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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 15th Mar 2024

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

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) Report:

India emerged as the world’s top arms importer for the period 2019-23, with a 4.7% increase compared to 2014-18, as per the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)

Key findings:

  • The USA is the largest arms exporter > France, for the first time, was the second biggest arms exporter> Russia
  • The U.S. increased its arms exports by 17%, while Russia’s exports fell by over half.
  • India was the world’s top arms importer: Russia remained India’s main arms supplier (accounting for 36% of its arms imports).
  • However, its share decreased to less than 50% for the first time in 6 decades.
  • Ukraine emerged as the largest European arms importer in 2019–23.
  • Nine of the top 10 arms importers were in Asia and the Middle East.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) :

  • It is founded in 1966; HQ: Solna (Sweden),is an Independent international institute and global think tank, that provides data, analysis, and recommendations on armed conflict, military spending, arms trade, disarmament, and arms control. Its research, based on open sources, targets decision-makers, researchers, media, and the public, aiming to foster an understanding of conditions for peaceful conflict resolution and sustainable peace.

National Action Plan For Prevention And Control Of Snakebite Envenoming (NAP-SE):

The Union Health Ministry launched the National Action Plan for Prevention and Control of Snakebite Envenoming (NAP-SE), aiming to halve snakebite deaths by 2030 through a ‘One Health’ Approach.

  • The plan includes :
    • launching of IEC materials: Booklet, Posters, and Video for Snakebite Awareness.
    • Introduction of Snakebite Helpline in five pilot States.
    • Launch of National Rabies Control Programme Website.
    • Onboarding National One Health Programme for Zoonoses on Integrated Health Initiative Platform.
  • Snakebite envenoming is a significant health issue in India, causing around 50,000 deaths annually.
  • The NAP-SE aims to reduce mortality and complications due to snakebites through a comprehensive approach involving healthcare, wildlife, tribal, and animal health components.
  • Key strategic actions include:
    • Strengthening anti-venom availability at all health facilities
    • Surveillance, emergency care, and inter-sectoral coordination
    • States to develop their action plans tailored to their needs, with designated nodal officers for coordination and monitoring

Calling Name Presentation (CNAP):

CNAP, or Calling Name Presentation, is a proposed Caller ID service by TRAI to reduce incessant spam and Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC).

  • It aims to show the caller’s name when receiving a call, similar to services like Truecaller.
  • Unlike crowd-sourced services, CNAP will rely on verified information from Customer Application Forms (CAFs) filled by subscribers.
  • TRAI recommends telecom providers maintain a database linking phone numbers with customer names from CAFs.
  • This initiative has raised privacy concerns among industry players, with suggestions for opt-in mechanisms and limitations to protect user privacy.
  • Unlike Truecaller, CNAP’s database will be based on verified information, potentially providing more accurate caller identification.

National Curriculum For Early Childhood Care And Education (ECCE):

The Ministry of Women and Child Development has launched a National Curriculum for Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) for children aged three to six years, along with a National Framework for Early Childhood Stimulation (NFECS) for children from birth to three years.

  • NFECS (National Framework for Early Childhood Stimulation) NECCE (National Curriculum for Early Childhood Care and Education)
  • Target Age Group : Children from birth to three years Children from three to six years
  • Objective is to empower caregivers and Anganwadi Workers for holistic early stimulation Enhance the quality of early childhood care and education at Anganwadi Centres
  • It is aligned with the National Curriculum Framework for Foundational Stage 2022 (NCF-FS)
  • Developmental Domains Covered Physical, cognitive, language, socio-emotional, cultural/aesthetic, positive habits Physical/motor, cognitive, language and literacy, socio-emotional, cultural/aesthetic, positive habits
  • 36 month-wise-age-based activities Weekly calendar with 36 weeks of active learning, 8 weeks of reinforcement, and 4 weeks of initiation
  • It refers to the interaction between caregivers and children, where the caregiver responds to the child’s actions or cues, creating a supportive and nurturing environment. Screening, inclusion, and referrals for Divyang children, community engagement
  • It involves providing gentle and supportive direction to encourage positive behaviour and development in children.
  • Prepared by Both documents have been prepared by the National Institute for Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD) and will be integrated into the Poshan Tracker.
  • NIPCCD will lead the training of Anganwadi functionaries on the new Curriculum and Framework

Vocal For Local Initiative:

The NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) launched the ‘Vocal for Local’ initiative under its Aspirational Blocks Programme (ABP).

  • Initiative aims to boost sustainable growth by showcasing indigenous products through ‘Aakanksha.’
  • A dedicated window on the GeM portal facilitates e-commerce for local products.
  • As a part of this initiative, indigenous local products from 500 Aspirational Blocks have been mapped and consolidated under Aakanksha.
  • The CEO of NITI Aayog urged district collectors and block-level officials to collaborate with partners such as Government e-Marketplace (GeM) and Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) to facilitate sustainable growth of microenterprises in Aspirational Blocks.
  • The ABP is a development initiative announced in the Union Budget 2022-23, it aims to provide direction, guidance, and support for social and economic advancement in the most underdeveloped regions in India and to direct development benefits towards marginalised and vulnerable sections of the population.

PB-SHABD Platform:

Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting launched PB-SHABD, a news sharing service from Prasar Bharati.

