Daily Current Affairs and GK | 4 February 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 06 Feb 2023 17:59 PM IST

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Topic: Environment and Ecology

1. As per a report, 20,000 tonnes of Red Sanders were smuggled from India between 2016 and 2020.

  • Around 28 incidents of confiscation and seizure of more than 19,049 tonnes of Red Sanders logs have been registered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
  • Red Sanders is a species found in the tropical dry deciduous forest of Andhra Pradesh (AP). Its height reaches to a height of 10 to 15 meters.
  • China with 53% is the biggest importer of these illegal logs of Red Sanders.
  • Red Sanders is in demand for making furniture, handicrafts and musical instruments in China and Japan.
  • The red dye obtained from the wood of Red Sanders is used as a colouring agent in the textiles, medicine and food industries.
  • The import of Red Sanders is prohibited under the foreign trade policy of India.
  • Red Sanders is a species listed as ‘Endangered’ in the International Union for Conservation of Nature red list.
  • It is also protected under the Schedule IV of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
  • According to the forest department of Andhra Pradesh, rampant illegal logging and smuggling of red sander trees have been reported in Chittoor, YSR Kadappa, Nellore and Kurnool districts.
  • Red Sanders Anti-Smuggling Task force was formed in 2014 by the AP Forest Department to curb the illegal logging of endangered species.

Topic: Space and IT

2. A total 111 payloads and 105 space debris have been identified as Indian objects orbiting the Earth.

  • Union Minister Jitendra Singh said these objects have been tracked and cataloged till January 20 by US Space Command.
  • He also said that external agencies have not been allowed to use ISRO facilities.
  • Only non-government Indian entities are being allowed to use ISRO facilities and provided technical support through space regulator IN-SPACe.
  • The minister said that ISRO System for Safe and Sustainable Operations Management was set up in 2022.
  • It was established for more focused efforts to continue monitoring space objects posing a collision threat.
  • According to the minister, the following are the ISRO facilities recently used by non-governmental organizations:-
    • Skyroot Aerospace used the sounding rocket launch complex at Sriharikota for its mission PRARAMBH.
    • Agnikul Cosmos used the vertical test facility at Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station in Thiruvananthapuram for hot-testing of its engine Agnilet.

Topic: State News/Jharkhand

3. Union Home Minister Amit Shah laid the foundation stone of IFFCO nano urea liquid fertiliser plant in Jasidih.

  • He reached Deoghar in Jharkhand to lay the foundation stone of the plant.
  • This was the second visit of Amit Shah to Jharkhand this year.
  • He had earlier visited Chaibasa in January 2023 to mark the beginning of Vijay Sankalp rally ahead of the 2024 General elections.
  • The Vijay Sankalp rally's second phase aims to invigorate party members in the Santhal Pargana division.
  • Jasidih is located in Deoghar district, Jharkhand.  
  • In May 2022, PM Modi inaugurated world’s first Nano Urea (Liquid) Plant in Gujarat.
  • Nano Urea is a nanotechnology based urea. It has a desirable particle size of about 20-50 nm and more surface area and number of particles in comparison to conventional urea.
  • Nano urea improves crop productivity, soil health and nutritional quality of produce.

Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

4. ‘The Pulses Conclave’ 2023 (TPC 2023) will be organized in Mumbai from February 16-18.

  • It will be organised by India Pulses and Grains Association (IPGA), which is the apex trade body for the sector.
  • Hundreds of key stakeholders from over 20 countries will come together on a platform to discuss current status and future trends in the sector.
  • The stakeholders will also discuss trade policies, sustainability and technological advances in the sector.
  • TPC 2023 is the sixth edition of the biennial event. This year, the theme is ‘Sustainability of Pulses Sector’.
  • TPC 2023 will create the roadmap for making India self-sufficient. Its major focus will be on tackling the adverse effects of climate change on pulses production.
  • India is the largest producer and consumer of pulses. The Indian pulses market is likely to reach $25 billion by 2026.

