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27th September 2022

  • Published
    27 September 2022

Flex fuel Car

Context

India’s first ‘flex fuel’ car, a Toyota sedan that can run on one or multiple fuel types and developed as part of a new pilot aimed at deleveraging the country’s dependence on imported fossil fuels for transportation, is set for an unveiling this month.

About

Flex fuel technology:

  • A flex fuel, or flexible fuel, vehicle has an internal combustion engine (ICE), but unlike a regular petrol or diesel vehicle, this can run on more than one type of fuel, or even a mixture of fuels.
  • The most common versions use a blend of petrol and ethanol or methanol, but these engines are also equipped to run on 100 per cent petrol or ethanol as well.
  • This is made possible by equipping the engine with a fuel mix sensor and an engine control module (ECM) programming that senses and automatically adjusts for any ratio of designated fuels.
  • It was first developed in the early 1990s and used in the mass-produced 1994 Ford Taurus, according to Car Bibles. By 2017, there were approximately 21 million flex-fuel vehicles on the road.


Key Components of a Flex Fuel Car

  • Battery: The battery provides electricity to start the engine and power vehicle electronics/accessories.
  • Electronic control module (ECM):The ECM controls the fuel mixture, ignition timing, and emissions system; monitors the operation of the vehicle; safeguards the engine from abuse; and detects and troubleshoots problems.
  • Exhaust system:The exhaust system channels the exhaust gases from the engine out through the tailpipe. A three-way catalyst is designed to reduce engine-out emissions within the exhaust system.
  • Fuel filler:A nozzle from a fuel dispenser attaches to the receptacle on the vehicle to fill the tank.
  • Fuel injection system:This system introduces fuel into the engine's combustion chambers for ignition.
  • Fuel line:A metal tube or flexible hose (or a combination of these) transfers fuel from the tank to the engine's fuel injection system.
  • Fuel pump: A pump that transfers fuel from the tank to the engine's fuel injection system via the fuel line.
  • Fuel tank (ethanol/gasoline blend):Stores fuel on board the vehicle to power the engine.
  • Internal combustion engine (spark-ignited):In this configuration, fuel is injected into either the intake manifold or the combustion chamber, where it is combined with air, and the air/fuel mixture is ignited by the spark from a spark plug.
  • Transmission: The transmission transfers mechanical power from the engine and/or electric traction motor to drive the wheels.

How flex fuel cars work?

  • Flex fuel vehicles have one fuel system, and most components are the same as those found in a conventional petrol-only car.
  • Some special ethanol-compatible components are required to adjust to the different chemical properties and energy content in ethanol or methanol, such as modifications to the fuel pump and fuel injection system.
  • The ECM is also calibrated to accommodate the higher oxygen content of ethanol.

Advantages of Flex-Fuel

Driving a flex-fuel car can have several benefits for you and the environment. These include:

  • Cleaner Fuel
  • Flexible Usage
  • Sustainable Source
  • Provides similar, and sometimes better, performance than pure petrol cars

Disadvantages of Flex-Fuel

As with any new technology, there are a few drawbacks to using flex-fuel. These include:

  • Nationwide Adoption: The greatest barrier to flex-fuel adoption is the infrastructure investment required to make the switch. Current engines will not be fully compatible with flex-fuels, which means fuel stations will need to cater to both pure petrol and flex-fuel cars by adding the appropriate infrastructure.
  • Increased Engine Wear: While the engines will be designed to adjust to the blend of fuel used, the ethanol component in the flex-fuel will cause greater wear and stress on the engines. This might translate to higher maintenance costs during the time the technology matures and improves reliability.
  • Lower Mileage: While ethanol burns cleaner, it also contains less energy than pure petrol.

Sittanavasal: a Jain heritage site in Tamil Nadu

Context

Archaeological Survey of India has undertaken conservation measures and also introduced digital checks to track public access in Sittanavasal, Pudukottai district of Tamil Nadu.

About

About Sittannavasal:

  • Sittannavasal is a small village in Pudukkottai district and is world famous for its fresco paintings in the rock-cut Jaina cave temple.
  • The megalithic monuments such as stone-circles, urn burials and cists spread in the plains of this village testify that this area was inhabited by pre-historic man.
  • Sittannavasal is known primarily for its mural paintings in the Jaina rock-cut cave temple called Arivar-koil.
  • There is a natural cavern, called Ezhadippattam, with polished rock beds of Jaina ascetics. These rock beds contain Tamil inscriptions.
  • Sittanavasal also houses megalithic burial sites and the Navachunai tarn (small mountain lake) with a submerged shrine.
  • In the Tamil Brahmi inscription mentioned before, the name of this place is mentioned as ‘ChiRu-posil’.
  • Megalithic burial sites in this village testify that the areas around the hillock having been inhabited by iron-age men.


