Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 20th January 2024


1. Gearing up for change India needs region-specific plans to improve climate resilience 

  • Earlier this week, the India Meteorological Department (IMD), entered the 150th year of its existence. While at present, it analyzes the entire spectrum of climate and weather, from cyclones to fog, it was conceived, in colonial times, to probe the mysteries of the southwest monsoon. The needs were practical. The British administration, concerned about revenues, was intimately aware of the influence of the monsoon on harvests and thus extremely invested in determining whether past observations of wind, rain and sunshine could be used to predict future torrents and droughts. In the years since then, the IMD has collected gargantuan stores of meteorological data that underlie its forecasts of the monsoon. One such analysis of this data by researchers at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) examines monsoon trends at the sub-divisional (tehsil) level, from 1982-2022.This finds that monsoon rainfall is increasing in more than half, or 55%, of India's roughly 4,400 tehsils. About 11% of them saw decreasing rainfall. In those tehsils, about 68% experienced reduced rainfall in all four monsoon months, while 87% showed a decline during the June and July crucial for the sowing of kharif crops. Most of these tehsils are in the Indo-Gangetic plains, which contribute to more than half of India's agricultural production, northeastern India, and the Indian Himalayan region. 
  • The study also found that 30% of India's districts witnessed several years of deficient rainfall years and 38% many years of excessive rainfall. Some tehsils in Rajasthan, Gujarat, central Maharashtra, and parts of Tamil Nadu that historically were dry were also getting wetter. There were also changes underway in the northeast monsoon, which sets in during October, November and December but primarily impacts peninsular India. The northeast monsoon rain has increased by more than 10% in the past decade (2012-2022) in approximately 80% of tehsils in Tamil Nadu, 44% in Telangana, and 39% in Andhra Pradesh, res- pectively. The southwest monsoon accounts for nearly 76% of India's annual rainfall, with about 11% from the north-east monsoon. That India's monsoons are increasingly prone to long, dry spells and punctuated by torrential wet spells is well documented though how much of it can be explained by natural variability and how much from global warming is an active area of research. While revenue extraction guided colonial interest in weather at the regional levels, such analyses have a new, contemporary relevance. This is to make region-specific plans to improve climate resilience and channel necessary funds and resources. Prioritizing regional and sub-district forecasts over national ones, would be a commendable step forward by the government. 

2. Half-day leave on January 22 is against Constitution’ 

  • The Union government's order to close its offices for half day on January 22 to "enable employees to participate in the celebrations for Ram Lalla Pran Pratishtha at Ayodhya" is an unconstitutional step, the Left parties said. This robs government employees of "choice" regarding religious beliefs, they added. 
  • Following the Centre's cue, the BJP-ruled States have issued similar orders. 
  • The Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau said the order was yet another step to directly involve the "government and State" in what should be a "purely religious function". The party reiterated that such actions are against the Constitution. 
  • Speaking to The Hindu, Communist Party of India leader D. Raja said that such an order is a step towards a "theocratic State". 

