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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 18th July 2023

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


A Chinese naval flotilla recently set off to join Russian naval and air forces in the Sea of Japan to participate in the “Northern/Interaction-2023” military drills.

  • Northern/Interaction-2023 military drills is organized by the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Northern Theatre Command in the central Sea of Japan.
  • Sea of Japan (East Sea) is a marginal sea of the western Pacific Ocean.
  • It is located in Eastern Asia that is bounded by Japan and Sakhalin Island to the east and by Russia and Korea on the Asian mainland to the west.
  • The event marks Russia’s second time participating in the PLA annual strategic drills, and also a first that Russia has dispatched both naval and air forces to participate in similar events.
  • The drills are themed “safeguarding the safety of strategic maritime routes”.
  • In August 2021, Russia participated in the “Western/Interaction-2021” exercise held at Northwest China’s Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which marked the first time that China invited foreign forces to participate in its annual strategic exercises in its territory.
  • “Northern/Interaction-2023” drills are organized by the PLA Northern Theatre Command, while PLA forces participating in the previous “Western/Interaction-2021” exercise were mainly composed of forces from the Western Theatre Command.

Pilot Whales :Slaughtered

Seventy-eight long-finned pilot whales, a species of oceanic dolphins, were slaughtered near the capital of Faroe Islands recently.

  • Pilot Whales are one of the largest members of the dolphin family.
  • They belong to the dolphin family Delphinidae.
  • There are two species of pilot whales:
    • Short-finned pilot whales(Globicephala macrorhynchus), which are mainly found in tropical and warm-temperate regions.
    • Long-finned pilot whales (G. melas), which inhabit colder waters.
  • They are characterized by a round bulging forehead, a short beaklike snout, and slender pointed flippers.
  • The short-finned pilot whale (Globicephala macrorhynchus) and the long-finned pilot whale (G. melas) are similar in appearance except for the pronounced difference in flipper length between the two species.
  • Both long-finned and short-finned pilot whales are about 4–6 metres (13–20 feet) long.
  • Males of both species are larger than females.
  • Both species are black, and some individuals have a pale, elongated anchor-shaped mark adorning the throat and chest.
  • Pilot whales live in groups numbering from dozens to hundreds.

Alaska Peninsula : 7.2-Magnitude Earthquake

A powerful 7.2-magnitude earthquake recently struck the Alaska Peninsula region.

  • Alaska Peninsula is a long, narrow strip of land located in the southwestern part of the U.S. state of Alaska.
  • It extends about 800 kilometres (500 miles) in a southwest direction from the mainland of Alaska.
  • It separates the Pacific Ocean from Bristol Bay, an arm of the Bering Sea.
  • The peninsula is largely mountainous, with numerous active and dormant volcanoes, rugged coastlines, deep fjords, and vast expanses of wilderness.
  • The volcanic Aleutian Range runs along its entire length.
  • The Pavlof Volcano, near the peninsula’s southwestern edge, rises to more than 8,260 feet (2,518 metres) and is the most active volcano in the Aleutian volcanic arc.
  • It has been inhabited for thousands of years by indigenous peoples, primarily the Aleut and Alutiiq (Sugpiaq) communities.
  • It is sparsely populated, with small communities scattered along its coastline.

Foreign Cicada : Assumed An Indian Identity

A ‘foreign’ cicada that is commonly found in several parts of South India has assumed an Indian identity.

  • The insect species that has now been named as Purana cheeveeda (after its Malayalam name Cheeveedu) used to be mistaken for Purana tigrina, a species that was first described in Malaysia in 1850.
  • Due to the differences in their morphological characteristics, the Association for Advancement in Entomology has corrected the longstanding error in taxonomic identification and has excluded the Malaysian species from the South Indian cicada fauna.
  • Cicadas are hemipteran insects known for their loud, complex and species-specific acoustic signals or songs.
  • The generic diversity of cicadas in India and Bangladesh ranks the highest in the world, followed by China.
  • Most cicadas are canopy dwellers and are found in natural forests with large trees.
  • cheeveeda could extend across the tropical evergreen forests ranging from Goa to Kanyakumari.

PM-MITRA Scheme : Mega Textile Parks In Maharashtra And Gujarat

Prime Minister of India has lauded the foundation stone laying of 2 mega textile parks in Maharashtra and Gujarat under the PM Mega Integrated Textile Regions and Apparel (PM MITRA) scheme.

  • PM-MITRA will offer the opportunity to create an Integrated Textiles Value Chain right from spinning, weaving, processing/dyeing and printing to garment manufacturing etc. at one location and will reduce the logistics cost of the Industry.
  • A Special Purpose Vehicleowned by the Centre and State Government will be set up for each park which will oversee the implementation of the project.
  • The Ministry of Textiles will provide financial support in the form of Development Capital Support up to Rs. 500 crores per park to the Park SPV.
  • A Competitive Incentive Support (CIS) of up to Rs 300 crore per park to the units in PM MITRA Park shall also be provided to incentivise speedy implementation.
  • State governments will provide a contiguous and encumbrance-free land parcel of at least 1000 acres of land.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Textiles

Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve : Birth Of Cubs


The newly notified Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve (RVTR) witnessed the birth of cubs for the first time, a year after a tigress was relocated to the park.

