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Daily Current Affairs for UPSC IAS: 9th December 2022

Today Current Affairs: 9th December 2022 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc


India Plans To Build More Nuclear Power Plants:

According to the Union Government, India plans to build more nuclear power plants to increase the production of clean energy.

  • The government has recently approved five new sites for nuclear power plants and given the financial go-ahead to build 10 700-MW pressurized heavy water reactors.
  • India has a 3-stage nuclear programme.
    • The 3-stage nuclear programme is developed with the aim of utilizing the vast Thorium reserves in India (about 25% of the world)
    • Besides India has limited availability of Uranium reserves (about 2% of the world’s uranium reserves)
  • 1st Stage :Pressurized Heavy Water Reactors are based on natural uranium that contains 99.3% U-238 and 0.7% U-235.U-235 being fissile sets up the chain reaction and U-238 being non-fissile gets converted to Pu-239 as a byproduct (spent fuel) which is in turn used in the Fast Breeder Reactors in the 2nd
  • 2nd Stage :Fast Breeder Reactors are primarily based on Plutonium. Further the breeder reactors use mix of Plutonium-239 produced in the 1st stage and U-238 that is abundantly found on earth to produce Plutonium inside the reactor.
  • 3rd Stage :Thermal Breeder Reactors uses U-233 that is produced in the 2nd stage using thorium-232.
  • Thorium is also not radioactive and thus not fissile.
  • Since these reactors also produce U-233 out of Thorium-232 they are called breeder reactors.
  • India has abundant thorium reserves in the form of monazite sand, and therefore the 3rd stage is critical for India’s nuclear energy basket.

Foreign Direct Investment : Updates

The Foreign Direct Investment into India is continuously increasing since 2014-15. In the last seven financial years, over 443 US billion dollars’ worth of FDI inflows have come into the country.

  • Foreign direct investment (FDI) is an investment from a party in one country into a business or corporation in another country with the intention of establishing a lasting interest.
  • With FDI, foreign companies are directly involved with day-to-day operations in the other country.
  • FDI enters in India through either of the two routes:
    • Automatic route
      • The non-resident or Indian company does not require prior nod of the RBI or government of India for FDI.
        Government-approval route
      • The government’s approval is mandatory and the company will have to file an application through Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal
    • Government-approval route
      • The government’s approval is mandatory and the company will have to file an application through Foreign Investment Facilitation Portal..

Calling Name Presentation : TRAI

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has proposed the introduction of Calling Name Presentation (CNAP).

  • The feature would provide the called individual with information about the calling party (similar to ‘Truecaller’ and ‘Bharat Caller ID & Anti-Spam’).
  • The idea is to ensure that telephone subscribers are able to make an informed choice about incoming calls and curb harassment by unknown or spam callers.
  • Existing technologies present the number of the calling entity on the potential receiver’s handset.
  • Since subscribers are not given the name and identity of the caller, they sometimes choose not to answer them believing it could be unsolicited commercial communication from unregistered telemarketers.
  • This could lead to even genuine calls being unanswered.
  • Truecaller’s ‘2021 Global Spam and Scam Report’ revealed that the average number of spam calls per user each month in India, stood at 16.8 while total spam volumes received by its users were in excess of 3.8 billion calls in October 2022 alone.

Reserve Bank Of India’s Monetary Policy Review:

The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India recently increased the repo rate by 35 basis points (bps) to 6.25%, and the Standing Deposit Facility stands raised to 6%.

  • Since May, the board has now increased the key rate by 225 bps in FY23.
  • A 100 basis points equal one percentage point.
  • Retail price inflation in India reduced to 6.77 percent YoY in October 2022 from a five-month high of 7.41 percent in September, 2022.
  • However, the fact that it continued to be above the central bank’s acceptable limit of 2 to 6 percent for a tenth consecutive period prompted RBI to raise the repo rate for the fifth time.
  • Inflation is expected to be 6.7% this year, with CPI inflation for the first quarter of 2023-24 projected at 5% and the second quarter at 5.4% on the assumption of a normal monsoon.
  • The central bank’s key committee also marginally lowered the GDP projection to 8% for 2022-23, with the third quarter registering 4.4% growth.
  • The rupee has appreciated by 3.2% in real terms even as several other currencies have dropped.

