Daily Current Affairs and GK | 29 February 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 29 Feb 2024 18:49 PM IST

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Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

1. Ministry of Education launched the SWAYAM Plus platform.

  • The Union Minister of Education, Dharmendra Pradhan, launched the ‘SWAYAM Plus’ platform to offer courses developed collaboratively with industry leaders.
  • Industry players including L&T, Microsoft, and CISCO, will offer employability and professional development-focused programmes through this platform.
  • This platform will offer programmes in different sectors, including manufacturing, energy, computer science and engineering, IT or ITES, management studies, healthcare, hospitality, and tourism, besides Indian knowledge systems.
  • These courses will not only provide theoretical knowledge but also skills demanded by the job market.
  • SWAYAM Plus seeks to enhance the employability of both college students and lifelong learners.
  • IIT Madras will be the nodal agency for the ‘SWAYAM Plus’ platform.
  • IIT Madras was also among the founder institutions of Swayam-NPTEL and the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platform.

Topic: Reports and Indices

2. India's rank remained at 42 in the International IP Index 2024.

  • In the International IP Index for 2024, India secured the 42nd rank out of 55 countries.
  • India’s overall score also remained unchanged at 38.64 per cent.
  • The report highlighted that the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2023, which includes new language and criminal sanctions on film piracy, strengthened India’s Intellectual Property.
  • The 12th edition of the International IP Index evaluated the top 55 economies of the world.
  • 20 economies of the world only shown significant improvements.
  • 27 economies showed no change, and eight, including Ecuador, experienced declines.
  • The U.S.A. secured the top position in the International IP Index 2024, while the United Kingdom secured second.

Rank

Country

Score

1

United States

95.48%

2

United Kingdom

94.12% 

3

France

93.12% 

4

Germany

92.46% 

5

Sweden

92.12% 

Topic: Banking System

3. Reserve Bank of India gave final approval to Amazon Pay, the FinTech arm of e-commerce major Amazon India, to operate as a payment aggregator.

  • This will allow the company to further strengthen distribution channels and provide innovative solutions to merchants and customers across India, providing them with a secure, convenient, and rewarding digital payment experience.
  • In February, RBI also gave final authorization to two FinTech startups, Decentro and Juspay, an enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS) firm Zoho for payment aggregator (PA) licenses.
  • Among the companies that received licenses in January were food delivery major Zomato and FinTech firms Stripe and Tata Pay.
  • Razorpay, Cashfree Payments, and Encash received approval in 2023.
  • PAs are defined by RBI as entities that facilitate e-commerce sites and merchants to accept various payment instruments from customers.
  • PAs are meant to enable merchants to meet their payment obligations without needing to build a separate payment integration system of their own.
  • These companies act as intermediaries between the merchant and the customer.

Topic: State News/ Madhya Pradesh

4. The foundation stone of many development projects worth over Rs 17 thousand crore laid and inaugurated by the PM in Madhya Pradesh.

  • On 29 February, the Viksit Bharat Viksit Madhya Pradesh program addressed by PM Modi through video conferencing.
  • These projects relate to critical sectors, including irrigation, power, roads, railways, water supply, coal, and industry.
  • The Cyber Tehsil Project was also launched by the Prime Minister in the state.
  • The foundation stone of irrigation projects worth more than Rs 5,500 crore was laid by the Prime Minister.
  • These include the Upper Narmada Project, Raghavpur Multipurpose Project, and Basaniya Multipurpose Project.
  • These projects will irrigate more than 75 thousand hectares of agricultural land in the Dindori, Anuppur, and Mandla districts and will increase the power supply and drinking water in the area.
  • Three railway projects built at a cost of more than Rs 2,200 crore were also dedicated to the nation by the Prime Minister.
  • These include the third line on Veerangana Laxmibai Jhansi-Jakhlaun and Dhaura-Agasaud routes, gauge conversion on the new Sumavali-Jora Alapur railway line, and flyover construction project on the Powarkheda-Jujharpur railway line.
  • These projects will improve rail connectivity and help in the socio-economic development of the region.
  • Projects worth more than Rs 1000 crore in the coal sector were dedicated to the country by the Prime Minister.
  • These include Jayant OCP CHP Silo, NCL Singrauli; and Dudhichua OCP CHP-Silo.
  • The foundation stone of various projects worth about Rs 880 crore under AMRUT 2.0 and other schemes to enhance and strengthen water supply systems in several districts across the state was laid by the Prime Minister.

