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[Newsbits] 26+27.12.2023: eSvarna, Cold Moon, Bharatiya Space Station & more

newsbits mindmap notes

/ North East
United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) Peace Deal mind map
Recent News
Finalization on December 29th, 2023
Central government
Pro-talk faction of ULFA
When
Formed in 1979
Peace talks since 2011
Deal signing in 2023
Why
To resolve insurgency in Assam
To address demands of ULFA
What
Financial packages
Rehabilitation of militants
Review of citizenship lists
Illegal Bangladeshi immigrants
Land and rights reservations
For indigenous Assamese
Constitutional provisions
Cultural, economic, political autonomy
Protection for indigenous communities
Original demands
Royalties from mining/oil
Border security measures
Amnesty for ULFA members
Recognition of communities as Scheduled Tribes
Moran, Muttock, Tai-Ahom, Koch-Rajbongshi, Sootea, Tea Tribes
Approval required
Parliament, Constitution amendment bill
Where
Assam, Northeast India
Negotiations in New Delhi
Who
Arabinda Rajkhowa
ULFA chairman
Anup Chetia
ULFA general secretary
Paresh Barua
Formed ULFA (Independent)
Himanta Biswa Sarma
Assam Chief Minister
Amit Shah
Union Home Minister
Tapan Kumar Deka
Director of Intelligence Bureau
Dinkar Gupta
Director General of National Investigation Agency
A.K. Mishra
Interlocutor
How
Tripartite agreement
Involvement of multiple government agencies
Pros/Significance
Ending ULFA insurgency
Stability in Assam
Protection for indigenous communities
Political and economic autonomy for Assam
Cons and/or Challenges
Existence of militant holdouts
Full implementation requires sustained effort
Way Forward
Monitoring and implementation of the deal
Addressing unresolved issues
Ensuring long-term peace and stability

In summary, the peace deal with the United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) marks a significant step towards resolving the long-standing insurgency in Assam, India. After years of conflict, the central government is expected to sign a historic agreement with the pro-talk faction of ULFA. Key components of the deal include financial rehabilitation packages for militants, reviews of citizenship lists to identify illegal immigrants, land and rights reservations for indigenous communities, and constitutional provisions for cultural, economic, and political autonomy. While this agreement is a major stride towards peace, its success depends on continued efforts to address the concerns of all parties and ensure the deal’s comprehensive implementation.

/ Railways
Amrit Bharat Express mind map
When
Launch Date
December 30, 2023
Why
Aimed at Transforming Travel for Common Man
What
Superfast Express Service
Operated by
Indian Railways
Train Type
Non-AC Sleeper Cum Unreserved Class Service
Designed for
Longer Distances
More Than 800 km
Speed Potential
Maximum 130 kmph
Operating Speed
110-130 kmph
Limited by
Railway Track Speed Capacity
Multiple Stoppages
Traffic Congestion
Coaches
Total 22 Coaches
Manufactured by
Integral Coach Factory (ICF)
12 Sleeper Class
8 General Unreserved Class
2 Luggage Coaches
Features
CCTV Cameras
Bio-vacuum Toilets
Sensor-based Water Taps
Passenger Information System
Electric Outlets
LED Lights
Mobile Charging Point for Every Seat
Improved Cushioned Luggage Racks
Ergonomically Designed Seats and Berths
Zero-discharge FRP Modular Toilets
Radium Illumination Flooring Strips
Aerosol-based Fire Suppression System
Wide Doors
Special Ramps
Accessible Toilets for Passengers with Special Needs
Locomotives
2 Locomotives
Manufactured by
Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW)
WAP-5 Locomotives
Horsepower
6,000 HP Each
Push-Pull Technology
Comparison with Vande Bharat Express
Amrit Bharat Express
Long Distances (>1000 km)
No Air Conditioning
No On-board Catering
No Automatic Doors
Vande Bharat Express
Medium Distances (500 km average)
Air Conditioning
On-board Catering
Automatic Doors
Where
Routes
Inaugural Routes
Bengaluru (Karnataka) to Malda (West Bengal)
Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh) to Darbhanga (Bihar)
Proposed Services
Sitamarhi to Ayodhya
Mumbai to Jaunpur
Mumbai to Patna
Mumbai to New Delhi
Gomti Nagar to Katra
Gomti Nagar to Mumbai
Gomti Nagar to Puri
Lucknow to New Delhi
Lucknow to Gorakhpur
Lucknow to Varanasi
Patna to New Delhi
Howrah to New Delhi
Hyderabad to New Delhi
Ernakulam to Guwahati
Tambaram to Howrah
Jammu to Chennai
Who
Indian Railways
Integral Coach Factory (ICF)
Chittaranjan Locomotive Works (CLW)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Inaugurated Amrit Bharat Express
Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw
Inspected Train at New Delhi Railway Station
How
Loco-Hauled Configuration
Push-Pull Setup
Engines at Both Ends
Faster Acceleration
Reduced Travel Time
Unique Features
Draped in Vibrant Orange and Grey Hues
Pros/Significance
Economical
Extended Travel Option
Cost-Effective
Serves Migrant Labour Force
Benefits Long-Distance Travel
Cons and/or Challenges
Speed Limitations
Maximum Permissible Speed
130 Kmph on Fit Sections
Indian Railway Tracks
Not Capable of Supporting 130 Kmph
Trains to Run at 100-110 Kmph on Various Sections

