Current Affairs Daily Digest – 20 Feburary 2024

DAC approves Acquisition Worth Rs 84,560 Cr to Boost the Capabilities of the Armed Forces & ICGThe Defence Acquisition Council (DAC), under the chairmanship of Union Minister Rajnath Singh, Ministry of Defence (MoD) has approved for Acceptance of Necessity (AoNs) for various capital acquisition proposals amounting to Rs 84,560 crore.
i.The DAC has accorded AoN under the Buy (Indian-Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured category or Buy (Indian-IDDM) category for procurement of New Generation Anti-Tank Mines with seismic sensors and remote deactivation capabilities, these mines offer additional safety features.
ii.The DAC has also accorded AoN under the Buy (Indian) category for the procurement of

  • Active Towed Array Sonar which can operate at low frequencies and various depths for long-range detections of adversary submarines.
  • Heavy Weight Torpedoes which has the capacity to attack Kalvari Class submarines.

About Defence Acquisition Council (DAC):
The DAC is the highest decision-making body in the MoD which decides on new policies and capital acquisitions for the Indian Defence services (Army, Navy and Air Force) and the Indian Coast Guard.
Chairman – Union Minister of Defence (Rajnath Singh)
Established in – 2001

Indian Air Force Conducts Exercise Vayu-Shakti 2024 in Pokhran, RajasthanThe Indian Air Force (IAF) demonstration exercise Vayu-Shakti 2024 was held on 17 February 2024 at the Pokhran Air-to-Ground Range near Jaisalmer in Rajasthan. The exercise showcased the offensive and defensive firepower capabilities of IAF across the day and night.

  • The 2024 Vayu-Shakti exercise featured joint operations with the Indian Army, highlighting the seamless coordination between the two branches of the armed forces.
  • Exercise Vayu-Shakti 2024 was based on the theme, “Lightning Strike from the Sky”.

Key People: Chief of Defence Staff, General Anil Chauhan, graced the event as the Chief Guest.
i.A total of 121 aircraft participated in the exercise and showcased the IAF’s offensive capabilities.
ii.Fighter aircraft including the Rafale, Su-30 MKI, MiG-29, Mirage-2000, Tejas, and Hawk attacked simulated enemy targets on the ground and in the air with precision.
iii.Tejas, an indigenously built aircraft, demonstrated swing-role capability and destroyed both aerial and ground targets.
iii.The display also featured a long-range unmanned drone, showcasing advancements in combat technology.
Combat Support Operations:
i.C-17 dropped a Containerised Delivery System, and C-130J executed an assault landing carrying IAF Special Forces, Garuds.
ii.The Apache attack helicopter demonstrated its firepower in this event for the 1st time, engaging targets with air-to-ground guided missiles.

  • While Mi-17 helicopters engaged ground targets with rockets.

Joint Operations:
i.The IAF and Indian Army’s weaponised version of the Advanced Light Helicopters Mk-IV devastated simulated enemy targets using their rockets and swivel guns.
ii.IAF Chinook helicopters for the 1st time, demonstrated rapid deployment by airlifting the Indian Army’s M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers.
Night Events:
i.Night events displayed for the first time, the indigenous Light Combat Helicopter ‘Prachand,’ displayed capabilities by neutralising designated targets with rockets at night.
ii.Jaguar and Su-30 MKI dropped heavy caliber and area weapons, highlighting the IAF’s strategic bombing capability.
iii.Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) conducted live bomb damage assessment, streamed to the operations center and the audience.
Key Points:
i.The display event also included a free fall drop by the Akashganga team and flare dispensing by C-130J at night.
ii.The indigenous Air Defence Systems, Akash, and SAMAR missile systems were also showcased, destroying multiple aerial targets.
iii.Approximately 50 tonnes of ordnance was dropped in 2 hours over a 2-square-kilometer area.
About Exercise Vayu Shakti:
It is a triennial exercise conducted once every 3 years by the IAF to demonstrates its ability to conduct full-spectrum operations, both day and night.
Note: The last edition of exercise Vayu Shakti was held on 16 February 2019.

