Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 4th January 2024

National News 

1.G-20 website saw 16 lakh cyberattacks per minutes 

  • During the G-20 Suroor in 2023, the official website of the conference saw to takh cyberattack per minute, Rajesh Kumar, CEO of the Indian Cyber Crime Prevention Centre under the Union Home Ministry, said on Wednesday 
  • Mr. Kumar said the web site ( was subjected to an organized cyber attack, which peaked on the days of the summit (September 9 and 10). "It was a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack and we cannot pinpoint the origin as of now. The investigation will take time. The attack could have been launched from anywhere, the servers masked and shown to be present even in India. The objective was to bring down the web site," he said. 
  • "All the agencies worked together and prevented the attack. In a DDoS attack, the infrastructure is sent multiple requests so that it is not able to handle the requests and the website goes bad. That was the plan," he added. 

2.Transport workers may step up protests 

  • The All India Road Transport Workers' Federation, a platform of various trade unions of drivers and transport workers, has warned that it will intensify the protests if the Centre does not withdraw Sections 104 (1) and (2) of the Bharatiya Nyay Sanhita immediately. (BNS) 
  • The Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), in a statement on Wednesday, supported the agitations against the BNS provisions on the punishment to drivers involved in accidents. 
  • Many driver unions on Wednesday said they would continue to protest even after the All India Motor Transport Congress called off the agitation. The federation's general secretary, R. Lakshmaiah said that if the government was adamant, then the drivers would be forced to intensify the struggle. "The drivers in fatal accidents will be punished with up to 10 years of jail and fine up to 10 lakh. Accident is an accident. There will be no intention at all. In fact the drivers are very much worried about the accidents. Almost all the drivers will pray to their gods before starting the vehicle every day that there should be no accident," Mr. Lakshmaiah said. 

3.Understanding the peace pact with ULFA 

  • The pro elke action of the Unilesh Libertson front of ACULA) sealed a peace deal with the Centre and the Assassin government on December 24, 2021. The aim of sinemet has several clauses for accelerating the stare developson and safeguarding the lant and political rights of comes bad a worry remains in the Ren of the antt talks factissa headed by Paresh Bartiah 

How was the ULFA Formed? 

  • The ULJA baby product of the anti foreigners Assassin Agitation that bipasha in 1979 and ended with the signing of the Assam AKS The tear that the Assamese and other Indigenous comics would be pushed out of their own backyard by illegal immigrants" qwople from Bangladesh) one day had triggered the agstation, While social organizations and shadens Isisties chose the the path of agratkom, a group of radicals, inciting Arabina Rajkhowa, Anup Chetis, and Paresh Baruah Kormed the ULLFA on April 1974 to launch an armed struggle with the objective of establishing a sovereign Assam. The gossip took a decade to recruit and train its members in Myanmar, China, and Pakistan before striking with a series of abductions and executions. The poserument responded in 1990 with an offensive codenamed Operation Bajrang and banned the ULFA Assam was declared a disturbed area with the imposition of the Armed Forces iSpecial Powers) 
  • When did the peace process start? Counter insurgency operations led to the arrest of 1,221 ULFA members in the early 1990s. With Trevor groups such as Harkat ul Jihad-e-Islanti and Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence, the ULFA hardliners set up camps in Bangladesh and Bhutan. A military offensive by Bhutan in 2003 and the Sheikh Hasina-lesh Awami League's return to power in Bangladesh in 2009 saw most of the ULFA members being flushed out from these countries, In 2005, the ULFA raised hopes of peace when it formed an It-member People's Consultative Group only to backtrack and unleash a fresh phase of terror. After falling in the net of the security forces in India in 2009, the leaders of the Rajkhowa-led faction signed a ceasefire agreement with the Centre in September 2011. Opposed to talks, Baruah "expelled" Rajkhowa from the ULFA in 2012. In April 2013, the anti talks group was renamed ULFA independent). The pro-talks group signed the peace accord 12 years after the agreement to suspend subversive operations. 
  • The ULFA is a by product of the anti-foreigners Assam Agitation that began in 1979 and ended with the signing of the Astam Accord in August 1985 territorial integrity of Assassin through amicable settlement of boundary disputes with neighboring States in the Northeast and continuation of the "guidelines and methodology" adopted for the delimitation exercise conducted in 2023 in future delimitation processes. The pact envisages ensuring maximum representation for Indigenous communities in the 126-member Assam Assembly by keeping non-original 
  • The group took a decade to recruit fighters and train its members in Myanmar, China, and Pakistan before striking with a series of abductions and executions. The government responded in 1990 with an offensive codenamed Operation Bajrang and banned the ULFA 
  • According to the memorandum of settlement, the ULFA has agreed to renounce violence, disarm, dish and the armed organization, vacate their occupied camps, and participate in the peaceful democratic process established by the law. 
  • What does the peace accord offer? According to the memorandum of settlement, the ULFA has agreed to renounce violence, disarm, disband the armed organization, vacate their occupied camps, and participate in peaceful democratic process established by the law, Marking a shift toward non-violence, it aims to ensure the Integrity of the country contrary to what the ULPA had initially demanded. The Ministry of Home Affairs will make a time-bound programine to fulfill the demands of the outfit and a committee would be formed for its monitoring. The pact underlines a comprehensive package installing an investment of 71.5 lakh crore for the all-round development of Assam. The most significant part of the accord is the commitment to address the political demands of the ULFA 
  • These include maintaining the inhabitants, primarily migrant Muslims, out. The 2023 delimitation is said to have made it impossible for non-Indigenous communities to contest 106 of these seats. Apart from the legislative safeguard, the pact seeks exemption for Assam from Section 3 of the Citizenship Act of 1955 dealing with people who have renounced Indian citizenship or whose citizenship has been terminated, to conditionally stop people of one constituency from being registered in another, and prepare an ertoe free National Register of Citizens. whose updated complete draft had put 13.06 lakh people out of 3.3 crore applicants on the rejection list.

