Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 23rd January 2024

1. The idea of one nation, one election is against federalism 

  • In September 2023, the Union Government set up a 'High Level Committee on One Nation, One Election' under the chairmanship of former President of India, Ramnath Kovind. The High Level Committee has met on three occasions and sought the views of various national and State political parties on the subject of a common elections schedule. 
  • Recently, public views and those of eminent jurists were also solicited in this regard. Though there is no definitive timeline for the Committee to submit its recommendations, the fact that the timing of this exercise coincides with the lead-up to the general elections in 2024 raises pertinent doubts. Nevertheless, as the outcome of this exercise has the potential to alter the fundamentals of our democratic set-up and reset the federal structure, it is necessary to examine the legal issues at the earliest juncture. 
  • There are compelling reasons to believe that the High Level Committee is likely to return a recommendation in favour of a common schedule comprising elections to the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies overlooking genuine constitutional and legal concerns. This is why all the attention, in the aftermath of this exercise, would entirely focus on the Supreme Court of India. This would be India's Baker v. Carr moment where the Supreme Court of the U.S. deliberated the concept of "entering the political thicket". The Indian Supreme Court, which has self-characterized its constitutional role as the "sentinel on the qui vive", would be called upon to determine, quickly and purposefully, the ultimate fate of Indian democracy. 
  • Are common elections feasible? One of the reasons assigned in support of One Nation, One Election is the high amount of expenditure towards the conduct of elections. It is reported that the 2014 general elections cost the public exchequer an estimated 13,870 crore. It is argued that common elections for the Union 
  • Is Advocate, Madras High Court, and DMK spokesperson. Dhileepan P. provided Inputs for the article. 
  • Parliament and State Assemblies would reduce expenditure significantly, Another reason put forth by proponents of a common election is that the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect twice in a five year cycle, which affects the seamless conduct of government business and results in 'governance downtime'. 
  • Opponents of the common elections contend that these reasons are logically and factually untenable. The cost of holding free and fair elections to elect a government of the choice of the people is a price that can never be high. There are occasions where a government may not complete a full term of five years, and elections may be held again. Such occurrences are expressions of the democratic system and ought to be accepted. Likewise, the Model Code of Conduct and other guidelines issued by the Election Commission are necessary pains to ensure that executive influence over voters is kept to a minimum and the playing field, during the election period, remains level. In any case, it sounds strange for a Union government and the Election Commission that have refrained from holding Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, for nearly five years, to express strong concerns regarding governance downtime. 
  • Supreme Court declared that the States have an Independent constitutional existence, and they have as important a role to play in the political, social, educational and cultural life of the people as the Union. The Constitution provides for a specific tenure for the State Legislatures, which is five years from the date appointed for the first meeting. A similar provision also exists for the tenure of the Union Parliament. Therefore, the introduction of a common election process would necessarily require alteration of the existing duration of a number of State Legislatures. This would go against the express language in the Constitution and be in violation of the view expressed by the Supreme Court in the S.R. Bommai case. Therefore, any such action that impinges upon the independent constitutional existence of a State by altering the duration of its Legislative Assembly would naturally be anti-federal and unconstitutional. 
  • The next test would be that of bias, exclusion, and inequality adopted in this exercise. A cursory glance of the website created by the High Level Committee, intended to be a repository of all relevant information on the subject and act as a platform for interaction from all stakeholders. shows that it is available only in English and Hindi. This is to say that such a landmark consultation process is being conducted in one of the 22 official languages of the Union. Finally, there is a question that goes to the roof of the independence of the Election Commission, a constitutional body endowed with autonomy to take independent decisions regarding elections. Similar to demonetisation, when the Reserve Bank of India was kept in the dark, the Election Commission seems to be a silent spectator to the entire process undertaken by the High Level Committee set up by the Union government. 
  • Can One Nation, One Election be stopped? In the U.K., home of the common law jurisprudence, Parliament is supreme. However, the Indian constitutional architecture is structured differently granting higher courts inherent and broad powers of judicial review when executive actions transgress the fields assigned to them. The stage is set for a constitutional showdown in the not-too-distant future-one that will raise the question of whether constitutional courts, especially the Supreme Court, will enter the political thicket. At the moment, there seems to be no alternative but to enter and wade through the thicket, if the constitutional architecture of this country is to be preserved. 

2. President urges youth to stay vigilant against misuse of technology 

  • P. Murmu stressed the importance of technology for the educational and personal development of children, but cautioned against its mis use such as in the case of deep fakes and financial frauds. 
  • "Social media, while a powerful tool for communication and awareness, is also misused for spreading rumors. Therefore, it is essential to stay vigilant and avoid such activities as a wrong step can jeopardize your future," Ms. Murmu said after giving away the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar (national children awards) here. 
  • She also noted that excessive use of devices such as mobile phones, laptops and television had led to a decline in physical activities among today's generation. "I urge the youth to at least engage in one sport," the President said. 
  • Ms. Murmu said India had an invaluable resource in the form of a large number of youth. "This resource can play an important role in the progress of not only India but also the whole world. We have to make our youth capable for using technology. They have to be encouraged for innovation entrepreneurship." and Awards presented 
  • A total of 19 children were given the national children's awards for the year 2024 by the President. The 'Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya 
  • Young talents President Droupadi Murmu with Union Minister Smriti Irani during Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2024, at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi on Monday. 
  • Bal Puraskar was given to nine boys and 10 girls in six categories, namely art and culture, bravery, innovation, science and technology, social service and sports. 
  • The awardees belong to 18 States and Union Territories, including two aspirational districts. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will interact with the awardees on Wednesday. Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani met and congratulated them. 
  • The Central government confers the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar (PMRBP) to children for their exceptional achievements. The awards are conferred upon the children in the age group of 5- 18. Some of the awardees this year are Charvi A (sports) from Karnataka; Suhani Chauhan (innovation) from Delhi; Peridalaya Lakshmi Priya (art and culture) from Telangana; and R. Surya Prakash (sports) from Andhra Pradesh. 

