18 May 2023 – Current Affairs

Daily Current Capsules

18 May 2023

Prelims Factoids

California condors

Image Result

What’s the NEWS

  • U.S. officials have announced the emergency use of a bird flu vaccine to protect the California condor, a critically endangered and magnificent animal that has already bounced back once from the brink of extinction.
  • The deaths, all near the Arizona-Utah border, are alarming considering the world population of California condors was estimated at only 561 at the end of 2022.
  • This includes 347 free-flying birds in three states and Mexico and 214 in captivity, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Know! about California Condor

  • The California condor is one of the world’s largest flying birds with a wingspan of up to 2.7 meters and weighing more than 9 kg
  • The California condor is a New World vulture and the largest North American land bird.
  • It became extinct in the wild in 1987 when all remaining wild individuals were captured, but has since been reintroduced to northern Arizona and southern Utah
  • It is the only surviving member of the genus Gymnogyps,
  • The species is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature as Critically Endangered
  • The condor is a scavenger and eats large amounts of carrion.
  • It is one of the world’s longest-living birds, with a lifespan of up to 60 years.

Government Initiatives

Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme

18 May 2023 – Current Affairs word image 11203 2

What’s the NEWS

  • The Union Cabinet approved an updated Production Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme for IT hardware manufacturing, with the total budgetary outlay more than doubled to ₹17,000 crore
  • The PLI scheme for IT hardware, first notified in March 2021, provides upwards of 4% in incentives for incremental investment in domestic manufacturing for eligible firms, which include companies like Dell and Flextronics.

Updates in PLI

  • The incentive had been increased to 5%.
  • An “additional optional incentive” has also been introduced for using domestically produced components.

Know! About PLI Scheme

  • It offers a production-linked incentive to boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in mobile phone manufacturing and specified electronic components, including Assembly, Testing, Marking, and Packaging (ATMP) units.
  • The Scheme would tremendously boost the electronics manufacturing landscape and establish India at the global level in the electronics sector.
  • The scheme shall extend an incentive of 4% to 6% on incremental sales (over the base year) of goods manufactured in India and covered under target segments, to eligible companies, for a period of five (5) years subsequent to the base year as defined.
  • The main aim of this scheme was to invite foreign investors to set up their manufacturing units in India and also promote the local manufacturers to expand their units and generate employment

Social Justice

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)

How GAAD is Raising Disability Awareness?

What’s the NEWS

  • The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) will be celebrating Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) on 18th May 2023, with the vision to build an inclusive society in which equal opportunities are provided for the growth and development of Persons with Disabilities so that they can lead productive, safe and dignified lives.
  • DEPwD, under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India is the nodal body to look after all the development agenda of Persons with Disabilities in the country.
  • Celebrated on the 3rd Thursday of May every year the purpose of GAAD is to get everyone talking, thinking, and learning about digital- web, software, mobile, etc. access/inclusion for people with different disabilities.

Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD)

  • It is an awareness day focusing on digital access and inclusion for the more than one billion people alive today who live with disabilities or impairments.
  • It is marked annually on the third Thursday of May.
  • Global Accessibility Awareness Day events showcase how people with disabilities use the web and digital products using assistive technologies or assist people in creating technology products in taking into consideration the needs of certain disabilities.
  • Global Accessibility Awareness Day was launched in May 2012.
  • It was inspired by a blog post from November 2011 by Los Angeles-based web developer Joe Devon.
  • Devon worked with Jennison Asuncion, an accessibility professional from Toronto, to co-found GAAD.


International Relations

International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC)

What’s the NEWS

  • Iran and Russia agreed to collaborate on the construction of the final part of a commercial transport network linking to the Gulf and India while avoiding Western sea lanes.
  • Iranian Transport Minister Mehrdad Bazrpash, who signed the agreement with his Russian counterpart in Tehran, said the 164-kilometer railway in Iran’s north would be completed within three years.
  • It is the only missing link in the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) from northeast Russia via Azerbaijan to Iran’s southern coastline and on to India by sea.
  • Russia and Iran are both under international sanctions that restrict trade.
  • The freight network of ship, rail, and road routes, which covers some 7,200 kilometers, avoids the Suez Canal between the Mediterranean and the Red Sea which would otherwise transport some Russian seaborne cargo.