Monetary Policy Committee:

  • The Monetary Policy Committee of India is responsible for fixing the policy interest rate, to achieve the objectives of monetary policy.
  • Composition: Three officials of the Reserve Bank of India, with Governor of RBI as Chairperson, ex officio
    • Three external members appointed by the Government of India
    • The external members hold office for a period of four years.

SpaceTech Innovation Network: ISRO

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has signed an MoU with Social Alpha, a multistage innovation curation and venture development platform to launch SpaceTech Innovation Network (SpIN).

  • SpIN is India’s first dedicated platform for innovation, curation, and venture development for the burgeoning space entrepreneurial ecosystem.
  • The SPIN platform would create a level playing field for various stakeholders to collaborate and contribute to the space ecosystem in the country.
  • SpIN will primarily focus on facilitating space tech entrepreneurs in three distinct innovation categories:
    • Geospatial Technologies and Downstream Applications
    • Enabling Technologies for Space & Mobility
    • Aerospace Materials, Sensors, and Avionics.
  • Innovative technologies are expected to bring a paradigm shift in utilising the space applications to maximise the economic, social, and environmental benefits for the larger society.

Gamma Ray Burst:

A rare astronomical event involving a compact binary merger emitting long Gamma Ray Burst (GRB) twinned with a kilonova emissions was reported.

  • This never before scientifically accepted or proven combination was also confirmed by India’s largest optical telescope, Devasthal Optical Telescope (DOT).
  • The GRB lasted for over 50 seconds and identified as GRB211211A.
  • Kilonovae occur when two compact objects, like binary neutron stars or a neutron star and a black hole, collide.
  • Gamma-Ray Bursts are massive but extremely bright, high-energy short gamma radiations which get released when massive stars collapse or die in the Universe.
  • They are the most powerful events in the universe, detectable across billions of light-years.
  • A light-year is the distance a beam of light travels in a single Earth year, or 9.5 trillion kilometers.
  • Astronomers classify them as long or short based on whether the event lasts for more or less than two seconds.
  • Long GRBs observe long bursts in association with the demise of massive stars.
  • When a star much more massive than the Sun runs out of fuel, its core suddenly collapses and forms a black hole.
  • Short GRB, on the other hand, forms when pairs of compact objects such as neutron stars, which also form during stellar collapse spiral inward over billions of years and collide.

Heatwaves In India : Report By World Bank

A new report by the World Bank suggests India could soon become one of the first places in the world to experience heatwaves that break the human survivability limit.

  • India has witnessed a concurrent increase in meteorological droughts and heat waves over the last 60 years.
  • A Heat Wave is a period of abnormally high temperatures, more than the normal maximum temperature that usually occurs during the summer season.
  • The Human Survivability Limit refers to the rule of thumb, which states humans can survive three minutes without air, three days without water, and three weeks without food.
  • In April 2022, India suffered an early spring heat wave that saw temperatures in New Delhi, topping 46 degrees Celsius.
  • The month of March, which witnessed extraordinary spikes in temperatures, was the hottest ever recorded.

India Central Asia Security Meet:

India hosted a conclave of top security officials from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan with a focus on the evolving security situation in Afghanistan.

  • This year was the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between India and Central Asian countries

Key highlights of the meeting:

  • Support for a peaceful, stable, and secure Afghanistan, emphasizing respect for its sovereignty, unity, and territorial integrity and urging non-interference in its internal affairs.
  • The participants supported India’s proposal to include the Chabahar port within the framework of the International North-South Transport Corridor.
  • The communique also called for the early adoption of the UN Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT), which India had first proposed in 1996.

Conjugal Visits For Prisoners:

Conjugal rights refer to the concept of allowing a prisoner to spend some time in privacy with his spouse within the precincts of a jail.

  • Conjugal visits are considered a fundamental right of the spouses of the prisoners
  • Recognized as prisoner rights ( by UN and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights)
  • Part of a prisoner’s right to life and inherent dignity
  • The right to maintain family and social relations for prisoners