Current Affairs Today 2024: Daily Current Affairs News

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February 19| Daily Current Affairs 2024

Important Days – Daily Current Affairs February 19

1. When is World Pangolin Day observed annually?
A) Second Sunday in February
B) Last Saturday in February
C) Third Saturday in February
D) February 17 every year
E) February 20 every year
Answer: C) Third Saturday in February

  • World Pangolin Day is observed annually on the third Saturday in February and takes place on February 17 this year.
  • The day aims to celebrate pangolins, raise awareness and recommit international N.G.O.s to the fight against the global capturing of pangolins in Africa and Asia.

Note:

  • From 2016 to 2019, an estimated 206.4 tonnes of pangolin scales or an equivalent of about 360,000 pangolins were intercepted and confiscated from 52 seizures according to a report by the Wildlife Justice Commission — an international foundation set up in the Netherlands with the mission to disrupt and help dismantle organized transnational criminal wildlife trading networks.

Sports – Daily Current Affairs February 19

2. Where did the Indian women’s team win the historic gold medal at the Badminton Asia Team Championships 2024?
A) New Delhi, India
B) Bangkok, Thailand
C) Shah Alam, Malaysia
D) Jakarta, Indonesia
E) Beijing, China
Answer: C) Shah Alam, Malaysia

  • The Indian women’s team won a historic gold medal at the Badminton Asia Team Championships 2024 after beating Thailand 3-2 in the final in Shah Alam, Malaysia.
  • This was India’s maiden title in the history of the continental competition.
  • The men’s Indian badminton team had previously won two medals in 2016 and 2020, but both were bronze.
  • Two-time Olympic medallist PV Sindhu, the world No. 11, kicked off the Indian title charge in style, beating the 17th ranked Supanida Katethong 21-12, 21-12.

Obituary – Daily Current Affairs February 19

3. Where did Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj pass away?
A) New Delhi, India
B) Mumbai, India
C) Bengaluru, India
D) Chandragiri Teerth in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district
E) Kolkata, India
Answer: D) Chandragiri Teerth in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district

  • Renowned Jain monk Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj died at the age of 77 at Chandragiri Teerth in Chhattisgarh’s Rajnandgaon district after undertaking ‘sallekhna’.
  • ‘Sallekhna’ is a Jain religious practice involving voluntary fasting unto death for spiritual purification.

Ranking – Daily Current Affairs February 19

4. What is the ranking of India’s passport in the Henley Passport Index 2024?
A) 83rd
B) 84th
C) 85th
D) 86th
E) 87th
Answer: C) 85th

  • The Henley Passport Index 2024 has been unveiled, showing France at the pinnacle while India’s passport ranking has dropped one place from the previous year, descending from 84th to 85th spot.
  • This fall in India’s ranking might be unexpected considering the fact that the number of countries offering visa-free travel to Indian passport holders has risen from 60 to 62 this year.
  • Despite Iran, Malaysia, and Thailand recently announcing visa-free entry for Indian tourists, India’s ranking has declined.
  • France leads the 2024 Henley Passport Index, with its passport holders enjoying visa-free entry to 194 nations.
  • Germany, Italy, Japan, Singapore, and Spain also feature in the top ranks.
  • Pakistan retains its 106th position from last year, while Bangladesh has slipped from 101st to 102nd.
  • Maldives, India’s neighbour, holds its strong 58th position, with visa-free travel to 96 countries for its passport holders.
  • The Henley Passport Index, which has been compiling data for the past 19 years, derives its rankings from the International Air Transport Association’s (IATA) specialized data, covering 199 passports and 227 worldwide travel destinations.

