Argutes

Daily Current Affairs for UPSC Civil Services Exam – 24 September 2021

1. Shankhalipi inscription

  1. The Archaeological Survey of India has found Shankhalipi inscription on the stairs of a Gupta-period temple in a village in Uttar Pradesh’s Etah district.
  2. It has been dated to the time of Emperor Kumaragupta
  3. A similar Shankhalipi inscription was found on the back of a stone horse sculpture from that period that is presently placed at the State Museum at Lucknow

Shankhalipi Script

  1. Shankhalipi is assumed to be derivative of Brahmi script
  2. It is a script with conch-shaped characters
  3. It is a shell script is a term used by scholars to describe presently undeciphered
  4. They are found in inscriptions across various parts of India except the far south and date to between the 4th and 8th centuries CE.

Kumaragupta

  1. ‘Sri Mahendraditya’ was the title of Kumaragupta
  2. An inscription was discovered on one of the steps, dating to 5th century CE, the Gupta period.
  3. The inscription possibly reading Sri Mahendraditya was identified from the time of Kumaragupta of the Gupta dynasty

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2. Fortified rice kernels

  1. The government has, for the first time, issued uniform specifications for fortified rice kernels (FRK) for grade A and common rice in case of procurement of fortified rice stocks
  2. One percent of FRK should be blended with normal rice
  3. The Department of Food and Public Distribution, under the Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution Ministry, issued the uniform specifications for Central Pool procurement for the ensuing Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) 2020-21
  4. These specifications, as per standard practice, have been issued in respect of paddy, rice, and other coarse grains, namely, jowar, bajra, maize, and Ragi.
  5. These specifications also include standards of rice for an issue to states/UTs for distribution under TPDS and other welfare schemes based on the uniform specifications of rice for KMS 2020-21.
  6. All states/Union Territories and the Food Corporation of India (FCI) have been advised that the procurement during KMS 2020-21 may be strictly in accordance with the uniform specifications

3. African Swine Flu

  1. An outbreak of African swine disease has been recorded in the Kanchanpur, Tripura district after it has been recorded in Mizoram
  2. The animal resource development department ordered that all pigs within a 1-kilometer radius of the epicenter be slaughtered, and a 10-kilometer zone be monitored.

What is African Swine Fever?

  1. A viral disease that affects pigs is known as African Swine Fever (ASF).
  2. ASF is thought to spread quickly and has a near-100 percent case fatality rate.
  3. Direct contact with an infected or wild pig (alive or dead), indirect contact through consumption of contaminated food or waste, or even biological vectors such as ticks are all ways for the virus to spread.
  4. According to health experts, the ASF outbreak poses no risk to human health and cannot be passed from pigs to humans biologically.

4. Plant Discoveries 2020

  1. The Botanical Survey of India, in its new publication Plant Discoveries 2020 has added 267 new taxa/ species to the country’s flora.
  2. The 267 new discoveries include 119 angiosperms; 3 pteridophytes; 5 bryophytes, 44 lichens; 57 fungi, 21 algae and 18 microbes.
  3. In 2020, 202 new plant species were discovered across the country and 65 new records were added.
  4. New discoveries this year
    • nine new species of balsams (Impatiens)
    • one species of wild banana (Musa pradhanii) from Darjeeling
    • one species each of wild jamun (Sygygium anamalaianum) from Coimbatore
    • fern species (Selaginella odishana) from Odisha.

5.  Geographical distribution

    • 22% from the Western Ghats
    • 15% Western Himalayas
    • 14% Eastern Himalayas
    • 12% Northeast Ranges
    • West coast contributed 10%
    • East Coast contributed 9%
    • The Eastern Ghats and South Deccan contribute 4%

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5. FDI  Inflows

  1. The Ministry of Commerce & Industry has announced that FDI  inflows witnessed a whopping 62% year-on-year growth in the first four months of the current financial year FY22.
  2. Measures taken by the Government on the fronts of FDI policy reforms, investment facilitation, and ease of doing business have resulted in increased FDI inflows into the country.
  3. India has attracted a total FDI inflow of $27.37B during the first four months of FY2021-22 which is 62% higher as compared to the corresponding period of FY 2020-21 where it stood at $16.92B.

Key highlights of the FDI inflows

  1. FDI equity inflow grew by 112%
  2. Automobile Industry has emerged as the top sector during the first four months
  3. 23% from Automobile Industry followed by 18% form Computer Software & Hardware and 10%) Services Sector respectively.
  4. Under the sector `Automobile Industry’, the majority of FDI Equity inflow (87%) was reported in the state of
  5. Karnataka is the top recipient with a 45% share of the total FDI equity inflows followed by Maharashtra (23%) and Delhi (12%).

