Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 19th January 2024

1. External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar will lead the Indian delegation at the 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in Uganda. 

  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will lead the Indian delegation to the 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) to be held in Kampala, Uganda on January 19 and 20, 2024, the Ministry of External Affairs said in an official statement. 
  • The Non-Aligned Summit will focus on 'deepening cooperation for shared global prosperity' and will bring together over 120 developing countries. 
  • The statement said discussions will be held at the ministerial and senior official levels ahead of the summit, with Minister of State for External Affairs Dr Rajkumar Ranjan Singh representing the NAM at the Foreign Ministers' Meeting, which will take place ahead of the NAM Summit. 
  • Apart from this, Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan will represent India at the G-77 Third South Summit to be held in Kampala on 21-22 January 2024. After the summit, Jaishankar will visit Nigeria for an official visit from 21-23 January 2024. He will cochair the 6th India-Nigeria Joint Commission Meeting (JCM) and meet other leaders. 
  • Additionally, he will inaugurate the third edition of the Nigeria-India Business Council meeting, deliver a speech at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, interact with CII business representatives and inaugurate the statue of Mahatma Gandhi. Jaishankar will also chair the regional conference of Indian heads of missions. 

Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Summit 

  • The last 18th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) summit was held in Baku, Azerbaijan. NAM has a coordination bureau based at the United Nations in New York City. NAM meets every three years at the NAM Summit of Heads of State. 
  • The Non-Aligned Movement was founded in 1961 in Belgrade, former Yugoslavia, under the leadership of then Indian Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and Yugoslavian President Josip Broz Tito. 
  • The most important year in the formation of the Non-Aligned Movement was the Bandung Conference of 1955. The ten principles of Bandung were adopted at this conference and these are the guiding principles of NAM. 
  • All African countries are members of NAM except Western Sahara and South Sudan. Among European countries, Azerbaijan and Belarus are members of NAM. 
  • China has observer status. There are many organizations and countries that have been granted observer status. Some of them are United Nations, African Union, Arab League, Commonwealth Secretariat, Organization of Islamic Cooperation etc. 


  • The Group of 77 countries (G-77) came into existence in the year 1964 when these countries signed a joint declaration during the first session of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) in Geneva. 
  • It includes 134 countries in Asia, Africa, South America, the Caribbean and Oceania. China is not technically a part of the group, so the group is often referred to as "G-77+China" in multilateral forums. 
  • The United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) was established in the year 1974. Its role is to coordinate cooperation between countries of the Global South and developed countries or multilateral agencies, in collaboration with the G-77. 

2. Pakistan launched operation 'Marg Bar Sarmachar' to attack Balochi terrorist bases in Iran. 

  • Pakistan Army claimed on 18 January 2024 that Operation 'Marg Bar Sarmachar' (Death to Sarmachar) has been launched to attack Baluchi terrorist hideouts in Iran. In which the military used "killer drones, rockets, stray weapons and standoff weapons" to attack targets in Iran. 
  • Pakistan claimed that terrorists of Balochistan Liberation Army and Balochistan Liberation Front had taken shelter in those bases. The Army claimed that these bases were used by terrorists responsible for recent attacks in Pakistan. 
  • It said the targeted targets were being used by "notorious terrorists", including Dost alias Chairman, Bajjar alias Soghat, Sahil alias Shafaq, Asghar alias Basham and Wazir alias Waji, among others. 
  • The Baloch Liberation Army, an ethnic separatist group that has been active in the region since 2000, said in a statement that the attacks targeted its people and killed. 
  • The Pakistani response came a day after Iran launched airstrikes using "Drones and Missiles" against an armed group, Jaish al-Adl, near the city of Panjgur in Pakistan's southwestern province of Balochistan, bordering Iran. Tehran has accused Jaish al-Adl of several previous attacks. 

3. Central government announced to make Persian the 9th Indian classical language 

  • In a significant step to deepen cultural ties, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar announced in Tehran, Iran that the Indian government has decided to include Persian (Farsi) as one of the nine classical languages of India under the new education policy.
  • So far, 6 classical languages have been officially identified under the Eighth Schedule of the Indian Constitution. According to the National Education Policy-2020 of India, Pali and Prakrit will be preserved along with Persian (Farsi). 
  • Recognition of Persian as a classical language will promote greater understanding and appreciation of the rich heritage of Persian within the Indian educational framework. 

