Goaltide Daily Current Affairs 2022

Feb 15, 2022

Current Affair 1:
Democracy Index 2021


The Democracy Index, which began in 2006, provides a snapshot of the state of democracy worldwide in 165 independent states and two territories.

The Economic Intelligence Unit recently released the Democracy Index Report, 2021.

The Democracy Index is based on five categories: electoral process and pluralism, functioning of government, political participation, political culture, and civil liberties.

According to our measure of democracy, less than half (45.7%) of the world’s population now live in a democracy of some sort, a significant decline from 2020 (49.4%).

India is categorized under Flawed Democracy.

Nothing more is required.


Current Affair 2:
Outer Space Treaty and Problem of Space Debris


Ever since the launch of the famed Russian satellite, Sputnik-I, which launched in 1957, we have sent thousands of satellites and rockets into the Earth's orbit to explore the infinite universe however we have also been simultaneously creating a mess around Earth.

Currently, there are 2000 Satellites which are in Geo-Sync with the Blue Planet, actively functioning and transmitting signals from the Ground, however, there are also 3000 'apparently dead' satellites which continue to revolve alongside their functioning Counterparts. The word 'dead' refers to their non-functioning state as they may have been phased out by upgraded versions.

Space debris, also referred as Space Junk, comprises of leftover propulsion systems or satellite components that drift hundreds of miles above the Earth, posing a serious threat of colliding with satellites.

What is the problem?

Basically, the discarded material from launch vehicles such as rockets, that get left behind, to roam around in space. Since this junk material floats around space, it often comes into contact with satellites or even Space Stations risking collision. Space debris can also come from explosions in space or through missile tests to destroy satellites.

Outer Space Treaty and Liability Convention:

The Magna Carta of Space Laws, the Outer Space Treaty was signed in the Fall of 1967 and gave way for international consensus stipulating that the outer celestial bodies will be solely used only for peaceful purposes, and prevents any sort of Military Activity in the Outer Space.

It also had certain Noble provisions and just like the other treaties, it also is subject to amendment and further lays down legally binding rules in the view of governing the peaceful exploration and use of space. It has been ratified by 105 Countries and is also dubbed as the 'Constitution of Space'.


Many experts in international law believe that the fundamental provisions of this treaty are so well-observed that they exist as an entirely different set of legislation as "customary" international law.

Article I of the Outer Space Treaty of 1967 states "Outer space, including the Moon and other celestial bodies, shall be free for exploration and use by all States without discrimination of any kind, on a basis of equality and in accordance with international law, and there shall be free access to all areas of celestial bodies".

Another important aspect of this pickle, is the Ownership of the Debris, which can be used through an example.


Suppose a US-based telecom-operator launches a communications satellite and a part of the satellite becomes loose, say The Solar Array, but can be identified, collides with the antenna of a Japanese satellite causing harm to it.

Under Article VI of the OST, US bears an "international responsibility" for the activities conducted by its nationals up there, even if the nationals are governmental agencies or private entities. Hence, the US would be held responsible for the actions of its nationals, private entity in this case, and for the further consequences and resulting damage, if such mishaps create space debris and further aggravate this issue.

Legal Gravity and Lacunae.

Like all international law, the Outer Space Treaty, is technically binding to those countries who sign up for it.

However, the obvious lack of a "Space Para-Force", a military branch of a nation's armed forces that conducts military operations in outer space, implies that it cannot be practically enforced. So, the signatories could simply ignore it at will. Consequences for not complying could include (monetary) sanctions but, primarily, a lack of legitimacy and respect which is of substance in the international stage can be seen.

Despite its significance, we must consider that the Outer Space Treaty has some specific gaps to operate in the modern era, since it is mostly focused on countries only.

Many private companies, like Lunar Land, have exploited this loophole and have offered to sell tracts of land on celestial bodies such as our Moon. The justifications for their activity revolve around this - because the treaty says that territory is not subject to national appropriation – and therefore, this means that private companies or even individuals make claims to celestial territory, since they don't fall under the ambit of Definition of Countries.

Regarding ownership claims, that aspect is under peril too when a group of eight countries tried to claim ownership of a segment of an orbit that was in the space situated above their land - since if their borders projected into the heavens, any "stationary" satellite there would always be within their borders. The more concerning fact is that this conduct later emerged into the formation of Bogota Declaration

(To get around the Outer Space Treaty’s declaration that outer space is not subject to national appropriation, the Bogotá Declaration categorized the geostationary orbit (“GEO”) as a natural resource, not a region of space.  Indeed, the Declaration claimed that the unique properties of GEO are created by the Earth itself.  By categorizing this orbit as a resource, these states could call on the jus cogens principle that states have absolute control over their natural resources.   Given the unique characteristics of the GEO, this is not an outrageous proposition.)