What are the challenges ahead? 

  • After the signing of the accord-the teeth since the BJP came to power in Assam with its regional partners in 2016-Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said 90% of extremism in the State was over. Conflict specialists say the pact, provided the government shows its intent to Implement the clauses, was a step in the right direction but lasting peace would be clusive unless Baruah and some 200 fighters of his ULFA (1) group talk truce. The ULFA (1) operates from hideouts in the Sagaing Division of Myanmar Baruah, believed to be based on the Myanmar-China border, has repeatedly said talles with the "Indian occupational forces would be meaningless without discussing the sovereignty of Assam. The Chief Minister said the government cannot discuss sovereignty because "no one in Assam wants to secede from India" but efforts to convince Baruah to come for negotiations would continue. 

4.Employers get five months to process higher PF pension 

  • The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) on Wednesday extended the time for employers to upload and submit the joint options of employees for claiming higher pension with their wage details online till May 31. This is the fifth extension for the process, which was initiated to implement the Supreme Court verdict on the matter delivered on November 4, 2022. The decision was taken by Union Labour Minister Bhupender Yadav, the Ministry said in a release. 
  • A senior EPFO officer told The Hindu that the extension would not impact the distribution of higher pension. The officer said the disbursement had already started wherever they're tired subscribers had deposited the demand amount calculated by the EPFO based on their higher wages. 
  • The EPFO had started an online facility for submitting applications for validation of option and joint diy options for pension on higher wages on February 26, 2023 till May 3, 2023. The limit was extended to June 26, 2023 and later 15 days were further given to remove any difficulty faced by the eligible pensioners and members. 
  • "About 17.49 lakh applications for validation of option joint options have been received from pensioners / members till July 11, 2023," the Ministry said, adding that more than 3.6 lakh joint options were still pending with the employers for processing. 
  • The employers were given further periods of three months to submit wage details and others online latest by September 30, 2023. The last extension was given till December 31, 2023. 

5.Czech PM to be chief guest at Vibrant Gujarat 

  • Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala is expected to be the Guest of Honour at the 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit to be held in Gandhinagar from January 10 to 12. 
  • Timor-Leste's President, José Ramos-Horta; President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan of the UAE; and Mozambique's President, Filipe Nyusi, will also attend the summit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will open the event on January 10. 
  • "The Prime Minister of Czech Republic has confirmed participation," a senior official said. 