India & Taiwan signed MoU for the Employment of Indian Workers in Taiwan
The Government of India and the Government of Taiwan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Facilitation of Employment of Indian Workers in Taiwan. The MoU aims to strengthen the bilateral labour cooperation relations between India and Taiwan.
Signatoties: Manharsinh Laxmanbhai Yadav,  Director General of the India-Taipei Association (ITA) and Baushuan Ger, the head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre in India signed the MoU at a virtual ceremony.
i.The MoU paves the way for skilled Indian workers to find employment opportunities in Taiwan.
ii.India will become a new source country for migrant workers in Taiwan. Taiwan’s current source countries for migrant workers are Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand.

Overview of PM Modi’s visit to UAE and Qatar – February 2024 Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi was on official visit to U.A.E. and Qatar from 13th February to 15th February, 2024.

PM Modi visited Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) on 13th February, 2024.
PM Modi was welcomed by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan in Abu Dhabi, UAE.This was the 7th visit of PM Modi to the UAE in last 9 years.
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi witnessed the exchange of the following:

  • Bilateral Investment Treaty.
  • Inter-Governmental Framework Agreement on the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor (IMEEC).
  • Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation on Digital Infrastructure Projects.
  • Memorandum of Understanding in the field of Electricity Interconnection and Trade.
  • Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation with the National Maritime Heritage Complex, Lothal at Gujarat.
  • Cooperation Protocol between the National Library and Archives of the UAE and the National Archives of India.
  • Agreement on interlinking of the instant payment platforms – UPI (India) and AANI (UAE).
  • Agreement on inter-linking domestic debit/credit cards – RuPay (India) with JAYWAN (UAE).

On his last leg of foreign tour, PM Modi arrived at Doha, Qatar on 14th February,2024. He was received by Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Qatar.

  • Both leaders held discussions on expanding of bilateral cooperation in various sectors such as: trade, investment, energy, finance and technology.

About United Arab Emirates (UAE):
Capital – Abu Dhabi
President – Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan
Currency – United Arab Emirates Dirham
About Qatar:
Capital – Doha
President – Sheikh Tamim bin Al Thani
Currency – Qatari Riyal (QAR)

BoM Celebrated 89th Business Commencement Day: Launched 89 New ProductsOn 8th February 2024, Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) celebrated its 89th Business Commencement Day as “Maha Parivartan Diwas 2.0” in Pune, Maharashtra and launched 89 new digital products and services.
Key People: A S Rajeev, Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of BoM;  Asheesh Pandey, Executive Director of BoM along with General Managers, customers and staff members of BoM were present during the event.
Launched Products & Services:
i.BoM has launched the Mahabank Equipment Finance Scheme to finance construction equipment purchases for Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and Corporates.
ii.The bank also launched a Special cluster scheme to offer concessionary interest rates and service charges to the glass bangle industry in Firozabad (Uttar Pradesh).
iii.The bank also incorporated a Straight-Through Processing (STP) Journey in Mudra Loans of up to Rs 50,000 to fuel the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
iv.Facilities were made to provide instant digital Kisan Credit Card (KCC) loans (of up to Rs 1.60 lakhs) for Karnataka farmers.
v.In order to provide a Line of Credit (LoC) to employees of the Government of Rajasthan, BoM introduced the “Earned Salary Advance Drawals Scheme”

  • BoM has enhanced features on its WhatsApp banking service (+91 – 7066036640)including implementation of the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR).
  • BoM granted access to income and expenditure audit information through a Third Party Administrator (TPA) portal.
  • It also launched Electronic One-time Settlement (E-OTS) platform was launched to expedite debt resolution in NPA accounts.

About Bank of Maharashtra(BoM):
BoM was formally registered under Indian Companies Act on 16th September 1935 and commenced operations on 8th February 1936.
The bank was nationalised in 1969.
Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – A S Rajeev
Headquarters – Pune, Maharashtra
Tagline – Ek Parivaar, Ek Bank (One Family One Bank)

IRDAI approved Policybazaar to Upgrade to a Composite Insurance Broker
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has granted in-principle approval to Gurugram (Haryana) based Policybazaar Insurance Brokers Private Limited (Policybazaar) to upgrade its license from a direct insurance broker (Life and General) to a composite insurance broker.

