Current Affairs | National | International | SSC | UPSC 29th June 2024

 National News 

1.India achieves 'outstanding outcome' in FATF evaluation 

  • India has achieved an out- standing outcome in the mutual evaluation con- Ip ducted during 2023-24 by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), the govern- at ment said on Friday. 
  • The Mutual Evaluation Report of India, which was of adopted at the FATF plen- al-ary held in Singapore from June 26 to 28, places India in the "regular follow-up" category, a distinction shared by only four other G-20 countries. "This marks a signifi- cant milestone in the na- tion's efforts to combat money laundering (ML) 1c and terrorist financing to (TF)," read a Press Infor- mation Bureau release. 
  • In a statement, the FATF n-said the plenary concluded that India had reached a high level of technical compliance with its require ments. The country's anti- money laundering (AML),countering the financing of terrorism (CFT), and counter-proliferation financing (CPF) regime was achiev- ing good results, including international cooperation, access to basic and cial ownership informa- tion, use of financial intelli- gence, and depriving criminals of their assets. 
  •  However, the FATF ob- served that improvements were needed to strengthen the supervision and imple- mentation of preventive measures in some non-fi- nancial sectors. "India alsoneeds to address delays re- lating to concluding ML and TF prosecutions, and to ensure that CFT mea- sures aimed at preventing the non-profit sector from being abused for TF are im- plemented in line with the risk-based approach, in- cluding by conducting out- reach to NPOs [Non-Profit Organisations] on their TF risks," it said. 
  • Among other things, the FATF has recognised the ef- forts made by India on the issue of mitigating the risks arising from ML/TF, in- cluding the laundering of proceeds from corruption, fraud, and organised benefi-crime, and the effective measures implemented by India to transition from a cash-based to a digital economy to reduce ML/TF risks. "This recognition is a testament to the rigorous measures implemented ov- er the last 10 years to safe- guard the financial system from ML/TF threats," the government said.

 International News 

2.Financial Action Task Force removes Turkey from grey list 

  • Turkey's Finance Minister Mehmet Simsek announced that Turkey has been removed from the Financial Action Task Force-FATF's 'grey list' following a recent assessment of the country's progress on money laundering and terrorist financing. 
  • The decision, announced at the FATF plenary meeting in Singapore, is a significant milestone for Turkey. In February, it removed the United Arab Emirates from the list. In 2021, Turkey was put on the grey list due to concerns over money laundering and terrorist financing. 
  • Criticisms included Turkey's support for terrorist groups such as Hamas and inadequate oversight of various sectors susceptible to illicit financial activities. 
  • The FATF acknowledged Turkey's significant reforms, particularly in the regulation of cryptocurrencies. The Turkish parliament recently approved legislation that increases oversight of the crypto market, ensuring stringent management and operational standards. 
  • The removal of Turkey from the grey list is expected to boost foreign investor confidence and potentially boost the Turkish lira and assets. 
  • The move comes at a crucial time when Turkey is grappling with rising inflation and cost of living crises.
  •  The countries on the black list are - Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iran and Myanmar. The grey list includes Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Haiti, Kenya, Mali, Monaco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Philippines, Senegal, South Africa, South Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Venezuela, Vietnam and Yemen. FATF 
  • The global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog. It also aims to combat the financing of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It was established in 1989 at the G-7 meeting of developed countries in Paris. Its secretariat is located at the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) headquarters in Paris. 
  • India joined it with 'observer' status in 2006 and became a full member of FATF in 201. 

3.German Chancellor to visit India in October 

  • German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is scheduled to visit India in the second half of October for inter-governmental consultations during which ease of doing business, migration, geopolitics, and climate change will be high on the agenda, German Ambassador to India Philipp Ackermann said on Friday. 
  • In addition, the 18th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business 2024 (APK 2024) is also scheduled to be held in the national capital from October 24 to 26. The Indian Navy’s multi-billion deal for six conventional submarines under P-75I in which TKMS of Germany and Navantia of Spain are competing is expected to figure promi-nently in talks during thevisit. 
  • “This is the best moment in history for India and German businesses. German companies have never been more optimistic about India. They want to be part of ‘Make in India’, invest in India, localise and produce in India,” said Stefan Halusa, Director General of the IndoGerman Chamber of Commerce India (AHK India). 

