Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 2nd January 2024

National News 

1.Jaishankar heads to Nepal this week, power pacts on agenda 

  • An agreement on the modalities of purchasing 10,000 MW of hydroelectric power from Nepal and discussions on air connectivity issues and digital payments, and the inauguration of development projects funded by India are all on the agenda as External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar heads to Kathmandu for a visit on January 4 and 5. 
  • The visit to Nepal, the first foreign policy foray by the government in 2024, is long overdue, as the Joint Commission Meeting, to be held between Mr. Jaishankar and Nepalese Foreign Minister N.P. Saud, has been pending for several months. The last meeting was held in January 2021.
  • According to sources, a long-term agreement on power and modalities of the decision made in June 2023 "to increase the quantum of export of power, as an objective, from Nepal to India to 10,000 MW within the next 10 years", would be the major announcement of the visit, something Mr. Prachanda indicated to the media last month. 
  • Technical experts have been discussing the plans for buying Nepal power exports, investments, and construction in power-generation projects, as well as a breakthrough plan to allow Nepal transmission rights to sell power to Bangladesh. During Mr. Prachanda's visit to Delhi, India agreed to permit the "first trilateral power transaction from Nepal to Bangladesh via India" for up to 40 MW. 
  • Mr. Jaishankar's visit for the Joint Commission Meeting is a very positive step, and indicates both sides are moving forward with this formal structure in the bilateral relationship," Sujeev Shakya, Chairman of Nepal Economic Forum, said, describing the process for the high-level engagement, launched in 1991, that will be held for the first time during Mr. Prachanda's present tenure. He assumed office in December 2022. 
  • However, it is unclear whether the two sides will discuss the other structural grouping, of a report by the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) proposed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's first visit to Nepal in August 2014 and formed in 2016, according to which both sides had agreed to study and sug- gest measures to update the 1950 India-Nepal Friendship treaty and toimprove bilateral ties. The EPG group of diplomats and experts, which finalized the report in July 2018, has not been able to present the report to Mr. Modi so far. More than five years later, the report is in danger of being shelved. 
  • Another unresolved issue remains over Mr. Prachanda's appeal to Mr. Modi during his visit to India to permit international flights to fly over India in order to access two of Nepal's new airports at Pokhara and Bhairahawa, near the Buddha's birthplace in Lumbini. 
  • India has not agreed to the overflights thus far, understood to be over the fact that the airports have been constructed with support from China. In June 2023, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said that the issue would require "extensive technical examination" as the airspace Issue could "Interfere with space commanded by the [Indian) Airforce” 

2.Goldy Brar declared individual terrorist 

  • The Union Home Ministry on Monday declared Canada-based Satwinder Singh, alias Goldy Brar, an "individual terrorist" under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). 
  • Singh is alleged to be the mastermind behind the killing of singer Shubhdeep Singh Sidhu, alias Sidhu Moosewala, who was shot dead in Mansa district of Punjab on May 29, 2022. 
  • The Ministry said that Singh (29) from Sri Muktsar Sahib city in Punjab, now residing in Brampton, Canada, is linked to the Babbar Khalsa International (BKI), a listed terrorist organisation. It said he was backed by the cross-border agency, and involved in multiple killings and professed a radical ideology. 
  • Singh's name figured in making threatening calls to nationalist leaders, demanding ransom, and posting the claims of killings on social media platforms. The Ministry said he had been involved in smuggling of high-grade arms, munitions and explosive materials through drones from across the border and supplying them to carry out killings and also providing sharpshooters. "Satwinder Singh @Satinderjit Singh @Goldy Brar and his associates have been conspiring to disrupt the peace, communal harmony and law and order in the State of Punjab through nefarious designs including sabotage, raising of terror modules, carrying out targeted killings, and other anti-national activities," the MHA said. 

