Current Affairs 07,08,09 & 10 Nov 2023
Daily Current Capsules
7,8,9 and 10 November 2023
Surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) ‘Pralay’
- India successfully test-fired its surface-to-surface short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) ‘Pralay’ from the Abdul Kalam Island off the Odisha coast
- The missile has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in view of the country’s defence requirements along its borders with neighbouring China and Pakistan
Know! about Pralay
- ‘Pralay’ is a 350-500 km short-range, surface-to-surface missile with a payload capacity of 500-1,000 kg.
- The Pralay missile system, utilizes a solid propellant rocket motor and advanced technologies.
- These ballistic missiles are capable of targeting distances ranging from 150 to 500 km and are highly challenging for interception by adversaries
- The solid-fuel, battlefield missile is based on the Prithvi Defence Vehicle.
- Pralay’ has been developed for deployment along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and Line of Control (LoC)
- ‘Pralay’ missile can be compared with China’s ‘Dong Feng 12’ and Russia’s ‘Iskander’, which was used in the ongoing war with Ukraine.
- Tamil Nadu Government issued an order to implement ‘Project Dolphin’ under the Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitat programme of the government of India.
Know! about Project Dolphin
- It is to strengthen the marine ecology and overall health of the marine environment.
- This project includes strengthening patrolling and surveillance, improving habitat through the restoration of coastal ecosystems, removing ghost nets, and encouraging the involvement of locals with incentives.
- The Union government will give 60% of the amount, the State will bear the remaining cost.
- The major habitats of the dolphins are found in the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve.
Integrated Development of Wildlife Habitat Programme
- It is an ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme that has been made operational by adding more components and activities to the erstwhile Centrally Sponsored Scheme – “Assistance for the Development of National Parks and Sanctuaries,” during the 11th Plan Period.
Components of the scheme
- Support to Protected Areas (National Parks, Wildlife Sanctuaries, Conservation Reserves, and Community Reserves)
- Protection of Wildlife Outside Protected Areas
- Recovery programmes for saving critically endangered species and habitats
Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve
- It has three distinct Coastal ecosystems: coral reefs, seagrass bed and mangroves.
- It is considered one of the world’s richest regions from a marine biodiversity perspective.
- It is the first Marine Biosphere Reserve in South and Southeast Asia.
- It has been recognized by the Man and Biosphere (MAB) Programme of UNESCO.
- It is also home to several globally important and highly threatened species like the Dugong, whale shark, sea horses, Balanoglossus, green sea turtle, Hawksbill turtle, dolphins, sacred chanks etc
- Recently, the Klyuchevskoy volcano erupted on Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.
Know! about Klyuchevskoy volcano
- It is one of the highest active volcanoes in the world, with a height of 4,750 metres.
- The volcano consists of a truncated cone with a central crater.
- It has erupted more than 50 times since 1700.
- It lies in far eastern Russia, between the Sea of Okhotskon the west and the Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea on the east.
- It is one of the world’s most concentrated areas of geothermal activity, with about 30 active volcanoes.
- Zanzibar (Tanzania) campus of the Indian Institute of Technology Madras was formally launched.
Know! about Tanzania
- It is an African country situated just south of the Equator.
- Dar es Salaam is the largest city and port city of this country.
- Highest mountain: Mount Kilimanjaro which is located in northeastern Tanzania.
- The majority of Tanzanians are of Bantu descent.
- Tanzania has two official languages namely Swahili and English.
- A geoglyph in the form of a circle said to be 3,000 years old has been recently unearthed on the outskirts of Mudichu Thalapalli in the Medchal-Malkajgiri district of Telangana.
- It is dated to the Iron Age ( around 1000 BCE. )
- It is suggested that this circle might have served as a model for megalithic communities in planning their circular burial sites
Know! about Geoglyph
- It is a large design or motif (generally longer than 4 metres) produced on the ground and typically formed by clastic rocks or similarly durable elements of the landscape, such as stones, stone fragments, gravel, or earth.
- A geoglyph is created by arranging or moving objects within a landscape.
- There are two types of geoglyphs, namely positive and negative geoglyphs.
- Positive geoglyph is formed by the arrangement and alignment of materials on the ground in a manner akin to petroforms (which are simply outlines created using boulders).
- Negative geoglyph is formed by removing part of the natural ground surface to create differently coloured or textured ground in a manner akin to petroglyphs.
- There is another variation of a geoglyph that involves seeding plants in a special design. The design usually takes years to see since it depends on the plants growing. This type of geoglyph is called an arbour glyph.
- Another type of geoglyph often referred to as ‘chalk giants’ are those carved into hillsides, exposing the bedrock beneath.
- Geoglyphs in History:
- From ancient times, the most widely known geoglyphs are the Nazca Lines of Peru, which have been a mystery to this day.
- Other geoglyphs from the past include the Megaliths in the Urals, the Uffington White Horse, the Long Man of Wilmington, and many others.