3. Understanding the body's perception of pain key to evolving new drugs, says Nobel Laureate David Julius 

  • The sensation of pain, while universal, can also be influenced by culture. Though there is progress in understanding new pathways on how pain is processed at a biochemical level in the body, the current class of painkillers that consist of opioids and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) will remain the mainstay of treatment for a long time, said David Julius, biochemist, molecular physiologist and co-recipient of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology. Dr. Julius addressed scientists and students at a talk on Friday, as part of the annual TNQ Distin- guished Lectures in the Life Sciences. In a nearly two-hour discourse, where he spoke on the topic 
  • While capsaicin was alrea dy known to activate nerve cells causing pain sensations, how the chemical actually exerted this function was an unsolved riddle. Through his investigations, he discovered a heat-sensing receptor that is activated at temperatures perceived as "painful". 
  • "How we sense pain" and took a range of questions from the audience at the Jawaharlal Nehru Auditorium, All India Institute of Medical Sciences here, Dr. Julius described his scientific journey as a student and biologist and how he discovered a novel pathway and pain receptor called TRPVI that responds to capsaicin, the compound in chili peppers that gives the sensation of heat. 
  • Understanding how the body manages pain is an extremely important field of investigation because while the pain-pathway system protects the body by acting as a warning system against tissue damage from changes in the environment, such as burns or injuries, it "can also flip" and become hyper-sensitive causing chronic pain. 
  • "Lower back pain is a completely different experience from migraine pain and until we know what differentiates one from the other, it will be difficult to come up with new therapeutic options," he added. 
  • Chili peppers and capsaicin, the degree to which they are activated to induce sensations of burning, heat, and discomfort, play a key role in Dr. Juli- us's investigation.
  • Responding to a question on what people in hot climates relishing a fiery chili would have to do with how the body regulates temperature, Dr. Juli us said, "On a hot day in a field, the core temperature in the body would rise. Biting into a chili would trigger sensations of heat that would then signal to the body to activate responses to lower the core temperature." 
  • Regulating temperature Mice that have been directly injected with capsaicin see their body temperatures rapidly falling. So this (eating spicy foods) is an efficient way to regulate body temperature. However behavioral adaptation is probably why different cultures have taken to it." 
  • Birds and squirrels have higher core temperature than humans and the fore have a higher tolerance to peppers and h foods, he said inar ponse to a query on evolutionary adaptation to he sensations. 
  • Much of his research was possible due to grants that were generated from public funds. 
  • "The taxes that are paid should also be used to fund curiosity driven research and that's the only way that we can move science forward," said Julius. 
  • The TNQ lecture series annually invites emine scientists and several of the Nobel Laureates in the life sciences for pub talks, on their work, in dia. Following his talk in Delhi, Dr. Julius will lecture in Bengaluru and Mumbai next week. 

4. DPR for rail link from IGHO Noida airport expected by March 

  • Work on the rapid rail transport system, which will link Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport to the yet-to-be launched Noida International Airport, will gather steam with the detailed project report (DPR) for the project to be concluded by March. 
  • The rapid rail transport system will allow passengers to travel between the National Capital Region's two airports within 80 minutes, without an interchange on the rail line. 
  • "A feasibility study was carried out by the National Capital Region Transport Corporation, which was approved by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on December 19. He has now instructed that the detailed project report be readied in three months," Shailendra Bhatia, Uttar Pradesh government's Officer on Special Duty and Nodal Officer for Noida International Airport, said. 
  • The project cost is pegged at 16,000 стоге, and the timeline for the project is expected to be "three to four years" once the DPR is finalized. The Noida International Airport is on track to meet its year-end deadline for the launch of flight operations. 
  • On Friday, the airport signed a strategic partnership agreement with Akasa Air. In November, it had inked a pact with IndiGo to be its launch carrier. 
  • According to Kumar Harsh, Special Secretary and Director of Civil Aviation, Uttar Pradesh government, the State will get six more airports this year in Aligarh, Azamgarh, Chitrakoot, Moradabad, Saharanpur, and Shravasti. 

5. Andhra becomes 2nd State to take up 'caste census’ 

  • The Andhra Pradesh government on Friday kicked off its comprehensive caste census to enumerate all communities in the State. Information and Public Relations Minister C. Srinivatsa Venugopala Krishna said the census is scheduled for 10 days from January 19. 
  • "The comprehensive caste census is scheduled for 10 days in one phase and if needed, it will be ex- tended by four or five days," Mr. Krishna said. 
  • The Minister noted that volunteers will visit each and every home to collect the caste details, which will be relayed to the village secretariat system. 
  • With this initiative, Andhra Pradesh has become the second State in the country after Bihar to take up a caste census. 
  • Mr. Krishna said officials in the village secretariat system across the State will verify the accuracy of the information collected by the volunteers and correct it, if necessary, before entering the final details. Each volunteer will cater to 50 households. 
  • Mr. Krishna exuded confidence that the entire census process will be completed before the issuance of the election notification on or around February 15, 
  • The YSRCP government has set the caste census as a major goal and feels that the enumeration can transform the living standards of people. 
  • Mr. Krishna said there are many castes that are yet to receive the benefits of welfare schemes and the census will help address this. 
  • Earlier, the Minister said there has been no caste census in India post independence and that the government has conducted only population censuses. 
  • As part of this exercise, the Andhra Pradesh government had elicited opinions from caste representatives across the State. 

