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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 16th Aug 2023

Today’s Current Affairs: 16th aug 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Granting Scheduled Caste (SC) Status To Dalit Christians:

The Union Government established a commission, led by former Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, to explore the possibility of granting Scheduled Caste (SC) status to Dalit Christians.

  • The Tamil Nadu Assembly passed a resolution to amend the 1950 Presidential (SC) order to include them.
  • The Justice Ranganath Misra Commission (2007) and studies by Deshpande and Bapna (2008) favoured extending reservation benefits to Dalit Christians.
  • Hindu Dalits converted to Christianity to escape caste-based discrimination but haven’t achieved the expected equality due to lingering social hierarchies.
  • The article highlights the need to recognize the unique struggles of Dalit Christians through the “Theory of Intersectionality,” which considers multiple forms of oppression like race, gender, and religion intersecting.
  • The term “Dalit Christians” reflects a distinct identity, challenging the misconception that conversion erases caste discrimination.
  • The legal framework’s focus on single-axis categorization has led to exclusion, and amending the SC list through the 1950 order is proposed as a solution.

Track To Become a Global Leader In The AI Field : Telangana

A report highlights Telangana’s organized approach to developing and spreading Artificial Intelligence (AI) across various sectors.

  • The report suggests that due to the rapid adoption of AI, Telangana is on track to become a global leader in the AI field, not just within the country but on an international level.
  • Telangana AI Mission (T-AIM): Collaborative effort with Nasscom to develop an AI ecosystem.
  • Transformative Projects: AI-driven solutions in agriculture, pension authentication, pothole detection, and more.
  • Generative AI Advancements: Novel content creation across domains.
  • Innovation Ecosystem: Robust research and development fostering AI growth.

Graphene-Aurora Program:

The “Graphene-Aurora Program” was launched by MeitY Maker Village in Kochi, Kerala.

  • This initiative, led by Digital University Kerala, aims to bridge the gap between graphene research and commercialization.
  • The establishment of the India Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (I-GEIC) will play a pivotal role in this effort.
  • Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice, forming a two-dimensional structure.
  • It is known for its remarkable properties, including exceptional strength, electrical conductivity, and thermal conductivity.
  • Graphene’s unique characteristics make it a versatile material with various potential applications across different industries.
  • It is used in electronics for creating faster and more efficient devices, in materials science for reinforcing composites, in energy storage for enhancing battery performance, and in medical fields for drug delivery and biosensors.

Kirti Chakras And Shaurya Chakras:

President Droupadi Murmu has sanctioned 76 gallantry awards for armed forces and Central Armed Police Forces personnel on the eve of India’s 77th Independence Day.

  • Among these, the Kirti Chakra, the second-highest peacetime gallantry award, will be presented to four Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) members who lost their lives during an anti-Naxal operation in Chhattisgarh in April 2021.
  • Additionally, eleven individuals will receive the Shaurya Chakra, the third-highest peacetime gallantry award, including personnel from the Army, Jammu and Kashmir Police, and CRPF.
  • Five of these awardees will be posthumously honoured.
  • The approved awards consist of 54 Sena Medals (Gallantry), three Nao Sena Medals (Gallantry), and four Vayu Sena Medals (Gallantry).
  • The President has also granted 30 Mention-in-Despatches to the Army and one to an Air Force personnel, acknowledging their significant contributions in various military operations.

Antarctic Strawberry Feather Star : Cryptic Sea Animals (New Species)

Scientists have unveiled a new species, the Antarctic Strawberry Feather Star, found in the depths of the Antarctic Ocean.

  • With a distinctive body shape and 20 arms, this otherworldly creature was discovered during research expeditions between 2008 and 2017.
  • The discovery, detailed in the journal Invertebrate Systematics on July 14, surprised researchers who were actually searching for cryptic sea animals known as Antarctic feather stars.
  • These creatures, existing at depths ranging from 65 to 65,000 feet, boast unique swimming behavior.
  • The newly found species, Promachocrinus fragarious, was aptly named for its strawberry-like body and can alter its color from purplish to dark reddish

Matangini Hazra And Kanaklata Barua:

President Droupadi Murmu, during her address on the eve of Independence Day, paid tribute to women freedom fighters. She mentioned two notable figures: Matangini Hazra and Kanaklata Barua ,exemplified the spirit of India’s struggle for independence and their contributions continue to be honoured and remembered.

Matangini Hazra:

  • Born in 1869 in a village near Tamluk, West Bengal, she was married at a young age and became widowed by 18.
  • After her husband’s death, she dedicated herself to social causes and became deeply involved in the Nationalist movement, supporting Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals.
  • Hazra participated in various protests, including the Civil Disobedience Movement and the Salt March.
  • During the Quit India Movement in 1942, at the age of 73, she led a large procession of around 6,000 protesters, advocating for the takeover of the Tamluk police station.
  • In the ensuing clash with British authorities, she was shot and killed, becoming a martyr for the cause of Indian independence.

Kanaklata Barua:

  • Kanaklata Barua was a young martyr of the Quit India Movement and a symbol of courage and determination.
  • At just 17 years old, she led the Mrityu Bahini, a group of freedom fighters, in an attempt to hoist the Tricolour at the Gohpur police station in Assam on September 20, 1942.
  • Despite her age, she was determined to lead the procession, and her brave efforts left a lasting impact.
  • During the confrontation with the police, she was shot and killed while holding onto the flag.
  • Her sacrifice inspired many during a time when women’s involvement in the freedom struggle was gaining momentum. I
  • n 2020, a Coast Guard vessel was named after her as a tribute to her bravery.


