Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC -14th February 2024

1. Salutary reminder Inflation should not undermine overall macroeconomic stability 

  • Retail inflation data for January provides a clear reminder as to why the RBI's Mone- tary Policy Committee opted last week to not only hold benchmark interest rates but also chose to remain resolutely focused on achieving durable price stability. While the data for Con- sumer Price Index-based price gains show the headline number having eased from December's 5.69% to a three-month low of 5.10% last month, inflation readings for key food items including cereals, vegetables and pulses continued to stay ele- vated at 7.83%, 27% and 19.5%, respectively, despite moderating from December's levels. Among the vegetables sub-group, 12 of the 19 items mon- itored by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE) posted accelerations in year-on- year price gains last month from their readings in December, signaling that the underlying trend in inflation is persistently high. Cereals, which have the heaviest weight in the food group, also stayed stubbornly stuck in a higher trajectory, with the month-on-month inflation for the subgroup that includes the key staple of rice, barely nudging lower at 0.75%, compared with December's 0.76%. Rice was the primary drag, with its price at non-PDS outlets accelerating both sequentially and on-year, by 1.02% and a six-month high pace of 13%, respectively. With a recent CMIE estimate for rabi sowing of rice, revealing a 2.7% drop from last year, the prospect of prices softening significantly in the near future appears remote. 
  • The data on reservoir storage levels also add to the disquiet on the outlook for prices, particularly of food items. With water storage at 150 reservoirs showing live storage as on February 8 at 49% of capacity, and lagging appreciably behind both the year-earlier and average of the last 10- years levels, output of the rabi sown crops, including cereals and more particularly pulses, are at risk of being impacted. Given food's large share in the overall consumption basket, food price gains pose a wider risk to overall price stability, both directly and through spillover to the prices of non-food items, as a research article by RBI officials concluded. The central bank's survey of households' inflation expectations found the median inflation expectation for three months ahead rose by 10 bps from the previous survey in November to 9.2%, with a greater share of respondents 78% versus 74% two months ago expecting inflation to accelerate in the near term. With talks between the government and some farmers' groups breaking down and farmers threatening to intensify an agitation over demands that include assurances on a guaranteed minimum support price, policymakers face a challenge to ensure inflation does not rebound and undermine overall macroeconomic stability. 

2. Clause in draft India-EFTA pact may hit drug industry 

  • A clause in a draft free trade agreement text being negotiated between India and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway could delay access to affordable, generic versions of patented drugs in India by a minimum of six years, according to documents viewed by The Hindu: 
  • A leaked draft of the Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA) says that within six months of the agreement being signed, signatories should include a "specific duration" during which applicants seeking consent from their country's regulators to sell a drug would not rely on "undisclosed test data" to gain market approval for at least six years. 

3. Indira Gandhi, Nargis Dutt National Film Awards renamed 

  • The Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director and the 'Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integrarion', which are part of the National Film Awards, have been renamed on the recommendation of the Committee for Rationalisation of Film Awards. 
  • The cash that goes with prizes in all categories has been increased significantly by The Dadasaheb Phalke Award winners will now get US lakh, up from the 10 lakh earlier. 
  • In a report adopted by the Information & Broadcasting Ministry, the committee constituted under the chairmanship of the Additional Secretary (188) made several recommendations. Accordingly, changes have been incorporated in the 70th National Film Awards (2022) Regula- Dions. 
  • The committee recommended that the 'Indira Gandhi Award for Best Debut Film of a Director' be renamed 'Best Debut Film of a Director', and the award money be increased to 13 lakh. It also said that the "Nargis Dutt Award for Best Feature Film on National Integration' be clubbed with 'Best Film on Social Issues' and 'Best Film on Environment Conservation/Preservation' and renamed 'Best Feature Film Promoting National, Social and Environmental Values'. The Best Animation Film and the Beast Special Effects categories have been clubbed under a new category of Best AVGC Film. 
  • The Best Actor award has been renamed 'Best Actor in a Leading Role'; and the Best Actress to "Best Actress in a Leading Role. As recommended, the Best Supporting Actor award has been titled 'Best Actor in Supporting Role' and the Best Supporting Actress award to 'Best Actress in a Supporting Role', 
  • The committee had also recommended that only one award be given in each category. 

