CrackitToday App

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 19th Aug 2023

Today’s Current Affairs: 19th aug 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Annual Heronry Count : WWF-India

The annual heronry count jointly organised by WWF-India in association with the Forest department in Thiruvananthapuram district has recorded more heronries that in the past.

  • Heron are any of about 60 species of long-legged wading birds.
  • These are classified in the family Ardeidae (order Ciconiiformes) and generally including several species usually called egrets.
  • The Ardeidae also include the bitterns (subfamily Botaurinae).
  • These are widely distributed over the world but are most common in the tropics.
  • They usually feed while wading quietly in the shallow waters of pools, marshes, and swamps, catching frogs, fishes, and other aquatic animals.
  • They nest in rough platforms of sticks constructed in bushes or trees near water; the nests usually are grouped in colonies called heronries.
  • Heronry counts aims at counting ‘apparently occupied nests’ of herons, egrets, and other colonial waterbirds.
  • This is regarded as an effective and accurate way to determine the breeding population of waterbirds in an area.
  • Being one of the top predators in the aquatic food chain, monitoring their population can indicate the health of the aquatic ecosystem, freshwater as well as brackish water.

Matti Banana : Granted GI Tag

The Matti banana variety, native to Kanniyakumari district was recently granted the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.

  • Matti banana are six known types of the Matti banana and they are indigenous to Kanniyakumari, where it thrives in the unique climate and soil.
  • They are known as ‘Baby Banana’ which flourishes mainly in Kalkulam and Vilavancode taluks.
  • Even if it takes root and yields in other areas, the fruit will be without the sweet fragrance and honey-like taste unique to the Matti bananas grown in Kanniyakumari.
  • Unlike typical banana bunches that grow straight, the Matti’s fingers exhibit a distinct wind-blown appearance.
  • Its low total soluble solids content (TSSC) recommends it as a baby food.
  • Types of Matti Banana:
    • Nal Matti boasts a yellowish-orange colour and fine aroma, while Theyn [honey] Matti’s pulp tastes like honey.
    • Kal Matti gets its name from the calcium oxalate crystals forming in its pulp and black dots on the skin.
    • Nei Matti exudes the aroma of ghee, and Sundari Matti, a Matti clone, with its elongated fingers, thick peel, and creamy white rind, is facing extinction.

Floodwatch App : Mobile App

The Chairman of Central Water Commission (CWC) launched the mobile application, “FloodWatch.

  • Floodwatch App gives information related to the flood situation and forecasts up to 7 days on a real-time basis to the public.
  • The in-house developed user-friendly app has readable and audio broadcast and all the information is available in 2 languages, viz. English and Hindi.
  • Other feature of the app includes real-time flood monitoring where users can check up-to-date flood situation throughout the country.
  • The app utilizes near real-time river flow data from various sources.
  • The app also provides flood forecast at nearest location where users can check the flood advisory at the station nearest to them on the Home Page itself.
  • The app will also provide State-wise/Basin-wise Flood Forecast (up to 24 hours) or Flood Advisory (up to 7 days) which can be accessed by selecting specific stations, state wise or basin wise from the dropdown menu.
  • This app utilizes advanced technologies such as satellite data analysis, mathematical modelling, and real-time monitoring to deliver accurate and timely flood forecasts.

Agnibaan SubOrbital Technological Demonstrator:

Chennai-based start-up AgniKul Cosmos recently commenced the process of integrating its cutting-edge Agnibaan SubOrbital Technological Demonstrator (SOrTeD) at its private launchpad at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) SHAR in Sriharikota.

  • Agnibaan SOrTeD is a single-stage launch vehicle powered by AgniKul’s patented Agnilet engine, which is an entirely 3D-printed, single-piece, 6 kilonewton (kN) semi-cryogenic engine.
  • Unlike traditional sounding rockets that launch from guide rails, Agnibaan SOrTeD will lift off vertically and follow a predetermined trajectory to perform a precisely orchestrated set of manoeuvres during flight.
  • It is a customisable launch vehicle that could be launched in one or two stages.
  • The rocket stands 18 metres tall and has a mass of 14,000 kg.
  • It is capable of carrying payloads up to 100 kg to an altitude of 700 km in five different configurations.
  • The rocket’s first stage could have up to seven Agnilet engines, depending on the mission, which are powered by Liquid Oxygen and Kerosene.
  • The rocket is also designed for launch from more than 10 different launch ports.
  • To ensure its compatibility with multiple launch ports, AgniKul has built a launch pedestal named ‘Dhanush’ that will support the rocket’s mobility across all its configurations.
  • The Agnilet engine, which powers the entire operation, is the world’s sole single-piece 3D-printed engine.