Topic: International News

5. Brazil and Congo become full-member of the International Solar Alliance.

  • Brazil become a full member of the International Solar Alliance. India handed over the Instrument of Ratification to Brazil.
  • India also welcomed Congo in the International Solar Alliance. Congo ambassador Raymond Serge Bale of the Republic of Congo signed the Framework Agreement.
  • Congo is now eligible to participate in multilateral efforts involving money, incentive packages, public policies and research and development.
  • International Solar Alliance:
    • Its main aim is to increase solar energy deployment in member countries and ensure energy security.
    • It works with the government to improve energy access and security around the world.
    • It is aiming to attract investment worth USD 1 trillion in solar energy by 2030.

Topic: Personality in News

6. Four Indian-American lawmakers have been appointed as members of key U.S. House committees.

  • Four prominent Indian-American lawmakers — Pramila Jayapal, Ami Bera, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Ro Khanna have been appointed as members of the three House committees.
  • Pramila Jayapal has been named ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement.
  • She represents the 7th Congressional District of Washington. She is the first South Asian woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Ami Bera has been appointed as a member of a powerful U.S. House committee handling intelligence-related matters.
  • Raja Krishnamoorthi has been made a member of the House Select Committee on Strategic Competition between the United States and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
  • Indian-American Congressman Ro Khanna has been also selected as a member of this newly created committee.
  • The Subcommittee on Immigration Integrity, Security, and Enforcement will be chaired by Tom McClintock.

Four Indian-American lawmakers

(Source: News on AIR)

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Topic: International News

7. Australia’s new $5 bill will not feature an image of King Charles III.

  • It is a step that shows the phasing out of the British monarchy on the currency notes of Australia.
  • Australia’s Reserve Bank announced that in the new design, the portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth II will be replaced.
  • The bank said that the aim of the decision is to honour the culture and history of the First Australians.
  • The bank said that the Australian parliament will still be depicted on the other side of the $5 banknote.
  • Currently, Australia's only banknote with a member of the British monarchy on it is the $5 bill.
  • King Charles will continue to feature on coins. The Reserve Bank would consult with indigenous groups in designing the A$5 banknote.
  • The new banknote will be designed and printed over the course of several years.
  • The current $5 note will continue to be issued until the new design is introduced. It will remain legal tender.

Topic: Art and Culture

8. Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is hosting its first SARAS fair from 4th to 14th February at Jammu.

  • Union Minister for Rural Development & Panchayat Raj, Giriraj Singh and Lieutenant Governor of the UT of Jammu and Kashmir, Manoj Sinha, inaugurated the fair on 04 February 2023 at Aquaplex Crown at Bagh-e-Bahu, Jammu.
  • At the fair, Self Help Groups’ women from around 25 States and UTs across the country are participating to sell their self-made products.
  • During the 11-day long SARAS fair, artisans and SHG women are showcasing their crafts, handloom and foods.
  • SARAS fair is also known as SARAS Aajeevika Mela.
  • It provides a platform for rural SHG women to sell and promote their self-made products.
  • It also provides a platform to rural Self Help Groups’ (SHG) women to create marketing linkages with various selling platforms.
  • The fair is the first of its kind in the Union Territory of J&K.

Topic: State News/ Kerala

9. Kerala Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal presented the budget for the financial year 2023-24.

  • In the current fiscal, the revenue of the Kerala government is expected to increase up to Rs 85,000.
  • The budget has allocated Rs 2,000 crores to control inflation through comprehensive market interventions.
  • Rs 600 crore has been allocated for rubber subsidy while Rs 1000 crore has been allocated for the ‘Make in Kerala’ project.
  • Rs.230 crores is allocated for Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
  • The budget proposed introducing Social Security Cess for fuel and liquor.
  • The state budget also increased the one-time tax for newly purchased vehicles.
  • The Stamp duty on the registration of flats and apartments has increased from 5 to 7 percent.
  • Kerala imported products worth around ₹ 1,28,000 crore in 2021-2022.
  • The government has allocated Rs.971 crore for the agricultural sector and Rs.6294 crore for Rural Development.

