Daily Current Affairs and GK | 14 February 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 14 Feb 2024 16:52 PM IST

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Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

1. The rooftop solar scheme for free electricity has been launched.

  • The scheme is named PM Surya Ghar Muft Bijli Yojana.
  • It has been launched with an investment of over Rs. 75,000 crores.
  • The scheme aims to light up 1 crore households by providing up to 300 units of free electricity every month.
  • This scheme will provide subsidies directly into the bank accounts of the people.
  • In this scheme, the central government will make sure that there is no cost burden on the people.
  • Urban Local Bodies and Panchayats will be incentivized to promote rooftop solar systems in their jurisdictions to popularize this scheme at the grassroots.
  • The government has already kept ₹10,000 crore subsidy in the FY25 budget under the head of solar grid rooftop.
  • The scheme’s benefits listed by Finance Minister Sitharaman in this year’s budget speech include annual household savings of ₹15,000-18,000 from free solar electricity, with the option of selling the surplus to distribution companies.
  • The scheme was first announced by PM Modi on 22 January, the day of the consecration of the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya.

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

2. AIIMS New Delhi and the University of Liverpool signed a collaboration agreement for cancer research.

  • The University of Liverpool and AIIMS, New Delhi have collaborated on the 'AIIMS Liverpool Collaborative Centre for Translational Research in Head and Neck Cancer - ALHNS'.
  • Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya, the Union Health Minister, was present when the agreement was signed.
  • In addition, ALHNS seeks to provide state-of-the-art medical innovation and customised cancer therapies through the establishment of commonly defined strategic goals.
  • Regarding the accomplishments of the Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY and Ayushman Arogya Mandir programmes, the Minister stated that over 6 crore individuals have benefited from treatment under these programmes to date, saving over 1 lakh 12 thousand crore rupees.

Topic: State News/ Bihar

3. Bihar government presented ₹ 2.79 lakh crore budget for 2024-25.

  • Bihar Deputy CM and Finance Minister Samrat Chaudhary presented the ₹ 2.79 lakh crore budget for 2024-25 in the State Assembly.
  • In FY 2023-24, Bihar registered a growth rate of 10.64% and 2.5 crore people came out of poverty in the state.
  • The budget has put maximum focus on education, rural development, social welfare, rural works, and the health sector.
  • The budget expenditure has been increased from ₹2,61,885.40 crore to ₹2,78,725.72 crore for the financial year 2024-25.
  • In 2024-25, the fiscal deficit is likely to be 2.98% of the GDP.
  • Bihar is one of those States that has implemented the FRBM Act seriously.
  • The Gross State Domestic Production (GSDP) of Bihar is estimated to grow by 15.5% to Rs 7.5 lakh crore.
  • For the fiscal year 2022-23, the per capita income of the State is estimated to be ₹59,637 per annum at current prices. The per capita income in 2018-19 was ₹44,451.
  • The real per capita income of the state is estimated to grow by 9.0 per cent in 2022-23 to reach Rs 35,119.
  • The real GSDP is estimated to grow by 10.6% to Rs 4.4 lakh crore in 2022-23.
  • The CD (Credit-Deposit) ratio of Banks in the State has also improved to 55.6% as of March 31 2023, as compared to 53% in the previous year.
  • The share of the tertiary sector in the gross value of the state economy is estimated to be 60%. The share of the primary and secondary sectors will be 20% each in the 2022-23.
  • The value added by the primary, secondary, and tertiary sectors is estimated to increase by 6.7%, 6.8%, and 13%, respectively.

Topic: MoUs /Agreements

4. Defence Ministry signed a 2,269 crore contract with BEL for 11 Shakti EW Systems for the Indian Navy.

  • For the procurement of 11 Shakti Electronic Warfare Systems for the Indian Navy, the Ministry of Defence has signed a contract with Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).
  • The value of the contract is more than two thousand 269 crore rupees.
  • The Shakti EW System is indigenously designed, developed, and manufactured.
  • It can intercept electronic emissions and implement countermeasures in dense electromagnetic environments.
  • The Shakti EW System will be installed onboard capital warships of the Indian Navy.
  • This project will generate employment of two and a half lakh man-days over four years.
  • Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL):
    • It is a public sector undertaking under the Ministry of Defense.
    • It was established in 1954. It is headquartered in Bengaluru.
    • It caters to the strategic needs of the Indian Defense services.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

5. India Wins 9th GovTech Prize for AI-Powered Government Services.

  • At the World Government Summit 2024, India secured the prestigious 9th GovTech Prize for endeavours in Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered government services.
  • India won the award under the category of 'AI-Powered Government Services'.
  • The award has been presented to recognize the ‘iRASTE’ project of the Ministry for Road Transport & Highways.
  • This initiative is a collaborative effort of the government, industry, and academia. Its main aim is to reduce 50% of road accidents anticipated in urban areas.
  • Additionally, iRASTE aims to significantly diminish black spots within the city's road network.
  • The government of the UAE instituted this award and is presented to government entities, central or local, worldwide, to recognise creative and innovative solutions.
  • This award was distributed by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.

Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

6. NITI Aayog unveiled the Greening and Restoration of Wasteland with Agroforestry (GROW) report and portal.

  • To transform India's wastelands through agroforestry, NITI Aayog has launched the GROW initiative.
  • This initiative has been launched to boost efforts for environmental conservation and sustainable land use across India.
  • The report offers a comprehensive state-wise and district-wise analysis, providing crucial insights to government departments and industries engaged in greening and restoration projects.
  • The report used remote sensing and GIS techniques to evaluate the suitability of agroforestry practices across all districts of India.
  • The Agroforestry Suitability Index (ASI) for national-level prioritization has been also launched. 
  • The "Greening and Restoration of Wasteland with Agroforestry (GROW)-Suitability Mapping" portal has been launched on 'Bhuvan' to promote agroforestry initiatives by government bodies.
  • The GROW report highlights the potential of converting underutilized areas, particularly wastelands, into productive agroforestry zones.
  • This initiative is in line with national commitments to restore 26 million hectares of degraded land by 2030.
  • India, in its National Agroforestry Policy of 2014, committed to enhancing productivity, profitability, and sustainability through agroecological land use systems.
  • Agroforestry combines agricultural and forestry technologies to create more diverse, productive, profitable, healthy, and sustainable land-use systems.

Greening and Restoration of Wasteland with Agroforestry

(Source: DD News)

Topic: MoUs and Agreements

7. An agreement signed by India and UAE on the digital payments platform, linking trade, and energy.

  • On 13 February, PM Narendra Modi met UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi.
  • The agreements signed by India and UAE on bilateral investment promotion, development of port infrastructure, electricity trading, and interlinking of digital payment platforms like UPI and credit and debit cards.
  • They also signed an inter-governmental framework agreement on the India-Middle East Economic Corridor.
  • An agreement signed by both countries on interlinking domestic debit/ credit cards — RuPay (India) with JAYWAN (UAE).
  • This was Modi's seventh visit to the UAE since assuming office.
  • In India, UAE investment from April 2000 to March 2023 is estimated to be approximately US$20-21 billion, of which US$15.5 billion is in the form of FDI while the remaining is portfolio investment.
  • In 2022-2023, UAE was the fourth largest FDI investor to India.
  • The UAE has committed to invest US$75 billion in India's infrastructure sector.
  • Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) is an anchor investor in the NIIF Master Fund through a US$1 billion investment in the National Infrastructure Investment Fund (NIIF).
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi also inaugurated the first Hindu stone temple in Abu Dhabi, Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) Mandir.

Topic: Sports

8. Sumit Nagal won the Chennai Open ATP Challenger title.

  • On 11 February, India's Sumit Nagal won the Chennai Open ATP Challenger title win over top seed Luca Nardi of Italy at the SDAT Tennis Stadium in Chennai.
  • He became the first Indian to win a men's singles event at the Chennai Open ATP level event.
  • Earlier, Leander Paes in 1996, Somdev Devvarman in 2009, and Yuki Bhambri in 2018 were defeated in the final.
  • Additionally, Nagal received 100 ATP points and US$18230 (equivalent to Rs 15.13 lakh), taking him into the top 100 ranking in the world.
  • Luca Nardi got 10730 US dollars, i.e. Rs 8.90 lakh, and 60 ATP points.
  • This is Nagal's fifth career ATP Challenger singles title and his second title on Indian soil, more than six years after winning the Bengaluru Open Challenger in 2017.
  • In the doubles title, the Indian pair Ramkumar Ramanathan and Saketh Myneni won by defeating Niki Kalianda Poonacha/Ritvik Chaudhary Bollipalli on 10 February.
  • The Chennai Open ATP Challenger was hosted in collaboration with the Government of Tamil Nadu and the Sports Development Authority of Tamil Nadu.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/Meetings

9. The National Conference on APAAR: One Nation One Student ID Card was inaugurated in New Delhi on 13 February.

  • It was inaugurated by Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
  • He said that the Automated Permanent Academic Account Registry (APAAR) will be an ambitious and global document for students in India.
  • He said that till now 25 crore APAAR IDs have been created.
  • He mentioned that the interconnectivity of APAAR ID, Academic Bank of Credit, and DigiLocker has provided ease of operations.
  • The National Education Policy 2020 is incorporating provisions for migration and integration without compromising the quality of education.
  • He urged making efficiency in education aspirational through skills and knowledge.
  • APAAR is a transformative initiative launched in line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 and the National Credit and Qualifications Framework (NCRF).
  • The aim of the APAAR is to provide a unified and accessible educational experience for students across India by providing each student with a unique and permanent 12-digit ID, consolidating their academic achievements in one place.

