Today’s Current Affairs: 26th Apr 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
Thrissur Pooram Festival:
The festivities of the famous Thrissur Pooram began with Kodiyettam, ceremonial flag hoisting, at the participating temples.
- Thrissur Pooram is celebrated in Kerala during the Malayalam month of Medom(April-May).
- It is considered to be the Mother of all Poorams, a cultural highlight that towers above all other festivals.
- It is celebrated in the grand assembly of Gods and Goddesses in and around Thrissur.
- It was the brainchild of Raja Rama Varma, famously known as Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of Cochin (1790–1805).
- It is centred on the Vadakkunnathan Temple, with all these temples sending their processions to pay obeisance to Shiva, the presiding deity.
- The processions and rituals of each of deities follow a very strict itinerary, scheduled in such a way that the tempo of the Pooram celebrations.
- A massive parade is planned on temple grounds, accompanied by Chenda Melam and Pancha Vadyam music.
- The final day of the pooram occurs on the seventh day. It is often referred to as “Pakal Pooram.
Svamitva Scheme : Update
The Uttar Pradesh state government completed the distribution of 55,14,921 ‘gharaunis’ (rural house records) under the Svamitva scheme.
- A survey of villages and mapping with improvised technology in village areas (SVAMITVA) is a Central Sector Scheme.
- It was launched in 2021 after the successful completion of the pilot phase of the scheme (2020-2021) in 9 states.
- It seeks to give ownership of property in rural inhabited areas, by mapping land parcels using drone technology and providing a ‘Record of Rights’ to village household owners with the issuance of legal ownership cards (Property cards/Title deeds) to the property owners.
- It is implemented with the collaborative efforts of the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, State Revenue Department, State Panchayati Raj Department and Survey of India.
- Full coverage of nearly 6.62 lakh villages in India and establishment of an extensive CORS network with 567 CORS stations.
- A Continuously Operating Reference Stations (CORS) network provides regional positioning service.
Vaccine For Shingles Disease:
GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals (GSK India) announced the much-awaited launch of its globally top-selling shingles vaccine Shingrix in India.
- Shingles disease is caused by the varicella-zoster virus the same virus that causes chickenpox.
- It can occur anywhere in the human body.
- It typically looks like a single stripe of blisters that wraps around the left side or the right side of your torso.
- It is not contagious means it can’t be spread from one person to another.
- The risk of shingles goes up as you get older and it is most common in people over age 50.
- Symptoms: Pain, burning, tingling sensitivity to touch etc.
- There is a vaccine called Shingrix available which helps in preventing shingles and its complications.
- Postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) is the most common complication of shingles. It causes severe pain in the areas where you had the shingles rash.
- Vision loss can happen if shingles affect the eyes. It may be temporary or permanent.
- Hearing or balance problems are possible if you have shingles within or near your ear.
Injectable Cell Therapy To Treat Osteoarthritis:
Scientists have recently developed a new injectable cell therapy to treat osteoarthritis.
- Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disease that can affect the many tissues of the joint.
- It is the most common type of arthritis. Arthritis refers to biomechanical changes within a joint.
- Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down over time.
- Although osteoarthritis can damage any joint, the disorder most commonly affects joints in your hands, knees, hips and spine.
- It is more likely to develop as people age.
- But it can affect much younger people, too, especially those who have had a prior joint injury
- Symptoms often develop slowly and worsen over time.
- It includes Pain, Stiffness, Tenderness, Loss of flexibility, Grating sensation, Bone spurs and
- There is no cure for Osteoarthritis, but medication, assistive devices and other therapies that don’t involve drugs can help to ease the pain.
- A damaged joint may be surgically fused or replaced with one made of a combination of metal, plastic and/or ceramic.
White Spot Disease In Shrimp:
Over the past month, white spot disease has affected over 100 acres of shrimp farming in Nagapattinam district, Tamil Nadu.
- White Spot Disease is a highly contagious viral infection that affects crustaceans such as prawns, yabbies and crabs.
