Daily Current Affairs and GK | 23 August 2022

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 23 Aug 2022 16:45 PM IST

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Topic: Environment and Ecology

1. A team of researchers found a new species of long-fingered bats in India and Sri Lanka.

  • It has been named Miniopterus phillipsi after W W A Philips.
  • W W A Philips is famous for its contributions to studies on the mammals of Sri Lanka and South Asia.
  • The specimens of this species were collected from Idulgashinna cave in Uva Province in Sri Lanka and were submitted to the Natural History Museum of India.
  • The discovery has been published in Acta Chiropterologica, an international scientific journal.
  • Researchers found that long-fingered bats of this species are found in Robber's cave in Mahabaleshwar in the Western Ghats of India.
  • Researchers have also analysed the morphological and anatomical features of the new species.
  • The long-fingered bats belong to the Miniopteridae family and have 40 species around the world.
  • The long-fingered bats live in large colonies and are found in caves and tunnels.
  • This research involved 13 renowned scientists from different countries.

Topic: Defence

2. Government allowed defence forces to buy emergency weapons through the Make in India route.

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh permitted to defence forces to buy emergency weapons through the Make in India route.
  • It will give power to the defence forces to acquire any new or in-service equipment on a fast-track basis as per requirement.
  • The equipment under this category will be delivered within a time frame of 3 months to one year.
  • Defence forces will have to use funds from their budget and Defence Ministry approval will be not required for the funds.
  • Whenever emergency powers were granted to the armed forces in the past, the acquisitions helped in strengthening their preparedness.
  • The ‘Heron’ unmanned aerial vehicles acquired under these deals have been deployed for surveillance in Ladakh as well as in the northeast region.
  • The Indian Armed Forces have also purchased missiles that can hit ground targets like bunkers from a long distance.
  • The armed forces have a long list of equipment to purchase under this category.

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

3. Asian Development Bank signed a 96.3-million-dollar loan agreement with the Indian Government.

  • The agreement has been signed to provide safe drinking water and improve water supply and sanitation services in Himachal Pradesh.
  • This project is in line with the goals of the Jal Jeevan Mission to provide piped water to all rural households by 2024.
  • Under the project, water supply infrastructure will be upgraded to ensure safe, sustainable, and inclusive rural water supply and sanitation services.
  • The ADB project would connect over 75 thousand houses to provide continuous water delivery to around 3 lakh 70 thousand inhabitants across ten districts.
  • The goal of the project is to build 48 groundwater wells, 109 water treatment plants, 117 pumping stations, and 3000 kilometers of water distribution pipelines to improve water supply and sanitation services.
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB):
    • It is a regional development bank established in 1966.
    • Members: 68 countries
    • Headquarters: Mandaluyong, Philippines
    • Current President: Masatsugu Asakawa

Topic: Art and Culture

4. Dance form GARBA nominated to be inscribed on UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage list by India.

  • In 2021, 'Durga Puja' was included in UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage list.
  • The next UNESCO meeting is in November and maybe Garba will be included in the list of UNESCO intangible cultural heritage.
  • UNESCO selected India in July to serve on the distinguished Intergovernmental Committee of the 2003 Convention for the Protection of the Intangible Cultural Heritage for the 2022-2026 cycle.
  • India received 110 votes from the 155 state parties to get a place in the committee.
  • The Intergovernmental Committee of the 2003 Convention is comprised of 24 members.
  • Currently, UNESCO’s Representative List of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity has 630 elements.
  • As of 2021, 14 cultural heritages of India have been placed in UNESCO’s Representative List of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.

UNESCO intangible cultural heritage

(Source: News on Air)

Topic: State news/ Uttarakhand

5. In Uttarakhand, India's first observatory to monitor space activity will be set up.

  • Digantara, a start-up in the space industry, will build India's first commercial space situational awareness observatory in the Garhwal region of Uttarakhand.
  • It will be able to track objects as small as 10 cm in size orbiting the earth.
  • India would be able to monitor all space activity, from orbital debris to military satellites, with the help of the space situational awareness (SSA) observatory.
  • Currently, the US has a leading role in monitoring space debris with observatories at multiple locations and commercial companies providing global input.
  • The observatory in Uttarakhand will fill the gap in SSA observations in the region between Australia and southern Africa where there is a lack of such facilities.

