Daily Current Affairs and GK | 31 January 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 31 Jan 2024 17:15 PM IST

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Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

1. Union Minister Bhupender Yadav released the Status Report of Snow Leopards in India.

  • During the National Board for Wildlife meeting held in New Delhi, the Status Report of Snow Leopards in India was released.
  • The Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India (SPAI) Program is the first-ever such exercise. The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) was the National Coordinator for this exercise.
  • The report shows that 718 Snow leopards are present in India. A total of 241 unique Snow leopards have been photographed.
  • 477 Snow leopards have been found in Ladakh while 124 Snow leopards have been found in Uttarakhand.
  • The estimated population in different states are as follows: Himachal Pradesh (51), Arunachal Pradesh (36), Sikkim (21), and Jammu and Kashmir (9).
  • This assessment covered approximately 120,000 km2 of crucial Snow leopard habitat across the trans-Himalayan region.
  • Camera traps were deployed at 1,971 locations for 180,000 trap nights.

Topic: Defence

2. INS Nirupak has been decommissioned at Visakhapatnam.

  • After 38 years of service, INS Nirupak has been decommissioned on 29th January from service at Visakhapatnam.
  • This ceremony has been presided over by Vice Admiral Adhir Arora, Chief Hydrographer to the Government of India at Naval Dockyard, Visakhapatnam.
  • INS Nirupak was commissioned into service on August 14, 1985, by Vice Admiral Jayant Ganpat Nadkarni.
  • The ship was under the administrative and operational control of Flag Officer Commanding in Chief, Eastern Naval Command.
  • In the years 1994, 1995, 2005 and 2009, INS Nirupak was awarded the Admiral Jal Cursetji Rolling Trophy for the best survey ship.
  • It was involved in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations, including Operation Gambhir (Tsunami Relief) in 2004.
  • Its hydrographic survey played a key role in advancing scientific understanding of oceanography.

Topic: Sports

3. Ladakh is ready to host the first part of the 4th edition of the Khelo India Winter Games.

  • The 4th Edition of the Khelo India Winter Games will be organized from February 2 to 6 at Leh.
  • It will be inaugurated by the Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Anurag Singh Thakur at Leh on February 2.
  • The Second and final part of the Khelo India Winter Games will be organized in Jammu and Kashmir from February 21 to 25.
  • Ice Hockey and Ice Speed Skating events will be contested in Ladakh.
  • Ladakh is hosting the Khelo India Winter Games for the first time. 600 athletes from 16 states are participating in this tournament.
  • NDS Sport Stadium, Army Ice Hockey Rink and Spithuk Ice Hockey Rink will be the venues for the tournament.
  • Jammu and Kashmir will host other disciplines like Ski Mountaineering, Apline Sking, Snowboarding, Nordic Ski and Gandola.

Topic: Personality in News

4. Satnam Singh Sandhu has been nominated as Rajya Sabha MP.

  • On 30 January, the President has nominated for membership in the Rajya Sabha Satnam Singh Sandhu, a well-known educationist and the son of a farmer.
  • In 2001, he began his career with the establishment of the Chandigarh Group of Colleges (CGC) in Landran, Mohali.
  • In 2012, he furthered his commitment to education by establishing Chandigarh University.
  • Achieved a remarkable position in the QS World Ranking 2023 and ranked first among private universities in Asia.
  • Now, Sandhu is Chancellor of Chandigarh University and has emerged as a philanthropist for his contributions to education.
  • The President of India nominates twelve members to the Rajya Sabha for a six-year term in recognition of their contributions to the arts, literature, science, and social services.
  • According to the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution of India (Articles 4(1) and 80(2)) this power has been provided to the President.

Topic: Sports

5. Tanmay Agarwal scored the fastest first-class triple century for Hyderabad in a Ranji match, in 147 balls.

  • Hyderabad opener Tanmay Agarwal created history as he ended the innings at 529/1 on the first day of the 2023-24 Ranji Trophy match against Arunachal Pradesh at the NFC Cricket Ground in Secunderabad.
  • He played an unbeaten inning of 323 runs in 160 balls with the help of 33 fours and 21 sixes at a strike rate of 201.88.
  • He became the player with the fourth-best strike rate among all batsmen with at least 200 runs in an innings.
  • This is also the best by an Indian batsman in first-class cricket.
  • The opening batsman also became the fastest cricketer to reach a triple century in first-class cricket, crossing the mark from 200 to 300 in just 28 balls and reaching the mark in 147 balls.

