Current Affairs   16th February-17th February 2024

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  • Indian Railways Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd. (IRCTC) has appointed Mr. Sanjay Kumar Jain as its new Chairman and Managing Director. IRCTC is a Mini Ratna CPSU by the Ministry of Railways that was established in 1999.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has completed his UAE visit (13-14 February) where he held bilateral meeting with UAE President Seikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nayhan in AbuDhabi. Here are a few highlights of the PM’s visit to Dubai:
    • The Prime Minister has launched the UPI RuPay card “Jaywan” in Abu Dhabi. It was followed by an agreement on interlinking of the instant payment platforms – UPI (India) and AANI (UAE) for the ease of facilitating seamless cross border transaction between the two countries.
    • He took part in the World Governments Summit 2024 in Dubai where India is invited as a guest of honor alongside Qatar and Turkey.
    • The PM attended ‘Ahlan Modi’ event in Abu Dhabi where he addressed the Indian Diaspora. 35% i.e. 3.5 Million people of UAE are Indian expatriates, making them the largest ethnic group in UAE.
    • The PM has announced that Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will open its office in Dubai. Before it, the Masters’ course was started at the IIT Delhi- Abu Dhabi campus in January 2024.
    • PM Narendra Modi inaugurated the first traditional Hindu stone temple, Bochasanwasi Aksar Purushottam Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) temple in the Middle East at Abu Dhabi, UAE. It is a traditional Nagara style temple with its exteriors being made with Pink Sandstone from Rajasthan and the interiors being made up of Italian Marble. The seven sikhars of the temple are representative of the seven emirates of the UAE.
    • UAE’s Technology Innovation Institute has launched “Falcon Foundation” at the World Governments Summit (WGS) 2024. It is dedicated to advancing open-source generative AI models.
    • The foundation stone of Bharat Mart has been laid at the Jebel Ali port of Dubai, which has the potential to play an important role in promoting exports of MSME sectors of India into the various West Asian, European and Middle Eastern blocks.
  • Saudi Arabia is going to launch “Dream of the Desert”, the country’s first luxury train that will connect Riyadh the capital city to Al Qurayyat, a border city near Jordan. It will pass through many picturesque world heritage sites.
  • SpaceX has launched the first private moon lander of US. Its Falcon 9 rocket lifted off from NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral with Nova-C lander, dubbed Odysseus. Odysseus was built by a Houston based company Intuitive Machines.
  • Japan has lost its place as the third largest economy of the world to Germany after a prolonged contraction hit Japan’s economy in the last quarters of 2023. When two straight quarters of contraction are occurred in an Economy, it is considered to be in a technical recession. Among the key contributing factors, a weaker Japanese Yen, its declining population and lagging productivity and competitiveness are most prominent.
  • 16th National Youth Parliament Competition took place in the Parliament Library Building, Parliament House Complex, New Delhi where the students of Central University of Punjab, Bhatinda came first.
  • Cochin International Airport and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) has collaboratively set up World’s first Green Hydrogen Plant in an Airport premises with 1000KW of Power production capacity.
  • Indian Hammer thrower Rachna Kumari got banned for 12 years for being caught doping. This is her second anti-doping violation.

