Daily Current Affairs and GK | 15 and 16 January 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 16 Jan 2023 18:07 PM IST

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Topic: Art and Culture

1. Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal handed over the 9th to 10th century Nataraja idol to the Archaeological Department officials.

  • After a long legal process, the Idol was brought to India in 2020 from a private museum.
  • The idol was stolen from the Shiva temple at Badoli in Chittorgarh in 1998.
  • After 2014, 229 idols of ancient importance have been brought to India.
  • Union Minister Arjun Ram Meghwal also announced that a ropeway on Chittorgarh fort will be also built.
  • Nataraja sculpture:
    • Nataraja sculpture shows Shiva as the lord of dance and dramatic arts.
    • The dancing figure of shiva as Nataraja was mainly evolved during the Chola period.
    • The dance of shiva is a manifestation of his panchkrityas or the five activities- creation, preservation, destruction, veiling and grace.
    • In this, the image of Shiva is encircled by a prabhamandala, a circle of fire. The right hand of Shiva is in the Abhaya mudra.
    • Shiva’s cosmic dance signifes the cyclical creation and destruction of the universe.
    • The bronze image of Shiva’s Ananda tandava first appeared in the Pallava period during the 7th-9th century CE.

9th to 10th century Nataraja idol

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Sports

2. Indian team of Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni defeated Christopher Rungkat and Akira Santillan at Nonthaburi, Thailand.

  • The Indian team won Bangkok Open tennis title.
  • The Indian team defeated the Indonesian-Australian combo in the final which lasted one hour and 50 minutes.
  • It was their sixth Challenger title as a pair. They won five titles last year.
  • The winning team collected 75 ATP points and $4,645. The runners-up won 50 points and $2,700.
  • Yuki Bhambri and Saketh Myneni will next compete in the Australian Open.
  • This will be the season’s first Grand Slam. They have been given a wild card entry in it.
  • Bangkok Challenger is a tennis tournament held in Bangkok, Thailand. It is part of the ATP Challenger Tour. It is played on outdoor hard courts.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

3. Union Minister of State for Science and Technology, Jitendra Singh launched the ‘Geospatial Hackathon’ on 14 January, 2023.

  • Geospatial Hackathon has been launched to promote Start-Ups in India’s geospatial sector.
  • Geospatial Hackathon has been announced by the Department of Science and Technology. 
  • It will conclude on March 10, 2023. There will be two sets of challenges- the Research Challenge and the Start-Up Challenge.
  • The purpose of the challenges will be to find out 4 winners for the Best Solutions to the Geospatial Select Problem Statements.
  • The hackathon aims to promote partnerships among the public and private geospatial sectors.
  • It will also aim to strengthen our country’s geospatial Start-Up ecosystem.
  • Union Minister Dr. Jitendra Singh praised the Ministry of Science and Technology, Survey of India, IIIT Hyderabad and Microsoft India for planning and designing the Geospatial Hackathon.

Topic: Reports and Indices

4. Oxfam International released India supplement of its inequality report on the first day of annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

  • Oxfam International said that if India’s ten richest people are taxed at 5%, this would fetch money to bring children back to school.
  • India’s richest one percent own more than 40% of the country’s total wealth.
  • The bottom half of the population together share just 3% of wealth.
  • Oxfam International added that a one-off tax on unrealized gains from 2017–2021 on Gautam Adani could have raised Rs 1.79 lakh crore.
  • This would be enough to employ over five million Indian primary school teachers for a year.
  • According to the report titled ‘Survival of the Richest’, taxing India’s billionaires once at 2% on their entire wealth would fulfill the requirement of Rs 40,423 crore for the nutrition of malnourished in the country for the next three years.
  • The report added a one-time tax of 5% on the 10 richest billionaires in India is more than 1.5 times the fund estimated by the Health and Family Welfare Ministry and the Ministry of Ayush for the year 2022-23.
  • According to the report, female workers earn only 63 paise for every 1 rupee a male worker earns.
  • This gender inequality is even more in case of Scheduled Castes and rural workers. 
  • The report combines qualitative and quantitative information to explore the impact of inequality in India.
  • Oxfam said the wealth of billionaires in India have increased by 121% or Rs 3,608 crore per day in real terms since the beginning of the pandemic in November 2022.
  • About 64% of the total Rs 14.83 lakh crore in GST came from bottom 50% of the population in 2021-22. Only 3% of Goods and Services Tax (GST) came from the top 10%.
  • As per Oxfam, total number of billionaires in India increased from 102 in 2020 to 166 in 2022.
  • The combined wealth of 100 richest of India has reached USD 660 billion (Rs 54.12 lakh crore).
  • This is an amount that could fund the Union Budget for more than 18 months.
  • Oxfam cited a nationwide survey by Fight Inequality Alliance India (FIA India) in 2021 and said that it found that over 80% of the people in India support tax on rich.
  • It added over 90% participants demanded budget measures such as universal social security, right to health to combat inequality.
  • Oxfam also called for inheritance, property, and land taxes, as well as net wealth taxes.
  • The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum started on 16 January in Davos, Switzerland. Its theme is 'Cooperation in a Fragmented World'.

