MARS Mission:

ü This is India’s mission to Mars.

ü Mars Orbital Mission on board the PSLV C25 scheduled for lift off from the space port in Sriharikota (Satish Dhawan Space Centre) on November 5, 2013.

  •      It weights 1500 kg

ü Mars exploration opportunity comes once in 26 months according to ISRO (Indian Space Research Organization) Chairman K. Radhakrishanan.

ü So far there have been 51 missions to Mars predominantly by the USA, Russia and European Union

ü The success rate is 50 percent.

ü For Indian mission the budget is 450 crore.

ü The PSLV leaves the spacecraft in an elliptical orbit of 250 km at its closest to Earth and 23,500 km at its farthest.

ü To get to Mars the orbit must repeatedly fire its own liquid propellant engine.

ü It will become the first Indian spacecraft to cross Earth’s escape velocity of 11.2 km per second.

ü The 6th firing which is scheduled on November 30, 2013 will push the probe beyond escape velocity (11.2 km/sec).

ü The probe takes nearly 300 days to traverse some 400 million kms.


MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution):

ü This is America’s mission to Mars in November, 2013.
ü The Maven will be making the first leg of journey on an Atlas V.
ü Atlas V a rocket considered to be more powerful than PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle).
ü This will be able to put the MAVEN on a direct course for Mars. (This facility is not there for PSLV).

ü Medical VISA: The Home Ministry announced that the Tourist Visas are no more permitted for the visitors who are visiting India for Surrogacy. It made it clear that they must obtain only Medical Visas.

Note: (Surrogacy is a method (arrangement) where in a woman carries and delivers a child for another couple or person).

Tourist visas are generally given for 6 months.

Transit visa is given for less than 72 hours.

Medical visas – Issued to those seeking medical treatment in India at recognized and specialized hospitals.


ü Indira Gandhi National Integration Award: On October 31, 2013 it was awarded to the eminent agriculture scientist M.S. Swaminathan by the Prime Minister.

ü Master Brand Award for Vico Vajradanti: The Ayurvedic product wonthe prestigious award of World Brand Congress.



ü On October, 31, 2013 the Supreme Court directed the Centre and the states to set up a CSB (Civil Services Board) for the management of transfers, postings, inquiries, process of promotion, reward, punishment and disciplinary action.


ü The directive came in response of a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) filed by former Cabinet Secretary T.S.R Subramanian and 82 others.
ü The petitioners submitted that lack of good governance affected the quality of life and violated the guarantees provided under Article 21 of Indian Constitution.
(Article 21: No person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law).
ü The Supreme Court also said that the bureaucrats should not act on verbal orders given by politicians and suggested a fixed tenure.
ü The court said the CSB should consist of officers who are experts in their respective fields, with the Cabinet Secretary at the centre and Chief Secretary at the state level as the head could be a better alternative.
ü This can be continued till the Parliament enacts a law.
ü The CSB can guide and advice the government on all service matters, especially in transfers, postings and disciplinary action.
ü The Bench asked the Parliament to pass a Civil Service Act under the provisions of Article 309 of the Indian Constitution to set up CSB.
ü The court asked the governments to constitute such boards within 3 months.


ü The Supreme Court said that the civil servants must refrain from acting on oral instructions of political bosses, except in certain exceptional circumstances.
ü The Santhanam committee on prevention of corruption (1962) and Hota committee of 2004 recommended for recording instructions and directions by Public servants.
ü The All India Services Conduct Rule 3(3) (iii), 1968 specifically requires that all orders from the superior officers shall ordinarily be in writing.
ü By acting on oral directions not recording the same the rights guaranteed to the citizens under RTI (Right to Information) Act would defeat the purpose and objective of the act.
ü Now the ruling of the Supreme Court must be implemented in letter and spirit.
ü Note: On September 22, 2006 the land mark judgment of the Supreme Court (Prakash Singh vs Union of India case) led to the police reforms after a PIL filed by the former Director-General of BSF (Border Security Force) Prakash Singh. But so far most of the states not complied with many of its directions to bring about police reforms. (This was reminded by the Supreme Court to all the states in the early of 2013).

Can you comment on this?

ü Fixed minimum tenure would not only enable the civil servants to achieve their professional targets but also help them function as effective instruments of Public policy.

ü Democracy requires an informed citizenry (people) and transparency of information.

ü Lack of good governance is the violation of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.

ü Public servants are not private servants. Examine the statement in the light of recent judgment of Supreme Court on Civil servants must refrain from acting on the oral instructions of the political bosses.


ü Venezuela: The President Nicolas Maduro has announced the creation of a department of ‘Supreme Social Happiness’ to coordinate more than 30 welfare schemes, known as Missions and rid them of corruption and bureaucratic legacy.

ü Syria: It completed the functional destruction of all critical equipments that it has declared manufacturing chemical weapons. The country is on its way to complete chemical disarmament by the mid of 2014. The destruction of equipment was confirmed by the OPCW (Organization of Chemical Weapons). Hence Syria cannot manufacture chemical weapons in future.