10-15 Aug 2023 – Current Affairs
Daily Current Capsules
10 to 15 August 2023
Information given by the Minister in Parliament
Indian Space Policy 2023
- The Indian Space Policy – 2023 has been approved and released in the public domain.
- The Policy opens up the sector for enhanced participation of Non-Government Entities (NGEs) across the entire value chain of the space economy, while clearly delineating the roles of various stakeholders viz. IN-SPACe, ISRO, NSIL and DOS.
- The Government has set up the Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) as a single-window agency for promotion and authorization of space activities.
- The Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory – India (LIGO-India) project has been approved by the Government of India at an estimated cost of Rs. 2600 Crore, with Department of Atomic Energy as the Lead Agency.
- After completion of the project, the LIGO-India will be operated as a national facility for detecting Gravitation Waves and Research in related areas of Astronomy.
Technology Development Board
- The Technology Development Board penned an agreement with Bangalore based M/s TIEA Connectors Private Limited under the initiative “Commercialization of Indigenous Technologies through Tech Start-ups”.
- The Board has pledged a support of Rs. 3.81 crore out of the total project cost of Rs. 8.19 crore for the project “Commercialization of micro-electronic harsh environment connectors and terminals”.
- The start-up has graduated from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore incubator, the Society for Innovation and Development (SID-IISc).
- TDB launched the initiative “Commercialization of Indigenous Technologies through Tech Start-ups” with the goal of supporting the development of indigenous technologies and promoting entrepreneurship and innovation.
Know! about Technology Development Board (TDB)
- The Government of India constituted the Technology Development Board (TDB) in September 1996, under the Technology Development Board Act, 1995, as a statutory body, to promote development and commercialization of indigenous technology and adaptation of imported technology for wider application. The board consists of 11 Board members.
- The TDB is the first organization of its kind within the government framework with the sole objective of commercializing the fruit of indigenous research.
- The Board plays a pro-active role by encouraging enterprises to take up technology oriented products.
- Provides equity capital or loans to industrial concerns and financial assistance to research and development institutions.
Industrial Corridor Projects
- Government of India is developing eleven (11) Industrial Corridor Projects as part of the National Industrial Corridor Programme across the country in a phased manner.
- The Government of India, through National Industrial Corridor Development & Implementation Trust (NICDIT), provides funds as equity/debt for the development of world-class trunk infrastructure in the industrial nodes/regions under industrial corridors and the States are responsible for making available contiguous and encumbrance free land parcels.
Following 11 industrial corridors are being developed by Government of India in a phased manner:-
- Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor (DMIC)
- Chennai Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (CBIC)
- Amritsar Kolkata Industrial Corridor (AKIC)
- East Coast Industrial Corridor (ECIC) with Vizag Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC)
- Bengaluru Mumbai Industrial Corridor (BMIC)
- Extension of CBIC to Kochi via Coimbatore
- Hyderabad Nagpur Industrial Corridor (HNIC)
- Hyderabad Warangal Industrial Corridor (HWIC)
- Hyderabad Bengaluru Industrial Corridor (HBIC)
- Odisha Economic Corridor (OEC)
- Delhi Nagpur Industrial Corridor (DNIC)
Technology Development Fund Scheme
- The Technology Development Fund (TDF) Scheme has adopted a flexible funding approach for applicants to encourage participation.
- The government has allocated a total of Rs 260 crore under the TDF Scheme, since its inception from 2016 and Rs 64.35 crore has been disbursed as a grant-in-aid to industries for development of defence technologies.
- The Government provides support to the private industries especially MSMEs and start-ups through TDF Scheme.
Know! about TDF Scheme
- Technology Development Fund Scheme is a program of Ministry of Defence (MoD) executed by DRDO under “Make-in-India” initiative.
- The Government has approved TDF Scheme to encourage participation of public/private industries especially MSMEs and start-ups to design and develop various defence technologies indigenously.
- A Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of TDF scheme has been formulated and approved by Competent Authority in 2016.
- The SOP describes about the evaluation and assessment criteria.
