Current Affairs for IAS Exams -02 February 2023

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 02 February 2023


PM CARES Fund is a public charitable trust, not controlled by government of India

  • The Centre has informed the Delhi High Court that PM CARES Fund is set up as a public charitable trust and is not created under the Constitution or any law made by the Parliament or the state, in a plea seeking to declare the fund a ‘state’ under Article 12 of the Constitution to ensure transparency in its functioning.

About PM CARES Fund:

  • The Prime Ministers Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM CARES Fund) was created on 28 March 2020, following the COVID-19 pandemic in India. 
  • It was created for combating, and containment and relief efforts against the coronavirus outbreak and similar pandemic like situations in the future.
  • It has been registered as a Public Charitable Trust.

Objectives to establish the fund:

  • To provide assistance and relief to all the affected persons in the event of any calamity, disaster, public health emergency or any other emergency of any kind that may be either natural or man-made.
  • Creation as well as upgradation of any pharmaceutical facilities, funding a research, creation or upgradation of any necessary infrastructure, healthcare support or any other kind of support.

Composition of the Trust:

  • Prime Minister is the ex-officio Chairman of the PM CARES Fund.
  • Minister of Defence, Minister of Home Affairs and Minister of Finance, Government of India are ex-officio Trustees of the Fund.
  • The Trust Deed of the Fund gives the Chairman of the Board of Trustees, i.e. the Prime Minister, the power to nominate three Trustees to the Board of Trustees.


Digital infrastructure can add 60-100 bps to GDP growth

  • According to the Survey, payments made through UPI accounted for over half of all digital transactions in India in FY22 (2021-22).


  • Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) are solutions and systems that enable the provision of essential society-wide functions andservices in public and private sectors.
  • This includes digital forms of identification and verification, civil registration, payment (digital transactions and money transfers), dataexchange, and information systems.
  • DPI was introduced in India in 2009 when Aadhaar was first launched.
  • Digital public goods (DPGs) are types of open-source software, models and standards that countries can use to operationalise theirDPI. Examples of DPGs include India Stack, UPI, Aadhaar etc.

Significance of DPI growth: 

  • Economic Survey 2022-23 highlights following benefits from DPI growth:
  • Development of digital payment ecosystem through UPI.
  • Payments made through UPI accounted for over half of all digital transactions in India in FY22.
  • Easier access to e-government services through initiatives such as UMANG, GeM, e-NAM etc.
  • Better resource management due to sharing of open-source e-governance applications through platforms like OpenForge.
  • Overcoming language barrier with National Language Translation Mission i.e., Bhashini.
  • Filip to technological development through information collation and sharing such as National AI portal.

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Radioactive capsule 

  • Authorities recovered a tiny radioactive capsule, smaller than a coin, lost in Australia’s vast Outback. 


  • The Caesium-137 capsule lost in transit more than two weeks ago was discovered when a vehicle equipped with specialist detection equipment picked up the radiation, despite travelling at around 70 km/h, according to officials from the state of Western Australia.
  • The search team then used portable detection equipment to find the capsule, which was located about 2 metres from the side of the road in a remote area far from any community.
  • The radioactive capsule was part of a gauge used to measure the density of iron ore feed from Rio Tinto’s Gudai-Darri mine. 
  • Located in the northern reaches of Western Australia, the recently opened mine is one of the most advanced in the world, with a high degree of automation.


  • To stay at least five metres (16.5 feet) away if they spotted the capsule, because exposure could cause radiation burns or radiation sickness. However, driving past it was believed to be relatively low risk, akin to taking an X-ray.


India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lauded the utilisation of India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, CEPA by Indian Exporters.


  • India-UAE CEPA is the first deep and full free trade Agreement (FTA) signed by India with any country in the past decade.
  • It officially entered into force in May 2022.
  • It covers Trade in Goods, Rules of Origin, Trade in Services, Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS)measures, Dispute Settlement etc.
  • India has already signed a CEPA with Japan and South Korea.

Significance of CEPA:

  • Expected to increase total value of bilateral trade in goods to over US$100 billion and trade in services to over US$ 15 billion withinfive years.
  • Eliminated duties for 90% of India’s exports to UAE, covering sectors such as gems and jewellery, textiles, leather, etc.
  • Exports benefiting from India-UAE free trade pact accounted for about 60% of India’s total non-oil shipments to UAE.


Lab-grown diamonds

  • During Budget speech, Union Finance Minister announced the government’s move to focus on lab-grown diamonds. “Customs duty on the seeds used in lab-grown diamond manufacturing will be reduced”, announced the finance minister. She also announced a grant to IITs to facilitate the growth of LGDs in India.

What are lab-grown diamonds?

  • Lab-grown diamonds are diamonds that are produced using specific technology which mimics the geological processes that grow natural diamonds. 
  • They are not the same as “diamond simulants” – LGDs are chemically, physically and optically diamond and thus are difficult to identify as “lab-grown.”
  • While materials such as Moissanite, Cubic Zirconia (CZ), White Sapphire, YAG, etc. are “diamond simulants” that simply attempt to “look” like a diamond, they lack the sparkle and durability of a diamond and are thus easily identifiable. 
  • However, differentiating between an LGD and an Earth Mined Diamond is hard, with advanced equipment required for the purpose.

Process of producing the LGDs:

  • There are multiple ways in which LGDs can be produced.
  • High pressure, high temperature” (HPHT) method


1.    It is the most common and cheapest method.
2.    In this method, extremely heavy presses that can produce up to 730,000 psi of pressure under extremely high temperatures of at least 1500 celsius are applied.
3.    Usually, graphite is used as the “diamond seed” and when subjected to these extreme conditions, the relatively inexpensive form of carbon turns into one of the most expensive carbon forms.

  • Chemical Vapor Deposition (CVD) and explosive formation create what is known as detonation nanodiamonds.

Application of Lab-grown diamonds:

  • Used for industrial purposes, in machines and tools and their hardness and extra strength make them ideal for use as cutters.
  • Pure synthetic diamonds are used in electronics as a heat spreader for high-power laser diodes, laser arrays and high-power transistors.


NASA’s Perseverance rover

  • NASA announced that its Perseverance Rover, nicknamed Percy, has completed the first “sample depot on another world” by dropping the tenth and final sample tube. 
  • The tube will be part of a depot that will be considered for the return to Earth as part of the Mars Sample Return Campaign.


  • NASA’s Perseverance is a Mars rover that is about 3 metres long, 2.7 metres wide, and 2.2 metres tall. It is about the size of a car, but weighs only about 1,025 kilograms with all instruments on board. 
  • Since it has to operate independently on the surface of a plant that is millions of kilometres away, it has parts that are analogous – similar to those found in animals that help them adapt and survive.

When did the Perseverance rover launch?

  • Perseverance on an Atlas V-541 rocket from Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on July 30, 2020. It landed on the surface of Mars on February 18, 2021 along with the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter.
  • Perseverance is looking for signs of life on the red planet. Previous missions run by the American space agency have discovered evidence that Mars once had running water before it turned into a frozen desert. 
  • Mars had warmer surface environments that could have supported microbial life in its earlier history.
  • Perseverance aims to take the next logical step and find out one of the most important questions in the field of astrobiology—whether there are signs of past microbial life on Mars. 


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