Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC -12th February 2024


1. Direct tax kitty picks up pace, up 20.25% by Feb. 10 

  • India's next direct tax collections picked up pace over the past month to rise 20.25% year- on-year by February 10, compared to a 19.4% uptick on the same date in January, show data released by the Finance Ministry on Sunday. 
  • Growth in the Personal Income Tax (PIT) revenues continued to outstrip Corporate Income Tax (CIT), with a 26.91% uptick in net PIT collections vis-à-vis a 13.6% rise in CIT inflows so far this year. 
  • From 14.7 lakh crore on January 10, net direct tax collections, that are calculated by deducting refunds from gross tax inflows, had hit 15.6 lakh crore by Saturday, making up 80.23% 
  • Direct tax collections are at 80.23% of the Revised estimates for FY24 as of February 10 Gross direct tax collections amount to 18.38 lakh crore, showing a year-on-year growth of 17.30% Direct tax collection, net of refunds, stands at ₹15.60 lakh crore, indicating a year- on-year growth of 20.25% 
  • The net corporate income tax (CIT) has grown by 13.57%, and the net personal income tax (PIT) has grown of the revised estimates for direct taxes for this year. 
  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, in her interim Budget for 2024-25, had raised her hopes for the direct tax kitty for this year, pegging revised estimates by 26.91% year-on-year
  • Refunds amounting to 22.77 lakh crore have been issued between April 1, 2023, and February 10, 2024 at 19.5 lakh crore, from the 18.23 lakh crore originally estimated for 2023-24. 
  • "We are quite hopeful of meeting the Revised Estimates for the current year, as the asking rate is 17% growth for the next two months. But we don't know how Advance Tax will come through, so let us see how much we are able to achieve because it is the product of the collections which will be made in the month of February and March and refunds which will be issued," Central Board of Direct Taxes chairperson Nitin Gupta told The Hindu last week. 
  • "The provisional figures of direct tax collections continue to register steady growth. Direct tax collections up to February 10, 2024 show that gross collections are at 18.38 lakh crore, which is 17.30% higher than the gross collections for the corresponding period of last year," the Ministry said in a statement. 

2. Farmers may start Delhi march today as talks collapse 

  • Approximately one lakh farmers belonging to the Samyukt Kisan Morcha Non Political (SKM-NP), a splinter group of the original SKM, started preparations for a rally in Delhi on Tuesday seeking guaranteed minimum support prices (MSPs) for their produce. The first round of talks with the Union government on this demand collapsed on Thursday, and farmers from neighboring States have been gathering in preparation for a march to the national capital on Monday. 
  • SKM-NP leader Shiv Kumar Kakka, a former RSS functionary, was detained by the Madhya Pradesh Police on Sunday. 