- A total of 41 MSMEs and 20 start-ups have been supported under the TDF Scheme.
Physical centres to register gig workers on e-shram portal
- As on 3rd August, 2023, more than 28.99 crore unorganised workers have registered on e-Shram portal.
- The data of gig workers is not separately captured on the eShram portal.
- eShram portal provides multiple modes of registration, through self-registration as well as assisted mode registration to facilitate smooth registration process.
- Self-registration includes registration through eShram portal and Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance (UMANG) mobile app.
- Assisted mode registration includes registration through Common Service Centre (CSC) and State Seva Kendras (SSKs).
- The eShram portal has been integrated with National Career Service (NCS) Portal.
- An unorganised worker including including gig workers can register on NCS using his/ her Universal Account Number (UAN) and search for suitable job opportunities.
- An option/ link has also been provided to registrant on eShram portal to seamlessly register on NCS.
- For the first time, the definition of ‘gig worker’ or ‘platform worker’ has been provided in the Code on Social Security, 2020 (the Code).
- The Code envisages setting up of helpline, facilitation centre, etc. for gig workers and platform workers by the appropriate Government to assist them to obtain registration, to facilitate their enrolment in the social security schemes, etc.
New Soil Health Card Scheme
- Under Soil Health Cards (SHCs) Scheme introduced in the year 2014-15, a massive programme of soil sampling, testing and generation of SHCs was launched to assist State Governments to issue soil health cards to all farmers in the country.
- Soil health card provides information to farmers on nutrient status of their soil along with recommendation on appropriate dosage of nutrients to be applied for improving soil health and its fertility.
- Now, Government of India has made some technological interventions in New Soil Health Card Scheme.
- The Soil Health Card portal has been revamped and integrated with a Geographic Information System (GIS) system so that all the test results are captured and seen on a map.
- Soil Health Card scheme has been merged in Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) cafeteria scheme as its one component under name ‘Soil Health & Fertility’ from the year 2022-23.
Face Authentication for Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi
- The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN), a Central Sector Scheme, aims to provide financial assistance to cultivable landholding farmer families across the country, subject to specific exclusion criteria.
- Under this Scheme, an annual amount of Rs. 6000/- is transferred in three equal installments of Rs. 2000/- directly into the Aadhaar Seeded bank accounts of the farmers.
- Since its inception, the PM-KISAN scheme has leveraged technology to enhance its implementation and administration.
- A farmer-centric digital infrastructure ensures the scheme’s benefits reach all farmers nationwide, eliminating middlemen involvement.
- The PM-KISAN mobile app was launched in February 2020, with the provision for e-KYC through face authentication introduced in June 2023.
- The PM Kisan Mobile App, featuring Face Authentication, enables farmers to complete their e-KYCs effortlessly from their mobile devices.
Digi Yatra to be launched at 6 more airports
- Digi Yatra facility will be launched at 6 more airports namely Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Kochi, Lucknow, Jaipur, and Guwahati airports in the month of August 2023.
- The implementation and installation of Digi Yatra infrastructure at these airports will take place in a phased manner.
- Digi Yatra is a mobile application-based facility conceived to achieve contactless, seamless processing of passengers at airports based on Facial Recognition Technology (FRT).
- It helps travelers pass through various checkpoints at the airports through paperless and contactless processing using facial features to validate their identity and travel details.
- In the Digi Yatra process, there is no central storage of passenger’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII) data.
- All the passengers’ data is encrypted and stored in the wallet of their smartphone. It is shared only between the passenger and the airport of travel origin, where the passenger’s Digi Yatra ID needs to be validated.
- The data is purged from the airport’s system within 24 hours of departure of the flight. The data is shared by passengers directly, only when they travel and only to the origin Airport.
PM Vishwakarma scheme
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs chaired by the Prime Minister approved a new Central Sector Scheme “PM Vishwakarma” with a financial outlay of Rs.13,000 crore for a period of five years (FY 2023-24 to FY 2027-28).
- The scheme aims to strengthen and nurture the Guru-Shishya parampara or family-based practice of traditional skills by artisans and craftspeople working with their hands and tools.
