Daily Current Affairs and GK | 18, 19 and 20 February 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 20 Feb 2023 19:49 PM IST

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Topic: Environment and Ecology

1. Antarctica's ocean area covered with ice shrunk to a record low.

  • Scientists have reported that Antarctica’s ocean ice melted to a record low.
  • According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) of the USA, Antarctica's ocean ice shrunk to 1.91 million square kilometers, the lowest since 1979. The previous all-time low was recorded in 2022.
  • NSIDC said that most of the Antarctic coast is now without ice. The Antarctic cycle undergoes significant annual variations during its summers and winters of freezing.
  • The melting of the ocean or sea ice across the planet is problematic because it helps in accelerating global warming.
  • Antarctica continent has not seen rapid melting of ice in the last four decades.
  • The Antarctic Ocean is also known as the Southern Ocean. It is the second smallest Ocean in the world.
  • The Antarctic Ocean marine ecosystem has changed due to rapid climate change.

Half Yearly Current Affairs 2022 - 2023

Topic: Biotechnology and Diseases

2. A centre of excellence for Infectious Diseases & Pandemic Preparedness will be established by Serum Institute.

  • The centre of excellence for Infectious Diseases & Pandemic Preparedness will be located at the Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH-H).
  • The Centre of Excellence will be set up for providing information, resources, and support during public health emergencies.
  • The Excellence centre will serve as a hub for public health education, outreach, and response efforts.
  • It will also provide real-time information and updates on current epidemics.
  • This center of excellence will also offer resources and support for those who have been affected from epidemics.
  • Serum Institute of India Limited is one of the world’s largest vaccine manufacturers.

Topic: Indian Economy

3. GoM's recommendation to set up the Appellate Tribunal for dispute redressal accepted by GST Council.

  • On 18 February, the GST Council adopted the report of the Group of Ministers on setting up of the GST Appellate Tribunal with some modifications.
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the 49th meeting of the GST Council.
  • Sitharaman said this amendment will first be sent for the opinion of the members. The Speaker has been authorized to finalize it.
  • The GoM on the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT) was set up in July last year under the chairmanship of Haryana Deputy Chief Minister Dushyant Chautala.
  • The panel suggested that the tribunal should consist of a retired Supreme Court justice as its chairman, apart from two judicial members and one technical member each from the Center and the states.
  • The setting up of GSTAT is expected to bring relief to businesses that have been waiting for a speedy process to resolve GST disputes for a long time.
  • This decision will speed up disposal of long pending cases and reduce the burden of judiciary.
  • GST Council has also decided to clear the pending balance amount of GST compensation to the States.
  • Sitharaman said that the pending arrears of GST compensation of Rs 16 thousand 982 crore for June 2022 will be cleared.
  • The finance minister also announced a reduction of GST rates on loose Raab or liquid jaggery from 18% to nil and 5% GST if it is pre-packaged and labelled.
  • The GST rate on pencil sharpeners has been reduced from existing 18% to 12% while that on tag tracking devices or data loggers affixed on durable containers has been reduced from 18% to nil, subject to certain conditions.
  • GST exemptions for services by the National Testing Agency for conducting entrance examinations for admission to educational institutions.
  • The Council has decided to rationalize late fee on late filing of annual return or GSTR9 for 2022-23 for small taxpayers with annual turnover up to Rs 20 crore.
  • The GST Council decided to tax services supplied by courts and tribunals under the reverse charge mechanism.

Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

4. Semicon India Conference of Electronics Manufacturing Supply Chain Ecosystem inaugurated by Ashwini Vaishnaw.

  • On 18 February, the conference has been inaugurated in New Delhi.
  • In order to encourage and ensure the establishment of semiconductor fabs with the required manufacturing capabilities and sustainability strategies, ISM has taken the initiative of organizing this conference.
  • Electronics and Information Technology Minister Ashwini Vaishnav asserted that the government is ready to talk today and its say-do ratio is very high with its readiness to receive feedback and sustain the industry's efforts for a long period of time.
  • He also highlighted the success achieved in telecom construction and Vande Bharat development.
  • Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information said that electronics manufacturing is not sustainable without the development of semiconductor ecosystem in the country.
  • He said that only then will it drive overall economic growth in various sectors, including automotive, power, telecom and electronics.