  • With this approval, Policybazaar is allowed to sell reinsurance products besides being a pure play platform focused on insurance buying.
  • The approval also deepens the insurance penetration in the country by bringing more technology, process control and data analytics-based innovation into reinsurance capacity.
  • Policybazaar is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Gurugram-based PB Fintech Limited.

PayNearby launched Digital Naari platform for Rural & Semi-Urban Women
Mumbai (Maharashtra) based Nearby Technologies Private Limited (PayNearby) has launched the Digital Naari platform to generate sustainable self-employment for women.

  • This is in line with the ‘Lakhpati Didi’ initiative (a skill development programme launched in 2023), the platform seeks to onboard and uplift about 1 lakh women in rural and semi-urban areas by the end of 2025.
  • By providing access to a suite of financial and digital services, the platform equips women with the tools and skills needed to become successful entrepreneurs.

38 Young Individuals Featured on Forbes India 30 Under 30 List: Class of 2024Forbes India unveiled the 11th edition of Forbes India 30 Under 30 List: Class of 2024, which recognises professionals and entrepreneurs who have made significant contributions across diverse fields.

  • The list features 38 outstanding young individuals under the age of 30 across 19 categories selected by expert juries, spanning co-founders, and repeat victors.

About Forbes India:
Editor– Brian Carvalho
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Launched in– 2009

IRDAI Reconstitutes Expert Committee for Ind AS/IFRS Implementation in Insurance SectorThe Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has announced the reconstitution of the Expert Committee on implementation of Indian Accounting Standards (Ind AS) and International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) in the insurance sector.

  • The reconstituted committee will be chaired by Member (Finance & Investment)(F&I), IRDAI.

Note: Currently, Rajay Kumar Sinha is serving as the Member (F&I) of IRDAI
Members of the Committee:
i.The 13-member committee includes

  • Amarjit Chopra, Chairman of the Accounting Standards Board of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI)
  • R Arunachalam, President of the Institute of Actuaries of India,
  • Shyama Prasad Chakraborty, Chief General Manager (CGM) & Head of Department (HOD), Actuarial Department of IRDAI.

ii.The individual persons on the committee include Ashutosh Pednekar, Murtuza Vajihi, Parminder Kaur, Kunj Maheshwari, Prasun Sarkar, Garth Jones, Sharad Ramnarayanan, Shatmanyu Shrivastava and G. Rambabu (Member Convener).
Working of the committee:
i.The committee will work on steps that may be taken towards the effective implementation of Ind AS/IFRS along with giving phase-wise time-lines.
ii.It will also give recommendations on proforma financial statements which is a set of financial statements that predicts the expected future performance of a company.
iii.It will give recommendations on financial disclosures in compliance with Ind AS/IFRS, along with those that can be mandated with immediate effect.
iv.It will also address key issues and concerns arising from transition activities.
About Ind AS:
Ind AS are standards/rules prescribed under Section 133 of the Companies Act, 2013. It determines how Indian companies prepare and present their financial statements.
About IFRS:
i.IFRS issued by the IFRS Foundation, a not-for-profit and public interest organisation, to develop high-quality, understandable, enforceable, and globally accepted accounting and sustainability disclosure standards.
ii.The foundation has two standard-setting boards, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) to develop standards.
About Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI):
IRDAI is a statutory body that regulates and develops the insurance industry in India.It was constituted in 1999 and incorporated as a statutory body in 2000.
Chairperson– Debasish Panda
Headquarters– Hyderabad, Telangana
Establishment – 1999, Incorporated in 2000

GSLV-F14/INSAT-3DS Mission: ISRO Successfully Launched Meteorological Satellite ‘INSAT-3DS’ into SpaceOn 17th February 2024, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched GSLV-F14/INSAT-3DS mission carrying the meteorological satellite INSAT-3DS from the Second Launch Pad (SLP) Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh (AP).