- The scheme also aims at improving the quality, as well as the reach of products and services of artisans and craftspeople and to ensure that the Vishwakarmas are integrated with the domestic and global value chains.
- Under PM Vishwakarma scheme, the artisans and craftspeople will be provided recognition through PM Vishwakarma certificate and ID card, Credit Support upto Rs.1 lakh (First Tranche) and Rs.2 lakh (Second Tranche) with a concessional interest rate of 5%.
- The Scheme will further provide Skill Upgradation, Toolkit Incentive, Incentive for Digital Transactions and Marketing Support.
- The scheme will provide support to artisans and craftspeople of rural and urban areas across India.
- Eighteen traditional trades will be covered in the first instance under PM Vishwakarma.
International Youth Day 2023
- International Youth Day (IYD) is an awareness day designated by the United Nations.
- The purpose of the day is to draw attention to a given set of cultural and legal issues surrounding youth.
- Endorsed by the United Nations in 1999 after a recommendation was made by the World Conference of Ministers Responsible for Youth, the first International Youth Day was observed on 12 August, 2000.
- Theme 2023 – Green Skills for Youth: Towards a Sustainable World
ImPact with Youth Conclave
- “ImPact with Youth Conclave” organised by United Nations India, Yuwaah at UNICEF, and Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India.
- The conclave took place today in Chennai on the eve of International Youth Day, under the theme Igniting Passions & Sparking Change – Amplifying voices and driving change with young people from South Asia.
Know! about “ImPact with Youth Conclave”
- The “ImPact with Youth Conclave” is a collaborative initiative by United Nations India, Yuwaah at UNICEF, and the Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India.
- The conclave aims to empower youth, amplify their voices, and drive positive change in South Asia.
Know! about Yuwaah at UNICEF
- Yuwaah at UNICEF is dedicated to empowering young people and harnessing their potential to drive transformative change. Through innovative programs and partnerships, Yuwaah works towards creating a brighter and more inclusive future for youth across the country.
Know! also about National Youth Day
- National Youth Day, also known as Vivekananda Jayanti, is celebrated on 12 January, being the birthday of a Hindu monk, Swami Vivekananda.
- In 1984, the Government of India declared this day as National Youth Day and since 1985 the event is celebrated in India every year.
UDGAM (Unclaimed Deposits – Gateway to Access inforMation).
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched a centralised web portal called UDGAM (Unclaimed Deposits – Gateway to Access Information) which allows people to search for their unclaimed deposits across multiple banks.
- Through the new portal, users will be able to identify their unclaimed deposits or accounts and then either claim the deposit amount or make their deposit accounts operative again.
- According to the central bank, an increasing trend has been observed in the amount of unclaimed deposits and the RBI has been undertaking several campaigns to raise awareness about it.
- The UDGAM Portal aims to empower users to identify their unclaimed deposits/accounts and provides options to either claim the deposit amount or reactivate their dormant accounts.
- Reserve Bank Information Technology Pvt Ltd (ReBIT), Indian Financial Technology & Allied Services (IFTAS), and participating banks joined hands to develop the UDGAM Portal
Know! about unclaimed deposits
- RBI describes unclaimed deposits as “balances in savings/current accounts which are not operated for 10 years, or term deposits not claimed within 10 years from date of maturity”.
- These unclaimed deposits are transferred by the respective banks to the Depositor Education and Awareness (DEA) fund, which is maintained by RBI.
- People can still claim their deposits from the banks along with the interest.
ReBIT (Reserve Bank Information Technology Pvt. Ltd.)
- It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
- It has been set up to take care of the IT requirements, including the cyber security needs of the RBI and its regulated entities.
- ReBIT focuses on IT and cyber security (including related research) of the financial sector and assists in IT systems audit and assessment of the RBI regulated entities.
- ReBIT advise, implement and manage internal or system-wide IT projects (both the existing and new) of the RBI as mutually decided between the Reserve Bank and ReBIT.
