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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 22nd Dec 2023

Today’s Current Affairs: 22nd Dec 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Operation Prosperity Guardian: US

The US has introduced Operation Prosperity Guardian, an enhanced naval protection force in the southern Red Sea to counter Houthi attacks on merchant shipping under the Combined Task Force 153 (CTF 153).

  • The Houthi attacks, initially focused on supporting Hamas in Gaza, have escalated to target merchant tankers in the Bab el-Mandeb strait.
  • Operation Prosperity Guardian includes participation from the UK, with HMS Diamond contributing alongside three US destroyers.
  • The Combined Task Force 153 (CTF 153) is a United States Navy-led initiative that focuses on Red Sea Maritime Security.
  • It was established in 2022 and is one of five task forces operated by the Combined Maritime Forces (CMF)

Anti-Cold Fixed Drug Combination : Prohibition

The Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) in India has prohibited the use of an anti-cold fixed drug combination in children below four years of age.

  • Combination products, also known as fixed dose drug combinations (FDCs), are combinations of two or more active drugs in a single dosage form.
  • The Food and Drug Administration, USA defines a combination product as ‘a product composed of any combination of a drug and a device or a biological product and a device or a drug and a biological product or a drug, device, and a biological product.
  • The Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) is India’s national regulatory body for cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices. It’s responsible for overseeing the import, manufacture, sale, and distribution of medical devices in the country.

Polar Stratospheric Clouds : Captured Images

Weather watchers have captured images of rare Polar stratospheric clouds over Scotland, northern England and the West Midland.

  • Polar Stratospheric clouds (PSC) are also known as nacreous clouds or mother of pearl, due to their iridescence.
  • These are formed in very cold conditions over Polar Regions and within the stratosphere, around 12-19 miles (19-31 km) high, far above our normal clouds.
  • These clouds are made of smaller ice particles than those that form more common clouds.
  • These small particles help to scatter light in a different way, which gives them their unique appearance
  • PSCs typically make their first appearance in January.
  • The frequency of these clouds is often a harbinger of ozone depletion, as they play a crucial role in stratospheric chemistry.
  • PSCs provide a surface for chemical reactions where benign forms of chlorine are converted into reactive, ozone-destroying forms.

Sahitya Akademi Awards For The Year 2023:

Tamil author Rajasekaran (Devibharathi), Telugu writer T. Patanjali Sastry and Malayalam litterateur E.V. Ramakrishnan were among those named for the Sahitya Akademi Awards for the year 2023.

  • Sahitya Akademi Award is awarded for the most outstanding books of literary merit published in any of the major Indian languages recognised by the Akademi.
  • Akademi gives 24 awards annually to literary works in the languages it has recognized and an equal number of awards to literary translations from and into the languages of India.
  • Besides the 22 languages enumerated in the Constitution of India, the Sahitya Akademi has recognised English and Rajasthani as languages in which its programme may be implemented.
  • The award, in the form of a casket containing an engraved copper-plaque, a shawl and 1,00,000 rupees will be presented.

RAMP Programme : Three Sub Schemes

The Union Minister for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) launched three sub-schemes under the aegis of the RAMP programme.

  • The National MSME Council has been set up by the Ministry to work as an administrative and functional body of the RAMP Programme.
  • Sub schemes under RAMP:
    • MSME GIFT Scheme: MSME Green Investment and Financing for Transformation Scheme intends to help MSMEs adopt green technology with interest subvention and credit guarantee support.
    • MSE SPICE Scheme: The MSE Scheme for Promotion and Investment in Circular Economy aims to support circular economy projects which will be done through credit subsidy and will lead to realising the dream of MSME sector towards zero emissions by 2070.
    • MSE ODR Scheme: The MSE Scheme on Online Dispute Resolution for Delayed Payments is a first of its kind scheme to synergise legal support with modern IT tools and Artificial Intelligence to address the incidences of delayed payments for Micro and Small Enterprises.
  • Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for MSME GIFT and MSME SPICE schemes and National Informatics Centre Services Inc. (for NICSI) for MSE ODR scheme.

Mitochondrial Diseases : Recent Study

A recent study has revealed that about a quarter of mitochondrial disease patients suffer from malnutrition.

  • Mitochondrial diseases are a group of conditions that affect how mitochondria work in your body.
  • Mitochondria are membrane-bound cell organelles that generate most of the chemical energy needed to power the cell’s biochemical reactions.
  • They make it by combining oxygen with the fuel molecules (sugars and fats) that come from your food.
  • Chemical energy produced by the mitochondria is stored in a small molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
  • Generally, mitochondria, and therefore mitochondrial DNA, are inherited only from the mother.
  • When the mitochondria are defective, the cells do not have enough energy. The unused oxygen and fuel molecules build up in the cells and cause damage.
  • Mitochondrial diseases can affect almost any part of your body, including the cells of your Brain, Nerves, Muscles, Kidneys, Heart, Liver, Eyes, Ears, and Pancreas.
  • Genetic mutations cause these primary mitochondrial diseases. They usually happen before age 20, and some are more common in infants.
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction can also occur when mitochondria don’t work as well as they should due to another disease or condition.
  • These are called secondary mitochondrial diseases.
  • The symptoms of mitochondrial disease can vary. It depends on how many mitochondria are defective and where they are in the body.
  • Sometimes only one organ, tissue, or cell type is affected. But often, the problem affects many of them.
  • Muscle and nerve cells have especially high energy needs, so muscular and neurological problems are common.
  • There are no cures for these diseases, but treatments may help with symptoms and slow down the disease.