- When found in high-intensity production areas, such as prawn farms, white spot disease results in the rapid mortality of prawns.
- It has the potential to cause a significant financial impact on the farmed prawn industry.
- Causative Agent : White spot syndrome virus, a large DNA virus assigned as the only member of the genus Whispovirus (family Nimaviridae).
- The virus is known to occur in fresh, brackish and marine water.
- The virus does not pose a risk to food safety or human health.
- It is primarily spread through the movement of infected animals or contaminated water.
- Birds that feed on and move infected animals can spread the disease.
- Marine worms have been implicated as potential carriers of the disease.
Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN):
The Rural Development Ministry recently said that ULPIN has been adopted by 26 states and union territories so far.
- Unique Land Parcel Identification Number (ULPIN) is part of the Digital India Land Records Modernization Programme (DILRMP).
- ULPIN or Bhu-Aadhar is a 14-digit identiﬁcation number accorded to a land parcel.
- It would uniquely identify every surveyed parcel of land and prevent land fraud, especially in rural India, where land records are outdated and disputed.
- The identiﬁcation is based on the longitude and latitude coordinates of the land parcel and depends on detailed surveys and geo-referenced cadastral maps.
- It aims to compile every detail pertaining to different properties from across the country.
- ULPIN is a Single, Authoritative Source of Truth for information on any parcel of land or property to provide Integrated Land Services to the citizens as well as all stakeholders.
- Various types of data relating to the landed properties, which are currently under the possession of different ministries and departments, too will be linked with the ULPIN.
The Indian Air Force (IAF) recently announced that it will take part in Exercise INIOCHOS-23 in Greece.
- Exercise INIOCHOS-23 is an annual multi-national air exercise hosted by the Hellenic Air Force, the air force of Greece.
- It is based on the Single Base Concept, which means the entire exercise takes place from a single air base.
- INIOCHOS-23 will be conducted at the Andravida Air Base in Greece.
- Objective is to enhance international cooperation, synergy and interoperability amongst the participating air forces.
- The exercise will be conducted in a realistic combat scenario involving multiple types of air and surface assets.
- It will also enable the participating contingents to engage in professional interactions, providing valuable insight into each other’s best practices.
- The IAF will be participating with four Su-30 MKI and two C-17 aircraft.
- Apart from the hosts, the USA, France and Italy, and others like Jordan and Saudi Arabia are participating in INIOCHOS-23.
India recently launched ‘Operation Kaveri’ to evacuate its nationals from conflict-torn Sudan.
- Operation Kaveri is a rescue operation being carried out by the Indian Government to bring back Indian citizens stranded in Sudan.
- According to the official data, the number of Indians in Sudan is around 4,000.
- As part of the operation, two C-130 aircraft and the navy ship INS Sumedha is on standby to safely evacuate stranded Indians.
- Sudan has been witnessing deadly fighting between the country’s army and a paramilitary group, the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) that has reportedly left several hundred’s dead.
- It was triggered by disagreement over an internationally backed plan to form a new civilian government four years after the fall of autocrat Omar al-Bashir and two years after the military coup.
- Both sides accuse the other of thwarting the transition.
Tamil Nadu’s Manamadurai Pottery : GI Tag
Manamadurai pottery was given GI tag
- Manamadurai is in Sivagangai district, Tamil Nadu, India.
- Raw materials Soil, water, sand, lead, graphite, calcium lime, ash, red lead, sodium silicate, manganese, iron, and plasticizing.
- Unique features Use of a unique type of clay sourced from water bodies; Pot making requires expertise as the bottom has to be perfectly round and the circumference of the pot and the neck should be proportionate; The pot is painted in different colours.
Pushkaralu Festival : Varanasi
The 12-day Pushkaralu festival of Telugu-speaking people began on April 22 in Varanasi.
- Pushkaram is a festival celebrated in India once every 12 years, dedicated to worshipping the 12 sacred rivers.