- ReBIT serves as a catalyst for innovation, big systems, and new ideas, in addition to guiding regulated entities in the IT areas of their operations and the RBI’s IT-related functions and initiatives.
World Lion Day 2023
- World Lion Day is observed on August 10 each year on a global scale to raise awareness about their conservation and protection.
- The day serves as a platform to educate people about the challenges faced by the lions across the world and to promote efforts to conserve them as well as to celebrate these majestic big cats and their significance in ecosystems and cultures around the world.
World Lion day : History
- World Lion Day was first established in 2013 by Big Cat Rescue, the world’s largest accredited sanctuary dedicated to lions and it was co-founded by Dereck and Beverly Joubert, a husband-and-wife team who recognised the need to draw attention to the declining lion populations and the threats they were facing in the wild.
- In 2009, the Jouberts approached “National Geographic” and formed a partnership with them to come up with the Big Cat Initiative (B.C.I.).
- Later in 2013, they began the initiative to bring together both National Geographic and the Big Cat Initiative under a single banner to protect the remaining big cats living in the wild and since then, World Lion Day is observed annually on August 10
World Lion day : Prelims Pointers
- According to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, lions are classified as a “vulnerable” species, indicating that their numbers could and should be higher.
- Current estimates by researchers suggest that there are 30,000 to 100,000 lions remaining on Earth.
- Lions have found a natural habitat in India, resulting in a consistent rise in their population within the nation, particularly in the Gir Forest.
- This forest serves as the second-largest habitat for these majestic creatures outside of Africa.
- The population of Asiatic lions has steadily grown in Gujarat’s Gir forest and the broader Saurashtra protected area.
- The lion population escalated from 523 to 674 individuals between the years 2015 and 2020.
- In the wild, there are two formally recognised lion subspecies.
- The African lion (Panthera leo leo) is found in Africa, south of the Sahara desert.
- African lions used to be spread across most of the continent, but now are only found in sub-Saharan Africa, with 80% in eastern or southern Africa.
- The Asiatic lion (Panthera leo persica) exists in one small population around Gir Forest National Park in western India.Since the turn of the 20th century, its range has been restricted to Gir National Park and the surrounding areas in the Indian state of Gujarat. Conservation status: Endangered
World Elephant Day 2023
- World Elephant Day, celebrated on August 12, is an international annual event, dedicated to the preservation and protection of the world’s elephants.
- The goal of World Elephant Day is to create awareness on elephant conservation, and to share knowledge and positive solutions for the better protection and management of wild and captive elephants
World Elephant Day -History
- On August 12, 2012, Patricia Sims, a Canadian, and the Elephant Reintroduction Foundation of Thailand, an initiative of HM Queen Sirikit of Thailand, co-founded World Elephant Day.
- Patricia Sims has continued to oversee World Elephant Day ever since.
- It has partnered with 100 elephant conservation organisations globally since its beginning and has reached countless people all over the world.
Know! about Indian elephant
- The Indian elephant (Elephas maximus indicus) is one of three extant recognised subspecies of the Asian elephant and native to mainland Asia
- Since 1986, the Asian elephant has been listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List as the wild population has declined by at least 50% since the 1930s to 1940s, i.e. three elephant generations.
- The Asian elephant is threatened by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation.
- In general, Asian elephants are smaller than African elephants and have the highest body point on the head.
Status of elephants
- Elephant (Elephas maximus) is the largest terrestrial mammal of India.
- It is a keystone species affecting habitats and ecosystems in significant ways, ensuring ecological balance and resulting ecosystem services for human well-being.
- Elephants are referred to as ecosystem engineers due to their transformative role in the ecosystems
- The Elephant is recognised as a National Heritage animal and is deeply rooted in our culture.
- The current population estimates indicate that there are about 50,000 -60000 Asian elephants in the world.
- India holds by far the largest number of wild Asian Elephants, estimated at about 29,964, this is nearly 60% of the population of the species.
- The Elephant is placed under Schedule I and Part I of the Indian Wild Life Protection Act (1972), which confers it the highest level of protection.
