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Daily & Latest Current Affairs in 2024

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Correct Answer : Option (D) - Gujarat

Drawing inspiration from the submersible expedition to the Titanic shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean, the Gujarat government plans to dive into deep underwater tourism by signing an MoU with Mazgaon Dockyard Limited (MDL) to acquire a submarine.

* The initiative aims to provide unique underwater experiences in the untouched waters around Bet Dwarka, a small island near the existing Dwarka, and to the sunken lost city of Dwarka in the Arabian Sea.

* Dwaraka city holds tremendous significance for Hindus, as it is believed to be established by Lord Krishna.

* The forthcoming Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, slated for 10 January 2024 in Gandhinagar, is likely to be the platform for the official declaration about the submarine tourism project.

* This will be the first underwater tourism facility in India through a submarine. As per the current plan, the government aims to operationalise the project before Diwali in October 2024.

* The Gujarat government and MDL will collaboratively work to construct a submarine estimated to weigh approximately 35 tonnes, with the ability to carry 30 passengers.

* This submarine will feature seating for 24 passengers in two rows, each seat equipped with a window view, enabling passengers to enjoy the oceanic beauty at 300 feet deep with ease.

* Sanjeev Singhal, the Chairman and Managing Director of MDL, stated that even though the MoU is already signed, the commencement of the submarine's construction will only take place following the final decision from the state government.

* “We have entered into an MoU with the government of Gujarat. We are still at the MoU level and until something is finalised, we cannot go ahead with the construction of the said submarine,” Singhal was quoted as saying by Times of India.

* The mystery surrounding the existence of Dwarka, its prosperity as a city, and its eventual sinking, has fuelled many archaeological investigations along the Indian shoreline.

* These explorations have revealed submerged walls that were once components of a fortified city, as well as pottery, sculptures, and other artifacts.

* Dwarka remains a well-known destination for spiritual journeys. The renowned Dwarkadhish Temple of present-day Dwarka, also referred to as Jagat Mandir, serves as a significant place for devotion and a notable landmark.

* The initiative of the state government to launch a submarine tourism project in Gujarat has the potential to change the state's tourism industry.

* Apart from reshaping the tourism landscape, it also holds the promise of generating employment prospects and luring investments to the region..

Source : Swarajyamag

Published On : January 2, 2024
Choi Soo-jong
Dong Jun
Lan Fo'an
Hui Ka Yan

Correct Answer : Option (B) - Dong Jun

China has announced the appointment of a new defence minister, two months after the previous office holder, Li Shangfu, was stripped from his position without explanation.

* The Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress – China’s de facto legislature – announced on Friday (29th Dec 2023) that Dong Jun, 62, would be the new defence minister. Dong was most recently the chief of China’s navy.

* The announcement comes days after three senior executives from the aerospace defence industry were removed from a top advisory body to the Chinese Communist party (CCP) as part of a shake-up of the military that is thought to be linked to an anti-graft campaign that may have ensnared Li.

* Li was formally removed as defence minister in late October, but he has not been seen in public since 25 August. He is thought to be under investigation for corruption related to the procurement of military equipment. He was head of the military equipment procurement department of the central military commission between 2017 and 2022.

* Wen-Ti Sung, a political scientist at Australian National University, wrote on X that the appointment of a navy chief as defence minister “is a sign of China seeing South China Sea as a new priority area of geopolitical contestation between China and the US”.

* In August, two senior rocket force commanders were replaced in a shake-up of what is considered to be one of the People’s Liberation Army’s most important divisions. The new rocket force commander is Wang Houbin, who came from the navy.

* Li also lost his position as state councillor in October. Dong has not been appointed to fill that role, nor will he fill the vacancy left by Li on the central military commission. As defence minister, Dong’s job is to be a public representative of the military and engage in diplomacy, but he does not have control over the armed forces. That power is held by China’s president, Xi Jinping, who is the chairperson of the central military commission, as well as the general secretary of the CCP.