6.Meghalaya extremist group pulls out of talks, blames Centre 

  • The Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), a banned armed group in Meghalaya, has decided to withdraw from the peace talks with the Centre because of the government's alleged indifference to its demands. 
  • Formed in 1992 with the objective of transforming Meghalaya into an exclu. sive domain of the Khasi community, the HNLC had come forward for formal talks a year ago. 
  • "We deeply regret to inform you that we are reluctantly withdrawing from the peace talks with your government," HNLC chairman Bobby Marwein and general secretary Saiňku par Nongtraw said in a letter to the Union Home Ministry. 
  • The letter dated December 31 was sent through A.K. Mishra, the adviser to the Ministry for the Northeast. 
  • "The HNLC's demands included lifting the ban on the outfit, withdrawal of all pending cases against its members, and a safe passage for its central leaders to facilitate the talks. 
  • The outfit slammed the government for not "giving due consideration" to its concerns, which did not let the peace talks start 

7.Union Home Minister Amit Shah laid the foundation stone of the headquarters of the National Cooperative Dairy Federation of India in Anand, Gujarat. 

  • Union Home and Cooperation Minister Shri Amit Shah laid the foundation stone of National Cooperative Dairy Federation of India (NCDFI) Headquarters in Anand and addressed the e-Market Awards 2023 ceremony virtually from Gandhinagar, Gujarat on 31 December 2023. 
  • Shri Shah said that the White Revolution started from 'Vasi' village and now the headquarters of NCDFI is going to be built in the same Anand district in an area of about 7000 square meters. It will be built at a cost of about Rs 32 crore and the new headquarters building will be a 100 percent green building. 
  • At the event, the distinguished guests also presented NCDFI eMarket Awards to stakeholders of dairy cooperatives actively engaged in providing trading and services through e-market platform for various dairy products and agricultural produce. 
  • The Cooperation Minister said that India has reached the first position with 24% share in the world's milk production and under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, milk production in India has increased by about 51% in the last 8 years. 
  • Shah said that there are many dairies including Banaskantha Dairy, which take care of the health of malnourished children by providing them nutritious milk. Many dairy companies like Ahmedabad Dairy take care of the nutrition of pregnant women and their children by giving them laddus. National Cooperative Dairy Federation of India (NCDFI) 
  • It was registered at New Delhi on December 07, 1970 under the Bombay Cooperative Societies Act (VII of 1925). In December 1986, to gain locational advantage, NCDFI shifted its headquarters from Delhi to Anand in Gujarat. 

8.Kerala launches 'K-Smart' project for smooth digital access to services of local body institutions 

  • Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has launched the ‘K-Smart Project’ to provide digital access to services of local government bodies in Kochi on January 1, 2024. During this, Law and Industry Minister P. Rajiv launched 'K-Smart Mobile App'. 
  • This will be especially helpful for more than 40 lakh Non-Resident Keralites (NORKs). This will end NORK's difficulties. This will speed up the functioning of government systems. 
  • K-Smart is the first of its kind system in the country which provides all the services of local body institutions in a single click. The Government of Kerala has adopted a policy of using the development of technology for the development of various sectors of the society. 
  • Around 2,000 hotspots have already been identified as part of K-Fi, a project of the state government that aims to provide free Wi-Fi in public places. Another 2,000 hotspots are being prepared. 
  • About 250 services are being provided through the Integrated Local Government Management System launched in all Panchayats last year. Shri Vijayan said that through this system, decisions can be taken on about 1 crore files in a year. 

9.IREDA Declared 2024 as ‘Year of HR Development and Discipline’ 

  • CMD of IREDA, Pradip Kumar Das has declared 2024 as the ‘Year of Human Resource Development and Discipline’. 
  • The CMD praised the efforts of the employees that have propelled IREDA to new heights. 
  • The year 2024 will be christened as ‘Year of Human Resource Development and Discipline’ to mark IREDA’s future roadmap into new strategic sectors and geographies. 
  • The move suggests IREDA’s commitment to evolving and adapting to new challenges while prioritizing the development and discipline of its human resources to drive the organization’s progress. 

10.PM inaugurates Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Submarine Optical Fibre Connection 

  • Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has inaugurated the Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands submarine optical fiber connection (KLI-SOFC) project. 
  • He also inaugurated various developmental projects worth more than Rs 1,150 crore covering a wide range of sectors including technology, energy, water resources, healthcare, and education. 
  • The KLI-SOFC project will lead to an increase in internet speed unlocking new possibilities & opportunities. For the first time since independence, Lakshadweep will be connected through Submarine Optic Fibre Cable. 
  • The dedicated submarine OFC will ensure a paradigm shift in communication infrastructure in the Lakshadweep islands, enabling faster and more reliable internet services, telemedicine, e-governance, educational initiatives, digital banking, digital currency usage, digital literacy, etc. 
  • Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Submarine Optical Fiber Connection (KLI – SOFC) project has been dedicated to people today and will ensure 100 times faster Internet for the people of Lakshadweep. 
  • The project will play a significant role in achieving the objective of ‘Digital India’ and ‘National Broadband Mission’ and for rolling out of various e-governance projects of the Government of India in Lakshadweep Islands. 
  • The bandwidth created under this project will be available to all Telecom Service Providers (TSPs) to strengthen their telecom services in the Lakshadweep Islands. 
  • Total link distance: 1,868 kilometers. 
  • Total cost of project: Rs 1072 crore plus taxes. 