  • Prasar Bharti – Shared Audio Visuals for Broadcast and Dissemination (PB-SHABD) platform has been designed to provide daily news feeds in video, audio, text, photo and other formats to the subscribers from media landscape.
  • It is powered by the vast network of Prasar Bharati reporters, correspondents and stringers, the service would bring you the latest news from different parts of the country.
  • It will be a single point source of news content for all organizations.
  • SHABD service is being offered free of cost for the first year as an introductory offer and will provide news stories in all major Indian languages across fifty categories.
  • The shared feeds can be used for customized storytelling across different platforms.
  • As an introductory offer, the services would be available free of cost and help the smaller newspapers, TV channels and digital portals immensely.

Electric Mobility Promotion Scheme 2024:

Electric Mobility Promotion Scheme 2024 aims to further accelerate the adoption of Electric Vehicles in the country. It is a fund limited scheme with a total outlay of Rs. 500 crore for the period of 4 months.

  • It is for faster adoption of electric two-wheeler (e-2W) and three-wheeler (e-3W) to provide further impetus to the green mobility and development of electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing eco-system in the country.
  • Eligible EV categories
    • Two Wheelers (electric) (e-2W)
    • Three-wheeler (electric) including registered e-rickshaws & e-carts and L5 (e-3W)
    • The scheme will be applicable mainly to those e-2W and e-3Ws registered for commercial purposes. Further, in addition to commercial use, privately or corporate owned registered e-2W will also be eligible under the scheme.
  • To encourage advance technologies, the benefits of incentives, will be extended to only those vehicles which are fitted with advanced battery.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Heavy Industries

Global Methane Tracker 2024:

According to the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Global Methane Tracker 2024, Methane emissions from fuel use in 2023 were close to being the highest ever.

  • Global Methane Tracker is an annual report released by the International Energy Agency (IEA).
  • It is based on the most recently available data on methane emissions from the energy sector and incorporates new scientific studies, measurement campaigns, and information collected from satellites.

Highlights of Global Methane Tracker 2024:

  • Methane emissions from fuel use in 2023 were close to being the highest ever at 120 million tonnes (Mt).
  • This is a small rise compared to 2022.
  • Bioenergy, a form of renewable energy generated by plant and animal waste, caused another 10 million tons of emissions.
  • Of the 120 Mt of methane that escaped into the atmosphere, around 80 million tons of methane emissions came from just 10 countries, The United States leads in methane emissions from oil and gas operations, and is “closely followed” by Russia. China, on the other hand, leads in emissions from coal operations.
  • While studies suggested emissions are falling in some regions, overall emissions remain far too high to meet the world’s climate goals.
  • The world needs to slash methane emissions from fossil fuels by 75 percent by 2030 to achieve the Paris Agreement goal of limiting warming to 1.5°C.
  • The IEA estimated that this goal would require about $170 billion in spending.
  • This is less than 5 percent of the income generated by the fossil fuel industry in 2023.

Euscorpiops Krachan : Species Of Scorpion

Researchers recently discovered a previously unknown species of scorpion, scientifically classified as Euscorpiops Krachan.

  • Euscorpiops Krachan belongs to the subgenus Euscopiops and has been named Euscorpiops Krachan after the national park in Thailand, where it was found.
  • Scorpions in this genus have limited distribution ranges with a high degree of endemism.
  • They can be found mainly in mountain areas, particularly in places with numerous rock crevices.
  • They are very small in comparison to most other species of the subgenus, reaching just over 1 inch in length.
  • They are brownish in colour; however, females are darker than males.
  • They also have eight eyes and eight legs.
  • Other scorpions of the Scorpiops genus hunt through ‘ambush or sit-and-wait type of foraging’.
  • It is believed that the new species employs similar strategies while hunting.

Vocal For Local Initiative : NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog recently launched the ‘Vocal for Local’ initiative under its Aspirational Blocks Programme.

  • Vocal for Local is an initiative of NITI Aayog under its Aspirational Blocks Programme to encourage a spirit of self-reliance among the people and propel them towards sustainable growth and prosperity.
  • As a part of this initiative, local products from 500 aspirational blocks have been mapped and consolidated under the Aakanksha brand.
  • Aakanksha is an umbrella brand, which could be supplemented into multiple sub-brands that have the potential to create an international market.
  • In order to encourage these products, a dedicated window for the Aspirational Blocks Programme under the brand name Aakanksha has been established on the Government e-Marketplace (GeM) portal.
  • The partners will also provide technical and operational support for the facilitation of e-commerce onboarding, establishing linkages, financial/digital literacy, documentation/certification, and skill enhancement, among others.

Lyme Disease : New Case Reported

A case of Lyme disease has been recently reported in the Ernakulam district of Kerala.

  • Lyme Disease is a vector-borne infectious disease caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi.
  • It is primarily transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks, often referred to as deer ticks.
  • It is prevalent in wooded and grassy areas worldwide, particularly during warmer months. It is most commonly reported in North America, Europe, and some parts of Asia.
  • Early symptoms of Lyme disease start between 3 to 30 days after an infected tick bite you.
  • It commonly manifests with symptoms such as fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic “bull’s-eye” red rash called erythema migrans (EM).
  • Erythema migrans serves as a hallmark sign, aiding in the early diagnosis and management of this tick-borne illness.
  • Left untreated, it can lead to more severe complications affecting the joints, heart, and nervous system.
  • The standard treatment for Lyme disease is antibiotics, such as doxycycline or amoxicillin, especially in the early stages.