Today’s Current Affairs: 2nd Dec 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana:
The government recently extended the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) scheme for another five years.
- Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) was launched by the Indian government in April 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- It is designed to provide financial assistance to economically weaker sections affected by the pandemic.
- The scheme encompasses the distribution of 5 kg of free food grains each month, along with cash transfers to women and elderly individuals.
- It was introduced as part of the broader Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, aiming to offer relief to those adversely affected by the pandemic, especially the poor and marginalised.
- As per the scheme, the government offers 5 kg of free food grains each month in addition to the subsidised ration given to families covered by the Public Distribution System under the National Food Security Act.
World AIDS Day 2023:
World AIDS Day is observed every year on December 1.
- World AIDS Day is observed every year on December 1 to spread awareness about HIV/AIDS.
- The day is an opportunity to end stigmas associated with this disease, and this day also honours people who lost their precious lives and engage in lives that support HIV/AIDS research and advanced treatment.
- It was first observed in 1988, when the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognised the day.
- The theme of World AIDS Day 2023 is– “Let Communities Lead”
- Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a chronic, potentially life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
- HIV attacks the body’s immune system, making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases.
- If HIV is not treated, it can lead to AIDS.
- It is a sexually transmitted infection (STI).
- It can also be spread by contact with infected blood, from illicit injection drug use, or by sharing needles.
- It can also be spread from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding.
- There is currently no effective cure. Once people get HIV, they have it for life.
Existence Of New Species Santjordia Pagesi:
Scientists have now confirmed the existence of a new species named Santjordia pagesi.
- Santjordia Pagesi also called St. George’s Cross medusa jellyfish, is a newly discovered species of jellyfish.
- It is considered “rare” and has been found only in the Sumisu Caldera near the Ogasawara Islands, about 600 miles southeast of Tokyo, Japan.
- “Santjordia” refers to Saint George in Catalan, representing its cross-shaped stomach.
- It is considered large at 4 inches wide and 3 inches tall.
- It boasts a circular body with around 240 tentacles.
- Its body looks almost like a see-through cushion. It has a thick white ring running along its lower edge.
- Smaller vein-like structures stretch from its prominent central stomach to the outer ring.
- Its most distinctive feature is a bright red, cross-shaped stomach.
- The jellyfish’s distinct features suggest it may possess a novel cnidarian venom.
- A jellyfish is a type of marine animal belonging to the phylum Cnidaria, which includes creatures such as sea anemones, sea whips, and corals.
- Like all members of the phylum, the body parts of a jellyfish radiate from a central axis.
Indian Navy Ship (INS) Kadmatt deployed to the North Pacific recently conducted Underway Replenishment (UNREP) with Japan’s JS Towada.
- INS Kadmatt is an indigenous stealth anti-submarine warfare corvette.
- It is the second of four anti-submarine warfare corvettes built for the Indian Navy by the Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers of Kolkata under Project 28.
- It was commissioned into the Indian Navy in January 2016.
- The ship was inducted into the Eastern Naval Command of the Indian Navy.
- It has been named after the Kadmat Island of India’s Lakshadweep Islands.
- The primary role of the INS Kadmatt is in anti-submarine warfare—to protect ships in convoys and ports from enemy submarine attacks.
- The ship is fitted with state-of-the-art weapons, sensors, and machinery and is also designed to embark on the Sea king anti-submarine helicopter.
- The ship also has on-board early warning, navigation, and fire control radars, besides underwater sensors and integrated communication and electronic warfare systems.
- It produces low levels of radiated underwater noise, which reduces its chances of detection.
- It is equipped with anti-aircraft guns, torpedoes, and rocket launchers.
Press Mud : Sugarcane Byproduct
Sugarcane byproduct press mud can help generate 460,000 tonnes of compressed biogas (CBG) valued at Rs 2,484 crore.
- Press Mud is often known as filter cake or press cake.
- It is the agricultural waste obtained when cane juice is repeatedly filtered before being sent for sugar extraction.
- The filters are cleaned periodically, and the waste is deposited in the yard of the mill.
- Nearly 3 to 4 percent of press mud is obtained when one tonne of cane is crushed.
- At present, mills recycle this agricultural waste as manure by composting it and supplying it to the farmers in the area.
- It can be utilised as a feedstock for biogas production through anaerobic digestion and subsequent purification to create compressed biogas (CBG).
- It is very useful for crops and horticulture because of its richness in various micronutrients.
- It has been acknowledged as a valuable resource for green energy production.
- Issue with press mud is Storing press mud proves challenging as it undergoes gradual decomposition, resulting in the breakdown of organic compounds.
- Compressed biogas (CBG) is produced naturally through a process of anaerobic decomposition from waste / bio-mass sources like agriculture residue, cattle dung, sugarcane press mud, municipal solid waste, sewage treatment plant waste, etc.
- After purification, it is compressed and called CBG, which has a pure methane content of over 95%.
Gajraj Suraksha : Indian Railways New Approach
Indian Railways has introduced a cutting-edge technology named ‘Gajraj’ to prevent elephant accidents on railway tracks
- Gajraj Suraksha uses an AI-based algorithm and a network of sensitive optical fibre cables to detect elephants getting close to railway tracks.
