Current Affairs – February 2018

Current Affairs – February 2018 with Latest Current Affairs for Banking, SSC, CLAT, UPSC, State PCS, IBPS and other Competitive Examinations. Current Affairs Today – February 2018 with news summary on current events of national and international importance.

Light transport aircraft SARAS successfully completes second test-flight

India’s indigenous developed light transport aircraft SARAS PT1N has successfully completed second test-flight. It was the second of the 20 test flights planned for SARAS PT1N, before it is frozen to production version.  The first successful test was carried out in January 2017. Indian Air Force (IAF) has committed to induct 15 aircrafts initially.

SARAS PT1N

SARAS PT1N is first Indian multi-purpose civilian aircraft in light transport aircraft category as designed by the CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL). ts development is seen as culmination of efforts of CSIR-NAL, IAF-ASTE, Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC), HAL and Directorate General of Aeronautical Quality Assurance (DGAQA).

SARAS PT1N upgraded version of envisioned Saras aircraft programme aircraft. It is 14-seater and the production version aircraft will have 19-seat capacity. It weighs 7-tonne and has been designed to travel at 425 km/h. It has maximum continuous flight time of around five hours.

The upgraded version of plane is equipped with more modern avionics system, improved radar, linear wing flap actuator, engine flap actuators, environment control, better flight control system, larger metallic rudder for enhanced control, redesigned landing-gear actuators,brand-new brake system, and fire resistant design for aircraft’s nacelle.

Background

The aircraft programme is named after Indian crane Saras. It was first conceptualised in 1990s to establish short-haul civil aviation market. The original design of plane included maximum take-off weight of 6,100kg and a maximum payload of 1,232kg.

The first prototype of the plane had made its first flight in May 2004. SARAS PT1N is upgraded version of plane, after second prototype of SARAS that had crashed during test flight killing all three crew members on board in March 2009.

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N Gopalaswami Committee to select top 20 educational institutes of eminence

Government  has constituted Empowered Expert Committee (EEC) to select 20 Institutions of Eminence from among 104 institutions (public or private) that have applied for the status.

The committee will be headed by former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) N Gopalaswami. Its other members are Professor Tarun Khanna, director of South Asia Institute at Harvard University, Renu Khator, president of University of Houston and former director of IIM Lucknow, Pritam Singh.

Institutions of Eminence

The scheme of Institutions of Eminence was rolled out by University Grants Commission (UGC). It aims to help 20 higher education (10 public and 10 private) institutions from country break into top 500 global rankings in 10 years, and then eventually break into top 100 over time.

These selected institutions are proposed to have greater autonomy compared to other higher education institutions. They will be free to decide their fee for domestic and foreign students and have flexible course duration and structure.

They will be exempted from approvals of government or UGC for academic collaborations with foreign institutions, except institutions in MEA and MHA’s list of negative countries.

Once identified, the target for Institutions of Eminence will be to break into top 100 bracket in one internationally reputed ranking framework in 10 years. The 10 government institutions selected will also get Rs 1,000 crore each from HRD Ministry to achieve world-class status. There will be no financial assistance to the private institutions.

Only higher education institutions, currently placed in the top 500 of global rankings or top 50 of National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF), are eligible to apply for eminence tag. The private Institutions of Eminence can also come up as greenfield ventures provided sponsoring organisation submits convincing perspective plan for 15 years.

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