debt.
  • UDAY lays stress on improving operational efficiencies of the DISCOMs. Tamil Nadu and TANGEDCO have committed to bring about operational efficiency through compulsory feeder and distribution transformer metering, consumer indexing & GIS mapping of losses, upgrade/change transformers, meters etc., smart metering of high-end consumers, reduction in transmission losses and increased power supplies in areas with reduced AT&C losses. The reduction in AT&C losses and transmission losses to 13.5% and 3.7% respectively is likely to bring additional revenue of around Rs. 1,601 crores to TANGEDCO.
  • The Central government would also provide incentives to the State Government and the Discom for improving the power infrastructure in the State and for lowering the cost of power. The State would get additional/priority funding through the Central schemes such as Deen Dayal Upadhyay Gram Jyoti Yojana (DDUGJY), Integrated Power Development Scheme (IPDS), Power Sector Development Fund (PSDF) or such other schemes of the Ministries of Power and New & Renewable Energy, if they meet the operational milestones outlined in the scheme.
  • UDAY was launched by the Government of India on 20th November, 2015 to ensure a permanent and sustainable solution to the debt-ridden Distribution utilities to achieve financial stability and growth, now has 21 States in the Club after Tamil Nadu coming on board.

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