State News 

4. Uttar Pradesh government approves ordinance to curb exam paper leaks with life imprisonment and Rs 1 crore fine 

  • The Uttar Pradesh cabinet led by CM Yogi Adityanath approved an ordinance that provides for stringent punishment for those involved in exam paper leaks, including life imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs 1 crore for the culprits. 
  • The existing Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Act provides for three to five years' imprisonment for cheating and five to 10 years' imprisonment for organised examination cheating, along with a minimum fine of Rs 1 crore. 
  • Under the new Uttar Pradesh Public Examinations (Prevention of Unfair Means) Ordinance, 2024, those responsible for paper leaks will have to pay the cost incurred by the government in conducting the exams for cancellation of the exams. 
  • Power has been given to permanently blacklist companies and service providers. It also allows attachment of property and imposes stringent bail conditions for the accused. The ordinance covers public service recruitment, regularisation, promotion exams, and entrance exams for degrees, diplomas and other courses. 
  • Distributing fake exam papers and creating fake employment websites are also punishable under the ordinance, with guilty persons facing a minimum jail term of two years, life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1 crore. 
  • YEIDA and Bayview Bhutani Film City to develop a film city in Greater Noida In Uttar Pradesh, the state government signed an agreement to develop a film city in Greater Noida. The agreement was signed between the Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority (YEIDA) and Bayview Bhutani Film City Pvt Ltd, a company owned by noted filmmakers Boney Kapoor and Ashish Bhutani. 
  • The ambitious project, with an estimated cost of Rs 1,510 crore, is planned to be completed in the next eight years. The proposed 1,000-acre film city will be built near the upcoming Jewar airport in Uttar Pradesh. 
  • The film city is designed to provide world-class filmmaking facilities, including studios, open sets, hospitality services and office spaces. The initial phase, which is expected to be completed in three years, will focus on setting up essential film-related facilities and a film institute. 

5. Pench Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra launches first advanced AI system for forest fire detection 

  • The Pench Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra has launched an advanced Artificial Intelligence (AI) system for forest fire detection. 
  • This state-of-the-art system has a high-resolution camera with a visual range of 15 kilometres. This means it can effectively cover over 350 square kilometres of the tiger reserve. 
  • The pan-tilt-zoom or PTZ camera has been installed on an already existing tower near Kiringisara village which is located on one of the highest hills of Pench (about 540 feet above mean sea level). The second control room of the system is located at the West Pench Range office in Kolitmara. 
  • Fifteen commercial satellite services have been integrated into the system. The AI-powered platform, known as Pantera, leverages both camera feeds and satellite-based data to provide realtime alerts of forest fires within 3 minutes." The AI system can differentiate between smoke and clouds. 
  • The project was successfully implemented through a joint collaboration between Pench Tiger Reserve, Maharashtra; Satpura Foundation; Umgramio (Brazil) and Forest Fire Tech, a division of Scale Inc., USA. 
  • A part of the project was funded by Solar Industries India Ltd, Nagpur and the rest by the Maharashtra government. Rare Indian painted frog in Telangana 
  • A rare Indian painted frog has been spotted in Telangana's Kawal Tiger Reserve. The species, scientifically known as Kaloula pulchra, is rarely seen in Telangana. The Indian painted frog, is a small, unique amphibian that is part of the Microhylidae family. 
  • The species is notable for its attractive appearance, characterised by its smooth, rounded body and distinctive colouration that often includes shades of brown The male is black, with patches of bright colour such as orange or yellow. 
  • It can grow to an adult length of up to 75 millimetres (7.5 cm) from snout to vent, with females being slightly larger than males. 
  • The species is notable for its attractive appearance, its smooth, rounded body, and distinctive colouration, often including shades of brown, with patches of bright colour such as orange or yellow. 

