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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 18th March 2023

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

Integrated Mobile Camouflage Systems:

The Indian Army recently placed its first order for Integrated Mobile Camouflage Systems (IMCS) for Mechanised Forces with an Indian start-up Hyper Stealth Technologies Private Limited.

  • This is the first-ever procurement order of an Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) project by the Indian Army.
  • Integrated Mobile Camouflage Systems (IMCS) comprises low emissivity and/or CAM-IIR coatings and mobile camouflage system materials that enable armoured fighting vehicles (AFVs) to blend in with their terrain background.
  • It achieves a reduction in the detection range of AFVs when viewed through a Hand Held Thermal Imager (HHTI)/Battle Field Surveillance Radar (BFSR) tank-based thermal camera under given environmental and weather conditions.
  • It achieves signature management by controlling the Visual, Thermal, infrared, and Radar Signatures of the object.
  • It will provide significant capability enhancement in stealth for AFVs.

Defence Excellence (iDEX) project:

  • The iDEX initiative was launched by the Government in April 2018.
  • Aim: To achieve self-reliance and foster innovation and technology development in Defence and Aerospace by engaging Industries including MSMEs, start-ups, individual innovators, R&D institutes, and academia.

New Chairperson Of The PFRDA:

The Central government recently appointed the new Chairperson of the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority(PFRDA).

  • Centre appoints Deepak Mohanty as PFRDA Chairperson
  • Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) is a statutory regulatory body set up under PFRDA Act enacted in 2014.
  • Objective is to promote old age income security by establishing, developing, and regulating pension funds and to protect the interests of subscribers to schemes of pension funds and related matters.
  • It comes under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Finance.
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • It consists of a Chairperson and not more than six members, of whom at least three shall be Whole-Time Members, to be appointed by the Central Government.

Zojila Pass:

The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) recently reopened the strategic Zojila Pass that acts as a gateway between the union territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir.

  • Zojila Pass, also known as ‘The Mountain Pass of Blizzards’, is a strategic pass that connects Kashmir Valley to Ladakh.
  • It is located on the Srinagar-Kargil-Leh highway (NH-1) at a height of 11,650 feet.
  • The pass remains closed for almost half of the year due to heavy snowfall.
  • It was the site of the Indo-Pakistan War of 1947-48.
  • It was captured by militias aided by the Pakistan Army in 1848, with the ultimate aim of capturing Ladakh.
  • However, the pass itself was captured by the Indian Army on 1st November 1948 in an assault codenamed Operation Bison.
  • Zojila Tunnel is an under-construction tunnel situated at an altitude of 11,578 ft (around 3,500 metres) on the Srinagar-Leh Highway in Jammu and Kashmir.
  • The tunnel would provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar and Leh on NH-1 with total Length: 14.15 km.

Trade Infrastructure For Export Scheme:

The Union Minister of State in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry informed the parliament that under Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES), financial assistance for a total of 40 export infrastructure projects has been approved during 2019-2023.

  • Trade Infrastructure for Export Scheme (TIES): This scheme replaced a centrally sponsored scheme – Assistance to States for creating Infrastructure for the Development and growth of Exports (ASIDE).
  • Objective is to enhance export competitiveness by bridging gaps in export infrastructure, creating focused export infrastructure and first-mile and last-mile connectivity.
  • Eligibility: The Central and State Agencies, including Export Promotion Councils, Commodities Boards, SEZ Authorities and Apex Trade Bodies recognised under the EXIM policy of the Government of India; are eligible for financial support under this scheme.
  • Under the scheme, financial assistance in the form of grants-in-aid is provided to Central/State Government owned agencies (or their Joint Ventures with major stake-holding by them) for setting up or upgrading export infrastructure in States/UTs.
  • The States can avail of the scheme through their implementing agencies for infrastructure projects with significant export linkages like Border Haats, Land customs stations, quality testing and certification labs, cold chains, trade promotion centres, export warehousing and packaging, SEZs and ports/airports cargo terminuses.
  • The Department of Commerce (Ministry of Commerce and Industry) is implementing the TIES.

Defence Acquisition Council:

The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) recently approved the capital acquisition of indigenously-developed military hardware worth Rs 70,584 crore.

  • The DAC is the highest decision-making bodyof the defence Ministry on procurement.
  • Objective is to ensure expeditious procurement of the approved requirements of the armed forces.
  • It was formed after the Group of Minister’s recommendations on ‘Reforming the National Security System’, in 2001, post-Kargil War (1999).
  • Composition:
    • The defence minister is the chairman of DAC.
    • Its members include the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) and chiefs of the Army, Navy, and Air Force.
  • Functions:
    • Give in-principle approval of a 15 years Long Term Integrated Perspective Plan (LTIPP) for defence forces.
    • Accord of acceptance of necessity to acquisition proposals.
    • Categorization of the acquisition proposalsrelating to ‘Buy’, ‘Buy & Make’, and ‘Make’.
    • Look into issuesrelating to single vendor clearance.
    • Take decisions regarding ‘offset’ provisionsin respect of acquisition proposals above Rs 300 crore.
    • Take decisions regarding the Transfer of Technologyunder the ‘Buy & Make’ category of acquisition proposals.
      Field trial evaluation.

Women And Men In India 2022:

Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) released the 24th issue of “Women and Men in India 2022” (an annual statistics released by the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation)

  • India’s sex ratio (females per 1,000 males) is expected to improve to 952 by 2036, up significantly from 943 in 2011, according to the Women and Men in India 2022 report released March 16, 2023.
  • The sex ratio at birth went up by three points to 907 in 2018-20 from 904 in 2017-19, the report by the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation noted.
  • But women are still largely left out of the labour force, restricting their scope of financial independence.
  • India’s Labour Force Participation Rate defined as the percentage of persons in the labour force in the population for those above 15 years of age has been on the rise since 2017-2018. However, women are severely lagging behind men.
  • The rate was 77.2 for males and 32.8 for females in 2021-22, with no improvement in this disparity over the years, the report showed.
  • The average wage earned per day by casual labourers in work other than public works only further highlights the disparity men in rural areas earn more than women in urban areas.

Barda Wildlife Sanctuary : Report

According to a recent report by the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), the Gujarat government has planned to translocate 40 adult and sub-adult lions to the Barda Wildlife Sanctuary.

  • Barda Wildlife Sanctuary area is located in the state of Gujarat.
  • It falls into two districts Porbandar and Jamnagar.
  • This area was declared a sanctuary in 1979.
  • It is characteristically abundant in floral diversity, which consists of a good number of medicinal plants.
  • A very high percentage of rare and endangered plants occurring in the area is an important component of the sanctuary.
  • Flora: Gorad, Babul, Dhav, Rayan, Ber, Jamun, Amli, Dhudhlo, Bamboo etc.
  • Fauna: Sambar, chital and chinkara were present in the Sanctuary in the recent past and therefore they can be re-introduced.

President’s Colour Award : INS Dronacharya

The President of India presented the President’s Colour to INS Dronacharya in Kochi

  • INS Dronacharya is the gunnery school of the Indian Navy. It is located in Kochi, Kerala. It is responsible for training 820 officers and 2100 ratings per year in small-arms, naval missiles, artillery, radar and defensive countermeasures
  • President’s Colour Award is a prestigious honour, awarded by the President to armed forces or a police unit that has rendered exceptional service to the nation.
  • The award serves as a recognition of the sacrifices made by police personnel in the line of duty, and as a tribute to their unwavering commitment to serving and protecting its people.