Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC - 3rd March 2024


1. PM Modi launches development projects worth 35,700 crore rupees in Jharkhand 

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated and laid the foundation stone for multiple development projects worth 35,700 crore rupees in Jharkhand from Sindri in Dhanbad district. 
  • These projects are related to fertilizer, rail, power, and coal sectors. 
  • Modi dedicated to the nation the Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan Ltd’s (HURL) Sindri fertiliser plant, in order to attain self-sufficiency in the urea sector. The plant has been developed at a cost of over 8,900 crore rupees.
  •  PM also inaugurated and laid the foundation stones for several rail projects worth over 17,600 crore rupees in the state. 
  • These projects include third- and fourth-lines connecting Sone Nagar and Andal, Tori-Shivpur first and second, and Biratoli-Shivpur third line, Mohanpur-Hansdiha new rail line and Dhanbad-Chandrapura rail line. These projects will expand the rail services in the state and lead to the socio-economic development of the region. 

PM Modi in News

  •  PM Modi unveils India’s first hydrogen fuel cell ferry 
  • PM Modi inaugurated ‘Bharat Tex 2024’ in New Delhi 
  •  PM Modi laid the foundation stone for Sikkim’s first railway station at Rangpo. 
  •  PM Modi inaugurates India’s longest cable-stayed bridge Sudarshan Setu 
  • PM Modi inaugurated and dedicated to the nation two central institutions in Telangana and five in Andhra Pradesh. 

2. Nicaragua becomes first Spanish-Speaking nation to recognize IPS 

  •  Nicaragua has become the first Spanish-speaking nation to officially recognize the Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP) or Indian Pharma standards. 
  • This development follows the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Pharmacopoeia Cooperation between the Governments of India and Nicaragua. 
  •  The move is expected to foster stronger ties between the two nations in the areas of healthcare, encouraging the exchange of expertise and resources for improved medical standards. 
  •  The Indian Pharmacopoeia (IP), compiled by the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission (IPC) under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare in India, serves as the official compendium of standards for drugs. 
  •  The legal significance of the IP within India, enshrined in the Second Schedule of the Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940, necessitates adherence to its standards for all imported, manufactured, and distributed drugs within the country. About Nicaragua 

Capital- Managua 

  •  Currency- Nicaraguan C√≥rdoba 
  • President– Daniel Ortega 
  •  Continent- North America 
  • Official language- Spanish 

3. 3 February – World Wildlife Day 

  •  World Wildlife Day is celebrated annually on March 3 and serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need to protect and preserve the world’s fauna and flora. 
  • Theme 2024 – Connecting People and Planet: Exploring Digital Innovation in Wildlife Conservation. 
  • The inception of World Wildlife Day traces back to a proposal made by Thailand to the United Nations General Assembly in 2013.The proposal aimed at dedicating a day to raise awareness about the world’s wild animals and plants.
  •  Consequently, March 3 was officially designated as World Wildlife Day in 2014, following the adoption of a resolution by the General Assembly on December 20, 2013. 

4. 3 March – World Hearing Day 

  • World Hearing Day is observed on 3rd March every year.
  •  Objective – To raise awareness about the importance of hearing health and the prevention of deafness.
  •  Theme 2024 – Changing mindsets: Let’s make ear and hearing care a reality for all. 
  •  World Hearing Day was first recognized by WHO in 2007. Previously, the day was recognized as International Ear Care Day. After 2016, WHO changed the name to World Hearing Day. 

