Daily Current Affairs and GK | 6 January 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 06 Jan 2024 17:46 PM IST

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Topic: Science and Technology

1. IIT Madras and IIT Mandi researchers modified plant cells to increase the production of anti-cancer drug camptothecin.

  • The anti-cancer drug camptothecin (CPT) is produced from an endangered plant named Nathapodytes nimmoniana.
  • Around 1,000 tonnes of plant material is required to produce 1 tonne of CPT.
  • The plant population has declined by 20% and it is on the red list of IUCN.
  • Researchers from the Plant Cell Technology Lab of IIT Madras have developed a genome-scale metabolic model for N. nimmoniana plant cells.
  • This research has been funded by the Science and Engineering Board (SERB) and the Department of Science and Technology.
  • This research could pave the way for the drug's effective and efficient commercial production and reduce the need to cut down this endangered plant.

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

2. Union Cabinet has approved the signing of a MoU between India and the United States for International Development/India (USAID/India).

  • The MoU is for supporting Indian Railways to achieve Mission Net Zero Carbon Emission by 2030.
  • With this, Indian Railway will be able to reduce dependence on imported fuels such as Diesel, Coal, etc.
  • On 5 January 2024, the Union Cabinet was apprised of the signing of the MoU between India and USAID/India on June 14, 2023.
  • Through the MOU, Indian Railways has got a platform to communicate and exchange the latest developments and industry-related information. 
  • The MoU facilitates advanced energy solutions and systems, utility modernization, regional energy and market integration and private sector participation and engagement.
  • Before this, Indian Railways and USAID/India had collaborated on the installation of rooftop solar power throughout railway platforms.
  • The MoU is effective as of the date of signing. It will continue for five years or until the effective end of the South Asia Regional Energy Partnership (SAREP) whichever period is shorter.
  • SAREP is the flagship regional energy program of USAID India.
  • It is a five-year initiative (2021-26) that will improve access to affordable, secure, reliable, and sustainable energy across six South Asian countries, including India.

Topic: National Appointments

3. G Ram Mohan Rao has been appointed as Executive Director by SEBI.

  • He has been appointed as Executive Director for a period of three years.
  • He will be handling the internal inspection department and the investigation department.
  • He has worked with SEBI for 25 years. During this period, he has supervised departments such as inspections, litigation, recovery, investor awareness, grievance redressal, etc.
  • Before this appointment, he was regional director of the Eastern Regional Office of SEBI.

Topic: Important Days

4. World Day of War Orphans: 06 January

  • Every year on 6 January, World Day for War Orphans is observed.
  • It is celebrated to raise awareness about children who have been orphaned due to wars.
  • The main aim of the day is to highlight the emotional, social and physical challenges faced by orphans.
  • This year, the theme for World Day for War Orphans is “Orphan Lives Matter.”
  • World War Orphans Day reminds people of their responsibility to help children in troubled areas.
  • The Day was founded by the French organization SOS Enfants en Detresses.
  • UNICEF defines an orphan as a child under the age of eighteen who has lost one or both parents to any cause of death.
  • According to UNICEF data, there were around 140 million orphans worldwide in 2015.
  • These numbers included 7.3 million in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 10 million in Latin America and the Caribbean, 52 million in Africa, and 61 million in Asia.

Topic: International Appointments

5. On January 4, veteran diplomat Indra Mani Pandey took charge as the new Secretary General of the BIMSTEC.

  • This is the first time an Indian official has held the key post in this regional grouping. Pandey is a 1990-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer.
  • He was serving as India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva before assuming the new assignment.
  • Pandey assumed charge as the fourth Secretary General of BIMSTEC at its secretariat in Dhaka.
  • He replaced Tenzin Lekfel of Bhutan. His tenure in this prestigious post will be for three years.
  • Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC):
    • It is an international organization of South Asia and Southeast Asian countries.
    • Its members are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
    • It was formed on 6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
    • Its headquarters is located in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
    • Nepal and Bhutan were included in the organisation in 2004.

Topic: State News / West Bengal

6. 5 more products from West Bengal got GI tags, including honey, Tangail, and Gorod.

