Current Affairs 21-25 Jan 2024

Daily Current Capsules

21 to 25 January 2024

EXERCISE CYCLONE

  • The Indian Army contingent comprising 25 personnel reached Egypt to take part in the 2nd edition of India-Egypt Joint Special Forces Exercise CYCLONE.
  • The Exercise will be conducted at Anshas, Egypt from 22nd January to 1st February 2024.  The first edition of the exercise was conducted last year in India.
  • Aim of the Exercise is to acquaint both the sides with each other’s operating procedures in the backdrop of Special Operations in desert/semi-desert terrain under Chapter VII of United Nations Charter.
  • Exercise CYCLONE is designed to develop bilateral military cooperation and strengthen bond between two armies through conduct of discussions and rehearsal of tactical military drills.

Exercise KHANJAR

  • The 11th edition of India-Kyrgyzstan Joint Special Forces Exercise KHANJAR has commenced at the Special Forces Training School in Bakloh, Himachal Pradesh.
  • The exercise is scheduled to be conducted from 22nd January to 3rd February 2024.
  • It is an annual event conducted alternatively in both the countries.
  • The Indian Army contingent comprising 20 personnel is being represented by troops from The Parachute Regiment (Special Forces) and the Kyrgyzstan contingent comprising 20 personnel is represented by Scorpion Brigade.
  • Aim of the exercise is to exchange experiences and best practices in Counter Terrorism and Special Forces Operations in Built-up Area and Mountainous Terrain under Chapter VII of United Nations Charter.
  • The exercise will emphasise on developing Special Forces skills, advanced techniques of insertion and extraction.

Parakram Diwas 2024

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  • Prime Minister inaugurated Parakram Diwas 2024 on the evening of 23rd January and the celebration will be continued till 31st January.
  • The comprehensive celebration is being organized by the Ministry of Culture in collaboration with its allied institutions such as the Archaeological Survey of India, National School of Drama, Sahitya Akademi, and the National Archives of India.
  • As part of the program, the event will host a rich array of activities that delve into the profound legacy of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and the Azad Hind Fauj.
  • The Red Fort played a crucial role in the saga of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and the Azad Hind Fauj.
  • A museum within the Red Fort is dedicated to preserving and honoring the legacy of Bose and INA, which was also inaugurated by Prime Minister Modi in 2019 on Netaji’s birthday.
  • The names of Colonel Prem Sahgal, Colonel Gurbaksh Singh Dhillon, and Colonel Shahnawaz Khan, are etched in history as key figures in the Red Fort Trials.
  • Their commitment to the cause of India’s freedom led to the infamous Red Fort barracks case, a landmark trial that showcased the unwavering resolve of the Azad Hind Fauj.

Know! about Parakram Diwas

  • Parakram Diwas has been celebrated annually since 2021, honoring Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
  • In 2021, the inaugural event took place at Victoria Memorial Hall, Kolkata.
  • In 2022, a hologram statue of Netaji was unveiled at India Gate, and in 2023, 21 largest unnamed islands of Andaman & Nicobar Islands were named after the 21 Param Vir Chakra awardees and a model of National Memorial dedicated to Netaji which was supposed to be built on Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Dweep, was unveiled.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s birth anniversary is celebrated as Parakram Diwas.

Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar-2024

  • For the year 2024, 60 Parachute Field Hospital, Uttar Pradesh, in the Institutional category, has been selected for the Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar-2024 for its excellent work in Disaster Management.
  • The Government of India instituted an annual award known as Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar to recognize and honour the invaluable contribution and selfless service rendered by individuals and organizations in India in the field of disaster management.
  • The award is announced every year on 23rd January, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.
  • The award carries a cash prize of Rs. 51 lakh and a certificate in case of an institution and Rs. 5 lakh and a certificate in case of an individual.

Anant Sutra

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  • The Ministry of Culture will be showcasing the ‘Anant Sutra – The Endless Thread’ textile installation at Kartavya Path.
  • Anant Sutra is a visually stunning tribute to the saree, India’s timeless gift to the fashion world.
  • This unique installation will showcase nearly 1,900 sarees and drapes from every corner of the country, mounted at a height with wooden frames along the Kartavya Path.
  • It will have QR codes that can be scanned to know the details about weaving and embroidery arts used in it.