5. Google's app delisting cannot be allowed 

  •  Minister of Electronics and Information Technology Ashwini Vaishnaw told Press Trust of India that Google's delisting of certain Indian apps from the firm's Android Play Store "cannot be permitted," and that a government meeting with the company's representatives was scheduled for Monday. 
  •  Matrimonial, streaming and job search apps like Bharat Matrimony, Kuku FM and Naukri were removed from Google's Android app store after they resisted platform fees that Google requires them to pay on In-app purchases, A Google spokesperson did not immediately respond to an emailed request for comment, 
  •  The apps were taken down on Friday following a prolonged battle that some large app developers Meity Minister Vaishnaw tells PTI that Google's delisting of certain Indian apps from Android Play Store 'cannot be permitted 
  •  'Out policy is very clear...our start ups will get the protection that they need Google's delisting of apps comes over dispute on platform fees on in-app purchases 
  • Supreme Court had refused to extend interim relief to these application providers waged against Google for charging anywhere between 11-30% commissions for payments made by users for digital goods. While physical product purchases, like cab rides or e-commerce deliveries, do not attract this fee, digital subscriptions and purchases do. Few Indian apps are able to build businesses on the back of such direct payments for digital goods, but matrimonial and streaming apps are among key ones for whom such revenue is substantial. 
  •  The Supreme Court refused to extend interim relief to these apps, which had lost their case against Google's fees at the Madras High Court last year, Subsequently, Google announced on Wednesday that it would no longer provide these apps leeway by awaiting the hearings' conclusion, and moved to de list them. Testbook, an exam prep service, and streaming service Disney Hotstar, continue to have Interim protections granted to them as they joined the Supreme Court case late, and their apps were never delisted. 
  •  Some apps by Info Edge (India), such as Naukri and real estate platform 99acres, were restored after they updated the apps to comply with Google's payment requirements, the firm's CEO Sanjeev Bikhchandani said on X. 

6. Centre, TIPRA Motha, Tripura govt. sign tripartite agreement 

  •  The Government of India, the government of Tripura, and the Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) signed a tripartite agreement on Saturday to address the issues faced by the indigenous people of Tripura, who make up 33% of the population. 
  •  The agreement contains the formation of a joint working committee to resolve issues related to the "history, land rights, political rights, economic development, identity, culture, and language" of the indigenous people of the State. TIPRA, also known as TIPRA Motha, has agreed to refrain from any form of protest until a solution is reached in a timely manner. 
  • The agreement was signed by TIPRA founder and royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barma, party President Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl and Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly Animesh Debbarma on behalf of their party. Chief Secretary J.K. Sinha and Additional Secretary (NE) of the Ministry of Home Affairs Piyush Goyal represented the Tripura government and the Central government respectively in the agreement. Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Tripura Chief Minister Dr. Manik Saha, and two tribal Ministers of his Cabinet Bikash Debbarma and Sukla Charan Noatia were present at the signing event. 
  • The agreement signed on Saturday did not specify a timeline for the formation of the joint working committee, but a senior TIPRA leader stated that the formation of the joint working committee would be done next week. 
  •  He added that the committee will include representatives from the Ministry, the Tripura government, TIPRA and the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), which is an alliance partner of the BJP in the ruling coalition. 
  • Celebrations broke out in several places following the signing of the agreement. 
  • The signing of the agreement occurred three days after Mr. Pradyot Manikya launched a fast unto death at Hatai Kotor (formerly Boromura Hills) in west Tripura to protest the Central government's alleged reluctance to provide a constitutional solution to the problems faced by the indigenous people.
  •  Within an hour of starting his protest, he announced that he had received a call from the Ministry and left the venue for Delhi. 
  • TIPRA has become a major player in State politics with its demand for Greater Tipraland or a separate State for the indigenous population. In response to the tripartite agreement, CPI(M) leader and former Deputy Speaker of the State As E sembly Pabitra Kar stated that the episode was orchestrated with an eye on the upcoming election 