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  • Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Shri Purushottam Rupala has launched the realigned Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund  (AHIDF) Scheme with a financial out-lay of Rs. 29610 Crore for three years from 31.03.2023 till 2025-26. This scheme will help the Dairy Coperatives to upgrade their processing infrastructure with an updated processing technology simultaneously benefitting a large number of dairy farmers of the country.
  • Department of Telecommunications (DoT) has unveiled the “Sangam: Digital Twin” initiative , a technology that offers a solution by creating virtual replicas of physical assets, allowing for real-time monitoring, simulations and analysis.
  • A constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by the CJI DY Chandrachud has declared Electoral Bond Scheme unconstitutional on the ground of violation of Article 19(1)(a). The bench has upheld that due to its unanimous nature regarding rendering information, it was violating the Right to Information thus affecting free speech and expression.
    • The Electoral Bond Scheme: It was a central government scheme where SBI was the sole authorized issuer of bonds that functioned as money instruments through which companies and individuals in India can donate to political parties only without divulging their identities. It was notified by the government on January 2, 2018. SBI used to issue bonds in the denominations of Rs. 1,000, Rs. 10,000, Rs. 10 lakh and Rs. 1 Crore.
  • For the first time, as a joint collaboration between the Sikkim government and the World Bank, Sikkim INSPIRES (Integrated Service Provision for Revising Economics) have been launched on February 15, 2024 in Gangtok. This scheme is aimed at fostering economic growth and inclusion through providing better economic opportunities for women and youth through training and employment generation initiatives.
    • Sikkim is the least populated and the second smallest state of India that was formally recognized as the 22nd state of the Indian Union through 36th amendment of the Indian Constitution on May 16, 1975.
    • Sikkim is the largest producer of Cardamom. CM – PS Tamang.
  • Dr. Karan Nathwani, a professor of the IIT Jammu has developed an anti-drone system that will be easily able to detect drones, aircraft, multiple drones or birds flying up to 300 meters by their sound only. It costs around only 4 lakh rupees to be built and assembled.
  • Taj Mahostsav 2024: This is an annual cultural festival organised in Agra every year in February since 1992 as a part of Ministry of Tourism’s annual cultural calendar. It is a 10 day cultural festival that will take place from February 17-27, 2024 at Shilpagram, near The Tajmahal’s eastern gate.
    • Theme 2024: “Sanskriti and Samridhdhi”.
  • After returning from his recent UAE visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone of India’s 22nd AIIMS – All India Institute of Medical Sciences at Rewari, Haryana. He has inaugurated the Mahabharat themed Jyotisar Anubhav Kendra in Kurukshetra.
    • Haryana:              Governor – Bandaru Dattatreya                 CM- Manohar Lal Khattar.
  • The Uttar Pradesh government has increased the grant amount given under the Kanya Sumangala Yojana from Rs. 15,000 to  Rs. 25,000 (effective from April 1).
    • Kanya Sumangala Yojana is a state government scheme by the UP government launched in April 2019 by the Women’s Welfare Department to eradicate female foeticide, foster gender equality, prevent child marriages, enhance the health and education of girls.
  • Haryana CM Manohar Lal Khattar has launched ‘Van Mitra’schemeas an encouragement in community participation in tree planting activities in non-forest areas.
    • Van Mitra Scheme: Any individual aged between 18 and 60 can become a ‘Van Mitra’  who have an annual income of less than ₹1.80 lakh. They will have to choose non-forest land for tree plantation in their local town or city. Each Van Mitra will receive an incentive based on plants and they can plant a maximum of 1000 saplings.
    • In the first year they will receive Rs. 20 for each dug pit after uploading its picture geo-tagging, after that they will receive Rs. 30 for each planted tree, Rs. 10 for the maintenance and securities of each living plants. Thus they will receive Rs. 8, Rs. 5 and Rs. 3  for each living plant per month in the second, third and fourth year respectively. In case they becomes unable to take care of the planted trees, the state forest department will take over them.
  • Large deposits of iron ore have been found in Rajasthan’s Karauli near Hindon. Both Magnetite and Hematite can be found here.
  • The ICMR- National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) has launched NutriAIDE app to help users adopt healthy and sustainable practices.
  • Ravichandran Ashwin becomes the second Indian after Anil Kumble to take 500 Test Wickets during the third test against England in Rajkot.
  • The South Indian Bank has been awarded with the best technology bank awardof the year at the 19th IBA Annual Banking  Technology Conference, Expo & Citations in Mumbai. It also stood as the winner of the following awards, Best Tech Talent Organisation and Best IT Risk and Management Bank.
    • South Indian Bank is one of the earliest banks in South India in 1929.
      • HQ- Thrissur, Kerala.
      • MD & CEO – PR Seshadri.
  • ISRO has decommissioned and wilfully destroyed the high resolution satellite, Cartosat-2 that was launched on January 10, 2007. It was a sun-synchronous polar orbit satellite that provided high resolution imagery for urban planning until 2019.
  • 2023 Burgundy Private & Hurun India 500 list:
    • It is the list of top 500 most valuable private companies.
    • Top 3:   1st – Reliance Industries, 2nd – Tata Consultancy Services, 3rd – HDFC Bank
    • Serum Institute of India is India’s most valuable unlisted company.
    • 437 out of 500 companies have women’s representation in their boards.
  • Prabowo Subianto has emerged victorious in Indonesia’s Presidential Election.
    • Indonesia is the largest archipelagic country in the world.
    • Capital – Jakarta,             Currency – Indonesian Rupiah.
  • Greece becomes one of the first orthodox Christian countries to legalise same sex marriages.
  • India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ruchira Kamboj chairs the 62nd session of the Commission for Social Development from February 5-15, 2023. This commission is a functional body of the Economic and Social Council.
    • Theme: Fostering Social Development and Social Justice through Social Policies to Accelerate Progress on the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to Achieve the Overarching Goal of Poverty Eradication.
  • The 16th edition of World Social Forum 2024 has commenced in Kathmandu, Nepal.
    • Theme: “Another World is Possible”.
  • The Reserve Bank of India and the Nepal Rashtra Bank has joined hands to link UPI and NPI for faster and cheaper cross-border instant remittances.

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