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March 19 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm



The Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) has introduced SAKHI, a versatile application designed to assist astronauts during India’s upcoming Gaganyaan mission. This innovative app serves crucial functions like communication and health monitoring, offering vital support to astronauts in the confined environment of space.

SAKHI App Overview:

  • Developed by the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), SAKHI is a multi-purpose application specifically tailored for astronauts participating in the Gaganyaan space flight mission.
  • The app serves various functions, including accessing technical information, facilitating communication, monitoring health parameters, and scheduling dietary requirements.
  • It incorporates a custom-built, hand-held smart device and has undergone successful testing of an engineering model, ensuring its readiness for deployment.

Key Features of SAKHI

  • VSSC Director, S. Unnikrishnan Nair, describes SAKHI as indispensable for astronauts, providing essential data at their fingertips within the confined space of the crew module.
  • The app is designed to be securely strapped to space suits, ensuring quick and easy access to information and functionalities throughout the mission.

Gaganyaan Mission Overview:

  • Gaganyaan is the ambitious human spaceflight mission led by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), aimed for launch around 2025.
  • It will mark India’s maiden venture into human spaceflight, with a three-member crew orbiting Earth at an altitude of 400 km for up to seven days.
  • The mission will utilize the Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mark III (GSLV MK-III) as its launch vehicle.
  • Gaganyaan represents a significant technological leap for India, showcasing advancements in spacecraft development, life support systems, and astronaut training.
  • A successful Gaganyaan mission will elevate India’s status among a select group of nations possessing independent human spaceflight capabilities, highlighting its prowess on the global stage.



A recent analysis spanning 50 years reveals a concerning decline in the spring season across Indian states, attributed to consistent warming trends during winter. This shift in seasonal patterns has significant implications for agriculture, ecosystems, and overall climate dynamics in the region.

Key Findings:

  • Meteorological records spanning five decades indicate a diminishing presence of the spring season in Indian states, marking a transition from winter to summer.
  • Climate Trends researchers conducted a comprehensive analysis of temperature trends from 1970 to the present, identifying a notable warming trend during winter months across all regions.
  • Manipur experienced the most substantial temperature increase (2.3°C) since 1970, while Delhi witnessed the smallest rise (0.2°C).
  • Southern India witnessed pronounced warming in December and January, particularly in states like Sikkim and Manipur.
  • Northern India exhibited weaker warming or even cooling in December and January but experienced a significant warming trend in February, suggesting sudden transitions to warmer conditions.
  • Rajasthan displayed the most significant warming surge between January and February (2.6°C), along with states like Haryana, Delhi, and Uttar Pradesh.
  • The disappearance of spring in various parts of India is attributed to alterations in the pattern of Western Disturbances and the jet stream, impacting winter temperatures and rainfall distribution.



A recent report by European scientists has uncovered over 16,000 chemicals present in plastics, marking a significant increase from previous estimates and raising concerns about pollution and consumer safety. This revelation underscores the urgent need for regulatory measures to address the chemical complexity of plastics and mitigate associated risks.

Key Findings of the Report:

  • European scientists identified over 16,000 chemicals in plastics, a substantial increase from the 13,000 estimated by UNEP.
  • Approximately a quarter of these chemicals are deemed hazardous to both human health and the environment, posing significant risks.
  • Plastic chemicals have the potential to leach into water and food, endangering human health by contributing to fertility issues, cardiovascular disease, and other health complications.
  • The report highlights the inadequacy of the plastics industry’s focus solely on recycling and re-use in protecting individuals from harmful chemical exposure.
  • Lack of transparency regarding chemicals used in plastics, including additives and impurities, presents challenges for ensuring consumer safety.
  • Only 6% of identified plastic chemicals are subject to international regulation, underscoring the necessity for enhanced regulatory measures.