Colombo Security Conclave (CSC)

  • In a significant step towards fostering collaboration and capacity building in the field of Oceanography, CSIR – National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) has commenced a month-long certificate course for the member countries of the Colombo Security Conclave (CSC).
  • The inaugural session of this pioneering initiative took place on January 15, 2024.
  • The maiden CSC Oceanographers and Hydrographers conference, which transpired in Goa and Hyderabad in November 2022.
  • Following this conference, scientists from CSC nations jointly conducted two expeditions in the Indian Ocean Region from June to September 2023.
  • Another joint expedition in the Antarctic, launched in December 2023, is currently underway.
  • The course is anticipated to facilitate a rich exchange of ideas and contribute to the growing body of knowledge in Oceanography.

Know! about CSC

  • It is a regional security grouping comprising India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Mauritius.
  • The CSC, initially known as the Trilateral for Maritime Security Cooperation, evolved out of trilateral meetings between NSAs and Deputy NSAs from India, Maldives, and Sri Lanka, starting in 2011.
  • It came to a standstill after 2014 due to rising tensions between India and the Maldives.
  • After its revival and re-branding as the CSC in 2020, Mauritius was added as a member of the grouping.
  • Current members of CSC include India, Maldives, Mauritius, and Sri Lanka, while Bangladesh and Seychelles are the two observer nations.
  • Cooperation under the conclave focuses on five pillars – maritime safety and security, countering terrorism and radicalisation, combating trafficking and transnational organised crime, cyber-security and protection of critical infrastructure, and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
  • A permanent secretariat, based in Colombo, was established in 2021 to coordinate all activities and implement decisions made at the NSA level.

Alliance for Global Good- Gender Equity and Equality

  • At the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting at Davos, Switzerland held from 15-19 January 2024, India participated in the spirit of “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam”, ready to shape a common future marked by global cooperation, aligning with the overarching WEF theme for the year, ‘Rebuilding Trust’.
  •  One of the key takeaways from the Forum meeting was the announcement of the launch of a “Global Good Alliance for Gender Equity and Equality” with the support and endorsement by WEF and Government of India.
  • The primary and stated objective of this new Alliance is to bring together global best practices, knowledge sharing, and investments in the identified areas of women’s health, education, and enterprise.
  • The Alliance will be taking forward the commitments of the G20 leaders for the benefit of the larger global community as a follow-up to the activities of the Engagement Group and initiatives under the G20 framework, inter alia, the Business 20, Women 20 and G20 EMPOWER.

Expo-Wings India 2024

  • Union Minister for Civil Aviation Shri Jyotiraditya M Scindia inaugurated Wings India 2024, Asia’s largest aviation expo, at Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad.
  • The inauguration saw several key announcements, including the release of a joint knowledge paper on civil aviation by FICCI and KPMG, and the launch of UDAN 5.3.
  • The event witnessed participation from 1,500 delegates from over 100 countries and around 5,000 business representatives.
  • The theme of Wings India 2024 is “Connecting India to the World in Amrit Kaal: Setting the Stage for India Civil Aviation @2047”.
  • The aim is to support a USD 20 trillion economy by 2047 with a robust aviation system​​.
  • Over 130 exhibitors and 15 Hospitality Chalets from across the globe showcased their innovations and services.
  • The expo included a static display of around 25 aircraft, including the first display of Boeing 777X in India and Air India’s Airbus A350​​​.

Seven major announcements were made today at Wings India 2024

  • Release of the joint knowledge paper on civil aviation by FICCI and KPMG
  • Launch of UDAN 5.3
  • Launch of the Airbus-Air India Training Centre, with the purchase of more airplanes and the setting of a flight training center in Gurugram with 10 flight simulators and 10,000 pilots being trained in the coming years
  • Airbus manufacturing contracts with TATA ASL and Mahindra Aerospace Structures Pvt. Ltd. to foster more pilots.
  • GMR and IndiGo also signed a consortium to collaborate with multiple patterns in developing sustainable training in the aerospace industry
  • Inauguration of the GMR School of Aviation
  • Deal announcement of Akasa Air with a triple order of 200 aircrafts in a period of 17 months

EX- DESERT KNIGHT

  • On 23 Jan 24, the Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted Exercise Desert Knight along with French Air and Space Force (FASF) and United Arab Emirates (UAE) Air Force.
  • The main focus of Exercise Desert Knight was on enhancing synergy and interoperability between the three Air Forces.
  • The interactions during the exercise facilitated the exchange of operational knowledge, experiences, and best practices amongst the participants.

