Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 9th January 2024

1.DRDO counter-drone system ready, handed over to private firms 

  • The counter-drone system developed by the Defence Research and Develop ment Organisation (DRDO) is ready for production and was already demonstrated to armed services and other internal security agencies with some orders already placed. The DRDO is now focusing on high endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) while the capability for smaller drones exists with the industry 
  • "The DRDO is making drone-based systems and anti-drone systems based on the requirements of user agencies. The DRDO has developed a comprehensive integrated anti-drone system which comprises detection, identification and neutralization of a drone...," the Defence Ministry informed the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence in a written reply. This was stated in its 42nd report, "A review of working of DRDO '', which was tabled in Parliament recently. 
  • "Three Services have already placed 23 orders on BEL for DRDO-developed technology. The above technology is suitable for detection, identification, and neutralization of an intruding drone on our land borders also. The solutions can be customized for different challenges." 
  • The Transfer of Technology (ToT) for above technologies has been handed over to private industries, including BEL, Adani, Larsen & Toubro (L&T), and Icom, the Ministry said. The technology is capable of countering attacks, soft kill, and hard kill of all types of drones, including micro drones, which is being developed in the DRDO 
  • "Anti-drone technology is where the focus should be and in that the DRDO is working very closely with the industry. We are also doing a lot of R&D for doing anti-drone, protection against these types of drones," a representative of the DRDO said. The DRDO is focusing on high end drones, the panel was informed. 
  • In this regard, the DRDO said that Tapas Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) UAV developed for the Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) application is in the advanced stage of developmental trials. 
  • The short-range armed UAV Archer is being developed for reconnaissance, surveillance and low-intensity conflict, and developmental flight trials are under progress. 
  • During the briefing, it was submitted before the committee that drone batteries are unavailable in the country to which the Ministry later replied that the older generation of drones was using nickel cadmium and silver zinc batteries as a secondary source of power. 

2.Look into delisting of Kukis, Zomis from St list 

  • The Manipur government has been asked by the Centre to examine a representation seeking deletion of the "Nomadic Chin-Kuki from the list of Scheduled Tribes in Manipur. The Union Tribal Affairs Ministry said that a representation seeking delisting was made by Maheshwar Thounaojam, secretary of the Republican Party of India (Athawale), who is based in Imphal. 
  • Throughout 2023, several Meitel groups in Manipur made representations seeking inclusion of their community on the ST list. There was one new appeal from an association of Meitei Pangals (Meltei Muslims). This is the first time a case is being made that Meitels get ST status by excluding Kuki and Zomi. The reasoning is that they are not indigenous to the land. 
  • In a letter dated December 26, 2023, the Union government said the process of inclusion or exclusion from ST list requires the proposal to originate from the State government and hence it was sending the representation to the State government for recommendation. 
  • Mr. Thounaojam has tried to argue that indigeneity should be the principal criterion for defining STs in the country, further requesting the government to accordingly determine "who should be correctly in the ST list of Manipur". 

3.GIFT City is set to host 10th Gujarat global investment summit from tomorrow 

  • Gujarat is all set to host the 10th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investment Summit, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in the presence of several heads of States, policymakers, diplomats, top industrialists and business executives, here on Wednesday. 
  • The event will have participation from over 100 countries, while around 30 countries have joined as partners and a dozen international organizations have also joined hands with the State government to promote the event as a key platform for fostering collaboration and exploring opportunities. 
  • According to State government officials, the three-day summit is expected to bring in around 1,00,000 visitors, including chief executives, business leaders and executives, policymakers and Ministers and diplomats, from over 100 countries. 
  • Focusing on futuristic technology, the summit will explore sectors such as semiconductors, green hydrogen, e-mobility, space manufacturing, renewable energy besides financial services and technology at the GIFT City. 
  • A day before the summit, Mr. Modi and UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will lead a roadshow on Tuesday from the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport. The three-km roadshow will start in the evening after Mr. Modi receives the UAE President at the airport, said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Traffic-East), Ahmedabad city, Safin Hasan. 
  • "The roadshow will culminate at Indira Bridge, which connects Ahmedabad with Gandhinagar. From the bridge circle, both dignitaries will head to Gandhinagar," the official said. 