Impact of Plastic Pollution on Human Health and the Environment:

  • Plastic pollution poses a severe threat to marine ecosystems, with millions of tons of plastic waste entering oceans annually.
  • Plastics degrade into microplastics, infiltrating the food chain through marine organisms and ultimately affecting human health.
  • Consumption of contaminated seafood exposes individuals to harmful chemicals like BPA and phthalates, leading to various health issues such as reproductive problems and hormonal imbalances.
  • Plastic pollution disrupts ecosystems, harming marine life through entanglement, ingestion, and habitat destruction.
  • Addressing plastic pollution necessitates global collaboration, policy interventions, and the promotion of sustainable practices to mitigate environmental and health risks effectively.



Forest fires ravaging the Coonoor forest range in Tamil Nadu have spurred a joint effort between the state forest department and the Indian Air Force (IAF) to contain the blaze. This collaboration underscores the urgency of addressing forest fire incidents, particularly in vulnerable regions, through coordinated action and effective strategies.

IAF’s Involvement and the Bambi Bucket:

  • The IAF has deployed an Mi-17 V5 helicopter equipped with a Bambi Bucket, which can be filled with water from nearby sources and discharged over the fires to aid firefighting efforts.
  • The Bambi Bucket, suspended beneath the helicopter, proves especially effective in challenging terrain, enhancing the efficiency of fire suppression operations.

Frequency of Forest Fires in India:

  • Forest fires are a recurring phenomenon in India, prevalent from November to June, with peak incidents occurring in April and May.
  • The 2019 India State of Forest Report highlights that over 36% of the country’s forest cover is susceptible to fires, with certain regions more prone to such occurrences.

Vulnerable Regions and Recent Incidents:

  • Dry deciduous forests are highly susceptible to severe fires, while evergreen and semi-evergreen forests are relatively less prone.
  • Recent years have witnessed significant fire incidents across various states, including Goa, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, and Gujarat, underscoring the widespread nature of the issue.

Current Situation and Causes:

  • This year, forest fires have been reported in several states, particularly in southern India, exacerbated by high aridity, above-normal temperatures, and dry biomass availability.
  • Human activities like discarded cigarettes and burning of debris, alongside natural factors such as lightning, contribute to fire outbreaks.

Impact and Prevalence:

  • Forest fires pose substantial risks to ecosystems, wildlife, and human populations, exacerbated by exceptionally hot weather conditions.
  • The India Meteorological Department’s warning of excess heat underscores the severity of the situation, with many districts in southern India experiencing ‘mild’ aridity.

Government Initiatives to Cope with Forest Fires:

  • The National Action Plan for Forest Fires (NAPFF) launched in 2018 aims to empower forest fringe communities and enhance collaboration with state forest departments to mitigate fire incidents.
  • The Forest Fire Prevention and Management Scheme (FPM) is a government initiative aimed at assisting states in combating forest fires through proactive measures and community engagement.



The National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5) has brought to light alarming rates of violence against women in India, with a significant portion experiencing physical and sexual violence. This issue intersects with mental health challenges and homelessness, demanding comprehensive solutions that address the complex interplay of factors influencing women’s experiences and needs.

Violence, Mental Health, and Homelessness:

  • Violence against women and mental health conditions exhibit a reciprocal relationship, elevating the risk of homelessness.
  • Relational disruptions resulting from violence can predict homelessness, even with access to mental health care.
  • Qualitative research highlights trauma experiences among homeless women, often diverging from clinical perspectives.

Narratives of Homeless Women:

  • Qualitative interviews reveal how violence, including child sexual abuse and intimate partner violence, contributes to mental health issues and homelessness.
  • Homeless women face challenges related to mental illness, reflecting the impact of violence on their lives.

Structural Barriers:

  • Poverty and caste intersect with violence, eroding women’s agency and leading to unconventional pathways out of abusive environments.
  • Ellen Corrin’s work challenges reductionist views of schizophrenia, offering a nuanced perspective on social withdrawal.

