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Evening News Digest: 09 Nov 2018

India joins as Member of Advanced Motor Fuels Technology Collaboration Programme under IEA

India joined as a member of Advanced Motor Fuels Technology Collaboration Program (AMF TCP) under International Atomic Energy (IEA) on Nov 8.

The programme TCP works under the framework of IEA to which India has "Association" status since March 30, 2017.

Ministry of Petroleum & Gas has joined AMF TCP as 16th member in the month of May 2018. The other countries of this group are USA, China, Japan, Canada, Chile, Israel, Germany, Austria, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Spain, South Korea, Switzerland and Thailand.

Primary Goals

The primary goal of joining the programme by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas is to facilitate the market introduction of advanced motor fuels/ alternate fuels with an aim to bring down emissions and achieve higher fuel efficiency in the transport sector.

AMF TCP also provides an opportunity for fuel analysis, identifying new/ alternate fuels for deployment in transport sector and allied R&D activities for the reduction in emissions in fuel-intensive sectors.

The programme is an international platform for co-operation among countries to promote cleaner and more energy efficient fuels and vehicle technologies.

Indian Government Efforts

India aspires to reduce the energy import by at least 10% by 2022. Thus joining this program will help India in furthering its efforts and identification of suitable fuel alternatives for transport sector in respect of higher efficiency but lower emissions.

National Policy on Biofuels 2018 also focuses on R&D in the field of advanced biofuels such as 2G ethanol, Bio-CNG, bio methanol, Drop in Fuels, etc. These advanced fuels can be produced from crop residues, municipal solid waste, industrial waste, etc.


The major benefit of joining AMF TCP are shared tools and pooled technical resources. There is an information exchange about best practices, network of researchers and linking research with practical implementation.

Strategic disinvestment of 100% equity in Dredging Corporation approved

The Union Cabinet on 08 Nov approved strategic sale of government stake in Dredging Corporation of India Ltd, to consortium of 4 ports.

The government currently holds 73.44 percent in DCIL.

The government has approved strategic disinvestment of 100 percent Government of India's share in DCIL to consortium of 4 ports, namely Vishakhapatnam Port Trust, Paradeep Port Trust, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust and Kandla Port Trust.

The approval will further facilitate the linkage of dredging activities with the ports, keeping in view the role of the DCIL in expansion of dredging activity in the country as well as potential diversification of ports into third party dredging.

The government has budgeted to raise Rs 80,000 crore from PSU disinvestment. So far this fiscal, the government has mopped up over Rs 15,000 crore from PSU stake sale.

What is dredging?

Dredging is the operation of removing material from one part of the water environment and relocating it to another. In all but a few situations the excavation is undertaken by specialist floating plant, known as a dredger.

Central Tribal University to be set up in Andhra Pradesh

The Cabinet on 08 Nov approved setting up of a Central Tribal University in Andhra Pradesh.

The 'Central Tribal University of Andhra Pradesh' will be set up in Relli village of Vizianagaram district as provided under the 13th schedule to the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.

Central Tribal University

India’s first Indira Gandhi Tribal University was set up in Amarkantak, Madhya Pradesh in 2007.

Second Tribal University was announced in 2017 to be set up in Jharkhand. With the announcement to set up the same in Andhra Pradesh, it becomes third such university.

Kalinga University of Social Sciences is exclusive tribal university where only tribal students are enrolled.

Padur Strategic Petroleum Reserves to be filled by overseas National Oil Companies

The Union Cabinet on Nov 8 approved filling of Strategic Petroleum Reserves (SPR) at Padur, Karnataka, by overseas national oil companies in order to strengthen the oil reserves in the country. The SPR facility at Padur is an underground rock cavern with a total capacity of 2.5 million metric tonnes (MMT), with four compartments of 0.625 MMT each.

Oil traders and producers could use the Padur storage to stock their oil and sell it to refineries in the region on commercial terms. India, which meets 83 per cent of its oil needs through imports, will have the right of first refusal to buy the crude oil stored the facilities in case of an emergency.

According to government, Rs. 10000 Cr will be saved by filling this inventory.

The Indian Strategic Petroleum Reserves Ltd (ISPRL) has constructed and commissioned underground rock caverns for storage of total 5.33 MMT of crude oil at three locations namely Vishakhapatnam (1.33 MMT), Mangaluru (1.5 MMT) and Padur (2.5 MMT).

The total 5.33 MMT capacity under Phase-I of the SPR program is estimated to supply about 95 days of India's crude requirement according to the consumption data for fiscal 2017-18.