  • GSLV-F14 placed the INSAT-3DS satellite into a geosynchronous transfer orbit(GTO), then to a geosynchronous stationary orbit (GSO) in space.
  • This marks’s the 16th flight of Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV). It is also the 10th flight & 7th operational flight of GSLV with Indigenous Cryogenic stage.


  • GSLV-F14/INSAT-3DS mission is fully funded by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).
  • GSLV is a three-stage launch vehicle which is of 51.7 meter long and can liftoff mass of 420 tonnes.

About GSLV-F14/INSAT-3DS mission:
Primary objectives:
i.To monitor Earth’s surface, carryout Oceanic observations and its environment in various spectral channels of meteorological importance.
ii.To provide the vertical profile of various meteorological parameters of the Atmosphere.
iii.To provide the Data Collection and Data Dissemination capabilities from the Data Collection Platforms.
iv.To provide the Satellite Aided Search and Rescue services.
About INSAT-3DS:
i.INSAT 3DS is a follow-on mission of Third Generation Meteorological Satellite from geostationary orbit. This next-generation meteorological satellite has improved capabilities over the present INSAT series – INSAT 3D(2013) and INSAT 3DR(2016).
ii.The satellite will augment the Meteorological services along with INSAT-3D and INSAT-3DR.
iii.It is designed for enhanced meteorological observations, monitoring of land and ocean surfaces for weather forecasting and disaster warning  with state-of-the-art payloads
iv.The satellite is being tracked by the control centres at Brunei and Port Blair (Andaman & Nicobar).
Payload: 6 channel Imager; 19 channel Sounder; Data Relay Transponder (DRT); and Satellite Aided Search & Rescue transponder (SAS&R).
Benefits: Meteorological data from the INSAT-3DS will be used by the institutes of the MoES, such as India Meteorology Department (IMD), National Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF), Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), and Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS) and various Indian agencies to enhance meteorological research and services.
About Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO):
Chairman – Sreedhara Panicker Somanath
Headquarters – Bengaluru, Karnataka
Established in – 1969

SpaceX Launched Odysseus, Intuitive Machines’s Lunar LanderOn 15th February 2024, SpaceX launched the Odysseus(Nova-C), the robotic lunar lander of Houston(Texas)-based Intuitive Machines Inc, onboard the Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A (LC-39A) at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the United States of America(USA).

  • SpaceX successfully launched the Intuitive Machines IM-1 mission to lunar transfer orbit.

Points to note: 
i.Odysseus is expected to soft land near moon’s south pole on 22nd February 2024. The lander will land near the lunar feature known as Malapert A
ii.If the mission succeeds, this will become the first-ever private moon lander to achieve lunar soft landing.
iii.This will also become the USA’s first moon landing since National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)’s Apollo 17 moon landing in 1972.
About the mission: 
i.Odysseus is a part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative and Artemis campaign.
ii.IM-1 mission carries NASA’s six payloads targeted for the South Polar region. The payloads are,

  • LN-1 (Lunar Node 1 Navigation Demonstrator)
  • LRA (Laser Retroreflector Array)
  • NDL (Navigation Doppler Lidar for Precise Velocity and Range Sensing)
  • RFMG (Radio Frequency Mass Gauge)
  • ROLSES (Radio-wave Observations at the Lunar Surface of the Photoelectron Sheath)
  • SCALPSS (Stereo Cameras for Lunar Plume-Surface Studies)

iii.The instruments onboard will conduct scientific research and demonstrate technologies to better understand the Moon’s environment.
iv.These will also improve the landing precision and safety in the extreme conditions of the lunar south pole region and pay way for Artemis astronaut missions.
Additional info: 
i.Falcon 9’s first stage returned to earth and made a vertical touchdown at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
ii.This marks the 18th launch and landing for this booster.

Parhyale Odian: A New Species of Crustacean Identified in Odisha
Researchers from Berhampur University(Odisha) have discovered a new species of crustacean named ‘Parhyale Odian’ from the Chilika Lake, spread over spread over the Puri, Khordha and Ganjam in Odisha.
The new species is named after Odia, the official & native language of Odisha.

