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18 & 19 July 2023 – Current Affairs

Daily Current Capsules

18 and 19 July 2023

Digital time vouchers

ECI To Issue Time Vouchers To Political Parties for Media Campaigns

  • Allotment of time to political parties on All India Radio and Doordarshan during election will now be online.
  • The Election Commission of India, has amended the existing scheme for the use of Government-owned electronic media by political parties.
  • This has been done by introducing a provision to issue digital time vouchers through an Information Technology (IT) platform.


  • The scheme, which was initially notified on 16th January 1998, holds a statutory basis under Section 39A of the R.P. Act, 1951.
  • It was formulated after extensive consultations with recognized National and State Parties and is aimed at ensuring equitable access to government-owned electronic media during elections for campaigning.
  • Under this Scheme, an equitable base time is allotted to each National Party and Recognized State Party of the state concerned uniformly on DD & AIR and the additional time to be allotted to the parties is decided on the basis of the poll performance of the parties in the last assembly elections from the respective States/UT or in the last general Elections

Universal Postal Union (UPU)

Universal Postal Union regional office to be established in New Delhi to  enhance postal technology, ET Government

  • The Universal Postal Union will evaluate UPI for integrating the unified payment interface with cross-border remittances using the global postal network, an official release said recently.

Know! about Universal Postal Union (UPU)

  • It is a United Nations specialized agency and the postal sector’s primary forum for international cooperation headquartered at Bern, Switzerland
  • It was established by the Treaty of Bern of 1874.
  • UPU is the second oldest international organization worldwide.
  • UPU ensures universal access to postal services.
  • It coordinates postal policies among member nations in addition to the worldwide postal system.
  • It sets the rules for international mail exchanges and makes recommendations to stimulate growth in mail, parcel and financial services volumes and improve the quality of service for customers.
  • Any member country of the United Nations may become a member of the UPU.
  • Any non-member country of the United Nations may become a UPU member, provided that its request is approved by at least two-thirds of the member countries of the UPU.

UPU consists of four bodies

  • The Congress: It is the supreme authority of the UPU and meets every four years.
  • The Council of Administration: It ensures the continuity of the UPU’s work between Congresses, supervises its activities and studies regulatory, administrative, legislative and legal issues.
  • The Postal Operations Council: It is the technical and operational mind of the UPU and consists of 48 member countries elected during Congress.
  • The International Bureau: Fulfilling a secretariat function, the International Bureau provides logistical and technical support to the UPU’s bodies.

Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)

How Bharat Bill Payment Will Be An Economic Game Changer - BW Businessworld

  • CEO of Bharat Bill Pay recently said Bharat Bill Pay has witnessed a threefold business growth in just two years.

Know! about Bharat Bill Payment System (BBPS)

  • BBPS is an integrated bill payment system or a platform which acts as a connect between various billers and users. 
  • It is a one-stop ecosystem for payment of all bills providing an interoperable and accessible “Anytime Anywhere” Bill payment service to all customers across India with certainty, reliability and safety of transactions.
  • It offers customers the convenience of payment by cataloguing various utility providers under one platform.
  • It acts as a central reference for a customer who wants to make different payments — whether utility bills, loan repayments, FasTag recharge, and so on.
  • Bharat BillPay transactions can be initiated through multiple payment channels like Internet, Internet Banking, Mobile, Mobile-Banking, Mobile Wallets Bank Branch, Agents and Business Correspondents etc.
  • It provides instant confirmation of payment via an SMS or receipt.
  • BBPS was conceptualised by the Reserve Bank of India in 2013 and is a product of the National Payments Council of India (NPCI).
  • It was piloted in 2016 and went live a year later.
  • By 2019, BBPS onboarded all recurring payments.

There are two key components in the BBPS system,

  • Bharat Bill Payment Central Unit (BBPCU): The BBPCU is NPCI, which lays downs the operating procedures and standards for BBPS. 
  • Bharat Bill Payment Operating Units (BBPOUs): BBPOUs adhere to the rules set by BBPCU. They are the banking and non-banking entities that handle the payments load. 

