Daily Current Affairs – 19-07-2023

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    Rock Art in A.P.’s Rudragiri

    Syllabus:GS1/Culture

    In News

    • A site in Rudragiri hills showcases a fascinating fusion of rock art from different cultures.

    About

    • Location: Rudragiri hillock, nestled amidst the Eastern Ghats, features five naturally formed rock shelters at its foothills,facing westward.It is located in the village of Orvakallu, in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh.
    • This site unveils a combination of prehistoric rock paintings from the Mesolithic period around 5000 B.C ,and exquisite artwork from the Kakatiya dynasty.

    Artistic brilliance

    • Physical Condition: These caves showcase the artistic brilliance of the Kakatiya period. While many have suffered damage over time due to exposure to the elements, some sketches and outlines have managed to survive. 
    • Colours: The paintings, adorned with a variety of colours derived from white kaolin and different pigments, depict captivating scenes from the epic Ramayana. 

    Captivating Murals

    • The first cave, starting from the southern end of the hillock, presents a narrative mural portraying the intense battle between the Vanara brothers — Vali and Sugriva.
    • In the middle cave, a grand sketch of Lord Hanuman is accompanied by sacred symbols of the conch (Sankha) and the fire altar (Yagna Vedi).Hanuman is depicted carrying the Sanjeevani hill in his hand, symbolizing his mission to save Lakshmana’s life.
    • The Kakatiya artist chose the same rock shelter to superimpose the figure of Hanuman, who is portrayed in a unique ‘Anjali’ posture, folding his hands in a divine offering.
    • The third cave houses the prehistoric rock paintings from the Mesolithic era

           

    Kakatiya dynasty

    • The Kakatiya dynasty was a Telugu dynasty that ruled most of the eastern Deccan region in present-day India between the 12th and 14th centuries. 
    • Territory: It comprised much of the present day Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, and parts of eastern Karnataka, northern Tamil Nadu, and southern Odisha.
    • Capital:Orugallu (Warangal).
    • Prominent rulers:Early Kakatiya rulers served as feudatories to Rashtrakutas and Western Chalukyas for more than two centuries. They assumed sovereignty under Prataparudra I in 1163 CE.
      • Ganapati Deva (1199–1262) expanded Kakatiya lands during the 1230s and brought under control the lowland delta areas around the Godavari and Krishna rivers. 
      • Rudrama Devi (1262–1289) who is one of the few queens in Indian history.Marco Polo visited India during her reign.She successfully repelled the attacks of Yadavas of Devagiri into the Kakatiya territory.

    Source:TH

    India UAE deal to Trade with Rupees

    Syllabus: GS2/ International relation

    In News

    • India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently signed two memoranda of understanding (MoUs). The deal was signed during the Prime Minister’s recent visit to Abu Dhabi, UAE.

    About

    • The first of the two MoUs aims to establish a Local Currency Settlement System (LCSS) to promote the use of rupee and the dirham bilaterally. 
    • The second is to link India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) with its UAE-counterpart Instant Payment Platform (IPP). 

    Local Currency Settlement System (LCSS)

    • It will cover all current and permitted capital account transactions. 
    • The Local Currency Settlement System (LCSS) will enable exporters and importers to pay in their respective domestic currencies and enable the development of an INR-AED forex market.
    • It would also help promote investments and remittances between the two countries. Broadly, the arrangement would help optimize transaction costs and settlement time for transactions, including for remittances from Indians residing in the UAE.
    • The focus on denominating export contracts and invoices in the local currency helps avert exchange-rate risks (such as when a third currency is being used as a standard), which further facilitates the scope to discover competitive pricing.
    • It could also lead to enhanced avenues for cooperation among the banking systems of the two countries, thereby contributing to the expansion of trade and economic activity for both. 

