Daily Current Affairs and GK | 2 February 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 02 Feb 2024 17:46 PM IST

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Topic: Defense

1. INS Sandhayak will be commissioned on February 3 at Visakhapatnam.

  • Rajnath Singh will visit Visakhapatnam to preside over the Commissioning Ceremony of INS Sandhayak at Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam.
  • The Chief of Naval Staff Admiral R Hari Kumar will also attend the Ceremony.
  • INS Sandhayak has been built at GRSE Kolkata and has more than 80% indigenous content.
  • This 110-meter ship will displace about 3800 tons and will be powered by two diesel engines.
  • This ship has an endurance of over 25 days and can achieve speeds of more than 18 Knots.
  • This ship's main role is to carry out full-scale hydrographic surveys of ports, navigational channels/ routes, coastal areas and deep seas.
  • This ship is the re-incarnated form of the erstwhile Sandhayak which was decommissioned on 04 Jun 2021.

INS Sandhayak

(Source: PIB)

Topic: National Appointments

2. Government appointed Vice Admiral Lochan Singh Pathania as Chief Hydrographer.

  • VAdm Lochan Singh Pathania assumed the charge as the Chief Hydrographer to the government of India.
  • He joined the Executive branch of the Indian Navy in 1990.
  • He is a Hydrography Specialist and had commanded Ships Darshak and Sandhayak.
  • He carried out different hydrographic surveys. He was involved in the challenging task of data collection for IMBL arbitration and for the production of the new chart in the Sundarbans delta.
  • He has held various important posts including the Principal Director (Hydrography) at NHQ, Officer-in-Charge, National Hydrographic Office (NHO) and Joint Chief Hydrographer.
  • He is an expert on International maritime laws related to maritime boundary delimitation.
  • He contributed to resolving issues related to maritime boundaries and the settlement of the Extended continental shelf beyond the Exclusive Economic Zone.

Lochan Singh Pathania

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

3. C-CARES, the web portal of CMPFO launched by Union Minister Shri Pralhad Joshi.

  • On 31st January, a web portal of the Coal Mines Provident Fund Organization (CMPFO) namely C- CARES, was launched by Union Minister of Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs Shri Pralhad Joshi.
  • It has been developed and designed by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), an R&D organization under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
  • This is a significant leap in the digitization journey of CMPFO, which aims to address the long-standing issues of digitizing its records and work processes.
  • Established in 1948, CMPFO is an autonomous organization to administers provident funds and pension schemes to provide social security to coal sector workers under the aegis of the Ministry of Coal.
  • Currently, the organization is serving approximately 3.3 lakh provident fund subscribers and 6.1 lakh pensioners in the coal sector.
  • At present, CMPFO settles the claims of provident fund subscribers and pensioners manually.
  • The settlement of provident fund and pension claims will now be settled online with the launch of this portal.
  • This will facilitate faster processing, transparency in operations, and better records management and monitoring.
  • This will also instil confidence among customers and pensioners.

Topic: Important Days

4. World Wetlands Day 2024: 2 February

  • World Wetlands Day is observed annually on 2 February to raise awareness about wetlands.
  • It marks the anniversary of the Convention on Wetlands, which was adopted on 2 February 1971 in Ramsar, Iran.
  • On 30 August 2021, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution that established 2 February as World Wetlands Day.
  • The theme of World Wetlands Day 2024 is ‘Wetlands and Human Wellbeing’.
  • A wetland is an area of land that is either covered with water or saturated with water. It includes mangroves, deltas, floodplains, rice-fields, coral reefs, etc.
  • India has increased the number of Ramsar sites (wetlands of international importance) to 80 from the current 75 by designating five more wetlands as Ramsar sites.
  • Tamil Nadu continues to have the maximum number of Ramsar sites (16 sites) followed by Uttar Pradesh (10 sites).

Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

5. India Mobility Global Expo 2024 addressed by PM Modi in New Delhi.

  • On 2nd February, a program at India’s largest and first-of-its-kind mobility exhibition, Bharat Mobility Global Expo 2024, held at Bharat Mandapam, New Delhi.
  • India Mobility Global Expo 2024 showcased India's capabilities across the entire transport-connectivity and motor-vehicle industry value chains.
  • The expo also included exhibitions, conferences, buyer-seller meets, state sessions, a road safety pavilion, and people-centric attractions like go-karting.
  • The expo highlights cutting-edge technologies, sustainable solutions, and innovative transportation technologies with over 800 exhibitors from over 50 countries.
  • The expo saw participation from over 28 vehicle manufacturers, in addition to over 600 auto component manufacturers.
  • The event featured over 1000 brands from over 13 global markets showcasing their full range of products, technologies, and services.
  • Apart from exhibitions and conferences, the event also included state-to-state sessions in the context of showcasing regional contributions and initiatives to enable cooperation at both national and regional levels.

Topic: National News

6. On 1 February, Rashtriya Arogya Mela inaugurated by Union Minister for AYUSH and Shipping, Ports Waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal.

  • In association with the Ministry of Ayush, Shri Puran Chandra Gupta Smarak Trust has organized the Rashtriya Arogya Mela.
  • The four-day Rashtriya Arogya Mela will showcase India's cultural and historical heritage in holistic health care.
  • It is being organized from 1 February 2024 to 4 February 2024 at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, New Delhi.
  • It is a dynamic convergence of India's rich healing traditions, including Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy.
  • The AYUSH Minister said that the 'Har Din Har Ghar AYUSH' campaign of the fair provides the benefits of Indian traditional medical systems to the people.
  • Within 9 years of its inception, the Ministry of AYUSH has promoted the holistic health care tradition of India with more than nine hundred AYUSH start-ups and nine thousand health and wellness centres.
  • Under the National AYUSH Mission, continuous efforts are being made to take AYUSH to every district of the country.
  • International Yoga Day, Ayurveda Day, and the World Health Organization's Global Center for Traditional Medicine in Gujarat are testament to the global reach of India's traditional health care knowledge.
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Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

7. According to the Finance Minister, rooftop solarization will enable one crore households to receive up to 300 units of free electricity each month.

  • When presenting the Interim Budget 2024–2025 to Parliament on February 1, 2024, the Finance Minister made this statement. 
  • As a result of receiving free solar electricity and selling the excess to distribution firms, households are expected to save up to fifteen to eighteen thousand rupees a year. 
  • This is expected to provide entrepreneurship opportunities to vendors for supply and installation.
  • It is expected that this will also give young people with technical abilities in manufacturing, installation, and maintenance work opportunities. 
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman also proposed viability gap funding for harnessing offshore wind energy potential for initial capacity of one giga-watt.
  • Additionally, FM suggested setting up a 100 MT coal liquefaction and gasification capacity by 2030.
  • FM also proposed phased mandatory blending of CBG (Compressed Bio Gas) in CNG (Compressed Natural Gas) for transportation and PNG (Piped Natural Gas) for domestic uses.
  • FM further proposed that financial help be given for purchase of biomass aggregation machinery to facilitate collection.
  • Additionally, she proposed a new scheme of bio-manufacturing and bio-foundry.
  • This scheme will make available environment friendly alternatives like biodegradable polymers, bio-plastics, bio-pharmaceuticals and bio-agri-inputs.

Topic: Indian Economy

8. The government has proposed to set up a corpus of Rs 1 Lakh Crore to boost private investment in sunrise technologies.

  • The corpus will be set up with a fifty-year interest-free loan.
  • It will offer low or no-interest long-term financing or refinancing with long tenors.
  • According to the Finance Minister, this will considerably boost research and innovation in sunrise domains by the private sector.
  • The FM also suggested launching a brand-new programme to advance deep-tech capabilities for defence.
  • She stated that "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan" was the slogan provided by Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, whereas "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan Jai Vigyan" was created by Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee.
  • Since innovation is the cornerstone of growth, she said that Prime Minister Modi has advanced it to "Jai Jawan Jai Kisan Jai Vigyan and Jai Anusandhan."

