Daily Current Affairs and GK | 20 March 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 21 Mar 2024 16:56 PM IST

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Half Yearly (Jan- June 2024 , Detailed)
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Current Affairs

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Topic: Indian Polity

1. Model Code of Conduct comes into force for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

  • Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar urged all political parties to strictly follow the Mode Code of Conduct (MCC).
  • The Chief Election Commissioner lays down a list of dos and don’ts for leaders and parties ahead of elections.
  • The Model Code of Conduct is issued for free and fair elections. It has no statutory backing.
  • The election commission can issue a notice to a politician or a party for violating the provisions of the MCC.
  • What is the Model Code of Conduct?
    • The Model Code of Conduct is a set of guidelines issued to regulate political parties and candidates before elections.
    • The MCC remains in force from the announcement of the date of the election schedule until the date of the results.
    • The MCC contains eight provisions that deal with general conduct, meetings, processions, polling day, polling booths, observers, the party in power, and election manifestos.
    • As per the MCC, the ministers should not combine official visits with election work or use official machinery for the same.
    • The ruling party cannot use government transport or machinery for campaigning.
    • Political parties or candidates can be criticised based only on their work record.
    • No caste or communal sentiments can be used to attract voters.

Topic: Important Days

2. World Sparrow Day: 20 March

  • World Sparrow Day is observed each year on March 20 to increase public awareness about the protection of sparrows.
  • The theme for this year’s World Sparrow Day is “I Love Sparrows”.
  • This year’s theme highlights the connection between humans and sparrows.
  • World Sparrow Day was started in 2010 by the Nature Forever Society of India.
  • Sparrows play a key role in ecosystem by controlling pest insects and spreading seeds that help plants grow.
  • The number of different sparrow species around the world is more than 60. 
  • Sparrows are social birds. They often live in flocks. They have tiny beaks which are perfect for catching insects.

Topic: Geography 

3. Tropical cyclone Megan has subsided into a tropical low.

  • It brought severe rains in Australia's northeast. The town of Borroloola was hardest hit by the cyclone.
  • It made landfall near the Borroloola on the southwestern edge of the Gulf of Carpentaria.
  • The warm months of the Southern Hemisphere, from November to April, form Australia's cyclone season.
  • The season's first cyclone, Tropical Cyclone Jasper, affected the northern Queensland state coast in December.
  • It was the wettest tropical cyclone in Australian history. It surpassed cyclone Peter, the wettest tropical cyclone on record in Australia. 
  • In January and February 2024, Tropical Cyclone Kirrily affected East Australia and the Northern Territory.
  • Cyclone Megan’s formation was observed on 4 March over south of Indonesia's Sumatra or Java.
  • The Gulf of Carpentaria is a sea off the northern coast of Australia.

Topic: State News/ Rajasthan

4. First ever dedicated portal for real-time information on water in dams, and canals has been launched in Jaipur.

  • This portal will provide real-time information on the water level in dams and reservoirs in different parts of Rajasthan.
  • It will also provide real-time information on the quantity of water available in canals in different parts of Rajasthan.
  • The portal will help in the efficient management of water. It will also facilitate the prediction of floods and drought.
  • Rajasthan was the first state which develop a system to bring information on water availability to the public domain.
  • The system has been developed by the Water Resources Department under the National Hydrology Project.
  • Real-time information on water availability will be helpful in a rain-deficient State like Rajasthan.
  • The data from 805 dams, daily data from 242 dams and live data of 88 dams will be provided through the portal.

Topic: International Appointments

5. Vinay Kumar became the Ambassador of India to Russia.

  • Vinay Kumar has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Russian Federation.
  • He is currently serving as the Ambassador of India to Myanmar.
  • India-Russia relations are an important pillar of India’s foreign policy.
  • India and Russia's relationship has been elevated from the Strategic Partnership to the level of a "Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership" since 2010.
  • Russia has been a longstanding partner of India. Recently, Vladimir Putin is reelected President for the fifth term.

