Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 29th January 2024


National News 

1.Germany seeks inter-governmental deal for submarines with India 

  • Germany has presented an intergovernmental proposal for sale of six advanced conventional submarines to India for the Navy's P-751 procurement programme, diplomatic sources confirmed. A senior German delegation was in New Delhi recently to take the discussions forward. 
  • "The senior officials were here two weeks ago. They had good talks in order to move the process forward," a diplomatic source in the know said, without elaborating. 
  • The race for the deal, expected to cost upwards of 45,000 crore, is between Germany and Spain, and the process has been considerably delayed. 
  • German Defence Minister Boris Pistorius in June 2023, when he made a strong pitch for the bid by ThyssenKrupp Marine Sys- tems (TKMS) in his talks with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. Mr. Pistorius had said that the submarine deal could become a "flagship project" between the two countries. 
  • Only Germany and Spain technically meet the criteria to submit bids under the P-751 deadline, which saw several extensions before finally culminating in July 2023. The deal is being progressed under the 'strategic partnership' of the defense procurement procedure. Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL), along with Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Limited, has been shortlisted to partner with foreign submarine manufacturers to make six advanced conventional submarines in India under a  technology transfer. 
  • As reported earlier, TKMS, which was initially in talks with L&T for partnering under P-751, recently decided to partner with MDL to bid for the deal. 
  • Subsequently, L&T and Spanish submarine manufacturer Navantia concluded a 'teaming agreement' to jointly bid for the project. As per the understanding, Navantia would carry out the design of P-751 submarines based on its S80 class of submarines, the first of which was launched in 2021 and was delivered to the Spanish Navy in November 2023, while L&T will be responsible for constructing the submarines. Both the bids have since been submitted and are currently being evaluated, officials said. 
  • On Germany, officials had said India asked Berlin to relax some of their licensing requirements for the export of spares and components. 

2.Northeast to get its first naturopathy hospital

  • Union AYUSH Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday laid the foundation stone of the first yoga and naturopathy hospital in the Northeast. 
  • About 100 crore would be invested in the Central Research Institute of Yoga and Naturopathy (CRYIN) at Dihing Khamti Ghat in eastern Assam's Dibrugarh district. The institute, along with a 100-bed hospital, would be spread across 15 acres. 
  • "The CRYIN would be developed as a center of excellence in yoga and naturopathy for cardiovascular diseases in India and develop protocols for the management of non-communicable diseases," Mr. Sonowal said. 

3.For the first time in the country, Punjab government formed 'Road Safety Force' to reduce road accidents. 

  • Punjab Government has established 'Road Safety Force - SSF' for the first time in the country to reduce road accidents. Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann flagged off 144 high-technology vehicles carrying more than 1200 police personnel from Jalandhar. 
  • The crew of this force also includes 90 women. 
  • These vehicles will cover a distance of 5,500 kilometers on state and national highways and each vehicle will cover a distance of about 30 kilometers. Special equipment has been installed in these vehicles to prevent drunk driving and speeding. 
  • The convoy consists of 116 high-end Toyota Hilux vehicles equipped with state-of-the-art equipment and linked to the nearest trauma center to provide immediate assistance to accident victims. 
  • However, through SSF anyone in the state can now dial 112 and seek help. SSF The vehicle will reach the concerned place within 10 minutes of receiving any call. 
  • The primary objective behind this initiative is to reduce the annual road fatality rate, which currently stands at around 3000, with an average of 14 people losing their lives every day in road accidents across the state. 
  • CM Bhagwant Mann revealed that the government is also considering implementing a points-based system similar to the United States, Canada and New Zealand. Under this system, repeat traffic violators will have demerit points accumulated on their driving license for each violation. 

4.PM Modi inaugurates Diamond Jubilee celebrations of Supreme Court 

  • The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has inaugurated the Diamond Jubilee celebration of the Supreme Court of India on 28 January at the Supreme Court auditorium in Delhi. 
  • He also launched citizen-centric information and technology initiatives that include Digital Supreme Court Reports (Digi SCR), Digital Courts 2.0 and a new website of the Supreme Court. 
  • Government has also given approval of 800 crore rupees for the new Supreme Court building. 
  • The Supreme Court of India held its inaugural sitting on January 28, 1950. 

PM Modi in News 

  • PM Modi released commemorative postage stamps, book on Ram Temple 
  • PM Modi inaugurated Boeing’s India Engineering and Technology Center in Bengaluru 
  • PM Modi inaugurated the 27th National Youth Festival in Nashik, Maharashtra. 
  • PM Modi inaugurated & laid the foundation stone of multiple development projects worth over 30,500 crore rupees in Maharashtra 
  • PM inaugurates Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Submarine Optical Fibre Connection 

5.Rubber meet to be held in Guwahati 

  • The seventh edition of the India Rubber Meet (IRM 2024) will be held in Guwahati on February 23. 
  • The theme this year is ‘Natural Rubber — Changing Landscape, Emerging Trends and Insights for Tomorrow’. 
  • The event, organised by the India Rubber Meet Forum (IRMF), will feature talks, panel discussions, and interactions on various topics including the future of the global and Indian natural rubber industry, economy and commodity prices, and challenges and opportunities in the tyre, non-tyre, and synthetic rubber industry. 
  • The objective of the meeting is to provide a platform for rubber stakeholders to interact, share knowledge, address future concerns, and network for the advancement of the rubber industry. 
  • The event is expected to attract around 500 delegates from India and abroad, and registration can be done online. 