3.India's 1991 crisis and the RBI Governor's role 

  • An IAS officer who served as the Governance of The Reserve Bank of India R troen December 1990 December 1962 passed recently Two elements in had participated are worth recording. Both show him as a statesman who did his best for his country, for which he deserves to be remembered. 
  • Starting in lane 1990, India faced a severe balance of payments stress. This had been precipitated by a drawing of inward remittances and a rise in the price of ill following the invasion of Kuwait by Sackdam Flungin. The current account of the balance of payments was subjected to a double ham, a reduction of recepres and a the in the value of imports. In 1990-91 the current account deficit ellied to 3 percent of the GDP, a level highest by far in two decades. There was speculation that India would default on its external payment obligations. It was at that moment that the Kill led by Mr. Venkitaramaman played a sterling role, which in effect came to pledge its gold to international banks for a hard currency koan. The details of these initiatives and their significance are set out in the REI's official history, "In April 1991, the Government raised $200.0 million from the Union Bank of Switzerland through a sale (with a repurchase option) of 20 tonnes of gold confiscated from swagglers (sic). Apain, in July 1991, India shipped 47 tormes of gold to the Bank of England to raise another $405.0 million This action helped the country repay its international donors and creditors, though it was not sufficient to completely absolve the country of the crisis." The act of pledging the country's gold, which involved transporting it overseas, had been mocked by some in India. It only reveals an ignorance of the world. For the RHI to have used its gold to stave off a default was an act of courage. Indeed, it was the smartest economic management. It only needs to be recalled that India imports around 80 percent of its oil to recognise the practical value of the maneuver Default would have narrowed India's access to the global loan markets to finance its imports were its expon earnings to fall short in the future. With the sale and pledging of India's gold reserves, a breathing space within the payments crisis had been created. 
  • Before its efforts to raise international loans, the RBI had begun a programme of import compression, implemented mainly via raising the cash margin on imports. While this had commenced before Mr. Venkitaramanan had assumed office as Governor, it was under him that the policy assumed greater force. The cash margin was hiked four-fold between October 1990 and April 1991. Supplementary measures that raised the cost of imports were implemented too, together constituting a stringent effort to rein them in. This strategy turned out to be a winner, and the current account deficit flipped from a high of 3 percent in 1990-91 to a mere 3 percent of GDP in 1991-92. 
  • This almost eliminated the need to raise foreign exchange to finance 
  • India's non-debt payments. Though a government led by Narasimha Rao was to take office in mid-199t and set in motion measures, including a devaluation of the rupee, to improve the balance of payments over the long term there is reason to believe that the immediate improvement of the balance of payments may be largely attributed to the import compression put in place by the Rill. This is implied by the data, which show that while imports contracted substantially in 1991-92 exports did not rise, they declined slightly. The RHI's official history of the period states "At a critical time and in the thick of the BoP crisis, the main task of the Reserve Bank under the leadership of the Governor, Shri S. Venkitaramanan, turned out to navigate the country through the troubled waters." IR concludes that the crisis was "successfully resolved". However, it is the economic reforms that followed that have received attention from the public at the time, and understandably. Dr. Manmohan Singh and his team had cut a dash with their bold reconfiguration of the economic policy regime. Once the balance of payment crisis had passed, its architects came to be forgotten and their heroic guarding of India's international prestige and financial credentials was left unsung in the public sphere. And, for Governor Venkitaramanan himself, the ending of his term was less than glorious due to what the RBI's official history terms "hayes related to an unexpected breakout of irregularities in securities transactions from April 1952", known to the public as "the Hershad Mehta scam
  • "Remarkable opennesa' Finally, having had the privilege of glimpsing Mr. Vesikiraramanan at work, 1 should narrate the experience. Sometime in the middle of 1991, I received a letter from him saying the RBI had noticed an article of mine on a topic related to the conduct of monetary policy, and that it would be happy to hear from me in person. This demonstrated a remarkable openness, for I was not only unknown professionally but also my paper was critical of research that had emerged from the RBI. A follow up was to come soon after, when, in September of the same year I was invited, along with over 20 economists, to meet the Governor on the measures taken to deal with the balance of payments crisis. Noticeably, every shade of opinion on the Indian economy. not to mention its geography, was represented at the table that day. But what was more impressive was that the Governor responded to each presentation efforts doning India's severe balance of payments stressin 1900-31, including initiatives to rase international isans and pleading india's gold reserves which wahinged the country's financial reputation and prevented a potential default 
  • Under his leadership implemented import compression measures by raising cash margins on imports. This stringent strategy significantly reduced the current account deficit, stabilizing the balance of payments.
  • He also displayed openness by Inviting diverse opinions and experts, including critical voices, to discuss critical economic matters, rating an inclusive and demonstrating non-hierarchical approach to decision-making made. Venkitaramanan would be quick to parry their arguments with research produced by economists based in India. Probably, it was this belief that a country must rely on its intellectual resources that led him to establish the Development Research Group within the RBL; it was meant as a vehicle to take independent economists to India's central bank so that there would be professional interaction between its staffers and stakeholders outside. In this. though, he may not have fully succeeded. Today, the RBI's struggle to control Inflation reveals that it is perhaps more eager to be seen to adhere to the current orthodoxy in economics than to understand how India's economy works (Pulapre Balakrishnan is visiting Professor, Krea University) 

4.India and pak. exchange list of nuclear installations 

  • Continuing an annual practice since 1992, India and Pakistan on Monday exchanged a list of their nuclear installations under a bilateral pact that prohibits the two sides from attacking each other's atomic facilities. 
  • The exchange of the list took place under provisions of an agreement on the prohibition of attack against nuclear installations and facilities, the External Affairs Ministry said. It was done simultaneously through diplomatic channels in New Delhi and Islamabad. 
  • The exchange of the list came amid frosty ties between the two countries over the Kashmir issue as well as cross-border terrоrism. 
  • The agreement was signed on December 31, 1988 and came into force on January 27, 1991. 
  • The pact mandates the two countries to inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the agreement every New Year. 
  • "This is the 33rd consecutive exchange of such lists between the two countries, the first one having taken place on January 1, g 1992, the Ministry said in a statement 

5.Maharashtra is the top state in terms of tiger deaths in India in 2023 with 45 deaths

  • According to the Environment Ministry, at least 177 tigers have died in India in the year 2023, out of which the maximum death of 45 tigers has been recorded in Maharashtra. Nearly half of the total deaths in Maharashtra were recorded in two districts - Chandrapur and Gadchiroli. 
  • After this, there have been 40 deaths in Madhya Pradesh, 20 in Uttarakhand, 15 in Tamil Nadu and 14 in Kerala. Moreover, 54 percent of these deaths occurred outside the tiger reserves. The mortality figures of tigers in the country were 96 in 2019, 106 in 2020, 127 in 2021 and 121 in 2022. 
  • India is now home to more than 70 percent of the world's wild tigers. There are at least 3167 tigers in the country. The ministry said wild tigers in India are growing at a healthy rate of 6 percent per year, 
  • The average lifespan of a tiger in the wild is about 10–12 years, with 40 percent of tiger deaths in 2023 being made up of cubs and subadults, age groups that have naturally high mortality rates due to tiger land tenure dynamics. The causes of death of tigers are natural and other causes, poaching, conflict between tigers and road accidents. 

Key facts 

  • The total number of tiger reserves in the country is 54, with an area of more than 78,000 sq km and covering more than 2.30 per cent of India's geographical area. The country's 54th tiger reserve "Rani Durgavati" became in Madhya Pradesh. 
  • A commemorative event “Commemorating 50 Years of Project Tiger” was inaugurated by the Honorable Prime Minister of India in Mysore, Karnataka on 9 April 2023. At least 544 leopards are reported to have died from January 1 to December 24 this year. 
  • GEF, UNDP, IUCN, WWF and GTF have jointly awarded the Tx2 award to Pench Tiger Reserve (Madhya Pradesh-Maharashtra) and Satpura Tiger Reserve (Madhya Pradesh) during 2022-23. 

6.Reliance becomes the first company in India to achieve ‘ISCCPlus’ certification by chemically recycling plastic waste

  • Reliance Industries has become the first Indian company to chemically recycle plastic waste-based pyrolysis oil into International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC)-plus certified circular polymer. 
  • Reliance's Jamnagar Refinery has become the first refinery in the country to achieve the important ISCC-Plus certification. This innovation is a testament to Reliance's commitment to reducing plastic waste and supporting the circular economy in India. 
  • Reliance shipped its first batch of ISCC-Plus certified circular polymers, named Circurepol (polypropylene) and Circurelene (polyethylene). 
  • Circuripol and Circureline are designed to lead in circular economy practices. It can produce spherical polymers through chemical recycling. 
  • Reliance has developed a technology that converts various types of plastic waste, including single-use and multi-layer plastics, into pyrolysis oil. These materials can be used for food contact packaging, the RIL statement said. 
  • International Sustainability and Carbon Certification - ISCC 
  • The ISCC story began in 2006 with a multi-stakeholder dialogue that brought together more than 250 global stakeholders to exchange valuable insights on certification requirements for the biofuels industry. In 2010, the first ISCC certificate was issued and the ISCC Association was established in Berlin. 