  • As a part of the National GI Drive Mission, West Bengal has achieved the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for some products, including Sundarban honey, black Nunia rice, and Tangail, Gorod and Kadiyal sarees.
  • The Central Government has already uploaded the names of the products on the designated portal.
  • This honey was collected from the Sundarban forest by the 'Mauli' community.
  • West Bengal Forest Development Corporation Limited (WBFDCL) has applied for a special GI tag for Sundarban honey.
  • WBFDCL collects and processes honey and sells it under the brand name "Mouban".
  • Black Nuniya rice is called the “Prince of Rice” and is cultivated in the Jalpaiguri district of the state.
  • Kadiyal saree is produced only in Mirzapur in Murshidabad district of West Bengal. Tangail and Gorod sarees are also famous in this region.
  • Since 2004, a total of 504 items from different parts of the country have received this tag.
  • With the addition of the five new items, a total of 27 items have been registered on the GI portal in West Bengal.
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Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

7. Union Cabinet has approved “PRITHvi VIgyan (PRITHVI)” scheme of the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

  • The cabinet has approved this scheme for implementation during the period from 2021-26 at the cost of Rs 4,797 crore.
  • Prithvi Vigyan scheme will enable the development of integrated multi-disciplinary earth science research and innovative programs across different Ministry of Earth Sciences institutes.
  • The integrated R&D efforts will help in addressing the challenges of weather and climate, ocean, cryosphere, seismological science and services.
  • These integrated R&D efforts will explore the living and non-living resources for their sustainable harnessing.
  • PRITHVI is an overarching scheme that encompasses five ongoing sub-schemes. The names of sub-schemes are given below-
    • Atmosphere & Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems & Services (ACROSS)
    • Ocean Services, Modelling Application, Resources and Technology (O-SMART)
    • Polar Science and Cryosphere Research (PACER)
    • Seismology and Geosciences (SAGE)
    • Research, Education, Training and Outreach (REACHOUT)

PRITHvi VIgyan

Topic: Indian Economy

8. National Statistical Office has released its second advance estimate for the Indian Economy.

  • According to it, the Indian economy is expected to grow at 7.3% in the Financial Year 2023-24.
  • Indian Economy will grow by 7.3% in FY 2023-24 over the provisional growth rate of 7.2% in the previous financial year.
  • NSO’s report is based on the First Advance Estimates (FAE) of National Income for the financial year 2023-24.
  • In this report, NSO said that the construction sector has been estimated to have a growth rate of 10.7%.
  • All the economic sectors have done well and witnessed over 6% growth, except for the Agriculture and Allied sectors.
  • For the Agriculture and Allied sectors, estimated growth is 1.8%.
  • The National Statistical Office (NSO) under the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation said that Advance Estimates of National Income are indicator-based.
  • Advance Estimates of National Income are compiled using the benchmark-indicator method.
  • As per NSO, this report has been made on the basis of data inputs collected from various Ministries, Departments, and Private Agencies.

Topic: Space and IT

9. ISRO successfully tested fuel cells to generate power in space.

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully tested a fuel cell that uses hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity in space.
  • This fuel cell was sent to space on the fourth stage of the PSLV on January 1. It generated 180W power.
  • These cells will be very useful for human space missions because they produce heat and water as byproducts. It means that a single system can be used for multiple requirements of the mission.
  • This fuel cell has been designed by the Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC). It is a precursor to the future power systems for space stations.
  • The cell uses a silicon-graphite composite, while conventional Li-ion cells use pure graphite as an anode.
  • The cell’s ability to survive and perform in the harsh environments of space has been checked during onboarding on the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module (POEM).

Topic: MoUs /Agreements

10. India and Guyana inked a pact to enhance cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector.

  • Union Cabinet approved the signing of the MoU between India and Guyana on cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector.
  • The MoU will be signed between the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India and the Ministry of Natural Resources, Republic of Guyana.
  • The signing of the MoU will help to strengthen bilateral trade and foster investment in each other.
  • The MoU will cover the complete value chain of the hydrocarbon sector including the sourcing of crude oil from Guyana, participation of Indian companies in the Exploration and Production (E&P) sector of Guyana, cooperation in the areas of crude Oil refining, etc.
  • It will also allow Indian companies to participate in the E&P sector of Guyana.
  • The MoU will remain in force for five years and will be automatically renewed.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

11. 3 Indian cities have been nominated for the International Wetland City tag.

