Daily Current Affairs and GK | 16 January 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 16 Jan 2024 16:58 PM IST

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Topic: Environment and Ecology

1. After 33 years, a new species of butterfly has been discovered in the Western Ghats.

  • A new species of Silverline butterfly, Cigaritis meghamalaiensis, has been discovered in Srivilliputtur Megamalai Tiger Reserve.
  • In the last 33 years, this butterfly species has been found for the first time in the Western Ghats.
  • The newly identified species had been named after the region – Megamalai - meaning ‘cloud mountain’.
  • The common name for this species was ‘Cloud-forest Silverline’.
  • This discovery has increased the number of Cigaritis butterfly species from seven to eight.
  • This species has a unique feature. The caterpillars are reared by vicious ants called Crematogasterwroughtonii.
  • The total number of butterflies in the Western Ghats has increased to 337 species including 40 Western Ghats endemics.

Topic: Defense

2. Indian-Thai Navy participated in the first bilateral exercise "Ex-Ayutthaya”.

  • The Indian Navy and Royal Thai Navy (RTN) conducted the first edition of the bilateral exercise 'Ex-Ayutthaya'.
  • ‘Ex-Ayutthaya' "symbolizes the significance of two of the oldest cities, Ayodhya in India and Ayutthaya in Thailand.
  • The historic legacy, rich cultural ties and shared historical narratives show the connection between both cities.
  • The exercise was conducted between both navies from 20 to 23 December 2023.
  • The Indian Naval ships Kulish and IN LCU 56 participated in the exercise.
  • His Thai Majesty's Ship (HTMS) represented the Royal Thai Navy side in the exercise.
  • The 36th edition of the India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (Indo-Thai CORPAT) was also conducted along with the maiden bilateral exercise.

Topic: Sports

3. Madhya Pradesh became the overall champion in the first Beach Games held in Diu.

  • India's first multi-sports Beach Games, “The Beach Games 2024” was held at the Blue Flag-certified Ghoghla Beach in Diu.
  • Madhya Pradesh topped the medal tally with a total of 18 medals, including 7 gold.
  • Maharashtra won 14 medals, including 3 gold, while Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, and hosts Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Diu, and Daman won 12 medals each.
  • Assam won 8 medals, of which 5 were gold medals.
  • In a thrilling final, Lakshadweep won the gold medal in beach soccer, a historic achievement for this ancient island region. They defeated Maharashtra 5-4 in a tightly contested final.
  • This excellence of sports remained at its peak from 4 to 11 January.
  • During this period, 1404 athletes under the age of 21 years from 28 states and union territories participated in a variety of sports with the support of 205 match officials.

The Beach Games 2024

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: National News

4. India's first National Highway Steel Slag Road section inaugurated on NH-66 Mumbai-Goa National Highway.

  • On 13 January, India's first National Highway Steel Slag Road section on NH- 66 Mumbai-Goa National Highway was inaugurated by Dr. V.K. Saraswat, Member (S&T), NITI AAYOG.
  • Steel slag road technology developed by the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)-Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) (CSIR-CRRI) is converting waste from steel industries into wealth.
  • It is assisting the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in building sustainable and environment-friendly highways in the country.
  • JSW Steel, under CSIR-CRRI technical guidance, has constructed a 1 km long four-lane steel slag road section on the Indapur-Panvel section of NH-66 Mumbai-Goa.
  • For the construction of this road, approximately 80,000 tonnes of CONARC steel slag was converted into steel slag aggregates processed at JSW Steel Dolvi, Raigarh plant.
  • Processed steel slag aggregates are superior to natural aggregates in various mechanical properties. Steel slag is used in place of natural aggregates in all layers of road construction.
  • On this road section, processed steel slag aggregates and slag cement have been used for the construction of cement concrete roads in all layers.
  • The bituminous steel slag road on NH-66 has been constructed with 28% less thickness than the bituminous road on NH-66 however, the cement concrete section has been constructed with an identical thickness.
  • Both bituminous and cement concrete road sections are about 32% more profitable than conventional roads and have greater durability.

Topic: Biotechnology and Diseases

5. The first human vaccine trials launched by Oxford scientists for the deadly Nipah virus.

  • Scientists at Oxford University in the UK have started the first human vaccine trial for the deadly Nipah virus, affecting several Asian countries, including India.
  • The trials of the ChAdOx1 Nipah vaccine will be led by the Oxford Vaccine Group, involving 51 people aged 18 to 55 years.
  • Researchers said the Nipah virus is a devastating disease that can be fatal in about 75% of cases.
  • According to researchers, the Nipah virus is spread by fruit bats and can also spread through contact with infected animals (such as pigs) or through close contact from one person to another.
  • This virus, which has been recognized by the World Health Organization as a priority disease requiring urgent research, belongs to the same family of paramyxoviruses as more well-known pathogens such as measles.
  • Nipah virus was first identified in 1998, and 25 years on, the global health community still has no approved vaccine or treatment for this devastating disease.
  • The researchers said the vaccine uses the ChAdOx1 platform, the same viral vector vaccine platform that was used for the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
  • The project will run for the next 18 months, with further trials expected to be conducted in the Nipah-hit country.

