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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 17th Aug 2023

Today’s Current Affairs: 17th aug 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Mudumalai Tiger Reserve : High Court Order To Relocate All Residents

The Madras High Court recently directed the Central government to release funds to relocate all 495 residents of the Thengumarahada village in Tamil Nadu (TN), as the village falls within the protected area of the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve.

  • Mudumalai Tiger Reserve is located in the Nilgiris District of Tamil Nadu, spread over 321 sq. km. at the tri-junction of three states, viz, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu.
  • It lies on the Northeastern and Northwestern slopes of Nilgiri hills which is a part of the Western Ghats.
  • It is part of the Nilgiris Biosphere Reserve, the first Biosphere Reserve in India.
  • It has a common boundary with Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary(Kerala) on the West, Bandipur Tiger Reserve (Karnataka) on the North, the Nilgiris North Division on the South and East, and Gudalur Forest Division on the South West.
  • The name Mudumalai means ” the ancient hill range”. Indeed, it is as old as 65 million years when the Western Ghats were formed.
  • The terrain is undulating, with the elevation ranging from 960m to 1266m.
  • A variety of habitats ranging from tropical evergreen forest, moist deciduous forest, moist teak forest, dry teak forest, secondary grasslands, and swamps are found here.
  • It has tall grasses, commonly referred to as “Elephant Grass”, bamboo of the giant variety, and valuable timber species like Teak, Rosewood, etc.
  • It has wild relatives of cultivated plants, viz. wild rice, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon, etc.
  • Includes Tiger, Elephant, Indian Gaur, Panther, Sambar, Spotted Deer, Barking Deer, Mouse Deer, Common Langur, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Mangoose, Hyena, among others.
  • The recent Oscar-winning ‘Elephant Whisperers’ was filmed at the Theppakadu Elephant Camp, located inside the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve.

Pibot : Humanoid Robot

A team of engineers and researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science & Technology (KAIST) is currently developing a humanoid robot named ‘Pibot’ that can fly aircraft without needing to modify the cockpit.

  • Pibot is the world’s first humanoid pilot.
  • It can fly an aeroplane just like a human pilot by manipulating all the single controls in the cockpit, which is designed for humans.
  • It combines artificial intelligence and robotics technologies, can process the natural language of the flight manual and control the flight’s operation in real-time.
  • Pibot can control its arms and fingers to dextrously operate flight instruments, even with severe vibration in an aircraft, using high-precision control technology.
  • Its external cameras allow Pibot to monitor the current state of the aircraft and the internal ones help it manage essential switches on the control panel.
  • It is capable of memorizing global flight charts to conduct mistake-free flight missions on any air route.
  • It can memorise aircraft operation and emergency manuals (QRH, an in-cockpit manual for the flight crew to refer to in case of in-flight problems) and respond immediately.
  • The humanoid robot can also communicate with air traffic controllers and humans in the cockpit using voice synthesis, allowing it to act as a pilot or a first officer.

Prime Ministers Museum And Library (PMML) Society:

The Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML) has officially been renamed the Prime Ministers’ Museum and Library Society recently.

  • Prime Ministers’ Museum and Library (PMML) Society is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
  • It is housed in the historic Teen Murti campus located south of Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi.
  • PMML is dedicated to the objective of promoting advanced research on Modern and Contemporary India.
  • Designed by Robert Tor Russel and built in 1929-30 as part of Edwin Lutyens’ imperial capital, Teen Murti House was the official residence of the Commander-in-Chief in India.
  • In August 1948, after the departure of the last British Commander-in-Chief, Teen Murti House became the official residence of independent India’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, who lived here for sixteen years until his death on May 27, 1964.
  • On Jawaharlal Nehru’s 75th birth anniversary on November 14, 1964 Dr. Sarvapalli Radhakrishnan, President of India, formally dedicated the Teen Murti House to the nation and inaugurated the Nehru Memorial Museum.
  • On 1 April 1966, the Government set up the Prime Ministers Museum and Library (PMML) Society to manage the institution.
  • PMML has four major constituents, namely-
    • Memorial Museum;
    • Library on modern India;
    • Centre for Contemporary Studies;
    • Nehru Planetarium

One District One Product Wall:

The One District One Product (ODOP) initiative has collaborated with the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojna – National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) to unveil the captivating ‘ODOP Wall’ in a bid to showcase India’s diverse and exceptional craft heritage.