The Monuments:

  • The Arivar-koil: On the western side of the hill, in the northern side, is the celebrated Jaina rock-cut cave temple called, Arivar-koil (temple-of-the-Arhat-s).
    • It has relics of paintings of 9th century AD.
    • These paintings are second only in importance after Ajanta paintings and have an important place in the Indian art history.
  • The Ezhadippattam: On the eastern side is the natural cavern called Ezhadippattam with polished rock beds where Jaina ascetics practiced severest penance, for more than a thousand years since 1st century BC.
    • It contains a 1st century BC Brahmi inscription and innumerable other Tamil inscription.
  • The Megalithic burial sites: There are megalithic monuments like urn-burials, stone circles and cists in plenty, near to the hillock.
  • The Navach-chunai: To the north of the natural cavern, on the eastern slope of the rock is a small rock-cut temple submerged in a tarn, called Navach-chunai.
    • It requires some amount of rock-climbing and trekking to reach there.

Presently, the Jaina cave temple, the natural cavern called Ezhadippattam, and the megalithic burial sites are protected monuments and are under Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).

The Sittannavasal Paintings

  • This Jaina cave temple is world famous primarily for its mural paintings.
  • The ceiling of the sanctum and ardha-mandapam of this cave temple contain beautiful paintings.
  • These paintings are of the classical or Ajanta style with variations in the handling of the materials by the artists.
  • They furnish a connected link between the Ajanta paintings (4th – 6th century AD) and the Chozha paintings of 11th century at Thanjavur.
  • These paintings include, as its subject matter, the Jaina Samavasarana, and in it the khatika-bhumi including a lotus tank, flowers, animals, bhavyas and dancing Apsaras, a royal couple and hamsas.


Surjapuri and Bajjika dialects

Context

Bihar Chief Minister and Education Minister have asked the state education department to set up academies for the promotion of the Surjapuri and Bajjika dialects on the lines of the Hindi and Urdu academies.

About
  • It has been instructed that these two academies be set up on the lines of eight already existing centres, constituted for the promotion of other dialects.
  • It is also directed that efforts must be made to strengthen all academies and bring them under an umbrella body for their effective functioning.
  • The department is currently working to will bring all such academies under one body.
  • The eight already existing language academies are
    • Bihar Hindi Granth Academy
    • Maithili academy
    • Magahi Academy
    • Bangla Academy
    • Sanskrit Academy
    • Bhojpuri Academy
    • Angika Academy
    • South Indian languages organization

Surjapuri dialects:

  • Surjapuri is spoken mainly in Kishanganj and other parts of Seemanchal in northeastern Bihar, including the districts of Katihar, Purnia and Araria.
  • The dialect, a mix of Bangla, Urdu, and Hindi, is also spoken in contiguous parts of West Bengal.
  • The name Surjapuri comes from Surjapur pargana, which no longer exists. But there is a toll plaza called Surjapur between Purnia and Kishanganj.
  • Although Surjapuri has nothing specifically to do with religion, the largest share of speakers of the language is made up of Surjapuri Muslims, who live mainly in Kishanganj, the district that has about 70 per cent Muslim population.
  • According to 2011 Census, the total number of Surjapuri-speaking population in Bihar stood at 18,57,930.

Bajjika dialects:

  • Bajjika, one of five dialects spoken in Bihar, is a mix of Hindi and Maithili, and is spoken mainly in Vaishali, Muzaffarpur, and parts of Sitamarhi, Sheohar and Samastipur.
  • Bajjika is not as well-known as other dialects such as Bhojpuri and Maithili.
  • Although the Bihar education department had considered teaching in local dialects up to Class 5 during the second Nitish Kumar government (2010-15), it did not come to fruition.
  • An estimate based on 2001 census data suggests that 20 million Bajjika speakers resided in Bihar at that time.

NavIC: Navigation with Indian Constellation

Context

The Indian government is pushing smartphone makers to enable support for its NavIC navigation system in new devices sold in the country from next year.

