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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 10th June 2023

Today’s Current Affairs: 10th Jun 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Agni Prime Missile : Successfully Tested

New Generation Ballistic Missile ‘Agni Prime’ was successfully flight-tested by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island.

  • Agni Prime Missile is a short-range ballistic missile that will have a range of 1000 km to 1500 km.
  • It is a surface to a surface missile that can carry a payload of around 1,000 Kg or a nuclear warhead.
  • It incorporates new propulsion systems and composite rocket motor casings as well as advanced navigation and guidance systems.
  • Ballistic Missiles are launched directly into the upper layers of the earth’s atmosphere.
  • They travel outside the atmosphere, where the warhead detaches from the missile and falls towards a predetermined target.
  • They are rocket-propelled self-guided weapons systems which can carry conventional or nuclear munitions.
  • They can be launched from aircraft, ships and submarines, and land.

Kaziranga National Park : Mahouts Arrested For Capturing Spotted Pond Turtles

Three persons engaged as mahouts (keepers and drivers of an elephant) in the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, Assam, have been arrested for capturing and consuming spotted pond turtles, a rare species of a freshwater turtle.

  • The incident has raised concerns about the illegal consumption of protected species by park employees, leading to investigations and arrests.
  • Spotted pond turtles( Geoclemys hamiltonii) are named for the yellow or white spots on their black heads, legs and tails.
  • They have large heads and short snouts, and their webbed feet help them swim.
  • They are also known as Black Pond Turtle, Black Spotted Turtle, Hamilton’s Terrapin.
  • They bask in the sun to regulate their body temperature. Their need for warm water and an intense basking area is important.
  • They are found in large, deep rivers in India, Assam, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
  • In India, the species is distributed across the north, northeast and a few parts of central India
  • These turtles are primarily carnivorous and eat aquatic invertebrates.
  • Spotted pond turtles are crepuscular, meaning they are most active at twilight (dusk and dawn).
  • Conservation Status:
    • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) : Endangered
    • CITES : Appendix I

Kaziranga National Park:

  • It is in the State of Assam and covers 42,996 Hectare (ha). It is the single largest undisturbed and representative area in the Brahmaputra Valley floodplain.
  • It was declared as a National Park in 1974.
  • It has been declared a tiger reserve since 2007. It has a total tiger reserve area of 1,030 sq km with a core area of 430 sq. km.
  • It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985.
  • It is recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International.
  • It is the home of the world’s most one-horned rhinos. Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary has the highest density of one-horned rhinos in the world and second highest number of Rhinos in Assam after Kaziranga National Park.
  • Much of the focus of conservation efforts in Kaziranga are focused on the ‘big four’ species— Rhino, Elephant, Royal Bengal tiger and Asiatic water buffalo.

Maiden India-France-UAE Maritime Partnership Exercise:

The first edition of India, France, and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Maritime Partnership Exercise commenced on 7th June 2023 in the Gulf of Oman, featuring the participation of INS Tarkash, French Ship Surcouf, French Rafale aircraft, and UAE Navy Maritime Patrol Aircraft.

  • It emphasizes the exchange of best practices and paves the way for greater naval collaboration among India, France, and the UAE.
  • India and France have established strong cooperation in the defense sector, the two countries regularly conduct joint exercises such as Exercise Shakti, Exercise Varuna, and Exercise Garuda involving their respective army, navy, and air force.
  • India has collaborated with France in the construction of six Scorpene submarines through a technology-transfer arrangement in 2005, and France has provided India with 36 Rafale fighter jets under an inter-government agreement.
  • India and the UAE have also established strong cooperation in the defense realm.
  • India and the UAE conduct joint air combat exercises, such as ‘Desert Eagle II’, to enhance security cooperation and counter terrorist threats.

Policy Rates Unchanged : RBI

The Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) has decided to keep the policy rates unchanged, taking into account the evolving macroeconomic situation.

  • This is the second consecutive pause after a previous conservative rate hike of 250 basis points aimed at curbing inflation.
  • The decision reflects a cautious approach to balance inflation management and support economic growth.
  • Policy Rates Unchanged:
    • The policy repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) remains unchanged at 6.50%.
    • The standing deposit facility (SDF) rate remains unchanged at 6.25%.
    • The marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and Bank Rate are maintained at 6.75%.
  • Assuming a normal monsoon, CPI inflation is projected at 5.1% for 2023-24
  • The MPC aims to withdraw accommodation gradually to align inflation with the target while supporting growth.
  • The objective is to achieve the medium-term target for consumer price index (CPI) inflation of 4% within a band of +/- 2%.