Classical languages 

  • There are six classical languages of India. The criteria for declaring a language as a classical language are provided by the Ministry of Culture under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution which are - historical text of high antiquity, part of old literary heritage etc. 
  • Like Tamil which was given the status of the first classical language in the year 2004. It is associated with the traditional Dravidian language spoken mainly in southern India and Sri Lanka. Its early period was known as Sangam literature. 
  • Apart from this, Sanskrit was designated as classical language in 2005, Kannada, Telugu in 2008, Malayalam in 2013 and Oriya in the year 2014. 

4. Former CJI Gogoi will be honored with Assam Baibhav and Hima Das with Assam Saurav Award. 

  • Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced the annual State Citizen Awards for the year 2023 on 16 January 2024. Sarma has announced 22 names of the honored awardees of Assam State Citizen Award 2023 at Lok Seva Bhawan, Dispur. Which includes Assam Baibhav, Assam Saurav and Assam Gaurav. 
  • Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi will be honored with Assam's highest civilian award 'Assam Baibhav'. While athlete Hima Das will be honored with Assam Saurav Samman. 
  • 'Assam Baibhav' Award is one of the highest civilian awards given by the state of Assam. As an award, Gogoi will be given a citation, certificate, medal and a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh. 
  • Ranjan Gogoi was the 46th CJI of India and the first judge from the Northeast to hold the position. During his tenure, the Supreme Court had given a historic verdict on the decade-old Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid case. 
  • Assam Saurav Award 2023 will be awarded to Hima Das – Athletics, Dr. Kishan Chand Nauriyal: Arts & Culture, Elvis Ali Hazarika: Swimming and Nadiram Deuri: Tiwa Dance. The award will include a citation, certificate, medal and a cash prize of Rs 4 lakh.
  • The 22 Assam Gaurav Award winners will be given a citation, certificate, medal and a cash prize of Rs 3 lakh. 

5. Assam government started ‘Chief Minister Women Entrepreneurship Campaign’ 

  • The Assam government has launched a scheme ‘Mukhyamantri Mahila Entrepreneurship Campaign’ to develop about 40 lakh women SHG members as rural micro entrepreneurs or Lakhpati Baideo (sisters) and ensure an annual income of Rs 1 lakh for each member. 
  • This scheme will come with population and girl education criteria. About Rs 4000 crore will be spent to promote entrepreneurship. 
  • Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said that there are three conditions to avail the scheme which include the female beneficiary should not have more than three children (for General and OBC beneficiaries), not more than four children (for SC/ST /for Moran) / Matak/ beneficiaries of tea-tribes).
  • SHG members who have a girl child should enroll her in school when she attains adulthood. The trees planted under the Amrit Vriksha movement should survive. This plan involves submitting a business plan to receive a grant. 
  • In this scheme, each member will be given Rs 10,000 on fulfilling the eligibility criteria in the first year, Rs 12,500 from the government in the next year and Rs 12,500 from the bank in the next 2 years (total Rs 25,000). The bank loan needs to be repaid while the government assistance is non-refundable of Rs 35,000 over 3 years to each eligible woman. 

6.Union Minister Launches Project For Artificial Reefs In Vizhinjam To Boost Fish Population 

  • In a significant move to boost fish production and promote sustainable fishing, Union Fisheries Minister Parshottam Rupala inaugurated an artificial reef project in Vizhinjam, Kerala. 
  • This initiative aims to double the income of fishermen by enhancing fish stocks and contributing to the economic well-being of the local fishing community. The project is designed to boost fishery resources in the region, thus improving the livelihood of traditional fishermen. 
  • The Kerala State Coastal Development Corporation, with technical assistance from the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI), is overseeing the project.The project will deploy 6,300 artificial reef units across 42 fishing villages from Pozhiyoor to Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram district. 

7.MeitY Secretary Launches India’s First Graphene Centre And IoT CoE In Kerala 

  • In a significant development, MeitY Secretary S Krishnan inaugurated the India Innovation Centre for Graphene (IICG) and a Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Intelligent Internet of Things (IIoT) Sensors in Kerala. 
  • The Digital University Kerala (DUK) (formerly IIITMK) and CMET, Thrissur, play crucial roles as technical partners in establishing these pioneering centers. 
  • The CoE in IIoT Sensors, situated at Makers Village Kochi, is a distinctive facility created by the collaborative efforts of MeitY, Government of India, and Government of Kerala. 
  • The primary objective is to boost the development of sensors within the domain of Intelligent IoT systems, encompassing a wide array of applications across networks, devices, and sensor systems. 

