Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Preparation: 17 October 2017

Exercise INDRA – 2017: Indo-Russia Joint Exercise

Giving the Indo-Russian defence cooperation a major boost, Exercise INDRA-2017, the first ever Tri Services Joint Exercise between Indian and Russian Armed Forces will be conducted in the Eastern Military District of Russia from 19 to 29 Oct 2017. Exercise INDRA in its previous nine avatars has been conducted as a single service exercise alternately between the two countries. The year 2017 marks a major milestone as this Exercise has been upgraded to involve all the three Services of the Armed Forces (Army, Navy & Air Force), which further accentuates the importance of Joint Services in the present world environment.

Exercise INDRA-2017 will be conducted at the 249th Combined Army Range Sergeevisky and in the Sea of Japan near Vladivostok.

The Indian contingent will comprise of 350 personnel from Army, 80 from Air Force, two IL 76 aircraft and one Frigate and Corvette each from the Navy. The Russian Federation Armed Forces will be represented by approximately 1000 troops of the 5th Army, Marines and Ships of Pacific Fleet and aircraft from Eastern Military District.

The scope of the Exercise includes professional interactions, establishment of joint command and control structures between the Indian & Russian forces and elimination of terrorist threat in a multinational environment under the UN mandate. Exercise INDRA-2017 will strengthen mutual confidence, inter-operability and enable sharing of best practices between both the armed forces. It will be a landmark event in the history of Indo-Russian defence cooperation.

 

Varun Dhawan to get a wax statue at Madame Tussauds Hong Kong

Varun Dhawan has become one of the Bollywood celebrities to get his wax statue at the Madame Tussauds.  He is the second Bollywood actor after the legendary Amitabh Bachchan to get a wax statue at Madame Tussauds.

Varun Dhawan’s first ever wax figure will be the fourth from India to join Madame Tussauds with those of Mahatma Gandhi, Narendra Modi and Amitabh Bachchan currently on display. He will unveil it in the first quarter of 2018.

A group of skilled Madame Tussauds sculpting team took more than 200 measurements of Varun Dhawan and also matched the hair and eye colour of the actor.

 

Over 69 lacs subscribers join Atal Pension Yojana with contribution of Rs. 2690 crores

Atal Pension Yojana currently has over 69 lacs subscribers with contribution of Rs. 2690.00 crores. Chairman, PFRDA Shri Hemant G Contractor however emphasised the need of increasing the pension coverage in India at a recently concluded conference on Atal Pension Yojana. The conference organised by Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) in the national capital saw participation from all major banks, representatives from NPCI, SCHIL, SIDBI, Access Assist and some major MFIs.

A large section of the society still does not have access to pensions and this is a cause of concern for PFRDA and Government. The pension coverage in this country is at around 12% and banks and other stakeholder need to work towards greater coverage under the scheme. While the government has a pension scheme for the BPL persons but the amount is meagre and is not sufficient for old age needs. 9% of the population of India, i.e 110 million people are over 60 years and by 2030 this figure is expected to cross 180 million. The 60 plus age groups is the fastest growing demographic in the country. With increase in longevity of the people, disintegration of the joint family system in India and inflation, there is greater need for old age than ever before. Currently pension benefits are available India basically to the organised sector. Atal Pension Yojana introduced in 2015 by Government of India provides a self- contributory savings pension scheme with guaranteed pension of Rs. 1,000/- to Rs. 5,000/- with a very low contribution by the subscriber. All banks and Department of Post have pushed the product to the interiors of the country. APY has option for increasing the pension amount from Rs. 1000/- to any other amount up to Rs. 5000/- as per the savings capacity of the subscriber, and further allows the spouse to continue the account in the event of the death of the subscriber before the age of sixty years. PFRDA has also been engaging with various State Governments for providing co-contribution under the scheme.

 

Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman Commissions INS kiltan ASW stealth corvette

INS Kiltan (P30), third Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) stealth corvettes built under Project 28 (Kamorta Class) was commissioned into the Indian Navy by Hon’ble Raksha Mantri Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman at an impressive ceremony held at Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam. The event marked the formal commissioning into the Navy of the third of the four ASW Corvettes, indigenously designed by the Indian Navy’s in-house organisation, Directorate of Naval Design and constructed by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Limited, Kolkata.

INS Kiltan is one of the most potent warships to have been constructed in India. The ship’s keel of was laid on 10 August 2010 and launched on 26 March 2013. Her maiden sea trials commenced on 06 May 2017 and finally was handed over to the Indian Navy by GRSE on 14 October 2017. The sleek and magnificent ship is propelled by ‘Combination of Diesel and Diesel (CODAD)’ propulsion system of four diesel engines to achieve speeds in excess of 25 knots and has an endurance of around 3,500 Nautical Miles.

More than 80 % of the ship is indigenous with state of the art equipment & systems to fight in Nuclear, Biological and Chemical (NBC) warfare conditions. Also, P-28 weapons and sensors suite is predominantly indigenous and showcases the nation’s growing capability in this niche area. INS Kiltan is the first major warship with superstructure entirely of composite material.

The ship gets her name from old INS Kiltan (P79), a Petya class ASW ship that served the nation for 18 years before being decommissioned in June 1987. Named after the coral island belonging to the Lakshadweep group of islands in India, the ship has a total complement of 15 officers and 180 sailors. The sleek and magnificent ship spans 109 meters in length, 14 meters in breadth with a displacement of 3,300 tonnes and can rightfully be regarded as one of the most potent Anti Submarine Warships to have been constructed in India.

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