- Indian Elephant has also been listed in the Appendix I of the Convention of the Migratory species in the Conference of Parties of CMS
- Asian elephants are listed as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List of threatened species.
- India has the largest number of wild Asian Elephants, estimated at 29,964 according to 2017 census by Project Elephant, i.e. about 60% of the species’ global population.
- Loss of natural habitat and fragmentation have been bringing wild elephants closer to human habitations, sparking these conflicts.
- Over 500 humans are killed in encounters with elephants annually, and crops and property worth millions are also damaged.
Measures taken for protection of Elephants
- Project Elephant : Project Elephant was launched in 1991-92 as a Centrally Sponsored Scheme of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate change.
- Elephant Reserves: Elephant Reserve is a management entity notified by the State Governments as per recommendation of Govt. of India. It includes Protected Areas, forest areas, corridors and private/reserve lands.
- Elephant Corridors of India : Is prepared by the Project Elephant. The report is an outcome of ground-validation of all the indentified elephant corridors in India in coordination with the State Forest Departments of the elephant range states.
- Gaj Gaurav awards – Awards given to recognise exemplary contributions in the field of elephant conservation and management.
- Monitoring of Illegal Killing of Elephants (MIKE) Programme – MIKE program started in South Asia in the year 2003 with following purpose — To provide information needed for elephant range States to make appropriate management and enforcement decisions
Indian Flying Fox bat
- A new study found that India’s largest species of bats, Indian Flying Fox bat spends 7% of its day-roosting time being environmentally vigilant.
Know! about Indian Flying Fox bat
- The Indian flying fox (Pteropus medius, formerly Pteropus giganteus), also known as the greater Indian fruit bat, is a species of flying fox native to the Indian subcontinent.
- It is one of the largest bats in the world.
- It is generally considered vermin as they raid orchards.
- It is a keystone species causing seed dispersals of many plants in tropical systems.
- These bats are endemic to South Central Asia, found from Pakistan and China to the Maldives Islands.
- These bats live in a ‘vertical’, male-dominated hierarchy system, where higher-ranked individuals occupy higher spots of the tree, while lower-ranked individuals remain on lower spots.
Lakhpati Didi Scheme
- The government is planning skill development training for two crore women under the ‘Lakhpati Didi’ scheme that aims to encourage them to start micro-enterprises
- The ‘Lakhpati Didi’ scheme has been in place in some states and now the government is planning to train two crore women under it.
- The official also said that women would be trained in skills like plumbing, LED bulb making and operating and repairing drones among others.
- Such skill training will be provided to women through the scheme so that they can earn at least Rs 1 lakh annually.
- The government will provide drones to thousands of women self-help groups and 15,000 women self-help groups will be given loans and training to operate and repair drones.
- These drone services will be available for agriculture work as well as create substantial employment generation and agribusiness opportunities in rural areas.
- The Union Minister for Animal Husbandry and Dairying has unveiled the ‘A-HELP’ (Accredited Agent for Health and Extension of Livestock Production) programme
Know! about A-HELP
- The ‘A-HELP’ programme aims to empower women by engaging them as trained agents who contribute significantly to disease control, artificial insemination under the Rashtriya Gokul Mission (RGM), animal tagging, and livestock insurance.
- Pahudhan Jagriti Abhiyaan under Inclusive Development stand as a tribute to the ongoing Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, celebrating the spirit of freedom and progress.
- The crux of this campaign lies in equipping farmers with knowledge and resources that address critical areas of livestock health, disease management, and animal infertility
National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS)
Union Home Minister congratulated the team of National Automated Fingerprint Identification System (NAFIS) of NCRB for winning the Gold Award under the Excellence in Government Process Reengineering for Digital Transformation Category-1 of Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG).
Know! about NAFIS
- Conceptualized and managed by the NCRB at the Central Fingerprint Bureau (CFPB) in New Delhi, the National Automated Fingerprints Identification System (NAFIS) project is a country-wide searchable database of crime- and criminal-related fingerprints.