- Each river is associated with a zodiac sign, and the festival is based on the position of Jupiter at the time Once in 12 years
- Associated Rivers are Ganga, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna, Kaveri, Bhima, Tapti, Narmada, Saraswati, Tungabhadra, Sindhu, Pranhita
- Festival Duration 12 days after Jupiter enters that particular zodiac sign
- Purpose is Ancestor worship; Bathing in the sacred river during Pushkaram is believed to cleanse the devotees of their sins
- The devotee Pushkara was blessed by Lord Shiva with the ability to live in water and purify holy rivers. On a request from Bruhaspati (Jupiter), Pushkara decided to enter one of the 12 sacred rivers
IMF And WBG Spring Meetings 2023:
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank Group (WBG) held their Spring Meetings in Washington DC, United States.
- The discussions focused on issues of international concern, such as the international debt crisis, rising inflation, climate and development, poverty eradication, and slowing economic growth.
IMF and WBG Spring Meetings 2023 Highlights:
- The Global Sovereign Debt Roundtable (GSDR), co-chaired by the IMF, WBG, and India as the Group of Twenty (G20) 2023 presidency.
- GSDR met with bilateral creditors (France — chair of the Paris Club, US, the United Kingdom, China, Saudi Arabia and Japan) and debtor countries (Ecuador, Suriname, Zambia, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia and Ghana) and Brazil as the forthcoming presidency of the G20 in 2024.
- Many developing countries are facing high debt burdens due to the pandemic, rising inflation, and the Russia-Ukraine war, which negatively impacts their ability to invest in climate mitigation and adaptation projects.
- There was a particular spotlight on African nations that have been disproportionately impacted by Covid-19 and the consequent economic downturn.
- GSDR discussed debt sustainability and ways to address debt restructuring challenges.
- ‘Debt Restructuring’ refers to the process by which countries, private companies or individuals can change the terms of their loans so that it is easier for the debtor to pay back the loan.
- The Vulnerable Twenty Group of Ministers of Finance (V20), representing 58 countries most systematically vulnerable to climate change impacts, highlighted the urgent need to transition to a global financial system that can deliver development-positive climate action for the most vulnerable.
- It addressed growing concerns about the climate crisis, covering topics such as climate finance, energy security, sustainable supply chains, and workforce readiness for green jobs.
- Access to timely concessional finance was identified as a major hurdle faced by climate-vulnerable nations, as their fiscal space is under pressure to address climate risks while facing debt distress and high cost of capital.
It has been found that LockBit ransomware was found to be targeting Mac devices.
- Earlier in January 2023, the LockBit gang was reportedly behind a cyber-attack on U.K. postal services, causing international shipping to grind to a halt.
- A ransomware is a type of malware that hijacks computer data and then demands payment (usually in bitcoins) in order to restore it.
- LockBit, formerly known as “ABCD” ransomware, is a type of computer virus that enters someone’s computer and encrypts important files so they can’t be accessed.
- The virus first appeared in September 2019 and is called a “crypto virus”, because it asks for payment in cryptocurrency to unlock the files.
- LockBit is usually used to attack companies or organizations that can afford to pay a lot of money to get their files back.
- The people behind LockBit have a website on the dark web where they recruit members and release information about victims who refuse to pay.
- LockBit has been used to target companies in many different countries, including the U.S., China, India, Ukraine, and Europe.
What Is MiCA?
The European Union, approved the world’s first set of comprehensive rules ‘the Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) law’ for cryptocurrency markets.
- The Markets in Crypto-Assets (MiCA) law, will regulates cryptocurrencies for the first time in its entirety.
- It is anticipated to set new standards for regulation of cryptocurrencies globally.
- MiCA will impose compliance on the issuers of crypto assets, who are defined as the “legal person who offers to the public any type of crypto-assets”.
