Daily Current Affairs and GK | 25 January 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 25 Jan 2024 16:57 PM IST

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Topic: Important Days

1. National Tourism Day 2024: 25 January

  • National Tourism Day is observed every year on 25 January to cultivate awareness among people about the importance of tourism.
  • It was first observed by the government in 1948.
  • This day aims to promote popular tourist locations nationwide and to preserve the country's cultural legacy.
  • India offers several forms of tourism such as cultural, natural, heritage, educational, and business.
  • The theme for this year’s National Tourism Day is 'Sustainable Journeys, Timeless Memories.' It emphasises the concept of responsible and mindful travel.
  • This day also features the significance of sustainable tourism practices that benefit local communities.
  • About 15.3% of Indian employees work in the tourism industry.
  • On this occasion, seminars, cultural events, and other programmes have been organized by the government.

Topic: Corporates/Companies

2. The Serum Institute of India Pvt Ltd (SII) will join CEPI network of vaccine producers.

  • The SII’s inclusion in the CEPI manufacturing network will boost vaccine production efforts in Global South regions.
  • With the inclusion of SII in the CEPI manufacturing network, the world will be better prepared to fulfil the 100 Days Mission, which calls for the development of new vaccines against emerging or known infectious illnesses within three months of the threat of a pandemic being identified. 
  • In order to be ready for this kind of situation, CEPI is putting up to $30 million to expand on SII's track record of responding quickly to infectious disease epidemics.
  • CEPI established the manufacturing network in an effort to increase the reach of vaccine production worldwide. 
  • The manufacturing network targets vaccine producers in the Global South that are close to high-risk areas where fatal viral threats such as Nipah, Disease X, Lassa Fever, and other infections with pandemic or epidemic potential could break out.
  • Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) is a foundation. Its purpose is to fund vaccine development. It was founded in January 2017.
  • Serum Institute of India is the world's largest manufacturer of vaccines. It is an Indian biotechnology and biopharmaceuticals company. It is based in Pune. Adar Poonawalla is its CEO.

Topic: Banking System

3. The merger of Fincare Small Finance Bank with AU Small Finance Bank (SFB) has been approved by CCI.

  • In October 2023, the board of the bank had approved the merger.
  • The proposed merger received shareholders’ approval in November 2023.
  • After approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI), the approval of RBI is awaited.
  • The merged entity should become effective from February 1, 2024, subject to necessary approvals.
  • It is expected that the share exchange ratio for the amalgamation will be 579 equity shares of AU SFB for every 2,000 equity shares of Fincare SFB.

Topic: Defence

4. The air forces of India, the UAE and France conducted the air combat exercise Desert Knight over the Arabian Sea on 23 January 2024.  

  • Indian Air Force (IAF) operated from its base on the west coast. The other two air forces operated from the AI Dhafra airbase.
  • The French Air and Space Force deployed Rafale fighters. It also deployed a multi-role tanker transport aircraft for the exercise.
  • UAE deployed F-16 jets. Sukhoi-30MKI, MiG-29 and Jaguar fighters, along with AWACS (airborne warning and control systems) were included in the IAF contingent.
  • The IAF contingent also included C-130-J Super Hercules and IL-78 mid-air refueling aircraft.
  • Desert Knight Exercise focused on enhancing synergy and interoperability among the three air forces.
  • It was an exercise approximately equidistant from the coastlines of India and the UAE.

Topic: Infrastructure and Energy

5. The setting up of two coal gasification plants in West Bengal and Odisha approved by Cabinet.

  • Coal India Limited (CIL) will set up two coal gasification plants with the aim of achieving the target of 100 MT coal gasification by the year 2030 and fulfilling India's twin objectives of self-reliance and energy independence.
  • In the joint venture of CIL and GAIL, the total investment for the proposed coal-to-synthetic natural gas in the Sonpur Bazari area of Eastern Coalfields Limited in West Bengal will be Rs 13,52 crore.
  • In the CIL and BHEL joint venture, the proposed coal-to-ammonium nitrate at Mahanadi Coalfields Limited in the Jharsuguda district of Odisha will be worth Rs 11,782 crore.
  • These projects will be operational by 2028-29.
  • The proposal for equity investment for setting up a coal-to-synthetic natural gas project through a joint venture between CIL and Gas Authority of India Limited(GAIL) has also been approved by the Center.
  • The setting up of a coal-to-ammonium nitrate project through a joint venture between CIL and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited-BHEL has also been approved by the Centre.
  • The Union Cabinet has also approved the scheme to promote coal and lignite gasification projects of Government PSUs and the private sector.
  • The total outlay of this scheme is Rs 8,500 crore for incentives for coal gasification projects under three categories.

