Daily Current Affairs and GK | 18 January 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 18 Jan 2024 17:12 PM IST

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Topic: International News

1. Red Sea crisis could increase the oil prices in India.

  • Houthi attacks on merchant ships in the Red Sea could impact negatively on oil-importing countries, including India.
  • Houthi rebels in Yemen have attacked commercial shipping vessels in response to the war in Gaza.
  • The attacks were concentrated near the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which affected maritime traffic.
  • US launched the fourth round of strikes on Houthis in Yemen.
  • Why is the southern Red Sea so significant?
    • The Red Sea is one of the world’s most densely packed shipping channels.
    • It is the most significant waterway to connect Europe to Asia and East Africa.
    • About 12% of global trade passes through the Red Sea. Every year, Billions of dollars of traded goods and supplies pass through the Red Sea.
  • Who are Houthi militants?
    • Houthi militants are formally known as Ansar Allah or the “partisans of God.".
    • They are backed by Iran and they control the western part of Yemen including the Red Sea coast.
    • They attacked commercial vessels in the Red Sea to show support for the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
    • They want to prevent Israeli ships from navigating the Red Sea.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

2. MPLADS e-SAKSHI Mobile Application has been launched by Rao Inderjit Singh.

  • Rao Inderjit Singh is the Minister of State (Independent Charge) of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • The MPLADS e-SAKSHI Mobile Application is for revised fund flow procedure under MPLAD Scheme.
  • The mobile app would offer convenience and accessibility to MPS.
  • With this app, MPs will be able to propose, track and monitor projects at their fingertips.
  • It enhances decision-making processes and enables swift responses to emerging needs or issues.
  • It will streamline the communication between MPs and relevant authorities.
  • It will promote transparency as it will provide MPs with instant updates on the status and progress of their proposed projects.
  • The mobile application has the features for budget management.
  • These features will ensure that MPs can monitor expenditures.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

3. Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival’s 9th edition is being held at Seijosa in the Pakke Kessang district from January 18-20, 2024.

  • The Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival (PPHF) is a state festival of Arunachal Pradesh.
  • It is focused on wildlife conservation, particularly on hornbills.
  • In Arunachal Pradesh’s Pakke Tiger Reserve, four species of this bird are found.
  • These species are Wreathed, Great Indian, Oriental Pied and the endangered Rufous-necked.
  • Nyishi, the largest tribal group in Arunachal Pradesh, is also found in the area.
  • The theme of this year’s PPHF is Domutoh Domutoh, Paga hum Domutoh.
  • It means ‘Let Our Hornbills Remain’ in the Nyishi language.
  • PPHF was for the first time organised on January 16-18, 2015.
  • Its aim was to recognize the role Nyishi tribe play in conserving hornbills in Pakke Tiger Reserve.

Topic: International News

4. China’s population declined for a 2nd successive year in 2023.

  • According to the National Bureau of Statistics, China’s total number of people declined by 2.75 million to 1.409 billion in 2023.
  • This decline was faster than the decline in 2022.
  • China’s birth rate has been falling down at a high speed for decades.
  • This is a result of the one-child policy implemented from 1980 to 2015.
  • This is also a result of China’s rapid urbanisation during that period.
  • Large populations came out of China's rural farms into cities. In cities, having children is more expensive.
  • Further, unemployment reached to record high levels and wages for white-collar workers declined.
  • China’s growth prospects are decreasing because of fewer workers and consumers.
  • At the same time, increasing costs of retirement benefits and elderly care are putting pressure on indebted local governments.
  • In 2023, India surpassed China as the world’s most populous nation as per estimates by the UN.
  • As per UN experts, China's population may decline by 109 million by 2050.
  • It is expected that the retirement-age population (aged 60 and over) of China will increase from 280 million people currently to more than 400 million by 2035.
  • China’s birth rate declined from 6.77 births per 1,000 people in 2022 to 6.39 births per 1,000 people in 2023.
  • Japan's birth rate was 6.3 births per 1,000 people in 2022. South Korea's birth rate was 4.9.
  • China’s death rate increased from 7.37 deaths per 1,000 people in 2022 to 7.87 deaths per 1,000 people in 2023.

