Today’s Current Affairs: 19th Oct 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
Curcuma kakchingense : New Flowering Plant Species
Researchers in Manipur recently discovered a new flowering plant species and have named the new species Curcuma kakchingense.
- Curcuma kakchingense is a new flowering plant species discovered in Manipur.
- It is a member of the angiospermic family Zingiberaceae, which includes well-known plants like Curcuma (turmeric), gingers, and cardamom.
- It is a robust plant, as tall as eight feet, having large terminal inflorescence.
- It was found thriving along the banks of the Sekmai River in the Kakching District of Manipur.
- It bears a striking resemblance to Curcuma longa, known locally as “Yaingung,” and Curcuma phrayawan, a species from Thailand, but is distinguished by having lemon-yellow rhizomes with a very bitter taste.
- It has been classified as “Data Deficient” (DD) under the IUCN Red List category.
- Several Curcuma species, including the turmeric (Curcuma longa are important for their use in cuisines, traditional medicines, spices, dyes, perfumes, cosmetics, and as ornamental plants.
Broadcasting Content Complaints Council : Update
The Broadcasting Content Complaint Council (BCCC) recently asked entertainment channels to exercise “extreme caution” while portraying the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in television programmes.
- Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) is an independent self-regulatory body set up by the Indian Broadcasting and Digital Foundation (IBDF) in June 2011.
- The primary role of the BCCC is to implement self-regulatory guidelines for non-news channels, including general entertainment channels, kid’s channels, and special interest channels.
- The guidelines have been formulated after deliberations from the industry and the Government of India around areas such as national interest, racial and religious harmony, ill treatment of children, social values, sex and nudity, violence and crime, gambling, drugs, smoking, tobacco consumption, alcohol, defamation, harm, and offence.
- Any viewer can lodge a complaint about issues related to television programmes/ shows, non-news & current affairs TV channels, and other digital content broadcaster members or associate members of IBDF India.
Chip designer Qualcomm said that it is partnering with Alphabet’s Google to make wearable devices like smartwatches using chips based on RISC-V technology.
- RISC-V technology is an open-source technology that is pronounced “risk five”.
- It is an open-source instruction set architecture (ISA) used for the development of custom processors targeting a variety of end applications.
- It is considered the fifth generation of processors built on the concept of the reduced instruction set computer (RISC).
- It was begun as a project at UC Berkeley to create an open-source computer system based on RISC principles.
- It was initially designed for academic use. The standard has evolved and is now managed by RISC-V International.
- As an open-standard architecture, RISC-V is defined by member companies of RISC-V International, the global nonprofit organization behind the ISA.
- The intent is that through collaboration, the member companies can contribute to new avenues of processor innovation while promoting new degrees of design freedom.
- It features a small core set of instructions upon which all the design’s software runs.
Rafah Crossing : South End Of The Gaza Strip Hit By Military Strike
The area of the Rafah Border Crossing has been reportedly hit by a military strike.
- Rafah Crossing is at the south end of the Gaza Strip, a narrow slither of land that is home to 2.3 million people.
- It is wedged between Israel, Egypt, and the Mediterranean Sea.
- The crossing is controlled by Egypt.
- It is the only likely route for humanitarian aid to enter Gaza via Rafah from Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula region.
- There are only two other border crossings: Erez, a border crossing with Israel in north Gaza, and Kerem Shalom, a commercial crossing between Israel and Southern Gaza.
Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) Standards:
To improve road safety and reduce incident response time, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will implement upgraded and forward-looking Advanced Traffic Management System (ATMS) Standards and Specifications, 2023.
- Aim is to enhance road safety, reducing incidence response time and digital enforcement on national highways and expressways.
- It provides for the implementation of digital highways by developing integrated utility corridors along the national highways to develop optic fibre cables (OFC) infrastructure.
- Under the new standards, the existing VIDS cameras will be replaced with the Video Incident Detection and Enforcement System (VIDES) to emphasize the digital enforcement of traffic rules.