    Data Facts:

    • India-UAE trade rose to $85 billion in 2022. The UAE was India’s third largest trading partner and second-largest export destination in FY2022-23. Conversely, India was the UAE’s second largest trading partner.
    • The major items of export from India to the UAE include mineral fuels, mineral oils and products etc.
    • The major items imported by India are petroleum crude and petroleum related products. 
    • The UAE is the fourth largest investor in India. Its cumulative FDI inflows between April 2000 and September 2022 stood at around $15.2 billion.

    Interlinking India’s UPI and UAE’s Instant Payment Platform (IPP)

    • The central banks of both countries have signed to cooperate on linking India’s Unified Payments Interface (UPI) with the UAE’s Instant Payment Platform (IPP) and RuPay switch and UAESWITCH.
    • The UPI-IPP link will enable users in both countries to make fast, safe and cost-effective cross-border transfers.
    • The linking of card switches will facilitate the mutual acceptance of domestic cards and the processing of card transactions.
    • UPI-IPP linkage would make sending remittances back to home easy and cheap, especially for low wage earners.
      • Earlier, the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) finalized a collaboration with Singapore’s PayNow for facilitating cross-border real time money transfers.
    • The World Bank noted in the 2023 Migration and Development Brief that India experienced a 24.4% increase in remittances to $111 billion in 2022 on a year-over-year basis. 
      • The remittance inflows from GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries, which accounts for about 28% of the country’s total remittance inflows.

    Significance of Internationalisation of rupee

    • Internationalisation is a process that involves increasing the use of the rupee in cross-border transactions. It involves promoting the rupee for import and export trade and then other current account transactions, followed by its use in capital account transactions.
    • The RBI’s plan to settle international trade in the local currency will let importers make payments in the rupee, which will be credited to the special account of the correspondent bank of the partner country, while exporters will be paid from the balances in the designated special account.
    • The use of the rupee in cross-border transactions mitigates currency risk for Indian businesses.  Protection from currency volatility not only reduces the cost of doing business, it also enables better growth of business, improving the chances for Indian businesses to grow globally.
    • Internationalisation of the rupee reduces the need for holding foreign exchange reserves. Reducing dependence on foreign currency will make India less vulnerable to external shocks.

    Source: IE

    Semi-high-speed rail corridor for Kerala

    Syllabus: GS 3/Infrastructure

    In News

    • In Kerala, a new semi-high speed railway, expected to cruise at an average speed of 125 kmph has been proposed. 

    About the new rail project

    • It is a semi-high speed train project on standard gauge track that was mooted recently by technocrat E. Sreedharan.
    • The alignment for the trains will be largely that of the alignment suggested in 2015 for the high-speed rail corridor.
    • It is being projected as an alternative to the ₹64,000 crore Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod SilverLineproject, which was to cover the 530-km distance at an average speed of about 135 kmph, as per the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd. (KRDCL).
      • The KRDCL had mooted 10 stations, each located approximately 55 km away, in the SilverLine alignment, while Mr. Sreedharan has cited the need for 15 stations located every 30 kms, to benefit more people. 
    • The proposed corridor would have a design speed of 200 kmph and can be linked with high-speed or semi-high speed rail projects on standard gauge.
    • The project can be realised for ₹1 lakh crore in six years.

    Need and Purpose 

    • With two projects to speed up rail commute in the State failing to take off, along with the laboriously-slow pace of travel in trains and local buses, the people of Kerala have taken to cars and two-wheelers for inter-district commute. 
      • There are now 1.5 crore vehicles jostling for space on narrow and congested roads 
    • It is in this context that Mr. Sreedharan has suggested a semi-high speed corridor. 
    • It is felt that there is a need for stations every 30 km, considering the high density of population in Kerala and the high demand for trains like Vande Bharat Express. 
      • This would in turn improve patronage for the trains in the proposed corridor. 
    • The alignment with a right mix of elevated and underground track  would bring down land acquisition to one-fifth of what was envisaged for the SilverLine project which relied heavily on embankments (which in turn raised concerns of flooding). 
    • This would also help save thousands of houses and other structures from being demolished.

