Daily Current Affairs for 21th Aug 2023

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Workshop on Localization of (LSDGs) Sustainable Development Goals

Why in news?

  • Ministry of Panchayat Raj, is organizing the National Workshop on Localization of Sustainable Development Goals in Gram Panchayats through Adopting Thematic Approaches on Theme 8: Panchayat with Good Governance during 21-23 August 2023 in Srinagar J&K.

About the Workshop

  • ‘Meri Panchayat Mobile app’ developed by Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Meri Panchayat Mobile App, Operating Guidelines of NCBF, Service-level Benchmarks, Self-Assessments and Model Contract will be released during the inaugural session of the National Workshop.


  • Participants will be consisting of elected representatives & functionaries of Panchayats, key stakeholders, domain experts and agencies doing exemplary work in the 5 Ts of Good Governance: Teamwork, Timeline, Transparency, Technology and Transformation.  
  • Panchayats that have taken initiatives in thematic areas have been invited to participate in the Workshop.

Objective of the Workshop

  • The main objective of the workshop will be exhibiting the best strategies, approaches, convergent actions and innovative models in context to capacity building & training; best practices; monitoring framework, incentivization and reflection of themes of SDGs into Gram Panchayat Development Plan (GPDP).


  • Sustainable Development Goals adopted by United Nations came into effect from January 1, 2016.
  • Ministry of Panchayat Raj, Government of India has adopted thematic approach to SDGs – It is approach to ensure ‘local action’ for achieving ‘global plan’.
  • The approach aims to localise SDGs in rural areas through PRIs, especially Gram Panchayats by clubbing 17 ‘Goals’ into ‘9 Themes’.
  • Good governance is an essential ingredient for socio-economic development of the country. It centres around the responsibility of government and governing bodies to meet the needs of the masses as opposed to select groups in society.
  • Good Governance has direct correlation to service delivery and progress 5T pillars framework are essential for Good Governance.
  • It centres around the responsibility of Gram Panchayats to serve the people by delivering all citizen services in a timely efficient and transparent manner.
  • A Village with Good Governance must necessarily have very vibrant, strong, and active Gram Sabha wherein there is large popular participation, informed discussion and Inclusive decision making it is envisaged that Gram Panchayat act as an information facilitation centre including proactive disclosure of all information and has in place an effective grievance redressed mechanism.



Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (Bharat NCAP)

Why in news?

  • Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shri Nitin Gadkari will launch the much-awaited Bharat New Car Assessment Programme (Bharat NCAP) on 22nd August 2023.

About Bharat NCAP

  • This programme is a significant step forward in the Government’s commitment to improve road safety through raising the safety standards of motor vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes in India.
  • The programme aims to provide a tool to the car customers to make a comparative assessment of crash safety of motor vehicles available in the market. 
  • Under this programme, car manufacturers can voluntarily offer their cars tested as per Automotive Industry Standard (AIS) 197.
  • Based on the performance of the car in the tests, car will be awarded star ratings for Adult Occupants (AOP) and Child Occupant (COP).
  • Potential car customers can refer to these star ratings to compare the safety standards of different vehicles and accordingly make their purchase-decision.

Expected benefits of the Programme

  • It is expected that the demand for safer cars will increase, encouraging the car manufacturers to comply with customer needs.
  • With high safety standards, Indian cars will be able to compete better in the global market, increasing the export potential of the car manufacturers in India.
  • The programme is expected to develop a safety sensitive car market in India.



The Youth 20 (Y20) Summit

Why in news?

  • Under the overall framework of G20 Presidency, the Y20 India engagement Group meeting concluded successfully in Varanasi on 20th August, 2023.

About the Summit

  • The Y20 2023 communiqué was released by the troika countries comprising of Chair Y20 India, Indonesia Organising Committee Representative and Brazil Organising Committee Representative.
  • During the 4 day summit, delegates visited Sarnath, the famous Kashi Vishwanath Temple and the Ganga ghat during a river cruise. India’s rich art, culture and heritage left a long-lasting impression on the delegates from across the world.
  • Rich and diverse cultural heritage of the holy city of Varanasi; its spirituality, literature, art, and music also mesmerized the delegates from G20 countries, guest countries and international organisations.
  • The Department of Youth Affairs, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Government of India were entrusted with the responsibility to organize Youth20 (Y20) Summit-2023.

Highlights of the Summit

  • During the summit, Y20 Communiqué was discussed and negotiated, thereafter, it has been signed successfully with unanimous consent.
  • Outcome of the Summit in form of the Y20 Communiqué was signed by Heads of Delegation
  • It is a testament to the collective common vision across the five identified themes of Y20, which will ensure that the voices of young people are heard by the highest-level decision-makers on global platform.
  • The major recommendations included in the Communique are –
  1. Empower Lifelong Learning
  2. Prepare The Global Workforce For Global Challenges
  3. Strengthen International Research Collaboration
  4. Promote Universal Gig Worker Rights and
  5. Implement Accessible Sustainable Financing and Mentoring.



Forex Reserves Rises after Long Decline

Why in news?

Recently, India’s Foreign exchange reserves jumped to $602.161 billion.

  • This is the first increase after declining for three consecutive weeks.
  • In October 2021, the country’s foreign exchange reserves touched an all-time high of $645 billion.