6.IREDA releases vigilance journal ‘Pahal’ 

  • Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA), GoI enterprise under the administrative control of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, has unveiled released ‘Pahal’- the insightful house journal of its Vigilance Department. 
  • The initiative marks a significant step towards transparency, accountability, and the promotion of renewable energy initiatives by IREDA. 
  • The unveiling ceremony was led by IREDA’s Chairman & Managing Director, Shri Pradip Kumar Das at the registered office in New Delhi. 

International News 

7.French President Macron’s India Visit: Key Deals And Announcements 

  • French President Emmanuel Macron concluded his two-day visit to India, participating as the chief guest in the 75th Republic Day celebrations. 
  • The visit aimed at strengthening strategic ties between India and France, featuring a 40-member delegation and significant diplomatic engagements. 
  • In Science & Technology Department, Framework Cooperation Arrangement was signed between Department of Science and Technology (DST), India, and Institut National de Recherche pour l’Agriculture, l’Alimentation et l’Environnement (INRAE), France 
  • Moreover, Framework Arrangement on Cooperation in Funding Research Projects was signed between DST, India, and Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), France. 

8.Analyzing China's ties with Africa 

  • From January 13-18, the Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs, Wang Yi, visited four African countries, Egypt, Tunisia, Togo and the Ivory Coast. This was Wang Yi's 11th annual trip to Africa to enhance economic and security cooperation with the continent. 

What was the visit about? 

  • Wang Yi's visit to Africa had multiple objectives. The major agenda was to implement the outcomes of the China-Africa Leaders Dialogue held in August 2023 in Johannesburg, South Africa. It included the execution of three initiatives, including support for Africa's industrialisation, agricultural modernisation, and cooperation on talent development. The visit sets a precedent for the ninth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation 2024 (FOCAC). In Egypt, which shares the Rafah border with Gaza, China has communicated its intention to be a global actor, mediating peace in Gaza. Wang Yi met with the leaders of Egypt, Tunisia and the Secretary-General of the League of Arab States, calling for an "immediate and comprehensive ceasefire" in Gaza. 
  • Why is Africa China's first stop for the past 34 years? Sino-African relations go back to the 1950s when China supported several African liberation movements during the Cold War era. In the 70s, African countries' support was paramount in China acquiring its seat in the UN Security Council. Earlier, their relationship focused on ideological support; it was only in 1999 that China encouraged its companies to invest in Africa as part of the "Go Out Policy." In 2000, the FOCAC held its first dialogue, aiming to consolidate China-Africa cooperation under diplomacy, investment and trade. The dialogue aptly outlined the steady growth from trade, to aid, to "mutual security assistance," under Xi Jinping. In 2013, the relationship amplified with China launching its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), building inroads with 52 African countries as signatories. Currently, China is Africa's largest trading partner, with over one-fourth of its raw material exported to China. The Chinese Loans to Africa database highlights that between 2000 and 2022, loans worth $170.08 billion were granted to 49 African countries. The nature of Chinese presence in Africa has grown from being a mere investor to a strategic actor with the People's Liberation Army Navy stationing its first international base in Djibouti. 
  • What are China's objectives in Africa? First, access to key resources. Africa supplies 90% of the world's cobalt and platinum, and 75% of coltan, essential for electronics. China has the largest refineries in Africa for rare earths and minerals that are vital to its emerging tech industry. The dominance in the mining sector has made the U.S. dependable on China for key minerals from Africa. Second, the African alliance and its geopolitical aspirations. In the UN General Assembly, Africa is the largest bloc and has the power to swing resolutions on contentious issues like the South China Sea. Africa has been vocal in supporting China in the international arena including its "One China" policy for Taiwan and Hong Kong. Third, strengthening the Yuan (RMB). China is encouraging Africa to trade in Chinese currency. 
  • The RMB offers cross-border yuan-based "panda bonds," by which foreign governments can issue funds from China at lower interest rates. Additionally, China's debt restructuring of Zambia's $4.1 billion loan has incentivised borrowers towards RMB. With lower Chinese interest rates and the depreciation of African local currency, the RMB stands as an alternative to the dollar. Fourth, commercial opportunities. Africa imports largely from China for finished goods. The African markets for Chinese exports are beneficial for the Chinese economy. Africa's young population and cheap labor force support Chinese exports globally and in Africa. 

What does the visit mean for Africa? 

  • Africa receives investment, trade and development aid from China in return for natural resources. China has also become a significant source of foreign direct investment. Chinese-built infrastructure and industrial parks have provided employment opportunities and has made the idea of "Made in Africa" a reality. Additionally, Chinese support in advancing hybrid crops helped Africa further its agricultural sector. In Africa, cooperation with China is perceived with a high degree of mutual trust and as a 'win-win partnership'. Besides, the China-Africa partnership featuring non-intervention has gained momentum across the continent. Chinese disregard for imposing political conditionality on development aid, unlike the West, has given opportunities to African countries to secure their interests. However, the West has voiced fears that Chinese investments are predatory, hinting at debt traps. Although some countries including Kenya and Zambia have poorly managed their debt, other African countries have manageable debt arrangements with China. However, the Chinese debt trap narrative cannot be outrightly dismissed. Besides, Chinese 'non-interference" rhetoric has given several authoritarian regimes in Africa a space to stay in power. authors are Research Associates at Bangalore. 