3. Pakistan's democratic revolution, with seam and swing 

  • In Pakistan. However, he will not be able to form a government or become Prime Minister. Even though he did not contest the elections and his party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), was denied its election symbol on the ballot paper, his party, contesting as 'Independents', has emerged as the largest group in Parliament. It has an overwhelming majority in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and is a very close second in the largest province, Punjab. Moreover, leaders of the PTI are claiming that dozens of seats have been stolen from them and they would have won an absolute majority in Parliament and the Punjab as well. They intend to challenge these results in court over the next few days, which may see their tally rise. 
  • This is a phenomenal victory for Pakistan's former Prime Minister who has been in jail for almost a year, has had no access to the electorate and has not participated in electioneering (his name cannot even be mentioned on television). A few days before the election, he was given three prison terms after being found guilty on charges which include corruption, getting married illegally and revealing state secrets. He has also been barred from running for public office for 10 years and has over 170 other cases against him. 
  • This was certainly not the intention nor the plan. The powers that be what is called the 'Establishment' in Pakistan-largely the military and those who subscribe to its bidding, had worked out a very different scenario. From around November 2021, Mr. Khan and the military had a major and public falling out. 
  • Ironically, it was the military establishment that had gotten rid of Nawaz Sharif in 2017 and began supporting Mr. Khan when he was not yet the Prime Minister. It is widely believed - and there is ample evidence to support the claim that the military establishment enabled Mr. Khan's victory in the 2018 elections, which made him Prime Minister. 
  • For around three years, the military leadership and Mr. Khan were 'on the same page', a phrase which was repeated ad nauseum by both parties to show that the PTI government had the military's backing and was in a comfortable and safe position to complete its five-year tenure. Disagreements between the then Chief of Army is a political economist and heads the Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi 
  • At the moment, there is a great deal of bargaining, negotiation and horse-trading in order to create a government in Pakistan. The PML(N) is in discussions with other parties and hopes to lead the government, especially in partnership with the PPP. On the other hand, the PPP is apparently talking to the many independents hoping to lead the government. The PTI, which does not exist as a parliamentary party at the moment, is also claiming that it will form the government which, while unlikely, is not an impossibility. The incumbent President of Pakistan, who needs to invite the 'largest party' in the new Parliament to form the government, was elected from the PTI. 
  • Parliament came to an end in August 2023. Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who was in exile in London because he was found guilty of corruption and was banned for life for holding public office or contesting elections, was able to return to Pakistan in October 2023. Remarkably, within a few weeks, the major cases against him were overturned and he was allowed to contest the elections, receiving a complete clean sheet, and resurrected anew. 
  • With Mr. Khan in jail, his party the PTI losing its electoral symbol, P'TI candidates hounded by un-named goons while campaigning, their hustings broken, and where many were attacked and picked up in the middle of the night, the plan was to ensure that Mr. Sharif's PML(N) would win with a clear majority. He was considered a shoo-in, to become Prime Minister for the fourth time. There was complete consensus on this likelihood, yet the plan came badly undone. 
  • Despite allegations of widespread rigging Pakistan's leading journalist Hamid Mir said on television that the "PML[N] supporters are saying that they have received more votes on 9 February than on 8 February, the day of the elections" and numerous other impediments to there being free and fair elections, the PTI has completely sabotaged the Establishment's plan. A noticeably subdued Mr. Sharif, who was expected to make a victory speech on the day of the elections, appeared 24 hours later on television claiming victory and giving a call for a government which would include most parties, but not Imran Khan's PTL. 
  • Staff (now retired General Bajwa) and Mr. Khan, regarding the tenure of the then and next Chief, opened up, causing huge fissures between the military and Mr. Khan. Eventually, through much maneuvering and through a constitutional process which involved a vote of no confidence against him in April 2022 in Parliament, the P'TI government was removed with all PTI elected representatives eventually resigning from Parliament. 
  • There are also major players on the scene who may have their own plans. Asif Zardari might be wanting to become President again if the Prime Minister is from the PML(N). Moreover, Nawaz Sharif's daughter is being seen as the Chief Minister of Punjab, which would mean that Nawaz Sharif's brother, Shahbaz Sharif, and not Nawaz Sharif, might become Prime Minister. Then there is Bilawal Bhutto, a new, confident, aspirant for prime ministership.
  • The Chief of Army Staff, General Asim Munir, has made his preferences clear, stating that "Pakistan's diverse polity and pluralism will be well-represented by a unified government of all democratic forces imbibed with national purpose." It is a clear message to all the participants. 
  • The core contradiction in Pakistan's politics, as of now, is between Imran Khan and the military. Essentially, both parties are competing for the same political constituency- primarily, young supporters in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. 
  • In every single public survey conducted in Pakistan over the last two years, Mr. Khan has, by a huge margin, always emerged as the most popular politician and leader in Pakistan. At the same time, in each of these surveys, almost every single time, the military emerges as the 'most trusted' or popular institution in Pakistan. Given the huge contradiction between the two, the election results from last week clearly show, at least for now, who has won this last contest. 

4. Ensure fair, equitable evaluation process in NEXT: House panel 

  • The National Exit Test (NEXT) should be brought in only after "meticulous due diligence", keeping in mind the diverse back- ground of medical colleges from which the first batch of NEXT aspirants will emerge, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Health and Family Welfare said in its report on the quality of medical education in India. The report was presented in Parliament earlier this week. 
  • The Committee, under the chairmanship of Bhu- baneswar Kalita, explained that presently, it is medical colleges which conduct final-year MBBS examinations. At the same time, the responsibility for NEET PG and FMGE which are licensing and qualifying examinations for those who have completed their undergraduate medical degrees falls under the purview of the National Board of Examinations (NBE), overseen by the Director General of Health Services within the Health Ministry. 
  • The National Medical Commission Act now provides for the NEXT to enhance the competence of graduating MBBS students who obtain license to practice annually. This initiative addresses the current emphasis on clearing the NEET-PG, which is predominantly theoretical and necessitates memorisation. 
  • "In June 2023, the National Medical Commission developed the NMC Exit Test Regulations 2023 (NEXT Regulations). The test was to replace the final MBBS examination, act as a licentiate exam for grant of registration to practice medicine, and provide a basis for entry to postgraduate courses instead of NEET PG. The NExT would be a medical licensing exam that is designed to assess the competency of medical graduates. However, in July 2023, NMC issued a notice stating that 'the National Exit Test (NEXT) examination is deferred on the advice of the Ministry till further directions'," the parliamentary panel's report said. 
  • The Committee also recommended that the evaluation criteria should be moderate for the first round, stating that it was imperative to ensure that no group of graduates faces any undue advantage or disadvantage in the examination. 
  • Striking a fair and equitable balance in the evaluation process will be pivotal to ensure the success and fairness of the NEXT exam, it said. 

