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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 16th January 2023

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

India’s First Centre Of Excellence In Online Gaming:

Digital India Startup Hub through the Software Technology Parks of India shall set up India’s first Centre of Excellence in Online Gaming at Shillong

  • The Centre of Excellence in Shillong is expected to catalyse startups and entrepreneurs from the entire North East Region to build the Next Gen Online Gaming Ecosystem
  • The Minister announced another initiative of MeitY to set up a state-of-the-art facility under the National Institute of Electronics and IT (NIELIT) to provide training on cutting-edge Digital Skills at Shillong.

REWARD Scheme:

Impressed with Karnataka’s performance in the implementation of the Rejuvenating Watershed for Agricultural Resilience through Innovative Development (REWARD) scheme, the World Bank has decided to get agricultural officers from Sub-Saharan countries to visit the State to learn from its experience.

  • The project aims to help national and state institutions adopt improved watershed management practices to help increase farmers’ resilience to climate change, and promote higher productivity and better incomes.
  • REWARD is being implemented in three to four Indian States for 6 years for:
    • prevention of soil run-off, regeneration of natural vegetation, rainwater harvesting, and recharging of the groundwater table
    • Enabling multi-cropping and the introduction of diverse agro-based activities
  • Karnataka has been identified as a “lighthouse partner” by the World Bank in developing the science-based watershed model.
  • It is the first State to develop a Land Resource Inventory portal ( the portal will contain the details on the appropriate measures to be taken for different types of land with respect to agriculture, groundwater, crop, and soil health) that has details of 14 lakh hectares of land coming under the project
  • Watershed Management: The conservation of water and improvement of water quality and conservation of the soil is called watershed management.

First Aspirational District Deploying 5G Technology : Vidisha, Madhya Pradesh

Vidisha, an aspirational district of Madhya Pradesh became the first-ever district in India for on-ground deployment of innovative 5G use cases offered by startups.

  • It is a joint initiative by Vidisha District Administration and Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT), Department of Telecommunications (DoT) under the guidance of Additional Secretary (Telecom) & Administrator Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF).
  • The 5G will be deployed at community & district health centers, Model Schools, Agri & Dairy Farmers, and skill development centers for a period of 1 year and may be extended subsequently as per the need.
  • These digital solutions will also be powered by BharatNet broadband to provide uninterrupted services to user communities of Vidisha.

Aspirational District Programme:

  • It was launched in 2018 which aims to transform districts that have shown relatively lesser progress in key social areas.
  • Aspirational Districts are those districts in India, that are affected by poor socio-economic indicators.
  • It covers 112 districts across the country.
  • At the Government of India level, programme is anchored by NITI Aayog.

Local Bubbles : Giant Cosmic Cavity

New research on a giant cosmic cavity that surrounds the solar system could reveal the universe’s secrets, including questions about the origins of stars.

  • Researchers from the Center for Astrophysics (CfA) Harvard & Smithsonian have generated a 3D magnetic map of the cavity called Local Bubble.
  • The Local Bubble is a 1,000-light-year-wide cavity or a superbubble. Other superbubbles also exist in the Milky Way.
  • The Local Bubble is a large, low-density region in the interstellar medium (ISM) of our galaxy, the Milky Way.
  • The interstellar medium is the material which fills the space between the stars.
  • It’s a cavity that is thought to have been created by a series of supernovae explosions that occurred about 30 to 50 million years ago.
  • A supernova is a powerful and luminous explosion that occurs at the end of the life of a massive star.
  • It is caused by the collapse of the core of the star, which can trigger a massive release of energy.
  • Supernovae are also important for the enrichment of the interstellar medium with heavy elements and for the propagation of cosmic rays.

Asian Waterbird Census 2023:

A recent detailed assessment of the survey conducted in the northern parts of Alappuzha, as part of the Asian Waterbird Census 2023 revealed that a shift in migration patterns of waterbirds appears to be taking place.

  • In the recent survey, it is revealed that Duck species sighted in previous surveys were missing this time.
  • The most shocking aspect was that duck species like Northern Shoveler, Common teal and Eurasian wigeon, sighted in the previous surveys, were totally missing this time around.

Main birds which were sighted during the census:

Oriental darter:

  • It is mainly found in freshwater rivers and ponds.
  • Conservation status IUCN: Near Threat

Cattle egret:

  • Conservation status IUCN: Least Concern

Spot-billed Pelican:

  • It breeds in southern Asia from southern Iran across India east to Indonesia.
  • Conservation status IUCN: Near Threatened
  • Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972: Schedule IV

Intelligent knife (iKnife) : To Diagnose Womb Cancer

New research led by the Imperial College of London has recently found an intelligent knife (iKnife), which can be used to diagnose womb cancer within minutes.

  • According to the World Cancer Research Fund International, womb or endometrial cancer is the 6th most commonly occurring cancer among people with uteruses.
  • The knife uses electric currents on biopsy tissue and then analyses the vapourised aerosols from the tissue in a mass spectrometer to give real-time information about activity in the tissue.
  • The study noted that the knife reliably diagnosed endometrial cancer in tissue within seconds with an accuracy of 89%.
  • This would greatly minimise the delays faced by patients who wait for a normal histopathological diagnosis.

