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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 16th Feb 2024

Today’s Current Affairs: 16th Feb 2024 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Micellar Water : Uses

Micellar water is a popular product for removing makeup and sunscreen due to its effective cleansing properties.

  • It contains micelles, clusters of molecules that are adept at removing oily substances.
  • Micellar water, a product found in supermarkets, chemists and bathroom cabinets around the world, is a very effective cleanser and many people swear by it as part of their skincare routine.
  • Micellar water products contain something called micelles – clusters of molecules that are very effective at removing oily substances.
  • The micelles in micellar water are formed by special molecules known as surfactants.
  • These micelles have a hydrophilic exterior, meaning that they are very happy to remain mixed throughout water.
  • It is a commonly used skin care product that helps remove impurities and makeup from your skin.
  • When you apply some micellar water to a cotton pad, another convenient interaction occurs.
  • The wet cotton is hydrophilic (loves water).
  • Consequently, some of the micelles will unravel, with the hydrophilic heads being attracted to the wet cotton pad.
  • Now, sticking out from the surface will be a layer of hydrophobic tail groups.
  • These hydrophobic tails cannot wait to attract themselves to makeup, sunscreen, oils, dirt, grease and other contaminants on your face.
  • As you sweep the cotton pad across your skin, these contaminants bind to the hydrophobic tails and are removed from the skin.
  • Some contaminants will also find themselves encapsulated in the hydrophobic centres of the micelle.

LNG As a Transportation Fuel In Medium And Heavy Commercial Vehicle : Report

NITI Aayog and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands released a report titled ‘LNG as a Transportation Fuel in Medium and Heavy Commercial Vehicle’ during India Energy Week.

  • It addresses the potential of LNG as a fuel source and suggests strategies for its utilisation in commercial vehicles.
  • LNG is natural gas that has been converted to a liquid form for the ease and safety of natural gas transport.
  • Natural gas is cooled to approximately -260°F, creating a clear, colourless, and non-toxic liquid that can be transported from areas with a large supply of natural gas to areas that demand more natural gas.

National Conference On APAAR: One Nation One Student ID Card

The National Conference on APAAR: One Nation One Student ID Card was held in New Delhi.

  • Vital interconnection between APAAR IDs, the Academic Bank of Credit, and Digilocker, facilitating streamlined operations, was also highlighted in the event.
  • APAAR, an acronym for Automated Permanent Academic Account Registry, is a specialised identification system designed for all students in India, beginning from an early age.
  • It is introduced in accordance with the National Education Policy (NEP) of 2020 and the National Credit and Qualifications Framework (NCrF).
  • Registration for an APAAR ID is voluntary, not mandatory.
  • It aims to streamline and enhance the academic experience for students throughout India by assigning a unique and permanent 12-digit ID to each student, consolidating their academic records into a single accessible platform.
  • It is emphasised as not only a vital tool for tracking the educational progress of 260 million students in India but also as an aspirational and globally recognized document for students.

Smart Gram Panchayat: Revolution Towards Digitization Of Gram Panchayat

The Union Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj inaugurated the ‘Smart Gram Panchayat: Revolution towards Digitization of Gram Panchayat’ Project at Paprour Gram Panchayat of Begusarai District, Bihar signalling a significant leap towards digital empowerment in rural India.

  • The project aims to extend the PM-WANI (Prime Minister’s Wi-Fi Access Network Interface) Service to Gram Panchayats in Begusarai, marking a paradigm shift in rural connectivity.
  • Begusarai leads the digital transformation in Bihar by equipping all Gram Panchayats with Wi-Fi services under the PM-WANI Scheme.
  • It is funded under the revamped Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA), the project targets 455 Gram Panchayats across 37 Blocks in Begusarai and Rohtas Districts in Bihar. The Ministry of Panchayati Raj implements it.
  • Emphasis is placed on using technology to enhance access to online services in critical sectors like health, education, and skilling, improving the quality of life in rural areas.
  • Students, farmers, artisans, and Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs) are among the beneficiaries of this initiative.
  • Robust mechanisms for Operation & Maintenance (O&M) will be instituted to sustain the project’s impact over time.
  • The project aims to bridge the rural-urban divide, foster accountability, and efficiency in local self-governance, and empower communities through digital footprints.