6. NASA spacecraft pings Chandrayaan-3 lander on the moon 

  • A NASA spacecraft has successfully pinged India's Chandrayaan-3 lander on the moon. According to NASA, a laser beam was transmitted and reflected between its Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Vikram lander for the first time on the lunar surface. The US space agency said this successful experiment opens the door to a new style of precisely locating targets on the moon's surface. "At 3 pm EST on Dec. 12, 2023, NASA'S LRO pointed its laser altimeter instrument toward Vikram. The lander was 62 miles, or 300 km, away from LAD, when LR0 aramamined laver puises to ward it. After the orbiter registered light that had bounced back from a tiny KASA retroreflector aboard Vikram, KASA scientists knew their technique had finally worked," NASA stated. 
  • NASA said sending laser pulses toward an object and measuring how long it takes the light to bounce back is a commonly used way to track the locations of Earth-orbiting satellites from the ground. "We've shown that we can locate our retroreflector on the surface from the moon's orbit. 
  • "The next step is to improve the technique so that it can become routine for missions that want to use these retroreflectors in the future," Xiaoli Sun, who led the team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in a statement. 
  • Commenting on this development, ISRO said Laser Retroreflector Array (LRA) Instrument on Chan- drayaan-3 lander started serving as a location marker near the lunar south pole. 

7.Judges who delivered H Ram Janmabhoomi verdict get invitation 

  • The five judges of the Supreme Court who delivered the verdict in the Ram Janmabhoomi case in 2019 have been invited for the consecration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya on January 22 
  • On November 9, 2019, a five judge Bench, headed by then Chief Justice of In- dia (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, had ruled that the disputed site be handed over to the Hindu side. 
  • Current CJI D.Y. Chan- drachud, former CJI S.A. Bobde, and former judges Ashok Bhushan and S. Ab- dul Nazeer were also part of the Bench. 
  • The Ram Temple Trust has also invited over 50 jurists, including former Chief Justices, judges, and top lawyers, for the ceremony. 
  • Solicitor-General Tush-ar Mehta and former Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal are also among the invitees. 
  • A photo of the new Ram Lalla idol, carved in black stone by Mysuru-based sculptor Arun Yogiraj, was made public on Friday. Several BJP leaders shared the photo on social media hailing the temple inauguration. Union Minister Shobha Karandlaje wrote that the dream of decades had now become a reality. 

8. Prepare textbooks in regional languages' 

  • The Union Education Ministry on Friday directed all school and higher education regulators such as the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) and the Indira Gandhi National t Open University, the heads of Indian Institutes of Technology, Central Universities, and the National Institutes of Technologies, and the University Grants Commission to make study material available in regional languages for all courses in the next three years. The Centre has asked the UGC and the regulators to take up the issue expeditiously. 
  • The Ministry, in a release, said the decision was aimed at providing students with the opportunity to study in their own language. Study material for all courses under school and higher education would be made available digitally in languages included in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution, it said. 
  • The Ministry said the direction was in tune with the National Education Policy for promoting multilingualism in education at every level. "Studying in one's own language can provide a student the natural space to think innovatively without any language barrier," it said. 

9. North Korea tested underwater nuclear capable drone 'Heil-5-23' 

  • North Korea has conducted an underwater test of its nuclearcapable drone 'Heil-5-23" in the waters south of Jeju Island. North Korea responded to South Korea's recent joint military exercises with the US and Japan. An underwater nuclear weapon system has been tested in protest. 
  • Named "Haile", meaning tsunami, the new drone system was reportedly first tested in March 2023. Its purpose was to deliver covert attacks in enemy waters and destroy naval strike groups and major operational ports by creating a large radioactive wave. 
  • Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have reached their highest point in years, with Kim stepping up his weapons testing activity and threatening nuclear conflict. 
  • Earlier in the year 2024, North Korea conducted its first ballistic missile test, described as a new solid-fuel, intermediate-range missile with a hypersonic warhead, possibly aimed at US military bases in Guam and Japan . 

10. Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurates Boeing India Engineering and Technology Center in Bengaluru 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi B.Com from Bengaluru, Karnataka. Inaugurated the Boeing India Engineering and Technology Center at Marenhalli and also launched the Boeing Sukanya Programme. Built on a 43-acre campus in Bengaluru with an investment of Rs 1,600 crore, the Boeing Center is the company's biggest investment outside the US. 
  • Boeing's new campus in India is an important initiative of startup, private and public partnership. It will develop next generation products and services for the aviation and defense industry. 
  • Boeing's engineering centers in Bengaluru and Chennai employ 6,000 engineers working in the areas of mechanical, electrical and electronic engineering for current and future aviation programs. 
  • Apart from this, the Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of several projects worth Rs 250 crore related to the broadcasting sector. Shri Modi also laid the foundation stone of projects to install 26 new FM transmitters in 12 states. Boeing Sukanya Program 
  • The Boeing Sukanya program aims to support girls from across the country to enter the country's growing aviation sector. The program will provide opportunities for girls and women across India to learn critical skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and train for jobs in the aviation sector. 
  • For young girls, the program will create STEM labs at 150 planned locations to help spark interest in STEM careers. It will also provide scholarships to women who are training to become pilots. The investment will support flight training courses, certification attainment, funding for simulator training and career development programs. 

11. Gujarat's indigenous dates 'Kachhi Kharek' gets GI tag 

  • Kutchhi Kharek, a native variety of date palm from Kutch, has become the second fruit from Gujarat to get the Geographical Indication (GI) tag from the Controller General of Patents, Designs and Trade Marks of India (CGPDT). Delighted farmers of the semi-arid district have hailed the decision. 
  • The CGPDT office granted the GI certificate to Kachchi Kharek or Kachchi Dates on January 2 earlier this month after approving an application filed by Kutch farmer producer organization Unidates Farmer Producer Company Limited (UFPCL). 
  • Earlier in 2011, Gir Kesar mango – which is currently grown in Junagadh, Gir Somnath and Amreli districts of Saurashtra – was given the GI tag. 
  • The presence of dates in Kutch (Kutch) is believed to be about 400- 500 years old. It is believed that the date palm trees on India's northwestern border evolved from seeds thrown by settlers who traveled to the Middle East for Hajj. 
  • There are about two million palm trees in Kutch and about 1.7 million of them are seedling-root palm trees of native (indigenous) varieties. According to the Gujarat government, the date crop is cultivated in 19,251 hectares (hectares) in Kutch, which is 94 percent of the total date cultivation area of 20,446 hectares in the state. 

12. Union Fisheries Minister Parshottam Rupala inaugurates 'Artificial Reef Project' to boost fish production in Kerala 

  • Union Fisheries Minister Parshottam Rupala inaugurated the 'Artificial Reef Project' to boost fish production and promote sustainable fishing in Vizhinjam, Kerala. 
  • The initiative aims to double the income of fishermen by increasing fish stocks and contributing to the economic well-being of the local fishing community. 
  • 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 in 42 fishing villages from Pozhiyur to Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram district. 
  • The artificial rocks consist of 150 modules in three designs for each space: triangular, flower-shaped and tubular. The modules are deployed using GPS technology and deposited on the seabed at a depth of 12 to 15 meters. 
  • The project is financially supported, with 60% covered by the central government and 40% by the state. The Center has approved ₹302 crore for artificial reef installation and promotion of sustainable fisheries and livelihoods in Kerala.
  • The ₹13.02 crore project is being implemented under the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) of the Central Government. 

13. 'E-Sakshi App' launched for the administration of Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme 

  • The 'E-Sakshi Mobile Application' has been launched for the administration of the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) in India. Prior to E-Sakshi, the process was primarily paper-based, leading to various administrative challenges. 
  • This digital initiative, led by the Union Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation, aims to change the way MPs engage and manage to engage in development projects in their constituencies. 
  • The app is designed for a modified fund flow process under MPLADS, which ensures smooth and more efficient financial transactions. MPs can now track the progress of projects in real time from the approval of funds to execution and completion. 
  • The introduction of E-Sakshi under mplads is a jump towards digital administration, efficiency in public administration, transparency and accountability. This is in line with the widespread goals of the Government of India to include technology in governance, as reflected in various schemes and initiatives in various fields. 
  • MPLADS established in 1993, a centrally funded by the Government of India plans fully funded by the Government of India. This allows MPs to recommend developmental projects along with emphasis on sustainable community properties based on the needs felt locally. 5 crore rupees are allocated to each MP. 

