Daily Current Affairs and GK | 4 January 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 04 Jan 2024 17:43 PM IST

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Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

1. Government made the Aadhaar-based system mandatory for NREGS payments.

  • The Aadhaar-based payment system (ABPS) has become mandatory for paying wages to NREGS workers from 1 January 2024.
  • The government may consider exemptions on a “case-by-case basis” if any gram panchayat faces either a technical issue or an Aadhaar-related problem.
  • Under the Aadhaar-based payment system (ABPS), workers' Aadhaar numbers will be linked to their Job cards and their bank account numbers.
  • The Aadhaar-based payment system was first made mandatory on 1 February 2023 but its date was extended several times.
  • The ABPS will ensure wage payment of beneficiaries into their bank accounts, even in case of frequent change of bank account.
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 (MGNREGA)
    • It was passed by Parliament on 23rd August 2005. It came into force on 2 February 2006.
    • In October 2009, National Rural Employment Guarantee Act 2005 was amended and its name was changed from NREGA to MGNREGA.
    • Under MGNREGA, there is a provision to provide at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every rural household.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

2. 'SMART 2.0' (Scope for Mainstreaming Ayurveda Research among Teaching professionals) program has been launched for Ayurveda Teaching Professionals.

  • 'SMART 2.0' program has been launched by the Central Council for Research in Ayurvedic Sciences (CCRAS) along with National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCISM).
  • The aim of ‘SMART 2.0’ program is to promote clinical studies in priority areas of Ayurveda.
  • It aims to promote such studies with Ayurveda academic institutions and hospitals across the country through mutual collaboration.
  • According to Director General of CCRAS, the study aims at safety, tolerability and adherence to Ayurveda formulations in the certain priority research areas.
  • These priority research areas are Bal Kasa, Malnutrition, Insufficient lactation, Abnormal Uterine Bleeding, Osteoporosis in post-menopausal women and Diabetes Mellitus (DM) II.
  • The goal of "SMART 2.0" is to use multidisciplinary research techniques to produce concrete evidence of the safety and efficacy of Ayurvedic treatments.
  • About ten diseases were covered under "SMART 1.0," with the active participation of teaching professionals from 38 colleges.
  • CCRAS is the premier organisation for formulating, coordinating, developing, and advancing scientific Ayurvedic research. It functions under the Ministry of Ayush. It is headquartered in New Delhi.
  • National Commission for Indian System of Medicine (NCISM):
    • It is a Statutory and regulatory body of the Government of India. It was formed in 2020.
    • It frames policies for institutions engaged in the Indian System of Medicine.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

3. Annual Capacity Building Plan launched by UGC for employee training.

  • UGC Chairman, Mamidala Jagdesh Kumar launched the plan in the presence of Dr. R Balasubramanium, Member HR, Capacity Building Commission.
  • This plan aims to work towards the growth and skill enhancement of employees.
  • UGC has become the first autonomous organisation, which has initiated planning for the capacity building of its employees in partnership with the Capacity Building Commission (CBC).
  • Through this initiative, training will be provided to UGC employees in four key areas.
  • These areas are behavioral competencies, functional competencies, domain competencies and newer technology competencies.
  • Capacity Building Commission:
    • It is an independent body with full executive power. It has been operational since April 2021. Adil Zainulbhai is its Chairperson.
    • It is a three-member Commission, with members from diverse backgrounds like private sector, academia, public sector, and civil society.

Topic: Economy/Banking/Finance

4. RBI has proposed new rules of dividend payout for banks.

  • In a recently released draft circular, RBI has proposed new rules of dividend payout for domestic and overseas banks operating in India.
  • The proposed rules will be effective from fiscal year 2024-25 onwards.
  • RBI has invited public feedback on the proposed rules by 31 January, 2024.
  • The draft circular will be implemented from April 2024 onwards.
  • As per the proposal, banks with net non-performing asset ratio (NNPA) of more than 6% and capital adequacy ratio of less than 11.5% cannot declare dividends.
  • Minimum capital adequacy ratio has been kept at 15% for a small finance bank and payment banks. It has been kept at 9% for local area banks and regional rural banks.
  • According to the RBI’s circular, banks must compute dividends on the basis of the “dividend payout ratio”.
  • Dividend payout ratio is the ratio between the amount of the dividend payable in a year and the net profit for the financial year for which the dividend is proposed.
  • Only dividend on equity shares shall be included in the proposed dividend payable.
  • Increasing the ceiling on the dividend payout ratio to 50% if net NPA is zero has also been proposed by RBI. The earlier ceiling was 40%.
  • Presently, banks require an NNPA ratio of up to 7% to become eligible for declaration of dividends.