7.12th Divya Kala Mela-2023 inaugurated in Gujarat 

  • The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPWD) is organizing the 12th 'Divya Kala Mela' in Surat, Gujarat from December 29, 2023 to January 7, 2024. The fair is being co-hosted by the National Disabled Finance and Development Corporation (NDFDC).
  • The event will offer an engaging experience to the visitors in the form of vibrant products from different parts of the country including Jammu & Kashmir, North Eastern States. Handicrafts, handloom, embroidery work and packaged food etc. will be seen together. 
  • The event is an important step towards the economic empowerment of persons with disabilities (PWD), commonly known as Divyangjan. 'Divya Kala Mela' is a comprehensive platform for Divya businesses and artisans to showcase their skills and products. 
  • The first Divya Kala Mela was held in Delhi from 2-6 December 2022, while the last one was held in Patna (Bihar) from 8 - 17 December 2023. 

8.Pinky from Uttar Pradesh becomes the brand ambassador of ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ 

  • Pinky, born in Rampur Dhabhi, Ahraura, Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, has been made the ambassador of 'Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao'. In response to the letter from Union Minister Anupriya Patel, Smriti Irani has given a gift to the district. 
  • Pinky, who played the lead role in the Oscar Award winning famous documentary film 'Smile Pinky', will also be provided free education. 
  • Megan Mylan's Oscar-winning documentary Smile Pinky focuses on a girl named Pinky, who was born with a cleft lip or cleft palate, a condition that affects thousands of babies born in India every year. 
  • In 2009, the documentary received an Oscar in the Documentary (Short) category. Slumdog Millionaire won the Best Film award that year. 
  • Four years later, there was a smiling 10-year-old Pinky Sonkar on Center Court for the toss between Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray (Murray won, the first male Briton to do so since 1936). 
  • Pinky underwent free corrective cleft lip surgery by Subodh Kumar Singh, a Varanasi-based plastic surgeon who is associated with Smile Train India (part off Smile Train, a charity that specifically works in the area of cleft lip and palate). 

9.Guinness world record of performing mass Surya Namaskar created in Gujarat on New Year Day 

  • Gujarat has set a Guinness record for performing mass Surya Namaskar simultaneously at 108 places in the state on the first day of the new year. 
  • Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel, and Minister for Home Affairs Harsh Sanghavi attended the State level event that took place at the iconic Sun Temple in Modhera in Mahesana district.
  • More than 2500 people performed Surya Namaskar at the state-level function held at the iconic Modhera Sun Temple. 
  • The function also witnessed the felicitation of the winners of the state-level Mega Surya Namaskar Competition. This month-long competition was organized for the first time in the state by the Gujarat State Yog Board and the state government to popularise Surya Namaskar practice among people. 

About Gujarat

  • Capital- Gandhinagar 
  • Chief Minister- Bhupendra Rajnikant Patel 
  • Governor- Acharya Devvrat 

10.Assam CM flags off 200 green buses for pollution-free Guwahati 

  • Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has flagged off 200 electric buses from Guwahati. 
  • The initiative as the government’s one of the biggest push towards a pollution-free environment. 
  • By 2025, we want to establish Guwahati as the country’s first city to be powered by a 100 per cent green public transportation system. This new fleet builds upon the 100 CNG buses dedicated to the New Year. 

About Assam 

  • Capital – Dispur 
  • Chief Minister –Himanta Biswa Sarma 
  • Governor – Gulab Chand Kataria 

11.Reliance Power to sell Kalai II hydropower project to THDC India 

  • Reliance Power has inked an agreement to sell its 1,200 MW Kalai II hydroelectric project in Arunachal Pradesh for Rs 128.39 crore to THDC India. 
  • The purpose of entering into the agreement was to monetise the hydroelectric power project. 
  • Under the pact, there will transfer of the development rights and associated physical assets, studies, clearances, designs and intellectual properties of the proposed 1,200 MW Kalai-II hydroelectric project located at the Lohit River basin of Arunachal Pradesh to THDC for an aggregate consideration of Rs 128.39 crore, subject to certain indemnities, representations and covenants. 

About THDC India Limited 

  • Founded – 12 July 1988 
  • Headquarters – Rishikesh, Uttarakhand 
  • Chairman & MD – R K Vishnoi 

International News

12.BRICS Group To Double In 2024 After Saudi, Iran, UAE, Egypt, Ethiopia Join Ranks 

  • BRICS, the group of emerging-market nations comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, is poised to undergo a significant expansion on January 1. 
  • South Africa’s envoy to the bloc revealed that Saudi Arabia, Iran, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, and Egypt have accepted invitations to join, effectively doubling the organization’s membership. 
  • In August, the existing BRICS members extended invitations to six nations, including the aforementioned, aiming to combine leading energy producers with major consumers among developing countries. Argentina, the sole decline, reversed its membership bid under the new presidency of Javier Milei. 
  • Representatives from the new invitees participated in a recent BRICS sherpa meeting in Durban, South Africa, indicating their acceptance of the invitation. The five countries are set to send officials to the next sherpa meeting in Moscow on January 30. 

13.Researchers at Sweden's Linköping University have developed 'electronic soil' for hydroponic agriculture

  • Recently, researchers at Linköping University in Sweden developed 'Electronic Soil' (e-Soil). Developed which can speed up the growth of plants in hydroponic areas. e-Soil which has been specially designed for hydroponic systems. 
  • Mineral wool is used as a growing substrate in hydroponics. Mineral wool is non-biodegradable and is produced using energy-intensive processes. 
  • E-soil is made of cellulose mixed with a conductive polymer called PEDOT (poly(3,4-ethylene dioxythiophene)), a biopolymer. 
  • Traditional technology has used high voltage to stimulate the roots but the advantage of eSoil is that it has very low energy consumption and there is no danger of high voltage. 
  • The importance of e-Soil lies in its ability to enhance plant growth, as one study showed that the growth rate of barley plants cultivated in hydroponic systems using this technology increased by 50%. 