Gangasagar Mela:

West Bengal ministers have demanded National Mela status for Gangasagar mela as record pilgrims have come to the mela this year claiming that the annual pilgrimage was turning out to be the biggest religious gathering in the country.

  • Gangasagar Mela is known as the world’s second largest human congregation after Kumbh.
  • It happens every year during Makar Sankranti.
  • The mela is held at Sagar Island.
  • It has been mentioned in Indian epics such as the Ramayana and Mahabharata, putting its existence as early as 400 BCE.
  • The pilgrims after taking a dip in Ganga also visit the temple of Kapil Muni.
  • Kapil Muni or Maharishi Kapila is a Vedic sage (rishi) traditionally considered to be the original proponent of the Samkhya system of Indian philosophy.

Small Magellanic Cloud : Dwarf Galaxy

The world’s most powerful telescope, NASA’s James Webb telescope, has found a star formation in a dynamic cluster that lies within a nebula 200,000 light years away.

  • As per the American space agency, the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) star-forming region NGC 346 is one of the most dynamic in nearby galaxies and is a dwarf galaxy.
  • It is close to the Milky Way with lower metal concentrations.
  • The Magellanic Clouds are irregular galaxies that share a gaseous envelope and lie about 22° apart in the sky near the south celestial pole.
  • They are comprised of two irregular galaxies, the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) and the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC), which orbit the Milky Way once every 1,500 million years and each other once every 900 million years.
  • These companion galaxies were named for the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan, whose crew discovered them during the first voyage around the world (1519–22).
  • Magellanic Clouds were formed at about the same time as the Milky Way Galaxy, approximately 13 billion years ago.
  • They are presently captured in orbits around the Milky Way Galaxy and have experienced several tidal encounters with each other and with the Galaxy.
  • They contain numerous young stars and star clusters, as well as some much older stars.
  • The Magellanic Clouds are visible to the unaided eye in the Southern Hemisphere.

Meeting Of BIMSTEC:


A meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime was hosted by the Government of India in New Delhi.

  • The meeting discussed traditional and emerging non-traditional security threats in the BIMSTEC region.
  • The working group on counter-terror deals with a few key realms of policy. These include
    • Intelligence Sharing
    • Legal and Law Enforcement
    • Countering Radicalization and Terrorism
    • Anti- Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism
    • Human Trafficking
    • Narcotic Drugs, Psychotropic Substances and Precursor Chemicals,


  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation is a regional grouping started in 1997.
  • Member countries: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal
  • This group was launched by signing the Bangkok Declaration.

Tapovan Vishnugad Hydropower Project : Order To Stop Work

With residents of the Joshimath town reporting an increase in landslides and hundreds of houses at the hill town in Uttarakhand developing cracks, the district administration has issued orders to stop work on the National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower project.

  • The Tapovan Vishnugad power plant is a 520MW run-of-river project being constructed on Dhauliganga River in Chamoli District of Uttarakhand, India.
  • The plant is expected to generate approximately 2,558GWh of electricity per year.
  • NTPC is developing the project at an estimated cost of approximately INR 29.78bn ($677m).
  • Dhauliganga River rises in the vicinity of the Niti Pass in the border regions between Garhwal region of Uttarakhand and southwestern Tibet.

National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC):

  • NTPC Limited is an Indian Public Sector Undertaking incorporated under the Companies Act 1956.
  • It is under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Power, Government of India.
  • Headquarters: New Delhi

Geospatial Hackathon

Union Minister of Science & Technology recently launched Geospatial Hackathon to promote Innovation and Start-Ups in India’s Geospatial ecosystem.

  • Geospatial Hackathon is a hackathon to create interest in geospatial tech and specifically build solutions leveraging maps and satellite data for solving India’s problems.
  • The Department of Science and Technology(DST) under the Minister of Science & Technology in partnership with IIIT Hyderabad and Microsoft has launched this Hackathon.
  • The Geospatial Hackathon will be divided into 2 parts,
    • Research Challenge: The National Science & Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board and IIIT Hyderabad brings the Startup Challenge as part of this Hackathon intending to promote the use of geospatial technologies in solving real-world problems and fostering innovation in the Indian geospatial ecosystem
    • Startup Challenge: The Research Challenge is specific to the problem statements given by DST (Survey of India).) is proposing a Geospatial Data Processing, Solution development, and Servicing Challenge to foster the adoption of geospatial technologies and to promote innovation in India’s Geospatial ecosystem.

Soul of Steel Challenge:

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh recently kick-started the ‘Soul of Steel’ alpine challenge, an initiative to promote tourism in border areas, at an event in Dehradun coinciding with Veterans Day.

  • The ‘Soul of Steel’ expedition will test one’s high-altitude endurance and adventure in Uttarakhand’s Garhwal Himalayas.
  • It will initially have 12 Indian participants plus six international teams, between the age group of 18 and 30 years.
  • The challenge will be spread across three months.
  • It is being organized by CLAW Global, an entity comprising a group of veterans.
  • The Indian Army is supporting the adventure challenge.
  • It is based on the lines of the ‘Ironman triathlon’, a long-distance triathlon held in Europe which tests an individual’s physical capabilities.
  • Participants will be selected through a detailed screening and training model through traditional and modern standards.
  • The initiative is aimed at enabling life skill training and youth development.
  • It is also expected to boost global promotion of adventure tourism in Uttarakhand.