Daily Current Affairs and GK | 16 February 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 16 Feb 2024 17:11 PM IST

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Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

1. The government launched the realigned AHIDF Scheme.

  • Union Minister Parshottam Rupala launched the realigned AHIDF Scheme and released the Radio Jingle on AHIDF in New Delhi.
  • The scheme has been realigned and will be implemented for another 3 years till 2025-26. FPOs, dairy cooperatives and industries will benefit from this scheme.
  • In the realigned scheme, the Dairy Infrastructure Development Fund has been subsumed.
  • The Dairy Cooperative will also get Credit Guarantee support under the Credit Guarantee Fund of AHIDF.
  • Now, Dairy Cooperatives will get the benefit of interest subvention of 3% under AHIDF instead of 2.5%.
  • This scheme will help the Dairy Cooperatives to upgrade their processing infrastructure.
  • Under the realigned scheme, the benefits will be as follows:
    • The credit guarantee will cover 25% of the term loan.
    • Interest Subvention of 3% payable up to 8 years.
    • The loan will be provided up to 90% of the estimated/actual project cost.

Radio Jingle on AHIDF in New Delhi

(Source: PIB)

Topic: International News

2. World's largest single-day election concluded in Indonesia.

  • Polling has been concluded for the world's largest single-day election in Indonesia.
  • The General elections were held in Indonesia on 14 February 2024 to elect the President, Vice President, and People's Consultative Assembly (MPR).
  • The voting took place across three time zones.
  • Indonesia is the world's third-largest democracy with around 205 million voters.
  • Prabowo Subianto secured victory in the presidential election. He received more than 55 per of the vote.
  • The newly elected members of the MPR will be sworn in on 1 October 2024.

Topic: State News/ Bihar

3. The newly constructed Kalughat Inland Waterway Transport Terminal in Bihar was inaugurated by Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

  • Inaugurating the terminal on National Waterways -1 (NW-1) on February 15, he said that the inland waterways system has great potential to become the growth engine of the country.
  • Addressing a function at Kalughat near Parmanandpur in the Saran district in Bihar, he said this would boost trade and commerce in the country.
  • Inland waterways can also promote tourism, which was successfully demonstrated during the voyage of the MV-Ganga Vilas river cruise in 2023.
  • The cargo transportation from water is cheaper and more economical as compared to rail and road transportation.
  • 10 years ago there were only 5 national waterways in the country and now their number has increased to 111.
  • This terminal has been constructed at a cost of Rs 82 crore 48 lakh.
  • Kalughat Inland Waterway Transport Terminal will provide seamless connectivity to ships from Haldia and Kolkata ports.
  • Also inaugurated 14 community ghats on National Waterway No. 1. It has cost Rs 17 crore 50 lakh.
  • Its objective is to provide better connectivity to local producers of dairy and agricultural products.
  • Shri Sonowal also laid the foundation stone of two community ghats on National Waterway No. 37 at Mangalpur on rivers Gandak and Bettiah.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

4. The first-ever Future Skills Summit will be organized by MeitY in Guwahati.

  • On 15 February, in collaboration with the National Institute of Electronics and IT (NIELIT), the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) hosted the Future Skills Summit in Guwahati.
  • Union Minister of State for Electronics and IT, Rajeev Chandrasekhar inaugurated the event.
  • The aim of the summit was to bring together young Indians, thought leaders, industry experts, policymakers, educators, and technology enthusiasts to discuss strategies to catalyze future-ready talent for India and the world.
  • The focus of the summit was on the impact of rapid digitalization globally, with emphasis on new opportunities for young Indians in cutting-edge technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Semiconductor, Robotics, and Cyber Security.
  • These developments offer significant opportunities for the country's youth.
  • The main objective is to create a roadmap that can leverage emerging technologies and establish partnerships with industry and academic institutions across the country.
  • More than 20 strategic collaborations are expected between NIELIT and leading institutions like Intel, HCL, Microsoft, Kindryl, IIM Raipur, IIITM Gwalior, Wipro, and others.

Topic: Sports

5. Indian hammer thrower Rachna Kumari has been banned for 12 years for doping.

  • On 15 February, the international federation's Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) banned Indian hammer thrower Rachna Kumari for 12 years for failing multiple dope tests.
  • The steroids Stanozolol, Metandienone, Dehydrochloromethyltestosterone (DHCMT), and Clenbuterol were found in the dope sample of 30-year-old Kumari, taken out of competition.
  • The results of the athlete was declared ineligible from September 24, 2023.
  • This includes the loss of any titles, awards, medals, points, and money.
  • Kumari had served a four-year ban from March 18, 2015, to March 17, 2019, for violating IAAF anti-doping rules.
  • Kumari was part of the 68-member Indian athletics team that competed at the Hangzhou Asian Games (September 23 to October 8).
  • She had finished ninth in the women's hammer throw event on September 29 with an effort of 58.13 meters.
  • Kumari had won the gold medal with 65.03 meters at the National Inter-State Championships in Bhubaneswar in June.
  • He also recently won a bronze medal in the Goa National Games with a throw of 59.85 meters.