Topic: Art and Culture

5. On March 1, 2024, a four-day-long ‘Tawi Festival’ started in Jammu & Kashmir.

  • 'Tawi Festival' will showcase the art, culture, and heritage of Jammu region from 1 to 4 March.
  • This time the four-day 'Tawi festival' will completely focus on promoting the rich, diverse art forms and cultural heritage of Jammu where the youth will get a platform to vent their creativity besides sharing ideas with experts.
  • The festival includes seminars, workshops and talks, folk music and street theater performances, classical and folk dance and music, and a fair.
  • It focused on showcasing entrepreneurship, innovation, local cuisine, and organic products from women NGO groups in the Himalayan region.
  • The first day was dedicated to rivers, while the second day focused on exploring various dimensions of heritage.
  • The last day of the festival will be organized at Jammu University.

Topic: Miscellaneous

6. Animal welfare initiative ‘Vantara’ launched by Reliance.

  • On 26 February, the launch of the Vantara (Star of the Forest) program in Jamnagar was announced by Reliance Industries and Reliance Foundation.
  • It is a comprehensive initiative focusing on the rescue, treatment, care, and rehabilitation of injured, abused, and endangered animals both in India and abroad.
  • Vantara is spread over 3,000 acres within the green belt of Reliance's Jamnagar Refinery Complex.
  • It aims to become one of the leading contributors to conservation efforts globally.
  • Vantara will work with leading experts in animal care and welfare.
  • Vantara has transformed this location into a forest-like environment that is a natural, rich, lush, and green habitat for the rescued species.
  • The program has rescued more than 200 elephants, and thousands of other animals, reptiles, and birds from unsafe conditions over the years.
  • It has taken initiatives in key species, including rhinoceros, leopard, and crocodile rehabilitation.
Monthly Current Affairs eBooks
January Monthly Current Affairs 2024 December Monthly Current Affairs 2023
November Monthly Current Affairs 2023 October Monthly Current Affairs 2023

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

7. Jal Shakti Ministry and 12 technical education institutions have signed an agreement.

  • The agreement is for research and academic collaboration towards basin management of six rivers.
  • These six rivers are Narmada, Godavari, Mahanadi, Krishna, Cauvery and Periyar.
  • The agreement was signed under the National River Conservation Plan.
  • On the occasion, Jal Shakti Minister said Namami Gange Mission has been included by UNESCO among the world’s ten best conservation and revitalization campaigns.
  • The Minister said PM Modi linked river conservation to livelihood and gave the principle of Arth Ganga.

River Basin Management

Responsible institutions

Narmada Basin Management

IIT Indore and IIT Gandhinagar

Godavari Basin Management

IIT Hyderabad and NEERI Nagpur

Mahanadi Basin Management

IIT Raipur and IIT Rourkela

Krishna Basin Management

NIT Warangal and NIT Surathkal

Cauvery Basin Management

IISc Bangalore and NIT Trichy

Periyar Basin Management

IIT Palakkad and NIT Calicut

Topic: Awards and Prizes

8. Akademi Ratnas and Akademi Puraskar for 2022-2023 have been announced by Sangeet Natak Akademi.

  • President Droupadi Murmu will confer the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowships and Awards in a special investiture ceremony.
  • Six new Akademi Fellows or Akademi Ratnas have been unanimously elected by the General Council of the Akademi.

Artists elected as Akademi fellows

Veena maestro R Visweswaran

Folklorist Vinayak Khedekar

Kuchipudi artists Raja and Radha Reddy

Kathak artiste Sunayana Hazarilal

Theatrist Dulal Roy

Playwright DP Sinha

  • 92 artists have been selected for the Sangeet Natak Akademi Awards or the Akademi Puraskar for the years 2022 and 2023.
  • 80 young artists have been selected for the Sangeet Natak Akademi Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar for 2022 and 2023.
  • Ashok Saraf, Rajeev Verma, and Bombay Jayashri will get Sangeet Natak Akademi Award.
  • In music under Carnatic instrumental category, veena player Jayanthi Kumaresh won Sangeet Natak Akademi Award from Karnataka for 2022.
  • In the field of theatre, playwright Belur Raghunandan got the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar for the year 2022.
  • In the field of music, veena player Sahana SV got the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar for the year 2022.
  • Vocalist SR Vinay Sharva got the Ustad Bismillah Khan Yuva Puraskar for 2023.

Topic: International News

9. India opposed the China-led investment facilitation proposal at WTO.

  • On the third day of the WTO conference, India and South Africa opposed the China-led Investment Facility for Development (IFD) proposal as part of the formal WTO framework.
  • A China-led group of over 120 countries are pushing for the Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement (IFD) proposal to make part of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
  • India argued that WTO should deal with issues related to trade and it is a non-trade issue. India is against bringing this into the WTO framework.
  • The China-led group wants to bring the proposal through annexure-4 of the WTO. It would be binding only on the signatory members.
  • India said that it would be a violation of the WTO framework and fundamental rule of consensus-based decision-making.
  • The Investment Facilitation for Development Agreement (IFD) was first proposed by China in 2017. The countries with sovereign wealth funds are part of this agreement.
  • India also opposed the e-commerce moratorium extension beyond March 31.

