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19-January-2024-Daily-Current-Affairs

January 19 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm

9 KILLED AS PAK. LAUNCHES RETALIATORY AIR STRIKES

GS 3 (SECURITY): SOURCE – THE HINDU

Tensions between Pakistan and Iran escalated as both countries engaged in retaliatory air strikes, with Pakistan targeting alleged militant hideouts in Iran. The strikes come amid accusations of providing safe havens to Baloch militant groups with separatist goals on both sides of the border.

Retaliatory Air Strikes by Pakistan:

  • Pakistan’s Air Force conducted retaliatory air strikes against alleged militant hideouts in Iran.
  • At least nine people were reported killed in the attack, targeting Baloch militant groups with similar separatist goals.
  • The action was based on credible intelligence regarding impending large-scale terrorist activities, according to Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry.

Casualties and Diplomatic Response:

  • Iran reported casualty figures, including three women, four children, and two men near the border town of Saravan.
  • Pakistan’s caretaker Prime Minister cut short his trip to Davos and returned home.
  • Iran summoned Pakistan’s charge d’affaires, and Pakistan had already withdrawn its Ambassador following Tuesday’s attack.

Risk of Escalation:

  • Iran initiated an annual air defence drill named “Velayat 1402” from the Chabahar port, raising concerns about potential escalation.
  • The drill includes live fire exercises involving aircraft, drones, and air defence systems.

Baloch Liberation Army’s Response:

  • The Baloch Liberation Army, an ethnic separatist group, claimed that the strikes targeted and killed its people, accusing Pakistan of martyring innocent Baloch individuals.
  • Pakistan’s military described using various weapons, including “killer drones, rockets, loitering munitions, and standoff weapons.”

Conclusion:

The retaliatory air strikes between Pakistan and Iran have heightened tensions, with casualties reported and the risk of escalation looming. The situation underscores the complex regional dynamics, involving accusations of supporting militant groups and retaliatory military actions. The diplomatic response and the Baloch Liberation Army’s claims add layers of complexity to the evolving situation. International attention and efforts may be crucial in preventing further escalation and fostering regional stability.

TWEAK IN DRUG PROCUREMENT PROCESS ON CARDS AFTER CBI STARTS PROBE INTO ‘SUBSTANDARD’ DRUGS

GS 2 (POLITY AND GOVERNANCE): SOURCE – THE HINDU

In response to a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the discovery of “not of standard quality” medicines at Delhi-run hospitals, authorities are considering changes in the drug procurement process. The proposed adjustments aim to enhance quality control and ensure the safety of medicines provided at hospitals.

Proposed Changes in Drug Procurement:

Extended Storage Period:

  • Medicines will be stored at hospitals for approximately two months before distribution.
  • This allows time for thorough testing of random samples to ensure quality.

Pre-Distribution Testing:

  • Random samples of medicines will undergo testing before being distributed to hospitals.
  • Certificates from laboratories verifying the quality of each batch are essential before acceptance by hospital stores.

Revised Tender Rules:

  • Tender rules are being reworked to incorporate these changes in the procurement process.
  • No new tenders have been issued during this adjustment period.

Current Procurement Process:

  • Medicines in Delhi are primarily procured by the Central Procurement Authority (CPA) of the State government through online portals.
  • The selected company sends medicines directly to different hospital stores.

Conclusion:

The decision to modify drug procurement processes comes after instances of “substandard” medicines were reported. By extending the storage period and implementing pre-distribution testing, authorities aim to bolster quality assurance and prevent the distribution of medicines that do not meet required standards. These changes are part of an ongoing effort to address concerns raised regarding the quality of drugs supplied to Delhi-run hospitals.

‘CENTRE ATTEMPTING TO RUN RIVAL GOVERNMENTS USING GOVERNORS’

GS 2 (POLITY AND GOVERNANCE): SOURCE – THE HINDU

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, also the DMK president, has raised concerns about the functioning of Governors in States, alleging interference that goes against the principles of democracy. According to Mr. Stalin, the Centre, particularly during the BJP’s 10-year rule, has undermined the rights of States, encroaching upon areas such as education, language, finance, and law.

Challenges to States’ Rights:

Ten-Year BJP Rule:

  • States, as per Mr. Stalin, faced deprivation of their rights during the BJP’s decade-long rule.
  • The Centre’s interventions affected crucial sectors like education, language, finance, and law.

Autocratic Attitudes:

  • Stalin observes a rise in autocratic attitudes that contradict democratic principles.
  • Alleges that the Centre is attempting to influence State governments through nominated Governors, which goes against constitutional norms.