* Unlike Li, Dong is not thought to be subject to US sanctions, which may ease his ability to engage in military diplomacy with the US. During his seven months as defence minister, Li did not meet his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin, in protest at the sanctions from Washington.

* Dialogue between Washington and Beijing is seen as important in lowering the risk of conflict in the Taiwan Strait and the South China Sea. When Xi Jinping and Joe Biden met in San Francisco in November, they agreed to resume senior-level military talks..

Source : The Guardian

Published On : January 2, 2024
Arvind Panagariya
Suman Bery
Jagdish Bhagwati
Arvind Subramanian

Correct Answer : Option (A) - Arvind Panagariya

* The government on Sunday (31st Dec 2023) appointed former Niti Aayog vice chairman Arvind Panagariya as the Chairman of the 16th Finance Commission.

* Joint Secretary in the finance ministry Ritvik Ranjanam Pandey will be the secretary to the commission, the government said in a notification.

* "The President is pleased to constitute a Finance Commission with Dr Arvind Panagariya, former Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog and Professor, Columbia University, as the Chairman. Members of the Commission will be notified separately," it said.

* The commission will submit its report for the five-year period (2026-27 to 2030-31) to the President by October 31, 2025.

* The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, last month approved the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the 16th Finance Commission.

* Besides suggesting tax devolution between the Centre and states and revenue augmentation measures, the commission would review the present arrangements for financing disaster management initiatives with reference to the funds constituted under the Disaster Management Act, 2005.

* The Finance Commission is a constitutional body that gives suggestions on centre-state financial relations.

* The erstwhile 15th Finance Commission under NK Singh had recommended that states be given 41 per cent of the divisible tax pool of the Centre during the five-year period 2021 22 to 2025 26, which is at the same level as was recommended by the 14th Finance Commission..

Source : India Today

Published On : January 2, 2024
Uttar Pradesh

Correct Answer : Option (B) - Gujarat

Key Points :

* More than 50,000 people participated in a synchronized Surya Namaskar across 108 locations within the state
* Gujarat's first Milestone of 2024 with a Guinness World Record
* Under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, Gujarat upholds its tradition of leading the way under the guidance of Chief Minister Shri Bhupendra Patel
* Modhera Surya Mandir establishes a world record for a synchronized Surya Namaskar session, illuminated by the first sunrise of 2024
* Chief Minister Shri Bhupendra Patel and Minister of State for Sports Shri Harsh Sanghavi joined the state-level Surya Namaskar competition
* Ministers and officials were present at district centres to motivate participants.

Gujarat, known for its rich cultural heritage and commitment to health and wellness, achieved a remarkable feat on New Year’s morning by making an indelible mark in the Guinness Book of World Records. The state hosted the largest simultaneous Surya Namaskar performance, involving over 4,000 participants from 108 locations across 51 categories.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Commends the Extraordinary Achievement :

Prime Minister Narendra Modi applauded the extraordinary achievement, emphasizing the state’s commitment to yoga and cultural heritage. In a post on social media platform X, he stated, “Gujarat welcomed 2024 with a remarkable feat – setting a Guinness World Record for the most people performing Surya Namaskar simultaneously at 108 venues! This is indeed a true testament to our commitment to Yoga and our cultural heritage.”

* He further urged people to incorporate Surya Namaskar into their daily routines, highlighting the immense health benefits associated with this ancient practice.

The Significance of 108 and Iconic Venues :

The chosen number of 108 holds special significance in Indian culture, and the venues for the mega event included the iconic Modhera Sun Temple. In Vedic culture, esteemed mathematicians regarded 108 as a symbol of complete existence, linking it to the Sun, Moon, and Earth. The average distance from the Earth to the Sun and Moon is precisely 108 times their respective diameters.

* Participants from diverse backgrounds, including families, students, yoga enthusiasts, and seniors, actively engaged in the practice at various locations, creating a grand spectacle.

