Daily Current Affairs and GK | 13 January 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 13 Jan 2024 17:26 PM IST

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Topic: Awards and Prizes

1. President Draupadi Murmu conferred the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award, 2022 to Savita Kanswal.

  • Savita Kanswal (Posthumous) received the Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award 2022.
  • Radhe Shyam Kanswal, father of Savita Kanswal receives the award on behalf of his daughter Savita Kanswal. 
  • She has received the award for her achievements in Land Adventure.
  • She was the first female Indian mountaineer to reach two 8000m peaks Mt. Everest and Mt. Makalu in 16 days.
  • She lost her life in an avalanche in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi hills on 4 October.
  • She was working as an instructor for the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering's Advanced Mountaineering Course (NIM) in Draupadi's Danda Peak.
  • Tenzing Norgay National Adventure Award:
    • It is the highest adventure sports honour of India.
    • The award is named after Tenzing Norgay, who was one of the first two persons to reach the summit of Mount Everest.
    • It is awarded annually by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.

Topic: National Appointments

2. Sheel Vardhan Singh became a new member of UPSC.

  • The government appointed Sheel Vardhan Singh as a member of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
  • He is a former Director General of the Central Industrial Security Force.
  • A member of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) is appointed by the President under Article Article 316 (11) of the Indian Constitution.
  • The UPSC member's condition of service is governed by the UPSC (Members) Regulations 1969.
  • Union Public Service Commission (UPSC):
    • It is responsible for conducting examinations for selecting officers of the IAS, Indian Foreign Service (IFS) and Indian Police Service (IPS).
    • It is headed by a chairman and it can have a maximum of 10 members.
    • UPSC member is appointed for a term of six years or until attaining 65 years of age.

Topic: Defence

3. A joint exercise conducted between the Coast Guards of India and Japan in the Bay of Bengal near Chennai.

  • A joint exercise ‘Sahyog Kaijin’ was conducted between the Indian Coast Guard and Japan Coast Guard off the coast of Chennai, as part of the five-day drill between both nations.
  • The exercise was conducted in line with the Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) between the two countries signed in 2006.
  • At the MOC, both countries had agreed to promote interaction between the coast guards, including visits, annual joint exercises, training exchanges, workshops, and seminars.
  • On January 8, the five-day exercise was started, with a focus on pollution response training on hazardous and intoxicating substances to combat marine pollution.
  • The talks and training covered safeguards, including how to respond in real-time to aspects of chemical pollution at sea, with a special focus on hazardous chemical substances and practical training on response equipment.
  • Inspector General Donny Michael, the Commander of the Coast Guard Region (EAST) reviewed the joint exercise.
  • In this exercise, the units of Indian Coast Guard ships Shaunak, Shaurya, Sujay, Rani Abbakka, Annie Besant, C-440, Sagar Anveshika, Matsya Drishti Japan Coast Guard ships Yahsima and Samudra Paheredar participated.

Coast Guards of India and Japan

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: State News/ Tamil Nadu

4. World Tamil Diaspora Day celebrated on 12 January in Chennai.

  • Awards were given to thirteen exemplary personalities for their contribution to the development of Tamils.
  • On the occasion, Chief Minister M.K.Stalin said that a special department has been created for the welfare of Tamils living abroad and a minister has been appointed.
  • The Chief Minister distributed medals to 13 important Tamil achievers who have excelled in various fields, including education, art, literature, and culture.
  • In this event, Tamils living in fifty countries participated.
  • Enathu Gramam, My Village, a unique scheme for the development of villages was launched.
  • Under this scheme, any person can adopt his native village and ensure its overall development.

Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

5. Climate Summit 2024 was held in Mumbai on 12 January.

  • Climate Summit 2024, themed "Decoding the Green Transition for India", was held in Mumbai on January 12.
  • The summit was organized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, the Government of India.
  • The event focused on the important role of the private sector, climate tech startups, and institutional investors in mobilizing financial resources and technical capabilities.
  • Its goal was to leverage government efforts, engage civil society and communities, and develop innovative climate services and transformation technologies.
  • The conference was organized under the Green Climate Fund Readiness Program in collaboration with Delivery Partner UNDP India and knowledge partner Avaana Capital.
  • The conference outlined India's roadmap to achieve net-zero by 2070.
  • It focused on green transition investments to transform energy systems, reduce carbon dioxide emissions, conserve natural resources, enhance biodiversity, and enhance climate resilience in a socially equitable and inclusive manner.

