Current Affairs 26-31 Jan 2024

Daily Current Capsules

26 to 31 January 2024

World Wetlands Day 2024

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  • On the eve of World Wetlands Day 2024, India has increased its tally of Ramsar sites (Wetlands of International Importance) to 80 from existing 75 by designating five more wetlands as Ramsar sites.
  • Three of these sites, Ankasamudra Bird Conservation Reserve, Aghanashini Estuary and Magadi Kere Conservation Reserve are located in Karnataka whereas two, Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary and Longwood Shola Reserve Forest are in Tamilnadu.
  • With the addition of these five wetlands to List of Wetlands of International Importance, the total area covered under Ramsar sites is now 1.33 million ha which is an increase of 5,523.87 ha from existing area (of 1.327 million ha.
  • Tamil Nadu continues to have maximum number of Ramsar Sites (16 sites) followed by Uttar Pradesh (10 sites).

Know! about Ramsar Convention

  • India is one of the Contracting Parties to Ramsar Convention, signed in Ramsar, Iran, in 1971.
  • World Wetlands Day (WWD) is celebrated across the globe to commemorate the adoption of this international agreement on wetlands on 2nd February 1971.
  • India ratified this Convention on 1st February 1982.
  • Earlier in August 2022, India achieved a significant milestone of taking the total number of Ramsar Sites to 75 during the 75th Year of Independence.
  • Due to a significant policy push from the Government of India, the number of Ramsar sites has increased from 26 to 80 in the last ten years
  • The theme of WWD-2024 is ‘Wetlands and Human Wellbeing’ which underscores the critical role wetlands play in enhancing our lives.
  • It highlights how wetlands contribute to flood protection, clean water, biodiversity and recreational opportunities, all of which are essential for human health and prosperity.
  • This year, the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF&CC), Government of India in collaboration with the Government of Madhya Pradesh, is organizing the national World Wetlands Day event at Sirpur Lake, Indore, a Ramsar site designated in 2022.

New Ramsar Sites

1.Ankasamudra Bird Conservation Reserve 

  • It is a humanmade Village Irrigation Tank built centuries back and is spread over an area of 98.76ha (244.04 acre) adjoining the Ankasamudra village.
  • It is an ecologically important wetland, rich in biodiversity
  • Over 30’000 waterbirds nest and roost at this wetland, which also supports more than 1% of the biogeographic population of Painted Stork (Mycteria leucocephala) and Black-headed Ibis (Threskiornis melanocephalus).
  1. Aghanashini Estuary
  • It spread over an area of 4801 ha, is formed at the confluence of Aghanashini River with the Arabian sea.
  • The brackish water of the Estuary provides diverse ecosystem services including flood and erosion risk mitigation, biodiversity conservation and livelihood support.
  • The wetland also provides livelihoods to 6000-7500 families by supporting fishing, agriculture, collection of edible bivalves and crabs, shrimp aquaculture, traditional fish farming in the estuarine rice fields (locally known as Gazni rice fields), bivalve shell collection and salt production.

3.Magadi Kere Conservation Reserve

  • It is a human-made wetland with an area of nearly 50 hectares which was constructed to store rainwater for irrigation purposes.
  • It is home to over 166 species of birds, of which 130 are migratory.
  • Magadi Kere is also one of the largest wintering grounds for the Bar-headed goose (Anser indicus) in Southern India.
  • The wetland is a designated Important Bird Area (IBA) and also listed as a priority area for conservation in India.
  1. Karaivetti Bird Sanctuary
  • It is one of the largest inland wetlands of Tamil Nadu, and is a significant source of groundwater recharge for the area.
  • Karaivetti has one of the largest congregations of waterbirds in the State of Tamil Nadu.
  1. The Longwood Shola Reserve Forest
  • It derives its name from the Tamil word, “Solai”, which means a ‘tropical rain forest’.
  • The ‘Sholas’ are found in the upper reaches of the Nilgiris, Anamalais, Palni hills, Kalakadu, Mundanthurai and Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.
  • These forested wetlands serve as habitats for the  globally endangered Black-chinned Nilgiri Laughing thrush (Strophocincla cachinnans), Nilgiri Blue Robin (Myiomela major), and vulnerable Nilgiri Wood-pigeon (Columba elphinstonii).