The Amrit Bharat Express, inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 30, 2023, is a transformative train service introduced by Indian Railways. Designed primarily for the common man, it offers an economical, no-frills, long-distance travel option with non-AC sleeper and general unreserved coaches. The train, capable of speeds up to 130 kmph, features a unique loco-hauled push-pull configuration, ensuring faster acceleration and reduced travel times. Equipped with modern amenities, including bio-vacuum toilets and mobile charging points, it is set to serve routes connecting major Indian cities over distances greater than 800 km. Despite its many advantages, a notable challenge for the Amrit Bharat Express is the speed limitation due to the current state of most Indian railway tracks, restricting the train to operate at lower speeds on various sections.

/ Banking
ESvarna mind map
Recent News
Launched by IndusInd Bank
Date
December 26th, 2023
First Corporate Credit Card
On RuPay network in India
UPI-enabled Credit Card
Offers exclusive rewards
Benefits to corporate clients
Smooth transactions
At merchant outlets
Flexibility
Make UPI payments
Link with UPI-enabled apps
Who
IndusInd Bank
Introduction
IndusInd Bank eSvarna
India's first Corporate Credit Card
On RuPay network
NPCI
National Payments Corporation of India
Incorporated in 2008
Retail payments and settlement systems
Products
RuPay card
IMPS
UPI
BHIM
BHIM Aadhaar
NETC
Bharat BillPay
What
IndusInd Bank eSvarna Card
Services
Designated Relationship Manager
E-Statements
Consolidated Payment
4th Line Embossing
Dedicated Customer Service
Features
Corporate Card on UPI
Complimentary Airport Lounges
Fuel Surcharge Waiver
Insurance Coverage
Benefits
Luxurious travel experience
Lounge access
Fuel surcharge waiver
Comprehensive travel insurance
Rewards program
Business transactions
Exclusive Benefits
Dedicated relationship manager
Travel benefits
Individual/consolidated statements
Company name embossed on card
Link to UPI application
Google Pay, Paytm, PhonePe, etc.
Card Features
8 Free Visits Each Year
International Lounge Access
2 Visits Each Year
Comprehensive Insurance
Zero Liability Protection
Cardholder Not Liable for Fraudulent Transactions
If Reported Lost or Stolen Timely
Foreign Currency Markup
3.5%
Interest Rates
Nil
Fuel Surcharge
1% Waiver on Spends Between Rs. 400 to Rs. 4,000
Cash Advance Charges
3.35%
Pros/Significance
Facilitates seamless transactions
Enhanced control over corporate expenses
Exclusive perks for corporate clients
Offers UPI functionality integration
Convenient for corporate travellers
Complimentary lounge access
Fuel surcharge waiver
Comprehensive insurance coverage

The eSvarna Corporate Credit Card by IndusInd Bank, launched on December 26th, 2023, is India’s first corporate credit card on the RuPay network. It integrates UPI functionality, allowing for smooth transactions at merchant outlets and flexibility to make UPI payments. The card offers exclusive rewards, including luxurious travel experiences, lounge access, fuel surcharge waivers, and comprehensive travel insurance. It is designed to provide enhanced control over corporate expenses and convenience in managing business transactions. The card also offers services like a dedicated relationship manager, consolidated payment options, and the option to emboss the company’s name on the card.