5. Decoding India’s economic realities 

  • With The government exuding overconfidence on the state of the economy, the interim Budget presented earlier this month has shifted focus to fiscal consolidation. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has projected that the fiscal deficit; which was expanded to 9.2% of GDP in 2020-21 to deal with the pandemic-induced recession; would be brought down to 5.8% by the end of the current financial year and 5.1% by next year to reach the targeted 4.5% of GDP by 2025-26.
  • The interim Budget signals significant cutbacks in public expenditures, slashing effective capital expenditure by 1 lakh crore and reducing welfare and subsidy allocations. Despite a nominal GDP growth of 9%, down from the previous year's 10.5%, the government faces challenges with a slowdown in economic activity. Real GDP growth stands at 7.3%, above last year's 7.2%, while the IMF questions the accuracy of official growth estimates, recommending statistical upgrades. The fiscal situation is complicated by rising debt liabilities, marking a formal withdrawal of post-pandemic stimulus in the interim Budget. 
  • Added to this is the prospect of a slowdown in economic activity, regarding which the government seems to be in denial. Despite the nominal GDP growth rate falling to 9% in the current year from 16% last year, real GDP growth (at constant prices) has been estimated at 7.3% (advanced estimates), slightly above the 7.2% registered last year, implying that the value of the GDP deflator which should correspond with the retail inflation rate has fallen below 2% in 2023-24. Official data, on the other hand, shows the monthly average of consumer price inflation (Consumer price index-CPI-combined) at 5.5% for 2023-24. 
  • This anomaly has once again revived the debate over the accuracy of official growth estimates. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its latest staff report on India (November 2023) has pointed out several defects and deficiencies in real sector data, particularly that of national accounts, employment, and prices, recommending an upgradation and expansion of official statistics. It is noteworthy that in its January 2024 Update of World Economic Outlook, the IMF has projected India's real GDP growth as 6.7% for 2023-24 and 6.5% for 2024-25, reflecting a deceleration of economic activity. 
  • The Finance Minister has sought to divert attention from this debate over the present direction of change in economic activity, by presenting a "White Paper" in Parliament in the past twenty years. The white paper alleges that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) had left behind a "deeply damaged economy" marred by "governance, economic and fiscal crises" in 2014, which is claimed to have "turned around" and "rebuilt" from its foundations in the past 10 years by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) regime. The evidence presented in support of this macroeconomic narrative, however, is a concoction of cherry-picked data, half-truths, evasions, and counter-factual assertions. 
  • Over the past 20 years, fiscal trends show no clear pattern between UPA and NDA regimes (See Table 1). NDA-I reduced expenditures as a percentage of GDP, while NDA-II increased spending significantly post-pandemic. NDA-II's expenditure record is mixed compared to UPA, with improvements in certain areas but declines in others. The NDA-I government had reduced expenditures relative to GDP on most major heads compared to the UPA regime, including capex, subsidies, defense, education and rural development. NDA-II increased the outlays on those heads significantly vis-a-vis NDA-I. However, the expenditure record of the NDA-II government vis-a-vis the UPA era remains mixed; outlays on capex, food subsidy, agriculture, and urban and rural development improved,while outlays on education, defense and subsidies on fuel and fertilizer fell, as per cent of GDP. Health expenditure as a share of GDP saw no change at all between the UPA and NDA rule, despite the pandemic. 
  • On the revenue front, gross tax revenues in GDP showed minor improvement during the NDA rule compared to UPA's, but non-tax revenues deteriorated. Overall there was a decline in the Centre's revenue receipts as a share of GDP, partly due to the increase in the State's share in Central taxes following the implementation of the 14th Finance Commission recommendations. 
  • NDA's revenue mobilization strategy revolved around increasing indirect tax collections on one hand, through GST rollout and levying high excise duties on petroleum-products and expanding the income tax base on the other. Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) data show that the number of individual income taxpayers with positive tax payments increased from 1.25 crore in 2012-13 (assessment year) to 2.08 crore in 2021-22 (assessment year). The average tax paid per individual income taxpayer more than doubled from ₹91,200 to ₹2.03 lakh in 2021-22. This raised income tax revenues from the UPA years' annual average of around 2% of GDP to 2.3% under NDA-I and 2.9% during NDA-II. 
  • In sharp contrast, however, corporate tax collections fell as a share of GDP, from the UPA era average of 3.5% of GDP to 3.3% under NDA-I and further to 2.8% under NDA-II. Aggregate income tax collections are projected to surpass corporate tax collections by over 1.13 lakh crore in 2024-25. 