8.The Houthis’ Escalation In The Red Sea: Causes And Consequences 

  • Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels have intensified their attacks on ships in the Red Sea, citing revenge against Israel for its actions in Gaza. 
  • This has prompted the US and UK to launch strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen, leading to concerns about a broader regional conflict. 
  • The war has resulted in one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises, with millions in need of aid, widespread displacement, and significant casualties. A 2022 ceasefire lapsed after six months, and efforts to bring a permanent end to the conflict have proven challenging. 

9Japan’s Lunar Ambition: Smart Lander Mission Set For Success On January 20 

  • Japan is poised to join an exclusive group of nations that have successfully landed on the Moon. The Smart Lander for Investigating Moon (SLIM), developed by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), is scheduled to touch the lunar surface on January 20, 2024. 
  • This mission marks a significant milestone in Japan’s space exploration endeavours and offers a unique opportunity to advance lunar science. Launched on September 6, 2023, aboard a H-IIA rocket, SLIM represents a significant leap in lunar exploration technology. 
  • The mission aims to demonstrate highly accurate landings, a capability that will enhance the science value of future lunar missions. The lander’s target is the rim of Shioli crater, where it aims to land within 100 meters of its target point, a level of precision unprecedented in lunar exploration. 

10.Unveiling Arunachal Pradesh’s Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival And The Nyishi Tribe 

  • Arunachal Pradesh, nestled in the northeastern part of India, boasts a vibrant cultural mosaic and unparalleled biodiversity. The Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival (PPHF) serves as a testament to this diversity, bringing together communities, traditions, and conservation efforts. 
  • The PPHF, inaugurated in 2015, holds a unique purpose: recognizing the Nyishi tribe’s crucial role in hornbill conservation within the Pakke Tiger Reserve. 
  • Beyond cultural festivities, the festival aims to establish alternative income sources, steering away from harmful practices like hunting and logging. It serves as a platform for creating national awareness about the natural wonders of the Pakke Tiger Reserve and its surroundings. 

11.Tallest Ambedkar Statue To Be Unveiled Today In Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh 

  • The Andhra Pradesh government is set to unveil the world’s tallest statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar, the esteemed architect of the Indian Constitution, in a grand ceremony today in Vijayawada. 
  • The colossal structure, named the ‘Statue of Social Justice,’ stands at an impressive height of 206 feet, making it one of the top 50 tallest statues globally, with Sardar Vallabhai Patel’s ‘Statue of Unity’ claiming the top spot. 
  • The ‘Statue of Social Justice’ stands tall at 125 feet, mounted on an 81-feet pedestal, making it the tallest statue of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in the world. The sheer magnitude of the structure is a visual representation of the profound impact of Dr. Ambedkar’s ideals on justice and equality. 

12.Indian Army, MeitY Collaborate For Enhanced Defense Technology 

  • The Indian Army, in a groundbreaking collaboration with the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), is spearheading the development of cutting-edge military-grade software. 
  • This partnership aims to harness the power of technology for bolstering national defense capabilities, focusing on areas such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, digital infrastructure, and healthcare. 
  • The collaborative efforts between the Indian Army and MeitY are manifesting in the creation of AI-powered decision-making tools and predictive analytics. 
  • Operational software, designed for interpreting the Enemy’s Electronic Order of Battle (ORBAT) and recognizing patterns, is already in use. This facilitates rapid analysis and enhances the efficiency of strategic decision-making on the battlefield. 

13.Apple Surpasses Samsung As Top Smartphone Maker For The First Time Since 2010 

  • In a significant industry shift, Apple Inc.’s iPhone has outpaced Samsung Electronics Co. devices, securing the title of the best-selling smartphone series in 2023. This marks the first time since 2010 that Samsung has conceded the top spot in the smartphone market. 
  • According to research firm IDC, the iPhone claimed a substantial 20% share of the global market, with nearly 235 million shipments in the previous year.Samsung, facing a double-digit slump in shipments to 226.6 million, secured the second position, surpassing Chinese competitors like Xiaomi Corp. 

14.Adani Group Announces Rs 50,000 Crore Investment For 1 GW Data Centre In Maharashtra 

  • In a major development at the World Economic Forum 2024, the Adani Group unveiled plans to invest Rs 50,000 crore over the next decade in establishing a 1 GW hyperscale data centre in Maharashtra. 
  • The 1 GW data centre, strategically located in key areas such as Mumbai or Navi Mumbai and Pune, will be powered entirely by renewable energy. 
  • This initiative not only boosts green energy infrastructure in Maharashtra but also aligns with broader sustainability goals. The project is expected to generate direct and indirect employment for approximately 20,000 individuals, contributing significantly to the economic landscape of the state. 

