Daily Current Affairs and GK | 11 and 12 February 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 12 Feb 2024 17:58 PM IST

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Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

1. PM-SVANidhi increased the annual income of street vendors by Rs 23,000.

  • According to a study, the first tranche of 10,000 provided under the PM-SVANidhi has increased the annual income of 23,460 street vendors.
  • This study was carried out by the Centre for Analytical Finance of the Indian School of Business (ISB).
  • PM SVANidhi was launched in 2020 to help street vendors resume their livelihoods impacted by the Covid-19 lockdown.
  • PM-SVANidhi portal shows that 60.65 lakh first-term loans, 16.95 lakh second-term loans and 2.43 lakh third-term loans have been disbursed.
  • This study covered 5,141 vendors across 100 urban local bodies in 22 states.
  • As per the report, 95% of those surveyed said that the PM-SVANidhi loan was their first-ever bank loan. 72% of the surveyed people said that it was their first business loan.
  • 94% of those beneficiaries who had availed the first loan of Rs 10,000. As per the study, 13.9% of all the loans disbursed had been declared as non-performing assets (NPAs).
  • The NPAs were the highest during the Covid-19 pandemic and declined over time.
  • The study found that after the launch of PM SVANidhi, there had been no significant improvement in the street vendors getting formal credit from other sources.
  • According to the survey, there hasn't been much of an improvement in street sellers receiving credit from other sources.

Topic: International News

2. Qatar court has released all eight former Indian Navy personnel, earlier sentenced to death.

  • Out of eight, seven have returned to India. Eight personnel were working for the Dahra Global Company.
  • Plans are being made to return the final veteran who has been freed. They were detained in Qatar.
  • Earlier, following diplomatic talks between Qatar and India, the capital punishment for the jailed ex-Indian Navy personnel was commuted to an extended prison term.
  • They were put in prison in Qatar in October 2022. They were accused of spying on a submarine programme.
  • In 2023, the sentence was reduced to jail term in the Dahra Global case.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

3. At the Ice Palace on the Jungfrau, Switzerland Tourism honoured Neeraj Chopra with a plaque.

  • He has been bestowed a high honour at Jungfraujoch, renowned as the 'Top of Europe.'
  • He was honoured with a plaque unveiled in the Ice Palace, joining illustrious athletes on the Wall of Fame.
  • Neeraj Chopra will be inducted into the Wall of Fame of Jungfrau Railways.
  • The Wall of Fame in Jungfraujoch is evidence of tenacity and the quest for greatness.
  • Neeraj Chopra gave the Ice Palace his javelin as a gift. He had already given a javelin to the Swiss Olympic Museum.
  • A wall of fame is a wall containing plaques commemorating notable individuals.
  • The Jungfraujoch is a saddle connecting the Jungfrau and the Monch.
  • The Jungfrau is one of the main summits of the Bernese Alps. The Bernese Alps are a mountain range of the Alps.

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

4. Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (IREDA) has signed a MoU with the Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar.

  • With this, IREDA has taken an important step towards promoting innovation and research in the field of renewable energy.
  • The MoU was signed at the 100 Cube Start-up Conclave held at IIT Bhubaneswar.
  • It seeks to assist cooperative endeavours in technology transfer, innovation and research projects, and fostering the startup environment.
  • Together with facilitating technology transfer and cooperative research initiatives, the Memorandum of Understanding will offer extensive support to the startup environment.
  • It will also include capacity-building activities to improve the abilities of IREDA officials, such as training courses, conferences, and workshops.
  • Pradip Kumar Das is the Chairman & Managing Director of IREDA.
  • Union Minister of Education and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, Dharmendra Pradhan, inaugurated the 100 Cube Start-up Conclave at IIT Bhubaneswar, Research and Entrepreneurship Park (REP).

Topic: India and Its Neighbour

5. India's UPI services have been launched in Sri Lanka and Mauritius and RuPay card services in Mauritius.

  • On February 12, the country's UPI services were launched in Sri Lanka and Mauritius by PM Narendra Modi.
  • Mauritius PM Pravind Jugnauth and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe joined Modi at the virtual ceremony at the launch.
  • This launch will enable the availability of UPI settlement services for Indian citizens travelling to Sri Lanka and Mauritius, as well as Mauritian citizens travelling to India.
  • This initiative symbolizes India's growing role in FinTech innovation and its commitment to share its progress with partner countries.
  • The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has developed UPI and RuPay. 
  • UPI is an instant real-time payment system facilitating inter-bank transactions through mobile phones. It was developed in 2016.
  • RuPay is a global card payment network from India with wide acceptance at shops, ATMs, and online. It was launched in 2014.

