Today’s Current Affairs: 18th Oct 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
Setu Bandhan Scheme:
The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways said that Setu Bandhan Scheme approval has been granted for seven bridge projects in Arunachal Pradesh under the Central Road and Infrastructure Fund (CRIF).
- Setu Bandhan Scheme is an initiative of the Ministry for Road Transport and Highways.
- It has been introduced to improve inter-state connectivity, especially in rural areas at the borders where state roads do not get the required attention.
- It is aimed at replacing railway line Level Crossings (LCs) with Road Over Bridges (ROBs)/Rail Under Bridges (RUBs) in states.
- Central Road and Infrastructure Fund was established in 2000 under the Central Road Fund Act, 2000.
- It was previously known as Central Road Fund.
- Its subject matter belongs to the Ministry of Finance.
- The fund consists of a cess imposed along with excise duty on petrol and diesel.
- The Central Road Fund Act, 2000, was amended in 2018 and its objectives are as follows
- To use proceeds of the road cess under CRIF to finance other infrastructure projects such as waterways, some portion of the railway infrastructure, and even social infrastructure, including education institutions and medical colleges.
Buff-breasted Sandpiper : Rare Bird Sighted
A rare bird from the arctic tundra, Buff-breasted sandpiper, was sighted in Kannur, Kerala.
- Buff-breasted Sandpiper is one of the most delicately beautiful of the shorebirds.
- It breeds in the open arctic tundra of North America and usually in winters in South America.
- It is a champion long-distance migrant, leaving high-Arctic dry tundra nesting grounds and migrating thousands of miles to winter on the grasslands of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.
- Conservation status
- IUCN: Near Threatened
Researchers deciphered ancient scroll buried in the ashes of Mount Vesuvius with the help of artificial intelligence.
- Mt. Vesuvius is an active volcano that rises above the Bay of Naples on the plain of Campania in southern Italy.
- It is the only active volcano in mainland Europe.
- The volcano is classified as a complex stratovolcano because its eruptions typically involve explosive eruptions as well as pyroclastic flows.
- A pyroclastic flow is a high-density mix of hot lava blocks, pumice, ash, and volcanic gas.
- It is most famous for the 79 AD eruption that destroyed the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum.
- It is part of the Campanian volcanic arc, a line of volcanoes that formed over a subduction zone created by the convergence of the African and Eurasian plates.
- This subduction zone stretches the length of the Italian peninsula and is also the source of other volcanoes like Mount Etna, the Phlegraean Fields (Campi Flegrei), Vulcano, and Stromboli.
- Under Vesuvius, the lower part of the subducting slab has torn and detached from the upper part to form what is called a “slab window.”
- This makes Vesuvius’ rocks slightly different chemically from the rocks that erupted from the other Campanian volcanoes.
The defence ministry recently signed a ₹ 313 crore contract with Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) for the mid-life “upgrade and re-powering” of the frontline frigate INS Beas.
- It is the first Brahmaputra Class Frigate to be re-powered from steam to diesel propulsion.
- After completion of Mid Life Upgrade and Re-Powering in 2026, INS Beas will join the active fleet of the Indian Navy, with a modernised weapon suite and upgraded combat capability.
- INS Beas (F37) is a Brahmaputra-class frigate of the Indian Navy.
- It was built at the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE), Kolkata.
- It was commissioned on 11th July, 2005.
- It is the second ship in the Indian Navy to bear the name.
- The first was a Leopard-class frigate commissioned in 1960 and scrapped in 1992.
- It is a versatile warship capable of a range of missions, including anti-aircraft, anti-submarine, and anti-ship warfare. It is also used for patrolling, surveillance, and providing security to India’s maritime interests.
- The design and construction of the ship are entirely Indian and are a modification of the Godavari-class frigate.
- It has a displacement of about 3,850 tonnes.
- The ship has a length of 126 metres (413 feet) and a beam width of 14.5 metres (48 feet).
The Union Cabinet recently approved royalty rates in respect of three critical and strategic minerals, namely, lithium, niobium, and Rare Earth Elements.
- Niobium is a rare, soft, malleable, ductile, gray-white metal.
- It has a body-cantered cubic crystalline structure.
- It must be placed in a protective atmosphere when processed at even moderate temperatures because it tends to react with oxygen, carbon, the halogens, nitrogen, and sulphur.
- Niobium resists corrosion due to the oxide film.
- The metal starts to oxidise rapidly in the air at 200 degrees Celsius.
- The metal is inert to acids, even to aqua regia at room temperature, but is attacked by hot, concentrated acids, and especially by alkalis and oxidizing agents.
- It is one of the five major refractory metals (metals with very high resistance to heat and wear).
- It has the property of becoming superconducting at low temperatures
- It is not found free in nature but in minerals such as columbite and tantalite.