National Girl Child Day

  • Every year on January 24, people celebrate National Girl Child Day, which commemorates the inaugural anniversary of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao Scheme (Save the Girl Child, Educate the Girl Child) on January 22, 2015.
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development launched this day in 2008.
  • Since then, the day has been celebrated across India with an annual theme.
  • In a country where gender inequality, barriers to education, dropout rates, child marriage and gender-based violence are all issues, the initiative sought to recognise the particular difficulties faced by girls.

Thaipoosam

  • The Prime Minister extended his warm wishes on the occasion of Thaipoosam

Know! about Thaipoosam

  • Thaipoosam is a Tamil Hindu festival celebrated on the first full moon day of the Tamil month of Thai coinciding with Pusam star.
  • The festival is celebrated to commemorate the victory of Hindu god Murugan over the demon Surapadman using a vel, a divine spear granted by Parvati.
  • The festival include ritualistic practices of Kavadi Aattam, a ceremonial act of sacrifice carrying a physical burden as a means of balancing a spiritual debt.
  • Worshipers often carry a pot of cow milk as an offering and also do mortification of the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers.
  • Devotees prepare for the rituals by keeping clean, doing regular prayers, following a vegetarian diet and fasting while remaining celibate.
  • Thaipusam is observed by Tamils in India, Sri Lanka, South East Asia notably in Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, other countries with significant people of Tamil origin

Defence Research & Development Organisation (DRDO)

DRDO tableau Highlights

  • The tableau displays Man Portable Anti-tank Guided Missile (MPATGM), Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile, and Agni-5, Surface-to-Surface Ballistic Missile, Very Short Range Air Defence System (VSHORADS), Naval Anti-Ship Missile–Short Range (NASM-SR), Anti-Tank Guided Missile ‘HELINA’, Quick Reaction Surface-to-Air Missile (QRSAM), Astra, Light Combat Aircraft ‘Tejas’, ‘Uttam’ Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar (AESAR), Advanced Electronic Warfare System ‘Shakti’, Cyber Security systems, Command Control Systems and the Semi Conductor Fabrication Facility.
  • Anti-Satellite (ASAT) Missile used in Mission Shakti was a major breakthrough in demonstrating the nation’s anti-satellite technology and precision strike capability.
  • India is the fourth country to acquire such a specialised and modern capability.
  • Agni-5 is a surface-to-surface ballistic missile capable of striking targets with a high degree of accuracy.
  • Indigenously developed MPATGM is a third generation ATGM with ‘Fire & Forget’ ‘Top Attack’ and night operational capability.
  • It is launched from a man portable launcher, integrated with thermal sight.
  • NASM-SR is the first indigenous air launched anti-ship missile system.
  • VSHORADS is a Man Portable Air Defence System meant for neutralising low altitude aerial threats at short ranges.
  • Helicopter-launched Nag is the third generation, fire and forget Anti-Tank Guided Missile that can engage targets in direct hit mode as well as top attack mode.
  • The system has all-weather day and night capability and can defeat battle tanks having conventional as well as  explosive reactive armour.
  • The QRSAM is all-weather, Air-Defence system that provides mobile air defence cover to mechanised assets of the Indian Army in the Tactical Battle Area.
  • ASTRA, is a state-of-the-art beyond visual range air-to-air missile to engage and destroy highly maneuvering supersonic aerial targets.
  • LCA Tejas is indigenously developed light-weight and multirole 4+ generation tactical fighter aircraft which can carry laser guided bombs and modern missiles to cause extreme damage to the target.
  • Uttam Active Electronically Scanned Array Radar (AESAR) is a multimode, solid-state active phased array fire control radar with scalable architecture that can be adapted for various types of fighter class of aircraft.
  • Advanced Electronic Warfare (EW) System ‘Shakti’ has been designed and developed for Indian Navy for the interception, detection, classification, identification and jamming of conventional and modern Radars.

Jan Nayak Karpoori Thakur (100th birth anniversary)

  • Bharat Ratna’, India’s highest civilian award, has been conferred upon Karpoori Thakur, the former chief minister of the Indian state of Bihar and a socialist leader who was popularly called ‘Jan Nayak’ (leader of the people).
  • Thakur served as Bihar chief minister twice, first from December 1970 to June 1971 and then from December 1977 to April 1979.