Future launches for debris

ClearSpace-1 (ESA) will be the first space mission to remove an item of debris from orbit, planned for launch in 2025. The mission is being procured as a service contract with a start-up-led commercial consortium, to help establish a new market for in-orbit servicing, as well as debris removal.

Current Affair 3:
ISRO successfully launches new earth observation satellite


On February 14, 2022, the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle PSLV- C52 successfully launched EOS-04 Satellite from the first launch pad of Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC), SHAR, Sriharikota. This is ISRO’s first launch of the year, and follows the failed launch of the EOS-03 satellite in August last year.

The EOS-04, formerly known as RISAT-1A, is a land-based earth observation satellite that images using radar. It functions in all weather conditions and is used for agricultural and forestry applications like terrain mapping and soil moisture monitoring. It was inserted into a sun synchronous orbit at an altitude of 529 km from the surface.

EOS-04 is the sixth satellite to be launched under the RISAT (Radar Imaging Satellite) programme in the last decade.

The two other satellites were INS-2TD, a technology demonstrator from ISRO with a thermal imaging camera, and INSPIREsat-1, a student satellite developed by the Indian Institute of Space Technology (IIST) to study the ionosphere.​

It was the 23rd flight of the PSLV in its XL configuration with six strap-on motors. Overall, it is the 54th flight of a PSLV rocket and the 80th launch from Satish Dhawan Space Centre. ​

The primary satellite, EOS-04 has been put in a very precise orbit by PSLV-C52. Co-passenger satellites INS-2TD and INSPIREsat-1 have also been placed in the right orbits.

The satellites

​Built at ISRO’s UR Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru,

  1. EOS-04 carries a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) that can peer through all kinds of weather and clouds, during night time as well.
  2. Its data will complement the data from Resourcesat, Cartosat series, and RISAT-2B series, and will be collected in the C-band.
  3. It will be used in the fields of plantations, flood mapping, hydrology and more. The satellite weighs 1,710 kg and will function for at least 10 years.

INS-2TD is a precursor to the India-Bhutan joint satellite, INS-2B, built by Bhutanese engineers who were trained at UR Rao Satellite Centre from 28 December 2020 to 25 February 2021.

INSPIREsat-1 is developed by IIST in association with University of Colorado, US, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, and National Central University, Taiwan. INSPIRE stands for the International Space Program in Research and Education, and was launched in 2017.

RISAT is the first indigenous satellite imaging mission of ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) using an active radar sensor system, namely a C-band SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) imager. The overall objective of the RISAT mission is to use the all-weather as well as the day-and-night SAR observation capability in applications such as agriculture, forestry, soil moisture, geology, sea ice, coastal monitoring, object identification, and flood monitoring. The RISAT specifications have been drawn with the national requirements in mind.

Current Affair 4:
Ultra-processed foods


Ultra-processed foods are industrial formulations made entirely or mostly from substances extracted from foods (oils, fats, sugar, starch, and proteins), derived from food constituents (hydrogenated fats and modified starch), or synthesized in laboratories from food substrates or other organic sources (flavour enhancers, color, and several food additives used to make the product hyper-palatable). Manufacturing techniques include extrusion, moulding and pre-processing by frying.

Ultra-processed food products include many soft drinks, biscuits, processed meats, instant noodles, frozen meals, flavoured yoghurts and bread products. Consumption of ultra-processed food has been linked to health and environmental harms.

Current Affair 5:
How Does Indelible Ink Work?


An indispensable part of the voting process is the ‘indelible ink’ that is applied on the left index finger of every person who exercises their franchise, preventing people from engaging in fraudulent voting.

Let us take a look at the history of this innovation.

The ink was one of the first achievements by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), in the 1950s, when scientists of the erstwhile Chemical Division began researching ways to prevent fraudulent voting. It was later patented by the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC).

The main constituent of the water-based ink is silver nitrate, which on reaction with the nail and on exposure to light gets darker. It will remain on the skin for “at least two days”, according to CSIR. It can even remain up to a month, depending upon the person’s body temperature and the environment.

The mark will wear off only when the old skin cells begin to die and are replaced by new ones.

The ink also contains a solvent like alcohol to allow faster drying and also has some dyes. The ink is photo-sensitive and needs to be protected from exposure to direct sun rays. “Therefore, amber-coloured plastic containers are a must for storing the ink, which in earlier times was stored in brown-coloured glass bottle.

If individuals apply greasy materials like petroleum jelly to act as a barrier to the skin, the ink will not react and there is no stain.

The indelible ink is exported to more than 25 countries, including Canada, Ghana, Nigeria, Mongolia, Malaysia, Nepal, South Africa and the Maldives.

In 1962, Mysore Paints & Varnish Ltd., an undertaking of the Karnataka government, was granted exclusive license to manufacture the ink.


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