Daily Current Affairs for 04th Sep 2023

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Launch of Mahendragiri warship

Why in news?

  • The launch of Mahendragiri is a significant milestone in our maritime history. It is the last of the seven warships of the Nilgiri-class stealth frigates built under Project 17A.
  • Last month, Hon’ble President, Smt. Droupadi Murmu ji launched ‘Vindhyagiri’, the sixth frigate and the predecessor of this ship, which was built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers Ltd. in Kolkata, the City of Joy.

About the launch

  • The launch of a warship – Mahendragiri – is some kind of record, this indicates the best of progress this will mean five launches of the same class of warships in about 15 months.
  • The warship Mahendragiri, named after a mountain peak in Eastern Ghats located in Odisha, is an engineering marvel, with state-of-the-art features and cutting-edge technologies.
  • This majestic warship is a remarkable symbol of our nation’s strength and maritime prowess. A testament to the unwavering commitment and indomitable spirit of the Indian Navy.

Process of manufacturing

  • The speed of manufacturing warships has improved ever since the new method of “integrated construction” has been adopted and this has yielded geometric results for the nation’s welfare.
  • The Nilgiri-class warships have been designed in-house by the Indian Navy’s Warship Design Bureau, the pioneer organisation for all warship design activities.
  • Aligning with the country’s resolute commitment to ‘Aatma Nirbharata’, a substantial 75% of the orders for equipment and systems of the Nilgiri class have been made to indigenous firms.

Significance of the launch

  • Amid evolving power dynamics in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR), this launch gains added strategic importance.
  • India’s recent phenomenal economic rise and global ascendancy imperatively call for a modern Navy to protect its maritime interests and shoulder additional responsibilities, particularly in the current geo-political and security situation that prevails in the Indian Ocean region.



Advance Pricing Agreement (APA)

Why in news?

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has recently released the fourth and fifth annual APA reports. The reports present key data and statistics pertaining to the APA programme. These include sectoral distribution of applicants, nature of transactions covered, transfer pricing methodologies applied etc.

About Advance Pricing Agreement (APA)

  • The Advance Pricing Agreement (APA) programme of CBDT is one of its foremost initiatives for promoting an investor-friendly and non-adversarial tax regime in India.
  • Since its inception, the Indian APA programme has contributed significantly to the Government of India’s mission of promoting ease of doing business.

Highlights of the report

  • The fifth report includes status of applications filed till 31st March, 2023. The statistics are updated till Financial Year (FY) 2022-23, for the present.
  • The report highlights various achievements of the APA programme in FY 2022-23. In FY 2022-23, CBDT recorded the highest ever APA signings in any financial year since the launch of the APA programme, signing a total of 95 APAs.
  • CBDT also signed 32 Bilateral Advance Pricing Agreements (BAPAs) in FY 2022-23 being the maximum number of BAPAs in any financial year till date.
  • This figure is more than double the previous signing record of 13 BAPAs in any financial year. The report also details the country-wise distribution of these applications.
  • The BAPAs were signed as a consequence of entering into Mutual Agreements with India’s treaty partners namely Finland, the UK, the US, Denmark, Singapore, and Japan, showcasing the maturity of India’s relationship with various treaty partners.
  • A record of the largest number of single day signings in the history of the programme was also created with a total of 21 APAs signed on 24th March, 2023.
  • Additionally, signing of the 400th Unilateral Advance Pricing Agreement (UAPA) and the 500th APA were also milestones achieved in this year.



Literacy Week – 1st to 8th September

Why in news?

  • Ministry of Education observes Literacy Week from 1st to 8th September 2023 under ULLAS: Nav Bharat Saaksharta Karyakram

About the Initiative:

  • The Government of India has decided to organise a literacy week from 1st September to 8th September 2023 to celebrate International Literacy Day for generating awareness among all the stakeholders/ beneficiaries/ citizens about the ULLAS- Nav Bharat Saaksharta Karyakram.
  • The week-long literacy campaign shall enable mass participation to inculcate a sense of Kartavyabodh and Janbhagidari in each and every citizen of the nation.
  • This vision would popularise the scheme and help us attain the goal of making India fully literate.
  • The literacy week would encompass a spectrum of activities followed by the celebration of International Literacy Day on 8th September 2023.
  • Another main objective will be to increase the number of registrations for learners and volunteers on the ULLAS mobile app.

About ULLAS – Nav Bharat Saaksharta Karyakram

  • A Centrally Sponsored Scheme ULLAS- Nav Bharat Saaksharta Karyakram on Education for All (erstwhile termed as Adult Education), was approved by Government of India for implementation during FYs 2022-27 in alignment with National Education Policy (NEP) 2020.
  • The Scheme has five components, namely
  • (i) Foundational Literacy and Numeracy,
  • (ii) Critical Life Skills,
  • (iii) Basic Education,
  • (iv) Vocational Skills,
  • (v) Continuing Education.
  • The logo, slogan/tagline-Jan Jan Sakshar and popular name- ULLAS (Understanding of Lifelong Learning for All in Society) of Nav Bharat Saksharta Karyakram has been launched by the Union Education Minister.



Committee to examine Constitutional Amendment for ‘One Nation, One Election’

Why in the news?

Recently, the Centre set up a committee to examine various aspects, both legal and logistical, for implementing the “one nation, one election” idea.