About

NaVIC:

  • NavIC, or Navigation with Indian Constellation, is an independent stand-alone navigation satellite system developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • Built at a cost of $174 million, NavIC was originally approved in 2006 and became operational in 2018
  • NavIC consists of eight satellites and covers the whole of India’s landmass and up to 1,500 km (930 miles) from its boundaries.
  • Navigation with Indian Constellation (NavIC), also called the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS), is considered on par with US-based GPS, Russia's Glonass and Galileo developed by Europe.
  • IRNSS will provide two types of services:
  • Standard Positioning Service (SPS) which is provided to all the users and
  • Restricted Service (RS), which is an encrypted service provided only to the authorised users.
  • The IRNSS System is expected to provide a position accuracy of better than 20 m in the primary service area.
  • Some applications of IRNSS are:
  • Terrestrial, Aerial and Marine Navigation
  • Disaster Management
  • Vehicle tracking and fleet management
  • Integration with mobile phones
  • Precise Timing
  • Mapping and Geodetic data capture
  • Terrestrial navigation aid for hikers and travellers
  • Visual and voice navigation for drivers
  • Limited Use: Currently, NavIC’s use is limited. It is being used in public vehicle tracking in India, for providing emergency warning alerts to fishermen venturing into the deep sea where there is no terrestrial network connectivity, and for tracking and providing information related to natural disasters.

Comparing NaVIC:

  • The main difference is the serviceable area covered by these systems.
  • GPS caters to users across the globe and its satellites circle the earth twice a day, while NavIC is currently for use in India and adjacent areas.
  • Like GPS, there are three more navigation systems that have global coverage – Galileo from the European Union, Russia-owned GLONASS and China’s Beidou.
  • QZSS, operated by Japan, is another regional navigation system covering Asia-Oceania region, with a focus on Japan.

Promotion to NaVIC:

  • NavIC is conceived with the aim of removing dependence on foreign satellite systems for navigation service requirements, particularly for “strategic sectors.”
  • Relying on systems like GPS and GLONASS may not always be reliable, as those are operated by the defence agencies of respective nations and it is possible that civilian services can be degraded or denied.
  • NavIC is an indigenous positioning system that is under Indian control. There is no risk of the service being withdrawn or denied in a given situation

Attorney General for India

Context

Senior Advocate Mukul Rohatgi has declined the government’s offer to be Attorney General (A-G) for India after “second thoughts”.

About

Incumbent Attorney General, K K Venugopal:

  • The term of the incumbent A-G, K K Venugopal, ends on September 30.
  • He is 91 years old, and on his third extension.
  • Venugopal has conveyed to the government that in view of his advanced age, he would not be able to continue after the end of his current term.

Attorney General of India:

  • The A-G is the Government of India’s first law officer, and has the right of audience in all courts of the country.
  • Who can become Attorney General for India? Under Article 76(1), the A-G is appointed by the President from among persons who are “qualified to be appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court”.
  • Term of Office: Article 76(4) says “the Attorney-General shall hold office during the pleasure of the President, and shall receive such remuneration as the President may determine.”
  • Duty: Article 76(2) of the Constitution says “it shall be the duty of the Attorney-General to give advice to the Government of India upon such legal matters, and to perform such other duties of a legal character, as may from time to time be referred or assigned to him by the President”.

Articles Related to Attorney-General of India

  • The Constitution of India under Article 76, has provided for the office of the Attorney General for India. He is the highest law officer in the country.
  • Under Article 88, the “Attorney-General of India shall have the right to speak in, and otherwise to take part in the proceedings of, either House, any joint sitting of the Houses, and any committee of Parliament of which he may be named a member”. However, he “shall not by virtue of this article be entitled to vote” in the House.
  • Article 105 of the constitution deals with powers, privileges and immunities of Attorney General.

 

Factual Information:

  • The first two incumbents of the post were the legendary M C Setalvad and C K Daphtary.
  • The A-G for India is not, like the A-G for England and Wales and the A-G of the United States, a member of the Cabinet.

Duties and Functions:

As the chief law officer of the Government of India, the duties of the AG include the following:

  • To give advice to the Government of India upon such legal matters, that are referred to him by the President.
  • To perform such other duties of a legal character that is assigned to him by the president.
  • To discharge the functions conferred on him by the Constitution or any other law.

The president has assigned the following duties to the AG:

  • To appear on behalf of the Government of India in all cases in the Supreme Court in which the Government of India is concerned.
  • To represent the Government of India in any reference made by the president to the Supreme Court under Article 143 of the Constitution.
  • To appear (when required by the Government of India) in any high court in any case in which the Government of India is concerned.

Integrated Cryogenic Engines Manufacturing Facility

Context

The President of India, Droupadi Murmu inaugurated Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL’s) state-of-the-art Integrated Cryogenic Engine Manufacturing Facility (ICMF) in Bengaluru recently.

