17,18 and 19 March 2023 Daily Current Affairs

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Prelims Specific Questions

1) With reference to Special Rupee Vostro Accounts (SRVA) consider the following statements:

  1. It is a mechanism to settle international trade in rupees.
  2. Prior approval of RBI is not required for opening SRVA.
    Select the correct option using the code given below:

1 only
2 only
Both 1 and 2
Neither 1 nor 2

2) Which of the following is/are the reason(s) behind Silicon Valley Bank Crisis?

  1. A sharp decline in the interest rates.
  2. Heavy investment in long-term government bonds by the Silicon Valley Bank.
  3. Run on the bank.
    Select the correct option using the code given below:

1 and 2 only
2 only
2 and 3 only
3 only

3) Which of the following country bounds Iran from the east?


4) Consider the following statements about ‘Eurasian Otter’

  1. It is a semi-aquatic herbivorous mammal inhabiting highland and lowland lakes, swamp forest, rivers and streams
  2. It is regarded as a flagship species and indicator of high-quality aquatic habitats and classified as ‘Near Threatened’ on the IUCN Red List.

Select the correct statement(s)

a) 1 only
b) 2 only
c) Both 1 and 2
d) Neither 1 nor 2

5) ‘Exercise BOLD Kurukshetra’ is a bilateral military exercise conducted between India and

a) Bhutan
b) Kazakhstan
c) Singapore
d) United Kingdom

6) ‘Omorgus Khandesh’ which was discovered recently is a species of

a) Honeybee
b) Bird
c) Beetle
d) Tortoise

7) With reference to Research, Education and Training Outreach (REACHOUT) Scheme consider the following statements:

1.It aims to develop skilled and trained manpower in Earth Sciences with the support of academic institutions in the country and abroad.

  1. The scheme has been launched by the Ministry of Education.

Select the correct statements using the code given below:

a)1 only
2 only
Both 1 and 2
Neither 1 nor 2

8) Which of the following is the aim of ‘Mission Sahbhagita’?:

A) To provide interest free loans to distress farmers.
B) To increase the private sector partnerships in the public sector infrastructures.
C) To provide special carbon credit to labour intensive industries in India.
D) To manage the network of 75 wetlands of national and international significance.

9) Low-temperature thermal desalination (LTTD) technique was seen in the news recently, is

A)A physical procedure that utilises heat to filter or separate a mixture containing at least one fluid.
B)A process by which water vapor in the air is changed into liquid water.
C)A technique for the conversion of seawater to potable water
D)The movement of a solvent across a semipermeable membrane toward a higher concentration of solute

PIB News Items

1) REACHOUT Scheme

The Union Minister of Earth Sciences has informed Lok Sabha about the Research, Education and Training Outreach(REACHOUT) Scheme.

What is the Research, Education and Training Outreach(REACHOUT) Scheme?

Nodal Ministry: Ministry of Earth Sciences 

Sub-Schemes: It consists of the following sub-schemes: 1) R&D in Earth System Science (RDESS), 2) International Training Centre for Operational Oceanography (ITCOocean) and 3) Program for Development of Skilled manpower in Earth System Sciences (DESK).

Objectives of the Scheme: 

– Supporting various R&D activities in the thrust areas of different components of Earth System Sciences that are theme and need-based and that would help in attaining the National goals set up for MoES.

– Develop useful collaborations with international organizations for the mutual transfer of advanced knowledge in science and technology in Earth Sciences and to provide services to developing countries.   

– Develop skilled and trained manpower in Earth Sciences with the support of academic institutions in the country and abroad.

2) Venus Volcano and Magellan Mission

Venus and Earth are often compared as sister planets, having similarities in size, mass, density, and volume. Now, a recent study has shown that Venus might share another feature with Earth – active volcanoes. Using decades-old radar images from the Magellan mission, researchers from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory of the California Institute of Technology have found evidence of volcanic activity on Venus.

The Magellan mission was launched by the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in May 1989 and operated until October 1994. It used radar imaging to take images of Venus’ surface from different orbits.

Magellan was the first planetary spacecraft launched from a space shuttle.

NASA’s Magellan mission to Venus was one of the most successful deep space missions. It was the first spacecraft to image the entire surface of Venus and made several discoveries about the planet. Magellan burned up about 10 hours after being commanded to plunge into the Venusian atmosphere.