Topic: National News

5. On 18 January, Wings India-2024, the biggest aviation event ever in Asia, began at Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad.

  • Union Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia inaugurated this four-day event.
  • The Airports Authority of India has organized this biennial event in collaboration with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and FICCI.
  • It aims to bring together stakeholders and participants from the global aviation industry to foster collaboration, and innovation and explore business opportunities.
  • Wings India will showcase the progress of allied aviation services and the tourism sector along with the display of new-generation aircraft.
  • The theme of Wings India-2024 is- "Connecting India with the World in Amritkal."
  • At the event, the best of the aviation industry will showcase their innovative aviation technology and aircraft machinery.
  • Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will be showcasing its indigenous civil platforms like Hindustan-228 aircraft and advanced civil helicopter Dhruv at the exhibition.
  • Additionally, Air India will unveil its Airbus A350, the first aircraft of its kind in the country, while the Boeing 777-9 will be on display for the first time in the country.
  • During this period, the strategic outline of the future aviation sector of the country will also be considered.
  • More than 1500 delegates from over 100 countries and 5000 business delegates are expected to participate in the event.
  • More than one lakh spectators will also participate in it. About five hundred business meetings will take place during the program.
  • 130 exhibitors and 15 hospitality centers from across the world are also participating. This event will continue till 21 January.

Wings India-2024

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

6. Project for Artificial Reefs launched by the Union Minister in Vizhinjam to Boost Fish Population.

  • The project of depositing artificial reefs launched by Union Fisheries Minister Shri Parashotham Rupala in the seabed at Vizhinjam, Thiruvananthapuram through videoconferencing.
  • This project is a joint initiative of the Central and State Governments.
  • It aims to increase the income of fishermen by enhancing the fish population in the area.
  • Under Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana, the project is being implemented with a total outlay of 13.02 crore.
  • Out of this, Rs 7.812 crore is the share of the central government and Rs 5.208 crore is the share of the state government.
  • With technical assistance from the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kerala State Coastal Area Development Corporation implements the project.
  • In the first phase, 6,300 artificial reefs will be laid in 42 fishing villages from Pozhiyur to Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram district.
  • These reefs create an artificial habitat on the sea floor, creating favorable conditions for the reproduction of fish and their permanent existence.


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Topic: Corporates/Companies

7. LIC has become the most valued PSU.

  • Its share price touched ₹900 for the first time since its listing in May 2022. It has moved ahead of the State Bank of India.
  • It has reached its 52-week high on the stock market on 17 January 2024.
  • The market capitalisation (mcap) of LIC has now exceeded that of the State Bank of India.
  • LIC's market capitalisation crossed ₹5.66 lakh crore. The mcap of SBI currently stands at ₹5.63 lakh crore.
  • On 17 May 2022, LIC shares were listed on the stock market at ₹875.25 apiece. Its issue price ahead of listing was ₹949.
  • The stock is currently only 6.21% away from its ₹949 IPO price.
  • The government holds a 96.5% stake in the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC).

Topic: National Appointments

8. Rear Admiral Shantanu Jha assumed charge as Chief Staff Officer at Eastern Naval Command.

  • He assumed charge as Chief Staff Officer (Operations) at the Headquarters, Eastern Naval Command.
  • Before taking charge as Chief Staff Officer, he holds the charge of the Commodore in (Strategy, Concepts & Transformation) at Naval Headquarters.
  • He is a recipient of the Nausena Medal. He is a Navigation and Direction specialist.
  • He has a Master's degree in Defence Studies from Madras University and International Security & Strategy from Kings College, London.
  • Eastern Naval Command is headquartered in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh. It was established on 1 March 1968.
  • Vice Admiral Rajesh Pendharkar is the current Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief Eastern Command.

Chief Staff Officer at Eastern Naval Command

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Indian Polity

9. The government proposed to repeal the Indian Stamp Act 1899.

  • The government has proposed to repeal the Indian Stamp Act of 1899. Indian Stamp Bill, 2023 will replace the Indian Stamp Act, 1899.
  • Department of Revenue has invited suggestions on the draft of the ‘Indian Stamp Bill, 2023’.
  • The Indian Stamp Act, 1899, is a fiscal statute which legislates a tax in the form of stamps on documents recording transactions.
  • Stamp duties are levied by the central government. It is specified in entry 91 of the union list of the Seventh Schedule.
  • Stamp duties are collected and appropriated by the concerned States under Article 268 of the constitution.
  • The Indian Stamp Act, of 1899 was amended many times to create a more modern Stamp Duty regime. 