4. Govt. revises guidelines for community radio stations 

  • Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur released the revised policy guidelines for setting up community radio stations at the Regional Community Radio Sammelan (South), a two- day conference, which commenced here on World Radio Day on Tuesday. 
  • Addressing the conference through a video message, Mr. Thakur said that the revised guidelines allowed a single institution to set up a maximum of six stations in different districts of operation, increased the advertising time for the stations from seven minutes to 12 minutes per hour, and increased the rate of advertisement from ₹52 per 10 seconds to ₹74 per 10 seconds. 
  • He said such measures will help in financial sustainability of the stations and further growth of the community radio sector. Pointing out that the first community radio was launched in 2004 by former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani said the number of stations increased substantially after the present government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014. 
  • Highlighting that there were 481 community radio stations in India at the moment, expressed hope that the number will in- crease over the next three years. He said each station was a reflection of the local model that had been built over the years and the experiential learnings collected and shared. 
  • Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting L. Murugan, who delivered his speech through video conference, said there cannot be a better way to reach out to the community than this relatively inexpensive medium of community radio stations. He appealed to the stations to publicize the various welfare schemes being implemented by the government. 

5. Magazine told to take down article on Army torture 

  • The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has ordered The Caravan magazine to take down a story it published on the subject of the Army's alleged "torture and murder of civilians in a restive Jammu," the Delhi-based monthly said in a statement on X. 
  • The order, which The Caravan says it will challenge, targets a piece that was part of a series of articles on the magazine's February issue on "The Military Under Modi". 
  • "Screams from the Army Post: The Indian Army's torture and murder of civilians in a restive Jammu," written by journalist Jatinder Kaur Tur, speaks among other things on allegations by civilians in Poonch and Rajouri, two heavily militarised districts in Jammu. 

6. Karnataka tables Bill making 60% Kannada mandatory on name boards 

  • The Kannada Language Comprehensive Development (Amendment) Bill, 2024, was tabled in the State Legislative Assembly on Tuesday, making it mandatory for all business establishments in Karnataka to display name boards with 60% of text in Kannada in the upper half of the boards. 
  • The Bill makes a provision that the name boards of commercial, industrial and business undertakings, trusts, counseling centers, hospitals, laboratories, amusement centers, hotels, etc., should be 60% in Kannada. 
  • The Bill said, "It is necessary to amend Kannada Bhasha Samagra Abhivrudhi Adhiniyama, 2022, to appoint the director, Directorate of Kannada and Culture, as the member and the secretary of Kannada Development Authority to be the convener of the State-level committee and to make a provision that name boards should display 60% in Kannada." 
  • The Bill makes display of 60% Kannada language in boards of State government departments, PSUs, cooperative and public undertakings, educational institutions, banks and other financial institutions, private industries, universities. It said display of officers' designations should also be primarily in Kannada. 
  • It said all tender notifications, advertisements, application forms, digital forms, certificates and notifications issued by the government or local authori- ties for publication in the State should be in Kannada. 
  • The pamphlets, banners, flex, electronic display boards, information, notices, and other programmes conducted by the government, local authorities, aided and unaided institutions should be in Kannada. 
  • Kannada outfits such as Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (KRV) have launched an aggressive campaign to promote the use of Kannada on name boards and had earlier removed English name boards from several shops in Bengaluru and other parts of Karnata ka. Following the protest, the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) started identifying establishments that do not display Kannada name boards, and sent them noticesThe tabling of the Bill follows Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot recently returning an Ordinance on the 60% use of Kannada mandatory on signboards of commercial establishments, which was passed by the State Cabinet. The Raj Bhavan said the Governor returned the Ordinance to the government "with advice to present it before both Houses of the State legislature". 