Know! all about Jan Nayak Karpoori Thakur

  • Karpoori Thakur was born on January 24, 1924 in Pitaunjhia village in Samastipur district of Bihar. The village is now called ‘Karpuri Gram’.
  • Inspired by Indian nationalistic thought, Karpoori Thakur joined All India Students’ Federation (AISF) when he was completing his studies. The AISF is the oldest students organisation in India.
  • With nationalistic ideals on his mind, Thakur left his graduation studies to join Quit India Movement, a massive mobilisation started by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942 to force colonial British rulers to leave India. Thakur bravely paid price for his participation in Indian National Movement as the British cracked down on participants and spent 26 months in jail.
  • India gained independence on August 15, 1947. Karpoori Thakur, initially worked as a teacher in his village, but marked his return to active politics with a victory in the Bihar Legislative Assembly election in 1952 from Tajpur constituency. He represented the Socialist Party.
  • Karpoori Thakur’s name is legendary in Indian politics because of his successful fights for the rights of the workers and pushed for reservation for backward classes. He was even arrested for leading workers’ strikes. In the year 1970, Karpoori Thakur fasted for 28 days in a fast-unto-death agitation for the cause of labourers in Telco.
  • Before he became the first non-Congress socialist chief minister of Bihar, Karpoori Thakur served as education minister of the state. He was of a firm opinion that students in the state should receive education in Hindi and not English.
  • As the education minister, he removed English as the compulsory subject for matriculation
  • When he became chief minister of the state, he banned alcohol completely.
  • As CM, he introduced 26 percent reservation for backward classes in government jobs in Bihar, a move that paved the way for the Mandal Commission recommendations later.
  • Thakur was close to Jay Prakash Narayan, another iconic socialist leader in India. When emergency was in effect in the country (1975-77) Karpoori Thakur, JP Narayan, and other stalwarts of the Janata Party were instrumental in launching the iconic ‘Sampoorna Kranti’ (Total Revolution) movement the aim of which was transforming Indian society in a non-violent way.
  • The Janata Party split in 1979, Karpoori Thakur put his weight behind the Charan Singh faction. Thakur was elected in Bihar assembly twice after this, in 1980 and 1985. He passed away on February 17, 1988.

Pradhan Mantri Suryodaya Yojana

  • Prime minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of the ‘Pradhan Mantri Suryodaya Yojana’. This is a scheme which will provide rooftop solar panels for consumers

Know! about Pradhan Mantri Suryodaya Yojana

  • The Pradhanmantri Suryodaya Yojana intends to supply power household through solar rooftop installations while also providing extra money for excess electricity output.
  • Through the Pradhan Mantri Suryodaya Yojana, 1 crore families will be given access to rooftop solar energy. This scheme is meant to help poor and middle-income households lower their electricity bills.
  • In this scheme, a target was set to install solar panels on the roofs of one crore houses. However, this is not the first scheme to promote the installation of rooftop solar power systems.
  • In 2014, the government launched the Rooftop Solar Programme, which aimed to achieve a cumulative installed capacity of 40,000 megawatts (MW) or 40 gigawatts (GW) by 2022. However, this target could not be achieved. As a result, the government extended the deadline to 2022. Increased to 2026. The Pradhan Mantri Suryoday Yojana appears to be a new effort to help reach the target of 40 GW rooftop solar capacity.
  • According to the website of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, the solar power installed capacity in India is set to reach approximately 73.31 GW by December 2023. Meanwhile, the installed capacity of rooftop solar power by December 2023 is about 11.08 GW.
  • In terms of total solar capacity, Rajasthan tops the list with 18.7 GW. Gujarat is in second place with 10.5 GW. When it comes to rooftop solar capacity, Gujarat tops the list with 2.8 GW, followed by Maharashtra with 1.7 GW.

National Voters’ Day (NVD)

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  • The Election Commission of India celebrated 14th National Voters’ Day (NVD) on 25th January 2024.
  • Dedicated to the voters, NVD 2024 theme – ‘Nothing Like Voting, I Vote For sure’ is a continuation from last year’s theme.
  • Since 2011, National Voters’ Day has been celebrated on January 25 every year, across the country to mark the foundation day of the Election Commission of India, i.e. 25th January 1950.
  • The main purpose of the NVD celebration is to create electoral awareness amongst citizens and encourage them to participate in the electoral process.
  • Dedicated to the voters of the country, the National Voters’ Day is also used to facilitate enrolment of voters, especially the newly eligible young voters.
  • New voters are felicitated and handed over their Elector Photo Identity Card (EPIC) in the NVD functions held across the country.
  • NVD is celebrated at the national, state, district, constituency and polling booth levels, which makes it one of the largest celebrations in the country.