  • Hydroponics technology involves cultivating plants in a water-based, soil-less medium rich in nutrients. It does not use soil, instead using an inert medium such as perlite, rockwool, soil pellets, peat moss, or vermiculite to support the roots. 
  • It is important that plant roots have direct contact with the nutrient solution as well as access to oxygen, which is essential for their healthy growth. 

Defence News

14.Reigniting the flame of India-Korea defense cooperation 

  • Reigniting the flame of India-Korea defense cooperation in the intricate tapestry of global geopolitics, defense collaboration emerges as a foundational limperative, crucial for the preservation of international peace and stability. The recent diplomatic overture during the visit of General Manoj Pande, Chief of the Army Staff of India, In November 2023, to the Republic of Korea, signifies a critical juncture in the trajectory of India-Korea defense relations. While this visit fortified diplomatic ties, it also unveiled the challenges, necessitating meticulous consideration. This prompts an exploration of the challenges faced by India and Korea in enhancing their defense cooperation, along with an examination of opportunities for mutual growth. 
  • Despite recent high-level engagements, a challenge that persists is the absence of a shared vision for a new comprehensive defense framework, one that can provide a robust structure under which both nations can operate and align their policies to construct a novel and sustainable emerging regional order. The imperative for India and Korea is to transcend the confines of bilateral cooperation, and embrace a paradigm shift that cultivates a more profound understanding of their roles in the swiftly evolving global scenario. 
  • Korean view of India's regional role A hurdle lies in the resistance on the Korean government side to reassess India's role in the region. It is incumbent upon Korea to comprehend that India is not merely the largest consumer of defense products. Rather, it starts as a regional power capable of substantial contributions to peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific. A departure from the Cold War mentality, where the Korean government perceived India as standing in the opposite Soviet bloc, is imperative for Korea to forge a deeper, more meaningful partnership with India. This paradigm shift in Korean government strategic thinking is indispensable for any meaningful engagement between the two nations. 
  • Further, the prevailing overemphasis by the is the Director of Peace and Security Studies at the Asia Institute in Seoul 
  • Indian government side on weapons acquisition and technology transfer from Korea, while undeniably pivotal, has tended to overshadow broader strategic considerations, Similarly, the unwavering focus of the Korean defense establishment on profit-driven weapons sales to India, devoid of strategic considerations, may prove shortsighted in the face of fast-changing geopolitical dynamics. Powerful arms lobbles in India and Korea pose a potential roadblock, emphasizing the necessity to prioritize long-term strategic goals over short-term gains, The emerging oalition of North Korea, China, and Russia poses a new serious challenge to collaborative efforts between the two nations. Divergent stances may arise, necessitating a nuanced appraisal of each party's strategic Imperatives. 
  • The high-level interactions of Gen. Pande with the top Korean military leadership and his engagements with the leadership of top Korean defense institutions, such as the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) and the Agency of Defence Development (ADD), are anticipated to further unite the defense communities of both countries. 
  • Explore technological collaborations Leveraging their technological capabilities, India and South Korea are aiming to collaborate in developing advanced defense systems and equipment. Given their shared understanding of the pivotal role technology will play in future conflicts, the scope for cooperation in this sector is limitless. Such synergy can lead to a mutually beneficial defense technology and industry partnership, propelling both countries to the forefront of innovation and self-reliance. CIn an era where defense against space warfare, Information warfare, and cybersecurity is paramount, both nations can further explore opportunities for cooperation. Given Korea's status as an advanced high-tech digital superpower, vast opportunities exist in the development of robust security measures in these areas to effectively counter emerging threats in the digital domain, ensuring the security of critical infrastructure and information. 
  • Strengthening coordinated efforts to counter terrorism aligns seamlessly with the shared concerns of India and South Korea. There is potential for collaboration in maritime security, including joint patrolling and information sharing, given the significant maritime interests both countries have in the Indian Ocean. 
  • India and South Korea can leverage their United Nations peacekeeping expertise for collaborative efforts. Sharing insights and resources in peacekeeping operations can enhance regional and global stability, underscoring their joint commitment to peace and security. Additionally, Joint exercises and the exchange of best practices in Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) demonstrate the shared responsibility of both nations in addressing vulnerabilities to natural disasters. 
  • Lastly, mutual growth is found in enhancing Joint army exercises, fostering interoperability, and strengthening the capabilities of both armies for effective collaboration in diverse scenarios. Gen. Pande's visit to Seoul has spurred the extension of cooperation beyond naval focus to other branches of India's armed forces, While the recent visit of Gen. Pande has reignited the flame of India-Korea defense cooperation, the path forward necessitates meticulous navigation through the challenges and the wholehearted embrace of opportunities. A strategic, balanced approach, coupled with adaptability to the evolving geopolitical landscape is key to unlocking a robust and enduring defense collaboration, in turn creating a partnership that fosters peace, stability, and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region. United, both nations stand ready to navigate the complexities and uncertainties of the future, forging a path toward a stronger and more resilient partnership. 

Economy News 

15.According to the National Stock Exchange, Maharashtra is the top investor state with 1.49 crore investors

  • The investor base of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) is set to grow by 22 per cent from 7 crore to 8.54 crore during calendar year 2023, from 6.94 crore as on December 31, 2022. According to the data, the investor base increased from 7 crore to 8 crore in eight months. 
  • India's market capitalization crossed $4 trillion in December 2023. The market capitalization of NSE Emerge listed companies (SMEs) crossed Rs 1,00,000 crore for the first time since the inception of the platform in 2012. 
  • Meanwhile, the market capitalization to GDP ratio increased by 10 percentage points to 115 by December 25, 2023, from 105 on December 31, 2022. 

Most investors 

  • NSE said in a study that while Maharashtra holds the top position with 1.48 crore investors, Uttar Pradesh has overtaken Gujarat to the second position in terms of total registered investors with 89.47 lakh investors as of December 29, 2023. 
  • They are followed by Gujarat with 76.68 lakh investors and West Bengal with 48 lakh investors. 