7. MEA told to monitor organ transplantation process for foreigners 

  •  Aimed at preventing any possible commercial dealings in organ or tissue transplantation sought by foreigners, Health Secretary Apurva Chandra, in a written communication, alerted the Ministry of External Affairs to possible violations of rules and asked support to establish systems for monitoring the process. 
  • The Health Ministry said foreign nationals were coming to India for various types of organ transplantation. They could be a prospective recipient or donor of organs and might be visiting on a medical or attendant visa. 
  • "A recent media report has highlighted that in some cases, the veracity of the documents to establish relationship between the donor and the recipient, their identity documents, proof of residence etc cannot be established confidently and the same may not be genuine," Mr. Chandra said in his letter to Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra. 
  • Listing out the provisions under the Transplantation of Human Organ and Tissues Act, 1994, the Ministry sought that these rules be disseminated to all embassies and missions of foreign countries in India and also to the government concerned, in case an embassy or a mission does not exist in India. It also requested that a nodal officer be identified for coordinating the process of organ donation and transplantation for foreigners. 

8. IREDA and IIT Bhubaneswar sign MoU for Clean Energy Innovation 

  • The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA) and the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bhubaneswar have signed an MoU. 
  • The partnership between IREDA and IIT Bhubaneswar will facilitate joint research ventures and technology exchange, and offer comprehensive support to budding start-ups. 
  • Additionally, it will encompass capacity-building initiatives such as training programs, seminars, and workshops to enhance the skills of IREDA personnel. 
  • IREDA, a distinguished Mini Ratna (Category – I) enterprise under the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, has consistently engaged in collaborative efforts to bolster the renewable energy landscape in the nation 
  • In a notable move in September 2023, IREDA entered into an MoU with the Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) to spearhead co-lending and loan syndication endeavors for a diverse array of Renewable Energy projects nationwide. 
  • It also inked MoUs with the Union Bank of India (UBI) and the Bank of Baroda (BoB) to foster co-lending and loan syndication initiatives for a broad spectrum of renewable energy projects. 

IITs in News 

  • IIT Kanpur develops India’s first hypervelocity expansion tunnel test facility 
  • IIT Madras to open new campus at Kandy in Sri Lanka 
  • ArcelorMittal partners with IIT Madras to create Hyperloop facility in Tamil Nadu 
  • Reliance Jio joins hands with IIT Bombay to launch Bharat GPT 
  • IIT Guwahati collaborated with Assam govt’s Arohan Scheme over STEM 
  • Indian Navy signed MoU with IIT Kanpur to promote technology development 

9. PM inaugurates projects worth Rs 7300 crores in Madhya Pradesh 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched multiple development projects worth about 7,300 crore rupees in Jhabua, the tribal-dominated district of Madhya Pradesh. 
  • The Prime Minister also disbursed monthly installments of Aahar Anudan under Aahar Anudan Yojna to about two lakh women beneficiaries. 
  • Modi distributed 1 lakh 75 thousand records of rights to beneficiaries of the SVAMITVA Scheme. 
  • The Prime Minister also transferred around 55 crore rupees for 559 villages under the Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Gram Yojana. 
  • The Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone of ‘CM Rise School’ in Jhabua. 
  • Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone of the drinking water supply scheme for more than one thousand villages of Dhar and Ratlam districts; and 14 urban water supply schemes under AMRUT 2.0 and Nal Jal Yojna for 50 Gram Panchayats of Jhabua. 
  • He laid the foundation stone and dedicated to the redevelopment of Ratlam railway station and Meghnagar railway station, doubling of Indore-Dewas-Ujjain C cabin railway line; Itarsi-North-South grade separator with yard remodeling; and third line connecting Barkhera-Budni-Itarsi. 

About Madhya Pradesh 

  • Capital – Bhopal 
  • Chief Minister – Dr Mohan Yadav (replace Shivraj Singh Chauhan) 
  • Deputy CM – Jagdish Devda & Rajendra Shukla 
  • Speaker of Madhya Pradesh Assembly – Narendra Singh Tomar 
  • Governor – Mangubhai C. Patel 

PM Modi in News 

  • PM Narendra Modi Unveils Projects Worth ₹1330 crore In Goa 
  • PM Modi inaugurated CLEA-CASGC 2024 Conference in New Delhi 
  • PM Modi Unveils Infrastructure Boost in Bulandshahr, UP 
  • PM Modi inaugurates Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Supreme Court 
  • PM Modi released commemorative postage stamps, book on Ram Temple 