4.I have to form Bench to hear plea against collegium system: CJI 

  • Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud on Monday said he would have to constitute a Bench of the Supreme Court to hear a petition seeking an end to the collegium system of judicial appointments.
  • "I will have to constitute a Bench," Chief Justice Chandrachud told advocate Mathews J Nedumpara tersely. 
  • Mr. Nedumpara has been repeatedly, over the past several months, mentioning the case to be heard. 
  • The petition seeks the revival of the National Judicial Appointments Commission, or NJAC, which briefly gave the government an equal role along with the judiciary in the appointment of judges to the constitutional courts before it was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2015. 
  • The petition was filed early last year amidst the verbal attacks by then Law Minister Kiren Rijiju on the collegium system, calling it opaque. 
  • It said the Constitution Bench judgment of October 2015 had thwarted the "will of the people" by striking down the 99th Constitutional Amendment Act which introduced the NJAC mechanism. 
  • The petition has said the 2015 judgment should be rendered void ab initio as it had revived the collegium system. The petitioners called the collegium system a "synonym for nepotism and favoritism.” 

5.An ambitious push for values, ethics in higher education 

  • The University Grants Commission (UGC) has been issuing regulations, guidelines and directives at breakneck speed that some of the important ones miss drawing the attention of the higher education community. One such guideline is Mulya Pravah 2.0, a modified version of Mulya Pravah, which was notified in 2019. It seeks to inculcate human values and professional ethics in higher education institutions. The stated intention is to build value-based institutions by orienting individuals and institutions towards developing a deep respect for fundamental duties and constitutional values and bonding with the country. 
  • The trigger is the findings of a survey of human resource managers which highlight unethical practices in various organizations. The most prominent of these are "favoritism in hiring. training, pay and promotion; sexual harassment; gender discrimination in promotion; inconsistent view on discipline; lack of confidentiality, gender differentiation in compensation; non-performance factors overlooked in appraisals, arrangements with vendors for personal gain; and gender discrimination during recruitment and hiring"
  • These vices may not be specific or exclusive to higher education institutions but could be rampant among them. None can assert that they are free of malpractices. The UGC must get credit for notifying the guideline, though it may not be sufficient to curb corruption and violations of ethics and integrity. 
  • Unless backed by sincere efforts to ensure that the provisions of Mulya Pravah are affected in letter and spirit, the move may be no more than a mere formality. The higher education regulator(s) must demonstrate zero tolerance and act swiftly to quell even the smallest trace of corruption in the admission, examination, hiring processes or, for that matter, in any aspect of university administration. 
  • Emphasis on transparency Mulya Pravah 2.0 underscores the need for utmost transparency in administration and highlights that decision-making in higher education institutions must be solely guided by institutional and public interest, and not be vitiated by biases. 
  • It seeks to abolish the discriminatory privileges of officials and urges the administration to punish the corrupt. It lays stress on the criticality of enouraging persons at all levels to think and give their advice freely. 
  • The guideline expects higher education institutions to ensure integrity, trusteeship, harmony, accountability, inclusiveness,  commitment, respectfulness, belongingness, sustainability, constitutional values and global citizenship. 
  • This is a laudable and timely intervention, as these values are receding. The authorities in and officers of universities must ensure that the provisions of their acts, statutes, ordinances and regulations are strictly adhered to in letter and spirit. 
  • The guideline requires higher education administration to conduct matters ensuring act in the best interest of their institution, create a conducive culture and work environment for teaching, learning, and research and develop the potential of their institution. It further asserts that officers and staff must refrain from misappropriating financial and other resources, and refuse to accept gift, favor, service, or other items from any person, group, private business, or public agency which may affect the impartial performance of duties. 
  • The emphasis on the need for and the importance of maintaining the confidentiality of information is bemusing as it runs counter to the right of information as an instrument to ensure accountability. Higher education institutions must, in fact, be mandated to voluntarily disclose all critical information and subject themselves to public scrutiny. 
  • The guideline would do well to urge them to promptly upload agendas, proceedings and minutes of the meetings of their decision-making bodies, sub-committees and standing committees. They must put up their annual reports and audited accounts in the public domain. This will deter malpractices and go a long way in restoring public confidence in the workings of the institutions. 
  • Asserting that teaching is a noble profession, and that teachers play a crucial role in 'shaping the character, personality, and career of the students', it requires them to 'act as role models and set examples of 'good conduct, and a good standard of dress, speech and behavior, worth emulating by students. It asks them to abide by provisions of the acts, statutes, ordinances, rules, policies, and procedures of their universities but maintain silence on the issue of teachers' associations.
  • Mulya Pravah 2.0 expects staff and student unions to support the administration in development activities and raise issues in a dignified manner', although this sounds like suggesting that they act and be the team B of the administration and desist from raising issues concerning their members.
  • The guideline expects higher education institutions to ensure integrity, trusteeship, harmony, accountability, inclusiveness, commitment, respectfulness, belongingness, sustainability, constitutional values and global citizenship. This is a laudable and timely intervention, as these values are receding. The authorities in and officers of universities must ensure that the provisions of their acts, statutes, ordinances and regulations are strictly adhered to in letter and spirit.
  • Associations and unions of stakeholders are pressure groups to exert collective influence to protect the rights and interests of their members. While no one could ever suggest that they always be at loggerheads with the administration, it may be too much to expect them to take sides with the administration.
  • Higher education institutions are communities of scholars where no one should be more equal than the other. Each stakeholder must be allowed to proactively participate in protecting. preserving and promoting the culture and standards of their institutions. The idea of collegiality must require the administration to engage with and consult stakeholders in decision-making.
  • Mulya Pravah 2.0 insists that staff and students unions must 'raise issues in a dignified manner'. As the guideline does not define or delineate what dignified manner' entails, the provision could be misused to threaten, shun, silence or at least undermine the collective voices of the stakeholders. The threat is real and imminent. Associations and unions of teachers, staff and students have often been banned and suspended on the slightest pretext. Their office-bearers and elected representatives have generally been accused of violating the code of conduct and acting against the interests of their institutions. Many are fighting battles for their survival in courts of law. 
  • It is obvious that provisions such as these may cause more harm than good. Discordant voices may, at times, cause inconvenience to the powers that be. In the ultimate analysis, they only strengthen institutions by improving the quality and sustainability of the decisions. 

