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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 2nd Sep 2023

Today’s Current Affairs: 2nd sep 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

What Is Currency Chest?

Two cases were recently registered after RBI detected fake notes from the SBI currency chest in Kochi, Kerala.

  • Currency Chest is a place where the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) stocks the money meant for banks and ATMs.
  • The RBI has authorised select scheduled banks to establish currency chests.
  • The monitoring authority over the chests lies with the RBI.
  • They are inspected by representatives of RBI from time to time.
  • Whenever new currency notes are printed by RBI, they are first delivered to currency chests.
  • These notes are then delivered to other banks by the banks holding the currency chests.
  • They act as cash distribution centres.
  • These currency chests are expected to distribute banknotes and rupee coins to other bank branches in their area of operation.
  • RBI takes back soiled notes and mutilated notes from the public through currency chests.
  • If the bank has an excess cash balance, the excess is moved to the currency chest.
  • In a vice versa situation, when the bank is low on cash balance, the currency chest provides it.

India’s First AI School : Kerala

Kerala recently introduced India’s first-ever AI (artificial intelligence) school.

  • India’s First AI School was launched by Santhigiri Vidhyabhavan in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.
  • The establishment of this AI school is the result of a collaboration between iLearning Engines (ILE) USA and Vedhik eSchool.
  • The school’s curriculum aligns with the National School Accreditation Standards, which are based on the New National Education Policy (NEP 2020).
  • The school’s unique approach centres on deepening students’ understanding of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and advanced technologies, enhancing their learning journey.
  • It seamlessly integrates AI components such as machine learning, natural language processing, and data analysis into various educational facets like curriculum design, personalised assessments, and student support.
  • It caters to students from 8 to 12 grade with various multifaceted support services.
  • They will get many benefits like support from a multitude of teachers, different test levels, aptitude tests, career planning, memory techniques and counselling.

ENTAZIA : Fungicide

FMC India recently announced the launch of its latest product, ENTAZIA bio fungicide.

  • ENTAZIA is a bio fungicide crop protection product formulated with Bacillus subtilis.
  • It was developed by FMC India.
  • It will provide farmers with a powerful and sustainable tool to protect their crops from fungi while maintaining environmental integrity.
  • It leverages the natural capabilities of Bacillus subtilis to control bacterial leaf blight, one of the most serious diseases of rice.
  • By activating the crop’s defence system against plant pathogens, it acts to prevent and control bacterial leaf blight while staying harmless to natural predators and parasites.
  • The biological product promotes natural pest defence by utilising the naturally occurring Bacillus subtilis to establish a robust line of defence against bacterial leaf blight.
  • By fostering a healthy plant microbiome, it bolsters plants’ resilience to stress factors and contributes to overall growth and vigour.
  • It can be applied in an integrated pest management program with FMC’s bio-stimulants and synthetic fungicides for additional plant benefits.
  • Leaf Blight is a plant disease that affects the foliage (leaves) of various plants, causing discoloration, wilting, and, in severe cases, the death of the leaves.

Ramon Magsaysay Award 2023:

The Ramon Magsaysay Award, often called the ‘Nobel Prize of Asia’. This year, in the ceremony’s 65th edition, four Asians were given the Ramon Magsaysay Award. (Dr Ravi Kannan R. From India)

  • Dr Ravi Kannan R., the first formally trained oncologist in the Cachar Cancer Hospital and Research Centre (CCHRC), helped develop the non-profit facility to become the full-fledged, comprehensive treatment centre it is known as today.
  • The current CCHRC is home to twenty-eight departments, including but not limited to various aspects of cancer care such as oncology, radiology, tumour registry, etc.

Ramon Magsaysay Award:

  • It is Asia’s premier prize and the highest honour celebrates the greatness of spirit and transformative leadership in Asia.
  • The Ramon Magsaysay Awardees, annually selected by the RMAF board of trustees, are presented with a certificate and a medallion with an embossed image of Ramon Magsaysay facing right in profile.
  • From 1958 to 2008, the Award was given in six categories annually:
    • Government Service: To recognise outstanding service in the public interest in any branch of government, including the executive, judicial, legislative, or military;
    • Public Service: To recognise outstanding service for the public good by a private citizen;
    • Community Leadership: To recognise leadership of a community toward helping the disadvantaged have fuller opportunities and a better life;
    • Journalism, Literature, and Creative Communication Arts: To recognise effective writing, publishing, or photography or the use of radio, television, cinema, or the performing arts as a power for the public good;
    • Peace and International Understanding: To recognise contributions to the advancement of friendship, tolerance, peace, and solidarity as the foundations for sustainable development within and across countries; and
    • Emergent Leadership: To recognise an individual, forty years of age or younger, for outstanding work on issues of social change in his or her community but whose leadership may not yet be broadly recognised outside of this community.
  • It is presented in formal ceremonies in Manila, Philippines, on August 31st, the birth anniversary of the much-esteemed Philippine President whose ideals inspired the Award’s creation in 1957.

Jais : World’s Most Advanced Arabic large Language Model

A unit of Abu Dhabi AI company G42 has released ‘Jais’, the world’s most advanced Arabic large language model.