9.A closer look at Myanmar's discontent 

  • In February, it will be three years since the army seized power in Myanmar, overthrowing a democratically elected government headed by Aung San Suu Kyi. The coup prompted a massive civil disobedience movement. 
  • The deposed members of parliament formed a National Unity Government that constituted the People's Defence Forces (PDFs) and called for an armed uprising. The fragile peace between major ethnic armed organizations and the military collapsed, as the former's objective of establishing federal democracy was longer feasible under army dictatorship. 
  • Last October, an alliance of the Arakan Army, Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army, and Ta'ang National Liberation Army launched coordinated attacks on the military, and inflicted massive losses on the military in the Shan State. Paletwa town on the country's western borders, and a critical node in India's Kaladan project, is currently under the control of the Arakan Army. At the same time, the regions inhabited by the majority Bamar ethnic community, such as Sagaing, Bago and Magwe, also witnessed a significant spike in resistance, and the PDFs gained ground against the military. 

Discontent and territorial loss 

  • If one objective of the coup was to strengthen national unity, the Myanmar military has failed spectacularly. In fact, the military has conceded large tracts of territory to the ethnic armed organizations and PDFs. But losing control of territory to armed groups is not new for the army; the military has frequently lost ground to ethnic armed groups and the now defunct Communist Party of Burma, but subsequently recovered some of the losses. 
  • It should be noted that when international sanctions were substantially diluted between 2010 and 2020, the military acquired air and army equipment. Numerous reports indicate that the coup leaders have used firepower even on unarmed civilians, resulting in significant internal is Chairperson of the Politeia Research Foundation 
  • With Myanmar politically fragmented. India needs to re-calibrate its policy displacement and neighboring countries facing refugee crises. The reasons for losing territory now have less to do with military incapacity and more to do with growing popular discontent. Reports suggest that the military finds it difficult to recruit even from the regions dominated by Bamars, who constitute the bulk of army personnel. Since the coup, there have been sporadic reports of government officials, doctors, and police personnel assisting the resistance movement. In the past year, a fairly large number of military personnel have surrendered to the ethnic armed organizations and PDFs. A month ago, to evade an attack by the resistance groups, over 150 Myanmar soldiers moved into India and surrendered. There are reports of army officers served with severe punishment for failure to stop desertions, suggesting that military cohesion is coming under increasing stress. 
  • China and its interests Given these circumstances, China has a multi-layered strategy to protect its interests. 
  • On international platforms, China robustly defends the Myanmar military from international censure. Simultaneously, various ethnic armed organizations on Myanmar's northern border have close relations with China, and it is unlikely that the uprising in Shan State, given its scale, could have happened without Chinese consent. It is rumored that Beijing used the ethnic alliance to stamp out online scams and criminal syndicates that were fleecing millions from Chinese citizens. Having achieved its objectives, Beijing was able to get the rebels and the Myanmar army to agree to a ceasefire. With the momentum of the ethnic offensive stalled and the army not recovering lost territory, it is not certain how long this truce will last. Neither ethnic armed organizations nor the coup leaders will be comfortable with Beijing's ability to influence their operations.
  • The principal regional actor, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), has articulated a five-point consensus and denied the Myanmar military a place at its summits. Despite repeated efforts, the ASEAN special envoy to Myanmar was prevented from having meaningful interactions with all the relevant stakeholders. Therefore ASEAN has not been able to alter the trajectory of Myanmar's politics, but some ASEAN members are shunning their customary reticence and are now sharply critical of the Myanmar coup. With a shared border of about 2,416 km, 
  • Thailand wields significant influence in Myanmar. Last year, Thailand's Foreign Minister not only interacted with Myanmar's military leadership but also with the imprisoned leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Thailand hosts and engages with Myanmar's exile organizations and, in the recent past, has made efforts to scale up its humanitarian assistance. 
  • India could also consider a more proactive humanitarian approach to provide succor to displaced communities in Myanmar. Such an initiative could also reduce the inflow of refugees into India. In its engagement with Myanmar, India should factor in the three political realities. First, discontent against the coup shows no signs of abating. The military often hinted at the possibility of conducting elections under proportional representation, but has failed to do so because of inability to ensure sufficient stability in the country. 
  • Second, despite the absence of a charismatic leader and meaningful international support, resistance to the coup has demonstrated considerable resilience over the past years. Third, Myanmar today is politically fragmented, with the military, ethnic armed organizations and PDFs having varying degrees of control in different parts of the country. The military seems to be losing more ground than gaining it. Perhaps it is time for India to re-calibrate its Myanmar policy after consultations with all the relevant stakeholders. 