Topic: Important Days

6. National Start-up Day 2024: 16 January

  • Every year on 16 January, National Start-up Day is celebrated to promote start-up culture at the grass-root level.
  • In 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced celebrating January 16 as National Start-up Day.
  • Several organizations organize this event with the aim to foster the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation by engaging the start-up community.
  • The first National Start-up Day was celebrated in 2022.
  • Launched in 2016, the Startup India initiative has seen tremendous growth, with the number of startups increasing from around 340 in the year of its launch to over 1,15,000 in 2023.
  • 2024 is the eighth anniversary of the Startup India program.
  • According to data from the InvestIndia website, India recorded more than 112,718 DPIIT-recognized startups spread across 763 districts by October 2023.
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Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

7. World Economic Forum’s 54th annual meeting started in Davos, Switzerland on 15th January 2024.

  • The meeting will take place till 19th January 2024. The theme of meeting is Rebuilding Trust.
  • The meeting has started amid growing concerns over global conflicts, climate change, and deepfake.
  • The meeting emphasizes the focus on exploring the opportunities enabled by the new technologies and their implications on decision making and global partnership.
  • The opening concert was devoted to the Sahara desert and Amazon rainforest.
  • Annual Crystal Awards were given to three artists. The names of artists are architect Diebedo Francis Kere, actor Michelle Yeoh, and guitarist Nile Rodgers.
  • The Indian delegation would include three Union ministers and three chief ministers.
  • The three Union ministers are Smriti Irani, Ashwini Vaishnaw and Hardeep Singh Puri.
  • The three chief ministers are Maharashtra's Eknath Shinde, Telangana's Revanth Reddy and Karnataka's Siddaramaiah.
  • RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das and Ministers from Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Telangana will also take part.
  • World Economic Forum is a non-governmental organization founded in 1971. Its headquarters is located in Cologny, Switzerland.

World Economic Forum’s 54th annual meeting

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

8. According to a NITI Aayog report, 24.82 crore people came out of multi-dimensional poverty in India in 9 years to 2022-23.

  • Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh registered the largest decline.
  • As per NITI Aayog’s discussion paper, multidimensional poverty in India decreased from 29.17% in 2013-14 to 11.28% in 2022-23.
  • 2.75 crore people came out of multidimensional poverty every year.
  • As per NITI Aayog, the national multidimensional poverty judges simultaneous deprivations across three dimensions.
  • These three dimensions are health, education, and standard of living.
  • These three dimensions are represented by 12 sustainable development goals-aligned indicators.
  • These include nutrition, child and adolescent mortality, maternal health, years of schooling, school attendance, cooking fuel, sanitation, drinking water, electricity, housing, assets, and bank accounts.
  • NITI Aayog’s National Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) uses the Alkire Foster methodology to assess the decline in poverty rates.
  • National MPI covers 12 indicators. On the other hand, global MPI covers 10 indicators.
  • Uttar Pradesh topped the list with 5.94 crore people coming out of poverty. It was followed by Bihar at 3.77 crore and Madhya Pradesh at 2.30 crore.
  • As per NITI Aayog CEO BVR Subrahmanyam, “Government has a goal to bring down multidimensional poverty to below 1%.”
  • According to the discussion paper, India is all set to reach single-digit poverty levels during 2024.
  • The discussion paper said, “India is likely to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 1.2 (reducing multidimensional poverty by at least half) much ahead of 2030.”
  • The recent National MPI was based on National Family Health Surveys 4 (2015-16) and 5 (2019-21).

Topic: National News

9. Government has decided to remove the license requirement for Power Generating Companies on Dedicated Transmission Lines.

  • The government has decided to remove the requirement of a license to operate and maintain the dedicated transmission lines by power-generating companies to connect with the grid.
  • The requirement to remove the license will promote ease of doing business for the industry and help in more job creation and faster industrial growth.
  • The new rules have been announced by the Union Power Minister RK Singh.
  • A power generating company or a person setting up a captive generating plant or an Energy Storage System with a load of less than twenty-five Megawatts shall not be required to obtain the license.
  • The Government has already brought down the losses of the distribution companies from 27 per cent in 2014 to 15.41 per cent in 2022-23.
  • Since 2014, around 16.93 lakh crore rupees of investment have been made in the power sector in India.

remove the license requirement for Power Generating Companies

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: International Appointments

10. William Lai became the new president of Taiwan.

  • William Lai, also known as Lai Ching-te, won the presidential election in Taiwan.
  • Lai Ching-te is from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). He was serving as the vice president of Taiwan.
  • He competed against two other candidates, including Hou Yu-ih from the conservative Kuomintang (KMT) and former Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je from Taiwan People’s Party.
  • William Lai was first elected as a lawmaker in 1998 then became the mayor of Tainan City in 2010.
  • Martial law had ended in Taiwan in the late 1980s.
  • The main challenge for William Lai will be to protect Taiwan from China’s interference.
  • During his campaign, Lai committed to preserving peace and boosting the defence sector of Taiwan.

