Daily Current Affairs and GK | 27 December 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 27 Dec 2023 17:32 PM IST

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Topic: Indian Economy

1. India’s fiscal deficit may surpass 5.9% of GDP target: India Ratings and Research.

  • India’s fiscal deficit is likely to breach the target of 5.9% of the GDP in FY 24.
  • According to the India Ratings and Research, India's fiscal deficit will surpass the 5.9% target due to high revenue expenditure and lower budgeted nominal GDP.
  • The central government has recently got parliamentary approval for the first supplementary demand for grants of this year.
  • It has increased total spending commitment for 2023-24 to ₹45.6 lakh crore including ₹35.6 lakh crore of revenue expenditure and ₹10.1 lakh crore of capital expenditure.
  • The main reason for the increased expenditure would be the higher expenditure by some Ministries.
  • The government demanded more funds for priority areas like food, fertilizer, and LPG subsidy, and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in the first supplementary demand for grants.
  • The Central government's fiscal deficit in the first four months of 2023-24 touched 33.9% of the full-year target.
  • Fiscal deficit is the difference between the government's total expenditure and its total revenue.

Topic: Important Days

2. International Day of Epidemic Preparedness: 27 December

  • International Day of Epidemic Preparedness is each year observed on 27 December.
  • The first-ever International Day of Epidemic Preparedness was observed on 27 December 2020.
  • United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution on 7 December 2020 and declared 27 December as the International Day of Epidemic Preparedness.
  • The day was called to advocate the importance of the prevention of, preparedness for, and partnership against epidemics.
  • An epidemic is the fast spread of a disease to a large number of people in a given population within an area in a short time.

Topic: National News

3. PM Modi will flag off Amrit Bharat train with push-pull technology.

  • Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has said this recently.
  • Amrit Bharat train is a newly made train, which features push-pull technology.
  • This increases the speed of the train and passenger comfort.
  • Due to push-pull technology, the train accelerates quickly and also stops quickly. Thus, it saves time.
  • It is equipped with semi-permanent couplers. Semi-permanent couplers eliminate the scope of shock in the train.
  • After inspecting the newly built 'Amrit Bharat' train at the New Delhi Railway station, the Union Minister said that totally new technology has been used in engines.
  • He further said the technology used in the upcoming Amrit Bharat trains is Made in India.
  • PM Modi recently flagged off a second Vande Bharat Express between Varanasi and New Delhi on December 18.
  • The Amrit Bharat Express was formerly called Vande Sadharan.
  • It will have a speed potential of 130 kmph. It is designed to cater especially to the needs of the migrant labor force.
  • In "push-pull" technology, two engines exist at both ends. While one engine pulls, the other provides a pushing force from behind.
  • Upcoming Amrit Bharat Express will have both air-conditioned (AC) and non-AC coaches.
  • The Amrit Bharat Express has amenities such as zero-discharge FRP modular toilets, and aerosol-based fire suppression systems. It is manufactured at the Integral Coach Factory in Chennai.
  • On 30 December, PM Modi will inaugurate two Amrit Bharat Express trains.
  • The first will connect Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh to Darbhanga in Bihar. The second is expected to run from Bengaluru to Malda in South India

Topic: International News

4. India and Russia signed the agreement on the construction of future power units of the Kudankulam nuclear plant.

  • Agreements have also been signed in the areas of medicines, pharmaceutical substances and medical devices.
  • The Kudankulam nuclear power plant is being constructed in Tamil Nadu with the technical assistance of Russia. The construction started in March 2002.
  • The Kudankulam nuclear power plant’s first generating unit has been continuously running at its 1,000 MW design capacity since February 2016.
  • In 2027, the plant is anticipated to begin running at full capacity.
  • External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar is on a five-day visit to Russia.
  • He said that India and Russia agreed that their negotiating teams would hold a meeting by the end of January to start in-person negotiations on the free trade agreement (FTA) between India and the Eurasian Economic Zone.