Young Scientists Induction Training Programme

  • The Capacity Building Commission (CBC) in collaboration with the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser (Office of PSA) to the Government of India launched the Young Scientists Induction Training Programme at the Indian Institute of Management Visakhapatnam (IIM-V).
  • This is a first-of-its-kind training programme that envisages honing the capacities of young scientists and science administrators in managing S&T programmes, projects, products, and people

Know! about the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser

  • In November 1999, Cabinet Secretariat established the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.
  • The PSA’s office aims to provide pragmatic and objective advice to the Prime Minister and cabinet on matters related to science, technology and innovation with a focus on application of science and technology in critical infrastructure, economic and social sectors in partnership with Government departments, institutions and industry.

PSA’s Role

  • Science and technology fundamentals with applied research in collaboration with multiple stakeholders, both in central and state governments
  • Enabling future preparedness in emerging domains of science and technology
  • Formulating and coordinating major inter-ministerial science and technology missions
  • Providing an enabling ecosystem for technology led innovations and techno-entrepreneurship
  • Driving innovation and technology delivery towards solving socio-economic challenges for sustainable growth
  • Fostering effective public-private linkages for driving research and innovation

Initiatives Undertaken by PSA

  • The Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC)
  • Empowered Technology Group (ETG)
  • Science, Technology and Innovation Policy 2020 (STIP 2020)
  • The Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC)

Know! about PM-STATIC

  • The Prime Minister’s Science, Technology, and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) is an overarching council that facilitates the PSA’s Office to assess the status in specific science and technology domains, comprehend challenges, formulate interventions, develop a futuristic roadmap and advise the Prime Minister accordingly.
  • The project management team at Invest India, together with the office of the PSA, will facilitate the delivery and progress of all 9 national missions under PM-STIAC.

Objectives of PM-STIAC

  • Synergizing science and technology research in collaboration with multiple stakeholders both in central and state governments
  • Enabling future preparedness in emerging domains of science and technology
  • Formulating and coordinating major inter-ministerial science and technology missions
  • Providing an enabling ecosystem for technology led innovations and entrepreneurship
  • Driving innovation and technology delivery towards solving socio-economic challenges for sustainable growth
  • Fostering effective public-private linkages for driving research and innovation
  • Developing innovation clusters with multiple stakeholders including academia, industry and government
  • Skilling in current and futuristic technologies

Nine Missions under PM-STIAC

  • Natural Language Translation: The mission will facilitate access to teaching and research material across all regional languages.
  • Quantum Frontier: This mission will initiate work in the understanding and control of quantum mechanical system with many degrees of freedom.
  • Artificial Intelligence: This mission will facilitate the advancement in the field of Artificial Intelligence by engaging closely with academia and industry to develop core research capability.
  • National Biodiversity: This mission will build a comprehensive documentation of India’s biodiversity with the potential of cataloguing and mapping all lifeforms.
  • Electric Vehicles: This mission is critical for India to reduce fossil fuel consumption and mitigate emissions by facilitating the production of Electric Vehicles (EVs) economically.
  • Bioscience for Human Health: This mission will utilise healthy and disease samples to understand the impact of nature and nurture on human health.
  • Waste to Wealth: This mission will identify, develop and deploy technologies to treat waste to generate energy, recycle materials and extract worth.
  • Deep Ocean Exploration: This mission will explore the deep oceans to improve our understanding of the blue frontier.
  • AGNIi: This mission will boost the innovation ecosystem in the country and help commercialise innovative solutions.

Other Major Projects of PM-STIAC

  • Research Clusters
  • Earth Museum
  • Brahmaputra River System
  • I-STEM
  • Energy Security

One District One Product Sampark initiative.

  • Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) is conducting nationwide events under its ‘One District One Product Sampark’ initiative.
  • These events create awareness about the initiative and showcase success stories emerging from various districts across the nation.
  • The workshops highlight collaborative efforts between districts, states, and centre, emphasizing a commitment to fostering balanced regional development.
  • These initiatives encompass providing support for e-commerce onboarding, collaborating with states to formulate ODOP policies, enhancing packaging strategies, and facilitating connections between sellers at the central level to boost domestic and global promotions.
  • ODOP Sampark, initiated by DPIIT in collaboration with the Press Information Bureau (PIB) and State Governments, has emerged as a distinctive platform fostering collaboration among various stakeholders, including government officials, ODOP sellers, media representatives, and key stakeholders.
  • These events provide a dynamic space for real-time insights, addressing challenges, and exploring opportunities faced by local industries, contributing to immediate growth and development.
  • States have one product from each district as the primary product. Districts having more than one product identified have categorized them as secondary or tertiary products. These products are covered under various sectors including Agriculture, Manufacturing, Handloom and Textiles, Handicraft, Food Processing, Marine, and services.

