Current Affairs for IAS Exams -18 January 2023

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 18 January 2023


National Coal Index

  • Coal Ministry Offered relaxation in Revision of Performance Bank Guarantee and extended Bid due date for Commercial Coal Block auction upto January 30.
  • The Ministry of Coal had launched the sixth round and second attempt of fifth round of commercial coal mines’ auction for 141 coal mines. 


  • The National Coal Index (NCI) is a price index which reflects the change of price level of coal on a particular month relative to the fixed base year.
  • The base year for the NCI is FY 2017-18.
  • The concept and design of the Index as well as the Representative Prices have been developed by the Indian Statistical Institute, Kolkata.
  • It has been rolled out since 4thJune 2020.
  • The aim is to have an index that will truly reflect the market price of coal.


  • For taxation purpose, the Coal Index will be the base indicator.
  • For future calculation of upfront amount and intrinsic value of mine, this Index will be helpful.
  • For calculation of annual escalation (monthly payment), this index can be basis.


Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope

  • A radio signal originating from atomic hydrogen in an extremely distant galaxy was detected by the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) located in Pune.
  • The findings have been published in the scientific journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.


  • GMRT is a low-frequency radio telescope that helps investigate various radio astrophysical problems ranging from nearby solar systems to the edge of the observable universe. 
  • Atomic hydrogen is the basic fuel required for star formation in a galaxy. When hot ionised gas from the surrounding medium of a galaxy falls onto the universe, the gas cools and forms atomic hydrogen. This then becomes molecular hydrogen and eventually leads to the formation of stars. 
  • Understanding the evolution of galaxies over cosmic time requires tracing the evolution of neutral gas at different cosmological periods. 
  • Atomic hydrogen emits radio waves of 21 cm wavelength, meaning the wavelength is a direct tracer of the atomic gas content in nearby and distant galaxies. 
  • However, this radio signal is feeble and nearly impossible to detect the emission from a distant galaxy using current telescopes due to their limited sensitivity.

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Mayan Civilization 

  • Researchers discovered the ruins of a large Mayan town buried beneath the rainforest while surveying northern Guatemala from the air.

Key highlights:

  • The region, which is close to the Mexican border and spans an enormous 650 square miles, is known as the Mirador-Calakmul Karst Basin. 
  • Archaeologists estimate that the city, which would have existed 2,000 years ago, would have been made up of approximately 1,000 settlements connected by 110 miles of causeways. 
  • The navigable causeways (cleared, raised beds used as highways) were 110 miles long, making it relatively easy for inhabitants of the civilisation to travel to nearby settlements.
  • The discovery was made using LiDAR (light detection and ranging) by a team of researchers from several American universities as well as collaborators from France and Guatemala.

About Mayan Civilization:

  • The Maya are probably the best-known of the classical civilizations of Mesoamerica. Originating in the Yucatán around 2600 B.C., they rose to prominence around A.D. 
  • The Maya were noted as well for elaborate and highly decorated ceremonial architecture, including temple-pyramids, palaces and observatories, all built without metal tools. 
  • They were also skilled farmers, clearing large sections of tropical rain forest and, where groundwater was scarce, building sizeable underground reservoirs for the storage of rainwater. 
  • The Maya were equally skilled as weavers and potters, and cleared routes through jungles and swamps to foster extensive trade networks with distant peoples.


Yakutsk city

  • Temperatures plunged to minus 50 degrees Celsius (-58 Fahrenheit) recently in Russia’s Yakutsk during an abnormally long cold snap in the Siberian city known as the coldest on earth.

About Yakutsk city:

  • Yakutsk city is located 5,000 km (3,100 miles) east of Moscow on the permafrost of the Russian Far East.
  • Yakutsk is the capital city of the Sakha Republic, Russia.
  • The city is about 450 km to the south of the Arctic Circle.
  • The temperature often drops below minus 40.
  • While Yakutsk holds the record as the world’s coldest city, it is also the one with the greatest variation in temperature.

What is permafrost?

  • Permafrost is any ground that remains completely frozen—32°F (0°C) or colder—for at least two years straight.
  • Permafrost is made of a combination of soil, rocks and sand that are held together by ice.
  • The soil and ice in permafrost stay frozen all year long.
  • Permafrost can be found on land and below the ocean floor.


State Finance Study Report 2022-23

  • It is an annual publication by Reserve Bank India (RBI) that provides information, analysis and an assessmentof finances of State governments for 2022-23.
  • Theme of this year’s Report is “Capital Formation in India - The Role of States”.

Key findings of report:

  • State’s Gross fiscal deficit (GFD) is budgeted to decline to 3.4 percent of GDP in2022-23 from 4.1 percent in 2020-21.
  • GFD is excess of total expenditure including loans net of recovery overrevenue receipts (including external grants) and non-debt capital receipts.
  • States’ debt is budgeted to ease to 29.5 percent of GDP in 2022-23 as against 31.1 percent in 2020-21.
  • In 2022-23, states have budgeted higher capital outlay than in previous three years.


  • Increase allocations of capital expenditure for sectors like health, education etc.
  • Create a capex buffer fund during good times to smoothen and maintain expenditure quality and flows through economic cycle.
  • Strengthen timely devolution mechanism to local bodies through State Finance Commissions.



ISRO pushing Venus mission ‘Shukrayaan’ to 2031

  • ISRO stated that it is yet to receive approval from Indian government forVenus mission, as a result mission may be delayed until 2031.
  • In 2031, Earth and Venus would be aligned in manner that it wouldrequire minimum amount of propellant for spacecraft to enter Venusorbit.


  • Venus is second planet from Sun and sixth in solar system in size and mass.
  • Shukrayaan I will be an orbiter mission. Its scientific payloads includehigh-resolution synthetic aperture radar and ground-penetrating radar.
  • Mission is expected to study Venus’s geological and volcanic activity,emissions on ground, wind speed, cloud cover, and other planetarycharacteristics from an elliptical orbit.
  • Other mission to Venus are Venera program (Russia); Akatsuki project (Japan); VERITAS i.e., Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy, Mariner 2 and Magellan (NASA); EnVision mission (Europe) etc.

Mission Challenges: 

  • Venus has crushing air pressure at its surface, whichis 90 times more than Earth’s, and 
  • Its atmosphere is highly toxic and filledwith Sulphuric Acid that causes a powerful greenhouse effect. 


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