Daily Current Affairs and GK | 7 and 8 January 2024

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 08 Jan 2024 18:13 PM IST

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Topic: Geography

1. Tropical Cyclone Alvaro landed in Morombe in Madagascar.

  • On January 1, 2024, Alvaro, the first cyclone of 2024, landed near Morombe in Madagascar.
  • The main difficulty is draining rainwater towards the sea when it rains in areas like Morombe province.
  • More than 16000 people have been affected due to this cyclone. 8400 people were displaced due to this disaster.
  • Tropical storm Cheneso made landfall on January 19, 2023, on the northeastern coast of Madagascar.
  • Cyclone Freddy made landfall along Madagascar’s south-eastern coast on February 21, 2023.
  • The existing early warning systems in the Southern Africa region are inadequate to prevent the loss of life and economic hardship in this region.
  • A cyclone is called a ‘hurricane’ in the American continent. In the Philippines and Japan, it is called a ‘typhoon’. In Australia, Cyclones are called willy-willy.

Topic: National Appointments

2. Raghuram Iyer has been appointed as chief executive officer of the Indian Olympic Association.

  • Raghuram Iyer became the new Chief executive officer of the Indian Olympic Association.
  • He will be an ex-officio member of the Executive Council without voting rights.
  • He is not an elected member but a salaried official.
  • According to the new rule drafted by a Supreme Court-constituted panel, IAO has to appoint a CEO who would perform the functions of the erstwhile secretary general.
  • The Indian Olympic Association is the governing body for the Olympic Movement and the Commonwealth Games in India.
  • It is responsible for selecting athletes to represent India at the Olympics.

Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

3. 'National PACS Mega Conclave’ chaired by Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi.

  • On 8 January, the 'National PACS Mega Conclave’ was organized to commemorate the important achievement of Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Jan Aushadhi Kendra' by ‘Primary Agricultural Credit Societies (PACS) at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.
  • The Ministry of Cooperation has organized the conference in collaboration with the National Cooperative Development Corporation.
  • In the Mega Conclave, Additional Chief Secretaries/ Principal Secretaries/ Secretaries of the Cooperation Department and Registrars of Cooperative Societies of all the States/UT, and Chairman, Secretaries, and Pharmacists of those PACS also participated.
  • These committees have recently been allowed to function as Pradhan Mantri Bharatiya Jan Aushadhi Kendras.
  • In these centres, branded medicines available in the open market are made available to the general public in generic form at fifty to ninety percent lower prices.
  • Through Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendras, quality generic medicines are delivered to the common citizens, which are 50-90% cheaper than branded medicines in the open market.
  • More than 2000 types of generic medicines and about 300 surgical items are provided to the people at affordable rates through these centres.
  • By organizing the PACS conference, these centers will get new opportunities for their expansion and will also increase the income of small and medium farmers associated with them.
  • This will also create new employment opportunities in rural areas.

Topic: International Appointment

4. On January 5, senior bureaucrat Vikas Sheel appointed as the executive director of the Asian Development Bank in Manila.

  • Sheel is currently the Additional Secretary and Mission Director of the Jal Jeevan Mission under the Jal Shakti Ministry.
  • He has been appointed as ED of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for a period of three years from the date of assumption of charge.
  • At least seven civil servants, including Sheel, have been appointed to key positions abroad.
  • The appointment is as follows:

Name

Posts

Organizations

Vikas Sheel

Executive Director

Asian Development Bank

Kalyan Revella

Counsellor (Economic)

Embassy of India, Beijing

Senthil Pandian C

Ambassador/Permanent Representative (PR), Permanent Mission of India (PMI)

World Trade Organization (WTO), Geneva

M Balaji

Deputy Chief of Mission

Embassy of India, Brussels

Parveen Kumar

Adviser to the Executive Director

International Monetary Fund (IMF), Washington DC, USA

Tanu Singh

First Secretary, Permanent Mission of India (PMI)

World Trade Organization (WTO), Geneva

Smita Sarangi

Adviser to the Executive Director

Asian Development Bank, Manila, Philippines

Topic: Awards and Prizes

5. Oppenheimer won 5 awards in the Golden Globe Awards 2024.

  • It includes Best Film (Drama), Best Director (Christopher Nolan), Best Film Actor (Drama) for Cillian Murphy, and Robert Downey Jr took Best Supporting Actor (Film).
  • Oppenheimer also won in the Best Original Score category.
  • The 81st Golden Globe Awards were given in Beverly Hills, California, USA on January 8.
  • The full list of winners:

