Daily Current Affairs and GK | 1 February 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 01 Feb 2024 17:52 PM IST

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Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

1. Government extended the scheme of sugar subsidy for Antyodya Anna Yojna (AAY) families under the Public Distribution Scheme.

  • The Union Cabinet approved the extension of the scheme of sugar subsidy for Antyodya Anna Yojna (AAY) families distributed through the Public Distribution Scheme (PDS) till 31st March 2026.
  • Under this scheme, the Central Government gives a subsidy of Rs.18.50 per kg per month of sugar to AAY families of participating States.
  • The scheme will benefit about 1.89 cores of AAY families. 
  • The Government will continue the subsidy to participating States for the distribution of sugar to AAY families through PDS at the rate of One kg per family per month.
  • The government also approved the extension of the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund with an outlay of Rs.29,610.25 crore for another three years up to 2025-26.
  • This will incentivize investments in Dairy processing and product diversification, Meat processing and product diversification, Animal Feed Plants, Breed multiplication farms and Veterinary vaccine and drug production facilities.
  • The government will give credit guarantees to the MSME and Dairy Cooperatives up to 25% of the credit borrowed from the Credit Guarantee Fund.

Topic: National Appointments

2. Jay Shah has been reappointed as chairman of the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) for a third successive term.

  • Sri Lanka Cricket president Shammi Silva proposed BCCI secretary Jay Shah’s term extension for the 2nd time.
  • All the members of the ACC unanimously supported his nomination at the annual general meeting of the ACC in Bali.
  • Shah first took over the role in January 2021. He replaced Bangladesh Cricket Board President Nazmul Hassan.
  • Under the leadership of Shah, ACC organised the Asia Cup in the T20 format in 2022 and in the ODI format in 2023.
  • Pankaj Khimji, chairman of Oman Cricket and vice-president of the ACC, congratulated Shah on his reappointment.
  • Asian Cricket Council:
    • It is a cricket organisation that currently consists of 25 member associations.
    • It was established in 1983. It is headquartered in Colombo, Sri Lanka. It is subordinate to the International Cricket Council. 

Topic: State News/Assam

3. Assam Tourism Development and Registration Bill 2024 has been approved by the Assam cabinet.

  • This bill is to regulate the tourism sector. It will be introduced in the upcoming budget session of the Assam Legislative Assembly.
  • The Mising Autonomous Council Amendment Bill 2024 has also been approved by the cabinet.
  • Through this bill, the number of elected members will be increased from 36 to 40 and the number of nominated members will be increased from 4 to 5.
  • Assam cabinet has also approved the administrative approval of Rs 376.11 crore for the construction of a new flyover in Guwahati.
  • The foundation stone of the new flyover will be laid by the Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Topic: State News/Punjab

4. ‘Sadak Surakhya Force’ (SSF) has been set up by the Punjab government.  

  • The Punjab government has set up this force to reduce road fatalities in India.
  • Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann flagged off 144 hi-tech vehicles from Jalandhar on 27 January 2024.
  • Help will be available to anyone in the State by calling 112, and a vehicle will be at the location within ten minutes of receiving the call.
  • Sadak Surakhya Force will be led by the Indian Hockey team's former captain and AIG traffic Gaganjit Singh.
  • 144 hi-tech vehicles have been flagged off with over 1,200 police jawans.
  • About 90 female drivers will also handle the steering of vehicle.
  • The vehicles will cover 5,500 km of State and national highways.
  • Each vehicle will cover a distance of nearly 30 kilometres.
  • The vehicles have specialised equipment to check for drunken driving and overspeeding.

Topic: Sports

5. Maharashtra won the overall championship for the fourth time in six editions of the Khelo India Games.

  • On 31 January, the 6th edition of the Khelo India Games concluded.
  • Maharashtra won a total of 158 medals, including 57 gold, 48 silver, and 53 bronze.
  • Host Tamil Nadu finished second with a total of 97 medals in the medal tally, including 38 gold, 20 silver, and 39 bronze.
  • Haryana stood third with 35 gold, 22 silver, and 46 bronze.
  • In the boys' gold medal match in the football final, Meghalaya defeated Punjab 2-0 and the bronze medal went to Jharkhand, Odisha.
  • The Khelo India Youth Games were held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Chennai from January 19 to 31.
  • This was the first time the Khelo India Youth Games were held in South India.