15.Kokborok Day 2024 

  • Kokborok Day, observed annually on January 19th, is a significant cultural event in Tripura, India. The 2024 celebration marks the 46th anniversary of Kokborok’s recognition as an official language of the state alongside Bengali and English. 
  • Kokborok, also known as Tripuri or Tiprakoka, is the native language of the Tripuri community in Tripura and neighbouring regions. It belongs to the Sino-Tibetan language family, closely related to the Bodo, Dimasa, and Kachari languages spoken in Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, and Meghalaya. 
  • On January 19, 1979, Kokborok was officially recognized as a state language, ending the sole official status of Bengali in Tripura. This recognition is commemorated as Kokborok Day. Kokborok Day underscores the importance of preserving and promoting the Tripuri language and culture. 

16.E-SAKSHI App Under MPLADS: Revolutionizing Constituency Development 

  • The launch of the e-SAKSHI mobile application marks a significant advancement in the administration of the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) in India. 
  • This digital initiative, spearheaded by the Union Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI), aims to transform the way MPs engage in and manage development projects within their constituencies. 
  • MPLADS, established in 1993, is a central sector scheme fully funded by the Government of India. It allows MPs to recommend developmental projects with an emphasis on durable community assets, based on locally felt needs. 
  • Each MP is allocated Rs. 5 crores annually for these projects, which may include building infrastructure like toilets and bridges and providing essential services like drinking water and electricity. Before e-SAKSHI, the process was predominantly paper-based, leading to various administrative challenges. 

17.Google Pay Partners With NPCI To Extend UPI Payments Globally 

  • In a significant move towards fostering international digital transactions, Google India Digital Services and NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL) have joined hands to propel UPI payments beyond the borders of India. 
  • The recently signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two entities is poised to revolutionize the way Indian travellers engage in financial transactions abroad. 
  • The primary objective of the MoU is to enhance the usage of UPI payments for Indian travellers outside their homeland. With this collaboration, Google Pay (GPay) becomes the conduit, enabling seamless and convenient transactions for Indian globetrotters. This marks a departure from the traditional reliance on cash or international payment gateways. 

18.RuPay Prime Volleyball League Season 3: Hrithik Roshan Onboards As Brand Ambassador 

  • The RuPay Prime Volleyball League (PVL) has taken a significant stride in its marketing and promotion efforts by appointing the acclaimed Bollywood actor Hrithik Roshan as the brand ambassador for its third season. 
  • Hrithik Roshan, renowned for his commitment to fitness and athleticism, has been chosen to represent the RuPay Prime Volleyball League in its upcoming season. 
  • The RuPay Prime Volleyball League Season 3 is scheduled to commence on February 15, 2024, and will be telecast live on Sony Sports Network. 
  • The league, co-owned and marketed by Baseline Ventures, features nine franchises: Hyderabad Black Hawks, Ahmedabad Defenders, Kolkata Thunderbolts, Calicut Heroes, Kochi Blue Spikers, Chennai Blitz, Bengaluru Torpedoes, Mumbai Meteors, and the new addition, Delhi Toofans. 

19.Gianni Infantino Honored With Sports Personality Award In Dubai 

  • In a glittering ceremony at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Awards, FIFA President Gianni Infantino was bestowed with the prestigious International Sports Personality of the Year award. 
  • Established in 2009, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Awards have evolved over the past decade. Initially focused on domestic achievements, the awards opened up to international recipients in 2012.
  • Today, the International Sports Personality of the Year stands as the pinnacle of recognition for global figures who contribute significantly to the development and fairness of sports. 

20.BEL bags ₹695-crore order from Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders

  • Navratna PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL) has received an order of ₹695 crore from Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd for the supply of spares related to missile systems. 
  • The PSU has also received additional orders worth ₹339.31 crore since the last disclosure on December 2023, and these orders pertain to the Combat Management System, Composite Communication System, Transmit and Receive Modules, Mobile Autonomous Stabilization System, and other spares and services. 
  • With the latest order, BEL has received cumulative orders of ₹27,647.31 crore in the current financial year. 

21.Parshotham Rupala Launches Project for Artificial Reefs in Vizhinjam 

  • Union Minister of Fisheries, Parshotham Rupala has launched the project of depositing artificial reefs in the seabed in Vizhinjam, Thiruvananthapuram. 
  • The project, a joint initiative of the Central and State governments, is aimed at increasing the income of fishermen by enhancing the fish population in the region. 
  • The project is being implemented under Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana with a total outlay of 13.02 crore. Out of this, 7.812 crore is being provided by the Central Government and 5.208 crore is the State government’s share. 
  • Kerala State Coastal Area Development Corporation implements the project with technical assistance from the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute. 
  • In the first phase, 6,300 artificial reefs will be laid in 42 fishing villages from Pozhiyur to Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram district. 