  • CBDT data show the number of companies paying positive taxes rising from 3.45 lakh in 2012-13 (assessment year) to 4.57 lakh in 2021-22 (assessment year). Yet, data from the "Statement on Revenue Impact of Tax Incentives under the Central Tax System", annexed with the Receipt Budgets, show that the effective corporate tax rate, which inclusive of the dividend distribution tax had risen from 24.2% in 2012-13 to 30.4% in 2018-19, had fallen sharply to 22.2% in 2020-21. 
  • The withdrawal of the dividend distribution tax and sharp reduction in the corporate tax rate through the new tax regime introduced in 2019-20, have led to massive revenue losses under the NDA-II government, whose estimates the government has suppressed till date. Such a revenue mobilization strategy, while transferring income from the poor (through enhanced indirect taxes) and middle classes (through income taxes) to the profit-making corporate sector, besides exacerbating income inequality, has also failed to generate adequate revenues at a time when public expenditure was being enhanced under NDA-II, following the onset of the pandemic and recession. As a result, the revenue deficit has eventually bloated to an average of 4.3% of GDP under NDA-II and the fiscal deficit averaging at 6.6%, raising the central government's debt from 52% of GDP at the end of UPA rule and around 50% under NDA-I to the current level of 58%. Annual interest expenditure has also risen from the low of 3.0% earlier to 3.6% of GDP in the current period, which the government is now trying to reckon with, by slashing capex, subsidies and welfare expenditure in the interim Budget. It is also noteworthy, that despite the enhanced level of resources transferred to the States in the past 10 years, combined debt of the State governments have grown faster than that of the Centre under the NDA rule than the UPA era. This underlines the inadequacy of current level of fiscal transfers to the States, given their expanding expenditure commitments. 
  • Official data on the real economy under the NDA regime has been criticized from several quarters for overestimating its own macroeconomic performance and undervaluing that of the UPA regime. Even then, the simple truth which is evident from the official data is that on average, real GDP growth was at least one percentage point higher during the UPA decade than that of the NDA (See Table 2). Not only did the deep slump following the pandemic and lockdown cause major disruption during NDA-II, but slowdown in the economy was already evident under NDA-I after the successive policy shocks of demonetisation and GST rollout. The UPA era had also witnessed the global financial crisis and consequent worldwide recession in 2008-09, which was also a major external shock. Gross value added (GVA) growth in basic prices also reflect the same trend as real GDP, with the average growth rate first rising during UPA I, then falling during UPA II, rising again in the NDA I period and then falling sharply during NDA II. Most importantly, the ten years of NDA rule could not provide any break with the sectoral pattern of growth witnessed during the UPA era. Agricultural growth remained way below the overall GVA growth rate, with its share in overall GVA falling continuously. With the share of manufacturing and industrial sectors remaining largely the same under UPA and NDA periods, the services sector's share in GVA increased from below 48% in 2008-09 to over 54% in GDP. The Make in India initiative launched by the NDA, to transform India into a "global manufacturing hub", could not succeed in altering the services-led growth trajectory. 
  • Real investment and export growth was significantly higher during the UPA decade than the NDA's, which explains the cause of higher real GDP growth during the former regime, despite being interrupted by a global recession. Private investment (GFCF) as a share of nominal GDP during the UPA decade remained significantly higher than the later period. In contrast, growth during NDA-I was private consumption led. During NDA-II's tenure, even real private consumption growth fell significantly, making economic growth largely dependent on the fiscal stimulus. This is clearly borne out by the rising fiscal deficit and debt-GDP ratio under NDA-II. 
  • UPA's growth record, although higher than NDA's in magnitude, had three major problem areas, which the Finance Ministry's "White Paper" has highlighted. What is missing though is an honest appraisal of how far the NDA regime has been able to address and resolve them. 
  • The most problematic aspect of the UPA era's growth process was the high inflation that accompanied it, particularly the double digit food inflation (Table 2). The new series of CPI data reflect a sharp decline in the overall consumer inflation rate by the end of NDA-I's tenure to 3.4%, but a resumption of the inflationary trend under NDA-II, averaging around 6% annually. As was the case with the UPA regime, NDA too has relied upon the Reserve Bank of India to try and control inflation by raising its policy interest rate and managing liquidity. 
  • Despite the repo rate being hiked from 4% in mid-2020 to 6.5% in February last year, where it has been held till date, the headline inflation rate has stubbornly ranged between 5-7% in the past two years, with average food inflation crossing 7% in 2023-24. This demonstrates, as it did during the UPA era, that RBI's repo rate adjustments have very little influence on food price movements in India. 

