Daily Current Affairs and GK | 15 February 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 15 Feb 2024 16:45 PM IST

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Topic: National News

1. Farmers are marching towards Delhi to demand a legal guarantee of Minimum Support Price (MSP).

  • Farmers from Punjab, Haryana, and western Uttar Pradesh are marching towards Delhi to assert their demands.
  • Since February 13, the 'Delhi Chalo' protest has been in full swing.
  • What are the main demands of farmers?
    • Farmers are moving towards Delhi with the demand for a legal guarantee for Minimum Support Price (MSP) for their produce, along with other demands.
    • They also want to implement the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission and provide pensions for farmers and agricultural labourers.
    • The repeal of the Electricity Act 2020 and compensation for farmers killed in Lakhimpur Kheri.
    • The withdrawal of cases against those involved in the farmers' movement.
  • What is the Minimum Support Price?
    • MSP is the rate at which the crops are purchased by the government from the farmers.
    • It ensures a minimum price for farmers for their produce.
    • At present, the government announces MSPs for 23 crops, including cereals, pulses, oilseeds, and commercial crops.
    • It is determined by the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP), considering factors like production costs, market trends, and demand-supply dynamics.
    • The government proposed the formation of a committee to deliberate legal guarantees for MSP, debt waivers, and the implementation of the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations.

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

2. A MoU has been signed by the Cochin International Airport Ltd (CIAL) in Kerala and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL).

  • The MoU is to establish a green hydrogen plant capable of producing 1000 KW of power on the Cochin airport's property.
  • This initiative is the world's first green hydrogen plant located in an airport.
  • In accordance with the agreement, CIAL will provide land, water, and green energy resources.
  • BPCL will supervise the construction of the integrated green hydrogen plant and filling station at the Kochi airport.
  • The project is anticipated to be finished early in the next year, and the initial output will be used to power vehicles within the airport.
  • The MoU was signed at Thiruvananthapuram.
  • It was signed in the presence of State Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. He is also the Chairman of CIAL.
  • The Cochin International Airport is the world's first airport to be fully powered by solar energy.

Topic: State News/Assam

3. 'Kaji Nemu' lemon has been designated as the state fruit of Assam.

  • The fruit known as "Kaji Nemu" (citrus limon) is indigenous fruit of Assam.
  • It has an oval shape. Its smooth, thin skin is typically a pale green color.
  • A GI tag has already been issued to Kaji Nemu.
  • Because of its culinary and therapeutic qualities, Kaji Nemu is a highly valued fruit. Its flavour is particularly acidic and strong.
  • Its anti-inflammatory and digestive qualities are also well-known.
  • A common component of traditional Assamese cooking is Kaji Nemu.
  • The total area under Kaji Nemu cultivation is 15.9 hectares, and the yield is 1.58 metric tonnes.
  • This fruit has been exported to several nations, particularly the Middle East, during the past two years.
  • A product that has a specific geographical origin and is known for certain attributes or qualities is given the geographical indicator (GI) tag.

Topic: National Appointments

4. For the council year 2024-2025, Ranjeet Kumar Agarwal has assumed the position of ICAI President.

  • The largest accounting organization in the world, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), has elected him to serve as its 72nd President.
  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI) Vice-President is now Charanjot Singh Nanda, a member of the Central Council.
  • Agarwal was elected to the ICAI's 23rd, 24th, and 25th Central Councils three times in a succession.
  • At now, ICAI has more than eight lakh students and almost four lakh members.
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI):
    • It was established on 01 July 1949 as a statutory body by the Chartered Accountants Act, 1949.
    • It regulates the Chartered Accountancy profession in India. It is headquartered in New Delhi.

Topic: Space and IT

5. On February 17, the INSAT-3DS will be launched by ISRO from Sriharikota.

  • After the launch of INSAT-3DS, Scientists tracking climate extremes affecting the country will have access to advanced satellite data and high-resolution images of the Earth.
  • Weighing 2,274 kg, this new facility is funded by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
  • INSAT-3DS consists of four payloads – an imager, a sounder, a data relay transponder, and a satellite-assisted search and rescue transponder.
  • The Multi-Spectral Imager will generate images of the Earth in six wavelength bands that will aid the visualization of colour-dependent atmospheric parameters such as water vapour (humidity).
  • This will enable the development of new satellite products that can be deployed while tracking cyclones, monsoon systems, storms, and other natural disasters.
  • INSAT-3DS will advance observations of the atmosphere, land, and oceans and is a continuation of the third-generation meteorological satellite series from geostationary orbit.
  • Since 2003, INSAT data has been used by the India Meteorological Department (IMD) for its operational meteorological purposes.
  • The advent of satellite-based products significantly improved the accuracy of forecasting and monitoring of atmosphere and ocean parameters.
  • It enhanced overall meteorological services thereby reducing loss of property, life, and livelihoods.