10. Navy Chief Inaugurates New Defence System ‘Precision Approach Radar’ 

  • Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) Admiral R. Hari Kumar has inaugurated a Precision Approach Radar (PAR) at INS Utkrosh in Andaman and Nicobar Islands, which will enable “highly accurate horizontal and vertical guidance to land an aircraft safely in low visibility conditions, such as heavy rain and fog”. 
  • He also inaugurated the IUHDSS (Integrated Underwater Harbour Defence and Surveillance System) at Naval Jetty, Port Blair. 

About PAR 

  • The Precision Approach Radar is manufactured by a Chennai company. 
  • PAR will be helpful in safely landing the aircraft in low visibility conditions like heavy rain and fog. 
  • The PAR will provide highly accurate horizontal and vertical guidance even in low visibility. 


  • The IUHDSS is capable of detecting, identifying and tracking surface and underwater targets in the vicinity of Naval Dockyards.  This system significantly enhances the security of Port Blair harbour, safeguarding it against potential maritime threats and ensuring the safety of vital naval assets. 

11. 13 February – World Radio Day 

  • World Radio Day is observed every year on 13 February. 
  • Objective – To raise awareness among the people and the media about the importance of radio, and to encourage access to information through radio. 
  • Theme 2024 – Radio: A Century informing, entertaining, and educating 
  • The day was proclaimed by the member states of UNESCO in 2011 and subsequently adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 2012 as an International Day. 

12. 12 February 2024 – International Epilepsy Day

  • International Epilepsy Day has been observed on the second Monday of February every year since 2015. 
  • In 2024, the world will observe the International Epilepsy Day on February 12. 
  • The day provides a platform to educate and create awareness among people. 

What is Epilepsy? 

  • According to WHO, epilepsy is a chronic noncommunicable disease of the brain affecting close to 50 million people across the world. There are recurrent seizures, which are brief episodes of involuntary movement in part or entire body of an Epilepsy patient. 
  • Epilepsy is sometimes accompanied by loss of consciousness and control of bladder function. 

13. India’s oldest Test cricketer Dattajirao Gaekwad dies 

  • India’s oldest Test cricketer and former captain Dattajirao Gaekwad passed away. 
  • Gaekwad, who was the father of former India opener and national coach Aunshuman Gaekwad, was 95. 
  • He played 11 Tests for India between 1952 and 1961, captaining the national team in 1959 when it toured England. 
  • The right-hander made his debut against England at Leeds in 1952 and his final international game was against Pakistan in Chennai in 1961. 
  • In the Ranji Trophy, Gaekwad represented Baroda from 1947 to 1961. He scored 3,139 runs at an average of 47.56, including 14 hundreds. 
  • His highest was a 249 not out against Maharashtra in the 1959-60 season. 
  • He became India’s oldest living Test cricketer in 2016 after the death of former batter Deepak Shodhan at the age of 87 in Ahmedabad. 

14. Farmers Protest 2.0: Key Demands Explained 

  • Farmers affiliated with the Kisan Mazdoor Morcha (KMM) and the Samyukta Kisan Morcha (SKM) are marching from Punjab and Haryana towards Delhi to demand key reforms. Their primary demand is the enactment of a law guaranteeing a minimum support price (MSP) for crops, addressing uncertainties in the market. 

15. PM Modi’s UAE Visit: UPI payment, CBSE office, BAPS Hindu temple and other key highlights 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a two-day visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), where he was warmly received by President Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. 
  • Their cordial meeting included discussions on various fronts, signifying the strengthening of bilateral relations. 

16. Dubai Launches World’s First Air Taxi Service at World Government Summit 2024 

  • At the World Government Summit 2024, Dubai has unveiled groundbreaking agreements to introduce the world’s inaugural air taxi service, setting a new standard in urban transportation. 
  • This initiative, centered around the innovative Joby Aviation S4 aircraft, promises to revolutionize Dubai’s cityscape with its electric-powered, environmentally friendly design. 