6.'Viksit Bharat Yatra aims to help schemes reach all beneficiaries’ 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday said the main goal of the Viksit Bharat Sankalp Yatra (VLSV) was to ensure that government schemes reached all deserving people.
  • After interacting with the VIRSY beneficiaries through video conference, Mr. Modi said the drive recently completed 50 days and had connected with about il crore people. "VIkas Bharat Sankalp Yatra has become not only the journey of the government but also the journey of the country," he said. 
  • The Prime Minister said the "Modi ki Guarantee '' vehicles, along with officials and people's representatives, were reaching every nook and cranny of the country. "The poor people who spent their lives waiting to get the benefits of government schemes are seeing a meaningful change today. The government is reaching the door steps of the beneficiaries and proactively providing the benefits," he said.
  • On the "global buzz" about "Modi's Guarantee Tee", he underlined the link between the resolution of a "Viksit Bharat '' and the saturation of the scheme coverage. 
  • "Our government wants the present and future generations not to have to live the life that the earlier gen. eration lived. We want to get a large population of the country out of the struggle for small daily needs. Therefore, we are focusing on the future of the poor, farmers, women, and youth. When the poor, farmers, women, and youth are empowered, the country will become powerful," he said. Since the drive was launched, nearly 12 lakh new applications for Ujjwala connections were received along with lakhs of applications for the Suraksha Bima Yojana, Jeevan Jyoti Yojana, PM SVANidhi," he said. 
  • Mr. Modi said health check-ups for over two crore people had been carried out so far, Including one crore TB and 22 lakh sickle cell check-ups. He said the doctors were reaching the doorsteps of the poor, Dalits, the prived and the tribal people, which was considered a challenge by previous governments. He talked about the benefits of Ayushman Yojana, which provides health insurance of 25 lakh, and Jan Aushadhi Kendras for the needy.
  • The Prime Minister also highlighted the government's impact on women's empowerment through schemes such as the Mudra Yojna, and their role as Bank Mitras, Pashu Sakhis, and ASIA workers. In the past decade, 10 crore wo men had joined self-help groups, where over 17.5 1 lakh crore had been provided to them, he noted, adding that this had helped a large number of women become financially independent over the years. 
  • He said the government has planned to further increase the number of such beneficiaries to two crore, via programmes like "Na Mo Drone Didi Scheme" under which about one lakh drones had been demonstrated during VBS. Stating that in the earlier governments, the scope of discussions on the agricultural policy was only limited to production and sale, neglecting the various issues faced by farmers daily, he said the government led by him had made all-out efforts to ease every difficulty of the farm- ers. He listed the initiatives taken for them. 