MeitY Advisory on Deepfakes mind map
Recent News 
Second Advisory Issued
Date
December 26, 2023
Context
Addressing AI Deepfakes
Growing misinformation concerns
Why
Mitigate Misinformation Risks
Deepfakes amplify threats
Ensuring internet safety
What
Advisory Details
Comply with IT Rules
Communicate Prohibited Content
Specified under Rule 3(1)(b)
Emphasize Penal Provisions
Inclusive of IPC, IT Act 2000
Rule 3(1)(b) Explanation
Due Diligence Section of IT Rules
Obligation to Communicate
Regulations, Privacy Policy
User Agreement in Preferred Language
Prevent Prohibited Content
11 listed user harms
Including deepfakes
User Awareness
Inform about Legal Consequences
Regular Reminders
At registration, login
During information upload/share
Who
Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar
Convened Stakeholder Meetings
Emphasized Compliance Urgency
Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Alerted about Deepfake Dangers
How
Industry Collaboration
Digital India Dialogues
Agreement on Compliance Measures
Legal Framework
IT Rules notified in October 2022
Amended in April 2023
Pros/Significance
Enhance Digital Safety
Protecting users from AI threats
Foster Trust
On social media platforms
Way Forward
MeitY Monitoring Compliance
Potential Amendments
To IT Rules, Law
Ongoing Observations
In coming weeks

In simple terms, the Indian Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has released a second advisory to social media platforms, focusing on the compliance with Information Technology (IT) rules, especially concerning deepfakes and AI-driven misinformation. The advisory mandates clear communication of prohibited content, especially as specified under Rule 3(1)(b) of the IT rules, to users and emphasizes informing them about the penal provisions in case of violations. This move, initiated by Union Minister Rajeev Chandrasekhar and supported by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, aims to ensure the safety and trust of internet users by mitigating the risks associated with misinformation and deepfakes. MeitY will closely monitor the compliance of intermediaries and may consider further amendments to the IT rules and laws if required.

/ Space
Bharatiya Space Station mind map
Recent News
Plan to launch by 2035
Announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Original completion planned by 2030
Postponed due to Gaganyaan mission, COVID-19
First module launch targeted for 2028
International Cooperation
NASA's Bill Nelson expressed support
Potential collaboration with US, Canada, China
When
First module launch in 2028
Completion targeted by 2035
Why
Expand India's space capabilities
Support crewed missions
Enhance scientific research
What/Full Provisions
Station Statistics
Crew capacity of 3
Weight approximately 20 tonnes
Orbit at 400 km above Earth
Duration for astronauts 15-20 days
Launch Details
Launch vehicle LVM3
Next Generation Launch Vehicle for remaining modules
Features
Docking infrastructure for personnel, cargo
Zero gravity research labs
Modular construction in space
Robotics and Human Missions
Initial module operated by robots
Crewed missions post-2035
Where
Orbiting Earth
Approximately 400 km altitude
Satish Dhawan Space Centre
Expected launch pad
Who
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)
Dr. S. Somanath, ISRO Chairman
K. Sivan, Former ISRO Chief
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson
How
Technological Development
Cutting-edge technology required
Private companies collaborating
Rocket Development
Heavy lift vehicles for 20-25-ton payloads
Modular Assembly
Combining individual modules in space
Funding and Budget
Substantial budget requirement
Private-sector involvement
Boosting satellite launch market
International Cooperation
Partnerships for knowledge, resource sharing
Pros/Significance
Advancement in Space Technology
Enhances satellite development capabilities
International Collaboration
Mutual benefits in knowledge, technology sharing
Geopolitical Influence
Strategic positioning in space exploration
Cons and/or Challenges
Technological Upgrades Needed
Life support, radiation protection, structural integrity
Financial Constraints
Costly project, requires substantial funding
Lack of Human Spaceflight Experience
Need for astronaut training, infrastructure
Geopolitical Implications
Navigating diplomatic concerns
Long-term Sustainability
Regular maintenance, resupply missions
Space Debris Management
Addressing environmental impact
Public Support
Outreach and education for awareness
Way Forward
Gaganyaan Mission
Foundation for human spaceflight capabilities
Strengthening International Ties
Collaborations with spacefaring nations
Increasing Public Engagement
Highlighting scientific contributions
Addressing Challenges
Technological, financial, diplomatic efforts

