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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 18th January 2023

Today’s Current Affairs: 18th January 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Concluding Session Of Global South Summit:

At the concluding session of the virtual Voice of Global South Summit, India unveiled initiatives to assist the Global South in areas ranging from technology to health

  • Aarogya Maitri project for providing medical supplies to any disaster-hit country
  • Global-South Scholarships for students from developing countries to pursue higher education in India
  • Global-South young diplomats forum to connect officers of foreign ministries with other countries
  • Global-South Centre of excellence for R&D
  • Global-South Science and Technology for space and nuclear energy initiatives sharing

The concept of Global North and Global South is used to describe a grouping of countries along socio-economic and political characteristics. The Global South is a term often used to identify regions within Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania.

  • The global south consists of the poorest and least industrialized countries, which are mainly in the southern part of the world.

About the Summit:

  • India hosted the summit (as a president of G20) in a bid to articulate the views of the developing countries regarding the effects of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.


SPIC MACAY organised its very popular ‘Music in the Park’ series under the name “Shruti Amrut” in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the New Delhi Municipal Council.

  • In this series, the first event of 2023 was held in New Delhi.
  • SPIC MACAY is a movement started in 1977 and has chapters in over 850 towns across the world.
  • The Society for Promotion of Indian Classical Music And Culture Amongst Youth is a voluntary youth movement that promotes the tangible & intangible aspects of Indian & world heritage by organising programs and workshops of Indian Classical, Folk Music and dance, Yoga, meditation, crafts, and other aspects of Indian culture.

PARAKH : National Assessment Regulator

The National Council for Education Research and Training (NCERT) has notified India’s first national assessment regulator, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development), which aims to set up assessment guidelines for all boards.

  • PARAKH has been launched as part of the implementation of the National Education Policy (NEP)-2020 that envisaged a standard-setting body to advise school boards regarding new assessment patterns and latest research, and promote collaborations between them.
  • It will act as a constituent unit of the NCERT.
  • It will also be tasked with holding periodic learning outcome tests like the National Achievement Survey (NAS) and State Achievement Surveys.
  • It will work on three major assessment areas: large-scale assessments, school-based assessment, and examination reforms.
  • Objective:
    • Setting norms, standards and guidelines for student assessment and evaluation for all recognized school boards of India.
      It will encourage and help school boards to shift their assessment patterns towards meeting the skill requirements of the 21st century.
    • It will bring uniformity across the state and central boards which currently follow different standards of evaluation, leading to wide disparities in scores.
    • The benchmark assessment framework will seek to put an end to the emphasis on rote learning, as envisaged by the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

Antimicrobial-Resistant Gonorrhea Outbreak In Kenya:

A strand of antimicrobial-resistant gonorrhea outbreak has hit Kenya.

  • Researchers have raised alarm, warning this infection is asymptomatic in some cases and can cause significant health challenges, including permanent damage to their reproductive systems.
  • Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
  • It can infect both men and women and can occur in the genitals, rectum, and throat.
  • If left untreated, gonorrhea can cause serious health problems, including infertility and an increased risk of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection.
  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is the ability of microorganisms (such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites) to resist the effects of antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antivirals, antifungals, and antiparasitics).
  • Causes:
    • Poor infection control and inadequate sanitation and hygiene.
    • Overuse of antibiotics and repeated use of poor-quality drugs.
    • Genetic mutations of the bacteria.
  • AMR increases the risk of infections spreading and becoming harder to treat, leading to prolonged illness, disability and death.
  • It also increases healthcare costs and threatens the sustainability of healthcare systems.

Shukrayaan I : Venus mission

An advisor to the space science programme recently said that the Indian Space Research Organisation is yet to receive approval from the Indian government for the Venus mission and that the mission could as a result be postponed to 2031.


  • It is also called the Venus Mission.
  • The Shukrayaan I mission will be an orbiter mission.
  • Its scientific payloads currently include a high-resolution synthetic aperture radar and a ground-penetrating radar.
  • The mission is expected to study Venus’s geological and volcanic activity, emissions on the ground, wind speed, cloud cover, and other planetary characteristics from an elliptical orbit.
  • Optimal launch windows from Earth to Venus occur once every 19 months.
  • Venus is often called “Earth’s twin” because they’re similar in size and structure, but Venus has extreme surface heat and a dense, toxic atmosphere.
  • It rotates very slowly on its axis – one day on Venus lasts 243 Earth days.
  • The thick atmosphere of Venus traps heat creating a runaway greenhouse effect – making it the hottest planet in our solar system.
  • Phosphine, a possible indicator of microbial life, has been observed in the clouds of Venus.

Europe’s Largest Deposit Of Rare Earth Metals:

Sweden’s state-owned mining company LKAB has discovered Europe’s largest deposit of rare earth metals.