17. Trinidad and Tobago Declares National Emergency After Offshore Oil Spill 

  • The Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago has officially declared a state of “national emergency” following a significant oil spill in the eastern Caribbean. 
  • The spill, originating from an overturned vessel near Tobago, has led to widespread environmental damage along the coastline, prompting concerns about the impact on the nation’s economy, particularly its tourism sector. 

18. Assam Designates Kaji Nemu as the Official State Fruit 

  • Assam, the state government has officially declared kaji nemu (Citrus limon), a variety of lemon unique to the region, as the ‘State Fruit’. 
  • The announcement was made by State Agriculture Minister Atul Bora, following a Cabinet meeting on February 12, underscoring the fruit’s cultural, traditional, and nutritional significance to the state and its people. 

19. National Conference on APAAR: One Nation One Student ID Card Inaugurated by Dharmendra Pradhan 

  • Dharmendra Pradhan, Union Minister of Education, Skill Development, and Entrepreneurship inaugurated the National Conference on APAAR: One Nation One Student ID Card in New Delhi. 
  • This conference aimed to emphasize the importance of the APAAR ID as a universally recognized document for students across the nation. Pradhan highlighted the significance of Digital Public Infrastructures (DPIs) and their proliferation, both globally and within India, with 19 established DPIs in the country. 

20. ICAI elects a new President, Vice President 

  • The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), a pivotal organization in the field of Chartered Accountancy in India, announced a significant leadership transition. In a recent meeting, the Council of ICAI elected CA. Ranjeet Kumar Agarwal as the President and CA. 
  • Charanjot Singh Nanda as the Vice-President for the term 2024-25, starting from February 12, 2024. This change in leadership marks a new chapter in ICAI’s storied history, promising to steer the institute towards new horizons of professional excellence and regulatory prowess. 

21. Shamar Joseph and Amy Hunter Crowned ICC Players of the Month for January 2024 

  • International Cricket Council (ICC) has announced the winners of the ICC Men’s and Women’s Player of the Month for January 2024. 
  • West Indies’ Shamar Joseph and Ireland’s Amy Hunter have been bestowed with this honour, marking their remarkable contributions to their respective teams in the past month. 

22. Union Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated the Gandhinagar Premier League 

  • Union Home Minister Amit Shah inaugurated the Gandhinagar Premier League (GPL) in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. The event, graced by the presence of Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel among other dignitaries, marks a pivotal step towards enhancing grassroots cricket and fostering local talent across the nation. 
  • Hardik Pandya, an India all-rounder, was spotted with Union Home Minister Amit Shah at the Gandhinagar Premier League’s launch. 

23. Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day 2024, Date, Significance and Types 

  • Every year on February 14, while many celebrate love and affection, the medical and health advocacy communities band together to observe a day of significant importance – Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Day. 
  • This day is dedicated to increasing awareness about congenital heart defects (CHDs), the most common type of birth defect affecting infants across the globe. 
  • Organizations such as the Pediatric Congenital Heart Association and the American Heart Association lead the charge in promoting this day, aiming to shed light on the challenges faced by individuals with CHDs and the need for advanced medical research and treatments. 

24. India Wins the 9th GovTech Prize for AI-Powered Road Safety Initiative 

  • India was honoured with the 9th GovTech Prize at the World Government Summit 2024, held in the United Arab Emirates. This accolade is a testament to India’s innovative use of artificial intelligence in enhancing government services, specifically under the ‘AI-Powered Government Services’ category. 
  • The award, established by the UAE government, acknowledges the creative and innovative technological solutions implemented by government entities worldwide. 

25. NITI Aayog Unveils GROW Initiative for Agroforestry Development to Revitalize India’s Wastelands 

  • In a significant step towards environmental conservation and sustainable land management, NITI Aayog, the premier policy think tank of the Government of India, launched the Greening and Restoration of Wasteland with Agroforestry (GROW) report and portal. 
  • This groundbreaking initiative aims to transform India’s underutilized wastelands into productive agroforestry zones, leveraging state-of-the-art remote sensing and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies for a comprehensive analysis at both state and district levels.

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