PIB – 15th Dec 2020


  • ‘Himgiri’, the first of the three Project 17A ships being built at M/s Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers Limited (GRSE), Kolkata was launched on 14 Dec 20. The ship has taken its name and crest of the second Frigate of the Leander Class of ships, which incidentally was launched 50 years ago in 1970. 
  • Under the Project 17A program, a total of seven ships, four at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) and three ships at GRSE are being built with enhanced stealth features, advanced indigenous weapon and sensor fit along with several other improvements. 
  • The launch of ‘Himgiri’ has showcased GRSE’s commitment towards the building of three state-of-the-art warships of P17A for Indian Navy. Over the years, GRSE has emerged as a leading shipyard having built over 100 ships. 
  • The yard has scaled up its infrastructure and skill sets to meet new challenges in building P17A ships. P17A ships are the first gas turbine propulsion and largest combat platforms ever built at GRSE. 
  • Since its inception, Project 17A has upheld India’s vision for Atmanirbhar Bharat. P17A ships have been indigenously designed by Directorate of Naval Design (Surface Ship Design Group) – DND(SSG), and are being built at indigenous yards namely MDL and GRSE. Naval shipbuilding provides a great opportunity to energise our economy post COVID-19. 
  • Project 17A ships are sourcing 80% of the material/ equipment required for the project from indigenous vendors and with employment generation for over 2000 Indian firms and MSMEs within the country. Modular construction of the ship through outsourcing, and integrated construction methodology are being used to enhance GRSE’s productivity for delivery of ships targeted in August 2023.

VigyanYatras to promote Scientific Temper among Masses being organised by various institutions ahead of IISF 2020

  • VigyanYatra is a promotional activity of the India International Science Festival. In this activity, the mobile science exhibition vans flag off from many cities of the country and the vision behind this science journey is to promote scientific temper and inculcate the culture of science among the masses. 
  • This Program also ignites the minds of the youngsters because science exhibition mobile vanzare viewed by all local school/university students that create interest in science and generate awareness about the IISF. 

NITI Aayog releases ‘Vision 2035: Public Health Surveillance in India’

  • NITI Aayog today released a white paper: Vision 2035: Public Health Surveillance in India with the vision:
  1. To make India’s public health surveillance system more responsive and predictive to enhance preparedness for action at all levels.
  2. Citizen-friendly public health surveillance systems will ensure individual privacy and confidentiality, enabled with a client feedback mechanism.
  3. Improved data-sharing mechanism between Centre and states for better disease detection, prevention, and control.
  4. India aims to provide regional and global leadership in managing events that constitute a public health emergency of international concern.

The Geminids meteor shower

  • The Geminids meteor shower, believed to be the strongest of the year, is active from December 4-December 20, with December 13 and 14 considered to be the best nights for viewing these meteor showers.
  • Soon after the Geminids meteor shower, viewers in the northern hemisphere can expect to see the Ursids meteor shower, which will be active from December 17-December 26 and will peak right before Christmas on the night of December 21-December 22.
  • However, the rate of Ursids is much less than Geminids. Geminids viewers in the northern hemisphere can expect to see about 60 meteors per hour compared to Ursids, whose observers can typically see 5-10 meteors per hour.
  • What are meteor showers?
  • Meteors are bits of rock and ice that are ejected from comets as they manoeuvre around their orbits around the sun. For instance, the Orionids meteors emerge from the comet 1P/Halley and make their yearly presence in October. Meteor showers are witnessed when Earth passes through the trail of debris left behind by a comet or an asteroid.
  • When a meteor reaches the Earth, it is called a meteorite and a series of meteorites, when encountered at once, is termed a meteor shower. According to NASA, over 30 meteor showers occur annually and are observable from the Earth.
  • As meteors fall towards the Earth, the resistance makes the space rocks extremely hot and, as meteorites pass through the atmosphere, they leave behind streaks of glowing gas that are visible to the observers and not the rock itself.
  • Why is the Geminid meteor shower considered to be the best of the year?
  • The Geminids meteor showers are unique because their origin does not lie in a comet, but what is believed to be an asteroid or an extinct comet. The Geminids emerge from 3200 Phaethon, which meteor scientists consider to be an asteroid.
  • Discovered on October 11, 1983, the asteroid is over 5 km in diameter and was named after the Greek myth of Phaethon, the son of Sun god Helios.
  • According to NASA, the Geminids rate will be better this year because the shower’s peak overlaps with a nearly new moon, which means there will be darker skies and no moonlight to wash out the fainter meteors. While the meteors peaked on the night of December 13 to the dawn of December 14, some meteor activity may still be visible in the days before and after this peak.