Current Affairs 11-15 Jan 2024

Daily Current Capsules

11 to 15 January 2024

Pradhan Mantri Anusuchit Jaati Abhuyday Yojana

  • Pradhan Mantri Anusuchit Jaati Abhuyday Yojana (PM- AJAY) is a merged scheme of 03 Centrally Sponsored Scheme namely Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana (PMAGY), Special Central Assistance to Scheduled Castes Sub Plan ( SCA to SCSP) and Babu Jagjivan Ram Chhatrawas Yojana(BJRCY) and has been implemented since 2021-22 with an aim to reduce poverty of the SC communities by generation of additional employment opportunities through Skill development, income generating schemes and other initiatives and to improve socio-economic developmental indicators by ensuringadequate infrastructure and requisite services in the SC dominated villages.

Broadly, the Scheme has following three components:

  1. Development of SC dominated villages in to an “AdarshGram”.
  2. ‘Grants-in-aid’ for District/State-level Projects for socio-economic betterment of SCs
  3. Construction of Hostels in higher educational institutions which aretop-ranked as per the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) of Government of India and are funded by the Centre/State/UT Governments either fully or partially. Similarly, construction of hostels in schools which are either fully or partially funded by the Centre/State/UT Governments and recommended by the Ministry of Education

National Youth Day

  • National Youth Day is also known as Rashtriya Yuva Diwas and is celebrated on the birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda.
  • The day creates awareness and provides knowledge about the rights of people in India.
  • The main objective behind the celebration is to make a better future for the country by motivating the youth and spreading the ideas of the Swami Vivekananda.
  • In 1984, the Indian Government first declared to celebrate the birthday of Swami Vivekananda i.e. 12 January as National Youth Day. Since then the day has been celebrated as National Youth Day all over the country.
  • This year, National Youth Day will be celebrated by all field organisations of the Department of Youth Affairs in districts pan-India in collaboration with multiple Government departments.


Know! about Swami Vivekanand

  • Swami Vivekananda born Narendranath Datta was an Indian Hindu monk, philosopher, author, religious teacher, and the chief disciple of the Indian mystic Ramakrishna.
  • He was a key figure in the introduction of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world and the father of modern Indian nationalism who is credited with raising interfaith awareness and bringing Hinduism to the status of a major world religion.
  • He was born on 12 January 1863 in Kolkata (previously Calcutta) and died on 4 July 1902.
  • In 1881, he met with Shri Ramakrishna Paramhamsa at Dakshineshwar’s Kali temple and became a disciple of Saint Ramakrishna Paramhamsa.
  • He introduced the Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western World. He was extremely patriotic toward India and is considered a hero for his contributions to the philosophies of his country.
  • He is best known for his speech at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893

Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT)

  • An Indian delegation led by Secretary Department of Science and Technology (DST) visited Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA, and discussed challenges in the progress of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) project

Know! about TMT

  • Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) is a 30-meter diameter primary mirror optical and infrared telescope being established at Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA.
  • India is a Founder-Member Partner in this project which aims to open new windows to the universe through optical and infrared astronomy.
  • Indian participation in this project was approved by Union Cabinet in 2014.

Atal Setu

  • The Prime Minister inaugurated Atal Bihari Vajpayee Sewri-Nhava Sheva Atal Setu in Navi Mumbai.
  • MTHL Atal Setu has been constructed at the cost of more than Rs 17,840 crores and is about a 21.8 km long 6-lane bridge having about 16.5 km length over the sea and about 5.5 km on the land.

Know! about Atal Setu

  • Atal Setu has been constructed at a total cost of more than Rs 17,840 crore.
  • It is about a 21.8 km long 6-lane bridge having about 16.5 km length over the sea and about 5.5 km on the land.
  • It is the longest bridge in India and also the longest sea bridge in India. It will provide faster connectivity to Mumbai International Airport and Navi Mumbai International Airport and will also reduce the travel time from Mumbai to Pune, Goa and South India.
  • It will also improve connectivity between Mumbai Port & Jawaharlal Nehru Port

AKASH (AKASH-NG) missile

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  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) conducted a successful flight-test of the New Generation AKASH (AKASH-NG) missile from the Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur off the coast of Odisha
  • The flight test was conducted against a high-speed unmanned aerial target at a very low altitude.
  • During the flight test, the target was successfully intercepted by the weapon system and destroyed.
  • It has validated the functioning of the complete weapon system consisting of the missile with indigenously developed Radio Frequency Seeker, Launcher, Multi-Function Radar and Command, Control & Communication system.
  • The AKASH-NG system is a state-of-the-art missile system capable of intercepting high-speed, agile aerial threats. The successful flight test has paved the way for User trials.

