Daily Current Affairs and GK | 1 and 2 January 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 02 Jan 2024 17:29 PM IST

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Topic: State News/ Uttar Pradesh

1. India’s first all-girls Sainik School has been opened in Vrindavan.

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated India’s first all-girl Sainik School at Vrindavan in the Mathura district of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Samvid Gurukulam Girls Sainik School has been opened under the initiative of opening 100 new Sainik Schools in partnership mode with NGOs/private/state government schools in all states/union territories.
  • Training at the CBSE-affiliated school will be given by ex-servicemen. It has a strength of around 870 students.
  • The admission of girl children to Sainik Schools from the 2021-22 academic session was approved by the Defense Ministry.
  • The decision was taken after the success of the pilot project started by the Defence Ministry in Sainik School, Chhingchhip, in Mizoram.
  • The main objective behind opening 100 new Sainik Schools is to provide quality education to the students in tune with the National Education Policy (NEP).
  • The inspiration for setting up the Sainik Schools came from the Royal Indian Military College (RIMC) and Royal Indian Military Schools.
  • The objective of the Sainik Schools is to prepare the students to lead as officers in the Defence Services of the country.

Topic: Defence

2. DRDO celebrated its 66th Foundation Day.

  • DRDO was formed in 1958 to make India self-reliant in science and technology, especially in military technologies.
  • It is responsible for developing critical defense technologies and products to meet the requirements of the Indian Armed Forces.
  • DRDO filed more than 141 patents this year and this number will increase significantly in the upcoming years.
  • The Acceptance of Necessity (AoN) has also been accorded this year for the induction of several DRDO developed systems worth more than 1 lakh 42 thousand crores.
  • DRDO major achievements in 2023:
    • DRDO has conducted a flight trial of 'Autonomous Flying Wing Technology Demonstrator'.
    • Agni Prime ballistic missile successfully flight-tested by DRDO off Odisha coast.
    • DRDO & Indian Navy conducted a successful maiden test trial of indigenous Air Droppable Container ‘ADC-150’ off the Goa coast.

Topic: International News

3. BRICS welcomed five new members, signaling global change.

  • The BRICS conference to be held in Russia in October 2024 can prove to be a game changer.
  • There are preparations to include five new members in the organization along with its five founding countries–Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
  • Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates to be included in the BRICS.
  • It is anticipated that this change will promote multipolarity in the international world, where struggling middle nations can challenge the Western-led world order.
  • This step is being seen as a strategic effort to reshape the international system in a multipolar world.
  • The last expansion of BRICS occurred in 2010 when South Africa joined, with the "s" added to the acronym a year after the bloc's founding.
  • The move is seen as a strategic effort to reshape the global order into a multipolar world, in which voices from the Global South play a more prominent role on the international stage.
  • The inclusion of Saudi Arabia and the UAE further emphasizes the changing dynamics of international relations.

BRICS welcomed five new members

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Sports

4. Australian batsman David Warner announced retirement from one-day international cricket.

  • Earlier, the two-time ODI World Cup winner had announced his retirement from his Test career after Australia's Test against Pakistan in Sydney.
  • However, the opening batsman has said that he will make himself available for selection in the Champions Trophy in 2025.
  • Warner retired as the sixth-highest run-scorer in Australian ODI history, having scored 6,932 runs in his 161 matches.
  • His 22 centuries are the second most by any Australian ODI player, behind only Ricky Ponting, who scored 29.