22.Amit Shah Inaugurates New Cooperative Office for Strengthening Societies and Rural Economy 

  • Home and Cooperation Minister, Amit Shah has inaugurated the new building of the office of Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies office at the World Trade Centre, Naroji Nagar in New Delhi. 
  • The cooperative sector makes a big contribution to India’s five trillion dollars economy goal. 
  • Amit said that, after the establishment of the Cooperation Ministry, Cooperative Societies are being strengthened and Rural Economy is getting connected with Modern Technologies. 
  • Before the formation of the Ministry of Cooperation, the Central Registrar of Cooperative Societies did not have enough staff and there was no computerization. 

Amit Shah in News 

  • Amit Shah chairs ‘National PACS Mega Conclave’ in New Delhi 
  • Amit Shah inaugurates 58th DGsP/IGsP conference 2023 in Jaipur 
  • Amit Shah launched logo, website and brochure of National Cooperative for Exports Limited (NCEL) 
  • Amit Shah inaugurated India’s first nano DAP plant in Gandhinagar, Gujarat 
  • Amit Shah chairs review meeting on Left Wing Extremism in New Delhi 

23.Jagdeep Dhankhar inaugurates 12th General Assembly of the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace 

  • Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar has inaugurated the 12th General Assembly of the Asian Buddhist Conference for Peace in New Delhi. 
  • Vice President said that the world today faces challenges like climate change, conflict, terrorism, and poverty which are universal and can be addressed by common resolve and collaborative and collective approach. 
  • He said, when we talk of Buddhism in Asia, it is a large part of area and population which is multicultural encompassing diverse customs and traditions, art, architecture, music, literature, lifestyle, philosophy, food, politics, and religion. 

24.Adani Group plans to invest Rs12,400 crore in Telangana 

  • The Adani Group headed by its chairman Gautam Adani has announced investments to the tune of Rs 12,400 crore in Telangana in the next few years. 
  • Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL) will invest over Rs 5,000 crore in a 100-MW data centre to be powered by renewable energy, over the coming 5-7 years. 
  • AEL will work closely with local micro, small and medium enterprises and start-ups to develop a globally competent supplier base for the project. It would provide direct and indirect jobs to 600 people. 
  • Adani Green Energy Ltd (AGEL) will invest over Rs 5,000 crore to set up two pump storage projects (PSPs) – 850 MW at Koyabestagudem and 500 MW at Nacharam in the State. 
  • Ambuja Cements, which was acquired by the Ahmedabad-based group, will invest Rs 1,400 crore to set up a 6 MTPA cement plant in the next five years. The unit would be set up across 70 acres and would significantly enhance Ambuja’s capability. It will provide employment to over 4,000 people, both directly and indirectly. 
  • Adani Defence Systems and Technologies Ltd will invest over Rs 1,000 crore in 10 years to set up a comprehensive ecosystem for the research, development, design, manufacturing and integration of counter drone and missile systems at the Adani Aerospace Park. 

About Telangana 

  • Established – 2 June 2014 
  • Capital – Hyderabad 
  • Chief Minister – Revanth Reddy (replace K. Chandrashekar Rao) 
  • Deputy CM – Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka 
  • Governor – Tamilisai Soundararajan 
  • Speaker of Telangana Assembly – Gaddam Prasad Kumar 

25.UAE unveils groundbreaking ‘EcoMark’ green accreditation framework 

  • UAE has introduced the world’s first sustainability accreditation framework for Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs). 
  • ‘EcoMark’ Global Accreditation, based on ISO standards, aims to enhance MSMEs’ global competitiveness in the green economy. 
  • Digitally enabled certification includes resources for document requirements, sustainability roadmap, and standardized application process. 

About United Arab Emirates (UAE) 

  • Capital – Abu Dhabi 
  • Currency – Dirham 
  • President – Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan 
  • Prime Minister – Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum 
  • Official language -Arabic 

26.Jagdeep Dhankhar released book titled ‘Fertilising the Future 

  • Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar has released the book ‘Fertilising the Future: Bharat’s March Towards Fertilizer Self-Sufficiency’. 
  • It is written by Chemicals and Fertilizers Minister Dr. Mansukh Mandaviya. 
  • The Hindi version of the book is titled ‘Urvarak-Atmanirbharta ki Raah.’ 
  • The book delineated the journey of making India self-reliant in the fertilizer sector under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the revolutionary changes that have taken place till date. 

