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Daily & Latest Current Affairs in 2024

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P Santhosh
Sunil Kanoria
Yesh Nadkarni
Anand Piramal

Correct Answer :   P Santhosh

P Santhosh, Chief General Manager at Canara Bank, has been appointed as the Managing Director of National Asset Reconstruction Company (NARCL) with effect from 5th January 2024, succeeding Natarajan Sundar, who resigned from the post. This unexpected change in leadership at the government-promoted asset reconstruction organization has raised eyebrows within the industry.

Resignations in Top Management :

* Natarajan Sundar, a seasoned banking veteran who previously served as Deputy Managing Director at State Bank of India, is the second high-ranking official to resign from NARCL before completing the designated tenure. Last August, Karnam Sekar, the then Chairman of NARCL, also stepped down without providing a specific reason, leaving the organization amid uncertainty.

* Sundar had assumed the role of Managing Director on May 30, 2022, for a two-year term, similar to the tenure of his predecessor, Karnam Sekar. Both resignations occurred before completing the stipulated two-year period, raising questions about the stability and management structure of NARCL.

Merger Proposal and Previous Leadership Changes :

* The surprise resignation of Karnam Sekar was closely linked to a proposal to merge NARCL with India Debt Resolution Company (IDRCL), an entity that acts as a resolution agent. This proposal, initiated by IDRCL’s former head, Diwakar Gupta, prompted Sekar’s resignation. In November, Gupta was appointed Chairman of NARCL, while Narayan Sheshadri assumed the role of Chairman.

* The merger proposal aimed at streamlining the operations of both public sector NARCL and private sector IDRCL, with the former acting as the principal asset reconstruction company and the latter functioning as a resolution agent. However, the unexpected leadership changes have added an element of uncertainty to the proposed merger.

Upcoming Leadership Transition :

With P Santhosh taking over as the Managing Director of NARCL, the organization is expected to invite candidates to apply for the vacant position soon. Santhosh, who joined NARCL on deputation from Canara Bank, will play a crucial role in steering the asset reconstruction company through its mandate of acquiring bad loans and facilitating their resolution.

Financial Overview :

As of November, ten public sector banks had transferred Rs 11,617 crore in bad loans to NARCL. However, the recovery figures indicate a modest sum of Rs 16.64 crore as of November 30, 2023. These financial metrics underscore the challenges faced by NARCL in its mission to alleviate the burden of bad loans from the banking sector.

Published On : January 5, 2024
S. Jaishankar
J. P. Nadda
Narendra Modi
Nirmala Sitharaman

Correct Answer :   Narendra Modi

The Union Cabinet Chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved the overarching scheme “PRITHvi VIgyan (PRITHVI)” of Ministry of Earth Sciences, for implementation during the period from 2021-26 at an overall cost of Rs. 4,797 crore.

The scheme encompasses five ongoing sub-schemes namely “Atmosphere & Climate Research-Modelling Observing Systems & Services (ACROSS)”, “Ocean Services, Modelling Application, Resources and Technology (O-SMART)”, “Polar Science and Cryosphere Research (PACER)”, “Seismology and Geosciences (SAGE)” and “Research, Education, Training and Outreach (REACHOUT)”.

The major Objectives of the overarching Prithvi Scheme are :

* Augmentation and sustainance of long-term observations of the atmosphere, ocean, geosphere, cryosphere and solid earth to record the vital signs of the Earth System and change
* Development of modelling systems for understanding and predicting weather, ocean and climate hazards and understanding the science of climate change
* Exploration polar and high seas regions of the Earth towards discovery of new phenomena and resources;
* Development of technology for exploration and sustainable harnessing of oceanic resources for societal applications
* Translation of knowledge and insights from Earth systems science into services for societal, environmental and economic benefit.    

Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) is mandated to translate Science to Services for the Society in providing services for weather, climate, ocean and coastal state, hydrology, seismology, and natural hazards; to explore and harness marine living and non-living resources in a sustainable manner for the country and to explore the three poles of the Earth (Arctic, Antarctic and Himalayas). These services include weather forecasts (both on land and in the Oceans) and warnings for various natural disasters like tropical cyclones, storm surge, floods, heat waves, thunderstorm and lightning; alerts for Tsunamis and monitoring of earthquakes, etc. The services provided by the Ministry are being effectively used by different agencies and state governments for saving human lives and minimising damages to the properties due to natural disasters.

The research & development and operational (services) activities of MoES are carried out by ten Institutes of MoES, viz. India Meteorological Department (IMD), National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), Centre for Marine Living Resources and Ecology (CMLRE), National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR), National Centre for Seismology (NCS), National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Service (INCOIS), Hyderabad, National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune and National Centre for Earth Science Studies (NCESS). A fleet of oceanographic and coastal research vessels of the Ministry provide required research support for scheme.

Earth System Sciences deal with all the five components of the earth system: atmosphere, hydrosphere, geosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere and their complex interactions. The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) holistically addresses all the aspects relating to the Earth System Science. 

The overarching scheme of PRITHVI will holistically address all the five components of earth system to improve the understating of the Earth System Sciences and to provide reliable services for the country. Various components of PRITHVI scheme are inter-dependent and are carried out in an integrated manner through combined efforts of the concerned Institutes under MoES.

The overarching scheme of Prithvi Vigyan will enable development of integrated multi-disciplinary earth science research and innovative programs across different MoES institutes. These integrated R&D efforts will help in addressing the grand challenges of weather and climate, ocean, cryosphere, seismological science and services and explore the living and non-living resources for their sustainable harnessing..

Source : PIB

Published On : January 5, 2024
Sri Lanka

Correct Answer :   Nepal

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, currently on a two-day visit to Nepal, joined hands with his counterpart N P Saud to inaugurate three cross-border transmission lines. This marks a significant stride in enhancing connectivity between the two nations, fostering cooperation in the energy sector.

Bilateral Agreement for 10,000 MW Power Export: A Decade-Long Commitment :

India and Nepal solidified their commitment to a long-term energy partnership with the signing of an agreement for the export of 10,000 MW of power to India over the next 10 years. The bilateral agreement, signed by India’s Energy Secretary Pankaj Agrawal and Nepal’s Energy Secretary Gopal Sigdel, is a testament to the shared vision of sustainable energy cooperation.

Key Developments at the 7th Nepal-India Joint Commission Meeting :

The power export agreement was a highlight of the 7th meeting of the Nepal-India Joint Commission. The discussions encompassed various facets of bilateral ties, emphasizing trade and economic relations, connectivity projects, defence and security cooperation, agriculture, disaster management, tourism, and more. This meeting served as a platform for both nations to reaffirm their commitment to an all-encompassing and robust partnership.

Cooperation in Renewable Energy: Strengthening Commitment to Sustainability :

In addition to the power export agreement, an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in renewable energy was signed between the Nepal Electricity Authority and India’s National Thermal Power Corporation Limited. This underscores the joint commitment towards sustainable and eco-friendly energy solutions.

Nepal’s Perspective: A Breakthrough in the Power Sector :

Nepal’s Prime Minister, Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, hailed the power export agreement as a breakthrough in the nation’s power sector. The significance of this agreement is not only economic but also pivotal in ensuring energy security and fostering a balanced and sustainable development trajectory for Nepal.

Comprehensive Discussion on Bilateral Relations :

External Affairs Minister Jaishankar highlighted the breadth of discussions during his visit, covering a spectrum of topics such as land, rail, and air connectivity, cooperation in defence and security, agriculture, power, water resources, disaster management, tourism, civil aviation, and people-to-people and cultural exchange. These discussions underscore the multifaceted nature of the India-Nepal relationship.