7. Oppenheimer tops Golden Globes on bittersweet night for Barbie 

  • Oppenheimer, Christopher Nolan's drama about the inventor of the atomic bomb, topped the Golden Globes on Sunday, but its fellow summer smash hit Barbie missed out on best comedy film honors to Poor Things. 
  • Oppenheirmer took five prizes including best drama, best director for Nolan, best score, as well as acting trophies for Cillian Murphy and Robert Downey Jr. Nolan was drawn to the "tragedy" of J. Robert Oppenheimer, a scientist who remained loyal to his country and never apologiged for his actions, yet was "wracked by tremendous guilt." 
  • Barbie was the leading film heading into the night with nine nominations, but ended the gala with just two prizes. It won the award for best song, for a tune written by Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas. And as the year's highest the show was taken off air a year later. 
  • The controversial group of LA-based foreign journalists that created the Globes 80 years ago has since been disbanded, and a wider net of overseas critics was brought in to choose this year's winners. 
  • rossing movie, it claimed a newly created trophy for box office achievement.
  • Long billed as "Hollywood's biggest party," the Globes were boycotted by the industry after allegations of corruption and racism emerged in 2021, and
  • Indigenous actor Lily Gladstone won best female actor in a drama for her role in Martin Scorsese's Killers of the Flower Moon. 
  • The Netflix comedy-drama Beef won best television limited series, with leads Ali Wong and Steven Yeun bringing home best female and male actor. They were the first Globe wins for both actors and a nod to an Asian-led series. 

8.Onions, tomatoes, pulses bump up veggie plate prices by 12% in Dec

  • In an indication that food inflation pressures may have worsened in December, the cost of putting together vegetarian food plate shot up 12% year on year last month, compared with 9% in November Yo%, as per a monthly food plate costs tracker compiled by Crisi Market Intelligence and Analytics. The primary source of food inflation in December were onions and tomatoes, which recorded price spikes of 82% and 42%,
  • The OTP effect Sequential ending due to Low and in onion and somites prices respectively, walle price of pulses accelerated 29% from December 2022 le vells, India's overall con summer prices had rises at a three month high price of Sand-ingatkan cost 5.55% in November, wille food price inflation surged to 8.7% owing to shenger price rise in vegetables, patises, inuits, and sugar. The Consumer Price
  • Andex for December will be released by the National Statistical Office on Friday,
  • According to Crisil's te search, a typical vegetar Jau food plate, which includes vegetables, rice, dal, curd and salad, cost $29.7 in December, about 3% lower than tho vember, but still the second steepest in four months. 
  • The sequential easing in vegetarian plate costs was due to a 14% and 3% on month decrease in prices of onion and tomato, respectively, with the festive season coming to an end, the firm said on Monday. 
  • By contrast, the average price of a typical non-vege tarian plate, which replaces dhedal component in a vegetarian Thali with chicken, however, dropped 4% from December 2022 levels. This was attributed to a 15% dip in prices of brollers, which account for about 50% of a non-vegetarian plate cost. 
  • Broiler production With broilers' production huge, their prices fell 5% to 7% on a month-on-month basis, bringing the average non-vegetarian plate's cost down 5% 10 ₹57.6 from 260.4 in November 2023. 