Topic: Indian Economy

6. Japan fell into recession and lost its position as the world's third-largest economy.

  • After declining in the last quarter of 2023, Japan's economy is now the world's fourth largest and fell behind Germany.
  • According to Cabinet Office data on real GDP released on 15 February, the government reported that the economy shrank by an annual rate of 0.4% from October to December, although it grew by 1.9% for the whole of 2023.
  • It declined by 2.9% in July-September. Contraction in two consecutive quarters is considered an indicator that an economy is in a technical recession.
  • Until 2010, Japan's economy was the second largest when it was overtaken by China.
  • In 2023, Japan's nominal GDP totaled $4.2 trillion, while Germany's was $4.4 trillion or $4.5 trillion, depending on currency conversion.
  • The weak Japanese yen was a major factor in the decline to fourth place, as nominal GDP is compared in dollar terms.
  • The US remains the world's largest economy with a GDP of $27.94 trillion in 2023.
  • India's wealth is about $3.7 trillion but it is growing at a fast rate of about 7%.
Monthly Current Affairs eBooks
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Topic: State News/Rajasthan

7. Through video conference, Prime Minister Modi addressed the "Viksit Bharat Viksit Rajasthan" programme. 

  • He dedicated, inaugurated, and laid the foundation stone for several development projects totaling more than 17,000 crore rupees during the event.
  • The projects cover a number of significant industries, including drinking water, petroleum and natural gas, roads, railroads, solar energy, and power transmission.
  • Additionally, he inaugurated a number of national highway projects in Rajasthan valued at over five thousand crore rupees.
  • Three packages of the 8-lane Delhi-Mumbai Green Field Alignment were officially inaugurated by him.
  • These are the sections from Takli to the Rajasthan/MP border, the Hardeoganj hamlet to the Mej River, and the Baonli-Jhalai route to Mui hamlet.
  • The region will have better and faster connectivity thanks to these portions.
  • Additionally, these sections have animal overpasses and underpasses with camouflage to allow wildlife to traverse freely.
  • In addition, Mr. Modi inaugurated the 6-lane Greenfield Udaipur Bypass, which links the Udaipur-Shamlaji part of NH-48 at Kaya village with the Chittorgarh-Udaipur Highway segment at Debari.
  • This bypass will aid in the city of Udaipur's traffic relief.
  • He also officially inaugurated many additional projects that would enhance the state of the roads in the Rajasthani districts of Tonk, Abu Road, and Jhunjhunu.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi also laid the foundation Stone of the 300 MW Barsingsar Solar Power Plant in Bikaner with an investment of over ₹ 1756 Crore.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

8. In Kathmandu, the 16th World Social Forum (WSF) 2024 meeting started.

  • The "Another World is Possible" is theme of the five-day WSF 2024.
  • This theme seeks to foster horizontal communication between social movements, trade unions, civil society organizations, and individuals who are against neoliberal globalization.
  • The event began with a solidarity march that started from the main venue at Bhrikutimandap and passed through Bhadrakali, New Road Gate, Ratna Park and back to Bhrikutimandap.
  • Approximately forty thousand participants from ninety-two countries are anticipated for the WSF.
  • Numerous urgent themes will be covered in this edition of the WSF, such as caste discrimination, economic inequality, labor, migration, climate justice, gender equality, peace, and sustainable development, among many others.
  • The Kathmandu Forum is an important turning point that demonstrates the diversity and tenacity of international solidarity movements.
  • It is anticipated that about 1252 organizations from 92 countries would participate.
  • The Forum will conclude on 19th February 2024.
  • Ever since its establishment in 2001, the WSF has served as a guiding light for activists, unions, and social movements to collaborate, exchange insights, and develop transformative tactics.

Topic: MoUs / Agreements

9. Reserve Bank of India and Nepal Rastra Bank signed a pact for UPI-NPI linkage.

  • For seamless cross-border remittances transfer, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and Nepal Rastra Bank signed an agreement to integrate the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) of India and the National Payments Interface (NPI) of Nepal.
  • The integration of Indian and Nepalese fast payment systems will enable users of both systems to make instant and low-cost fund transfers.
  • The formal commencement of operations would take place at a later date.
  • This pact will strengthen financial connectivity between both countries through the UPI-NPI linkage.
  • Recently, Sri Lanka, Mauritius, and France have enabled the Unified Payments Interface (UPI) of India for payments.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

10. ‘Best Technology Bank of the Year award’ has been conferred to South Indian Bank.