Jadung village

Jadung Uttarakhand

  • In a “first-of-its-kind” initiative, the Uttarakhand government has decided to rebuild and rehabilitate Jadung village in Uttarkashi district — abandoned by the residents since the 1962 Indo-China war — as a major “tourist destination”.
  • The village has been under the control of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) since then.
  • As part of the initiative, the tourism department aims to call back the descendants of the original homeowners, now residing in nearby villages, to revitalise the village.
  • The October-November 1962 conflict had left the region deserted, impacting relations between India and China, with certain border disputes still unresolved.
  • The locality — a cold desert area like Ladakh — has proper road connectivity, making it a potential tourist destination.

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

  • The military regimes in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger announced their immediate withdrawal from the West African bloc ECOWAS, saying it has become a threat to member states.

Know! about ECOWAS

  • The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a regional political and economic union established on 28 May 1975 through the Treaty of Lagos.
  • Currently comprising 15 countries across West Africa, ECOWAS covers a massive area of over 5 million square kilometers inhabited by an estimated 424 million people.
  • ECOWAS is considered a pillar regional bloc of the Africa-wide African Economic Community that aims to promote continental integration.
  • The core goal of ECOWAS is to achieve collective self-sufficiency for its member states by creating a single integrated trading area through progressively eliminating trade barriers.
  • Additionally, it works to raise living standards and catalyze economic development across West Africa.

Module-2 of International classification of Diseases-11(ICD-11)

  • With the launch of Module-2 of International classification of Diseases-11(ICD-11), Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha (ASU) systems of medicines will now have the same morbidity codes across the globe.
  • ICD-11, Chapter 26, Module 2 was recently launched by the World Health Organisation in a function organised in Delhi.
  • The Ministry of Ayush has categorized the data and terminology related to Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani medicine, with the help of the World Health Organization
  • Through the efforts of both, the terminology related to disease and treatment in Ayurveda, Unani and Siddha medicine has been codified.
  • With the help of this coding, all doctors will now write the same language on their prescriptions or slips.
  • One advantage of this would be that if you go to another doctor with that slip, the doctor will get complete information about it from just that slip.
  • That slip will help one in knowing one’s illness, treatment, what medicines one has been taking, for how long the treatment has been going on, what things one is allergic to.
  • Scientists from other countries will also get complete information about the disease, medicines and their effects.
  • The International Classification of Diseases maintained by WHO is the key instrument for member countries like India to collect primary as well as secondary data on various communicable (like malaria, TB, etc.) and non-communicable (diabetes, cancer, kidney disease etc.) diseases and mortality statistics.
  • The groundwork for ICD-11 TM 2 initiative was commenced during the  Ayurveda day celebration 2017, when “National Ayush Morbidity and Standardised terminologies Electronic (NAMASTE) Portal (http://namstp.ayush.gov.in/”) was launched by the Prime Minister

Bharat 5G Portal

  • Department of Telecommunications (DoT), Ministry of Communications (MoC), launched the “Bharat 5G Portal- an integrated portal” on the sidelines of ‘Bharat Telecom 2024 – An Exclusive International Business Expo’ being organized by Telecom Equipment and Services Export Promotion Council (TEPC)
  • As part of its initiatives, the DoT announced a call for 6G R&D proposals on the integrated portal, inviting proposals for accelerated research on 6G ecosystem development.

 Know! about Bharat 5G Portal- an integrated portal:

  • Prime Minister, during the inaugural ceremony of the India Mobile Congress, awarded 100 “5G Use Case Labs” to educational institutions across the countries to build competencies and engagement in 5G technologies for students & start-up communities.
  • All the 100+ Labs/institutions are connected through a dedicated portal (Digital network of 100 5G Labs). It acts as a knowledge dissemination platform for the institutions/students/start-ups wherein 5G use cases are being tested/developed.
  • Telecommunications Consultants India Limited(TCIL) is implementation agency for installation of 100 Labs and portal development.
  • The Bharat 5G portal- an integrated portal is a comprehensive platform serving the interests of startups, industry and academia in quantum, 6G, IPR and 5G domains.
  • It also features the Future Tech-Experts registration portal in collaboration with PANIIT USA, aimed to help and advise the Indian Telecom ecosystem to advance the goal of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
  • The Bharat 5G Portal acts as a one-stop solution for all quantum, IPR, PoCs/Pilot, 5G and 6G-related works, capturing academic R&D developments, industry standards, OEMs, startups/MSMEs, and subject matter experts.
  • It aims to propel India’s 5G capabilities, foster innovation, collaboration, and knowledge-sharing within the telecom sector.