Topic: Space and IT

5. SpaceX rocket will be used by India to launch a communications satellite.

  • Using SpaceX's services for the first time, ISRO will deploy its heavy communications satellite GSAT-20 via the Falcon-9 rocket in mid-2024.
  • GSAT-20 can enable telecom providers to offer very high-speed Internet services.
  • It weighs about 4,700 kg, much heavier than the launch capacity of ISRO’s most powerful rocket, the LVM-3.
  • For its heavier satellites, weighing more than 4,000 kg, India was dependent on European launch provider Arianespace.
  • However, Arianespace's heavy launch vehicle Ariane-5 was retired in July 2023 and its successor Ariane-6 is yet to make its debut.
  • Falcon-9 is a reusable rocket, which can carry over 8,300 kg to GTO. It has made 285 flights to various places in space.
  • The flight of Indian satellites on Falcon-9 has been facilitated by ISRO's commercial arm NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), which had entered into a launch agreement with SpaceX in 2023.
  • GSAT-20 will address high-speed connectivity deficiencies in rural and remote parts of the country and also enable in-flight internet services.
  • It was initially scheduled to be launched in 2018 and then in 2020.
  • GSAT-20 will be the second “demand-driven” satellite launch by NSIL.

Topic: Indian Economy

6. India's FY24 GDP growth estimate has been raised to 6.7% by India Ratings.

  • On January 3, India Ratings & Research raised India's GDP growth forecast in fiscal 2023–24 to 6.7% from its earlier estimate of 6.2%.
  • The rating agency has raised India's GDP growth forecast, citing better-than-expected growth during the September quarter and continued government expenditure.
  • However, the rating agency of Fitch Group has cautioned that India's economy faces challenges from a slowdown in exports and risks to global growth amid the monetary policy tightening adopted by central banks in advanced economies.
  • Global inflation would decline to 6.9% in 2023 and 5.8% in 2024 (2022: 8.7%) due to tight monetary policies.
  • Earlier in October, India Ratings had raised India's GDP growth forecast in FY2024 to 6.2% from 5.9%.
  • India's merchandise exports increased marginally to $33.90 billion in November, compared to $33.57 billion in October.
  • Services exports remained flat at $28.69 billion in November, while imports declined to $13.40 billion in November from $14.32 billion in the previous month.
  • India Ratings expects India's current account deficit to narrow to 1.3% of GDP in FY2024 from 2.0% in FY2023, in response to emerging domestic and global demand conditions.


Monthly Current Affairs eBooks
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October Monthly Current Affairs September Monthly Current Affairs

Topic: Important Days

7. World Braille Day: 04 January

  • World Braille Day celebrated across the globe on 04 January 2024.
  • This day marks the birthday of Louis Braille, who invented the Braille script and was born in France in 1809.
  • United Nations has designated 4 January every year as World Braille Day. World Braille Day has been celebrated since 2019.
  • World Braille Day is celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of Braille as a means of communication for the human rights of blind and partially sighted people.
  • Braille is a universal code rather than a language. It is a tool to write and read Sanskrit, Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew, Spanish, and other languages.
  • Braille is a tactile representation of alphabetic and numerical symbols using six dots to represent each letter and number.

World Braille Day

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: National News

8. Indian Railways will install around 20 thousand GPS-based navigation fog pass devices.

  • These devices will be installed to ensure smooth rail operations during foggy weather.
  • The fog pass is a GPS-based navigation device. It helps the loco pilot to navigate during dense fog conditions.
  • It provides real-time information to local pilots about the location of fixed landmarks like Signals, Level Crossing gates and Permanent Speed Restrictions.
  • It is portable, compact in size and light in weight. So, the loco pilot can carry it easily with him.

GPS-based navigation fog pass devices

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Personality in News

9. Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II to abdicate the throne after 52 years.

  • Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II announced to step down from the throne on 14 January after 52 years.
  • She will be succeeded by her son Crown Prince Frederik. He is the oldest son of the Queen Margrethe.
  • Frederik has served as regent whenever his mother was outside the kingdom. Crown Princess Mary will become the queen.
  • Margrethe II is the Europe's longest-reigning living monarch. She accepted the throne at the age of 31 after the death of her father King Frederik IX.
  • Queen Margrethe II said that after the back surgery in early 2023, she decided to pass on the responsibilities to her son.
  • Queen Margrethe has been one of the most popular public figures in Denmark.
  • Denmark has the oldest ruling monarch in Europe, which traces can be found from 958 AD.

Topic: Awards and Prizes

10. ‘Nritya Kalanidhi’ Award presented to Vasanthalakshmi Narasimhachari.

