DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS IAS | UPSC Prelims and Mains Exam – 24th May 2023

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  • May 25, 2023
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International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC)


  •     Prelims: Geography

Context: Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin have signed an agreement to finalize the construction of the Rasht (Iranian city on Caspian Sea)-Astara (Azerbaijan) railway, which is expected to boost the International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

About International North–South Transport Corridor (INSTC):

  • International North-South Transport Corridor is a multi modal transportation established in 2000 for promoting transportation and cooperation among the Member States.
  • Russia, India and Iran signed preliminary agreements to develop the 7,200-km-long International North-South Transport Corridor (NSTC) in 2002.
  • Three years later, Azerbaijan signed up for the project. This agreement was eventually ratified by 13 countries — India, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bulgaria, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Oman, Tajikistan, Turkey and Ukraine.
  • The ambitious trade corridor seeks to link Russia’s Baltic Sea coast to India’s western ports in the Arabian Sea through Azerbaijan and Iran.
  • The corridor encompasses sea, road and rail routes.

India’s Interest:

  • India’s interest in the development of the INSTC is manifested by its $2.1 billion investments, including the construction of the port of Chabahar in Iran and the construction of a 500 km Chabahar-Zahedan railway line.
  • Chabahar is now capable of processing ultra-large container ships.
  • For India, the INSTC opens the way for trading with Iran and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan.
  • This, naturally, has implications in terms of reaching out to both Afghanistan and Central Asia, significant corners in our extended neighbourhood.
  • The corridor will also provide access to potential markets in the wider Eurasia region.

MUST READ: Chabahar Port (UPSC Prelims)

SOURCE: The Hindu


Q1. What is the importance of developing Chabahar Port by India? (2017)

  1. India’s trade with African countries will enormously increase.
  2. India’s relations with oil-producing Arab countries will be strengthened.
  3. India will not depend on Pakistan for access to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
  4. Pakistan will facilitate and protect the installation of a gas pipeline between Iraq and India.

Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary


  •     Prelims: Environment

Context: The first-ever sighting of Barkudia limbless skink (Barkudiamelanostica), a small reptile has been reported at the Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary.

About Barkudia limbless skink:

  • Barkudia limbless skink is a small reptile.
  • It is fossorial in nature, is characterised by its elongated body, muddy brown colouration, and absence of limbs, a unique adaptation to its environment.
  • This species is listed as Critically Endangered in theIUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary:

  • The Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary is an important protected area located near Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
  • The sanctuary is named after the local hillock, Kambalakonda, and is home to a number of rare and endangered species, including the Indian leopard.
  • The Kambalakonda Wildlife Sanctuary is a dry deciduous forest with meadows and scrub.
  • The forest is surrounded by the Gambheeram reservoir on the northeast and the Simhachalam hill range on the west. These unique physical features create a unique microclimate that supports the survival and growth of various species of plants and animals.

SOURCE: The Hindu


Q1. From the ecological point of view, which one of the following assumes importance in being a good link between the Eastern Ghats and the Western Ghats? (2017)

  1.  Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve
  2.  Nallamala Forest
  3. Nagarhole National Park
  4. Seshachalam Biosphere Reserve



  •      Prelims – Indian Culture

Context: PM Modi releases Tamil classic ‘Thirukkural’ in Tok Pisin language. Tok Pisin is the official language of Papua New Guinea.

About Thirukkural:

  • Tirukkural, (Tamil: “Sacred Couplets”) also called Kural.
  • It is the most celebrated of the Patiren-kirkkanakku (“Eighteen Ethical Works”) in Tamil literature and a work that has had an immense influence on Tamil culture and life.
  • It is attributed to the poet Tiruvalluvar, who is thought to have lived in India in the 6th century.
  • The traditional accounts describe it as the last work of the third Sangam, but linguistic analysis suggests a later date of 450 to 500 CE and that it was composed after the Sangam period.
  • It has 133 sections of 10 couplets each are divided into three books: aram (virtue), porul (government and society), and kamam (love).

Important Messages of Thirukural:

  • It is considered one of the greatest works on ethics and morality, it is known for its universality and secular nature.
  • The first section opens with praise of God, rain, renunciation, and a life of virtue. It then presents a world-affirming vision, the wisdom of human sympathy that expands from one’s family and friends to one’s clan, village, and country.
  • The porul section projects a vision of an ideal state and relates good citizenship to virtuous private life. The kamam section addresses both “secret love” and married love;
  • The section on married love is written as a dialogue between husband and wife.
  • It emphasizes non-violence and moral vegetarianism as virtues for an individual.
  • It highlights truthfulness, self-restraint, gratitude, hospitality, kindness, goodness of wife, duty, giving, and so forth.
  • Besides covering a wide range of social and political topics such as king, ministers, taxes, justice, forts, war, greatness of army and soldier’s honor, death sentence for the wicked, agriculture, education, abstinence from alcohol and intoxicants.
  • It also includes chapters on friendship, love, sexual union, and domestic life

MUST READ: Sangam Age (UPSC Mains – Sangam Age)

SOURCE: The Hindu


Q1. Which one of the following statements about Sangam literature in ancient South India is correct? (2022)

  1.  Sangam poems are devoid of any reference to material culture.
  2. The social classification of Varna was known to Sangam poets.
  3. Sangam poems have no reference to warrior ethic.
  4. Sangam literature refers to magical forces as irrational.