Key Dates:-

May 4, 1989: Launch

May 5, 1989: Deployed from cargo bay of Space Shuttle Atlantis

Aug. 10, 1990: Arrived in Venus orbit

Oct. 13, 1994: Contact lost after Magellan was commanded to plunge into the atmosphere of Venus

Magellan Mission - 19 March Current Affairs

Magellan, named after the Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan (1480-1521), was the first deep space probe launched by the United States in almost 11 years, and also the first probe launched by a space shuttle.

Three missions are being planned to Venus, including NASA’s VERITAS and DAVINCI and the European Space Agency’s EnVision, which are expected to observe our neighbour in the 2030s. 

3) About Golconda Fort

Golconda Fort, located on the outskirts of Hyderabad, Telangana, is a historically significant fortress that dates back to the 11th century. Built by Kakatiya ruler Pratāparudra using mud walls, the fort was later handed over to the Bahmani Kings by Deo Rai, Rajah of Warangal, and subsequently became the capital of the Golconda Sultanate. Because of its proximity to diamond mines, including the Kollur Mine, the city became a center of trade for large diamonds known as Golconda Diamonds. The fort complex is currently in the UNESCO’s tentative list to become a World Heritage Site. Despite its historical importance, the fort is currently abandoned and in ruins.

Golconda fort - 19 march current affairs

4) A P8I aircraft of the Indian Navy arrived at Guam, USA on 14 Mar 23 to participate in ‘Exercise Sea Dragon 23’, the third edition of the coordinated multi-lateral ASW exercise for Long Range MR ASW aircraft, conducted by the US Navy.

The exercise scheduled from 15-30 Mar 23, would stress on coordinated anti-submarine warfare amongst the participating countries. The complexity and scope of these exercises has increased steadily over the past years to include advanced ASW drills.

What are Deep Ocean Mission :-

The Deep Ocean Mission is related to the Blue Economy. The activities of Deep Ocean Mission will help the components of blue economy such as fisheries, tourism and maritime transport, renewable energy, aquaculture, seabed extractive activities and marine biotechnology. 

5) Mission Sahbhagita

Mission Sahbhagita, on the occasion of Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, which is an important step towards participatory conservation and wise use of wetlands to enable a society ownership approach with communities leading at the forefront. The Ministry has also launched ‘Save Wetlands Campaign’ as part of this Mission on 04.02.2023 at Goa on the occasion of World Wetlands Day 2023.

Further, Ministry has launched “Wetlands of India Portal” (indianwetlands.in), a publicly available information and knowledge platform, in order to facilitate knowledge sharing, information dissemination, host capacity building material, and provide a single-point access data repository with the features of Management Information System (MIS) login for each and every state/UT for uploading of information from time to time.

6) St. Patrick’s Day is an annual holiday celebrated on March 17th. It is a cultural and religious celebration that marks the death anniversary of Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. The holiday has become a global celebration of Irish heritage and culture

7) Bhutan, a landlocked country in South Asia, is set to be removed from the LDC list

Bhutan, a landlocked country in South Asia, is set to be removed from the LDC list on December 13, 2023, becoming the seventh country to graduate from the list. Bhutan’s graduation was announced by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018, based on its sustainable development efforts, including poverty reduction, education, healthcare, and gender equality.

The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) list was established in 1971 by the United Nations with the purpose of identifying and supporting the world’s poorest and most vulnerable countries. The list includes 46 countries that are categorized based on their income levels, human development indicators, and economic vulnerability. These countries face significant challenges in terms of economic development, including low levels of infrastructure, limited access to financial markets, and a high incidence of poverty.

3) Mission Shakti: Mission Shakti comprises of two sub-schemes ‘Sambal’ and ‘Samarthya’ for safety and security of women and empowerment of women respectively. The existing schemes of One Stop Centres (OSC), Women Helplines (181-WHL) and BetiBachaoBetiPadhao (BBBP) have been made part of Sambal sub- scheme; while the existing schemes of Pradhan MantriMatruVandanaYojana (PMMVY), Ujjwala, SwadharGreh and Working Women Hostel and National Creche Scheme have been subsumed in ‘Samarthya’.

4) Mission Vatsalya: Under Mission Vatsalya, the Child Protection Scheme(CPS) has been strengthened for better outreach and protection for children in need and care in a mission mode with the objective to: (i)Support and sustain Children in difficult circumstances. (ii) Develop context-based solutions for holistic development of children from varied backgrounds. (iii) Provide scope for green field projects for encouraging innovative solutions. (iv) Cement convergent action by gap funding, if required.