  • Classical dancer and choreographer Vasanthalakshmi Narasimhachari received the Nritya Kalanidhi award at the 17th Dance Festival of The Music Academy in Chennai.
  • Edgar Pang Tze Chiang presented the award. 
  • Ms. Narasimhachari and her late husband M.V. Narasimhachari were dance tutors at the Singapore Fine Arts Society.
  • Ms Narasimhachari described the award as a significant moment in her life.
  • The Music Academy in Chennai is a landmark institution in the history of the fine arts.
  • The Music Academy has also been a venue for Hindustani music, and classical dance forms from the rest of India and the world.

Topic: Reports and Indices/Ranking

11. Hyderabad and Bengaluru airports have been ranked second and third among global airports in operational performance.

  • According to a report released on January 2, both airports are among the top ten global airports in terms of operational performance and punctuality.
  • In the 2023 On-Time Performance (OTP) review prepared by aviation analytics firm Cirium, a total of three Indian airports Hyderabad, Bengaluru, and Kolkata, and one Indian carrier IndiGo are included.
  • With 84.42% OTP, Rajiv Gandhi International Airport ranked second in the global airports as well as large airports categories.
  • With 84.08% OTP, Kempegowda International Airport ranked third in both segments.
  • With an OTP of 84.44%, Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport in the US has topped both lists.
  • With an OTP of 83.91%, Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Airport in Kolkata is ranked ninth in the medium airports category.
  • With 90.71% OTP, Japan's Osaka International Airport topped the medium airports category.
  • With an OTP of 82.12%, India's largest airline IndiGo ranked eighth in the low-cost carriers category and is at the fourth spot in the Asia Pacific segment.
  • With an OTP of 92.36%, South Africa's Safire airport topped the low-cost carrier segment.
  • In the Asia Pacific category, Japan's All Nippon Airways topped the list with 82.75% OTP. Japan Airlines (82.58%) and Thai AirAsia (82.52%) stood second and third, respectively.
  • The position of the most on-time global airline went to Bogota, Colombia-based Avianca Airlines.
  • On time flight is defined as a flight that arrives within 15 minutes of the scheduled gate arrival.

Topic: National Appointment

12. On 01 January 24, Vice Admiral B Shivakumar, AVSM, VSM took over as the Controller of Warship Production and Acquisition.

  • Vice Admiral B Shivakumar, an alumnus of the National Defense Academy (70th Course), was commissioned as an Electrical Officer in the Indian Navy on 01 July 1987.
  • He holds a master's degree in engineering from IIT Chennai and a master's degree in management from Osmania University.
  • He has held various important appointments in the Staff and Materiel Branch at Naval Command Headquarters, Dockyards, and Training Establishments.
  • He has served variously on ships like Ranjit, Kirpan, and Akshay and has also commanded INS Valsura.
  • He has received Ati Vishisht Seva Medal and Vishisht Seva Medal for his distinguished service.
  • Before this appointment, he served as Programme Director, HQ ATVP at New Delhi, Assistant Chief of Materiel (IT&S) at Naval Headquarters, ASD(Mumbai), and Chief Staff Officer (Tech)/ HQ WNC.

Vice Admiral B Shivakumar

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: State News/ Jammu and Kashmir

13. Jammu and Kashmir became the first UT to implement PM Vishwakarma Yojana.

  • Jammu and Kashmir has implemented the PM Vishwakarma Yojana (PMVY).
  • PM Vishwakarma Yojana is an initiative to empower and enhance the skills of the craftsman community.
  • The training programme for the first batch of 30 trainees (Viswakarmas) in 'darzi craft' has been inaugurated at the Industrial Training Institute in Shopian.
  • The scheme is expected to be operationalized in all districts of J&K soon.
  • PM Vishwakarma Yojana:
    • It was launched by the central government in September 2023.
    • Its main aim is to recognize artisans and craftspeople through PM Vishwakarma certificates and ID cards.
    • This scheme includes basic training of five to seven days.
    • A free modern toolkit worth ₹15,000 for trained Vishwakarma is also provided under this scheme.

Topic: State News/ Maharashtra

14. Maharashtra government notified drone mission.

  • The Maharashtra government has decided to set up the Maharashtra Drone Mission (MDM) for the use of drone technology.
  • A five-year implementation plan has been prepared by a team of experts from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bombay.
  • The drone mission will be headquartered at IIT-B. It will turn Maharashtra into a global drone hub.
  • The IIT-B report envisaged the use of drones for the delivery of medicines in an emergency as well as vaccines to remote areas.
  • As per the report, drones will be used for surveillance and traffic management.
  • The state government notified that the use of drones would be done under the Centre’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RCA) operation guidelines.
  • Six regional centres and 12 district-level centres across the state will be also established.
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