Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 17th January 2024

1. Soldiers turn lifesavers off battlefield, save blood cancer patients in Bengaluru 

  • In a story of selflessness that transcends the battlefield, two Army personnel have become heroes not just with weapons but with a life-saving stem cell donation. Their story surpasses duty and borders, embarking on a remarkable journey to donate stem cells and give a new lease of life to two strangers battling blood cancer. 
  • The two Army men, registered as potential stem cell donors with DKMS- BMST-a non-profit organization dedicated to the fight against blood cancer and other blood disorders traveled to Bengaluru to donate the stem cells. 
  • Captain Cyrus, who had already registered as a potential stem cell donor with DKMS-BMST, received a call in December 2023. He was informed that his stem cells were a perfect match for a young patient who needed transplantation. To donate stem cells, he traveled to Bengaluru from Northeast India, where he was posted. Despite the logistical challenges and personal sacrifices involved, Captain Cyrus's decision was immediate. 
  • Similarly, soldier Fezal K., who registered as a po- tential blood stem cell donor with DKMS-BMST in 2019, came up as a match for a blood cancer patient in May 2021. Without a moment's hesitation, he set out on a strenuous journey, traveling from a remote location in northeast India for six days continuously, which even included a 60-km walk, until he reached Bengaluru to donate his blood stem cells. 
  • Patrick Paul, CEO of DKMS-BMST Foundation India, said over 70,000 people die of blood cancer annually, yet only 30% of patients in need of a stem cell transplant can find HLA (Human Leukocyte Antigen-tissue type) matching donors within their families. More than 70% are looking for unrelated donors, but due to a lack of awareness, only 0.04% of the total Indian population is registered as potential stem cell donors. 

2. Trump wins big in lowa caucuses; Vivek quits race 

  • Former President Donald Trump scored a record-setting win in the Iowa caucuses on Monday with his rivals far behind, a victory that affirmed his grip on the 2024 Republican presidential nomination. 
  • In what was the lowest- turnout caucus in a quarter century, participants endured life-threatening cold and dangerous driving conditions to meet in hundreds of schools, churches and community centers. 
  • But those who ventured out delivered a roughly 30 point win for Mr. Trump smashed the record for a contested Iowa Republican caucus with a margin of victory exceeding Bob Dole's nearly 13 percentage point victory in 1988. 
  • Donald Trump second, just ahead of former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley. Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy finished fourth. 
  • Mr. Ramaswamy suspended his bid and endorsed Mr. Trump after the vote. Mr. Ramaswamy said he made the decision after determining there was no path forward for him in the race, "absent things that we don't want to see happen in this country". 

3. India, China tensions continued through 2021, 2022, new details reveal 

  • Tensions between India and China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) continued through 2021 and till 2022-end, against the backdrop of the stand-off in eastern Ladakh and continued attempts by China to invade Indian territory, new details have revealed. 
  • The Army has presented gallantry awards to personnel for acts of bravery in this regard at two investiture ceremonies held in the past few days. One such act involved relaying live feed from the enemy side in the Sikkim area by a Major-rank officer for 120 hours for which he was awarded the Sena Medal (Gallantry). 
  • The citation for this November 2022 incident which was read at the Central Command investiture ceremony also noted the tough conditions and high altitude area in which the officer operated. 
  • As the fresh details of the tensions between the two nuclear-armed neighbors became public, the Army's Western Command quickly pulled down the video of the investiture ceremony, while that of the Central Command was available when last accessed by this reporter. 
  • The ceremony was for operations between September 2021 and November 2022. 
  • Other citations reveal clashes between troops at Shankar Tekri in January 2022 and another in November 2022 as the People's Liberation Army (PLA) troops attempted to lay siege on the Atari post after crossing the LAC. 
  • In the first combat fatalities in 45 years, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a violent clash after they were attacked by the Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley on the night of June 15, 2020 during a "de-esca lation" process after a month-long stand-off between troops at several points in eastern Ladakh and Sikkim. Further, shots were fired at the south bank of the Pangong Lake in August-September but no injuries were reported. It was the first time since 1975 that shots were fired along the LAC. 
  • Around the end of August 2020, the Army was in Intense action to gain tactical advantage over the PLA on the north and south banks of Pangong Tso after they made deep ingress into Indian territory. Tanks from both sides were just a couple of hundred meters from each other. 
  • Speaking of the situation on the northern borders with China, Army chief General Manoj Pande said last week that the situation was "stable but sensitive". "We continue to talk to find a solution to address the balance issues between the two sides. Operational preparedness is very high, and deployment is both robust and balanced...," he stated. 