  • Jais is a bilingual Arabic-English model that has been trained on a massive dataset of text and code.
  • It can be used for a variety of tasks, such as machine translation, text summarisation, and question-answering.
  • It was trained on the Condor Galaxy, the world’s largest AI supercomputer, using 116 billion Arabic tokens and 279 billion English tokens.
  • It is also open-source, which means that anyone can use it or contribute to its development.
  • It is available to download on the Hugging Face machine learning platform.
  • The release of Jais is a significant step forward for the development of AI in the Arabic world.
  • Potential applications of Jais include Machine translation, which can be used to translate text from Arabic to English and vice versa.
  • This could be used to improve the accessibility of information to Arabic speakers, as well as to facilitate communication between Arabic speakers and speakers of other languages.
  • It adeptly distils extensive textual content, from news articles to research papers, into succinct and comprehensible summaries, enhancing accessibility and comprehension.
  • It also response to queries about text, enabling educational tools like responsive chatbots for students or robust customer service applications for client inquiries.

Large Language Models:

  • These are deep learning algorithms that can recognise, summarise, translate, predict, and generate content using very large datasets.
  • The popular ChatGPT AI chatbot is one application of a large language model.
  • It can be used for a myriad of natural language processing tasks.

Use Of Word Funga : To Highlight The Importance Of Fungi

The United Nations Biodiversity has urged people globally to use the word ‘funga’ whenever they say ‘flora and fauna’ in order to highlight the importance of fungi.

  • Fungi along with Animalia (animals), Plantae (plants), Protista, Archaea/Archaebacteria, and Bacteria or Eubacteria, form the six ‘kingdoms’ of biology.
  • They are eukaryotic organisms; i.e., their cells contain membrane-bound organelles and clearly defined nuclei.
  • Fungi usually reproduce both sexually and asexually.
  • Fungi are either terrestrial or aquatic, the latter living in freshwater or marine environments.
  • They are found in all temperate and tropical regions of the world where there is sufficient moisture to enable them to grow.
  • A few species of fungi live in the Arctic and Antarctic regions, although they are rare and are more often found living in symbiosis with algae in the form of lichens.
  • They help in breaking down dead organic material.
  • They continue the cycle of nutrients through ecosystems.
  • Fungi, as food, play a role in human nutrition in the form of mushrooms.
  • They also act as agents of fermentation in the production of bread, cheeses, alcoholic beverages, and numerous other food preparations.
  • Secondary metabolites of fungi are used as medicines, such as antibiotics and anticoagulants.

5th Regional Meeting Of ISA:

The International Solar Alliance (ISA) held its 5th regional meeting in Kigali, Rwanda. Nine solar power demonstration projects across three countries: 4 in Uganda, 2 in Comoros and 3 in Mali, were virtually inaugurated in the meeting.

  • During the meeting, a report titled “Roadmap of Solar Energy for Universal Energy Access”, was unveiled.

Highlights of the Report:

  • The report outlines a strategic approach to effectively and economically tackle the global energy access challenge using solar-powered solutions.
  • It encompasses case studies, real-world examples, and innovative policies aimed at bringing about a transformative shift in the implementation of solar mini-grids.
  • The report’s conclusions hold significant relevance for Africa, especially the Sub-Saharan region and rural areas.
  • It identifies a range of electrification strategies centred on solar energy, particularly focusing on solar mini-grids and Decentralised Renewable Energy solutions.
  • These approaches offer effective solutions to address diverse energy access challenges.

Super Blue Moon : Observed On 30 Aug 2023

On August 30, 2023, the night sky was illuminated by a rare phenomenon: a super blue moon. However, despite its name, this full moon was neither blue in colour nor super in size.

  • The last blue supermoon was in 2009, according to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and the next is not expected until 2037.
  • A super blue moon combines a supermoon and a blue moon.
  • A supermoon occurs when the moon aligns closely with Earth during its orbit, making it appear larger and brighter.
  • This alignment, called perigee, contrasts with apogee, when the moon is farthest in its elliptical orbit around earth. While the difference is subtle, near the horizon, an optical illusion can make it seem larger.
  • The term “supermoon” was coined in 1979 by astrologer Richard Nolle.
  • A blue moon is the second full moon in a month.
  • Despite its name, a blue moon isn’t blue; it’s the traditional name for the second full moon in a month.
  • Sometimes, smoke or dust in the air can scatter red wavelengths of light, as a result of which the moon may, in certain places, appear more blue than usual, but this has nothing to do with the name “blue” moon.

15 Percent Agricultural Cess Removed By Government:

The government has removed the 15 per cent agriculture cess ,also called Agriculture infrastructure and development cess (AIDC) on imports of LPG, liquified propane, and liquified butane starting from September 1.

  • This exemption reverses the previous imposition of the agriculture cess on these goods in July
  • It is also imposed on Crude Palm Oil
  • Cess is a kind of special-purpose tax which is levied over and above basic tax rates.
  • The AIDC was introduced in the Budget 2021.
  • The purpose of the AIDC is to raise funds to finance spending on developing agriculture infrastructure.

Jaya Verma Sinha : First Woman To Lead The Railway Board

Jaya Verma Sinha has become the first woman to lead the Railway Board (in the Railway Board’s 118-year history), the top decision-making body for India’s Ministry of Railways.

  • The Ministry of Railways was founded in 1905; HQ: Rail Bhawan, New Delhi
  • It functions as the statutory authority for the Indian Railways, a monopoly in rail transport.
  • The Chairman and CEO of the Railway Board leads this organization.
  • In 1901, on the recommendations of the Sir Thomas Robertson Committee regarding the administration and working of the railways, an early version of the railway board was constituted.
  • It initially had three members.