Henley Passport Index:

Country Rank
France 1st rank
US 6th rank
Maldives 58th rank
China 64th rank
India 85th rank
Pakistan 106th rank
Bangladesh 102nd rank

Banking and Finance – Daily Current Affairs February 19

5. What boost will Axis Bank’s income receive as a result of One 97 Communications Limited (OCL) moving its nodal account to the bank?
A) Fee and interest income
B) Loan interest income
C) Commission income
D) Dividend income
E) Capital gains income
Answer: A) Fee and interest income

  • Axis Bank’s income will get a “fee and float” boost as One 97 Communications Limited (OCL), which owns the Paytm brand, has decided to move its nodal account to the bank.
  • The private sector bank will earn a fee from OCL due to merchant settlements happening through the nodal account.
  • Further, the float (funds) available in this account can be deployed by the bank for a day or two in the money markets to earn income.
  • Following the Reserve Bank of India’s severe strictures against Paytm Payment Bank Ltd. (PPBL), OCL has decided to move its nodal account to Axis Bank.
  • Prior to this, OCL had its nodal account with PPBL.

Fee and Float Advantage:

  • Axis Bank could gain as float funds of payment aggregator Paytm will be available in the nodal account till payments are made to sellers.
  • Further, the bank will get fees for receiving and settling funds.
  • The payment aggregator cannot exercise any rights on the nodal account as it is a collection account.

Note:

  • OCL has a 49 per cent equity interest in PPBL, and Vijay Shekhar Sharma (OCL founder) has the remaining 51 per cent.
  • PPBL is an associate company of OCL.
Titbits

SBI:

Axis Bank:
HQ: Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD and CEO: Amitabh Chaudhary
Chairperson: Rakesh Makhija


6. What organizations have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) aimed at advancing renewable energy initiatives?
A) Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (IREDA) and Punjab National Bank (PNB)
B) National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and State Bank of India (SBI)
C) Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
D) Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) and HDFC Bank
E) Tata Power Renewable Energy Ltd. and Axis Bank
Answer: A) Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (IREDA) and Punjab National Bank (PNB)

  • The Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd. (IREDA) and Punjab National Bank (PNB) have signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at advancing renewable energy initiatives.
  • This strategic partnership between IREDA and PNB marks a significant step in their commitment to accelerate the growth of renewable energy in the country.

IREDA:

  • Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA) is an Indian public sector enterprise which provides financial assistance and other services to projects related to renewable sources of energy and energy efficiency/conservation.
  • Formed in 1987, IREDA is a Mini Ratna (Category – I) organisation owned by the Government of India and administratively controlled by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE).
  • Chairman and MD: Pradeep Kumar Das
Titbits

Punjab National Bank:

HQ: New Delhi
CEO: Atul Kumar Goel


7. Who signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to spread awareness on investment and fraudulent schemes?
A) Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) and ICICI Bank
B) Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) and HDFC Bank
C) Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) and State Bank of India (SBI)
D) Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) and Singapore-headquartered DBS Bank
E) Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) and Citibank
Answer: D) Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) and Singapore-headquartered DBS Bank

  • Investor Education and Protection Fund Authority (IEPFA) and Singapore-headquartered DBS Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to spread awareness on investment and fraudulent schemes.
  • Under the MoU, DBS Bank aims to support IEPFA’s investor awareness activities by disseminating safety messages via its various digital platforms.
  • IEPFA has conducted several investor awareness programmes aimed at increasing financial literacy and empowering investors to protect themselves from financial fraud.

Note:

  • Previously, IEPFA had also signed MoUs with the Bank of Baroda and ICICI Bank for similar activities.

