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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 18th May 2023

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

Exercise Jal Rahat:

The Indian Army’s Gajraj Corps, in collaboration with various disaster management groups, recently conducted a joint flood relief drill called ‘Exercise Jal Rahat.’

  • The drill took place at Hagrama Bridge on the Manas River in Assam, aiming to enhance flood relief preparedness ahead of the monsoon season.
  • The exercise emphasized coordination among multiple agencies and focused on efficient rescue operations and the utilization of innovative strategies.
  • It aimed to strengthen the preparedness of flood relief efforts.
  • Recognizing the challenges posed by monsoon floods, the drill focused on improving coordination between different organizations involved in disaster response.
  • Alongside the Indian Army’s Gajraj Corps, personnel from Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), District Disaster Management Authority (DDMA), and police representatives participated in the exercise.

Shantiniketan : UNESCO World Heritage Site Tag

Santiniketan in West Bengal has been recommended for inclusion in UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

  • Santiniketan is a renowned cultural and heritage place located in Birbhum District, West Bengal, India.
  • It holds historical significance and is known for its association with Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
  • It was the home of Rabindranath Tagore, where he lived and composed many of his literary works, including songs, poems, and novels.
  • The Santiniketan campus is adorned with splendid sculptures, frescoes, murals, and paintings created by renowned artists such as Rabindranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Ramkinkar, Binodbehari Mukhopadhyay, and others.
  • Santiniketan celebrates unique festivals like Briksharopan (festival of Planting Saplings) and Halakarshan (festival of Plowing the Fields) on the 22nd and 23rd days of Sravana (August), respectively.
  • Varshamangal, the festival of rains, is celebrated during August/September.
  • Poush Mela is an annual fair and festival held in Santiniketan, starting on the 7th day of the month of Poush.
  • The fair officially lasts for three days, but vendors may stay until the end of the month.
  • It is known for live performances of Bengali folk music, particularly by bauls (traditional wandering minstrels), and also features tribal dances like Santali.

Data Governance Quality Index:

The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) has secured the second position among 66 ministries in the highly influential Data Governance Quality Index (DGQI) assessment for 2022-2023 (Q3)

  • Data Governance Quality Index (DGQI) is a comprehensive framework that evaluates the data governance practices of various ministries and departments of the Government of India.
  • It covers aspects such as data quality, data security, data sharing, data analytics, data innovation and data literacy.
  • The DGQI assessment is conducted by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) in collaboration with the NITI Aayog.
  • Objectives:
    • To assess the data preparedness of various ministries and departments on a standardized framework.
    • To drive healthy competition among them and promote cooperative peer learning from best practices.

Land Reclamation:

The increasing economic importance of coastal zones, particularly in East Asia, the Middle East, and West Africa, has led to significant land reclamation projects worldwide.

  • These projects face environmental challenges and potential risks from rising sea levels and storm surges.
  • Land Reclamation refers to the process of creating new land by altering the topography of existing bodies of water, such as seas, rivers, lakes, or marshes.
  • It is typically done along coastlines but can also occur inland, involving the conversion of wetlands or other water bodies.
  • Land reclamation has a long history of being used to expand coastal areas for agriculture and industrial purposes.
  • Traditionally, land reclamation meant building a series of dikes to enclose tidal marshes or shallow offshore waters and draining these enclosures to create dry land.
  • In some cases, streams were diverted to carry additional sediment into these areas, building up the land to a higher level.
  • Soil and stone could also be excavated from the mainland and dumped along the shore or on the coast of existing islands, gradually expanding the land into the sea.
  • Today, major engineering projects involve the construction of kilometres of offshore concrete barrier walls, which are filled with substantial amounts of sand, earth, clay or rock, often shipped in from far afield.
  • The reclamation site can also be filled with dredged soil from the nearby seafloor mixed with water, in a process known as hydraulic reclamation.
  • The study, which examined satellite imagery of coastal cities with a population of at least 1 million, found that reclamation projects in 106 cities around the world had altogether created around 2,530 square kilometres (more than 900 square miles) of coastal land.
  • Nearly 90% of new coastal land was created in East Asia over the last two decades, most often to make way for industry and port facilities catering to the globalised economy.
  • From 2000 to 2020, China alone added around 350 square kilometres, with Singapore and Incheon, in South Korea, also raising vast new areas.

26th Edition Of National Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championships:

The 26th Edition of National Federation Cup Senior Athletics Championships is going at Birsa Munda Stadium, Ranchi (Jharkhand) from 15 May 2023.

  • The Competition is organized in Men and Women section.
  • It is a domestic tournament of the Indian athletics season.
  • It is organised by the Athletics Federation of India (AFI). Some of the Events are Jumps; throws- shot put, discus throw, javelin throw; Sprinting Events etc.
  • The AFI is the apex body for running and managing athletics in India and affiliated to the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF), Amateur Athletic Association (AAA) and Indian Olympic Association.
  • The AFI has as many as 32 affiliated state units and institutional units.
  • The AFI came into existence in 1946 and the federation organises the National Championships, trains the Indian Athletics National Campers and selects the Indian Athletics Teams for various international competitions, including the Olympics, Asian Games, World Championships, Asian Championships and other international meets.