7. JAF finishes black-topping of landing strip near LAC 

  • The Indian Air Force's Advanced Landing Ground (ALG) in Nyoma, close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in eastern Ladakh, has now been blacktopped (paved runway), while work is going on to extend the runway so that it can eventually handle fighter jets, according to sources. 
  • "The work is about 15% complete and is now stopped due to winter. It will restart in April. It is on track to be completed in two years," the source stated. Responding to apprehensions that the airfield could become an easy target for China as it is only 30 km away from the LAC, the source said it was very well located and would prove to be a great advantage for India. The first landing of a fixed-wing aircraft at the Nyoma ALG took place on September 18, 2009, when an AN-32 transport aircraft landed there. The runway is now being extended to 9,000 or 10,000 feet to enable it to handle all fighter aircraft in the IAF's inventory. 
  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had laid the foundation stone for the ALG last September, exuding confidence that this air-field would prove to be a "game-changer" for the armed forces. The ALG's cost of development is approximately 200 crore. 
  •  The IAF also has airfields at Leh, Thoise and Kargil, as well as ALGs at Daulet Begldie and Fukche. However, the Leh and Thoise air- fields are located in inte- rior areas and officials said that the weather at Nyoma is much more stable in comparison to the other two airfields. 
  • At the height of the standoff with Chinese forces in 2020, the IAF moved its My-17 medium-lift helicopters, CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters, and AH-64E Apache attack helicopters to Nyoma to support the forward deployment of troops, as well as for surveillance and intelligence gathering purposes. 
  • As reported by The Hindu earlier, to overcome the challenges that fighter jets face at high-altitude air-fields, the engines are being tweaked to enable them to start at low temperatures 

8. Shah launches umbrella body for urban cooperative banks 

  •  Union Cooperation Minister Amit Shah on Saturday inaugurated an umbrella organization for urban cooperative banks (UCB) the National Urban Cooperative Finance and Development Corporation Limited (NBCFDC). 
  • Mr. Shah stated that the organization was a necessity of the time, and marked a new beginning for self- regulation. "It is necessary that we upgrade ourselves and adhere to all the regu- lations of the RBI. If we fail to do so, we will not be able to sustain the competition in the times to come," he said. He highlighted a major role of the organization is to prepare small banks for compliance with the Banking Regulation Act. 
  • The Cooperation Minister said that the organization had a collective strength of 11,000 branches with 1,500 banks, deposits of ₹5 lakh crore and loans totaling ₹3.50 lakh crore. He added that the UCBs had reduced their net non-performing (NPA) to 2.10%. 

9. Managing our resources with Artificial Intelligence 

  • These days, the term Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to be everywhere. The public has come to view it with mixed perceptions. On one side, it is a problem-solver: Al has helped in monitoring heart problems and eye conditions and offered treatment options; Al predicts protein structure and aids in the development of new drug molecules. Likewise, it predicts cyclones, monsoon strengths, etc. On the dark side are fears that jobs may be lost to thinking machines that work 24/7 and do not need a Diwali vacation, and may intrude on your privacy and misuse your data. But nobody doubts that Al will help us 
  • As India's development gathers momentum, we are faced with the eventuality of resource limitations. We may need much more than we have. This is especially true of water. Every year we see floods in parts of the coun- try and drought in others. Engineers have long dreamt of building links between our rivers to mitigate these problems. But uncertainties over the effects of such large-scale changes have stalled many initiatives. 
  • For the nation's planners, minimizing the water defi- cit has become a critical goal in this age of climate change and unpredictable weather. Can all tools be used to make predictions on how to bring about change? Computational 
  • This canal is part of a scheme to connect the flood-prone Mahanadi and Godavari rivers with the 'deficit' rivers further south. The link canal would aid half-a-million modelers at the IIT-ISM, Dhanbad and the NITs in Tripura and Goa have done just this while examining the proposed Pennar-Palar-Cauvery link canal. 
  • hectares in a chain of districts, from Nellore in Andhra Pradesh to Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu. Such proposals have a complex set of objectives, which can be modeled in the search for maximum benefits to the most people. 
  • Fulfilling objectives In a multi-objective model, the goal is to achieve more than one objective optimally. For example, a farmer may wish to get the maximum yield of his crop with the minimum use of water. He would tweak his system to a point where he could no longer improve one objective without worsening the other. 
  • The IIT-NIT team has presented a model that aims to improve the returns from farms, without depleting groundwater or wasting the water in rivers and reservoirs (Agricultural Water Management, v-279, 2023). They used data that has been collected over the years by the National Water Development Agency on (a) water levels before and after monsoons in the 1.2 lakh wells and tube wells in these districts; (b) crop-sowing patterns; (c) prevailing minimum support price and the cost and benefits to farmers. This Al-based modeling effort suggests that favorable outcomes will come with a few adjustments to the choice of crops that are grown in the two seasons of July and November. Collecting more detailed data will help such Al-based models in making more focused predictions. 