- These cameras are slated for installation every 10 km along National Highways and the feeds from these cameras will be integrated at the command and control centres located at every 100 km
- The vehicle speed detection system (VSDS) is now integrated into VIDES, optimizing use of automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) cameras.
- Depending on the detected incident, VIDES will alert route patrol vehicles or ambulances, generate e-challans, relay alerts to nearby variable messaging boards, or send notifications through ‘Rajmargyatra’ mobile app to nearby travellers.
Lymphatic Filariasis : Bangladesh Becomes Second Country To Eliminate
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Lao People’s Democratic Republic becomes second country in 2023 after Bangladesh to eliminate lymphatic filariasis.
- Lymphatic Filariasis commonly known as elephantiasis, and it is a neglected tropical disease.
- Infection occurs when filarial parasites are transmitted to humans through mosquitoes.
- This impairs the lymphatic system and can lead to the abnormal enlargement of body parts, causing pain, severe disability, and social stigma.
- It’s caused by infection with parasites classified as nematodes (roundworms) of the family Filariodidea. There are three types of these thread-like filarial worms:
- Wuchereria bancrofti, which is responsible for 90% of the cases.
- Brugia malayi, which causes most of the remainder of the cases.
- Brugia timori, which also causes the disease.
- Symptoms: About two in every three people who have lymphatic filariasis don’t have severe symptoms, but filariasis usually leads to a weakened immune system. Some people may experience inflammation, Lymphedema, Hydrocele and Edema.
- Treatment: The World Health Organisation recommended preventive chemotherapy strategy for lymphatic filariasis elimination is mass drug administration (MDA).
The High Cost of Cheap Water : WWF’s Report
The WWF’s report, titled “The High Cost of Cheap Water,” warns of a growing global water crisis that poses a threat to $58 trillion in economic value, food security, and sustainability.
- The report, released on World Food Day (16th Oct), presents the first-ever annual estimate of the economic value of water and freshwater ecosystems
Major Findings Report:
- A global water crisis is mounting, posing a threat to $58 trillion in economic value (about 60% of the World’s GDP), food security, and sustainability.
- Water and freshwater ecosystems provide both direct and indirect benefits, with direct economic benefits amounting to over $7 trillion annually
- Unseen benefits of water ecosystems, such as purifying water, enhancing soil health, storing carbon, and protecting against extreme weather events, are estimated at around $50 trillion annually.
- The world has lost a third of its wetlands since 1970, and freshwater wildlife populations have seen an average 83% decline.
- There is a lack of awareness and understanding of the importance of water resources, the report refers to it as water blindness.
- Unsustainable agricultural practices, accounting for over 70% of freshwater use, are a primary threat to rivers and floodplains.
- Excessive fertilizer use leads to diffuse pollution affecting surface and groundwater.
- Climate change disrupts the hydrological cycle and reduces water availability.
- The World Wide Fund for Nature is a Swiss-based (HQ: Gland) international non-governmental organization founded in 1961.
- It’s the world’s largest conservation organization focuses on preserving the environment and aims to halt its degradation. WWF runs campaigns like Earth Hour.
- WWF is part of the Foundations Platform F20
Medical Termination Of Pregnancy (MTP) Act : Update
The Supreme Court of India has upheld the rights of an unborn child by rejecting a woman’s plea to terminate her 27-week-old pregnancy.
- The court cited the violation of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, as there was no immediate threat to the mother or any foetal abnormality.
- However, the court allowed the parents to decide whether they wanted to give up the baby for adoption and directed the state to bear all medical costs.
Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act:
Stage Abortion Guidelines:
- Up to 20 weeks Termination is allowed on the advice of 1 doctor.
- 20-24 weeks Termination in this stage is determined by 2 registered medical practitioners in specific cases, such as statutory rape, sexual assault, women with disabilities, or a change in marital status during pregnancy.
- After 24 weeks A medical board in “approved facilities” must be set up, which can “allow or deny termination of pregnancy” only if there is substantial foetal abnormality.