Topic: Defence

6. India and Australia's navies concluded their Maritime Partnership Exercise (MPX) on 20 August.

  • The participation of INS Sumedha and HMAS Anzac in the exercise reaffirmed the strong tie and interoperability between the Royal Australian Navy and the Indian Navy.
  • On August 15, the Indian Navy ship INS Sumedha was docked in Perth, Australia, to commemorate India's 76th Independence Day.
  • The INS Sumedha is currently deployed in the Southeastern Indian Ocean as part of the Indian Navy's Operational Deployment.
  • As part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav celebrations, she is a part of the Indian Navy's initiative to hoist 'Tiranga' on all continents (excluding Antarctica).
  • The INS Sumedha is a Naval Offshore Patrol Vessel constructed indigenously and deployed for multiple roles in support of Fleet Operations.
  • She functions under the operational command of the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, as part of the Visakhapatnam-based Eastern Fleet of the Indian Navy.
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Topic: State News/Puducherry

7. Puducherry CM N. Rangasamy presented 10,696-crore rupee budget for 2022-23.

  • CM said that central assistance will be 1729.77 crore rupees, with 500 crore rupees allocation under centrally sponsored schemes.
  • He said the fiscal deficit will be overcome through borrowings.
  • Government of India has permitted borrowings to the extent of 1,889.61 crore rupees.
  • As on 31st March 2022, the total outstanding debt of the Union Territory of Puducherry is 9,859.20 crore rupees.
  • The Chief Minister also announced various schemes, which are proposed to be implemented. They are listed below.    
    • Provision of free laptops to 11th and 12th standard students studying in government and government-aided schools in a phased manner.
    • Re-implementation of free bicycle distribution scheme to students studying in 9th standard in government and government-aided schools.
    • Provision of 1,000 rupees as financial assistance to women (head of the family) between 21 and 55 years of age living Below Poverty Line.
    • Regularisation of the service of employees working in government and government institutions for more than 10 years.
  • CM also announced that National Law University will be set up in Puducherry.
  • It has been decided to extend the Centre’s Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana Health Insurance Scheme beyond BPL families from the current financial year.
  • Families above the poverty line would be eligible to get health insurance coverage for renal transplant also.
  • CM announced an increase in transport allowance for differently-abled persons from ₹100 to ₹3000.
  • Marriage assistance for differently-abled persons has also been increased.
  • With a record allocation of ₹1,036.51 crores for healthcare, the government has proposed to procure advanced equipment such as MRI and CT scan for all healthcare centres in the UT.

Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

8. Union Home Minister Amit Shah chaired the 23rd meeting of the Central Zonal Council in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.

  • On the occasion, he said the number of left-wing extremist violence incidents has come down from 2,258 in 2009 to 509 in 2021.
  • In 2009, 1,005 people died in extremist violence while 147 people died in 2021. 
  • The 23rd meeting of the Central Zonal Council discussed the significant progress made towards the expansion of banking facilities within five kilometers of all villages.
  • Seamless integration of the Police Help Line number 112 with the Women Help Line number 181, and Child Help Line number 1098 was also discussed in the meeting.
  • Shifting the cases related to women to Sakhi-One Stop Center on a real-time basis was also discussed in the meeting.
  • The Central Zonal Council comprises of Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, and Chhattisgarh.
  • 22nd meeting of the Central Zonal Council was held at Raipur in Chhattisgarh.
  • Zonal Councils:
    • These are statuary bodies established under the State Reorganization Act 1956.
    • There are five zonal councils i.e. Northern, Central, Eastern, Western and Southern Zonal Councils. These councils were set up in 1957. While Northeast council was set up in 1971 under the Northeast Council Act, 1971.
    • These councils are chaired by the Union Home Minister and the Chief Ministers of the respective states act as Vice- Chairman on rotation basis for 1 year.

23rd meeting of the Central Zonal Council in Bhopal

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: National News

9. Union Minister Jitendra Singh launched India’s first indigenously developed Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus in Pune.

  • The indigenous hydrogen fuel cell bus has been developed by KPIT-CSIR.
  • The fuel cell utilizes hydrogen and air to generate electricity for the bus and produces only water as effluent.
  • Union Minister Jitendra Singh said that hydrogen is an excellent source of clean energy and it will help in the decarbonization of the refining, fertilizer, and steel industries.
  • Union Minister Jitendra Singh also inaugurated the Bisphenol-A pilot plant in CSIR-NCL.
  • Hydrogen fuel is the most environmentally friendly. The operational cost of a Hydrogen-based vehicle is less than diesel-powered vehicles.
  • Around 12-14% of CO2 emissions and particulate emissions are produced from diesel-powered heavy commercial vehicles.
  • Hydrogen-fuelled vehicles will reduce carbon emissions and help towards achieving the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2.5 to 3 billion tonnes by 2030.

