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Current Affairs 8th September 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

Current Affairs 8th September 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

World Meteorological Organization

Context:  As per World Meteorological Organization, Earth has endured its hottest Northern Hemisphere summer ever measured, with a record warm August.

About World Meteorological Organization

  • Definition: The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations, established in 1950.
    • It originated from the International Meteorological Organization (IMO), which was founded in 1873.
  • Aim:
    • WMO is a specialized agency of the United Nations for meteorology (weather and climate), operational hydrology and related geophysical sciences.
    • WMO facilitates the free and unrestricted exchange of data and information, products and services in real- or near-real time on matters relating to safety and security of society, economic welfare and the protection of the environment.
      •  It contributes to policy formulation in these areas at national and international levels.
    • It also fosters collaboration between the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services of its Members.
    • It furthers the application of meteorology to public weather services, agriculture, aviation, shipping, the environment, water issues and the mitigation of the impacts of natural disasters.
  • Members: WMO has a membership of 191 Member States.
  • Governance Structure:
    • Its supreme body is the World Meteorological Congress, which consists of representatives of all members.
      • It meets at least every four years to set general policy and adopt regulations.
    • A 36-member Executive Council meets annually and implements policy.
    • The Secretariat, headed by a secretary-general appointed by the congress for a four-year term, serves as the administrative centre of the organization.
    • Six regional associations address problems peculiar to their regions.
    • Eight technical commissions.
  • Major Programs: 
    • World Weather Watch: A system of satellites and telecommunication networks connecting land and sea sites for monitoring weather conditions.
    • World Climate Programme: It monitors climate change, including global warming.
    • Atmospheric Research and Environment Programme: Designed to promote research on issues such as ozone depletion.
    • Global Atmosphere Watch Programme (GAW): To meet the need to better understand and control the increasing influence of human activity on the global atmosphere.
  • Secretariat: Geneva

Current Affairs 7th September 2023 for UPSC Prelims Exam

 

National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)

Context:  National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has unveiled several new products in a bid to create an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable digital payments ecosystem.

About National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI)

  • Definition: The National Payments Corporations of India (NPCI) is an umbrella organisation launched in 2008 by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA).
    • It has been incorporated as a “Not for Profit” Company under the provisions of Section 25 of Companies Act 1956.
    • NPCI is promoted by ten major banks, including the State Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Citibank, Bank of Baroda, and HSBC.
  • Aim:
    • To provide infrastructure to the entire Banking system in India for physical as well as electronic payment and settlement systems.
    • Bring innovations in the retail payment systems through the use of technology for achieving greater efficiency in operations and widening the reach of payment systems.
  • Services Offered by NPCI:
    • RuPay: RuPay is an Indigenously developed Payment System – designed to meet the expectation and needs of the Indian consumer, banks and merchant eco-system.
      • RuPay supports the issuance of debit, credit and prepaid cards by banks in India and thereby supporting the growth of retail electronic payments in India.
    • IMPS: With Immediate Payment Service (IMPS), India has become the leading country in the world in real time payments in retail sector.
    • NACH: National Automated Clearing House (NACH), an offline web based system for bulk push and pull transactions.
      • NACH provides electronic mandate platform to register mandates facilitating paper less collection process for the corporates and banks. It provides for both accounts based and Aadhaar based transactions.
    • APBS: Aadhaar Payment Bridge (APB) System is helping the Government and Government agencies in making the Direct Benefit Transfers for various Central as well as State sponsored schemes.
    • BHIM: BHIM uses UPI to complete payment transfers.
      • One can make payments via BHIM by entering the Virtual Payment Address (VPA) or the registered mobile number.
      • No smartphone is required to transfer funds via BHIM.
    • UPI: United Payments Interface (UPI) allows you to transfer funds from your smartphone. However, you will need to link your bank account to complete payments via UPI. Money is transferred directly from one bank to another.
    • AePS: To access these funds at doorstep & drive the financial inclusion in India, Aadhaar enabled Payment System (AePS) has been introduced.
      •  Since inception it has become instrumental to increase accessibility of basic banking services in underserved areas.
      • To extend the convenience of biometric to merchant payments, BHIM Aadhaar has been launched.

