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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 2nd May 2024

Today’s Current Affairs: 2nd May 2024 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Peucetia chhaparajnirvin : Spider Species

Daryapur-based arachnologist recently identified a green lynx spider, named Peucetia chhaparajnirvin, which was never discovered earlier.

  • Peucetia chhaparajnirvin is a new species of green lynx spider.
  • The spider was found in Tal Chhapar Wildlife Sanctuary in Churu district of Rajasthan.
  • The spider species has been named Peucetia chhaparajnirvin after the area in Rajasthan, Tal Chhapar, where it was discovered.
  • This spider is found on the green leaves of the Vachellia nilotica (babul) tree.
  • Their green hue aids in blending with their surroundings and ambushing prey, while their long legs allow them to move quickly.
  • This spider is nocturnal and feeds on small insects.
  • Lynx spiders, (family Oxyopidae) are any of several groups of active spiders(order Araneida) that do not build a nest or web but capture their prey by pouncing upon them.

Look Out Circulars:

The Bombay High Court recently held that public sector banks (PSBs) cannot recommend or request the issuance of Look Out Circulars (LOCs) against loan defaulters.

  • Look Out Circulars (LOCs) is an instrument issued by the government as a directive to its immigration authorities to restrict and regulate the physical movement of a person.
  • The immigration department is tasked to stop any such individual against whom such a notice exists from leaving or entering the country.
  • Law enforcement agencies often use LOCs as a coercive measure to stop any individual wanted or under suspicion by the police or an investigating agency from leaving or entering the country through designated land, air, and sea ports.
  • LOCs are usually issued by the police, intelligence agencies, or other government agencies authorised by the Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA).
  • LOC does not have express statutory backing in legislation, the power to issue LOCs and their regulation stems from the executive in the form of an Office Memorandum issued by the MHA in 2021, which provides consolidated guidelines for opening LOCs against Indian citizens or foreigners.
  • The guidelines categorically provide that LOCs can only be opened in criminal or penal cases, and the reason for the LOC must be indicated with the issue of the circular.
  • If there is no criminal or penal case pending, the LOC cannot be issued, and agencies can only request that they be informed of departure or arrival.
  • However, the guidelines provide that in exceptional cases, an LOC may be issued against an individual even when the case is not a criminal case.
  • This is in specified circumstances, such as when it is detrimental to the “sovereignty, or security, or integrity of India”, the “bilateral relations with any State”, or to the “strategic and economic interests of India”.
  • LOCs are also permitted in cases where the individual is likely to engage in terrorism or offences against the State or when such departure would not be “in the larger public interest”.
  • LOCs cannot be issued unless basic details — including name/parentage, passport number, and date of birth — are available, and such requests must be constantly monitored.

Bima Vistaar : IRDAI:

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has proposed to price Bima Vistaar, its ambitious all-in-one affordable insurance mass product aimed at the rural areas of the country, at Rs 1,500 per policy.

  • Bima Vistar, which is part of the Bima Trinity.
  • The first-of-its-kind all-in-one affordable insurance product, Bima Vistaar will offer life, health and property cover.
  • The product has been designed to provide a basic social safety net cover with combined features of life, health, personal accident and property insurance.
  • The product includes Life cover premium of Rs 820, Health cover Rs 500, Personal accident cover at Rs 100, and Property cover at Rs 80.
  • If taken for the entire family on a floater basis, the policy will cost Rs 2,420, with an additional Rs 900 charged for the rest of the family members.
  • The sum assured for life, personal accident, and property covers is Rs 2 lakh each, while the health cover (hospital cash) offers a sum assured of Rs 500 for 10 days, with a maximum amount of Rs 5,000 available without producing bills or documents.
  • Agents selling Bima Vistaar policies stand to earn a commission of 10%, incentivising wider distribution and adoption of the product.

Goldman Environmental Prize 2024:

Alok Shukla, a forest and tribal rights activist, has been awarded the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize 2024 for his successful campaign that saved 4.45 lakh acres of biodiversity-rich forests from 21 planned coal mines in Chhattisgarh’s Hasdeo Aranya region.

  • The forest of the Hasdeo Aranya is spread over 1.70 lakh hectares across the districts of Korba, Surajpur, and Surguja in Chhattisgarh, known as the “lungs of Chhattisgarh”, with rich biodiversity and home to 25 endangered species, 92 bird species, and 167 rare and medicinal plant species.
  • The Hasdeo River, which flows into the Mahanadi River, is fed by these forests and supplies water to the Hasdeo Bango reservoir, irrigating 741,000 acres of farmland.
  • Chhattisgarh, where 44% of the land is forested, has the third largest forest coverage in India.
  • Furthermore, nearly 15,000 Indigenous peoples rely on the Hasdeo Aranya forests for their livelihood, cultural heritage, and food.
  • The Goldman Environmental Prize also known as the Green Nobel Awards awarded by the Goldman Environmental Foundation.
  • The Prize was founded by Richard and Rhonda Goldman in 1989.
  • It recognises grassroots environmental leaders from six regions (Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, South and Central America) and lastly, islands and island nations.
  • The winners are selected by an international jury and awarded USD 200,000 as prize money.