4. Iran says it has attacked militant bases in Pakistan 

  • Iran launched attacks in Pakistan on Tuesday, targeting what it described as bases for the militant st group Jaish al-Adl, state media reported. Those reports were then suddenly removed. 
  • The state-run IRNA news agency and state television had said that missiles and drones were used in the attack, which was not immediately acknowledged by Pakistan. 
  • Jaish al-Adl is a Sunni militant group which largely operates across the border in Pakistan. The reports of strikes came at a time of heightened tensions in the region and fears of a wider spillover of the ongoing war in Gaza. 

5. PM opens campus in A.P., holds roadshow in Kochi 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new campus of the National Academy of Customs, Indirect Taxes and Narcotics (NACIN) at Palasamudram in Sri Satya Sai district of Andhra Pradesh and later, held a roadshow in Kochi on Tuesday. 
  • He congratulated those involved in the NACIN project and recalled the Puttaparthi region's association with spirituality, nation building and good governance, representing the heritage of India. He said spiritualist Sri Satya Sai Baba, freedom fighter Kallur Subba Rao, renowned artist Dalavai Chalapathi Rao for and the good governance the of Vijayanagara empire as em- sources of inspiration from site the region. 
  • Mr. Modi quoted verses referring to the tax system as mentioned in the ancient scriptures. Referring to the tax reforms initiated during the last 10 years, he said the introduction of the modern system of GST that enabled simplified income tax and faceless assessment. "All these reforms have resulted in record tax collection," Mr. Modi said. 
  • As the day was observed as Thiruvalluvar Day' across Tamil Nadu, he quoted the great Tamil saint and underlined the role of revenue officers in collecting taxes that lead to people's welfare in a democracy. 
  • Mr. Modi took out a one-and-a-half-kilometer road show in Kochi sending BJP workers into a frenzy. 
  • The roadshow, which is perceived as the soft launch of the BJP's campaign for the 2024 Lok Sabha election in Kerala, saw the State unit of the party mobilizing its workers in large numbers. Mr. Modi, who traveled in an open vehicle from KPCC Junction to Ernakulam Guest House, greeted the workers, who lined up behind the iron barricades put up by the police and security personnel. The party workers welcomed Mr. Modi by showering petals and raising slogans. 
  • Earlier, Governor Arif Mohammad Khan, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and Union Minister V. Muraleedharan received the Prime Minister who arrived in Kerala for a two- day visit. 
  • Mr. Modi will travel to Bengaluru on January 19 to participate in an aerospace-related event. 
  • He will inaugurate a new campus of global aerospace major Boeing at Devanahalli, near Bengaluru. The new campus is a high tech aerospace park, said to be the largest such Boeing facility outside the U.S. (With inputs from Kochi, Bengaluru) 