6. Polavaram project in limbo, says A.P. CM 

  • The ignorance and inefficiency of the former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, in taking policy decisions and in abruptly changing the contractor of the multipurpose Polavaram Irrigation Project (PIP) had resulted in causing severe damage to the project, said Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. 
  • He released a White Paper on PIP at the Secretariat on Friday.Mr. Naidu said, “It will cost more than ₹12,157 crore to complete the remaining works under Phase-I of the project.” 
  • Changing the project’s contractor at a critical stage, ignoring the advice of the Polavaram Project Authority and the Ministry of Jal Sakhti, delay in mobilisation of the required men and machinery by the new agency, and not realising the importance of plugging the two gaps in the coerdam upstream resulted in severe damage to the diaphragm wall, Mr. Naidu explained. 
  • The previous government had also failed to complete the Relief & Rehabilitation work in villages likely to be aected due to the completion of the upstream coerdam, he said

 Defence News 

7. 'HOPEX' exercise between Indian and Egyptian Air Forces 

  • The fourth joint exercise HOPEX between the Indian Air Force and the Egyptian Air Force was held from 21 to 26 June 2024 at Berighat Air Base, Egypt. The aim of this exercise is to promote bilateral and regional cooperation, which symbolizes the long-standing relationship between the two countries. 
  • Rafale fighter aircraft, C-17 Globemaster and IL-78 tanker of the Indian Air Force (IAF) have participated in it. 
  • The first joint special forces exercise between the Indian Army and the Egyptian Army, "Exercise Cyclone-I" was held on 14 January 2023 in Jaisalmer, Rajasthan. 
  • An agreement was signed between the two countries in the year 2022 in which it has also been decided to participate in exercises and cooperate in training. Both the Indian Air Force and the Egyptian Air Force use the French Rafale fighter jet. Diplomatic relations between India and Egypt began on 18 August 1947 at the ambassadorial level. 
  • In 1955, India and Egypt signed a Treaty of Friendship. In 1961, India and Egypt established the NonAligned Movement (NAM) along with Yugoslavia, Indonesia and Ghana. 
  • In 1992, the Maulana Azad Centre for Indian Culture (MACIC) was established in Cairo. India and Egypt signed a three-year Memorandum of Understanding between Prasar Bharati and the National Media Authority of Egypt to facilitate content exchange, capacity building and coproduction. 

 Important Day 

8.National Statistics Day" 2024 will be celebrated today 

  • In honour of the remarkable contribution made by Professor (late) Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis in the field of statistics and economic planning, the Government of India has designated 29 June every year, on the occasion of his birth anniversary, as "National Statistics Day". 
  • Since 2007, Statistics Day is celebrated every year with a theme of contemporary national importance. The theme of Statistics Day, 2024 is "Use of Data for Decision Making". 
  • One of the members of the first Planning Commission of India, Mahalanobis played a key role in the establishment of the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) in 1931. World Statistics Day, which is a celebration designated by the United Nations that is celebrated every five years on October 20. 
  • The main event of Statistics Day, 2024 is being organized at Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt and New Delhi. The Chief Guest of the event is Dr. Arvind Panagariya, Chairman, 16th Finance Commission. Prof. Rajiv Laxman Karandikar, Chairman, National Statistical Commission (NSC) will address the participants. 
  • The Sustainable Development Goals- National Indicator Framework Progress Report, 2024 will also be released during the event. Along with the report, Data Snapshot on Sustainable Development Goals- National Indicator Framework, 2024 and Sustainable Development GoalsNational Indicator Framework, 2024 will also be released. 
  • MoSPI is working on developing a data portal called eSankhyiki for official statistics. The eSankhyiki portal and Central Data Repository will also be launched during the event. 