UPI Services In Sri Lanka And Mauritius:


The Prime Minister of India along with the President of Sri Lanka, Mr Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Mr Pravind Jugnauth jointly inaugurated the launch of Unified Payment Interface (UPI) services in Sri Lanka and Mauritius, and also RuPay card services in Mauritius.

  • RuPay is a payment system and financial services product developed by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
  • It is a domestic card payment network that can be used at automated teller machines (ATMs), point of sale (POS) devices, and e-commerce websites across India.After Nepal, Bhutan, Singapore and UAE, the RuPay card is now available in Africa through Mauritius, the first non-Asian country to issue it.
  • The UPI is a digital and real-time payment system developed by the NPCI in 2016.
  • UPI is built over the IMPS (Immediate Payment Service) infrastructure and allows users to instantly transfer money between any two parties’ bank accounts.
  • UPI allows merging several banking features, seamless fund routing, and merchant payments into one mobile application.
  • The countries that accept UPI payments are France, UAE, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Bhutan, and Nepal.

Cassini Spacecraft : New Findings

Findings from data collected by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft reveal the presence of a vast ocean beneath the icy surface of Saturn’s moon Mimas.

  • Cassini-Huygens was a joint NASA, European Space Agency and Italian Space Agency space mission to Saturn.
  • It was launched on October 15, 1997.
  • The mission consisted of NASA’s Cassini orbiter, which was the first space probe to orbit Saturn, and the ESA’s Huygens probe, which landed on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.
  • It was one of the largest interplanetary spacecraft.
  • The Cassini orbiter weighed 2,125 kg and was 6.7 metres long and 4 metres   wide.
  • The instruments on board Cassini included radar to map the cloud-covered surface of Titan and a magnetometer to study Saturn’s magnetic field.
  • The disk-shaped Huygens probe was mounted on the side of Cassini.
  • It weighed 349 kg (769 pounds), was 2.7 metres (8.9 feet) across, and carried six instruments designed to study the atmosphere and surface of Titan.

Electoral Bonds : Direction From Supreme Court

The Supreme Court recently directed the State Bank of India to stop issuing electoral bonds immediately.

  • Electoral bonds are interest-free bearer bonds or money instruments that can be purchased by companies and individuals in India from authorised branches of the State Bank of India (SBI).
  • The bonds are similar to bank notes that are payable to the bearer on demand and are free of interest.
  • These bonds are sold in multiples of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, and Rs 1 crore.
  • They can be purchased through a KYC-compliant account to make donations to a political party.
  • EBs have a life of only 15 days during which it can be used for making donations to political parties.
  • The name and other information of the donor are not entered on the instrument and thus electoral bonds are said to be anonymous.
  • There is no cap on the number of electoral bonds that a person or company can purchase.
  • Under the Income Tax act, one’s electoral bond donations are considered tax-exempt under Section 80 GG and Section 80 GGB.
  • Only political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and which secured not less than 1% of votes polledin the last general election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly of the State, are eligible to receive electoral bonds.

UN World Restoration Flagships:

The United Nations named seven initiatives from across Africa, Latin America, the Mediterranean and Southeast Asia as the intergovernmental organisation’s World Restoration Flagships.

  • UN World Restoration Flagships are part of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food and Agriculture Organization.
  • It aims to prevent, halt, and reverse the degradation of ecosystems on every continent and in every ocean.
  • The award conferred by the UNEP and FAO of the UN makes the initiatives eligible for technical and financial support from the organisation.
  • The awards track notable initiatives that provide support to global commitments in order to restore one billion hectares.

Kaji Nemu : Declared As State Fruit (Assam Govt)

The Assam government declared the GI-tagged ‘Kaji Nemu’ (Citrus Limon) as the State Fruit.

  • Kaji nemu received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag in 2019
  • Kaji Nemu is elongated and oblong compared to other lemon varieties.
  • It is popular for its unique aroma and health benefits. It has been traditionally associated with the Assamese cuisines.
  • The fruit had been exported to several countries, including to the Middle East.
  • With its unique aroma and antioxidant properties, the Assam lemon enriched the local cuisines.
  • The oval-shaped Kaji Nemu is a lot juicier than other lemon varieties.
  • Kaji Nemu is majorly used in culinary and commercial purposes, and it is extensively used for its medicinal properties.
  • It is grown in almost all the districts of the state, is available throughout the year.
  • The fruit is a powerhouse of nutrients, boosting health
  • Assam has as many as 16 species and 52 varieties hybrids of citrus.