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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 27th Jan 2024

Today’s Current Affairs: 27th Jan 2024 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

BrahMos : India Ready To Export

India is all set to begin the export of ground systems for the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles to the Philippines.

  • It is a supersonic cruise missile that can be launched from land, sea, and air.
  • It has been developed by Brahmos Aerospace, a joint venture of India and Russia.
  • It is named after the rivers Brahmaputra (India) and Moskva (Russia).
  • It is a two-stage missile with a solid propellant booster engine as its first stage, which brings it to supersonic speed and then gets separated.
  • The liquid ramjet, or second stage then takes the missile closer to 3 Mach speed in the cruise phase.
  • It is one of the fastest cruise missiles currently operationally deployed, with a speed of Mach 2.8, which is nearly three times more than the speed of sound.
  • It has a launch weight of 2,200-3,000 kg.
  • The extended-range variant of the missile can strike land and sea targets at a maximum range of 400 to 500 kilometers with supersonic speed all throughout the flight.
  • It operates on the “Fire and Forgets” principle, adopting varieties of flights on its way to the target.
  • Its cruising altitude could be up to 15 km, and its terminal altitude is as low as 10 meters.
  • It carries a conventional warhead weighing 200 to 300 kg.
  • It is equipped with stealth technology designed to make it less visible to radar and other detection methods.
  • It has an inertial navigation system (INS) for use against ship targets, and an INS/Global Positioning System for use against land targets.


Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis have stepped up their attacks on commercial vessels transiting the Red Sea.

  • The Houthis, officially known as Ansar Allah (Partisans of God), are an armed religious and political movement in Yemen.
  • Houthis are Zaydi Shiites, or Zaydiyyah.
  • Shiite Muslims are the minority community in the Islamic world, and Zaydis are a minority of Shiites, significantly different in doctrine and beliefs from the Shiites who dominate in Iran, Iraq, and elsewhere.
  • They are a minority in Yemen, which is predominantly Sunni Muslim, but they are a significant one, numbering in the hundreds of thousands and making up as much as a third of the overall population.
  • Its members advocate regional autonomy for Zaidis in northern Yemen.
  • They have been fighting Yemen’s Sunni-majority government since 2004.
  • The Houthis took over the Yemeni capital Sanaa in September 2014 and seized control over much of north Yemen by 2016.
  • The Houthi movement began as an effort to maintain tribal autonomy in northern Yemen and protest Western influence in the Middle East.
  • Today, the Houthis seek a greater role in the Yemeni government and continue to advocate for Zaidi minority interests.
  • The movement is known for its virulently anti-American and anti-Semitic rhetoric.
  • Several of the group’s leaders have been designated as terrorists by the United States.

Armado : Appearance At The Republic Day

The new Mahindra Armado recently made its first appearance at the Republic Day Parade.

  • Armado is India’s first Armoured Light Specialist Vehicle (ALSV).
  • It is a fully indigenous vehicle designed and built by the Mahindra Defence Systems (MDS) for the Indian armed forces.
  • It can be used in counter-terrorist and special forces operations. It can also be used by quick reaction teams, as a reconnaissance vehicle and for patrolling the borders.
  • It has a seating capacity of six passengers, including the driver, and can be configured to seat up to eight.
  • Above the standard 1,000 kg load capacity, the ASLV can carry another 400 kg.
  • It gets ballistic protection up to the B7 level and STANAG level-2. This means that its armour offers protection against armour-piercing rifles.
  • Also, the ASLV gets protection on all sides(front, side and rear) from ballistics and explosives.
  • Powering the 4-wheeler is a 3.2-litre multi-fuel diesel engine that generates 216 hp of maximum power.
  • Armado takes just 12 seconds to accelerate from 0 to 60 kmph, and runs at a speed of more than 120 kmph.
  • It also gets a self-cleaning-type exhaust scavenging and air filtration system for extreme dusty climate, like deserts.

Market Access Initiative (MAI) Scheme:

Ahead of the interim Budget 2024, exporters have urged the government to allocate funds worth $3.88 billion for the Market Access Initiative (MAI) scheme.

  • Market Access Initiative (MAI) Scheme is an export promotion scheme envisaged to act as a catalyst to promote India’s exports on a sustained basis.
  • The scheme is formulated on focus product-focus country approach to evolve specific markets and specific products through market studies and surveys.
  • Assistance would be provided to Export Promotion Organizations/Trade Promotion Organizations/National Level Institutions/ Research Institutions/Universities/Laboratories, Exporters etc., for the enhancement of exports through accessing new markets or through increasing their share in the existing markets.
  • Under the Scheme, the level of assistance for each eligible activities has been fixed.
  • The funding for each project will be on cost-sharing basis with the sharing pattern ranging from 65% to 50% at the minimum.
  • It is administered by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Government of India, through the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

PM Young Achievers Scholarship Award Scheme:


A total of ₹32.44 Crore has been released for Pre-matric Scholarships and ₹387.27 Crore for Post-Matric Scholarships to States/Union Territories (UTs) under the PM YASASVI scheme in 2023.