New Investors 

  • According to NSE, 99.85 percent of India's postal pin codes were covered in terms of investor registration. 161.4 lakh new investors joined in 2023. Uttar Pradesh topped in terms of entry of new investors with 2.3 million investors. Which saw a 34 percent increase in the number of investors, followed by Maharashtra. 

Mutual Fund Investor 

  • After Covid-19, there has been a sharp increase in the number of investors in mutual funds. The total number of investors now stands at 84.9 million, an increase of 22.4 percent year-on-year. 
  • The number of investors in mutual funds in Bihar increased by 36.6 percent to 34 lakh, while in Chhattisgarh it increased by 35 percent to 09.8 lakh. Among smaller states, the number of investors in Mizoram is set to increase by 55 per cent to 14,819 in 2023. 

16.GST collection rises 10% in December to Rs 1.64 lakh cr 

  • The gross Goods and Services Tax (GST) collections in December 2023 were recorded at Rs 1,64,882 crore, 10.3 percent higher than Rs 149,507 crore in December 2022, according to data released by the Ministry of Finance. In November 2023, GST collections were recorded at Rs 167,929 crore. 
  • During the month, the revenues from domestic transactions (including import of services) were 13 percent higher than the revenues from these sources during the same month last year. 
  • This marks the seventh month so far this financial year, with collections exceeding Rs 1.60 trillion. 
  • Out of the total of Rs 1.64 trillion, Central GST was Rs 30,443 crore; State GST was Rs 37,935 crore, Integrated GST was Rs 84,255 crore, was Rs 12,249 crore. 
  • The government has settled Rs 40,057 crore to CGST and Rs 33,652 crore to SGST from IGST. The total revenue of Centre and the States in the month of December 2023 after regular settlement is Rs 70,501 crore for CGST and Rs 71,587 crore for the SGST. 

GST Collection of Previous Months 

  • July 2023 – 1,65,105 crore 
  • August 2023 – 1,59,069 crore 
  • September 2023 – 1,62,712 crore 
  • October 2023 – 1,72,003 crore 
  • November 2023 – 1,67,929 crore 
  • December 2023 – 1,64,882 crore 

Appointment News 

17.Ravindra Kumar Tyagi takes over as CMD of Power Grid Corporation 

  • State-owned Power Grid Corporation has appointed Ravindra Kumar Tyagi as the new Chairman and Managing Director (CMD). 
  • Tyagi will take over from Sreekant Kandikuppa, who retired after reaching the age of superannuation, who was heading the organisation since August 2019. 
  • Prior to this, he was serving as Director (Operations) of the company. 
  • Tyagi has over 33 years of rich experience in the power sector at various key positions in leading CPSUs. He has handled multi-disciplinary work in various business areas of Power Grid such as asset management, engineering, business development (domestic and overseas), telecom, load despatch & communication, NTAMC, DMS etc. and head of Power Grid’s North Eastern Region. 
  • Power Grid is a Maharatna PSU under the administrative control of the Ministry of Power, Govt of India. 

Recent Appointment 

  • Deputy Executive Director (Management) of UNFPA – Andrew Paul Saberton, UK (replace Ib Petersen, Denmark) 
  • CMD of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd – Uday A Kaole 
  • Director (Works) of National High-Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) – Pramod Sharma 
  • DG of Prisons and Correctional Services – Maheshwar Dayal
  • CEO and MD of Stellantis India – Aditya Jairaj (replace Roland Bouchara) 

18.Tshisekedi re-elected president of Congo 

  • The Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) President Felix Tshisekedi won re-election with more than 70 percent of the vote. 
  • Businessman Moise Katumbi finished behind Tshisekedi with 18 percent of the vote. 
  • Martin Fayulu, a former oil company executive, received 5 percent, while Nobel Peace Prize winner Denis Mukwege, a physician renowned for treating women brutalised by sexual violence in eastern DR Congo, got less than 1 percent. 
  • The election had over 40 percent turnout, with some 18 million people voting. The results will be sent to the constitutional court for confirmation, election chief Denis Kadima said. 

About Congo 

  • Capital- Kinshasa 
  • Currency- Congolese Franc 
  • President- Felix Tshisekedi 
  • Prime minister- Sama Lukonde 
  • Official language- French 

19.Newly Appointed Prime Minister & President 

  • President of Egypt – Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (3rd term) 
  • Prime Minister of Poland – Donald Tusk 
  • Prime Minister of Luxembourgish – Luc Frieden 
  • Prime Minister of Spain – Pedro Sanchez (re-elected) 
  • Prime Minister of Slovakia – Robert Fico (4th time) 
  • President of Ecuador – Daniel Noboa 

20.Rashmi Govil To Be Next Director (HR) Of IOC 

  • Rashmi Govil, a seasoned HR executive with nearly three decades of experience at Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), is poised to step into the role of Director (Human Resources) at the state-owned firm. Govil, currently serving as Executive Director (HRD & ER) at IOC, will succeed Ranjan Kumar Mohapatra. 
  • Govil has played a pivotal role in various HR segments, including industrial relations, compensation management, performance management, staffing recruitment, policy formulation, succession planning, systems management, and audit. 

21.Vivek Srivastava Named DG Of Fire Service, Civil Defence & Home Guards 

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has recently approved the appointment of Vivek Srivastava, a seasoned 1989-batch IPS officer of Gujarat cadre, as the Director General of Fire Service, Civil Defence & Home Guards under the Ministry of Home Affairs. 
  • Vivek Srivastava has a distinguished career as an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, with extensive experience spanning over three decades. Having entered the service in the year 1989, he has served in various capacities, showcasing leadership skills and dedication to public service. 
  • Srivastava’s roots lie in the Gujarat cadre, where he began his career. Over the years, he has navigated the complexities of law enforcement, tackling challenges with strategic acumen. His service in the IPS has been marked by a relentless pursuit of justice, earning him a reputation as a principled and effective officer.

Banking News 

22.Why did FIU IND act against virtual asset providers? 