Gujarat CM Bhupesh Patel on Record-Breaking Surya Namaskar Event

Gujarat Chief Minister Bhupesh Patel shared, “Om Suryaye Namah. The first day of the year 2024 turned out to be a wonderful confluence of yoga, spirituality, culture, and health. Overall, around 50,000 people from across the state participated in the Suryanamaskar event. Gujarat set a Guinness World Record by performing the largest number of Surya Namaskars simultaneously at different places.”

Understanding Sun Salutation :

Sun Salutation, also known as Surya Namaskar or Salute to the Sun, is a yoga practice that involves a flow sequence of twelve linked asanas. The asana sequence, dedicated to the Hindu solar deity, Surya, was first recorded as yoga in the early 20th century. The practice gained popularity thanks to Bhawanrao Shriniwasrao Pant Pratinidhi, the Rajah of Aundh, and was later adopted into yoga by Krishnamacharya in the Mysore Palace.

Sun Salutation: Diverse Poses, Mantras, and Global Recognition :

The sequence involves moving from a standing position into Downward and Upward Dog poses and then back to the standing position, with many variations possible. In some Indian traditions, each position is associated with a different mantra. While the precise origins of Sun Salutation remain uncertain, its integration into yoga has made it a widely practiced and revered sequence, as demonstrated by Gujarat’s historic Guinness World Record achievement..

Source : CMO Gujarat

Published On : January 2, 2024
January 3
January 2
January 1
December 31

Correct Answer : Option (C) - January 1

Global Family Day, celebrated annually on January 1, marks a universal commitment to peace, unity, and the shared values of humanity. As we step into 2024, this day takes on the theme “Embracing Diversity, Strengthening Families,” underscoring the rich mosaic of cultures and experiences that knit together the global family.

Global Family Day 2024 Theme :

The theme for 2024, “Embracing Diversity, Strengthening Families,” is a call to celebrate our differences while acknowledging the fundamental bonds that connect us. It’s an invitation to recognize the diverse tapestry of human experience and how it contributes to the strength of familial bonds worldwide.

Global Family Day Historical Context :

The roots of Global Family Day lie in the United Nations General Assembly’s proclamation in 1997 of the International Decade for the Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World. By 1999, Global Family Day was established as a day dedicated to peace-building strategies, an initiative that has grown in significance with each passing year.

Global Family Day 2024 Significance :

Also known as World Peace Day, Global Family Day is more than a symbolic observance. It’s a call to action for harmony and understanding amidst a world often divided by conflicts and strife. Celebrating this day involves raising awareness of global issues, promoting peace, and fostering a sense of global community.

Published On : January 1, 2024
Line App
Signal App
WeChat App
Sandes App

Correct Answer : Option (D) - Sandes App

In a strategic move aimed at bolstering data security and prioritizing indigenous technology, paramilitary forces are set to transition to the ‘Sandes App’ for all official communication and document sharing in the new year. This shift underscores the growing importance of safeguarding sensitive information and ensuring secure messaging platforms within security organizations.

Background :

The decision to adopt the ‘Sandes App’ stems from the prevalent use of WhatsApp for internal communication within paramilitary forces. While WhatsApp has been a popular choice, the paramount emphasis on data safety necessitated a transition to a platform designed and developed in India. The ‘Sandes App,’ developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC), emerges as a robust alternative.

What is ‘Sandes App’ and Its Features?

The ‘Sandes’ application is an open source-based indigenous instant messaging platform tailored to meet the stringent security requirements of government organizations. Its key features include:

* End-to-End Encryption : Ensuring secure and private messaging communication.

* Encrypted Backup : Safeguarding data with an additional layer of encryption during backup processes.

* Encrypted OTP Service : Providing secure one-time password services for authentication.

* Data Privacy : The app does not share data with third parties and adheres to the privacy and data policies governed by the Government of India.

Integration with Government Services :

To enhance functionality and efficiency, the ‘Sandes App’ has been seamlessly integrated with NIC email, DigiLocker, and e-office. However, full access to these features is currently available only to government-verified users. Employees of government organizations are required to undergo verification by contacting the Nodal officer of their respective Ministry/Department.