9. Cabinet approves ISROMRIC collaboration in satellite development 

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the MoU between ISRO and MRIC regarding cooperation in developing a joint small satellite on January 5, 2024. The agreement was signed between the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Mauritius Research and Innovation Council (MRIC) in November 2023.
  • The signing of this MoU will enable joint implementation of small satellites between ISRO and MRIC. This satellite implementation is proposed to be completed in a time frame of 15 months. The estimated cost of complete construction of this combined satellite is Rs 20 crore. 
  • The collaboration through this joint development will help ensure continued support from the Government of Mauritius for the Indian Ground Station in Mauritius, which is critical for ISRO/India's launch vehicle and satellite missions. 
  • This MoU will establish a framework for cooperation between the two to develop a joint satellite and utilize MRIC ground stations. 
  • This joint satellite construction will also prove helpful in ensuring support from MRIC from its ground station for ISRO's future small satellite missions. Joint satellite. The MoU was signed during the visit of the Minister of State (MEA) to Mauritius for the 'Immigrants Day' event in Port Louis, Mauritius on November 1, 2023. 

10. 81st Golden Globes Awards 2024 announced 

  • The 81st Golden Globe Awards is held at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California on January 7, 2024. As a major entertainment award since 1944, the annual Golden Globe Awards has honored achievements in both television and film. Dick Clark Productions is the owner and producer of the Golden Globe Awards. 
  • 'Oppenheimer,' 'Barbie,' 'Poor Things,' 'Killers of the Flower Moon,' 'Succession' and 'The Bear' were among the big winners. 

Major winners 

  • Best Director - Motion Picture - Christopher Nolan, Oppenheimer 
  • Best Motion Picture – Drama - Oppenheimer (Universal Pictures) 
  • Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy – Poor Things (Searchlight Pictures) 
  • Best Motion Picture – Animated – The Boy and the Heron (GKids) 
  • Cinematic and box office achievements - Barbie (Warner Bros. Pictures) 
  • Best Motion Picture – Non-English Language – Anatomy of a Fall, France (Neon) 
  • Best Male Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama - Cillian Murphy, Oppenheimer 
  • Best Female Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama - Lily Gladstone, Killers of the Flower Moon 
  • Best Female Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy – Emma Stone, Poor Things 
  • Best Male Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy – Paul Giamatti, The Holdovers 
  • Best Supporting Male Actor in a Motion Picture - Robert Downey Jr., Oppenheimer 
  • Best Supporting Female Actor in a Motion Picture - Devin Joy Randolph, The Holdovers
  • Best Screenplay – Motion Picture – Justin Truitt, Arthur Harari, Anatomy of a Fall 
  • Best Original Song – Motion Picture – "What Was I Made For?" Barbie, music and lyrics Billie Eilish O'Connell, Phineas O'Connell 
  • Best Original Score – Motion Picture – Ludwig Goransson, Oppenheimer Television 
  • Best Television Series – Drama – Succession (HBO/Max) 
  • Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy – Bear (FX) 
  • Best Television Limited Series, Anthology Series or Motion Picture - Beef (Netflix) 
  • Television Series – Drama 
  • Best Female Actor – Sarah Snook, Succession 
  • Television Series – Drama Best Male Actor – Kieran Culkin, Succession 
  • Best Female Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy – Ayo Adebiri, The Bear 
  • Television Series Best Male Actor – Musical or Com – Jeremy Alan White, The Bear 
  • Best Performance in Stand-up Comedy on Television - Ricky Gervais 

11. Adi Kekir, handmade carpets and Wancho wooden crafts of Arunachal Pradesh get GI tag 

  • Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu announced that the state's ginger, locally known as Adi Kekir, handmade carpets and Wancho wood crafts have acquired the Geographical Indication (GI) tag.
  • Adi Kekir is a variety of ginger grown in East Siang, Siang and Upper Siang districts of Arunachal Pradesh. It is known for its taste and size.
  • The handmade carpets made by Tibetan refugees living in different parts of the state are known for their distinctive designs, motifs and textures. 
  • Wancho wooden craft items are unique as they consist of tobacco pipes along with head-shaped bowls and drinking mugs depicting warriors carrying heads. Artisans also make idols of Lord Buddha, animals and dolls. So far, six products from Arunachal  Pradesh have received GI certification. 
  • Earlier, Yak Churpi – cheese prepared from the milk of Arunachali yak, Khamti rice – a variety of glutinous rice produced in Namsai district, and Tangsa textile from Changlang district had received the GI tag. 

