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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 23rd December 2022

Today’s Current Affairs: 23rd December 2022 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Vainu Bappu Observatory:

Discoveries of the 40-inch telescope at the Vainu Bappu Observatory were highlighted at its 50-year celebration.

  • Vainu Bappu Observatory is considered one of the most renowned observatories in India it is Located on Javadi Hills at Kavalur, Tamilnadu
  • The 40-inch telescope was installed in 1972 and started producing important astronomical discoveries soon after. More than a generation of astronomers were trained at this telescope as well.
  • The telescope in the observatory is under the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), an institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST)

Vainu Bappu:

  • He was an Indian astronomer who helped to establish several astronomical institutions in India including the Vainu Bappu Observatory which is named after him.
  • He has played a significant role in astronomy with major discoveries like the presence of rings around the planet Uranus, a new satellite of Uranus, and the presence of an atmosphere around Ganymede which is a satellite of Jupiter.

Samudrayaan Mission:

Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences recently said that Samudrayaan Mission is aimed at sending three personnel to 6000-metre depth in a vehicle called ‘MATSYA 6000’.

  • Samudrayaan Mission is aimed to develop a self-propelled manned submersible to carry three human beings to a water depth of 6,000 meters in the ocean with a suite of scientific sensors and tools for deep ocean exploration.
  • The experts will be sent in a manned submersible vehicle called ‘MATSYA 6000’.
  • This vehicle is being designed and developed by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Chennai under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • It has an endurance of 12 hours under normal operation and 96 hours in case of emergency for human safety.
  • Manned submersible provides a feel of direct physical presence for researchers and has better intervention capability.
  • With the launch of ‘Samudrayaan’ in October 2021, India joined the elite club of nations such as the US, Russia, Japan, France, and China to have niche technology and vehicles to carry out subsea activities.

Committee On Content Regulation In Government Advertising (CCRGA):

Delhi Lieutenant-Governor (L-G) Vinai Kumar Saxena has recently directed Delhi Chief Secretary Naresh Kumar to implement a 2016 order of the Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA).

Committee on Content Regulation in Government Advertising (CCRGA):

  • It is a three-member body.
  • It was formed by the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in April, 2016, on the directions of the Supreme Court in its judgment in the Common Cause vs. Union of India case in May, 2015.
  • The body is set up to regulate the content of Central and State government advertisements in all media platforms.
  • The SC had also mandated States to constitute their own respective bodies.
  • While some States have set up committees to regulate public advertising content, some have given consent to the CCRGA to monitor their advertisements.
  • The SC, in its order had also issued a set of guidelines for public-funded advertising by governments.
  • Some of the guidelines mentioned include that government advertising should maintain political neutrality and avoid glorification of political personalities or projecting a positive impression of the party in power or a negative impression of parties critical of the government.
  • They also should not be used at patronising media houses.

Dokra Metalcraft:

Lalbazar is becoming a hub for the famous dokra metalcraft.

  • Two places are famous in West Bengal for dokra work — Bikna in Bankura and Dariyapur in Bardhaman.
  • Dokra is an ancient tradition; its documented history is about 5,000 years
  • Dhokra (also spelt Dokra) is non–ferrous metal casting using the lost-wax casting technique. This sort of metal casting has been in use in India for 4,000 years.
  • The product of dhokra artisans is in great demand in domestic and foreign markets because of its primitive simplicity, enchanting folk motifs and forceful form.
  • Dhokra horses, elephants, peacocks, owls, religious images, measuring bowls, lamp caskets etc., are highly appreciated.

Rashtriya Gokul Mission : Updates

Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying announced that employment will be given to more than 50 lakh farmers.

  • Under Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM) there is a scheme to provide subsidy on cow/buffalo/pig/chicken/goat breeding farms and silage making units of which 50% subsidy will be given by the Government of India. Also, 3% interest subvention on the loan amount can also be taken under the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (AHIDF) scheme.