10.The genomic revolution promises to transform cancer care 

  • Cancer has emerged as a public health concern worldwide with about 20 million new patients being added every year. The World Health Organization has estimated the cancer burden will increase by almost 60% over the next decade, potentially rendering it the second major cause of death. India alone adds approximately 1.4 million new cancer cases every year, with almost I in 1,000 Indians being diagnosed annually, per the National Cancer Registry. 
  • Cancer is a disease of the genome. It is caused by changes in genes that cause some cells to divide in an uncontrolled way. These changes can be inherited or acquired. Inherited genetic variants form the basis of many hereditary cancers, including breast and ovarian cancer. Advancements in genomic technologies in the past couple of decades, including global initiatives such as the Cancer Genome Atlas, have provided a shot in the arm to understand the molecular underpinnings of cancer, which, in turn, have yielded: a new generation of therapies that target molecular defects. 
  • Such therapies are called precision oncology therapies. Their eligibility in a given setting is determined by molecular tests. Of the 200-odd therapies the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved, almost a third have a DNA-based test as biomarker. And while scientists are discovering new biomarkers for cancers, the focus of late has been shifting to understand how genomic tests could become the mainstay of cancer treatment in clinical settings. 
  • As part of the U.K.'s ongoing 100,000 Genome Program', a study of over 13,800 cancer patients, published last week, suggested cancer genomics could indeed transform cancer care. The programme reportedly demonstrated that genome sequencing integrated with routine clinical data could render cancer. treatments more customisable. The implications of this study extend far beyond the boundaries of current practice of medicine, and mark a leap forward in the era of precision oncology. 
  • At the heart of this transformation lies whole-genome sequencing, a tool that can sequence a person's DNA in its entirety all 3.2 billion nucleotides in a single comprehensive test. The sequencing and in-depth analysis do not treat the genome (derived from the blood) in isolation; instead, they happen together with the sequence of the technologies have improved our understanding of the molecular underpinnings of cancer, which in tum have yielded a new generation of therapies that target molecular delects 
  • Of the 200-odd therapies the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved, almost a thind have a DNA-based test as a biomarker. And while scientists are discovering new biomarkers for cancers, the focus of late has been shifting ta understanding how genomic tests could become the mainstay of cancer treatment in clinical settings 
  • In the UK researchers sunçuenced and analyzed the genomes of people with different types of cancers, the genomes came from blood and tumor tissues. Their analysis revealed details that the researchers have said can be applied in clinical settings to guide treatment strategies for cancer patients genome obtained from cancerous tissue or a humour. 
  • In the UK. wide study, researchers obtained, sequenced, and analyzed the genomes of people with different types of cancers, the genomes came from blood and tumor tissues. Their analysis revealed details that the researchers have said can be applied in clinical settings to guide treatment strategies for cancer patients. Notably, according to the study, a higher fraction of individuals diagnosed with brain tumors as well as those dealing with bowel or lung cancers had distinct DNA changes that could become new targets for therapy. The study also provided novel insights that could reshape even our understanding of challenging conditions such. as ovarian cancers and sarcomas. 
  • For example, approximately 10% of sarcomas (rare cancers of the b bone and soft tissue) exhibited genetic changes that could impact treatment decisions. The researchers also identified a corresponding proportion of ovarian cancers as being potentially inherited. 
  • Consequences of genomic medicine The impetus behind this shady aligns with the vision of England's public health system. The National Health Service (NHS), in particular, has been keen on understanding how genomic medicine can be harnessed to enhance cancer care. The study also signifies the realization of the promise of precision 
  • India adds approximately 14 million new cancer cases every year, with almost 1 in 1,000 Indians being diagnosed annually medicine, envisioned almost a decade ago with the launch of the population-scale 100,000 Genomes Project, in which patients were recruited as part of a larger genomics initiative whose focus was as much cancer as rare genetic diseases. 
  • The lessons learned from this large study are already finding real-world application in some parts of the UK. Hospital trusts in East Midlands are incorporating insights from preemptive genome-sequencing and referring individuals with certain genetic mutations to clinical trials for certain therapies or steering clear of treatments or modifying the dosages of therapies that might potentially result in adverse side-effects. This underscores the immediate impact of groundbreaking genomics research: on implementing patient care in clinical settings. But amid the optimism surrounding this breakthrough study, many researchers have also advised caution and urged a more nuanced perspective on the consequences of genomic medicine. One crucial consideration is the use of information gleaned from whole-genome sequencing in practice especially in a scenario where, say, a particularly harmful genetic change has been identified in an individual but for which there are no treatments available. 
  • Shifts in clinical testing Fortunately, advances in precision oncology therapies are rapidly closing this gap. Research is moving towards a more comprehensive understanding of tumors, one that integrates genomics, along with studies on proteins and metabolites in the body also known as 'multi-omics". At the same time, it is gaining wider application in identifying newer molecular subtypes of cancer with implications for cancer progression and treatment. However, integrating these new insights into clinical care will require a paradigm shift in clinical testing as it exists. 
  • In sum, while the new study is a milestone in genomics and genomic medicine, we can see why it will also spark a broader conversation on the nuances of integrating genomics and genomics guided treatments into the standard protocols of cancer care. As lessons from genomics research into oncology continue to unfold, it opens up new horizons, opportunities and unmistakably-challenges. Research from such studies will lay the foundation for a future where genomics insights and evidence can seamlessly inform clinical decision-making on the population-scale (The authors are senior consultants of Vishwanath Cancer Care Foundation and adjunct professors at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. All opinions expressed here are personal.) 