two coal gasification plants

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: State News/ Telangana

6. Telangana government is preparing to launch a free electricity scheme in February.

  • On January 23, Roads and Buildings Minister Komatireddy Venkata Reddy said that the state government is preparing to implement the Griha Jyoti scheme.
  • Its aim is to provide up to 200 units of free electricity to eligible domestic consumers from next month. Griha Jyoti Yojana is one of the six poll guarantees.
  • He said that Congress would have implemented the free electricity scheme within a week of coming to power.
  • But then power minister G Jagadish Reddy and then TS Transco and Genco chairman and managing director (CMD) D Prabhakar Rao had pushed the power sector into a loss of Rs 71,000 crore.
  • He said, the government is committed to fulfilling the promise of providing 24-hour free electricity to farmers.
  • He said that the Congress government will not go back on its assurance of providing free electricity and domestic gas refills at Rs 500.
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Topic: National News

7. PM Modi unveiled several development projects worth over 19,000 crore rupees at Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh.

  • The projects are related to key sectors like rail, road, oil and gas, urban development, and Housing.
  • He will have a bilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at Jaipur in Rajasthan.
  • The city's culturally and historically significant sites, such as Jantar Mantar, Hawa Mahal, and Albert Hall Museum, will be visited by the two leaders.
  • President Macron will also join Mr. Modi in a roadshow.
  • The French President will go to Delhi to participate in this year’s Republic Day Parade as Chief Guest.
  • Amer Fort, Jantar Mantar, and Jaipur City are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  • Mr. Macron will stay at Amer fort for about two hours. Most of the foreign tourists in Rajasthan come from France.

Topic: Important Days

8. National Voters’ Day: 25 January

  • National Voters’ Day is celebrated to create electoral awareness amongst citizens and encourage them to take part in the electoral process.
  • It is celebrated every year on 25th January to mark the foundation day of the Election Commission of India.
  • This year, the 14th National Voters’ Day is being observed.
  • The theme for National Voters’ Day 2024 is ‘Nothing Like Voting, I Vote For Sure’.
  • This year’s theme is a continuation from last year’s theme.
  • On January 25, 2024, the Election Commission of India (ECI) is celebrating its 75th year of service to the Nation.
  • To mark the occasion, a commemorative postage stamp themed “Inclusive Elections” will be released.
  • National Voters’ Day has been celebrated on January 25 every year since 2011.
  • 25th January 1950 is the foundation day of the Election Commission of India.

Topic: Corporates/Companies

9. ONGC got approval from the Petroleum Ministry to form a green energy subsidiary.

  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) received approval from the Petroleum and Natural Gas Ministry to form a subsidiary company for green energy and gas business.
  • The subsidiary will be involved in businesses related to green hydrogen, hydrogen blending, renewable energy including solar, wind and hybrid, bio-fuels and bio-gas business and liquefied natural gas (LNG).
  • The name of the subsidiary company has been proposed as ‘ONGC Green Limited’.
  • The ONGC board also gave its in-principle nod for the formation of a joint venture with NTPC Green Energy Limited (NGEL).
  • The joint venture will be engaged in the business of offshore wind energy and other renewable energy.
  • ONGC Videsh received a five-year $420 million loan from DBS Bank and Bank of Baroda on 18 January.
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) is an Indian central public sector undertaking under the ownership of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Topic: MoUs /Agreements

10. MoU between India and Oman has been approved for cooperation in the field of Information Technology.

  • The Union Cabinet has approved a MoU signed between India and Oman for cooperation in the field of Information Technology on 15th December 2023.
  • The MoU aims to promote cooperation between India and Oman through mutual support, sharing of technologies, information and investments in the field of Information Technology.
  • The MoU will remain in force for 3 years from the date of signature of the Parties.
  • Under the MoU, G2G and B2B bilateral Cooperation in the field of Information Technology will be enhanced.
  • MeitY is collaborating with many countries and multilateral agencies to enhance bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the ICT domain.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

11. UP government has honoured ISRO scientist Dr. Ritu Karidhal Srivastava and entrepreneur Naveen Tiwari with Gaurav Samman.