12. ONGC starts oil production from deep sea block 'KG-DWN98/2' in Krishna Godavari Basin. 

  • Oil and Natural Gas Corporation - ONGC has started oil production from Cluster-2 of its flagship deepwater project KG-DWN-98/2 Block in the Krishna Godavari Basin in the Bay of Bengal. 
  • The project is located 35 kilometers off the coast of Andhra Pradesh at a depth of 300 to 3200 meters. The discovery of the block is divided 6. Adi Kekir, handmade carpets and Wancho wooden crafts of Arunachal Pradesh get GI tag into three clusters Cluster-1, 2 and 3. First of all production is being done from Cluster-2. 
  • In a social media post, Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said that oil production has started from the first difficult block. Oil production is expected to be 45 thousand barrels per day and gas production is expected to be more than 10 crore cubic meters per day. 
  • The project is expected to increase the current national oil production and national natural gas production by 7 percent. It is located on the banks of the Godavari River delta in the Bay of Bengal. 
  • ONGC had initially planned to start oil production from the block in November 2021, but the deadline saw several extensions. The offshore KG-DWN-98/2 block is located next to Reliance Industries' prolific KG-D6 block in the Bay of Bengal. 

13. ‘Gangasagar Fair’ started in West Bengal 

  • Gangasagar Fair has started from 8 January 2024 in the southern region of Sagar Island in West Bengal. Lakhs of pilgrims participate in the Gangasagar fair during the Makar Sankranti festival. The country's globally acclaimed spiritual and cultural event known as Gangasagar Mela or Gangasagar Yatra or Ganga Snan. 
  • During this time in the morning, one takes a dip in the holy water of Ganga while worshiping Lord Surya. People worship Kapil Muni and light lamps of desi ghee. The carnival is held on Sagar Island which is situated at the tip of the Ganga Delta at the head of the Bay of Bengal. 
  • The importance of Gangasagar is seen since the Mahabharata period. If this is to be believed, the importance of bathing in the ocean was explained to Bhishma by a learned sage. The virtue of purification of soul and elimination of bad deeds is liked by every Hindu, and they also practice it. 
  • Gangasagar fair is considered to be the second largest fair after Kumbh Mela. Gangasagar fair is famous by the name of Magh Mela. 

14.Government To Invest 60,000 Cr In River Cruise Tourism And Green Vessels 

  • Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal announced a significant government investment of Rs 60,000 crore by 2047 in the development of river cruise tourism and eco-friendly vessels. This initiative aims to boost tourism, enhance water transport, and create employment opportunities. 
  • Sonowal outlined the plan, stating that Rs 45,000 crore would be allocated to river cruise development, increasing passenger capacity from 2 lakh to 15 lakh by 2047. Additionally, the government plans to invest Rs 15,000 crore over the next decade in green transport, intending to develop 1,000 environmentally friendly vessels and ferries. 

15.Microsoft’s ‘AI Odyssey’ To Upskill 100,000 Indian Developers: Boosting AI Talent In India 

  • Microsoft India has unveiled the ‘AI Odyssey’ initiative, aiming to train 100,000 Indian developers in the latest AI technologies. 
  • The program seeks to equip developers with skills essential for executing AI projects aligning with business goals. It is open to all AI enthusiasts in India, regardless of experience. 
  • The program is divided into two level. Level One focuses on using Azure AI services with practical skills. Level Two involves an online assessment and interactive lab tasks for Microsoft applied skills credentials. Completion offers a chance to win a VIP Pass for the Microsoft AI Tour in Bangalore on Feb 8, 2024. 

16.Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2024 

  • Pravasi Bharatiya Divas, also known as Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Day, celebrated on January 9, serves as a tribute to the contributions and achievements of the overseas Indian community to the development of India. 
  • The day also marks the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to India in 1915, symbolizing the leadership that fueled India’s freedom struggle. 
  • The inaugural celebration of Pravasi Bharatiya Divas took place in 2003. Originally an annual event, the format underwent revision in 2015, transforming it into a biennial celebration. This restructuring included the introduction of theme-based conferences during the intervening years, bringing together overseas diaspora experts, policy-makers, and stakeholders. 