- Commercially, niobium is extracted by first forming the oxide (Nb2O5).
- The oxide is then reduced using carbon or hydrogen.
- Major Producers: Brazil is the world’s largest supplier, with Canada a distant second.
India’s Self-Declaration Of Freedom From Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza:
The World Organisation for Animal Health (WOAH) has approved India’s self-declaration of freedom from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) in specific poultry compartments.
- This is a significant development for India’s poultry industry and reflects the country’s commitment to maintaining high animal health and biosecurity standards.
- Compartmentalization, a strategy used to establish and maintain groups of animals with specific health statuses, played a key role in this achievement.
- India adopted the concept of poultry compartmentalization as a crucial tool to reduce the risk of disease outbreaks and facilitate the trade of poultry and poultry-related products.
- India, one of the top producers of eggs and poultry meat globally, is poised to capitalize on this achievement, potentially opening up new opportunities in the global market.
UN Approved Multinational Security Mission In Haiti:
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has approved the Multinational Security Mission(MSS), led by Kenya, to restore security, protect critical infrastructure and control spiraling violence in Haiti.
- Haiti faced escalating gang violence, causing chaos and suffering throughout the country.
- A group of gangs known as “G9 and Family” disrupted the main fuel port and the Capital city Port-au-Prince, leading to a nationwide crisis.
- This has resulted in widespread killings of nearly 2,800 people, between October 2022 and June 2023.
- Human rights groups have reported a rise in sexual violence and crimes against women. In addition to this, mass looting and burning of houses have led to the displacement of thousands of people, with around 200,000 fleeing their homes. As per estimates, almost half the population is in need of humanitarian assistance.
- The Haitian Prime Minister reached out to the international community, seeking specialized armed forces to counter the gangs and their backers.
- Unlike the Previous UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti that concluded in 2017, this new MSS will not be operated by the United Nations.
- Kenya has volunteered to lead the force, with support from other countries like the Bahamas, Jamaica, and Antigua and Barbuda.
Apna Chandrayaan Web Portal:
The Union Minister for Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, unveiled a web portal named ‘Apna Chandrayaan.’
- This web portal, developed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) under the Department of School Education & Literacy, Ministry of Education, aims to provide activity-based support materials related to Mission Chandrayaan-3.
- The launch ceremony took place in New Delhi
- The web portal offers a diverse range of educational content, including quizzes, puzzles, coloring books, jigsaw puzzles, picture builders, and inspiring stories in the form of graphic novels, all centered around Chandrayaan-3.
- Portal is For Foundational and Preparatory levels, materials like coloring sheets, dot-to-dot activities, and color coding with instructions have been prepared to enhance observation and awareness among students.
- It offers Online interactive quizzes are available for the Preparatory, Middle, and Secondary levels, complete with explanatory feedback for responses.
- Digital certificates will be issued for scores exceeding 70%, with the first 1000 winners receiving age-appropriate books.
Supreme Court Declines To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages:
A five-judge Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India D Y Chandrachud, issued a unanimous verdict declining to recognize same-sex marriages and civil unions for non-heterosexual couples.
- All five judges on the Bench, including the CJI, agreed that there is no fundamental right to marry under the Indian Constitution.
- Interpretation of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 to allow same-sex marriage using gender-neutral language was deemed unfeasible
- The judgment did not recognize same-sex marriages or civil unions but acknowledged the right to choose partners and live-in relationships.
- The court emphasized that family laws disproportionately exclude the queer community.
- The responsibility for legal reforms and inclusivity in family law was placed on the legislature.
3rd Edition Of Global Maritime India Summit 2023:
Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the third edition of the Global Maritime India Summit 2023 (GMIS)hosted in Mumbai, is recognized as the largest maritime gathering in the country.
- Discussing the evolution and future prospects of ports in the maritime industry.
- Exploring sustainable practices and strategies for reducing carbon emissions in the maritime sector.
- Addressing the significance of efficient coastal and inland water transportation.
- Examining India’s role in shipbuilding and its aspirations to become a top shipbuilding nation in the coming decade
APAAR: One Nation, One Student ID
The Union Education Ministry has recently advised all states to implement the Automated Permanent Academic Account Registry (APAAR), also known as the ‘One Nation, One Student ID.
- APAAR stands for the Automated Permanent Academic Account Registry, also known as ‘One Nation, One Student ID.’
- It is an Education Ecosystem Registry or an ‘EduLocker.’
- The National Educational Technology Forum (NETF) under the Ministry of Education initiated the concept to create a comprehensive educational ecosystem registry that includes students, teachers, schools, and colleges.
- APAAR provides each student from pre-primary to higher education with a unique identification number, in addition to the existing Aadhaar ID.
- It aims to streamline and digitize the academic journey and achievements of students, making it easier for them to access their records.