Prelims Focus

Prelims Focus – 17th May 2024

Bulava Missile

In News: The Russian President has strengthened the country’s military by introducing a new nuclear-capable missile called the Bulava into their arsenal.

  • The RSM-56 Bulava is a Russian submarine-launched ICBM developed by the Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology in the late 1990s. 
  • It is designed for deployment on Russia’s Borei-class submarines and is a key component of their strategic nuclear force. 
  • The missile is a three-stage solid-propellant with a launch mass of 8 tonnes and a throw weight of 1,150 kg. 
  • It has a range of 8,300 km and can carry up to 10 MIRVs with in-flight manoeuvrability and re-targeting capabilities. 
  • The accuracy of the RVs is expected to be around 250 to 300 metres.

Igla- S

In News: The Army is scheduled to receive the next shipment of Igla-S missiles from Russia.

  • The Igla-S is a short-range air defence system that can be operated by one person or a crew. 
  • It includes a missile, launcher, mobile test station, and test set. It is used to target low-flying aircraft, as well as cruise missiles and drones, and has night vision capabilities for use in low-light conditions. 
  • The system is intended for use in new air defence formations in high mountainous areas along the northern border.

Tea Board of India

In news: The Tea Board of India has reported a significant decrease in tea production in Assam and West Bengal, with production dropping by 40% and 23% respectively up to March 2024, attributed to inadequate rainfall.

  • The Tea Board, established in 1954 under the Tea Act of 1953, is a statutory body responsible for regulating the Indian tea industry and safeguarding the interests of tea producers in the country. 
  • It oversees all teas produced in India’s tea-growing regions, including the renowned Darjeeling, Assam, and Nilgiri varieties. 
  • The Board has 32 Members, including a Chairman and Deputy Chairman appointed by the Indian government to represent various sectors of the tea industry. 
  • Its headquarters is located in Kolkata, with additional zonal offices in Jorhat, Assam, and Coonoor, Tamil Nadu.

Surety bonds

In News: Insurance companies have issued around 700 insurance surety bonds worth about ₹3,000 crore. NHAI announced in November 2023 that insurance surety bonds would be accepted as part of the monetization program for an upcoming Toll Operate Transfer (TOT) package bid.

  • A surety bond is a form of risk transfer where an insurance company guarantees that a contractor will fulfil their contractual obligations to a beneficiary. 
  • The insurance company, known as the surety, provides this guarantee and compensates the beneficiary if the contractor fails to deliver. 
  • The parties involved in a surety bond are the surety (insurance company), the obligee or beneficiary (such as government agencies), and the principal (contractor or owner). 
  • The principal purchases the surety bond to ensure they fulfil their contractual obligations.

Soil Nailing and Hydroseeding

In News: The Tamil Nadu State highways department is implementing a project called ‘Slope Stabilization using Soil Nailing and Hydroseeding method’ to improve the stability of roads in the Nilgiris region.

  • Soil Nailing: Soil nailing is a technique used for slope stabilization, particularly in hilly or mountainous regions like the Nilgiris.
    • In this method, steel bars or rods, known as soil nails, are inserted into the slope at regular intervals and secured with grout or cementitious material. 
    • These soil nails reinforce the slope, preventing soil erosion and landslides.
  • Hydroseeding: This method involves spreading a combination of seeds, fertilizer, organic matter, and water onto the soil to promote the growth of grass and plants, as well as protect the soil from erosion. 
    • Soil binders and tackifiers are added to a slurry to temporarily hold seeds and soil particles in place on steep slopes, aiding in the establishment of vegetation. 
    • Hydroseeding is a suitable method for revegetating large areas of land, especially on poor or barren terrain, and on steep slopes that are challenging to revegetate.
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