Daily Current Affairs and GK | 24 August 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 25 Aug 2023 13:02 PM IST

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Topic: Defence

1. Light Combat Aircraft Tejas successfully test-fired ASTRA at an altitude of about 20 thousand feet.

  • The ASTRA indigenous Beyond Visual Range air-to-air missile has been successfully fired off the coast from Goa.
  • The missile was fired from the aircraft at an altitude of about 20 thousand feet.
  • All objectives of the test have been achieved. It was the perfect launch.
  • This test is a step towards overcoming potential future sanctions due to geopolitical ramifications on arms trade.
  • This launch would enhance the combat capabilities of Tejas and reduce dependency on imported weapons.
  • Indian Air Force has already successfully integrated the ASTRA missile with the Sukhoi 30-MKI combat aircraft.
  • ASTRA is an air-to-air missile and is capable of destroying highly manoeuvring supersonic aerial targets.
  • It is designed and developed by the Defence Research and Development Laboratory, Research Centre Imarat and other laboratories of DRDO.

Topic: New Development

2. An innovative cooling solution has been developed for electronics applications.

  • It has been developed by researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras and Khalifa University of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
  • The researchers developed an electro-hydrodynamics-based method.
  • Their findings were published in the journal Applied Thermal Engineering.
  • Professor S Vengadesan, his research student R. Vishnu and Ahmed Alkaabi and Deepak Selvakumar from Khalifa University co-authored the research paper.
  • The researchers have made significant strides in advancing heat management for miniature electronic devices.
  • Miniaturized electronic components are extensively used both in space missions and consumer electronics. This leads to heat generation.
  • Micro/mini-channel heat sinks are best suited for dissipating heat in High-performance computing processors.
  • The researchers aim to disrupt the smooth flow inside the mini-channels through the use of plate electrodes.

Topic: Economy/Banking/Finance

3. The Advisory Board on Banking and Financial Frauds (ABBFF) has been reconstituted by the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC).

  • Suresh N Patel, former Central Vigilance Commissioner, will chair the reconstituted ABBFF.
  • In addition to the Chairman, ABBFF has four members. The term of Chairman/Members will be for two years with effect from August 21.
  • The four members of ABBFF are Ravikant, Rajnikant Mishra, David Rasquinha and Partha Pratim Sengupta.
  • ABBFF carries out the first level examination of bank frauds before recommendations or references are made to investigation by agencies like the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
  • All PSBs, public sector insurance companies, and public sector financial institutions are now required to refer all matters of fraud involving ₹3 crore and above to the ABBFF for advice.
  • The ABBFF will be headquartered in New Delhi. It will have to ordinarily, within a month of receipt of the initial reference, tender the advice.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

4. The National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) approved the proposal regarding the tiger reserve in the Karauli and Dholpur districts of Rajasthan.

  • With this approval, India got its 54th tiger reserve in the Karauli and Dholpur districts of Rajasthan.
  • This is the 5th tiger reserve in Rajasthan after Ranthambore, Sariska, Mukundra Hills and Ramgarh Vishdhari.
  • As per the government data, the tigers number in India has grown from 2,967 in 2018 to 3,682 in 2022. This is an annual increase of 6%,
  • Madhya Pradesh has the highest number (785) of tigers in the country. 
  • It is followed by Karnataka (563), Uttarakhand (560), and Maharashtra (444).
  • The tigers number in Rajasthan has grown from 32 in 2006 to 88 in 2022.

Topic: International News

5. A program launched by the Saudi Environment Ministry to combat desertification using artificial intelligence (AI).

  • The program is a collaboration between the Environment ministry, the National Center for Vegetation Development and Combating Desertification, and the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.
  • The program aims to study the status of vegetation cover in the Kingdom and contribute to afforestation projects and the goals of the "Green Saudi" initiative.
  • Saudi Arabia, a dry country already affected by climate change, has a significant challenge from desertification.
  • The program will use AI to identify areas most vulnerable to desertification. For this, other data including satellite imagery will be analysed.
  • The use of remote sensing technology will be employed to track changes in vegetation cover, rainfall, and plant health over time.
  • The program will also create methods to lessen the effects of desertification, such as enhancing water management, encouraging sustainable agriculture, and planting trees and shrubs.
  • Saudi Arabia is also implementing several other initiatives to combat desertification using AI-driven programs.
  • These include the "Green Saudi" initiative to plant 10 billion trees across the country and the "National Center for Plant Development and Desertification Prevention" to develop drought-resistant plants and improve water management practices.
  • The upcoming Saudi Green Initiative (SGI) Forum, is to be held in Riyadh on October 23-24.
  • It will mark a milestone in Saudi Arabia's historic effort to transform its oil-based economy into a cleaner and more sustainable one.