17.Top 3 States Driving India’s MSME Landscape: Insights From CBRE-CREDAI Report 

  • A recent report by CBRE-CREDAI sheds light on the landscape of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India, revealing noteworthy trends and state-wise contributions. 
  • As of December 2023, the country boasts over 3 crore registered MSMEs, with Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, and Uttar Pradesh jointly constituting nearly 40% of this vibrant sector. 
  • Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu emerge as pivotal contributors, collectively representing a significant portion of the registered MSMEs in India. 
  • Uttar Pradesh secures a notable position among the top three states, holding a 9% share in the national MSME landscape. Policy initiatives, including interest subsidies and stamp duty exemptions, have catalyzed this growth. 
  • Cities like Agra, Kanpur, Varanasi, Lucknow, Meerut, and Ghaziabad have witnessed the robust emergence of MSME clusters, actively participating in the Udyam scheme. 

18.Denmark Launches Green Fuels Alliance India To Drive Sustainable Energy Collaboration At GIM 2024 

  • At the Global Investors Meet (GIM) 2024, Denmark unveiled the Green Fuels Alliance India (GFAI), a pivotal initiative under the Green Strategic Partnership (GSP) signed between India and Denmark in 2020. 
  • The GFAI aims to accelerate collaboration in the sustainable energy solutions sector, aligning with the joint global objective of carbon neutrality. 
  • The primary goal of the GFAI is to establish an ecosystem promoting collaboration among businesses, government entities, research institutions, and financial stakeholders. This initiative bolsters India’s efforts to achieve net zero emissions by 2070, showcasing a commitment to sustainable energy growth. 

19.Franz Beckenbauer, World Cup-Winning German And Bayern Munich Great, Dies Aged 78 

  • Franz Beckenbauer, one of only three men two have won the FIFA World Cup as a player and as a manager, has died at the age of 78. 
  • Born in Giesling, Munich, in September 1945, Franz Beckenbauer journey with football began in Bayern’s youth squad, making his debut as a left-winger in 1964. Despite Bayern’s earlier struggles, Beckenbauer’s versatility and leadership saw them rise, winning their first Bundesliga title in 1968-69. 
  • Beckenbauer’s international career started at 20, marking the beginning of a golden era for West Germany. He led the team to victory in the 1972 European Championship and the 1974 World Cup, earning him the Ballon d’Or in 1972 and 1976. His impact extended beyond position norms, showcasing exceptional ball control and vision. 

20.U.S. Launches Peregrine-1 Lander To Moon In Historic Lunar Mission 

  • In a monumental achievement, the Peregrine-1 lunar lander, operated by private firm Astrobotic, successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, marking the first American lunar mission in 51 years. 
  • Scheduled to land on February 23, the mission, conducted under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, aims to study the Moon’s surface environment in preparation for upcoming human missions. 
  • The Peregrine lander carries five NASA payloads and 15 other components designed to measure radiation, surface and subsurface water ice, magnetic fields, and the exosphere. Notably, it includes the first Latin American scientific instruments destined for the lunar surface. 
  • Additionally, five miniature moon rovers, non-scientific payloads like a Bitcoin-loaded coin, and a “lunar dream capsule” filled with messages from children worldwide are part of the mission. 

21.Ancient Tools Found In Telangana’s Mulugu District 

  • The Mulugu district of Telangana has become the stage for an unexpected archaeological revelation following the devastating floods in July 2023. 
  • Amidst the aftermath of the natural disaster, a team of amateur historians stumbled upon a collection of paleolithic quartzite tools that have not only captivated the local community but also pushed back the understanding of human habitations in Telangana and central India. 
  • The exposed tools, identified as hand axes, were found between Gurrevula and Bhupatipuram villages in Mulugu district. The significant find was a stone axe measuring 15.5cm in length, 11cm in width, and 5.5cm in thickness. Eleswaram Janardanachari, a dedicated researcher, was the one who made this remarkable discovery.

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