6. NIMHANS honored with 'WHO Nelson Mandela Award' for health promotion 

  • National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) has been awarded the 2024 Nelson Mandela Award (NMA) by the World Health Organization (WHO) for health promotion. 
  • NIMHANS said the award recognizes her dedication and outstanding contribution towards mental health and well-being. NIMHANS has been at the forefront of mental health and neuroscience. 
  • This institute has been recognized for integrating mental health care into general health care. Globally recognized for community-based strategies and digital health innovations. 
  • NIMHANS Director Dr. Pratima Murthy expressed pride in receiving the NMA on the 50th anniversary of the institute. This award not only reflects our past and present achievements but also shares the purpose of establishing NIMHANS. 

Nelson Mandela Award (NMA)

  • The World Health Organization started giving the Nelson Mandela Award in the year 2019. The NMA recognizes contributions to health promotion by individuals, institutions and organizations. 
  • Every year 18 July is celebrated as Nelson Mandela International Day. On 18 July 2010, it was decided by the United Nations to celebrate it every year. 


  • The mental asylum, established in the late 19th century, was renamed Mental Hospital by the Government of Mysore in 1925. This hospital and the All India Institute of Mental Health established by the Government of India in 1954 were merged on 27 December 1974. 
  • NIMHANS was granted the status of a deemed university on 14 November 1994 by the University Grants Commission. In 2012, NIMHANS was granted the status of Institute of National Importance by an Act of Parliament. 

7. 2 Constitution Amendment Bills passed in Parliament to modify the SC/ST lists of Andhra Pradesh and Odisha 

  • Parliament has passed bills amending the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe lists in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha. Parliament has passed the Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Orders (Amendment) Bill 2024 and the Constitution (Scheduled Castes and Tribes) Orders (Amendment) Bill 2024. 
  • Apart from this, 'Valmiki' was included in the list of Scheduled Castes in Jammu and Kashmir. 
  • Bondo Porja, Khond Porja and Konda Savaras communities in Andhra Pradesh will be included in the list of Scheduled Tribes. 
  • Four communities of primitive tribes - Pauri Bhuiyan, Chuktiya Bhunjia, Bondo and Mankidiya and 46 others who have not been included in the Scheduled Tribe list due to various mistakes in the list of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in Odisha will be included in this list. 

8. Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Bill 2024 

  • Parliament has passed the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Amendment Bill 2024. Both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha have passed it. The Bill will amend the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act 1974. 
  • This Act establishes Central and State Pollution Control Boards to prevent and control water pollution. The Bill decriminalizes many violations and imposes penalties. 
  • Under the Act, the Chairman of the State Pollution Control Board is nominated by the State Government. 
  • The Central Government shall determine the manner of nomination and the conditions of service of the Chairperson. The Bill imposes a fine ranging from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15 lakh for violation of provisions related to discharge of polluting substances into water bodies. 
  • Provides for decriminalization of minor offenses relating to water pollution and exemption of certain categories of industrial plants from statutory restrictions. 

9. Learning Management System, Krishi Rakshak Portal and Sarathi Initiative launched under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana 

  • Union Agriculture Minister Arjun Munda launched the Learning Management System - LMS, Krishi Rakshak Portal, Helpline and SARATHI Initiative under the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana in New Delhi. 
  • Learning Management System – LMS is designed for training of stakeholders in implementing major agricultural schemes across the country. 
  • To strengthen the grievance redressal mechanism of Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY), Krishi Rakshak portal and helpline number 14447 was created. A digital portal and a call center have been developed in this. Farmers who will be able to register complaints, concerns and questions. The innovative SARATHI (Sandbox for Agriculture and Rural Security, Technology and Insurance) platform offers insurance products covering health, life, property, farm equipment, motor property and catastrophe risks. This portal will be a single-window platform to view, buy and avail insurance products. 
  • Apart from this, a spectrum portal of insurance products will also be introduced. The first phase will include personal accident and hospital cash policies, the second phase will include health, shop and home insurance and the third phase will include tractor, twowheeler, livestock and non-PMFBY insurance products. 

10. ‘DigiReady Certification Portal’ launched 

  • Quality Council of India and Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) launched ‘DigiReady Certification Portal’ (DRC) to promote digital inclusion in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises sector. 
  • The objective of this portal is to seamlessly integrate Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and small retailers. To assess and certify the digital readiness of MSME entities. 
  • By availing this online selfassessment tool, MSMEs can evaluate their preparedness to seamlessly onboard as vendors on the ONDC platform, thereby expanding their digital capabilities and business potential. 

11. Tata Steel and South East Railway join hands to develop green infra 

  • Private steel major Tata Steel will jointly work with South Eastern Railway (SER) to develop sustainable rail infrastructure by utilizing its slag-based aggregates. 
  • Tata Aggreto, a greener substitute of natural aggregates used in road construction, and Tata Nirman, used as a raw material in manufacturing fly ash bricks and cement making, will be used in the construction of blanketing layers in railway tracks. 
  • In the endeavour to transform steel slag into sustainable aggregates, Tata Steel has set-up an accelerated weathering facility for processing LD slag through steam ageing. 
  • The use of slag-based manufactured aggregates helps in the preservation of biodiversity by reducing the need for mining of natural aggregates and eliminates the requirement of transportation of aggregates across large distances. 

12. RPF to host the 67th All India Police Duty Meet in Lucknow 

  • Railway Protection Force (RPF) will host the 67th All India Police Duty Meet (AIPDM) in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. 
  • It will last from February 12th to 16th 2024.
  • The chief guest of the opening ceremony on February 12th will be Shri Ashwini Vaishnaw, Union Minister of Railways, Communications and Electronics & Information Technology. 
  • Whereas Shri Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh, will be Chief Guest at the Closing Ceremony on February 16th. 
  • The RPF was entrusted with organizing the event by the Central Coordinating Committee of AIPDM. 
  • This event aims to promote excellence and collaboration among police officers. In turn, it enhances scientific detection and investigation of crimes in order to strengthen internal security. 

