Daily Current Affairs and GK | 19 March 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 19 Mar 2024 17:51 PM IST

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Topic: National News

1. The government notified the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024.

  • To improve the process of certification of films for public exhibition, the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024 have been notified by the government.
  • The main aim of the rule is to streamline and modernise the film certification process.
  • Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has undertaken extensive consultations with filmmakers, cinema owners, disability rights organisations, non-government organisations, and film industry bodies to ensure an all-encompassing and all-inclusive approach.
  • The new notified rules will ensure transparency, efficiency and ease of doing business for the film industry.
  • The new rules have further subdivided age-based categories of certification into three age-based categories: seven years (UA 7+), 13 years (UA 13+), and 16 years (UA 16+), instead of 12 years.
  • As per the new rules, one-third of the CBFC Board members will be women. The new rules will allow for the film to be screened expeditiously for certification.
  • The government has also notified the guidelines for the accessibility of persons with hearing and visual impairment to films.

Topic: State News/ Jammu & Kashmir

2. Jammu & Kashmir government has added 15 new castes in the Other Backward Classes (OBCs).

  • It has approved 10% reservation for tribes, which include Paharis.
  • The Social Welfare Department’s proposal to amend the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation Rules, 2005 has been approved by the J&K LG Manoj Sinha.
  • The overall reservation for Scheduled Tribes (STs) has increased to 20%.
  • Four new tribes have been added to Scheduled Tribes Order as applicable to the J&K by the Parliament.
  • These new tribes are Pahari Ethnic Group, Paddari Tribe, Kolis and Gadda Brahmins.
  • The Administrative Council, led by J&K LG Manoj Sinha has approved an equal and separate percentage of reservation for both already notified and now newly added tribes.
  • The Council increased reservation in favour of OBCs to 8%. Earlier, J&K had 4% reservation for OBCs.

Topic: International News

3. Nepal has made Pokhara its tourism capital.

  • Prime Minister Pushpa Kamla Dahal declared Pokhara as the tourism capital of Nepal.
  • He said he would urge China to treat the Pokhara International Airport as a grant project from its side.
  • China had built Pokhara International Airport. It was announced ready for commercial operation in January 2022.
  • However, it has not been used due to the conflict between the governments of Nepal and China.
  • This announcement has come when Nepal is preparing to secure Chinese aid to build the Nepal-China Industrial Friendship Park in approximately 4,000 acres.
  • It may extend to 6,600 acres in east Nepal’s Jhapa along the north Bengal border.
  • The park is likely to be formalized at Kathmandu’s Investment summit on 29-30 April.
  • A 327- MegaWatt upper Marsyangdi hydroenergy project is likely to be formalized at the summit.

Topic: Defence

4. Exercise Tiger Triumph-24 is being held from 18 to 31 March 2024 on the Eastern Seaboard in the US.

  • It is a bilateral tri-Service Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) Exercise between India and US.
  • This exercise aims to develop interoperability for HADR operations.
  • It also aims to refine Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to enable coordination between forces of US and India. 
  • Harbour phase of the exercise will be organised from 18 March to 25 March. After harbour phase, sea phase will start.
  • In the exercise, Indian Navy Ships and aircraft, Indian Army personnel and vehicles and Indian Air Force aircraft and helicopters would take part along with the Rapid Action Medical Team.
  • US Navy Ships and troops of the US Marine Corps and US Army would represent the US.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

5. VSSC developed the Space-borne Assistant and Knowledge Hub for Crew Interaction (SAKHI) app for the Gaganyaan crew.

  • This multi-purpose app has been developed by The Vikram Sarabhai Space Center (VSSC), an Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) facility at Thumba in Thiruvananthapuram.
  • The app will help astronauts on the Gaganyaan space flight mission complete many tasks like viewing important technical information or communicating with each other.
  • Among other things, the App will monitor the astronauts' health, help them stay connected to Earth and even alert them about their diet schedule.
  • A hand-held smart device with the SAKHI app was successfully tested by the space facility.
  • Throughout the mission, Sakhi will also keep a close eye on crew health, such as blood pressure, heart rate, and oxygen saturation, providing invaluable information about the crew's physical condition.
  • In 2025, ISRO is hoping to launch the Gaganyaan human spaceflight mission.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

