Daily Current Affairs and GK | 30 December 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 02 Jan 2024 17:30 PM IST

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Topic: International News

1. Argentina rejects membership of BRICS.

  • Argentine President Javier Milei sent a letter to BRICS leaders to convey the decision not to join the BRICS.
  • In August 2023, six new members- Argentina, Ethiopia, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the United Arab Emirates were admitted to BRICS.
  • Their membership was due to take effect from January 1, 2024.
  • During his election campaign, Milei had vowed not to join BRICS. He also showed his support for America and Israel.
  • BRICS:
    • BRIC term was given by economist Jim O’Neill in 2001.
    • It was a group of Brazil, Russia, India, and China.
    • Later, South Africa joined the group with the letter "S".
    • The BRIC first leader’s meeting was held in 2009.

Topic: Miscellaneous

2. 12th Divya Kala Mela-2023 has been inaugurated in Surat, Gujarat.

  • Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities is organizing a unique event ‘Divya Kala Mela’ from 29th December 2023 – 7th January 2024 in Surat, Gujrat.
  • This is a unique initiative towards the economic empowerment of PwD/Divyangjan.
  • Around 100 Divyang artisans/artists and entrepreneurs from about 20 states/UTs will display their products and skills.
  • It is a platform for marketing and showcasing the products and skills of Divyangjan (PwD).
  • The Divya Kala Mela, Surat is the 12th one in a series that started from Delhi in December 2022.

Topic: State News/ Gujarat

3. Gujarat government to launch India’s first submarine tourism in Dwarka.

  • The Gujarat government has decided to launch India's first submarine-based underwater tourism facility in Dwarka.
  • It will help tourists to explore marine life in Dwarka, which is believed to be an ancient city lost under the sea.
  • The state government has signed a memorandum with Mazgaon Dock shipbuilders for this project.
  • For the first time, an underwater tourism facility will be introduced in India through a Submarine.
  • Tourists will be taken 100 meters below the sea in a submarine to see underwater marine life.
  • Each submarine will carry 24 tourists, and the vessel will be led by two experienced pilots and a professional crew.
  • The vessel has been designed to provide a window view for all passengers.
  • The main objective of the project is to promote tourism in Gujarat.

Topic: National Appointments

4. Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar appointed as the ex-officio Chancellor of Pondicherry University.

  • Jagdeep Dhankhar has been appointed as the ex-officio Chancellor of Pondicherry University.
  • His appoinitment has become effective from December 5.
  • He has been appointed after the modification in Statute 1(1) of the Pondicherry University Act of 1985.
  • Pondicherry University:
    • It is a central University under the Ministry of Education.
    • It was established by an Act of Parliament in 1985 by the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Education.
    • Gurmeet Singh is the vice Chancellor of the University.

Topic: Indian Economy

5. India has become the second-largest steel producer globally.

  • The government said that India emerged as the world’s second-largest producer of steel.
  • According to the Ministry of Steel, domestic steel production was around 90 million tonnes this year.
  • Domestic steel consumption was at 87 million tonnes this year according to the Ministry of Steel.
  • Ministry of Steel said that the domestic crude steel production stood at over 94 million tonnes.
  • Domestic crude steel production witnessed a growth of more than 14% against the production in the same period last year.
  • According to the Ministry of Steel, the Production Linked Incentive Scheme boosted investments in the steel sector.
  • This year, a Memorandum of Understanding involving 57 projects and totaling more than 29 crore rupees in investment was inked with 27 organisations.
  • China is the largest producer of crude steel in the world.
  • India has fixed a target of achieving a total crude steel capacity of 300 MTPA by 2030-31.
  • India has also fixed a target of achieving the total crude steel demand/production of 255 MTPA by 2030-31.

Topic: International Appointments

6. China has appointed Dong Jun as its Defence Minister.

  • Dong Jun is a former Navy chief. Dong Jun replaced Li Shangfu who disappeared from public view four months ago.
  • China's top legislators announced Mr. Dong’s appointment at a Standing Committee meeting of the National People’s Congress in Beijing.
  • Mr. Dong has served in all major naval divisions in the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).
  • Li Shangfu was the first Chinese defence minister to be placed on a U.S. sanctions list.
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Topic: National News

7. Union Minister Amit Shah laid the foundation stone of the new office building of NCDFI in Gandhinagar.

  • The foundation stone laying ceremony was organised at the National Forensic Science University campus in Gandhinagar.
  • Union Home and Cooperation Minister Amit Shah also distributed the e-market awards during the function.
  • He attended Pujya Purani Swami Smriti Mahotsav.
  • It was organised by Ahmedabad-based Swaminarayan Gurukul Vishwa Vidya Pratisthanam (SGVP) in Ahmedabad.
  • National Cooperative Dairy Federation of India (NCDFI):
    • Its members include federal dairy cooperatives of states and union territories.
    • It aims to facilitate the working of dairy cooperatives through coordination, networking and advocacy.
    • It was registered in December 1970. In 1984, it started working as the apex body of the cooperative dairy industry.
    • It has the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) as its Institutional Member. Shri Mangal Jit Rai is the chairman of NCDFI.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

8. Union Environment Minister Bhupender Yadav launched the National Transit Pass System (NTPS).

  • NTPS has been launched pan-India to facilitate the seamless transit of timber, bamboo, and other forest produce across the country.
  • Presently, transit permits are issued for the transport of timber and forest produce on the basis of state-specific transit rules.
  • The NTPS is envisioned as a "One Nation-One Pass" regime. This will allow seamless transit across the country.
  • Through the provision of a centralised online platform, this initiative would expedite the granting of timber transit permits for farmers and tree producers engaged in agroforestry nationwide.
  • This initiative will contribute to the ease of doing business.
  • With desktop and mobile applications for simple registration and permit applications, NTPS is made with the ease of its users in mind.
  • For restricted tree species, transit permits will be issued. For exempted species, users can self-generate No Objection Certificates.
  • Currently, this unified permit system is in place in 25 States and Union Territories.
  • To transport timber or forest produce across states, one was required to obtain a separate transit pass issued in each state.