About

About Integrated Cryogenic Engine Manufacturing Facility (ICMF):

  • The state-of-the-art ICMF, set up over an area of 4,500 square metres houses over 70 hi-tech equipment and testing facilities for manufacturing cryogenic (CE20) and semi-cryogenic (SE2000) engines of Indian rockets.
  • In 2013, an MOU was signed with ISRO for establishing the facility for manufacturing cryogenic engine modules at HAL, Aerospace Division, and it was subsequently amended in 2016 for setting up of ICMF with an investment of Rs 208 crore.
  • ICMF will boost self-reliance in manufacturing of High-thrust Rocket engines.
  • The facility will cater to the entire Rocket Engine Manufacturing under one roof for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • HAL Aerospace Division manufactures liquid propellant tanks and launch vehicle structures of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV MK-II), GSLV Mk-III and also stage integration for GSLV MK-II.
  • The Aerospace Division entering into manufacture of Cryogenic Engines is a major step in technology up-gradation cum modernization.
  • Indigenous cryogenic technology is important as it will assist India to further develop its rocket programme for launching heavy satellites.

Cryogenic Engine:

  • A cryogenic rocket engine is a rocket engine that uses a cryogenic fuel or oxidizer, that is, its fuel or oxidizers (or both) are gases liquefied and stored at very low temperatures.
  • Due to use of liquid gases as propellants, the cryogenic Rocket Engines are also called liquid-propellant rocket engines.
  • The engine uses cryogenic propellants i.e., Liquid Hydrogen at -265°C as fuel and Liquid O2 at -240° C as oxidizer.
  • The major components of a cryogenic rocket engine are the combustion chamber (thrust chamber), pyrotechnic initiator, fuel injector, fuel cryopumps, oxidizer cryopumps, gas turbine, cryo valves, regulators, the fuel tanks, and rocket engine nozzle.
  • In terms of feeding propellants to the combustion chamber, cryogenic rocket engines are either pressure-fed or pump-fed, and pump-fed engines work in either a gas-generator cycle, a staged-combustion cycle, or an expander cycle.

Advantages:

  • High Energy per unit mass: Propellants like oxygen and hydrogen in liquid form give very high amounts of energy per unit mass due to which the amount of fuel to be carried aboard the rockets decreases.
  • Clean Fuels: Hydrogen and oxygen are extremely clean fuels. When they combine, they give out only water. This water is thrown out of the nozzle in form of very hot vapor. Thus the rocket is nothing but a high burning steam engine.
  • Cryogenic rocket engines are much efficient than solid propellant based engines. They can deliver more thrust for a given mass of propellant.
  • The cryogenics are also essential requirements for the manned space flight ISRO’s is planning to launch in the near future.
  • The lower weight of the cryogenic propellants makes it possible to carry additional payloads to longer distance. Only the US, Russia, China, France and Japan have had this technology so far.

Disadvantages:

  • The fuel tanks tend to be bulky and require heavy insulation to store the propellant. Their high fuel efficiency, however, outweighs this disadvantage.
  • Despite non-toxic tendencies, cryogenic fuels are denser than air. As such, they can lead to asphyxiation.

Editorial

Pitching India as a signature destination

Context:

By increasing synergies across various government corridors, India can contribute to global and domestic tourism. The Dharamshala Declaration, G20 presidency, and National Tourism Policy 2022 offer a great deal of opportunity to bring India into the global arena.

Reimagining Tourism:

  • Pandemic- Time to rethink: Although the pandemic has severely affected the Tourism industry, it has also given us time to reset and rethink the way forward for tourism in India. We need to work out new frameworks to execute the vision and goals we have set for ourselves.
  • National Tourism Policy 2022: It aims at improving the framework conditions for tourism development in the country, supporting tourism industries, and developing tourism sub-sectors. It talks about giving impetus to digitalization, innovation, and technology through the National Digital Tourism Mission
  • National Green Tourism Mission: The Mission aims at institutionalizing the approach of living harmoniously with nature and within our means, the idea which has been propagated from Gautama to Gandhi. It includes promoting sustainable, responsible, and inclusive tourism in line with our civilizational ethos.
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ThinkQ

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QUIZ - 27th September 2022

Mains Question:

Question : Give an account of the growth and development of India’s own navigation system. How would the independent regional navigation satellite system help India in emerging world? (150 words)

Question Mapping

  • Subject: Science & Technology (GS-III)
    • Sub-topic: IT and Communication
  • Subject: Economy (GS-III)
    • Sub-topic: Infrastructure

Approach 

  • Introduction- brief about India’s regional navigation satellite system NavIC
  • Current utilisation of NavIC's
    • public vehicle tracking in India
    • for providing emergency warning alerts to fishermen venturing into the deep sea where there is no terrestrial network connectivity
    • for tracking and providing information related to natural disasters
  • Significance 
    • reduce dependence on foreign systems
    • more accurate domestic navigation
  • benefits for economy
  • national security
  • Global development in this area
    • China, the European Union, Japan and Russia have their own global or regional navigation systems to rival GPS
  • Conclude accordingly 
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