3. Ministry rushes team to Manipur; Meitei MLAs call for 'positive action’ 

  • The Union Home Ministry on Monday rushed a team of officials led by A.K. Mis- hra, Adviser (Northeast), to Manipur following the fresh spate of killings and violence in the State. 
  • Meanwhile, 35 Meitei MLAs in Manipur passed a resolution that they will take action in consultation with the public if the "Government of India is unable to take any positive action". 
  • The Home Ministry team, which includes Intelligence Bureau (IB) officials, met Chief Minister N. Biren Singh. It will meet various civil society groups from the tribal Kuki-Zo community and the Meitei community. The officials are also expected to meet representatives of the Arambai Tenggol, a radical armed Meitei group that has been accused by the Kuki-Zo groups of instigating violence. A Ministry official said the team was sent after assessing the ground situation. 
  • The team will also meet Kuki-Zo groups and are expected to broker an amicable solution between the two communities. 
  • The CM had skipped the North Eastern Council (NEC) meeting chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Shillong on January 19. On Sunday, he questioned the efficacy of the Central security forces in curtailing violence in the border town of Moreh. 
  • Speaking on the occasion of Manipur Statehood 
  • Manipur Chief Minister N. Biren Singh chaired a meeting in Imphal on Sunday with representatives of 10 parties. ANI 
  • Day, Mr. Singh said, "The killers of Chingtham Anand, the SDPO [Sub-Divisional Police Officer) of Moreh, have been arrested. But if the Central forces fail to protect the lives and properties of the people of Manipur, they should go back." In the past week, at least six people, including two police personnel, have been killed. 
  • The team, led by Mr. Mishra, is also negotiating with the Kuki insurgent groups that are part of the Suspension of Operations (SoO) pact and have been demanding a separate administration for the Kuki- Zo-inhabited areas in the hill districts of Manipur. Meitei groups have demanded the revocation of the pact. 
  • The Meitei MLAs passed a resolution that the "So0 agreements with the armed militant groups, and the immunity it provides to these groups from a firm reaction from Central forces, is the main cause of the never-ending cycle of violence". It added that the Soo agreement with other militant groups who also indulge in anti-activities should not be extended beyond February 29, when the agreement comes to an end. 
  • It added that in many sensitive areas, the Assam Rifles were not responsive and remained mute spectators when unarmed civilians (particularly farmers) were being indiscriminately fired upon. 
  • The resolution added that the public's faith in the forces had been shattered. 

4. Jam 22 will bé etched in history as key moment: V-P 

  • Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar on Monday congratulated the nation on the Ram Temple's consecration in Ayodhya, adding that it was gratifying to witness the moment marking the reawakening of national pride. 
  • Expressing heartfelt wishes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the II day rigorous anushthan, Mr. Dhankhar said that January 22 would be etched in history as a defining moment of "tryst with divinity in our trajectory". civilisational 
  • "Gratifying to witness celebratory moment mark Ing reawakening of national pride all over," he said in a statement issued on Monday morning. 
  • On this day, he said, "we must resolve to inculcate Lord Ram's values of integrity, forgiveness, bravery, sincerity, humility, care, and compassion as a way of life to bring about enlightenment, peace, harmony, and righteousness all around". 

5. With no iron or steel, Ayodhya temple is a study in sandstone 

  • The Ayodhya temple, consecrated on Monday, is a sprawling structure built with sandstones by overcoming engineering challenges and showing sensitivity to nature, say authorities connected with its construction. 
  • Champat Rai, general secretary of the Sri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth al Kshetra, said the temple's construction was the result of "collective wisdom" of "some of the best brains in the country", 
  • No iron or steel has been used in the construction of the grand structure. Stones have been sourced from the Bansi Paharpur area in Rajasthan, Images of Lord Hanuman and other deities, peacocks and flower patterns have been carved into them. 
  • "The entire temple superstructure will eventually be three storeys 
  • A look at the figures related to the Ram Temple consecrated in Ayodhya on January 22 ground plus two floors," Mr. Rai said. Visitors will climb 32 steps from the eastern side to reach the main temple. 
  • The temple complex, built in the traditional Nagara style, will be 380 feet long from east to west, 250 feet wide and 161 feet high. Each floor will be 20 feet high and will have 392 pillars and 44 gates. 
  • During excavation, the ground was found unsuitable for laying the foundation stone, a challenge that engineers overcame by creating an "artificial foundation" over which the superstructure sits. Around the grand temple is a rectangular periphery called percota, a feature found in temples in South India, but not generally in the north, 
  • Donations collected by Ayodhya Ram Temple Trust 130.93 crore Project cost for facade beautification work on Ram Path Mr. Rai had earlier said. 
  • The percota will be 14 feet wide and the periphery spans 732 meters. The temple will be nestled within the periphery. 
  • "An ancient Shiva temple that exists on the Kalber Tila has also been revitalized," Mr. Rai said. After the consecration cerem ny, Prime Minister Nares dra Modi offered prayers ar the Kuber Tila 
  • A major part of the temple compound will be a green area with hundreds of trees. Mr. Rai underlined Important features such as sewage and water treatment plants, a fire brigade post and a dedicated elec- tricity line. 
  • About 70% of the com plex will be a green area. "The green area includes portions which are very dense and, in some seg-ments, even sunlight hardy filters through," Mr. Rai had said. Nearly 600 trees are preserved in this belt. 
  • Ornate figures of elephants and lions and idols of Lord Hanuman and Garuda were installed at the main entrance earlier this month. They have also been made using sand.
  • More than 3,000 kg of flowers of over 20 varieties have been used to decorate the grand structure, says Sanjay Dhawalikar, head of the floral decoration team. 

