Today’s Current Affairs: 12th aug 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
The National Power Committee (NPC) has asked States to provide suggestions for offering incentives to buyers and sellers on the surplus power portal PUSHp,
- PUShP portal is a High Price Day Ahead Market (HP-DAM) and Surplus Power Portal (PUShP) launched by the Ministry of Power.
- It was launched to ensure greater availability of power during the peak demand season at a price higher than the ceiling of Rs 12 per unit by certain category of sellers.
- The power distribution companies (DISCOMs) will be able to indicate their surplus power in block times / days / months on portal.
- Those DISCOMs who need power will be able to requisition the surplus power.
- The new buyer will pay both variable charge (VC) and fixed cost (FC) as determined by Regulators.
- Once power is reassigned, the original beneficiary shall have no right to recall as entire FC liability is also shifted to the new beneficiary.
- This will reduce the fixed cost burden on the DISCOMs, and will also enable all the available generation capacity to be utilized.
Pilibhit Tiger Reserve : Five-Year-Plan To Safeguard Turtles
Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) has embarked on an ambitious journey by formulating its inaugural ‘five-year-plan’ to safeguard turtles, conduct species identification and estimate their populations both within and outside the reserve.
- Pilibhit Tiger Reserve is located in Pilibhit District, Lakhimpur Kheri District and Bahraich District of Uttar Pradesh.
- It lies along the India-Nepal border in the foothills of the Himalayas and the plains of the ‘terai’ in Uttar Pradesh.
- The river Gomti originates from the reserve, which is also the catchment of several others like Sharda, Chuka and Mala Khannot.
- The Sharda Sagar Dam extending up to a length of 22 km (14 mi) is on the boundary of the reserve.
- Vegetation: North Indian moist deciduous type.
- It is characterized by sal forests, tall grasslands and swamps, maintained by periodic flooding from rivers.
- It is home to a myriad of wild animals including the endangered tiger, swamp deer, Bengal florican, hog deer, leopard, etc.
Earendel : Celestial Body
The James Webb Space Telescope has revealed important details about Earendel, the far away celestial body.
- Earendel is a star discovered by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2022 and it is the most distant and earliest known star.
- It is a massive B-type star that is more than twice as hot as our Sun and about a million times more luminous.
- It is located in the Sunrise Arc Galaxy and is around 12.9 billion years away.
- Both Webb and Hubble were only able to detect it due to a natural phenomenon called gravitational lensing.
- The star happened to be aligned behind a wrinkle in space-time created by the galaxy cluster WHL0137-08, which is located between us and Earendel.
- Gravitational lensing occurs when a massive celestial body, such as a galaxy cluster, causes a sufficient curvature of spacetime for the path of light around it to be visibly bent, as if by a lens.
- The body causing the light to curve is accordingly called a gravitational lens.
- An important consequence of this lensing distortion is magnification, allowing us to observe objects that would otherwise be too far away and too faint to be seen.
Employee Stock Option Plan:
A parliamentary panel recently recommended to the government to amend the Income Tax Act to ensure that ESOPs (Employee Stock Option Plan) are taxed only at the time of sale of shares and not on notional gains to allow startups to hire ‘low-cost’ employees.
- Employee Stock Option Plan (ESOP) which is also called Employee Stock Ownership Plan in India is a benefit plan that offers employees the right to buy company shares at a predetermined price.
- It’s a tool companies use to attract, retain, and reward employees.
- ESOPs help to align employees’ interests with the company’s growth and success.
- Under an ESOP, eligible employees are granted the right, but not the obligation, to purchase company shares at a predetermined price, known as the “exercise price” or “strike price.”
- This price is typically set at a discount to the current market price of the company’s shares.
- Employees have to wait for a certain time period – known as the vesting period– before they can exercise the right to purchase those specified number of shares.
- All companies other than listed companies should issue it in accordance with the provisions of the Companies Act, 2013 and Companies (Share Capital and Debentures) Rules, 2014.
- In the case of listed companies, they should issue in accordance with the Securities and Exchange Board of India Employee Stock Option Scheme Guidelines.
Takakia : Threatened By Climate Change
Takakia that has survived for millions of years is now threatened by climate change.