Topic: Banking System

5. A Draft Licensing Framework released by RBI foprivate-public partnership FEMA.

  • On 26 December, a draft 'Licensing Framework released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for Authorised Persons (APs)' under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA), 1999.
  • RBI is planning to introduce a new category of money changers who can carry out money-changing business through an agency model.
  • Under the model, money changers can become Foreign Exchange Correspondents (FxCs) of Category-I and Category-II Authorized Dealers (ADs).
  • The move is aimed at improving the ease of forex transactions by users.
  • RBI said in its draft that such institutions will not be required to obtain authorization from the Reserve Bank.
  • Money changers provide residents and tourists with access to foreign exchange facilities.
  • ADs are entities authorized by RBI to deal in foreign exchange.
  • In terms of permanent authorization, the Central Bank has proposed to renew the existing authorization as AD Category-II permanently, subject to meeting the revised eligibility criteria prescribed in the new framework.
  • It is also proposed to allow AD Category-II entities to provide additional facilities for trade-related transactions up to the value of Rs 15 lakh (per transaction).
  • It is proposed to launch the Foreign Exchange Correspondent Scheme (FCS) to increase the reach of foreign exchange services.
  • It will be based on a principal-agency model where the AD Category-I or AD Category-II will act as the principal for the FXC.

Topic: State News/ Uttar Pradesh

6. First intra-district helicopter service inaugurated in Bateshwar by Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath.

  • On December 25, the state's first intra-district helicopter service was inaugurated from Bateshwar in Agra to Govardhan in Mathura.
  • The CM Yogi Adityanath was in Bateshwar to celebrate the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
  • The helicopter service is to be operated by a private company from Uttarakhand.
  • This initiative is based on Private Public Partnership (PPP).
  • Interested people can book a helicopter from one district to another in Uttar Pradesh.
  • Earlier, a helicopter service was available to the pilgrimage site of Govardhan in Mathura.
  • Apart from this, the statue of Bharat Ratna late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was also unveiled in his native village Bateshwar.
  • Chief Minister Yogi also laid the foundation stone and inaugurated various projects costing Rs 10451.43 lakh.
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Topic: Indian Economy

7. India's current account deficit (CAD) declined to 1% of the GDP or $8.3 billion in Q2 of the Financial Year 2023-24.

  • CAD declined chiefly because of lower merchandise trade deficit and growth in services exports, as per RBI data.
  • CAD was 3.8% of GDP or $30.9 billion in the July-September quarter of 2022-23.
  • In the Q1 of FY24, CAD was $9.2 billion or 1.1% of GDP.
  • According to the data on Developments in India's Balance of Payments during the second quarter (July-September) of 2023-24, the merchandise trade deficit declined from $78.3 billion in Q2:2022-23 to $61.0 billion in Q2:2023-24.
  • RBI said services export increased by 4.2% on a y-o-y basis with the increase in exports of software, business and travel services.
  • RBI also stated that net services receipts grew both year over year and sequentially.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

8. PM Modi will chair the 3rd National Conference of Chief Secretaries in New Delhi on 28 December 2023.

  • This will be the third such conference. The first such conference was held in June 2022 in Dharamshala.
  • The second such conference was held in January last year in Delhi.
  • The National Conference of Chief Secretaries is organised to encourage participative governance.
  • It is also organised to encourage partnership between the Centre and the State Governments.
  • This year, the National Conference of Chief Secretaries will be organised from the 27th to the 29th December.
  • This year, the key focus of the National Conference of Chief Secretaries will be ‘Ease of Living’.
  • Over 200 people comprising representatives of the Central Government, Chief Secretaries, and other senior officials of all States and Union Territories will take part in the three-day conference.
  • Land and Property, Electricity, Drinking Water, Health, and Schooling are the five sub-themes that will be discussed in the conference.

Topic: International News

9. India and Oman are set to sign a free trade agreement.

  • India and Oman will likely sign a free trade agreement in early 2024.
  • This free trade agreement will benefit export sectors such as motor gasoline, iron and steel products, electronics, machinery, etc.
  • Currently, these goods face a 5% import duty in Oman.
  • Oman's import duty ranges from 0 to 100%. A duty of 100% is on specific items such as meats, wines, and tobacco products.
  • Both sides have concluded the negotiations on most of the issues.
  • India has the potential to export products like light oils and preparations of petroleum and bituminous minerals, medicaments, parts and accessories for motor vehicles, etc. to Oman.
  • Oman is India's third-largest export destination among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.
  • India has already signed similar agreements between India and other GCC countries like UAE.
  • India's merchandise imports from Oman are around USD 250 million.