Recent Books 

  • The Babri Masjid Ram Mandir Dilemma: An Acid Test for India’s Constitution – Madhav Godbole 
  • Why Bharat Matters – S Jaishankar 
  • Breaking the Mould – Raghuram Rajan & Rohit Lamba 
  • Madam Commissioner: The Extraordinary Life of an Indian Police Chief – Meeran Chadha Borwankar 
  • Zeba: An Accidental Superhero – Huma Qureshi 

27.1990 attack eyewitness names Malik as shooter

  • R. Rajeshwar Singh, a Former Indian Air Force (GAT) staffer, also an eyewitness in the 1990 attack that let four IAF officials dead on January 24, 1900, in srinagar's Rawalpora, on Thursday identified Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik as the shooter in his statement made before a special court in Jammu. 
  • "The prime eyewitness, who sustained four bullet injuries himself [in the attack), categorically and specifically identified Malik as one who opened the fire [at the IAF officials), This is an important development in the case," Monika KohII, Chief Prosecutor, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), told The Hindu. 
  • The prosecution is likely to seek the death penalty in the case on the basis of fresh statements made by the eyewitness.
  • Jatinder Singh Jamwal, presiding officer of the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities court, fixed february 15 and 16, 2024 as the next date of hearing. 

28.Coaching centers cannot enroll students below 16 years of age

  • Coaching centers cannot enroll students below 16 years of age, make misleading promises and guarantee rank or good marks, according to new guidelines announced by the Ministry of Education. 
  • The guidelines have been framed to address the need for a legal framework and manage the unregulated growth of private coaching centers. It comes following complaints received by the government. 
  • "No coaching center shall engage tutors having qualifications less than graduation," the guidelines said. "Coaching centers shall have a website with updated details of the qualification of tutors, courses/ curriculum, duration of completion, hostel facili- ties, and the fees being charged," it stated. 
  • The coaching centers should also take steps for the mental well-being of students. 
  • The government has proposed registration of new and existing centers within three months after the guidelines come into effect. 

29. 9 killed as Pakistan launches - retaliatory air strikes in Iran 

  • Pakistan's Air Force launched metallic red air strikes early on Vuursday in Iran against alleged militant hideouts, killing at least nine people and further raising ten between neighbors. 
  • CA Deputy Governor of Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan province, Ali Reza Marhamati, gave the casualty figures from Thursday's strike, saying the dead included three women, four children and two men near the town of Saravan along the border. He said the dead were not Iranian citizens. 
  • Iran later summoned Pakistan's charge d'affaires in the country. Pakistan already had withdrawn its Ambassador over Tuesday's attack.) 
  • The risk of escalation remained Thursday as Iran's military began a planned annual air defense drill from its port of Chabahar near Pakistan all across the south of the country to Iraq. 

30.Navy helps drone-hit vessel in Gulf of Aden 

  • The Navy's destroyer INS Visakhapatnam responded to a distress call by Marshall Islands-flagged merchant vessel MV Genco Picardy, following a drone attack in the Gulf of Aden on Wednesday night. 
  • This comes even as the U.S.-led coalition continued strikes on Houthi military targets in Yemen to "degrade" their capabilities, in the wake of Houthi drone attacks on ships in the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. "INS Visakhapatnam intercepted the vessel on January 18 to provide assistance. MV Genco Picardy with 22 crew, nine Indians, reported nil casualties and fire (is) under control, the Navy said. 