Published On : January 5, 2024
₹806 Crore
₹927 Crore
₹1,034 Crore
₹1,156 Crore

Correct Answer :   ₹1,156 Crore

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated projects worth ₹1,156 crore during his visit to the Lakshadweep islands. Among these projects is the Kochi-Lakshadweep Islands Submarine Optical Fibre Cable, a ₹1,072-crore initiative providing 100 Gbps internet connectivity to the islands.

Enhancing Connectivity and Internet Speeds :

* The undersea cable link, executed by Japanese firm NEC and laid by BSNL, promises 100 times faster internet for the residents of Lakshadweep.
* Covering 1,868 kilometers, it connects Kavaratti, Agatti, Amini, Kadmat, Chetlet, Kalpeni, Minicoy, Androth, Kiltan, Bangaram, and Bitra.
* This initiative allows telecom companies to offer 4G, 5G, and high-speed broadband for the first time in the archipelago.

Multi-Faceted Development Initiatives :

* Apart from the internet cable, other projects include a thermal desalination plant, tap connections under Jan Jeevan Mission, a solar power plant, and the headquarters of Indian Reserve Battalion. The PM also laid the foundation for healthcare facility renovation and Nand Ghar model Anganwadis on different islands.

Empowering Youth through Education and Infrastructure :

* Highlighting the absence of higher education institutions in the past, PM Modi emphasized recent steps to address this issue. Initiatives include launching educational institutions for arts and science on Andrott and Kadmat islands and a Polytechnic College in Minicoy.

* The PM also distributed laptops to college students, bicycles to girl school students, Kisan Credit Cards, and PMJAY Cards, showcasing a holistic approach towards the socio-economic development of Lakshadweep.

Published On : January 5, 2024
$80 Billion
$86 Billion
$95 Billion
$103 Billion

Correct Answer :   $86 Billion

In preparation for the upcoming biennial Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, the Indian state of Gujarat has sealed preliminary investment deals totaling 7.17 trillion Indian rupees ($86.07 billion) with 58 companies spanning sectors like energy, oil and gas, and chemicals.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s home state has been strategically securing these agreements ahead of the summit scheduled from January 10 to January 12 in Gandhinagar.

Key Investment Highlights :

NTPC Renewable Energy Limited :

* Proposed investment of 900 billion Indian rupees ($10.80 billion) for 15 GW renewable energy parks, catering to agricultural power needs.
* Additional investment of 700 billion Indian rupees ($8.40 billion) for fuel cell electric vehicles, hydrogen blending, green chemicals production, and 5 GW hydrogen-based energy storage projects.

Torrent Power :

* Agreement to invest 474 billion Indian rupees ($5.69 billion) in solar power projects (3,450 MW and 7,000 MW capacity), green hydrogen, ammonia manufacturing, and distribution networks in cities like Ahmedabad and Surat.

With NTPC and Torrent Power leading the charge, these strategic investments signal a robust push by Gujarat to attract both foreign and domestic investors. This move is pivotal as Prime Minister Modi aims to bolster investment in the country ahead of the national elections, where he seeks a third term. Last month, the state government had already secured investment agreements amounting to $18.75 billion, setting the stage for a potentially record-breaking summit attendance.

Published On : January 5, 2024
Justice BR Gavai
Justice Ajay Sinha
Justice Sanjeev Khanna
Justice Satish Chandra Sharma

Correct Answer :   Justice BR Gavai

Supreme Court judge, Justice BR Gavai has been nominated by the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) as the Chairman of the Supreme Court Legal Services  Committee.

The Department of Justice issued a notification to this effect on December 29, 2023. Justice Gavai has replaced senior judge Justice Sanjeev Khanna.

Published On : January 4, 2024
TATA Group
Reliance Industry
Adani Group
Shriram Chemical

Correct Answer :   Reliance Industry

Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), the Mumbai-based conglomerate with a diverse portfolio in energy and petrochemical businesses, concluded the year 2023 on a remarkable note. The company achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first in India to produce ISCC-Plus certified chemically recycled polymers.