Fortified Rice


  •     Prelims – Science and Technology

Context: Government will supply 35 million tonne (MT) of iron fortified rice to the 800 million beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) by March 31, 2024. Additionally 3.4 MT of fortified rice will be supplied to 83 million beneficiaries under the social sector programme such as Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and PM Poshan by the end of current fiscal.

Food Fortification:

  • The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) defines fortification as “deliberately increasing the content of essential micronutrients in a food so as to improve the nutritional quality of food and to provide public health benefit with minimal risk to health”.

For example, adding iodine and iron to edible salt.

  • During the rice fortification process, essential vitamins and minerals are added to the grain, enhancing its nutritious value.
  • Essential components like vitamin A, vitamin B12, vitamin B1, iron, zinc, and folic acid are added during the fortification process.

Need for Rice Fortification

  • India has very high levels of malnutrition among women and children. According to the Food Ministry, every second woman in the country is anemic and every third child is stunted.
  • Malnutrition costs India at least ₹77,000 crore annually in terms of lost productivity, illness and death.
  • The country loses about 1 per cent of GDP (₹2.03 lakh crore) due to iron deficiency.
  • One rupee spent on nutritional interventions in India could generate ₹34.1-Rs 38.6 in public economic returns.
  • Rice is one of India’s staple foods, consumed by about two-thirds of the population. Per capita rice consumption in India is 6.8 kg per month. Therefore, fortifying rice with micronutrients is an option to supplement the diet of the poor.

Integrated Child Development Scheme

  • Background: Launched in 1975, it is one of the world’s largest programmes providing an integrated package of services for the holistic development of the child.
  • Aim: It is providing for supplementary nutrition, immunization and pre-school education to the children is a popular flagship programme of the government.
  • Funding: ICDS is a centrally sponsored scheme implemented by state governments and union territories.
  • Coverage: The scheme is universal covering all the districts of the country.

Objectives of ICDS

  • To improve the nutritional and health status of children in the age-group 0-6 years.
  • To lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child.
  • To reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school dropout.
  • To achieve effective coordination of policy and implementation amongst the various departments to promote child development.
  • To enhance the capability of the mother to look after the normal health and nutritional needs of the child through proper nutrition and health education.
  • Beneficiaries of ICDS: Children in the age group of 0-6 years, pregnant women and Lactating mothers.
  • Services under ICDS: Supplementary Nutrition, Pre-school non-formal education, Nutrition & health education, Immunization, Health check-up and Referral services

POSHAN Abhiyaan

  • POSHAN Abhiyaan is the flagship program to improve nutritional outcomes for children, pregnant women, and lactating mothers in India.
  • It is also called the National Nutrition Mission.

Salient Features of the POSHAN Abhiyan

  • The POSHAN (Prime Minister’s Overarching Scheme for Holistic Nutrition) Abhiyaan spreads awareness towards the problems pertaining to malnutrition and brings viable solutions with it.
  • Implementation status reports of the Abhiyaan are submitted by NITI Aayog every six months.
  • The implementation of POSHAN Abhiyaan is carried out through the Technical Support Unit (TSU) established at NITI Aayog, which will also provide research, policy, and technical support for the program.
  • As the mission is expected to eradicate malnutrition by 2022, it has been taken up by multiple ministries. This helps in expanding the outreach of the mission and thereby facilitating its implementation.
  • Some specific targets of the program are reducing stunting, anemia, under-nutrition, and low birth weight.

Specific Targets of the POSHAN Abhiyan

The POSHAN Abhiyan aims to target the following specifically:

  • Reduce stunting by 2% annually.
  • Reduce under-nutrition by 2% annually.
  • Reduce anemia by 3% annually.
  • Reduce low birth weight by 2% annually.
  • National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013

Must Read: National Food Security Act (NFSA)

SOURCE: Financial Express


Q1. Genetically modified “golden rice” has been engineered to meet human nutritional requirements. Which one of the following statements best qualifies golden rice? (2010)

  1. The grains have been fortified with genes to provide three times higher grain yield per acre than other high yielding varieties.
  2. Its grains contain pro-vitamin A which upon ingestion is converted to vitamin A in the human body.
  3. Its modified genes cause the synthesis of all the nine essential amino acids.
  4. Its modified genes cause the fortification of its grains with vitamin D.

World Meteorological Organization


  •        Prelims – Environment and Ecology

Context: Every year since 2020, the WMO has been issuing forecasts for the following year and the average outlook for the next five years.

About World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

  • It is a specialized agency of the United Nations.
  • It was established in 1950, WMO became the specialized agency of the UN for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.
  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.
  • WMO is dedicated to international cooperation and coordination on the state and behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere, its interaction with the land and oceans, the weather and climate it produces, and the resulting distribution of water resources.
  • Currently it has a membership of 187 countries. India is a member of WMO since 1949.

