Today’s Current Affairs: 9th January 2023 for UPSC IAS exams, State PSC exams, SSC CGL, State SSC, RRB, Railways, Banking Exam & IBPS, etc
Table of Contents
New Umbrella Entity (NUE) Network : RBI
RBI is said to have put on hold licensing of the New Umbrella Entity (NUE) network, a fintech institution planned as a rival to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI).
- Six groupings, which included Facebook, Google, Amazon, Flipkart and others, had applied for NUE licences, but none of them could meet the RBI’s expectations in bringing a technology breakthrough.
- The retail payment system facilitates the transfer of funds from consumers to merchants in exchange for goods and services.
- NUE is an entity (under the Companies Act 2013) that will manage and operate the new payment system in the retail sector such as ATMs, POS, UPI etc.
- It will also manage clearing and settlement systems that could be an alternative to the bank-promoted NPCI.
- It will be allowed to charge fees for transactions (unlike the existing NPCI)
- The RBI had in 2020 issued guidelines for corporates to create for-profit NUEs with an aim to foster competition and “de-risk” India’s burgeoning digital payments ecosystem, where much of the settlement burden has fallen on the non-profit NPCI over recent years
- NPCI was established by the RBI and the Indian Banks’ Association in 2008 modelled on the non-profit payments and settlement entity run by the Swedish central bank that’s owned and operated by banks.
Sagol Kangjei : Ancient Polo
Home Minister inaugurated a 122-foot-tall statue of a polo player astride a Manipur Pony in Imphal.
- Modern polo is said to have originated from Sagol Kangjei, a sport indigenous to Manipur, in which players ride horses, specifically the Manipur Ponies, which are referenced in records dating back to the 14th century.
- Marjing is considered the God of polo and features a pony as his carrier.
- The Lai-Haraoba festival of the state depicts the life and times of Khori-phaba, the polo-playing god of sports.
- The Manipur Pony is one of five recognised equine breeds of India and has a powerful cultural significance for Manipuri society.
- The Marjing Polo Complex has been developed as a way to conserve the Manipur Pony.
76th Foundation Day Of BIS:
The 76th Foundation Day of Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) was celebrated in New Delhi and various initiatives were launched by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution.
Portal for Mapping of Industrial Units and Laboratories:
- This is a centralized platform for information on industrial units and laboratories across the country.
- This will enable analysis of test facilities in the country and help entrepreneurs in accessing information about testing facilities.
Standards National Action Plan (SNAP) 2022- 27:
- This is a document to serve as strong foundation for standardization to meet the emerging technologies and concerns of sustainability and climate change.
- SNAP 2022 – 27 will play an important role in steering the national standardization efforts which would lead to standards becoming a key enabler of India’s economic aspirations.
Revision Exercise of National Building Code of India 2016 (NBC 2016):
- BIS is initiating the Exercise of Revision NBC 2016 to include:
- Sustainable City Planning Norms
- New and Sustainable Building Materials
- Design Concepts
- Construction Technologies
- Building and Plumbing Services
Revised National Electrical Code of India 2023 (NEC 2023):
- NEC 2023, a comprehensive electrical installations Code prepared by BIS, is a national instrument providing guidelines for regulating the Electrical Installations practices across the country.
- The current revision includes the requirements of electrical installation as per the latest International best practices.
- Some of the important new chapters added in the revised NEC are requirements related to Electrical installations at special locations like Hospitals, Community facilities, Hotels, Swimming Pools, Amusement Parks, Supplies for Electric vehicles, multi-storied buildings etc.
Training Courses on National Building Code of India 2016 and National Electrical Code of India:
- BIS through its training arm, the National Institute of Training for Standardization (NITS) has designed training courses on NBC 2016 and NEC 2023 for national capacity building.
Standards Clubs in Schools:
- Through Standards Clubs, BIS aims to expose science students of class 9th and above to the concepts of Quality and Standardization through student centric activities.
- BIS has till date established over 4000 Standards Clubs across India.
Global Glacier Change In The 21st Century : Report
A report titled “Global glacier change in the 21st century: Every increase in temperature matters”, which states half the Earth’s glaciers may disappear by 2100.
- The researchers used two decades of satellite data to map the planet’s glaciers with greater precision than ever before.
- The United Nation’s (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s sixth assessment report released in 2022 also warned that we are running out of time to attain the 1.5°C target.
- Glaciers are receding at unprecedented rates due to climate change and rising temperatures.