The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC)

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  • INSTC is a 7,200-km-long multi-mode network of ship, rail, and road routes for moving freight between India, Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia, and Europe.
  • The route primarily involves moving freight from India, Iran, Azerbaijan, and Russia via ship, rail, and road.
  • The objective of the corridor is to increase trade connectivity between major cities such as Mumbai, Moscow, Tehran, Baku, Bandar Abbas, Astrakhan, Bandar Anzali, etc.
  • This will also synchronize with the Ashgabat agreement

The Ashgabat agreement

  • It is a multimodal transport agreement between the governments of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, India, Pakistan, and Oman for creating an international transport and transit corridor facilitating the transportation of goods between Central Asia and the Persian Gulf.
  • The agreement came into force in April 2016.
  • Ashgabat in Turkmenistan is the depository state for the agreement.
  • The agreement was originally signed by Iran, Oman, Qatar, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan on April 25, 2011.
  • Qatar subsequently withdrew from the agreement in 2013, the same year Kazakhstan applied for membership, which was eventually approved in 2015.
  • Pakistan also joined the Agreement in November 2016.
  • India formally joined in February 2018.
  • The agreement built the Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan railway line and coordinated several other significant infrastructure projects to connect the Gulf with Central Asia and Eurasia, including the INSTC.
  • By expanding the import market, the Ashgabat Agreement would also help India secure its energy needs
  • GOAL – to improve Eurasian connectivity and coordinate it with other regional transport corridors, such as the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).


Department of Health Research (DHR)


What’s the NEWS

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister was apprised of the signing of the Project Collaboration Agreement between the Department of Health Research (DHR) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for promoting access to high quality affordable assistive technology mainly through fostering research, innovation, and capacity building.

Know! about the Department of Health Research (DHR)

  • DHR provides financial assistance to promote research in the field of medicine, public health, and allied areas under its different schemes namely Human Resource Development for Health Research (HRD), the Establishment of a network of Laboratories for managing epidemics and Natural Calamities (VRDLs), Grant-in-Aid (GIA) Scheme for Inter-Sectoral Convergence & Coordination for Promotion and Guidance on Health Research, Establishment of Model Rural Health Research Units (MRHRUs) in the States, Establishment of Multi-Disciplinary Research Units (MRUs) in Government Medical colleges – Research Institutions.
  • DHR Electronic Project Management System (e-PMS) has been developed to provide a user-friendly system for the online submission of project proposals and related documents and monitor ongoing projects.
  • This system facilitates different stakeholders for the submission, retrieval, and monitoring of project-related information.

Know! about Assistive technology

  • It is an umbrella term covering the systems and services related to the delivery of assistive products and services.
  • Assistive products maintain or improve an individual’s functioning and independence, thereby promoting their well-being.
  • Hearing aids, wheelchairs, communication aids, spectacles, prostheses, pill organizers, and memory aids are all examples of assistive products.

Positive Indigenisation List Approved

164 'positive indigenisation list' items indigenised: Defence Ministry

What’s the NEWS

  • Union Minister of Defence has informed that the 4th Positive Indigenisation List (PIL) of 928 strategically-important Line Replacement Units (LRUs)/Sub-systems/Spares & Components has been approved.
  • The list includes high-end materials & spares, with import substitution value worth Rs 715 crore.

Know! about PLI

  • Introduced in August 2020
  • PIL comprises everything from line replacement units, sub-systems, and components used for various military platforms, equipment, and weapons.
  • The list essentially means that the Armed Forces—Army, Navy, and Air Force—will only procure the listed items from domestic manufacturers.
  • The manufacturers could be private sector players or Defense Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs).
  • This concept was rolled out in the Defence Acquisition Procedure (DAP) 2020.

Why needed?

  • The government wants to reduce the dependence on imported items in defense and give a shot in the arm to the domestic defense manufacturing industry.
  • By denying the possibility of importing the items on the negative list, the domestic industry is given the opportunity to step up and manufacture them for the needs of the forces. 

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