  • The One District One Product (ODOP) program is an initiative under the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce & Industry,
  • Under this Collaboration- products are being identified from all districts to be promoted for their unique qualities and cultural significance which include various handicrafts, handloom, and agricultural products that have been associated with the identity of their place of origin.
  • Objectives of ODOP: To help districts reach their full potential, foster economic and socio-cultural growth, and create employment opportunities, especially, in rural areas.
  • This initiative aims to turn every district in India, into an export hub through promotion of the product in which the district specialises.
  • The initiative plans to accomplish this by scaling manufacturing, supporting local businesses, finding potential foreign customers and so on, thus helping to achieve the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ vision.

Corbett Tiger Reserve : Bird Survey

In the recent bird survey at Corbett Tiger Reserve about 275 bird species, including two critically endangered, four vulnerable ones and two endangered species, were counted.

Key findings of the survey:

  • As per the report, two species, namely white-rumped vulture and red-headed vulture, considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list, have been documented in the survey,
  • Two endangered species — Pallas’s fish-eagle, Egyptian vulture were also counted by the researchers in the survey.
  • Four vulnerable bird species — great hornbill, great slaty woodpecker, grey-crowned prinia and river tern — have also been counted in the survey.

Corbett Tiger Reserve:

  • It is located in the Nainital district of Uttarakhand which encompasses the Patli Dun valley.
  • The Ramganga, Sonanadi, Palain and Mandal, and Kosi rivers form the prominent hydrological resource for the Corbett.
  • The core area of the reserve contains the Corbett National Park and the Sonanadi Wildlife Sanctuary is part of its buffer area.
  • The trees which contribute to the Flora of Corbett consist of evergreen Sal and its combined trees, the Sheesham, and the Kanju found extensively on the ridges.
  • Fauna: Tiger, Leopard, Elephant, Hog deer, spotted deer, Samber etc.

Tylototriton zaimeng : New Species Of Salamander

A team of scientists recorded a new species of salamander — the Tylototriton zaimeng in the Zaimeng Lake of Manipur.

Tylototriton zaimeng:

  • This had earlier been mistaken for its close relatives — the T. himalayanus and the T. verrucosus.
  • Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the new salamander is a sister species of the T. panwaensis and T. houi found in northern Myanmar and southern China,
  • It was found to be a medium-sized salamander.
  • Its head is massive and wide, with a rounded snout and protruding supratemporal bony ridges, while a well-developed sagittal ridge adorns its crown.
  • The creature’s limbs, short and elegantly formed, did not overlap when adpressed along its body.
  • A wide and unsegmented vertebral ridge ran along its back, accompanied by 13-14 pairs of rib nodules, marking a clear distinction from its kin.
  • It displayed a stunning brown colouration, embellished with dull orange to yellowish-brown markings on its head, vertebral ridge, rib nodules, palms, soles, vent, and ventral tail ridge. Vomerine teeth, elegantly organized in two distinctly curved bell-shaped series, further differentiated this mysterious creature.

Zaimeng Lake

  • It is situated on top of Khongtheng mountain ranges.
  • Zaimeng in the Liangmai Naga dialect means “puzzle” or “mystery”.
  • The greater part of the lake is basically a marshy mass of thick grass like weeds, mixed with reeds and green mosses.

A-HELP Programme:

The Union Minister for Animal Husbandry and Dairying inaugurated the ‘A-HELP’ (Accredited Agent for Health and Extension of Livestock Production) programme.