Important Day News 

11.28 January – Indian Newspaper Day 

  • India’s Newspaper Day is celebrated every year on 28 January to commemorate the launch of the country’s first newspaper in 1780. 
  • The occasion is observed to commemorate the day on which Irishman James Augustus Hicky launched the first printed newspaper in India. 
  • It was known as the Original Calcutta General Advertiser or Hicky’s Bengal Gazette. India has set aside a day to mark the launch of this English-language weekly. 
  • It marks the inception of newspapers in India, a historic moment when James Augustus Hicky introduced the first printed newspaper, Hicky’s Bengal Gazette, in 1780. 
  • This article delves into the significance of this day, the historical backdrop of Hicky’s Bengal Gazette, and the evolving role of newspapers in today’s digital age. 

12.K.M. Cariappa Janayati 2024 

  • On January 28, we celebrate the birth anniversary of Field Marshal Kodandera M. Cariappa, the inaugural Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army. 
  • Recognized as a national hero, Cariappa’s pivotal role in shaping the Indian military from colonial to independent India remains revered. 
  • His leadership during a crucial transitional phase established a robust and efficient military establishment. Cariappa’s election marked a significant milestone in the evolution of India’s defense sector. His enduring legacy serves as a beacon of inspiration, emphasizing the values of discipline, leadership, and unwavering dedication to the nation. 

13.4th Rusoma Orange Festival 2024 In Nagaland 

  • The vibrant hues of oranges and the aroma of citrus filled the air as the 4th edition of the Rüsoma Orange Festival unfolded in the picturesque village of Rüsoma, nestled in the Kohima district in Nagaland. 
  • With approximately 3400 attendees, this year’s event showcased the best of organic produce, community spirit, and rural entrepreneurship. 
  • Beyond the festivities and competitions, the Rüsoma Orange Festival embodies a deeper purpose – to uplift rural farmers and promote organic agriculture. 
  • By providing a platform for local farmers to showcase their produce, the festival stimulates economic opportunities and fosters sustainable livelihoods within the community. 

14.Thaipusam 2024 celebrated in Tamil Nadu 

  • Thai Pusam is a Hindu Tamil festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu and South India to honor the victory of Lord Murugan over Surapadman. Thai Pusam 2024 is celebrated on Pausha Purnima on 25 January 2024. It is also celebrated in Malaysia and Singapore. 
  • It is celebrated on the Pusam Nakshatra which is on the first full moon of the Thai month. The festival commemorates the victory of the Hindu god Murugan over the demon Surapadman, who was armed with the Vel, a divine spear given by Goddess Parvati. 
  • Various rituals are performed on this auspicious day. Many devotees get their face, tongue or skin pierced. Some people walk on burning coals. People observe fast on Paush Purnima and worship Lord Murugan. Devotees perform purification well in advance for this event. 
  • Thaipusam 2024: History 
  • According to Hindu scriptures, Lord Murugan fought with Supradaman, a ferocious demon who took over hell, earth and heaven. Lord Murugan's mother Parvati gave her son a divine spear named Vel, which has the ability to defeat evil. 
  • When Lord Murugan went to the battlefield and defeated Surapadman by attacking him with his power. Thus, by eliminating the demons, the gods brought peace to the world. Since then this day is celebrated as Thai Pusam.

Award News 

15.Three young Indian scientists will receive 'Blavatnik Award' in Britain 

  • Three Indian scientists are also among the nine scientists selected for the prestigious 'Blavatnik Award' 2024 given to young scientists in Britain. This award will be given to him for his excellent work in Chemistry, Physics and Life Sciences. 
  • The three young scientists are of Indian origin – Professor Rahul R Nair, Professor Mehul Malik and Dr. Tanmay. This award is given by the 'Blavatnik Family Foundation' and 'The New York Academy of Sciences'. 
  • These selected young scientists will be honored for their research work in various fields of science at a ceremony to be held at the Banquet House, London on 27 February 2024. They will be given a total of £480,000 as prizes. 
  • Professor Rahul R. Nair is a physical physicist at the University of Manchester. Professor Nair has developed new membranes based on 2D materials. 
  • Malik, a physics professor, has been named as the laureate for advancing quantum communications through his groundbreaking techniques. 
  • Dr. Tanmay Bharat is a young biologist from Britain. Dr. Tanmay has created atomic-level pictures of cell-surface molecules produced by microorganisms and archaea. 

16.Filmfare Awards 2024

  • The 69th edition of the Filmfare Awards 2024 took place in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The Filmfare Awards 2024 celebrated the finest achievements in Indian cinema. 
  • The event featured hosting by Karan Johar, and performances by Kareena Kapoor, Karisma Kapoor, Varun Dhawan, and Kartik Aaryan among others. 
  • This year, the two-day celebration in Gujarat opened with a Curtain Raiser, leading up to the Filmfare Awards ceremony. The 69th Hyundai Filmfare Awards 2024 with Gujarat Tourism was held in GIFT City, Gujarat. 

17.Squadron Leader Nikita Malhotra conferred with Vayu Sena Medal 

  • Nikita Malhotra, a Squadron Leader of the Indian Air Force (IAF), was awarded the Vayu Sena Medal for Gallantry on the 75th Republic Day. 
  • She was also part of the Tangail formation of fighters during the flypast over the Kartavya Path on Republic Day Parade. 
  • She was piloting a Dornier aircraft of the formation which included one Dakota aircraft and two Dorniers. 
  • Based on the twin themes of ‘Viksit Bharat’ and ‘Bharat-Loktantra ki Matruka’, this year’s parade witnessed the participation of around 13,000 special guests. 