Limnonectes phyllofolia : World’s Smallest Species Of Fanged Frogs

Scientists recently discovered the world’s smallest species of Fanged Frogs named Limnonectes phyllofolia from Indonesia.

  • Limnonectes phyllofolia is the smallest species of fanged frog.
  • It was found on the mountainous island of Sulawesi in Indonesia.
  • They’ve been given the nickname “leaf-nester” because, unlike most frogs, they don’t lay their eggs in water.
  • Fanged Frogs refer to a group of 75 species of frogs belonging to the genus Limnonectes.
  • These frogs are known for their distinctive fang-like structures, which are actually projections of their jaw bone.
  • They are found throughout East and Southeast Asia.
  • Unlike many snakes, these frogs don’t use their fangs to bite humans or inject venom into a person’s body.
  • They use these fangs to battle with each other over territory and mates, and sometimes even to hunt tough-shelled prey like giant centipedes and crabs.
  • Many frogs in this genus are giants, weighing up to two pounds.

Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award:

India’s badminton stars Chirag Shetty and Satwik Sai Raj Rankireddy won the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna award announced by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports recently.

  • Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award named after the hockey wizard Major Dhyan Chand (1905–79), an Indian legendary field hockey player, the “Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award” (erstwhile Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratan Award) is the highest sporting honour in India.
  • It was instituted in 1991–1992, the award is conferred annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India.
  • The spectacular and most outstanding performance in the field of sports and games at the international level, i.e. Olympic/Asian/Commonwealth/World Games/Championships/World Cup and equivalently recognized international tournaments, by a sportsperson over a period of four years immediately preceding the year during which the award is to be given.
  • During the years when Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games are held, the achievements of the sportspersons in these Games and other abovementioned tournaments up to the conclusion of the Olympic Games/Commonwealth/Asian Games, as the case may be, will also be considered.
  • Sportspersons who have been penalised or against whom an enquiry is pending or ongoing for the use of drugs/substances banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) will not be eligible for the award.

SHG Bank Linkage Project:

The Union Minister of State for Rural Development, in a written reply in Rajya Sabha has given information about Self Help Group (SHG) Bank linkage (BL).

  • In 2019, the International Initiative for Impact Evaluation assessed DAY-NRLM, finding a 19% income boost and a 28% increase in household savings compared to the baseline.
  • The study spanned nine states: Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and West Bengal.
  • Self Help Group (SHG) Bank linkage (BL) Project was launched by NABARD in 1992 and has blossomed into the world’s largest microfinance project.
  • Under this programme, banks were allowed to open savings accounts for SHGs.
  • Factors for SHG-BL’s Success:
    • Annual issuance of a Master Circular by RBI and NABARD.
    • Specification of minimum loan amounts for each Self-Help Group (SHG) with provisions being modified as needed to meet the scheme’s requirements.
    • Regular training of staff and community cadres under State Rural Livelihoods Missions (SRLMs) to enhance their capacity.
    • Financial education for Self Help Group (SHG) members through trained Financial Literacy Community Resource Persons (FLCRPs) at the village level.
    • Bank Sakhis, trained members from SHGs who act as intermediaries, aiding SHG members in transactions and application processes.
    • A web portal was created to overcome information asymmetry in SHG-Bank Linkage, incorporating data directly from Banks’ Core Banking Solution (CBS) database.
    • The Bank loans to the tune of Rs. 7.68 lakh Crore have been accessed by SHGs since FY 2013-14.

National Mathematics Day 2023:

National Mathematics Day is celebrated on 22nd December annually since 2012. The day honours the birth anniversary of Srinivasa Ramanujan, a renowned Indian mathematician.

  • Ramanujan, born on 22nd December 1887, in Erode, Tamil Nadu, is known for his contributions to number theory, infinite series, and continued fractions.
  • The number 1729, known as the Ramanujan number, is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two different cubes in two distinct ways.
  • Ramanujan compiled around 3,900 results consisting of equations and identities. One of his most treasured findings was his infinite series for Pi.
  • Made significant contributions to hypergeometric series, Riemann series, elliptic integrals, mock theta function, and theory of divergent series.
  • The Man Who Knew Infinity is a 2015 biographical film about Ramanujan.