Topic: State News/ Jammu and Kashmir

6. J&K ranked second among States/UTs in the number of online services provided to citizens.

  • Jammu and Kashmir has become the second state amongst States and UTs in the number of online services provided to the citizens with the announcement of 913 citizen-centric online services on the e-UNNAT portal.
  • This is an important milestone in line with the resolve of the J&K Administration to provide ease, convenience, and accessibility of services to the common man.
  • Jammu and Kashmir has overtaken Kerala by providing 911 online services and is second in the country after Madhya Pradesh.
  • It is noteworthy that under the 'Digital Jammu and Kashmir Programme' launched in mission mode last year, the number of online services has rapidly increased from 35 services to 913 services in 2021.
  • With the 24x7 availability of services on a single integrated portal as well as the 'Mobile Dost' app, the use of technology has ushered in a new era of digital governance in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The services have also been linked to the Rapid Assessment System (RAS) for citizen feedback and over 52 lakh SMS have been sent so far with an approval rating of 86%.
  • 300 online services have been linked with an auto appeal system, wherein appeals are forwarded to appellate authorities in case of non-delivery of service within the time limit defined under the Public Service Guarantee Act (PSGA).

e-UNNAT portal

(Source: News on AIR)

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Topic: Space and IT

7. India has become the first nation to land on the South Pole of the Moon.

  • The Vikram lander touched down perfectly near the lunar South Pole.
  • ISRO Chairman S Somnath thanked everyone for their support.
  • The Project Director of the Chandrayaan 3 mission P Veeramuthuvel said that India had demonstrated its capabilities of soft landing on the Moon.
  • The Mission Director M Sreekanth also thanked the whole team of ISRO.
  • India has become 4th country after USSR, U.S. and China to make a soft landing on the lunar surface.
  • After the soft landing, the ISRO command centre established the communication link between the Chandrayaan-3 Lander and Mission Operations Complex (MOX) at ISRO Telemetry, Tracking, and Command Network (ISTRAC), Bengaluru.
  • Chandrayaan-3:
    • Chandrayaan-3 is a follow-on mission to Chandrayaan-2.
    • It was launched on 14 July 2023 from Satish Dhawan Space Centre’s Second Launch Pad in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
    • Chandrayaan-3 landed on the lunar surface at around 6:04 pm on 23 August 2023. It has a mission life of one lunar day (14 Earth Days).
    • The mission objectives of Chandrayaan-3 are:
      • To demonstrate a Safe and Soft Landing on the Lunar Surface.
      • To demonstrate Rover roving on the moon.
      • To conduct in-situ scientific experiments.

Topic: National News

8. The National Curriculum Framework for School Education was released by Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on 23 August 2023.

  • National Curriculum Framework for School Education is an important step towards the implementation of the National Education Policy - 2020.
  • The board examinations will be conducted twice a year. The students would have the option to retain the best score.
  • The aim of this step is to reduce the high-pressure environment often associated with single annual exams.
  • The National Curriculum Framework for School Education addresses the entire educational journey from foundational to secondary stages.
  • It covers all the four stages of schooling. It is organised into five parts.
  • Mr Pradhan said the efforts are on to make new textbooks available from next academic year.
  • The Minister said the textbooks for classes 3 to 12 will be aligned with 21st-Century requirements.
  • The National Curriculum Framework for School Education expects all students to be proficient in at least three languages, at least two of which are native to India. 
  • According to the framework, class 9 and 10 students will learn three languages. Out of these, two will be native languages to India.  
  • According to the framework, class 11 and 12 students will learn two languages.  Out of these, one will be of Indian origin.   
  • As of now, class 9 and 10 students study two languages and class 11 and 12 students study one language. 
  • The NCF has been drafted by the national steering committee headed by former Chairman of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) K. Kasturirangan.  
  • The NCF increases number of mandatory subjects for Classes 9 and 10 to seven and for Classes 11 and 12 to six.  
  • Optional subjects have been categorized in three parts in the NCF.

Topic: International News

9. India supported a consensus-based approach to expanding BRICS.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India supports the expansion of the BRICS group with consensus.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the plenary Session I of the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, on August 23, 2023.
  • The BRICS members include Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
  • India proposed the idea of a BRICS space consortium to explore outer space.
  • PM Modi also said members should invest in skill mapping, technology, and education.
  • He also said that BRICS members are home to the world’s most endangered “big cats” so members should cooperate in conservation under the International Big Cat Alliance.
  • India suggested measures in areas of railway research networks and cooperation among MSMEs and start-ups.
  • PM Narendra Modi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa reviewed progress in bilateral relations between both countries.
  • What is the need for the expansion of BRICS?
    • Russia wants an alternative to the G-7-driven global political-economic model.
    • India is in support of change in global multilateral systems to make them more responsive toward the needs of the Global South.
    • Russia and China are aggressively supporting de-dollarisation so they want to expand BRICS.

