Daily Current Affairs for 12th Oct 2023

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Royalty rates for Strategically Significant Minerals

Why in the news?

Recently, the centre has approved an amendment to a key law in order to specify competitive royalty rates for the mining of three strategically significant minerals – lithium, niobium, and rare earth elements (REEs).

  • The decision comes after the government removed six minerals, including lithium and niobium, from the list of ‘specified’ atomic minerals.

What are Strategic Minerals?

  • Strategic minerals are minerals that are essential for a country’s economic and national security, but which are either not produced domestically or are produced in insufficient quantities.
  • Strategic minerals are those minerals that are vital in key supply chains that include electric vehicle batteries, energy storage devices, and electronics.

Current Royalty Rates:

  • Item No. 55 of The Second Schedule of the MMDR Act, 1957, currently specifies a royalty rate of 12% of the average sale price (ASP) for minerals that are not specifically listed in that Schedule. This rate is much higher than global benchmarks.

Significance of move

  • These changes to the rules build on an earlier move to ease the issuing of mining leases and composite licences for 24 critical and strategic minerals.
  • The new rates align India’s royalty rates with global benchmarks and pave the way for commercial exploitation of these minerals through auctions, which can be conducted by the Centre or states.
  • A competitive royalty rate ensures that bidders would be attracted to the future auctions.

About Lithium: Lithium is a chemical element. It is a soft, silvery-white metal that is the lightest metal on Earth. It has a variety of applications such as Electric Batteries, Devices etc.

About Rare Earth Elements: Rare earth elements (REEs) are a group of 17 chemical elements that have similar properties. REEs are essential for many modern technologies, and their demand is expected to grow in the coming years.

About Nobium: Niobium is a silvery metal with a layer of oxide on its surface, which makes it resistant to corrosion.

  • It is used in alloys, including stainless steel, to improve their strength, particularly at low temperatures.
  • Given its superconducting properties, it is also used in magnets for particle accelerators and MRI scanners.

The main source of this element is the mineral columbite, which is found in countries such as Canada, Brazil, Australia, and Nigeria.



USS Gerald R. Ford: World’s Largest Aircraft Carrier

Why in the news?

The USS Gerald R. Ford, an aircraft carrier for the United States Navy reached the eastern Mediterranean Sea, where it will be stationed in support of Israel.

  • This deployment comes at a time of heightened tensions in the region, following a recent escalation of violence between Israel and Hamas.

Features of the USS Gerald R. Ford:

  • It is the world’s largest and most advanced aircraft carrier.
  • Size: The Ford is the largest aircraft carrier ever built, measuring 337 meters long, 78 meters wide at the flight deck, and 76 meters high. It displaces 100,000 tonnes at full load.
  • Speed: The Ford has a top speed of more than 30 knots (56 km/h), powered by its two A1B nuclear reactors.
  • Crew: The Ford carries a crew of more than 4,500 personnel.
  • Advanced features: The Ford is equipped with a number of advanced features, including a new electromagnetic aircraft launch system, a new dual-band radar system, and a new advanced targeting system.


The USS Gerald R. Ford is a state-of-the-art aircraft carrier that represents the pinnacle of US naval power. Its deployment to the eastern Mediterranean Sea is a clear signal of US commitment to Israel.



Operation Ajay: Indian operation in Israel to evacuate its citizens

Why in the news?

India has recently launched Operation Ajay to evacuate its citizens from conflict-hit Israel.

About the Operation Ajay:

  • Special Chartered Flights: Special chartered flights are being arranged for the evacuation operation.
  • Second Evacuation Operation: This will be the second evacuation operation this year, after Operation Kaveri, which brought back several thousand Indian citizens from conflict-torn Sudan in April-May.
  • Air India Suspends Service: Air India suspended its service on the Delhi-Tel Aviv route on Saturday after Hamas carried out a crippling attack on Israel.
  • Embassy Contacts Registered Citizens: The Indian Embassy in Tel Aviv has emailed the first lot of registered Indian citizens for the special flight that is expected to take off for India.

The Indian government is committed to the safety and well-being of its nationals abroad. Operation Ajay is a testament to this commitment.



Surgical Site Infection

Why in news?

A recent research shows that surgical site infections extend hospital stays up to a month or more and worsen the financial burden on patients and their families.

What is a surgical site infection?

  • A surgical site infection is a common complication in surgeries worldwide. It is an infection that occurs at the site of a surgery in the body.
  • It could be a superficial skin infection or a deeper one, involving tissues.
  • About 11% of patients who undergo surgery contract such infections, according to a 2018 WHO report.

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