- The amount of ice lost by glaciers between 1994 and 2017 was around 30 trillion tones and they are now melting at a pace of 1.2 trillion tonnes each year.
- The glaciers in the Alps, Iceland and Alaska are some of those that are melting at the quickest rates.
- Half the Earth’s glaciers are destined to vanish by 2100, even if we adhere to the Paris Climate Agreement goal of limiting global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.
- A minimum of 50 % of the loss will occur within the next 30 years. 68% of glaciers will vanish if global warming continues at the current rate of 2.7°C.
- If this happens, by the end of the following century, there would be practically no glaciers left in central Europe, western Canada and the United States.
- Some of these glaciers can be saved from extinction by reducing global warming, the researchers noted.
- Glaciers, which hold 70 % of the Earth’s freshwater, currently encompass around 10 % of the planet’s land area.
- Melting glaciers raise sea levels dramatically, jeopardizing up to two billion people’s access to water and increasing the risk of natural disasters and extreme weather events like floods.
- Global sea level rose by 21 % between 2000 and 2019.
- This was solely due to meltwater from melting glaciers and ice sheets.
Indian Telegraph (Infrastructure Safety) Rules, 2022:
The Department of Telecommunications under the Ministry of Communications has formulated the Indian Telegraph (Infrastructure Safety) Rules, 2022.
- The Central government has envisioned fulfilling the communication needs of the citizens and enterprises through establishment of a resilient, secure, accessible and affordable Digital Communications Infrastructure and Services.
Indian Telegraph (Infrastructure Safety) Rules, 2022:
- Under the Rules, any person who wishes to exercise a legal right to dig or excavate any property which is likely to cause damage to a telegraph infrastructure must give notice to the licensee.
- The person digging or excavating shall take appropriate action on precautionary measures provided by the licensee.
- Any person, who has dug or excavated any property causing damage to a telegraph infrastructure, will be liable to pay the damage charges to the telegraph authority.
- Once the asset owner agencies map their underlying assets with GIS coordinates on PM GatiShakti National Master Plan platform, it will also be possible to know the presence of underlying utility assets, at the point of interest, before start of excavation.
17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas:
Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement that the 17th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) will be held on January 9, 2023, in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
- Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention is the flagship event of the Government of India.
- It provides an important platform to engage and connect with overseas Indians and to enable the diaspora to interact with each other.
- A Commemorative Postal Stamp ‘Surakshit Jaayen, Prashikshit Jaayen’ will be released to underline the importance of safe, legal, orderly and skilled migration.
- The PBD Convention will have five thematic Plenary sessions
- Role of Diaspora Youth in Innovations and new Technologies.
- Role of Indian Diaspora in promoting Indian Healthcare Eco-system in Amrit Kaal: Vision @2047.
- Leveraging the soft power of India – Goodwill through craft, cuisine & creativity.
- Enabling global mobility of Indian workforce – Role of Indian Diaspora.
- Harnessing the potential of diaspora entrepreneurs towards an inclusive approach to nation-building.
Pravasi Bharatiya Divas:
- 9th January was chosen as the day to celebrate PBD, as it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, who returned to India from South Africa, led India’s freedom struggle.
- This convention is being held every year since 2003 but in 2015 it was revised and was decided to be celebrated every two years.
- It was then a theme-based conference that was set up every year during the interim period.
- PBD Conventions are held once every two year.
Theme of 2023 PBD:
- Diaspora: Reliable partners for India’s progress in Amrit Kaal.
Khelo India Youth Games-2022:
Mascot, torch and anthem of Khelo India Youth Games recently unveiled in Bhopal.
- Madhya Pradesh is hosting the fifth edition of the Khelo India Youth Games.
- In this sports event, to be held from the 30th of January to 11th of February, six thousand players will show their sports skills in eight different cities for 13 days.
- For the first time water sports namely Kayaking Canoeing, Canoe Slalom and Fencing will be part of this edition of Khelo India Games.
Khelo India Youth Games
- It is an annual event.
- The first edition was held in 2018 in Delhi in which Haryana won 38 golds.
- Talented players identified in priority sports disciplines at various levels by the High-Powered Committee will be provided annual financial assistance of INR 5 lakh per annum for 8 years.
Military Tattoo And Tribal Dance Festival:
A Military Tattoo and Tribal Dance Festival – Aadi Shaurya – Parv Parakram Ka will be held at Jawaharlal Nehru stadium in New Delhi on the 23 January.