  • A-HELP programme is part of the Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav initiative, Pashudhan Jagrati Abhiyaan, and Rashtriya Gokul Mission’s goals, fostering livestock enhancement.
  • Pashudhan Jagrati Abhiyaan focuses on critical aspects of livestock health, disease management, and animal infertility.
  • Rashtriya Gokul Mission focuses on enhancing bovine productivity sustainably using advanced technologies, high genetic merit bulls, and doorstep artificial insemination while promoting the scientific conservation of indigenous cattle and buffalo.
  • The ‘A-HELP’ programme enlists trained women agents for disease control, artificial insemination, animal tagging, and livestock insurance.
  • Focuses on critical areas of livestock health, disease management, and animal infertility.
  • By empowering women and enhancing livestock, the ‘A-HELP’ program contributes to the socio-economic progress of rural communities.

Navroz : Parsi New Year

The Indian Parsi community is garnering attention as they celebrate Navroz on 16th August, a festivity that heralds the onset of the Persian New Year.

  • Navroz, also known as Nowruz or Parsi New Year, is a globally celebrated festival that heralds the arrival of spring and the rejuvenation of nature.
  • While Navroz is celebrated globally in March, India showcases a unique tradition due to the Parsis’ observance of two calendars. In Maharashtra and Gujarat, states with a substantial Parsi population, vibrant Navroz celebrations take center stage.
  • However, the calendar intricacy results in Navroz being celebrated around 200 days later in India, specifically during August.
  • In India, Navroz is also known as Jamshed-i-Navroz, after the Persian King, Jamshed.

Vishwakarma Yojana:

On India’s 77th Independence Day, Prime Minister announced the upcoming launch of the ‘Vishwakarma Yojana’ which is set to be introduced on Vishwakarma Diwas (September 17).

  • This scheme aims to benefit individuals skilled in traditional craftsmanship, especially from the Other Backward Classes (OBC) community.
  • Skilled artisans like weavers, goldsmiths, blacksmiths, laundry workers, and barbers, among others, will be empowered through this scheme.
  • The scheme will encompass various elements such as financial aid, modern and green technology training, brand promotion, market connectivity, digital payments, and social security.
  • The initiative is in line with other successful government schemes like Jan Dhan Yojana, PM SvaNidhi, and Ujjwala, and seeks to empower artisans and strengthen the agri-tech sector, including women self-help groups, by providing them with 15,000 drones and necessary training.

SAMUDRA Mobile App:

The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), a division of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, has introduced a new mobile application called ‘SAMUDRA’ – Smart Access to Marine Users for Ocean Data Resources and Advisories.

  • This app offers comprehensive ocean-related information, benefiting seafarers and the fishing community.
  • It provides real-time updates and critical alerts on oceanic disasters like tsunamis, storm surges, high waves, and swell surge alerts.
  • It features interactive maps, charts, and animations to explain complex oceanic phenomena.
  • The app is particularly valuable for fishermen as it offers Potential Fishing Zone (PFZ) advisories, guiding them to potential fish aggregation locations.
  • The app also serves various public and private entities like the Indian Coast Guard, the Navy, and shipping industries.
  • The app aligns with INCOIS’s mission to serve the nation with ocean data and advisory services, contributing to sustainable ocean activities and the Blue Economy.

Bindeshwar Pathak Passed Away : Founder Of ‘Sulabh International’

The founder of ‘Sulabh International’ Bindeshwar Pathak passed away. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1991.

  • Sulabh International was founded in 1970 by Dr Bindeshwar Pathak.
  • HQ: New Delhi.
  • Objectives: to achieve equitable sanitation and hygiene for all.
  • It has been at the forefront of the Government of India’s flagship Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Clean India Campaign) with a focus on ending open defecation.
  • It stresses adopting a gender-inclusive approach in its intervention programmes.
  • It has been awarded the Gandhi Peace Prize for 2016.
  • ‘SULABH MUSEUM OF TOILETS’, was rated by Time magazine as One of the 10 unique museums in the world.