Ghaggar River

  • Recently, the Ghaggar River and its tributaries caused havoc after reclaiming their floodplains in Haryana.

Know! about Ghaggar River

  • The Ghaggar River is an intermittent river in India and Pakistan that flows only during the monsoon season.
  • The river is known as Ghaggar before the Ottu barrage, and as Hakra downstream of the barrage in the Thar Desert.
  • In pre-Harappan times the Ghaggar was a tributary of the Sutlej.
  • It is still connected to this paleochannel of the Sutlej, and possibly the Yamuna, which ended in the Nara River, presently a delta channel of the Indus River joining the sea via Sir Creek.
  • The Sutlej changed its course about 8,000-10,000 years ago, leaving the Ghaggar-Hakra as a system of monsoon-fed rivers terminating in the Thar Desert.

Rudragiri hillock

A fascinating fusion of rock art at Rudragiri hillock - The Hindu

  • Rudragiri hillock, located in the village of Orvakallu, Atchampet mandal, in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, boasts a celebrated historical past and remarkable archaeological monuments.
  • This site unveils a fascinating combination of prehistoric rock paintings from the Mesolithic period and exquisite artwork from the Kakatiya dynasty.

Know! about Rudragiri hillock

  • It is nestled amidst the Eastern Ghats, features five naturally formed rock shelters at its foothills, facing westward.
  • These shelters served as living quarters for people during the Mesolithic agearound 5000 B.C and they bear witness to the luminous rock paintings of that era.
  • Two natural caves at the southern end of the hillock also exhibit exceptional murals from the renowned Kakatiya kingdom.
  • The first cave presents a narrative mural portraying the intense battle between the Vanara brothers, Vali and Sugriva. Both figures stand on the battlefield wielding maces, their faces displaying fierce determination. Rama, positioned behind Sugriva, shoots arrows at Vali.
  • Ramayana fresco depicting Hanuman lifting the Sanjeevani hill with his right-hand painted A conch and fire altars can be seen to his right and another prehistoric painting to the left.
  • In the middle cave, a grand sketch of Hanuman, accompanied by sacred symbols of the conch (Sankha) and the fire altar (Yagna Vedi), captures visitors’ attention. Hanuman is depicted carrying the Sanjivani hill in his right hand, symbolising his mission to save Lakshmana’s life.
  • The third cave houses the prehistoric rock paintings from the Mesolithic era.
  • Interestingly, the Kakatiya artist chose the same rock shelter to superimpose the elegant figure of Hanuman, who is portrayed in a unique ‘Anjali’ posture, folding his hands in a divine offering.
  • The illustrious Ganapati Deva Maharaja (1199-1262 AD), the founder of Muppavaram temple and a prominent figure of the Kakatiya dynasty, likely patronised the rich ancient mural heritage found at Rudragiri.

Nelson Mandela International Day

  • The Nelson Mandela International Day is celebrated every year on 18th July.
  • It is a way to recognize the life and legacy of the global icon and to honour his contributions to the culture of peace and freedom.
  • United Nations declared 2019-2028 as Nelson Mandela Decade of Peace in September 2018.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (18 July 1918 – 5 December 2013)

  • He was a South African anti-apartheid activist and politician who served as the first president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.
  • He was the country’s first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election.
  • His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by fostering racial reconciliation.
  • Ideologically an African nationalist and socialist, he served as the president of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997.
  • Globally regarded as an icon of democracy and social justice, he received more than 250 honours, including the Nobel Peace Prize. He is held in deep respect within South Africa, where he is often referred to by his Thembu clan name, Madiba, and described as the “Father of the Nation”.

Missile Cum Ammunition (MCA) Barge

A barge on a river

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  • Contract for construction of 08 x Missile Cum Ammunition (MCA) Barge was concluded with M/s SECON Engineering Projects Pvt Ltd, Visakhapatnam, a MSME, in consonance with “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” initiatives of the Government of India.
  • First Barge of the series LSAM 7 (Yard 75) has been delivered to Indian Navy
  • The Barge has been built under the classification rules of Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) with a service life of 30 years.
  • With all major/ auxiliary equipment sourced from indigenous manufacturers, the Barge is proud flag bearer of “Make in India” initiative of Ministry of Defence.
  • Barges facilitates Transportation, Embarkation and Disembarkation of articles / ammunition to Indian Navy Ships both alongside jetties and at outer harbours.