About Railway Protection Force (RPF) 

  • Formed – 1872 
  • Headquarters – New Delhi 
  • Direct General – Manoj Yadava 
  • Motto – “Attain Honour” 

13. Australia lifts the Under-19 Men’s World Cup trophy 2024 

  • Australia has won the Under 19 Men’s ODI World Cup beating India by 79 runs in the final at Benoni in South Africa. 
  • This is the fourth title of Australia. Before this, Aussies also won the title in 1988, 2002 and 2010. 
  • While, India are U19 WC defending champions and have won the U19 World Cup title 5 times – 2000, 2008, 2012, 2018, and 2022. 
  • Chasing a target of 254 runs, team India was all out for 174 runs in 43.5 overs. 
  • Earlier, Australia had scored 253 for 7 wickets in the stipulated 50 overs. 
  • Australia are now the champions of the ICC Men’s ODI World Cup, the World Test Championship, the Women’s T20 World Cup, the Women’s ODI World Cup and now the U19 Men’s World Cup. 
  • India Under-19 captain – Uday Saharan 
  • Australia Under 19 captain – Hugh Weibgen 
  • Venue – Willowmoore Park, Benoni 
  • 19 Cricket World Cup Player of the Tournament – Kwena Maphaka (South Africa) 
  • Player of the Match – Mahli Beardman (Australia) 

14. 12 February – International Day for the Prevention of Violent Extremism as and When Conducive to Terrorism 

  • International Day for the Prevention of Violent Extremism as and When Conducive to Terrorism (PVE Day) is observed every year on 12 February. 
  • This crucial day serves as a platform to raise awareness about the dangers of violent extremism and promote international cooperation in tackling this complex issue.
  • Theme 2024 – Living Together: Fostering Community Resilience to Prevent Violent Extremism as and When Conducive to Terrorism 

15. 12 February – National Productivity Day 

  • National Productivity Day is celebrated every year in India on 12 February to commemorate the founding of the National Productivity Council (NPC). 
  • The goal of the NPC is to raise national awareness of the need to boost productivity. 
  • Theme 2024 – Artificial Intelligence (AI)- Productivity Engine for Economic Growth 
  • It is as an integral part of the Indian Productivity Week which is observed from February 12 to February 18. 
  • On National Productivity Day, people can start forming positive habits that will boost productivity and raise awareness of the role that productivity plays in enhancing life quality in general. 

16.PM Inaugurates Projects Worth Rs. 7300 Crores In Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh 

  • In a move towards growth, Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated development projects in Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh, focusing on uplifting the tribal population. 
  • These projects, with an estimated worth of about Rs 7300 crores, aim to bolster various sectors, including water supply, education, road infrastructure, and more. 
  • Under the Aahar Anudan Yojna, Prime Minister Modi also disbursed monthly instalments to approximately 2 lakh women beneficiaries from specially backward tribes. 
  • This initiative, providing Rs 1500 per month for nutritious food, is a step towards ensuring the well-being of marginalized communities. 

17.PM Modi To Inaugurate Fourth Terminal At Cherlapally 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to inaugurate the upcoming fourth terminal at Cherlapally, Telangana towards the end of the month or in the first week of March. 
  • Union Minister for Tourism, Culture and Development of Northeast Region, G. Kishan Reddy highlighted the ongoing redevelopment of Secunderabad railway station is costing approximately ₹700 crore.
  • Once completed, the modern station aims to resemble an airport, featuring segregated arrivals and departures, food courts, passenger lounges, disabled-friendly facilities, and eco-friendly structures. . 

18.Parliament Passes Historic JK ST Quota Bill, Two Other Reservation Bills 

  • The Rajya Sabha cleared three Bills related to J&K aiming to address issues of reservation for marginalized communities and modify existing lists of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Union territory. 

  1. Jammu and Kashmir Local Bodies Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2024. 
  2. Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Tribes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024. 
  3. Constitution (Jammu and Kashmir) Scheduled Castes Order (Amendment) Bill, 2024. 

  • The purpose of passing the bills is to provide reservations to Other Backward Classes (OBCs) in local bodies within the Union Territory. It was moved by Union Minister of State for Home, Nityanand Rai. 19.Former PM Alexander Stubb Wins Finland Presidential Election 
  • Former Prime Minister Alexander Stubb secured victory in Finland’s presidential runoff against ex-Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto. 
  • This win places Stubb in charge of navigating Finland’s foreign and security policies, particularly significant given Finland’s recent NATO membership following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. 
  • Stubb of the National Coalition Party secured 51.6% of the votes, while independent candidate Haavisto received 48.4%. 