    Challenges 

    • The necessity for stations at such short distances makes a high-speed rail corridor impractical for the State.
    • The project could  leave a huge footprint in the form of environmental impact, the huge cost of land acquisition just like other previously proposed projects .

    Conclusion and Way Forward 

    • It  is imperative for the State’s progress, considering that the existing rail lines are saturated and the alarming situation due to over 4,000 people dying in road accidents every year in the State. 
    • Land is needed at 20-metre width only in the construction stage to facilitate movement of equipment and for storage. It would be returned to the landowners who can use it for farming or for grazing cattle, but not for buildings and trees.
    • The land needed for an underground rail network would be next to nil. This will considerably lessen public resistance to the project.

    Status of the other related projects 

    • In 2014, the State government entrusted the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) with the task of readying a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for a high-speed rail corridor linking Thiruvananthapuram with the northern-most district Kasaragod.
      •  The DPR which was handed over to the government in 2015 was considered too ambitious and costly and failed to take off.
    • The SilverLineproject, proposed by the KRDCL in 2021, on the other hand, met with massive resistance, as it was to be built over a tall embankment constructed over the ground, and would have led to massive displacement of people. 
      • Environmental activists and others expressed fears that this would worsen flooding in many areas, since the embankment would block natural flow of water even if drains and canals were built at intervals.

    Source:TH

    TCRM Matrix Framework

    Syllabus: GS3/Indian Economy

    In News

    • NITI Aayog released the Techno-Commercial Readiness and Market Maturity Matrix (TCRM Matrix) Framework to Drive Innovation and Entrepreneurship in India.

    About the TCRM Matrix Framework

    • Aim: To revolutionize technology assessment and fuel innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.
    • The Working Paper casts light on the historical evolution of technology assessment frameworks, including the Technology Readiness Level (TRL), Commercialization Readiness Level (CRL), and Market Readiness Level (MRL) scales. 

    • Integrated Assessement Model: By building upon these frameworks’ core principles, the TCRM Matrix framework presents an integrated assessment model that offers in-depth insights and actionable intelligence to stakeholders at every stage of the technology development cycle.
    • Integration into system: The working paper provides clear guidelines for integrating the TCRM Matrix framework within the broader innovation ecosystem. 
      • By doing so, policymakers, strategists, academicians, and investors can unlock its full potential and drive meaningful change. 
    • Way forward for integration: The paper gives a way forward for policymakers, strategists, academicians, and investors on how to integrate the framework within the larger ecosystem of innovation, and entrepreneurship.
      • The paper elaborates on the key requirements and rationales for adopting the framework and whether it can lead to significant positive implications as well as the constraints, if any, in implementing this framework. 
    • It has also been specified that an extensive exercise has to be done before adopting the framework within any specific environment. 
      • The framework adoption has to be within the national and sectoral innovation facets.

    Source: PIB

    Facts In News

    Ghaggar and its Tributaries

    Syllabus: GS1/ Geography

    In News

    • Recently, the Ghaggar River and its tributaries in Haryana, caused havoc in the region after a breach in their embankments. 

    About Ghaggar-Hakra River

    • Origin: Dagshai Village,Himachal Pradesh in the Shivalik hills.
    • Tributaries:Kaushalya, Tangri, Markanda, Beghna, Sarsuti, Chautang and Sukhna rivers.
    • Cities: Cities like Panchkula, Derabassi, Ambala and Shahabad lie on the banks of these rivers.
    • Nature: Seasonal river that flows through the plains of northern India in the western direction
    • States: Flows south through the states of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana and Rajasthan, eventually entering Pakistan where it dries out before reaching the Arabian Sea.
    • The channel is divided into two lengths by the Ottu barrage, near Sirsa. The part of the river to the east of the barrage is called Ghaggar and the other half Hakra. 
    • Paleogeographic studies indicate the existence of a wide channel in place of the current Ghaggar-Hakra. The paleo channel of this river was drained by the Saraswati and discharged into the Rann of Kutch.
    • Studies indicate that the river has shrunk in magnitude. Previously, it is believed to have been a brimming river, watering the Bronze Age civilizations. The vestigial channel boasts of relict sites of Indus Valley settlements. 
    • Even today, the Ghaggar-Hakra River constitutes an important source in terms of irrigation for Haryana in particular.

