Daily Current Affairs and GK | 12 January 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 17:07 PM IST

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Topic: MoUs /Agreements

1. As per the new agreement, every state and UT will get an opportunity to showcase its tableau within three years at Republic Day parade.

  • Around 15 tableaux from the States and Union Territories are selected every year for the Republic Day parade.
  • Now, every State and UT will get an opportunity to showcase its tableau within three years.
  • A three-year memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been proposed. So far, 28 states have signed this MoU.
  • The Ministry of Culture has empanelled 30 agencies for the design and fabrication of tableaux through an open selection process.
  • In the 2024 Republic Day parade, 16 states and UTs will get the chance to show their tableau.
  • The States that could not get an opportunity at this year’s Republic Day Parade have been invited to showcase their tableaux at Bharat Parv from January 23 to 31, 2024, at Red Fort.
  • An expert committee comprising artists and Padma awardees will finalize the theme and aesthetics.

Topic: International News

2. Maldives and China this week committed to greater strategic cooperation.

  • China firmly opposed external interference in Maldives’s internal affairs.
  • Maldives and China agreed to elevate strategic cooperation to comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
  • The two governments will draw up an action plan for building a “China-Maldives Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership from 2024 to 2028.
  • The two sides also agreed to expand practical cooperation in various fields.
  • They also agreed to strengthen collaboration on international and multilateral affairs.
  • Maldivian President Mohamed Muizzu was on a five-day state visit to China.
  • Two countries announced Maldives’s participation in the Global Security Initiative (GSI).
  • Earlier in October 2023, Sri Lanka announced participation in the Global Security Initiative (GSI).
  • Global Security Initiative is an initiative proposed by China.
  • In December, the Muizzu government skipped the India-led Colombo Security Conclave’s NSA-level meet, held in Mauritius.
  • President Muizzu’s visit to China coincides with a diplomatic row between Maldives and India.
  • Three ministers in the Maldives had posted controversial remarks against PM Modi.

Topic: International Appointments

3. Sheikh Hasina took oath as PM of Bangladesh for the fifth term overall.

  • Awami League President Sheikh Hasina took oath as PM for the fourth consecutive term.
  • She will serve as the 12th prime minister of Bangladesh.
  • President Mohammed Shahabuddin administered the oath of office and secrecy to her and new cabinet ministers.
  • He appointed 25 ministers and 11 state ministers as new cabinet ministers.
  • Hasina was elected the president of the Awami League at the age of 34.
  • The Awami League won the June 1996 parliamentary elections and came to power for the first time since the killing of Bangabandhu in 1975.
  • Her party won elections in 2008, 2014, 2018 and the latest on January 7, 2024.

Topic: Important Days

4. National Road Safety Week: 11th to 17th January

  • National Road Safety Week is observed to create awareness about road safety.
  • It aims to educate people about the perils of irresponsible driving.
  • In its annual report for 2022-23, the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways published Road Accident statistics.
  • In the report, the total number of accidents in 2021 was 4,12,432.
  • The National Safety Council (NSC) has appealed to its members to observe the 35th National Road Safety Month-2024 in January 2024.
  • National Safety Council (NSC) is the National level organisation working in the field of Safety, Health, and Environment.
  • According to PIB, the National Road Safety Week was first observed in 1989.
  • The central government sanctioned the National Road Safety Police on 15 March 2010. It was recommended by the Sunder Committee.
  • According to the latest Global Status Report on Road Safety of the World Health Organisation, the annual number of road traffic deaths in India has dropped by 5% to 1.19 million per year.
  • As per WHO data, countries such as San Marino, Micronesia, Maldives, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Israel, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom are considered the safest to drive.
  • The most dangerous countries to drive are Eritrea, Dominican Republic, Libya, Thailand, Venezuela, Nigeria, South Africa, Iraq, and Oman.

Topic: State News / Assam

5. In Assam, women will not get the benefit of government schemes if they have more than 3 children.

  • Assam government has announced a new financial assistance scheme "Mukhyamantri Mahila Udyamita Abhiyaan" for women entrepreneurs in rural areas, but for this, the government has set a condition to avail its benefits.
  • The Assam government announced that women belonging to general and OBC categories should not have more than three children if they want to avail the benefits of the scheme.
  • At the same time, for Scheduled Tribe (ST) and Scheduled Caste (SC) women, this limit is four children.
  • The Moran, Motok, and 'Tea tribes', who are demanding ST status, have also been imposed a limit of four children.
  • This is in line with his announcement in 2021 that the state government will have a two-child policy to avail benefits under specific state-funded schemes.
  • The scheme aims to help women who are part of self-help groups in rural parts of the state to develop as "rural micro-entrepreneurs", with a target of an annual income of Rs 1 lakh for each member.
  • Of the 39 lakh women involved in self-help groups in rural Assam, around 5 lakh women are likely to be excluded from the scheme due to the limit on the number of children.
  • There are around 145 business plans prepared by the government, out of which women can select one to avail of the grant.
  • The government will provide them with Rs 10,000 in the first year if they meet the basic eligibility criteria.
  • Depending on whether they use this money or not, they will be given a loan of Rs 12,500 by the government and Rs 12,500 from the bank in the next two years.
  • Apart from a limit on the number of children, beneficiaries must also fulfill two other conditions.
  • If they have girls, they should be enrolled in school. If the girl is not of school-going age, the woman must sign an affidavit that she will be enrolled in school when the time comes.
  • Also, the trees they planted last year under the government's tree plantation drive, Amrit Vriksha Andolan, should survive.