6. PM announces solar rooftop scheme for 1 crore households 

  • Hours after the consecration of the Ram idol in Ayodhya, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, citing divine inspiration, publicly announced a scheme to electrify one crore households with solar electricity. 
  • "Today, on the auspicious occasion of the consecration in Ayodhya, my resolve has been further strengthened that the people of India should have their own solar roof-top system on the roof of their houses. The first decision I have taken after returning from Ayodhya is that our government will launch 'Pradhanmantri Suryodaya Yojana' with the target of installing rooftop solar on one crore houses. This will not only reduce the elec- tricity bill of the poor and middle class, but will also make India self-reliant in the field of energy," Mr. Modi tweeted from his personal account. 
  • No information on a timeline for such installations was given. 
  • Accompanying the tweet were photographs of Mr. Modi convened a meeting with officials, including those from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. These included the department's Minister, R.K. Singh, and Secretary, Bhupinder Bhalla. 
  • Muted growth Currently, there is no Centrally compiled estimate of the number of households in India with rooftop solar installations. 
  • What is known is that despite increases in installed solar capacity, the growth in the number of rooftop solar installations has been muted. The Hindu spoke to multiple analysts, and though none had definitive numbers, it is estimated that there are fewer than 10 lakh households with rooftop installations. 
  • As of July 31, 2023, only 2.2 GW (1 GW is 1,000 MW) worth of rooftop installations were reportedly installed in Indian homes, according to information presented to the Lok Sabha. 

7. Chinese vessel in Indian Ocean now, 'heading to Maldives 

  • The Chinese research vessel Xiang Yang Hong 03 is entering the Indian Ocean and headed to Maldives, according to Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) observers and maritime tracking portals. Official sources acknowledged the development but did not comment on it. 
  • The destination Male is noteworthy given the moratorium on foreign research vessels by Sri Lanka and the ongoing friction between India and Maldives over Indian troops stationed there. 
  • As reported by The Hindu earlier, there has been a steady rise in the deployment of Chinese research vessels in the Indian Ocean Region. 

8. A more scenic Taj Mahal and cleaner Yamuna soon, using treated Delhi water 

  • A joint project of the city government's Delhi Jal Board (DJB) and the Centre's National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), the Okhla plant is touted to be the largest STP in the country with a treatment capacity of 564 million liters per day (MLD). 
  • According to official data, the Yamuna water leaving Delhi at present is highly polluted, with the level of fecal coliform (microbes from human and animal excreta) nearly 640 times "the desirable limit". 
  • To dilute these pollutants and increase the Yamuna's flow in Uttar Pradesh, the authorities plan to release about 200 cusecs of treated water at the upcoming Okhla plant into the nearby drain at Abul Fazal enclave, which feeds directly into the river. 
  • At the existing STP in Okhla, the treated water is released into the nearby Agra canal, instead of being directly released into the Yamuna, and used for irrigation purposes in some districts of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. 
  • NMCG Director General G. Asok Kumar said the new plan could bring a "noticeable improvement" in the level and quality of water in Mathura and Agra. 
  • "Tourists will be able to enjoy the Taj Mahal better with a cleaner Yamuna flowing behind it," he told The Hindu. 
  • "Of the 564 MLD, 180 MLD [of sewage treatment at the new STP] is expected to be operational by January-end. We plan to release this treated water into the Yamuna from February. By May, 564 MLD will be operational and we will be putting entire treated water into the river. As a result, around 200 cusecs of clean water will flow into the Yamuna [in U.P.)," Mr. Kumar said. 
  • Officially, the board had approved this plan last year, but there were some issues with the U.P. government in implementing it due to the existing Central rules. However, the rules were recently tweaked to facilitate the flow of treated water from Delhi into the Yamuna, the official added. 
  • Another DJB official said, "The treated water from [the new plant in] Okhla will be better than that of many existing STPs in Delhi. This clean water will bring more oxygen into the river and increase its self-cleaning capacity." 
  • The water treated at the upcoming plant will have a biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) of 10 milligram per liter. 
  • BOD indicates the amount of dissolved oxygen consumed by bacteria and other microorganisms while decomposing any organic matter present in a sample of water. 
  • The lower the BOD level, the better the quality of the water sample. 

9. CM opens Ram temple, unveils Hanuman idol in Bengaluru 

  • Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday opened a Ram temple at Mahadevapura in Bengaluru. Along with the temple, a 33-foot Hanuman idol was unveiled by the Chief Minister. 
  • The Chief Minister said: "The Sitarama Lakshmana temple built by the Hirandahalli Sri Rama Temple Trust will be an important temple in Bengaluru." He also participated in a Maha Kumbhabhisheka event. 
  • Mr. Siddaramaiah said, "Lord Rama belongs to everyone, and it is sad the ruling BJP led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is claiming credit for Hinduism in this country. In my life, I never brought religion into politics, and I am working in a party that believes in secularism." Even as more than a dozen States declared a holiday on Monday, the Karnataka government did not. "I am also inaugurating a temple and I think there is no need for any holiday today," he said. 

10. tensions Dialing down aggressive rhetoric is crucial for peace in Korean Peninsula 