- A second flood warning for five southern districts has been issued after the water level in Vaigai Dam touched 68.50 ft. (the maximum permissible level is 71 ft.) recently.
Know! about Vaigai Dam
- It is constructed across the Vaigai River near Andipatti, in the Theni district of Tamil Nadu.
- It was built in 1959 and is often referred to as the lifeline of the region.
- It is a river in Tamil Nadu state.
- It rises in the Varushanad Hills of the Western Ghats.
- It travels through the Pandya Nadu region of Tamil Nadu.
- It is the major river in the fabled city of Madurai, the capital of the ancient and prosperous Pandya kingdom located in southern Tamil Nadu.
- The river finds a mention in Sangam literature dated to 300 before the Common Era.
- Vaigai gets major feed from the Periyar Dam in Kerala. Water from the Periyar River in Kerala is diverted into the Vaigai River in Tamil Nadu via a tunnel through the Western Ghats.
- It finally empties into the Palk Strait near the Pamban Bridge in Ramanathapuram district.
Central Information Commission
- Recently, the Information Commissioner, Heeralal Samariya, was sworn in as the chief of the Central Information Commission (CIC) by the President Of India.
Know! about the Central Information Commission
- CIC has been constituted under the Right to Information Act, of 2005 to exercise the powers conferred on them under the RTI Act, 2005.
- The jurisdiction of the Commission extends over all Central Public Authorities.
- CIC receives and inquires into complaints from any citizen (Section 18 of the RTI Act, 2005).
- It consists of a Chief Information Commissioner and not more than ten Information Commissioners. They are appointed by the President of India on the recommendation of a committee consisting of the Prime Minister as Chairperson, the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, and a Union Cabinet Minister nominated by the Prime Minister.
- The members of CIC and SIC shall be persons of eminence in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media, or administration and governance.
- Members shall not be a Member of Parliament or Member of the Legislature of any State or Union Territory as the case may be, or hold any other office of profit or connected with any political party or carry on any business or pursue any profession.
- The Chief Information Commissioner, or Information Commissioners, as the case may be, shall hold office for a period of three years from the date on which he enters upon his office.
Insurance Surety Bond
- To boost liquidity and capacity of bidders, NHAI has accepted Insurance Surety Bond for the monetization program of the upcoming bid of Toll Operate Transfer (TOT)
- This will be the first time this innovative instrument is being utilized as a Bank Guarantee (BG) in the road infrastructure sector for monetization of bids.
- NHAI has been working closely with Highway Operators Association of India (HOAI), SBI General Insurance and AON India Insurance to implement this initiative.
- Insurance Surety Bond has been issued for NHAI monetization bid of TOT bundle 14 @ 0.25% by the insurer without any margin money.
- Issuance of Insurance Surety Bond will set a new benchmark for the industry, highlighting the importance of innovative financial solutions in the evolving landscape of road infrastructure development.
- It will encourage private participation in the highway sector and will be a significant step towards facilitating ‘Ease of Doing Business’.
- Insurance Surety Bonds are instruments where insurance companies act as ‘Surety’ and provides the financial guarantee that the contractor will fulfil its obligation as per the agreed terms. Ministry of Finance, Government of India has made e-BG and Insurance Surety Bonds at par with Bank Guarantees for all Government procurements.
- Instruments like Insurance Surety Bonds will help to strengthen National Highway Infrastructure development, which has cascading positive impact on Indian economy.
- The Bhutan King began his maiden three-day tour to Assam with a visit to the famed Kamakhya Temple atop the Nilachal Hills in Guwahati.
Know! about Kamakhya Temple
- It is situated on Nilachal Hilland adjoining the southern bank of the Brahmaputra River in Guwahati, Assam.
- It is one of the most revered centres of Tantric practises.
- It is regarded as one of the oldest of the 51 Shakti Peethas in India.
- It had been modelled out of a combination of two different styles namely, the traditional Nagara, or North Indian and Saracenic or Mughal style of architecture.
- This unusual combination has been named the Nilachala Style of Architecture.
- This is the only temple of Assam having a fully developed ground plan.
- It consists of five chambers, garbhagrihaor sanctuary, antarala or vestibule, Jagan Mohan or principal chamber, bhogmandir or ritual chamber and natmandir or opera hall for performing traditional dance and music associated with sukti temples.
- Ambubachi Mela is one of the major festivals of this temple. The festival is held every year to commemorate the yearly menstruation of Goddess Kamakhya
Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) initiative
- Recently, the Indian Navy Chief Admiral said that the Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) initiative is a testament to the commitment to a free, open, inclusive, and rules-based Indo-Pacific region.
Know! about the Indo-Pacific Maritime Domain Awareness (IPMDA) initiative
- It was announced at the 2022 Quad Leaders’ Summit in Tokyo.
