Daily Current Affairs and GK | 28 and 29 January 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 29 Jan 2024 18:02 PM IST

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Half Yearly (Jul- Dec 2023 , Detailed)
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Current Affairs

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Topic: Banking System

1. RBI’s working group made recommendations to resolve issues related to guarantees extended by State governments.

  • A working group was constituted by the Reserve Bank of India in July 2022 to make recommendations on issues related to guarantees extended by State governments.
  • The Working Group recommended a uniform reporting framework for the guarantees given by State governments and a uniform guarantee ceiling. It also recommended to expand the definition of ‘guarantee.’
  • A ‘guarantee’ is a legal obligation for a State to make payments and protect an investor/lender from the risk of default by a borrower.
  • The entity to whom the guarantee is given is the ‘creditor’, the defaulting entity on whose behalf the guarantee is given is called the ‘principal debtor’ and the entity giving the guarantee (State governments in this context) is called the ‘surety’.
  • At the State level, guarantees are given in three scenarios, which are as follows:
    • Where a sovereign guarantee is a precondition for concessional loans from bilateral or multilateral agencies.
    • To improve the viability of projects or activities with the potential to provide significant social and economic benefits.
    • To enable public sector enterprises to raise resources at lower interest charges or on more favourable terms.

Topic: International News

2. Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have announced immediate withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

  • The military regimes in three nations have had tense relations with ECOWAS since coups took place in Niger (July 2023), Burkina Faso in 2022 and Mali in 2020.
  • All three were suspended from ECOWAS. Niger and Mali faced heavy sanctions.
  • These three are Sahel nations. The Sahel is the region along the Sahara desert across Africa.
  • In Niger, the military coup overthrew elected President Mohamed Bazoum.
  • The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a regional political and economic union of 15 countries in West Africa.
  • Its headquarters are located in Abuja, Nigeria. It was established in 1975.

Topic: Defence

3. The first edition of SADA TANSEEQ is being organised from 29 January to 10 February in Rajasthan.

  • SADA TANSEEQ is a joint military exercise between India and Saudi Arabia.
  • Exercise SADA TANSEEQ is being held in Bikaner.
  • The exercise aims to enhance synergy by learning & sharing best practices between the Armies of both nations.
  • It also aims to enhance interoperability and jointmanship between the armies of two nations.
  • This is a joint exercise based on mechanized infantry between India and Saudi Arabia.
  • Al Mohed Al Hindi 23 is an India-Saudi Arabia bilateral maritime exercise.

Topic: Important Days

4. Indian Newspaper Day: 28 January

  • Indian Newspaper Day is observed every year on 28 January.
  • This day is observed to commemorate the launch of India’s first newspaper in 1780.
  • Irishman James Augustus Hicky launched the first printed newspaper in India.
  • It was known as the Original Calcutta General Advertiser or Hicky's Bengal Gazette. It was an English-language weekly publication.
  • Augustus Hicky is also known as the "father of the Indian press".
  • The purpose of observing Indian Newspaper Day is to create awareness about the value of reading a newspaper.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

5. Ranbir Kapoor and Alia Bhatt won Best Actor and Best Actress awards in the 69th edition of the Filmfare Awards.

  • During the ceremony held in Gujarat on 28 January, Ranbir Kapoor was awarded Best Actor in a Lead Role (Male) for his performance in Sandeep Reddy Vanga's controversial film Animal.
  • Alia Bhatt won the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role (Female) for her performance in Karan Johar's romantic family drama Rocky Aur Rani Ki Prem Kahani.
  • Vidhu Vinod Chopra was recognized as Best Director for his biographical drama 12th Fail, which has been crowned as Best Film.
  • Complete list of winners of the 69th Filmfare Awards, 2024:

Category

Winner

Best Film

12th Fail

Best Director

Vidhu Vinod Chopra (12th Fail)

Best Actor in a Leading Role (Male)

Ranbir Kapoor (Animal)

Best Actor in a Leading Role (Female)

Alia Bhatt (Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani)

Best Film (Critics’)

Joram (Devashish Makhija)

Best Actor (Critics’)

Vikrant Massey (12th Fail)

Best Actress (Critics’)

Rani Mukerji (Mrs Chatterjee vs. Norway), Shefali Shah (Three of Us)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Male)

Vicky Kaushal (Dunki)

Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Female)

Shabana Azmi (Rocky Aur Rani Kii Prem Kahaani)

Best Lyrics

Amitabh Bhattacharya (“Tere Vaaste” – Zara Hatke Zara Bachke)

Best Playback Singer (Male)

Bhupinder Babbal (Arjan Vailly – Animal)

Best Playback Singer (Female)

Shilpa Rao (Besharam Rang – Pathaan)

Best Debut Director

Tarun Dudeja (Dhak Dhak)

Best Debut Male

Aditya Rawal (Faraaz)

Best Debut Female

Alizeh Agnihotri (Farrey)