Trial Run and App Readiness :

A trial run of the ‘Sandes App’ identified and rectified several glitches, ensuring a smooth user experience. The updated version of the application is now deemed ready for use, meeting the stringent requirements of paramilitary forces.

Implementation Timeline :

Starting from the first week of January, all paramilitary forces, including the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), are advised to transition to the ‘Sandes App’ for all official communication and document sharing.

Government’s Commitment to Secure Technology :

This shift towards the ‘Sandes App’ exemplifies the government’s commitment to utilizing secure and indigenous technology for communication within its organizations. As the focus on data security continues to intensify, this move sets a precedent for other government agencies to prioritize secure messaging platforms and reinforce national cybersecurity measures.

Published On : December 29, 2023
Nina Singh
Sonia Narang
Sangeeta Kalia
Aparna Kumar

Correct Answer : Option (A) - Nina Singh

The Centre on Thursday (28th Dec 2023) appointed Nina Singh as the first woman Director General of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF). She will hold the top post till July 31, 2024.

"Nina Singh, IPS (RJ: 89) assumed the charge of DG #CISF engraving a historic milestone as the first woman to helm this esteemed position. Her visionary leadership will usher this multi-skilled and multi-dimensional force to greater heights," CISF wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

Who is Nina Singh?

* Singh, a 1989-batch IPS officer of Rajasthan cadre, is currently the Special Director General of CISF, which mans airports, Delhi Metro, government buildings and strategic installations throughout the country.

* Nina Singh was inducted into the Indian Police Service (IPS) as a Manipur-cadre officer. However, she later moved to Rajasthan cadre.

All you need to know about Nina Singh, the first woman appointed as CISF chief

* The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved Nina Singh's appointment to the post of DG, CISF till July 31, 2024, i.e. the date of her superannuation or till further orders, a Personnel Ministry order stated.

* Nina Singh, who hails from Bihar, studied at the Patna Women’s College and the Jawaharlal Nehru University. She also holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from Harvard University.

* Singh has been a part of CISF since 2021. Her husband Rohit Kumar Singh is also an IAS officer and is currently posted as the Secretary of Union consumer affairs ministry.

* Nina Singh has also served as the Joint Director of CBI previously. At that time, she oversaw high-profile cases including the Sheena Bora murder case and the Jiah Khan suicide case.

* She has been holding the additional charge of CISF DG since the superannuation of Sheel Vardhan Singh on August 31, 2023.

Published On : December 29, 2023
29th Dec 2023
27th Dec 2023
25th Dec 2023
24th Dec 2023

Correct Answer : Option (B) - 27th Dec 2023

Jacques Delors, former European Commission chief and a founding father of the European Union’s (EU) historic single currency project, has died. He was 98.

* The French socialist and ardent advocate of post-war European integration died in his sleep at his Paris home on Wednesday (27th Dec 2023), his family said.

* Delors served as president of the European Commission for three terms – longer than any other holder of the office – from January 1985 until the end of 1994.

* During Delors’s decade as the European Commission chief, the EU completed its integrated single market and agreed to introduce a single currency, the euro, and built a common foreign and security policy.

* The then-12-nation bloc also set the conditions on his watch for eventually admitting the former communist states of Central and Eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

* Delors also served as finance minister under French President Francois Mitterrand from 1981 to 1984.

* But he declined to run for the presidency in 1995 despite being overwhelmingly ahead in the polls, a decision he put down to “a desire for independence that was too great”.

* “I have no regrets,” he said about that decision later. “But I am not saying I was right.”

* The current French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the former EU leader as an “inexhaustible architect of our Europe” and a fighter for human justice..

Source : Aljazeera

Published On : December 29, 2023
South Korea

Correct Answer : Option (A) - South Korea

The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) signed a free trade agreement with South Korea on Thursday (28th Dec 2023), its second trade deal this year, as the six-member bloc intensifies efforts to boost investment ties with major economic partners in Asia.