Topic: Defence

10. Indian Army developed an end-to-end secure mobile ecosystem ‘SAMBHAV’.

  • SAMBHAV, an end-to-end secure mobile ecosystem, has been indigenously developed by the Indian Army.
  • SAMBHAV (Secure Army Mobile Bharat Version) ecosystem operates on the state-of-the-art contemporary 5G technology.
  • It has been developed in collaboration with national centres of excellence from the academia and industry.
  • It has been developed in line with the vision of 'Atmanirbhar Bharat' in the defence sector.
  • This initiative aligns with the government’s vision of "dual-use infrastructure" and "civil-military fusion” in technology.
  • Indian Army will initially deploy 35,000 sets in two phases, with 2,500 by January 15 and the remaining till 31 May.

Topic: Reports and Indices/Rankings

11. US ranked most powerful, and India at 4th position in the 2024 military strength rankings.

  • According to the Global Firepower Rankings, India has retained its position as the fourth-strongest military globally.
  • In the ranking, the United States is named as the most powerful military, followed by Russia and China.
  • As per GFP's assessment, India's Power Index (PwrIndx) score is 0.1023 (a score of 0.0000 is considered 'perfect').
  • The power index score of the US is 0.0699, that of Russia is 0.0702, and that of China is 0.0706.
  • A total of 145 countries were evaluated based on their global military power for Global Firepower's 2024 military power rankings.
  • The ranking of the index is decided after examining the countries on several parameters, including military resources, natural resources, industry and geographical features, and available manpower.
  • Of the 145 countries included in the list, Bhutan has the least powerful military, with a PwrIdx of 6.3704, followed by Moldova (4.2311) and Suriname (3.9038).


Top 10 countries with the most powerful militaries in the world

10 countries with the least powerful militaries in the world


United States












South Korea



United Kingdom







Sierra Leone



Central African Republic




Topic: Sports

12. Praggnanandhaa became India's No. 1 chess player by surpassing Vishwanathan Anand.

  • Chess prodigy Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa secured the number one spot among India's chess players.
  • He became India's No. 1 chess player after his impressive win over world champion Ding Liren at the 2024 Tata Steel Chess Tournament.
  • The 18-year-old defeated the defending champion with the black pieces and overtook the great Viswanathan Anand to become the top seed in India.
  • In 2018, Praggnanandha had become India's youngest grandmaster and the world's second-youngest grandmaster at the age of 12.
  • Known for his extraordinary skills and achievements, he is the fifth youngest person to achieve the title of Grandmaster.

Topic: State News/ Assam

13. Karbi Youth Festival Golden Jubilee celebration was attended by President Droupadi Murmu.

  • On 17 Jan 2024, President Droupadi Murmu attended the golden jubilee celebrations of the Karbi Youth Festival at Karbi Anglong district headquarters of Diphu in Assam.
  • Assam Governor Gulab Chand Kataria and Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma also attended the celebrations.
  • The Karbi Youth Festival is the oldest and biggest ethnic festival in Northeast India.
  • Karbi and other ethnic communities living in the area administered by the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) celebrate this festival.
  • This year, to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of Karbi Youth Festival, the duration of the annual event has been extended from the usual five days to eight days.
  • The festival was started on 12 January. Its main aim is to showcase the vibrant culture and heritage of the Karbi community.
  • The Karbi community is the indigenous community in the Karbi Anglong district in Assam. They are ethnically related to the Naga people.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

14. 12th General Assembly of the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace has been inaugurated by Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar.

  • The 12th General Assembly of the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace has been inaugurated in New Delhi.
  • Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar said that Buddha's timeless wisdom, his Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path guide people towards inner peace, compassion, and non-violence.
  • Buddhism was born in India and played a key role in binding several nations together in Asia.
  • Buddhism has given a way of life and it has been a strong, trusted and reliable philosophy.
  • The Assembly of the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace are important in shaping the future and directing a positive discourse.
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