    Source: DTE

     Crimea Bridge

    Syllabus: GS2/ IR

    In News

    • Two people were killed after one of the sections of the rail-and-road Crimea bridge was blown up recently.

    About:

    • The Kerch Bridge/Crimea Bridge, opened in 2018, is a crucial transportation route between Russia and Crimea, which was annexed by Russia in 2014.
    • The bridge is a pair of parallel bridges, one for a road and another for railway, spanning the Kerch Strait between the Taman Peninsula of Krasnodar Krai in Russia and the Kerch Peninsula of Crimea. 

    Importance of the bridge

    • The Crimea bridge is a crucial structure for Russia as it is the only direct link between the transport network of the country and the Crimean peninsula. 
    • It’s a part of the route that supplies fuel, food and other products to the region, where the port of Sevastopol is the historic home base of Russia’s Black Sea Fleet.
    • The bridge’s significance increased after the Russia-Ukraine war broke out. Russian convoys, carrying weapons, vehicles and fuel, frequently use the route to reach Ukrainian territories, especially southern Ukraine’s Kherson region and some of the adjoining Zaporizhia province. 

    Source: IE

    Kanwar Yatra 

    Syllabus:GS1/Culture

    News

    • Recently, the annual Kanwar Yatra concluded during which lakhs of pilgrims carried waters from the Ganga and other holy rivers to Shiva shrines. 

    Kanwar Yatra 

    • The Kanwar Yatra is an annual pilgrimage of devotees of Shiva, known as KÄÂnvarias organized in the Hindu calendar month of Shravana.
    • Traditionally, saffron-clad devotees walked barefoot to take water from pilgrimage sites with pitchers of water to worship Shiva lingas at shrines of importance
    • Devotees carry the pitchers of holy water on their shoulders, balanced on decorated slings known as Kanwars.
    • A similar festival is celebrated in Tamil Nadu, called the Kavadi festival, in which Lord Muruga is worshiped.

    Religious significance

    • As per the legend during ‘samudra manthan’,an episode narrated in the Bhagavata Purana and in the Vishnu Purana a lethal poison was emerged which was consumed by Lord Shiva.It is believed that to reduce the effects of that poison, the practice of offering water to Shiva began.

    Source:IE 

    Sahara Refund Portal

    Syllabus :GS2/Governance 

    In News

    • Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation launched the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies (CRCS)-Sahara Refund Portal

    About -Sahara Refund Portal

    • This portal has been developed for submission of claims by genuine depositors of Cooperative Societies of Sahara Group – Sahara Credit Cooperative Society Limited, Saharayan Universal Multipurpose Society Limited, Hamara India Credit Cooperative Society Limited and Stars Multipurpose Cooperative Society Limited. 
    • There are two main conditions related to the process: first, the investor’s Aadhaar card must be linked to their mobile number, and second, the Aadhaar card must be linked to their bank account. 

    Features 

    • The online Portal developed for submission of claims is user friendly, efficient and transparent. The entire process is digital. 
    • Necessary checks and balances have been incorporated in the Portal to ensure that only the legitimate deposits of the genuine depositors are refunded. 
    • The portal can also be accessed through the Ministry of Cooperation website.
    • The depositors will be verified through Aadhaar card to ensure their identity. 
    • The money will be deposited into the bank account of the claimants within 45 days.

    Purpose 

    • The purpose of the CRCS-Sahara Refund Portal is to protect the interests of members of the cooperatives. The portal will help address the genuine claims of depositors who had invested money in Sahara Group’s cooperative societies.

    Do you Know ?