14. Senior IPS officer Daljit Singh Chaudhary became Director General of Sashastra Seema Bal 

  • Senior IPS officer Daljit Singh Chaudhary has been appointed as Director General of Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB). Chaudhary, a 1990 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, is currently working as Special Director General of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). 
  • The appointment committee of the cabinet has approved his appointment as the Director General of SSB for the period till the date of his retirement till 30 November, 2025. 
  • The Sashastra Seema Bal, one of the Central Armed Police Forces of India, is mainly responsible for protecting the country's borders with Nepal and Bhutan. 
  • The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) is one of the five Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) under the administrative control of the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. Established in 1963, SSB was originally established to combat Chinese soldiers' activities on the Indo-Nepal border after the Indo-China war. Vice Admiral AN Pramod - Director General of Navy Operations 
  • Vice Admiral AN Pramod took over on 15 January 2024 as the Director General of Navy (DGNO). AN Pramod, an alumnus of 38th Integrated Cadet Course, Navy Academy, Goa, was appointed in the Indian Navy on 01 July 1990. 
  • This flag officer is actually a cat 'A' C King Air Operations Officer and Communications and Electronics War experts. He performed Staff Course in DSSC Wellington (Nilgiri) and Naval Higher Command Course in NWC, Goa. 

15.PM Launches Khelo India Youth Games 2023 In Chennai, Tamil Nadu 

  • The 13th edition of the Khelo India Youth Games was inaugurated with great enthusiasm by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. 
  • The opening ceremony witnessed not only the commencement of the much-awaited sporting event but also the launch and foundation stone laying of significant projects in the Broadcasting sector, valued at around Rs 250 crores. 
  • The highlight of the ceremony was the lighting of the Games’ torch, symbolizing the official inauguration of Khelo India Youth Games. The torch was handed over by two athletes and placed on the cauldron, marking the beginning of an exciting sporting extravaganza. 

16.PM Initiates 8 AMRUT Projects Worth Rs. 2,000 Crores In Solapur, Maharashtra 

  • The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, marked a historic day in Solapur, Maharashtra, by laying the foundation stone for 8 AMRUT projects and dedicating over 90,000 completed houses under PMAY-Urban. 
  • The event also witnessed the distribution of PM-SVANIDHI benefits to 10,000 beneficiaries, showcasing the government’s commitment to inclusive development. 
  • The inauguration of 15,000 houses in the Raynagar Housing Society, Solapur, is particularly noteworthy, benefitting handloom workers, vendors, power loom workers, rag pickers, Bidi workers, drivers, and others. 
  • The Prime Minister also initiated the distribution of the 1st and 2nd instalments to 10,000 beneficiaries of PM-SVANIDHI in Maharashtra. 

17.UNDP And EU Allocate $420,000+ For Deforestation, Food Security, Climate Change To Papua New Guinea 

  • The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the European Union (EU) have allocated grants totaling over US$420,000 (approximately 1.6 million PGK) to support initiatives aimed at combating deforestation, improving food and nutrition security, and adapting to the impacts of climate change. 
  • The official handover of these grants took place during a workshop held at the Takeanda Museum in Wabag, Enga Province, on 17 January 2024. These grants are set to benefit communities across six districts in Enga Province, Papua New Guinea. 
  • Beyond the grant distribution, participants received crucial guidance on monitoring and reporting the outcomes of their initiatives. The workshop also focused on enhancing the effective implementation of diverse project activities. 

18.Solar Power Stations Inaugurated At Egyptian World Heritage Sites 

  • In a ceremony at the Manial Palace, the Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities, represented by the Supreme Council for Antiquities (SCA), in collaboration with the Industrial Modernization Center and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Egypt, officially inaugurated solar power stations at five renowned Egyptian world heritage sites and museums. 
  • This initiative is part of the Egypt PV project, a groundbreaking effort aimed at fostering the market for rooftop small-scale photovoltaic (PV) systems in Egypt. Funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and the European Union, the project operates under the auspices of the UNDP in partnership with Egypt’s COP27 Presidency. 

19.Himachal Pradesh Launches ‘My School-My Pride’ For Education Transformation 

  • In a progressive move aligning with the National Education Policy (NEP)-2020, the state of Himachal Pradesh has unveiled the ambitious ‘My School-My Pride’ campaign under the ‘Apna Vidyalay’ programme. 
  • This initiative is set to revolutionize the quality of education in government schools, providing a holistic approach to student growth and development. 
  • Under the ‘Apna Vidyalay’ programme, stakeholders are not only encouraged to contribute their time and expertise but also make monetary contributions for infrastructure development, sponsor events, provide scholarships, and support the Mid-Day Meal (MDM) programme. 