Topic: Committees/ Commissions/Taskforces

9. Government will constitute a committee to study challenges arising from “fast population growth and demographic changes”.

  • In the Interim Budget, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that a high-powered committee will be formed to consider the challenges arising from “fast population growth and demographic changes.
  • The committee will make recommendations to address the challenges in achieving the goal of Developed India.
  • As per the latest Sample Registration System (SRS) report for the year 2020, the total fertility rate (TFR) has dropped to 2, from 2.1 in 2019.
  • The National Family Health Survey (NFHS)-5 for 2019-2021 stated that the TFR has further declined from 2.2 to 2 at the national level.
  • Bihar (2.98), Meghalaya (2.91), Uttar Pradesh (2.35), Jharkhand (2.26), and Manipur (2.17) are the only five states with a TFR level of more than 2.1.
  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the Census and delimitation of parliamentary seats would only be conducted after the 2024 general election.
  • Demographic changes in districts along the international border with Nepal and Bangladesh emerged as a major concern.

Topic: MoUs /Agreements

10. India-UAE Bilateral Investment Treaty has been approved by the Union Cabinet.

  • The government approved the signing and ratification of a Bilateral Investment Treaty (BIT) between India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
  • This treaty will help in enhancing investments between both countries.
  • It will significantly boost bilateral economic engagement in different areas, including manufacturing and foreign direct investment (FDI).
  • It will increase the confidence of investors, especially large investors, which will increase foreign investments and overseas direct investment opportunities.
  • India and U.A.E. had implemented a free trade agreement in May 2022.

Topic: Indian Economy

11. Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman presented the Interim Union Budget for 2024-2025.

  • Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman presented the sixth consecutive budget.
  • She equalled the record of Minister Morarji Desai, who as finance minister had presented five annual budgets and one interim budget between 1959 and 1964.
  • Finance Minister Smt Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the capital expenditure outlay for the next year will be Rs 11,11,111 crore, which would be  3.4 per cent of the GDP.
  • The capital expenditure outlay has been increased by 11.1 per cent as compared to the previous year.
  • The First Advance Estimates of National Income of FY 2023-24 projected that India’s Real GDP is projected to grow at 7.3 per cent.
  • GST collection stood at ₹1.65 lakh crore in December 2023. This is the seventh time that gross GST revenues have crossed ₹1.6 lakh crore.
  • The tax receipts are estimated to be Rs 26.02 lakh crore. The total receipts other than borrowings and the total expenditure are estimated at Rs 30.80 and 47.66 lakh crore respectively.
  • The fiscal deficit in 2024-25 is estimated to be 5.1 per cent of GDP. It will reduce to below 4.5 per cent by 2025-26.
  • The gross and net market borrowings through dated securities during 2024-25 are estimated at Rs14.13 and 11.75 lakh crore respectively.
  • The FDI inflow during 2014-23 was USD 596 billion. It is twice of inflow during 2005-14.
  • Finance Minister said that the government is committed to making India a ‘Viksit Bharat’ by 2047.
  • Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana benefitted 38 lakh farmers and generated 10 lakh employment.
  • Three major economic railway corridor-energy, mineral and cement corridors, port connectivity corridors, and high traffic density corridors will be implemented.
  • 40000 normal rail bogies will be converted to the Vande Bharat standards. It will enhance the safety, convenience and comfort of passengers.
  • The government will also form a high-powered committee to tackle challenges arising due to fast population growth and demographic changes.
  • 1 crore households will obtain 300 units of free electricity every month through rooftop solarization.
  • Healthcare cover under the Ayushman Bharat scheme will be extended to all ASHA workers, Anganwadi Workers and Helpers.
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that a ₹1 lakh crore corpus will be established with a 50-year interest-free loan for long-term financing research and innovation in domains including deep defence technology for defence purposes.

