Polity Notes


1. Four Astronauts selected for the ‘Gaganyaan Mission.’

The Gaganyaan Mission is India’s first human space flight program. The preparations for the mission are underway at various ISRO centers and the mission is set to launch between 2024-2025.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has selected 4 candidates to form the squad for the Gaganyaan mission, namely Group Captain P. Balakrishnan Nair, Group Captain Ajit Krishnan, Group Captain Angad Pratap, and Wing Commander S. Shukla.

The 4 Candidates were handed the ‘Astronaut Wings’ at the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) in Kerala, Thiruvananthapuram.

The candidates represent the country and have been carefully selected by ISRO, after the candidates went through an year-long training course in Russia’s Zvyozdny Gorodok City. The candidates were under training throughout the course of the pandemic and are now based in a unit of ISRO, getting familiar with the complexities of the ‘Gaganyaan Mission’.

The current training curriculum at ISRO, consists of over 200 specialised lectures by scientists from ISRO and The Indian Institute of Science faculty. The crew has also gone through 5 fitness sessions and 12 hours of flying practices besides the medical checkups and progress evaluations.

The facility in Bengaluru hosts a variety of simulators like the Independent Training Simulator, Virtual Reality Training Simulator, Dynamic Training Simulator, and Static Mock-up Simulator to equip the astronauts-in-training for nominal and emergency scenarios during the mission.

This intensive program will provide a hands-on experience regarding the crew module's critical systems before the astronauts embark on their historic voyage aboard India's heavy-lift GSLV Mk III rocket.

The project aims to make history by conducting human spaceflights, by sending a three-member crew towards the low earth orbit for three days and safely bringing them back.

India aims to become the fourth country in the world to independently send humans to space.

Note –

1st Man in space – Yuri Gagarin (USSR) Date of Visit - April 12, 1961

1st Man on Moon – Neil Armstrong (USA) Date of Visit - July 20, 1969

1st and only Indian in space till date – Rakesh Sharma - 3rd April 1984.

2. Ex-SC Judge Khanwilkar appointed Lokpal Chief

The President appointed former Supreme Court Judge, Justice Ajay Manikrao Khanwilker as the Chairperson of the Lokpal. Justice Ajay Manikrao Khanwilkar would be the Second Lokpal of India, after Pinaki Chandra Ghose who had retired from his post in May 2022, marking an end to his 2-Year-old tenure in the office. After him, Justice Pradeep Kumar Mohanty, a judicial member was working as acting chairperson.

About Lokpal –

The Lokpal is an independent statutory body established under Section 3 of the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. It was established to inquire and investigate allegations of corruptions against public functionaries who fall within the scope and purview of the act.

The Lokpal has jurisdiction over the serving and former Prime Ministers, Minister of the Union Government or Member of Parliament as well as the officials of the Union Governments.

However, the Lokpal cannot inquire into the allegations against the Prime Minister in matters related to International Relations, external and internal security and public order.

The Lokpal cannot launch such an inquiry unless a full bench of the Lokpal consisting of its chairpersons and all members consider the initiation of the inquiry and atleast two third’s of its members approve.

3. Law Commission of India may suggest simultaneous polls in 2029

The Law Commission of India is considering the addition of a new chapter to the Constitution of India, namely, “One Nation, One Election” and hold a gigantic democratic exercise of simultaneous polls for Lok Sabha, state assemblies and local bodies across the country by mid-2029.

The panel also aims to suggest synchronising the terms of legislative assembly in 3 phases in the next 5 years so that the first simultaneous poll could be held in 2029.

4. Sunil Bharti Mittal gets Honorary Knighthood from King Charles III

Bharti Enterprises Chairman and founder Sunil Bharti Mittal will be conferred the gracious honor of Knighthood “for services to UK and India business relations”. He is to receive a “KBE” (Knight Commander of the British Empire) under the “Most Excellent Order of the British Empire” – one of the highest honors conferred by a British Monarch.

The 66-Year-old entrepreneur stated that he was ‘deeply humbled’ by the gracious recognition from King Charles.

The UK and India have historical relations which are now entering a new era of increased cooperation and collaboration. He is committed to working towards strengthening the economic and bilateral trade relationships between the two great nations.