Gandhinagar Declaration:

The WHO South-East Asia Region recently committed to further accelerate efforts to end tuberculosis by 2030, with member countries adopting the Gandhinagar Declaration.

  • It was adopted at the end of the two-day meeting held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat, to follow up on the progress made to end tuberculosis (TB) by the countries of the WHO South-East Asia Region.
  • The Declaration calls for establishing high-level multisectoral commission reporting to the highest political level in each country for synergy of efforts among various stakeholders and to monitor progress towards ending TB and other priority diseases.
  • These high-level multisectoral commission on TB could also help build responsive health systems and advance universal health coverage and health security.
  • The declaration calls for ensuring appropriate adoption and use of science and technology for equitable and human rights-based TB services that are accessible to all, irrespective of any social, cultural, or demographic divide, through an integrated, primary health care approach.
  • It emphasises on the allocation of necessary resources to meet TB service coverage targets and address social determinants to have a multi-disease impact.
  • The declaration calls on WHO to maintain TB as a Flagship Priority Programme over the coming years and provide leadership and technical support to countries for sustained and accelerated approaches supported by research and innovation.
  • It calls upon all partners to enhance their support to end TB and priority diseases in the Region as per the UN Sustainable Development Goals target 3.3 – End the epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and neglected tropical diseases and combat hepatitis, water-borne diseases, and other communicable diseases.

Lakhpati Didi Scheme:

Independence Day address, the Prime Minister unveiled initiatives Lakpati Didi Scheme which aimed at empowering artisans and women’s self-help groups (SHGs) across India.

Lakpati Didi Scheme:

  • The government’s goal is to create two crore “lakhpati didis” (prosperous sisters) in villages.
  • This scheme aligns with the broader mission of poverty alleviation and economic empowerment.
  • Under this scheme, women will be provided skill training so that they can earn over Rs 1 lakh per year.
  • Features:
    • Drones will be provided to women SHGs for agricultural activities.
    • This initiative aims to leverage technology to transform the agricultural landscape while empowering women in rural communities.
    • Around 15,000 women’s SHGs will be given training in operating and repairing drones.
    • This training will not only create new avenues for income generation but also equip women with cutting-edge skills.
    • Drones have the potential to revolutionize agriculture by enabling precision farming, crop monitoring, and pest control.
    • Under the scheme, women will be trained in skills like LED bulb making, plumbing, among others.

Self-Help Groups (SHGs) :

  • They are informal associations of people who choose to come together to find ways to improve their living conditions.
  • It can be defined as self governed group of people with similar socio-economic background and having a desire to collectively perform common purpose

Anduri Utsav : Uttarakhand’s Whimsical Butter Festival

The Anduri Utsav, popularly known as the Butter Festival, celebrated at Dayara Bugyal of Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand culminated recently.

  • Dayara Bugyal, situated at an altitude of 11,000 feet above sea level, is one of the pristine meadows in the state.
  • It is also known as Butter Holi, as people smear each other with butter, milk and buttermilk in a playful manner.
  • The festival is a way of expressing gratitude to Lord Krishna, who is believed to have protected the cattle from evil forces while they were grazing in the bugyal.

Six Year Of Minamata Convention:

The Minamata Convention on Mercury, which marks its sixth anniversary, is a significant global agreement aimed at safeguarding people and the environment from the harmful impacts of mercury exposure.

  • Mercury is a naturally occurring element that is found in air, water and soil.
  • It may have toxic effects on the nervous system, thyroid, kidneys, lungs, immune system, eyes, gums and skin.
  • The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury and its compounds.
  • It was agreed at the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Negotiating Committee in Geneva, Switzerland 2013. It entered into force in 2017.
  • Controlling the anthropogenic releases of mercury throughout its lifecycle is one of the key obligations under the Convention.
  • The Convention also addresses interim storage of mercury and its disposal once it becomes waste, sites contaminated by mercury as well as health issues.
  • India has ratified the Convention.

Tachymenoides harrisonfordi : New Snake Species

A newly discovered snake species has been named Tachymenoides harrisonfordi in honour of the actor Harrison Ford.

  • This recognition is due to Ford’s environmental advocacy.
  • The snake, measuring 16 inches in length, is yellowish-brown with black blotches, a black belly, and a vertical streak over its copper-coloured eye.
  • Harrison Ford, famous for his role as Indiana Jones, humorously remarked that scientists often name critters after him, jokingly noting that they always seem to pick creatures that terrify children.
  • He expressed his humility and thanked the researchers, emphasizing the importance of understanding and preserving our planet’s biodiversity.