- It aims to address the issue of elephant fatalities resulting from train accidents.
- Gajraj Suraksha senses pressure waves generated by the movement of elephants along the tracks.
- As elephants move, the optical fibres detect vibrations caused by their footsteps.
- These vibrations trigger signals within the optical fibre network, enabling the system to identify the presence of elephants up to 200 metres ahead of their arrival on the track.
- The OFC-based Intrusion Detection System works by sending alarms to station masters whenever movement is detected along the tracks.
- The network is designed in such a way that it can track the movement of the elephant with great accuracy and report it to nearby station masters.
- This allows them to promptly inform locomotive drivers in the affected areas.
- This quick communication ensures that trains can be slowed down or stopped, preventing potential collisions with elephants.
- Indian Railway is planning to introduce this system in West Bengal, Odisha, Jharkhand, Assam, Kerala, certain parts of Chhattisgarh, and Tamil Nadu.
Fast Track Special Court : Continuation
The Union Cabinet has approved the continuation of Fast Track Special Court (FTSCs) for three more years till 2026.
- Initially commenced in October 2019 for one year, the scheme was extended for an additional two years until March 2023.
- Fast Track Special Court (FTSCs) are specialized courts established in India with the primary aim of expediting the trial process for cases related to sexual offenses, particularly those involving rape and violations under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act).
- The establishment of FTSCs was prompted by the government’s recognition of the alarming frequency of Sexual Offenses and the prolonged duration of trials in regular courts, which resulted in delayed justice for victims.
- The Central Government enacted the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act in 2018, which introduced stricter punishments, including the death penalty for rape offenders.
- Subsequently, the FTSCs were set up to ensure the swift dispensation of justice for such cases.\
- The scheme to establish FTSCs was formulated in August 2019 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme following directions from the Supreme Court of India in a suo moto Writ Petition (Criminal).
- Implemented by the Department of Justice, Ministry of Law & Justice.
NATPOLREX-IX : National Level Pollution Response Exercise
The 9th National Level Pollution Response Exercise (NATPOLREX-IX) was conducted by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) off Vadinar, Gujarat.
- The NATPOLREX-IX accomplished its objective of testing the level of preparedness and coordination between various resource agencies to respond to a marine oil spill invoking provisions of the National Oil Spill Disaster Contingency Plan (NOSDCP).
- The ICG deployed surface as well as air platforms including Pollution Response Vessels (PRVs), Offshore Patrol Vessels (OPVs), indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter Mk-III, and Dornier Aircraft configured for marine pollution response.
- The event also showcased India’s industrial prowess in terms of the ‘Make in India’ and vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’.
- Apart from drawing up the NOSDCP, the Coast Guard has established four Pollution Response Centers at Mumbai, Chennai, Port Blair and Vadinar.
Pirola : Increase In Cases
Pirola, has seen a threefold increase in cases over a two-week period.
- Pirola is predominantly circulating in the US northeast, where it ranks as the second most prevalent variant (13%) following HV.1.
- Pirola or 2.86 Variant is a new strain of COVID-19 with 35 mutations, causing concerns about immune evasion and vaccine efficacy.
- It demonstrates distinct symptoms like rashes, conjunctivitis, and diarrhoea.
- The Pirola variant has been detected in several countries, including the US, the UK, and others.
- The fact that these cases are unrelated suggests some degree of international transmission, which is concerning.
- The concern with such mutations is that they could potentially make the virus more transmissible or resistant to immunity gained from previous infections or vaccinations.
- The WHO has classified BA.2.86 as a variant under monitoring.
- The spike protein of the Pirola variant has over 30 mutations, which is the protein that the virus utilizes to bind to human cells.
- This indicates that the Pirola variant could be more contagious or evade vaccines more than other Omicron subvariants
Launching The Loss And Damage Fund At COP28:
On the opening day of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) climate conference in Dubai, a loss and damage fund to help vulnerable countries cope with the impact of climate change was officially launched.
- Loss and Damage Fund was first announced during COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.
- It is a global financial package to ensure the rescue and rehabilitation of countries facing the cascading effects of climate change.
- The term refers to the compensation that rich nations, whose industrial growth has resulted in global warming and driven the planet into a climate crisis, must pay to poor nations, whose carbon footprint is low but are facing the brunt of rising sea levels, floods, crippling droughts, and intense cyclones, among others.
- The changing climate has impacted lives, livelihoods, biodiversity, cultural traditions, and identities.
- Loss and damage is often categorised as either economic or non-economic.
- Economic loss and damage are negative impacts that one can assign a monetary value to.
- These are things such as the costs of rebuilding infrastructure that has been damaged due to floods or the loss of revenue from crops that were destroyed due to drought.
- Non-economic loss and damage are negative impacts where it is difficult or infeasible to assign a monetary value.
- These are things such as trauma from experiencing a tropical cyclone, loss of community due to displacement of people, or loss of biodiversity.
- The World Bank will oversee the loss and damage fund in the beginning, with the source of funds being rich nations such as the US, the UK, and the EU, as well as some developing countries.