All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2021-2022

  • The Ministry of Education, Government of India releases All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2021-2022
  • The Ministry has been conducting AISHE since 2011, covering all Higher Educational Institutions (HEIs) in the country registered with AISHE collecting detailed information on different parameters such as student enrollment, teachers, infrastructural information, etc.

The following are the key highlights of the survey:

  • The total enrolment in higher education has increased to nearly 4.33 crore in 2021-22 from 4.14 crore in 2020-21.
  • The Female enrolment has increased to 2.07 crore in 2021-22 from 2.01 crore in 2020-21.
  • The enrolment of SC students is 66.23 lakh in 2021-22 as compared to 46.07lakh in 2014-15 (an increase of 44%).
  • The enrolment of ST students has increased to 27.1 lakh in 2021-22 from 16.41lakh in 2014-15 (an increase of 65.2%)
  • The enrolment of OBC students has also increased to 1.63 crore in 2021-22 from 1.13crore in 2014-15.
  • The Minority Student enrolment has increased to 30.1 lakh in 2021-22 from 21.8 lakh in 2014-15 (an increase of 38%).
  • Female Minority Student enrolment has increased to 15.2 lakh in 2021-22 from 10.7 lakh in 2014-15 (42.3% increase).
  • GER has increased to 28.4 in 2021-22 from 23.7 in 2014-15 [as per 2011 population projections for 18-23 years age group]. Female GER has increased to 28.5 in 2021-22 from 22.9 in 2014-15.
  • Gender Parity Index (GPI), the ratio of female GER to male GER is 1.01 in 2021-22. GPI has continued to be above 1 since 2017-18i.e., female GER continues to be more than male GER for fifth consecutive year.
  • Female Ph.D. enrolment has doubled to 0.99lakh in 2021-22 from 0.48 lakh in 2014-15.
  • Government Universities constituting 58.6% of total Universities, contribute 73.7% of total enrolment, Private Universities account for 26.3% of total enrolment.

PM YASASVI

  • It is a Scholarship scheme for Other Backward Class (OBCs), Economically Backward Class (EBC), and Denotified Nomadic Tribes (DNT) Students.
  • Under this Scheme students can avail Pre-Matric Scholarship from Class 9 to 10 and Post Matric Scholarship for their higher studies at post-matriculation or post-secondary stage.
  • Students who excel in their studies also get an opportunity of Scholarship to study in Top Class Schools and Colleges under the Scheme of ‘Top Class School Education’ and ‘Top Class College Education’.

Salient features of the Schemes are

  1. Pre-Matric Scholarship
  • Pre-Matric Scholarship is for students studying in class IX and X on a full-time basis in Government Schools only.
  • Income from all sources does not exceed Rs.2,50,000/- per annum.
  • The students shall be given a consolidated academic allowance of Rs. 4000/- per annum.
  1. Post-Matric Scholarship
  • Scholarship is awarded to students studying at post-matriculation or post-secondary stage to enable them to complete their education.
  • Income from all sources does not exceed Rs.2,50,000/- per annum.
  • Academic allowance from Rs.5000 to Rs.20000 is awarded to students as per category of course.
  1. Top Class School Education
  • The scheme provides premium education to the meritorious students belonging to OBC, EBC and DNT categories by funding their education from Class 9 onwards till they complete Class 12.
  • Income from all sources does not exceed Rs.2,50,000/- per annum.
  1. Top Class College Education
  • The scheme is to recognize and promote quality education amongst Students belonging to OBC, EBC and DNT categories by providing full financial support.
  • Income from all sources does not exceed Rs.2,50,000/- per annum.
  1. Construction of Hostel for OBC Boys and Girls
  • The scheme aims at providing hostel facilities to students belonging to socially and educationally backward classes, especially from rural areas to enable them to pursue secondary and higher education in the Govt. schools, universities, institutions and institutes located at a reasonable distance in order to provide them greater access to high quality education.

FITUR

  • The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India is participating in FITUR, one of the important global travel exhibitions being held from 24th – 28th January 2024 at Madrid , Spain. with a big delegation from the Union Government, State Governments and private travel stakeholders.
  • FITUR is growing as a leading international event in the tourism sector attracting over 150,000 visitors annually (from travel agents to tour operators and embassies).
  • The event attracts a diverse range of attendees, including travel agencies, tour operators, airlines, hoteliers, cruise lines, travel technology providers, tourism boards, and other professionals in the travel and hospitality sector.

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