Climate Conference 2024

  • The Climate Conference 2024, themed “Decoding the Green Transition for India was organized by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Government of India
  • The event focused on the pivotal role of the private sector, climate tech Startups and institutional investors in mobilizing financial resources and technical capabilities.
  • The goal was to leverage government efforts, engage civil society and communities, and develop innovative climate services and adaptation technologies.
  • The Conference was organised under the Green Climate Fund Readiness Programme with Delivery Partner UNDP India and supported by Knowledge Partner Avaana Capital.
  • The Conference also highlighted Sustainability-linked funds, risk-sharing facilities, and concessional financing. Overall, the event brought together stakeholders from diverse sectors to foster collaboration and partnership, promoting the development and adoption of sustainable, climate-resilient technologies and practices.

Anubhav Portal

  • DOPPW had launched an online platform entitled ‘Anubhav Portal’ in March 2015 for sharing experiences of retiring/retired Central Government employees while working with the Government.
  • It is envisaged that this culture of leaving notes by retirees will become the foundation stone of good governance and administrative reforms in future.

Awards Scheme 2024

  • The government has notified the ANUBHAV Awards Scheme 2024.
  • To participate in the scheme, retiring Central Government employees/pensioners are required to submit their Anubhav write ups, 8 months prior to retirement and up to 1 year after their retirement. Thereafter, the write-ups will be published after assessment by concerned Ministries/Departments.
  • The published write-ups will be shortlisted for Anubhav Awards and Jury Certificates.

6th Edition of the Youth Co:Lab National Innovation Dialogue

  • Applications Open for the Youth Co:Lab National Innovation Dialogue 2023-2024 in India to Support 50 Youth-led Social Start-ups in Accelerating their Businesses.
  • Interested startups can submit their application under the themes namely: Agriculture Fintech and Insurtech for small and marginal farmers, Innovative solutions for Indigenous groups, tribal communities and Assistive technology and solutions.

Know! about Youth Co:Lab

  • Co-created in 2017 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Citi Foundation, Youth Co: Lab aims to establish a common agenda for countries in the Asia-Pacific region to empower and invest in youth so that they can accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through leadership, social innovation, and entrepreneurship.
  • In India, Youth Co: Lab was launched in 2019 in collaboration with Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog.
  • Through this collaboration, Youth Co:Lab has conducted five national theme-specific youth social innovation and entrepreneurship dialogues in India, including several forms of engagement such as panel discussions, workshops, dialogues, and webinars.

Know! about UNDP

  • UNDP is the leading United Nations organization fighting to end the injustice of poverty, inequality, and climate change.
  • Working with our broad network of experts and partners in 170 countries, we help nations build integrated, lasting solutions for people and the planet.

Know! about Atal Innovation Mission:

  • Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is the Government of India’s flagship initiative to create and promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship across the length and breadth of our country.
  • AIM’s objective is to develop new programmes and policies for fostering innovation in different sectors of the economy, provide platforms and collaboration opportunities for different stakeholders, and create an umbrella structure to oversee the innovation & entrepreneurship ecosystem of the country.

Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN)

  • The Prime Minister released the first installment to 1 lakh beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana – Gramin (PMAY – G) under Pradhan Mantri Janjati Adivasi Nyaya Maha Abhiyan (PM-JANMAN)

Know! about PM- JANMAN

  • PM-JANMAN was launched for the socio-economic welfare of Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PVTGs) on 15th November 2023, on the occasion of Janjatiya Gaurav Diwas.
  • PM-JANMAN, with a budget of approximately Rs 24,000 crores focuses on 11 critical interventions through 9 Ministries and is aimed to improve socio-economic conditions of the PVTGs by saturating PVTG households and habitations with basic facilities such as safe housing, clean drinking water and sanitation, improved access to education, health and nutrition, electricity, road and telecom connectivity, and sustainable livelihood opportunities.

36TH EDITION OF INDO-THAI COORDINATED PATROL

  • The maiden Bilateral Maritime Exercise between the Indian Navy (IN) and Royal Thai Navy (RTN) was conducted from 20 to 23 December 2023.
  • The 36th edition of India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (Indo-Thai CORPAT) was also conducted along with the maiden bilateral exercise.
  • The Indian Navy and Royal Thai Navy have maintained a close and friendly relationship which has strengthened over the years.
  • The conduct of maiden IN-RTN Bilateral Exercise along with Indo-Thai CORPAT is a testimony to the growing bilateral relations between the two maritime neighbours and has enabled in enhancing interoperability between the two navies.
  • The Indo-Thai Bilateral Exercise is being named as ‘Ex-Ayutthaya, which literally translates to ‘The Invincible One’ or ‘Undefeatable’, and symbolises the significance of two of the oldest cities Ayodhya in India and Ayutthaya in Thailand, the historic legacies, rich cultural ties and shared historical narratives dating back to several centuries.