RuPay card services in Mauritius

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

6. Science for Women-A Technology & Innovation (SWATI) portal launched in New Delhi.

  • On 11 February, the 'Science for Women-A Technology and Innovation (SWATI)' portal was launched by Principal Scientific Advisor Professor Ajay Kumar Sood at the Indian National Science Academy (INSA), New Delhi.
  • It was launched on the occasion of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
  • Professor Sood said that the database of the Swati Portal will be useful in policy-making to address the challenges of the gender gap.
  • The portal is a fully interactive database and the first of its kind in India.
  • The portal has been developed, hosted, and maintained by the National Institute of Plant Genome Research (NIPGR).
  • The portal aims to create an online portal representing Indian women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine (STEMM).
  • Swati Portal seeks to enhance the effort to include every Indian woman in science across all career stages and disciplines spanning both academia and industry to enable reliable and statistically significant long-term research.
  • Various sections of the portal include icons–award winners (Padma/Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar/Stree Shakti Vigyan Samman) and directors, secretaries, academy presidents, and faculty.
Monthly Current Affairs eBooks
January Monthly Current Affairs 2024 December Monthly Current Affairs 2023
November Monthly Current Affairs 2023 October Monthly Current Affairs 2023

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

7. The 67th All India Police Duty Meet (AIPDM) is being hosted in Lucknow.

  • The Railway Protection Force (RPF) is hosting the 67th AIPDM from 12th February to 16th, 2024.
  • This event aims to promote collaboration and excellence among police officers for scientific detection and investigation of crimes.
  • The Director General of RPF launched the dedicated Mobile application and website for the 67th All India Police Duty Meet.
  • 67th AIPDM calls law enforcement professionals to come together, learn, and strengthen their collective pursuit of investigative excellence.
  • It serves as a platform for the law enforcement personnel to exchange best practices and refine their abilities.
  • RPF has 9% representation of women. This is the highest percentage among all Armed Forces in India.

Topic: Important Days

8. World Unani Day: 11 February

  • World Unani Day is celebrated once a year on February 11.
  • It is celebrated in honour of Indian Unani scholar Hakim Ajmal Khan. This day marks his birth anniversary. 
  • He is widely thought of as the pioneer of Unani medicine in India.
  • The theme of this year’s World Unani Day is “Unani Medicine-One Earth, One Health”.
  • Hakim Ajmal Khan was born on February 11, 1868.
  • Unani medicine is also known as Unani Tibb, Arabian medicine, or Islamic medicine. In Arabic, "Unani" translates to "Greek,".
  • World Unani Day originated in the year 2016. Ministry of AYUSH, Government of India, announced its celebration in 2016.
  • It was for the first time celebrated in 2017 at the Central Research Institute of Unani Medicine in Hyderabad.

Topic: Art and Culture

9. Regional Centre of Sangeet Natak Akademi will be set up in Hyderabad.

  • Regional Centre of Sangeet Natak Akademi, also known as ‘Dakshin Bharat Sanskritik Kendra,’ will be established in Hyderabad.
  • This regional centre will be established to promote the rich cultural heritage of South India.
  • This centre will promote research and documentation of music, folk and tribal arts, theatre, and puppetry. It would also foster cultural growth in the state.
  • The foundation stone for the ‘Bharat Kala Mandapam’ auditorium and the inauguration of the South India Cultural Centre of the Sangeet Nataka Akademi Dakshin Bharat Sanskritik Kendra was performed by former Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu, on 12 February.
  • Sangeet Natak Akademi:
    • It is the apex body in the field of performing arts.
    • It was set up in 1953 for the preservation and promotion of the vast intangible heritage of India’s diverse culture, expressed in forms of music, dance, and drama.
    • Sangeet Natak Akademi is situated in New Delhi.