About IEPFA:

  • IEPFA was set up on September 7, 2016 under the aegis of the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) for administering the Investor Education and Protection Fund for making refunds of shares, unclaimed dividends, and matured deposits and debentures, among other things, to investors

DBS Bank:

  • DBS Bank Limited, often known as DBS, is a Singaporean multinational banking and financial services corporation headquartered at the Marina Bay Financial Centre in the Marina Bay district of Singapore.
  • The bank was previously known as The Development Bank of Singapore Limited, which “DBS” was derived from, before the present abbreviated name was adopted on 21 July 2003 to reflect its role as a global bank.
  • It is one of the “Big Three” banks in Singapore, along with OCBC Bank and the United Overseas Bank (UOB).
  • Chairman: Peter Seah
  • CEO: Piyush Gupta

Appointments – Daily Current Affairs February 19

8. Who will take over as the Non-Executive Part-time Chairman of ICICI Bank?
A) G. C. Chaturvedi
B) Pradeep Kumar Sinha
C) Rajesh Kumar
D) Deepak Parekh
E) Natarajan Chandrasekaran
Answer: B) Pradeep Kumar Sinha

  • Former Cabinet Secretary Pradeep Kumar Sinha will take over as Non-Executive Part-time Chairman of ICICI Bank after G. C. Chaturvedi’s term ends on June 30, 2024.
  • The Board approved the appointment of Sinha as the Non-executive Part-time Chairman with effect from July 1, 2024 or the date of approval from RBI, whichever is later for a period until February 16, 2029 in the vacancy caused by the retirement of Mr. Chaturvedi.
Titbits

ICICI Bank:

HQ: Mumbai, Mahrashtra
Chairman: Girish Chandra Chaturvedi
MD and CEO: Sandeep Bakshi


9. Who recently took over as the Vice Chief of the Army Staff?
A) Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi
B) Lieutenant General MV Suchindra Kumar
C) Lieutenant General Ajay Kumar Singh
D) Lieutenant General Rakesh Sharma
E) Lieutenant General Anil Kumar
Answer: A) Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi

  • Lieutenant General Upendra Dwivedi, the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief of Northern Command, on Monday took over as the Vice Chief of the Army Staff.
  • Lieutenant General Dwivedi replaced Lieutenant General MV Suchindra Kumar as Vice Chief of Army.

Awards – Daily Current Affairs February 19

10. Who are the recipients of the 58th Jnanpith Award?
A) Gulzar and Amir Khusrow
B) Mirza Ghalib and Tulsidas
C) Gulzar and Jagadguru Rambhadracharya
D) Rabindranath Tagore and Kalidas
E) Javed Akhtar and Kabir Das
Answer: C) Gulzar and Jagadguru Rambhadracharya

  • The Jnanpith selection committee has announced two popular names for the recipients of the 58th Jnanpith Award, Urdu poet Gulzar and Sanskrit scholar Jagadguru Rambhadracharya.

About Gulzar:

  • He is celebrated for his contributions to Hindi cinema.
  • He has previously received several awards, including the Sahitya Akademi Award for Urdu in 2002, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 2013, Padma Bhushan in 2004, and multiple National Film Awards.

His Works:

  • The song “Jai Ho” from the movie “Slumdog Millionaire,” which clinched both an Oscar in 2009 and a Grammy in 2010.
  • He has also crafted melodies for critically acclaimed films such as “Maachhis” (1996), “Omkara” (2006), “Dil Se…” (1998), and “Guru” (2007), among others.

About Jagadguru Rambhadracharya:

  • Jagadguru Rambhadracharya, the founder and head of Tulsi Peeth in Chitrakoot, is a distinguished Hindu spiritual leader, educator, and author of over 100 books.
  • He was also awarded with Padma Vibhushan award in 2015 by the former President of India, Pranab Mukherjee at Rashtrapati Bhawan in Delhi. Rambhadracharya, fluent in 22 languages, is a versatile poet and writer proficient in various Indian languages including Sanskrit, Hindi, Awadhi, and Maithili.