20.Gole Mela Festival Commenced At Jagannath Temple, Udhampur 

  • The beautiful town of Udhampur witnessed a glorious spectacle today as the sacred precincts of the Jagannath Temple came alive with the vibrant celebrations of the much-anticipated ‘Gole Mela. 
  • The annual ‘Gole Mela’ has become synonymous with a collective expression of faith, drawing people from diverse backgrounds to come together in celebration. 
  • The festival venue was transformed into a lively fairground with an array of stalls, each offering a unique experience. From traditional handicrafts showcasing local artistry to delectable delicacies that tantalized the taste buds, the stalls added a festive charm to the surroundings. 

21.SEBI Chairperson Launches CDSL’s Multi-Lingual Initiatives For Investor Ease 

  • In celebration of its silver jubilee year, Central Depository Services (India) Limited (CDSL), Asia’s first listed depository, took a significant step towards inclusivity and accessibility in the capital market landscape. 
  • CDSL introduced a revolutionary upgrade in investor Consolidated Account Statement (CAS), enabling investors to receive statements in their preferred language among 23 diverse Indian languages. 
  • This initiative, titled ‘Apka CAS – Apki Zubaani,’ aims to provide easier accessibility, offering investors a consolidated view of their securities held in a demat account in a language of their choice. 
  • A unique multi-lingual chatbot, ‘CDSL Buddy Sahayta 24*7,’ on the CDSL website seeks to simplify investors’ journeys towards ‘Atmanirbharta’ or self-sufficiency. 
  • Starting with support in four languages, the chatbot provides round-the-clock assistance, becoming a constant companion for investors navigating the complexities of the securities markets. 

21.PM Modi Inaugurates Boeing’s Global Engineering & Technology Centre Campus Near Bengaluru 

  • On January 19, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated Boeing’s state-of-the-art global engineering and technology centre campus near Bengaluru. 
  • The Boeing India Engineering and Technology Centre (BIETC) campus, situated at Hightech Defence and Aerospace Park in Devanahalli, boasts a investment of Rs 1,600 crore, positioning it as Boeing’s largest such venture outside the United States. 
  • The campus, strategically located on the city outskirts, spans 43 acres and is expected to serve as a pivotal hub for collaborations with startups, the private sector, and government entities in India. It is envisioned to play a crucial role in the development of next-generation products and services for the global aerospace and defence industry. 

22.Maharashtra Secures Investments Of Rs 3.53 Trillion At Davos 

  • Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde announced the signing of 19 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) during his visit to the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. 
  • The state government successfully sealed investment MoUs amounting to Rs 3.53 lakh crore (USD 44 billion) across various sectors, including electronics, IT, data centers, gems and jewelry, agriculture, automobile, and renewable energy. An additional expression of interest for Rs 1 lakh crore investment was also received, catapulting the total potential investment to Rs 4.5 lakh crore (almost USD 57 billion). 
  • This substantial investment has the potential to generate around two lakh jobs, contributing significantly to employment across diverse industries. 

23.India Launches “Alliance For Global Good-Gender Equity And Equality” At World Economic Forum 

  • In a significant move on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, India has unveiled the “Alliance for Global Good-Gender Equity and Equality.” 
  • The initiative has gained support from influential entities, with the World Economic Forum (WEF) and Invest India joining as crucial partners. 
  • The idea for this alliance stems from the G20 Leaders’ Declaration, aligning with India’s commitment to women-led development championed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, according to Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani. 

24.Bengaluru, Delhi Airports Get Best Airport Award At Wings India

  • At the prestigious Wings India Awards 2024, both the Kempegowda International Airport in Bengaluru and the Indira Gandhi International Airport in Delhi were jointly awarded the ‘Best Airport of the Year’. 
  • This accolade celebrates world-class operators and individuals who have significantly contributed to the aviation industry, especially during challenging times. The award ceremony was held in Hyderabad. 
  • Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport was specifically recognized with the ’25 MPPA Traffic Award’ in the Airports category for handling more than 25 million passengers annually. 

25. Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2024 

  • The Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2024 was declared, with the awards set to be presented by President Droupadi Murmu at a formal event at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi on January 22. 
  • This year, 19 children from various parts of the country have been recognized for their outstanding accomplishments. The Ministry of Women and Child Development revealed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will engage with the recipients on January 23. Additionally, these children will be featured in the Republic Day parade on January 26, 2024. 

