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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 24th December 2021

Today Current Affairs: 24th December 2021 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc


Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) For Copra:

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for the Minimum Support Prices (MSPs) for copra for 2022 season.

  • Copra refers to the dried coconut kernels from which coconut oil is expelled.
  • The MSP for Fair Average Quality (FAQ) of milling copra has been increased to Rs10,590/- per quintal for 2022 season from Rs.10,335/- per quintal in 2021 and the MSP for ball copra has been increased to Rs.11,000/- per quintal for 2022 season from Rs.10,600/- per quintal in 2021.
  • This is to ensure a return of 51.85 percent for milling copra and 57.73 percent for ball copra over the all India weighted average cost of production.
  • The increase in MSP for copra for 2022 season is in line with the principle of fixing the MSP at a level of at least 1.5 times the all India weighted average cost of production as announced by the Government in the Budget 2018-19.
  • The decision is based on recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP).
  • The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited and National Cooperative Consumer Federation of India Limited will continue to act as Central Nodal Agencies to undertake price support operations at the MSP in the coconut growing States.

Kerala’s SilverLine Project:

The project entails building a semi high-speed railway corridor through the state linking its southern end and state capital Thiruvananthapuram with its northern end of Kasaragod.

  • The line is proposed to be 529.45 kms long, covering 11 districts through 11 stations.
  • When the project is realised, one can travel from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram in less than four hours on trains travelling at 200 km/hr. The current travel time on the existing Indian Railways network is 12 hours.
  • The deadline for the project, being executed by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), is 2025.
  • KRDCL, or K-Rail, is a joint venture between the Kerala government and the Union Ministry of Railways.
  • There are several concerns around the project.
  • Critics feel that the massive cost will push the State further into debt.
  • There is scepticism about the projected passenger patronage.
  • But most of all, there are environmental concerns in the backdrop of the 2018 deluge that inundated almost the entire State.
  • There’s fear that the project’s embankment will divide the State into two and stifle free movement of water

United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR):

Vodafone announced that it is auctioning the world’s first SMS as a non-fungible token (NFT). Now, the company has announced that a bidder has paid 107,000 euros for the replica of the first communication protocol of a short message, perpetuated as a NFT.

  • Vodafone will donate them to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, to support the 82.4 million people who have been forced to flee their homes due to conflict and persecution.
  • The world’s first SMS was sent almost three decades ago on December 3, 1992 through the Vodafone network.
  • The SMS was received by Vodafone employee Richard Jarvis. “Merry Christmas,” the 15 character message read.
  • An NFT is a one-of-a-kind digital collectible.
  • This means it is unique and can’t be replaced.
  • These virtual tokens can be songs, movies, artworks, photographs, social media posts, GIFs and anything else that can be stored digitally.

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

  • It is a UN Refugee Agency and a global organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting the rights and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities and stateless people.
  • It was created in 1950 to help millions of Europeans who had fled or lost their homes.
  • It is headquartered at Geneva, Switzerland.

Pralay Missile:

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully conducted maiden flight test of a new indigenously developed surface-to-surface missile ‘Pralay’.

  • The missile was tested from the Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Island off the coast of Odisha.
  • Pralay’ is India’s first conventional quasi-ballistic missile and is an answer to any conventional missile attack from northern or western borders.
  • A quasi-ballistic missile has a low trajectory, and while it is largely ballistic, it can maneuver in flight.
  • The missile has been developed in a way that it is able to defeat the interceptor missiles and also has the ability to change its path after covering a certain range mid-air.
  • It is powered with a solid propellant rocket motor and many new technologies.
  • The missile guidance system includes state-of-the-art navigation system and integrated avionics.
  • It is a derivative of the Prahaar missile programme, which was first tested in 2011.
  • Prahaar is a surface-to-surface missile with a range of 150 km.
  • Primary objective is to bridge the gap between the unguided Pinaka multi-barrel rocket launcher and the guided Prithvi missile variants.
  • Range: The missile has a range of 150-500 kilometre and can be launched from a mobile launcher.
  • Pralay will be the longest-range surface-to-surface missile in the inventory of the Army.
  • The Army also has the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile in its arsenal, with a stated range of 290-plus kilometres.
  • It will completely change the tactical battlefield dynamics and India will have two conventional missiles with long range.
  • The BrahMos will be a cruise option and this one will be the ballistic option.

Mob Lynching:

The former Punjab Chief Minister expressed concern over the recent incidents of lynching reported in Amritsar and Kapurthala.

  • Mob lynching is a term used to describe the acts of targeted violence by a large group of people.
  • The violence is tantamount to offences against human body or property- both public as well as private.
  • The mob believes that they are punishing the victim for doing something wrong (not necessarily illegal) and they take the law in their own hands to punish the purported accused without following any rules of law.
  • Mob lynching is a violation of human dignity, Article 21 of the Constitution, and a gross infringement of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
  • Such incidents violate the Right to Equality and Prohibition of discrimination, which are enshrined in Articles 14 and 15 of the Constitution of India.
  • However, it is nowhere mentioned in the law of the land and is hence simply put as murder since it has not been yet incorporated under the Indian Penal Code.