6. Historic hearing A provisional order by ICJ on Israel will cast shadow on legitimacy of its war 

  • While hearing at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at The Hague, South Africa's case against Israel's ongoing military campaign in Gaza has garnered global attention in a way no proceeding at this elite inter state forum may have done before. As the 15-member court assembled, along with two ad hoc judges representing South Africa and Israel, quite a bit of history must have weighed on the parties. Of the two countries on either side of this dispute over whether the Gaza war is aimed at wiping out the people, one has left behind its apartheid past, but believes that the other is practising 75 years of 'apartheid' against the Palestinian people since 1948; one firm in its belief that it is acting in the interest of justice and humanity, the other equally firm in its its belief it can never be accused of genocide, a crime that was sought to be prevented by the Genocide Convention of 1948, a treaty to prevent the sort of Holocaust the Jewish people had suffered. Both countries spent many years in the last century in diplomatic isolation, as countries and sporting bodies boycotted them, but both had the support of their western allies. Today, save for those few allies, the entire world supports a ceasefire in Gaza to end the epic suffering of its people. 
  • At this preliminary stage, South Africa sought to demonstrate that some of Israel's acts were capable of falling within the terms of the Genocide Convention and that there was 'genocidal intent' behind its acts. It relied on data on deaths and destruction and the collapse of civilian life and health infrastructure in Gaza. It drew upon statements attributed to key Israeli government figures to underscore what it called 'genocidal intent'. The provisional measures sought include a suspension of military operations and steps by the parties to prevent the occurrence of genocide. Israel described the South African case as 'blood libel' before the hearing, but sought to make a case that its Gaza operations were a legitimate response to the terrorist attack on October 7 last year. It played down the relevance of its leaders' statements, calling them mere rhetoric. It attributed the civilian casualties to Hamas using civilians as shields and hospitals as storage for explosives and launching pads for attacks. The issue before the court is quite straightforward, but the larger concern is whether Israel will abide by any provisional measure. Russia ignored an ICJ order to suspend its operations in Ukraine in March 2022. However, there is little doubt that any provisional measure will cast a shadow on the legitimacy of Israel's Gaza war. 

7. Understanding the Tenth Schedule 

  • The Maharashtra Assembly has refused to disqualify 40 MLAs of the Eknath Shinde faction after recognising it as the real Shiv Sena He held the appointment of whip by this group as valid. He also did not disqualify 14 MLAs of the Uddhav Balasaheb Thackeray (UBT) group due to technical reasons under the Tenth Schedule. 
  • Why was the Tenth Schedule made? The delections of legislators during the 1960s and 70s from their parent parties created political instability in many States, bringing down elected governments. Therefore, to ensure the stability of elected governments, the 52nd constitutional amendment introduced the "anti-defection' law through the Tenth Schedule in 1985. This Schedule provides that a member of a House of Parliament or State legislature who voluntarily gives up the membership of their political party or votes against the instructions of their party in a House are liable for disqualification from said House. This instruction with respect to voting is issued by the 'whip' of a party. A whip' isa member of the 'legislature party in a House who is appointed as such by the respective 'political party''. The 'political party' is the entire organization of a party including the legislators, while the legislature party is only the members of a political party in a House of Parliament or State legislature. The Tenth Schedule originally provided for two exceptions that would not render the members liable for disqualification. First, one-third members of the legislature party split to form a separate group (para 3). Second, merger of their 'political party' with another party that is approved by two-third members of its legislature party' (para 4). 
  • However, considering the need to strengthen the anti-defection law, para 3 was omitted in 2003. 
  • With the deletion of para 3, there have been instances of two-third members of a legislature party practically defecting but claiming to be the original political party in order to escape disqualification. There have also been instances where more than two-third members of a State legislature party of a national political party merged themselves with another political party to escape disqualification. This happened in September 2019, in Rajasthan, when all six Bahujan Samajwadi Party MLAs merged themselves with the Congress Party and in September 2022, in Goa, when eight. 

8. Farmers body gives call for rural strike on February 16 

  • The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM), the umbrella Th organization of about 500 farmers' outfits, has called for grameen bandh (rural strike) on February 16 against the farm policies of the Centre. 
  • The All India Convention of the SKM, held in Jalandhar on Tuesday, decided to seek alternative policies in the farm sector based on production cooperatives and other people centric models. The SKM is also holding a meeting with Central trade unions on Wednesday to consider the possibility of an industrial strike on February 16. 
  • At the meeting, the members appealed to farmers "to punish the pro-corporate, anti-farmer BJP government" at the Centre by voting against the NDA in the general election. 
  • A declaration adopted at the convention demanded an alternative policy of agriculture and agro-based industrial development away from the "clutches of corporate monopolies''. It demanded public investment, producer cooperatives and other people-centric models so that farmers get remunerative prices, workers get wages for dignified life and social security including pension for all sections of people is achieved. 