Status of Snow leopards

Snow Leopard | Species | WWF

  • Union Minister of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change released the report on the Status of Snow leopards in India during the National Board for Wildlife meeting
  • The Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India (SPAI) Program is the first-ever scientific exercise that reports Snow leopard population of 718 individuals in India.
  • The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is the National Coordinator for this exercise that was carried out with support the support of all snow leopard range states and two conservation partners, the Nature Conservation Foundation, Mysuru and WWF-India.
  • The SPAI systematically covered over 70% of the potential snow leopard range in the country, involving forest & wildlife staff, researchers, volunteers, and contributions from knowledge partners.
  • The SPAI exercise was conducted from 2019 to 2023 using a meticulous two-step framework.
  • Based on data analysis, the estimated population in different states are as follows: Ladakh (477), Uttarakhand (124), Himachal Pradesh (51), Arunachal Pradesh (36), Sikkim (21), and Jammu and Kashmir (9).

Launch of Framework for Voluntary Carbon Market in Agriculture Sector and Accreditation Protocol of Agroforestry Nurseries

  • Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare launched the Framework for Voluntary Carbon Market in Agriculture Sector and Accreditation Protocol of Agroforestry Nurseries in Delhi
  • The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare prepared a framework to promote Voluntary Carbon Market (VCM) in the agricultural sector of the country with a view to encourage small and medium farmers to avail benefits of carbon credit.
  • Introducing farmers to the carbon market will not only benefit them but also accelerate the adoption of environment-friendly agricultural practices.
  • The Accreditation Protocol of Agroforestry Nurseries will strengthen the institutional arrangements for production and certification of planting material on a large scale to promote agroforestry in the country.

India’s Agriculture Sector

  • The agriculture sector in the country is making an important contribution to the economy and livelihood of crores of people. 54.6% of the country’s workforce is engaged in agriculture and allied sectors’ activities.
  • The share of agriculture sector in GDP is 18.6%, while the sown area is 139.3 million hectares, out of the total geographical area of the country.

Maratha Military Landscapes of India

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  • The “Maratha Military Landscapes of India” will be India’s nomination for recognition as UNESCO World Heritage List for the year 2024-25.
  • The twelve component parts of this nomination are, Salher fort, Shivneri fort, Lohgad, Khanderi fort, Raigad, Rajgad, Pratapgad, Suvarnadurg, Panhala Fort, Vijay durg, Sindhudurg in Maharashtra and Gingee Fort in Tamil Nadu.
  • These components, distributed across diverse geographical and physiographic regions, showcase the strategic military powers of the Maratha rule.
  • The Maratha Military Landscapes of India, which developed between 17th and 19th centuries, represent an extraordinary fortification and military system envisioned by the Maratha rulers.
  • This extraordinary network of forts, varying in hierarchies, scales and typological features, is a result of integrating the landscape, terrain and physiographic characteristics distinctive to the Sahyadri mountain ranges, the Konkan Coast, Deccan Plateau and the Eastern Ghats in the Indian Peninsula.
  • There are more than 390 forts in Maharashtra out of which only 12 forts are selected under the Maratha Military Landscapes of India, of these eight forts are protected by the Archaeological Survey of India.
  • These are Shivneri fort, Lohgad, Raigad, Suvarnadurg, Panhala fort, Vijaydurg, Sindhudurg and Gingee fort whereas Salher fort, Rajgad, Khanderi fort and Pratapgarh are protected by the Directorate of Archaeology and Museums, Government of Maharashtra.
  • In the Maratha Military Landscapes of India Salher fort, Shivneri fort, Lohgad, Raigad, Rajgad and Gingee fort are hill forts, Pratapgad is hill-forest fort, Panhala is hill-plateau fort, Vijaydurg is coastal fort whereas Khanderi fort, Suvarnadurg and Sindhudurg are island forts.
  • The inception of the Maratha Military ideology dates back to 17th Century during the reign of the Maratha King Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj by the 1670 CE and continued through subsequent rules until Peshwa rule till 1818 CE.
  • There are two categories of nomination- cultural and natural criteria, the Maratha Military landscapes is nominated in the category of cultural criteria.
  • At present in India there are 42 World Heritage sites, out of which 34 are cultural sites, seven are natural sites whereas one is mixed site.
  • In Maharashtra there are six World Heritage Sites, five cultural and one natural these are, Ajanta Caves (1983), Ellora Caves (1983), Elephanta Caves (1987), Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) (2004), Victorian Gothic and Art Deco Ensembles of Mumbai (2018) and western Ghats of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Kerala is serial property in natural category (2012).