DMK’s Response and Capacity:

Defending Democracy:

  • Stalin asserts that the DMK has the strength to democratically counter attempts to convert spiritual sentiments into politics, incite communalism, and impose language preferences.

Resistance to Cultural Impositions:

  • DMK opposes attempts to impose Hindi and Sanskrit, aiming to protect regional languages and cultural diversity.
  • Rejects the saffronization of political narratives.

Call to Action:

Youth Wing Conference:

  • Urgent need to continue the fight against perceived threats in all States.
  • The DMK’s youth wing conference in Salem on January 21 will carry forward this message.

Symbolic Message:

  • Recalling his active involvement in the party’s youth wing, Mr. Stalin sees the conference as a way to stay mentally young, especially amid efforts to reclaim India from what he refers to as a “dark period.”

Conclusion:

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin expresses concern over the perceived overreach of Governors and the Centre’s actions affecting State rights. The DMK aims to resist cultural impositions, defend democratic principles, and send a strong message through its youth wing conference against what it views as detrimental changes in the political landscape.

INDIA’S DOMESTIC AIR PASSENGER TRAFFIC SET TO TOUCH 300 MILLION BY 2030, SAYS CIVIL AVIATION MINISTER

GS 3 (SECURITY): SOURCE – THE INDIAN EXPRESS

Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya M. Scindia projects a significant surge in India’s domestic air passenger traffic, estimating it to reach 300 million by 2030. This forecast reflects a nearly twofold increase from the 153 million passengers recorded in 2023. Minister Scindia highlighted this projection at the ‘Wings India 2024’ conference in Hyderabad, emphasizing the growth potential of the civil aviation sector.

Growth Potential and Under-Penetration:

Under-Penetrated Market:

  • India’s domestic air passenger traffic, even with the anticipated rise, would remain under-penetrated globally, moving from 3-4% to 10-15% among the top 20 markets by 2030.

Government’s Facilitative Approach:

  • Minister Scindia emphasizes the government’s commitment to facilitating growth rather than being regulatory.
  • The goal is to support a $20 trillion economy by 2047 through capacity creation, bottleneck removal, and simplified procedures.

Infrastructure Development:

Airport Expansion:

  • The government has modernized or added 75 airports, waterdromes, and heliports in the past decade, in contrast to 74 airports in the previous 65 years.

Tier II and III Cities:

  • Efforts are directed at bringing more cities, especially in tier II and III categories, onto the aviation map.

Fleet Expansion:

Rising Fleet Size:

  • India’s fleet size, currently surpassing 700, is projected to exceed 2,000 in the next decade.
  • India emerges as the world’s largest purchaser of aircraft after the U.S. and China.

Workforce and Infrastructure Strengthening:

Air Traffic Controllers:

  • The number of air traffic controllers has risen from 2,700 to almost 4,000.
  • An additional 500 employees are expected to join this year.

Conclusion:

Minister Scindia’s vision underscores India’s potential for robust growth in the civil aviation sector, focusing on infrastructure development, fleet expansion, and workforce strengthening. The government’s facilitative approach aims to position India as a major player in the global aviation landscape.

BUDDHA’S TEACHINGS ARE NOT RELICS OF THE PAST, BUT A COMPASS FOR OUR FUTURE: VICE-PRESIDENT (VP)

GS 1 (HISTORY): SOURCE – INDIAN EXPRESS

Vice-President (VP) emphasizes the enduring significance of Buddha’s teachings, portraying them not as relics of the past but as a guiding compass for the future. Buddha’s wisdom, rooted in the 6th century BC, offers timeless principles that hold contemporary relevance.

                  

Teachings of Buddha:

Life’s Sorrow and Freedom:

  • Buddha’s 6th-century teachings convey that life entails sorrow, and overcoming desire is the path to freedom.

Core Tenets:

  • ‘Four Noble Truths’ and ‘Eight-Fold Path’ (Ashtangika Marg) constitute the essence of Buddha’s teachings.
  • Advocacy for a ‘Middle Path’ promoting a balanced life between austerity and luxury.

Contemporary Relevance:

  • Citizen-Centric Governance: Right speech, conduct, and livelihood from Buddha’s teachings can enhance administration’s responsiveness and service orientation.
  • Promoting Scientific Temper: Mindfulness, concentration, and right understanding foster a spirit of inquiry, aligning with the pursuit of scientific knowledge.
  • Sustainable Development: The ‘Middle Path’ concept offers a solution to modern challenges like consumerism, climate change, and corruption.
  • Egalitarian Society: Eliminating discrimination against vulnerable sections aligns with Buddha’s teachings, promoting a just and egalitarian society.
  • Inter-Faith Harmony and Peace: Buddha’s approach neither accepting nor rejecting the existence of God fosters a spirit of love and emphasizes karma to curb wars, terrorism, and violence.

