Daily Current Affairs and GK | 29 June 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 29 Jun 2024 16:26 PM IST

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Topic: Environment and Ecology

1. Bornean Elephants have become endangered due to human activities.

  • Agriculture, mining, logging and other human activities have made Bornean Elephants endangered.
  • As per the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), around 1,000 Bornean elephants are left in the wild.
  • Bornean elephant’s habitat has decreased over the last 75 years. These elephants are generally smaller than elephants found in Africa.
  • Agriculture, timber plantations, mining, and major infrastructure projects have affected their habitats.
  • Poaching for ivory, accidental ingestion of agrochemicals, and vehicle collisions are also other concerns for the Bornean elephant’s declining population.
  • Borneo elephants are found in the Malaysian and Indonesian regions.
  • Animals on the “critically endangered” list are at extreme risk of extinction.

Topic: Banking System

2. RBI released the revised framework for currency swap arrangements with Saarc countries.

  • A revised framework for currency swap arrangements with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) countries has been released by the Reserve Bank of India.
  • This revised framework will remain effective from 2024 to 2027.
  • Under this framework, the RBI will enter into bilateral swap agreements with those Saarc central banks who want to utilize the swap facility.
  • All Saarc member countries can use the currency swap facility.
  • Under his framework, a new rupee swap window has been introduced. It will offer various concessions to support swaps in Indian rupees.
  • Through a separate USD/Euro Swap Window, RBI will continue to offer swap arrangements in US dollars and euros. It has an overall corpus of $2 billion.
  • The Saarc Currency Swap Facility became operational on November 15, 2012, to fund short-term foreign exchange liquidity requirements or balance of payment crises in Saarc countries.

Topic: Reports and Indices/Rankings

3. Artificial Intelligence readiness of 174 countries mapped by IMF.

  • On June 25, the Artificial Intelligence Readiness Index (AIPI) dashboard was released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on its website.
  • It tracked 174 economies globally for AI readiness.
  • The index has classified each country into an advanced economy (AE), emerging market economy (EM) and low-income country (LIC).
  • Singapore (0.80), Denmark (0.78) and the United States (0.77) are among the AEs with the highest ratings.
  • India (0.49) is ranked 72nd out of a total of 174 countries, while Bangladesh (0.38) is ranked 113th, Sri Lanka (0.43) is ranked 92nd, and China (0.63) is ranked 31st. South Sudan(174th) ranked last.
  • Each country is given this rating based on an assessment of its readiness in four key areas – digital infrastructure, human capital and labour market policies, innovation and economic integration, and regulation.
  • Countries most prepared for AI:

Rank

Top Countries

Index

1

Singapore

0.800

2

Denmark

0.778

3

United States

0.771

4

Netherlands

0.766

5

Estonia

0.754

6

Finland

0.758

7

Switzerland

0.757

8

New Zealand

0.753

9

Germany

0.753

10

Sweden

0.747

72

India

0.492

 

Topic: National Appointment

4. Vikram Misri appointed new Foreign Secretary of India.

  • The appointment of Vikram Misri as the country's new Foreign Secretary was announced by the Government of India.
  • Misri will succeed Vinay Mohan Kwatra in this key diplomatic role.
  • On July 15, 2024, Misri, currently serving as Deputy National Security Adviser, will assume his new charge, after the completion of Kwatra's extended term on July 14.
  • He has the distinction of serving as Private Secretary to three Prime Ministers – Inder Kumar Gujral in 1997, Manmohan Singh in 2012 and Narendra Modi in 2014.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

5. Employees' Pension Scheme has been amended by the government.

  • The Employees' Pension Scheme (EPS), 1995 was amended by the Government of India to ensure that withdrawal benefits are also available to Employees' Pension Scheme members with less than 6 months of contributory service.
  • This amendment will benefit more than 7 lakh Employees' Pension Scheme members every year who leave the scheme after less than 6 months of contributory service.
  • Further, the Central Government has revised Table D and ensured that every full month of service is taken into account for granting proportionate withdrawal benefit to the members.
  • The amount of withdrawal benefit will now depend on the number of completed months of service rendered by the member and the salary on which the Employees' Pension Scheme contributions were received.
  • It is estimated that over 23 lakh members will benefit from this amendment in Table D every year.
  • More than 30 lakh withdrawal benefit claims were settled in the financial year 2023-24.
  • During the financial year 2023-24, about 7 lakh claims for withdrawal benefits were rejected due to less than 6 months of contributory service.
  • After this amendment, all such Employees' Pension Scheme members who have not attained the age of 58 years by 14 June 2024 will become eligible for withdrawal benefits.