David Warner

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

5. The tenure of the PLI scheme extended by the government for the automobile industry by a year.

  • A gadget notification has been issued by the Ministry of Heavy Industries to announce the extension of the tenure of the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for Automobiles and Auto Components by one year.
  • This decision has been taken after getting the approval of the Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGOS).
  • Pursuant to the approval of EGOS, the Ministry of Heavy Industries has made partial amendments to the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme and Guidelines of the Scheme for the Automobile and Auto Component Industry.
  • These amendments, effective from the date of publication in the Official Gazette, are intended to provide clarity and flexibility to the Scheme.
  • Under the revised scheme, the incentive will be applicable for five consecutive financial years starting from financial year 2023-24.
  • The distribution of incentives will take place in the next financial year 2024-25.
  • The scheme also clarifies that an approved applicant will be eligible for benefits for five consecutive financial years, but not more than the financial year ending March 31, 2028.
  • Further, the amendments state that if an approved company fails to meet the prescribed selling price increase limit in the first year, it will not get any incentive for that year.
  • However, it will still be eligible for benefits in the following year if it meets the threshold calculated based on a 10% year-on-year increase over the earlier year's threshold.
  • The purpose of this provision is to ensure a level playing field for all approved companies and to protect those who choose to pursue their investments.
  • The amendment also includes changes in the table showing the incentive outlay, taking the total indicative incentive amount to Rs 25,938 crore.

Topic: National News

6. Prime Minister will visit Tamil Nadu, Lakshadweep and Kerala on 2-3 January 2024.

  • The Prime Minister reached Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu on 2 January 2024. He was the chief guest at the 38th convocation of Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirappalli.
  • He inaugurated several development projects worth more than Rs 19,850 crore in aviation, rail, road, oil and gas, shipping, and higher education sectors.
  • PM inaugurated the new terminal building at Tiruchirappalli International Airport at a public event in Tiruchirappalli.
  • Developed at a cost of over Rs 1100 crore, the two-level new international terminal building has a capacity to serve over 44 lakh passengers annually and around 3500 passengers during peak hours.
  • PM also dedicated to the nation and laid the foundation stone of important petroleum and natural gas projects worth more than Rs 9000 crore.
  • On January 3, 2024, the Prime Minister will reach Kavaratti, Lakshadweep.
  • He will dedicate several development projects to the nation and lay the foundation stone of several development projects in Lakshadweep related to sectors like telecommunication, drinking water, solar energy and health.
  • PM will inaugurate, dedicate to the nation, and lay the foundation stone of development projects worth over Rs 1150 crore.
  • In August 2020, PM had announced to address the challenge of slow internet speeds in Lakshadweep Islands by launching the Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Submarine Optical Fiber Connection (KLI-SOFC) project.
  • This project has now been completed and will be inaugurated by the Prime Minister.
  • This will increase the internet speed by more than 100 times (from 1.7 Gbps to 200 Gbps).
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Topic: Defence

7. Exercise Desert Cyclone started on 02 January 2024 in Rajasthan.

  • It is a joint military exercise between India and UAE. It is a fortnight-long drill. 
  • It is aimed at increasing interoperability by learning and sharing best practices in urban operations.
  • In September 2008, the Al-Dhafra station in Abu Dhabi hosted the first-ever Joint Air Forces exercise between the United Arab Emirates and India.
  • India has regularly participated in the biennial International Defence Exhibition (IDEX) in Abu Dhabi.

Exercise Desert Cyclone

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

8. The 10th phase of Sagar Parikrama started from Chennai Port on 01 January 2024.

  • Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Rupala and Union Minister of State Dr. L. Murugan jointly inaugurated it.
  • Sagar Parikrama will travel through Nellore, Visakhapatnam and Srikakulam.
  • The coastal fishing communities will have interactions with the Union Ministers.
  • The Union Ministers will also talk about the government's programmes for fishermen and people working in similar industries.
  • Additionally, they will disperse welfare programmes intended for the fishing community.
  • The first phase of Sagar Parikrama began at Kachchh in Gujarat in 2023. It passed through Maharashtra and other coastal states.

Topic: Space and IT

9. ISRO successfully launched the PSLV-C58 X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) mission on January 1, 2024.

  • ISRO launched its first X-ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat). It will study X-ray polarisation and its cosmic sources such as black holes and neutron stars.
  • It has been lifted off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
  • It is the world’s second such mission after the Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) launched by NASA in 2021.
  • XpoSat mission comprises two payloads, including the Indian X-ray Polarimeter (POLIX) and X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing (XSPECT).
  • These have been built by Raman Research Institute and UR Rao Satellite Centre.
  • PSLV C58 has placed the primary satellite XPoSat in the desired orbit.
  • For the third time, ISRO used the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module (POEM) platform to demostrate technologies in space.
  • XPoSat became India’s third space-based observatory after the launch of Solar Mission Aditya-L1 and AstroSat launched in 2015.