31.Crafting a new phase in India-U.K. defense ties 

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's recent visit to the United Kingdom (U.K.) came after a hiatus of 22 years. Opportunities have grown significantly in the past few years as opposed to two decades ago. The growth of Chinese military power and in particular, its expansion into the Indian Ocean which threatens India and also Sea Lines of Communications (SLOCs), on which the U.K. depends, have given the British an opportunity to reorient their strategic priorities. 
  • The Indian Navy has several capability-related needs to make up for the shortfalls the service faces vis-à-vis the People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). Securing key technologies has been an integral part of Mr. Singh's visit to the U.K. The U.K. is in a position to help redress the Indian Navy's technological gaps against the Chinese. 
  • One key area where London and New Delhi are cementing cooperation is in electrical propulsion to power aircraft carriers. The Indian Navy's carriers, at present, are not powered by electric propulsion technology. The Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers of the Royal Navy (RN) use electric propulsion and the RN has mastered this technology. 
  • In the run-up to Mr. Singh's visit, there were already preliminary engagements between the Indian and U.K. governments regarding the Indian Navy securing electric propulsion technology. Though the PLAN for its part struggled to overcome the technical challenges associated with electric propulsion, there is increasing yet anecdotal evidence emerging that is Vice President for Studies and Foreign Policy at Observer Research Foundation (ORF), New Delhi 
  • Kartik Bommakanti is in the process of integrating electric propulsion into its warships such as the Type 054B frigates. 
  • The establishment of a joint working group dubbed the "India-UK electric propulsion capability partnership" first met in February 2023 and thereafter a delegation-level discussion was held on the Royal Navy frigate HMS Lancaster, which made a port visit to Kochi in March last year. Extensive discussion took place the following month on the transfer of technical know-how and the Royal Navy's experience in maritime electric propulsion for the Indian Navy's major surface combatants in the future. In November 2023, the India-U.K. electric propulsion capability partnership again met to discuss the possibility of the Indian Navy's future warships to be integrated with electric propulsion technology. The British have agreed to train, equip and help establish the infrastructure necessary to develop an electric propulsion system. Initially, the technology is expected to be tested on landing platforms docks and thereafter on surface vessels such as guided missile destroyers belonging to the next generation with a displacement of over 6,000 tonnes. 
  • While there are considerable opportunities in the India-U.K. defense relationship, challenges remain. A key challenge relates to legacy issues, especially in London's effort to balance its ties between India and Pakistan. Successive U.K. governments have simultaneously supplied India and Pakistan with weapons or curbed weapons exports, leaving many in India frustrated with British motives and objectives in the Subcontinent. 
  • Nettlesome issues surrounding Khalistan and Sikh separatism will cloud the relationship. But today strategic realities have shifted with the emergence of the People's Republic of China (PRC) as a major naval power whose deployments in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) are expanding rapidly, creating a very strong rationale for forging closer defense ties between the U.K. and India. Several joint military exercises have already taken place between the two countries with deeper defense industrial cooperation on the anvil and during Mr.Singh's visit, the British officially declared that they will be deploying a littoral response group, a specialized amphibious warfare group in 2024 and carrier strike group in 2025 to train and increase interoperability with the Indian Navy. 
  • With Mr. Singh's visit to the U.K., London is both rediscovering and bolstering its military involvement and presence East of Suez, which it had considerably until the late 1960s. 

32.Sub-categorisation of SCs: panel to look into even distribution of benefits 

  • The Union government has formed a five-member committee of Secretaries, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, to evaluate and work out a method for the equitable distribution of benefits, schemes and initiatives to the most backward communities amongst the over 1,200 Scheduled Castes (SCs) across the country, that have been crowded out by relatively forward and dominant ones. This comes In the backdrop of PM Narendra Modi's promise to look into the demand for sub-categorisation of SCs as raised by the Madiga community in the run-up to the Telangana Assembly election. 
  • The Madiga community has been struggling since 1994 for sub-categorisation of SCS comes just as a seven-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court is set to start hearing the question of whether sub-categorisation among SCs and Scheduled Tribes (STs) is at all permissible. While the court hearing will be on the constitutionality of sub-categorisation among SCs for the purpose of breaking up the reservation in jobs and education set aside for them, the government panel will be looking into "other ways to take care of their grievances", The Hindu has learnt. The committee will look at strategies like special in Relatives, focusing existing schemes towards them, etc. 
  • The committee was formed earlier this month and comprises the Secretaries of the Home Ministry, Law Ministry, Tribal Affairs Ministry, and Social Justice Ministry. 
  • The Madiga community has been struggling since 1994 for the sub-categorisation of SCs and it was this demand that first led to the formation of the Justice P. Ramachandra Raju Commission in 1996 and later a National Commission in 2007 both of which had concluded that there could ways to do this, be In the last two decades, multiple States like Punjab, Bihar, and Tamil Nadu have tried to bring in reservation laws at the State level in a bid to sub-categorise SCs and decide on a separate quantum of reservation for these subcategories within the umbrella of SCs. However, all plans are held up in court.
  • According to legal experts, nothing in the Constitution prohibits the Parliament from sub-categorising SCs or STs but what the government would need to justify this move would be a 100% count of all castes, a caste census of each community and sub-community and their respective socio-economic data. This can be the only empirical basis on which the government can justify sub-categorisation of benefits and how much extra share of benefits each community needs, Supreme Court advocate 

33.'U.S. hits Yemen after Houthis redesignated as 'terrorists’ 