  • The Law Ministry has outlined seven terms of reference for the eight-member panel headed by former President Ram Nath Kovind and including Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
  • One of the terms of reference is to examine if a constitutional amendment to facilitate simultaneous polls would have to be ratified by the states.

How the Constitution can be amended?

The Constitution of India can be amended in three ways:

  • Simple majority: Several provisions of the Constitution can be amended by the simple legislative process adopted in passing any ordinary legislation in Parliament. This is done through a majority of those present and voting and does not require a quorum.
  • Special majority: For amending provisions that do not fall under the first category, Article 368 requires that the amendment Bill is passed in both Houses of Parliament by a majority of not less than two thirds of the members present and voting.
  • Ratification by states: A third category of provisions need not just a special majority to be amended, but also require ratification by the legislatures of at least half of the states. Only after the states’ ratification can such an amendment be presented to the President for assent.

Provisions that require ratification by half the states

  • Article 54 and 55, dealing with the election of the President of India.
  • Article 73 and 162, dealing with the extent of executive power of the Union and states.
  • Articles 124-147 and 214-231, which deal with powers of the Supreme Court and the High Courts
  • Article 245 to 255, dealing with the scheme of distribution of legislative, taxing, and administrative powers between the Union and the states.
  • Article 82-82, dealing with the representation of states in Parliament.
  • Article 368 Itself.

Do You Know?

Article 249 requires 2/3rdmembers present and vote and not 50% criteria of total strength: This is required in the case of empowering Parliament to make laws on those issues included in the state list.



PAL Integration into DIKSHA

Why in news?

Recently, The National e-Governance Division (NeGD) of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has decided to integrate Personalised Adaptive Learning (PAL) into its existing Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing (DIKSHA) platform.

What is Personalised Adaptive Learning (PAL)?

  • PAL is a software-based approach that is expected to allow each student to have an individualised learning experience over the course of the curriculum based on their unique needs and abilities.
  • DIKSHA is a static content repository that provides e-content for schools by an online portal and a mobile application. It has embedded assistive technologies for learners with visual or hearing challenges.
  • The MeitY is also considering the introduction of voice commands in DIKSHA 2.0 as a part of AI-enabled learning.

About Diksha Platform:

DIKSHA, which comes under the Ministry of Education, provides e-content for schools via an online portal and a mobile application. It also has embedded assistive technologies for learners with visual or hearing impairments. It is compiled by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 level AA.

DIKSHA is a unique initiative which leverages existing highly scalable and flexible digital infrastructures, while keeping teachers at the center. It is built considering the whole teacher’s life cycle – from the time student teachers enroll in Teacher Education Institutes (TEIs) to after they retire as teachers.

In India, many teachers are creating & using innovative tech-based solutions in their classrooms. Some state governments have also initiated programs to support their teachers digitally. This inspired MHRD and NCTE to coordinate these efforts at a national level and build DIKSHA.



Pirola: A new variant of Corona Virus

Why in news?

Recently, a new coronavirus variant called BA.2.86, informally termed Pirola, has been detected in multiple countries, including the US, the UK, and other countries. The variant has more than 30 mutations to its spike protein, which is how the virus enters human cells.

Where have the cases been reported?

Pirola has been reported in the US, the UK, India, Canada, and other countries. The cases are unrelated, which suggests that the variant is spreading in the community.

Why is Pirola a cause for concern?

The high number of mutations in Pirola is a cause for concern. The mutations could make the virus more transmissible or more resistant to vaccines.

How do viruses mutate?

Viruses mutate over time as they replicate. The more a virus replicates, the more likely it is to mutate. Mutations can be beneficial to the virus, making it more transmissible or more resistant to the immune system.



Atlantification Phenomena

Why in news?

Warm waters from the Atlantic Ocean have been diverted into the Arctic Ocean in recent years, a phenomenon called “atlantification” that has disturbed ocean stratification in the Arctic and caused heat fluxes that help melt sea ice.

What is Atlantification?

Atlantification is the process of the Arctic Ocean becoming more like the Atlantic Ocean. This is happening because of climate change, which is causing the Arctic to warm faster than the rest of the planet. As the Arctic warms, it is melting sea ice and opening up new pathways for warm Atlantic water to flow into the Arctic.

About Arctic Dipole:

The Arctic Dipole is a climate pattern that affects the exchange of air and water between the Arctic Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. When the Arctic Dipole is in a positive phase, there are stronger anticyclonic winds over North America and weaker cyclonic winds over Eurasia.

Impacts of Atlanticification in the Arctic:

  • Melting sea ice: Warmer water from the Atlantic Ocean can melt sea ice, which is a major part of the Arctic ecosystem. Sea ice helps to reflect sunlight and keep the Arctic Ocean cool. When sea ice melts, it exposes dark ocean water, which absorbs more sunlight and causes further warming.
  • Disrupted ocean currents: Atlanticification can also disrupt ocean currents in the Arctic Ocean. These currents are important for mixing water and nutrients, and their disruption can have a negative impact on marine life.
  • Changing weather patterns: Atlanticification can also change weather patterns in the Arctic and the surrounding regions. This could lead to more extreme weather events, such as heat waves, droughts, and floods.
  • The impacts of Atlanticification are complex and still being studied. However, it is clear that this phenomenon is having a significant impact on the Arctic Ocean and its surrounding region.

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