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Current Affairs 18th April 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Current Affairs 18th April 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

PTP-NER Scheme

Context: Union Minister for Tribal Affairs Minister will launch a scheme to promote tribal products from the northeastern region of the country.

About the ‘Marketing and Logistics Development for Promotion of Tribal Products from North-Eastern Region (PTP-NER)’ Scheme:

  • The PTP-NER scheme will focus on increasing efficiency in procurement, logistics and marketing of tribal products from the northeastern states of India.
  • It aims to provide backward and forward linkages through incubation support, aggregation, skill and entrepreneurship development, sourcing and procurement, marketing, transportation and publicity to tribal artisans in the region.
  • As part of the scheme, 68 Tribal Artisan Melas (TAMs) will be organized from April to May in the northeast to empanel tribal artisans from the region.
  • These TAMs will provide tribal artisans a platform to showcase their products and enhance their income.

Other key initiatives for the development of the North-Eastern Region

  • The Union Government established the Ministry of Development of North East Region (MDoNER) in 2001.
    • It deals with matters related to the socio-economic development of the Northeast region.
    • It promotes coordination between Central Ministries/Departments and the State Governments.
  • Prime Minister’s Development Initiative for North East (PM-DevINE): The objectives of PM-DevINE are to:
    • Fund infrastructure convergently, in the spirit of PM Gati Shakti;
    • Support social development projects based on felt needs of the North Eastern Region (NER);
    • Enable livelihood activities for youth and women; and
    • Fill the development gaps in various sectors.
  • NITI Forum for North East to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth and to recommend appropriate interventions for the development of the Northeast.
  • North East Special Infrastructure Development Scheme to create infrastructure to ensure water supply, power connectivity, education and health.
  • North-East Industrial Development Scheme (NEIDS) to promote MSME Sector.
  • North East Gas Grid (NEGG) project is underway and will improve the economy.
  • Act East Policy to connect the Northeast with the East Asian countries to promote development. Government Increased Infrastructure Investment in the region through various schemes.
  • Increase air connectivity to the Northeast Region.

Current Affairs 17th April 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam


Supercritical Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

Context: Researchers at IIT-Madras have found that supercritical carbon dioxide can be a good agent for carbon dioxide sequestration and enhanced oil recovery (EOR) from depleted oil and gas reservoirs.

About Supercritical Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

  • Supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) is a fluid state of CO2 where it is heated and held at or above its critical temperature and pressure.
  • In this supercritical phase, CO2 exhibits properties and behaviours between that of a liquid and a gas.
  • In particular, supercritical CO2 possesses liquid-like densities with gas-like diffusivity, surface tension and viscosity.

Use of Supercritical Carbon Dioxide (CO2)

  • It is used in the oil and gas industry for gas injections during enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques.
    • Oil can typically remain in the reservoir during water flooding due to a lack of contact between the water and the oil.
  • However, CO2 gas injection techniques can have corrosive side effects.
    • When supercritical CO2 reacts with water, carbonic acid (H2CO3) is formed.
    • Carbonic acid lowers the pH in the reserve and creates an environment that is corrosive to metal equipment.


Wholesale Price Index (WPI)

Context: India’s annual Wholesale Price Index (WPI)-based inflation declined to a 29-month low of 1.34 per cent in March 2023

Highlights of the News

  • WPI inflation data was 3.85 per cent in February, 4.73 per cent in January 2023, and 14.63 per cent in March 2022.
  • The food index inflation eased to 2.32 per cent in March from 2.76 per cent in February.
  • Deceleration in WPI comes in line with the easing of March retail inflation to 5.66 per cent.
Wholesale Price Index
Wholesale Price Index

About Wholesale Price Index (WPI)

  • WPI measures the price of a representative basket of wholesale goods in India.
  • The index is divided into three groups namely primary articles (22.6 per cent of total weight), fuel and power (13.2 per cent) and manufactured products (64.2 per cent).
  • It is released by the Office of Economic Adviser, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • Base year WPI: 2011-12.
  • The purpose of calculating WPI is to monitor price movements that reflect supply and demand in industry, manufacturing and construction.


Trojan Asteroids

Context: NASA’s Lucy mission is on a mission to study the Trojan asteroids of Jupiter.