 

United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

Context:  A ‘G20 Tourism and SDG Dashboard’ developed under India’s presidency of the grouping with expert knowledge partnership of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), was unveiled recently.

More on News

  • G20 countries represent over 70% of tourism worldwide.
  • G20 Tourism and SDG Dashboard will showcase best practices, case studies, and insights from G20 countries, all modelled for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • The G20 Tourism and SDG Dashboard serves as a comprehensive online public platform, amalgamating the collective knowledge of the G20 Tourism Working Group.
  • The dashboard offers insights into sustainable tourism practices and provides a platform for knowledge exchange, collaboration, and growth.

About United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO)

  • Definition: The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism.
  • Aim: UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.
  • Objectives:
    • Mainstreaming tourism in the global agenda: Advocating the value of tourism as a driver of socio-economic growth and development, its inclusion as a priority in national and international policies and the need to create a level playing field for the sector to develop and prosper.
    • Promoting sustainable tourism development: Policies which make optimal use of environmental resources, respect the socio-cultural authenticity of host communities and provide socio-economic benefits for all.
    • Fostering knowledge, education and capacity building: Supporting countries to assess and address their needs in education and training, as well as providing networks for knowledge creation and exchange.
    • Improving tourism competitiveness: Improving UNWTO Members’ competitiveness through knowledge creation and exchange, human resources development and the promotion of excellence in areas such as policy planning, statistics and market trends, sustainable tourism development, marketing and promotion, product development and risk and crisis management.
    • Advancing tourism’s contribution to poverty reduction and development: Maximizing the contribution of tourism to poverty reduction and achieving the SDGs by making tourism work as a tool for development and promoting the inclusion of tourism in the development agenda.
    • Building partnerships: Engaging with the private sector, regional and local tourism organizations, academia and research institutions, civil society and the UN system to build a more sustainable, responsible and competitive tourism sector.
  • Members: UNWTO has 159 Member States, 6 Associate Members, 2 Observers and over 500 Affiliate Members.
  • Governance:
    • The General Assembly is the supreme organ of the Organization.
    • The Executive Council take all measures, in consultation with the Secretary-General, for the implementation of the decisions and recommendations of the General Assembly and reports to the Assembly.
  • Headquarters: Madrid, Spain.

 

Heat Index

Context:  Iran experienced extreme heat with a heat index of 70°C in August, leading to public holidays being declared due to the unprecedented heat.

What is Heat Index?

  • Definition: Heat index, also known as apparent temperature, is a measure of how the temperature feels to humans.
    • Relative humidity is an important factor that determines heat index, along with air temperature.

  • Process: The heat index is measured using a multiple regression analysis that uses the actual temperature and humidity to produce a number that is more representative of how hot it feels outside.
    • At present, heat index is derived using the heat index equation similar to what is used by National Weather Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), USA.
  • Classification:

Why is Heat Index Important?

  • Hot air can hold more moisture than cold air. Therefore, when temperature rises, the air’s capacity to hold moisture also increases, thus affecting the apparent temperature or heat index.
  • Humidity is typically higher during heat waves — which is why the heat index at the time is usually higher than just the temperature because humid air can feel hotter to humans.
  • High humidity can lead to heat stress, meaning the body is unable to get rid of excess heat.
  • Humans usually maintain a core temperature in the range of 36.1 to 37.2 °C.
    • When the body is unable to get rid of excess heat, the heart rate increases due to a rise in core temperature, leading to heat-related exhaustion and rashes, among other symptoms.
    •  It can also be fatal if not addressed promptly.
  • At high temperatures, the human body can lose excess heat through perspiration and cool itself.
    • But when humidity is high as well, it is difficult to sweat and then for that sweat to evaporate because the air around is already saturated with moisture.
    • This makes it difficult for the body to lose heat.
  • On the other hand, if the humidity is low, evaporation of sweat is easier, thus making the apparent temperature feel close to the actual air temperature.
  • This is why a measure of heat index is more useful than just the temperature to gauge the impact of heat on humans.
  • A heat index value of 67°C or above can be extremely dangerous for people and animals who have direct and prolonged exposure. Hence, we need to prepare and adapt to such extreme conditions by investing in early warning, making changes to work timings, and finding sustainable cooling solutions.

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