Shaurya Sandhya

  • A military and combat display ‘Shaurya Sandhya’ was organised at Lucknow Cantonment in Uttar Pradesh, as part of the 76th Army Day celebrations on January 15, 2024
  • The Army Day is celebrated on January 15 every year to commemorate the achievements of the first Commander in Chief of the Indian Army General (later Field Marshal) KM Cariappa.
  • On this day in 1949, Gen Cariappa, who led Indian forces to victory in the 1947 war, took over the command of the Indian Army from General Sir FRR Bucher, the last British Commander-in-Chief and became the first Commander-in-Chief of Independent India.

India Meteorological Department

  • India Meteorological Department (IMD) celebrated 150th Year of its establishment and service to the nation today.

On the occasion of 150th-year celebrations of IMD, the Vice President released and launched the following:

Indigenously developed Decision Support System

  • The India Meteorological Department has developed the in-house Web-GIS-based integrated Decision Support System (DSS) known as the Weather Analysis and Forecast Enabling System (WAFES), inspired by Pancha Mahabhuta i.e. Water, Air, Fire, Earth and Sky.
  • The WAFES serves as a visualization platform to analyze meteorological observations and prediction models, aiding decision-making for severe weather phenomena and their socio-economic impact.
  • The DSS includes the Meteorological Information Communication System (MICS), Data Information Processing System (DIPS), Synthesized Integrated Visualization System (SIVS), and Public Weather Information System (PWIS).
  • It incorporates specialized modules for severe weather events and utility tools for visualization, analysis, and response actions based on IMD’s early warnings.
  • It provides real-time information for various sectors such as Urban, Power, Hydrology, Health, Energy, Agriculture, Transport and Tourism under the “UPHHEATT” initiative (for the cause of welfare).

Panchayat Mausam Seva for farmers

  • India Meteorological Department, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Ministry of Panchayati Raj and Green Alert Mausam Sewa have jointly developed Panchayat Mausam Sewa Portal.
  • Through this portal weather forecast in English, Hindi and twelve regional languages will be provided to every panchayat head and panchayat secretary to reach every village of the country.
  • This initiative will enrich every farmer of the country with weather alerts, warnings, medium range weather forecast to help them in planning the agricultural activities like sowing, transplantation, application of irrigation, fertilizers, pesticides, etc.
  • It will help in reducing the input cost and crop loss due to aberrant weather, and finally increase the production and income.

IMD’s Mobile App and Mausamgram

  • IMD launched an integrated GIS based interactive mobile app MAUSAM for all weather-related services like current weather, forecast of every hour to 7 days, Rainfall, Humidity, Sunrise/Sunset, Moonrise/Moonset, Rain Alert, Lightning Alert, Cyclone Alert, Aviation and Agro-Meteorological advisories. The app supports 12 Indian languages for varied users in India.

National Framework of Climate Services (NFCS)

  • IMD prepares the climatology of basic meteorological parameters like rainfall, temperature, wind & pressure and the climate extremes like heat wave, cold wave, thunderstorm, cyclones, depression, lows, heavy rainfall etc. It is being updated every 10 years.
  • IMD has digitised all observational data since 1901. In 2021, the India Meteorological Department introduced a visualization tool for the public to observe different climate parameters, extremes, climate hazards and vulnerability maps for severe weather events.
  • IMD provides climate forecast for each month and season based on the dynamical multi model ensemble climate forecast system since 2021.

National Startup Day

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared January 16 as National Startup Day in the year 2021.
  • Since then various programs and events have been organized by government and non-government organizations to applaud and promote the Indian startup ecosystem.
  • The Startup India Innovation Week was organized by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT).
  • The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry have marked an entire week as National Startup Week from January 10 to 16.
  • The National Startup Day is observed in India to celebrate the successes of the startup community.
  • The day is observed in order to give startup business owners a forum to talk about innovation for India’s youth and their contribution to the economy.

