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