25 May 2023 – Current Affairs

Daily Current Capsules

25 May 2023

Infrastructure Development/Government Schemes

UDAN 5.1

UDAN - Wikipedia

What’s the NEWS

  • Following four successful rounds of the Regional Connectivity Scheme (RCS) – Ude Desh Ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) and with version 5.0 of the fifth round underway, the Ministry of Civil Aviation has launched UDAN 5.1 to further enhance the connectivity to remote areas of the country and achieve last mile connectivity through helicopters.
  • For the first time under RCS-UDAN, this round is designed specifically for helicopter routes.

The main features include:

  • An increase in the scope of operations for operators wherein the scheme will now allow routes where one of the origin or destination locations is in a priority area. Earlier both points had to be in priority areas.
  • Airfare caps have been reduced by as much as 25% to make flying in helicopters more affordable for passengers.
  • Viability Gap Funding (VGF) caps for the operators have been increased substantially for both single and twin-engine helicopters to enhance financial viability for operating the awarded routes.

Know! about RCS-UDAN

  • Ministry of Civil Aviation’s flagship program Regional Connectivity Scheme UDAN (UdeDeshkaAamNagrik) has completed 6 years of success since the launch of its first flight by the Prime Minister on 27th April 2017.
  • The scheme was initiated on 21st October 2016 with the objective to fulfill the aspirations of the common citizen by following the vision of ‘UdeDeshkaAamNagrik’, with an enhanced aviation infrastructure and air connectivity in tier II and tier III cities.
  • In the last six years, UDAN has significantly increased the regional air connectivity in the country. There were 74 operational airports in 2014. Because of the UDAN scheme, this number has increased to 141 by now.
  • RCS-UDAN was formulated based on the review of The National Civil Aviation Policy (NCAP)-2016 and it was planned to remain in force for a period of 10 years.
  • It has a self-financing mechanism with the development of the Regional Connectivity Fund (RCF).
  • Under this Scheme, RCF was created, which funds the VGF requirements of the scheme through a levy on certain domestic flights.
  • This way, funds generated from the sector themselves stimulate the growth and development of the sector.

UDAN created a framework based on the need and led to the formulation of:

  1. Lifeline UDAN (for transportation of medical cargo during the pandemic).
  2. Krishi UDAN (value realization of agriculture products especially in Northeastern Region {NER} and tribal districts).
  3. International UDAN routes for NER to explore International Connectivity from/to Guwahati and Imphal.

Related terminologies

Viability Gap Funding (VGF) Scheme

  • It is a grant to support projects that are economically justified but not financially viable.
  • The scheme is designed as a Plan Scheme to be administered by the Ministry of Finance and the amount in the budget is made on a year-to-year basis.
  • Such a grant under VGF is provided as a capital subsidy to attract the private sector players to participate in PPP projects that are otherwise financially unviable.
  • The VGF scheme was launched in 2004 to support projects that come under Public-Private Partnerships.
  • Funds for VGF will be provided from the government’s budgetary allocation.
  • Sometimes it is also provided by the statutory authority that owns the project asset.
  • The VGF grant will be disbursed at the construction stage itself but only after the private sector developer makes the equity contribution required for the project.

Science and Technology

National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF)

DATA WEB PORTAL | National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting

What’s the NEWS

  • India will soon acquire its fastest Supercomputer worth Rupees 900 crore and it is expected to start functioning by March next year
  • With its acquisition, India will acquire the weather monitoring mechanism with the highest resolution of the probabilistic forecast.

About the upcoming supercomputer

  • The Minister was addressing the media during his visit to the National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) in NOIDA, Uttar Pradesh
  • The new computer can improve forecasting from 12 to 6 km. Compared to the Cray XC-40 supercomputer ‘Mihir’ with a performance of 6.8 petaFLOPS (PFLOPS), India’s fastest supercomputer at present
  • The new supercomputer will have nearly thrice the capability, viz 18 PFLOPS

About the present supercomputers

  • Prathyush and Mihir are the supercomputers established at the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, and the National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecast (NCMRWF), Noida respectively.
  • As of January 2018, Prathyush and Mihir are the fastest supercomputer in India with a maximum speed of 6.8 PetaFlops
  • Being a High-Performance Computing (HPC) facility, Pratyush and Mihir consist of several computers that can deliver a peak power of 6.8 PetaFlops.
  • It is the first multi-PetaFlops supercomputer ever built in India.
  • Pratyush and Mihir are used in the fields of weather forecasting and climate monitoring in India.
  • It helps the country to make better forecasts in terms of Monsoon, fishing, air quality, extreme events like tsunamis, cyclones, earthquakes, lightning, and other natural calamities such as floods, droughts, etc.
  • India is the fourth country in the world to have a High-Performance Computing facility dedicated to weather and climate research after Japan, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), Noida.

  • The National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) is a Centre of Excellence in Weather and Climate Modelling under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • It is a premier institute in India to provide Medium-Range Weather Forecasts through deterministic Methods and offers Agro-Advisory Service (AAS) to the farmers.
  • NCMRWF offers research opportunities in Numerical Weather Prediction, Diagnostic Studies, Crop Weather Modeling, and Computer Science.
  • The mission of the Centre is to continuously develop advanced numerical weather prediction systems, with increased reliability and accuracy over India and neighboring regions through research, development, and demonstration of new and novel applications, maintaining the highest level of knowledge, skills, and technical bases.