9. June 28 - National Insurance Awareness Day 2024 

  • National Insurance Awareness Day is observed every year on June 28, 2024. The main objective of this day is to make people aware about the many benefits of investing in an insurance plan or policy. 
  • According to a report by the National Insurance Academy (NIA), more than 40 crore individuals in India, which is more than 31% of the total population, are deprived of health insurance. 
  • The life insurance sector also has a huge protection gap, which is 87% across the country. The mortality protection gap is particularly high in the younger age groups, which is more than 90% in the 26-35 age group. 

Ranks and Reporte News 

10. Screen all pregnant women for gestational diabetes with point-of-care test, say experts 

  • Researchers from India, London, and Africa have proposed that the oral glu- cose tolerance test (OGTT) used to determine if a pregnant woman has developed gestational diabetes be replaced by an HbAlc test that can also be used at the point of care. They have recommended that this be administered in early pregnancy, during the first trimester itself. 
  • In a paper published in The Lancet Diabetes and Endocrinology, authors ar- gued that HbAlc offers a simple screening test for gestational diabetes, allowing those at highest risk to receive early intervention and greatly reduces the need for OGTTs. Researchers used the results from STRIDE, a prospective short study, set up in seven centres in south India and seven in western Kenya. Participants were also included from the PRIDE co- hort in the U.K. 
  • The proposal is significant for India. More than 90% of gestational diabetes cases are estimated to occur in low-income and middle-income countries. Currently, guidelines re commmend that mothers take an DGTT, which is a concentrated 75 g oral solution at fasting, and then wait two to three hours to do a follow-up, at the 24 to 28-week stage.
  •  This throws up a lot of challenges, particularly in screening women who are in far-flung rural areas and in hard-to- reach areas. In such situations, a trained health care worker can instead be given a point-of-care testing kit and, with just a drop of blood, test the woman for HbAlc at her own home. 
  • The study concluded that in India, an HbAic result of 4.9 rules out diabetes, while women who have a score of 5.4 or above can be 'ruled in' for gestational diabetes. If the risk score classifies them in the lowest risk group, they would not have to take an OGTT; only those in the intermediate group between these two values would have to do the more complicated test.
  •  "We roughly estimated this will be around 25% of all pregnant women," explained P. Saravanan, professor at the Warwick Medical School in the U.K.'s University of Warwick, and one of the authors of the study. 
  • For rural, remote areas "This would be particularly useful for women living in rural areas and hard-to- reach terrains where OGTT will be impossible to do. Although the direct cost of this is roughly double that of OGTT, if you include the cost of travel, lost wages, etc, it will be cost neutral. Moreover, HbAlc is currently more expensive partly because it is not used routinely. However, more usage will also bring the costs down," he added. V. Mohan of the Madras Diabetes Research Foundation, another author of the paper, said the big advantage is this could help avoid 50% to 64% of all the OGTTs being done currently. 
  • "While we believe that the OGTT is a gold stan- dard test and still do it in our labs, using point of care HbAlc test would real- ly make a difference in a public health setting, by being able to reach more women who might other- wise be left out of the net." 
  • Another of the authors, Uma Ram, senior obstetrician at Chennai's Seethapathy Clinic, pointed to two advantages of HbAlc test: it confers the ability to identify a high-risk group earlier on in pregnancy, and tervene with diet and exercise. There is data that early intervention helps prevent development of gestational diabetes. 

11.Jaipur Military Station becomes second military station in the country to have a plastic waste road 

