Daily Current Affairs and GK | 20 January 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 20 Jan 2024 17:53 PM IST

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Topic: Art and Architecture

1. Ram temple in Ayodhya has been built in Nagra Style of temple architecture.

  • The Ram Mandir in Ayodhya is inspired by Nagara-style architecture. The Ram temple will be inaugurated on January 22.
  • This temple has been designed by Chandrakant Sompura and his son Ashish.
  • The temple is completely made of stone, which will give it greater longevity and sturdiness. It will be also resistant to earthquakes.
  • Mysuru sculptor Arun Yogiraj has made the 51-inch-tall black stone idol of Ram Lalla. It has been placed in the Grabhagriha.
  • What is the Nagara style of temple architecture?
    • The Nagara style of temple architecture is found in northern India. It is divided into different schools based on regions like Odisha, Khajuraho, Solanki etc.
    • The temple in Nagara style is constructed on a raised platform called Jagati.
    • Mandapas are areas present in front of the Garbhagriha. It is hall at the entrance of the temple.
    • The pyramid shaped structure above the sanctum sanctorum of Indian temples is called Shikhar.
    • Garbhagriha is the area where the principal deity/deities of the temple reside.
  • Main Features of Ram temple in Ayodhya:
    • It stands tall with a height of 161 feet and has three floors.
    • The ground floor of the temple is supported by 160 columns, while the first floor is adorned with 132 columns.
    • The temple has five pedks and pavilions for entrance and access. It has a total of 12 gates.
    • The main temple at the Ram Temple complex is spread over an area of 2.7 acres.

Topic: National News

2. Foundation stone of 8 projects of AMRUT laid by PM Modi in Solapur, Maharashtra.

  • These projects of Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) are worth around 2,000 crore Rupees.
  • PM Modi said that the government has already provided 4 crore pucca houses and 10 crore toilets.
  • He said that his government has taken 25 crore people out of the Poverty Line.
  • He announced the extension of PM Garib Kalyan Yojana for the next five years.
  • He dedicated 90,000 houses completed under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana - Urban and 15,000 houses of Raynagar Housing Society in Solapur.
  • He also initiated the distribution of 1st and 2nd installments to 10,000 beneficiaries of PM-SVANIDHI in Maharashtra.
  • He inaugurated the Boeing India Engineering and Technology Centre in Bengaluru. He also launched the Boeing Sukanya Programme.
  • The centre is built with an investment of 1,600 crores rupees. It is Boeing’s largest facility outside US in Bengaluru.

Topic: Defence

3. Indian Army launched Operation Sarvashakti.

  • Indian Army has launched this operation to thwart Pakistan’s attempts to revive terrorism in Kashmir.
  • The goal of this operation is to combat the terrorist resurgence that Pakistani proxy groups are facilitating along the Pir Panjal mountain ranges.
  • Terrorist groups aided by Pakistan have been making concerted efforts to resurrect violence in the Rajouri Poonch area.
  • This has resulted in the deaths of almost 20 soldiers in recent strikes.
  • Four troops lost their life in the most recent incident, which happened on December 21 in the Dera ki Gali area.
  • Operation Sarvashakti will involve joint counterterrorism operations from both sides of the Pir Panjal ranges. 
  • Chinar Corps, stationed in Srinagar, and the White Knight Corps, headquartered in Nagrota, will conduct concurrent operations.
  • This initiative is similar to Operation Sarpvinash, which was initiated in 2003 with the goal of eliminating terrorists in the regions south of the Pir Panjal range.

Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

4. India announced a new alliance for global good, gender equity and equality.

  • India announced this alliance on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Meeting.
  • WEF founder and Chairman Klaus Schwab offered to partner this initiative with full support.
  • India announced the initiative at an Indian reception on the sidelines of the WEF annual meeting.
  • It was hosted by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).
  • It was attended by union ministers Smriti Irani and Hardeep Singh Puri along with WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab.
  • The concept of this alliance emerged from the G20 Leaders’ Declaration.
  • The aim of this alliance is to take forward the commitments of the G20 leaders for the good of the larger global community.
  • The alliance has received support from Mastercard, Uber, Tata, TVS, Bayer, Godrej, Serum Institute of India, Novartis, IMD Laussane and more than 10,000 partners from industry through CII.
  • The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a supporter of the alliance.
  • The alliance will be housed and anchored by the CII Centre for Women Leadership.
  • The World Economic Forum is a Network Partner. Invest India is an Institutional Partner.

Topic: National Appointments

5. PepsiCo India has appointed Jagrut Kotecha as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

  • He will take over from Ahmed El Sheikh, who will assume role of CEO for the Middle East.
  • Kotecha will assume the role of CEO in March 2024.
  • He is currently the Chief Commercial Officer for PepsiCo in Africa, Middle East, and South Asia.
  • PepsiCo is an American multinational food, snack, and beverage corporation. It is headquartered in New York.