- All state/ UTs are mandated to constitute a Medical Board consisting of gynaecologists, paediatrician, etc
Electoral Bonds : Update
The Supreme Court of India has referred the challenge to the validity of the electoral bonds scheme, which allows anonymous donations to political parties, to a Constitution Bench of five judges.
- The case also pertains to the passage of the electoral bonds scheme as a Money Bill
- The electoral bonds system was introduced in 2017 by way of a Finance bill and it was implemented in 2018.
- They serve as a means for individuals and entities to make donations to registered political parties while maintaining donor anonymity.
- State Bank of India (SBI) issues the bonds in denominations of Rs 1,000, Rs 10,000, Rs 1 lakh, Rs 10 lakh, and Rs 1 crore.
- EB is Payable to the bearer on demand and interest-free.
- Purchased by Indian citizens or entities established in India.
- Can be bought individually or jointly with other individuals.
- Valid for 15 calendar days from the date of issue.
- SBI is the authorized issuer.
- Electoral Bonds are issued through designated SBI branches.
- Only the political parties registered under Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and have secured not less than 1% of the votes polled in the last general election to the House of the People or the Legislative Assembly, are eligible to receive electoral bonds
- Electoral Bonds can be purchased digitally or through cheques.
- Encashment only through an authorized bank account of the political party.
- Parties must disclose their bank account with the Election Commission of India (ECI).
- Donations are made through banking channels, ensuring transparency.
- Political parties are obligated to explain the utilization of the funds received.
The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship has launched IndiaSkills 2023-24 and commended the World Skills Competition (WSC) 2022 winners.
- IndiaSkills 2023-24 is a skill development competition which aims to foster and enhance the skills of individuals in various domains, preparing them for national and international skill competitions.
- IndiaSkills is the precursor to the WorldSkills competition. Participants who will excel in IndiaSkills at the national level will take part in the global event WorldSkills.
- The program underlines the importance of developing employable skills that align with market needs, increasing the acceptance of the workforce within the industry.
- It aims to identify and bridge skill gaps by emphasizing the mapping of skills needed in the industry, reducing the disparity between degrees earned and practical skills acquired.
- Equal emphasis is placed on competencies, applied knowledge, and hands-on training to prepare individuals to lead effectively in the 21st century.
Bathukamma Festival : Festival Of Flowers
The nine-day-long annual festival of flowers Bathukamma began on a colorful note across Telangana.
- It is a colorful floral festival celebrated by women with exotic local flowers.
- The festival coincides with the monsoon, bringing water to ponds and wildflowers in vibrant colors.
- Local flowers like ‘gunuka,’ ‘tangedu,’ ‘banti,’ and ‘nandi-vardhanam’ are abundantly used.
- The festival begins a week before the ‘Saddula Bathukamma’ (the grand finale of the Bathukamma festival) which falls two days before Dussehra.
- During the entire preceding week, women make ‘boddemma’ (a deity of Gowri – mother Durga – made with earthly mud) along with Batukamma and immerse it in the pond.
- This helps reinforce the ponds and helps it retain more water.
- The festival reinforces the bond between humans, the earth, and water, with rituals aimed at preserving natural resources.
69th National Film Awards:
The 69th National Film Awards ceremony was a grand celebration of outstanding achievements in Indian cinema, held at the prestigious Vigyan Bhavan in Delhi. The winners along with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award recipient were felicitated by the President, Droupadi Murmu.
- Dadasaheb Phalke 2021 recipient is Waheeda Rehman.
Winner List 2023 Highlights:
Best Feature Film : Rocketry
Best Director :Nikhil Mahajan, Godavari
Best Actor :Allu Arjun, Pushpa
Best Popular Film Providing Wholesome Entertainment : RRR
Best Actress : Alia Bhatt, Gangubai Kathiawadi, Kriti Sanon, Mimi
Best Supporting Actor : Pankaj Tripathi, Mimi
Best Supporting Actress: Pallavi Joshi, The Kashmir Files
Best Hindi Film : Sardar Udham
Best Female Playback Singer: Shreya Ghoshal, Iravin Nizhal
Best Male Playback Singer : Kaala Bhairava, RRR