20. Sangeet Natak Akademi To Establish Cultural Center In Hyderabad 

  • The Ministry of Culture takes a momentous stride towards cultural enrichment with the inauguration of the Regional Centre of Sangeet Natak Akademi in Hyderabad, known as the Dakshin Bharat Sanskritik Kendra. 
  • The Dakshin Bharat Sanskritik Kendra, envisioned as a premier cultural space, will serve as a hub for the promotion and preservation of various art forms including music, folk and tribal arts, theater, and puppetry. 
  • It will be a beacon for the advancement of South India’s rich artistic legacy. The initiative also commemorates the 100th birth anniversary of Ghantasala Venkateswara Rao, a stalwart in both music and the freedom movement. 

21.Underwater Harbour Defence And Surveillance System Inaugurated In Andaman And Nicobar Command 

  • In a significant move to bolster India’s maritime security and operational capabilities, Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral R. Hari Kumar recently concluded a pivotal visit to the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC), India’s only operational triservice command. 
  • His visit from February 6 to 9, 2024, underscored the Indian Navy’s commitment to enhancing its strategic posture and surveillance capabilities in the crucial maritime region. 
  • A highlight of Admiral Kumar’s visit was the inauguration of a state-of-the-art Precision Approach Radar (PAR) at INS Utkrosh. This advanced radar system is a game-changer for naval aviation, providing highly accurate horizontal and vertical guidance to aircraft, particularly under low visibility conditions such as heavy rain and fog. 

22.Launch Of UPI And RuPay Card In Sri Lanka And Mauritius 

  • India’s flagship instant payment system, the Unified Payments Interface (UPI), along with RuPay card services, is set to be launched in Sri Lanka and Mauritius on February 12. 
  • UPI services will be extended to Sri Lanka and Mauritius, facilitating seamless digital transactions for Indian nationals visiting these countries and Mauritian nationals traveling to India. 
  • In addition to UPI, RuPay card services will be introduced in Mauritius, allowing Mauritian banks to issue cards based on the RuPay mechanism. 

23.200th Birth Anniversary Of Maharshi Dayanand Saraswati 

  • In a momentous commemoration of the 200th birth anniversary of Swami Dayananda Saraswati, PM Modi delivered a profound address via video message at the birthplace of the revered Swami, Tankara in Morbi, Gujarat. 
  • Maharishi Dayanand Saraswati, born Mool Shankar Tiwari on February 12, 1824, in Tankara, Gujarat, was a stalwart of Indian society whose influence resonates to this day. 
  • His profound impact on religious reform, education, and social justice laid the groundwork for a modern and enlightened India. From the founding of the Arya Samaj to his relentless advocacy for Vedic principles, Maharishi Dayanand’s legacy continues to inspire generations. 

24.World Radio Day 2024, Date, History, Significance And Theme 

  • Every year on February 13th, the world unites to celebrate World Radio Day, a day that marks the enduring significance of radio as a medium of communication. 
  • The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) honours this day to reflect on radio’s vast virtues and its ongoing relevance in today’s digitally divided world. 
  • The theme for World Radio Day 2024, “Radio: A Century Informing, Entertaining and Educating,” celebrates the historical evolution of radio and its profound impact on society. 

25. World Unani Day 2024, Date, History And Significance 

  • World Unani Day is celebrated annually on February 11, marking the birth anniversary of Hakim Ajmal Khan, a renowned Unani practitioner and visionary who made significant contributions to the field of Unani medicine. 
  • This day is dedicated to raising awareness about the Unani system of medicine, one of the oldest healthcare systems in the world, which originated in Greece and was further developed in the Middle East and South Asia. 
  • The celebration of World Unani Day underscores the importance of traditional medicine in contemporary healthcare and its potential to promote health, wellness, and sustainable healthcare solutions globally. 

26.NITI Aayog’s Economic Transformation Plans For Mumbai, Surat, Varanasi, And Vizag 

  • NITI Aayog, under the leadership of CEO BVR Subrahmanyam, is spearheading an ambitious initiative to drive economic transformation in four key cities – Mumbai, Surat, Varanasi, and Vizag. 
  • This initiative aims to propel India towards becoming a developed economy by 2047. NITI Aayog has developed comprehensive economic plans for Mumbai, Surat, Varanasi, and Vizag, focusing on their economic transformation. 
  • A vision document is underway, aiming for India to achieve a developed economy status with a GDP of USD 30 trillion by 2047. PM Modi will unveil this vision document, outlining the path towards economic prosperity. 

27.SWATI Portal Launched To Empower Women In STEMM 

  • The Indian National Science Academy (INSA), New Delhi, witnessed the launch of the “Science for Women-A Technology & Innovation (SWATI)” Portal. 
  • Prof Ajay Kumar Sood, the Principal Scientific Advisor to the Government of India emphasized the significance of the SWATI Portal’s database in shaping policies to tackle the challenges of gender inequality. 
  • By centralizing information on Indian women and girls in (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, and Medicine) STEMM fields, this portal aims to bridge the gender gap and promote inclusivity in science and technology. 
  • The portal features include an interactive database covering various categories such as icons, faculty members, research fellows, students, entrepreneurs, and professionals in alternate careers. 