International News 

11.Oman To Host FIH Hockey5s World Cup Qualifiers 

  • Oman is set to unveil its latest sports marvel—a cutting-edge complex designed to host the FIH Hockey5s World Cup qualifiers, scheduled just ahead of the Summer 2024 Olympic Games in Paris. 
  • The FIH Hockey5s World Cup qualifiers promise to be a thrilling spectacle, attracting eight international teams vying for a chance to secure three coveted tickets to the upcoming Olympics. 
  • The newly constructed stadium boasts a remarkable capacity, accommodating over 5,000 spectators during the tournament. Built in adherence to the latest standards and designs approved by the International Hockey Federation, the stadium promises an unparalleled viewing experience for fans and players alike. 

12.France Takes Digital Leap With Online Schengen Visas For Paris Olympics 

  • In a pioneering move, France has become the first European Union member to introduce fully digital Schengen visas for the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Paris. 
  • Commencing on January 1, 2024, the newly launched “Olympic Consulate” system operates through the France-Visas portal, streamlining the application process for 15,000 international athletes, 9,000 journalists, and foreign delegations. 
  • Applications for the 70,000 visas will be exclusively processed online, preventing them from being inundated among other visa requests. This groundbreaking initiative aligns with the EU’s digitalization plans for Schengen visas, marking a significant shift in visa application procedures. 

13.The blood management system needs a fresh infusion 

  • The inequities in public health across the globe. Learning from experiences, policymakers across the world have rightly endorsed the need to improve the global health architecture as a tool to catalyze economic growth and secure the future of the planet. Greater health financing through international collaborations, deepening the adoption of digital health solutions, and increasing access to medical countermeasures are some of the aspects that are key to reducing the global disparity in health and strengthening the global health architecture. However, amidst these crucial strategies, prioritizing access to blood and its products remains fundamental to building a resilient global health architecture. 
  • Blood and its various products play a crucial role in a number of medical scenarios, which includes scheduled surgeries, emergency procedures, as well as in the treatment of conditions such as cancer, thalassemia, and postpartum hemorrhage (PPH). This underscores their irreplaceable significance in upholding patient health across a spectrum of health-care needs. 
  • A recent report by the World Health Organization (WHO) has brought attention to the global disparities in blood collection. For example, despite having 14% of the global population, countries in the WHO African region could only collect 5% of the global donations. Comparable patterns emerged in low-income and lower-middle-income nations, where these countries received 2% and 24% of the worldwide contributions, respectively, even though their populations account for only 8% and 40% of the global population, respectively. 
  • Similarly, while India has improved its blood management ecosystem, the country still faces a perennial shortage of blood units, impacting critical health-care services. Calibrating according to WHO's standards for self-sufficiency, India collected around 127 crone blood units and faced a shortage of over six lakh units in 2019-20. Such shortages can have serious implications on the functioning of the bealth-care system and if addressed promptly, can significantly contribute to saving lives. For example, according to a study by Savitribai Phule Pune University, an automobile accident victim needs up to 50 units of blood. In 2015-20, the shortage was significant enough to put approximately 12,000 accident victims' lives at risk. Moreover, this deficit could impact 1,00,000 heart surgeries and approximately 30,000 bone marrow transplants 
  • According to the data points tabled in Parliament, over the course of three years, from 2014-15 to 2016-17, a surplus of 30 lakh blood units and related products were discarded. The primary reasons were expiration from not being used, degradation during storage and the presence of infections such as human immunodeficiency virus and hills Moreover, the implementation of a hub and spoke model can also improve the accessibility sale blood and its products in community desi centers and smaller sub-district hospitals especially in geographically milenging pographies 
  • As we leave the CONTD-19 pandemic behind us and align the global developmental road map for an equitable and sustainable future, the besitz paradigm must be prepared accordingly Along with other modifications in the beneath paralign since blood and its products cena modern medicine, political lenders and the policymakers must continue to taite steps strengthen the blood management ecosystem. Simultaneously, proactive engagement from industry and active participation of the citizenry should also be pivotal aspects of this concernest. 