9. Crash course in new criminal Four laws, moot court proceedings disp planned for police officers

  • The Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPRD) has prepared "crash courses" and "moot court proceedings" to train police officials across the country in implementing the three criminal laws that were passed by Parliament last month. 
  • Three sets of training modules have been developed for officers from the rank of Station House Officer to Additional Director General of Police (ADGP). The BPRD functions under the Union Home Ministry. 
  • While a two-day crash course has been readied for officers from the rank of Inspector-General (IG) of Police to ADGP, those up to the rank of Superintendent of Police will receive training for three days, and others for five days. 
  • In the training module, the three laws have been divided in sections of nine and f 11 with intended outcomes such as "understanding and addressing gender based crimes", "proficiency in arrest procedures and rights", and "legal implications of admissions and confessions and difference between primary and secondary evidence". 
  • Each section has been attributed weightage in the range of 5% to 20%. The Bharatiya Nyaya Sanhita (BNS), which replaces the Indian Penal Code (IPC); the Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam (BSA), in place of the Indian Evidence Act; and the Bharatiya Nagarik Suraksha Sanhita (BNSS), in place of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), were notified in the Gazette of India on December 25. 
  • The government is yet to announce when the laws would be implemented. 
  • The course titled "Sensitisation Of New Criminal Laws BNS-2023, BNSS-2023 AND BSA-2023" will begin with a 30-minute video of the parliamentary debate. 
  • The course focuses on "reforms" and various sessions have been named around that. For example, one session is about "Reforms in Offense against 
  • The BPRD has also prepared another 25-day training module for extensive training of police officials. According to the module, "Role Play Trainees will complete an investigation simulation and then that charge sheet will be tried in the moot court, where if possible the help of practicing advocates and Judges can be elucidated". 
  • As reported by The Hindu on January 8, the government is now looking at a phased implementation of the three criminal laws as the necessary paraphernalia and training of police officials may take longer. 
  • PM Narendra Modi is learnt to have suggested that the three laws should be rolled out in all Union Territories by 2024-end. 

10.Home Ministry cancels 0 FCRA registration of Centre for Policy Research 

  • The Union Home Ministry has canceled the Foreign q. ft. Contribution Regulation ping Act (FCRA) registration of the Centre for Policy Research (CPR), a leading public policy research institution in New Delhi. 
  • The Ministry had suspended the registration, which enabled the CPR to receive foreign donations, on February 27, 2023. 
  • The suspension on grounds of violation was We, initially for a period of 180 days, but was extended ms subsequently. 
  • Yamini Aiyar, president of CPR, told The Hindu that the institution would ect weigh its options to seek Do justice. The think tank is learnt to have received the cancellation order on January 10. The Home Ministry website said the registration was canceled on grounds of "violation". One of the reasons cited is that the institute published reports on "current affairs programmes", which is a violation of the FCRA.
  • Ms. Aiyar said that the institution had been functioning within the framework of the law. "Its work has been built over decades to undertake globally recognised high-quality research on issues that matter deeply to Indian public life and policy making," she said. "The cancellation of our FCRA is distressing, for it is a cancellation that is disproportionate and without adequate opportunity to be heard. We will weigh our options to seek justice. We remain committed to our core goals and remain steadfast in our belief that this matter will be resolved in line with constitutional values and guarantees," she added. 
  • In 2023, the Income Tax Department had canceled the tax exemption status of CPR. The office of the think tank in the national capital was surveyed by the department in September 2022. The department alleged that it had made payments to persons who had not filed their personal tax returns, and raised questions about the books published by CPR being commercial in nature. The think tank has denied the allegations and challenged the order in the Delhi High Court. 

11. ICMR starts revising current National Essential Diagnostics List for first time 

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has begun the process of revising the current National Essential Diagnostics List (NEDL), saying that considerable time has passed since the first list was released in 2019. The council has invited relevant stake-holders to offer suggestions on adding or deleting diagnostic tests to the current list by the end of February. The NEDL lists the essential and most basic tests that should be available at various levels of healthcare facilities in the country, including at the village level, in sub-health centers, health and wellness centers, and primary health centers. 
  • In 2018, the World Health Organization recommended the development and implementation of the NEDL to facilitate the availability of in-vitro diagnostics across the various tiers of the healthcare pyramid, in facilities with or without an on site laboratory. The ICMR then released India's first NEDL in 2019 to make the availability of diagnostics an essential component of the healthcare system based on careful consideration of the disease burden data across different States of India, alignment with national programmes and adherence to Indian public health standards. The required manpower, infrastructure and logistical support required at each health facility to carry out the tests were also recommended," the council noted. 
  • The ICMR defined essential diagnostic tests as those that satisfy the priority health care needs of the population and are selected with due regard to disease prevalence and public health relevance, evidence of efficacy and accuracy, and comparative cost-effectiveness. 
  •  The council added that the test should focus on conditions with a high disease burden or having significant public health relevance, where the introduction of a diagnostic test will have a clear impact on disease diagnosis management. It should have a documented use and necessity at the level for which it is suggested, and any proposed addition should align with the availability of equipment, infrastructure and manpower, as per the Indian Public Health Standards, 2022. 