Category

Winners

Best Film – Drama

Oppenheimer (Universal Pictures)

Best Film – Musical or Comedy

Poor Things (Searchlight Pictures)

Best Film – Animated

The Boy and the Heron (GKids)

Best Film – Non-English Language

Anatomy of a Fall, France (Neon)

Best Performance by a Male Actor– Drama

Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer

Best Performance by a Female Actor – Drama

Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon

Best Performance by a Female Actor – Musical or Comedy

Emma Stone, Poor Things

Best Performance by a Male Actor – Musical or Comedy

Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers

Best Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role

Robert Downey Jr., Oppenheimer

Best Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role

Da’Vine Joy Randolph, The Holdovers

Best Director

Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer

Best Screenplay

Justine Triet, Arthur Harari, Anatomy of a Fall

Best Original Song

“What Was I Made For?” Barbie, Music and lyrics by Billie Eilish, Finneas

Best Television Series – Drama

Succession

Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy

The Bear

Topic: MoUs and Agreements

6. A Bilateral Haj Agreement 2024 was signed between India and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA).

  • This agreement has been signed by both countries to further strengthen their relations and give priority to the well-being of the pilgrims.
  • The agreement was between Union Minister Smriti Zubin Irani and Saudi Minister of Haj and Umrah Affairs Dr. Tawfiq bin Fawzan Al Rabiah in Jeddah.
  • On January 7 and 8, Smriti Irani was in Saudi Arabia on a two-day visit.
  • A total quota of 1,75,025 Haj pilgrims has been finalized for Haj 2024 from India.
  • Of these, 1,40,020 seats are reserved for pilgrims to go through Haj Committee of India, which will benefit the pilgrims performing Haj for the first time in 2024.
  • 35,005 pilgrims will be allowed to proceed through Haj group operators.
  • The agreement highlights India's commitment towards inclusivity, discussing ways to encourage the participation of women in Hajj without a male guardian (Mehram).
  • This is an important step towards seamless pilgrimage experiences for Indian Muslim pilgrims, while also promoting inclusivity and mutual respect between the two countries.
  • On January 8, Ms. Irani attended the opening ceremony of the third Haj and Umrah conference in Jeddah.
  • The delegation also interacted with the Indian expatriate and business community in Saudi Arabia, fostering deeper ties.
Monthly Current Affairs eBooks
December Monthly Current Affairs November Monthly Current Affairs
October Monthly Current Affairs September Monthly Current Affairs

Topic: International News

7. In Bangladesh, the Awami League has won Parliamentary elections for 5th term.

  • Awami League is Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's party. It secured a majority in the national elections.
  • The Awami League won 165 seats. Nine candidates of the Jatiya Party won and 49 independent candidates won.
  • Awami League President Sheikh Hasina will form the government for the fourth continuous term.
  • The voting was held on 07 January in 299 out of 300 constituencies.
  • As per Election Commission (EC) statistics, overall voter turnout in the parliamentary elections is estimated to be about 40%.
  • Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its allies had boycotted the polls.

Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

8. Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal chaired the 1st Inland Waterways Development Council Meeting in Kolkata.

  • During the meeting, Union Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonowal unveiled Harit Nauka - Guidelines for Green Transition of Inland Vessels.
  • He also unveiled the River Cruise Tourism Roadmap 2047.
  • The Inland Waterways Authority of India, under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways hosted the meeting.
  • Union Ports, Shipping and Waterways Ministry has fixed a target to elevate the modal share of Inland Water Transportation from the present 2% to 5%.
  • Under Maritime Amrit Kaal Vision 2047, the ministry aims to increase the existing Inland Water Transport (IWT) cargo volume from about 120 Million Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) to over 500 MTPA.
  • The government of India established the Inland Waterways Development Council in October 2023.
  • Its creation demonstrates the government's dedication to the all-encompassing development of inland waterways and the ecosystem of inland water transport in order to enhance the efficiency of cargo transportation, passenger flow, and river cruise tourism.

Topic: Indian Economy

9. 29,273 shell companies involved in fraudulent Input Tax Credit (ITC) claims have been busted.

  • In the last eight months, GST officers have detected 29,273 bogus firms involved in fake Input Tax Credit (ITC) claims of Rs 44,015 crore.
  • In the October-December quarter, 4,153 bogus firms with ITC invasion of around 12,036 crore have been detected.
  • 2,358 of these bogus firms were detected by the Central GST Authorities.
  • Maharashtra topped the list with 926 bogus firms, followed by Rajasthan (507), Delhi (483) and Haryana (424).
  • In the December quarter, 926 bogus firms with tax evasion of Rs 2,201 crore have been detected.
  • In Delhi, the suspected tax evasion by 483 bogus firms was Rs 3,028 crore.
  • 443 bogus firms in Uttar Pradesh with GST evasion of Rs 1,645 crore were detected.
  • Firms use fake invoices to avail the input tax credit (ITC) without the supply of goods and services.
  • 19 fake firms have been busted in Andhra Pradesh. Information was received about suspected tax evasion of Rs 765 crore.

