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Current Affairs 4th January 2024 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO)

Context: Indian scientists are set to join the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO), which will function as the world’s largest radio telescope.

About Square Kilometre Array Observatory (SKAO)

Aspect Details
Origin Formed as an intergovernmental organisation in 2021 after extensive negotiations with participation from multiple countries, including India.
About SKAO An international radio telescope project consisting of thousands of antennas situated in the radio-quiet regions of Australia and South Africa.
Headquarters United Kingdom.
SKA-India Consortium A group of engineers and scientists from over 20 leading research institutions such as the National Centre for Radio Astrophysics (NCRA) and the Aryabhatta Institute of Observational Sciences.
NCRA’s Achievement Recognized for the construction and operation of the Giant Metre wave Radio Telescope (GMRT), entrusted with responsibilities within the SKA project.
SKA Telescope’s Significance Aims to explore fundamental astronomical questions including the universe’s inception, formation of the first stars, galaxy life-cycles, the search for extraterrestrial technology, and the origins of gravitational waves.
India’s Role Tasked with developing and managing the Telescope Manager component, the central software or “neural network” of the SKA.
NCRA’s Contribution A part of the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, operating the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) near Pune, which is India’s largest radio telescope network.
International Collaborators Includes countries such as the UK, Australia, South Africa, Canada, China, France, India, Italy, and Germany.

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Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs)

Context: Recently, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued the list of Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs).

About Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs)

  • The system of D-SIBs was adopted in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis where the collapse of many systemically important banks across various regions further fueled the financial downturn.
  • D-SIBs are banks whose potential collapse could significantly disrupt the broader financial system because of their large scale, international activities, intricacy, irreplaceability, and network of connections.
  • These banks are often labelled as ‘Too Big to Fail‘ due to their significant role within the financial system.
  • The Reserve Bank of India released a framework for D-SIBs in 2014, which came into effect in 2015.
    • Since 2015, the RBI has been releasing the list of all D-SIBs. They are classified into five buckets, according to their importance to the national economy.
  • The RBI categorises these banks based on their Systemic Importance Scores (SISs) and mandates additional equity requirements for them based on their assigned category.
  • Foreign banks operating in India that are identified as Global Systemically Important Banks (G-SIBs) are required to maintain an additional Common Equity Tier 1 (CET1) capital surcharge, which is proportional to their Risk Weighted Assets (RWAs) in India.

Maharishi Valmiki

Context: The Prime Minister inaugurated the newly constructed Ayodhya Airport, naming it Maharishi Valmiki International Airport.

About Maharishi Valmiki

Aspect Description
Title Adi Kavi (First/Original Poet)
Notable Work Composed the Ramayana, a seminal epic in Sanskrit literature
Ramayana’s Composition Contains 24,000 verses, divided into 7 kandas (books), detailing Lord Ram’s life
Personal Appearance in Ramayana Appears in the Bala and Uttara Kandas of the Ramayana
Valmiki Jayanti Celebrated as the birth anniversary of Maharishi Valmiki, known as Pargat Diwas, observed on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Ashvin (September-October).

Devika – North India First River Rejuvenation Project

Context: The ‘Devika’ project, North India’s first river rejuvenation initiative, is nearing completion and will soon be inaugurated by the Prime Minister.

About River Devika Project

Feature Details
Inspiration Modelled after the ‘Namami Ganga’ project
Launch Date February 2019
Location Along the Devika River in Jammu and Kashmir
Association Part of the National River Conservation Project (NRCP) by the Government of India
Development Goals Includes construction of bathing ghats, removal of encroachments, restoration of natural water bodies, development of catchment areas, and a cremation ground
Infrastructure Consists of three sewage treatment plants (capacities: 8 MLD, 4 MLD, 1.6 MLD), a 129.27 km sewerage network, development of two cremation ghats, protection fencing, landscaping, small hydropower and three solar power plants
Project Cost Over Rs 190 crore with funding shared in a 90:10 ratio between the centre and the UT
Expected Outcomes Aims to reduce pollution, improve water quality in the river
Tourism and Utility Designed to attract pilgrim and recreational tourists, and to serve as a state-of-the-art cremation centre

About Devika River

  • Origin: The Devika River begins at the Suddha Mahadev temple in the Udhampur district, Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Course: It flows towards western Punjab (currently part of Pakistan) and joins the Ravi River.
  • Current State: The river now flows beneath its sandy surface.
  • Religious Importance: Devika River is revered as the sister of the holy Ganges, holding significant religious value.
  • Historical References: It is mentioned in ancient texts like the 7th-century Nilmat Puran, written by Nela Muni, and also in Devi Mahatmya.
  • Cremation Beliefs: Cremating on Devika’s sands is believed to be as auspicious as cremation along the Ganges in Kashi.

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