Climate Summit 2024

(Source: PIB)

Topic: State News/ Karnataka

6. 'Yuva Nidhi' scheme launched by Siddaramaiah for unemployed youth in Karnataka's Shivamogga.

  • On 12 January, the fifth and final poll guarantee of the Congress 'Yuva Nidhi' scheme was launched by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at Freedom Park in Shivamogga.
  • The scheme provides unemployment assistance to graduates and diploma holders who have obtained their degrees in the academic year 2022-23.
  • The government has promised Rs 3,000 per month to degree holders and Rs 1,500 per month to diploma holders who were unable to get a job in the last six months and are not pursuing higher studies.
  • Siddaramaiah also issued checks to unemployed graduates from different parts of the state.
  • The scheme applies only to graduates and diploma holders whose domicile is Karnataka.
  • The other four of the five guarantees are:
    • 1. ‘Shakti’: To provide free rides to Karnataka women in non-luxury government buses
    • 2. ‘Anna Bhagya’: To offer 10 kg of rice to BPL families
    • 3. ‘Gruha Jyoti’: To give free electricity up to 200 units to household users
    • 4. ‘Gruha Lakshmi’: To promise Rs 2,000 a month to women heads of families having APL/BPL ration cards.
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Topic: National Appointments

7. Rear Admiral Upal Kundu has taken charge as Chief of Staff, Southern Naval Command.

  • He is an alumnus of the Indian Naval Academy. He was commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1991.
  • He is an anti-submarine warfare specialist. He commanded the guided missile frigate INS Trikand and missile corvette INS Kuthar.
  • He also commanded erstwhile INS Akshay, and ashore units — INS Tanaji and INS Kadamba.
  • He is a graduate from the Defence Services Staff College (Wellington).
  • He was also the Commodore, Bureau of Sailors.
  • Southern Naval Command is the Training Command of the Indian Navy. It has its headquarters in Kochi, Kerala at INS Venduruthy.

Topic: Reports and Indices

8. Indian Railway Freight Activity (IRFA) Index has been introduced by Dun & Bradstreet and Jupiter Wagons.

  • IRFA Index is aimed at providing a data-driven assessment of the dynamics of Indian Railway freight activity.
  • It combines factual data obtained from the Ministry of Railways with survey responses from railway freight users.
  • IRFA Index consists of two vital sub-indices-the activity sub-index and the experience sub-index.
  • The activity sub-index is based on data released by the Indian Railways.
  • The experience sub-index is based on a survey of railway freight users for the current quarter.
  • The survey also assesses the level of optimism of railway freight users for the forthcoming quarter.
  • The index combines quantitative data with qualitative feedback from users. Its value ranges from 0-100.
  • A value of 50 is the neutral level of railway freight activity on a year-on-year basis.
  • Dun & Bradstreet is a global leader in business decisioning data and analytics.
  • Jupiter Wagons Limited is an Indian private manufacturer of railway freight wagons. It is headquartered in Kolkata, West Bengal.

Topic: Indian Polity

9. Supreme Court refused to stay the new law on the appointment of CEC and EC.

  • Supreme Court has refused to stay the new law for the appointment of Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and Election Commissioners (ECs).
  • However, a bench of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and Dipankar Datta agreed to examine the petitions against the new law.
  • Several petitions have been filed against the removal of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) from the panel empowered to select the CEC and EC.
  • According to the new law, the Chief Election Commissioner and other Election Commissioners will be appointed by the President on the recommendation of a committee comprising the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and a Union Cabinet Minister
  • The search committee will be chaired by the Union law minister and two other persons not below the rank of secretary. It will select five persons for the appointment of CEC or ECs.
  • In May 2023, a Constitution bench directed the government to include CJI in the selection committee until Parliament form a new law.

Topic: Indian Economy

10. Retail Inflation reached a four-month high while IIP dropped to an eight-month low level.

  • Retail inflation reached a four-month high of 5.69 per cent in December.
  • Higher prices of food items such as pulses, spices, fruits and vegetables increased the Retail Inflation.
  • The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) slipped to an eight-month low of 2.4 per cent in November as against 11.6 per cent a month ago.
  • The IIP has declined due to the high-base effect and slower growth in manufacturing, mining and capital goods output.
  • The annual rate of food inflation has increased from 8.70 per cent in November to 9.53 per cent in December.
  • Urban areas recorded 10.42 per cent food inflation in December and rural areas registered 8.49 per cent.
  • Core inflation has declined to 48 months low of 3.89% in December 2023.
  • In December, nine of the 22 major states/UTs registered an inflation rate above the headline inflation rate of 5.69 per cent.
  • The highest inflation was registered in Gujarat (7.07 per cent) followed by Rajasthan (6.95 per cent) and Haryana (6.72 per cent).