Topic: Defence

6. Indian Army will observe 2024 as the “Year of Technology Absorption.”

  • This theme underlines the commitment to leverage technology as a catalyst for transformational change.
  • It will utilize in-house expertise to address the operational and logistics requirements and shape these projects in collaboration with the domestic defence industry.
  • Previously, the Army had declared 2023 as the "Year of Transformation".
  • Indian Army personnel are being trained to leverage technology and effectively exploit the cyber domain through institutional, procedural, and technical measures.
  • Project SAMBHAV is an end-to-end, secure, network-agnostic mobile ecosystem that provides secure communications with instant connectivity on the go.
  • The Army has already inducted 2500 Secure Army Mobile Bharat Version (SAMBHAV) handsets, which have multi-layer encryption and are 5G compliant.
  • So far, 37 projects worth ₹74,000 crore have been approved, while 86 contracts worth ₹12,000 crore were signed.
  • Among the major projects the Army is considering is the induction of 350 light tanks, the need for which was felt during the Galwan clash with China in May 2020.
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Topic: State News/Haryana

7. In Haryana, the Animal Husbandry Department has issued an advisory to protect animals from the cold wave.

  • The advisory is for all districts in the State. The Animal Husbandry Department has also directed the veterinary doctors to remain on alert.
  • The Department has urged all livestock owners to follow the advisory.
  • During winters, animals experience decreased temperature. They also experience difficulty in breathing.
  • Symptoms of pneumonia can be seen, which also leads to a decrease in milk production.
  • Protecting weak and newborn animals requires jaggery, a proper diet, and a mineral mixture. 
  • Official spokesperson said it is advised that the farmers should take their livestock out on a sunny day only and use only lukewarm or warm water for their bath.

Topic: State News/Maharashtra

8. PM Modi will inaugurate and lay the foundation stone of development projects worth over 30,500 crore rupees in Maharashtra.

  • He will inaugurate Atal Bihari Vajpayee Sewari - Nhava Sheva Atal Setu.
  • Atal Setu has been built at a total cost of more than 17,840 crore rupees.
  • It is about a 21.8 km long 6-lane bridge having about 16.5 km length over the sea and about 5.5 km on the land.
  • Its foundation stone was laid by PM Modi in December 2016.
  • Atal Setu is the longest bridge in India and also the longest sea bridge in India.
  • PM Modi will also lay the foundation stone of the underground road tunnel connecting Eastern Freeway's Orange Gate to Marine Drive.
  • It is a 9.2 km tunnel that will be built at a cost of more than 8,700 crore rupees. It will reduce travel time between Orange Gate and Marine Drive.
  • PM Modi will dedicate phase 1 of the Surya regional bulk drinking water project to the Nation.
  • It is developed at a cost of more than 1975 crore rupees. It will provide drinking water supply to the Palghar and Thane districts of Maharashtra.
  • PM Modi will dedicate about 2,000 crore rupees worth of railway projects to the nation.
  • PM Modi will inaugurate the Bharat Ratnam for Gems and Jewellery sector at Santacruz Electronic Export Processing Zone- Special Economic Zone.
  • He will launch Namo Mahila Shashaktikaran Abhiyaan.
  • This Abhiyaan is aimed at empowering women in Maharashtra by providing them with skill development training and exposure to entrepreneurship development.

Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

9. World Economic Forum released the Global Risks Report 2024.

  • On 10 January, the Global Risks Report 2024 was released by the World Economic Forum.
  • The impact of artificial intelligence in disrupting election outcomes has emerged as the biggest risk for 2024.
  • Artificial Intelligence can build models for influencing a large number of voters.
  • The “Global Risks Report 2024” has ranked AI-derived misinformation risk ahead of climate change, war and economic weakness.
  • Global Risks Report 2024 has been prepared in collaboration with Zurich Insurance Group.
  • It surveyed more than 1,400 global risk experts, policymakers and industry leaders and asked about their biggest global concerns.
  • For the next two years, misinformation and disinformation, extreme weather events, cyber insecurity and interstate armed conflict will be the major global risks.
  • Economic opportunity, inflation, involuntary migration, economic downturn and pollution are among the top 10 risks for the world.
  • Extreme weather events, critical changes to earth systems, biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse, natural resource shortages and misinformation will remain major risks for more than the next 10 years.