Vinay Kumar became the Ambassador of India to Russia

(Source: DD News)

Topic: Environment and Ecology

6. Government notified the Captive Elephant (Transfer or Transport) Rules, 2024.

  • The central government has notified a set of rules, the Captive Elephant (Transfer or Transport) Rules, 2024.
  • Under this rule, elephants may be transferred within or between states.
  • A captive elephant can be transferred if the owner is no longer in a position to keep it or when the state’s Chief Wildlife Officer thinks it necessary for the better upkeep of the elephant.
  • An elephant can be transferred within the state after ratification by a veterinarian and the Deputy Conservator of Forests, which ensures that the current habitat and prospective habitat are suitable.
  • The Chief Wildlife Warden may choose to reject or approve the transfer.
  • Similar conditions apply if an elephant is transferred from one state to another. Before transfer, the “genetic profile” of the elephant has to be registered with the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
  • Conditions for transfer for elephant:
    • The elephant being transferred ought to be accompanied by a mahout and an elephant assistant.
    • A health certificate from a veterinary practitioner must depict that the elephant is fit for transport and does not show any sign of illness or infectious or contagious disease.
    • The transport shall be carried out after the mandatory quarantine period.
    • Tranquilisers/sedatives should be used to control nervous or temperamental elephants and must be prescribed by the veterinary practitioner.
Monthly Current Affairs eBooks
February Monthly Current Affairs 2024 January Monthly Current Affairs 2024
December Monthly Current Affairs 2023 November Monthly Current Affairs 2023

Topic: Defence

7. In Rajasthan, the Indian Army raised its first Apache attack helicopters squadron.

  • It has been raised to facilitate ground operations in the western sector.
  • According to the sources, Jodhpur is the place where the squadron has been raised.
  • Apache attack helicopter delivery is expected to begin in May.
  • There is already an Apache attack helicopter fleet in use by the Indian Air Force.
  • Boeing is the American aerospace firm that manufactures Apache.
  • It is among the most sophisticated multirole combat helicopters in existence. The US Army uses it.

Topic: Indian Economy

8. India's net direct tax collection has grown 19.88% to more than Rs 18.90 lakh crore till March 17.

  • As per the Income tax department data, the net direct tax collection stood at Rs 18,90,259 crore (as of March 17).
  • This includes Corporation Tax of Rs 9,14,469 crore (net of refund) and Personal Income Tax, including Securities Transaction Tax (STT) at Rs 9,72,224 crore (net of refund).
  • In the current fiscal till March 17, refunds amounting to nearly Rs 3.37 lakh crore have been released.
  • Before deducting refunds, the gross amount of direct tax collected was Rs 22.27 lakh crore.
  • The government estimated that it would get Rs 19.45 lakh crore in revenue for the entire fiscal year in its updated estimates for direct tax collection.
  • From the budget estimate of Rs 18.20 lakh crore for the current fiscal year, the direct tax revenues prediction for FY24 was increased to Rs 19.45 lakh crore by the Finance Minister in the budget speech on 1 February.
  • As of March 15, gross direct tax receipts before refunds were Rs 22.25 lakh crore, 13.5% more than during the same period the previous year.

Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

9. As per the ILO study, 3.5 people for every 1,000 are engaged in forced labour.

  • According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), forced labour generates illegal profits worth $36 billion annually.
  • Since 2014, illegal profits have increased by 37%, fuelled by a growth in the number of people forced into labour as well as higher profits generated from the exploitation of victims.
  • The report titled ‘Profits and poverty: The economics of forced labour’ has been released by the ILO.
  • Profits from forced labour are highest in Europe and Central Asia ($84 billion), followed by Asia and the Pacific ($62 billion).
  • Forced commercial sexual exploitation accounts for more than two-thirds (73%) of the total illegal profits.
  • The illegal profits are the wages that belonged to workers but were kept by their exploiters.
  • There were 27.6 million people engaged in forced labour every day in 2021.
  • Between 2016 and 2021, the number of people in forced labour increased by 2.7 million.
  • The report highlights that there is an urgent need for investment in enforcement measures to stop illegal profit flows and hold perpetrators accountable.