In summary, the Bharatiya Space Station is India’s initiative to establish a permanent space station, aiming for completion by 2035 with the first module launch planned for 2028. This ambitious project by ISRO is set to enhance India’s capabilities in space technology, scientific research, and international space collaboration. The station is envisaged to have a crew capacity of three and be equipped with advanced features like docking infrastructure and zero-gravity research laboratories. However, the project faces challenges such as the need for cutting-edge technology, substantial funding, human spaceflight expertise, and managing geopolitical implications. The success of this endeavor hinges on international cooperation, technological advancement, and public support.

/ Geography, Space
Cold Moon mind map
When
Observed Date
December 27, 2023
Time
00:33 UTC
Why
Signifies Winter Arrival
Northern Hemisphere
Winter Solstice
Longest Night
Shortest Day
What
Names
Long Night Moon
Origin
Mohicans (Native North American Tribe)
Moon before Yule
Origin
Germanic Peoples
Yuletide Festival
Deer Shed Antlers Moon
Origin
Dakota Tribe (Native American Tribe)
General Winter Names
Drift Clearing Moon
Frost Exploding Trees Moon
Oak Moon
Moon of Popping Trees
Snow Moon
Little Spirit Moon
Hoar Frost Moon
Winter Maker Moon
Where
Global Phenomenon
Emphasis
Northern Hemisphere
Who
Old Farmer's Almanac
Popularized Term
Native Americans
Original Naming
Colonial Americans
Adopted Name
How
Moon Observation
Ancient Practice
Seasonal Changes Tracking
Significance
Cultural Importance
Native American Tribes
Symbolism
Winter, Long Nights
Hinduism
Vedic Significance
Waxing and Waning
Symbolizes
Recurrence, Rebirth
Ancestral World
Soma and Chandra Deities
Moon in Folklore
Associated with
Romance, Loneliness
Friendship, Pleasant Nights
Auspiciousness
Waxing Moon
Inauspiciousness
Waning Moon
Rituals and Beliefs
Full Moon, Half Moon, New Moon
New Moon Day
Offerings to Ancestors
Challenges
Adverse Influence
Full Moon Day
Mental, Emotional Instability
Hindu Belief
Vedic Astrology
Way Forward
Continued Cultural Recognition
Festivals and Traditions
Yuletide, Hindu Rituals

The Cold Moon, observed on December 27, 2023, marks the arrival of winter in the Northern Hemisphere and is associated with the winter solstice, the time of the year with the longest night. Its significance spans various cultures. For instance, Native American tribes named it symbolically for the winter season and long nights. In Hinduism, the moon is seen as a symbol of recurrence, rebirth, and the ancestral world, playing a significant role in cultural folklore and rituals. The Cold Moon’s different phases also hold varied auspicious and inauspicious beliefs in Hindu culture, influencing emotions and mental states. This phenomenon continues to be an integral part of cultural and spiritual observances worldwide.

Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) mind map
What
Overview
Series of Biennial Meetings
Forum for Maritime Security Cooperation
Discuss Regional Maritime Issues
Promote Friendly Relationships
Inception
First Held in 2008
Initiated by Indian Navy
India as First Host
Membership
25 Member Nations
Grouped into Four Sub-Regions
South Asian
Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan, Seychelles, Sri Lanka
West Asian
Iran, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, UAE
East African
France, Kenya, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Eritrea
South East Asian and Australian
Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, Timor Leste
9 Observer States
Symposiums
Rotating Chairmanship and Location
8 Editions as of 2023
Recent Edition in Bangkok, Thailand
When
8th Edition
December 19-22, 2023
Where
Bangkok, Thailand
Hosted by Royal Thai Navy
Who
Participants
Chiefs of Navies
Senior Delegates
27 Members and Observers
Key Figures
Admiral R Hari Kumar
Chief of the Naval Staff, India
Adoong Pan-Iam
Commander-in-Chief, Royal Thai Navy
How
Activities
Workshops, Essay Competitions, Lectures
Work Plan for Next Two Years
Discussions
Bilateral Maritime Issues
Strengthening Ties and Cooperation
Notable Developments
India's Role
Co-Chair of Maritime Security, HADR Working Groups
Designed Official IONS Flag
Republic of Korea
Welcomed as Latest Observer
Pros/Significance
Enhancing Maritime Cooperation
Among Indian Ocean Littoral States
Open and Inclusive Platform
For Regionally Relevant Maritime Issues
Fostering Common Understanding
Collaborative Strategies
Cons and/or Challenges
Navigating Diverse Interests
Among Member States
Way Forward
Upcoming Chairmanship
India (2025-27)
Future Symposiums
Continuing Collaborative Efforts
Strengthening Regional Security and Cooperation

The Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) is a collaborative forum initiated by the Indian Navy in 2008, comprising biennial meetings between the littoral states of the Indian Ocean. It aims to enhance maritime security cooperation, address regional maritime issues, and promote friendly relationships among its members. The symposium has evolved with a rotating chairmanship and location, featuring 25 member nations and 9 observer states. The 8th edition was held in Bangkok, Thailand, in December 2023, with the Royal Thai Navy hosting the event. Key discussions revolved around maritime security, humanitarian assistance, and disaster relief. India played a significant role, taking over as the co-chair of specific working groups and introducing the official IONS flag. The inclusion of the Republic of Korea as an observer expanded the collective strength to 34 nations. This platform serves as a critical mechanism for fostering maritime cooperation and understanding among nations in the Indian Ocean region.

Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023 mind map
Recent News
Introduced in Rajya Sabha
Date
August 1, 2023
Introduced by
Minister of Information and Broadcasting
Anurag Thakur
Passed in Rajya Sabha
By voice vote
When
Introduced
August 1, 2023
Passed in Rajya Sabha
Specific date not mentioned
Why
Replaces old legislation
Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867
Aim
Streamline digital procedures
Verify and register periodical titles
Reduce bureaucratic processes
What
Registration of Periodicals
Includes publications with public news
Excludes books, scientific, and academic journals
Registration Process
Online application to Press Registrar General
Local authority involvement
Prohibitions
Convicted individuals
Terrorist acts, unlawful activities
Actions against State security
Foreign Periodicals
Reproduction in India
Requires central government approval
Press Registrar General
Roles
Maintains register of periodicals
Guidelines for title admissibility
Verifies circulation figures
Can revise, suspend, or cancel registration
Printing Press Registration
Online information submission
Suspension and Cancellation
Reasons
False information
Failure to publish continuously
False annual statement particulars
Period
Minimum 30 days to 180 days
Penalties and Appeal
Imposition of penalties
Unregistered periodical publication
Failure to furnish annual statement
Appeal process
Press and Registration Appellate Board
Who
Involved Parties
Press Registrar General
District Magistrate
Central Government
Local Authorities
How
Registration Mechanism
Online applications
Simplified process
Reduced time frame
Implementation
Central government oversight
Press Registrar General's authority
Pros/Significance
Streamlined Processes
Faster title registration
Reduced time from 2-3 years to 60 days
Benefits
Small and medium publishers
Reduced bureaucracy
Cons and/or Challenges
Editors Guild of India's Concerns
Expansion of power
Beyond Press Registrar
Registration Denial and Cancellation
Unlawful activities, security threats
Power to Enter Press Premises
Press Registrar and specified authority
Power to Frame Rules
Central government
Way Forward
Parliamentary Committee Review
Recommended by Editors Guild of India
Comprehensive discussion on press freedom
Address concerns about media freedom

The Press and Registration of Periodicals Bill, 2023, introduced in India’s Rajya Sabha, aims to replace the colonial-era Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867. It seeks to modernize the process of registering periodicals, streamlining procedures, and reducing bureaucracy. The Bill introduces online applications for registration, empowers the Press Registrar General, and sets rules for foreign periodicals. While it promises expedited processes and benefits for small and medium publishers, concerns have been raised about its potential impact on press freedom, expansion of government powers, and the authority given to government agencies beyond the Press Registrar.

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