- The two-day festival will showcase the prowess of the Armed Forces and the ethnic beauty of India’s tribal culture.
- The programme comprises a Military Tattoo – Paramotor Gliding, Hot Air Balloon, Horse Show, Motor Cycle Display, Air Warrior Drill, Navy Band and traditional dance performances by tribal artists from across the country.
- The aim of the festival is to remember the sacrifices of the country’s brave hearts and celebrate the rich cultural heritage which makes India so unique and diverse.
- The objective is to celebrate together the bravery of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, embrace the true spirit of India and renew the commitment to building a strong and prosperous New India.
- The Ministry of Defence and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs are jointly organising the event.
International Kite Festival 2023 : Ahmedabad, Gujarat
The International Kite Festival 2023 was Organised in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on January 8.
- The festival is being organized by Gujarat Tourism on the G20 theme of ‘One Earth, One Family, One Future.
- Ahmedabad first hosted the International Kite Festival on the occasion of Uttarayan in 1989.
- Apart from Ahmedabad, the International Kite festival will also be organized in Surat, Vadodara, Rajkot, Dwarka, Somnath, Dhordo, and Kevadia.
- After a gap of 2 years, skies over the Sabarmati River in Ahmedabad adorned with colorful unique Kites.
- More than 800 kite flyers from across India and the world participated and displayed their unique creations in this Festival.
- This year, kite enthusiasts from different countries fly Kites at the same time attempting to create a Guinness World Record for the maximum number of kite flyers.
- A special Parade by international and national kite flyers, a theme pavilion displaying the history of kites, and workshops on making and flying kites was among the major attractions of the festival this year.
Zebrafish : Ability To Regenerate Aged Discs In Human Vertebrae
Scientists discovered that a protein found in Zebrafish can regenerate aged discs in human vertebrae.
- A study by Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology, discovered that a protein called Cellular communication network factor 2a (Ccn2a) secreted from intervertebral disc cells induces disc regeneration in aged degenerated discs in humans.
- It is done by promoting cell proliferation and cell survival by modulating the pathway called the FGFR1-SHH (Fibroblast growth factor receptor-Sonic Hedgehog) pathway.
- Zebrafish is a small (2-3 cm long) freshwater fish found in tropical and subtropical regions.
- The fish is native to South Asia’s Indo-Gangetic plains, where they are mostly found in the paddy fields and even in stagnant water and streams.
- It attracts developmental biologists due to its adequate regeneration capacity of almost all its organs, including the brain, heart, eye, and spinal cord.
- It has a similar genetic structure (around 70%) to humans.
- IUCN Red List Status: Least concerned.
India and Japan are all set to hold the joint Air Exercise, ‘Veer Guardian-2023’ involving the Indian Air Force and Japan Air Self Defence Force (JASDF) at Hyakuri Air Base, Japan from 12th of January.
- The Joint Exercise which will continue till 26th January aims at promoting Air Defence cooperation between the countries.
- The Indian contingent participating in the air exercise will include four Su-30 MKI, two C-17 and one IL-78 aircraft, while the JASDF will be participating with four F-2 and four F-15 aircraft.
- It will include the conduct of various aerial combat drills between the two Air Forces.
- They will undertake multi-domain air combat missions in a complex environment and will exchange best practices.
- Exercise ‘Veer Guardian’ will fortify the long-standing bond of friendship and enhance the avenues of defence cooperation between the two Air Forces.
Aspirational Block Programme:
The Prime Minister of India launched the Aspirational Block Programme at the second National Conference of Chief Secretaries in Delhi.
- The Aspirational Blocks Programme is on the lines of the Aspirational District Programme that was launched in 2018 and covers 112 districts across the country.
- This new programme is aimed at improving performance of blocks lagging on various development parameters.
- This will enable holistic development in those areas that require added assistance.
- The programme will cover 500 districts across 31 states and Union Territories initially.
- Over half of these blocks are in 6 states—Uttar Pradesh (68 blocks), Bihar (61), Madhya Pradesh (42), Jharkhand (34), Odisha (29) and West Bengal (29).
Aspirational Districts Programme:
- It was launched in 2018 and aims to transform districts that have shown relatively lesser progress in key social areas.
3C Strategy: The broad contours of the programme
- Convergence (of Central & State Schemes)
- Collaboration (of Central, State level ‘Prabhari’ Officers & District Collectors)
- Competition (among districts driven by a Mass Movement )
- The ranking is based on the incremental progress made across 49 Key Performance Indicators (KPIs).