12.Ministry Of Home Affairs Revokes FCRA Registration Of Centre For Policy Research 

  • The Ministry of Home Affairs in India has revoked the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Amendment Act, 2020, registration of the Centre for Policy Research (CPR) in New Delhi, alleging violations. 
  • The leading public policy research institution, spearheaded by Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar’s daughter, Yamini Aiyar, has faced government scrutiny for purportedly breaching FCRA regulations. 
  • Last year, the government temporarily suspended CPR’s FCRA license for 180 days, a period subsequently extended by another 180 days. 
  • Established in 1973, CPR is a prominent policy think-tank known for its advanced research on diverse policy issues, focusing on the challenges facing India in the 21st century. 

13.India To Host Year-Long ‘Ramayan’ Festival From Delhi 

  • India is set to launch a year-long festival, seeking global connections through the celebration of Ramayan and its cultural significance. 
  • The festival is scheduled to commence from Delhi’s historic Purana Qila (Old Fort) on January 18 and will traverse various cities such as Lucknow, Ayodhya, and Varanasi. 
  • The “Year of Connecting the World Through Ramayana” promises a vibrant array of events, starting with the inaugural week at Purana Qila from January 18-24. The festivities include ballet performances, talks, and interactive arts and crafts exhibitions centered around the Ramayana. 

14.Bull-Taming Festival ‘Jallikattu’ Starts In Tamil Nadu

  • Tamil Nadu, a lively state in South India renowned for its cultural richness and traditional festivities, kicked off the Jallikattu competition in the village of Avaniyapuram within Madurai district. 
  • Jallikattu, a highlight of the Pongal harvest festival held in the second week of January, is poised to extend its excitement over a three-day period with Avaniyapuram hosting the first day, followed by Palamedu on the second day and Alanganallur on the third 
  • Jallikattu, a bull-taming sport, traces its roots back to around 2,000 years, showcasing a deep-seated connection to the cultural fabric of Tamil Nadu. Initially conducted as a means to select suitable bridegrooms, the event has evolved into a symbol of valor and tradition. 

15.Vice Admiral Vineet McCarty Assumes Role As Commandant, Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala 

  • Vice Admiral Vineet McCarty officially assumed the prestigious position of Commandant at the Indian Naval Academy on January 15, 2024. 
  • Vice Admiral McCarty’s journey in the Indian Navy began on July 1, 1989, when he was commissioned into the service. Over the years, he has distinguished himself through various roles and responsibilities, showcasing exemplary leadership and dedication to the nation. 
  • Vice Admiral McCarty’s specialization in ‘Gunnery and Missiles’ became evident early in his career. He served as part of the commissioning crew of INS Delhi and completed specialist tenures onboard a frontline Guided Missile Destroyer, showcasing his prowess in naval weaponry and technology. 

16.Government Reduces Windfall Tax On Crude Oil Amid Global Economic Concerns 

  • In response to the evolving dynamics of the global oil market, the Indian government has decided to slash the windfall tax on domestically-produced crude oil, effective January 16. 
  • The tax, levied as the Special Additional Excise Duty (SAED), has been reduced from Rs 2,300 per tonne to Rs 1,700 per tonne. 
  • The move aims to address the challenges posed by soaring crude oil prices and is part of the government’s fortnightly review mechanism based on average oil prices in the preceding two weeks. 
  • The reduction in windfall tax comes against the backdrop of concerns about weakened global economic conditions and an increase in crude inventories in the United States, contributing to a decline in crude prices. 