BIMSTEC Centre on Weather and Climate (BCWC)

  • The premises of NCMRWF, the Centre of Excellence in Weather and Climate Modelling, also hosts the BIMSTEC Centre on Weather and Climate (BCWC) of the regional grouping ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (BIMSTEC), comprising seven Member States, – five from South Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and two from Southeast Asia, including Myanmar and Thailand.

Prelims Factoids


Alprazolam I.P 1.0 MG Tablet, 10x6x10 Blister, Prescription at Rs  250/stripe in Bharuch

What’s the NEWS

  • The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) busts a clandestine makeshift laboratory in Nagar Kurnool District of Telangana and seizes 31.42 kg of Alprazolam (a psychotropic substance under the NDPS Act, 1985)

Know! about Alprazolam

  • It is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders.
  • It belongs to a class of medications called benzodiazepines which act on the brain and nerves (central nervous system) to produce a calming effect.
  • It works by enhancing the effects of a certain natural chemical in the body (GABA).

NDPS Act, 1985

  • The Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, commonly referred to as the NDPS Act, is an Act of the Parliament of India that prohibits a person the production/manufacturing/cultivation, possession, sale, purchasing, transport, storage, and/or consumption of any narcotic drug or psychotropic substance.
  • The Act extends to the whole of India and it applies also to all Indian citizens outside India and to all persons on ships and aircraft registered in India.
  • The Narcotics Control Bureau was set up under the act with effect from March 1986.
  • The Act is designed to fulfill India’s treaty obligations under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, Convention on Psychotropic Substances, and United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

Prelims Factoids

First-ever Urban Climate Film Festival

पहला अर्बन क्लाइमेट फिल्म फेस्टिवल आयोजित किया गया - GS TIMES HINDI

What’s the NEWS

  • The first-ever Urban Climate Film Festival, which aspires to employ the powerful medium of film to enlighten audiences about the environmental, social, and economic impacts of climate change on urban settlements, is going to take place in New Town, Kolkata from 3rd to 5th June 2023.

Know! about the film festival

  • Launched in New Delhi in March 2023, the film festival is being organized by the National Institute of Urban Affairs, through the CITIIS program under the engagement events of U20 (the urban track of G20).
  • The festival is supported by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, the French Development Agency (AFD), the European Union, and the New Town Kolkata Green Smart City Corporation Limited.
  • The festival will also celebrate World Environment Day on 5th June with a special closing ceremony


  • The Urban Climate Film Festival was launched on 24th March at Alliance Française in New Delhi.
  • After a successful run in Delhi, the festival traveled to Mumbai, where it was hosted at Alliance Française de Bombay.
  • The festival in Delhi and Mumbai showcased a curated selection of films by a diverse pool of filmmakers from countries like India, France, Iran, and the USA.

Science and Technology

AI Supercomputer ‘AIRAWAT’ puts India among the top supercomputing league

AI Supercomputer 'AIRAWAT' puts India among top supercomputing league

What’s the NEWS

  • The AI Supercomputer ‘AIRAWAT’, installed at C-DAC, Pune has been ranked 75th in the world.
  • It was declared so in the 61st edition of the Top 500 Global Supercomputing List at the International Supercomputing Conference (ISC 2023) in Germany.
  • It puts India on top of AI Supercomputing nations worldwide.
  • The system is installed under National Program on AI by the Government of India.
  • The AIRAWAT PoC of 200 AI Petaflops integrated with PARAM Siddhi – AI of 210 AI Petaflops gives a total peak compute of 410 AI Petaflops Mixed Precision
  • MeitY has already envisioned a roadmap for scaling AIRAWAT to 1,000 AI Petaflops Mixed Precision compute capacity to cater to the current AI computational needs.

Petaflops – a unit of computing speed equal to one thousand million (1015) floating-point operations per second.


  • Artificial Intelligence is the most promising technology in the digital age.
  • India has a strong ecosystem and competitive advantage for AI due to its massive data availability, strong digital economy, and skilled workforce.
  • India has been working in Applied AI with a focus on Natural Language Processing, Image Procession, Pattern Recognition, Agriculture, Medical Imaging, Education, Health Care, Audio assistance, Robotics, and developing solutions for the strategic sectors
  • For the last three and half decades C-DAC has been carrying out R&D in Supercomputing and AI.
  • The MeitY has entrusted C-DAC to deploy the supercomputers under NSM for the Indian scientific and research community.
  • The system installed at C-DAC Pune shall also be beneficial for the Digital India BHASHINI program of the Government.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

  • Artificial Intelligence technologies are on course to become the most powerful agents of transformation in human history.
  • AI will reshape the global economic and technological landscape, as well as every aspect of our daily lives.
  • For India, the fourth-largest economy in the world and a young nation, it is imperative to be prepared to answer the challenges of AI and to leverage it to solve social problems, in building towards greater economic prosperity.

About INDIAai

  • INDIAai (The National AI Portal of India), a joint venture by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), the National e-Governance Division (NeGD), and the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM), has been set up to prepare the nation for an AI future.
  • It is the single central knowledge hub on artificial intelligence and allied fields for aspiring entrepreneurs, students, professionals, academics, and everyone else.
  • The portal focuses on creating and nurturing a unified AI ecosystem for driving excellence and leadership in India’s AI journey, to foster economic growth and improve lives through it.

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