  • UP government honoured them with Uttar Pradesh Gaurav Samman on Uttar Pradesh Day.
  • Dr Ritu Karidhal Srivastava played an important role in the Chandrayaan Mission.
  • Dr Ritu Karidhal Srivastava hails from Lucknow. She served as the deputy operations director for India’s Mars Orbiter Mission Mangalyaan.
  • Naveen Tiwari is a noted entrepreneur from Kanpur. He is regularly featured on the covers of magazines like Forbes and Fortune.
  • He has created two unicorns. He has given India its first unicorn.
  • He has established the world’s largest independent mobile ad tech platform.
  • Uttar Pradesh Gaurav Samman has replaced Yash Bharti. It consists of cash prize of Rs 11 lakh.
  • It is given to personalities from various fields for their achievements. 

Topic: Indian Economy

12. At the end of FY23, direct tax-to-GDP ratio increased to an all-time high level of 6.11% as per Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) data.

  • The data also shows that the cost of collection has decreased to lowest level since FY15.
  • As per the data, previous highest level of direct taxes-to-GDP ratio was 6.3% in 2007-08.
  • In the last 22 financial years, ratio has crossed 6% level for the third time.
  • As countries become richer, the overall level of taxation (as a share of GDP) of countries significantly increases.
  • Wagner‘s law says that the size of the government — proxied by the tax (and expenditure) share to GDP — increases as the associated country‘s income level also increases.
  • CBDT data showed that between FY14 and FY23, the net direct tax collections increased by more than 160% to more than ₹16.64-lakh crore in FY23.
  • The size of nominal GDP increased by about 140%. It also increased the direct tax-to-GDP ratio.
  • Tax-to-GDP ratio shows the total tax revenue as a percentage of GDP.
  • It shows the share of a country’s output collected by the government by means of taxes.
  • It can be considered a measure of the degree to which a government controls resources of the economy.

FY

Direct Tax to GDP ratio

(in %)

Buoyancy Factor

Cost of direct tax collection (in %)

2014-15

5.55

0.86

0.59

2015-16

5.47

0.80

0.61

2016-17

5.53

1.10

0.66

2017-18

5.86

1.59

0.61

2018-19

6.02

1.29

0.62

2019-20

5.23

-1.21

0.66

2020-21

4.78

NA

0.76

2021-22

5.97

2.52

0.53

2022-23

6.11

1.18

0.51

Source: CBDT

Topic: National News

13. Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh announced the first batch of VAIBHAV fellowships.

  • 22 scientists of Indian origin from different parts of the world received the Vaibhav Fellowship.
  • Two ‘distinguished fellowships’ were also offered to senior professors, Arogyaswami Paulraj (Stanford University) and Jitendra Malik (University of California, Berkley).
  • The Department of Science and Technology (DST) is implementing the Vaishvik Bharatiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) Fellowship Program.
  • A total of 302 applications have been received for the VAIBHAV fellowship.
  • The selected scientist will get a stipend of ₹4 lakh per month, accommodation, and their host institutions and a research grant.
  • The Distinguished VAIBHAV Fellow would identify an Indian Institution for collaboration.
  • The VAIBHAV Fellow are expected to begin a project, technology start-up, within three years along with the host institute.
  • VAIBHAV Fellow would facilitate the exchange of best practices between the two countries and attempt to increase collaborative research.

VAIBHAV fellowships

(Source: Department of Science and Technology)

Topic: Defense

14. 2nd edition of ‘Exercise CYCLONE’ begins between India and Egypt.

  • Indian Army contingent comprising 25 persons is taking part in the 2nd edition of ‘Exercise CYCLONE’.
  • The Exercise is scheduled to be conducted from 22nd January to 1st February 2024.
  • The first edition of the ‘Exercise CYCLONE’ was conducted in 2023 in India.
  • The Indian contingent is being represented by soldiers of the Parachute Regiment while the Egyptian Commando Squadron and the Egyptian Airborne Platoon are representing Egypt.
  • The main aim of the exercise is to acquaint both sides with each other’s operating procedures in desert/semi-desert terrain.
  • The first phase will be related to Military Exhibitions and Tactical Interactions and the second phase will focus on training on Improvised Explosive Device (IED).
  • The third and final phase will encompass a Joint Tactical Exercise based on Fighting in Built-up Areas and Hostage Rescue Scenarios.
  • It will also give opportunity to both contingents to strengthen their bond and share best practices.
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Evolution and History of the Indian Constitution Preamble of the Indian Constitution
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