Topic: Personality in News

5. America's 28-year-old R Bonnie Gabriel won Miss Universe 2022 crown.

  • Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu crowned Miss Universe R Bonnie Gabriel.
  • Amanda Dudamel of Venezuela became the first runner-up, while Andrea Martínez of the Dominican Republic was the second runner-up.
  • R Bonnie Gabriel, 28, is a model, fashion designer, and sewing instructor who makes the environment a priority in her work.
  • Gabriel is the first American of Filipino descent to win Miss USA.
  • The 71st Miss Universe pageant was held in New Orleans, Louisiana.
  • 84 women from all over the world competed for the crown in this competition.
  • In 1952, Armi Kuusela from Finland won the first Miss Universe title.

Miss Universe R Bonnie Gabriel

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Sports

6. India broke the record of the biggest win runs margin after beating Sri Lanka by 317 run in the 3rd ODI.

  • On 15 January, India has broken the record of New Zealand to win 290 runs margin to create history at the Greenfield Stadium.
  • Kohli smashed an unbeaten 166 runs (110 balls) and also recorded his 46th ODI hundred in this match.
  • Virat Kohli has become the first batsman to score 10 centuries against any team in ODIs.
  • Virat Kohli has now become the top player who scored the most number of ODI centuries (21) on home soil.
  • Virat Kohli has become the second batsman after Sachin Tendulkar to score the most runs against Sri Lanka in both ODIs and international cricket.
  • Virat Kohli has become the 5th highest run scorer in ODI history.
  • Here is the list of most wins by runs in ODIs:

Win by margin



 India vs Sri Lanka, 2023


 New Zealand vs Ireland, 2008


 Australia vs Afghanistan, 2015


 South Africa vs Zimbabwe, 2010


 India vs Bermuda, 2007


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Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

7. PM Modi announced the Aarogya Maitri project.

  • Under this project, India will provide essential medical supplies to any developing country that is affected by natural disasters or humanitarian crisis.
  • PM Modi announced the new Aarogya Maitri project at the Concluding Leaders’ Session of the two-day virtual ‘Voice of Global South Summit’.
  • He said India will launch the Global-South Science and Technology Initiative. This initiative will be launched to share expertise in areas such as space technology and nuclear energy.
  • India will also establish the Global South Center of Excellence for research on developing solutions which can be scaled up and implemented around the world.
  • PM Modi also proposed a Global-South Young Diplomats Forum. This will help connect youthful officers to Foreign Ministries.
  • India will also institute Global-South Scholarships for students from developing countries to pursue higher education in India.

Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

8. CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Policy Research (CSIR-NIScPR) hosted the first meeting of the Indian Architectural Heritage sub-committee on January 13, 2023.

  • CSIR-NIScPR hosted the meeting as part of the national initiative "Communicating India's Scientifically Validated Traditional Knowledge to the Society (SVASTIK)".
  • Members of the sub-committee and the CSIR-NIScPR team were present during the meeting.
  • Participants at the meeting suggested measures to disseminate ancient practices related to housing, water distribution systems, and urban settlements.
  • CSIR-National Institute of Science Communication and Policy Research (CSIR-NIScPR) has been assigned as the nodal organisation to implement the SVASTIK initiative.
  • CSIR-NIScPR launched the SVASTIK initiative on 25 August 2021.
  • Under this initiative, simplified creative content on Traditional Knowledge is disseminated through digital platforms.

Topic: Science and Technology

9. India's first 5G-enabled drone has been developed by IG Drones.

  • Startup firm IG Drones has developed a 5G-enabled drone named Skyhawk. It is capable of vertical take-off and landing.
  • This drone can carry a payload of 10kg and can fly for five hours.
  • These drones can be controlled with much precision and can be controlled by the command centre.
  • It can be operated from any terrain and has Artificial intelligence and thermal imaging capabilities.
  • The drone can be used for monitoring border intrusion. It is IP67 rated and can be controlled with a combination of NavIC + GPS navigational satellites.
  • This drone has been developed to full fill the needs of the defence and medical sectors.
  • In case an internet link is not available, the drone can be operated through satellite.
  • When it operates at its peak speed it covers almost 100 kms in 12-15 minutes. It can give surveillance up to 100-200 kms per day.