8)  “herStart”

‘herSTART’, a platform to encourage women entrepreneurs inaugurated

herSTART’ platform has been introduced to promote women StartUps and to encourage women entrepreneurs. The new platform was recently inaugurated by the President of India, he said.

9) The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has expressed delight as Meghalaya gets electric trains for the first time after Indian Railways completed the electrification of important sections between Abhayapuri – Pancharatna; Dudhnai – Mendipathar. 

Sharing a tweet by PIB Meghalaya, the Prime Minister tweeted;

“Wonderful news for Meghalaya and furthering connectivity in the Northeast.”

10) Narayani River :- The Narayani River, also known as Gandaki River, is one of the major rivers in Nepal. It is a left bank tributary of the Ganges in India. The river’s total catchment area amounts to 46,300 km2 (17,900 sq mi), most of it in Nepal. In the Nepal Himalayas, it is notable for its deep canyon. The basin also contains three mountains over 8,000 m (26,000 ft), namely Dhaulagiri, Manaslu, and Annapurna I. Dhaulagiri is the highest point of the Gandaki basin.

Under the Namami Gange Program, the development of river front on Narayani River in the district of Gopalganj, Bihar has been undertaken, and two Ghats have been constructed at a total cost of Rs. 6.62 crore.

11) Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) is a highly contagious viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals such as cattle, buffaloes, sheep, and goats. In India, FMD is a major concern for livestock farmers as it leads to a reduction in milk yield and causes significant economic losses. However, the Indian government has recently made significant progress in its FMD vaccination drive, which aims to control the spread of the disease.

12) The Indian Navy Forces and Royal Saudi Naval Forces met in Mumbai recently o finalize preparations for the upcoming joint naval exercise, ‘Al-Mohed-Al Hindi-23’, which is set to take place in May 2023 in Jubail, Saudi Arabia. This is the second such exercise between the two countries, following the first in August 2021. 

13) C- Veda

Maturity, the thinking goes, comes with age. However, this journey from childhood to adulthood is uneven: some mental attributes surface faster than others, some are more pronounced in girls, and poverty and trauma have an outsized influence on cognitive development, says one of the largest studies of its kind, spanning nearly 9,000 children and young adults from India.

The study is part of a longterm project called the ‘Consortium on Vulnerability to Externalising Disorders and Addictions’ (C-Veda).
It aims to follow up those tested over decades, and evaluate the effect of biological and environmental
risk on cognitive development.

Some Terms associated with the News:-

Brain development progresses from childhood to early adulthood with wideranging connections among neurons in multiple parts of the brain.

This connectivity significantly influences abilities such as temporarily holding chunks of information, called ‘working memory’ (for instance, memorising a phone number before writing it down) and ‘set shifting’ (iterating multiple ways to solve a puzzle).

These skills are classified as executive functions.

Another category of functions, called social cognition help mediate relationships.

14) Starberry Sense

Indian Institute of Astrophysics researchers develop low-cost star sensor

What is a Star Sensor:- “Any satellite needs to know where it is pointed in space, and the instrument
used for this purpose is called a star sensor.

What is the news:- Researchers at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA) have developed a lowcost
star sensor for astronomy and small CubeSat class satellite missions.

The star sensor named StarberrySense can help small CubeSat class satellite missions find their
orientation in space.

Starberry Sense - 19 March 2023 Current Affairs

The brain of the instrument is a single-board Linux computer called Raspberry Pi, which is widely used among electronics hobby enthusiasts.

15) Horse-Shoe Crabs

Horseshoe crabs disappearing off Odisha’s coast; scientists worried .

Horseshoe crabs, one of the oldest living creatures on earth and medicinally priceless, appear to be disappearing from their familiar spawning grounds along Chandipur and Balaramgadi coast in Odisha’s
Balasore district.

Scientists have urged Odisha government to come up with a robust protection mechanism before the living fossil becomes extinct due to destructive fishing practices.

Medicinal Value of Horse shoe Crabs:- The blood of this crab is very important for the preparation of rapid diagnostic reagents. All injectable medicines are tested on them.

A molecule has been developed from a reagent of horseshoe crab to help treat preeclampsia.
The scientist said only a few countries in the world have horseshoe crab population
and India is one among them. “This is the oldest living creature on earth. Palaeontological
studies say the age of horseshoe crabs is 450 million years. The creature has lived on earth without undergoing any morphological change. Scientists are surprised to find strong immune system in animal that helped it survive millions of years. The animal is critical for human
health. If we don’t put any effort now, horseshoe crabs would not be found in India in next few years,”
he warned.

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