Lifetime Achievement Award

David Dhawan

Topic: Sports

6. Jannik Sinner won his first Grand Slam title in men's singles at the Australian Open.

  • On 28 January, Jannik Sinner of Italy defeated Daniil Medvedev of Russia in the men's singles final of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
  • Sinner, the fourth seed, recorded an emphatic win against Medvedev from two sets down to lift her first major trophy at the Australian Open.
  • With this win, Sinner became the first Italian man to win a Slam since Adriano Panatta in 1976.
  • He lost just one set en route to the final, ending Novak Djokovic's 33-match winning streak at the Australian Open in the semi-finals.
  • Sinner is the second player to lift the trophy after trailing by two sets in the Australian Open final.
  • The other was Rafael Nadal, who defeated Medvedev by two sets in 2022.
  • Aryna Sabalenka defeated China's Qinwen Zheng in the Australian Open women's singles final.

Category

Winner

Runner-Up

Men's Singles

Jannik Sinner

Daniil Medvedev

Women's Singles

Aryna Sabalenka

Zheng Qinwen

Men's Doubles

Rohan Bopanna / Matthew Ebden

Simone Bolelli / Andrea Vavassori

Women's Doubles

Hsieh Su-wei / Elise Mertens

Lyudmyla Kichenok / Jeļena Ostapenko

Mixed Doubles

Hsieh Su-wei / Jan Zieliński

Desirae Krawczyk / Neal Skupski

Jannik Sinner

(Source: News on AIR)

Monthly Current Affairs eBooks
December Monthly Current Affairs November Monthly Current Affairs
October Monthly Current Affairs September Monthly Current Affairs

Topic: National Appointments

7. After rejoining NDA, Nitish Kumar took the oath of office as the ninth consecutive chief minister of Bihar.

  • There were eight more ministers sworn in as well.
  • The new government's swearing-in ceremony was held at Patna, Bihar's Raj Bhavan.
  • Eight people, including some leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), took the oath of office as ministers in Nitish Kumar's new Bihar Cabinet. The names of the ministers are as follows:
    • Bijendra Prasad Yadav of Janata Dal (United) was sworn in as a cabinet minister.
    • Vijay Kumar Chaudhary of JD(U) was sworn in as a cabinet minister.
    • Shrawon Kumar of JD(U) was sworn in as a cabinet minister.
    • Vijay Sinha of the BJP was sworn in as a cabinet minister.
    • Samrat Choudhary of the BJP was sworn in as a cabinet minister.
    • Dr. Prem Kumar of the BJP was sworn in as a cabinet minister.
    • Santosh Kumar Suman of Hindustani Awam Morcha (Secular) was sworn in as a minister.
    • Independent MLA Sumit Kumar Singh was sworn in as a minister.
  • Vijay Kumar Sinha and Samrat Chaudhary were appointed as the two Deputy Chief Ministers in new Bihar government.
  • Earlier, Nitish Kumar, in coalition with the Left and Rashtriya Janta Dal (RJD), formed the Bihar government in 2022.

Topic: Sports  

8. With his victory at the Australian Open, Rohan Bopanna became the oldest male player to win a grand slam title ever.

  • He made history by becoming the oldest male player to win a grand slam title during the Open era.
  • In the Australian Open men's doubles championship match, Rohan Bopanna and Matthew Ebden prevailed.
  • After losing the US Open championship game the previous year, this was their first trophy together.
  • Italians Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori were defeated 7-6(0) 7-5 by Australia’s Ebden and India’s Bopanna.
  • The mixed doubles French Open 2017 was won by Bopanna.
  • Both the 2022 Wimbledon men's doubles and the 2013 Australian Open mixed doubles were won by Ebden.
  • Bopanna is about to become the oldest tennis player in history to hold the top spot.  
  • A large portion of Bopanna's success in his latter career has been credited to Iyengar yoga.

Topic: Space and IT

9. ISRO to launch the new meteorological satellite from Satish Dhawan Space Centre.

  • INSAT-3DS, the Indian Space Research Organisation's new meteorological satellite, tests and reviews have started.
  • ISRO flagged off the satellite to the launch port at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota on January 25.
  • INSAT-3DS is designed to provide advanced meteorological observations and improve weather forecasting capabilities.
  • The satellite has a 6-channel Imager and 19-channel Sounder for meteorological observations.
  • It also has a Data Relay Transponder (DRT) and a search and rescue transponder.
  • INSAT-3D was launched in 2013 and INSAT-3DR was launched in 2016.
  • INSAT-3DS satellites will be launched in February through GSLV F14.
  • The assembly, integration and testing of INSAT-3DS was completed at the U R Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

10. National Conference on Strategic Trade Controls will begin on 30 January in New Delhi.

  • The National Conference on Strategic Trade Controls (NCSTC) will be organised by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, Department of Commerce in partnership with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and other Government Agencies.
  • The conference will be held on the 30th of January, 2024 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
  • This conference will focus on India's Strategic Trade Control related to Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies (SCOMET) and Export Controls, systems and International Best Practices.
  • It will ensure compliance related to the export of dual-use - industrial and military goods, software and technologies.
  • The Chair of the 1540 Committee of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the Chair of the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) etc. will participate in the Conference.
  • The conference primarily focuses on reaching out to industry representatives operating in sectors regulated under the SCOMET list of India.
  • The products on the SCOMET list are referred to as dual-use, and they include goods, technology, chemicals, and organisms.

