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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 12th Mar 2024

Today’s Current Affairs: 12th Mar 2024 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

ChipIN Centre:

The ChipIN Centre, a hub for chip designers in India, received a boost from leading semiconductor industry players, aiming to empower the semiconductor design community in the country.

  • The centre offers state-of-the-art Electronic Design Automation (EDA) tools to students at various academic levels.
  • These initiatives aim to realize India’s vision of becoming a semiconductor hub by fostering chip design innovation and entrepreneurship.
  • A semiconductor chip, also known as an integrated circuit (IC) or microchip, is a small electronic device that contains multiple interconnected electronic components.
  • Semiconductor chips are made up of electronic components such as transistors, resistors, and capacitors.
  • These components are etched onto a small piece of semiconductor material, usually silicon.
  • Semiconductors are tiny electrical switches that act like electrical currents on or off.

Measles And Rubella Champion Award:

India has been honoured with the prestigious Measles and Rubella Champion Award by The Measles and Rubella Partnership at the American Red Cross Headquarters in Washington D.C., USA.

  • The partnership, comprising various organizations dedicated to reducing global measles deaths and preventing rubella illness, applauds India’s commitment to public health and leadership in controlling these infectious diseases, particularly among children.
  • Measles is a highly contagious disease that can cause death in young children.
  • It can cause brain damage, deafness, and blindness.
  • The measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine is safe and highly effective in preventing rubella.
  • The WHO recommends two doses of the measles vaccine to ensure immunity and prevent outbreaks.
  • Rubella is a contagious viral infection that can cause birth defects.
  • It’s also known as German measles or three-day measles. Rubella is not as infectious or as severe as measles.
  • It’s caused by the rubella virus and spreads when people breathe in virus-infected fluid or direct contact with nasal or throat secretions of infected individuals.

Mahatari Vandana Yojana:

The Prime Minister recently launched the Mahatari Vandana Yojana in Chhattisgarh.

  • The scheme aims to ensure the economic empowerment of women, provide them with financial security, promote gender equality, and strengthen their decisive role within families.
  • All married women above the age of 21 as of 1st January 2024, including widows, divorced, and deserted women, are eligible to benefit from this scheme.
  • Eligible married women in Chhattisgarh will receive financial aid of Rs 1000 per month through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).
  • Approximately 70 lakh women are expected to benefit from the Mahatari Vandana Yojana in Chhattisgarh, contributing to their socio-economic upliftment.
  • The other initiatives aimed at enhancing women’s well-being are the Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana, Lakhpati Didi, Jan Dhan Accounts, Mudra Loans, Beti Bachao Beti Padhao and Ujjwala.

Second Thomas Shoal: Submerged Reef

A recent incident in the Second Thomas Shoal area, renewed global interest in the flashpoint between the Philippines and China.

  • Second Thomas Shoal is a submerged reef located in the Spratly Islands in South China Sea.
  • It is low-tide elevation located within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.
  • The Philippines first took possession of the Second Thomas Shoal in the late 1990s, setting an outpost on the drowned BRP Sierra Madre.
  • It continues to maintain its presence there and the ship serves as a military outpost, manned by a small contingent of troops.
  • The Second Thomas Shoal lies about 108 nautical miles (200 km) from the Philippine island of Palawan.
  • China claims sovereignty over most of the South China Sea, including the Second Thomas Shoal, based on the historical and controversial Nine-dash line.
  • China’s claims cut into the EEZs of Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Indonesia.
  • In 2013, the Philippines had filed a case against China with the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, challenging the legality of China’s claims and activities in the South China Sea, including the Second Thomas Shoal.
  • The court ruled in favour of the Philippines in 2016, but China rejected the judgment.

Exercise Cutlass Express:

INS Tir, the lead ship of First Training Squadron (1TS) participated in Exercise Cutlass Express – 24 (CE – 24) held at Port Victoria, Seychelles

  • Exercise Cutlass Express is an exercise conducted in East African coastal regions and the West Indian Ocean to counter malign influence, aggression and activity along overlapping command seams and maritime regions.
  • It is a premier multinational maritime exercise sponsored by U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and led by U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. Sixth Fleet.
  • It brings together maritime forces from East Africa, West Indian Ocean nations, Europe, North America and several international organizations to enhance maritime law enforcement capacity, promote national and regional security and increase interoperability among participating nations.
  • Training was conducted on theoretical and practical aspects of Maritime Interdiction Operations, Visit Board Search and Seizure procedures and Diving operations. During the sea phase, the ship’s VBSS team boarded Seychelles Coast Guard (SCG) ship LE Vigilant and demonstrated procedures of boarding operations.
  • As part of Cutlass Express 2024, the Indian Navy actively engaged with participants from 16 friendly foreign countries.
  • The Indian Navy has been participating in the exercise since 2019.

96th Academy Awards:

The highly anticipated 96th Academy Awards ceremony concluded with flair at the Ovation Hollywood in Los Angeles.

  • Academy Awards are popularly known as the Oscars given for artistic and technical merit in the film industry.
  • These are given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
  • The awards are an international recognition of excellence in cinematic achievements.
  • The awards were first presented in 1929 and winners receive a gold-plated statuette commonly called Oscar.
  • The various category winners are awarded a copy of a golden statuette, officially called the “Academy Award of Merit”. Winners are chosen from the 24 categories: best picture, actor, actress, supporting actor, supporting actress, directing, original screenplay and adapted screenplay etc.
  • Only members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences may nominate and vote for candidates for the Oscars.
  • The academy is divided into various branches of film production, and the nominees in each award category are chosen by the members of the corresponding branch.
  • The entire academy membership nominates the candidates for best picture and votes to determine the winners in most of the categories.

Core Inflation:

According to economists, core inflation is likely to remain low, around 3% in the near term, owing to weak rural demand, softness in housing inflation and lower input cost pressures.

  • Core Inflation is the change in the costs of goods and services excluding the price variations in seasonal elements, such as those related to food and energy.
  • Food and energy prices are exempt from this calculation because their prices can be too volatile or fluctuate wildly. Core inflation represents the long-term trend in the price level.
  • It is used to determine the impact of rising prices on consumer income.
  • To deal with such situations, many central banks use measures of core inflation that are designed to filter transitory price movements.
  • If the increase in the price index is due to temporary shocks that could soon reverse themselves, it may not require any monetary policy action.
  • On the other hand, prices of other commodities do not fluctuate as regularly as those of food and fuel: as such, an increase in their prices could be taken relatively to be much more of a permanent nature.
  • It follows logically for Central Banks to target only core inflation, as it reflects the demand-side pressure in the economy.
  • Core inflation, by eliminating the volatile components from the headline helps in identifying the underlying trend in headline inflation and is believed to predict future inflation better.
  • Whenever core inflation rises, Central Banks increase their key policy rates to suck excess liquidity from the market, and vice versa. It is, therefore, a preferred tool for framing long-term policy.

Yaounde Declaration:

Ministers of Health from African countries with the highest burden of malaria recently signed the Yaounde Declaration with the objective of ending malaria deaths.

  • Yaounde Declaration was signed by the health ministers of 11 African countries with the highest burden of malaria, committing to accelerated action to end deaths from the malaria disease.
  • It was signed at the Yaoundé conference, co-hosted by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Government of Cameroon.
  • The 11 countries that signed the declaration are: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Sudan, Uganda and Tanzania.
  • These countries carry roughly 70% of the global malaria burden.
  • They committed to provide stronger leadership and increased domestic funding for malaria control programmes; to ensure further investment in data technology; to apply the latest technical guidance in malaria control and elimination; and to enhance malaria control efforts at the national and sub-national levels.
  • The ministers further pledged to increase health sector investments to bolster infrastructure, personnel, and programme implementation; to enhance multi-sectoral collaboration; and to build partnerships for funding, research, and innovation.
  • In signing the declaration, they expressed their “unwavering commitment to the accelerated reduction of malaria mortality” and “to hold each other and our countries accountable for the commitments outlined in this declaration.”