KHelo India

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Space and IT

6. Taiwan's first lunar mission is scheduled to launch in 2024.

  • On 29 January, Taiwan's National Central University announced this mission.
  • The university said a Deep Space Radiation Probe (DSRP) developed by its faculty and students is scheduled to launch in Japan in the fourth quarter of this year.
  • The DSRP weighs 400 grams and is slightly larger than the size of a hand.
  • It is designed to study the radiation environment in deep space and its effects on technology from a four-month trip to the Moon, providing a reference for future space missions and the design of space and electronic products.
  • Following successful ground tests, demonstrating radiation tolerance, the DSRP was transported to the JAXA Tsukuba Space Center in Japan in December 2023.
  • It will be integrated into the HAKUTO-R Mission 2 lunar lander developed by iSpace, a Japanese private lunar exploration company and partner in this moon-landing mission.
  • Harsh radiation conditions arise in deep space, more than 2 thousand kilometers from Earth, which affects both life forms and technological products.
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Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

7. India and Oman hold the 12th Joint Military Cooperation Committee meeting in Muscat.

  • During the meeting, the two nations reviewed defence cooperation.
  • The meeting was co-chaired by Defence Secretary Giridhar Aramane with the Secretary-General, Ministry of Defence, Oman Dr. Mohammed Bin Naseer Bin Ali Al Zaabi on 31 January 2024.
  • During the meeting, many new areas of cooperation were discussed in the fields of training, Joint exercise, Information sharing, Oceanography, and Ship Building that would build interoperability and mutual trust between militaries of both nations.
  • Both nations also exchanged views on regional and global issues of shared interest.
  • India and Oman relations:
    • Diplomatic relations between India and Oman were established in 1955 and were upgraded to a Strategic Partnership in November 2008.
    • In October 2022, the Central Bank of Oman signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to link the payment systems between India and Oman.
    • India was 2nd largest market for Oman’s crude oil exports for 2022.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

8. India has added five more wetlands to its list of Ramsar sites, taking the total number in India to eighty.

  • India now has eighty Ramsar Sites, up from seventy-five previously.
  • Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav met with Dr. Musonda Mumba, Secretary General of the Ramsar Convention, who presented the five sites' certificates.
  • The Environment Minister complimented Tamil Nadu and Karnataka on having their wetlands included on the Ramsar Sites list.
  • The newly added wetlands are given below.
    • Magadi Kere Conservation Reserve, Ankasamudra Bird Conservation Reserve and Aghanashini Estuary from Karnataka
    • Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary and Longwood Shola Reserve Forest from Tamil Nadu
  • The Ramsar Convention is an international treaty. Its purpose is the conservation and wise use of wetlands.
  • It was signed on February 2, 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar, which is located on the Caspian Sea.

Topic: Banking System

9. RBI directed Paytm Payments Bank to stop credit transactions.

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has directed Paytm Payments Bank to halt all deposits and credit transactions after February 29, 2024.
  • RBI directed Paytm Payments Bank to stop deposits or credit transactions or top-ups in any customer accounts, prepaid instruments, wallets, FASTags, NCMC cards, etc.
  • However, customers can still withdraw funds from their accounts but certain facilities including fund transfers and UPI facilities will be stopped.
  • Users can still use the Paytm app and the UPI channel without restrictions. The Paytm app is owned by the parent company and is not associated with Paytm Payments Bank.
  • No credits or top-ups into Paytm Payments Bank account or wallet will be allowed from March 1, 2024.
  • Paytm Payments Bank also cannot onboard new customers after restrictions come into force.
  • The RBI has taken this step after a comprehensive system audit report and subsequent compliance validation report conducted by external auditors.
  • The non-compliance issues were first raised against the Paytm Payments Bank in 2022.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

10. Scientists discovered a new kangaroo lizard species from the Western Ghats.

  • A group of scientists discovered a new kangaroo lizard species from the southern Western Ghats at Kulamavu in Idukki.
  • The species is the second one of the Agasthyagama genus after A. beddomii or Indian kangaroo lizard.
  • Agasthyagama edge or the northern kangaroo lizard belongs to the Agamidae family.
  • It has a maximum snout-vent length of 4.3 cm. These reptiles are poor climbers and cannot climb trees like other lizards.
  • They are mostly terrestrial and found in areas with dense leaf litter cover. They feed small insects and hide within dry leaves to evade predators.
  • The new species has a uniform dull olive-brown body with a slightly darker head.
  • This finding has been published in the Vertebrate Zoology, a scientific journal published by the Senckenberg Museum in Germany.