  • On December 28, the Financial Intelligence Unit India (FIU IND) issued show-cause notices to nine offshore virtual digital asset service providers (VDA SPS), including Binance, Kucoin, Huobi, Bitfinex and MEXC Global, among others. This was for "operating illegally" without complying with the provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act, 2002 (PMLA). It has also been written to the Secretary of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to block URLs of the mentioned entities. 
  • What is the premise of the non-compliance? 
  • In March 2023, Virtual Digital Asset Service Providers (VDA SPs) in India were brought under anti-money laundering/counter financing of terrorism regulations. They were mandated to comply with PMLA 2002, verify the identities of onboarded clients, and maintain records of their financial positions and potentially suspicious transactions. This obligation applies to all VDA SPs operating in India irrespective of physical presence. Non-registration made entities non-compliant despite serving Indian users. To put it in perspective, the entities "though catering to a substantial part of Indian users were not getting registered and coming under the Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Counter Financing of Terrorism Network (CFT) framework". Currently, 31 VDA SPs have registered with FIU IND. 
  • What purpose does the PMLA compliance serve? 
  • According to Ranjana Adhikari, Partner at INDUSLAW, the objective of the PMLA and its reporting obligation are to enable monitoring and tracking of financial transactions to curb money laundering and terror financing. She further observed, "While there is no denying that such AML and CFT measures are imperative for today's global financial ecosystem, the FIU IND should seek compliance only from those entities who fit within the parameters of the March 2023 notification and are capable of providing the information FIU and PMLA require." Furthermore, Vipul Kharbanda, an independent legal researcher, told The Hindu that VDA SPs adhering to KYC mandates would be beneficial for them only. "It addresses one of the primary concerns of any regulator about the purported anonymity of the crypto assets and their potential use for unlawful purposes," be stated, adding that mandatory KYC verifications would ensure lack of anonymity and businesses not encountering multiple hurdles. 
  • What considerations emerge when looking to regulate VDAs? The Bureau for International Settlements (BIS), which is the global forum for cooperation among central banks, in a report about financial stability from crypto assets in emerging economies (August 2023) observed three high-level policy options under consideration. These include an outright ban, containment and regulation. BIS observed that an outright ban may not prove enforceable. This is because of the pseudo-anonymous nature of crypto markets. There could be a possibility that regulators lose all sight of the market, further shrinking their transparency and making them less predictable. Containment would imply controlling the flows between crypto markets and traditional financial systems. However, BIS argued that the strategy would not address the vulnerabilities inherent in the crypto markets and could result in financial stability risks. About regulation, motivation to regulate. 
  • Separately, Ms. Adhikari also argues that the government has made it amply clear that it intends to enforce PMLA obligations on offshore entities if they satisfy the ingredients of the March 2023 PMLA notification on VDA SPs. "This is also in line with India's efforts through the G-20 where it has been advocating for global regulation of cryptocurrency and consequently the framework proposed by the International Monetary Fund and the Financial Stability Board to the G-20 in the asset varies across jurisdictions. The report holds that it must be ensured that the benefits of regulating and supervising are greater than the costs involved. Furthermore, for emerging market economies three issues are of importance, that is: defining the (regulatory) authority or entity and their scope, then the scope of regulation in terms of either activity or entity, and lastly, filling in the data gaps to understand the technology and interconnections. 

Important Day News 

23.1 January – World Day of Peace 

  • World Day of Peace is celebrated on January 1 every year, is primarily a Catholic feast day dedicated to universal peace on the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. 
  • On this occasion, Popes generally make authoritative declarations on the Catholic Social Teachings (C.S.T.). 
  • The Pope and the Vatican Church stress the need to care and share tolerance for each other and to create a society that focuses on good moral values and does not yield to the temptation to disregard others. 
  • World Day of Peace began in 1967 when Pope Paul VI announced that the world needs to be sensitized and oriented for peace and understanding. 

24.1 January – Copyright Law Day 

  • Copyright Law Day is celebrated every year on 1 January to emphasize on the need to give credit where it is due. 
  • The first copyright statute was made by British Statute of Anne 1710 and applied only to books. 
  • In 1787, the United States Constitution protected copyrights to promote the progress of science and useful arts. 
  • Even back then, the primary intention of copyrights was to promote the creation of new works and allow authors the profit of copyrights. However, illegal downloading and usage of copyrighted products still continue to haunt us, and make the industries suffer. 

25.DRDO celebrates 66th Foundation Day 

  • DRDO’s Foundation Day is observed on January 1 every year to commemorate the excellent work of the organisation in making the nation strong and self-reliant in terms of science and technology and especially military technologies. 

What is DRDO? 

  • DRDO is the R&D wing of the Ministry of Defence, Govt of India, with a vision to empower India with cutting-edge defence technologies and a mission to achieve self-reliance in critical defence technologies and systems, while equipping our armed forces with state-of-the-art weapon systems and equipment in accordance with requirements laid down by the three Services. 
  • DRDO’s pursuit of self-reliance and successful indigenous development and production of strategic systems and platforms such as Agni and Prithvi series of missiles; light combat aircraft, Tejas; multi-barrel rocket launcher, Pinaka; air defence system, Akash; a wide range of radars and electronic warfare systems; etc., have given quantum jump to India’s military might, generating effective deterrence and providing crucial leverage. 

History of DRDO 

  • DRDO’S Formation-DRDO was formed in 1958 from the amalgamation of the then already functioning Technical Development Establishment (TDEs) of the Indian Army and the Directorate of Technical Development & Production (DTDP) with the Defence Science Organization (DSO). 
  • DRDO was then a small organization with 10 establishments or laboratories. Over the years, it has grown multi-directionally in terms of the variety of subject disciplines, number of laboratories, achievements and stature. 
  • The beginning of the Defence Research & Development Establishment goes back to 1947. The then Maharaja of Gwalior, Jiwaji Rao Scindia, the ruler of the Gwalior state, created a laboratory named Jiwaji Industrial Research Laboratory (JIRL). 
  • The JIRL was inaugurated by the then Governor-General of India Lord Earl Mountbatten on December 28, 1947. The JIRL was taken over by the Ministry of Defence, Government of India in November 1963. 
  • Till 1972, it was under the administrative control of the Defence Research Laboratory (Materials), Kanpur. After that in 1973, it was made a full-fledged independent unit as the Defence Research & Development Establishment (DRDE). 