  • Kim Jong-un's decision to declare South Korea as an enemy state of the North and abandoning the idea of peaceful reunification signals that Pyongyang is adopting a more aggressive stand. Recent months also saw increased war rhetoric from Mr. Kim as well as a series of weapons tests by the North. 
  • Pyongyang claimed to have fired a medium-range hypersonic missile that could travel at low altitudes. It has also tested underwater, unmanned, nuclear-capable drones. Earlier this month, the North fired hundreds of artillery shells near the South's islands of Yeonpyeong and Baengnyeong,closer to the Northern Limit Line, a disputed inter-Korean maritime border. It is evident from these actions that the Kim regime is seeking to alter the status quo. But Mr. Kim's actions were not entirely unprovoked. He sees the growing military convergence between South Korea, Japan, and the U.S. as a security threat. The three countries recently linked up their missile-radar data with one another. 
  • The U.S. and South Korea also routinely conduct joint military exercises, which triggers sharp reactions from the North. South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who assumed office in May 2022, has also maintained a hawkish stand towards Pyongyang, saying that peace can be achieved only through strength. In the past, despite its rhetoric, North Korea was open to diplomatic engagement with the South and the U.S. In 1994, it reached the Agreed Framework with the Clinton administration. As part of this, it agreed to freeze the operation and construction of its nuclear reactors. It was after the collapse of the Agreed Framework during the George Bush Jr. administration that Pyongyang went nuclear. President Donald Trump reached out to the North, which temporarily stabilized inter-Korean ties. When the Trump initiative failed, tensions spiked again. The North's leaders, given what happened to Libya, Iraq, and the Iran nuclear agreement, have little incentive to give up their nuclear weapons for an agreement with the U.S. In an apparent rejection of the path of reconciliation with the U.S., Pyongyang has ruled out talks on denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula and has taken measures to strengthen ties with China and Russia. But even a complicated diplomatic path would be preferable to a military path any day. A direct conflict between the two Koreas, one a nuclear power and the other backed by the world's most powerful country, would be disastrous for the entire region. Dialing down tensions and rebuilding confidence in inter-Korean relations should be an immediate priority for all stakeholders - Seoul, Pyongyang, and Washington. 

11. Japan becomes the fifth country in the world to land spacecraft 'Moon Sniper' on the Moon 

  • Japan's high-precision "Moon Sniper" lander has landed on the lunar surface for the first time in the country, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said. By completing the landing, Japan became the fifth country in the world to send a spacecraft to the Moon, after the United States, Russia, China and India. 
  • According to JAXA, the Smart Lander for Investigating the Moon (SLIM) began its "powered descent sequence" toward the lunar surface on 20 January 2024. 
  • Hitoshi Kuninaka, head of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Sciences, said he believed the rovers were launched and data were being sent back to Earth. But the agency said it was still "investigating its situation" due to a problem with the plane's power supply. 
  • But he said SLIM's solar batteries are not generating electricity and the spacecraft's battery life will only last a few more hours. The mission's priority now was to collect as much lunar data as possible on the remaining batteries. 
  • Speaking before touchdown, JAXA's SLIM project manager, Shinichiro Sakai, said, "Japan has this technology, we will have a big advantage in upcoming international missions like Artemis," referring to the Moon mission. Japan is also planning LUPEX, a joint unmanned lunar polar exploration with India in 2025. ‘Moon Sniper’ 
  • Japan's "Moon Sniper" is a small robot. It has a shape-changing SORA-Q robot. Sora means "universe" in Japanese, while "kyu" means "question" and "discovery". 
  • Slightly larger than a tennis ball and weighing about the same as a large potato – eight centimeters (three inches) wide and 250 grams (half a pound) – SORA-Q was designed by JAXA with Takara Tomy, the toymaker behind the original 1984 Transformers. 

12. According to Forbes report, USA is the top country in terms of gold reserves.

  • By the year 2024, the United States is at the top position globally with the largest gold reserves totaling 8,133.46 tonnes. After this there are Germany, Italy and France. Whereas India has got 9th position. 
  • This substantial reserve is valued at $489,133.74 million, representing an impressive 68.22% of the total US holding. Other countries are France -2,436.88, Russian Federation - 2,332.74, China -2,191.53, Switzerland - 1,040.00, Japan 845.97, India 800.78 and Netherlands 612.45. 
  • This significant amount underscores the United States' commitment to financial stability and its important role in influencing global gold markets. In this era, countries backed the value of their paper money with gold by establishing a fixed exchange rate between their currency and a specific amount of gold. 

13. Cabo Verde becomes the third African country to receive malariafree certification from WHO 

  • WHO has certified Cabo Verde as malaria free. Cabo Verde was given this status by the World Health Organization (WHO) because it has not recorded a single case of local transmission in three years. 
  • With this announcement, Cabo Verde joins the ranks of 43 countries and 1 territory to which WHO has granted this certification. Cabo Verde is the third country to be certified in the WHO African Region, along with Mauritius and Algeria, which were certified in 1973 and 2019 respectively. 
  • The burden of malaria is highest on the African continent, accounting for approximately 95% of global malaria cases and 96% of related deaths in 2021. 
  • 95% of malaria cases globally occur in 29 countries. Four countries— Nigeria (27%), Democratic Republic of Congo (12%), Uganda (5%), and Mozambique (4%) are responsible for almost half of malaria cases globally. 
  • Malaria is a deadly mosquito-borne blood disease caused by Plasmodium parasites. There are five Plasmodium parasite species that cause malaria in humans and two of these species, P. falciparum and P. vivax, pose the greatest threat. Malaria is spread by the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. 

14. According to Forbes, Kuwaiti Dinar is the strongest currency in the world. 

  • According to Forbes report, Kuwaiti Dinar has been declared the strongest currency in the world, followed by Bahraini Dinar and Omani Riyal at second and third place respectively. The United Nations currently recognizes 180 currencies as legal tender. \
  • Other top currencies in the world are – 4. Jordanian Dinar, 5. Gibraltar Pound, 6. British Pound, 7. Cayman Islands Dollar, 8. Swiss Franc, 9. Euro and 10. US Dollar. 
  • According to the report, the strength of a currency is determined by evaluating the number of goods and services that can be purchased with one unit of the national currency and the foreign currency received in exchange. 
  • The Kuwaiti Dinar was introduced in 1960 and has consistently ranked as the world's most valuable currency. According to Forbes report, the currency has been in high demand due to the Middle East country's oil reserves and economic stability due to its taxfree system. As per the exchange rate, one Kuwaiti dinar is worth more than ₹270. 
  • However, the US dollar, despite being the most widely traded global currency, is ranked tenth on the list. The euro is the official currency of the Eurozone which consists of the 19 member states of the European Union. It is the second most traded currency and is ranked ninth. 
  • According to Forbes report, economic growth, political stability, global demand and natural resources are determining factors to measure the strength and value of a currency. 