Hydrogen Fuel Cell Bus

(Source: PIB)

Topic: State News/ Uttar Pradesh

10. Yogi Adityanath unveils the statue of Kalyan Singh in Lucknow.

  • On the first death anniversary of former CM Kalyan Singh, Yogi Adityanath unveiled his grand statue in Lucknow.
  • Yogi Adityanath said that the state government is working towards Kalyan Singh's vision of ‘Samagra Grameen Vikas’.
  • CM Yogi Adityanath also inaugurates the operation theatre block of Kalyan Singh Super Specialty Cancer Institute in Lucknow.
  • He said that the government is working to achieve the goal of ‘One District, One Medical College’.
  • Kalyan Singh:
    • Kalyan Singh is popularly known as ‘Babuji’ in Uttar Pradesh.
    • He was the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh from 24 June 1991 to 6 December 1992 and then from 21 September 1997 to 12 November 1999.
    • He worked for the empowerment of farmers, youngsters, and women.
    • The demolition of the Babri Masjid in Ayodhya took place during his tenure.

Topic: Art and Culture

11. UK’s Glasgow museum and the Indian government signed an agreement to bring back seven artefacts.

  • After 18 months of talks, the UK’s Glasgow museum, and the Indian High Commission, London signed the agreement.
  • The seven artefacts include a 14th-century Indo-Persian sword, three carved stone pillar fragments from 10th-century India, an inlaid marble pillar with foliate design, a 10th-century black chlorite stele of Surya and Hindu goddess Uma or Durga.
  • Most of these artefacts were stolen from temples and shrines in northern India during the 19th century. One of them was purchased following a theft from the owner.
  • These stolen artefacts are supposed to be from Kanpur, Kolkata, Gwalior, Bihar and Hyderabad.
  • According to Glasgow Life, a charitable organisation which runs the city’s museums, all seven artefacts were later gifted to Glasgow Museum.
  • The Glasgow City Council has also decided to return a total of 51 items to other countries, including 19 Benin bronzes from Nigeria.

Topic: State News/ Bihar

12. Government awarded the GI tag to Mithila Makhana.

  • To boost the income of farmers, the central government has granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag to Mithila Makhana.
  • Farmers producing Mithila Makhana will now get the maximum price for their produce. Around 5 lakh farmers in the Mithila region will get the benefit.
  • GI registration of the product has many benefits including legal protection for that item, prevention against unauthorized use by others, and promotion of exports.
  • A geographical indicator (GI) is a name or sign that appears on certain items and refers to a specific geographic location or origin.
  • The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999, protects products having a GI tag.
  • Once a product gets this tag, any person or company cannot sell a similar item under that name and the GI tag is valid for 10 years.
  • As per the GI registry portal, 15 products and logos have the GI tag in Bihar. (As of June 2022).

Product Name

Shahi Litchi

Bhagalpuri Zardalu

Katarni Rice

Magahi Paan

Silao Khaja

Madhubani Paintings

Applique (Khatwa) Work of Bihar

Sujini Embroidery Work of Bihar

Sikki Grass Work of Bihar

Bhagalpur Silks

Applique (Khatwa) Work of Bihar [Logo]

Sikki Grass Products of Bihar [Logo]

Sujini Embroidery Work of Bihar [Logo]

Manjusha Art

Mithila Makhana

Topic: New Developments

13. Scientists have developed the world’s first synthetic embryo without sperm.

  • Researchers of the Weizmann Institute of Israel have created the world’s first synthetic embryo without any sperm, eggs, or fertilization.
  • Scientists have developed a synthetic embryo from mice cells.
  • Initially, researchers grew mouse embryos outside of the womb in glass containers, which were taken directly from real mice and were fertilized.
  • Scientists have developed synthetic embryos after finding out that the mouse stem cells can self-assemble into structures like early embryos that have an intestinal tract, a developing brain, and a beating heart.
  • Synthetic embryos are 95% similar to natural embryos in terms of their internal structure and the genetic profiles of the cells.
  • The developed synthetic mouse embryos are not capable of developing into live mice.
  • However, more research is needed before growing a human embryo in this way.

Topic: Defence

14. United States and South Korea have begun their largest joint military drill since 2018.

  • The exercise, known as Ulchi Freedom Shield, is being seen as an opportunity to restore large-scale training sessions.
  • It will be organized from 22 August to 1 September.
  • For the first time in four years, both countries will conduct ground drills to respond to an attack by North Korea.
  • Officially details of the operation have not been released but usually, the field exercises involve aircraft, warships, tanks and thousands of troops.
  • South Korea also launched the four-day Ulchi civil defence drills separately. It has been designed to boost government readiness.
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