Award News 

26.Anahat Singh won the title of ‘Women Under-19 Scottish Junior Open’ 2023 in squash

  • Talented Indian player Anahat Singh has won the Scottish Junior Open Squash-2023 title with her strong performance in the Girls Under-19 event held in Edinburgh. Anahat defeated Robin McAlpine 11-6, 11-1 and 11-5 in the final. It was a stellar year for Delhi's Anahat, who set double records at the Under-19 and Senior National Championships and won mixed doubles bronze medals with Abhay Singh at both the inaugural Mixed Doubles Championships and the Asian Games. 
  • In the Under-15 final, India's Subhash Chaudhary defeated compatriot Shiven Agarwal 5-11, 11- 4, 6-11, 11-8, 11-5, while in the Under-13 final, Shrestha Iyer defeated Shreyansh Jah. 
  • In the girls' under-13 final, top seeded Indian Aadya Budhiya defeated Malaysia's Nia Chew 9-11, 11-8, 8-11, 11-8, 11-9. Divyanshi Jain was the runner-up in the girls' under-11 category. 
  • Women's Jessie Lindsay Scottish Junior U19 Open 2023 held at Edinburgh Sports Club, Edinburgh, Scotland from 28-30 December 2023. Around 200 players from more than 30 countries participated in the event. 

Science and technology News 

27. XPoSat in orbit; to study black holes, neutron stars 

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) kicked off the New Year with the launch of the PSLV-C58 X ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) Monday. mission on The PSLV, in its 60th mission, lifted off at 9.10 a.m. from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota and 22 minutes later launched the XPoSat into an eastward low inclination orbit. 
  • The successful launch put India in an elite category as it has become the second nation to send an observatory to study astronomical sources such as black holes, neutron stars among others. 
  • "On January 1, 2024 yet another successful mission of the PSLV was accomplished. The PSLV-C58 has placed the primary satellite XPoSat in the desired orbit of 650 km with six-degree inclination," ISRO 
  • Chairman S. Somanath said after the successful launch. 
  • XPoSat is only the second X-ray polarimetry mission in the world, after NASA's Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer (IXPE) launched in 2021. It is the first dedicated scientific satellite from ISRO to carry out research in space-based polarization measurements of X-ray emission from celestial sources. It carries two payloads, namely POLIX (Polarimeter Instrument in X-rays) and XSPECT (X-ray Spectroscopy and Timing). 
  • POLIX has been developed by the Raman Research Institute and XSPECT by the Space Astronomy Group of URSC, Bengaluru. 
  • During the mission, the PSLV Orbital Experimental Module-3 (POEM-3) experiment was also executed to meet the objective of 10 other payloads 

28.Sign of the future The PSLV C58 mission is a symbol of the demands being made of ISRO 

  • Two missions the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched in the five months since its success with Chan drayaan-3 have both been scientific in nature: the Aditya L-I space probe to study the sun and the X ray Polarimeter Satellite (XPoSat) to study polarized X-rays emitted in astrophysical phenomena. ISRO launched the XPoSat, in a two-part mission, onboard a Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) on its CS8 flight on January 1. The relative timing of these launches may be a coincidence but it is heartening because the ratio of scientific to technological missions ISRO has launched is skewed in favor of the latter, at the expense of research in the sense of discovery. 
  • Those science oriented missions have all been exceptional in their own right. For example, XPoSat is only the second space-based experiment to study X-ray polarization, and at higher x-ray energies than the other, NASA's Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer. Its POLIX payload, realized by the Raman Research Institute, will track X-rays in the 8-30 kilo-electron-volt (keV) energy range and observe emissions from around 50 sources in five years. The XSPECT payload, by ISRO's U.R. Rao Satellite Centre, will study X-rays of energy 0.8-15 keV and changes in continuous X-ray emissions. Together, they are expected to shed light on intense X-ray sources such as pulsars and black holes. 
  • Then again, the science-technology skew is a reminder that ISRO among the world's spacefaring organizations has unique needs and priorities. This is exemplified by the second part of the C58 mission. After launching XPoSat in a 650-km circular orbit around the earth, the fourth stage of the rocket lowered itself into a 350-km-high orbit and unfurled solar panels, becoming a rudimentary satellite and orbital testbed for the 10 payloads it carried. These are a radio payload by the K.J. Somaiya Institute of Technology and a device to measure ultraviolet radiation from L.B.S. Institute of Technology for Women; a 'green' cubesat propulsion unit, a 'green' monopropellant thruster, a tantalum-based radiation shield, a heater-less hollow cathode, and a nanosatellite platform, all from private entities; and an interplanetary dust counter, a fuel-cell power system, and a high-energy cell from ISRO centers. This is only the third time ISRO has operated the PSLV fourth stage in this way. As such, the C58 mission represents a union of the aspirations of professional scientists, aspiring students of science, and India's private spaceflight sector. This again is a vignette of the demands of ISRO it- self as it navigates an era in which a permanent lunar station seems inevitable, drawing as much on technological capabilities as based on scientific missions humankind's knowledge of the universe. 