- It will apply to crypto-asset service providers (CASPs) providing one or more of these services the operation of a trading platform like CoinBase, custody, and administration of crypto assets on behalf of third parties (customers), the exchange of crypto assets for funds/other crypto-assets, the execution of orders for crypto assets, the placing of crypto assets, providing transfer services for crypto assets to third parties, providing advice on cryptoassets and crypto-portfolio management.
- The regulation prescribes different sets of requirements for CASPs depending on the type of cryptoassets.
- The base regime will require every CASP to get incorporated as a legal entity in the EU.
- They can get authorised in any one member country and will be allowed to conduct their services across the 27 countries.
- They will then be supervised by regulators like the European Banking Authority and the European Securities and Markets Authority, who will ensure that the companies have the required risk management and corporate governance practices in place.
- CASPs will have to demonstrate their stability and soundness, ability to keep the funds users safe, implementation of controls to ensure they are not engaging in proprietary trading; avoidance of conflicts of interest, and their ability to defend against market abuse and manipulation.
- Besides authorisation, service providers of stablecoins also have to furnish key information in the form of a white paper.
- It will mention the details of the crypto product and the main participants in the company, the terms of the offer to the public, the type of blockchain verification mechanism they use, the rights attached to the cryptoassets in question, the key risks involved for the investors and a summary to help potential purchasers make an informed decision regarding their investment.
- Issuers of stablecoins will also be required to maintain sufficient reserves corresponding to their value to avoid liquidity crises.
- Another legislation passed with MiCA requires crypto companies to send information of senders and recipients of cryptoassets to their local anti-money laundering authority, to prevent laundering and terror financing activities.
Safe City Project : Delhi
Delhi is all set to implement the Safe City Project, which aims to provide better security for citizens, particularly women.
- The Safe City Project is an initiative of the Ministry of Home Affairs, in collaboration with the Ministry of Women and Child Development under the Nirbhaya Fund, aimed at creating a safe, secure, and empowering environment for women and girls in public spaces.
- The project is being implemented in eight metro cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad, Lucknow, and Bengaluru.
- Under the project, CCTV cameras will be installed, along with a command-and-control center with facilities for video analytics, AI, machine learning, and facial recognition.
- The cost of the projects is shared in a 60:40 ratio between the Central government.
Farmer Producer Organizations:
ITC Limited, one of India’s major private companies, has achieved an extraordinary feat by helping to form 78 farmer-producer companies (FPCs) also known as Farmer Producer Organization.
- Farmer Producer Organisation (FPO) is a generic name, which refers to the farmer producers organization incorporated/ registered either under Part IXA of Companies Act or under Co-operative Societies Act of the concerned States.
- The concept behind Farmer Producer Organizations is that farmers, who are the producers of agricultural products, can form groups.
- To facilitate this process, the Small Farmers’ Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) was mandated by the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Govt. of India, to support the State Governments in the formation of the Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs).
- Objectives of FPOs is To provide a holistic and broad-based supportive ecosystem to form new FPOs to facilitate the development of vibrant and sustainable income-oriented farming and for overall socio-economic development and wellbeing of agrarian communities.
Formation and Promotion of 10,000 Farmer Producer Organisations :-
- It was launched by the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare in 2020.
- It is a Central sector scheme .
- Objective is to provide hand-holding support to FPCs and to meet the target of creating 10,000 FPOs by 2024. More than 2200 FPOs produce clusters have been allocated for the formation of FPOs in 2020-21.
- Implementing Agencies (IAs) engaged Cluster-Based Business Organizations (CBBOs) to aggregate, register & provide professional handholding support to each FPO for a period of 5 years.
Financial Assistance under the scheme: Up to Rs. 18.00 lakh per FPO for a period of 3 years.
- Provision were also made for matching equity grant up to Rs. 2,000 per farmer member of FPO with a limit of Rs. 15.00 lakh per FPO.
- Provision of a credit guarantee facility up to Rs. 2 crores of project loan per FPO from the eligible lending institution to ensure institutional credit accessibility to FPOs.