Rashtriya Gokul Mission:

  • It is being implemented for development and conservation of indigenous bovine breeds since December 2014.
  • The scheme is also continued under umbrella scheme Rashtriya Pashudhan Vikas Yojna from 2021 to 2026 with a budget outlay of Rs.2400 crore.
  • Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying
  • Objectives:
    • To enhance productivity of bovines and increasing milk production in a sustainable manner using advance technologies.
    • To propagate use of high genetic merit bulls for breeding purposes.
    • To enhance Artificial insemination coverage through strengthening breeding network and delivery of Artificial insemination services at farmers doorstep.
    • To promote indigenous cattle & buffalo rearing and conservation in a scientific and holistic manner.

SAMARTH Scheme : Report

Under the SAMARTH Scheme of Textile Ministry, more than 13,235 artisans have been trained in the last three years.

  • Samarth (Scheme for Capacity Building In Textile Sector) is a flagship skill development scheme approved in continuation to the Integrated Skill Development Scheme for 12th Five Year Plan (FYP), Cabinet Committee of Economic Affairs.
  • The office of the Development Commissioner (Handicrafts) is implementing the SAMARTH to provide skill training to handicraft artisans under the component ‘Skill Development in Handicrafts Sector’ of National Handicrafts Development Programme (NHDP).
  • Objectives:
    • To provide demand-driven, placement-oriented skilling programmes to incentivize the efforts of the industry in creating jobs in the organized textile and related sectors to promote skilling and skill up-gradation in the traditional sectors through respective sectoral divisions/organizations of the Ministry of Textile.
    • To provide livelihood to all sections of the society across the country.

State Of The Economy Report: RBI

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released a report titled- “State of the Economy”, which warns of a darkening global outlook.

Highlights of the Report:

  • The balance of risks gets increasingly tilted towards a darkening global outlook for 2023, the year that will bear the brunt of monetary policy actions of this year.
  • Emerging market economies (EMEs) appear precarious, having battled currency depreciations and capital outflows in addition to slowing growth and high inflation.
  • An unease hangs over energy prices, for now, Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) plus stayed its hand in cutting production, but an oil price cap threatens to unleash disruptive financial forces, with hedge funds already cutting net long positions in crude contracts.
  • Despite moderation in global commodity markets, climate change and the war in Ukraine are set to keep food prices at higher than pre-pandemic levels.
  • Debt distress is rising, with a surge in default rates and an appreciating US dollar – the principal currency in which debt is denominated – although more recently it has tumbled down from 20-year highs.
  • Inflation may be slightly down, but it is certainly not out.
  • Inflation is likely to moderate in 2023 from current levels, but it would remain well above targets in most economies.
  • The easing of inflation is primarily driven by the sharp moderation in food inflation. The index declined by 11 bps month-on-month (m-o-m), which along with a favorable Base Effect.
  • The near-term growth outlook for the Indian economy is supported by domestic drivers.
  • Domestic economic activity remained resilient in November and early December of 2022.
  • The outlook for private consumption and investment is looking up, although relatively higher inflation in rural areas is muting spending in those regions.
  • Headline inflation moderated by 90 basis points to 5.9 % in November 2022 driven by a fall in vegetables prices even as core inflation remained steady at 6 %.
  • Equity markets touched a string of new highs during November buoyed by strong portfolio flows to India.

BF.7 Variant Of Coronavirus:

The current surge in Covid-19 infections in China, is believed to be driven by the BF.7 sub-variant of Omicron that is circulating over there.

BF.7 Variant of Coronavirus:

  • The dominant virus strain in China is BF.7, a sub-variant of Omicron that has been in circulation for over a year now.
  • There are over 500 Omicron sub-variants currently in circulation.
  • BF.7 is the name for the BA., which itself has evolved from the BA.5 sub-variant.
  • BF.7 accounted for over 5% of the cases in the US in October, 2022 and over 7% of the cases in the UK.
  • When viruses mutate, they create lineages and sub-lineages— like the main trunk of the SARS-CoV-2 tree sprouting branches and sub-branches.
  • A research study reported that the BF.7 sub-variant has a 4.4-fold higher neutralisation resistance than the original D614G variant meaning that in a lab setting, antibodies from a vaccinated or infected individual were less likely to destroy BF.7 than the original Wuhan virus that spread worldwide in 2020.
  • A higher neutralisation resistance means there is a higher likelihood of the variant spreading in a population and replacing other variants.