Current Affairs for IAS Exams -18 February 2023

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 February 2023


Vibrant Villages Programme

  • The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister, has approved Centrally Sponsored Scheme- Vibrant Villages Programme (VVP) for the Financial Years 2022-23 to 2025-26 with financial allocation of Rs. 4800 Crore. 


  • VVP, a Centrally Sponsored Scheme, will provide funds for development of essential infrastructure and creation of livelihood opportunities along the northern land border.
  • VVP (approved for 2022-23 to 2025-26) will cover Himachal Pradesh(HP), Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Ladakh.
  • Scheme will help in improving quality of life of people andreversing outmigration adding to improved security of border.

Key Features of the Scheme:

  • Vibrant Village Action Plans will be created by districtadministration with the help of Gram Panchayats.
  • Development of growth centres on Hub and Spoke Model through promotion of social entrepreneurship, youth and womenempowerment etc.
  • Out of financial allocation of Rs. 4800 Crore, 2500 crore rupees will be used for roads.
  • 100 % saturation of Central and state schemes will be ensured.
  • No overlap with Border Area Development Programme (BADP).
  • BADP aims to meet development needs of people living in remote and inaccessible areas situated near international border.


Marine Spatial Planning framework

  • Puducherry has launched the country’s first Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) framework as part of a pact under the Indo-Norway Integrated Ocean Initiative.
  • The beta version of the MSP for the Union Territory was put together in a collaborative exercise involving the Norwegian Environment Agency, the Ministry of Earth Sciences, the National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR) etc.


  • MSP Framework, part of apact under Indo-NorwayIntegrated Ocean Initiative,was launched to balancegrowth alongsidesustainable management ofocean resources and coastalenvironment preservation.
  • Framework is acollaboration betweenNorwegian Environment Agency, Ministry of Earth Sciences, NationalCentre for Coastal Research and UT of Puducherry.
  • MSP is a process of analysing and allocating spatial and temporal distributionof human activities in marine areas to achieve ecological, economic, and socialobjectives.
  • Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO help countriesby providing a step-by-step guide for ecosystem-based MSP.

Benefits of MSP

  • Ecological/Environmental benefits: Identification of biological andecological important areas, reduction of cumulative effects of human activitieson marine ecosystems etc.
  • Economics benefits: Certainty of access to desirable areas for new privatesector investments, transparency in permit and licensing procedures etc.
  • Social benefits: Improved opportunities for community participation,improved protection of cultural heritage etc.

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Geomagnetic storm

  • Recently a Geomagnetic Storm was sparked by solar wind which passed through a gap created in Earth’s magnetic field.


  • A geomagnetic storm is a major disturbance of Earth’s magnetosphere.
  • These storms result from variations in the solar wind that produces significant changes in the currents, plasmas, and fields in Earth’s magnetosphere.
  • The solar wind conditions that are effective for creating geomagnetic storms are sustained (for several hours) periods of the high-speed solar wind and a southward-directed solar wind magnetic field (opposite the direction of Earth’s field) at the dayside of the magnetosphere.
  • The largest such storms are associated with solar coronal mass ejections (CMEs), where a billion tons or so of plasma from the sun, with its embedded magnetic field, arrives at Earth. 
  • While the storms create a beautiful aurora, they also can disrupt navigation systems such as the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and create harmful geomagnetic induced currents (GICs) in the power grid and pipelines.


Aerosols Pollution 

  • A recent study has shown higher abundance of sulphate aerosols in the preindustrial atmosphere.


  • Aerosols are minute particles suspended in the atmosphere. When these particles arelarge, they scatter and absorb sunlight.
  • Their scattering of sunlight can reduce visibility (haze) and redden sunrises and sunset.
  • Aerosols interact both directly and indirectly with Earth’s radiation budget and climate.
  • Three types of aerosols significantly affect the Earth’s climate:

1.    Volcanic aerosol (forms in stratosphere after major volcanic eruptions).
2.    Desert Dust
3.    Human-made aerosols
Key highlights: 

  • The findings suggest that we are likely underestimating sulphate emissions from inactive or non-eruptive volcanoes, probably leading to inaccuracies in future climate projections, the study published in Geophysical Research Letters noted.
  • Sulphate emissions can be traced back to natural sources such as volcanoes and industrial processes, including oil combustion, traffic emissions and coal burning.
  • Sulphur dioxide, released from natural as well as anthropogenic sources, reacts with water vapour and other gases in the atmosphere to create sulphate aerosols. 
  • A higher abundance of sulphate aerosols in the preindustrial atmosphere means anthropogenic sulphate has a relatively small cooling effect.
  • But if the preindustrial aerosol is minuscule, she added, anthropogenic sulphate has a large cooling effect.


New Fund Offer

  • After the Budget, fund houses have started a number of equity new fund offers (NFO) to boost market share and draw investors. 


  • A new fund offer (NFO) refers to the initial sale of fund shares issued by an investment company to investors.
  • Similar to an IPO in the stock market, NFOs are intended to raise capital for the fund and attract investors.
  • Even though NFOs are marketed, they are done less aggressively so than IPOs, and target certain select groups of investors. As a result, new fund issues may be less noticeable to individual investors than IPOs.
  • Investors should check an NFO’s expense ratio and the performance of previous funds offered by the investment company before deciding to invest in an NFO.
  • Investors looking to research new fund launches can monitor the press releases of various investment companies as well as news outlets dedicated to aggregating the latest fund news.




  • NASA-developed technology that can remotely detect the tiniest motions of the body caused by basic processes necessary for life will be used by disaster relief teams in earthquake-stricken Turkey. 


  • The devices, called FINDERs, for Finding Individuals for Disaster Emergency Response, use microwave radar sensors to find survivors underneath rubble or in avalanches by remotely detecting their heartbeat and respiration. 
  • It was designed to detect a human heartbeat buried beneath 30 feet of rubble.
  • The radar illuminates the rubble pile and receives reflections back from a disaster site, including the victim.
  • FINDER looks for changes in the reflection that indicate movement and then checks to see if those movements can be attributed to human heartbeats and respirations.
  • It can distinguish human respiration from animals or mechanical movements.


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