17.Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti 2024 

  • Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti, also known as Prakash Utsav, is a significant Sikh festival commemorating the birth anniversary of Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth and last Sikh Guru. This auspicious day is celebrated with immense joy and fervour by Sikh communities around the world. 
  • Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti holds immense significance for Sikhs as it marks the birth of a visionary leader who not only strengthened the Sikh community but also stood against tyranny and injustice. 
  • Guru Gobind Singh Ji is renowned for establishing the Khalsa Panth, a community of initiated Sikhs, in 1699. The creation of the Khalsa symbolized the spirit of courage, selflessness, and devotion to righteousness. 

18.Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka Lead In Startup Ecosystem Development: DPIIT 

  • The startup ecosystem in India witnessed a significant boost as Gujarat, Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu emerged as the best-performing states in the Startup Ranking for 2022. 
  • Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, and Telangana were also recognized as top performers in this dynamic landscape. 
  • A total of 33 states and union territories actively participated in the evaluation, categorized under five distinct groups – best performers, top performers, leaders, aspiring leaders, and emerging startup ecosystems. 
  • The much-anticipated rankings were officially unveiled by Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal. The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), a crucial department under the Commerce Ministry, carried out the evaluation. 

19.US Leads 2024 Military Rankings, India Fourth, Bhutan Ranks Lowest 

  • The Global Firepower’s Military Strength Rankings for 2024 offer a comprehensive assessment of military capabilities worldwide. 
  • The rankings, encompassing 145 countries, take into account more than 60 factors, including troop numbers, military equipment, financial stability, geographic location, and available resources.


20.India Emerges As A Global Leader In Trust: Edelman Trust Barometer 2024 

  •  In the recently unveiled Edelman Trust Barometer 2024, India emerges as a global frontrunner in trust, topping the charts in confidence in businesses and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). However, the nation secures the 4th spot for media trust and the 5th position for trust in the government. 
  • The comprehensive survey, encompassing over 32,000 respondents across 28 countries, highlights a pattern where developing nations outpace their developed counterparts in overall trust perception. 
  • The survey also indicates a global trend of skepticism, with 63% globally expressing concerns about intentional misinformation from government leaders. 

21.World Economic Forum And Telangana Government Collaborate To Establish C4IR In Hyderabad 

  • In a groundbreaking move, the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Telangana government are jointly establishing the 19th Centre of the WEF’s Fourth Industrial Revolution Network (4IR) in Hyderabad. 
  • The collaboration, solidified during a meeting between Telangana Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy and WEF President Borge Brende at Davos, underscores the commitment to advancing healthcare technology. 
  • The centre aims to align with the broader vision of the Telangana government and WEF, emphasizing collaborative efforts to enhance lifestyles and living standards. 
  • The C4IR in Hyderabad is poised to become the world’s premier healthcare hub, providing employment opportunities in the healthcare sector and fostering partnerships between the government and small and medium enterprises. The official launch is scheduled to take place during BioAsia 2024. 

22.IndoSpace Signs Rs 2000 Cr Deal With Tamil Nadu Govt 

  • IndoSpace, a leading player in industrial and logistics real estate, has solidified its commitment to Tamil Nadu’s economic development by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) valued at Rs 2000 crore. 
  • IndoSpace’s Rs 2000 crore investment is expected to generate employment opportunities for approximately 15,000 individuals. This boost in job creation is a positive step towards addressing unemployment challenges and fostering a more robust economy for Tamil Nadu. 
  • The MoU underscores IndoSpace’s strategic focus on contributing to the growth of Tamil Nadu’s industrial landscape. This significant investment is poised to have far-reaching implications, not only for the state’s economic prosperity but also for job creation. 

23.The Book “An Uncommon Love: The Early Life Of Sudha And Narayana Murthy” Released 

  • The book “An Uncommon Love: The Early Life of Sudha and Narayana Murthy,” authored by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni offers an intimate view into the lives of one of India’s most respected couples, Sudha and Narayana Murthy, the co-founders of Infosys. 
  • The Murthys are known for their philanthropic work and pivotal roles in the Indian IT industry. Their story is unique, with a deep connection to literature and reading, particularly Kannadiga writers. 
  • The book explores the professional challenges they faced, particularly Narayana Murthy’s dedication to building Infosys. The biography also touches on an incident where Narayana Murthy had to sleep in a storeroom during a business trip due to a demanding client, highlighting the struggles they faced in their early professional years.