Topic: Books and Authors

6. HarperCollins announced to release of the publication of KASHMIR: Travels in Paradise on Earth.

  • On 5 February 2024, the publication of KASHMIR: Travels in Paradise on Earth by Romesh Bhattacharji will be released.
  • The book highlights that when we think of Kashmir today, we think of militancy and conflict, but it was once an untouched land, lush green and beautiful heaven on earth.
  • He has described in meticulous detail and with the help of hand-drawn maps the topography and geography of the region, the charm of the nooks and crannies of Kashmir, the grandeur of its lakes and grasslands, and the beauty of its valleys and peaks.
  • Romesh Bhattacharjee has been trekking in Kashmir since he was at St. Stephen's College, Delhi in the 1960s.
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Topic: Indian Economy

7. India's GDP growth rate has been upgraded by the IMF to 6.7% for the current financial year.

  • The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has raised its gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for India for the current financial year to 6.7% compared to the previous forecast of 6.3%.
  • In its latest World Economic Outlook report, the IMF has raised India's medium-term GDP growth to 6.5% for 2025, 2026, an increase of 20 basis points from its October 2023 forecast.
  • The IMF said the results reflected strong public investment and positive labor market outcomes.
  • The IMF said India will reduce its current account deficit projection for FY24 to 1.6% of GDP from 1.8%.
  • The agency said that India remains the fastest-growing economy among the major economies of the world.
  • India's GDP grew by 7.2% in FY23 compared to the previous year.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

8. Computerization scheme for offices of ARDB, and RCS of states launched by Union Home Minister Amit Shah.

  • On 30 January, the computerization scheme was launched for the offices of the Registrar of Cooperative Societies (RCSs) and Agriculture and Rural Development Banks (ARDBs) of the states in New Delhi.
  • Both these schemes will cost approximately Rs 225 crore, of which Rs 120 crore will be spent on ARDB and Rs 95 crore on RCS.
  • This will increase transparency and accountability and provide a facility for farmers seeking medium and long-term loans.
  • NABARD has prepared modern and people-friendly software for the computerization of 65,000 PACS and now all PACS will be linked to it.
  • Similarly, the work of computerization of the Central Registrar office has also been completed, so that all the work of this office can be done with a single software.
  • The aim of the Computerization Project of ARDBs is to computerize 1851 units of ARDBs located in 13 States and UTs and link them with NABARD through Common National Software.
  • The computerization of 1851 ARDB branches of the country will greatly benefit 1 crore 20 lakh farmers associated with them.

Computerization scheme for offices of ARDB

(Source: PIB)

Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking/

9. India secured the 93rd position in the Global Corruption Index.

  • According to the Transparency International report, India ranked 93rd position in the Global Corruption Index with a score of 39.
  • More than two-thirds of the 180 ranked countries scored below 50 on the Global Corruption Index.
  • The corruption perceptions index uses a scale of 0 to 100, where 0 is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.
  • In 2023, India's overall score was 39 while in 2022, it was 40. India's rank in 2022 was 85.
  • Denmark secured the first position for the sixth consecutive year. Finland and New Zealand secured second and third positions respectively. 
  • The top 10 countries on the index include Norway (84), Singapore (83), Sweden (82), Switzerland (82), the Netherlands (79), Germany (78), and Luxembourg (78).
  •  The global average corruption perceptions index score remains at 43.
  • In South Asia, Pakistan and Sri Lanka remain at 133rd and 115th positions respectively.
  • Somalia, Venezuela, Syria, South Sudan, and Yemen are in the bottom spots in the ranking.