15. Indian Immunologicals launches the country's first indigenous Hepatitis-A vaccine 'Havisure' 

  • Indian Immunologicals Limited has launched the country's first indigenously developed Hepatitis A vaccine 'Havisure'. This information was given by Indian Immunologicals (II) itself on 19 January 2024. 
  • Indian Immunologicals Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). The vaccine 'HaviSure' represents an important step in the country's fight against Hepatitis A. 
  • The Havisure vaccine is at par with the world's leading vaccines sold by multinational companies. Havisure is a two-dose vaccine. The first dose is given at the age above 12 months. Whereas the second dose is given at least 6 months after the first dose. 
  • The vaccine is also recommended for individuals who are at risk of exposure or travel to areas with high hepatitis A prevalence. In addition, people with occupational exposure to infection and those suffering from chronic liver diseases also require hepatitis A vaccination. Hepatitis A 
  • Hepatitis A is a viral infection. HAV is primarily spread by the fecal-oral route, meaning it is spread through consumption of contaminated food or water. Hepatitis A is an inflammation of the liver that can cause mild to severe symptoms. 
  • The Hyderabad-based company's vaccine, approved by the Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), is effective in preventing the disease. It is recommended for children in routine vaccination. 

16. IUCN included the Himalayan Wolf in the 'vulnerable category' of the Red List for the first time. 

  • The Himalayan wolf (Canis lupus chanco), a major lupine predator found across the Himalayas, has been evaluated for the first time in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List and classified as 'vulnerable'. 
  • It is found in parts of China, Nepal, India and Bhutan and typically lives in alpine meadows and grasslands at altitudes of 10,000 to 18,000 feet. 
  • They usually travel in small herds and hunt wild sheep and goats, sometimes also marmots, rabbits and birds. 
  • The population is estimated at 2,275–3,792 mature individuals. There are 227–378 mature wolves in the Indian section, mainly in Ladakh and Spiti Valley. It is also called Tibetan wolf. 
  • Living at such high altitudes, these wolves have genetically adapted themselves to living in low oxygen (hypoxic) conditions. 
  • The IUCN Red List is the most important global resource for assessing extinction risk among animal, fungal and plant species. It has 9 major categories – Extinct (EX), Extinct in the Wild (EW), Critically Endangered (CR), Endangered (EN), Vulnerable (VU), Near Threatened (NT), Least Concern (LC), Data Deficient (DD) and Not Evaluated (NE). 

17. 9th 'Pakka Paga Hornbill Festival' held in Arunachal Pradesh 

  • The 9th edition of Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival (PPHF) was held in Pakke-Kesang district of Arunachal Pradesh from 18 to 20 January 2024. The festival was inaugurated by Tourism Minister Nakap Nalo. This year's theme is, 'Domuto Domuto, Paga Hum Domuto'. It translates to 'Let our hornbills remain' in the Nishi language. 
  • The festival focuses on wildlife conservation, with a special emphasis on the hornbill. Four species of birds – Pushpanjali, Great Indian, Oriental Pied and the endangered Rufous-necked – are found in the Pakke Tiger Reserve (PTR) of Arunachal Pradesh. 
  • The first-ever PPHF was held January 16–18, 2015, to recognize the efforts of Nyishi hunter-turnedhornbill conservationists. The festival was declared a 'State Festival' by Chief Minister Pema Khandu in 2019. Kokborok Day 2024: 
  • Tripura Kokborok Day (Tripuri Language Day) on 19 January annually is a festival celebrated in the Indian state of Tripura to celebrate the development of the Kokborok language. The 2024 celebration marks the 46th anniversary of the recognition of Kokborok as an official language of the state, along with Bengali and English. 
  • Kokborok, also known as Tripuri or Tiparakoka, is the native language of the Tripuri community in Tripura and neighboring areas. 
  • It belongs to the Sino-Tibetan language family, closely related to the Bodo, Dimasa and Kachari languages spoken in Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram and Meghalaya. 
  • On January 19, 1979, Kokborok was officially recognized as the state language, ending the sole official status of Bengali in Tripura. This recognition is celebrated as Kokborok Day. Mamani Food Festival in Jammu and Kashmir 
  • The vibrant Mamani Ethnic Food Festival of Purig, held every year at Stangkung Barsu, a heritage village in Jammu and Kashmir, is celebrated as a triumphant celebration of culinary diversity, cultural heritage and community unity. 
  • Organized by the Himalayan Cultural Heritage Foundation in collaboration with the Nyarpa Samiti Stangkung, this annual festival has become a cornerstone in preserving and reviving the rich traditions of the Ladakh region. 
  • Yokma Group won the first prize, followed by Aziz Group at second place and Yokma Akhon Group at third place. Consolation prizes were awarded to Stekborig, Singay and Akhonepa groups. 

18.IICF To Build ‘Masjid Muhammed Bin Abdullah’ Mosque In Ayodhya 

  • In a significant development, the Indo-Islamic Cultural Foundation (IICF) has announced the commencement of the construction of a grand mosque in Ayodhya, starting this May. 
  • The mosque, named “Masjid Muhammed bin Abdullah” after Prophet Muhammad, aims to foster unity and goodwill among people, transcending religious differences. The initiative comes on the same day as Prime Minister Narendra Modi presides over the consecration ceremony of the Ram Temple. 
  • To finance the construction, the IICF is considering the establishment of a crowdfunding website. This approach reflects a broader outreach strategy, enabling individuals from diverse backgrounds to contribute to the creation of a shared cultural space. 