National Conference on Strategic Trade Controls

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Banking System

11. Zomato Payments has received RBI approval to operate as an online payment aggregator.

  • A certificate of authorization from the Reserve Bank of India has been received by Zomato Payments Pvt Ltd (ZPPL), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Zomato Limited, to operate as an online payment aggregator.
  • The central bank has allowed ZPPL to do business as payment aggregators and issuers of pre-paid payment instruments from January 24, 2024.
  • On August 4, 2021, the company had disclosed the incorporation of a wholly owned subsidiary ZPPL to conduct business as a payment aggregator and issuer of prepaid payment instruments.
  • In 2023, Zomato had joined hands with ICICI Bank to launch its own Unified Payments Interface (UPI) offering "Zomato UPI".
  • This feature was introduced for select users and did not involve the KYC process.
  • This eliminated the need for users to navigate to other payment apps, such as Google Pay, Paytm, and PhonePe, while placing orders on Zomato.
  • This feature is a secure way to complete transactions and one can secure their account by adding a security PIN to it.
  • In early January, Tata Payments and Bengaluru-based identity verification startup DigiO had secured payment aggregator (PA) licenses from the RBI.

Topic: Miscellaneous

12. India has emerged as 5th largest source of tourists for America.

  • The growing, affluent middle class and young, intrepid Indians travelling to the United States have made India the fifth largest source of tourism to the US, which is projected to grow 30% in 2024.
  • Indian tourists spend significantly more in the US on average than other international travellers, accounting for a significant portion of the $173.9 billion that international tourists spend on tourism-related goods and services during their visit to the US.
  • The expenditure increased by about 30% in the period January to October 2023 compared to the previous year.
  • This coincides with the easing of visa processing delays, improved flight connectivity and a broader cross-section of tourism product offerings including culinary, sporting, transitional and adventure activities.     
  • 1.7 million Indian tourists came to America in 2023 and 1.2 million new visas were issued to Indians travelling to America in 2023.
  • The US has also opened 2.5 lakh new tourist visa appointments for Indians.
  • To reduce waiting times, the Consulate in Hyderabad now holds 3,500 appointments per day, with processing being done even on weekends.

Topic: Biotechnology and Diseases

13. Health Ministry approved a new treatment regimen for leprosy.

  • To stop transmission of leprosy at the sub-national level by 2027, the central government has approved a new treatment regimen for leprosy.
  • The National Leprosy Eradication Programme is taking all the necessary measures to stop the transmission of leprosy.
  • The government will introduce a three-drug regimen for Pauci-Bacillary (PB) cases in place of a two-drug regimen for six months.
  • WHO’s recommended treatment regimen consists of three drugs — dapsone, rifampicin and clofazimine. The duration of treatment is six months for PB and 12 months for MB cases.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) agreed to supply the revised drug regimen from April 1, 2025.
  • Leprosy:
    • It is a chronic infectious disease which is caused by the Mycobacterium leprae bacteria.
    • It affects the skin and peripheral nerves.
    • The bacteria are transmitted through droplets from the nose and mouth. It is curable with multi-drug therapy (MDT).
    • It is reported in all the six WHO regions.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

14. A viability gap funding scheme worth Rs 8,500 crore has been approved by Union Cabinet for promoting coal gasification.

  • Total outlay of Rs 8,500 crore will be offered as financial aid for coal gasification projects under three categories.
  • With a Rs 4,050 crore budget, Category I focuses on government PSUs for a maximum of three projects.
  • A grant of Rs 1,350 crore or 15% of the project's capital expenditure (capex), whichever is less, may be awarded to any project falling under this category.
  • Rs 3,850 crore is allotted to Category II, which combines government PSUs with the private sector.
  • Each project falling under this category would be granted Rs 1,000 crore, or 15% of capital expenditure.
  • Notably, in association with NITI Aayog, one project will be chosen via a tariff-based bidding procedure.
  • With a budget of Rs 600 crore, Category III is dedicated to demonstration projects and small-scale product-based gasification plants.
  • 15% of the total cost, or Rs 100 crore, will be awarded to qualifying projects that produce 1500 Nm3/hr of synthetic gas and have a minimum capital expenditure of Rs 100 crore.
  • The authority to amend the modalities of the scheme has been granted to the Empowered Group of Secretaries (EGoS), chaired by the coal secretary.
  • However, overall outlay will be maintained within Rs 8,500 crore.
  • A transparent and competitive bidding procedure will be used to choose the entities that fall under categories II and III.
  • The chosen entity will get the funding in two equal installments.
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