29.How radiocarbon dating revolutionized science 

  • An essential role in how we masterpet, and understand the tenderse and the peoples and и рань and the change by which thapage is characters The technique called radiocarbon dating hovught the ter vertable won to do this to marry fields of science, transforming des astour weld the Applicant degree 
  • Radiocarbon dating is a method to which the Dutting at the age of Radiocarbon daring refers to a method that does the using radiocarbon, a nастие for the tao tape carbon 14. 
  • Carbon-14 is created in the earth's atmosphere when cosmic rays energetic Streams of charged particles coming from sources in outer space slam into the atoms of the gasses and release neutrons. When these neutrons interact with the nitrogen 14 nitrogen isotope, they can produce carbon-H Since cosmic rays are ceaselessly passing through the earth's atmosphere, carion-44 is created constantly there. 
  • Carbon-14 readily combines with atmospheric oxygen to form radioactive carbon dioxide, This compound then. enters the bodies of plants (via photosynthesis), animals (when they consume plants), and other biomass through the carbon cycle. 
  • In the early 1940s, the American chemists Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben found a way to synthesize carbon-14 in the lab as well as half the time taken to decay to half its original mass. 
  • Finnish-American physicist Serge Korff found that it's possible to produce carbon-14 by bombarding nitrogen-14 with neutrons-as cosmic rays do. Inspired by these findings, the American physical Willard Libby is credited with conceiving the idea of using carbon-14 to date organic materials, which he published in the journal Physical Review in 1946 chemist 
  • Notably, Libby's idea made two assumptions that weren't exactly known to be true at the time. 
  • First, the concentration of carbon-14 in the earth's atmosphere doesn't change across thousands of years. If it did, radiocarbon dating-which dates organic materials by measuring the amount of carbon 14 they contain wouldn't work. Second, carbon-14, in the form of carbon dioxide and other carbon. 
  • Compounds would have to be able to affect the earth's various ecosystems such that the concentration of carbon-14 in the atmosphere was comparable to the concentration of carbon-14 in the planet's other biospheres. diffuse into Some preliminary studies Libby conducted at the time, with his student Ernest Anderson, indicated this was the case. 
  • Fortunately for Libby, scientific studies that came later proved both these assumptions to be valid. 
  • How does radiocarbon dating work? When an organic entity itke the human body', it constantly exchanges carbon with its surroundings by breathing, consuming food, defecating shedding skin, etc. Through these thom the body as well as replenished, so concentration in the body is nearly constant and in equilibrium with its surroundings. When this individual dies, the body no longer performs these activities and the concentration of carbon 14 in the body begins to dwindle through radioactive decay. 
  • The more time passes, the more the amount of carbon-14 lost, and the less there will remain. This decay rate can be predicted from theory Radiocarbon dating dates an object by measuring the amount of carbon-14 len, which scientists and/or computers can use to calculate how long ago the body expired. In the late 1940s, Libby and chemist James Arnold tested this technique by dating objects whose ages were already known through other means including redwood trees estimated from tree ring) and a piece of the funerary boat of an Egyptian pharaoh (whose death had been recorded at the time) 
  • They found the technique could indeed estimate their ages correctly and published their findings in the journal Science in 1949. 
  • Since carbon-14 decays with a half-life of around 5,730 years, its presence can be used to date samples that are around 60 millennia old. Beyond that, the concentration of carbon 14 in the sample would have declined try more than 9% 
  • What are the tools of radiocarbon dating?
  • The instrument of choice in Libtey's dime to study radioactive decay was the Geiger counter consiste of a Geiger Muller tube connected to some electronics thia Interpret and display signals. 
  • The Geiger Muller tube contains a noble gas, such as helium or neon, and a rod pussing through the center. A high voltage is maintained between the tube's Inner surface and the rod encourages these electrons to knock off electrons in more atoms, producing a bigger discharge (called the Townsend discharge). This electric signal is relayed to the electronics, where, say, a light may come on in response, indicating that radioactive decay is happening nearby. Libby and his colleagues built on the Geiger counter to create a device called the anti-coincidence counter': a sample was surrounded by Gelger counters that marin charge atas become more amparske in this was all the cartem 14 from a simple as the isolated and examined to cathmate the bone fragmer's had been tuned to ignore the background level of radiation, and the setup was housed inside thick shielding that further subtracted background radiation. To further improve results, the team also purified the sample. 
  • How does modern radiocarbon dating work? 
  • The modern radios artion ding setiap t Hinte sophletsaled sende, ons of the most sensitive dating ерестрогену (ARO, while you sell with obtainable samples as much as 50 fmg. spectrometry in leolare lone Ost has the sime ross is charge ratio. They begin with a simple yantramente fragment of bone and bombard it with elections 
  • ext, they subject the bass so different physical conditions that cause them to separate according to the mars to charge ostle For listance, they can be energized by being accelerated and then deflected by electric or magnetic , fons with different mass to charge ration are deflected to different events AMS adds one more filter to this setip a particle accelerator that energizes the lons a ones more. As a result, leotope lons of the same mass and different tones with the same mass to charge ratio also become more separable, in this way, all the carbon-14 from a sample can be isolated and examined to estimate the bone fragment 
  • Geiger counters are available to purchase for a few tens of thousands of rupees and can be operated by hand. Particle accelerators require specialized training and skill as well as a few crore rupees, but their stility is equally disproportionate. Por example, AMS has allowed geologists to date rocks by measuring the relative amounts of the strontium 87 Isotope 
  • Naturally occurring rubidium-87 decays to strontium -87 with a half-life of 40.2 billion years, Strontium-7 is one of four strontium Isotopes and the only one to not also be produced by stars. So measuring the ratio of strontium-87 to any of the other isotopes could yield a rock
  • How did radiocarbon dating change science? 
  • According to the American Chemical Society, "radiocarbon dating provided the first objective dating method the ability to attach approximate numerical dates to organic remains" 
  • For this reason, its effects on the fields of archaeology and geology have come to be called the "radiocarbon revolution". 
  • Radiocarbon dating allowed researchers to date sites of archaeological Importance, check whether two objects found at the same time are equally old, and compare the ages of objects found at far-flung sites. 
  • In essence, it allowed scholars a clearer and measurable view of the past, opening the door to findings whose importance resonate to this day-including the history of human migration, the rise and fall of civilisations, the birth of languages and religions, the evolution of human-animal interactions, and undulations of the earth's climate. Radiocarbon dating is also of political significance in India, where researchers and politicians alike have invoked its use to date objects retrieved from temples and mosques. Scientists have also continued to refine the technique and account for any remaining flaws. For example, in 2018, archaeologists at Cornell University, New York, reported evidence of the radiocarbon cycle deviating from the expected version at certain points between 1610 and 1940. As a result, they said, radiocarbon dating to these periods could be off by around 19 years. 
  • In 2020, researchers from Cyprus, the Netherlands, and Russia reported a way to improve the time resolution of radiocarbon dating, the smallest period of time to which it could date objects from decades to specific points within a year, using "recent developments in atmospheric science". 

Agreement News 

30.ITC Collaborates With Microsoft And Skymet To Shield Tobacco Farmers From Climate Challenges 

  • In a noteworthy alliance, ITC, a prominent Indian conglomerate, has joined forces with Microsoft and Skymet to address the escalating challenges faced by tobacco farmers in India due to climate change. 
  • The adverse impacts of climate change on agriculture are well-known, and the tobacco sector is no exception, suffering an estimated loss of ₹800-900 crore in export revenues. 
  • The program’s overarching goal is to enhance the climate resilience of tobacco crops, enabling farmers to better navigate the biotic and abiotic stresses induced by climate vagaries. By leveraging technology and strategic partnerships, ITC aims to empower farmers and reduce the impact of extreme weather events on tobacco cultivation.

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