Current Affairs – 13 September 2017

20 years journey of CASSINI Spacecraft comes to an end

  • CASSINI- HUYGENS mission was hatched in the 1980s by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Italian Space Agency and NASA.
  • The mission was finally launched in 1997 and as a part of the mission an Orbiter – CASSINI and a Lander – HUYGENS was sent to explore planet Saturn and its system.
  • The Lander Huygens was built by ESA to Explore Saturn’s largest moon – TITAN.
  • The spacecraft arrived at Saturn in July 2004. The Lander departed the mother ship and touched down TITAN three weeks later while the spacecraft CASSINI started orbiting the planet and is doing so for last 13 years.
  • According to NASA, CASSINI spacecraft has travelled around 4.9 billion miles till date and have collected in total 635 gigabytes of data. It has captured 453,048 images and even helped in discovery of two oceans.
  • CASSINI’s fate was decided in April 2017 itself, when it came under the influence of TITAN’s gravitational pull and changed its trajectory. On 11th September its course was again changed by the moon TITAN and now it has started moving towards the Saturn itself.
  • The spacecraft is expected to succumb to the heat and pressure of atmospheric entry and become a meteor.

Cabinet gives its nod for introduction of the Payment of Gratuity (Amendment) Bill, 2017 in the Parliament :

  • The Payment of Gratuity Act 1972 applies to establishments employing 10 or more persons. It is an important social security legislation for wage earning population in private sector & Public Sector Undertakings/ Autonomous Organizations, mainly after retirement.
  • The present upper ceiling on gratuity amount under the Act is Rs. 10 Lakh. Before the implementation of 7th pay commission, this amount was same for either central government employees or private sector employees.
  • But after the implementation of 7th pay commission, Government servants who are covered under Central Civil Services (Pension) Rules, 1972, this ceiling was increased to 20 Lakhs effective from 1.1.2016. However, it remained same for the private sector and the PSU employees.
  • Therefore to revise the ceiling for these employees too, the Government is planning to amend the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972.

JNPCT won the “Container Terminal of the Year” Award, 2017

  • Jawaharlal Nehru Port Container Terminal (JNPCT) won the “Container Terminal of the Year” Award for the above 0.6 million TEUs category at The Gateway Awards 2017 held at Mumbai.
  • The aim of the institution of “The Gateway Award” is to recognize and promote best practices, innovation, and motivation in the Indian Maritime industry.
  • This year JNPCT won the award for its proactive strategies to ease congestion, smooth delivery of containers and revamping of infrastructure to support trade amidst adverse conditions.