- Takakia is a rare genus of moss that adapted over millions of years to life at high altitudes.
- It looks like a later of moss or green algae on the rocks where it grows.
- It is a genus that only has two species ( lepidozioides and T. ceratophylla ) and both of them are found together only in the Tibetan Plateau.
- It has developed the ability to survive frost, life-threatening UV radiation and other hazardous conditions.
- It combines features found in mosses, liverworts and green algae.
- It is a moss that separated from other mosses 390 million years ago, not long after the first land plants evolved.
India Web Browser Development Challenge:
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) recently launched the Indian Web Browser Development Challenge (IWBDC).
- The challenge is spearheaded by MeitY in collaboration with the Controller of Certifying Authorities (CCA) and the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) Bangalore.
- The Challenge seeks to inspire and empower technology enthusiasts, innovators, and developers from all corners of the country to create an indigenous web browser.
- The desired browser will have its own trust store, use a root certificate from India’s CCA, and offer cutting-edge functionalities and enhanced security & data privacy protection features.
- As part of the challenge the government has announced a cash prize of Rs 3.4 crores for the developers.
- The Indian Tech Start-ups, MSMEs, Companies, and LLPs registered in India under the Companies Act 2013 can apply.
- The entity must have at least 51% shareholding with Indian citizens or persons of Indian origin.
- The applicant’s entity should not be a subsidiary company of any foreign corporation.
- Participants can apply either as “individuals” or “organization”. Members applying as “individuals” should have a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 7 members in their Group.
- All other applicants (Startups, MSME, etc.) should apply under the “organization” category only.
Lymphatic Filariasis : Eradicating By 2027
Union Health & Family Welfare Minister recently said India is committed to eradicating Lymphatic Filariasis by 2027, surpassing the global target by three years.
- Lymphatic Filariasis commonly known as elephantiasis, is a neglected tropical disease.
- Infection occurs when filarial parasites are transmitted to humans through mosquitoes.
- This impairs the lymphatic system and can lead to the abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability and social stigma.
- It s caused by infection with parasites classified as nematodes (roundworms) of the family Filariodidea.
- There are 3 types of these thread-like filarial worms:
- Wuchereria bancrofti, which is responsible for 90% of the cases.
- Brugia malayi, which causes most of the remainder of the cases.
- Brugia timori, which also causes the disease.
- Adult worms nest in the lymphatic vessels and disrupt the normal function of the lymphatic system.
- The worms can live for approximately 6–8 years and, during their lifetime, produce millions of microfilariae (immature larvae) that circulate in the blood.
- Transmission: Mosquitoes are infected with microfilariae by ingesting blood when biting an infected host.
- Microfilariae mature into infective larvae within the mosquito. When infected mosquitoes bite people, mature parasite larvae are deposited on the skin, from where they can enter the body.
- Symptoms: About two in every three people who have lymphatic filariasis don’t have severe symptoms. But filariasis usually leads to a weakened immune system. Some people may experience:
- Inflammation: An overactivated immune system.
- Lymphedema: Fluid buildup in your lymphatic system.
- Hydrocele: Swelling and fluid buildup in the scrotum.
- Edema: Swelling and fluid buildup in your arms, legs, breasts and female genitals (vulva).
Solar Flare : Impact
A powerful solar flare disrupted radio and navigation signals across North America recently.
- A solar flare is an intense burst of radiation coming from the release of magnetic energy associated with sunspots.
- Flares are our solar system’s largest explosive events.
- They are seen as bright areas on the sun, and they can last from minutes to hours.
- In a matter of just a few minutes, they heat the material to many millions of degrees and produce a burst of radiation across the electromagnetic spectrum, including from radio waves to x-rays and gamma rays.
- Although solar flares can be visible in white light, they are often more readily noticed via their bright X-ray and ultraviolet emissions.
- The intense radiation emitted during a solar flare can affect satellite communications, disrupt radio signals, and even pose a risk to astronauts in space.
- The increased solar radiation can lead to geomagnetic storms, which may impact power grids and cause auroras (northern and southern lights) at lower latitudes.
- Geomagnetic Storm is a major disturbance of Earth’s magnetosphere.