Further, the government has given in-principle approval in June 2018 to establish additional 6.5 MMT SPR facilities at Chandikhol in Odisha and Padur in Karnataka.

Leasing out of six airports through PPP approved

The Union Cabinet has given in-principle approval for leasing out six airports of Airport Authority of India (AAI) on Nov 8.

It includes Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Lucknow, Guwahati, Thiruvananthapuram and Mangaluru for operation, management and development under Public Private Partnership (PPP) through Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee (PPPAC).

Why Public Private Partnership?

Private participation in infrastructure projects brings efficiency in service delivery, expertise, enterprise and professionalism, apart from harnessing the investments in the public sector.

PPP in airport management has helped the government raise sizeable revenue and utilize the model for better air connectivity elsewhere in the country, the government said. It hopes the move will bring more foreign investment into airport infrastructure.

However, it is not immediately clear whether the private players in the six airports that are to be jointly managed will get land parcels for real estate development beyond aviation requirements. The government also set up an empowered committee of secretaries to oversee the process.

India’s Civil Aviation Market

India’s civil aviation market has been growing at 19% over the last four years and is projected to be the third largest in the world by 2025, after the US and China.

The government is targeting an increase in the number of air passengers from 265 million in 2017 to about one billion in 10-15 years, as more people are travelling by air. This calls for massive investments in airports and greater productivity.

West Bengal to observe ‘Rosogolla Day’ on Nov. 14

West Bengal government decided to observe ‘Rosogolla Day’ on November 14, to commemorate the first anniversary of the state’s famous sweet getting Geographical Indication (GI) tag as ‘Bengal’s Rosogolla’.

Different varieties of rosogollas would be showcased in the stalls of the ‘Mishti Hub’ (Sweetmeat Hub), set up in one part of the Eco Park in New Town, Kolkata.The Eco Park is managed by the West Bengal Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO).


On November 14 last year, West Bengal had received the GI tag for Bengal’s Rosogolla. The GI tag is a sign that
identifies a product as originating from a particular place.

ISRO plans Venus mission for 2023

The Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) has invited international proposals for scientific payloads for its second interplanetary mission to Venus in mid-2023.

India will send 12 scientific payloads aboard the satellite for the Venus mission, including a thermal camera, mass spectrometer and cloud monitoring camera. The final spacecraft is likely to have a payload capacity of close to 100 kg, with 500W of power. The satellite is likely to be launched into a highly-inclined orbit of 500x60,000 km around Venus. The apoapsis, or the point when the satellite is furthest away from Venus, will gradually reduce over several months.

Venus is considered to be Earth’s “twin sister” because of similarities in size, mass, density, composition and gravity. The mission will focus on studying the surface and the sub-surface of the planet, atmospheric chemistry, and the interactions with solar radiation or solar winds.

Indian Venusian orbiter mission

The Indian Venusian orbiter mission is a proposed orbiter to Venus by the ISRO to study the surface and atmosphere of Venus.

Based on the success of Chandrayaan and the Mars Orbiter Mission, ISRO has been studying the feasibility of future interplanetary missions to Mars and Venus, the closest planetary neighbours to Earth. 

USA, Japan, Russia and European Union has sent missions to study the Venus.

NASA's space instrument Ralph set to visit Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids

NASA’s Ralph and Lucy will be sent to explore Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids. Trojan asteroids are remnants from the earliest days of our solar system.

Ralph is a space instrument that has travelled as far as Pluto, while Lucy is a mission payload, or the spacecraft which would be carrying various scientific instruments including Ralph to study the properties of the asteroids.

The mission will be launched in 2021 and would be the very first space mission to study the Trojans.

Jupiter Trojan Asteroids

The Trojan asteorids orbit sun in two loose groups: 1. one group is always ahead of Jupiter, called Greek Camp. 2. The other group is always behind, called Trojan Camp.

The two clusters are stabilized at these two Lagrange points in a gravitational balancing act between the Sun and Jupiter. Lagrange points are sweet spots in a planetary orbit where the pull of gravity working from two opposing celestial bodies is balanced due to the centripetal force of their orbits.

The Trojan asteroids in Jupiter’s orbit could be made from the same material as the outer planets which were formed during the birth of the solar system more than 4 billion years ago.

Lucy Mission

The Lucy mission will comprise a 12-year journey with a fly-by to seven different asteroids -- six Trojan asteroids and a Main Belt asteroid -- more than any other previous asteroid mission.


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