24.Praggnanandhaa Surpasses Viswanathan Anand To Become India’s No.1 Chess Player 

  • Rameshbabu Praggnanandhaa, an 18-year-old chess prodigy from Chennai, achieved a historic milestone in his career by defeating World Champion Ding Liren from China. 
  • The win against Ding Liren not only marked a personal victory for Praggnanandhaa but also led him to surpass the legendary Viswanathan Anand as the top-rated Indian player. 
  • With a FIDE live rating of 2748.3, Praggnanandhaa marginally edged past Anand’s rating of 2748. This achievement places Praggnanandhaa as the second Indian, following Anand, to defeat a reigning world champion in classical chess. He had previously defeated Ding Liren at the Tata Steel tournament in 2023 as well. 

25.India International Science Festival 2023 Kicks Off Today 

  • The India International Science Festival (IISF) 2023 has commenced today on January 17, marking the beginning of a four-day extravaganza celebrating the achievements of India in the frontier areas of science and technology. 
  • Organized by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India, and coordinated by the National Innovation Foundation-India, IISF 2023 aims to foster scientific temperament, acknowledge achievements, and spread awareness among the Indian populace. 
  • The central theme for IISF 2023 is “Science and Technology Public Outreach in Amrit Kaal.” This theme underscores the importance of public engagement in science and technology, emphasizing outreach initiatives that contribute to the betterment of society. 

26.Pixxel Inaugurates MegaPixxel: A State-Of-The-Art Satellite Manufacturing Facility In Bengaluru 

  • Bengaluru-based space tech startup Pixxel marked a significant milestone on January 15 with the inauguration of its cutting-edge spacecraft manufacturing facility, named “MegaPixxel.” 
  • The 30,000 sq ft facility is poised to revolutionize satellite production capabilities in India. MegaPixxel is equipped to provide comprehensive satellite manufacturing services, including spacecraft assembly, integration, and testing (AIT) under one roof. 
  • MegaPixxel features two modern clean rooms conforming to ISO Class 7 and ISO Class 8 standards, ensuring a controlled environment to safeguard against contaminants during satellite assembly and integration. 

27.The Kashi Ropeway – A Spiritual Journey Inspired By Lord Shiva 

  • The Kashi Ropeway in Varanasi, inspired by the theme of Lord Shiva, is set to be a landmark project combining spirituality and modern transportation. 
  • The ropeway stations at Varanasi Cantt feature artefacts reflecting Lord Shiva, including the damru (drum), trident, conch, river, moon, and riverfront. 
  • The system will have 153 gondolas, each carrying ten passengers, capable of moving 3,000 people per hour in each direction. Operating for 16 hours daily, it offers a convenient mode of transportation for locals and tourists. 
  • The 3.85 km journey will include five stations: Vidya Peeth, Bharatmata Mandir, Rath Yatra, Girja Ghar, and Godowlia Chowk. It promises a swift 16-minute ride from Varanasi Cantt to the Godaulia intersection. 

28. ‘Astra Mk-I missile’ included in Indian Air Force 

  • Union Minister of State for Defense Ajay Bhatt marked a historic moment by flagging off indigenously developed 'Astra MkI' air-to-air missiles on January 14, 2024. 
  • The ceremony took place at the Kanchanbagh unit of Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) in Hyderabad, marking an important step towards the induction of the missile into the Indian Air Force (IAF). Which is designed to be installed on fighter planes. 
  • The ASTRA Mk-I weapon system integrated with SU-30 Mk-I aircraft is being inducted into the Indian Air Force (IAF). The Astra missile is a beyond-visual-range (BVR) air-toair missile designed to be mounted on fighter aircraft. 
  • Developed by Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited BDL. The Astra weapon system boasts of unique capabilities in its class with a remarkable range of over 100 kilometres. 
  • It is the best in class weapon system in the world in terms of airto-air missiles. The missile is being developed in several variants to meet specific requirements. 
  • In May 2022, the Defense Ministry signed a contract with BDL for the supply of Astra Mk-I missiles and related equipment to the Indian Air Force and Navy at a cost of ₹2,971 crore. 