  • At the 19th IBA Annual Banking Technology Conference, South Indian Bank received the ‘Best Technology Bank of the Year award’.
  • South Indian Bank won a total of six prestigious awards for outstanding performance.
  • South Indian Bank emerged as the winner in three categories: Best Technology Bank of the Year, Best Tech Talent and Organization and Best Tech Talent and Organization.
  • It secured the runner-up position in one and received special mentions in two others.
  • The awards were received by PR Seshadri, MD & CEO of South Indian Bank.
  • The IBA Annual Banking Technology Conference, Expo & Citations is an annual event that has been organized since 2005.
  • It recognizes organizations that have brought transformational changes in their businesses by adopting modern digital solutions.

Topic: Indian Polity

11. Electoral bond scheme for political funding declared “unconstitutional” by the Supreme Court.

  • In a landmark judgment on February 15, Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud said the scheme was arbitrary and violated citizens' right to information.
  • A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court struck down the electoral bond scheme, which allowed anonymous donations to political parties.
  • On January 2, 2018, the electoral bond scheme launched by the government was seen as a solution to replace cash donations and increase transparency in political funding.
  • The Supreme Court said that this scheme violates the right to information of the citizens, thereby affecting the freedom of speech and expression under Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution.
  • Chief Justice Chandrachud, while striking down the scheme introduced through the Finance Act, 2017, said information about the funding of political parties is essential for the effective exercise of voting choice.
  • The electoral bonds Issuer bank, the State Bank of India (SBI), has been ordered to submit details of the political parties that have received electoral bonds since 2019 to the Election Commission of India (ECI) by March 6, 2024.
  • ECI has also been asked to publish such details on its official website.
  • The Supreme Court also struck down the amendments made to the Income Tax Act and the Representation of the People Act, which had made donations anonymous.
  • The judgment also said that the amendment to the Companies Act allowing blanket corporate political funding was "unconstitutional".
  • Before the amendment to the Companies Act in 2017, loss-making companies in India were not allowed to make contributions.
  • Furthermore, the Supreme Court said that the electoral scheme would help the political party that is in power.

Topic: Important Days

12. World Hippo Day 2024: 15 February

  • Every year on 15 February, World Hippo Day is celebrated.
  • It is celebrated to raise awareness about the conservation, protection, and appreciation of one of Africa's most iconic and beloved animals- the hippopotamus.
  • The day was officially established to commemorate the anniversary of the inauguration of the Turgwe Hippo Trust in Zimbabwe.
  • It is a pioneer conservation project dedicated to the protection and study of hippos in their natural habitat.
  • With declines attributed to poaching, loss of access to fresh water, mechanized farming, and urbanization, currently, the hippo population is estimated to be between 115,000 and 130,000.
  • Weighing up to 2,000 kilograms, hippos are semi-aquatic mammals, native to sub-Saharan Africa.
  • The hippos are the third-largest land mammal after elephants and rhinos.
  • Hippos play an important role in maintaining the balance of aquatic ecosystems.
  • They graze on aquatic plants and vegetation, helping to control vegetation growth and maintain water quality in rivers, lakes, and wetlands.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

13. Union Minister Pashupati Kumar Paras inaugurated "SUFALAM: Start-Up Forum for Aspiring Leaders and Mentors Startup Conclave 2024”.

  • "SUFALAM” is a start-up conclave for food processing entrepreneurs.
  • More than 250 industry stakeholders, including startups, MSMEs, financial institutions, venture capitalists, and academia, took part in this conclave.
  • During this two-day event, four knowledge sessions, two pitching sessions, and an exhibition were organized.
  • The knowledge sessions were held in collaboration with FSSAI, EIC, APEDA, Start-up India, and FICCI.
  • Pitching sessions were conducted in partnership with industry giants such as Nestle India, HDFC Bank, Buhler India, Marico, Indian Angel Network, ITC Foods, LT Foods, and TCPL.
  • 5 exhibitors from across India took part in this conclave.
  • The display of talent and ideas of startups during this seminar has provided a ray of hope.
  • India's food-processing sector is one of the largest in the world.

Mentors Startup Conclave 2024

(Source: PIB)

Topic: National Appointments

14. Virendra Bansal has been appointed as MD & CEO of SBI Capital Markets.

  • Virendra Bansal became the new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of SBI Capital Markets (SBICAPS).
  • He has taken the place of Rajay Kumar Sinha, who has been appointed as the Whole Time Member (Finance and Investment) of the IRDAI.
  • Before this appointment, Virendra Bansal was the Country Head for SBI’s US Operations.
  • He has also worked as the Chief Executive Officer, SBI New York branch and Vice-Chairman of SBI (California).
  • SBI Capital Markets is a wholly-owned subsidiary and investment banking arm of the State Bank of India (SBI).
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