- These storms result from variations in the solar wind that produces significant changes in the currents, plasmas, and fields in Earth’s magnetosphere.
New Spaceport In Tamil Nadu:
India is set to expand its space capabilities with the establishment of a new spaceport in Kulasekarapattinam, Tamil Nadu.
- The spaceport will be used for launching the Small Satellite Launch Vehicles (SSLV) developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), which are designed to offer low-cost and flexible access to space for small satellites.
- The spaceport will also be open for use by Non-Government Entities (NGEs), subject to technical and safety requirements, as per the Indian Space Policy 2023.
- The Government has also established the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) as a single-window agency for facilitating and authorizing the space activities of NGEs.
National Social Assistance Programme : CAG Report
An audit conducted by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) has revealed that approximately Rs 79 crore was improperly transferred to ineligible beneficiaries under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP) of the Ministry of Rural Development between 2017 and 2021.
- Article 151 of the Constitution mandates the CAG to present audit reports to the President.
Key findings of the audit report include:
- A substantial portion of transferred funds was disbursed to ineligible beneficiaries, including those who had passed away.
- Nearly Rs 3 crore was diverted for campaigning in respect to other ministry schemes.
- Most states (except Haryana and Kerala) failed to maintain a proper database of eligible beneficiaries, resulting in the exclusion of eligible individuals.
- Ineligible payments made to individuals below the required age for specific pension schemes like INGOAPS and IGNWPS in multiple states/UTs.
- Pension Mismanagement Payments meant for disability pensions disbursed to ineligible individuals, and inaccuracies in assessing the degree of disability in some cases.
- Beneficiaries In 26 states/UTs, payments continued to be made to over 2,100 individuals even after their death, a concerning finding.
- Many states relied on outdated or incomplete BPL lists instead of the mandated SECC to identify beneficiaries, leading to the exclusion of eligible individuals.
- Some states diverted NSAP funds for other purposes, and certain funds remained unused for years. NSAP Advisory Committee held only a few meetings.
- This misallocation of funds led to several eligible beneficiaries being excluded from the program. Over 4.65 crore people availed of benefits during 2017-21
National Social Assistance Programme:
- It was launched on 15th August, 1995.
- It is is a social security and welfare programme to provide support to aged persons, widows, disabled persons and bereaved families on death of primary bread winner,
belonging to below poverty line households.
- For getting benefits under NSAP the applicant must belong to a Below Poverty Line (BPL) family according to the criteria prescribed by the Govt. of India.
- The other eligibility criteria and the scale of central assistance under the sub – schemes of NSAP are as follows
The Supreme Court has introduced the ‘SuSwagatam’ portal, an online platform that facilitates the issuance of e-passes for entering the apex court.
- ‘SuSwagatam’ is a user-friendly web application that enables advocates, visitors, and interns to register online and request e-passes for various purposes, including attending court hearings and meeting with advocates.
- In July 2023, the portal underwent testing as a pilot project and received positive responses from its users.
- It is a web-based and mobile-friendly application that allows users to request for e-passes for various purposes such as attending court hearings, meeting advocates, etc.
Athidhi Portal : Kerala Govt
The Kerala government is set to launch the ‘Athidhi Portal’, which aims to expedite the registration process for migrant workers in the state.
- In light of recent incidents involving sexual crimes against children allegedly carried out by migrant workers, the government is taking measures to enhance the registration of “guest workers.”
- The exploitation of unregistered migrants by contractors and the lack of social security
- The portal will introduce a unique identification system and facilitate the registration of workers by contractors, employers, and individual workers themselves.
- The goal is to ensure comprehensive registration and provide social security for all migrant workers.
Zayed Talwar : Bilateral Exercise
The Indian Navy’s ships INS Visakhapatnam and INS Trikand have arrived in Dubai to conduct the bilateral exercise ‘Zayed Talwar’ with the UAE Navy.
- The exercise aims to enhance interoperability and cooperation between the two naval forces. The visit seeks to strengthen the maritime partnership, share best practices, and foster a common understanding of security challenges in the region.
- Other exercises between India and UAE:
- Exercise Desert Flag (Air Force)
- In-UAE BILAT (bilateral naval exercise)
- Desert Eagle (bilateral air force exercise)