19.Central Government Launches ‘Anuvadini’ App For Multilingual Education 

  • In a significant move towards promoting multilingualism in education, the central government has introduced the ‘Anuvadini’ app, an Artificial Intelligence-based platform. 
  • The initiative aims to make study materials for all school and higher education courses available in digital form, specifically in Indian languages listed in the 8th Schedule of the Indian Constitution. 
  • This step aligns with the recommendations of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, emphasizing the importance of studying in one’s mother tongue. 
  • The University Grants Commission (UGC), All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE), and the Department of School Education have been instructed to ensure the availability of study materials in regional languages. 

20.India-Kyrgyzstan Joint Special Forces Exercise KHANJAR Begins In Himachal Pradesh 

  • The 11th edition of the India-Kyrgyzstan Joint Special Forces Exercise KHANJAR has kicked off at the Special Forces Training School in Bakloh, Himachal Pradesh. 
  • Scheduled to take place from 22nd January to 3rd February 2024, this annual event has become a crucial platform for fostering collaboration and enhancing the capabilities of both nations’ special forces. 
  • The primary aim of the exercise is to facilitate the exchange of experiences and best practices in Counter-Terrorism and Special Forces Operations. 
  • Focusing on Built-up Area and Mountainous Terrain operations under Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter, the exercise aims to refine and strengthen the skills of the participating special forces units. Emphasis will be placed on developing advanced techniques of insertion and extraction, critical for success in diverse and challenging terrains. 

21.Switzerland-India Free Trade Agreement Concluded After 16-Year Negotiation Saga 

  • In a historic breakthrough, Switzerland and India have finally sealed a free-trade agreement (FTA) following a marathon 16-year negotiation period. 
  • The announcement came from Swiss Economy Minister Guy Parmelin, who, after attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, swiftly headed to India for crucial discussions with his counterpart, Piyush Goyal. 
  • The protracted negotiations signify a landmark achievement in diplomatic and economic relations between the two nations. The FTA holds immense promise for fostering stronger ties and economic collaboration. 

22.YES BANK Achieves Milestone As First Indian Bank On RXIL’s ITFS Platform 

  • In a groundbreaking move, YES BANK has become the inaugural Indian bank to execute an export finance transaction on RXIL Global IFSC Limited’s International Trade Financing Services Platform (ITFS). The collaboration marks a significant stride in digitization and cross-border business for YES BANK. 
  • The platform, registered under the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA), offers a digital avenue for arranging credit through Factoring, Forfaiting, and other trade financing services at competitive rates with swift processing. This historic transaction is the first of its kind on the ITFS platform in conjunction with any bank in India. 

23.AIIB Invests $58.4 Million In India’s Largest Renewable Energy InvIT 

  • The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has infused INR 4.86 billion (about USD 58.4 million) into Sustainable Energy Infra Trust (SEIT), India’s largest Renewable Energy Infrastructure Investment Trust (InvIT). 
  • SEIT, supported by Mahindra Susten Private Limited and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, boasts eight operational solar power assets with a combined capacity of 1.54 gigawatts-peak spread across India. 
  • The investment in SEIT provides sponsors with a significant avenue to monetize investments in revenue-generating infrastructure assets, supporting the development of new renewable energy projects. 

24.Parakram Diwas 2024 

  • Parakram Diwas, observed on January 23rd, 2024, marks the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, a prominent figure in India’s freedom struggle. 
  • This day is celebrated to honour his indomitable spirit and invaluable contribution to India’s independence. This year nation observe the 127th edition of Parakram Diwas 2024. 
  • Parakram Diwas 2024 is a national event celebrated annually in India since 2021. It commemorates Netaji’s birth anniversary and is a tribute to his brave legacy. The day serves as a reminder of the courage and determination of one of India’s most revered freedom fighters. 

25.UP Govt To Honour Dr. Ritu And Naveen With ‘UP Gaurav Samman’ 

  • Yogi government of Uttar Pradesh has announced the prestigious ‘UP Gaurav Samman’ award for two distinguished personalities – eminent scientist Dr. Ritu and renowned entrepreneur Naveen. 
  • Dr. Ritu is set to receive this honor for her significant contributions to scientific research and innovation. With a career spanning several years, Dr. Ritu has been at the forefront of scientific discovery, specializing in areas that have had a profound impact on society. 
  • Naveen, a name synonymous with entrepreneurial success, has transformed the landscape of business with his innovative ideas and leadership skills. Starting from humble beginnings, Naveen has built a business empire that not only generates substantial economic value but also creates numerous job opportunities. 

26.BCCI Awards 2023, Shubman Gill & Ravi Shastri To Be Honoured 

  • The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is set to honour the exemplary performances in Indian cricket at the NAMAN Awards ceremony in Hyderabad. 
  • This prestigious event, held for the first time since 2019, celebrates the achievements of Indian cricketers in the preceding year. 
  • Shubman Gill is slated to receive the Cricketer of the Year award, acknowledging his extraordinary performance in 2023. Gill played 48 matches during the year, amassing an impressive 2,154 runs. 
  • Ravi Shastri, a former all-rounder and head coach of the Indian cricket team, will be honoured with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Shastri’s illustrious career includes representing India in 80 Tests and 150 One Day Internationals (ODIs), scoring over 3,000 runs in both formats and taking 280 wickets. 

27.Madrid To Host Spanish F1 GP From 2026 

  • Madrid is set to become the new host city for the Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix starting from 2026. This marks a significant shift in the Spanish Grand Prix’s location, as Barcelona has been the event’s home since 1991. 
  • The transition will see Madrid hosting the Grand Prix for 10 years, from 2026 to 2035, introducing a brand-new circuit to the world of Formula 1. 
  • The new circuit in Madrid, designed around the IFEMA exhibition centre, will feature a mix of street and non-street sections, spanning 5.47 kilometres with 20 corners. 
  • It promises a thrilling and challenging experience for the drivers, with a qualifying lap time projected at 1 minute and 32 seconds. This innovative circuit layout is currently pending FIA homologation and final design specifications. 