Topic: International News

11. Sultan Ibrahim of Johor was sworn in as the 17th King of Malaysia.

  • On January 31, Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar, a billionaire from the southern state of Johor, has been appointed Malaysia's 17th king.
  • He succeeded Al-Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, who would return to lead his home state of Pahang at the end of his five-year tenure as king.
  • In the presence of other royal families, PM Anwar Ibrahim, and cabinet members, Ibrahim Iskandar took the oath of office at the National Palace in Kuala Lumpur and signed the document of the proclamation of office in a ceremony.
  • The coronation ceremony will be held later.
  • Since Malaysia gained independence from Britain in 1957, Nine ethnic Malay state rulers have taken turns as kings for five-year terms under the world's only such system.
  • Malaysia has 13 states, but only nine have royal families.

Topic: National Appointment

12. The four members of the Sixteenth Finance Commission (SFC) appointed by the Government, which includes three full-time members.

  • On 30 January, the government announced this in a gazetted notification.
  • Former Expenditure Secretary and member of the 15th Finance Commission, A N Jha, former Special Secretary in the Department of Expenditure Annie George Mathew, and Niranjan Rajadhyaksha, Executive Director, Earth Global, have been appointed as whole-time members of the SFC.
  • In addition, the government has appointed the State Bank of India's group chief economic advisor Soumya Kanti Ghosh as a part-time member of the commission.
  • In December, the government had appointed former NITI Aayog vice-chairman Arvind Panagariya to lead the SFC.
  • He will decide the formula to share a major part of the Centre's tax revenue with the states for five years from FY 2027.
  • The Chairman and other members of the Commission will hold office respectively from the date of assumption of charge till the date of submission of the report or 31 October 2025, whichever is earlier.
  • The SFC is tasked with defining the distribution of the Centre's tax revenue to the states for the next five years, starting from FY 2027.
  • SFC will also ensure that states have efficient systems and measures for financing local bodies as advised by the State Finance Commissions.
  • The SFC will suggest steps to increase the consolidated funds of states for panchayats and municipalities and review the national and state disaster management funds.

Topic: Indian Economy

13. Government slashed import duty on mobile phone components.

  • The Finance Ministry has slashed import duties from 15% to 10% on various components of mobile handsets.
  • According to experts, the price of mobile phones will decrease by around 3-5 per cent.
  • The import duty has been lowered on components such as battery cover, front cover, middle cover, main lens, back cover, GSM Antenna/Antenna of any technology, etc.
  • The government has not notified any date for implementing lower duty.
  • It will make mobile devices more affordable, especially in the entry and budget segments.
  • At present, only 15%-18% of the components are sourced locally. The majority of components are imported for assembly in India.
  • According to a report, India is the second-largest manufacturing hub for mobile phones in the world.
  • Import duties are taxes levied by the customs authority on the importation of goods into a country.

Topic: Important Days

14. Indian Coast Guard Day: 1 February

  • Every year, Indian Coast Guard Day is celebrated on February 1.
  • This day is observed to mark the anniversary of the founding of the Indian Coast Guard on 1 February 1977 under the Coast Guard Act, 1978.
  • This year, Indian Coast Guard Day is celebrating its 48th anniversary.
  • Roles and Responsibilities of the Coast Guard:
    • Providing protection and assistance to fishermen in distress while at Sea.
    • Preservation and protection of maritime environment including prevention and control of marine pollution.
    • Assisting the Customs and other authorities in anti-smuggling operations.
    • Enforcement of Maritime Zones of India Act.
    • Precautionary measures for the safety of life and property at sea and collection of scientific data.
Related Study Material
Evolution and History of the Indian Constitution Preamble of the Indian Constitution
Major sources of Indian Constitution President of India
Ramsar sites of India 2022 Classification of Rocks
Interior of the Earth Tax system in India





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