Recent Awards 

  • Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2024 – 60 Parachute Field Hospital, UP 
  • UP Gaurav Samman – Dr. Ritu Karidhal Srivastava & Naveen Tiwari 
  • Lifetime achievement award by BCCI – Ravi Shastri 
  • Polly Umrigar Award for Best Men’s Cricketer of the Year for 2023 by BCCI – Shubman Gill 
  • 4th Wings India Awards in the Civil Aviation Sector – Bangalore & Delhi Airports 

18.IIT Guwahati scholar wins ‘Best Product Design’ at Vishwakarma Awards 

  • Satyam, a PhD Scholar in the department of biosciences and bioengineering at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati (IIT-Guwahati), has achieved the “Best Product Design” award in the Water and Sanitation category at the prestigious Vishwakarma Awards 2023. 
  • The competition, organized by the IIT-Delhi in collaboration with Maker Bhavan Foundation and the WIN Foundation, aimed to recognize and support innovative minds in technology from science and engineering colleges across India. 
  • The theme for 2023 focused on water and sanitation, clean technology and smart mobility. 
  • Satyam’s winning device, R-SAM-PRO, is an IoT-enabled water quality monitoring system that outshines existing devices in terms of cost-effectiveness and integration with the Internet of Things (IoT). 

19.Thiruvananthapuram airport bags excellence award 

  • Thiruvananthapuram International Airport has been selected for the prestigious Excellence Award by Quality Circle Forum of India (QCFI) in the recent National Convention on Quality Concepts 2024 in Nagpur, Maharashtra. 
  • The TIA was selected for the recognition based on its continuous improvement initiatives undertaken for airport operations. 
  • QCFI is recognised as the institution representing The Quality Circle Movement in India and has represented the country in several international forums. The award jury praised Thiruvananthapuram Airport’s initiatives in establishing an effective mechanism to maintain the Obstacle Limitation Surfaces (OLS) free from obstacles for safe aircraft operations and sustenance of the biodiversity through its sustainability initiatives. 

20.President Murmu approves 80 gallantry awards 

  • President Droupadi Murmu has approved 80 gallantry awards including six Kirti Chakra and 16 Shaurya Chakra on the 75th Republic Day. 
  • Out of the six Kirti Chakra, three were conferred posthumously. The 16 Shaurya Chakra, included two posthumous. 
  • The Kirti Chakra is India’s second-highest peacetime gallantry award after Ashok Chakra. Shaurya Chakra is the country’s third-highest peacetime gallantry award. 
  • The Kirti Chakra awardees are Major Digvijay Singh Rawat of the 21st Battalion, the Parachute Regiment (Special Forces), Major Deependra Vikram Basnet from the Sikh Regiment’s Fourth Battalion and Havildar Pawan Kumar Yadav from the 21st Battalion of the Mahar Regiment. 
  • Those conferred the award posthumously are Captain Anshuman Singh from the 26th battalion of the Punjab Regiment (Army Medical Corps), Havildar Abdul Majid of the Parachute Regiment’s ninth battalion (special forces) and Sepoy Pawan Kumar from the 55th battalion of the Rashtriya Rifles. 
  • The President also approved 311 defence decorations to Armed Forces and other personnel. These include 31 Param Vishisht Seva Medals; four Uttam Yudh Seva Medals; two Bar to Ati Vishisht Seva Medals; 59 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals; 10 Yudh Seva Medals; 8 Bar to Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty); 38 Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty); 10 Nao Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty); 14 Vayu Sena Medals (Devotion to Duty); 5 Bar to Vishisht Seva Medal and 130 Vishisht Seva Medals. 

Science and technology News 

21.INSAT-3DS satellite sent to launch port in Sriharikota 

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has said that the INSAT-3DS satellite has been flagged off to the launch port at the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota. 
  • The satellite is an exclusive meteorological satellite with the primary objective to provide continuity of services to the existing in-orbit INSAT-3D and 3DR satellites and significantly enhancing the capabilities of the INSAT system. 
  • The satellite is likely to be launched on board the GSLV F14 next month. 
  • The ISRO said it had successfully completed satellite assembly, integration and testing activities at the U.R. Rao Satellite Centre, Bengaluru. 
  • "Pre-shipment review was held with the participation of members from the user community on January 25,” it said. Indian industries have also significantly contributed in the making of the satellite. 
  • The space agency added that the satellite is a user- funded project with the Ministry of Earth Sciences, configured around the ISRO's well-proven 1-2k bus platform with a lift-off mass of 2,275 kg. 
  • The satellite is designed for enhanced meteorological observations and monitoring of land and ocean surfaces for weather forecasting and disaster warning with state-of-the-art payloads such as a six- channel imager and 19-channel sounder meteorology payloads, communication payloads, a data relay transponder (DRT) and a satellite-aided search and rescue transponder. (SAS&R) 
  • The DRT instrument receives meteorological, and oceanographic data from automatic weather stations and augments weather forecasting capabilities. The SAS&R transponder is incorporated in the satellite to relay a distress signal/alert detection for search and rescue services with global receive coverage. 