Topic: National News

10. Central Government has identified 30 cities to make them beggar-free.

  • The Central government has shortlisted 30 cities to survey and rehabilitate adults involved in begging.
  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment will assist district and municipal authorities identify ‘hotspots’ within these cities to eradicate beggary by 2026.
  • Many other cities will be also included in this initiative over the next two years.
  • This initiative is part of a sub-scheme named ‘Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprises’ (SMILE).
  • The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment is also planning to launch a national portal and a mobile app.
  • These platforms will provide real-time updates of data on individuals identified as beggars.
  • Kozhikode, Vijayawada, Madurai and Mysuru have already completed their survey.
  • Ayodhya, Thiruvananthapuram, Guwahati, Trimbakeshwar, etc. are among the 30 selected cities.

Topic: Art and Culture

11. India's nomination for UNESCO tag for 2024-25 will be "Maratha Military Landscapes."

  • The Culture Ministry on January 29 said the 'Maratha Military Landscape', representing the extraordinary fortifications and military system envisioned by the Maratha rulers, will be India's nomination for inclusion in the UNESCO World Heritage List for the 2024-25 cycle.
  • Maratha Military Landscapes' nomination is in the category of cultural property.
  • The twelve components of this nomination are – Salher Fort, Shivneri Fort, Lohgad, Khanderi Fort, Raigarh, Rajgarh, Pratapgad, Suvarnadurg, Panhala Fort, Vijay Durg and Sindhudurg in Maharashtra and Gingee Fort in Tamil Nadu.
  • These components, distributed over diverse geographical and physiographic regions, demonstrate the strategic military powers of the Maratha rule.
  • The Maratha military ideology originated in the 17th century during the reign of the Maratha king Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj until 1670 and continued under the later Peshwa rule until 1818.
  • In 2021, 'Maratha Military Landscapes of India' was included in the tentative list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
  • In Maharashtra, there are over 390 forts, of which only 12 forts have been selected under the 'Maratha Military Landscape of India', and eight of these forts are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
  • Currently, there are 42 World Heritage Sites in India, of which 34 are cultural sites, seven are natural sites and one is a mixed site.
  • In Maharashtra, six sites have the UNESCO tag – five cultural and one natural.

Topic: Sports

12. Netherlands won the inaugural edition of the FIH Hockey 5s Women’s World Cup.

  • The Netherlands defeated India by 7-2 to win in the final of the FIH Hockey 5s Women’s World Cup in Muscat, Oman.
  • Jyoti Chhatri and Rutuja Dadaso Pisal scored goals for India in the final match on 27 January.
  • Hockey India has announced a cash award of Rs 3 lakh for each player and Rs 1.5 lakh for the support staff for their exemplary performance at the FIH Hockey5s Women's World Cup.
  • The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is responsible for organizing the FIH Women's Hockey5s World Cup, an international hockey championship.

Topic: Science and Technology

13. First brain chip in humans has been implanted by Elon Musk's Neuralink.

  • Elon Musk's Neuralink startup has made the First brain chip implantation in a human patient.
  • The main aim of the implantation is to enhance human capabilities and treatment of neurological disorders like ALS or Parkinson's.
  • Neuralink's technology mainly works through an implant called the "Link”, which is a device about the size of five stacked coins. Through surgery, it is placed inside the human brain.
  • This technology is showing "promising" initial results.
  • The Australia-based Synchron implanted its first device in a US patient in July 2022.
  • Neuralink is a neurotechnology company co-founded by Musk to build direct communication channels between the brain and computers.
  • The company received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration last year to carry out its first human brain implantation experiment.

Topic: Infrastructure and Energy

14. India’s largest green hydrogen pilot project has been inaugurated by THDC India Limited (THDCIL).

  • This project was inaugurated on the occasion of the 75th Republic Day.
  • This project has been developed at the office complex located in Rishikesh.
  • This project will produce 50kg of Green Hydrogen daily using input energy from a 1MW rooftop solar plant.
  • The produced Green Hydrogen will be stored in two storage tanks.
  • It will be used at night hours for illumination of the THDC office Complex through a 70 KW PEM (Proton Exchange Membrane) Fuel Cell.
  • This project is India’s largest electrolyser end fuel cell based pilot project.
  • THDC India Limited (formerly Tehri Hydro Development Corporation Limited) is a leading Power Sector PSU. 
  • It is under the ownership of National Thermal Power Corporation Limited, Ministry of Power, Government of India.
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