Aadhaar-Enabled Payment System:

The Aadhaar-enabled Payment System (AePS) in India has recently faced exploitation by cybercriminals, leading to unauthorized access to users’ bank accounts.

  • Scammers have been using leaked biometric details to bypass the need for One Time Passwords (OTPs) and drain funds from unsuspecting victims.
  • A series of recent scams have exposed the vulnerabilities of the AePS and how cybercriminals are exploiting the loopholes in the system to defraud unsuspecting customers.
  • The AePS is a bank-led model that allows online interoperable financial transactions at Point of Sale (PoS) or micro-ATMs through the Business Correspondent (BC) of any bank using the Aadhaar authentication.
  • It was taken up by the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) – a joint initiative of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).
  • The AePS is meant to provide easy and secure access to banking services for the poor and marginalized sections of society, especially in rural and remote areas.
  • It eliminates the need for OTPs, bank account details, and other financial information.
  • Transactions can be carried out with only the bank name, Aadhaar number, and captured fingerprint during Aadhaar enrollment.

London Interbank Offered Rate:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) recently told banks and other regulated entities to ensure a complete transition away from the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR).

  • London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) is a benchmark interest rate at which major global banks lend to one another in the international interbank market for short-term loans.
  • It acts as a benchmark for short-term interest rates.
  • It is an indicator of the health of the financial system and provides an idea of the trajectory of impending policy rates of central banks.
  • LIBOR is also the basis for consumer loans in countries around the world, so it impacts consumers just as much as it does financial institutions.
  • LIBOR calculated is computed for five currencies with seven different maturities ranging from overnight to a year.
  • The five currencies for which LIBOR is computed are the Swiss franc, euro, pound sterling, Japanese yen and US dollar.

Sanchar Saathi Portal:

Union Minister of Communications recently launched a citizen-centric Sanchar Saathi portal.

  • Sanchar Saathi portal aims to provide various reforms and services related to mobile connections and telecommunications.
  • It has been developed by C-DoT under the Department of Tele-communications (DoT) to prevent frauds such as identity theft, forged KYC, banking frauds etc.
  • The portal allows mobile phone users to:
    • Check the connections registered on their names,
    • Report fraudulent or unrequired connections,
    • Block the mobile phones which are stolen/lost,
    • Check IMEI genuineness before buying a mobile phone,
  • The three reforms are being introduced as part of the portal’s framework:
    • CEIR (Central Equipment Identity Register): It enables the tracking and blocking of lost or stolen phones anywhere in the country.
    • Know your mobile connections: It allows users to check the number of mobile connections issued in their name by logging in using their mobile number. This feature helps identify any unauthorized or unwanted connections, which can be blocked immediately.
    • ASTR (Artificial Intelligence and Facial Recognition powered Solution for Telecom SIM Subscriber Verification): This AI-based technology facilitates mobile connection analysis and includes features such as IMEI-based phone theft information messaging to law enforcement agencies and the owner.

Phase-V Of The Sagar Parikrama Initiative:

The Union Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying has recently announced the commencement of Phase-V of the Sagar Parikrama initiative.

  • Sagar Parikrama aims to address the challenges faced by fishers and stakeholders while uplifting their economic prospects through various fisheries schemes and programs, such as Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) & Kisan Credit Cards (KCC).
  • Sagar Parikrama is an evolutionary journey envisaged in the sea across the coastal belt demonstrating solidarity with all fisherfolk, fish farmers and concerned stakeholders as a spirit of 75th Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying.
  • The Parikrama shall be accompanied by the State Fisheries officials, Fishermen representatives, Fish-Farmers entrepreneurs, stakeholders, professionals, officials and Scientists from across the nation.
  • The Phase-V journey will encompass six locations across the states of Maharashtra and Goa. During the journey, fishermen, coastal fishers, fish farmers, and young fishery entrepreneurs will receive certificates and sanctions related to the PMMSY, KCC, and State Schemes.
  • Phase III covers mainly the coastal areas of Maharashtra and Gujrat.
  • The Phase –I and Phase- II programmes of ‘Sagar Parikrama’ has been organized in March 2022 and September 2022 respectively.

Gekko Mizoramensis : New Species Of Flying Gecko

New species of flying gecko found near Myanmar border named after Mizoram.

  • Gekko Mizoramensis is a subgenus called Ptychozoon of the Gekko genus.
  • There are 13 species of them throughout the world and they are found in Southeast Asia.
  • Its habitat spread into the parts of Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand and Cambodia along with Mizoram.
  • It is arboreal, nocturnal and glides from one tree to another.
  • The new species is most similar to its sister species Gekko popaensis, from which it differs in having an uncorrected pairwise sequence divergence of 7–14% and by discrete differences in morphology and colour pattern.
  • Flying geckos have webbed limbs and flat tails to help them glide (they do not fly).
  • The species is paraphyletic and comprises multiple cryptic species.