Central Theme:

  • Buddha’s central teachings revolve around the ‘Four Noble Truths’ addressing suffering, its cause, its end, and the path to liberation.
  • The ‘Eight-Fold Path’ outlines the right views, aspiration, speech, action, livelihood, effort, mindfulness, and concentration.

Conclusion:

Buddha’s teachings, encapsulated in the ‘Four Noble Truths’ and ‘Eight-Fold Path,’ transcend time, offering valuable insights for contemporary challenges. The VP underscores their enduring relevance, portraying Buddha’s wisdom as a timeless guide for navigating the complexities of the future.

DECODING INDIA’S CHANGING MONSOON PATTERNS: A TEHSIL LEVEL ASSESSMENT” REPORT RELEASED BY CEEW

GS 2 (GEOGRAPHY): SOURCE – INDIAN EXPRESS

The “Decoding India’s Changing Monsoon Patterns: A Tehsil Level Assessment” report by the Council on Energy, Environment, and Water (CEEW) provides insights into meteorological data from 1982 to 2022, focusing on India’s monsoon dynamics. Analyzing climate change projections and recent trends, the report sheds light on shifts in southwest and northeast monsoons.

   

Key Findings:

Climate Change Projections:

  • Indicate a 10-14% surge in southwest monsoon rainfall in India by the end of the 21st century.

Trends Over the Past Decade (2012-22):

  • Southwest Monsoon: More than half of the tehsils witnessed an increased frequency of heavy rainfall, especially in high GDP states. Indo-Gangetic plains and northeast reported more dry days.
  • Northeast Monsoon: No significant changes in the frequency and intensity of rainfall events or dry days.

Recommendations:

  • Prioritize localized decision-making through mapping monsoon performance at a more granular level.
  • Develop district-level climate action plans incorporating tehsil-level climate risk assessments.
  • Invest in automatic weather stations and community-based recordings for accurate data.

Monsoon in India:

  • Southwest Monsoon (June to September): Arises from an intense low-pressure system over the Tibetan plateau, contributing around 75% of India’s rainfall.
  • Northeast Monsoon (October to December): Arises due to high-pressure cells over the Siberian and Tibetan plateaus, contributing about 11% of India’s annual rainfall.

Conclusion:

The report emphasizes the urgency of adapting to changing monsoon patterns, suggesting localized decision-making and comprehensive climate action plans. Understanding these shifts is crucial for building resilience against the impacts of climate change on India’s monsoons.

NGO PRATHAM RELEASES ITS ‘ANNUAL STATUS OF EDUCATION REPORT (ASER) 2023: BEYOND BASICS’

GS 3 (SOCIETY): SOURCE – INDIAN EXPRESS

The ‘Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2023: Beyond Basics,’ released by NGO Pratham, provides a comprehensive analysis of the educational landscape for rural youth aged 14-18. Focusing beyond basic enrollment, the report delves into enrollment patterns, learning levels, additional activities, and digital access.

Key Highlights:

  • Enrollment Patterns: 8% of rural youth are enrolled in school or college. 84% have completed 8 or more years of schooling, showcasing an improvement from 81% in 2017.
  • Learning Levels: 25% of the age group struggles to read a Standard II level text fluently in their regional language. Females outperform males in regional language reading, while males excel in arithmetic and English.
  • Other Activities: Only 5.6% of youth are currently engaged in vocational training or related courses. Many working youth contribute to family farms.
  • Digital Access: 95% of males and 90% of females know how to use a smartphone. Gender disparity persists, with males being over twice as likely to own smartphones.
  • Closing Gender Gap: The out-of-school rate for females is only 0.2% higher than that of males in this age group.

Conclusion:

ASER 2023 goes beyond basic education metrics, offering valuable insights into the multifaceted aspects of rural youth education. While progress is noted, challenges such as gender disparities in digital access and learning levels highlight the need for targeted interventions to ensure holistic development.

STATES’ STARTUP RANKING 2022 RELEASED BY DEPARTMENT FOR PROMOTION OF INDUSTRY AND INTERNAL TRADE (DPIIT)

GS 3 (ECONOMY): SOURCE – INDIAN EXPRESS

The States’ Startup Ranking 2022, launched by the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), assesses the efforts of States and Union Territories (UTs) in fostering conducive ecosystems for startup growth. The annual exercise, initiated in 2018, focuses on seven reform areas.