Kerala Finance Minister K.N. Balagopal

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: India and its neighbours

10. Myanmar State Administration Council declared martial law in 37 towns.

  • The State Administration Council of Myanmar has declared martial law in 37 towns of four regions and four states.
  • Out of 37 towns, 11 towns are from the Sagaing region, seven from Chin state, and five each from Magway and Bago regions.
  • Four towns are from Kayah state, two each from Taninthayi region and Kayin state and one from Mon state.
  • The Myanmar State Administration Council has given administrative and judicial power to commanders of respective military commands.
  • This step has been taken just after extending the state of emergency for six more months.
  • Since the military seized the power in Myanmar, more than 2,900 people have been killed and 8,000 have been arrested.
  • Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said that the government will work to hold elections in every part of the country so that people don’t lose their democratic rights.
  • Martial law is the imposition of direct military control with unlimited powers by suspending civil government.

Topic: State News/ Maharashtra

11. 'Jai Jai Maharashtra Majha' has been declared the state song by the Eknath Shinde government.

  • The popular song of the state 'Jai-Jai Maharashtra Majha, Garja Maharashtra Majha' will now be the state song of Maharashtra.
  • The decision to declare this song of Kavivarya Raja Neelkanth Badhe as the state song has been taken in the cabinet meeting held on 31 January.
  • This is the first time since the establishment of Maharashtra as a state in 1960 that the government has declared an official state song.
  • After the national anthem, the state song will be played in all government programs. All schools will also play the state anthem apart from the daily prayer and the national anthem.
  • Composed by Raja Neelkanth Bade, the song praising Maharashtra comprises of two stanzas and is 1.41 minutes long.
  • The song was composed by noted composer Srinivas Khale and sung by Shahir Sable.
  • It was first sang before the late Yashwantrao Chavan, the first chief minister of Maharashtra, when the state came into existence on May 1, 1960.
  • Meanwhile, the government announced an increase in the Maharashtra Bhushan award amount from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 25 lakh.
  • It is the highest state government award given to a citizen for achievements in their respective field.

Topic: Important Days

12. World Cancer Day 2023: 07 November

  • Every year on 7 November, World Cancer Day is observed.
  • It is celebrated to promote awareness about the diagnosis, treatment and early detection of cancer.
  • It is celebrated to mark the anniversary of the signing of the ‘Charter of Paris Against Cancer’.
  • In 2000, it was started at first ‘World Summit Against Cancer’ held in Paris.
  • It is organised by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).
  • The theme of World Cancer Day 2023 is “Close the Care Gap”.
  • Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally. Chemotherapy is used in the treatment of Cancer.

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

13. Ministry of Cooperation signed MoU to enable primary agricultural credit societies to provide services offered by Common Service Centers.

  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed to enable Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) to operate as Common Service Centres.
  • The MoU has been signed between the Ministry of Cooperation, the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, NABARD and CSC e-Governance Services India Limited in New Delhi.
  • As per the MoU, PACS will now be able to function as Common Service Centres.
  • More than 300 services will be made available to the rural population including 13 crore farmer members of PACS.
  • PACS will be now able to provide all the services listed on the Digital Seva Portal of the CSC scheme to citizens.
  • It will help in full filling Prime Minister Narendra Modi's dream of ‘Sahkar Se Samridhi’ and will strengthen the cooperatives and farmers.
  • The MoU will also support the concept of Common Service Centres as the smallest unit of the country.
  • PACS’s role is very important in rural and agricultural development. 50 per cent of the country’s population is associated with cooperatives.
  • Primary Agricultural Credit Society (PACS) is India's smallest co-operative credit institution.

Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS)

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Economy/Banking/Finance

14. PAN will be used for common identifier for all digital systems of specified government agencies.

  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that Permanent Account Number (PAN) will be used as common identifier for all digital systems of specified government agencies.
  • It will promote ease of doing business in the country.
  • PAN is a 10-digit alphanumeric number, which is allotted to an individual by the income tax department.
  • She also said that the Vivad Se Vishwas scheme-2 will be brought to settle commercial disputes.
  • Permanent account number:
    • It is a unique identifier issued under the Indian Income Tax Act, 1961.
    • It is issued by the Indian Income Tax Department under the supervision of the Central Board for Direct Taxes (CBDT).
    • It is also a proof of identification but not acceptable as proof of Indian citizenship.
    • It is also issued to foreign nationals.
    • It is necessary for filing income tax returns.
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