INS CHEETAH, GULDAR AND KUMBHIR DECOMMISSIONED AFTER 40 YEARS OF GLORIOUS SERVICE

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  • Indian Navy Ships Cheetah, Guldar and Kumbhir were decommissioned on 12 Jan 2024 after rendering four decades of glorious service to the nation.
  • Cheetah, Guldar and Kumbhir were built at Gdynia Shipyard, Poland as Polnocny class Landing Ships and were commissioned into the Indian Navy in 1984, 1985 and 1986 respectively
  • These ships were in active Naval service for nearly 40 years, and collectively traversed about 17 lakh nautical miles whilst being at sea for over 12,300 days.
  • As the amphibian platforms of the Andaman and Nicobar Command, these ships have conducted over 1300 beaching operations for landing of army troops ashore.

India’s First National Highway Steel Slag Road section

  • India’s First National Highway Steel Slag Road section on NH- 66 Mumbai-Goa National Highway has been inaugurated
  • The Steel Slag Road Technology, developed by CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CSIR-CRRI) is transforming the waste of steel industries into wealth and is helping the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to build stronger and eco-friendly national highways in the country.
  • JSW Steel, under the CSIR-CRRI technological guidance, has constructed the 1 km long four-lane steel slag road section on the Indapur-Panvel Section of NH-66 Mumbai-Goa.
  • For the construction of this road around 80,000 tons of CONARC Steel slag were converted as processed steel slag aggregates
  • The processed steel slag aggregates are superior to natural aggregates in terms of various mechanical properties and are utilized for steel slag road construction in all layers of the road in place of natural aggregates.

Know! about  Steel slag

  • It is a by-product of steel making, is produced during the separation of the molten steel from impurities in steel-making furnaces.
  • The slag occurs as a molten liquid melt and is a complex solution of silicates and oxides that solidifies upon cooling.

Beach Games 2024

  • The Beach Games 2024, the first multi-sports beach games in India, organized at the pristine blue flag certified Ghoghla Beach in Diu concluded with landlocked Madhya Pradesh emerging overall champion
  • Maharashtra won 14 medals including 3 gold, while Tamil Nadu, Uttarkhand and hosts Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Diu & Daman secured 12 medals each.  Assam won 8 medals, out of which 5 were Gold.

XPoSat captures first light from supernova remnant

  • The XSPECT payload on XPoSat, India’s first X-ray polarimetry mission, has captured its first light from the Cassiopeia A (Cas A) supernova remnant
  • Launched on January 1, XPoSat carries two co-aligned instruments, POLarimeter Instrument in X-rays (POLIX) and X-ray SPECtroscopy and Timing (XSPECT), aimed at unravelling the mysteries of cosmic X-ray sources

Know! about XPoSat

  • XPoSat is India’s maiden satellite dedicated to studying polarized and spectroscopic emissions in cosmic X-ray sources.
  • This spacecraft hosts two aligned scientific payloads in low Earth orbit – POLIX and XSPECT. Together, these instruments enable novel polarization and spectroscopic analyses of bright cosmic X-ray sources down to remarkable precision.
  • While the POLIX instrument focuses on investigating X-ray polarisation in medium-energy X-rays, the XSPECT payload, engages in continuous and long-term spectral and temporal studies of X-ray sources in the soft X-ray band.

Know! about POLIX

  • POLIX is the primary instrument aboard XPoSat designed to measure X-ray polarization from cosmic sources.
  • Developed jointly by the Ramam Research Institute and ISRO’s UR Rao Satellite Centre, the payload examines polarization parameters in the 8-30 keV medium energy range.
  • It consists of an X-ray collimator, scatterer and four surrounding proportional counter detectors.
  • The scatterer element comprises low atomic mass material enabling polarized X-rays to undergo anisotropic Thomson scattering.
  • POLIX aims to study polarization across 40 exotic galactic and extragalactic X-ray sources spanning categories like pulsars, quasars and supernova remnants.

Know! about XSPECT

  • The XSPECT instrument aboard XPoSat facilitates both spectral and timing studies of soft X-ray emissions from exotic celestial objects.
  • It harnesses the extended monitoring opportunities offered by the polarimetry-focused POLIX payload to examine long-term behavior patterns.
  • XSPECT can track gradual changes in spectral line intensities and profiles as well as fluctuations in broadband emissions over 0.8-15 keV energies.
  • By synergizing with POLIX surveys, XSPECT aims to uncover intriguing physics behind observed flux variances across magnetized and high-energy environments in our dynamic cosmos.
  • XSPECT payload imaged Cassiopeia A, a reference celestial object. The instrument captured the expanding shell of gas from the supernova explosion including signatures of constituent elements – a promising start.