State News 

14.PM Inaugurates Rs 400 Crore Fast Reactor Plant In Tamil Nadu 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated the Rs 400 crore Demonstration Fast Reactor Fuel Reprocessing Plant (DFRP) at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research (IGCAR), Kalpakkam, to the nation.
  • The DFRP boasts a unique design, crafted entirely by Indian scientists. This facility is capable of reprocessing both carbide and oxide fuels discharged from fast reactors, setting it apart as the only one of its kind globally. 
  • This facility is a significant step towards advancing India’s nuclear capabilities, designed to reprocess fuel from Prototype Fast Breeder Reactors (PFBR). 
  • The fast reactor power generation company, Bharatiya Nabhikiya Vidyut Nigam Ltd (BHAVINI), based in Kalpakkam, is at the forefront of this initiative. 

15.Uttar Pradesh Leads In Implementing ICJS 

  • For the third consecutive year, Uttar Pradesh has achieved the highest entry rate on the Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) platform, showcasing the state’s commitment to leveraging technology in the administration of justice. 
  • The ICJS platform, a brainchild of the Supreme Court’s e-committee and implemented by the Ministry of Home Affairs, plays a pivotal role in enhancing the efficiency of the criminal justice system in India. 
  • The Inter-Operable Criminal Justice System (ICJS) platform is a revolutionary concept initiated by the Supreme Court’s e-committee and executed by the Ministry of Home Affairs. 
  • The primary objective of ICJS is to facilitate seamless data exchange among key components of the criminal justice system, including police, jails, courts, and forensic science labs. 

16.Gujarat Government Inks Agreements Worth $86 Billion Ahead Of Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit 

  • In preparation for the upcoming biennial Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, the Indian state of Gujarat has sealed preliminary investment deals totaling 7.17 trillion Indian rupees ($86.07 billion) with 58 companies spanning sectors like energy, oil and gas, and chemicals. 
  • With NTPC and Torrent Power leading the charge, these strategic investments signal a robust push by Gujarat to attract both foreign and domestic investors. This move is pivotal as Prime Minister Modi aims to bolster investment in the country ahead of the national elections, where he seeks a third term. 

Defence News 

17.Vice Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh Assumes Command Of Western Naval Command 

  • In a ceremony held at INS Shikra, the naval air station in Colaba, Mumbai, Vice Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh took charge as the Flag Officer Commanding in Chief (FOC-in-C) of the Indian Navy’s Western Naval Command. 
  • Before assuming the prestigious position as the FOC-in-C of the Western Naval Command, Vice Admiral Sanjay Jasjit Singh held the position of Vice Chief of the Naval Staff at the Naval Headquarters in New Delhi. 
  • The ceremony marked the transition of leadership from Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, who had been serving as the FOC-in-C. The change in command also sees Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi taking on the role of Vice Chief of Naval Staff at the Naval Headquarters. 

18.Navy steps up surveillance in Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden 

  • The Indian Navy on Wednesday said its ships and aircraft remain "mission deployed" for maintaining enhanced surveillance and undertaking maritime security operations,
  • "In the last one week, Indian naval task groups deployed in the area have Investigated a large number of fishing vessels and boarded vessels of interest," it said. 
  • The Navy substantially enhanced surveillance in view of recent attacks on commercial ships, including the drone attack on Liberian-flagged vessel m.v. Chem Pluto with 21 Indian crew, off Porbandar on December 23. Another tanker with 25 Indian crew, which was on its way to India came under a suspected drone strike in southern Red Sea on the same day. 
  • "Indian Navy continues to monitor maritime security situation in north/central Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden," the Navy said. 

Business News 

19.Vodafone Idea Director P Balaji Movies To Air India 

  • P Balaji, Director (Regulatory and Corporate Affairs) at Vodafone Idea, has tendered his resignation, marking the end of his nearly decade-long association with the telecom giant. 
  • This move has garnered attention due to Balaji’s pivotal role in liaising with government officials, considering Vodafone Idea’s status as the largest shareholder in the loss-making company. 
  • Air India has announced the recruitment of P Balaji in a newly created role as the Group Head for Governance, Regulatory, Compliance, and Corporate Affairs. The Tata Group-owned airline revealed that Balaji is scheduled to assume his responsibilities on January 11, reporting directly to Air India’s CEO and MD, Campbell Wilson. 

