GK Today: Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS Preparation: 7 September 2018

BEL gets contract for surface-to-air missiles

Defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited’s (BEL) order book for the first time has crossed beyond Rs 50,000 crore after bagging a Rs 9,200 crore order for supply of seven Long Range Surface-to-Air Missile (LRSAM) systems. BEL has entered into contracts worth about Rs 9,200 crore with Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) and Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) to supply LRSAM systems to be fitted onboard seven ships. This is the highest-ever single value order bagged by BEL. As the lead integrator of Akash Missile system, BEL has already proven its prowess in the realm of Turnkey Missile Systems. The Company is now geared up for futuristic programmes such as the Quick Response Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) for the Army, Medium Range Surface to Air Missile (MRSAM) for the Indian Air Force and Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LRSAM) for the Indian Navy.


India agrees to end PISA boycott

Having not participated in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) since 2012, India has now decided to end its boycott of the examination. PISA — introduced in the year 2000 by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) — tests the learning levels of 15-year-olds in reading, mathematics and science. The test is carried out every three years. India stayed away from PISA in 2012 and 2015 on account of its dismal performance in 2009, when it was placed 72nd among the 74 participating countries. The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry, under Prakash Javadekar, formally decided to end this boycott. The PISA assessments were started in 2000, but India made its debut in PISA in 2009 with 16,000 students from 400 schools across Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. In 2012, schools of Shanghai in China topped the reading, mathematics and science test, followed closely by Singapore. In 2015, Singapore, Japan and Estonia were ranked as top three countries, in that order.