6. 'Know Your Candidate' (KYC) app launched by the Election Commission for voters ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

  • This app allows voters to check whether a candidate standing in the elections in their constituency has a criminal record or not.
  • This app is available for download on both Android and iOS platforms.
  • Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar unveiled the KYC app at a press conference in New Delhi.
  • The KYC app provides voters with the ability to access information about candidates with criminal backgrounds.
  • Candidates are required to disclose their criminal records three times in newspapers and on television.
  • Parties nominating such candidates will have to explain their selection in comparison to other eligible candidates.
  • Voters can now also check the assets and liabilities of candidates with a criminal background.
  • In this regard, all relevant information will be made available on this application.
  • The aim of the launch of this app is to increase transparency and accountability in the electoral process, ensuring that voters have access to comprehensive information about candidates before casting their votes.
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Topic: Reports and Indices/Rankings

7. New Delhi has been ranked the most polluted capital city in the world for the fourth year in a row since 2018.

  • Delhi's PM2.5 levels increased from 89.1 micrograms per cubic meter in 2022 to 92.7 micrograms per cubic meter in 2023, according to the Air Quality Report 2023.
  • Begusarai, in Bihar, is now the most polluted metropolitan area in the world.
  • Its average PM2.5 concentration was 118.9 micrograms per cubic metre. It had not found place in 2022 rankings.
  • India's air quality was the third worst in the world, behind Bangladesh and Pakistan.
  • India’s average annual PM2.5 concentration was 54.4 micrograms per cubic meter.
  • According to the report, for over one billion people, PM2.5 concentrations in India are higher than the World Health Organization’s annual guideline limit of 5 micrograms per cubic metre.
  • In 2022, India was the 8th most polluted country. Its average PM2.5 concentration was 53.3 micrograms per cubic metre.
  • Over 66% of India’s cities reported annual PM2.5 averages of more than 35 micrograms per cubic metre.
  • India is home to the world's top four most polluted cities in terms of air quality. Delhi comes in third place, behind Begusarai and Guwahati.
  • Air Quality Report 2023 is a report of Swiss organisation IQAir.
  • For 6th annual Air Quality Report, data of 134 countries regions and territories was analysed. This number was 131 in case of Air Quality Report 2022.

Topic: Important Days

8. International Day of Happiness: 20 March

  • International Day of Happiness is observed on 20 March.
  • It was started by the United Nations in 2012. It was started to recognize happiness as a fundamental human goal.
  • The first International Day of Happiness was observed in 2013.
  • The UN resolution proclaiming International Day of Happiness was initiated by Bhutan.
  • Bhutan is a country which values Gross National Happiness over GDP.
  • India is ranked at 126th out of 146 countries in the World Happiness Index for 2023. 

Topic: Economy/Banking/Finance

9. SEBI has approved the launch of the beta version of T+0 Settlement on an Optional Basis.

  • The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has approved the launch of the beta version of the T+0 settlement on an optional basis from March 28.
  • T+0 settlement means that the transaction of funds and securities will be settled on the day of the trade.
  • The beta version of the optional T+0 settlement has been approved for a limited set of 25 stocks, and with a limited set of brokers.
  • SEBI will review progress at the end of three and six months before deciding on a further course of action.
  • The main aim of the trial is to increase liquidity in the market.
  • A T+0 settlement would help free up brokers' funds within the system, which will reduce the overall cost of doing business.
  • At present, if any individual sells shares the amount is credited to the trading account instantly. On the exchange side, this fund gets credited to the broker only after settlement on T+1.
  • India will be only the second country after China to operate on a short settlement cycle.

Topic: State News/ Arunachal Pradesh

10. India's first oil palm processing unit started operating in Arunachal Pradesh.

  • India's first integrated Oil Palm Processing Unit by 3F Oil Palm started its commercial operations.
  • This oil palm processing unit is located at Roing in the lower Dibang Valley in Arunachal Pradesh.
  • This unit is a step toward self-reliance in edible oils and catalyzing the National Mission on Edible Oils - Oil Palm (NMEO-OP).
  • This integrated oil palm project will comprise a cutting-edge oil palm factory, a zero-discharge effluent plant, and a palm waste-based power plant.
  • It is the first oil palm factory in Arunachal Pradesh and India's first oil palm factory under NMEO-OP.
  • It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 9, 2024.