29. World famous ‘Dhanu Yatra’ started in Odisha 

  • The world famous Dhanu started on 15 January 2024 in Bargarh, Odisha and will continue till 25 January 2024. This year is the 76th edition of this world famous journey. This journey is considered to be the largest open-air theater in the world. 
  • Dhanu Yatra symbolizing the victory of good over evil was started in Bargarh in 1947-48 as a part of the country's independence celebrations and is now organized every year. 
  • The festival is based on Krishna Leela and depicts the mythological story of Krishna and his maternal uncle Kansa. Dhanu Yatra festival begins with the marriage of Kansa's sister Devaki to Vasudeva. This festival will end with the death of Kansa. 
  • The entire Bargarh town is decorated as Mathura, while the nearby Ambapali village is transformed as the mythological Gopapura for a drama-based openair theatrical performance. 

‘Dhanu Yatra’ 

  • During Dhanu Yatra the nearby Jeera river is considered as Yamuna. During the festival every resident of Bargarh is considered to be a subject of the demon king Kansa. On the other side of the Ambapali river is Goppura, the place where Krishna was given shelter to escape the wrath of Kansa. 
  • Kansa is the main character of the show in Dhanu Yatra. In line with his kingship, a royal court 42 feet tall, 120 feet long and 35 feet wide has been built for this king of Mathura. There is also a theater where artists will entertain the audience with their cultural programs. 
  • The mythological theater will be performed on at least 14 different stages constructed over an area of about seven kilometers in the city. 

30. Himachal Pradesh starts 'My School-My Pride' campaign for upliftment of education 

  • Himachal Pradesh Government has launched "Mera School-Mera Gaurav"/'My School-My Pride' campaign under the "Apna Vidyalaya" programme, urging individuals and organizations to adopt a school. 
  • Taking steps in line with the National Education Policy (NEP)- 2020, this campaign has been started, the aim of which is to revolutionize the quality of education in government schools. The campaign envisages creating a partnership between public representatives, administrative leaders and skilled professionals to enhance the quality of education. 
  • The “Apna Vidyalaya” program seeks to involve retired professionals, teachers and society members in the educational support team to foster collective efforts for government school improvement. 
  • The objective of the campaign is to facilitate career counselling, provide guidance, remedial teaching and organize additional or special classes for yoga training. Additionally, participants are encouraged to make financial contributions to the adopted school. 
  • The initiative, announced by the authorities, emphasizes collaborative efforts to enhance the educational landscape by promoting community engagement and support for schools. 
  • Under the programme, 'Giving back to the society' initiative, retired teachers or other employees, professionals, housewives or any other member of the society are encouraged to come forward and become a member of the educational support team to teach the students without taking any payment. 

31. Jhelum Stadium in Baramulla, Jammu and Kashmir becomes General Bipin Rawat Stadium 

  • The Jhelum Stadium, located at the foothills of Janbajpora hill in Baramulla, was earlier named after former Chief of Defense Staff CDS General Bipin Rawat by the Jammu and Kashmir administration. 
  • Jhelum Stadium was renamed 'General Bipin Rawat Stadium' on the second death anniversary of the country's first Chief of Defense Staff (CDS). Who had also served as the GOC of 19 Infantry Division, also known as Dagger Division, in the border town in north Kashmir. 
  • Bipin Rawat had contributed a lot to sports in Kashmir and Baramulla, so it is a matter of pride for this stadium to be named after him." 
  • Presently the Central Government appointed former Eastern Command chief Lieutenant General Anil Chauhan (Retd) as the new Chief of Defense Staff (CDS). 

Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) 

  • Its creation was recommended in the year 2001 by a Group of Ministers (GoM) which was tasked with studying the report of the Kargil Review Committee (1999). 
  • In 2012, the Naresh Chandra Committee had recommended the appointment of a permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee to eliminate apprehensions over the CDS. 
  • Finally the post of CDS was created in the year 2019 on the recommendations of the Committee of Defense Experts headed by Lieutenant General DB Shekatkar. General Bipin Rawat was the first CDS of the country and was appointed on December 31, 2019

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