Exploration Of Coal And Lignite Scheme: Approved Continuation

The union government of India approved the continuation of the central sector plan ‘Exploration of Coal and Lignite scheme’ with an estimated expenditure of ₹2,980 crore.

  • The period for the extension is from 2021-22 to 2025-26.
  • Under this scheme, exploration for coal and lignite is conducted in two broad stages: (i) Promotional (Regional) Exploration and (ii) Detailed Exploration in non-Coal India Limited blocks.
  • This scheme is required to prove and estimate coal resources available in the country, which helps in preparing detailed project reports to start coal mining.
  • The geological reports prepared through these explorations are used for auctioning new coal blocks, and the cost is thereafter recovered from successful allocatee.

Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana : Aadhaar Cards Being Misused To Create Beneficiaries

Under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana, Aadhaar cards being misused to create beneficiaries under Per Drop More Crop Scheme in Jharkhand state has been revealed.

  • Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana was launched in 2015 to improve farm productivity and ensure better utilization of the resources in the country.
  • It consists of two major components namely,
    • Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP)
    • Har Khet Ko Pani (HKKP): It consists of four sub-components, being Command Area Development & Water Management (CAD&WM), Surface Minor Irrigation (SMI), Repair, Renovation and Restoration (RRR) of Water Bodies, and Ground Water (GW) Development component.
  • PMKSY also consists of two components
    • Per Drop More Crop (PDMC) component is being implemented by the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
    • The Watershed Development component (WDC) is being implemented by the Department of Land Resources

RuPay Card : Permit Banks To Issue RuPay Prepaid Forex Cards

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in a bid to broaden the scope of RuPay cards has decided to permit banks to issue RuPay Prepaid forex cards to customers and to issue such cards abroad.

  • RuPay card is an Indian domestic card scheme conceived and launched by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
  • Its mission is to fulfil the Reserve Bank of India’s vision of having a domestic, open-loop and multilateral system of payments in India.
  • It works to enable electronic payment at all Indian banks and financial institutions.
  • Since the transaction processing will happen domestically, it would lead to a lower cost of clearing and settlement for each transaction. This will make the transaction cost affordable and will drive the usage of cards in the industry.
  • RuPay, being a domestic scheme is committed towards the development of customized product and service offerings for Indian consumers.
  • Transaction and customer data related to RuPay card transactions will reside in India.

TAPI Gas Pipeline : Joint Implementation Plan

To speed up work on Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India (TAPI) gas pipeline project and finish the feasibility study as soon as possible, Pakistan and Turkmenistan recently signed a Joint Implementation Plan (JIP).

  • TAPI Pipeline is an 1,814-kilometre pipeline that aims to transport 33 billion cubic metres of gas from Turkmenistan to Afghanistan, Pakistan and finally, India.
  • It is also called the ‘Peace Pipeline’.
  • It will start from the Galkynysh gas field in Turkmenistan.
  • It will then pass through Afghanistan and Pakistan to finally reach the Indian town of Fazilka(near the Indo-Pak border).
  • At full capacity, the pipeline will transport 33 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas annually from TKM to respective buyers in AFG (5%), PAK (47.5%) and IND (47.5%) during the 30-year commercial operations period.
  • The Project comprises the procurement, installation and operation of the pipeline and related facilities within Afghanistan and Pakistan.
  • The project was originally conceived in the 1990s, and an inter-governmental agreement was signed in 2010 by the heads of four member nations.
  • A Gas Pipeline Framework Agreement was signed in December 2010, and a bilateral gas sale agreement was signed in May 2013.
  • In February 2018, a ground-breaking ceremony for Afghanistan’s section of the TAPI gas pipeline was held in the western Afghan city of Herat.
  • The TAPI project is being funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), which is also acting as transaction adviser for the development.

First Loss Default Guarantee : RBI

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recently granted its approval for First Loss Default Guarantee (FLDG) framework.

  • FLDG is a lending model between fintech firms and their partner banks and non-banking finance companies where the initial hit on a default is taken by the fintech firm that originated the loan.
  • Under these agreements, the fintech originates a loan and promises to compensate the partners up to a pre-decided percentage in case customers fail to repay.
  • The bank or NBFC partners lend through the fintech but from their books.
  • FLDG helps expand the customer base of traditional lenders but relies on the fintech’s underwriting capabilities.
  • It will also rationalise the existing prudential norms to implement resolution plans in respect of exposures affected by natural calamities.
  • Fintech, a combination of the terms “financial” and “technology,” is the application of new technological advancements to products and services in the financial industry
  • It refers to the application of software and hardware to financial services and processes, making them faster, easier to use and more secure.