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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 9th March 2023

Today’s Current Affairs: 9th March 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc

Real Time Train Information System (RTIS) Project:

The Indian Railways is collaborating with Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) under the Real Time Train Information System (RTIS) project.

  • RTIS devices that use satellite imagery are being installed on the trains to automatically acquire its “movement timing at the stations, including that of arrival and departure or run-through”.
  • These timings get automatically plotted on the control chart of those trains in the Control Office Application (COA) system.
  • The project is executed by the Centre for Railway Information Systems (CRIS).
  • RTIS is developed in collaboration with ISRO. ISRO has launched GSAT satellites that have GAGAN payloads for tracking the movement of trains.
  • RTIS gives mid-section updates with a periodicity of 30 seconds.
  • The Train Control can now track the location and speed of RTIS-enabled locomotives/train more closely, without any manual intervention.
  • It allows passengers to get the real-time location or train running status of a train on their smartphone.

International Big Cat Alliance:

India recently proposed to launch International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) to protect big cats and assured support over five years with guaranteed funding of $100 million.

  • International Big Cat Alliance (IBCA) is a proposed mega-global alliance that will work toward the protection and conservation of the seven major big cats — tiger, lion, leopard, snow leopard, puma, jaguar, and cheetah.
  • Membership to the alliance will be open to 97 ‘range’ countries, which contain the natural habitat of these big cats, as well as other interested nations, international organizations, etc.
  • The alliance’s purpose is to provide a platform for the dissemination of information on benchmarked practices, capacity building, resources repository, research and development, awareness creation, etc., on the protection and conservation of big cats.
  • Its major activities will include advocacy, partnership, knowledge e-portal, capacity building, eco-tourism, partnerships between expert groups and finance tapping.
  • After the first five years, which will be supported by India’s ‘total grant assistance’ of $100 million, the IBCA is expected to sustain itself through membership fees, and contributions from bilateral and multilateral institutions and the private sector

Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary : Bird Census 2023

During Bird Census 2023 conducted by the Tamil Nadu Forest Department at Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary as many as 69 species of terrestrial birds were observed.

  • Point Calimere Wildlife Sanctuary was established in the year of 1967 and is situated in the state of Tamil Nadu.
  • It houses the famous bird sanctuary of Vedaranyam and the Talaignayar forests.
  • It is flanked by the Bay of Bengal in the east, and Palk Strait in the south.
  • It primarily focuses on the protection and conservation of the black antelopes, an endangered and endemic species that are found in this region.
  • It is designated as a Ramsar site.
  • Flora: It has mangroves, tropical evergreen forests, and grassland ecosystems.
  • Fauna: Wild boar, macaque, black buck, chital, Great flamingo, Painted Stork, Little Stint, Seagull and Brown-headed gull are normally found in the sanctuary.

ASEAN-India Business Summit

The Minister of State for Electronics & Information Technology addressed the addresses 5th ASEAN-India Business summit.

  • ASEAN-India Business summit is being held as part of the ASEAN-India Year of Friendship to commemorate the more than three-decade-long engagement between India and the 10-member bloc in Kuala Lumpur.
  • ASEAN is a group of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which was established in 1967 with the signing of the Bangkok declaration.
  • Founding members: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
  • Presently ASEAN comprises 10 member states namely Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia and Vietnam.
  • It promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational, and sociocultural integration between its members and other countries in Asia.

3rd Session Of The National Platform For Disaster Risk Reduction :10th March

Prime Minister of India will inaugurate the 3rd Session of the National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (NPDRR) at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi on 10th March 2023

  • National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (NPDRR) was established by the Indian government in 2013 to bring together all segments of the disaster risk community in India, including government officials, parliamentarians, mayors, the media, international agencies, non-governmental organisations, representatives from local communities, scientific and academic institutions, and corporate businesses, among others.
  • The theme of this year’s session: “Building Local Resilience in a Changing Climate
  • It facilitates the exchange of experiences, views, and ideas, presents the results of research and action, and explores the possibility of cooperating across continents.
  • As a result of this platform, National Action Plans on Disaster Risk Reduction will have a strategic direction and an action plan.
  • The Union Home Minister chairs the NPDRR, which is also headed by the Minister of State in charge of Disaster Management in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Vice-Chairman of, the National Disaster Management Authority.
  • In the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Special Secretary/Additional Secretary/Joint Secretary responsible for the Disaster Management Division acts as the convener of NPDRR

Hallmark Unique Identification Number:

Bureau of India Standards (BIS) has prohibited the sale of hallmarked gold jewelry or gold artefacts without 6-digit alphanumeric Hallmark Unique Identification Number (HUID) after 31st March 2023.