Economy News 

20.Fitch Forecasts Strong Growth For Asia Pacific Emerging Markets In 2024 

  • Fitch Ratings released its report ‘APAC Cross-Sector Outlook 2024’, affirming robust economic growth in the Asia Pacific region. 
  • The forecast highlights a 5% GDP growth in India and various emerging markets, indicating positive trends in the banking sectors of India and Indonesia. 
  • Fitch anticipates a sustained economic upswing in Asia Pacific, with GDP set to expand by or above 5% in key nations such as India, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. Notably, China is expected to maintain a strong performance relative to global standards. 
  • The Indian economy, which grew by 7.2% in the 2022-23 fiscal year, is projected to achieve GDP growth rates of 6.9% and 6.5% in the current fiscal year and 2024-25, respectively. 

Appointment News 

21.Puneet Chhatwal Appointed Chairman Of FAITH 

  • Puneet Chhatwal, the Managing Director and CEO of Indian Hotels Company Limited, has been appointed as the new Chairperson of the Federation of Associations in Indian Tourism & Hospitality (FAITH). This move comes as he succeeds Nakul Anand, the retired Executive Director at ITC Hotels. 
  • Chhatwal, a prominent figure in the hospitality sector, will also continue in his capacity as the President of the Hotel Association of India (HAI), a position he was re-elected to in 2022. This dual role positions him strategically in guiding and representing the industry on both national and broader association levels. 

22.Randhir Jaiswal Takes Over As MEA Spokesperson From Arindam Bagchi 

  • In a significant transition at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), Arindam Bagchi, the official spokesperson, has passed on the baton to Randhir Jaiswal. 
  • This move comes after Arindam Bagchi’s appointment as India’s next Permanent Representative to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva in October 2023. 
  • Mr. Bagchi, a seasoned 1995-batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer holding the position of Additional Secretary in the MEA, had taken over as the spokesperson in March 2021. 
  • His term witnessed the India-China standoff in eastern Ladakh, India’s successful hosting of the G20 Summit in September, and an intensified pace of diplomatic engagements with various global partners. 

23.Adani Ports Elevates Karan Adani To MD, Appoints Ashwani Gupta As CEO 

  • Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ), recently declared that CEO Karan Adani would be stepping into the role of Managing Director, succeeding Gautam Adani. 
  • In parallel, the company welcomed Ashwani Gupta, former global Chief Operating Officer at Nissan Motors, as its new CEO. Ashwani Gupta’s appointment strengthens APSEZ’s global port sector leadership. With nearly three decades of diverse industry experience. 
  • Karan Adani’s journey within APSEZ is notable. He began his career with the Adani Group in 2009 at Mundra Port and assumed the role of CEO in 2016. With Karan Adani assuming the position of Managing Director, Gautam Adani is now re-designated as the ‘Executive Chairman’ of APSEZ. 

24.Justice Sanjiv Khanna Appointed As NALSA Executive Chairperson 

  • The President of India has appointed Justice Sanjiv Khanna as the Executive Chairperson of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA). 
  • Justice Khanna, the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, has taken over from Justice S. K. Kaul, who retired on December 25. 
  • The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) is a statutory body established under the Legal Services Authorities Act of 1987. This organization plays a pivotal role in providing free legal services to the weaker sections of society and aims to organize Lok Adalats for the amicable settlement of disputes. 

25.Justice BR Gavai appoints chairperson of SC legal services committee.

  • National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) has nominated Justice BR Gavai as the Chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee.
  • Succeeds Justice Sanjiv Khanna as the Chairperson of the Supreme Court Legal Services Committee. 
  • Justice Sanjiv Khanna was previously the senior-most puisne judge and currently serves as the Executive Chairperson of NALSA.
  • Justice Khanna was recently appointed Executive Chairperson of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA). 

