Daily Current Affairs and GK | 14 and 15 January 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 15 Jan 2024 17:21 PM IST

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Topic: Indian Economy

1. WPI-based inflation rises to 0.73% in December.

  • The wholesale price index (WPI)-based inflation increases from 0.26% in November to 0.73% in December.
  • This is the highest wholesale inflation registered in the past nine months.
  • The WPI inflation in December has increased mainly due to higher prices of food articles, machinery & equipment, other manufacturing, other transport equipment, and computer, electronics & optical products, among others.
  • The WPI inflation was in the negative zone from April to October.
  • The food inflation has increased to 9.38 per cent from 8.18% in November 2023.
  • In November, the WPI-based inflation had increased due to food inflation.
  • If the global oil prices rise, the overall inflation could witness a further increase in the coming months.

Topic: Personality in News

2. Munawwar Rana passed away in Lucknow on January 14.

  • He was a renowned Urdu poet. He was suffering from throat cancer.
  • He was born in Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh. He was awarded the Gyanpeeth Award in 2014.
  • He became popular among the common people because of his use of simple words in the poems.
  • His poem Maa is considered one of his most famous works. It has a special place in the world of Urdu literature.
  • He was honoured with the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2014 for his poem Shahdaba.
  • He used Hindi and Awadhi words. He avoided Persian and Arabic.

Topic: Art and Culture

3. Pongal, Uttarayan, Bhogali Bihu and Bhogi were celebrated.

  • These festivals mark the Sun's journey towards the northern hemisphere.
  • Assam celebrated the Magh Bihu, the harvest festival, also called Bhogali Bihu and Maghor Domahi.
  • It is the first festival of the year. It brings people from different communities together.
  • People together enjoy the winter crops and pray for prosperity for the rest of the year.
  • It is known as Pongal in Tamil Nadu, Lohri in Punjab. It is called Makar Sankranti in Northern parts of India.
  • During Magh Bihu, people have feasts and light bonfires.
  • The day before Magh Bihu is called Uruka or Bihu eve. It is the last day of the Poush month in the Assamese calendar.
  • As part of Bihu, people build makeshift cottages called 'Bhelaghar'.
  • They are built using hay from the harvest fields. People also construct Meiji for bonfire.
  • During the Bihu, people play traditional Assamese games like Tekeli Bonga and buffalo fighting.
  • In Telangana, people celebrate Bhogi. The three-day post-harvest festival is celebrated across the State.
  • The first day of Sankranti festivities began with Bhogi Mantalu, a bonfire.

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

4. British PM Rishi Sunak and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy met to sign the UK-Ukraine Agreement on Security Cooperation.

  • Sunak announced that Britain will increase its support to Ukraine in the next financial year to 2.5 billion pounds ($3.19 billion).
  • Sunak said this is an increase of 200 million pounds in the previous two years.
  • Zelenskyy said the agreement would remain in place until Ukraine joined the NATO military alliance.
  • According to Sunak, Britain is one of Ukraine’s closest allies throughout its conflict with neighbouring Russia.
  • Since the Russian invasion in February 2022, Ukraine has been mostly dependent on military and financial assistance from the West.
  • The Group of Seven countries' prior agreement to offer Ukraine bilateral security guarantees is followed by the UK-Ukraine Agreement on Security Cooperation.
  • Britain declared that it would be the country that would send the greatest number of drones to Ukraine, with the majority of them being produced in Britain.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

5. A pilot project launched by Union Minister Amit Shah to strengthen inter-cooperation within the cooperative entities.

  • On 15 January, a pilot project was launched to strengthen inter-cooperation within the cooperative entities at Diodar in the Banaskantha district of Gujarat.
  • The objective of this project is to persuade cooperative institutions to have their bank accounts only in cooperative banks.
  • On this occasion, Shri Shah has also inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for various development projects of the cooperative sector.
  • To achieve the vision of Sahakar se Samruddhi, the pilot project was first implemented by the Gujarat State Cooperative Bank in Banaskantha and Panchmahal district.
  • After the success of the project in two districts, it was launched across the country on January 15.
  • During the program, the Union Minister also launched many new projects of Banas Dairy.
  • These include the Banas Bovine Breeding and Research Centre at Banaskantha, a state-of-the-art atta plant, Banas organic fertilizer products, Amul organics, and hydrogen production trial from cow dung.
  • Banas Dairy also provided zero-interest credit cards to cattle farmers from January 15.
  • Apart from this, Mr Shah also inaugurated and dedicated to the nation various projects related to national security and police at the Rashtriya Raksha University in Gandhinagar.