  • The United States conducted additional strikes early on Thursday against a couple of Houthi anti-ship missiles that were being prepared to fire into the Red Sea, White House national security spokesperson John Kirby told prosper sons. American forces had targeted 14 missiles that were ready to launch in Yemen on Wednesday, after Washington re-designated the Iran-backed Houthi rebels as a "terrorist" entity for their attacks on merchant vessels. 
  • The Houthis-who have already faced multiple rounds of airstrikes in response to their targeting of international shipping struck a U.S.-owned bulk cargo carrier in the wake of the designation announcement, and vowed to continue attacks they say are in support of Palestinians in Gaza. 
  • "These missiles on launch rails presented an Imminent threat to merchant vessels and the U.S. Navy ships in the region and could have been fired at any time, prompting U.S. forces to exercise their inherent right and obligation to defend themselves," CENTCOM said. 
  • Hodeida and the city of Taez were among the targets of the first round of U.S. and U.K. strikes in Yemen last week. Houthi media outlet Al-Masirah TV said both were hit again in the latest strikes. The U.S. announced earlier on Wednesday that it would return the Houthis to a list of "terrorist" entities. 
  • "The Department of State today is announcing the designation of Ansarullah, commonly referred to as the Houthis, as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist group, effective 30 days from today," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. 
  • "During the 30-day implementation delay, the U.S. government will condiate Jorda the Right but has the robust outreach to stakeholders, aid providers, and partners who are crucial to facilitating humanitarian assistance and the commercial import of critical commodities in Yemen," he said. 
  • Meanwhile, President Joe Biden on Thursday acknowledged that the American and British bombardment has yet to stop shipping attacks by the militants on vessels in the Red Sea. 
  • U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the designation "is an important tool to impede terrorist funding to the Houthis, and further restrict their access to financial markets''. "If the Houthis seize their attacks in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, the U.S. will immediately re-evaluate this designation," Mr. Sullivan said. 
  • The Houthis, however, said they would not call off their strikes 

34.Bangladesh Minister to visit India 

  • The newly appointed Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, Hasan Mahmud, is expected to visit India for three days from February 7 In what will be his first visit abroad since taking charge. The Minister earlier visited India as information Minister in the previous Sheikh Hasina government. 
  • "It's likely to be a three day visit," he told press persons in Dhaka on Thursday. He said the agenda was being worked on and that the visit followed an invitation by his counterpart, S. Jaishankar, 
  • Mr. Jaishankar earlier congratulated Mr. Mah mud after he was appointed, and said, "Look forward to working together to further deepen the india-Bangladesh Maitri." 
  • Responding to the congratulatory remarks posted on X, Mr. Mahmud said, "Thank you very much. I look forward to working together." The new Minister was earlier met by the Indian High Commissioner Pranay Verma. 
  • Mr. Mahmud was part of an Awami League delegation that visited New Delhi ahead of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's arrival for the G-20 summit last September. 
  • Mr. Mahmud who hails from Chittagong in the southeast of Bangladesh has seen a steady rise in his public profile over the past two decades. 

35.GM crops will make edible oil cheaper: govt. 

  • Mustard the font used edible off of all been used in Indta bir cades now. What we are trying to do is make edible oil cheaper for the common mah by growing oil seeds indigenously 50% to Bo% of edible all is in port. Interests which are Against India gaining food security and reducing to reign dependence are behind these PILs Public interest litigation pensions) against Gf Mustard leitor General Tushar Meh fa, for the Centre, subadt ted in the Supreme courtCtn 2020-21, 13.45 million tonnes (54%) of the total edilite oll demand was niet through import estimated at about 1,18,000 crore which included (87%), soybean oil (220, sunflower oil (19) and a small quantity of canola quality mustard oil Sulakhwarya tonnes (59/70%) of the total edible oil demandC"Edible oil is a daily food commodity used in the country, The PIL petition ers are depending on some half-baked study done 14 years ago to ralle concert about environmental daro nge The court should look at the fundamental right of people to access baste food co stunned every day at a cheaper price, Mr. Mehta mottied 
  • He said the open Reld testing of GM crops were allotted on eight sites of 600 sq. m each 
  • "UM seeds were sown in six of the sites. It is not that acres of open helds are used for testing. The testing is done in controlled circumstances and strictly according to statutory regime under expert. 
  • Ruldance The petitioners, Gene Campaign and activist Aruna Rodrigues, have challenged the government move to commercially release Dhara Mustard Hybrid-11 (DMH-11), a gerieti cally engineered variant of mustardMr. Mehta sald India inm ported about 55,000 tonnes of Canola oil largely from GM canola seeds. Similarly, nearly 24 kh torines of soybean oil is imm ported annually. Most exporting countries such as Argentina, the U.S., Brazil, and Canada cultivate GM soybean. Globally around 80% of soybean growing is GM soybean.

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