- The web-based application functions as a central information repository by consolidating fingerprint data from all states and Union Territories. According to a 2020 report by the NCRB, it enables law enforcement agencies to upload, trace, and retrieve data from the database in real time on a 24×7 basis.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs has provided NAFIS devices to all Districts, Police Commissionerate, Central and State Fingerprint Bureaus and Central agencies like NIA, CBI and NCB.
- NAFIS has revolutionized the fingerprint recognition system in crime control.
- NAFIS has created a central database of fingerprints of criminals, which can be accessed by users from all States, Union Territories and Central Agencies.
- NAFIS assigns a unique 10-digit National Fingerprint Number (NFN) to each person arrested for a crime.
- This unique ID will be used for the person’s lifetime, and different crimes registered under different FIRs will be linked to the same NFN.
- The 2020 report states that the ID’s first two digits will be that of the state code in which the person arrested for a crime is registered, followed by a sequence number.
- By automating the collection, storage, and matching of fingerprints, along with digitizing the records of fingerprint data, NAFIS will “provide the much-needed unique identifier for every arrested person in the CCTNS (Crime and Criminal Tracking Network & Systems) database as both are connected at the backend
National Space Innovation Challenge 2023
- Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Navars Edutech successfully launched theNational Space Innovation Challenge 2023 (NSIC 2023) on for all school students across the country
Know! about NSIC
- NSIC 2023 is a National-level campaign designed to ignite next generation space enthusiast to understand and contribute towards growing Indian space economy and future space workforce.
- It’s a National platform to get inspired by industry leaders, seek opportunities for exploration and showcase ones innovation to the world.
- With the goal of fostering innovation and curiosity among school students across the nation, the Atal Innovation Mission is proud to announce National Space Innovation Challenge (NSIC) open for all the school students across the country.
- Students of Classes 5 to 12 are given an open platform where they can innovate and enable themselves to solve modern-day space technology problems from August 11 to September 20, 2023.
- Students (from ATL and Non-ATL schools) can submit their entries on the automated technology platform implemented by Navars Edutech
- NSIC offers integrated content from Industry mentor videos, resources and challenges for Junior Scientists & Senior Scientists which the students can use to ideate and submit a short research report on a solution across diverse topics like Space Junk Collection Robot, Reusable Rocket Design, Satellite Design, Indian Spaceship Design for Mars, and more.
Cabinet approves PM-eBus Sewa
- The Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved a bus scheme “PM-eBus Sewa” for augmenting city bus operation by 10,000 e-buses on PPP model.
- The Scheme would have an estimated cost of Rs.57,613 crore, out of which support of Rs.20,000 crore will be provided by the Central government.
- The Scheme will support bus operations for 10 years.
Reaching the Unreached:
- The scheme will cover cities of Three lakh and above population as per census 2011 including all the Capital cities of Union Territories, North Eastern Region and Hill States.
- Under this scheme priority will be given to cities having no organized bus service.
Direct Employment Generation:
- The scheme will generate 45,000 to 55,000 direct jobs through deployment of around 10,000 buses in city bus operation.
The Scheme has two segments:
Segment A – Augmenting the City bus services:(169 cities)
- The approved bus scheme will augment city bus operations with 10,000 e-buses on Public Private Partnership (PPP) model.
Segment B– Green Urban Mobility Initiatives (GUMI): (181 cities)
- The scheme envisages green initiatives like bus priority, infrastructure, multimodal interchange facilities, NCMC-based Automated Fare Collection Systems, Charging infrastructure, etc.
Boost to E-Mobility:
- The scheme will promote e-mobility and provide full support for behind-the-meter power infrastructure.
- Cities will also be supported for development of charging infrastructure under Green Urban Mobility Initiatives.
- The support to bus priority infrastructure shall not only accelerate the proliferation of state-of-the-art, energy efficient electric buses but also foster the innovation in the e-mobility sector as well as development of resilient supply chain for electric vehicles.
- This scheme shall also bring in economies of scale for procurement of electric buses through aggregation for e-buses.
- Adoption to Electric mobility will reduce noise and air pollution and curb carbon emission.
- Modal shift due to increased share of bus-based public transportation will lead to GHG reduction.
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