Topic: International News

6. Turkiye has been removed from the FATF money laundering gray list, strengthening its position.

  • On June 28, Turkiye was removed from its “grey list” of countries requiring special scrutiny by the international crime watchdog Financial Action Task Force, giving a boost to the country's economic recovery plan.
  • Since 2021, Turkiye has been placed on the grey list due to its inability to combat money laundering and terrorism financing to groups such as Daesh and al-Qaeda.
  • The decision was taken during the closing plenary session of FATF in Singapore.
  • The decision by the FATF- which was set up by the G7 group - is expected to have a profound impact on Turkiye's economic outlook, boosting confidence in the Turkiye economy, lira (currency) and assets.
  • Recently, Turkiye enacted legislation to increase oversight over cryptocurrencies and bring them in line with international standards.
  • In 2023, a nationwide crackdown netted more than 3,000 suspects and seized assets worth $3.2 billion.
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Topic: International News

7. India got an ‘outstanding outcome’ in FATF mutual evaluation 2023-24.

  • India has got an outstanding outcome in Mutual Evaluation carried out during 2023-24 by Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
  • India was classified under the regular follow-up category in the Mutual Evaluation Report of India. Only four other G-20 nations have this distinction.
  • At the June 26–28 FATF plenary in Singapore, the Mutual Evaluation Report of India was adopted.
  • India had attained a high degree of technical compliance with the FATF's requirements.
  • India was seeing positive outcomes from its anti-money laundering, countering financing of terrorism (CFT), and counter-proliferation financing regimes.
  • FATF noted that in several non-financial sectors, strengthening oversight and implementing preventive measures were areas in need of improvement.
  • Delays in completing prosecutions for terrorism funding (TF) and money laundering (ML) must also be addressed by India.
  • India must also make sure that the risk-based approach is followed when implementing CFT measures meant to stop the non-profit sector from being misused for TF.
  • The Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has acknowledged India's successful efforts to lower ML/TF risks by converting its cash-based economy to a digital one.
  • Since 2010, India has been a member in the FATF. Moreover, India is a part of its steering group.
  • Founded in 1989, the FATF is an intergovernmental institution.

Topic: International Appointments

8. Ursula von der Leyen, Antonio Costa, and Kaja Kallas were nominated to lead European Union.

  • Ursula von der Leyen got her second term as the European Commission’s President.
  • Antonio Costa was appointed the European Council’s President. Antonio Costa is former Prime Minister of Portugal.
  • The Estonian Prime Minister, Kaja Kallas, received a nomination for the position of High Representative for Security and Foreign Affairs.
  • Because of his prior position, Costa's appointment as Council President is automatic. He will assume office on December 1st.
  • The European Parliament still has to approve von der Leyen and Kallas' appointment.
  • Leaders of the European Union (EU) convened in Brussels recently to decide on the bloc’s leadership for the coming five years.
  • The EU leaders were appointed despite opposition from Italy’s Georgia Meloni and Hungary’s Viktor Orban.
  • The Strategic Agenda was also approved along with the leadership appointments.
  • The Strategic Agenda outlined broad ambitions for the EU’s future endeavors.
  • The European Council is the body made up of the leaders of the 27 member states.

Topic: State News/Uttar Pradesh

9. UP government to establish a Bioplastic Park in Lakhimpur Kheri district.

  • To combat environmental pollution, the Uttar Pradesh government will establish a Bioplastic Park in Kumbhi village of Lakhimpur Kheri district.
  • It will be established with an investment of Rs 2000 crore.
  • The Bioplastic Park will be constructed by Balrampur Sugar Mill Firm.
  • It will create a large number of job opportunities in the region.
  • The Uttar Pradesh Expressways Industrial Development Authority (UPEIDA) will be the nodal agency for the park's development.
  • Bioplastic is a type of plastic which is made from natural materials such as corn, sunflower, sugar beet, etc.
  • The park will focus on developing and studying various plastic-related technologies.
  • The research in the park will help in developing new technological products for effective use and recycling.
  • The use of bioplastics will not only promote environmental sustainability but can also be used in various industries such as packaging, electronics, and other industrial products.