About Jnanpith Award:

  • The Jnanpith Award is the oldest and the highest Indian literary award presented annually by the Bharatiya Jnanpith to an author for their “outstanding contribution towards literature”.
  • Instituted in 1961, the award is bestowed only on Indian writers writing in Indian languages included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India and English,with no posthumous conferral.
  • The Jnanpith Award was instituted in 1961, and the first award was given in 1965.
  • Until 1982 it was presented for a specific work; thereafter, it was given for a writer’s overall contribution to literature.
  • Since then, the award has typically been given every year to one author, although in some years it has been jointly offered to two.
  • Among those who have received the Jnanpith Award are G. Sankara Kurup, its first recipient, and Ashapurna Devi, the first woman to win the prize.
  • In 2018 Amitav Ghosh became the first writer in English to receive the Jnanpith Award.
  • As of 2015, the cash prize has been revised to Rs 11 lakh (equivalent to Rs 17 lakh or US$21,000 in 2023) and out of twenty-three eligible languages the award has been presented for works in sixteen languages.

11. Which organization has been honored with the ‘Innovative Technology Development Award’ at the ‘Building India 2047: Technology for Better Tomorrow’ summit?
A) IIT Bombay
B) IIT Delhi
C) IIT Kanpur
D) IIT Madras
E) IIT Kharagpur
Answer: D) IIT Madras

  • REC Limited, a Maharatna Central Public Sector Enterprise under the Ministry of Power and a leading NBFC, has been honoured with the ‘Innovative Technology Development Award’ at the ‘Building India 2047: Technology for Better Tomorrow’, an IIT Madras Corporate Social Responsibility Summit.
  • The award has been conferred in recognition of REC’s CSR initiative of installation of 2 MW rooftop solar plant at IIT Madras.
  • The solar plant generates around 3.15 million units of clean energy every year, thus helping IIT Madras reduce its carbon footprint.
  • REC Limited has been recognized for its CSR activities with several prestigious awards, including the Global CSR Leadership Awards in 2023 and the PSE Excellence Award for CSR in 2023.

Science and Technology – Daily Current Affairs February 19

12. Which company has built the first spy satellite in India?
A) Tata Motors
B) Reliance Industries
C) Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL)
D) Infosys
E) Wipro
Answer: C) Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL)

  • The first spy satellite in India to be made by a local private player is set to be launched in a SpaceX rocket by April and will be used by the armed forces to get discreet information.
  • The satellite that has been built by Tata Advanced Systems Ltd (TASL) is being sent to Florida for its launch.
  • The ground control centre, which will be set up in Bengaluru, is also being worked on and is expected to be operational soon.
  • This will be used for guidance and processing the imagery sent by the satellite.
  • The centre is being built in partnership with Satellogic, a Latin-American company.
  • The imagery sent by the TASL satellite will also be allowed to be shared with friendly nations.
  • India currently uses US companies to get the necessary spy data.

Note:

  • ISRO launched its meteorological satellite INSAT-3DS aboard spacecraft GSLV F14 from the Sriharikota spaceport.
  • It will study weather forecasts and natural disaster warnings.
  • ISRO has also been involved with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), for developing a Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite to study the Earth.

TASL:

  • Tata Advanced Systems Limited (TASL) is an Indian aerospace manufacturing, military engineering and defense technology company.
  • It is a fully owned subsidiary of Tata Sons, a holding company for the Tata Group.
  • HQ: Hyderabad, Telengana
  • Chairman: Banmali Agarwal
  • MD and CEO: Sukharan Singh

 

National Affairs – Daily Current Affairs February 19

13. What is the name of the new government scheme launched by the Odisha state government to provide interest-free loans up to Rs 1 lakh to the youth of the state?
A) Swarozgar
B) Sahayak
C) Swayam
D) Samarthan
E) Suraksha
Answer: C) Swayam

  • Odisha state government has decided to provide interest-free loans up to Rs 1 lakh to youth of the state under the new government scheme ‘Swayam.’
  • Under the new government scheme ‘Swayam’ to create self-employment for youth, 1 lakh eligible rural and an equal number of urban youth in the age group of 18-35 years will receive interest-free loans of up to Rs 1 lakh for starting a new business or expanding an existing one.
  • Further, under this scheme, all rural unemployed youth or those with no outstanding loan for the same purpose from any central or state government-supported schemes in the age group of 18-35 years (18-40 years for a special category) desirous of starting a new business or expanding their existing business will be provided an interest-free bank loan for project costs up to Rs 1 lakh.
Titbits