  • India has submitted three nominations for recognition as international wetland cities: Indore, Bhopal, and Udaipur under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
  • These are the first three Indian cities for which nominations have been submitted for Wetland City recognition.
  • The nominations have been submitted based on proposals received from state wetland authorities in collaboration with municipalities.
  • During COP12 held in the year 2015, the Ramsar Convention approved a voluntary Wetland City Accreditation System.
  • The Wetland City Accreditation Scheme aims to promote the conservation and wise use of urban and peri-urban wetlands and sustainable socio-economic benefits for the local population.
  • It will also provide an opportunity to gain international recognition for cities that value their natural or man-made wetlands.
  • Wetlands located in and around these cities provide a host of benefits to their citizens in terms of flood regulation, livelihood opportunities, and recreational and cultural values.
  • Sirpur Wetland (Ramsar site in Indore), Yashwant Sagar (Ramsar site near Indore), Bhoj Wetland (Ramsar site in Bhopal), and many wetlands (lakes) are the lifeline for these cities.
  • Udaipur is surrounded by five major wetlands, namely, Pichola, Fateh Sagar, Rang Sagar, Swaroop Sagar, and Doodh Talai.

Topic: Sports

12. India and South Africa have played the shortest Test ever in their 147-year history.

  • The second Test match between India and South Africa in Cape Town ended in 107 overs (642 balls), becoming the shortest Test match ever in history.
  • India won the Newlands Test by seven wickets to level the series 1-1, but in the process broke their own record, which previously stood by 842 balls against England in 2021.
  • India won the first-ever Test Match in Cape Town.
  • South Africa batted twice on the same day, with 23 wickets falling.
  • In addition, India moved to the top of the World Test Championship 2023-25 standings after their historic win over South Africa.
  • Five shortest Test matches ever played:



Overs /Balls

1. India vs South Africa


107 overs (642 balls)

2. Australia vs South Africa


109.2 overs (656 balls)

3. West Indies vs England


112 overs (672 balls)

4. England vs Australia


196 overs (784 Balls) (4 balls per over)

5. England vs Australia


197 overs (788 Balls) (4 balls per over)

India and South Africa Shortest Test Ever

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Indian Economy

13. India’s toy exports increased from $96 million in 2014-15 to $326 million in 2022-23.

  • Toys imports declined 52% from $332 million to $159 million in the same period.
  • Toys exports increased and imports declined because of measures like import tariff increase and quality control, as per a case study on the ‘success story of made in India toys’.
  • The study was conducted by IIM Lucknow on behalf of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).
  • About 12% compounded annual growth rate is expected in the toy sector in the next eight years.
  • Toy exports will likely increase to $3 billion by 2028.
  • The Tariffs on imported toys were increased from 20% to 60%. Quality control orders were introduced to stop the dumping of sub-standard products.
  • As per the report, government efforts led to a doubling of the number of manufacturing units from 2014 to 2020.
  • Government efforts also led to a reduction in dependence on imported inputs from 33% to 12% and an increase in gross sales value by a CAGR of 10%.

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

14. MeitY launched ERNET India’s web portal for educational institutions.

  • ERNET India’s newly developed integrated web portal for educational institutes has been launched by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology.
  • The portal will offer domain registration, DNS and value-added services.
  • This web portal has been developed by utilizing open-source software and emerging technologies such as AI/ML.
  • The ERNET India is a not-for-profit scientific society under MeitY.
  • Web accessibility service, campus Wi-Fi services, smart classrooms and connectivity through Terrestrial and Satellite systems to educational & research institutes are being provided by ERNET India.

MeitY launched ERNET India’s web portal

(Source: PIB)

Related Study Material
Evolution and History of the Indian Constitution Preamble of the Indian Constitution
Major sources of Indian Constitution President of India
Ramsar sites of India 2022 Classification of Rocks
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