Spices Statistics At A Glance 2021:

Union Minister for Agriculture released the book ‘Spices Statistics at a Glance 2021’on 21st December, 2021.

  • The book is published by the Directorate of Arecanut and Spices Development (DASD), Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, the nodal agency for collection and compilation of area and production estimates of spices at National level.
  • The book highlights the growth achieved in spices sector during the last seven years from 2014-15 to 2020-21 in the country.
  • Spices production in the Country grew from 67.64 lakh tonnes in 2014-15 to 106.79 lakh tonnes in 2020-21 with an annual growth rate 7.9%, following an increase in area from 32.24 lakh hectare to 45.28 lakh hectare.
  • Among the major spices, Cumin (14.8%), Garlic (14.7%), Ginger (7.5%), Fennel (6.8%), Coriander (6.2%), fenugreek (5.8%), Red chilli (4.2%) and Turmeric (1.3 %), show significant growth rate in production.
  • Spices export grew from 8.94 lakh tonnes worth Rs 14900 crores to 16 lakh tonnes valued at Rs 29535 crores (US$ 3.98 billion) during the above period, logging an annual growth rate of 9.8% in terms of volume and 10.5% in terms of value.
  • The export of spices contributes 41% of the total export earnings from all horticulture crops in the country and it ranks fourth among agricultural commodities, falling behind only the marine products, non-basmati rice and basmati rice.

Vernacular Innovation Program (VIP):

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog has come up with a first of its kind Vernacular Innovation Program (VIP), which will enable innovators and entrepreneurs in India to have access to the innovation ecosystem in 22 scheduled languages by the Government of India.

  • To build the necessary capacity for the VIP, AIM has identified and will be training a Vernacular Task Force (VTF) in each of the 22 scheduled languages.
  • Each task force comprises of vernacular language teachers, subject experts, technical writers, and the leadership of regional Atal Incubation Centers (AICs).
  • To get the program rolling, AIM NITI Aayog is launching a train-the-trainer program where it will collaborate with the Design Department of IIT Delhi to coach the VTF in design thinking and entrepreneurship and the adaptation of these subjects in the 22 languages and cultures.
  • Furthermore, industry mentors have joined hands to lend design thinking expertise, and CSR sponsors have agreed to generously support the program. Upon training the task force over the period of December 2021 to April 2022, the ecosystem will be opened to vernacular innovators.
  • According to the 2011 census, only 10.4% of Indians speak English, most as their second, third, or fourth language.
  • Not surprisingly, only 0.02% of Indians spoke English as their first language.
  • Thus, India should create equal opportunity for the vernacular innovators who represent the staggering 90% of our population.

Exercise “Prasthan”:

The security of the Offshore Development Area (ODA) in Krishna Godavari Basin on the East Coast of India was reviewed during exercise “Prasthan” conducted from 21 December to 22 December 21.

  • The biannual exercise was coordinated and controlled by NOIC (APD) from Joint Operations Centre (JOC) Vizag under the aegis of Indian Navy.
  • Objective was to assess overall security architecture to provide support during an emergent situation at ODA and for the Oil Operators to validate their Standard Operating Procedures laid out for various contingencies related to ODA.
  • Indian Naval Ships Kamorta, Tarmugli along with ISVs, T 36, T 38, T 39 and ICG ship Kanaklata Barua participated in the exercise along with MARCOS from INS Karna and naval helicopters from INS Dega.
  • Oil Operators namely ONGC Ltd, Reliance Ltd & Vedanta Ltd, Coastal Police, Department of Port and Department of Fisheries also participated.

Winter Session Of Parliament:

The winter session of Parliament ended. Both Houses were adjourned sine die a day ahead of schedule.

  • The session began with the suspension of 12 Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha and concluded with the passage of the controversial Election Laws (Amendment) Bill 2021, which seeks to link the electoral rolls with the Aadhaar database, despite strident protests by the Opposition.
  • Productivity of the Lok Sabha was around 82% and that of the Rajya Sabha around 48%.
  • During the session, 13 Bills (12 in the Lok Sabha and one in the Rajya Sabha) were introduced, while 11 Bills were passed by both Houses of Parliament.
  • The government had referred six Bills to parliamentary committees for closer scrutiny, including the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill that seeks to override personal laws of different religions to increase the legal age of marriage for women from 18 to 21 years.

Local Brand Namdapha Goodness:

North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Society (NERCRMS), Meghalaya in collaboration with Changlang Community Resource Management Society (CCRMS), Arunachal Pradesh launched Local Brand Namdapha Goodness in Changlang, Arunachal Pradesh.

  • It is named after iconic Namdapha National Park located in the Changlang district, Namdapha.
  • This initiative is to boost the sale of locally produced goods of the CBO members and to generate sustainable employment opportunities among the village communities and unemployed youths through the manufacturing, marketing and distribution related activities.
  • Currently, a variety of products including edibles such as banana chips; spices such as ginger and turmeric powder, bakery items, locally spun clothes and sanitary napkins is being marketed under the brand.
  • North Eastern Region Community Resource Management Society (NERCRMS) is a registered society under the aegis of North Eastern Council (NEC) and Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (MDoNER), Govt. of India.