Topic: National Appointments

10. Jharkhand governor CP Radhakrishnan gets an additional charge of Telangana.

  • Jharkhand Governor CP Radhakrishnan became the in-charge governor of Telangana.
  • He will also carry the additional responsibilities of the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry.
  • Radhakrishnan is the third person from Tamil Nadu to occupy the post of governor in Telangana for a consecutive term.
  • Radhakrishnan assumed the governorship of Jharkhand in 2023.
  • Recently, Tamilisai Soundararajan resigned as governor of Telangana and Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry posts.
  • The resignation of Tamilisai was accepted with immediate effect by the President.

Topic: Sports

11. For the first time, Srinagar hosted a Formula-4 race on 17 March.

  • After hosting its inaugural Formula 4 car racing demonstration event, Srinagar witnessed a historic moment.
  • The race was held around the world-famous Dal Lake.
  • The event enthralled locals and motorsport lovers alike, as professional Formula 4 drivers showcased their skills with exciting stunts.
  • Foreign racing cars raced on a 1.7 km long track stretching from Lalit Ghat on the banks of Dal Lake to Nehru Park in the heart of the city.
  • The Federation of Motorsports Clubs of India, affiliated with the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) organized this event, which was the first of its kind in the Kashmir Valley.
  • The aim is to promote tourism in the region and also to inspire local youth to explore motorsports as a viable career path.
  • Under the auspices of the Tourism Department, the collaboration between Formula 4 and the Indian Racing League underlined the growing prominence of Kashmir in the motorsports sector.

Topic: Geography

12. Scientists have discovered a 'giant' volcano on Mars.

  • This massive volcano, named 'Noctis Volcano', stands at an elevation of 29,600 feet and extends approximately 450 kilometres in width.
  • The volcano's location is just south of Mars's equator, in eastern Noctis Labyrinthus, west of Valles Marineris, in the planet's vast canyon system.
  • Data from several missions, including NASA's Mariner 9, Viking Orbiter 1 and 2, Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, have been used to do this discovery.
  • ESA's European Space Agency's Mars Express mission was also a part of this effort.
  • Given its enormous size and complex volcanic history, Noctis Volcano is believed to have been active from ancient times until relatively recently.

Topic: MoUs /Agreements

13. NCW and Indian Railways inked an MoU to control human trafficking.

  • The National Commission for Women (NCW) and the Railway Protection Force have signed an MoU to prevent and combat human trafficking.
  • Railway Protection Force personnel at railway stations play a critical role in crimes against women and children.
  • 70 per cent of cases of human trafficking are related to women and girls.
  • The main objective of this MoU is to provide a safe and secure travel experience to women.
  • The Railway Protection Force will ensure that the railway network is not used for any atrocities against women, including trafficking. 
  • National Commission Women:
    • It is the statutory body which usually advises the government on all policy matters affecting women.
    • It was established on January 31, 1992, under the provisions of the 1990 National Commission for Women Act.
    • Rekha Sharma is the chairperson of the National Commission for Women.
    • Jayanti Patnaik was the first chairperson of NCW.
    • Its headquarters is located in New Delhi.

NCW and Indian Railways inked an MoU

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: State News/ Himachal Pradesh

14. ‘Mission 414’ campaign has been launched by the Election Commission in Himachal Pradesh.

  • To increase voter turnout, the ‘Mission 414’ campaign has been launched by the Election Commission in Himachal Pradesh.
  • The main aim of the campaign is to maximise voter turnout in 414 polling stations which registered less than 60% voting in the last Lok Sabha polls.
  • Special invitation cards made by children would be given to prospective voters.
  • The average voter turnout in Himachal Pradesh in the 2019 Loksabha election was 72.42%.
  • In Himachal Pradesh, 1,38,918 first-time voters will cast their vote for four Lok Sabha seats of Hamirpur, Kangra, Mandi, and Shimla (SC).
  • The expenditure limit of candidates for Lok Sabha polls would be ₹95 lakh.
  • Tashigang polling station in Lahaul and Spiti situated at an altitude of 15,256 feet is the highest polling booth in India.
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