Topic: National Appointments

10. Arvind Panagariya has been appointed as chairman of the sixteenth Finance Commission.

  • The government has appointed Former Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya as the Chairman of the 16th Finance Commission.
  • Ritvik Ranjanam Pandey will be the secretary to the 16th Finance Commission.
  • The 16th Finance commission will submit its report for the five-year period (2026-27 to 2030-31) to the President by October 31, 2025.
  • The 15th Finance Commission was headed by NK Singh and  recommended states to give 41% of the divisible tax pool of the Centre to states.
  • Finance Commission:
    • Article 280 of the Indian Constitution mentions about the Finance Commission.
    • It is a quasi-judicial body that is constituted by the President every fifth year.
    • The Finance Commission is a constitutional body to give suggestions on centre-state financial relations.
    • It consists of a chairman and four other members that are appointed by the President.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

11. Interest rates on two small savings schemes were increased for January to March 2024.

  • For the months of January to March 2024, the interest rate on three-year time deposits has been raised by 10 basis points to 7.1%.
  • For the January–March 2024 period, the interest rate on the Sukanya Samriddhi Account Scheme has been increased by 20 basis points to 8.2%.
  • All other small savings plans, however, will continue to be offered at the same interest rates.
  • The Finance Ministry stated that they will continue to be offered at the same interest rate as they were offered from October to December of 2022.
  • The government of India determines the interest rates for small savings accounts.
  • After nine straight quarters of no change, the finance ministry began hiking small savings interest rates in October-December 2022.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

12. Around 1.25 crore property cards have been distributed by the government under the SVAMITVA Scheme.

  • On the occasion of National Panchayati Raj Day (24 April), Prime Minister Narendra Modi distributed 35 lakh property cards out of these property cards.
  • According to the Ministry of Panchayati Raj, drone flying has been completed in 2.89 lakh villages as part of the scheme.
  • Ministry of Panchayati Raj further stated that around 18 lakh participants have received training under Rashtriya Gram Swaraj Abhiyan (RGSA) in the current year.
  • It further stated that 42 panchayats were given awards based on their achievements.
  • According to the Ministry, 21,05,628 Gram Panchayats have uploaded their citizen charters this year after receiving approval.
  • SVAMITVA (Survey of Villages and Mapping with Improvised Technology in Village Areas) scheme:
    • It was launched as a Central Sector Scheme on 24th April 2020.
    • Its main objective is to create a socio-economically empowered and self-reliant rural India.
    • It will cover 6.62 Lakh villages of the country from 2021-2025.

Topic: State News/ Uttar Pradesh

13. PM Modi inaugurated Maharshi Valmiki Airport in Ayodhya on 30th December.

  • Phase-1 of the airport has been developed at a cost of more than Rs 1,450 crore.
  • The airport's terminal building will have an area of 6,500 sqm. It will serve about 10 lakh passengers annually.
  • PM Modi dedicated and laid the foundation of multiple projects worth more than 15,700 crore in Ayodhya.
  • These projects include Rs 11, 100 crore project for the development of the city and its surrounding areas.
  • PM Modi held a roadshow from the airport to the railway station and also witnessed performances by cultural troupes along the route.
  • He also inaugurated the redeveloped Ayodhya railway station from where he flagged off two Amrit Bharat and six Vande Bharat trains.
  • Phase-I of the redeveloped station has been developed at a cost of around Rs 240 crore.
  • Prime Minister Modi visited the Lata Mangeshkar Chowk, where a giant-size Veena has been installed.

Topic: State News/ Jharkhand

14. Jharkhand government reduced the qualifying age for old-age pension for tribals and Dalits to 50 years.

  • Jharkhand Chief Minister Hemant Soren announced that the qualifying age for old-age pension for tribals and Dalits has been reduced from 60 years to 50 years.
  • The government has taken this decision because the death rate among tribals is high and they do not get jobs after 60 years.
  • When Jharkhand was formed in 2000, only 16 lakh people were getting pension benefits.
  • Now, around 36 lakh people above the age of 60 receive the benefit of the pension.
  • In September 2023, the Jharkhand government decided to add the transgender community to its universal pension scheme.
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