  • The store, situated in Kiruna located in the northern region of Sweden, holds a stockpile of over 1 million metric tons of rare earth oxides.
  • Currently, no rare earths are mined in Europe and it mostly imports them from other regions.
  • According to a report in the BBC, 98% of rare earths used by the European Union (EU) were sent by China.
  • The discovery can also prove to be a significant turning point not just for the EU but also for other western countries as they have been trying to reduce their reliance on China for the import of these rare earth elements.

Rare Earth Elements:

  • They are a set of 17 metallic elements.
  • These include the 15 lanthanides on the periodic table in addition to scandium and yttrium that show similar physical and chemical properties to the lanthanides.
  • They are important in technologies of consumer electronics, computers and networks, communications, clean energy, advanced transportation, healthcare, environmental mitigation, and national defence, among others.
  • Scandium is used in televisions and fluorescent lamps
  • Yttrium is used in drugs to treat rheumatoid arthritis and cancer.

Duty Drawback Scheme:

GST authorities found that exporters are misusing the government’s duty drawback scheme (DDS) by claiming it along with refunds of integrated goods and services tax (GST).

  • Over 100 such exporters mainly in apparel, drugs, and leather have been “illegally” drawing benefits from two routes.
  • Under this scheme, exporters are provided with a refund of customs duty paid on unused imported goods, or goods that will be treated, processed or incorporated into other goods for export.
  • Claims must be lodged within 4 years from the date the goods were exported.
  • Duty drawback can be only claimed for compensating unrebated taxes and duties, not for GST.

4 Snow Leopards Spotted In Himachal Pradesh:

Snow Leopard is found in the mountainous regions of central and southern Asia.

  • In India, it is seen in Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
  • The Hemis National Parkhas a good presence of Snow Leopard.
  • They play a key role as a top predator, an indicator of the health of their high-altitude habitat, and, increasingly, an important indicator of the impacts of climate change on mountain environments.
  • Conservation status:
    • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
    • Under CITES it is listed in Appendix I
    • Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972:Schedule I

Mutual Fund Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) : Increase In Collection (2022)

Mutual Fund’s SIP collection jumps 31% to ₹1.5 lakh cr. in 2022 on account of higher retail participation, data with the Association of Mutual Funds in India (AMFI) showed.

  • Contributions to mutual fund schemes through systematic investment plans, or SIPs, remain unfazed from the market volatility in 2022 with inflow growing to ₹1.5 lakh crore in 2022, a surge of 31% from a year earlier, due to higher retail participation.
  • Systematic Investment Plan (SIP) is an investment methodology offered by mutual funds wherein an individual saver can invest a fixed amount in a chosen scheme periodically at fixed intervals – say once a month, instead of making a lump sum investment.
  • The SIP installment amount can be as small as ₹500 per month and is similar to a recurring deposit.
  • SIPs help to achieve financial goals by investing small sums of money on a monthly basis that eventually leads to accumulating the required corpus for reaching the goal.
  • SIP’s bring in an investment discipline for the investor.
  • SIPs are done in open-ended funds where the investors can invest and take out the money anytime.
  • There is no fixed tenor for running SIP.
  • Once the SIP tenor is fixed, it can BE stopped in between or could be continued even after the tenor by placing the request with the respective mutual fund company.
  • A mutual fund is a pool of money managed by a professional Fund Manager.
  • It is a trust that collects money from a number of investors who share a common investment objective and invests the same in equities, bonds, money market instruments and/or other securities.

Yeti Airlines Flight Black Box Found:

Both black boxes from the crashed Yeti Airlines flight in Nepal have been discovered, Kathmandu airport officials said recently.

  • Search teams retrieved the flight data and cockpit voice recorders of a passenger plane that plummeted into a gorge on approach to a new airport in the foothills of the Himalayas, officials said, as investigators looked for the cause of Nepal’s deadliest plane crash in 30 years.

Black Box:

  • A flight recorder, byname black box, is an instrument that records the performance and condition of an aircraft in flight.
  • Governmental regulatory agencies require these devices on commercial aircraft to make possible the analysis of crashes or other unusual occurrences.
  • A black box refers to two pieces of equipment together – the Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) and the Flight Data Recorder (FDR).
  • Together, they provide investigators the data needed to identify what led to a flight crash.

Flight Data Recorder(FDR):

  • The FDR records many variables, not only basic aircraft conditions such as airspeed, altitude, heading, vertical acceleration, and pitch but also hundreds of individual instrument readings and internal environmental conditions that can help narrow down a flight’s path and what may have gone wrong in its last moments.
  • FDRs are also made to survive depths over 6,000 meters underwater, while still relaying signals.
  • Cockpit Voice Recorder records verbal communication between crew members within the aircraft’s cockpit as well as voice transmissions by radio.
  • Flight recorders are commonly carried in the tail of the aircraft, which is usually the structure that is subject to the least impact in the event of a crash.
  • In spite of the popular name black box, flight recorders are painted a highly visible vermilion color known as “international orange”.