South Korea will remove tariffs on almost 90% of all items, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), and other petroleum products, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency, while the Gulf states will scrap tariffs on 76.4% of traded products and 4% of traded goods.

The FTA will also cover trade in goods, services, government procurement, as well as cooperation among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), customs procedures, intellectual property, among others, a GCC statement said.

The GCC has signed few FTAs due to the complications of navigating competing priorities within the bloc, and talks such as those with China, which began in 2004, can take years.

Trade talks have, however, gathered momentum as Gulf states - largely dependent on oil and gas for revenue - seek to diversify their economies and develop new sources of income.

Trade between the Gulf and South Korea jumped to $78 billion from $50 billion between 2021 and 2022, according to data from London-based think tank Asia House, while the bloc's trade with emerging Asia, which includes China, surged to $516 billion last year from $383 billion in 2021.

The GCC-South Korea talks, which began in 2007, were put on hold for almost 13 years before being revived last year.

GCC Secretary General Jasem al-Budaiwi, in the statement, called the agreement "a historic step towards achieving Gulf economic integration and towards strengthening economic and trade relations between the two sides".

South Korea's Trade Minister Ahn Duk-geun also welcomed the deal, saying it would "maximise synergy effects between trade, industry and energy".

Earlier this year, the GCC - comprising Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain - signed a free trade agreement with Pakistan, advanced negotiations with China, and restarted talks with Japan. FTA talks with Britain are also underway.

The UAE has also initiated a raft of bilateral trade deals since 2021, part of a strategy to advance its economic and political priorities amid growing regional competition, particularly with Saudi Arabia. In October, the UAE and South Korea concluded negotiations for a bilateral trade agreement...

Source : Reuters

Published On : December 29, 2023
Uttar Pradesh

Correct Answer : Option (C) - Gujarat

Wardwizard Foods and Beverages Limited recently witnessed a significant surge in its shares, rising by 9.98 per cent, following the company’s collaboration with the government of Gujarat. The strategic move was formalized through a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by DH Shah, Managing Director of Gujarat Agro Industries Corporation Limited, and Sheetal Bhalerao, Chairperson and Managing Director of Wardwizard Foods and Beverages Limited.

Expanding Horizons: The Framework of the MoU :

The MoU serves as a blueprint for Wardwizard’s ambitious plans to expand its operations within the state of Gujarat. The company is set to focus on the production of a diverse range of products, including ready-to-eat foods, mayonnaise sauce, frozen foods, and more. This expansion initiative is backed by a substantial investment of Rs 500 crore, signaling a significant commitment to the growth and development of the region’s food industry.

Visionary Leadership: Sheetal Bhalerao’s Perspective :

Sheetal Bhalerao, the visionary leader steering Wardwizard Foods and Beverages Limited, expressed enthusiasm about the collaboration with the government of Gujarat. According to Bhalerao, this partnership goes beyond mere food manufacturing; it’s a strategic effort aimed at reshaping Gujarat’s economic landscape. Bhalerao is confident that this collaboration will not only foster sustained economic growth but also create substantial employment opportunities.

Economic Impact: Paving the Way for Growth :

The partnership between Wardwizard and the government of Gujarat is expected to have a lasting impact on the economic trajectory of the region. The infusion of Rs 500 crore into the state’s economy is set to stimulate various sectors, contributing to job creation and fostering entrepreneurship. Bhalerao anticipates that this collaboration will generate 750 employment opportunities in the foreseeable future, underscoring the socio-economic benefits of the initiative.

Diversification of Product Portfolio: A Strategic Move :

Wardwizard’s decision to focus on the production of ready-to-eat foods, mayonnaise sauce, frozen foods, and other products aligns with the evolving consumer preferences and market trends. By diversifying its product portfolio, the company aims to cater to a broader audience, ensuring sustained growth and competitiveness in the dynamic food industry.

Published On : December 29, 2023