  • PM Young Achievers Scholarship Award Scheme (PM YASASVI) is a scholarship scheme for Other Backward Class (OBCs), Economically Backward Class (EBC), and Denotified Nomadic Tribes (DNT) students.
  • Under this scheme, students can avail of Pre-Matric Scholarships from Classes 9 to 10 and Post-Matric Scholarships for their higher education at the post-matriculation or post-secondary level.
  • Exceptional students also have the opportunity to receive scholarships for top-tier schools and colleges.
  • Additionally, hostel facilities are provided for OBC students through a construction scheme.
  • Eligibility:
    • Other Backward Class (OBC), Economically Backward Classes (EBC), and Denotified, Nomadic, and Semi-Nomadic Tribes (DNT)
    • Parents or guardians annual income is not more than Rs. 2.50 Lakhs.
    • Studying in a Top Class School in Class 9 or 11.
  • These scholarships shall be available for studies in India only and will be awarded by the Government of State/Union Territory to which the applicant actually belongs, i.e., permanently settled.
  • Entitlement: Upto Rs. 75,000 p.a. for Class 9/10, 1,25,000 p.a. for Class 11/12, covering the school tuition fee/hostel fee.
  • Implementing Agency: Department of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve : Vulture Survey

More than 300 vultures were recorded in the recently completed synchronous vulture survey in the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR)

  • Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve (NBR) is located in the Nilgiri Mountains of the Western Ghats.
  • It encompasses parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka.
  • It was the first biosphere reserve in India, established in 1986.
  • The total area of the reserve is 5,520 sq. km. It is the largest protected forest area in India.
  • The Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary, Wyanaad Wildlife Sanctuary, Bandipur National Park, Nagarhole National Park, Mukurthi National Park, and Silent Valley are the protected areas present within this reserve.
  • It harbours a wide spectrum of ecosystem types, such as tropical evergreen forests, Montane sholas and grasslands, semi-evergreen forests, moist deciduous forests, dry deciduous forests, and thorn forests.
  • The annual rainfall of the reserve ranges from 500 mm to 7000 mm, with temperatures ranging from 0°C during the winter to 41°C during the summer.
  • It is India’s first biosphere reserve under UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme.

VAIBHAV Fellowship Scheme : Unveiled The First Group

The Department of Science and Technology (DST) recently unveiled the first cohort of fellows under the Vaishvik Bhartiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) scheme, a strategic initiative aimed at fostering short-term collaborations with Indian-origin scientists based abroad.

  • Vaibhav scheme finds similarities with the Visiting Advanced Joint Research Faculty (Vajra) scheme initiated in 2018.
  • The Government has launched VAIBHAV fellowships programme in 2023 to connect the Indian STEMM (Science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine) diaspora with Indian academic and R&D institutions for collaborative research work leading to sharing of knowledge, wisdom, and best practices in the frontier areas of science & technology.
  • The VAIBHAV Fellow would identify an Indian Institution for collaboration and may spend up to two months there in a year for a maximum of 3 years.
  • The VAIBHAV fellows are expected to collaborate with their Indian counterparts and help initiate research activities in the host institution in the cutting-edge areas of Science and Technology.
  • Fellowship would include fellowship grant (INR 4,00,000 per month), international and domestic travel, accommodation and contingencies.
  • Host institutions receive research grants to support the collaboration.
  • Significance of Vaibhav Scheme:
    • Strengthens global collaboration in scientific research.
    • Fosters knowledge exchange and expertise infusion in Indian academic and research institutions.
  • The VAIBHAV fellowships programme to be implemented by the DST, Ministry of Science and Technology, would be awarded to outstanding scientist/technologists of Indian origin who are engaged in research activities in their respective countries.

Hermit Crabs:

Hermit crabs worldwide, known for using scavenged shells as armour, are increasingly turning to plastic waste instead, according to an ecological study using social media photos.

  • The research, published in the journal Science of the Total Environment, revealed that two-thirds of hermit crab species were pictured using  artificial shells mainly discarded plastic caps.
  • The hermit crab which is IUCN: least concern is a unique crustacean that lacks a hard shell and utilizes old shells, particularly whelk shells, for protection.
  • Unlike other crustaceans with a complete exoskeleton, the hermit crab has a soft and squishy back part where its abdomen is located.