  • Hallmarked jewelry lying with consumers as per old schemes shall remain valid.
  • Earlier, the old hallmarked jewelry with 4 marks without HUID was also permitted to be sold by the jewelers along with the 6-digit HUID mark.
  • A consumer can check and authenticate hallmarked gold jewelry items with HUID number using ‘verify HUID’ in BIS CARE app .
  • It provides information of the jeweler who got the article hallmarked, their registration number, purity of the article, type of article as well as details of hallmarking centre which test and hallmark the article.
  • Using this information, a common consumer can verify the article being purchased by matching it with article type as well as it’s purity.
  • Hallmarking is the accurate determination and official recording of the proportionate content of precious metal in precious metal articles.
  • Hallmarking scheme for Jewelry was started by BIS in the year 2000. In India, at present two precious metals namely gold and silver have been brought under the purview of Hallmarking.
  • However, Mandatory Hallmarking has been successfully implemented in 288 districts of the country with effect from 23 June 2021 by Hallmarking of Gold Jewellery and Gold Artefacts Order, 2022.
  • After introduction of 6-digit HUID in 2021, hallmark consisted of 3 marks viz, BIS logo, purity of the article and six-digit alphanumeric HUID. Each hallmarked article has unique HUID number which is traceable.

Har Payment Digital Mission:

At the launch of the ‘Har Payment Digital’ mission during the Digital Payments Awareness Week (DPAW) 2023, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched a programme to adopt 75 villages and convert them into digital payment enabled villages in observance of 75 years of independence.

  • Under the initiative, Payment System Operators (PSOs) will adopt these villages across the country and conduct camps in each of these villages with an aim to improve awareness and onboard merchants for digital payments.
  • PSOs are entities authorised by RBI to set up and operate a payment system.
  • As of February 2023, there are 67 PSOs under various categories such as retail payments organisations, card payment networks, ATM networks, prepaid payment instruments, etc.
  • The Har Payment Digital campaign aims at reinforcing the ease and convenience of digital payments and facilitate onboarding of new consumers into the digital fold.
  • Various campaigns highlighting the digital payment channels available are being planned by the banks and non-bank payment system operators.

Threat To Mugger crocodile:

According to a recent study, anthropogenic threats like illegal fishing and sand mining pose a threat to the mugger crocodiles (Crocodylus plaustris) of the Rapti River flowing along the Chitwan National Park.

  • The mugger or marsh crocodile is one of the 24 extant species of crocodilians found globally.
  • It is native to freshwater and inhabits marshes, lakes, rivers and artificial ponds.
  • The mugger is found in 15 Indian states, with the largest populations in the middle Ganges (Bihar-Jharkhand) and Chambal (Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Rajasthan)
  • They are found all over south Asia — India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh — as well as south-eastern Iran.
  • Conservation status
    • IUCN Red List: Vulnerable
    • CITES Appendix I
  • The Rapti originates in the Mahabharat Hills and lower range of the Himalayas and flows westward along the northern border of the Chitwan National Park.

International Women’s Day 2023:

The theme for International Women’s Day 2023 is ‘DigitALL: Innovation and Technology for Gender Equality.

  • According to a UNICEF report, as many as 90% of the jobs in the world today have a digital component.
  • These jobs, however, are available only to the digitally able, and to more men than women.
  • According to the report, in developing countries, only 41% of women have access to the internet compared with 53% of men.
  • Women are 20% less likely to own a smartphone and are more likely to borrow phones from a male family member.
  • Another report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development revealed that the gender gap in internet use is widening. Software development remains a male-dominated field, with women comprising only 15% of software designers.

Attukal Pongala:

The Attukal Pongala falls on the ninth day of the annual ten-day festival at the Attukal Bhagavathy Temple, Thiruvananthapuram.

  • It is one of the world’s largest gatherings of women.
  • Pongala is a ten-day-long festival of Attukal Bhagavathy Temple.
  • The festival commences with the musical rendering of the story of the Goddess (Kannaki Charitam) during the “Kappu Kettu ceremony”.
  • The story invokes the presence of Kodungallur Bhagavathy and the slaying of the Pandyan King.
  • This festival commemorates the victory of Good over Evil, by the slaying of the Pandyan King.
  • Attukal Bhagavathy temple is dedicated to Goddess Bhagavathy.
  • Also known as, “the Sabarimala of Women”, this temple attracts the biggest set of women devotees for the annual Attukal Pongala festival.