Topic: Art and Culture

6. Abu Dhabi's first Hindu stone temple was inaugurated by PM Modi on 14 February.

  • The temple has been constructed by Bochasanwasi Shri Akshar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS).
  • At a cost of approximately ₹700 crore, the BAPS temple has been built on a 27-acre site in Abu Mreikhah, near Al Rahba on the Dubai-Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Highway.
  • The grand temple has been constructed according to the ancient style of construction and creation described in the Crafts and Architecture Shastras, Hindu texts that describe the art of temple design and construction.
  • More than 300 high-tech sensors have been installed at every level of the temple to measure temperature, pressure, and motion (seismic activity).
  • In the construction of the temple, no metal has been used and fly ash has been used to fill the foundation, replacing 55% of cement in the concrete mix, reducing the carbon footprint of the temple.
  • Heat-resistant nano tiles and heavy glass panels have been used, both of which combine traditional aesthetic stone structures with modern functionality.
  • Considering the extreme temperatures in the UAE, the tiles will be comfortable for visitors to walk on even in hot weather.
  • Just like the Ayodhya Ram Temple, Abu Dhabi's first Hindu temple is built in the Nagara style of architecture.
  • It has been built with 18 lakh bricks, seven lakh man hours, and 1.8 lakh cubic meters of sandstone, which were sourced directly from Rajasthan.
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Topic: Defence

7. A contract has been signed by the Ministry of Defence and Advanced Weapon Equipment India Ltd (AWEIL), Kanpur.

  • The Indian Coast Guard and Navy will receive four hundred sixty-three 12.7 mm stabilized remote control guns (SRCG) produced and supplied locally under the terms of the contract.
  • With more than 85% Indigenous Content (IC), this agreement is valued at Rs 1,752.13 crore.
  • The Indian Navy and Coast Guard will be able to precisely engage small targets that pose a threat to ships thanks to these SRCGs.
  • This will greatly enhance their capabilities regardless of lighting conditions.
  • Over 125 Indian vendors and Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs) will profit from this procurement over five years.
  • The Navy was given Rs 51,052.2 crore for the Financial Year 2023–24 (FY24).
  • This constituted a sizeable chunk of the revised estimates for the defence budget, which came to Rs 5.85 trillion.
  • Off the coast of Somalia, INS Sumitra earlier successfully rescued vessels that had been hijacked.
  • The Marine Commandos (MARCOS) of INS Chennai also saved a Liberia-flagged vessel.

Topic: National News

8. The government has released guidelines for starting pilot programmes to use green hydrogen in the transportation industry.

  • The Ministry of New & Renewable Energy (MNRE) released "Scheme Guidelines for Implementation of Pilot Projects for Use of Green Hydrogen in the Transport Sector" on February 14, 2024.
  • Under the National Green Hydrogen Mission, the New and Renewable Energy Ministry has released the Guidelines.
  • The Ministry will carry out pilot projects under the National Green Hydrogen Mission to replace fossil fuels in the transportation industry with green hydrogen and its derivatives.
  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and the Scheme Implementing Agencies designated under this Scheme will carry out these pilot projects.
  • The programme will assist in the advancement of technology about the use of green hydrogen as a fuel in four-wheelers, buses, and trucks.
  • Supporting the construction of infrastructure, such as hydrogen refuelling stations, is the scheme's other main focus.
  • Up till the fiscal year 2025–2026, the scheme will be implemented with a total budgeted cost of Rs 496 crore.