India and Oman are set to sign a free trade agreement

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Personality in News

10. Prime Minister Narendra Modi becomes first world leader to reach 2 crore subscribers on YouTube channel.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become the world's first leader to have 20 million subscribers on the YouTube channel.
  • He has surpassed global leaders in terms of both subscribers and video views.
  • Former Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is second on the list of subscriber numbers with around 64 lakh.
  • In terms of views, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is in second spot with 22.4 crore views.
  • US President Joe Biden has 7.89 lakh subscribers while his Turkiye counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan has 3.16 lakh.
  • Among the Indian leaders, Rahul Gandhi's channel has more than 35 lakh subscribers.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi set up his YouTube channel in 2007.

Topic: Space and IT

11. ISRO will launch its first polarimetry mission, X-Ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat), likely on January 1.

  • It will become the country's third space-based observatory after the recently launched solar mission Aditya-L1 and Astrosat, launched in 2015.
  • The mission aims to study the "polarization" of astronomical X-rays, which could provide insight into the processes that result in their emission.
  • It is a method of studying astronomical phenomena in which, in addition to imaging them, fluctuations in light from a source and the energy emitted by celestial bodies are studied.
  • The observatory can help understand emission mechanisms from sources such as black holes and neutron stars (the collapsed core of a giant star).
  • The planned duration of the mission is five years.
  • It will carry two payloads–POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays) and XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing)– in a low earth orbit.
  • POLIX is designed to make observations in the 8–30 keV.
  • According to ISRO, it is expected to observe about 40 bright astronomical sources of various ranges during the planned lifetime.
  • XSPECT uses a method of observation called spectroscopy, which studies the electromagnetic spectrum produced by various substances.
  • In 2021, the US space agency NASA had launched its polarimetry satellite Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE).

Topic: India and Its Neighbour

12. For the first time, a Hindu woman files a nomination for the 2024 Pakistan general election.

  • Dr Saveera Parkash, a member of the Hindu community in the Buner district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan, has filed her nomination papers for a general seat in the upcoming general elections in the country.
  • She had submitted her nomination papers on 23 December.
  • Parkash is expected to contest the elections on the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) ticket.
  • His father, Om Parkash, a retired doctor, was an active member of the party for the last 35 years.
  • Parkash, a 2022 graduate from Abbottabad International Medical College, holds the post of general secretary in the PPP women's wing in Buner.
  • Under recent amendments by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), it is now mandatory to include 5% of women candidates in general seats.
  • General elections are to be held in Pakistan on February 8, 2024, to elect members of the 16th National Assembly.

Topic: Indian Economy

13. First rupee payment for oil is made by India to UAE.

  • India made its first payment to the UAE for the purchase of crude oil in rupees.
  • In July, India and UAE signed an agreement for the rupee settlement.
  • Earlier, the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) made payments for the purchase of a million barrels of crude oil from Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) in Indian rupees.
  • Reserve Bank of India has allowed more than a dozen banks to settle trades in rupees with more than 18 countries.
  • India has been encouraging big oil exporters such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia to accept the Indian currency for trade settlements.
  • The internationalization of the rupee will help reduce the demand for the dollar and make the Indian economy less vulnerable to global currency shocks.
  • India meets 85% of the demand for oil from imports.

Topic: Important Days

14. Veer Bal Diwas: 26 December

  • Veer Bal Diwas is observed to mark the supreme sacrifice made by the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh and his mother.
  • Guru Gobind Singh’s younger sons, Sahibzada Zorawar Singh (9) and Sahibzada Fateh Singh (7) were killed during an attack on Anandpur Sahib by the Mughals.
  • They were held captive by the Mughal army and were forced to convert to Islam.
  • Guru Gobind Singh’s mother Mata Gujari and his two elder sons, Sahibzaada Ajit Singh (18) and Sahibzaada Jujhar Singh (14), were also killed.
  • Veer Bal Diwas is observed in honour of the “Sahibzadas”, the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
  • Fatehgarh Sahib is the name of the location where they were martyred.
  • The central government declared 26 December as Veer Bal Diwas in 2022.
  • PM Modi addressed this year’s Veer Bal Diwas programme in New Delhi.
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