The Breakthrough Announcement :

On December 29, RIL proudly declared that it had successfully shipped its inaugural batch of ISCC-Plus certified circular polymers, named CircuRepol (polypropylene) and CircuRelene (polyethylene), to an undisclosed client. This achievement underscores RIL’s commitment to sustainable practices and innovation in the petrochemical industry.

ISCC-Plus Certification at Jamnagar Refinery :

The ISCC-Plus certification applies to RIL’s Jamnagar refinery, situated in the state of Gujarat. This recognition is a testament to the company’s dedication to meeting international standards for sustainable and environmentally friendly manufacturing processes. RIL’s Jamnagar refinery has implemented a continuous catalytic pyrolysis technology, designed to convert various plastic wastes, including single-use and multi-layered plastics, into pyrolysis oil.

Advanced Pyrolysis Technology :

RIL’s proprietary continuous catalytic pyrolysis technology stands out as a breakthrough in the quest for sustainable plastic waste management. While specific values for the technology’s performance were not disclosed, the company emphasizes that it yields high-quality pyrolysis oil. The successful validation of this technology at a demonstration scale signifies a step forward in addressing the global issue of plastic waste.

Production Capacity and Future Plans :

The Jamnagar refinery boasts a capacity to output up to 600 tonnes of pyrolysis oil per month. RIL, in a statement, outlined its long-term plans, which include the establishment of in-house technology plants and a strategic scaling up of capacities. This ambitious vision aligns with the conglomerate’s goal of making substantial contributions to a sustainable and circular economy.

ISCC Plus: A Globally Recognized Certification :

Internationally recognized, ISCC Plus stands as the leading global certification system providing supply chain transparency and traceability for sustainable feedstocks used in the production of chemically recycled polymers. Companies obtaining ISCC Plus certification commit to ensuring that the sustainability of their raw materials can be transparently traced from the field to the store. This involves adhering to mass balance or material segregation chain of custody models, which track the amount of bio-based, circular, or renewable content across the entire value chain.

Published On : January 4, 2024
Kotagarh Wildlife Sanctuary
Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary
Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary
Hadagarh Wildlife Sanctuary

Correct Answer :   Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary

Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary and Khinda Village, after Koraput, have become the latest additions to the Ministry of Tourism's revamped Swadesh Darshan 2.0 (SD2.0) scheme.

About Swadesh Darshan Scheme :

* It was launched in 2015 by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, to develop sustainable and responsible tourism destinations in the country.

* It is 100% centrally funded scheme.

* Under the scheme, the Ministry of Tourism provides financial assistance to State governments, Union Territory Administrations or Central Agencies for development of tourism infrastructure in the country.

* Operation & Maintenance (O&M) of the projects sanctioned under Swadesh Darshan Scheme is the responsibility of the respective State Government/UT Administration.

Swadesh Darshan 2.0 :

* The Ministry of Tourism has revamped its Swadesh Darshan scheme as Swadesh Darshan 2.0 (SD2.0) for development of sustainable and responsible tourist destinations covering tourism and allied infrastructure, tourism services, human capital development, destination management and promotion backed by policy and institutional reforms.

* The objective for the Swadesh Darshan 2.0 scheme envisage increase in private sector investment in tourism & hospitality.

* It may help in increasing Public Private Partnerships (PPP) in the field of tourism and operation and maintenance of the created assets under the scheme.

Key Facts about Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary :

* Location : It is situated in the Bargarh district of Odisha near the Hirakud dam (Mahanadi River).

* It finds a special mention because of noted freedom fighter Veer Surendra Sai. During his rebellion against the British, his base at ‘Barapathara” was located within the sanctuary.

* It was declared a wildlife sanctuary in 1985.

* Vegetation : Dry deciduous mixed forests.