INS NIRUPAK DECOMMISSIONED AT VISAKHAPATNAM

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  • The Indian Navy’s indigenously designed and built survey ship, INS Nirupak, was decommissioned after 38 years of illustrious service to the nation in a ceremony
  • The ship, third of its class was launched on June 4, 1981, at GRSE and commissioned into
  • INS Nirupak was awarded the Admiral Jal Cursetji Rolling Trophy for best survey ship in the years 1994, 1995, 2005 and 2009.
  • It was actively engaged in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations, including Operation Gambhir (Tsunami Relief) in 2004, offering critical relief as a hospital ship to Indonesia.
  • INS Nirupak leaves an enduring legacy of maritime excellence, having charted the seas for 38 years.
  • Its hydrographic survey has not only shaped naval operations but also played a pivotal role in advancing scientific understanding of oceanography.
  • Four state-of-the-art survey ships are anticipated to join the survey fleet between 2024 and 2026.
  • Equipped with cutting-edge technology and advancements, these vessels are expected to enhance India’s hydrographic capabilities, contributing to maritime navigation, scientific research and disaster response.

INDIA- SAUDI ARABIA JOINT MILITARY EXERCISE ‘SADA TANSEEQ’ COMMENCES IN RAJASTHAN

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  • The inaugural edition of India-Saudi Arabia Joint Military Exercise ‘SADA TANSEEQ’ commenced at Mahajan, Rajasthan.
  • The Exercise is scheduled to be conducted from 29th January to 10thFebruary 2024.
  • The Saudi Arabian contingent comprising 45 personnel is being represented by Royal Saudi Land Forces.
  • The Indian Army contingent also comprising 45 personnel is being represented by a Battalion from the Brigade of the Guards (Mechanised Infantry).
  • Aim of the Exercise is to train troops of both sides for Joint Operations in Semi Desert terrain under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter.

INSAT-3DS

  • INSAT-3DS, is an exclusive meteorological satellite realized by ISRO with the primary objective to provide continuity of services to the existing in-orbit INSAT-3D and 3DR satellites and significantly enhancing the capabilities of INSAT system is flagged off to SDSC-SHAR launch port on January 25, 2024 for the launch onboard GSLV F14.
  • The Satellite had successfully completed Satellite Assembly, Integration & Testing activities at U R Rao Satellite Centre, Bengaluru.
  • The satellite is designed for enhanced meteorological observations and monitoring of land and ocean surfaces for weather forecasting and disaster warning, with state-of-the-art payloads
  • INSAT-3DS has been fully designed and fabricated in India leveraging ISRO’s expertise in end-to-end satellite building.
  • The reliable Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle Mk-II (GSLV-F14) has been chosen by ISRO for orbiting INSAT-3DS.
  • GSLV features an indigenous cryogenic third stage and has had a string of successful flights since 2017.
  • Launching a 2+ ton satellite will validate enhancements made to the vehicle for meeting future operational demands.

Government declares ‘Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)’ as an ‘Unlawful Association’ for a further period of five years under the UAPA

  • Government has, declared ‘Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI)’ as an ‘Unlawful Association’ for a further period of five years under Section 3(1) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) 1967.
  • The last ban on SIMI was imposed, vide Gazette Notification Number S.O. 564(E), dated the 31st January, 2019.
  • SIMI is continuing to be involved in fomenting terrorism, disturbing peace and communal harmony in the country which are prejudicial to the sovereignty, security and integrity of India.
  • Many criminal cases have been registered against SIMI and its members under various sections of law including the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.