Hangor Class Submarine : China

China has launched the first of eight Hangor-class submarines being built for Pakistan. It is a diesel-electric attack submarine.

  • It is bigger than the Indian Navy’s Kalvari class submarines, with a displacement of 2,800 tons compared to 1,775 tons for the Kalvari class.
  • The Hangor class has Air independent propulsion (AIP).
  • AIP allows submarines to stay submerged for longer periods.
  • AIP is planned to be installed on the first Scorpene class submarine INS Kalvari in 2024.
  • In terms of armament, both carry torpedoes and anti-ship missiles, The Kalvari class likely has more modern and battle-tested armament.
  • The bigger size of the Hangor class may hamper its manoeuvrability in littoral waters compared to the smaller Kalvari class.

IREDA Get Navratna Status:

IREDA (Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency), the financing agency for Renewable projects in India, was conferred with ‘Navratna status’ by the Department of Public Enterprises (Ministry of Finance)

  • IREDA is under the administrative control of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
  • It was established as a Non-Banking Financial Institution in 1987.
  • This status grants greater autonomy and facilitates quicker decision-making, attracting more investments and skilled talent.
  • As a Navratna PSU, IREDA can operate more efficiently, compete effectively, and achieve sustainable growth

What Is K2-18b Exoplanet?

The James Webb Space Telescope is gearing up for a significant mission targeting K2-18b, a distant planet with potential for extra-terrestrial life.

  • Scientists are focusing on detecting dimethyl sulphide (DMS) in its atmosphere, a gas primarily produced by life on Earth. Preliminary data suggests a high probability of DMS presence.
  • The presence of dimethyl sulphide (DMS) in the atmosphere of a distant planet, such as K2-18b, could indicate the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
  • On Earth, DMS is primarily produced by marine phytoplankton, making it a potential biological marker.
  • If detected on another planet, it suggests the presence of organic or biological processes similar to those found on Earth.
  • K2-18b Exoplanet was discovered in 2015 during NASA’s K2 mission, located over 120 light-years away from Earth.
  • Size is over 8 times larger than Earth.

Gati Shakti Cargo Terminals Initiative:

The Railway Ministry plans to expand its Gati Shakti Cargo Terminals initiative, aiming to offer an additional 200 terminals to corporate entities and freight operators.

  • This expansion follows the success of the initial 100 terminals announced in the Union Budget of 2022-23.
  • With 77 terminals already operational, the initiative aims to boost rail-based supply chains, increase rail freight volumes, and generate additional revenue for the railways.
  • The Gati Shakti scheme (launched in 2021) is a national master plan aimed at coordinating infrastructure projects to reduce logistics costs.
  • Key points include integrating planning for infrastructure projects, cutting costs, boosting trade, and improving connectivity.

Water Trading : NITI Aayog Report

As urbanization gathers pace, more and more wastewater is generated. But only about 40% of this is treated, and even that is not being reused.

  • The NITI Aayog, said in a report titled ‘water trading mechanism to promote reuse of treated water’ that in many countries water trading has helped achieve water-use efficiency and productivity.
  • Water Trading is a water market mechanism that considers water as a commodity rather than a public good.
  • It can be traded amongst users according to their needs.
  • A water company, rather than creating its own water source, can buy the water from a third party and sell it to the users.
  • Enabling elements for Water Trading:
    • Ownership of water – should be indisputable.
    • Water entitlements- could be transferred.
    • Water Reuse Certificates (WRCs) – as tradable permits.

Salmonella Contamination:

The United States has taken stringent measures in response to salmonella contamination in shipments from Mahashian Di Hatti Pvt Ltd (MDH).

  • The situation underscores the importance of stringent quality control measures in food production and distribution. Authorities worldwide are closely monitoring such incidents to protect consumers and maintain food safety standards.
  • Salmonella is a group of bacteria that can cause gastrointestinal illness and fever, a condition known as salmonellosis.
  • These bacteria naturally reside in animals’ intestines and can be found in their faeces.
  • Humans can contract salmonella if they come into contact with infected animals or contaminated items in their environment.
  • This ubiquitous and hardy bacteria can survive for several weeks in a dry environment and several months in water.
  • People infected with salmonella might experience diarrhea, fever, and stomach cramps.
  • The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that salmonella causes approximately 1.2 million illnesses, 23,000 hospitalizations, and about 450 deaths in the United States every year.

LSAM 16 : Indian Navy

The Indian Navy has launched the sixth barge of the LSAM 16 (Yard 130) series, named ‘Ammunition Cum Torpedo Cum Missile Barge, LSAM 20 (Yard 130),’ built by a private firm, Suryadipta Projects Pvt Ltd, in Thane, Maharashtra.

  • The launch ceremony took place recently, at the launch site of Suryadipta Projects Pvt Ltd and was presided over by Madhusudan Bhui, INAS, GM NAD (Karanja).
  • LSAM stands for “Landing Ship Ammunition,” indicating the barge’s role in transporting ammunition for the Indian Navy.
  • The Indian Navy has been focusing on enhancing its operational capabilities and logistics support through the acquisition of various types of vessels, including barges, to support its fleet.
  • Private sector participation in defense manufacturing has been encouraged under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, aiming to reduce dependency on imports and strengthen the domestic defense industry.