Topic: International News

10. Kyrgyzstan officially declared the snow leopard as the national symbol.

  • Kyrgyzstan has officially declared the snow leopard as its national symbol.
  • The Kyrgyz Republic states that “snow leopard is not only a symbol of natural wealth and cultural prosperity but also an indicator of the stability and health of the mountain ecosystem”.
  • The Cabinet of the Kyrgyzstan government will develop a logo, explore symbol usage at different levels, and define its ideological content.
  • The snow leopard is also known as Panthera. It represents greatness, nobility, courage, bravery, and resilience.
  • Snow leopards are found in 12 countries in Asia including Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Nepal, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
  • Kyrgyzstan played a leading role in snow leopard conservation at the international level.
  • Snow leopards hold ecological significance and they serve as crucial top predators and indicators of the health of their high-altitude ecosystems.

Topic: Reports/Indices/Rankings

11. UN report has reduced India's 2024 GDP growth forecast to 6.2%.

  • On January 5, a United Nations report revised India's gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for the 2024 calendar year to 6.2% from the earlier estimate of 6.7%.
  • As per the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report, 2024 projected growth in India is slightly lower than the 6.3% estimate for 2023.
  • This decline is despite strong domestic demand and robust growth in the manufacturing and services sectors.
  • GDP in the South Asian region grew by an estimated 5.3% in 2023 and is projected to increase by 5.2% in 2024, the report said.
  • This is driven by a strong expansion in India, "which remains the fastest growing large economy in the world".
  • As per the report, in 2022, FDI (foreign direct investment) inflows into India increased by 10%.
  • Slowing global demand, unresolved trade tensions between the largest trading partners, and geopolitical conflicts are impacting trade flows in the short term, the report said.

Topic: National Appointments

12. Randhir Jaiswal took charge as the official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs on 3 January.

  • Randhir Jaiswal has succeeded Arindam Bagchi.
  • Earlier, new MEA spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal had served as Consul General in New York in July 2020.
  • Mr. Jaiswal has served in Portugal, Cuba, South Africa, and at India's permanent mission to the UN in New York.
  • In March 2021, Mr Bagchi took over as MEA spokesperson.
  • Earlier in October 2023, Arindam Bagchi was appointed India's next Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva.
  • In addition, Mr Bagchi is an Additional Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.

Randhir Jaiswal

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Banking System

13. Definition of politically-exposed persons has been revised by RBI for KYC purposes.

  • The definition of politically exposed Persons (PEPs) has been changed by the Reserve Bank of India.
  • This step will make it easier for these people to carry out various banking transactions, including availing loans.
  • RBI has made some changes to the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms.
  • In the earlier norm, PEPs were open-ended and there was a lack of clarity on the definition. PEPs were facing difficulties in getting loans or opening bank accounts.
  • In the new KYC norms, PEPs have been defined as “individuals who are or have been entrusted with prominent public functions by a foreign country”.
  • PEPs include heads of state/governments, senior politicians, senior government or judicial or military officers, senior executives of state-owned corporations and important political party officials.
  • The central bank had removed a sub-clause of the master direction in the KYC norms issued through a circular dated February 25, 2016.
  • RBI has directed chairpersons and chief executives of banks and other financial services to execute directions immediately.

Topic: Environment and Ecology

14. India's oldest sloth bear 'Bablu' passed away at Bhopal Zoo.

  • A 36-year-old male sloth bear named Bablu died due to multi-organ failure at the Van Vihar National Park in Bhopal.
  • In India, Bablu was the oldest bear in captivity.
  • Bablu was rescued from a 'madaari' (street performer) in Rajasthan and brought to Van Vihar National Park at the age of 19 in 2006.
  • The average lifespan of a bear in the wild is 25 to 30 years.
  • Now, another bear named Gulabo has become the oldest bear in captivity in India.
  • Van Vihar National Park is a national park in Bhopal. It was declared a national park in 1979.
  • Van Vihar has animals in two categories- captive and herbivores.
Related Study Material
Evolution and History of the Indian Constitution Preamble of the Indian Constitution
Major sources of Indian Constitution President of India
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