Topic: International Appointment

6. Crown Prince Frederick X became King of Denmark.

  • On 14 Jan 2024, Denmark created history when Crown Prince Frederik X became the King.
  • He succeeded his mother, Queen Margrethe II, who formally abdicated after 52 years as monarch. He is the oldest son of the Queen Margrethe.
  • Australian-born his wife Mary is the first commoner to become Queen of Denmark.
  • Margrethe II is the Europe's longest-reigning living monarch. She accepted the throne at the age of 31 after the death of her father, King Frederik IX.
  • Queen Margrethe II (born 1940), was monarch of Denmark since 1972.
  • Denmark has the oldest ruling monarch in Europe, which traces can be found from 958 AD.
  • Under the Danish Constitution, the Danish monarch has a limited role in the government of Denmark.
  • Following the national election, the new coalition of ruling parties submits a government for the monarch's approval, at which time he or she officially appoints the new regime.
  • The monarch formally approves each new law passed by the Danish parliament, the Folketing, including the ceremonial approval of each new Danish citizen.

Crown Prince Frederick X

(Source: News on AIR)

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Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

7. PM Modi released the first installment to 1 lakh beneficiaries of PMAY-G under the PM-JANMAN scheme.

  • PM Modi released the first installment of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin under the Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN).
  • PM Modi released ₹540 crores as the first installment of funding.
  • Since the launch of the PM-JANMAN scheme, had sanctioned projects worth over ₹4,700 crore through 9 ministries under the PM-JANMAN package.
  • PM-JANMAN was launched for the socio-economic welfare of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) in November 2023.
  • It has a budget of around 24,000 crore rupees. It focuses on 11 critical interventions through nine ministries.
  • It aims to improve the socio-economic conditions of the PVTGs by saturating PVTG households and habitations with basic facilities.
  • Safe housing, clean water to drink, better access to healthcare, nutrition, education, energy, road and telecom connectivity, and chances for sustainable livelihood are some of these facilities.

Topic: Important Days

8. 8th Armed Forces Veterans’ Day was celebrated on January 14, 2024.

  • It was celebrated at multiple locations pan India.
  • It was celebrated to pay respects to the ex-servicemen for their selfless duty and sacrifices.
  • To mark the day, wreath laying ceremonies and veterans’ rallies were organised in Srinagar, Pathankot, Delhi, Kanpur, Alwar, Jodhpur, Guwahati, Mumbai, Secunderabad, Kochi and other places.
  • Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh addressed a Veterans’ Rally at Air Force Station, Kanpur.
  • The event was attended by around 1,000 ex-servicemen.
  • Rajya Raksha Mantri Shri Ajay Bhatt attended the event at Secunderabad.
  • Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari, Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar, along with other senior officers of the Armed Forces attended the event in New Delhi.
  • System for Pension Administration-Raksha (SPARSH) platform is a web-based integrated system in place for sanction & disbursement of defence pension.
  • As a tribute to the veterans’ community, the anthem "We for Veterans" was played in a number of public places.
  • During the celebrations, the first issue of "SAGAR SAMVAD" magazine was also released.
  • It is an annual publication of the Indian Navy's Directorate of Ex-Servicemen Affairs that covers news, guidelines, and other subjects of interest to veterans,
  • The magazines "VAYU SAMVEDNA" and "SAMMAN" published by the Indian Air Force and Indian Army respectively were also released.
  • Armed Forces Veterans’ Day:
    • It is celebrated on 14th January every year. It is commemorated every year since 2016.
    • It is celebrated to recognise the service rendered by the First Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Field Marshal KM Cariappa.
    • He retired on this day in 1953. It was first celebrated in 2016.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

9. Himalayan Wolf has been classified as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List.

  • The Himalayan Wolf (Canis lupus chanco), a predator found across the Himalayas, has been assessed for the first time in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)’s Red List.
  • Himalayan Wolf has been listed as ‘Vulnerable’ on the IUCN Red List. The assessment was conducted on 27 June, 2023.
  • Based on population size estimates, the Himalayan Wolf has been classified as Vulnerable under C2a(ii).
  • The Himalayan Wolf is found in the Himalayan range of Nepal, India, and the Tibetan Plateau.
  • The assessment is based on the 378-630 individuals estimated for the Indian Himalayas.
  • The Small area of the Himalayan wolf habitat is also available in Uttarakhand and Sikkim states of India.
  • The IUCN Red List Assessment also raised concern about the decline in area, extent and quality of habitat’ of Himalayan wolves.