26.Skyways Air Services Wins Best Cargo Services Award At Wings India Awards 

  • Skyways Air Services Pvt Ltd has been recognized for its outstanding cargo services at the prestigious Wings India Awards held in Hyderabad. 
  • Skyways Air Services Pvt Ltd stood out for its cargo services, earning the Best Cargo Services Award. This accolade highlights the company’s efficiency and innovation in handling cargo, thereby contributing significantly to the aviation industry. 
  • The Wings India Awards are a significant event in the aviation industry, acknowledging the contributions of various stakeholders. This year’s event, held at the Begumpet Airport in Hyderabad, showcased major announcements and developments in the civil aviation sector. 

27.PepsiCo India Appoints Marketing Chief Jagrut Kotecha As New CEO 

  • PepsiCo India, in a strategic realignment, has appointed Jagrut Kotecha as its new CEO, succeeding Ahmed El Sheikh. This move comes as Ahmed El Sheikh transitions to the role of CEO for PepsiCo’s Middle East Business Unit. 
  • Kotecha, currently the Chief Commercial Officer for PepsiCo in Africa, Middle East, and South Asia (AMESA), is set to take the helm of PepsiCo India’s operations in March 2024. 
  • Jagrut Kotecha, with over three decades of experience at PepsiCo, has made significant contributions to the company’s growth. His PepsiCo journey began in 1994 in the Sales and Marketing team in India. Climbing the corporate ladder, Kotecha assumed various roles, including Regional Sales Manager and Marketing Manager for Western Snack. 

28.National Farmers Society, IndiaAI, Wadhwani Foundation Signs MoU For AI-Driven Agriculture

  • A Tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been recently inked between the National Farmers’ Welfare Programme Implementation Society, IndiaAI (Digital India Corporation), and Wadhwani Foundation. 
  • This collaborative effort aims to propel India to the forefront of AI-driven digital agriculture, leveraging the expertise and support of the Wadhwani Foundation in formulating and executing a robust AI strategy. 
  • The Wadhwani Foundation, a non-profit organization committed to accelerating economic development, will play a pivotal role in providing critical support for the development and implementation of AI-driven initiatives in the agriculture sector. 

29.Tata Group Secures IPL Title Sponsorship For Next 5 Years 

  • Tata Sons Private Limited has successfully utilized its Right to Match card, retaining the prestigious title sponsorship of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the upcoming five seasons, spanning 2024 to 2028. 
  • This development follows the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) release of an Invitation to Tender (ITT) for Title Sponsor Rights in late December 2023. 
  • In 2022, Tata Group had initially replaced Chinese mobile manufacturer Vivo as the IPL title sponsor for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, contributing INR 365 crore per season. With their current decision to retain the title sponsorship, the group is poised for an extended and prominent association with the world’s most lucrative cricket league. 

30.“Conversations With Aurangzeb”: A Novel By Charu Nivedita 

  • “Conversations with Aurangzeb” is a novel by Tamil literary icon Charu Nivedita, translated into English by Nandini Krishnan. 
  • This book represents a unique fusion of historical narrative and satirical commentary, offering readers a fresh perspective on both historical and contemporary themes. 
  • The novel is a part historical, part satirical piece that begins with a writer’s attempt to conduct seances with the spirit of Shah Jahan for a new book. 

31.Ram Mandir Pran Pratishtha: World’s Largest Lock, 1265 Kg Laddoo Prasad Arrive In Ayodhya  

  • As the Ram Mandir in Ayodhya gears up for its Pran Pratishtha (consecration) ceremony, it has received two unique offerings: the world’s largest lock, weighing 400 kg, and a colossal 1,265 kg laddoo Prasad. 
  • Crafted by Satya Prakash Sharma, a 65-year-old locksmith from Aligarh, the lock is a remarkable piece of artistry. Measuring ten feet in length and four and a half feet in width, the lock was made over six months. 
  • Nagabhushanam Reddy, owner of Sri Ram Catering Services in Hyderabad, prepared the massive laddoo Prasad. Reddy, inspired by his faith, had pledged to prepare 1 kg of laddoo for each day of his life as a mark of devotion. 
  • The preparation of this gigantic laddoo involved 25 men working tirelessly for three days. The laddoo was transported to Ayodhya in a refrigerated glass box, ensuring its preservation for up to a month.

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