Topic: Space and IT

10. China launched a new satellite 'Einstein Probe’ to observe cosmic phenomena.

  • The satellite named Einstein Probe (EP) has been launched from a Long March-2C carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China's Sichuan Province.
  • This satellite will observe mysterious transient phenomena in the universe.
  • It is shaped like a lotus in full bloom and features 12 petals and two stamens. Its weight is around 1.45 tonnes.
  • The 12 'petals' of the satellite are 12 modules consisting of wide-field X-ray telescopes (WXT). The two stamens consist of two modules of follow-up X-ray telescopes (FXT).
  • Einstein's theory of general relativity predicted black holes and gravitational waves.
  • Many fierce celestial activities such as explosions triggered by the death of supermassive stars, collisions between bizarre neutron stars and black holes, etc. regularly occur in the Universe.
  • These extraordinary explosions often emit X-rays, which cannot penetrate Earth's atmosphere
  • The study of these events will help in better understanding the formation of the Universe.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

11. Swachh Survekshan Awards 2023 presented by President Droupadi Murmu in New Delhi.

  • On 11 January, Indore and Surat were declared the joint cleanest cities of India as part of the Swachh Survekshan Awards 2023 in the category of cities with a population of more than one lakh.
  • Navi Mumbai got third place in this category. Indore has received this award for the 7th consecutive time.
  • In the category with a population of less than one lakh, Saswad in Maharashtra, Patan in Chhattisgarh, and Lonavala in Maharashtra secured the top three positions among the cleanest cities.
  • Meanwhile, Maharashtra was given the first prize for cleanliness in the states category, Madhya Pradesh was given the second prize and Chhattisgarh was given the third clean state award.
  • Varanasi and Prayagraj from Uttar Pradesh took the top two positions among clean Ganga cities.
  • On this occasion, Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that one lakh sites in 4,447 cities have been given for Swachh Survekshan work, and feedback from 12 crore citizens has been received.
  • He said that in 2014 only 15% to 16% of the waste was scientifically processed and currently 76% of the waste is being processed.

Swachh Survekshan Awards 2023

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Important Days

12. National Youth Day 2024: 12 January

  • Every year on 12th January, National Youth Day is celebrated in India, which is also known as Rashtriya Yuva Diwas.
  • The birth anniversary of India's greatest philosopher and spiritual leader, Swami Vivekananda is celebrated every year as National Youth Day since 1985.
  • In 1984, the government announced 12th January as National Youth Day.
  • Swami Vivekananda founded the Ramakrishna Mission in 1897. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa was his guru.
  • Swami Vivekananda was born in Kolkata on January 12, 1863, as Narendranath Datta. He died in 1902.
  • PM Modi inaugurated the 27th National Youth Festival in Nashik, Maharashtra on January 12.
  • The theme of the National Youth Festival 2024 is “MYBharat-ViksitBharat@2047- By the Youth, For the Youth ''.
  • This year, National Youth Day was celebrated by all the field organizations of the Department of Youth Affairs in the districts in collaboration with several government departments.

National Youth Day 2024

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Biotechnology and Diseases

13. IISc Bengaluru developed a warm vaccine against current strains of SARS-CoV-2.

  • The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) researchers have developed a heat-tolerant vaccine against all current strains of SARS-CoV-2.
  • This heat-tolerant vaccine will protect against both current and future variants of SARS-CoV-2.
  • As per the IISC, the RS2 antigen can also be stored at room temperature for a month without the need for cold storage.
  • Generally, vaccines in the market require cold storage. It would make the distribution and storage of these vaccine candidates much more economical.
  • Since 2000, IISC researcher Prof. Raghavan Varadarajan's team has been working on designing several viral vaccines, including AIDS and influenza.
  • The current RS2-based COVID-19 vaccine has been developed in collaboration with the startup Mynvax.
  • The stability of the vaccine at room temperature will reduce production and distribution costs.

Topic: Economy/Banking/Finance

14. Bloomberg Emerging Market (EM) Local Currency Index will include the Indian government’s Fully Accessible Route (FAR) bonds.

  • This will be done gradually beginning in September 2024 and lasting five months.
  • Consequently, in September 2024, the Indian FAR bonds will be included with an initial weight of 20% of their whole market value in the EM Local Currency indices.
  • Throughout the five months period that will end in January 2025, the weight of FAR bonds will increase monthly in increments of 20% of their full market value.
  • In January 2025, they will be weighted at their full market value (100%) in the indices.
  • After India FAR bonds are fully incorporated into the Bloomberg Emerging Market 10% Country Capped Index, their weight will be totally capped at 10%.
  • By then, the Indian rupee will become the third-largest currency component in the Bloomberg Emerging Market Local Currency Index.
  • Securities that were free from foreign investment limitations under a “fully accessible route” (FAR) were introduced by the RBI in April 2020.
  • India will continue to be excluded from the Bloomberg Global Aggregate and related indices.
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