Topic: Banking System

10. RBI is observing Financial Literacy Week from February 26 to March 1.

  • The main aim of the week is to promote financial literacy and education among the citizens.
  • This year’s Financial Literacy Week is centred around the theme- Make a Right Start: Become Financially Smart.
  • A financial literacy Ideathon will be also organized for students to bring innovative ideas to promote financial literacy.
  • This week-long programme has been conducted by the RBI since 2016.
  • The Reserve Bank has released short videos on its YouTube channel to promote saving at a young age.

Topic: State News/ Uttar Pradesh

11. India's first ammunition-missile manufacturing complex unveiled by the Adani Group in Uttar Pradesh.

  • In a first in the private sector, on February 26, Adani Defense and Aerospace opened two facilities for manufacturing ammunition and missiles in Kanpur.
  • Army Chief General Manoj Pandey and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath inaugurated the twin facility complex spread over 500 acres.
  • In the first phase, 32 types of ammunition in 12 categories were identified for manufacturing by the Indian industry.
  • In the second phase, approval has already been received to develop five additional ammunition categories.
  • The Kanpur complex is set to become one of the largest integrated ammunition manufacturing complexes in South Asia.
  • These facilities will produce high-quality small, medium, and large-caliber ammunition for the armed forces, paramilitary forces, and police.
  • The facility has already commenced production, starting with small calibre ammunition, with an initial output estimated to cover 25% of India's annual requirement.
  • The complex has been built with a planned investment of over ₹3,000 crore and will create over 4,000 jobs, which will have a five-fold impact on MSMEs.

Topic: Books and Authors

12. On 27 February, the book 'Basic Structure and Republic' by Goa Governor PS Sreedharan Pillai released at Raj Bhavan.

  • Archbishop Mar Joseph Perumthottam of Changanacherry (Kerala) released the book.
  • The Minister for Water Resource Development, Co-Operation, and Provedoria Subhash Shirodkar received the first copy of the book, which Mar Joseph Perumthottam presented.
  • Mr. Pillai said, the book is based on the Golden Jubilee speeches, particularly the Kesavananda Bharati vs. Sanyasi case, which was decided by a 13-judge bench with the longest hearing of 66 days.

Topic: State News/Uttarakhand

13. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami presented a budget of Rs 89,230 crore for the financial year 2024-25.

  • Uttarakhand government presented a budget of Rs 89,230 crore for the year 2024-25, which is 15.27 per cent more than the previous year.
  • The economic growth rate of Uttarakhand was 7.63 per cent in the year 2022-23. It is higher than the national average.
  • As per the multidimensional poverty Index, 9 lakh 17 thousand 299 people have come out of poverty in the state.
  • In the budget, Rs 5,658 crore has been allocated for the welfare of the poor including Rs 93 crore for housing for the poor, Rs 600 crore for food grains supply and Rs 55 crore for free gas refills.
  • Rs 1,679 crore has been allocated for youth welfare, technical education and higher education.
  • Rs 2,415 crore has been allocated for various farmer-centric schemes, including cooperative initiatives, apple cultivation, farmer pensions, and fisheries development.
  • The state government has spent Rs 13780 crore for infrastructure development.
  • The state government has made more than 30 policies to promote industrial development and employment.
  • With a 12 per cent increase in per capita income, it reached Rs 2.60 lakh in 2023-24.
  • The budget sets aside approximately Rs 14,538 crore for gender-specific initiatives.

Topic: State News/ Tamil Nadu

14. PM Modi lays the foundation stone of ISRO’s new launch complex in Tamil Nadu.

  • The ISRO’s new launch complex will be established in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district.
  • This facility will accommodate 24 launches per year and will be built at Rs 986 crore.
  • This launch complex is being built for launching SSLV-type rockets.
  • PM Modi launched projects worth Rs 17,300 crore in Tamil Nadu. He also flagged off India’s first indigenous green hydrogen fuel cell inland waterway vessel as part of the Harit Nauka initiative.
  • He laid the foundation stone for the Outer Harbor Container Terminal at V. O. Chidambaranar Port.
  • Prime Minister laid foundation of rail projects for doubling the Vanchi Maniyachchi - Nagercoil rail line and the Melappalayam - Aralvaymoli section.
  • Four road projects in Tamil Nadu developed at a total cost of about 4,586 crore rupees were also inaugurated.
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