Topic: Indian Economy

9. In the October-December quarter, India’s service trade surplus reached a record of $44.9 billion.

  • In the October-December quarter of 2023-24, India’s services trade surplus reached $44.9 billion, growing 16 per cent year-on-year.
  • As per the RBI data, during Q3, services exports grew by 5.2 per cent to $87.7 billion.
  • In Q3, services imports contracted 4.3 per cent to $42.8 billion.
  • In the first half (April-September) of FY24, India’s Current account deficit reduced to 1 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP).
  • The Current account deficit has decreased due to a lower merchandise trade deficit and higher net services receipts.
  • Fitch Ratings has projected that CAD will decrease to 1.4 per cent of GDP in FY24.
  • IDFC Bank has revised its CAD estimate to 1.2 percent of GDP from 1.5 per cent.
  • India exports a variety of services, including information technology and medical and nursing services, to other countries.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

10. First meeting of the 16th Finance Commission was held under the chairmanship of Arvind Panagariya.

  • The 16th Finance Commission held its first meeting in New Delhi under the chairmanship of Arvind Panagariya.
  • In the first meeting, terms of reference (ToRs) and the need for wide-ranging consultations with various stakeholders were discussed.
  • As per the order by the President of India, the Ministry of Finance notified the 16th Finance Commission on December 31, 2023.
  • The commission will recommend a devolution formula for tax revenues between the Centre and states.
  • It will also suggest measures to augment resources for local bodies.
  • The 16th Finance Commission will also carry out detailed analytical work and rope in all the expertise from leading research organisations, think tanks, and other organisations.
  • The commission will submit its recommendations by October 31, 2025.

Topic: Corporates and Companies

11. On February 13, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) became the first Indian company to achieve a market capitalization of Rs 20 lakh crore.

  • Mukesh Ambani-promoted group's shares also touched their 52-week high during intra-day trade amid firm sentiment in the broader market.
  • During the intra-day session, the market valuation of the company increased to Rs 20,01,279.72 crore, and at the close, the market capitalization stood at Rs 19,81,635.72 crore.
  • Reliance Industries shares jumped 1.88% to hit a record high of Rs 2,957.80 before closing 0.90% higher at Rs 2,928.95 per share on the BSE.
  • On the NSE, Reliance Industries's shares rose nearly 1.89% to hit a record high of Rs 2,958 and its 52-week high.
  • The market value of the oil-to-telecom group's shares has increased by nearly Rs 1 lakh crore in the last two weeks.
  • Reliance Industries continued to rank top in the charts in the ranking of top 10 most valuable companies, followed by TCS, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Infosys, Life Insurance Corporation of India, State Bank of India, Bharti Airtel, Hindustan Unilever and ITC.

Topic: State News/ Uttar Pradesh

12. To enhance disaster management, the UP government will collaborate with IIT Roorkee.

  • The MoU will be signed between both as part of a strategic move aimed at strengthening disaster preparedness and mitigation efforts.
  • To reduce the loss of life and take people to safe places before the disaster, an MoU will be signed between the Relief Commissioner's Office and IIT Roorkee.
  • Under the MoU, experienced professionals from IIT Roorkee will provide specialized training to personnel in the Office of the Relief Commissioner, equipping them with advanced skills and techniques in disaster management.
  • Apart from this, the Institute will conduct extensive research to identify the root causes of prevalent disasters so that proactive measures can be implemented.
  • The impending MoU marks an important step towards strengthening the state's resilience against natural disasters over the next five years.
  • During this period, experts from IIT Roorkee will lead important research initiatives and capacity-building exercises.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

13. Union Minister Parshottam Rupala launched a renewed portal of the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund.

  • The renewed portal of the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund has been launched by Union Minister Parshottam Rupala.
  • The Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund is a Credit Guarantee Scheme for the livestock sector's Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises without the need for collateral.
  • The government has approved the continuation of AHIDF with an allocation of around 30 thousand crore rupees until 2025-26.
  • The government is taking numerous steps to boost the production in the animal husbandry sector.
  • Union Minister Parshottam Rupala also highlighted the initiative of a vaccination drive against foot and mouth disease for cattle and buffaloes across the country.
  • Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development (AHIDF):
    • It is a Central Sector Scheme under the Prime Minister’s Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan stimulus package.
    • It was launched to promote investments in the animal husbandry sector.
    • Farmer Producer Organizations, private companies, individual entrepreneurs, and Micro Small and Medium Enterprises are eligible for this scheme.

Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Sports

14. United World Wrestling lifts suspension on India.

  • United World Wrestling lifted the suspension on the Wrestling Federation of India.
  • The United World Wrestling (UWW) reviewed the suspension of WFI and decided to lift the ban.
  • United World Wrestling (UWW) also directed that no discriminatory action against Bajrang Punia, Vinesh Phogat and Sakshi Malik for protest.
  • On 23rd August 2023, United World Wrestling imposed a ban on the Wrestling Federation of India.
  • WFI has assured UWW that all wrestlers will be allowed to participate in all WFI competitions without any discrimination.
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