  • Parhyale Odian is a shrimp-like amphipod belonging to the genus Parhyale.
  • The discovery is published in an article titled ‘A new species of amphipod of the genus Parhyale from Chilika lagoon, India’ in the online edition of journal Zootaxa.

i.The specimens have been deposited in the Zoological Survey of India(ZSI)’s Estuarine Biology Regional Centre, Gopalpur-on-Sea, Ganjam, Odisha for further research
ii.Parhyale odian differs from all other 15 species by having a stout robust seta — a spine-like structure on the surface of the propodus of the male gnathopod (first pair of legs)

Badminton Asia Team Championships 2024: Indian Women’s Team Won the Title for 1st Time Indian Women’s Badminton Team led by Pusarla Venkata (PV) Sindhu won the gold at Badminton Asia Team Championships (BATC) 2024 in Womens event by defeating Thailand (3-2) in the finals held at Setia City Convention Centre in Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia.

  • This marks the first ever podium finish of Indian Women’s team and also the first ever gold for India at the Badminton Asia Team Championships.
  •  BATC 2024, the 5th edition of the biennial championship, was held from 13th to 18th February 2024 in Malaysia.

Note: Previously, Indian Men’s team won the bronze medals in the 2016 and 2020 editions of BATC.
Badminton Asia Team Championships 2024 Medalists:


  • Teams that lost in the semifinals were awarded the shared bronze medal.
  • Indian Men’s Team led by HS Prannoy lost the quarter finals against Japan.

Highlights of Women’s final:
i.Indian women’s team won 3 out of 5 matches in the finals against Thailand.
ii.PV Sindhu won the first singles against Supanida Katethong and Treesa Jolly-Gayatri Gopichand defeated Jongkolphan Kititharakul-Rawinda Prajongjai in the first doubles.
iii.Ashmita Chaliha and Priya Konjengbam-Shruti Mishra lost the 2nd singles and doubles.
iv.The reigning Indian national champion Anmol Kharb (17-year-old) defeated Pornpicha Choeikeewong (Thailand) to secure the title for India.
Member of Indian Team:
Men: HS Prannoy, Kidambi Srikanth, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, Chirag Shetty, Lakshya Sen, MR Arjun, Dhruv Kapila, Suraj Goala, Pruthvi Krishnamurthy Roy and Chirag Sen.
Women: PV Sindhu, Ashwini Ponnappa, Ashmita Chaliha, Priya Konjengbam, Shruti Mishra, Treesa Jolly, Gayatri Gopichand, Anmol Kharb, Tanisha Crasto and Tanvi Sharma.
About BATC 2024:
i.BATC 2024 is a biofficially known as the SELANGOR Badminton Asia Team Championships 2024, was organised by the Badminton Asia along with Badminton Association of Malaysia.
ii.It was sanctioned by the Badminton World Federation(BWF).
iii.The top four teams (women and men) of the tournament are qualified by merit for Uber Cup(women) and Thomas Cup (Men) which is scheduled to be held in Chengdu China, in April-May 2024.
Note: The first edition of BATC was held in 2016.

World Pangolin Day 2024- February 17 World Pangolin Day is annually observed across the globe on the 3rd Saturday of February to celebrate and raise awareness about the Pangolin or scaly anteater, one of the most unique mammals on Earth, and their plight.
In 2024, World Pangolin Day falls on 17th February 2024. This marks the observance of the 13th World Pangolin Day.

  • The 12th World Pangolin Day was observed on 18th February 2023.
  • The 14th World Pangolin Day will be observed on 15th February 2025.

Note: The first World Pangolin Day was observed in February 2012.

Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah Launches Asha Kirana Eye Care SchemeKarnataka Chief Minister (CMSiddaramaiah launched the ‘Asha Kirana – Eye Care at Your Doorstep‘, a scheme to offer free eye care services to families across Karnataka, during a event held in Haveri, Karnataka.

  • The Scheme launched by the Department of Health and Family Welfare, Governemnt of Karnataka, falls under the National Programme for Control of Blindness and Visual Impairment (NPCB&VI).
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