National Conference on APAAR

(Source: PIB)

Topic: Science and Technology

10. "PURAN" system launched by Punjabi University to enhance Gurmukhi script typing on the Internet.

  • “PURAN”, an innovative system designed to enhance the typing experience of Gurmukhi script on the Internet, launched by the Department of Computer Science, Punjabi University.
  • Gurjot Singh Mahi developed this under the guidance of Dr. Amandeep Verma. This breakthrough provides users with contextually relevant sentence suggestions on various topics.
  • The system earned the title of “Best Research Paper” at the International Conference on “New Emerging Trends in Engineering” in Kozhikode, Kerala.
  • “PURAN” also ensures their relevance to the user's desired topic.
  • This development fills the gap in linguistic technology research, especially on local dialects.
  • However, similar systems exist for the English language. The focus on the Gurmukhi script sets "PURAN" apart and promises a more inclusive and accessible digital landscape for Punjabi speakers.

PRAN System

(Source: DD News)


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Topic: Personality in News

11. The statue of the late General Rawat, India's first CDS, was unveiled in Dehradun by Rajnath Singh.

  • On February 12, the life-size statue of India's first Chief of Defense Staff, the late General Bipin Rawat, was unveiled by Defense Minister Rajnath Singh in Dehradun.
  • The Defense Minister described General Rawat as a courageous soldier who will remain an inspiration for the coming generations.
  • On 1 January 2020, General Rawat was appointed as the first CDS, one of the most significant reforms in the military history of the country.
  • Lauding the decision to install the statue on the school premises, Rajnath Singh said it aims to educate children about the valor of the armed forces and inculcate patriotism and dedication in them.

Topic: MoUs and Agreements

12. The Ministry of Education and FIFA collaborated to promote football in Indian schools.

  • The Education Ministry has partnered with FIFA to promote football in schools across India.
  • Their joint initiative aims to distribute 11 lakh footballs to over 1.5 lakh schools, making the sport accessible to students across the country.
  • Recently, 6,848 footballs were distributed to schools in Odisha as part of the Football for Schools (F4S) program by Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.
  • Launched in December, the F4S program has expanded its reach to various states, including Odisha, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu.
  • The aim of the initiative is to integrate football-related activities into the education system, with an emphasis on inclusivity regardless of gender.
  • Apart from distributing footballs, the Ministry has conducted master training programs for about 300 physical education teachers and trainees across India.
  • These trainers will play a vital role in capacity building at the state level, ensuring sustainable implementation of the program.
  • Through initiatives like F4S, the Ministry and FIFA aim to promote the values of teamwork, discipline, and fitness among students, which contribute to their overall development.

Topic: New Development

13. Dubai will have the world’s first air taxi.

  • At the World Government Summit 2024, Dubai signed agreements to launch the world's first air taxi service.
  • The agreements will pave the way for the deployment of a city-wide electric aerial taxi service and a vertiport network.
  • Joby Aviation S4 is an innovative aircraft designed to accommodate four passengers along with a pilot.
  • It is powered by four battery packs and has a maximum range of 161 km and a top speed of 321 km per hour.
  • It has Vertical take-off and landing capabilities and is ideal for urban areas.
  • It will reduce noise pollution compared to helicopters. The air-taxi network will commence its operations in 2026.
  • The air taxi is an important step toward a more sustainable and accessible transportation future.

World Government Summit 2024

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: India and its Neighbours

14. India-Bangladesh open trade through Maia (West Bengal)-Sultanganj (Bangladesh) river ports.

  • India and Bangladesh started the first trial movement of vessels between Maia Port in India and Sultanganj Port in Bangladesh on February 12, 2024.
  • The first Cargo vessels carrying stones from Maia port have been flagged off by Shantanu Thakur, Indian Minister of State for Ports, Shipping, and Waterways.
  • The riverine distance between Maia port and Sultanganj port is 16km. Out of which, 4.5km of waterways is in India, and the remaining 11.5km are in Bangladesh.
  • The route from Maia to Dhubri via Aricha shortens the journey by 930 kilometres.
  • The trial of using the Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) Route no 5 & 6 will help in reducing the time of transportation.

Maia (West Bengal)-Sultanganj (Bangladesh) river ports

(Source: News on AIR)

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