Topic: State News/ Maharashtra

11. Maharashtra's Pench Tiger Reserve became India's first Dark Sky Park.

  • Pench Tiger Reserve (PTR) in Maharashtra has been marked as India's first dark sky park and the fifth such park in Asia.
  • It has been designated as Dark Sky Park to protect the night sky and prevent light pollution, making the facility ideal for astronomy enthusiasts.
  • The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) emphasizes the recognition of the intrinsic value of the night sky as a natural, cultural, and historical resource.
  • The growing global threat of light pollution poses a major threat to this invaluable resource.
  • A dark-sky preserve is an area, usually around a park or observatory, that restricts artificial light pollution.
  • The dark-sky generally aims to promote astronomy.
  • The International Astronomical Union-led Dark and Quiet Skies for Science and Society Working Group has recommended that national and local governments create "Dark Sky Oases."
  • Dark Sky Place certification focuses on lighting policy, dark sky-friendly retrofits, outreach and education, and night sky monitoring.
  • Established in 1977, Pench Tiger Reserve is one of the major tiger reserves of India and the first sanctuary spread across two states, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.

Topic: Defence

12. After 40 years of distinguished service, INS Cheetah, Guldar, and Kumbhir decommissioned.

  • After four decades of glorious service to the nation, Indian Navy warships Cheetah, Guldar, and Kumbhir were decommissioned on January 12, 2024.
  • The decommissioning ceremony of these ships was conducted in a traditional ceremony at Port Blair, in which the National Flag, Naval Ensign, and the decommissioning emblem of the three ships were lowered for the last time at sunset.
  • INS Cheetah, Guldar, and Kumbhir were built at the Gdynia Shipyard in Poland as Polnokny class ships that could deliver tanks, vehicles, cargo, and troops directly to the low-lying coastline without the need to dock.
  • These warships were commissioned into the Indian Navy in the presence of Shri SK Arora (Cheetah and Guldar) and Shri AK Das (Kumbhir), the then Ambassador of India to Poland in 1984, 1985, and 1986 respectively.
  • Commander VB Mishra, Lieutenant Commander SK Singh, and Lieutenant Commander J Banerjee were deployed as the commanding officers of the three ships, respectively.
  • During its initial years, INS Cheetah was stationed at Kochi and Chennai for some time and INS Kumbhir and Guldar were serving at Visakhapatnam.
  • Later, these ships were deployed in Andaman and Nicobar Command, where they served till their decommissioning.
  • These warships were active in Indian Naval service for almost 40 years and collectively covered a distance of approximately 17 lakh nautical miles while being at sea for more than 12,300 days.
  • As the amphibious platform of Andaman and Nicobar Command, these ships have conducted more than 1300 operations off the coast to disembark Army personnel.

Indian Navy warships Cheetah

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Defence

13. Under the 'Shaurya Sankalan' project, military history will be preserved.

  • Under the Project 'Shaurya Sankalan: Digital Archiving of Military History', nearly 700 hours of audio-visual content and 11 lakh pages of record on the 1948 Jammu and Kashmir conflict, the 1961 Goa Liberation and the India-Pakistan wars of 1965 and 1971 have been archived.
  • This initiative has been started as part of the Army’s effort to preserve the Army's glorious past for posterity.
  • 700 hours of audio-visual content and 11 lakh pages of record are held with over more than 1300 units, formations, regimental centres and military museums in the form of battle memoirs.
  • The audio-visual films have been cured, digitised and preserved in the 'Digital Archive Kiosk’, which was created at the United Services Institute of India, New Delhi.
  • Another kiosk will be established at the upcoming 'History Cell' of the Army War College.
  • In a web page interactive format, this content will remain available to researchers, academicians and scholar warriors.

Topic: Personality in News

14. Renowned classical singer Prabha Atre passed away at the age of 92.

  • Legendary classical singer and Padma Vibhushan died at the age of 92.
  • She was one of the prominent dancers of the Kirana gharana.
  • She played a significant role in popularising classical music across the globe.
  • She received the Padma Shri in 1990, the Padma Bhushan in 2002 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2022.
  • She was born in Pune in September 1932 and received her training in classical music from the renowned Sureshbabu Mane.
  • Kirana gharana:
    • It is one of the Indian classical khyal gharana.
    • The main feature of the Kirana Gharana style is swara, or individual notes.
    • Abdul Karim Khan is considered the founder of the Kirana Gharana of classical music.
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