Odisha:

Capital: Bhubaneswar
Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik
Governor: Raghubar Das


14. Who signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) platform for better market access in the fisheries sector?
A) Department of Agriculture
B) Department of Commerce
C) Department of Fisheries
D) Department of Transportation
E) Department of Energy
Answer: C) Department of Fisheries

  • The Department of Fisheries signed an MoU with the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) platform to provide better market access for the fisheries sector.
  • The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in the presence of Union Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying Parshottam Rupala, Minister of State L Murugan, Fisheries Secretary Abhilaksh Likhi, ONDC Managing Director T Koshy.
  • The collaboration would serve numerous benefits for fisheries industries like reduced transaction costs, increased market reach, improved transparency, increased competition & competitiveness, innovation, and employment generation.
  • The collaboration aims to empower all stakeholders, including traditional fishermen, fish farmer producer organizations, entrepreneurs from the fisheries sector to buy and sell their products through ONDC in a structured manner.

15. By what percentage has the Indian government increased the allocation under the “sustainable and inclusive development of natural rubber sector” scheme for the next two financial years?
A) 10%
B) 15%
C) 20%
D) 23%
E) 30%
Answer: D) 23%

  • To support production of natural rubber in the country, the Indian government has increased the allocation under the “sustainable and inclusive development of natural rubber sector” scheme by 23 per cent to Rs 708.69 crore for the next two financial years (2024-26).
  • Currently, the import duty on natural rubber is 25 per cent or Rs 30/kg, whichever is higher.
  • Planting of rubber will be undertaken on 12,000 hectares in traditional areas during 2024-25 and 2025-26 with an outlay of Rs 43.50 crore.
  • For this, the rate of assistance has been increased to Rs 40,000 per hectare from the earlier Rs 25,000 per hectare.
  • In non-traditional regions, about 3,752 hectares will be brought under rubber cultivation with an outlay of Rs 18.76 crore during the same period.

Note:

  • There are over 13 lakh rubber growers in the country and Kerala accounts for a major chunk of the production.
  • Against production of about 8.39 lakh tonnes in 2022-23, consumption during that fiscal was 13.5 lakh tonnes.
  • The gap is bridged by imports from countries such as Vietnam, Malaysia and other Southeast Asian nations.
  • Imports are also now taking place from African countries such as Ivory Coast.
  • An outlay of Rs 29 crore has been provided for the next two years for rubber research

16. What initiative has the Misinformation Combat Alliance (MCA) and Meta announced to combat deepfakes and deceptive AI-generated content?
A) Launching a dedicated fact-checking helpline on WhatsApp
B) Developing a new social media platform
C) Creating an AI-powered misinformation detector
D) Organizing nationwide awareness campaigns
E) Establishing a research institute on misinformation
Answer: A) Launching a dedicated fact-checking helpline on WhatsApp

  • The Misinformation Combat Alliance (MCA) and Meta announced that a dedicated fact-checking helpline on WhatsApp aimed at combating deepfakes and deceptive artificial intelligence-generated content will be launched for the public next month.
  • The MCA and Meta are working on launching a dedicated fact-checking helpline on WhatsApp in an effort to combat media generated using AI, which may deceive people on matters of public importance, commonly known as deepfakes, and help people connect with verified and credible information.
  • The programme is based on a four-pillar approach – detection, prevention, reporting and driving awareness around the escalating spread of deepfakes, along with building a critical instrument that allows citizens to access reliable information to fight the spread of such misinformation.
  • The Deepfakes Analysis Unit (DAU) will serve as a critical and timely intervention to arrest the spread of AI-enabled disinformation among social media and internet users in India.