 About Trojan Asteroids

  • Asteroids can be classified into three categories:
    • First category contains those that are found in the main asteroid belt, between Mars and Jupiter.
    • The second category is that of Trojans, which share an orbit with a larger planet. There are Jupiter, Neptune, Mars as well as Earth trojans. The Jupiter asteroids are found in ‘swarms’.
    • The third category of asteroids is under Near-Earth Asteroids (NEA), which has orbits that pass close to the Earth.  Many of these are classified as potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs).

Significance of Studying Trojan Asteroids

  • These asteroids are believed to be the remnants of the early solar system, and their study will help scientists to understand its origins and evolution.
  • Studying Trojan asteroids is expected to help in understanding the composition of the diverse asteroids that make up the Trojan asteroid swarms.
  • The study will help scientists learn how the Trojan asteroids reflect light from certain angles.

Lucy Mission

  • NASA’s Lucy mission was launched in 2021 to explore the Jupiter Trojan asteroids. It was launched aboard Atlas V 401 rocket.
  • The mission is named after ‘Lucy’, a 3.2 million-year-old ancestor belonging to the hominins species.
  • Mission: The mission will last more than 12 years and will aim to visit eight asteroids to deepen the understanding of the “young solar system”.
  • Instruments:
    • L’Ralph is a panchromatic and color visible imager and infrared spectroscopic mapper.
    • L’LORRI is a high-resolution visible imager. It will provide the most detailed images of the surface of the Trojans.
    • L’TES is a thermal infrared spectrometer, which will reveal the composition and structure of the material.
Lucy Mission
Lucy Mission


SpaceX Starship

Context: SpaceX postpones maiden test flight of the world’s biggest rocket Starship.

About SpaceX Starship:

  • SpaceX’s Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket – collectively referred to as Starship – represent a fully reusable transportation system designed to carry both crew and cargo to Earth orbit, the Moon, Mars and beyond.
  • It is built by SpaceX.
  • It will be the world’s most powerful launch vehicle ever developed, capable of carrying up to 150 metric tonnes fully reusable and 250 metric tonnes expendable.
  • Starship is intended to evolve into a fully reusable launch and landing system.
  • Fuel: It is powered by methane and liquid oxygen fueled Raptor engines, a reusable methalox staged-combustion engine.
  • Key objectives
    • SpaceX aims to use Starship to establish a self-sustaining human settlement on Mars.
    • The ultimate goal is to enable humans to become a multi-planetary species.
    • It also aims to make Starship reusable, reducing the cost of spaceflight and bringing down the price to a few million dollars per flight.
    • In the long run, the company aims to achieve full and rapid reusability of the spacecraft.

Super Heavy rocket:

  • The Super Heavy booster is the first stage of Starship.
  • The rocket is made of stainless steel and runs on liquid methane. Stainless steel also provides heat protection during re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere.
SpaceX Starship
SpaceX Starship


Mangrove Pitta

Context: In the first-ever census of mangrove pitta birds carried out in two coastal districts of Odisha, 179 such birds were sighted.

About Mangrove Pitta:

  • Description: The mangrove pitta (Pitta megarhyncha) belongs to the family of pittas, the Pittidae.
    • Mangrove pitta are colourful birds which have black head with brown crown, white throat, greenish upper parts, buff under-parts and reddish vent area.
    • The mangrove pitta is a small mangrove bird, measuring 18 to 20 cm in length and weighing 90 to 120 grams.
  • Distribution: The mangrove pitta species is distributed in India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.
    • India: In India, mangrove pitta birds are found in a few pockets of eastern part, including Bhitarkanika in Odisha and the Sundarbans in West Bengal.
      • The highest concentration of the birds has been found in the mangroves near the Mahipura river mouth inside the Bhitarkanika National Park.
  • Ecosystem and habitat: The natural ecosystems and habitats of these mangrove species include tropical and subtropical mangrove forests, tropical and subtropical wetlands, rivers, coastal marshlands, streams, creeks and estuaries.
  • Mangrove pitta species are non-migratory resident birds.
  • IUCN Status:  ‘Near Threatened’.
Mangrove Pitta
Mangrove Pitta

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