Topic: Defense

10. South Korea, the US and Japan conducted their first trilateral multi-domain exercise.

  • South Korea, the United States and Japan concluded their three-day exercise named ‘Freedom Edge’. It was their first trilateral, multi-domain military exercise.
  • It was held in the international waters of South Korea on the island of Jeju.
  • The defence chiefs of the three nations had agreed to conduct the exercise earlier in June.
  • The US Navy's USS Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier, the South Korea’s ROKS Seoae Ryu Seong-ryong destroyer, and Japan's JS Ise helicopter destroyer participated in the exercise.
  • This exercise was held across multiple domains, including air, maritime, underwater and cyber.

Topic: Economy and Banking

11. CBIC's Exchange Rate Automation Module (ERAM) will be effective from July 4, 2024.

  • A circular has been issued by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) for the launch of Exchange Rate Automation Module (ERAM).
  • The current manual process will now be replaced by an automated system for collecting and publishing exchange rate information and will be effective from July 4, 2024.
  • ERAM is a significant milestone in the direction of trade facilitation.
  • Through this, exchange rates of 22 currencies will now be published online in advance for ease of doing business for all importers and exporters.
  • These exchange rates will be made available on the ICEGATE website twice a month, i.e. on the evening of the first and third Thursday of the month and will be effective from midnight of the next day.
  • This automated system will eliminate the present system of notifying exchange rates through notification.
  • A link will be provided on the CBIC website to enable users to connect to the ICEGATE website and view the rates published there.

Topic: State News/ Rajasthan

12. First plastic waste road inaugurated at Jaipur Military Station.

  • On June 26, Jaipur Military Station's first plastic waste road was inaugurated, which is a 100-metre long stretch from Sagat Singh Road Under Bridge to Cubes Corner Complex.
  • Jaipur Military Station is the second military station to construct a plastic waste road, and the first to make it a part of its maintenance programme.
  • Earlier in 2019, a plastic waste road was constructed at the Narangi Military Station in the North East.
  • The road was inaugurated by Major General RS Godara, General Officer Commanding, 61 Sub Area and planted a tree as a symbol of development.
  • This road has been constructed under the aegis of GE (South), CE Jaipur Zone in line with Indian Army's policy of building sustainable and green military stations.
  • The benefits of plastic waste roads are greater durability, less wear and tear, less water ingress and greater stability compared to conventional roads.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

13. Pench Tiger Reserve launched an advanced artificial intelligence (AI) system for the early detection of forest fires.

  • This advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) system for early detection of forest fires has a high-resolution camera, with a visual range of 15 kilometres.
  • This AI-powered platform, Pantera, has a camera feed and satellite-based data to provide real-time alerts of forest fires within 3 minutes.
  • This pan-tilt-zoom or PTZ camera has been installed on a tower which is situated on one of the highest hills of Pench.
  • The other component of the system is a control room, which is located in the West Pench range office in Kolitmara.
  • Fifteen commercial satellite services are integrated into the system.
  • The system will also provide information related to temperature, precipitation, wind, etc.
  • The system can also be integrated with water tanks, forest vehicles, etc.
  • This project is funded by Solar Industries India Ltd, Nagpur and the Maharashtra government.

Topic: State News/Maharashtra

14. 'Mukhyamantri Majhi Ladki Bahin’ scheme has been announced by the Maharashtra government.

  • Maharashtra Deputy CM and Finance Minister Ajit Pawar announced the Mukhyamantri Majhi Ladki Bahin' scheme for women.
  • Under this scheme, all women between 21 to 60 years of age will get financial assistance of Rs 1500 per month. This scheme will be implemented from July 2024.
  • The state government has allocated Rs 46,000 crore for the scheme.
  • This scheme seems to be inspired by the Laadli Behna scheme in Madhya Pradesh.
  • The Lek Ladki scheme was launched by the state government in 2023–24 to provide financial aid to families with girls and prevent dropouts of girls from school.
  • The Maharashtra government will also provide 3 free cylinders to families comprising 5 members every year to all households under the CM Anna Chhatra Yojana.
  • The state government will continue to give an Rs 5 per litre bonus to milk-producing farmers.
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