Note:

  • The MCA is a Delhi-based cross industry collaborative effort set up with the objective of combatting and limiting the spread of misinformation through targeted interventions and activities.
  • It currently has 16 members, including fact-checking organisations, media outlets, and civic tech.

Keyperson:

  • Bharat Gupta, President, Misinformation Combat Alliance
  • Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Electronics and IT
Titbits

Meta:

HQ: Menlo Park, California, US
CEO: Mark Zuckerberg


17. What is the primary aim of the INDUS-X Summit?
A) To promote cultural exchange between India and the USA
B) To foster collaboration and knowledge exchange in defence innovation between India and the USA
C) To enhance trade relations between India and the USA
D) To discuss environmental issues between India and the USA
E) To promote tourism between India and the USA
Answer: B) To foster collaboration and knowledge exchange in defence innovation between India and the USA

  • The INDUS-X Summit is scheduled to be held on February 20-21, 2024 in New Delhi, marking a significant milestone in the collaborative efforts between India and the United States in defence innovation.
  • Organised by Innovations for Defence Excellence (iDEX) under the Department of Defence Production, Ministry of Defence, and Department of Defence (DoD), United States, in conjunction with the U.S.-India Business Council and Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM), the summit aims to be a pivotal event driving strategic technology partnerships and defence industrial cooperation between India and the USA.
  • The two-day catalyst summit will feature a dynamic line-up of activities designed to foster collaboration, innovation, and knowledge exchange.
  • From panel discussions and workshops to senior leaders forums and joint challenge winner felicitations, the agenda is packed with insightful sessions aimed at charting the future trajectory of U.S.-India defence relations.
  • Defence innovation stakeholders from across governments, academic and research organisations, investors, defence start-ups, technology incubators, industry associations, and other start-up enablers will come together to develop ambitious initiatives to drive INDUS-X forward.
  • The Joint INDUS X challenge winners under the IMPACT will be felicitated during the event.

Note:

  • Since its launch in June 2023 during the State Visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to the US, the India-U.S. Defence Acceleration Ecosystem (INDUS-X) has been at the forefront of expanding bilateral ties in defence innovation.
  • Now, with the INDUS-X Summit, stakeholders from both nations will converge in New Delhi to explore and capitalise on emerging opportunities.


Over All Review

Important Days

  • World Pangolin Day is observed on February 17.

Sports 

  • Badminton Asia Team Championships 2024: Anmol Kharb seals historic title for India women.

Obituary

  • Jain monk Acharya Vidyasagar Maharaj dies at 77, PM recalls his ‘valuable efforts’.

Ranking 

  • India drops down in world’s most powerful passports ranking, France sits at the top.

Banking and Finance 

  • Paytm nodal account: Axis Bank to get “fee and float” boost.
  • IREDA, PNB to co-finance green energy projects.
  • IEPFA and DBS Bank ink MoU to spread awareness on investment and fraudulent schemes.

Appointments

  • Pradeep Kumar Sinha to take over as Non-Executive Part-time Chairman of ICICI Bank.
  • Lt Gen Dwivedi takes over as Vice Chief of Army.

Awards 

  • 58th Jnanpith Awards: Jagadguru Swami Rambhadracharya, Gulzar winners for 2023.
  • REC receives ‘Innovative Technology Development Award’ at IIT Madras CSR Summit for its 2 MW Rooftop Solar Plant at IIT.

Science and Technology

  • India’s first spy satellite made by domestic private player set for launch.

National Affairs

  • Odisha govt to give interest-free loans to youth under ‘Swayam’ scheme.
  • Department of Fisheries inks pact with ONDC.
  • Centre hikes allocation for national rubber scheme by 23% to Rs 708.69 crore for 2 fiscals.
  • MCA, Meta to launch dedicated fact-checking helpline on WhatsApp to combat deepfakes.
  • A two-day INDUS-X Summit to be held in New Delhi.

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