Know! about UAPA

  • It was first enacted in 1967 to deal with secessionist movements and anti-national activities.
  • It was amended several times, most recently in 2019, to include provisions related to terrorist financing, cyber-terrorism, individual designation, and seizure of property.
  • According to the UAPA Act, if an organization performs or participates in acts of terrorism, prepares for terrorism, supports terrorism, or is otherwise involved in terrorism, the union government may declare or designate it as a terrorist organization.

European Ports Alliance

  • The EU launched a new initiative to crack down on drugs being trafficked through European ports.
  • The European Ports Alliance aims to enhance cooperation and intelligence gathering between police, customs officials and private sea terminal operators.
  • The initiative was inaugurated at Belgium’s Antwerp port, the main gateway for cocaine into Europe.
  • It brought together EU interior ministers and representatives from 16 EU ports and sea transport organizations.

Modified Parbati-Kalisindh-Chambal-ERCP (PKC-ERCP) Link Project

Modified Parbati-Kalisindh-Chambal-ERCP Link Project - INSIGHTSIAS

  • MoU was signed by Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh with Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS), Govt. of India (GoI) for implementation of the “Modified PKC-ERCP” (integration of original PKC with Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project of Rajasthan), which is the second project under the national perspective plan of interlinking of rivers (ILR) program of Government of India.
  • The Feasibility Report (FR) of Parbati-Kalisindh-Chambal (PKC) link project under National Perspective Plan (NPP) was prepared and circulated to the concerned State Governments in February-2004.
  • In the year 2019, Rajasthan came up with the proposal of ERCP.

Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) - Sanskriti IAS

  • With a view to utilize the water resources optimally, the integration of the Parbati-Kalisindh-Chambal (PKC) link of NPP with Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) was discussed
  • The Task Force for Interlinking of Rivers (TFILR) has approved the “Modified PKC-ERCP” link as the part of the National Perspective Plan of Interlinking of rivers in the country and also declared it as one of the priority link projects in the country.
  • This link project proposes to provide drinking and industrial water in 13 districts of eastern Rajasthan, Malwa and Chambal regions of Madhya Pradesh apart from providing irrigation in 2.8 lakh ha. area (or more) each in both the states (total of 5.6 lakh ha or more) including supplementation of enroute tanks in the states.
  • The Modified PKC link project will help in utilizing the available water resources of Chambal basin optimally and economically.

Odisha is all set to start the world’s first-ever black tiger safaris

India to start world's first black tiger safari in Odisha; know all about  it | Destination-of-the-week News - The Indian Express

  • Odisha announced the world’s first exclusive melanistic tiger safari adjoining the Similipal Tiger Reserve.
  • This exclusive safari of three melanistic tigers, will be one-of-a-kind for sure.
  • The melanistic tigers are distinct for their dark and dense stripes that are reportedly found only in Simlipal Tiger Reserve.
  • It’s expected that this move will boost tourism in this region, wherein tourists will get the opportunity to catch sight of the rare big cat.
  • The National Tiger Conservation Authority has given in-principle approval for the safari. A detailed site feasibility study will be done before final approvals. Other clearances like from Central Zoo Authority will also be needed
  • While sightings of black tigers in Odisha have been documented since 2007, the launch of this safari marks a historic moment as the world’s first melanistic tiger safari.
  • Panning across a vast area of 2,750 sq km, the Similipal Tiger Reserve in Odisha stands as witness to the state’s rich biodiversity.
  • With 12 rivers coursing through its expanse, the reserve provides a sanctuary for over 50 mammal species, 300 avian species, 60 reptile species, and more.

Know! about Black Tigers

  • Black tigers are regular Bengal tigers with increased melanin production, giving them dark stripes instead of the typical orange and black pattern.
  • They are known as pseudo-melanistic tigers and are found only in Odisha’s Similipal Tiger Reserve (STR) currently.

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Successful diversion of Chenab River achieved at Ratle Hydro Electric Project in J&K

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  • A major milestone has been achieved at the 850 MW Ratle Hydro Electric Project in Jammu & Kashmir, with the diversion of Chenab river through diversion tunnels at Drabshalla in Kishtwar district
  • The river diversion will enable isolation of dam area at river bed for starting the critical activity of excavation and construction of dam.
  • It will expedite project construction activities and help in minimising delays so as to facilitate all efforts being made by the project to meet the scheduled commissioning date of May 2026.