Topic: Indian Economy

12. No change has been proposed in tax rates in the interim budget.

  • The government has not made any changes in the direct and indirect tax rates in the interim budget for 2024-25.
  • In the interim budget, it has been proposed to withdraw the outstanding direct tax demands up to Rs 25,000 relating to the period up to 2009-10 and up to Rs 10,000 relating to the financial year 2011 to 2014-15.
  • In the last 10 years, the direct tax collections have more than trebled and return filers have increased 2.4 times.
  • The average processing time of tax returns has been reduced from 93 days in the year 2013-14 to 10 days this year.
  • In FY 2023-24, the tax base of GST more than doubled and the average monthly gross GST collection has almost doubled to Rs 1.66 trillion.
  • In the post-GST period of 2017-18 to 2022-23, States’ SGST revenue achieved a buoyancy of 1.22.
  • The scheme of fifty-year interest-free loans for capital expenditure to states will be continued this year with a total outlay of Rs 1.3 lakh crore.
  • A provision of Rs.75,000 crore rupees as a fifty-year interest-free loan is proposed to support reforms by the State Governments.
  • Union Finance Minister said that corporate tax rates have been reduced from 30 per cent to 22 percent for existing indigenous companies and to 15 percent for some new manufacturing companies.

Topic: Indian Economy

13. In Budget 2024, the biggest allocation is for defence and the lowest for agriculture.

  • On 1 February, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tabled the Interim Budget for 2024-25.
  • Nirmala Sitharaman said India's capital expenditure for 2024-25 has been increased by 11% to ₹11.11 lakh crore or 3.4% of GDP.
  • She said the tripling of capital expenditure in the last four years has had a manifold impact on economic growth and employment generation.
  • The Indian air carrier has ordered 1,000 new aircraft.
  • Furthermore, she said that a new scheme will be launched to strengthen the technology-intensive approach for the defence sector.
  • According to the interim budget documents, the Defense Ministry has been given the highest allocation.
  • The government will promote public and private investment in post-harvest agricultural activities.
  • Every year, through the Pradhan Mantri-Kisan Samman Yojana, direct financial assistance is provided to 11 crore 80 lakh farmers, including marginal and small farmers.
  • Under the Crop Insurance Scheme, crop insurance has been provided to four crore farmers.
  • Apart from these, many other programs are being helped in producing food grains for the entire country and the world.
  • 1361 mandis have been connected to the electronic national agricultural market, and this is helping one crore 80 lakh farmers.
  • She said that the number of airports in the country has also increased in the last ten years. At present, 149 airports are operating in the country.
  • The allocation for specific ministries is as follows:

Ministry

Budget

Defence

₹6.1 lakh crore

Road Transport and Highways

₹2.78 lakh crore

Railways

₹2.55 lakh crore

Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution

₹2.13 lakh crore

Home Affairs

₹2.03 lakh crore

Rural Development

₹1.77 lakh crore

Chemicals and Fertilizers

₹1.68 lakh crore

Communications

₹1.37 lakh crore

Agriculture and Farmer's Welfare

₹1.27 lakh crore

Topic: Indian Economy

14. The fiscal deficit is estimated to be 5.1% of GDP in 2024-25.

  • This complies with the fiscal consolidation path to reduce the fiscal deficit to below 4.5% by 2025-26.
  • The Finance Minister said that states will be encouraged to comprehensively develop iconic tourism centers, branding and marketing them globally.
  • For rating the centers based on the quality of facilities and services, a framework will be established.
  • Long-term interest-free loans will be provided to the States on an equitable basis to finance such development.
  • Over the last ten years, the government has helped 25 crore people escape multidimensional poverty.
  • The 'direct benefit transfer' of Rs 34 lakh crore to PM-Jan Dhan accounts has resulted in a saving of Rs 2.7 lakh crore to the government.
  • Under the PM-SVANidhi Yojana, loan assistance has been provided to 78 lakh street vendors.
  • PM-Janman Yojana has been launched specifically for vulnerable tribal groups, who have been kept out of the scope of development till now.
  • The government has initiated a PM-Vishwakarma Yojana, which provides support to artisans and craftspeople engaged in 18 trades.
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