Recent Appointment 

  • MD & CEO of Kia India – Gwanggu Lee 
  • Defense Minister of China – Dong Jun (replace Li Shangfu) 
  • DG of Fire Service, Civil Defence & Home Guards – Vivek Srivastava 
  • CMD of Power Grid Corporation – Ravindra Kumar Tyagi (replace Sreekant Kandikuppa) 
  • Deputy Executive Director (Management) of UNFPA – Andrew Paul Saberton, UK (replace Ib Petersen, Denmark) 

Banking News 

26.India Ratings revises PNB Housing Finance NCD ratings from AA to AA+ 

  • PNB Housing Finance, a housing finance company, said that India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has upgraded the rating of the company’s non-convertible debentures (NCDs) to ‘IND AA+’ from ‘IND AA’ with stable outlook. 
  • Further, Ind-Ra said that NCDs limit has been split into bank loans and NCDs and ‘IND AA+’ rating has been assigned to the bank loans. 
  • The rating rationale mentions that the key drivers for the rating upgrade are granularization of loan book with 96 percent being retail and almost complete rundown of the corporate book, robust capital buffers post equity infusion of ₹2,500 through rights issue, improved asset quality, diversified resource profile with the ability to raise funds from banks and the capital markets, adequate liquidity and improvement in profitability. 

Important Day News 

27.World Braille Day 2024 

  • World Braille Day, annually observed on January 4, is a profound tribute to Louis Braille, the visionary mind behind the transformative braille system. 
  • Born in 1809 in France, Louis faced the adversity of losing his sight in childhood. However, his resilience and determination led to the creation of one of history’s most revolutionary systems. 
  • World Braille Day aims to raise awareness about the challenges faced by individuals with visual impairments, advocating for their rights and societal integration. 
  • It serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of empathy and compassion towards those navigating a world without sight. 

28.Nadia Calvino becomes the first woman to become the President of the European Investment Bank. 

  • Spain's Nadia Calvino took over as President of the European Investment Bank on 1 January 2024. Calvino, the eighth President of the EU Bank, is the first woman to lead the institution. She is also the first Spaniard to head a bank. 
  • Calvino replaces Werner Hoyer, who had been president of the bank since 2012. Hoyer, through his development at the EU Climate Bank, gave the Bank a high public profile. 
  • Calvino was First Vice President and Minister of Economy, Trade and Enterprise in the Government of Spain. Calvino was Deputy Director-General with special responsibility for financial services at the European Commission, Deputy Director-General for Competition and later DirectorGeneral in charge of the Budget. 
  • Calvino trained as an economist, receiving a degree from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He also has a law degree from the Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia. 
  • In 2019, she withdrew from the race to head the IMF and in 2020, after being touted as the favorite for the Eurogroup presidency, she lost to Irishman Pascal Donohoe. However, in 2021, she became the chair of the Finance Committee of the IMF. European Investment Bank (EIB) 
  • The EIB was established in Brussels in the year 1958 after the coming into force of the Treaty of Rome. 
  • In the year 1968, its headquarters were transferred from Brussels to Luxembourg. The EIB is a lending arm of the European Union and is one of the largest providers of climate finance as a multilateral financial institution globally 

Award News 

29.Professor BR Kamboj honored with 'MS Swaminathan Award' 

  • Chaudhary Charan Singh Haryana Agricultural University Vice Chancellor Prof BR Kamboj has been honored with the prestigious MS award. Karnataka Governor Thawar Chand Gehlot presented him the award. 
  • This award ceremony took place in the international conference organized on the theme 'One Health One World' at Rajmata Vijayaraje Scindia Agricultural University in Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh. 
  • Prof B R Kamboj selected for the Swaminathan Award was recognized for his outstanding achievements in the field of education, research, technology development and extension in agricultural sciences. 
  • Vice Chancellor Prof B R Kamboj is well aware of the common problems, needs and socioeconomic conditions of farmers. The agricultural recommendations derived by Professor Kamboj from his research work and collaborative extension activities with the University scientists have consistently proven to be highly beneficial to the farmers. 
  • Professor Kamboj has published about 300 research papers and articles in national and international journals, books and technical journals. M S Swaminathan Award
  • Established in 2004, it recognizes individuals who have made outstanding contributions to agricultural research and development and the overall food security and sustainability of agriculture with special reference to India. 
  • It is named after the pioneer of Indian agriculture, Professor M.S. It is a biennial award constituted by the Retired Indian Agricultural Research Employees Association (RICAREA) and Nuziveedu Seeds Limited (NSL). The award carries a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh (Rupees Two Lakh only), a medal and a citation. 