  • Jaipur Military Station has become the second military station in India to have a road made of plastic waste. The road was inaugurated by Major General R S Godara, General Officer Commanding of 61 Sub Area. 
  • The road is 100 metres long and stretches from the Sagat Singh Road Under Bridge to the Cubs Corner Complex. The initiative aligns with the Indian Army's policy of building sustainable and green military stations, and was constructed in the aegis of GE (South), CE Jaipur Zone, Jaipur Area, with assistance from Deep Constructions Pvt. Ltd. 
  • Compared to conventional roads, roads made of plastic waste are more durable, suffer less wear and tear and enhance sustainability. The first military station to have a plastic waste road was Narangi Military Station in Guwahati, Assam, which was built in 2019. 
  • In 2015, the Indian government allowed the use of plastic waste in the construction of national highways on a pilot basis to tackle the problem of plastic waste. In 2017, the government allowed a mixture of 10 per cent plastic waste with hot bitumen to be used in road construction. In 2023, it became mandatory to use plastic waste in the construction and maintenance of research and service highways up to 50 kilometres in urban-rural areas with a population of five lakh or more. 
  • Roads made of plastic waste consume 15 per cent less coal tar and are more durable than conventional roads, lasting ten years instead of five. Due to the water-resistant properties of plastic, these roads do not have potholes, a common problem with conventional roads as rainwater seeps in and causes damage. Professor Rajagopalan Vasudevan 
  • Professor Rajagopalan Vasudevan of Madurai's Thyagarajar College of Engineering developed and patented the technology to use plastic waste in road construction. His method involves mixing plastic waste with hot bitumen and then coating this mixture on stones for road construction. Professor Vasudevan is known as the Indian Plastic Man, and was awarded the Padma Shri in 2018. 
  • A Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) audit confirmed that roads made from plastic waste do not face any potholes, or tangles even after four years. 

Science and Technology News 

12. ISRO will assemble Chandrayaan-4 in space under 'Spadex Mission' 

  • ISRO Chairman S Somanath said that Chandrayaan-4, which is going to bring back samples from the Moon, will not be launched in one go and instead, different parts of the spacecraft will be sent into orbit through two launches, and the spacecraft will be assembled in space before going to the Moon. 
  • We are developing docking capability (connecting different parts of a spacecraft) in space. A mission called 'Spadex' is scheduled later this year to demonstrate this capability. The aim is to launch Chandrayaan-4 by 2027. 
  • The Spadex (Space Docking Experiment) mission will be its first opportunity to demonstrate this capability. Under this, five modules will be installed for re-entry, transfer, ascent, descent and propulsion. 
  • In other words, separate investigations will be carried out for soft-landing on the lunar surface, taking samples, taking it to lunar orbit, traveling back to Earth and safe landing. 
  • The International Space Station and all previous similar facilities were built by connecting various parts in space. However, this will probably be the first time in the world that a spacecraft will be launched in parts and then assembled in space. 
  • The Chandrayaan-4 mission is one of the four project proposals for which the space agency plans to seek approval in line with its Vision 2047, which envisions India building its own space station by 2035 and sending humans to the moon by 2040. 
  • The first module for the Indian space station is scheduled to be launched by 2028 using the LVM3 rocket. The other four modules will be lifted up later using either the LVM3 or the next-generation launch vehicle (NGLV), which is currently under development. The entire station will be in place by 2035, Somnath said 

13. Railway Protection Force launches ‘Sangyaan App’ 

  • Director General of Railway Protection Force (RPF), Shri Manoj Yadav launched the mobile application – Sangyaan App, designed and developed by the technical team of RPF to provide indepth information on three new criminal Acts: Indian Code of Justice (BNS) 2023, Indian Code of Civil Defence (BNSS) 2023 and Indian Evidence Act (BSA) 2023. 
  • The Sangyaan App aims to educate and empower RPF personnel by providing them with comprehensive information to understand the provisions of both new and old criminal laws, as well as highlight the relevance of these new Acts in the context of RPF operations. 
  • The app features user-friendly navigation, searchable database and offline access, making it a practical tool for anyone wishing to stay informed about the latest legal developments in India. 
  • The app provides easy access to the original Acts of BNS, BNSS and BSA 2023, all optimised for mobile viewing. Users can easily read, search and refer to these laws on the go. 
  •  Inclusive legal database: Apart from the three new laws, the app includes other essential legal Acts and rules related to railway security.
  • This includes the Railway Protection Force Act, 1957, the Railways Act, 1989, Railway Property (Illegal Occupation) Act, 1966 and the RPF Rules, 1987.

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