Semicon India Conference of Electronics Manufacturing Supply Chain Ecosystem

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: International News

5. UAE India Business Council - UAE Chapter (UIBCUC) launched by UAE and India.

  • It has been launched to strengthen economic ties and support their joint mission to increase bilateral trade and investment.
  • On February 18, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Trade has launched the UAE India Business Council - UAE Chapter (UIBC-UC) in Dubai.
  • The UIBC-UC is well positioned to assist the two governments in attaining their goals and using the full potential of the UAE-India relationship.
  • It has a shared goal of expanding bilateral trade to $100 billion and attracting $75 billion in investment from the UAE to India.
  • The Council brings together key partners and stakeholders from both countries and will provide valuable policy guidance while encouraging innovative collaborations between Emirati and Indian businesses.
  • UIBC-UC will be the counterpart organisation for the UIBC India Chapter.
  • UIBC-UC will operate under the supervision of the UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry and is registered with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce as a legal and financial entity.
  • The UIBC-UC will have its office in Dubai.
  • UIBC-UC was established in New Delhi in 2016 after UIBC was launched by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Cabinet Member and Smt Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs of India.

Topic: Sports

6. Saurashtra won the Ranji Trophy title for the second time.

  • On 19 February, Saurashtra defeated Bengal by nine wickets in the final at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata.
  • Saurashtra fast bowler Jaydev Unadkat was declared player of the match.
  • Saurashtra has won the Ranji Trophy title for the second time.
  • Three years back also Saurashtra won their first title by defeating Bengal.
  • In 2022, Madhya Pradesh won its first Ranji Trophy by defeating Mumbai.
  • Ranji Trophy:
    • The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) annually organizes the Ranji Trophy, a domestic first-class cricket match between the country's state and regional cricket associations.
    • The premier domestic tournament is named after the first cricketer to represent India, Ranjit singh ji, also referred to as "Ranji."
    • It was first played in 1934–1935 with 15 teams divided into four zones in a knockout system, and it has since grown to a 32-team league and knockout competition.
    • Mumbai won the first-ever edition and also won the most Ranji Trophies.

Saurashtra won the Ranji Trophy

(Source: News on AIR)

 
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Topic: Defence

7. Fourth edition of India-Uzbekistan military training Exercise DUSTLIK started on 20 February 2023.

  • Exercise DUSTLIK (2023) is being conducted from 20 February, 2023 till 5th March, 2023 in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand.
  • In this bilateral exercise, the Indian contingent is being represented by the 14th Battalion, The GARHWAL RIFLES, part of Western Command.
  • Troops of the North Western Military District of Uzbekistan Army are representing the Uzbekistan Army.
  • Exercise DUSTLIK aims to enhance military capability to carry out multi-domain operations in a Sub Conventional scenario under United Nations Mandate.
  • The 3rd edition of Exercise DUSTLIK was conducted at Yangiarik, Uzbekistan from 22 to 31 March 2022.

Topic: Space and IT

8. India’s lunar mission, Chandrayaan-3 has successfully completed EMI-EMC (Electro-Magnetic Interference/ Electro-Magnetic Compatibility) test.

  • This test is carried out for satellite missions to make sure the functionality of the satellite subsystems in the space environment.
  • This test also ensures compatibility of the satellite subsystems with the expected electromagnetic levels.
  • The test was carried out between January 31 and February 2 at U R Rao Satellite Centre, Bengaluru.
  • Chandrayaan-3 interplanetary mission has three major modules: the Propulsion module, Lander module, and Rover.
  • Chandrayaan-3 is India’s third moon mission. It is a follow-on mission to Chandrayaan-2.
  • It is planned to be launched by Launch Vehicle Mark 3 (LMV3) from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at Sriharikota.

Topic: Banking System

9. RBI issued norms for lending and borrowing of government securities.

  • The Reserve Bank of India issued draft norms for lending and borrowing of government securities.
  • As per the draft Reserve Bank of India (Government Securities Lending) Directions, 2023, Government Securities Lending (GSL) transactions will be completed in a minimum one day and a maximum of 90 days.
  • Banks, market participants and other interested parties can submit their comments by 17 March 2023.
  • According to the draft, the government securities except Treasury Bills would be eligible for lending/borrowing under a GSL transaction.
  • The central government (including Treasury Bills) and the state governments issued Government securities would be eligible for placing as collateral under a GSL transaction.
  • Earlier, RBI proposed the introduction of securities lending and borrowing in government securities (G-secs). Its main aim is to facilitate participation in the securities lending market.
  • Any entity undertook repo transactions in government securities and RBI approved entity would be eligible to participate in GSL transactions as a lender of securities.