22.ISRO’s POEM-3 Platform Fulfills All Payload Goals 

  • On January 27, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced that it has successfully executed all experiments within the Payload Orbital Experiment for Microgravity (POEM-3) mission, which was launched as part of the PSLV-C58 mission. 
  • POEM-3 represents a remarkable feat in India’s space endeavors, leveraging the capabilities of the PSLV-C58 vehicle to create an efficient and versatile space platform. Launched alongside XPoSat on January 1, 2024, POEM-3 exemplifies India’s innovative approach to space exploration. 
  • The primary objectives of POEM-3 align with India’s strategic vision for space exploration. From demonstrating power generation to facilitating telecommand & telemetry capabilities, POEM-3 serves as a testament to India’s technological prowess. 

Infrastructure and Energy News 

23.PM Modi Unveils Infrastructure Boost In Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh 

  • Prime Minister Modi inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for projects worth over Rs 19,100 crores in Bulandshahr, Uttar Pradesh. The diverse projects spanned crucial sectors such as rail, road, oil and gas, and urban development. 
  • One significant project is dedication of a 173 Km long double line electrified section between New Khurja – New Rewari on Dedicated Freight Corridor. Moreover, Inauguration of the fourth line connecting Mathura – Palwal section & Chipiyana Buzurg – Dadri section. 
  • Furthermore, dedication of multiple road projects, including four-laning work, widening, and development projects at a cumulative cost exceeding Rs 5000 crores. 

Ranks and Reports News 

24.Higher Education Sees Surge: AISHE Report Reveals 19 Lakh Increase In 2021-22 Enrollment 

  • The All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE) 2021-22, released by the Ministry of Education, unveils a significant spike in higher education enrollment. 
  • The total enrollment soared from 4.14 crore in the previous session to nearly 4.33 crore in 2021-22, marking a notable uptick of 19 lakh students. 
  • The report highlights a commendable rise in female enrollment in the science stream, surpassing male counterparts. Overall female enrollment reaches 2.07 crore in 2021-22, showcasing an increase from 2.01 crore in 2020-21. 

25.India Ageing Report 2023: Jammu Kashmir’s Life Expectancy 

  • The ‘INDIA AGEING REPORT 2023,’ jointly conducted by the International Institute for Population Sciences and the United Nations Population Fund, provides a comprehensive overview of the aging demographic in Jammu Kashmir. 
  • Jammu Kashmir emerges as a region with remarkable resilience against elderly poverty, boasting a mere 4.2 percent of its aged population falling below the poverty line. 
  • Among the elderly, constituting 9.4 percent of the region’s population, Jammu Kashmir stands out with the highest life expectancy after the age of 60. Males exhibit a life expectancy of 20.3 percent, and females, 23.0 percent, making it the leader in this demographic indicator between 2015-19. 

26.Microsoft becomes the second company to reach $3 trillion market value 

  • Software giant, Microsoft has crossed a valuation of $3 trillion (€2.7 trillion) and becomes the second company after Apple to reach this milestone. 
  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has led his company to a record market value amid the AI boom. Microsoft launched AI chatbot ‘ChatGPT’ in November 2022, shares of Microsoft have increased by more than 60% since its release. 
  • Last year, Microsoft, known as one of the 'Magnificent SevGHHen' technology companies driving the rise of the US stock index, invested a substantial $10 billion (€9.2 billion) in various AI initiatives. 
  • This put Microsoft at the forefront of the field of AI, beating out younger competitors like Google and Meta. Microsoft first reached a $1 billion market cap in 1986, its first year as a public company. 
  • Among investments in AI-related innovations, Microsoft has included an AI digital assistant called Copilot in its Edge web browser and Office software. 
  • Additionally, Microsoft recently announced a 10-year partnership with UK telecom company Vodafone. 

Sports News 

27.Netherlands won the first edition of FIH Hockey 5s Women's World Cup in Muscat, Oman 

  • Netherlands has won the inaugural edition of the FIH Hockey 5s Women's World Cup by defeating India 7-2 in the final of the FIH Hockey 5s Women's World Cup in Muscat, Oman on 27 January 2024. Whereas Poland won the bronze medal with victory over South Africa. 
  • Janneke van de Vene opened the Dutch team's account in the second minute of the match. Bente van der Velt scored twice in the next six minutes to make the score 3–0. The Netherlands went into half-time with a 6–0 lead thanks to goals from Lana Kalse, Socha Beninga and Van de Veene. 
  • India tried to make a comeback and scored two goals – Jyoti Chhatri (20th minute) and Rutaja Dadaso Pisal (23rd minute) – but could not catch the Dutch team who scored another goal courtesy of Kalse before the full-time hooter. 
  • India entered the final by defeating South Africa 6-3 in the semi-finals. Hockey-5s is a new format of hockey, in which each team consists of five players including a goalkeeper. Up to four players can be replaced during the match. 
  • The Netherlands women's team added another trophy to their incredible collection which includes Olympic gold, World Senior and Junior titles, Indoor World Cup gold and the FIH Hockey Pro League title. 