Governance Structure:

  • Its supreme body is the World Meteorological Congress, which consists of representatives of all members.
  • It meets at least every four years to set general policy and adopt regulations.
  • A 36-member Executive Council meets annually and implements policies.
  • The Secretariat, headed by a secretary-general appointed by the congress for a four-year term, serves as the administrative centre of the organization.
  • Six regional associations address problems peculiar to their regions.
  • It has eight technical commissions.

Major Programmes:

  • World Weather Watch: A system of satellites and telecommunication networks connecting land and sea sites for monitoring weather conditions.
  • World Climate Programme: It monitors climate change, including global warming.
  • Atmospheric Research and Environment Programme: Designed to promote research on issues such as ozone depletion.

MUST READ: IPCC Climate Report

SOURCE: The Hindu

Forum for India–Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit 2023


  • Prelims: International Relations

Context: Recently, the Prime Minister of India attended Forum for India–Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit in Papua New Guinea.

About Forum for India–Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) Summit:

  • Forum for India-Pacific Islands cooperation is a multinational grouping developed in 2014 for cooperation between India and 14 Pacific Island Nations.
  • India established the Forum for FIPIC as a part of the Act East Policy.

Third summit of India-Pacific Islands Co-operation (FIPIC Summit 2023)

  • Held at Port Moresby, was jointly hosted with Papua New Guinea.
  • Prime Minister of India unveiled a comprehensive 12-step initiative aimed at advancing India’s collaborations with the countries in the Pacific region.
  • Establishment of a super-specialty cardiology hospital in Fiji. The Indian government will bear the full cost of this mega Greenfield project.
  • Sea ambulances will be provided to all the 14 Pacific island countries.
  • In 2022, a Jaipur Foot Camp was conducted in Fiji where prosthetic limbs were provided free of cost to more than 600 people. Another similar camp will be set up in Papua New Guinea this year and starting from 2024, two such camps will be organized every year in the Pacific island countries.
  • India has pledged to provide desalination units for the people of every Pacific Island country.

Countries that are a part of FIPIC:

  • Cook Islands
  • Fiji
  • Kiribati
  • Marshall Islands
  • Federated States of Micronesia
  • Nauru
  • Niue
  • Samoa
  • Solomon Islands
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Tonga
  • Tuvalu
  • Vanuatu

Significance of FIPIC:

  • Despite their relatively small size and considerable distance from India, many of these islands have large exclusive economic zones (EEZs).
    • EEZs is the distance up to which a coastal nation has jurisdiction over the ocean, including both living and non-living resources.
    • It generally goes to 200 nautical miles (around 370 km) beyond a nation’s territorial sea.
    • India’s larger focus is on the Indian Ocean where it has sought to play a major role and protect its strategic and commercial interests.
    • The FIPIC initiative then marks a serious effort to expand India’s engagement in the Pacific region as well.
  • Being responsive to China’s increasing assertion in the region: Especially the references to “developments in the Indo-Pacific region” and a “vision for a free, open and inclusive Indo-Pacific”.
  • Based on 2021-22 data, the total annual trade between India and Pacific Island countries is valued at $570 million.
    • Main commodities: plastics, pharmaceuticals, sugar, mineral fuel and ores.
    • Papua New Guinea is the biggest trade partner in terms of value.

Must Read: Pacific Island Forum

SOURCE: The Hindu


 Q1. With reference to the “Look East Policy” of India, consider the following statements

  1. India wants to establish itself as an important regional player in East Asian affairs.
  2. India wants to plug the vacuum created by the termination of the Cold War.
  3. India wants to restore the historical and cultural ties with its neighbours in Southeast and East Asia.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 1 and 3 only
  3. 3 only
  4. 1, 2 and 3

Practice MCQs

Daily Practice MCQs

Q1. With reference to International North-South Transport Corridor, consider the following statements:

  1. The ambitious trade corridor seeks to link Russia’s Baltic Sea coast to India’s eastern ports.
  2. The main purpose of the corridor was to reduce carriage costs and transit time between India and Russia.
  3. For India, the INSTC opens the way for trading with Iran and Central Asia, bypassing Pakistan.

Which of the statements give above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2 only
  3. 2 and 3
  4. 1,2 and 3

Q2. Barkudiamelanostica, recently seen in news is a

  1. Bird
  2. Reptile
  3. Ant
  4. Plant

Q3. The World Climate Programme is an initiative of

  1. World Bank.
  2. United Nations Development Program
  3. United Nations Environment Program.
  4. World Meteorological Organisation.

Comment the answers to the above questions in the comment section below!!

ANSWERS FOR ’ 24th May 2023 – Daily Practice MCQs’ will be updated along with tomorrow’s Daily Current Affairs.st

ANSWERS FOR 23rd May – Daily Practice MCQs

Answers- Daily Practice MCQs

Q.1) – b

Q.2) – c

Q.3) – a

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