28.Raiza Dhillon, Gurjoat Khangura Clinch Skeet Mixed Team Bronze Medal 

  • The Indian shooting duo Raiza Dhillon and Gurjoat Singh Khangura clinched the bronze medal in the mixed skeet team event at the Asian Shotgun Championships 2024 in Kuwait City. 
  • The event marked a triumphant conclusion for India, securing a total of one gold, three silvers, and four bronze medals on the closing day. 
  • The gold medal in the mixed skeet team event was claimed by the People’s Republic of China, defeating Kazakhstan with a score of 45-43. Additionally, Bahrain secured the second bronze medal by triumphing over Qatar with a close score of 39-38. 

29.Tai Tzu Ying Clinches Victory In India Open 2024 Women’s Singles 

  • In the Olympic year, badminton enthusiasts witnessed an extraordinary performance by Chinese Taipei’s legendary player, Tai Tzu Ying. 
  • After facing a Malaysian Open final loss, Tai Tzu Ying bounced back with determination, securing victory in the India Open 2024 women’s singles title. Tai Tzu Ying stands tall with her 32nd title – the India Open 2024. 
  • With a string of accomplishments, including three All-England Open victories, Tai Tzu Ying remains a formidable force in the badminton world. Her decision to retire after the 2024 season adds an emotional touch to her recent success at the India Open. 

30.Amit Shah Unveils ‘Assam’s Braveheart Lachit Barphukan’ Book In Delhi 

  • Union Home Minister and Minister of Cooperation, Shri Amit Shah, released the book ‘Assam’s Braveheart Lachit Barphukan’ in Guwahati, Assam. 
  • In his address, Shri Amit Shah highlighted the remarkable story of Lachit Barphukan, who fought against bigotry and power-hungry forces in the Northeast. 
  • He likened Lachit Borphukan to Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj of Eastern India, emphasizing the significance of his role in India’s freedom struggle. 
  • Shri Shah underlined the importance of the Battle of Saraighat, stating that if Lachit had not emerged victorious, Assam might have become a part of Bangladesh. He credited Lachit for halting invasions from Khilji to Aurangzeb, safeguarding Assam and contributing to the region’s integration with India. 

31.Kachchhi Kharek Gem From Kutch Receives GI Tag 

  • Kachchhi Kharek, the indigenous date variety from the arid region of Kutch in Gujarat, has recently been awarded the prestigious Geographical Indication (GI) tag. 
  • This accolade recognizes Kachchhi Kharek as the second fruit from Gujarat, after the Gir Kesar mango, to be distinguished with such an honour. 
  • The GI tag is a form of intellectual property that identifies a product as originating from a specific geographic location. It is characterized by qualities, reputation, or attributes unique to that area. This tag not only protects and promotes products associated with a particular region but also prevents unauthorized use of the name. 

32.India, Cuba signed an MoU on digital public infrastructure collaboration 

  • The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has signed an MoU with the Ministry of Communications of the Republic of Cuba on Cooperation in the field of Sharing Successful Digital Solutions Implemented at Population Scale for Digital Transformation in New Delhi. 
  • The MoU intends to promote digital transformation through capacity-building programs, exchange of best practices, and other collaborative activities to mutually benefit the digital ecosystems of both countries. 
  • India to assist Cuba in adopting Digital Public Infrastructure, fostering development partnerships for enhanced collaboration. 

Recently India signed MoUs with others countries 

  • India and France to jointly fund science research projects 
  • India and Mauritius collaborate on Rs 20 crore small satellite project 
  • India and Guyana signed MoU for Hydrocarbon Sector 
  • India and Malaysia sign an MoU for Cooperation in Broadcasting 
  • India and Italy signed Mobility and Migration Partnership Agreement 

33.Arevalo sworn in as Guatemala’s president 

  • Anti-corruption crusader Bernardo Arevalo was sworn in as Guatemala’s president. 
  • Guatemala’s attorney general, an ally of Giammattei, has made several attempts to hinder Arevalo’s transition to the presidency, including trying to strip Arevalo and his vice president of legal immunity, attempting to suspend his Semilla party and annul the election. 
  • Arevalo won August elections by a landslide and about 9 hours after his inauguration was scheduled to start, he took the oath as president, replacing conservative politician Alejandro Giammattei whose government has been engulfed in corruption scandals. Giammattei skipped the ceremony. 

About Guatemala 

  • Capital- Guatemala City 
  • Currency- Guatemalan Quetzal 
  • Continent- North America 
  • Official language- Spanish 
  • President – Bernardo Arevalo 

Newly Appointed Prime Minister & President 

  • President of Taiwan – William Lai 
  • King of Denmark – King Frederik X (replace Queen Margrethe II) 
  • Prime Minister of France – Gabriel Attal (replace Elisabeth Borne) 
  • Prime Minister of Bangladesh – Sheikh Hasina (5th term) 
  • President of Congo – Felix Tshisekedi (2nd term) 
  • President of Egypt – Abdel Fattah El-Sisi (3rd term) 

34. JP Nadda launches ‘Gaon Chalo Abhiyaan’ in Delhi 

  • BJP President JP Nadda has launched the ‘Gaon Chalo Abhiyaan’ in Delhi, a nationwide campaign to connect with rural and urban communities. 
  • The program Is scheduled from February 4th to 11 February. 
  • Under the Gaon Chalo Abhiyaan, BJP workers aim to reach seven lakh villages and urban booths, disseminating the achievements of the Modi government. 
  • Over 30 lakh party workers will participate in the Abhiyaan. 

35.G Kishan Reddy inaugurates National Skill Training Institute in Hyderabad 

  • Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy has inaugurated the National Skill Training Institute in Hyderabad, Telangana. 
  • Constructed for 19.90 crore rupees in 4 acres of area, the institute offers both short-term and long-term skilling courses to women in various sectors. 
  • Reddy said that the empowerment of women has been a major priority for the Central Government. He said the Government has launched numerous schemes dedicated to empowering women across India. He recalled the initiatives like Beti Bachao Beti Padhav and PM Ujjwala. 