Books and Authors News 

30.Kerala Governor Arif Mohammad Launches Book On “Ram Mandir Rashtra MandirAk Sajhi Virast” 

  • The Governor of Kerala, Arif Mohammad, unveiled a book titled “Ram Mandir Rashtra Mandir Ak Sajhi Virast” at the Rang Bhawan Auditorium in Delhi. 
  • The launch event witnessed the convergence of individuals from various backgrounds, symbolizing the cultural and religious diversity of India. Governor Arif Mohammad, in his capacity as the chief guest, expressed the importance of preserving and understanding India’s rich heritage and cultural legacy. 
  • The book, “Ram Mandir Rashtra Mandir Ak Sajhi Virast,” explores the intricate relationship between the Ram Mandir and the national heritage. Authored by a distinguished writer, the book delves into the historical, cultural, and spiritual aspects associated with the construction and significance of the Ram Mandir. 

Science and Technology News 

31.ISRO’s Satellite Set For Launch Aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 Rocket 

  • NewSpace India Ltd (NSIL), the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), has announced its collaboration with SpaceX, to launch the communication satellite GSAT-20. 
  • This marks India’s first partnership with SpaceX, reflecting a significant stride in space exploration and satellite deployment. 
  • GSAT-20, now renamed GSAT-N2, is a high throughput Ka-band satellite designed to meet the growing broadband communication needs of India. 
  • With a weight of 4,700 kg, GSAT-20 offers a substantial HTS capacity of nearly 48 Gbps, specifically tailored to address the service requirements of remote and unconnected regions in the country. 

32.SpaceX's Falcon-9 to launch India's GSAT-20; satellite to spread broadband coverage 

  • NewSpace India Ltd, (NSIL), the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation, will launch GSAT-20 (renamed GSAT-N2), on board SpaceX's Falcon-9 rocket during the second quarter of 2024. 
  • The GSAT-20 is a high-throughput Ka-band satellite (HTS), which will be fully owned, operated and funded by the NSIL. 
  • The agency said GSAT-20 offers Ka-Ka band HTS capacity with 32 beams having pan-India coverage, including the Andaman and Nicobar and Lakshadweep islands. The satellite, weighing 4,700 burt kg, offers an HTS capacity of nearly 48 Gbps and has been specifically designed to meet the demanding service needs of remote and unconnected regions. 
  • As part of this, the NSIL successfully undertook its first demand-driven satellite mission, GSAT-24, in June 2022, and the capacity-board of the satellite was fully secured by Tata Play. GSAT-24 mission was fully funded by the NSIL., At present, the agency owns and operates 11 communication satellites in orbit. 
  • "On similar lines, during the second quarter of 2024, NSIL will be undertaking the GSAT-20 satellite mission to offer cost-effective Ka-Ka band HTS capacity primarily for meeting the broadband, as well as IFMC and cellular back- haul service needs. The bulk of the HTS capacity on board GSAT-20 satellite has already been secured by Indian service providers," the NSIL said. 
  • June 2020, the NSIL was mandated to build, launch, own and operate satellites in "demand-driven mode" to meet service needs of the user. 
  • The NSIL is realizing the GSAT-20 satellite through ISRO and will be launched on board Falcon 9 under a contract between NSIL and SpaceX, USA, it said. 
  • According to SpaceX, Falcon-9 is a reusable, two- stage rocket designed and manufactured by the Elon Musk-founded company for the reliable and safe transport of people and payloads into Earth orbit and beyond. 

Sports News 

33.British Sikh Treaker Harpreet Chandi set a new record in Solo Skiing in Antarctic 

  • British Sikh Army Officer and Physiotherapist Captain Harpreet Chandi claimed to have created a new world record. Harpreet, popularly known as Polar Preet for her Antarctic campaign, has become the fastest woman in the world to complete the South Pol skiing campaign alone. 
  • 33 -year -old Harpreet of Indian origin, Harpreet claimed in her blog on 31 December 2023 that I completed the skiing in 31 days. The Guinness World Records will confirm this. 
  • Harpreet has broken the third world record by covering 31 days, 13 hours and 1,130 km (702 mile) in 19 minutes. Captain Chandy of Derby launched a campaign with Hercules Inlet at Ice Shelf on 26 November. The mission was completed on 28 December 2023 by reaching the southern pole at 02:24 GMT. 
  • During this time she used to skiing about 12 to 13 hours daily. Used to draw sled weighing 75 kg. The sled had all the materials required to move beyond the difficult terrain. Polar Preet's previous record: 
  • Captain Chandy traveled from Hercules Inlet to Ready Glacier in Antarctic between 13 November 2022 to 23 January 2023. In this, she surpassed the world record and overall record of the longest polar ski campaign by a woman. Captain Chandi created history by tracking the southern pole for the first time in 2021.

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