  • Ramgarh Vishdhari Tiger Reserve lies in the south-eastern part of Rajasthan in Bundi district with representation of both Vindhyan and Aravalli elements.
  • It is in continuation with the buffer area of Ranthambore tiger reserve in the North-eastern side and the Mukundara Hills tiger reserve in the southern side.
  • The Mez River (a tributary of Chambal River) passes through this tiger reserve.
  • The terrain is mostly rugged and hilly.
  • The area is confined to biogeographic classification 4A which is the ‘Semi-arid’ Zone of India.
  • The habitat is dominated by Dhok (Anogeissus pendula) trees.
  • It consists of Dry Deciduous Forest and trees like Khair, Ronj (Acacia Leucophloea), Amaltas (Cassia fistula), Gurjan (Lannea coromodelica) , Saler (Boswellia serrata), India ghost tree (Stercula urens), Tendu (Diospyrous melanoxylon) etc. are found here.
  • It is home to Leopards, Sloth bears, Jungle cat, Golden jackal, Hyaena, Crested Porcupine, Indian Hedgehog, Rhesus macaque, hanuman langur etc.

Nomadic Elephant-23 : A bilateral Joint Military Exercise

A bilateral joint military exercise “NOMADIC ELEPHANT-23” is scheduled to be conducted between India and Mongolia at Ulaanbaatar from 17 to 31 July 2023.

  • Exercise Nomadic Elephant is the 15th edition of bilateral joint military exercise.
  • It is an annual training event with Mongolia which is conducted alternatively in Mongolia and India
  • Soldiers of the Mongolian Armed Forces Unit 084 from and Indian Army soldiers from the JAMMU AND KASHMIR LIGHT INFANTRY Regiment will be participating in the exercise.
  • The aim of this exercise is to build positive military relations, exchange best practices, develop inter-operability, bonhomie, camaraderie and friendship between the two armies.
  • The primary theme of the exercise will focus on counter-terrorism operations in mountainous terrain under United Nations mandate.
  • The scope of this exercise involves Platoon level Field Training Exercise (FTX).
  • During the exercise, Indian and Mongolian troops will engage in various training activities designed to enhance their skills and capabilities.

Export Preparedness Index (EPI) Report, 2022:

NITI Aayog is releasing the third edition of the Export Preparedness Index (EPI) for States/UTs of India for the year 2022

  • The report discusses India’s export performance, followed by an overview of the country’s sector-specific export performance.
  • The report further highlights the need to develop our districts as export hubs in the country and undertakes a district-level analysis of merchandise exports in the country.
  • EPI is a comprehensive tool that measures the export preparedness of the States and UTs in India.
  • Aim is to undertake a comprehensive analysis of States and UTs across export-related parameters in order to identify their strengths and weaknesses.
  • It evaluates state’s and UTs’ performance based on its adoption of the export-related policy ecosystem at a state and district level, as well as the institutional framework surrounding the ecosystem.
  • It assesses the prevailing business environment in a state/UT, along with the extent of business-supportive infrastructure and a state/UT’s transport connectivity.
  • It Focuses on the export-related infrastructure in a state/UT, trade support provided to exporters, and the prevalence of Research and Development in the state/UT to foster innovation.

Hoolock Gibbon : Matter Of Concern At a Global Event

The conservation status of the hoolock gibbon, India’s only ape species, has become a matter of concern at a global event on gibbons held in China.

  • Gibbons is the smallest and fastest ape and is found in tropical and subtropical forests in Southeast Asia.
  • The hoolock gibbon, unique to India’s northeast, is one of the 20 gibbon species on Earth, with an estimated population of 12,000.
  • All 20 gibbon species, including the hoolock gibbon, are at a high risk of extinction due to dramatic declines in their distribution and populations since 1900, leaving only small populations in tropical rainforests.
  • The primary threat to the hoolock gibbon in India is the felling of trees for infrastructure projects.
  • The Global Gibbon Network (GGN) aims to protect and conserve gibbons and their habitats by promoting participatory conservation policies and actions.
  • Aaranyak, a non-profit conservation organization based in Assam, India, is one of the founding organizations of the GGN from seven countries.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List classifies the western hoolock gibbon as endangered and the eastern hoolock gibbon as vulnerable, which adds complexity to their conservation status.

Local Currency Settlement (LCS) System : India And UAE

India and UAE signed a historic Memorandum of Understanding on Local Currency Settlement (LCS) system.

  • The agreement was signed between the Reserve Bank of India and the Central Bank of the UAE.
  • Objective is to revolutionize cross-border transactions between the two nations.
  • Local Currency Settlement (LCS) system enables exporters and importers to invoice and pay in their respective domestic currencies.
  • The LCS system between India and UAE allows for the use of the Indian Rupee and UAE Dirham in bilateral trade.
  • It is India’s first-ever LCS arrangement.
  • This innovative system is expected to have a transformative impact on transaction costs and processing time.
  • It is anticipated to have a ripple effect on global economic engagements, encouraging the use of local currencies and fostering greater financial independence.
  • It will increase the reliance on local currencies.
  • The LCS system, will provide a seamless and efficient mechanism for cross-border transactions.
  • It will reduce dependence on international currencies and further strengthen economic cooperation.
  • It will enable the use of surplus balances in local currencies for investment in various local currency assets, such as corporate bonds, government securities, and equity markets, creating new avenues for growth and collaboration.
  • It will amplify the preferential terms already established by the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA), bringing new opportunities for trade and investment.