Topic: Infrastructure and Energy

10. North India’s first nuclear plant will be built in Haryana.

  • North India’s first nuclear plant will be installed in Gorakhpur, Haryana.
  • Nuclear plants are mostly confined in southern states such as Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh and in western Maharashtra.
  • Union Minister Jitendra Singh said that the government is committed to increase India's nuclear capacity.
  • Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojana (GHAVP) will have two units of 700 MWe capacity each. It will be a pressurised heavy water reactor (PHWR) indigenous design.
  • Construction of the fire water pump house (FWPH), and safety-related pump house (SRPH) is under progress.
  • Manufacturing of other equipment is in various stages and all steam generators for the first unit have been received at the site.
  • At present, India has total 22 nuclear reactors and the total installed capacity is 6,780 MW.
  • The world’s first thorium based nuclear plant “Bhavni” using Uranium-233 is being set up at Kalpakkam in Tamil Nadu. It is the first-of-its-kind and is going to be completely indigenous.
  • The experimental thorium plant “Kamini” already exists in Kalpakkam.

Topic: New Development

11. An energy-efficient compressed air-based pipeline system has been developed by IIT Kanpur to transport coal and minerals.

  • It provides round-the-clock surveillance with considerable savings in time and cost.
  • Professor Bishakh Bhattacharya and research scientists Kanhaiya Lal Chaurasia and Yashasvi Sinha of the Department of Mechanical Engineering have developed the cargo-based hyperloop system.
  • In this, coal and other minerals can be sent from one place to another at a speed of 120 kilometers per hour through robotic systems.
  • It will work on compressed air based pipeline system.
  • Under this system, the pipeline will be laid inside the ground.
  • It will neither use battery nor will it require electricity, rather it will run on air pressure.
  • This system will address challenges such as material loss, uncertainty in delivery time, and air pollution.
  • This system will not only save transportation time but also reduce dust pollution at the mining sites and loading points.
  • The system, developed at the Smart Materials, Structures and Systems (SMSS) lab of IIT Kanpur, was recently successfully demonstrated at the UP Global Investors Summit 2023 and received positive feedback from experts in the field.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

12. Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar 2019, 2020 and 2021 presented to 102 artists of India.

  • On February 15, the Union Minister for Culture, Tourism, and DoNER, Shri G. Kishan Reddy, presented the Puraskar in New Delhi.
  • The program was presided over by Dr. Sandhya Purecha, President of Sangeet Natak Akademi.
  • The Sangeet Natak Akademi is the national academy of music, dance and drama and the apex body of the performing arts in the country.
  • 102 artists (including three joint awardees) from India were selected for the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar 2019, 2020, and 2021 in its General Council meeting held on November 8, 2022, in New Delhi.
  • Artists were selected in their respective fields based on their performing arts.
  • From 14 to 17 February, a four-day festival of music, dance and drama was organized in New Delhi.
  • In this, the recipients of the Ustad Bismillah Khan Youth Award for the year 2019 showcased their arts.
  • Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar:
    • The Puraskar was instituted in the year 2006. It is awarded to artists up to the age of 40 years.
    • Its objective is to identify and encourage outstanding young talents in various fields of performing arts.
    • The Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar carries Rs 25,000, an Angavastram and a plaque.

Topic: Personality in News

13. BCCI chief selector Chetan Sharma resigned from his post.

  • BCCI chief selector Chetan Sharma resigns from his post and resignation has been accepted by BCCI Secretary Jay Shah.
  • He tendered his resignation after a sting operation by a private news channel.
  • In the sting operation, Chetan was heard talking about several issues in Indian cricket.
  • During the sting, Sharma revealed internal discussions. He also discussed the relationship between Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma.
  • In January, Chetan Sharma was re-appointed as a chief selector by the BCCI.
  • Earlier, He was removed from the post of Chief Selector after India's performance in the T20 World Cup in Australia.
  • Chetan Sharma is India’s first bowler to take a hat-trick in the ODI World Cup.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

14. A new beetle species ‘Omorgus Khandesh’ has been discovered in India.

  • As per a paper published in the New Zealand-based journal Zootaxa, a new beetle species has been discovered in India.
  • Beetle is very important for forensic science because it helps in detecting the time of death of an animal or human.
  • ‘Omorgus Khandesh’ is necrophagous so it is also called a keratin beetle.
  • Blowflies reach first during the decomposition of a body while keratin feeders reached at the final successional stage.
  • The bug was discovered by scientist Aparna Sureshchandra Kalawate. He worked with the Zoological Survey of India in Pune.
  • This paper was co-authored by Werner P Strümpher.
  • The new species belongs to the Trogidae family. Now, there are a total of 14 species of this family in India.
  • The beetles of this group are also known as hide beetles as they tend to cover their body under the soil.
  • ‘Omorgus Khandesh’ species of beetle is mainly associated with bird and mammal nests. The detail about their life is very less known to us.
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