Topic: Indian Economy

9. Core sector output growth slowed to 7.8% in November.

  • The output of eight key infrastructure industries has slowed down to a six-month low of 7.8% in November.
  • The growth of the core sector has declined due to a decline in the output of crude oil and cement sectors.
  • The core sector's growth in October was 12 percent.
  • The growth rate in the production of coal, fertilizer, steel, and electricity decreased during November.
  • Refinery products grew at a 17-month high of 12.4% in November compared with 4.2% in October.
  • Cement and crude contracted in November. Cement contracted 3.6% after 17.4% growth in October.
  • Electricity growth slowed to 5.6% from 20.3% in October.
  • Coal output increased 10.9%, whereas steel maintained 9.1% growth.

Topic: Indian Economy

10. Government imposed anti-dumping duty on gypsum boards and tiles from China and Oman.

  • India has imposed anti-dumping duty on gypsum boards and tiles from China for five years.
  • The anti-dumping duty will be in the range of $23.46-47.62 per tonne on imported gypsum board and tiles from China.
  • Imported gypsum board and tiles from Oman will face the anti-dumping duty in the range between$71.80-91.42 per metric tonne.
  • The anti-dumping duty has been imposed on the recommendation of the Commerce Ministry.
  • The anti-dumping will be imposed on tiles with at least lamination on one side.
  • These boards are largely used in the construction industry for ceilings in both commercial and residential projects.

Topic: Banking System

11. On December 27, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued its list of Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs).

  • The RBI has moved the State Bank of India (SBI) and HDFC Bank to higher buckets, while ICICI Bank remains in the same bucketing structure as last year.
  • In its statement issued on December 28, RBI said, "SBI and HDFC Bank moved to higher buckets - SBI shifted from Bucket 3 to Bucket 4 and HDFC Bank shifted from Bucket 1 to Bucket 2."
  • For SBI and HDFC Bank, the higher D-SIB buffer requirements on account of the bucket increase will be effective from April 1, 2025.
  • Therefore, till March 31, 2025, the D-SIB surcharge applicable to SBI and HDFC Bank will be 0.60% and 0.20% respectively.
  • Under the D-SIB framework, RBI is required to disclose the names of banks designated as D-SIBs since 2015 and place these banks in appropriate buckets based on their Systemic Importance Score (SIS).
  • The central bank had declared SBI and ICICI Bank as D-SIBs in 2015 and 2016.
  • Based on data collected from banks as of March 31, 2017, HDFC Bank was also classified as a D-SIB along with SBI and ICICI Bank.
  • The current update is based on data collected from banks up to March 31, 2023, and the growing systemic importance of HDFC Bank following the merger of erstwhile HDFC Ltd into HDFC Bank on July 1, 2023.

Topic: State News / Telangana

12. On 27 December, Telangana Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy launched "Abhaya Hastam".

  • This program is to implement six guarantees as promised by Congress before the elections and the government is committed to implementing all the promises within 100 days.
  • Under this, a special campaign 'Praja Palana' (People’s governance) has been launched across the state on 28 December.
  • The program, aimed at receiving applications from eligible beneficiaries of various schemes promised under Abhay Hastam, will end on January 6.
  • The state government has also launched the format of the “Praja Palana” applications, the program logo, and other materials.
  • The entire exercise of Praja Palana is to take the government to the doorstep of the people.
  • Instead of people going to the government with their grievances, the government itself will go to the people to find out their needs and resolve their issues.
  • This program will be organized in all the villages and wards across the state to receive grievances and applications from the people.
  • There will be counters in all villages to submit applications and separate counters will be set up for women.
  • Each mandal (revenue block) will be divided into two parts, one headed by the Mandal Revenue Officer (MRO) and the other headed by the Mandal Parishad Development Officer (MPDO).
  • Each officer will visit two villages in a day.

Topic: Defence

13. Indian Navy released the new design of Admirals' Epaulettes.

  • The announcement of the new design was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the ocassion of Navy Day.
  • The Octagon in this new design is drawn from the Naval Ensign and is inspired from Rajmudra of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
  • The golden navy button in the new design reiterates the resolve to remove the mentality of slavery.
  • The Octagon represents the eight cardinal directions that indicate an all-round long-term vision.
  • The Sword represents the essence of the Navy to be the cutting edge of National power.
  • The Telescope represents long-term vision, foresight, and a weather eye in an ever-changing world.
  • The adoption of the new design reaffirms the commitment of Prime Minister Modi’s Panch Pran- Pride on the country’s heritage and removal of the mentality of slavery.

new design of Admirals' Epaulettes

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Indian Polity

14. Nitish Kumar becomes JDU president after Lalan Singh’s resignation.

  • Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has been elected as the new president of the Janata Dal (United) after Lalan Singh resigned from the post.
  • Lalan Singh tendered his resignation from the post during the JDU's executive meeting in Delhi.
  • Lalan Singh resigns from his post as he wants to focus more on upcoming elections.
  • Lalan Singh currently represents the Munger constituency in Lok Sabha.
  • Janata Dal (United):
    • It was formed in 2003 by merging a faction of the Janata Dal, the Lok Shakti Party, and the Samata Party.
    • JD (U) is a state party in the states of Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh, and Manipur.
    • Sharad Yadav was the first president of JDU.
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