Key Findings:

  • Categories: States and UTs are categorized into Best Performers (Gujarat, Karnataka, Kerala), Top Performers (Telangana, Arunachal Pradesh), Leaders (Andhra Pradesh, Assam), Aspiring Leaders (Bihar, Haryana), and Emerging Startup Ecosystems (Chhattisgarh, Delhi).
  • Startup Ecosystem in India: India boasts the world’s third-largest startup ecosystem. Over 1.14 lakh startups have been recognized by the government as of December 2023.
  • Regulation of Start-ups: DPIIT and SEBI play key roles in recognizing startups and formulating rules for their listing.

Benefits and Challenges:

  • Benefits: Startups contribute to employment generation, stimulate domestic investments, reduce imports, and promote self-reliance.
  • Challenges: Challenges include the complex company incorporation process, funding issues, infrastructure gaps, and time-consuming protection of Intellectual Property Rights.

Steps Taken:

Initiatives like the Startup India Action Plan, Credit Guarantee Scheme, Income Tax Exemption, and the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme have been implemented to promote the startup ecosystem.

Conclusion:

The States’ Startup Ranking underscores the significance of nurturing a conducive environment for startups. While acknowledging achievements, addressing challenges through targeted policies remains pivotal for sustained growth in India’s startup landscape.

CHITTORGARH FORT

GS 1 (HISTORY): SOURCE – PIB

The Supreme Court has temporarily banned the use of explosives for mining within a five-kilometer radius of Chittorgarh Fort.

                                      

  • Chittorgarh Fort, the longest in India, is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, including five other hill forts in Rajasthan.
  • Built by Chitrangada of the Mori dynasty, it features seven gateways, with Ram Pol as the final gate, and notable monuments like Vijaya Stambha and Rana Kumbha’s Palace.
  • The annual Jauhar Mela is a significant event held at Chittorgarh, Rajasthan. The court’s decision aims to protect the historical and cultural heritage associated with the fort.

MPLADS (MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT LOCAL AREA DEVELOPMENT SCHEME) E-SAKSHI MOBILE APPLICATION

GS 2 (POLITY AND GOVERNANCE): SOURCE – INDIAN EXPRESS

The Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (MoSPI) introduced a platform enabling Members of Parliament to suggest, monitor, and supervise projects under the Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS).

  • MPLADS, a Central Sector Scheme, allocates funds for creating lasting community assets in domains like drinking water and primary education.
  • A minimum of 15% of the MPLADS entitlement targets areas with Scheduled Caste populations, while 7.5% caters to Scheduled Tribe-inhabited regions.
  • The funds are non-lapsable, allowing unused amounts to carry forward to the subsequent year.
  • District authorities are required to inspect at least 10% of ongoing projects annually.

SRI VEERABHADRA TEMPLE (ALSO KNOWN AS LEPAKSHI TEMPLE)

GS 1 (HISTORY): SOURCE – INDIAN EXPRESS

The Prime Minister of India visited the Lepakshi temple, situated in the Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh and constructed in the 16th century during the Vijayanagar empire.

                        

  • The temple follows the trikuta style with three shrines dedicated to Veerabhadra (Lord Shiva), Papanaseswara, and Raghunatha.
  • It is renowned for its colossal monolithic Nandi (bull) statue and the Nagasiva-linga adorned with a seven-hooded snake.
  • The temple boasts fresco paintings on walls and ceilings, illustrating scenes from the Ramayana, Mahabharata, and various mythological tales, earning it a place in UNESCO’s tentative World Heritage Sites list.

PUNGANUR COW (DWARF CATTLE OR MINI CATTLE)

GS 3 (ENVIRONMENT): SOURCE – INDIAN EXPRESS

On the occasion of Makar Sankranti, the Prime Minister fed Punganur cows, a breed native to the Punganur village in Andhra Pradesh’s Chittoor district.

                                   

  • These cows are known for their small size, standing 70-90 cm tall and weighing around 115-200 kg. The breed exhibits adaptability to hot and dry climates.
  • With an average milk yield of 546 kg per lactation and 5% milk fat, the Andhra Pradesh government has initiated Mission Punganur to revive and promote this indigenous breed.

TIBETAN BROWN BEAR

GS 3 (ENVIRONMENT): SOURCE – INDIAN EXPRESS

India has officially documented the first sighting of the rare Tibetan brown bear (Ursus arctos pruinosus) in Sikkim.

                                 

  • Also known as the Tibetan blue bear, it’s an omnivore characterized by a distinctive ‘V’-shaped white chest mark.
  • The Tibetan brown bear inhabits alpine forests, meadows, and steppes at elevations ranging from 2,000 to 4,500 meters.
  • Its primary territories include Nepal, Bhutan, and the Tibetan plateau.
  • Classified under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and listed on Appendix 1 of CITES, this sighting adds to India’s biodiversity records and highlights the importance of conservation efforts in the region.

Details

Date:
January 19
Time:
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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