10.Registration of periodicals moves online as the Union govt. notifies new Act 

  • The new Press and Registration of Periodicals (PRP) Act, 2023, has come into force and the old Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, now stands repealed. The Centre has notified the new law and the associated rules in its official gazette. 
  •  Accordingly, the Act is effective from March 1. The registration of newspapers and periodicals has moved online in the Press Sewa Portal, while the Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI) has been renamed as the Press Registrar General of India (PRGD), said the Union Information and Broadcasting Ministry on Saturday. "In tune with the ethos of Digital India, the new Act provides for an online system for facilitating the registration of newspapers and other periodicals in the country. The new system replaces the existing manual, cumbersome processes involving multiple steps and approvals at various stages which were causing unnecessary hardships to the publishers," it said, Earlier, Union I&B Minister Anurag Singh Tha kur had launched the Press Sewa portal, through which various applications as mandated by the new Act can be submitted online. 
  • "The Press Sewa portal ensures paperless processing and offers services with e-sign facility, digital payment gateway, QR code-based digital certificates for instant download, online system for providing intimation by printing presses, percentage of probability for title availability, online access to registration data for all publishers, filing of annual statements, among others, It also intends to put in place a chatbot-based interactive grievance resolution mechanism," said the Ministry, 
  • The portal is accompanied by a new website with all the related information and a user-friendly interface. The new Act removes books and journals from the purview of registration necessitated by the old fire It defines a periodical as "any publication including a newspaper which is published and printed at regular intervals containing public news or comments on public news but does not include a book or a Journal of scientific, techn cal, and academic nature" " Therefore, book, or a journal including a book or Journal of scientific, technical and academic does not require registration . 

11. Mating calls indicate endangered hanguls are on a comeback trail

  •  Kashmir's highly shy and sensitive animal, hangul, which is listed as a critically endangered indigenous species of deer, has reported one of the healthiest rutting or mating seasons in the previous autumn. 
  •  Experts suggested the roars or calls made by hanguls during rutting indicate that their number will cross 300 this spring, the first time in more than three decades. 
  •  "The calls recorded by the wildlife staff during the rutting season in October last year were healthy compared to previous years. In fact, the Dachigam National Park, home to hangul, was closed between September 25 to October 18 for visitors to allow unhindered rutting," Rashid Naqash, Regional Wildlife Warden, Kashmir, told The Hindu. 
  • Since 1947, the population of hangul, which is the State animal of J&K, witnessed a sharp decline. In 1947, around 2,000 were spotted and the number fell to 384 by 1968. 
  • The hangul population was estimated at a mere 197 in 2004, touching the lowest of 183 in 2015 and showed a steady increase to 261 in 2021, according to Wildlife figures. department 
  • "Multiple disturbances, including stress on forestareas and human intervention, did disturb the habitat of hangul. However, we are able to provide a better environment now. We plan to secure all corridors, especially the Wangath-Naranag corridor in the north. We are coming up with a mechanism to ensure that the groups of hangul move safely on the highways in Ganderbal by regulating traffic," Mr. Naqash said. 
  • The official figure suggested there are 19.2 males per 100 females "which is much lower than the ideal ratio of 40-50 males per 100 females". 
  • Dr. Khursheed Ahmad, head of the Wild Life Sciences Faculty of Forestry at the Sher-i-Kashmir Agricultural and Science Technology-Kashmir, has identified a few threats that the hangul faces. 
  •  "Non-availability of water in the near vicinity gan might have forced the hangul, especially lactating females in summer, to move towards the disturbed habitats in and outside Dachigam. This might as well be acting as one of the factors for fawn falling prey to predators or even sheep dogs," Mr. Ahmad said. The J&K Wildlife department has identified 10 hangul sites "to provide a protection mechanism to ensure sustenance". 
  •  A captive-breeding facility for the endangered species has been set up at Shikargah Tral. 