Topic: Indian Economy

11. India's foreign exchange reserves reached a two-year high of $636.1 billion.

  • According to the latest Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data released on March 15, India's foreign exchange reserves increased by $10.47 billion to $636.1 billion in the week ended March 8.
  • This is the biggest jump after the week ending July 14, 2023.
  • Earlier, foreign exchange reserves had increased by $6.55 billion to $625.63 billion in the week ending March 1, 2024.
  • Foreign currency assets (FCA) increased by $8.12 billion to $562.35 billion, according to the weekly statistical supplement released by the RBI.
  • Gold reserves rose by $2.3 billion to $50.72 billion, while SDRs rose by $31 million to $18.21 billion.
  • The reserve position at the IMF increased by $19 million to $4.82 billion.
  • Generally, RBI intervenes in the market from time to time through liquidity management including the sale of dollars to prevent a sharp fall in the rupee.

Topic: Personality in News

12. Tamilisai Sundararajan resigned as Telangana Governor.

  • On 18 March, Tamilisai Soundararajan resigned as Governor of Telangana and Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry.
  • However, the sudden decision has come because Soundararajan is expected to return to electoral politics and contest the 2024 Lok Sabha elections from Tamil Nadu.
  • The resignation has been submitted to the Honorable President of India.
  • In September 2019, she assumed the office of Governor of Telangana. Later in February 2021, she took additional charge as Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry.
  • A physician by profession, she started her career as a gynaecologist and has received specialized training in Sonology and fetal medicine.
  • In 1999, Sundararajan served as the South Chennai District Medical Wing Secretary in the state unit of the BJP.

Topic: Science and Technology

13. Google DeepMind launched its latest AI gaming agent ‘SIMA’.

  • Scalable Instructable Multiworld Agent (SIMA) is the latest AI gaming agent.
  • It follows natural language instructions to perform tasks across video game environments.
  • SIMA is a step closer towards where AI can intelligently collaborate with humans.
  • SIMA is different from AI models such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT or Google Gemini.
  • SIMA is a generalist AI Agent that is capable of doing different kinds of tasks.
  • It is like a virtual buddy which can complete tasks or solve challenges assigned to it.
  • Google has partnered with game developers to train SIMA on a variety of video games.
  • Google Deepmind collaborated with eight-game studios to test SIMA on nine different video games.

Topic: Indian Economy/Financial Market

14. In February 2024, India's goods exports increased 11.86 per cent year over year to $41.4 billion.

  • Thus far in the current fiscal year, this is the largest monthly export.
  • Industries, including engineering items, electronics, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and petroleum products, have been the main drivers of exports.
  • Despite unfavourable circumstances, including disturbances in the Red Sea, the recession of Western economies, and the decline in commodity prices, exports have increased.
  • In February 2024, the value of goods imported increased by 12.16% to $60.11 billion.
  • According to preliminary estimates provided by the government, this has caused the trade deficit to increase from $16.67 billion in February 2023 to $18.7 billion in February 2024.
  • India's goods exports rose by 6.89% in 2022–2023 to $451.07 billion.
  • The value of goods exported during the April–February 2023–24 period was $394.99 billion.
  • In comparison to the $409.11 billion worth of exports from April to February of 2022–2023, they decreased by 3.45%.
  • With $620.19 billion worth of imports, merchandise imports during April-February 2023–2024 were 5.32% less than those during April–February 2022–2023.
  • Between April and February of 2023–2024, the merchandise trade deficit stood at $225.20 billion.
  • This was less than the $245.94 billion deficit from April to February in 2022–2023.
  • In February 2024, exports from 22 of the 30 major sectors increased.
  • Handicrafts, coffee, tea, meat, iron ore, plastic, yarn, textiles, ceramic goods, and glassware were among the items exported.
  • Imports of commodities like gold, electronics, machine tools, iron and steel, non-ferrous metals, and chemicals have increased as of February 2024.
  • The US, the UAE, Singapore, South Africa, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, the UK, China, and Bangladesh were the top export destinations for India in February 2024.
  • Switzerland, the UAE, China, Indonesia, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and South Korea were the top import sources in February 2024.
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