9 PM Current Affairs Brief – December 13th, 2019

ISRO begins preparations for setting up third rocket Launchpad

News: Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has begun preparatory works for setting up a third rocket Launchpad.


About Third Launchpad

  • It will set up in coastal hamlet of Kulashekhrapattinam in the Thuthukudi district, Tamil Nadu. 

It is intended to support:

  • increased launch frequency,
  • provide active redundancy to existing launch pads and
  • To support launching requirements of advanced launch vehicles. 

Present Launchpads

  • At present, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has two launchpads at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota Range (SDSC-SHAR).
  • SHAR is situated in an island off Sullurupeta – a small town in Nellore district, Andhra Pradesh.
Image result for SDSC-SHAR map"

What is Wi-Fi Calling?

News: Bharti Airtel has introduced Voice over Wi-Fi (VoWiFi), a first for India.


About Wi-Fi calling

  • Wi-Fi Calling is a technology that enables a smartphone user to make and receive calls over Wi-Fi network rather than cellular radio connection.
  • It is aimed especially for areas where cellular networks are not strong.

Additional Information:

  • Wi-Fi: Itis a radio transmission technology that allows digital devices to use high speed internet without direct cable connections.

What is a barcode?

News: Recently, engineer-scientist George Laurer, co-developer of Barcode, passed away.


About Barcode:

  • A barcode, consisting of bars and spaces is a machine-readable representation of numerals and characters. It is also known as Universal Product Code (UPC). It is used to efficiently identify and track objects and people.
  • Barcode was co-developed by Geogre Laurier and Norman Joseph Woodland in 1973.

Types of Barcode:

One-dimensional barcode:

  • Numeric-only barcodes: barcodes consisting of only numbers.
  • Alpha-numeric barcodes: contain a combination of numbers and alphabetic characters.

Two-dimensional Barcode: It is in the shape of a square or rectangle and contain many small dots arranged in a unique pattern. It is also known as Quick Response (QR) code.

Atal Bhujal Yojana

News: Ministry of Jal Shakti informed Lok Sabha about Atal Bhujal Yojana


  • Atal Bhujal Yojana is a central sector scheme under the ministry of Jal Shakti. The scheme was announced in the 2016-17 Union Budget.
  • It aims to recharge ground water sources and ensure efficient use of water by involving people at local level.
  • The funding pattern of the scheme is 50:50 between Government of India and World Bank.
  • The scheme involves:
  • Formation of Water User Associations,
  • Monitoring and disseminating ground water data,
  • Water budgeting,
  • Preparation and implementation of Gram-Panchayat wise water security plans and
  • Information, Education & Communication (IEC) activities related to sustainable ground water management.
  • The scheme will be implemented in water stressed areas of Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Additional Information

Govt. Initiatives to deal water crisis in India

  1. Jal Shakti Abhiyan: It is a time-bound, mission mode, water conservation and irrigation efficiency campaign for water security in India.  It was launched by Ministry of Jal Shakti in July 2019.
  2. Model Bill for Conservation, Protection and Regulation of Groundwater, 2016: It seeks tomove groundwater from Easements Act as a private property resource to a Common Pool Resource. It also provides for demarcation of ‘groundwater protection zones’ and development of a groundwater security plan.
  3. National Aquifer Mapping and Management Programme (NAQUIM): Launched in 2012, aims to identify and map aquifers at the micro level to quantify the available groundwater resources.
  4. National Water Mission: It is one of the missions under the National Action Plan for Climate Change (NAPCC).  It aims at conservation of water, minimizing wastage of water, increase water use efficiency by 20%.
  5. Composite water management Index: Developed by NITI Aayog, help the states in better water resource management and conservation.

Inner Line Permit regime extended to Manipur, Prez Kovind signs order

News: The Inner Line Permit (ILP) regime has been extended to Manipur.


About Inner Line permit (ILP)

  • It is a legal travel certificate provided by the Government of India to Indian citizen. It is required to travel into a protected area for a limited time.
  • The aim of the ILP is to regulate movement to certain areas located near the international border of India.
  • ILP was under Bengal Frontier Provision Act, 1873.
  • At present, the ILP is implemented in Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland. The respective state governments issue ILPs.

Additional Information

Protected Area Permit (PAP)

  • It is a travel certificate issued to foreign nationals for entering certain areas near international border of India. It is issue under Foreigners (Protected Areas) Order, 1958.
  • Protected Areas are located in Arunachal Pradesh, parts of Himachal Pradesh parts of Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, parts of Rajasthan, parts of Sikkim and parts of Uttarakhand.
  • In 2018, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) relaxed PAP regime to allow foreign tourists to access border areas of Nagaland, Mizoram and Manipur for five years.

IBM’s weather forecast system to tap users’ phones for data

News: IBM has planned to launch a new weather forecasting system known as IBM GRAF – the Global High-Resolution Atmospheric Forecasting System


  • GRAF can generate forecasts at a resolution of 3 kilometres as compared to 12-kilometre models used by the India Meteorological Department (IMD).
  • Current global weather models are updated every 6 to 12 hours. IBM’s system will forecast and update hourly.
  • Significance of GRAF:
    • Improved global mapping of the atmosphere
    • Better data and accurate forecasts for agriculture
    • Custom forecasts for energy companies, consumer brands, insurance businesses and satellite imagery analysts.
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