* Flora : Major trees found here are Sal, Asana, Bija, Aanla, Dhaura etc.

* Fauna : A huge variety of wild animals reside in the dense forest of the sanctuary, such as Tiger, Sloth Bear, Leopard, Hyena, Spotted Deer, Antelopes, Sambar, Gaur, Nilgai, Bison, Langur Monkeys etc.

Published On : January 4, 2024

Correct Answer :   Manali

Chief Minister Thakur Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu on Tuesday (2nd Jan 2024) inaugurated the five-day long National Level Winter Carnival at Manali in Kullu district of Himachal Pradesh.

On the occasion, the chief minister offered prayers at the historic Hidimba Temple and flagged off the Carnival Parade from Circuit House, Manali. The Parade featured more than 250 Mahila Mandals and cultural troupes from Himachal Pradesh and other states, presenting a vibrant display of traditions, cultures along with messages supporting social causes.

Sukhu also inaugurated a cultural programme at Manu Rangshala, the stage for the five-day festivity.

The carnival will witness performances from as many as 25 cultural groups from various states, including star-studded nights.

The chief minister expressed keen interest in the tableaux brought out by Mahila Mandals, departments and other institutions. Addressing a public meeting on the occasion, he announced an increase in ‘Protsahan Raashi’ (incentive) for Mahila Mandals from Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 25,000.

Additionally, a provision of Rs 10 crore would be made for a new bridge near Pandrah (fifteen) Mile in Manali.

“The Rohtang Manalsu, a tourism hotel at Manali, will be renovated. Besides, a study will be conducted to explore the possibility of creating parking on the land of the electricity board,” he said, announcing plans to organise skiing events in Manali in the near future.

Reiterating that the Kullu district had suffered huge losses during last year’s disaster, he said 16,000 houses were damaged in the state, with 4,000 being completely destroyed.

The chief minister condemned the state BJP leaders for making unhealthy statements when the state was reeling under the catastrophe of the decade. However, during the session, the BJP leaders did not support the state government’s resolution to declare the calamity a ‘National Disaster’.

He said despite his willingness to collaborate for the state’s benefit, no MP from BJP approached the Prime Minister for financial assistance. “Despite financial constraints, the state government announced Rs. 4500 crore special relief package for disaster-affected families,” Sukhu added.

Appreciating the annual Winter Carnival, Public Works Minister Vikramaditya Singh said the event prominently showcases the region’s rich culture, and traditions besides giving special recognition to the women involved.

He praised women for their positive contributions across various fields and acknowledged the Chief Minister’s relentless efforts in disaster relief and rescue operations.

Singh said the state government ensured the timely delivery of apples to markets thereby saving orchardists from financial loss.

Emphasising the need to learn from disasters, he said that the state government was actively working to boost tourism..

Source : The States Man

Published On : January 4, 2024
Uttar Pradesh

Correct Answer :   Uttar Pradesh

The Uttar Pradesh Government has opened a Rahat Vani Kendra in the state capital, in order to prevent loss of life and property caused by various types of natural and man-made disasters.

* UP Chief Secretary Durga Shankar Mishra said, “Through the information system, people will be given timely information about the occurring natural disasters, so that they can become aware and take action on it.”

* He said that emergency operation centres have also been strengthened at the district level, and the meteorological information network in the state is also being improved.

* He further stated that the meteorological department’s current 68 aviation weather centres and 132 automated rainguage stations are not enough for the state, and therefore, the state government is providing the department with additional equipment to improve their operations.

* Among these equipments, lightning sensors are being installed which will sound a warning 30 minutes to an hour ahead of the lightning strike, and river sensors too, which will provide an early warning on floods.

* “Through this Rahat Vani Centre, the work of disseminating early warnings of disaster to the people in real time through various mediums will be done so that the loss of lives due to disaster in the state can be reduced,” said the Chief Secretary..

Published On : January 4, 2024