Topic: National News

10. NITI Aayog planned the economic transformation of four cities.

  • The NITI Aayog has prepared the economic transformation vision of Mumbai, Surat, Varanasi, and Visakhapatnam. It will help India to become a developed economy by 2047.
  • NITI Aayog is preparing a vision document to develop India's economy of USD 30 trillion by 2047.
  • The vision document comprises various aspects of development, including economic growth, social progress, environmental sustainability, and good governance.
  • NITI Aayog officials have taken steps to take the GDP of the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) to USD 300 billion by 2030.
  • NITI Aayog is also planning to prepare economic planning for 20-25 more cities.

Topic: Indian Economy

11. The interest rate on deposits increased from 8.15% to 8.25% by EPFO.

  • The interest rate on Employees Provident Fund (EPF) deposits has been increased to 8.25% for 2023-24 by the retirement fund body EPFO, which is the highest level in three years.
  • On 10 February, the decision was taken during a meeting of the EPFO's apex decision-making body, the Central Board of Trustees (CBT).
  • EPFO in March 2023 marginally increased the interest rate on EPF to 8.15% for the financial year 2022-23 from 8.10% in 2021-22.
  • Apart from this, in March 2022, EPFO reduced the interest rate on EPF for 2021-22 to a four-decade low of 8.1%, down from 8.5% in 2020-21.
  • The 8.25% interest rate for 2023-24 is a positive development for over six crore subscribers of EPFO.
  • Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO):
    • EPFO is a statutory body that was established under the Employees’ Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.
    • The organization works under the aegis of the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
    • It is one of the world’s largest social security organizations.
    • It helps the central board of trustees in the administration of the Provident Fund Scheme, Pension Scheme and Insurance scheme for the organized sector workers.

Topic: Important Days

12. International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024: 11 February

  • Every year on 11 February, International Day of Women and Girls in Science is observed.
  • It is observed to raise awareness about the role of women in achieving development goals.
  • This year 9th edition of International Day of Women and Girls in Science was celebrated across the world.
  • The theme of International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2024 is “Women and Girls in Science Leadership, a New Era for Sustainability.”
  • In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.
  • On 20 December 2013, the General Assembly adopted a resolution on science, technology, and innovation for development.
  • It recognizes that full and equal access to and participation in science, technology, and innovation for women and girls of all ages is essential to achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
  • Since 1998, UNESCO and the L'Oréal Foundation is organizing an award ceremony that honours women scientists of exceptional talent from around the world.

Topic: Biotechnology and Diseases

13. Government launched a Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign for Lymphatic Filariasis elimination.

  • The first phase of the Nationwide Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign for Lymphatic Filariasis elimination has been launched by Union Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare Prof. S.P. Singh Baghel.
  • The main aim of the campaign is to control disease transmission by providing free preventive medications to people affected by this disease in rural areas.
  • This campaign will cover 92 districts across 11 states in the next two weeks.
  • India is committed to eliminating Lymphatic Filariasis by 2027, three years before the global target.
  • In India, 11 states including Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, and West Bengal are participating in this campaign.
  • At present, 345 lymphatic filariasis endemic districts are present in 20 states and union territories.
  • 75 percent of Mass Drug Administration (MDA) districts are from 5 states Bihar, Jharkhand, UP, Odisha and Telangana.
  • Despite more than 15-20 phases of the Mass Drug Administration, only 138 districts have ended MDA.
  • Lymphatic Filariasis (elephantiasis):
    • It is a parasitic disease caused by nematode worms (roundworms) of the family Filariodidea.
    • It is transmitted by infected mosquitoes and can cause acute and chronic symptoms.
    • It is prevalent in the tropics and sub-tropics of Asia, Africa, the Western Pacific, and parts of the Caribbean and South America.

Mass Drug Administration (MDA) campaign

(Source: PIB)

Topic: Miscellaneous

14. Civil servant Narendra Kumar Yadav has been appointed brand ambassador of Fit India Movement.

  • Narendra Kumar Yadav, Additional Director GST, has been appointed as the brand ambassador of Fit India Movement.
  • He is one of the youngest Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers.
  • He became the first civil servant to be chosen as the brand ambassador of the Fit India Movement.
  • He is known for his dedication, passion, and unwavering commitment to public service.
  • He has emerged as a prominent figure in the realm of health and fitness.
  • FIT India Movement:
    • It was launched on 29th August 2019 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
    • The main aim of the mission is to bring about behavioural changes and move towards a more physically active lifestyle.
    • Its main aim is to spread awareness about fitness through focused campaigns.
    • It also encourages traditional sports and aims to make fitness activities part of every school, college and university.
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