Topic: State News/ Kerala

10. Kerala government to launch Operation Amrith to control antibiotics abuse in the State.

  • The Kerala Drugs Control Department has launched Operation Amrith (Antimicrobial Resistance Intervention for Total Health) to control antibiotic abuse in the State.
  • This initiative will be implemented with the public participation.
  • Under this initiative, people will give information about pharmacies selling antibiotics without prescription to the Drugs Control department.
  • The State Drugs Control Department will deploy a special squad. It will monitor the sale of antibiotics.
  • Pharmacies will have to keep the correct details of the antibiotics they sell.
  • Pharmacies will have to also display a board that antibiotics will not be sold without a prescription.
  • Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is considered a silent pandemic by the WHO.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

11. Group (Term) Insurance Scheme for Casual Paid Labourers engaged by BRO has been approved by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh.

  • The proposal to launch a Group (Term) Insurance Scheme for Casual Paid Labourers (CPL) engaged by Border Roads Organisation/General Reserve Engineer Force for various ongoing project works has been approved.
  • Under this scheme, an insurance amount worth Rs 10 lakh will be provided to the families/close relatives of Casual Paid Workers (CPL) in case of any death.
  • The scheme is being implemented keeping in mind hazardous workplaces, inclement weather, inaccessible areas, and occupational health hazards.
  • This scheme will serve as a social security and welfare measure for CPLs working in interior and remote areas of the country.
  • This will go a long way in securing the livelihood of their families.
  • In addition, the Defense Minister had recently approved several welfare measures for the betterment of CPLs.
  • These include:
    • Preservation and transportation of mortal remains and eligibility for transportation allowance of assistant (attendant).
    • Funeral assistance increased from Rs 1,000 to Rs 10,000.
    • Advance payment of ex-gratia amount of Rs 50,000 as immediate assistance in case of death etc.

Topic: Important Days

12. Indian Army Day 2024: 15 January

  • Every year on 15 January, Indian Army Day is celebrated to remember the sacrifice of our soldiers to protect India and its citizens.
  • The day is also celebrated to commemorate the moment when Lieutenant General KM Cariappa took over from Francis Butcher as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army on 15 January 1949.
  • Francis Butcher was the last British Commander-in-Chief of India.
  • This year, the 76th Army Day celebration is being organized in Lucknow.
  • The event is being held outside the national capital for the second time as part of the Government of India's initiative to take major movements from the capital to different parts of the country.
  • The best marching contingent for the 76th Army Day Parade to be held on January 15, 2024, will be selected using Artificial Intelligence.
  • For the first time, Artificial Intelligence is being used to identify the best marching drill and identify the best contingent in the parade.

Indian Army Day 2024

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

13. India- United States Trade Policy Forum 14th Ministerial-level meeting held in New Delhi.

  • Minister of Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Katherine Tai co-chaired the India- United States Trade Policy Forum (TPF) 14th Ministerial-level meeting.
  • Both leaders highlighted that TPF plays a key role in fortifying resilient bilateral trade and elevating the economic partnership between both countries.
  • Both Ministers also agreed to establish a Joint Facilitative Mechanism (JFM) to mitigate non-tariff barriers.
  • They also committed to launching future Joint Initiatives in certain areas, including critical minerals, customs and trade facilitation, supply chains, and trade in high-tech products.
  • India emphasized the need to increase the number of inspections by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (U.S. FDA) in India to the pre-pandemic level.
  • They also discussed the issue of import management systems for specific hardware.
  • The India-US bilateral trade in goods and services has surpassed $200 billion in 2023.
  • India and the US are collaborating under the QUAD, I2U2 (India-Israel/ UAE-USA) and IPEF (Indo-Pacific Economic Framework).

India- United States Trade Policy Forum

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Banking System

14. State Bank of India has launched Green Rupee Term Deposit.

  • Green Rupee Term Deposit of 1,111 days, 1,777 days, and 2.222 days tenor have been launched by the State Bank of India (SBI). 
  • These have been launched for resident individuals, non-individuals, and NRI customers.
  • The deposit aims at mobilizing funds to support environment-friendly initiatives and projects.
  • Presently, the deposit scheme is available through the branch network.
  • It will soon be made available on YONO and Internet Banking services.
  • RBI’s “Framework for acceptance of Green Deposits” prohibits banks from offering a differential interest rate on green deposits.
  • However, it allows them to offer overdraft facilities to customers against Green Deposits.
  • Green deposits are interest-bearing deposits. They are received by the regulated entities for a fixed period.
  • The proceeds of green deposits are earmarked for being allocated towards green finance according to RBI’s notification dated 11 April 2023.
  • As per the current framework, green deposits can be denominated in Indian Rupees only. They cannot be denominated in foreign currency.
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