What is the Foreign Exchange Reserve (FOREX Reserve)?

    • Foreign exchange reserves are the assets held on reserve by a central bank in foreign currencies.
    • Most foreign exchange reserves are held in US dollars.

India’s Forex Reserve includes:

    • Foreign Currency Assets (Largest Component): It is valued based on a currency other than the country’s own currency.
    • Gold reserves
    • Special Drawing Rights: International reserve asset by IMF.
    • Reserve position with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).



Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH)

Why in news?

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the G20 India presidency announced a new Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH) at the Health Minister’s Meeting of the G20 Summit hosted by the Government of India.

What is the Global Initiative on Digital Health (GIDH)?

  • GIDH will operate as a WHO-managed network and platform to support the implementation of the Global Strategy on Digital Health 2020–2025.
  • It will promote equitable access to digital health by addressing challenges such as duplication of efforts and “products-­focused” digital health transformation.
  • WHO serves as the Secretariat for the strategy implementation to converge and convene global standards, best practices and resources to fast-track digital health system transformation.



STEREO-’s Earth Flyby

Why in news?

After 17 Years of NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Solar Terrestrial Relations Observatory (STEREO-A) launch, the spacecraft made its first Earth Flyby.

  • In order to improve its observations during the Earth flyby, STEREO-A will work with NASA’s Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) and Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO).
  • Through this collaboration, it will be possible for the spacecraft to catch solar features of various sizes from a variety of distances.

What is meant by Earth Flyby?

  • An Earth flyby is a spaceflight operation in which a spacecraft passes in close proximity to Earth. The spacecraft does not enter orbit around Earth, but instead uses the gravity of Earth to change its trajectory or speed.

What are STEREO-A and STEREO-B?

  • STEREO-A (A stands for Ahead), along with its twin STEREO-B (B stands for Behind), was launched in 2006 to study the Sun’s Behavior by charting Earth-like orbits around it.
  • Their primary goal was to provide a stereoscopic view of the Sun, enabling researchers to study it from multiple perspectives.

Objectives of STEREO-A’s Earth Flyby:

  • STEREO-A’s Earth flyby will use stereoscopic vision to extract 3D information from 2D images of the Sun.
  • Scientists aim to identify active regions beneath sunspots, test a new theory suggesting coronal loops may be optical illusions, and explore the evolution of the magnetic field of Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs).
  • The flyby will provide insights into solar activity dynamics, as the Sun approaches its predicted Solar Maximum for 2025.



Genetically Edited (GE) Mustard: Lower Glucosinolates

Why in news?

Recently Scientists have been working to breed rapeseed-mustard lines with lower levels of glucosinolates.

  • The Characteristic pungency due to glucosinolates, limits the acceptability of Mustard and also makes them unpalatable to livestock.
  • However,mustard with lower glucosinolates has been vulnerable to pests and diseases.

About New GENE EDITING (GE) Technique:

  • A new gene-editing technique called CRISPR/Cas9 has been used to create mustard lines with low glucosinolate levels in the seeds, but high levels in the leaves and pod walls.
  • These lines are still resistant to pests and diseases, and they could help to reduce India’s dependence on imported vegetable oils.

About Glucosinolate:

  • Glucosinolates are sulfur-containing compounds that give them their characteristic pungency.
  • Glucosinolates are also a defence mechanism for plants, helping to protect them from pests and diseases.

Difference between Gene editing (GE) Mustard and genetically modified (GM) Mustard?

  • GE uses a natural biological process to make precise changes to the DNA. For example, the CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing tool uses an enzyme to cut the DNA at a specific location. This allows scientists to insert, delete, or replace genes in a very precise way.
  • GM, on the other hand, uses a variety of techniques to introduce foreign DNA into an organism. This can be done by inserting genes from another organism, or by removing genes from the organism’s own DNA.
  • GE plants are considered to be non-GM plants because they do not contain any foreign DNA. This means that they are not subject to the same regulatory requirements as GM plants.



Russia’s LUNA-25: Crashed on Lunar Surface

Why in news?

Recently, Russia’s first attempt to land a spacecraft, LUNA-25 on the Moon has ended in failure after the spacecraft crashed on the lunar surface.


  • The failure of LUNA-25 highlights the risks involved in getting a spacecraft to soft-land on the Moon.
  • It also added to the failure of the Russian fallback of space exploration.

Why did the LUNA-25 fail?

  • As Russia’s space agency, the preliminary investigation suggested that it lost contact with the vehicle.

About LUNA-25:

  • It is Russia’s first moon-landing spacecraft in 47 years in a bid to be the first nation to make a soft landing on the lunar South Pole.
  • A Soyuz 2.1v rocket carrying the Luna-25 launched from the Vostochny cosmodrome, 5,550 kilometres east of Moscow, on August 11,2023.
  • LUNA -25 reached the moon earlier than India’s Chandrayaan 3 because it was able to follow a more direct trajectory towards the moon, owing to its lighter payload and more fuel storage.

Analysis: Roscosmos will face a difficult decision of whether to redo the Luna-25 mission or leave the landing technology untested for now and move on to more ambitious follow-on missions.

If Russia decides to re-fly Luna-25 that will likely add additional years of delay.

Do You Know?

  • The Phobos-Grunt mission was a Russian space mission aimed at studying the Martian moon Phobos’ soil and atmosphere.

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