28.Government To Include ASHA And Anganwadi Workers/Helpers In Ayushman Bharat Scheme 

  • The government is preparing to extend the benefits of the Ayushman Bharat Scheme to Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) and Anganwadi workers/helpers. 
  • This initiative aims to provide free health coverage to these essential healthcare workers, aligning with the broader goals of the AB-PMJAY scheme. 
  • Health Ministry received Aadhaar details of 23 lakh anganwadi workers/helpers & over 3 lakh ASHA workers. Health Secretary Apurva Chandra aims to have their cards ready by March 1. 

29.K.P.P. Nambiar Award For ISRO Chairman S. Somanath 

  • The field of space exploration and technology in India witnessed a momentous occasion as the IEEE Kerala Section announced the recipient of the prestigious K.P.P. Nambiar Award.
  • This year, the accolade was bestowed upon ISRO Chairman S. Somanath, a figure synonymous with innovation and leadership in space technology. 
  • Named after the doyen of the electronic industry and the founder chair of the IEEE Kerala section, K.P.P. Nambiar, the award honors individuals or groups within the State who have demonstrated significant contributions towards the IEEE vision of advancing technology for humanity 

30 .Govt Introduces National Creator’s Awards For Modern Influencers 

  • The government of India introduces the ‘National Creators Award’ to celebrate the remarkable contributions of new-age influencers and creators in shaping India’s digital landscape. 
  • According to the Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY), this initiative seeks to recognize those individuals who have not only fostered innovation and creativity but have also driven positive social change through their digital endeavors. 
  • The ‘National Creators Award’ acknowledges outstanding creativity and innovation across more than 20 categories, spanning from storytelling and social change advocacy to environmental sustainability, education, gaming, and beyond. 

31.Prama India & C-DAC Forge Partnership For Thermal Camera Technology 

  • In a development for indigenous manufacturing and innovation, Prama India has forged a partnership with the Government of India’s Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC). 
  • This collaboration, facilitated through a Transfer of Technology (ToT) agreement, focuses on the production, marketing, and support of Thermal Cameras. 
  • This initiative is aligned with the Digital India Programme’s goal of propelling India towards global leadership in electronics system design and manufacturing (ESDM). 

32.Southern Railway Appoints First Transwoman TTE, Breaks Barriers In Dindigul 

  • Sindhu Ganapathy was appointed as the first transwoman Travelling Ticket Examiner (TTE) of Southern Railway. This marks a significant milestone in the journey towards inclusivity and acceptance in the Indian workforce. 
  • Ms. Ganapathy’s career with the Railways began in 2003 when she joined as an Assistant. For years, life seemed . At the age of 37, Ms. Ganapathy has not only broken barriers but also set a precedent for the transgender community’s representation in prestigious government positions. 

33.Katrina Kaif Joins Chennai Super Kings As Brand Ambassador For IPL 2024 

  • Chennai Super Kings (CSK) have officially announced the appointment of Katrina Kaif as their brand ambassador for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2024 season. 
  • The announcement of Katrina Kaif as the brand ambassador comes on the heels of CSK’s newly inked sponsorship deal with Etihad Airways. 
  • Katrina Kaif, one of Bollywood’s most celebrated actresses, is set to bring her star power to the cricketing world as the new face of Chennai Super Kings. Known for her charismatic presence and massive fan following, Kaif’s association with CSK is expected to amplify the team’s appeal and strengthen its connection with fans across the globe. 

34.Veteran Artist A Ramachandran Passes Away In Delhi 

  • On February 10, 2024, the art world lost one of its most distinctive voices when Ramachandran passed away in Delhi at the age of 88. 
  • Ramachandran’s early works were marked by a distinct awareness of the socio-political turmoil of his times, reflecting the pain and misery he witnessed upon his arrival in post-Partition Kolkata. 
  • Through his paintings, murals, and illustrations, Ramachandran offered a glimpse into a world where myth and reality intertwine, where nature and humanity coexist in harmony.

35. 11 February – World Day of the Sick 

  • World Day of the Sick is observed every year on 11 February. 
  • Objective – To raise awareness about the importance of healthcare and the need for compassion and support for the sick. 
  • This day was first established by Pope John Paul II in 1992. He had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease a year earlier but the Vatican Church kept this secret for almost 12 years.
  • The World Day of the Sick was established on 13 May 1992, in response to his neuro-degenerative condition. Pope John Paul II chose 11 February, because it is the Memorial Day of Our Lady of Lourdes. 

36.Education Ministry Partners FIFA To Boost Sports Culture With Football 

  • The Ministry of Education has embarked on a transformative initiative in partnership with the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). 
  • This initiative involves the distribution of 11 lakh footballs across the country in a phased manner, benefitting more than 1.5 lakh schools. 
  • Central to the programme’s ethos is its commitment to inclusivity. Regardless of gender, the initiative aims to seamlessly integrate football-related activities into the education system in collaboration with various stakeholders. 

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