    • Hon’ble Supreme Court vide its order dated 29th March 2023 directed that Rs. 5000 Crores be transferred out of the “Sahara-SEBI Refund Account”, to the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies (CRCS) for disbursement against the legitimate dues of the genuine depositors of the Sahara Group of Cooperative Societies. 
    • Earlier on March 29, the Government had said that money will be returned to 10 crore investors of the four cooperative societies of Sahara Group within 9 months. The announcement was made after the above-mentioned SC order.

    Source:PIB

    Crimean-Congo Haemorrhagic Fever (CCHF)

    Syllabus: GS2/Health

    News

    • The Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) has become a threat to humanity in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. 

    Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever (CCHF) 

    • Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever (CCHF) is a widespread disease caused by a tick-borne virus, Nairovirus of the Bunyaviridae family.
    • Background: The disease was first detected among soldiers in the Crimean Peninsula (near the Black Sea) in 1944. Later in 1969, the same pathogen was identified in the Congo Basin.Thus, the disease was named the Crimean-Congo haemorrhagic fever.
    • Distribution: The CCHF is endemic to Africa, the Balkan countries, Middle East, and parts of Asia.
    • Impact: The virus can lead to epidemics and has a high fatality ratio of 10–40%.

    Transmission

    • To humans it occurs through contact with infected ticks or animal blood.Human to human transmission occurs by  contact with infectious blood or body fluids”, such as sweat and saliva. 

    Symptoms

    • CCHF symptoms include fever, muscle ache, dizziness, neck pain, backache, headache, sore eyes and sensitivity to light.

    Treatment

    • There is no vaccine for the virus in either humans or animals, and treatment generally consists of managing symptoms. 
    • The antiviral drug ribavirin has been used to treat CCHF infection with apparent benefit.

    Source:IE

    DPT3 Immunization

    Syllabus: GS2/ Health

    In News

    • The coverage rate for DPT3, the third dose of diphtheria, pertussis and tetanus vaccines, in India rose to an all-time high of 93% in 2022.

    About

    • The WHO and UNICEF estimates for national immunisation coverage for 2022, released showed that in the WHO South-East Asia Region, the coverage rate for DPT3 recovered to the pre-pandemic level of 91%, a sharp increase from the 82% recorded in 2021. 
    • DPT vaccine is a combination of three vaccines that helps to protect against three infectious diseases: 
      • Diphtheria: Diphtheria is an infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. It is usually spread between people by direct contact, through the air, or through contact with contaminated objects. A diphtheria vaccine is effective for prevention and available in a number of formulations.
      • Pertussis: Commonly known as whooping cough. It is a respiratory tract infection caused by a type of bacteria called Bordetella pertussis.
      • Tetanus: Tetanus is an infection caused by bacteria called Clostridium tetani. When these bacteria enter the body, they produce a toxin that causes painful muscle contractions. Another name for tetanus is “lockjaw”.
    • DPT is covered under India’s Universal Immunisation programme (UIP). Under UIP, immunization is being provided free of cost against 12 vaccine preventable diseases 

    Benefits of Immunisation

    • Immunization is a way of protecting the human body against infectious diseases through vaccination. Immunisation prepares our bodies to fight against diseases in case we come into contact with them in the future.

    Source: IE

    India-Russia Vande Bharat Joint venture Deal

    Syllabus: GS2/ International Relations

    In News

    • In the joint venture deal the  Metrowagonmash and the Rail Vikas Nigam Limited (RVNL) to manufacture 120 Vande Bharat train sets each costing ₹120 crore. 
      • Metrowagonmash is an engineering company based at Mytishchi in Russia, and specialises in transport building.

    About

    • Under the current joint venture deal, the RVNL has a minority stake of 25%, while Metrowagonmash retains a majority stake of 70%. Another 5% is held by Locomotive Electronic Systems.
    • June 2025 deadline, by when the consortium has to present the first two prototype trains for testing and trials. After the prototypes are approved, every year 12 to 18 trains will be manufactured.

    Source: IE