Topic: Reports and Indices/Rankings

11. Byrnihat of Meghalaya became India's Most Polluted City in 2023 in a report released on January 10.

  • According to the think tank Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), Byrnihat in Meghalaya topped the list of the most polluted cities in India in 2023.
  • Byrnihat, recorded the highest annual average PM10 concentration at 301 micrograms per cubic meter.
  • Begusarai in Bihar (average annual PM10 level 265 micrograms per cubic metre) and Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh (228 micrograms per cubic metre) took the second and third positions among the most polluted cities.
  • Delhi, which is known for persistently high air pollution levels during winter, ranked as the eighth most polluted city.
  • However, Silchar in Assam recorded the lowest PM10 level of 29 micrograms per cubic meter in 2023.
  • Of the top 50 polluted cities, 18 are from Bihar, eight from Haryana, and eight from Rajasthan.
  • 227 cities have been studied with air quality data available for more than 75 percent of the days in 2023.
  • Of these cities, 85 were included under the National Clean Air Program (NCAP).
  • The data showed that PM10 levels exceeded the NAAQS (60 micrograms per cubic metre) in 78 of the 85 NCAP cities.
  • Launched in 2019, NCAP aims to reduce PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 20-30% by 2024 in 131 cities that did not meet air quality standards set between 2011 to 2015.
  • The government has now set a new target of reducing particulate matter concentrations in these cities by 40% by 2026.

Topic: State News/ Assam

12. The foundation stone of the Regional Research Institute for Homoeopathy laid in Guwahati.

  • The foundation stone of the permanent campus of the Regional Research Institute of Homeopathy and Integrated AYUSH Wellness Center was laid by Union AYUSH Minister Shri Sarbananda Sonowal at Azara, Guwahati.
  • Rs 53.89 crore has been sanctioned for this project.
  • In addition, he also inaugurated the Panchakarma Block and Pharmacology and Chemistry Laboratories for Ayush at Central Ayurveda Research Institute in Guwahati.
  • In 1984, the Regional Research Institute of Homeopathy was established as a clinical research unit of homeopathy in a rented building at Odalbakra, Guwahati.
  • The institute is catering to the healthcare needs of the surrounding population with increasing OPDs every year, as well as specialized OPDs like Maternal & Child OPD and LSD Clinic.
  • New buildings of the Central Research Institute (Homeopathy), Lucknow, and the Regional Research Institute of Homeopathy, Siliguri were also inaugurated on 8 and 9 January.
  • The Central Council for Research in Homeopathy (CCRH), under the Ministry of AYUSH, is an apex research organization carrying out scientific research in the field of homeopathy in India.
  • It conducts multi-focused research across India, through a network of 27 institutes. The Headquarters of the Council is situated in New Delhi.

Topic: Defense

13. DRDO successfully conducted the flight test of a New Generation AKASH missile from Chandipur.

  • The New Generation AKASH (AKASH-NG) missile has been successfully tested from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the coast of Odisha.
  • The flight test was conducted against a high-speed unmanned aerial target at a very low altitude.
  • The target was successfully intercepted and destroyed by the missile.
  • The test validated the functioning of the complete weapon system including the indigenously developed Radio Frequency Seeker, Launcher, Multi-Function Radar and Command, Control and Communication System.
  • The new generation AKASH is capable of intercepting high-speed, agile aerial threats.
  • The successful flight test has paved the way for user trials.

flight test of a New Generation AKASH missile from Chandipur

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: State News/ Odisha

14. Malkangiri Airport has been inaugurated by Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

  • CM Naveen Patnaik visited Malkangiri district and inaugurated Malkangiri Airport.
  • The runway has been constructed on 233 acres of land at ₹ 70 crore.
  • The operation of nine-seater aircraft will start from the Airport. It will be a major boost for the movement of forces to Malkangiri.
  • There are four airports in Odisha - Bhubaneswar, Jharsuguda, Rourkela and Jeypore.
  • Airports are also being developed at Utkela in Kalahandi district and Rangeilunda in Ganjam.
  • CM Naveen Patnaik also approved the Govindapally Irrigation Project across the Saptdhara River in Malkangiri District.
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