Barge – a long narrow boat with a flat bottom that is used for carrying goods or people on a canal or river

Techno-Commercial Readiness and Market Maturity Matrix (TCRM Matrix) Framework

A map of india with a city in the background

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  • The NITI Aayog, released, under the NITI Working Paper series, the Techno-Commercial Readiness and Market Maturity Matrix (TCRM Matrix) framework, a pioneering assessment tool designed to revolutionize technology evaluation, foster innovation, and fuel entrepreneurship in India.
  • The Working Paper casts light on the historical evolution of technology assessment frameworks, including the Technology Readiness Level (TRL), Commercialization Readiness Level (CRL), and Market Readiness Level (MRL) scales.
  • TCRM Matrix framework presents an integrated assessment model that offers in-depth insights and actionable intelligence to stakeholders at every stage of the technology development cycle.
  • The adoption of the TCRM Matrix framework necessitates a comprehensive analysis and contextualization within the unique national and sectoral innovation landscapes.
  • The introduction of the Techno-Commercial Readiness and Market Maturity Matrix (TCRM Matrix) framework is a significant milestone for India’s innovation and entrepreneurship landscape

Festival of Libraries 2023

  • President of India Smt. Droupadi Murmu will inaugurate the unique ‘Festival of Libraries 2023’, a two-day event to be held on  5th – 6th August 2023
  • The Festival is being organised by the Union Ministry of Culture.
  • The festival will highlight iconic libraries from across the world in order to initiate a conversation on the modernization and digitization of libraries in India.
  • The Festival of Libraries is a unique event that aims to engage and inspire participants from the entire ecosystem of libraries.
  • The event aims to bring together stakeholders across the board, from librarians & academics to district collectors of 100 aspirational districts & directors of model libraries to develop a roadmap for encouraging Libraries

National Mission on Libraries (NML)

  • The government’s National Mission on Libraries (NML) launched in 2014 further underscores its dedication to enhancing libraries across the country.
  • This mission has a total budget of  Rs100 crore to develop model libraries, connect district libraries with digital networks, and prioritize libraries in economically backward districts.

Tankai method

Stitched Shipbuilding Method (Tankai method) - PWOnlyIAS

  • In a remarkable initiative to revive and preserve the 2000-year-old technique of shipbuilding known as the ‘stitched shipbuilding method’, the Ministry of Culture and the Indian Navy have entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
  • The Indian Navy will oversee the implementation and execution of the entire project.

Stitched shipbuilding method

  • The stitched ship holds significant cultural value in India, given its historical importance and the preservation of traditional craftsmanship.
  • Throughout history, India has had a strong maritime tradition, and the use of stitched ships played a vital role in trade, cultural exchange, and exploration.
  • These ships, constructed by stitching wooden planks together rather than using nails, offered flexibility and durability, making them less susceptible to damage from shoals and sandbars.
  • Although the arrival of European ships led to a shift in shipbuilding techniques, the art of stitching ships has survived in a few coastal regions of India, primarily for small local fishing boats.
  • Reviving and rejuvenating this fading art is crucial to ensure the preservation of cultural heritage for future generations.
  • The project aims to leverage the expertise of the remaining traditional shipwrights in India and showcase their exceptional craftsmanship.
  • By sailing along ancient maritime routes using traditional navigational techniques, the project seeks to gain insights into the historical interactions across the Indian Ocean, which facilitated the flow of Indian culture, knowledge systems, traditions, technologies, and ideas.
  • Stitched ship project aims to revive the maritime memory and instill a sense of pride in India’s rich maritime heritage among its citizens.
  • It aims to promote cultural memories among the Indian Ocean littoral countries.

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