36.Sarbananda Sonowal laid foundation stone for Ayush Diksha Centre in Odisha 

  • Union minister of Ayush and ports, shipping and waterways Sarbananda Sonowal has laid the foundation stone for Ayush Diksha, a first-of-its-kind centre for the development of human resources for Ayush professionals. 
  • This state-of-the-art centre will be developed within the campus of Central Ayurveda Research Institute, Bhubaneswar. 
  • The Ayush Diksha centre is being built with a budget of Rs 30 crore. It will be equipped with state-of-the-art facilities including two auditoriums, 40 modern rooms with all amenities, suites for VIPs, dedicated space for a natural library, discussion rooms, modular kitchen, dining lounge, among other amenities. 
  • The Ayush Diksha Centre will enable the Ayush professionals to hone their skills and upscale their dexterity in providing world-class patient care services to the people of the country. 
  •  The institution will offer training programmes for Ayush professionals, especially those from Ayurveda, as it aims to collaborate with national institutes of prominence for capacity development, strengthening human resources, facilitating research and development, achieving self-sustainability with an objective to generate revenue. 

37.Hardeep S Puri launches first pilot project to make jet fuel from alcohol 

  • The first pilot technology project to make jet fuel from alcohol was inaugurated by Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri in Pune. 
  • This project will produce sustainable biological aviation fuel or SAF.
  • This pilot project has been set up in the research and development department of Praj Udyog Group in Pirangut Industrial Estate near Pune. 
  • The flight from Pune to Delhi was completed last year using bioaviation fuel made from alcohol. At that time, Puri welcomed the flight at the Delhi airport. 
  • This biofuel production industry will have a huge scope in the future as even if at least one percent of the total aviation fuel used in India is blended with this sustainable bio aviation fuel, at least 14 crore litres of biofuel will be needed every year. 

38.Mansukh Mandaviya laid foundation stone for cancer hospital in Rajkot 

  • Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya and Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel laid the foundation stone of Khodaldham Trust Cancer Hospital in Rajkot.
  • The Shree Khodaldham Trust (SKT), an organization for the Leuva Patel community, will build a hospital and a cancer research center in Amreli village in Padadhari taluka of Rajkot. 
  • Earlier, PM Modi, while virtually addressing the foundation stone-laying ceremony of the hospital, said that 30 new cancer hospitals were developed in the state in the last nine years. 
  • Gujarat has made unprecedented progress in the field of health in the last 20 years. Today, Gujarat is becoming a big medical hub in India. Till 2002, there were only 11 medical colleges in Gujarat, and their number has increased to 40 currently. 
  • In 20 years, the number of MBBS seats has increased five times, and the number of PG seats has increased three times. The central government has built around 1.5 lakh ‘Ayushman Arogya Mandirs’. 
  • These Mandirs focus on the early detection of cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The early detection of cancer helps doctors treat it. 

39.Kiren Rijiju inaugurates the Young Scientist Conference at IISF 2023 

  • Union Cabinet Minister Kiren Rijiju has inaugurated the Young Scientist Conference at India International Science Festival 2023 in Faridabad, Haryana. 
  • He emphasized the pivotal role of the Young Scientist Conference (YSC) in providing a platform for nurturing aspiring researchers in the realm of frontier sciences. 
  • The Young Scientist Conference serves as a vibrant platform, bringing together young postgraduates, research scholars, postdocs, academicians, scientists, entrepreneurs, and innovators under the age of 45. 
  • Participants are drawn from diverse backgrounds, including R&D laboratories, academic institutions, and industries. The conference aims to facilitate the exchange of experiences, ideas, and discussions that contribute to the country’s scientific vision. 

40. Pralhad Joshi inaugurated State Mining Minister’s Conference in Bhopal 

  • Union Minister of Mines, Coal, and Parliamentary Affairs Pralhad Joshi has inaugurated the 2nd State Mining Ministers’ Conference in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. 
  • This 2nd Conference of State Mining Ministers provides opportunities to discuss & deliberate issues pertaining to the mining sector paving way to implement the reforms done in the mining sector. 
  • The focal point of the conference is to develop strategies and increase the effectiveness of the new policy reforms brought out by the Union Government. 

41.IREDA, Indian Overseas Bank ink pact to co-finance renewable energy projects 

  • State-owned Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) has partnered with the Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) to co-finance renewable energy projects in India. 
  • The agreement was signed in the presence of IREDA CMD Pradip Kumar Das and IOB MD and CEO Ajay Kumar Srivastava in the national capital. 
  • The partnership aims to streamline loan syndication and underwriting processes, management of Trust and Retention Account (TRA) for IREDA borrowers, and work towards fixed interest rates over a 3-4-year period for IREDA borrowings. 
  • This collaboration builds upon IREDA’s successful partnerships with other prominent financial institutions, including Bank of Baroda, Bank of India, Union Bank of India, India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited, and Bank of Maharashtra. 
  • IREDA, under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, is a non-banking financial institution engaged in promoting, developing, and extending financial assistance for setting up projects related to new and renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency/conservation. 

About Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA) 

  • IREDA is a Mini Ratna (Category – I) Government of India Enterprise under the administrative control of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
  • IREDA is a Public Limited Government Company established as a Non-Banking Financial Institution in 1987 
  • Motto- “ENERGY FOR EVER” 
  • Chairman & MD – Pradip Kumar Das 
  • CFO- Bijay Kumar Mohanty 

Recent MoUs Signed in Banking Sector 

  • IREDA and Indian Overseas Bank ink pact to co-finance renewable energy projects
  • Rural Development Ministry signs pact with SBI to facilitate loans for SHGs 
  • REC Limited and Bank of Baroda join hands to finance Power, Infra, and Logistics Projects 
  • NABARD and ADB jointly launch climate action initiative in India with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation 
  • SBI to sign $165 million LoC with World Bank for rooftop solar projects

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