Know! about Ratle Project

  • The Ratle Project is being executed by Ratle Hydroelectric Power Corporation Limited (RHPCL), a Joint Venture of NHPC Limited and Government of J&K, with shareholding of 51:49 percent, respectively.
  • Ratle HE project is situated on River Chenab in Kishtwar District of J&K with installed capacity of 850 MW.
  • The sanction of Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs was accorded to the project by the Government of India in January 2021, at a total cost of Rs. 5281.94 crores

Investment Forum for Advancing Climate Resilient Agrifood Systems

  • The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and other stakeholders launched the Investment Forum for Advancing Climate Resilient Agrifood Systems in India in New Delhi in January 2024.
  • The two-day event brought together over 200 senior representatives from the government, financial institutions, UN agencies, and other key stakeholders.
  • The forum facilitated discussions across six key areas: climate-resilient agriculture approaches, digital solutions, financing, value chains, production practices, and social inclusion.
  • The forum aimed to identify national priorities and policy platforms for financing climate-resilient agrifood systems.

Legion contingent

  • A 95-member French Foreign Legion contingent, including 6 Indians, and a 33-member band squad participated in India’s 2024 Republic Day parade.
  • The iconic French Foreign Legion, established in 1831, uniquely recruits male volunteers from around the world to serve France’s military interests abroad. Currently comprising over 140 nationalities across 9,500 personnel, it offers foreigners eventual citizenship prospects
  • The Republic Day contingents showcase the Legion’s multi-ethnic character through the presence of the Indian legionnaires – 3 holding First Class ranks while 3 are Corporals. Their participation symbolizes the corps’ values of integration and masculine diversity.

World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2024

  • The World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2024 will convene leaders from government, business, and civil society to address the state of the world and discuss priorities for the year ahead.
  • The event is taking place at a moment of ‘polycrisis,’ a term that describes the coming together of multiple crises, such as the climate and biodiversity crises, the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and concerns over cost-of-living.
  • The Annual Meeting will provide a platform to engage in constructive, forward-looking dialogues and help find solutions through public-private cooperation.

Key Takeaways of Davos Meeting, 2024

  • India is transforming rapidly as one of the fastest-growing large economies in the world. India also made its presence felt in ways other than its economic potential. When it comes to technology, talent, healthcare, and other areas, its future in 2024 and beyond, is worth paying attention to.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI): This issue took center stage at this year’s WEF meeting. fear of job losses, the risks of impersonation and misinformation, and the inequalities that can potentially worsen. The overall observation- human intelligence did not face a major threat from AI.
  • It stressed that developed countries have to assist in the financing of climate action in developing countries, failing which the inequality will only grow.
  • Yet, no plans or roadmaps for peace were offered about the Israel-Gaza violence.
  • One of the ideas discussed at WEF this year was how investment in women’s health could boost the global economy by USD 1 trillion annually by 2040.

MTP Amendment Act 2021

  • Recently, the Delhi High Court has reversed its order that permitted a 26-year-old woman to terminate her 29-week-old pregnancy.

Features of MTP Amendment Act 2021

  • Enhancing the upper gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for special categories of women which will be defined in the amendments to the MTP Rules and would include survivors of rape, victims of incest, and other vulnerable women (like differently-abled women, minors), etc.
  • The opinion of only one provider will be required up to 20 weeks of gestation and of two providers for termination of pregnancy of 20-24 weeks of gestation.
  • Upper gestation limits are not to apply in cases of substantial foetal abnormalities diagnosed by the Medical Board. The composition, functions, and other details of the Medical Board to be prescribed subsequently in Rules under the Act.
  • Name and other particulars of a woman whose pregnancy has been terminated shall not be revealed except to a person authorized in any law for the time being in force.

Neuralink

  • Elon Musk’s brain-computer interface company, Neuralink, achieved a major milestone. its first successful human implantation. Initial results show promising neuron spike detection. Spikes are activity by neurons, defined as cells that use electrical and chemical signals to send information around the brain and throughout the body.

How does it function?

  • A small chip called a “link” is surgically inserted into a specific area of the brain.
  • The electrodes in the wires detect electrical signals in the brain.
  • These signals are used by the device for interpretation of their meaning.
  • The device then transmits this data to an external computer.
  • The data is then processed by external devices like computers for performing specific functions which have been decoded like speech, movement of artificial limbs, etc.
  • The system can provide sensory feedback to the brain device, closing the loop of communication. The brain can thus not only be used to control a device but also be used to receive inputs from that device like touch sensations from a robotic hand.