Know! about Cassiopeia A

  • Cassiopeia A is the strongest radio wave source in the sky beyond our solar system, located around 11,000 light years from Earth in the Cassiopeia constellation.
  • It is the remnant from a supernova generated by a massive collapsing star, with light from the explosion estimated to have reached Earth between 1662-1700 AD.

ICJ orders Israel to prevent genocidal acts in Gaza

  • The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered that Israel must “take all measures within its power” to prevent all acts within the scope of the Genocide Convention.
  • It was ruling on the nine provisional measures requested by South Africa in its genocide claim against Israel.
  • While the court did not agree to South Africa’s request for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, it directed Israel to allow the entry of basic services and humanitarian assistance into the Palestinian enclave.

Know! about the ICJ and the Genocide Convention

  • The ICJ is the principal judicial organ of the UN that settles legal disputes between countries based on international law.
  • It is not a criminal court and does not try individuals.
  • The Genocide Convention is an international treaty that first codified the crime of genocide. It defines genocide as five acts committed with intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group.
  • The acts are: killing members of the group, causing serious bodily/mental harm, inflicting destructive conditions of life, preventing births, and forcibly transferring children out of the group.

South Africa’s Allegations Against Israel

  • South Africa alleges Israel has committed several of these acts against Palestinians in Gaza with genocidal intent since October 2023.
  • This, combined with the scale of killings, injuries, displacement and destruction, evidences an ongoing genocide, as per South Africa.
  • It cites statements by Israeli leaders to argue Israel has specific genocidal intent.
  • South Africa also says Israel failed to prevent genocide and prosecute direct/public incitement to genocide.

World Employment and Social Outlook report

  • The International Labour Organization (ILO) projects worldwide joblessness will increase through 2024 as declining economic growth combines with persistent inflation and stagnant wages to spur inequality – though some labor markets have proved resilient.
  • Presenting its annual World Employment and Social Outlook report this week, the ILO highlighted the sharp macroeconomic deterioration over the past year from cascading global crises.
  • Multiple major economies slowed considerably in 2023 amid lingering geopolitical tensions and aggressive central bank interest rates hikes aimed at taming inflation – dampening industrial production, trade, and investment flows.

Swachh Survekshan Awards 2023

  • Indore and Surat were declared the joint cleanest cities of India as part of the Swachh Survekshan Awards presented by President Draupadi Murmu
  • This was the seventh time that Indore won the accolade of the cleanest city in India.
  • Navi Mumbai which came third in last year’s awards, retained its position.
  • Saswad in Maharashtra got the cleanest city award for urban centres with less than 1 lakh population. Patan in Chattisgarh and Lonavla in Maharashtra were the second and third cleanest cities in this category. Varanasi and Prayagraj were adjudged cleanest Ganga Towns.
  • MHOW Cantonment Board in Madhya Pradesh was given the award for cleanest cantonment town.

Know! about Swachh Survekshan

  • Swachh Survekshan, conducted by the union ministry of housing and urban affairs (MoHUA) under the Swachh Bharat Urban Mission since 2016, is the world’s largest urban sanitation and cleanliness survey.
  • Key ranking parameters include – Citizen feedback evaluations , Field assessments of sanitation indicators
  • The state governments provide updated data, validated via household surveys and on-ground visits.
  • Additional factors like safety gear for waste workers also get incorporated.
  • The yearly surveying initiative started with assessing 73 major cities in 2016.
  • Currently over 4,400 towns participate. Around 12 crore citizen feedbacks were incorporated this round.

Ugram

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  • An indigenous rifle, named ‘Ugram’, developed in less than 100 days, was unveiled by India’s Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • The Armament Research and Development Establishment (ARDE), which is a unit of Hyderabad-based private firm Dvipa Armour India Private Limited and DRDO, has developed the ‘Ugram’ rifle.
  • The rifle will be able to deploy rounds of 7.62 mm calibre, which will make it more ferocious compared to rifles which use 5.62 mm calibre rounds.
  • An example of a rifle using 5.62 mm calibre rounds is the INSAS rifle, which is used popularly by the armed forces in India, including paramilitary forces.
  • The Ugram fires the same large-caliber cartridge in use with NATO forces globally ensuring abundant ammunition compatibility.
  • Weighing less than 4 kg fully-loaded, the rifle incorporates materials like steel in critical components for durability while keeping weight manageable for troops on patrol.
  • An effective range of 500 meters makes the Ugram suitable for most infantry combat scenarios.
  • Its accuracy and stopping power exceeds the 5.56mm INSAS rifle to give soldiers better tactical versatility.

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