- It was announced to track “dark shipping” and build a “faster, wider, and more accurate maritime picture of near-real-time activities in partners’ waters”, integrating three critical regions in the Indo-Pacific — the Pacific Islands, Southeast Asia, and the IOR.
- IPMDA is a technology and training initiative to enhance maritime domain awareness in the Indo-Pacific region and to bring increased transparency to its critical waterways.
- It harnesses innovative technology, such as commercial satellite radio frequency data collection, to provide partners across Southeast Asia, the Indian Ocean region, and the Pacific with near real-time information on activities occurring in their maritime zones.
Know! about QUAD
- The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QSD), commonly known as the Quad, is a strategic security dialogue between Australia, India, Japan, and the United States that is maintained by talks between member countries.
- The dialogue was initiated in 2007 by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, with the support of Australian Prime Minister John Howard, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney.
- The dialogue was paralleled by joint military exercises of an unprecedented scale, titled Exercise Malabar. The diplomatic and military arrangement was widely viewed as a response to increased Chinese economic and military power.
- Its origins can be traced back to the evolution of Exercise Malabar and the 2004 Tsunami when India conducted relief and rescue operations for itself and neighbouring countries and was later joined by the US, Japan, and Australia.
Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
- Union Minister of Commerce and Industry visited San Francisco, United States of America, from 13th to 16th November 2023 to attend the various official engagements of Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC).
- One of the key focus of the visit was the joint event, co-chaired with US Commerce Secretary, Ms. Gina Raimondo on “India-USA Innovation Handshake Initiative”, with the aim to lift up and connect the two sides’ dynamic startup ecosystems, address specific regulatory hurdles to cooperation, and promote further innovation and job growth, particularly in emerging technologies.
Know! about IPEF
- The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) is an economic initiative launched by U.S. President Joe Biden on May 23, 2022. The framework launched with fourteen participating founding member nations in the Indo-Pacific region with an open invitation for other countries to join.
- The IPEF seeks to strengthen economic engagement among partner countries with the goal of advancing growth, peace, and prosperity in the region
- The framework is structured around four pillars relating to Trade (Pillar I); Supply Chains (Pillar II); Clean Economy (Pillar III); and Fair Economy (Pillar IV).
- Thirteen countries have joined the IPEF talks with the United States: Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam
Know! about the trade between India and USA
- Both India and USA are natural partners and have trade complementarities, long-standing strategic and economic relationship, people to people contact, and both are vibrant democracies too.
- The two countries are also collaborating under other frameworks such as QUAD and I2U2 (India-Israel/ UAE-USA).
Know! about Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)
- It is an inter-governmental forum for 21 member economies in the Pacific Rim that promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
- APEC started in 1989 in response to the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific economies and the advent of regional trade blocs in other parts of the world
- It aimed to establish new markets for agricultural products and raw materials beyond Europe.
- Headquarter – Singapore
- India has tried to join APEC since the late 1990s, but it remains an observer until today.
INDIA & BANGLADESH NAVIES UNDERTAKE CORPAT & EX-BONGOSAGAR
- The 4th edition of Bilateral Exercise between Indian Navy and Bangladesh Navy, BONGOSAGAR-23, and the 5th edition of Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) by the two navies was conducted in the Northern Bay of Bengal from 07 – 09 Nov 2023.
- Ships and aircraft from both navies undertook joint patrolling along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL), and subsequently conducted maritime exercises to enhance interoperability.
- CORPAT-23 also included the maiden Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) drills conducted between the two navies wherein a Search and Rescue scenario at sea was exercised.
Digital Life Certificate (Jeevan Pramaan)
- Over 16 lakh Digital Life Certificates, or Jeevan Pramaan, have been generated by the end of the first week of the launch of Campaign 2.0, an initiative of the Ministry of Personnel to enhance the ‘ease of living’ of Central Government pensioners across the country.
Know! about the Digital Life Certificate (Jeevan Pramaan)
- The Digital Life Certificate for Pensioners Scheme of the Government, known as Jeevan Pramaan, is a biometric-enabled digital service for pensioners.
- It was introduced in 2014 to simplify and enhance the convenience of life certificate submissions for pensioners.
- One of the major requisites for pensioners after their retirement from the service is to provide life certificates to authorised pension disbursing agencies like the bank, following which their pension is credited to their account.
- In order to get this life certificate, the individual drawing the pension is required to be either personally present themselves before the Pension Disbursing Agency or to have the Life Certificate issued by the authority where they have served earlier and have it delivered to the disbursing agency.
- The Jeevan Pramaan scheme seeks to address this very problem by digitising the whole process of securing the life certificate.
- Pensioners have the option to create Jeevan Pramaan, either online or via a mobile app.
- Using Jeevan Pramaan, a pensioner can now digitally provide proof of his/her existence to authorities for continuity of pension every year instead of requiring to appear in person before the certifying authority or the disbursing agency.
- It employs biometric authentication to validate the pensioner’s identity, effectively preventing fraudulent activity.
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