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6. Single-window system

  1. The government launched a national single-window system for investors and businesses.
  2. The portal will integrate the existing clearance systems of the Centre and states.
  3. The single-window portal will become a “one-stop-shop” for approvals and clearances.
  4. It will enable obtaining approvals as well as clearances needed by investors, entrepreneurs, and businesses in India.
  5. The platform will do away with the need for multiple applications across various portals
  6. . However, all approvals will still be needed
  7. This would bring transparency, accountability, and responsiveness in the ecosystem and all information will be available on a single dashboard.
  8. An applicant dashboard would be there to apply, track and respond to queries

7. FASTER system

  1. Special Bench led by the Chief Justice of India has introduced the “Fast and Secured Transmission of Electronic Records” (FASTER) system.
  2. The system is meant to ensure that undertrials are not made to wait for days on end behind bars to be released because the certified hard copies of their bail orders were late to reach the prison.
  3. The system would also prevent unnecessary arrests and custody of people even after the court has already granted them its protection.
  4. It may even communicate a stay on an execution ordered by the final court on time.
  5. It is proposed that the e-authenticated copies of the record of proceedings/orders, digitally signed by the authorised officer may be transmitted through

 8. Framework for Simulators

  1. Ministry of Defence (MoD) has promulgated a framework for enhanced and synergised utilisation of simulators by the three Services and the Coast Guard.
  2. The framework lays emphasis on indigenous design and development as well as outsourcing of operation and maintenance of simulators to Indian companies
  3. It aims to achieve cost-effective, safe, and smart training as well as reduce live equipment utilization.
  4. The policy will be applicable to all types of simulators in use and to be procured in the future by the armed forces.
  5. Avenues of application of simulation technology will be constantly explored to achieve a high level of op preparedness while reducing expenditure on training and preserving the life of the equipment

 9. Arjun Mk-1A Main Battle Tanks

  1. The Defence Ministry placed an order with the Heavy Vehicle Factory (HVF), Avadi, for the supply of 118 indigenous Arjun Mk-1A Main Battle Tanks for the Army at a cost of  7,523 crores.
  2. This production order to HVF, Avadi opens up a large avenue in defense manufacturing for over 200 Indian
  3.  An Arjun hub has been set up in Jaisalmer where 248 rotables have been deposited to ensure quick support and maintenance for the fleet.
  4. The missile is under development by the Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), Pune.

MBT Mk-1A

  1. The state-of-the-art MBT Mk-1A is a new variant of the Arjun tank designed to enhance firepower, mobility, and survivability.
  2.  It is infused with 72 new features and more indigenous content from the Mk-1 variant
  3. The tank would ensure effortless mobility in all terrains, besides precise target engagement during day and night
  4. The MBT Arjun Mk-1A was designed and developed by the Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE) along with the other laboratories of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  5. The Mk1A will be without missile firing capability and will be incorporated as and when the development is complete.
  6. The Mk-1A has been customized for missile firing and the advanced GMS has a built-in laser target designator.

10. EU framework for Monoclonal antibody

  1. EU has signed a joint procurement framework contract with the pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly for the supply of monoclonal antibody treatment for coronavirus patients.
  2. This is the first portfolio of five promising therapeutics announced under the EU COVID-19 Therapeutics Strategy in June 2021.
  3. The medicine is currently under rolling review by the European Medicines Agency.
  4. 18 member states have signed up to the joint procurement for the purchase of up to 220,000 treatments.
  5. The product is a combination of two monoclonal antibodies (bamlanivimab and etesevimab) for the treatment of coronavirus patients who do not require oxygen but are at high risk of severe COVID-19.
  6. Monoclonal antibodies are proteins conceived in the laboratory that mimic the immune system’s ability to fight the coronavirus.
  7. They fuse to the spike protein and thus block the virus’s attachment to the human cells

The EU Strategy on COVID-19 Therapeutics

  1. It was adopted in May 2021
  2. It aims to build a broad portfolio of COVID-19 therapeutics with the goal of having three new therapeutics available by October 2021 and possibly two more by the end of the year.
  3. It covers the full lifecycle of medicines from research, development, selection of promising candidates, fast regulatory approval, manufacturing, and deployment to final use.
  4. It will also coordinate, scale up, and ensure that the EU acts together in ensuring access to therapeutics via joint procurements.

11. Comprehensive Strategic Partnership

  1. India, UAE begin 1st round of CEPA with an aim to sign trade pact by 2022
  2. India and the UAE have expressed a desire to reach a mutually beneficial economic deal, building upon the progress made by the countries under the CEPA signed in 2017.
  3. India and the UAE have officially launched negotiations for a free trade agreement, the first round of talks for which are set to begin
  4. The CEPA deal is expected to create new jobs, raise the living standards, and provide wider social and economic opportunities in both nations.
  5. A new strategic economic agreement is expected to increase the bilateral trade in goods to $100 billion within five years of the signed agreement and increase trade in services to $15 billion.

India and UAE

  1. UAE is India’s third-largest trading partner
  2. It second-largest export destination after the US, with exports valued at approximately $29 billion in the 2019-2020 financial year.
  3. India’s major exports to the UAE include petroleum products, precious metals, stones, gems, and jewellery.
  4. The UAE is also the eighth-largest investor in India, having invested around $11 billion

12. Boeing in Australia

  1. U.S. aerospace giant announced plans to build a new type of drone military aircraft in Australia.
  2. Boeing had selected Toowoomba city in Queensland State as the final assembly point for its unmanned Loyal Wingman planes.
  3. It uses artificial intelligence to operate in tandem with manned aircraft and was conceived, designed, and developed in Australia.
  4. It’s the first military combat aircraft to be designed and manufactured in Australia in half a century.
  5. The announcement comes less than a week after the U.S., Britain, and Australia announced a new security alliance that will supply Australia with nuclear-powered submarines.