Indian Economy – A Review

  • This year the Economic Survey will not be presented a day before the interim Budget is announced by the FM.
  • The reason behind this is that this is not a full budget, but an interim budget being presented by the government.

What is the Economic Survey?

  • The Economic Survey is a document presented by the Centre a day before the Union Budget, and it is a comprehensive annual report which displays the performance of the Indian economy in the past fiscal year, highlighting the highs and lows for better insights for the future.
  • The Economic Survey is presented by the Chief Economic Advisor (CEA) on the eve of the Budget presentation, giving a highlight on how the previous budget worked and providing insights on what could come next for the Indian economy.

Why no Economic Survey on January 31?

  • Since this is not a full fledged Budget session, the Economic Survey will not be presented this year. In fact, no major announcements or changes in policy will be announced on February 1, since FM Sitharaman will only be presenting the interim Budget 2024.
  • The Lok Sabha elections 2024 are set to take place this year in April-May, which is why a full budget is not being presented by FM Sitharaman.
  • A complete budget and the Economic Survey will be presented in July, when the results are declared and a new cabinet is appointed.

Indian Economy – A Review

  • Since the survey document will not be out tomorrow, the Ministry of Finance released a report titled “Indian Economy – A Review” on Monday, January 29, giving the top highlights in the Indian economy from the part 10 years.
  • Indian Economy-A Review states that India will become a $5 trillion economy the next 3 years and could reach $7 trillion by 2030. India is poised to surpass a GDP growth rate of 7.2% in FY24, outpacing the global economy’s struggle to achieve a growth rate exceeding 3%, the report states.
  • It is expected that Indian economy will see a growth of 7 percent in 2024 for the third consecutive year. India also holds the position of the third-largest fintech economy globally, after UK and USA.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE ECONOMIC REVIEW

  • India’s gross domestic product (GDP) would grow faster than 7.2% in FY24, even as the world economy struggles to grow at more than 3%.
  • This would be the third straight year when the Indian economy would grow by more than 7%.
  • In the last decade, an increase in public sector investment, a healthy financial sector, and strong non-food credit growth have enabled the growth of the Indian economy at a moderate rate.
  • India is also the third-largest fintech economy in the world, after the USA and the UK.
  • India has also overtaken Hong Kong to become the fourth-largest stock market in the world. This has been credited to interest from domestic and global investors and sustained IPO activity.
  • With the PM Jan Dhan Yojana, women bank account holders have increased from 53% in 2015-16 to 78.6% in 2019-21.
  • The female labour force participation rate (LFPR) hiked from 23.3% in 2017-18 to 37% in 2022-23. Through the Skill India Mission, Start-Up India, and Stand-Up India, female participation is also growing in human capital formation.
  • The female Gross enrollment ratio (GER) in higher education has quadrupled from 6.7% in FY01 to 27.9% in FY21. While the GER has more than doubled from 24.5% to 58.2% between FY05 and FY22.
  • Micro, medium, and small enterprises (MSMEs) are also becoming increasingly dynamic with the government’s supportive measures, as per the report.
  • The adoption of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), along with the unification of domestic markets and increased incentives for production, has enhanced economic efficiency and subsequently reduced logistics costs.

How countries are classified as developed or developing?

  • The classification of countries as developed or developing is typically determined by international organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank, or the International Monetary Fund. These organizations use a variety of criteria to assess a country’s level of development, including its gross domestic product (GDP) per capita, industrialization, standard of living, infrastructure, and human development indicators such as education and healthcare. Developing countries, for instance, have a per capita individual wealth of less than $1,000. Developed countries have a per capita individual wealth of over $12,000. Moderately developed countries have a per capita income between $1,000 and $12,000.

Minority status Procedure

  • Recently, the Union government has told the Supreme Court (SC) that state governments can now grant minority status to any religious or linguistic community, including Hindus

How Minority is decided at Union and State level.

  • It is done under the National Commission for Minorities Act, of 1992. Only those belonging to the communities notified under Section 2(c) of the 1992 law are regarded as minority citizens. The central government has notified only six communities as having minority status at the national level.
  • A minority in the territory of a State means it is not the majority. Objectively, that means that an ethnic, religious, or linguistic group makes up less than half the population of a country.

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