12.Commissionerate system approved in U.P. after CAA stir’ 

  •  Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath approved the police commissionerate system in two cities of Lucknow and Noida, a few days after protests erupted in the State against the passage of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in 2019, says a new book authored by former State Director-General of Police O.P Singh. 
  • Mr. Singh headed the Uttar Pradesh Police from January 1, 2018- January 30, 2020. As many as 22 people were killed in Uttar Pradesh after the CAA was passed by the Parliament on December 9, 2019. Across the country, 83 persons were killed in protests against CAA and the National Register of Citizens (NRC). 
  • The CAA allows citizen- ship to "undocumented" six non-Muslim communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who entered India on or before December 31, 2014. There are apprehensions and fears that the Act, which is yet to be implemented, will benefit non-Muslims excluded from the citizens' register, while excluded Muslims will have to prove their citizenship. The government had earlier informed the Parliament that "till now the Government has not taken any decision to prepare NRC at national level." 
  •  "Post-CAA protests set the tone for a face-to-face-exchange with CM Yogi Adityanath. The police had no magisterial powers yet... A city like Lucknow, with a population of nearly 4 million, needed the Commissionerate," he writes in the book Crime, Grime and Gumption, Case Files Of An IPS Officer. 
  •  The book says that after anti-CAA protests had erupted in Lucknow he was asked by the CM how its recurrence could be prevented. 
  •  "Sir, had the Commissionerate system been in operation, we would have contained the agitation far more effectively and in good time. We need a faster mechanism that would allow the police to respond in quick time," he informed Mr. Adityanath. The CM said he was ready to give the proposal a serious thought and asked to expedite the paperwork. 
  • The proposal was approved by the State Cabinet on January 13, 2020 for Lucknow and Noida. The arrangement gives powers usually entrusted to District Magistrates, such as imposing a curfew and use of fire, to the police. 

13.U.P. cancels constable recruitment exam; re-examination in 6 months 

  • The Uttar Pradesh government on Saturday canceled the police constable recruitment examination in the State, which was conducted on February 17 and 18 and was followed by allegations of paper leaks. The re-examination will now be conducted within the next six months. 
  • "Orders have been given to cancel the examination conducted for selection to the positions of constable in the U.P. police, and to 6 conduct re-examination within the next six months. There can be no compromise in the sanctity of the examinations. Those who play with the hard work of youngsters will not be sispared under any circumstances. The strictest action will be taken against such anti-social elements," Chief Minister Yogi Aditya- nath wrote on X (formerly Twitter). 
  • Uttar Pradesh, in the last week of December last year, notified 60,244 posts of police constable under the State police force. The registration process, which began on December 27, 2023, and ended on January 16, 2024, led to 48.17 lakh aspirants filling the form to appear in the written test, which took place at 2,385 centers across 75 districts of the State. 
  •  The examination had made headlines due to the massive influx of candidates amid charges of paper leak and discrepancies. 
  •  Opposition parties reacted sharply over the decision, saying that the U.P. the government was "forced to bow down" before the youth. 
  • "The cancellation of the Uttar Pradesh Police exam is the victory of the youth and the defeat of the miscreants belonging to the BJP government," Samajwadi Party president, and Leader of Opposition in U.P. Assembly, Akhilesh Yadav said. 
  • Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, who is currently leading the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in the State, hailed the cancellation as a big student victory.
  •  "Big victory for student power and youth unity. Uttar Pradesh Police Exam finally canceled. The message is clear that no matter how much the government tries to suppress the truth, our rights can be won only by fighting unitedly. Those who unite will win, those who remain divided will be crushed," Mr. Gandhi wrote on X.

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