Topic: National News

10. In FY 23-24, GeM achieved the milestone of one lakh crore rupees in Gross Merchandise Value.

  • In the current financial year, the Government e-marketplace (GEM) crossed the Gross Merchandise Value of one lakh crore rupees.
  • GeM has achieved this milestone in a record time of 145 days in the current fiscal year against 243 days in the last fiscal.
  • The average GMV per day has increased from INR 412 crore per day in FY 22-23 to INR 690 crore per day in FY 23-24.
  • Since its establishment, GeM has crossed 4.91 Lakh crore rupees in Gross Merchandise Value and has facilitated over 1.67 crore orders on the platform.
  • The contribution of the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs), Central Ministries and State Governments in this achievement is 54%, 26% and 20% respectively.
  • Government e-Marketplace (GeM):
    • GeM is an online platform for the procurement of goods and services by government departments, public sector units, and other agencies.
    • It was launched in 2016 as a part of the government's "Digital India" initiative
    • Its main aim is to bring transparency, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness to public procurement.

Government e-marketplace

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: National News

11. Center will buy additional 2 lakh tonnes of onions amid farmers' protest.

  • On 19 August, the Center imposed a 40% export tax on onions to bring down rising prices, triggering widespread protests in the main producing regions.
  • The government will buy additional 2 lakh tonnes of onion from farmers and sell it through NCCF and NAFED in various regions at a subsidized rate of Rs 25 per kg.
  • Consumer Affairs and Food and Supplies Minister Piyush Goyal has said that the government is taking all necessary steps to protect the interests of onion farmers.
  • Efforts have also been made to bring down the rising onion prices in the interest of consumers.
  • So far, three lakh metric tonnes of onions have been procured and in addition to this, the process of procuring two lakh metric tonnes of onions has been started.
  • Onion is being procured at the rate of Rs 2,410 per quintal. The government appealed to the farmers to sell onions at this price.
  • The export price was around $320 per tonne free on board (about Rs 2,650 per quintal) before the duty was imposed.

Topic: National Appointments

12. Justice Prakash Shrivastava has been appointed as the new chairperson of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

  • The former Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court, Shrivastava has assumed the charge from 23 August. 
  • On July 6, 2023, the Center appointed Justice Sheo Kumar Singh as the Acting chairperson after the retirement of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel.
  • On August 21, Justice Srivastava's appointment order was issued.
  • Justice Srivastava was the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court from October 11, 2021, to March 30, 2023.
  • National Green Tribunal (NGT):
    • It was established under the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 for effective and expeditious disposal of environmental disputes.
    • The central government appoints the chairperson of the NGT in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI).
    • It handles cases pertaining to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources in India.
    • India is the third country in the world to establish NGT after Australia and New Zealand.

Topic: State News/ Tamil Nadu

13. Tamil Nadu government is planning to set up the ‘India Centre for Advanced Manufacturing’.

  • The Tamil Nadu government in association with the World Economic Forum will establish the ‘India Centre for Advanced Manufacturing’ in Chennai.
  • The Tamil Nadu government and the World Economic Forum hosted a public-private discussion for establishing this centre.
  • The India Centre for Advanced Manufacturing will support companies in their innovation, sustainability, and R&D endeavours.
  • Technology adoption and innovation, industry-academia engagement, and sustainable production will be the key focus area for the Centre.
  • Earlier, Tamil Nadu had established three Centers of Excellence in collaboration with Siemens, G.E., and Dassault Systeme to provide vital support to start-ups and MSMEs.
  • It will enhance Tamil Nadu’s capabilities and attract critical industries like semiconductors, green hydrogen, and solar PV module manufacturers to the state.

Topic: Personality in News

14. Renowned statistician CR Rao passed away.

  • India’s most distinguished statistician Calyampudi Radhakrishna Rao passed away at the age of 102.
  • He was awarded the 2023 International Prize in Statistics.
  • He is known for the Cramer-Rao Lower Bound and the Rao-Blackwell Theorem and many other results.
  • He served as the Director of the Indian Statistical Institute and worked as Professor in many institutions.
  • He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1968 and Padma Vibhushan in 2001.
  • Rao received the SS Bhatnagar Prize in 1963 and was elected as a “fellow of the Royal Society” in 1967.
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