Major Award 

  • Gold Medal Winner: Netherlands 
  • Silver Medalist: India Bronze Medalist: Poland 
  • Women's Challenger Trophy Runner-up: Namibia 
  • Women's Challenger Trophy winners: USA 
  • Best Goalkeeper: Marta Kucharska (POL) 
  • Best Junior Player: Deepika Soreng (IND) 
  • Top scorer (19): Teresa Viana (URU) 
  • Best Player: Noor De Baat (NED) 

28.England to host 2027 World Test Championship Final 

  • England will host the 2027 World Test Championship (WTC) final in June, marking the fourth consecutive time. 
  • The ICC issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a Social Responsibility Provider for the period 2024-2027.
  • So far, India have been played in both WTC Finals that took place in 2021 and 2023. While India lost to New Zealand in the inaugural final, the Rohit Sharma-led side lost to Australia in the summit clash last year in June. 
  • Currently, in WTC 2023-25 table, Australia hold the top spot, followed by India.
  • ICC also announces the introduction of the Women’s T20 Champions Trophy. The inaugural edition is slated to take place in Sri Lanka in February 2027. 

About International Cricket Council (ICC) 

  • The International Cricket Council is the global governing body of cricket. 
  • It was founded as the Imperial Cricket Conference in 1909 by representatives from Australia, England and South Africa. 
  • It was renamed as the International Cricket Conference in 1965, and took up its current name in 1987. 
  • Formation – 15 June 1909 
  • Headquarters – Dubai, UAE 
  • Chairman – Greg Barclay (New Zealand) 
  • Deputy Chairman – Imran Khwaja (Singapore) 
  • CEO – Geoff Allardice (Australia) 
  • General Manager – Wasim Khan 
  • Membership – 108 members 

29.Indian pair of Rhythm Sangwan and Ujjwal Malik claim 1st gold at ISSF Shooting World Cup 

  • The Indian pair of Rhythm Sangwan and Ujjwal Malik won India’s first gold medal at the ISSF Shooting World Cup 2024 in Cairo. 
  • They defeated the Armenian pair of Elmira Karapetyan and Benik Khlghatyan 17-7 in the 10m air pistol mixed team event. 
  • Earlier, Arjun Babuta and Sonam Uttam Maskar won silver in the 10-meter air rifle mixed team event. They lost 16-14 to Great Britain’s Seonaid McIntosh and Dean Bale in the final. 

30.Australian Open 2024: Rohan Bopanna wins men’s doubles final 

  • Indian tennis player Rohan Bopanna created history as he became the oldest grand slam winner after teaming up with his Australian partner Matthew Ebden to defeat the Italian pair of Simone Bolelli and Andrea Vavassori in the finals of the Australian Open 2024. 
  • This is Rohan Bopanna’s second grand slam title after the 2017 French Open win with his Canadian partner Gabriela Dabrowski in mixed doubles. 
  • With a grand slam title at the age of 43, Rohan Bopanna surpassed the record of Australian tennis champion Ken Rosewall, who won a grand slam at 37. 

Australian Open title 2024 Men’s Singles 

  • Winner – Jannik Sinner (Italy) 
  • Runner Up – Daniil Medvedev (Russia) Women’s Singles 
  • Winner – Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus) 
  • Runner Up – Zheng Qinwen (China) Men’s Doubles 
  • Winner – Rohan Bopanna (India) & Matthew Ebden (Australia) 
  • Runner Up – Simone Bolelli (Italy) and Andrea Vavassori (Italy) Women’s Doubles 
  • Winner – Hsieh Su-Wei (Taiwan) & Elise Mertens (Belgium) 
  • Runner Up – Jelena Ostapenko (Latvia) and Lyudmyla Kichenok (Ukraine) Mixed Doubles title 
  • Winner – Hsieh Su-wei (Taiwan) & Jan Zielinski (Poland) 
  • Runner Up – Desirae Krawczyk (USA) & Neal Skupski (Britain) 

31.Netherlands won FIH Hockey5s Women’s World Cup 

  • India finished as runner-up at the inaugural edition of the FIH Hockey 5s Women’s World Cup after a 7-2 loss to the Netherlands in the final in Muscat. 
  • India tried to make a comeback and scored twice – Jyoti Chhatri (20th minute) and Rutaja Dadaso Pisal (23rd minute) – but could not catch the Dutch team which added one more goal courtesy of Kalse before the full-time hooter. 

Tournament Awards and Accolades 

  • Gold Medalists- Netherlands 
  • Silver Medalists- India 
  • Bronze Medalists- Poland 
  • Best Player- Noor De Baat (Netherlands) 
  • Best Goalkeeper- Marta Kucharska (Poland) 
  • Best Junior Player- Deepika Soreng (India) 
  • Top Scorer- Teresa Viana (Uruguay) with 19 goals 
  • Women’s Challenger Trophy Winner- United States 
  • Women’s Challenger Trophy Runner-Up- Namibia 

32. Tanmay Agarwal’s Record-Breaking Triple Century Sets the Ranji Trophy 

  • Hyderabad batter Tanmay Agarwal bashed an unbeaten 323 off just 147 balls against Arunachal Pradesh during their Plate Group game in the Ranji Trophy 2023-24 at the NexGen Cricket Ground in Hyderabad. 
  • His innings included 33 fours and 21 sixes, showcasing his aggressive batting style. As a result, the hosts smashed 529 in just 48 overs, at a run rate of 11.02. 
  • 147 Balls needed for Tanmay to complete his triple century. It is the fastest-recorded triple ton in the history of first-class cricket by balls taken, breaking the record held by South Africa’s Marco Marais off 191 balls for Border against Eastern Province in 2017.

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