Kurukshetra IAS Academy Blogs

            1.It’s official: ‘Statio Shiv Shakti’ approved as name of Chandrayaan-3 landing site

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) working group for Planetary System Nomenclature has approved the name “Statio Shiv Shakti” for the landing site of Chandrayaan-3’s Vikram lander. The approval was given on March 19.

Planetary nomenclature, like terrestrial nomenclature, is used to uniquely identify a feature on the surface of a planet or satellite so that it can be easily located, described, and discussed.

The Gazetteer of Planetary Nomenclature “contains detailed information about all names of topographic and albedo features on planets and satellites [and some planetary ring and ring-gap systems] that the IAU has named and approved from its founding in 1919 through the present time”.

The IAU is the internationally recognised authority for assigning names to planetary surface features. It follows some rules and conventions to do so.

The IAU’s Rule 9 states: “No names having political, military or religious significance may be used, except for names of political figures prior to the 19th century.” The citation in the gazetteer for the name of the landing site of the Vikram lander reads: “Compound word from Indian mythology that depicts the masculine [“Shiva”] and feminine [“Shakti”] duality of nature.”

On August 26, 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the point where the moon lander of Chandrayaan-3 touched down would be called “Shiv Shakti”.

“In Shiv, there is a resolution for the welfare of humanity and Shakti gives us the strength to fulfil those resolutions,” Mr. Modi had said while announcing the name.

2. To curb illegal trade, Health Ministry tells States to plug gaps in compiling data of organ donors

The Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry has expressed concern over some States not compiling data of living and deceased donors which are essential to monitor the implementation of the organ transplantation programme and prevent commercial dealings in organs.

In an advisory to all States recently, the Health Ministry noted that the National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organisation (NOTTO), established under the Transplantation of Human Organs and Tissues Act (THOTA), 1994, was an apex organisation to provide for an efficient and organised system of organ procurement and distribution in the country and maintain a national registry of donors and recipients of organs and tissues, sources in the Transplant Authority of Tamil Nadu said. To fulfil the mandate, the hospitals carrying out organ and tissue transplantation, retrieval, or tissue banking were required to link with the NOTTO and provide both living and deceased organ and tissue donation and transplantation data for the National Registry.

However, it was observed that data were either incomplete or not provided by the States. Also, some States did not have a system for collecting living donor data.

The Ministry asked State Health Secretaries to instruct all licensed or registered transplant hospitals (Organ Transplant, Non-Transplant Retrieval Centres, and Tissue Banks) to get linked up with the NOTTO web portal.

Every transplanting hospital needed to register patients requiring transplants in the ‘subject demography format’ as available on the NOTTO web portal and update their status.

The advisory said that it was essential that the data were updated online on a regular basis and monthly offline reports related to deceased as well as living donors were required to be compiled, verified and provided to the NOTTO.

The State Appropriate Authority, which had the powers of a civil court under the Act, was told to ensure compliance with the provision of data by the hospitals for the National Registry.

Non-compliance to the instructions should be dealt with by the authorities under the provisions of the THOTA, 1994.

Robust registry

The Ministry said a robust National Registry was “absolutely essential for better programme implementation and monitoring with the objective to prevent possible commercial dealings in organs and also to promote deceased organ donation,” the sources quoted the advisory as saying. It was also desirable that every transplant hospital, whether public or private, promoted deceased organ donation and made efforts to achieve a minimum number of donations annually for which they would be required to establish a system for brain stem death certification and its monitoring, and facility for deceased organ donor maintenance.

The advisory comes after the NOTTO issued a series of instructions to curb allegations of organs harvested from brain dead patients being transplanted on foreign nationals, overlooking deserving Indian patients on the waitlist.

Going by data, 16,041 organs were transplanted in 2022, most of which were kidneys and livers, harvested from live and cadaver donors. Delhi topped the list with 3,818 organ transplants, the sources added.

3. Anti-piracy Act has been a great enabler, says Navy chief

The law empowers Navy and Coast Guard to board, seize, and arrest pirates and their vessels on the high seas; Admiral Kumar says the force has been ensuring ‘optimal deployment’ of assets

The Maritime Anti-Piracy Act, enacted in 2022, has been a “great enabler”, said Indian Navy chief Admiral R. Hari Kumar as the Navy completed 100 days of Operation Sankalp in the Gulf of Aden.

“This [the Act] has empowered us to visit, board, search and seize. Any suspicious vessel, craft, or fishing boat or dhow that we suspect, we board, inspect, and if we find piracy triggers like skiffs, weapons, or ammunition, then we take action to ensure that they don’t proceed with their mission,” Admiral Kumar said in response to a question from The Hindu during a press conference on Saturday.

There are very few countries which have an Act like this, he stated.

In the past 100 days, as part of Operation Sankalp, the Navy has carried out over 1,000 boardings.

Admiral Kumar said that earlier they never had any law and it was quite nebulous.

“In our earlier operations, whenever we captured [pirates], there was hardly any place where you could take them for handing over,” he noted, and only the Yellow Gate police station in Mumbai (Mazgaon) was nominated for handling them.

But now all coastal police stations have been empowered.

“We have this anti-piracy Act which has been a great enabler for the security forces, particularly for the Navy, since we are involved in anti-piracy operations,” Admiral Kumar said.

Talking about salient features of the Act, maritime expert Pooja Bhatt said the Maritime Anti-Piracy Act empowers the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard to board, seize, and arrest pirates operating on the high seas, in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and beyond, and Indian courts can prosecute the perpetrators with life imprisonment, fine, or both.

“However, the Act also considers the offence as extraditable, where India has signed such treaties with those countries. India has an agreement with Somalia where Somalian pirates have been extradited since 2017,” Dr. Bhatt added.

According to the Act, it was enacted “to give effect to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) relating to the repression of piracy on the high seas and for matters connected therewith”. India ratified UNCLOS in 1995.

‘Addressing threats’

Since mid-December, as part of Phase 2 of Operation Sankalp, the Indian Navy saw the deployment of over 5,000 personnel at sea, over 450 ship days (with over 21 ships deployed), and 900 hours of flying by the maritime surveillance aircraft to address threats in the maritime domain.

“As of yesterday (Friday), we had 11 submarines operating simultaneously in the sea, with more than 35 ships and over five aircraft deployed in different parts of the Indian Ocean Region,” Admiral Kumarsaid adding, “So we are making sure that our assets are deployed in an optimal manner to ensure that it covers the area of interest and gives us the best information so that the maritime domain awareness and the requisite degree of transparency is achieved.

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