Topic: Science and Technology

6. 2nd generation Distress Alert Transmitter (DAT-SG) has been developed by ISRO.

  • It has advanced capabilities. It has features for the fishermen to send emergency messages from fishing boats.
  • The first version of Distress Alert Transmitter (DAT) has been functioning since 2010.
  • Using the first version of DAT, messages were sent through communication satellite.
  • The messages were received at Indian Mission Control Centre (INMCC), which served as a central control station.
  • At INMCC, alert signals were decoded for the location and identity of the fishing boat.
  • Decoded information is sent to Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) under the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).
  • The DAT-SG can send back acknowledgment to the fishermen who activate the distress alert from sea.
  • DAT-SG can also receive messages from control centres. It can give early warning to fishermen in the sea in case of bad weather, cyclone, tsunami or other disasters.
  • Moreover, fishermen are periodically provided with information on possible fishing zones via DAT-SG.
  • DAT-SG can be linked to mobile phones via Bluetooth. The messages can be viewed in native language using an App in the mobile.
  • INMCC has a web based network management system. This system is called Sagarmitra. This system maintains a database of registered DAT-SGs.
  • The DAT-SG services has been made available on a 24 x 7 basis.


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Topic: MoUs and Agreements

7. A MoU was signed between Google Pay India and NPCI International to expand UPI to countries beyond India.

  • An MoU has been signed between Google India Digital Services and NPCI International Payments, a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Payments Corporation of India to expand UPI to countries beyond India.
  • The MOU has three main objectives.
    • Widening the use of UPI payments for travellers outside India, allowing them to easily transact abroad.
    • Helping set up digital payment systems like UPI in other countries.
    • Focusing on simplifying the process of remittances between countries using the UPI infrastructure, thereby simplifying cross-border financial exchanges.
  • This strategic partnership will also allow to extend knowledge and expertise in operating a successful digital payments ecosystem to other countries.
  • The MoU aims to help accelerate global acceptance of UPI, helping foreign merchants reach Indian consumers who no longer have to rely solely on foreign currency or credit and foreign currency cards to make digital payments.
  • In 2023, NPCI enabled transactions from mobile numbers from ten countries, including Singapore, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, and the United Kingdom.
  • NPCI International is the international arm of NPCI and works to deploy the UPI and card payment system RuPay outside India.

Topic: Space and IT

8. Japan's spacecraft landed on the lunar surface, becoming the 5th country to reach the Moon.

  • On the morning of January 19, Smart Lander for Investigating Moon, (SLIM), the Japanese spacecraft, landed on the Moon, making Japan the fifth country to reach the lunar surface.
  • However, officials said they still needed to analyze the exact accuracy of the landing.
  • In terms of reaching the Moon, Japan comes after the United States, the Soviet Union, China, and India.
  • The main goal of the mission is to test new landing technology that will allow Moon missions to land where they want to land, rather than where it is easiest to land.
  • SLIM, nicknamed "The Moon Sniper", which was equipped with pads to reduce impact, was intended to land near the Shioli Crater, an area covered in volcanic rock.
  • SLIM was launched in September on a Mitsubishi Heavy H2A rocket.
  • It initially orbited the Earth and entered lunar orbit on 25 December.
  • SLIM carried two small autonomous probe lunar exploration vehicles, LEV-1 and LEV-2, which were released just before landing.
  • Equipped with an antenna and a camera, LEV-1 is tasked with recording SLIM's landing.
  • LEV-2, a ball-shaped rover equipped with two cameras, was developed by JAXA in collaboration with Sony, toy maker Tomy and Doshisha University.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

9. 2nd Indo-French Joint Committee of Science and Technology (JCST) meeting took place on 18th January.

  • At this meeting, members discussed ways of enhancing a stronger and rejuvenated Indo-French scientific partnership.
  • Prof Abhay Karandikar, Secretary for the Department of Science and Technology (DST) co-chaired the committee along with Dr Claire Giry, Director General for Research and Innovation at the French Ministry of Higher Education and Research.
  • The success of the CEFIPRA model was highlighted at the meeting.
  • It would enhance Indo-French Collaboration and will help in cooperation in new age technologies like ICPS, health, clean energy, AI, quantum technologies, and advanced materials.
  • The meeting was held on the premises of the Translational Health Science and Technology Institute (THSTI).
  • Both countries agreed to jointly fund scientific research projects in the fields of health, decarbonised hydrogen, marine sciences and applied mathematics.
  • The outcome of the Indo-French Joint Committee of Science and Technology will be endorsed during the upcoming meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Emmanuel Macron.

2nd Indo-French Joint Committee of Science and Technology

(Source: PIB)

Topic: Awards and Prizes

10. 19 children have been selected for Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2024.

  • Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar (PMRBP) are given to children in the age group of 5 – 18 years in seven categories.
  • PMRBP is given in Bravery, Art & Culture, Environment, Innovation, Science & Technology, Social Service and Sports categories.
  • Each awardee will be presented a medal, certificate and a citation booklet.
  • The awards will be presented by the President of India at Vigyan Bhawan on 22nd January 2024.
  • The children will also participate in the Republic Day parade on 26th January 2024.
  • One child in the categories of Bravery, Science & Technology, and Innovation has been selected for the PMRBP.
  • Four children have been selected for the Social Service category while five children in the category of Sports and seven children have been selected in the category of Art and Culture.
  • Out of the total 19 children, 9 are boys and 10 are girls and they belong to 18 States and UTs.

Topic: National News

11. The guidelines for coaching centers issued by the Ministry of Education.

  • According to the new guidelines announced by the Education Ministry, coaching centres cannot enroll students below 16 years of age, make misleading promises and cannot guarantee ranks or good marks.
  • The guidelines have been prepared to address the need for a legal framework to regulate coaching institutes and manage the unregulated growth of private coaching centres.
  • The guidelines came after complaints received by the government regarding increasing cases of student suicides, fire incidents, lack of facilities in coaching incidents, as well as the teaching methods adopted by them.
  • No coaching center will hire tutors with qualifications less than graduation.
  • Student enrollment should be done only after secondary school examination.
  • Coaching institutes cannot publish or cause to be published or participate in publishing any misleading advertisement.
  • The Publication includes any claim relating directly or indirectly to the quality of the coaching or the facilities provided therein or the result obtained by the student attending such a coaching center or such class.
  • No institution shall be registered unless it has a counseling system as required by these guidelines.
  • Coaching centers cannot take the services of any tutor or person who has been convicted of any offense involving moral turpitude.
  • The government has proposed the registration of new and existing centers within three months of the implementation of the guidelines to ensure proper monitoring of coaching institutes.
  • The State Government will be responsible for monitoring the activities of the coaching center and making inquiries about any coaching center regarding the fulfillment of required eligibility of registration and satisfactory activities of the coaching center.

Topic: Personality in News

12. On January 16, Singapore's oldest Olympian and former Indian-origin, national hockey player Ajit Singh Gill passed away at the age of 95.

  • He played hockey and cricket for the Selangor Indian Association from 1948 to 1951, and for Selangor State in 1950.
  • He was a short corner specialist who also played for the Singapore Indian Association from 1952 to 1975.
  • In 1956, Gill reached the pinnacle of sporting success when he was selected to represent Singapore at the Melbourne Olympics.
  • In the 1960s, he turned to cricket, hitting plenty of fours and sixes and thus earning his nickname – the "Big-Hitting Sikh".
  • In 1985, he retired from coaching cricket and hockey and he played golf and race walk.
  • In 1990, he topped the ASEAN Senior Amateur Golf Championships.
  • 26 years later, he won the gold medal in the 5,000-meter race walk at the Asia Masters Athletics Championships on home soil.

Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

13. Annual Status of Education Report, titled ‘ASER 2023: Beyond Basics’, was released.

  • The NGO Pratham’s Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) titled ASER 2023 ‘Beyond Basics’ was released on 18th January.
  • The 2023 survey focused on the 14-18 year-old children group in rural India.
  • It assessed specifically children's ability of reading and math skills. It also captures information about their access to digital technology.
  • This survey was carried out among 34,745 young respondents in 28 rural districts in 26 states.
  • The survey has four broad buckets to measure — activity, aspiration, awareness in general, and ability.
  • About one in four children in the 14-18 age group still cannot read a Std II-level text fluently in their regional language.
  • 86.8% of Children in the 14-18 year age group are enrolled in an educational institution,
  • Around 57% of children can read sentences in English and more than 73% can also tell their meanings. Boys are better than girls in both arithmetic and English reading.
  • Almost 50% could not solve division (3-digit 1-digit) questions.
  • Out of the total surveyed children, 95% of boys and 90% of girls could use a smartphone.
  • The proportion of children opting for private tuition nationwide has increased from 25% in 2018 to 30% in 2022.
  • Girls are less enrolled in the science stream (28.1%) as compared with boys (36.3%).

Topic: Indian Economy

14. RBI’s economic activity index has forecasted GDP growth for Q3 (October-December) FY24 at 7%.

  • This is according to an article in RBI’s most recent monthly bulletin.
  • This is more than the real GDP growth projection of 6.5% for Q3FY24 as per the RBI Governor’s monetary policy statement of December 2023.
  • Economic activity in India remained strong due to the support of robust domestic demand.
  • As per the article “State of the Economy”, “supply chain pressures in India in December remained below historical average levels.
  • Headline inflation recorded a slight increase from 5.6% in November to 5.7% in December.
  • It was driven by increased food inflation because of unfavourable base effects.
  • As per the authors, private consumption languished on the back of the slow revival of the rural economy. Private consumption accounts for 57% of GDP.
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