Topic: International News

10. Europe’s largest deposit of rare earth elements have been found in Sweden.

  • Mining company, LKAB, has identified mineral resources of more than one million tonnes of rare earth oxides in the Kiruna region of Sweden.
  • It is the largest known deposit of rare earth elements in Europe.
  • Currently, Europe imports most of its rare earth minerals and no rare earth minerals are mined in Europe.
  • As per a report, 98 per cent of rare earths minerals used by the European Union are imported from China.
  • The discovery of rare earth minerals is significant not just for the EU but for also other western countries. It will help in reducing reliance on china for rare earth minerals.
  • Rare earths materials are used in technologies of consumer electronics, computers and networks, communications, clean energy, advanced transportation, healthcare, environmental mitigation, and national defence.
  • Yttrium is used in drugs for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. Rare earth materials are also used in space shuttle components, jet engine turbines, and drones.
  • The importance of rare earth materials has increased due to their usage in green energy. Neodymium and dysprosium are used in wind turbine motors.
  • Rare earth metals are a group of 17 elements – lanthanum, cerium, praseodymium, neodymium, promethium, samarium, europium, gadolinium, terbium, dysprosium, holmium, erbium, thulium, ytterbium, lutetium, scandium, yttrium.

Topic: State News/ Himachal Pradesh

11. Himachal Pradesh has become the fourth state to restore the old pension scheme.

  • On 13 January, the Himachal Pradesh government, led by Chief Minister Sukhwinder Singh Sukhu, approved the restoration of the old pension scheme, fulfilling an election promise of the Congress.
  • There are over 1.36 lakh employees, including employees and pensioners, under the New Pension Scheme (NPS).
  • Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan, where both states are ruled by the Congress government, and Punjab, where the AAP government is in power, have already started the old pension scheme.
  • CM stated that the government will also fulfill the promise of giving Rs 1,500 per month to women of the state.
  • A committee has also been formed to explore the possibility of one lakh jobs in the state.
  • This year, the liability under OPS for is around ₹ 800 to ₹ 900 crore, which will be met through resource mobilization like ₹ 3 increase on VAT on diesel.
  • Under the New Pension Policy (NPS), Employees joining Government service from January 1, 2004 will be covered.

Topic: Important Days

12. Indian Army Day 2023: 15 January

  • Every year on 15 January, Indian Army Day is celebrated to remember 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 75th Army Day celebration organized in Bengaluru.
  • This was the first time that the event was held outside the national capital.
  • Union Defense Minister Rajnath Singh was the chief guest at this event.
  • The Chief of Army Staff, General Manoj Pande presented gallantry awards for individual acts of bravery and sacrifice.     

Topic: Indian Economy

13. In 2022, India’s trade deficit with China has reached beyond $100 billion for the first time.

  • The bilateral trade between India and China has reached highest value- $ 135.98 billion in 2022. It has surpassed the 2021 record.
  • The rise in bilateral trade is due to recovery in demand in India and surge in Chinese goods import- import of intermediate goods, new category of goods such as medical supplies. As compared to 2021, the import of Chinese goods in India increased by more than 21%.
  • However, India’s exports to China has declined during the same period. This has created a significant trade deficit beyond $100 billion mark for the first time.
  • As per the data released by General Administration of Customs (GAC) in Beijing on January 13, the bilateral trade has increased by 8.4% in 2022 with India’s import accounting for $118.5 billion.
  • India’s exports to China has declined from $28.1 billion to $17.48 billion.
  • China’s total foreign trade has hit a record high of $6.25 trillion.
  • ASEAN is the largest trading partner of China, followed by European Union and USA.
  • India’s major imports from China include- Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), Chemicals, Electrical and Mechanical machinery, medical supplies and auto parts.
  • As of 2022, USA is India’s largest trading partner followed by China and UAE.

Topic: Banking System

14. SBI has launched e-Bank guarantee (e-BG) facility in association with NeSL.

  • SBI has taken this initiative to improve transparency and reduce turnaround time from days to minutes.
  • NeSL’s Digital Document Execution (DDE) platform will facilitate the e-Bank Guarantee process.
  • Beneficiaries can instantly get e-BG on National e-Governance Services Limited (NeSL) platform without further verification.
  • Presently, these guarantees are issued by the bank with physical stamping and wet signatures.
  • With the introduction of e-BG, this function will be replaced with e-stamping and e-signature.
  • e-Bank guarantee refers to a substitute of paper-based guarantees.
  • National E-Governance Services Limited:
    • It is India’s first Information Utility. It is registered with the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
    • It is incorporated as a union government company.
    • Its primary role is to serve as a repository of legal evidence holding the information pertaining to any debt/claim.
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