Historical Context and Societal Constructs:

  • Historical labeling of madness has constrained women’s autonomy and subjected them to violence for resisting patriarchal norms.
  • Some women perceive madness as resistance or a means to transcend societal expectations.

Mainstream Discourse vs. Lived Experiences:

  • Mainstream discourse often overlooks the multifaceted nature of women’s mental health experiences, focusing narrowly on biomedical perspectives.
  • Women’s distress is frequently dismissed, exacerbating their vulnerability to homelessness and compounding the impact of violence.

Comprehensive Solutions:

  • Addressing root causes necessitates recognizing and compensating women for unpaid labor, providing economic independence, and challenging harmful gender norms through education.
  • A systematic understanding of interconnected factors is crucial for combating violence against women effectively.

Mental Health Challenges For Indian Women:

  • These challenges significantly impact various aspects of women’s lives, including physical health, familial relationships, education, and overall quality of life.
  • Stigma surrounding mental health, socioeconomic factors, family pressures, and violence contribute to these challenges.

Way Forward:

  • Promote awareness campaigns to destigmatize mental health issues and educate communities about seeking help.
  • Improve access to mental healthcare services, establish support groups, advocate for policy changes, and empower women through education and economic opportunities.


A multifaceted approach is imperative for addressing the intertwined challenges of violence against women, mental health, and homelessness, recognizing the complexity of factors influencing individuals’ experiences and needs. Efforts must prioritize intersectionality and feminist standpoint theory to advance understanding and interventions effectively.



Foot-and-Mouth Disease (FMD) has affected approximately 60% of milch cattle in Pilibhit district, Uttar Pradesh.

About Foot-and-Mouth Disease:

  • FMD is a highly contagious viral disease that affects livestock, including cattle, swine, sheep, goats, and other cloven-hoofed ruminants.
  • It is not transmitted to horses, dogs, or cats.
  • Intensively reared animals are more prone to FMD compared to traditional breeds.
  • FMD is a transboundary animal disease (TAD) that significantly impacts livestock production and disrupts regional and international trade in animals and animal products.
  • It should not be confused with hand, foot, and mouth disease, which affects humans and is caused by a different virus.
  • The virus responsible for FMD belongs to the aphthovirus family Picornaviridae.
  • There are seven strains of FMD virus endemic in different countries globally.
  • Immunity to one strain does not provide protection against others.
  • Symptoms of FMD include fever and blister-like sores on the tongue, lips, mouth, teats, and hooves.
  • While rarely fatal in adult animals, FMD often results in high mortality rates among young animals.
  • The disease causes substantial production losses, leaving affected animals weakened and debilitated.
  • FMD was the first disease recognized by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) for its official status.



North Korea recently launched short-range ballistic missiles towards its eastern waters coinciding with the opening of a democracy summit in South Korea by the United States Secretary of State.

  • Ballistic missiles are rocket-propelled weapons that follow a predetermined trajectory to deliver a payload to a target.
  • They are initially powered by rockets but follow an unpowered trajectory after launch.
  • Ballistic missiles can carry various types of payloads, including conventional explosives, chemical, biological, or nuclear weapons.
  • They can be launched from different platforms, including land-based silos, mobile platforms, submarines, ships, and aircraft.
  • Ballistic missiles are classified based on their range:
  • Short-range: less than 1,000 kilometers (approximately 620 miles), also known as “tactical” missiles.
  • Medium-range: between 1,000 and 3,000 kilometers (approximately 620-1,860 miles), also known as “theater” missiles.
  • Intermediate-range: between 3,000 and 5,500 kilometers (approximately 1,860-3,410 miles).
  • Long-range: more than 5,500 kilometers (approximately 3,410 miles), also known as intercontinental or strategic missiles.
  • Short- and medium-range ballistic missiles are categorized as theater ballistic missiles, while long-range ones are termed as strategic ballistic missiles.


March 19
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
Event Category: