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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 15th June 2024

Today’s Current Affairs: 15th June 2024 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Kavli Prize 2024:

The winners of the 2024 Kavli Prize were announced on Wednesday. Eight winners were awarded for their contributions to astrophysics, neuroscience and nanoscience.

  • It is awarded in honour of Norwegian-American businessman and philanthropist Fred Kavli (1927-2013)
  • The Kavli Prizes are awarded in three areas: astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience — the largest, the smallest, and the most complex. The inaugural prize was announced in 2008.

Winners in 2024:

  • ASTROPHYSICS: This year’s prize for astrophysics has been awarded to David Charbonneau, and Sara Seager for discoveries of exoplanets, and the characterisation of their atmosphere.
  • NANOSCIENCE: Robert Langer, Armand Paul Alivisatos, and Chad Mirkin were given the prize for nanoscience for biomedical applications breakthroughs.
  • NEUROSCIENCE: The prize in neuroscience has been awarded to Nancy Kanwisher, Winrich Freiwald, and Doris Tsao for their collective effort over decades to map the linkage between facial recognition and the brain.

Hawkish Economic Policy:

As the US heads for a presidential election in November, the Federal Reserve, the country’s central bank, has signaled that it is unwilling to let interest rates soften in a hurry.

  • Hawkish economic policy refers to a stance taken by central banks or other economic policymakers that emphasizes the importance of controlling inflation, often at the expense of other economic goals like full employment or economic growth.
  • Policymakers who are “hawkish” tend to favor higher interest rates to keep inflation in check and maintain price stability.
  • This approach is often contrasted with “dovish” economic policy, which prioritizes stimulating economic growth and reducing unemployment, even if it means tolerating higher inflation.

Key characteristics of hawkish economic policy:

  • Raising interest rates to make borrowing more expensive, which can reduce spending and investment, thereby cooling off an overheating economy.
  • Implementing measures to reduce the money supply or slow its growth, which can help control inflation.
  • Prioritizing low inflation as a primary goal, often setting explicit inflation targets and taking actions to ensure they are met.
  • Cutting back on fiscal or monetary stimulus measures that could spur inflation, such as reducing government spending or unwinding quantitative easing programs.


The army has got its first indigenous man-portable suicide drones that are designed to target enemy training camps, launch pads and infiltrators with precision, without endangering the lives of soldiers.

  • The Indian army has integrated the Nagastra 1 loitering munition, designed by Economic Explosives Limited (EEL), as its first indigenous man-portable suicide drone.
  • These drones enhance the army’s precision strike capabilities against enemy training camps and infiltrators, with a focus on reducing dependence on imports and promoting self-reliance in defence technology.
  • With the potential for exports to friendly nations, Nagastra 1 showcases India’s advancement in developing cost-effective solutions for modern warfare.
  • The Nagastra-1 is fully designed and developed in India, with an indigenous content of over 75%.
  • The drone can carry out GPS-enabled precision strikes with an accuracy of 2 meters and has a range of almost 30 km.
  • The drone has a low acoustic signature and electric propulsion, making it a silent killer.\
  • The drone has a parachute recovery mechanism, which can bring back the munition in case of an aborted mission, enabling it to be used multiple times.
  • The drone weighs 6 kg and can stay airborne for up to 60 minutes.

Ozone-Depleting Substances: New Study

A new study released June 11, 2024, has reported the first significant decrease in atmospheric concentrations of potent ozone-depleting substances (ODS) known as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

  • Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS) are chemicals that cause the depletion of the stratospheric ozone layer.
  • This layer is crucial for protecting life on Earth by absorbing the majority of the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
  • The most common ODS include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), Halons, Carbon Tetrachloride and Methyl Chloroform.
    ODS are substances commonly used in refrigerators, air conditioners, fire extinguishers and aerosols.
  • The Montreal Protocol, signed in 1987, is a global agreement to protect the stratospheric ozone layer by eliminating the production and consumption of ODSs like chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs).
  • The worldwide production of CFCs has been prohibited since 2010.

Kigali Amendment to Montreal Protocol:

  • In 2016, Parties to the Montreal Protocol adopted the Kigali Amendment to phase down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) worldwide.
  • HFCs are widely used alternatives to ODS such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), already controlled under the Protocol.

Global Gender Gap Report 2024:

The World Economic Forum released the 18th edition of its annual Global Gender Gap Report for 2024, comprehensively benchmarking gender parity across 146 economies worldwide.

Key Findings of the Report:

  • The global gender gap score in 2024 is 68.5%, meaning 31.5% of the gap remains unaddressed. Progress has been extremely slow, with only a 0.1% point improvement from 2023.
  • At the current rate, it will take 134 years to reach full gender parity globally far beyond the 2030 SDG target.
  • The gender gaps remain largest in Political Empowerment (77.5% unaddressed) and Economic Participation & Opportunity (39.5% unaddressed).
  • Iceland (93.5%) remains the world’s most gender-equal society for the 15th consecutive year. It is followed by Finland, Norway, New Zealand and Sweden in the top 5 rankings.
  • 7 out of the top 10 countries are from Europe (Iceland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Ireland, Spain).
  • Other regions represented are Eastern Asia and the Pacific (New Zealand at 4), Latin America and the Caribbean (Nicaragua at 6), and Sub-Saharan Africa (Namibia at 8).
  • Spain and Ireland made notable jumps into the top 10 in 2024, climbing 8 and 2 ranks respectively compared to 2023.
  • Europe leads with 75% of its gender gap closed, followed by Northern America (74.8%) and Latin America & Caribbean (74.2%).
  • The Middle East and North Africa region ranks last at 61.7% of its gender gap closed.
  • Southern Asia region ranks 7th out of 8 regions with a gender parity score of only 63.7%.

Centre Has Proposed Eco-sensitive Areas:

Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Goa, three of the six states where the Centre has proposed eco-sensitive areas (ESAs) to protect the Western Ghats have requested a reduction in the extent of these ESAs to permit development projects.

  • In 2013, the government constituted a High-Level Working Group under the Chairmanship of Dr. Kasturirangan to make recommendations for conserving and protecting the biodiversity of Western Ghats while allowing for sustainable and inclusive development of the region.
  • Previously, the Madhav Gadgil Committee (2011) also gave its recommendations of conservation of Western Ghats.
  • The Committee had recommended that identified geographical areas falling in the six States of Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu be declared ass ESA.
  • The Committee recommended bringing just 37% of the Western Ghats under the ESA, down from the 64% suggested by the Gadgil Committee report.
  • All the involved States recognised a need to protect the Western Ghats, however, they expressed their concerns related to the allowed activities and extent of the area mentioned in the draft notification.
  • These states argue for the rationalisation of ESAs to facilitate development works.
  • Karnataka opposed the K Kasturirangan panel report which proposed 20,668 km2 as ESA, citing adverse effects on local livelihoods.
  • Goa also requested a reduction of about 370 km2 from the proposed 1,461 km2 of ESAs.

Satellite-Based Tolling System:

The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has invited expressions of interest (EoI) for the implementation of a satellite-based electronic toll collection system.

  • The winning entity will have to develop a geo-referenced map and toll-charging software for the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS).
  • A georeferenced digital map or image has been tied to a known Earth coordinate system, so users can determine where every point on the map or aerial photo is located on the Earth’s surface.
  • A GNSS is the generic term for any of the satellite constellations that broadcast positioning, navigation and timing data.
  • It is used in all forms of transportation like space stations, aviation, maritime, rail, road and mass transit.
  • Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) is an autonomous system designed to cover the Indian region and 1500 km around the Indian mainland. The system consists of 7 satellites.
  • NHAI plans to implement the GNSS-based electronic toll collection system alongside RFID-based Fastags currently being used by vehicles.
  • FASTag is a device that employs Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology for making toll payments directly while the vehicle is in motion.

Satnamis Protest : Chhattisgarh

A large mob from the Satnami community in Chhattisgarh’s Baloda Bazar district attacked the Superintendence of Police (SP) office, over the alleged desecration of a ‘jaitkhamb’ (victory pillar, a sacred structure for the Satnami community).

  • Satnami Community is the largest Scheduled Caste (SC) community, including peasants, artisans, and untouchables in Chhattisgarh.
  • It was founded by Guru Ghasidas, a 19th-century saint, who preached monotheism, believing in one God called Satnam “Truthful Name” and social equality.
  • They’ve faced challenges in securing land rights, obtaining fair employment opportunities, and accessing education and healthcare encountered social prejudice and haven’t had a strong voice in government.
  • The Chhattisgarh government renamed a section of the Sanjay-Dubri Tiger Reserve to Guru Ghasidas National Park in his honour.

Donanemab : New Alzheimer’s Drug

A new Alzheimer’s drug, donanemab, has received support from an FDA advisory committee, moving closer to approval.

  • Intended for early-stage Alzheimer’s, it shows significant slowing of cognitive decline.
  • The drug works by targeting amyloid beta protein deposits in the brain.
  • Alzheimer’s disease is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and is the most common type of dementia.
  • It’s characterized by changes in the brain that lead to protein deposits, brain shrinkage, and eventually cell death.