Remittances : India Status

Remittances to India surged by 26% to reach approximately $112 billion in FY23, marking a significant increase from the approx $89 billion recorded in FY22.

  • This growth in remittances reflects the heightened demand for Indian professionals globally following the pandemic.
  • Remittances are funds sent by migrants to their families and friends in their home countries.
  • They serve as vital income and foreign exchange for numerous developing nations, particularly in South Asia.
  • Private remittances significantly contribute to India’s current account, helping offset the trade deficit that often arises from merchandise trade.
  • Remittances are typically classified as part of the current account in a country’s balance of payments.

India’s Status:

  • India has consistently remained the leading global recipient of remittances for several years.
  • This is in contrast with FDI inflows, which were lower at about $71 billion in FY23, down from about $85 billion in FY22
  • The top five recipient countries for remittances in 2022 were India, Mexico, China, the Philippines, and Pakistan
  • The top sources for inward remittances to India in 2020-21 were the
    • USA (over 23%)
    • UAE (18%)
    • UK (about 7%)
    • Singapore (about 6%)
    • Saudi Arabia (about 5%)

Chandrayaan-3 : Nears Moon Orbit

India’s Chandrayaan-3 spacecraft, launched on July 14, has successfully undergone its third lunar orbit reduction, transitioning from a highly-elliptical orbit to a near-circular orbit around the Moon.

  • The craft’s orbit circularization phase aims to bring it to a constant 100 km distance above the lunar surface, marking a critical milestone for the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • The journey of the spacecraft involved engine burns to raise its orbit and perform Trans-Lunar injection.
  • The upcoming phases entail engine tests, a series of braking maneuvers, and a planned soft landing on August 23.
  • Chandrayaan-3 carries a propulsion module, lander, and rover, with the mission objective of performing a lunar soft-landing and conducting in-situ analysis near the Lunar surface’s 70 degrees latitude.
  • The successful orbit reduction signifies ISRO’s progress in maneuvering the spacecraft from a highly-elliptical orbit to a near-circular one, positioning it closer to the Moon.
  • This achievement paves the way for further crucial phases of the mission, such as engine tests and braking maneuvers.
  • The orbit circularization phase aims to bring Chandrayaan-3 to a constant 100 km distance above the lunar surface.
  • This stable orbit is essential for the craft’s upcoming tasks, including planned engine tests and the series of braking maneuvers leading to the soft landing.

African Penguins : Facing Extinction By 2035

African penguins has been highlighted in a recent report by The Guardian. Scientists have warned that without intervention, these unique creatures could become extinct by 2035.

  • The penguins confront threats like disease, storms, flooding, and pollution.
  • These distinct birds inhabit the coasts of Namibia and South Africa and have seen their population plummet from several million breeding pairs in the early 20th century to under 11,000 today.
  • However, experts believe that collaborative efforts involving fisheries, governments, industries, scientists, and the public could halt the decline and ensure the survival of this iconic species.
  • African penguins primarily inhabit islands off the coasts of Namibia and South Africa.
  • These regions are important because they provide nesting and breeding grounds for the penguins.
  • The islands’ proximity to the ocean ensures access to their marine food sources.

Hackathon : Innovation In Coal Sector

The Ministry of Coal organized a Hackathon through CMPDI to boost innovation in the coal and lignite sector, aligning with the “Make in India” initiative.

  • The event aimed to engage startups, research organizations, and academic institutions to address five key problem statements: payload monitoring of loading equipment, dust suppression optimization, 5G application for coal industry, crack propagation detection, and efficient coal grade monitoring.
  • The event gained significant traction with 34 proposals received on the problem statements.
  • The selection process involves online presentations judged by subject experts from various prestigious institutions.
  • Top three proposals per problem statement will be honored at an event in CMPDI, Ranchi.
  • This initiative underscores the Ministry’s dedication to fostering startup culture and technological innovation, highlighting the sector’s potential for growth through collaboration and advancement.
  • The Ministry of Coal initiated the Hackathon to encourage innovation in the coal and lignite sector as part of the “Make in India” campaign.
  • It aimed to engage startups, research organizations, and academic institutions to develop solutions for pressing challenges faced by the industry.

Indigenous 105-mm Light Field Guns:

During the 77th Independence Day celebrations at Delhi’s iconic Red Fort, Indigenous 105-mm Light Field Guns were used for the ceremonial gun salute, replacing the British 25-pounder guns.

  • These indigenous guns marked their debut earlier this year with a 21-gun salute during the Republic Day parade.
  • The 21-gun salute involves specially-designed cartridges to create firing sounds.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi received a Guard of Honour from the Armed Forces and Delhi Police before hoisting the national flag and delivering his 10th consecutive Independence Day address.
  • Flower petals were showered by Indian Air Force helicopters, and the theme for the year is ‘Nation First, Always First,’ aligned with the “Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav” celebration.
  • The use of Indigenous 105-mm Light Field Guns for the ceremonial gun salute at the Red Fort holds immense significance.
  • It symbolizes India’s progress in defense manufacturing and technology and replaces the British 25-pounder guns.
  • This reflects the nation’s move towards self-reliance in defense equipment.